OVH screams premium right from the homepage with its choice of a rich royal blue and deep purple for the color palette. Its high-performance servers are scattered across four continents, allowing the company to provide rapid cloud hosting from around the globe. It specializes in working with companies that need to grow at scale through the smart use of cloud technologies.
OVH has 1.3 million customers around the world and hosts 18 million web applications across 19 countries and over 25 data centers, so it must be doing something right. It has pretty good reviews on third-party rating sites, too.
In fact, at first glance, there are none of the warning signs that I’m used to looking out for when comparing web hosting providers.
But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing there. There’s no such thing as a perfect web host (if there were, everyone would use the same host), so as always, it all comes down to figuring out whether it’s the right host for you.
OVH is mostly known for its cloud and dedicated hosting, although it does also provide personal web hosting packages at a lower price. On top of that, while it does have those cheaper packages, its focus is clearly on higher value customers, so if you’re looking to cut costs and save money, you should look elsewhere.
Still, they say that you get what you pay for, and that’s certainly the case here. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what OVH has to offer and together we’ll figure out whether it’s the right provider for you.
Before we get started, as you’ve likely guessed already, this is a multinational company. There are 24 versions of the website, depending on your location and currency. While you’d think that all the services and products would be the same, they’re not.
In European and African countries, OVH sells shared hosting, while in Asian, North American, and Oceanian countries it focuses on selling dedicated and private servers. Unless otherwise mentioned, this review focuses on the U.K. website and its shared hosting plans.
OVH is a feature-rich hosting provider, offering many different services. The features it includes with personal hosting accounts vary greatly from the features it offers to dedicated and cloud hosting customers, but some of the features come available as standard.
For example, its plans come with a free domain name for the first year, free SSL certificates, and anti-DDoS protection. It also calls itself a fully managed host, though if the reviews are anything to go by, its customers beg to differ.
Global Data Centers
OVH has been expanding its network of data centers, which means you can pick and choose where you want your website to be hosted. It currently has data centers in Canada, Singapore, Australia, Poland, Germany, the United Kingdom and on the East and West Coasts of the U.S., with Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands set to come soon.
The OVH ecosystem consists of its community forums, its group labs, and its digital launchpad. The group labs allow users to trial new releases ahead of general release, while the launch pad is a dedicated accelerator program designed to foster innovation.
AI and Machine Learning Processing
As well as offering storage as a service, OVH’s cloud division can provide processing power, most notably for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms. This makes it a solid choice for academics and research teams, as well as for business owners, bloggers, and hobbyists. It has a little something for everyone.
While the company has plenty of cheaper hosting options, its real strength lies in the power of its advanced servers. They come with all sorts of perks, including greater resources, faster loading times, and 500 GB of storage space purely for backups. It’s ideal for hosting e-commerce sites and for other circumstances where your site is vital to your core business.
Ease of use
OVH makes it pretty easy to do most things, whether you’re signing up for a new account or carrying out routine server admin tasks. Most of the interfaces are fairly self-explanatory, and the only real issue I had was when trying to find the answers to more specific technical questions through the knowledge base.
Create an Account
I thought that the best way to get a feel for OVH would be to create an account, and I have to admit that the seven-step process seemed daunting at first. It didn’t take too long to go through the process, although it was noticeably longer than usual. Click here to find out more about the signup process.
Connecting a Domain and Installing WordPress
I also connected a domain and installed WordPress, but not until I’d switched the dashboard from French to English. After the hard process of creating an account, it was a nice surprise to find WordPress already installed.
I still needed to connect the domain name though, and I was lucky I had some prior experience. If you were a newbie, it would be easy to get overwhelmed by the jargon, and the company offers little to no support along the way. You can read more about my experience here.
One of the main advantages of going with OVH is that its infrastructure is big enough for it to offer virtually anything you might need (from shared hosting and dedicated servers to domain names and SSL certificates), making it something of a one-stop shop.
Plus, when you’re setting your package, it’s almost like ordering from an a la carte menu — you can add DNS Anycast, DNS protection, add 17 PoP GeoCache Accelerator, and more, making it a pretty flexible plan.
One of the benefits of having a comprehensive offering is that you can easily scale your hosting plan up and down. This means you can continue to upgrade as your company grows and you can bring in extra resources if you’re struggling to meet demand during big marketing campaigns or seasonal boosts.
One of the downsides to OVH is that it only has a limited number of pre-installed CMS modules, covering only WordPress, PrestaShop, Drupal, and Joomla! Fortunately, that shouldn’t matter too much, because it’s easy enough to upload your own installer and use your server to run whichever software the situation calls for.
OVH’s servers are pretty fast by most accounts, though it’s by no means the best on the market. The decent speed is probably because of its global data centers. It’s why many users turn to OVH for cloud or dedicated hosting as opposed to shared or VPS plans.
Most reviewers are happy with the website speeds, but when people have problems, the support team is sluggish and often unhelpful, leading to downtime if you’re unable to find a fix.
As always, I decided to run a few tests of my own to see what the performance was like, and I found that the servers were pretty fast across Europe and not too shabby in America, although it loaded a little slower from the LA area. All in all, it’s neither the best nor the worst that I’ve seen, but it’s easily up there in the top third.
OVH separates its support offering depending on who you are and what you need help with.
For example, new customers can use the telephone or drop the team an email, while technical questions can also be asked on the community forum, directed to technical advisors on Twitter, or sent via support tickets in the dashboard. VIP support is also available for a fixed monthly fee.
OVH’s knowledge base is one of the more comprehensive that I’ve seen, although it can be a little clunky to navigate, especially when you have a highly specific question. And if something isn’t covered by the documentation, OVH has recently launched a community forum, too. It almost makes up for its sub-par customer service.
It’s good that the help documentation is so substantial, because it’s frustratingly difficult to get a response from customer service. I created a support ticket at 9:30 AM on a Monday morning.
I waited patiently for two business days to get a reply. However, the reply simply stated I was being forwarded to the technical support department.
Technical support was slightly quicker to reply and responded one day later. Even so, it had taken a whopping three business days to get a response to a fairly basic question.
OVH has a wide range of pricing plans, from super-cheap personal hosting to bespoke dedicated servers and feature-rich cloud hosting. Then there are add-ons like VIP support and other upgrades to consider, so asking about OVH’s pricing is like asking how long a piece of string is.
As a general rule, it’s a little toward the premium end, but you can also get cheap hosting if that’s what you’re after.
Cancellations & Refunds
If you’re a fan of Website Planet, you may have read our previous blog post on Canceling with OVH, aptly named “OVH, Why Won’t You Let Me Cancel You?” You might be able to guess how my cancellation process went.
If you read my step-by-step guide, you’ll not only find out how to cancel. You’ll also see that while it’s not yet perfect, the process has improved (a bit).