One for the Hardcore Developers
Heficed (that’s hef + iced, like coffee) was founded in 2008 as Host1Plus, and its goal is to streamline the way its customers think about hosting and IP addresses. Its servers are located throughout the world, including in Los Angeles, Chicago, Sao Paulo, Frankfurt, London, and Johannesburg, and it specializes in cybersecurity, hosting, and business intelligence.
One of the nice things about Heficed is that it proudly displays the names and faces of its team on the website, which lets customers know who they’re working with. Not all hosts take the time to do this, and whether it actually makes them more legitimate or not, it certainly makes them feel like it.
With that said, it’s definitely not the right host for everybody. I’d go so far as to call them specialists. Unless you have a thorough knowledge of server administration, including through command line modules, you’re going to struggle to complete even the most basic of tasks. It also charges so much for support that you’d be better off hiring a third-party system admin to take a look at the problem for you.
On the plus side, Heficed only offers cloud hosting and doesn’t do shared, VPS, or dedicated hosting as a sideline, like many of its competitors. It also allows you to customize your cloud server right down to the last detail. This granularity applies to the pricing too, allowing you to pay based on usage increments as low as per hour.
And so with that in mind, how can you tell whether Heficed is the right web host for you? This article is a good place to get started. Let’s take a look at what Heficed has to offer.
Advanced Features for Advanced Users
A lot of the features Heficed offers are specialist tools for the developers the company targets. This isn’t a company that will make things super simple for you with one-click installers and other software goodies. That’s not what its customers want.
Still, if you want advanced functionality and full control over your cloud server, you’re in luck. Heficed will throw in an optional hardware firewall, but you’ll want to install one of your own and also make regular backups. Act as though it’s a physical server you own and not a virtual server you’ve leased, and get ready to fiddle around with command lines and operating system installation.
Tier 3 Classified
Heficed’s data centers are all Tier 3 classified and hold compliance certificates from ISO, PCI, BBB accreditation, and more. What does this mean for you? In a nutshell, the infrastructure is more secure than most, and it’s even paid an impressive amount of attention to what will happen at the data centers in the event of a fire.
Full Root Access
Having full root access might not matter much to rookie webmasters and casual business users, but it can be absolutely essential for the purposes of development. This level of control even extends to the choice of which operating system you install, which brings me to the next point.
Linux or Windows
Take your pick of operating systems, including Linux or Windows. Heficed will allow you to use a custom ISO or to take your pick from pre-installed templates and applications. Run any kernel you want to or use Microsoft Windows Server to automate processes via APIs.
Advanced IP Infrastructure
The company launched the world’s first automated IP management and network engineering platform, named Switch. Switch allows your cloud deployment to use a range of IP addresses over different continents. It’ll give you instant access to over half a million geolocated IP addresses, and the Terminal control panel will help you manage them all.
Ease of use
Not for the Weak
Heficed is clearly aimed at seasoned developers, so it doesn’t go out of its way to make things easier for you. It assumes that you know what you’re doing, and if you don’t, the team will be happy to help—for a significant fee. All in all, it’s one of the more difficult website hosting options, but at least it makes up for it with how customizable its cloud servers are.
Creating an Account
The signup process for Heficed is pretty lengthy, so you might want to make yourself a cup of coffee before getting started.
The good news is that you can register using an existing Google, Microsoft, GitHub, or LinkedIn account. The bad news is that you’ll need to go through the process of setting up a virtual machine and adding a public SSH key, which can be daunting for beginners but simple for seasoned developers. You can find out more about my experience here.
Connecting a Domain and Installing WordPress
Installing WordPress and connecting a domain are a little tricky with Heficed because you’ll need to log into the virtual console, install an Apache web server, PHP, and MySQL, and do all of this before you create a single database.
The full 12-step process takes quite a while, and if you want support, you’ll have to pay a hefty hourly price for the privilege. Luckily, I wrote about my own experience, and you can follow the step-by-step process here.
Heficed lets you scale up your resources and add more if you need them, but it also gives you access to up to 2048 IPs on even its most basic package. It guarantees that its IPs will be blacklist-free, and its platform also allows for extensive automation, though that’s when it starts to get a little tricky.
Heficed’s resource library is like a knowledge base on steroids, offering up everything from white papers to business use cases and data sheets. These aren’t casual bedtime reads, though. They go into extensive detail and are aimed at developers and programmers who want to go in depth on subjects like the state of Brazilian IT infrastructure.
One of the benefits of Heficed’s cloud-based infrastructure is the fact that you can build your own package by selecting exactly which resources you need. You can specify everything from server location to operating system, storage space, and the number of processor cores and memory you want your cloud server to have.
Heficed has a global network of servers and their customers have access to as many resources as they want, so you’d expect your site to load pretty quickly. I didn’t see any evidence of users who were dissatisfied with the loading speeds, but there are a few bad reviews from people who experienced downtime and struggled to get support to help them.
To test them out, I ran a Sucuri page load test to see how quickly its servers load from different locations. It did okay for the most part, though it was a little slower to load in Australia and Japan. The overall load time was on par with most of the other hosting companies we’ve tested.
The Team Will Help, If You Can Afford It
Heficed has different tiers available for its service-level agreement (SLA). On the standard SLA, it promises ticket responses within 12 hours and keeps no backups, but you can upgrade to the enterprise plan if needed to receive responses within the hour and three weekly backups. I’m not convinced it’s worth the 20% that it’ll add on to your bill, though.
As for support, it has a support center and a knowledge center to help you out, and it even has a Slack community support forum. Unfortunately, the support team isn’t particularly helpful.
I waited on live chat for up to an hour on several occasions to get support, and then when the agent picked up, they were far from helpful. For instance, when I asked if there were any tutorials for installing WordPress, they basically told me to Google it and then tried to get me to pay for support at a whopping hourly rate. Other times, no one picked up at all.
Heficed’s pricing starts out pretty reasonable, but it quickly adds up as you add extra resources and functionality to build your bespoke cloud server. On top of that, the SLA can add an extra 20% onto whatever your base price is.
The good news is that it accepts a wide range of payment options. The company accepts the majority of credit and debit cards, including Mastercard, Visa, and American Express, as well as PayPal, AliPay, and a range of cryptocurrencies. On top of that, you can customize the billing cycle and even pay by the hour, but to do that you’ll be asked to make a hefty deposit.
Cancellations & Refunds
Heficed is one of those unusual web hosts where it’s easier to cancel your account than it is to sign up. You’ll just need to log into your account, browse to the server you want to cancel, and hit delete. You can either cancel immediately or at the end of the next billing cycle, and if you’re within 14 days of your purchase, then your payment will be automatically refunded. Click here to find out more about my easy experience.