Focus on Business Customers
Scaleway is a subsidiary of French-based telecommunication company Iliad Group, along with one of the leading French hosting companies, Online by Scaleway. It has four data centers in France and one in the Netherlands, and its website is available in English and French.
While its parent company has been around since the ’90s, Scaleway is the baby of the company, only founded in 2015, and it focuses on serving business clients in more than 150 countries.
It has a comprehensive range of services for professionals, including public cloud packages, private infrastructure, and bare-metal cloud services, as well as a clearly defined focus on developers and scaling businesses.
Can Scaleway compete for your business with the giants of the cloud hosting industry (such as AWS and Google Cloud Platform)? Or are you better off going for a more established company with thousands, if not millions, more customers? Let’s find out.
Advanced-Level Cloud Hosting
Scaleway offers cloud infrastructure for developers and growing businesses. It’s not a managed host, so you won’t get assistance with server configuration or help with migration. You also won’t get basic features like a website building tool—its target market doesn’t need it. But it does offer some great features, for developers and new website owners alike. Read on to find out if Scaleway has what you’re looking for.
While the Scaleway website comes across quite technical, it actually offers a lot of the usual features you’d expect with any standard host. Scaleway calls it “ready-to-use distributions and applications in a click,” which is really just a fancy way of saying you can install popular programs via a one-click installer, InstantApps.
Above-Par Uptime SLA
Scaleway offers an above-average uptime service-level agreement (SLA), which is between 99.9% and 99.99% depending on your plan—plus, the website promises if you experience excessive downtime, you will be compensated. I’d be a little cautious, as the details of the exact compensation are not explicitly detailed in the website terms and conditions.
Designed for Developers
After visiting Scaleway’s website, you should have no doubt that it’s geared toward developers. Not only is the language full of tech jargon, but there are also lots of developer-specific features.
To name a few, there’s a developer program (you can submit your application on the ImageHub to reach potential customers), an open-source alternative to Slack, a VPN to securely browse the web, and SSH access.
Bare-Metal Servers with SSD Storage
Scaleway offers bare-metal servers that are fully independent of your digital neighbors, meaning you won’t be affected in the event of peaks in other people’s traffic or even malicious attacks. Plus SSD storage should enhance your website’s performance up to ten times in comparison to HDD.
Ease of use
Easy Enough for Beginners
If you’re a developer or a growing business, Scaleway has you covered. It’s also easy to use for beginners, though it’s probably far more in-depth than a new website owner needs. The interface is sleek throughout, and it’s super simple to navigate.
Create an Account
It took me all of ten seconds to create an account with Scaleway. The only field of information required was my email address, and thanks to “passwordless login” I didn’t even have to create a password. The process was simple, modern, and probably one of the quickest I’ve ever done. If only all hosts could make my life this easy.
Connecting a Domain and Installing WordPress
After my easy account creation process, I was excited to test the rest of the process. As you might expect, Scaleway offered an easy WordPress installation. You do have to deal with some tech jargon along the way, but its one-click installer makes adding features to your website simple. If I’ve piqued your interest, read more about my experience installing WordPress here.
I’ve tested a lot of hosting providers. If I was given a dollar for every time a host claimed to offer instant setup but didn’t, my bank account would be overflowing. With Scaleway, when it says instant setup, it means instant setup. And that’s a refreshing change.
From your console, you can easily create snapshots of your website. This allows you to create point-in-time backups to use to restore your website in the event of a problem or clone your entire website for use elsewhere. It can all be done without any contact with customer service.
Scaleway plays nicely with lots of handy third-party integrations, like Terraform, SaltStack, Docker, Cloud 66, and so on. It lets you seamlessly integrate with your favorite apps to manage your cloud infrastructure all from one dashboard.
Unfortunately for Scaleway, it has a lot of negative reviews from past and present customers. While customer service and incorrect billing are often cited as issues, so is downtime. It’s a bit surprising, as it’s proud of its 99.9%–99.99% uptime, but I was skeptical when I couldn’t find any compensation details listed in the terms and conditions.
Reviewers also complain that their servers are often slow. This was sounding pretty bad for Scaleway, so I decided to test it out for myself.
I ran a Sucuri page load test on my new WordPress website and, well, I was impressed. In Paris (closest to the data center I’d selected when I’d created an account), the connection speed was a minuscule 0.008 seconds and the slowest, which is hardly slow at all, was just over 0.3 seconds.
In fact, all of the locations around the world scored well, and these were results without installing a content delivery network (CDN), which wasn’t offered free. Now, I don’t know whether my results were a fluke or why some customers are so unhappy, but I can tell you, in my test, the results were great.
Depends on Your Tier
Everyone gets 24/7 support, but the channel and response time depends on which support package you signed up for. By default, new customers are allocated the free Basic plan, but you can upgrade for an extra monthly fee to access the higher tiers of support.
Basic customers are given ticket support only, with an unknown response time. Business and Enterprise customers get a dedicated account manager and phone and email support with either 2-hour or 30-minute guaranteed response times.
There’s also a frequently asked questions page and a hefty knowledge base with how-to guides and tutorials, as well as a handy community forum to reference. Overall, it’s not a bad level of support.
However, to be sure, I put it to the test. I signed up for the Basic plan, so 24/7 ticket support was the only channel I was able to test. I was pleasantly surprised to receive a reply within two hours.
A little underwhelmed by my support options, I decided to see how Scaleway would fare on social media. I sent a couple of messages via Facebook and Twitter. Despite waiting 48 hours for a reply, I didn’t get one via either social media channel. Looks like when they say ticket support only, they mean it.
Considering this is a cloud host, the prices are great. In fact, if you didn’t know better, you’d think you were purchasing shared hosting with such low prices. Of course, you’ll need to consider the various added costs like support plans, domain name, SSL certificate, and a CDN, as the Scaleway price only includes your infrastructure.
What’s nice about Scaleway, and cloud hosting in general, is that it scales with you, and hourly billing means you’ll only ever pay for the resources you’ve used. Sure, you won’t get a refund, but you won’t overpay either.
If you decide to give Scaleway a try, when you create an account, you will need to enter your credit card details to get started, though you won’t be billed until later. You can pay by Visa, Mastercard, or American Express, and new customers are automatically given $100 credit towards their account.
Cancellations & Refunds
After reading the online reviews, I’d seen many customers complain about getting billed after they’d shut down their servers. Needless to say, I was nervous about this happening to me.
When the time came for me to cancel, I did a quick search online. It was easy to find a tutorial on how to cancel my account and stop my billing. It all looked straightforward, so I tried it out.
If you just pause or stop your server, you will continue to be billed. To stop any further charges on your account, you must delete or archive the server instance. You can do that inside your console by clicking a couple of buttons and typing DELETE.
It only took a minute, and as I hadn’t exceeded my $100 free credit, I wasn’t billed anything.