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Elive doesn’t offer many stand-out features to shout about, but it does offer you near-perfect uptime, so it’s definitely not all bad. I put it through some rigorous testing, and there were some things that I really loved – such as its Plesk control panel – but the bad things, like limited storage and sub-par support, are hard to ignore.
Excellent Reliability – But Storage Limits Can Hold You Back
Elive is an Irish company offering a range of business solutions, including hosting, domain names, and even web design services. It’s not particularly well-known outside of Ireland, and it may struggle to compete with international hosting giants like Hostinger. Is it still worth considering then?
The answer to that question is, it depends. If your website visitors are primarily in Ireland, then the fact that Elive’s servers are located in the country could mean faster loading speeds.
Elive offers shared hosting and VPS (virtual private server) hosting, and its plans are affordable, albeit not very generous in terms of resources. There are no unlimited plans.
I spent three months testing every aspect of Elive’s hosting service, evaluating its performance, and chatting with its support team, to bring you a hands-on overview of what you can expect when you host your website with Elive.
The TL;DR of my experience with Elive is: while I was really impressed with its almost-perfect uptime, and its performance was often decent, it doesn’t really have any standout features, its storage limits are a little stingy, and its WordPress Support is expensive. Is Elive sufficient for your needs? Read on to find out.
Limited Storage and Bandwidth – But You Do Get SSL Certificates
Essentially, Elive has all the basic features you need to get your website online – but unfortunately, that’s pretty much all. It doesn’t boast any valuable features (like caching tools, a WordPress toolkit, or even WordPress optimization) that many of its international rivals offer.
One thing I’m not particularly keen about is the bandwidth and storage limits. With many hosts offering unlimited storage and bandwidth, a host that doesn’t offer unlimited anything automatically looks kind of stingy. Elive gives you just 10GB of storage on the Starter plan, 30GB on the Business plan, and 60GB on the Premium plan. As far as bandwidth goes, you get 10GB, 60GB, or 100GB respectively.
Backups aren’t included in the price of your hosting, but you can buy the DropSuite Backups add-on at checkout for a small monthly (or annual, if you want to save money) fee. I would have expected the higher-priced plans (especially Premium) to include backups, but they do not.
You don’t get a free domain name with your hosting, either. Because Elive acts as a domain registrar, you can either register a new domain when you sign up, or simply use a domain you already own. If you want to register a .ie domain name, however, you will need to provide evidence of your connection to Ireland as well as your personal identity (the same procedure applies no matter which domain registrar you use).
If you want a simple way to build your website, the good news is that Elive’s own drag-and-drop website builder is free with all hosting plans. Watch out for the max website sizes with the builder – on the Starter plan, you’re limited to 10MB.
WordPress Support Plans Available
While many hosts offer managed WordPress hosting, Elive takes a different approach. You can add dedicated WordPress Support to your shared hosting plan at any time – for an additional cost, of course. There are three support plans to choose from: the entry-level Gold package (suitable for most websites), the Pro package with extra storage and daily full-site backups, and the Premium package that’s best for busy e-commerce websites.
Depending on the plan you choose, WordPress Support will give you website checks, daily database backups, updates to themes and plugins, site restore, and offsite storage of full site backups. Your website will also be scanned daily for malware and suspicious activity. The downside to WordPress Support is that it is quite pricey and you could get a better deal if you choose managed hosting from another provider.
Free SSL Certificates
Not all web hosts include free SSL certificates, but Elive does. It fully supports the free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates, so you can secure your website(s) quickly and easily without having to pay an additional fee each year.
Host Multiple Websites on Every Plan
Even the most basic hosting plan from Elive includes the option to host multiple websites on your account. You can host 10 websites on the Starter plan, 30 on the Business plan, and 50 on the Premium plan. Just keep in mind that if you try to host 10 websites on the Starter plan, you’ll be sharing 10GB of storage between all your websites, so you could find yourself running out of space.
Plesk Control Panel
Most web hosts provide either cPanel or the host’s own control panel, so it’s always a refreshing change to find a host that includes Plesk instead. Personally, I prefer Plesk to cPanel (even though they’re owned by the same company, there are some differences between them).
Plesk is more beginner-friendly than cPanel, with a collapsible sidebar navigation instead of the page full of icons that cPanel uses. It’s easier to find the settings and functions that you’re looking for.
Hassle-Free Setup (and Did I Mention I Love the Plesk Control Panel?)
I had no trouble signing up with Elive and the process was pretty beginner-friendly. The only thing you really need to watch out for is that Dropsuite 5GB (an email archiving service) may be preselected when you arrive at the service configuration page. It does cost extra, but the charge is actually quite small compared to some international hosting companies.
You can opt to add Cloudflare Free to your account at no charge – I’d definitely advise doing this, as the Cloudflare CDN (Content Delivery Network) can improve your website’s performance for visitors all over the world. This isn’t pre-selected, so you will need to make sure to add it to your order.
Managing Your Account and Using Plesk
Managing your account with Elive couldn’t really be any simpler. The account dashboard is similar to that of many other hosts. I like it for its clean layout and easy navigation.
As for Plesk, I’ve already said a lot about what I like about it compared to cPanel so I won’t bore you with the details all over again. Let’s just say that it makes managing your web hosting a more enjoyable experience.
Connecting a Domain and Installing WordPress
Installing WordPress using Plesk is a very easy process. When you sign up with Elive, your domain is automatically linked to your hosting space. You can then install WordPress from the applications panel, and if you use the quick installation option, the process only takes a few minutes to complete.
Almost-Perfect Uptime, but Page Loading Speeds Can Vary Drastically
Performance testing is one of the things I put more effort into when I’m reviewing web hosts, because everything else fades into insignificance if your website is slow to load or frequently unavailable. All hosts make bold claims about the speed of their hosting, but I always run my own tests.
I was very impressed with Elive’s uptime (or reliability), as it achieved a near-perfect score of 99.998%. That’s a terrific score, equating to less than a minute of downtime over the course of a month! Most hosts will guarantee 99.9% uptime (or 43 minutes of downtime), so Elive is one of the most reliable hosts I’ve tested.
The good news ends there, unfortunately. Although Elive did achieve some decent page loading times of under 1.5 seconds, the average time was a disappointing 3.32 seconds. Google recommends a maximum of three seconds for pages to be fully loaded, so Elive’s inconsistency is a problem.
To test Elive’s performance, I installed WordPress on the Starter plan and uploaded a customized SimpleShift one-page website theme. Some review sites use a nearly blank website for their performance tests, but an empty website won’t perform like an actual website with text and images.
To get more accurate information about how your website might perform on Elive, the customized theme I used includes text and non-optimised HD images, like you’d have with an average landing page. If you want the full details of how we test web hosts at Website Planet, you can check out this guide.
I kept the test website online for three months so I could repeat the tests at different times for a better picture of the speed consistency of Elive. The website was available at autonomous-shoes-ireland-c.com.
GTmetrixMy favourite tool for performance testing is GTmetrix, because of the range of data it provides, including Fully Loaded Time, PageSpeed Score, and YSlow Score. The last two measure optimization rather than just speed, but they’re helpful to understand how you can optimize your site to improve its performance.
Elive’s performance scores from PageSpeed and YSlow weren’t great. This reflects the lack of optimization technology on the servers and the absence of any bundled caching tools (which many hosts supply). The scores of 67% and 63% aren’t terrible, but the average PageSpeed score is around 76%. It would be virtually impossible to achieve a score of 90%+ even with the use of caching plugins.
Although there were occasions when Elive achieved really decent page loading speeds, like the 0.8 seconds in the screenshot below, there were also several occasions where it took more than nine seconds for the website to load. If the 9.4-second result (above) had been a single occurrence, I’d have dismissed it… but when it kept happening, I realized that it wasn’t just a fluke.
Such massive variations in page loading speeds suggest that Elive’s servers don’t use any of the new technologies for separating (or isolating) accounts hosted on the same server. This means that if another website on your server gets a sudden spike of traffic, your visitors may experience slow page loading speeds.
Sucuri Load Time Tester
The second tool I use is the Sucuri Load Time Tester, which gives an indication of page loading speeds from test servers around the world. If you have visitors accessing your website from outside of Ireland, these scores can be useful.
Although the scores in the screenshot above are better than those from GTmetrix, again, they weren’t consistent. Still, the average page loading speed from Sucuri was 2.23 seconds – within Google’s three-second limit.
I used UptimeRobot to monitor the test website’s uptime over a period of three months and, given the loading speed issues, I was very surprised with the results. It’s rare that a host can achieve this level of reliability consistently, but there were virtually no periods of downtime during the test period.
When there was downtime, it was for seconds rather than minutes. There were stretches of weeks with 100% uptime. Only one other Irish host achieved this kind of reliability!
Slow Ticket Responses, but You Can Phone for Support
Elive doesn’t appear to offer 24/7 support; nor does it offer any kind of live chat support. That means you’re left with ticket/email support and telephone support.
Elive does sometimes respond to pleas for help via Twitter. It has a knowledge base, too, but don’t rely on that for help – it contains a grand total of 50 articles, and 26 of those are about email issues.
I contacted Elive via ticket support on several occasions and to be honest, I was not impressed – either by the response times (I waited over 36 hours on one occasion) or by the quality of service from the customer support agents. This is one of the responses I received when I contacted Elive about help with my WordPress theme installation:
On another occasion, I contacted the support team to ask about help with optimization. The response I received (see the screenshot below) actually shocked me because I’ve never had a support agent suggest that I pay them to optimize my website before.
Overall, I was disappointed with Elive’s support and therefore I wouldn’t recommend choosing Elive unless you’re planning on paying for WordPress Support (which is, I imagine, why regular support is so poor!).
Affordable Pricing – Unless You Opt for WordPress Support
You can choose to pay monthly or annually with Elive – although if you choose to pay monthly, you will pay more overall. All major credit cards are accepted. Unlike many hosts, Elive doesn’t advertise a money-back guarantee of any kind.
At first glance, Elive’s pricing seems fairly competitive compared with other Irish hosting companies. However, when you balance out the cost of the hosting with other factors, such as the poor support and the limited resources, it doesn’t offer very good value.
If you want decent support, you’ll have to pay for WordPress Support (if my experience is anything to go by), which, for a single website, is a massive six times the cost of the yearly price for the Starter Plan! Then you’ve got to add in the cost of your domain name(s), of course.
That’s a huge investment, putting Elive in the same price range as Flywheeland WPEngine, both of which offer far more value-added features and optimizations. You’d be better off choosing SiteGround, which offers huge discounts on your initial term, and even on renewal, would work out to be cheaper than Elive with WordPress Support.
Cancelling Your Account
Elive does make cancelling your account quite easy. There’s a Request Cancellation button for your hosting service, and on the next screen, you’ll also be able to check a box to cancel auto-renewal on your domain name. The whole process only takes a few minutes.
Although its reliability is excellent, that’s probably the only reason to recommend Elive for web hosting. Its inconsistent page loading speeds and dreadful support made for a less-than-positive hosting experience. There are definitely better hosting options available, whether that’s another Irish host like Hosting Ireland or an international host with European servers like SiteGroundor Hostinger.
Ari is passionate about web hosting and design and has been building websites with WordPress for over ten years. When he’s not testing web hosts, you’re likely to find him trying (in vain) to train his three beagles (who are better at training him than he is them!)