Relentless Hosting has grown to become one of the “Big Daddies” of Australian hosting. Its servers are in Australia, which means it could be a good choice if you expect the majority of your website visitors to be in Australia too. A big pro here is the pricing: the shared hosting plans are very affordable. However, some of the plans are low on disk space and bandwidth.
Relentless has a wide range of hosting packages, from basic shared hosting through VPS, reseller, and all the way up to dedicated servers. There are many more options than what some of its competitors offer, and this is a sign that Relentless Hosting has a pretty wide reach among business users.
I set up a real website and hosted it with Relentless Hosting to see exactly what the real customer experience is like. I used the cheapest plan, which is called Tin. Considering the low price, this plan has some really exciting features; it ticked almost every box that I look for in a shared hosting plan.
That said, there were also a few things that concerned me. For one thing, this is a big host – if you’ve familiar with hosting providers, you’ll know that big hosts can struggle with support and performance as they grow. I wanted to find out whether Relentless Hosting was different.
Relentless Hosting’s Shared Hosting Plans Come with All the Essentials…
Relentless Hosting doesn’t have any WordPress-optimised plans. If you only intend to run WordPress, and you want an easy way to do that, then an optimised plan (like the ones from VentraIP) can be the best choice. But when that option isn’t available, shared hosting is the next best thing. I’m going to look at the features you’d get on the starter plan, which is called Tin.
Yep, Tin. The others are called Bronze, Silver, and Gold, but my plan hasn’t quite reached the status of a precious metal, sadly. Despite that, hiding behind the drab name is a pretty cool list of features.
The Tin shared hosting plan has enough capacity to run one (small) WordPress website. All of the other shared hosting plans allow you to run unlimited sites.
The biggest drawback of Tin is that it has just 1GB of storage space. If you have lots of images, you’ll need to use at least the Bronze plan instead, which increases the allowance to 5GB. The Silver plan includes 15GB storage, and the Gold plan has 30GB. These are low limits – no doubt about it.
But it’s not all bad. The Silver plan has double the processing power of the Tin and Bronze plans, and the Gold plan gives you triple. The RAM allocation of 1GB on the Tin plan increases to 2GB on Silver and 3GB on Gold.
All plans give you free SSL certificates and SpamAssassin. There’s also a website builder included, with 100 templates.WordPress, other popular CMS (content management systems), and e-commerce scripts can be installed using Installatron, a one-click system that’s really easy to use.
If you need hosting for more than just WordPress, you’ll be thrilled to discover that you get MySQL 5.6, Git, PHP 5.6 – 7.2, Python, Node.js Selector (8, 9, and 10), and Ruby support.
On the downside, there’s no CDN (content delivery network). This, coupled with the host’s lackluster global performance, makes Relentless a host that’s only going to work for you if you’re targeting Australian visitors. I may as well make that clear right now, because my performance testing confirmed it.
Moving on, let’s look at a few really important features that Relentless Hosting gave me on Tin. Some of these features are rare at such a low price point.
Relentless Hosting doesn’t use the old Apache server technology, and not even the newer NGiNX. Oh no. It uses LiteSpeed, an alternative web server application that promises to be nine times faster.
That doesn’t mean that your website is going to be literallynine times faster, but the best hosting companies in the world today are making the move to LiteSpeed for a reason. It’s not only fast and surprisingly efficient, but it integrates with WordPress in wonderful ways – like the caching tool LSCache, which gives both WordPress-based and static sites a huge performance boost.
Daily Backups and Strong Security
I was extremely happy to see how seriously Relentless Hosting takes security and backups.
Let’s start with the backups: there are daily backups on all of the shared hosting plans. Many hosts only provide weekly backups, and some provide no user-accessible backups at all. Daily backups mean that you can always roll back to yesterday’s copy of a file if you messed something up, rather than having to go back up to seven days to an older version.
In fact, the only Aussie host that does better is VentraIP, which offers hourly backups.
In addition to backups, Relentless Hosting also has a firewall, brute force login protection (which stops hackers hammering login forms with different usernames and passwords), DDoS protection to guard against floods of traffic that would take down your site, and an exploit scanner to look for holes in application code. It also uses ModSecurity, which helps to block unusual activity.
Relentless Hosting’s staff will migrate your website for you, providing you’re using cPanel. This is a plus point. Not every host will do a manual migration for free. Some will provide plugins or automated scripts, but it’s not the same as having someone actually transfer everything by hand.
Non-cPanel migrations are available, but you’ll have to speak to Relentless’ tech support team to discuss your options if that’s what you need. My advice is always to check the likely cost of this before you sign up. It’s wonderful to be able to hand this task to someone else – it’s often incredibly tedious and time-consuming. But that’s precisely why it can also be expensive with other companies.See full list of features
Ease of use
A Smooth Experience with Occasional Upsells
Getting started with Relentless Hosting was really easy, but you’ll need to watch out for pricey upsells. Nothing will be added to your cart without you knowing – so that’s a positive – but beware of adding services that you don’t need.
Once you’re logged into your account, you’ll see the hosting dashboard that shows your domains and services. From here, you can open support tickets or manage your hosting.
There’s a Quick and Easy Site Builder
If you want to just build a website with minimal hassle, Relentless Hosting comes with a built-in drag-and-drop site builder to make it easy. I didn’t use it for the purposes of this review, but it has over 200 good-looking templates to choose from.
It’s free to use with any hosting plan, so that’s useful.
Installing WordPress is One-click Simple
I used Installatron to install WordPress. It’s a simple one-click installer tool that has hundreds of scripts, similar to Softaculous.
Once I’d located WordPress, I filled in the site name, the site tagline, and checked that the basic settings were correct. Voila. My site was up and running.
This is what Installatron looked like once I’d set everything up and applied my theme. I got a nice little thumbnail preview of the site, along with details about my installation.
Great Speeds in Australia… But That’s Not the Full Story
For the three months, I ran a real website on Relentless Hosting’s Tin plan.I ran speed tests from Australia, and from data centres around the world.
I also approached Relentless Hosting’s support department for some WordPress optimisation help. After implementing the changes that they suggested, I ran speed and performance tests using GTmetrix and the Sucuri Load Time Tester. I also tracked my site’s uptime using UptimeRobot.
My site was at www.autonomous-shoes-australia-n.com. I’ve now closed down the hosting so we can be sure that we have real test results, and the host has not made any changes that would artificially improve the performance of the site. I used the testing methods listed in this article, if you’re interested.
Relentless Hosting was the second-fastest Australian web host that I tested. I ran the PageSpeed test nine times using GTMetrix. The homepage I’ve set up is exactly the same as the homepage I created on four other Australian hosts, so I can confidently draw conclusions and compare them all.
GTMetrix reported very consistent results for load times from its Sydney test server, with Fully Loaded Times landing between 1.1 and 1.7 seconds.
My homepage was about 1.4MB in size, so Relentless Hosting was compressing the page to under 1MB to help accelerate loading times. All good so far…
But are you ready for the bad news?
Sucuri Time Load Tester
Load times in Australia might be great, but global speed tests tell a very different story. I ran nine separate tests through Sucuri, which loads the given URL from different global data centres.
Many total load times were well over 5 seconds.
In general, you will always find that hosts with data centres in one country will perform poorly in this test. So let’s not get this out of perspective – Relentless Hosting is targeting Australian users for a reason.
Let’s talk consistency. Speeds were poor from the data centres in Northern Europe and Brazil. San Francisco reported the fastest time – just 0.8 seconds in one test. But just look at the sea of red markers here. Every single load time is over 3.7 seconds, and the New York result is even slower.
I didn’t get results from the Australia data centre, but that’s OK – we checked those with GTMetrix.
Overall, the lesson here is that distance matters. If your audience is in Europe, they’re going to see a slow and sluggish website, not the speedy site that your pals in Australia see. If your audience is in Australia, the fact that your site is slow in Brazil is probably not going to concern you too much.
Finally, let’s look at uptime.
Relentless Hosting gives you a 99.9% uptime guarantee – pretty standard stuff for a shared hosting account. I ran a test over the course of a month to see if it matches that promise.
Yes. Yes, it does. Uptime was very good indeed, with 99.97% reported on my test site over 30+ days.
That is equivalent to about 25.9 seconds a day of downtime. The actual amount is probably slightly less due to the one-minute interval between pings.
The Lack of Real-Time Support was a Disappointment
Relentless Hosting’s support department is available 24/7, but you can only get in touch with them via tickets. I don’t often see web hosts provide such limited support channels on shared hosting accounts, so I was really disappointed.
No phone support? No live chat? Not even email? Am I spoiled just for wanting to use email? Or is Relentless being relentlessly cheap? There are times when you just want to ask a host a quick question, and having to open a ticket every single time quickly becomes a hassle.
After getting over my initial shock, I proceeded to test the response from the support department with some real hosting questions that I cooked up for them.
In this example, I asked them to help me install WordPress. Twenty minutes later, I got a good quality response that was friendly and accurate. The quality of English is great and the operator had clearly understood what I needed to know.
I also asked for help installing a theme. The response wasn’t so good. Asking about WordPress basics is always a good way to figure out how much effort the support team will put in to help. And, as you can see, the answer is: not a lot.
Is this enough to answer the question? Not really. I’ve certainly never heard of anyone hiring a developer to install a theme. It would have been easy to point me to the right area of the WordPress dashboard, or at least provide a link to one of the thousands of basic WordPress tutorials on this subject.
You Won’t Find It Much Cheaper Hosting
Relentless Hosting is by far the cheapest Australian host I looked at. Some of these plans will set you back less than the price of a latte each month.
Remember my unglamorous ‘Tin’ hosting plan? Its name is pretty appropriate given how much it’ll cost you. Be sure to keep the plan limitations in mind, though:
There’s no free domain name with shared hosting plans, and none of these plans have a free trial, but there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee. Relentless Hosting gives you a full refund of the entire term if you’re not happy, excluding any additional services you bought with your hosting.
You can opt to pay for your hosting monthly, every 6 months, once a year, once every two years, or once every three years. You can bag a 5% discount if you sign up for a year, but there are no incentives to sign up for longer than that.
This does beg the question: who in the world signs up for more than one year? Well, crazy people. We all know there are quite a few of them walking around, being weird, and signing up for 3 year periods with no good reason.
Because you’re smart, you’ll go with the one year plan to save a few bucks, or simply choose monthly and enjoy how great it is to not commit to things.
Cancelling a Relentless Hosting Account
After using my hosting and running all of my tests, it was time to bid farewell to Relentless Hosting. Cancelling your account is easy enough.
First off, I made sure that my domain was not set to auto-renew. I clicked on Domains, then the wrench icon, and then the Auto-Renewal Status menu to check this.
Next, I cancelled the hosting plan by clicking the plan, then Manage. Clicking Request Cancellation brings up the cancellation form.
Relentless Hosting is a cheap host with a great list of features. This is clearly a host targeted at Australian audiences – I recorded excellent speeds within Australia and poor loading times elsewhere. If you have a global audience you should be looking at a host with a global data centre network, like Hostinger or Liquid Web.
The shared hosting plans are affordable, but they have pretty low limits. I was also disappointed to see there is only one way to access support.
Based in Melbourne, Jack is a long-time web developer and WordPress enthusiast, always interested not only in how things work, but how he can make them work better. You'll typically find him glued to his computer screen at all hours of the day and night, but he does go outside every once in a while - mainly to play squash or do some surfing (or at least pretend to).