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VpsCity targets businesses in New Zealand with a broad range of hosting services.Theawesome loading speeds are oh-so tempting, but there is a hidden trade-off. Missing features and limited resources could make this host a risky choice.
VpsCity has three data centres in Auckland, and additional capacity in Australia. The company has been in business for about 15 years and has a wide range of services, from shared hosting to VPS hosting and dedicated servers, right through to business internet and phone services.
I expected to see good hosting performance in the southern hemisphere, and when I signed up and tested VpsCity for myself, I was blown away by some of the results.
But big hosts with lots of business customers sometimes tend to focus more on bigger spenders. And let’s not pretend any host is perfect: VpsCity has some gaps in its feature list and some serious limitations.
I set up a real website with VpsCity and ran it for three months. I can report exactly what it’s like to be a real customer, and show you real data about its performance and support.
VpsCity offers many types of hosting, but in this review, I’m going to keep it simple and focus on the shared hosting plans. I signed up for the cheapest plan, called Simple Shared Hosting. Let’s not get too excited, though.
These hosting plans are generous in the way your older brother is generous when he gives you 3 dollars to spend at the carnival, and tells you to “go have fun somewhere else”. In other words, this is not a generous hosting plan.
You get a very low disk space limit of 1GB. That’s okay for a personal blog or a small business website, but if you start uploading images and media, you’ll hit the ceiling quickly. Your bandwidth limit is also low, at just 25GB. And you can only create one website and one database.
Keep in mind that NZ-based competitors like 1st Domains offer unlimited space and bandwidth with a one-site limit.
Let’s look at some of the good stuff you get on this plan.
VpsCity Has Daily Backups
I always like to see automated backups on shared hosting plans, and VpsCity doesn’t disappoint. You get automatic daily backups. The image below shows all of the daily backups that JetBackup has taken. From here, you can restore a backup or download a copy to your computer.
One-Click Installers Make Life Easy
VpsCity offers Softaculous, which is a huge library of scripts and applications that you can install very easily. You can see here that WordPress is available as a one-click installer, along with some shopping cart applications and CMSs.
I didn’t actually have to use Softaculous for this review, since the tech support team installed WordPress for me, but I know from experience that Softaculous is really easy to use. Enter some basic information about your website, click the button, and the software does the rest. No messing around with FTP software just to start a blog.
There’s Also a Simple Website Builder
VpsCity offers the Site Publisher website builder for simple site creation. If you’ve used cPanel hosts before, you might have come across it.
If you haven’t used cPanel, here’s the deal: there are plenty of templates and no restrictions on the number of pages you can have. The rest is just drag-and-drop, like you’d expect from any good site builder.
So what are we missing? Well, there are a couple of things that could be deal-breakers, and a couple that probably won’t matter so much:
There’s no free SSL, which is going to be an issue for anyone that wants a basic level of security and protection (as well as a potential small ranking boost for having a secure site). Both 1st Domains and Webslice include free SSL on their most basic plans.
There’s no migration service. If you’re moving from another cPanel host, you can move your entire site by restoring a backup. But moving from another control panel is going to involve manual labour.
There’s also no caching and no CDN. You can get around these omissions with third-party CDN services and WordPress caching plugins, but that may increase your costs. However, in testing, I found that I didn’t really need to worry about them.
I would have liked to tell you about the malware scanner and server monitor in cPanel, but they didn’t work when I tried them. Ultimately, though, the low resource limits and lack of free SSL are more of a concern.
VpsCity has a website that’s easy to understand and navigate. Although there are many hosting types, it’s quite easy to narrow down your choices and find what you need. Managing your hosting plan is also pretty easy with the tools provided.
All plans come with cPanel; again, it’s easy to use, and if you’ve used it before, you’ll be at home here.
Connecting a Domain is Simple Enough
There’s no free domain with VpsCity’s shared hosting plans, unfortunately. If you want to use a domain you already own, or register a new one with your hosting, the process is dead-simple. It’s just a matter of following the form.
You can install WordPress with Softaculous, which you’ll find within cPanel once you log in.
Just click Install Now and fill in the brief customisation form. Mostly, you’ll just need to put in things like what you want the website to be called, your username, and password. You can also select one of a few default themes from here.
Global Loading Times Leave Competitors in the Dust
I ran a real website for three months with VpsCity to test the server performance thoroughly. Here’s the upshot:
Performance is downright impressive. My website consistently loaded in less than 2 seconds, both on relatively local servers (in Australia), and on servers around the globe. The site also stayed up 99.989% of the time, which is generally considered “good for business”.
Prior to testing, I gave each host a chance to suggest optimisation tips. Here’s the response I got back from this one:
I ran through the guide linked to in the email, but I didn’t implement the Cloudflare CDN (content delivery network) because I wanted to ensure global tests were conducted on an even footing with all of the other hosts I test.
So, a little housekeeping. My VpsCity site was located at www.autonomous-shoes-nz-n.com, and I used the testing methods described in this article. To avoid any manipulation of future results, I’ve now closed down the account.
First up, a simple page loading time test.
Again, VpsCity reported very fast loading speeds of 2 seconds or less in all tests. Over nine tests, the fastest time was a blistering 1.1s, which is the best I saw across all the New Zealand hosts I tested.
The average of 1.5s is very slightly slower than 1st Domains, for example, but they both performed well. I don’t have favourites, I love them all… wait… no, that’s wrong. I definitely have favourites.
Anyway, I ran speed tests using the Sydney test server to try to mimic the experience of someone geographically close to the VpsCity data centres. You can also see from the Total Page Size that some compression has been applied, bringing my 1.4MB homepage down to less than 1MB.
Sucuri Load Time Tester
Global loading times in Sucuri were amazing. The average loading time across nine global tests was 2.09s, which is astonishingly fast. I mean, some of these data centres are on the other side of the planet, and they’re loading my site more quickly than the ones close by.
The fastest times I saw were from New York, with 0.86s being the quickest overall.
European data centres tended to be on the slower side, with some (Paris, Amsterdam, London, and Frankfurt) occasionally reporting a fully loaded time over 3s. But hey, that’s still really good. And I would happily run my site at VpsCity without a CDN based on these results:
VpsCity gives shared hosting customers a 99.99% uptime guarantee. I’m pleased to report that my site achieved an uptime of 99.989% over 30 days of monitoring, which is very close.
One nerdy point before I move on: 99.9% guarantee ‘allows’ the host around 43 minutes of downtime a month, but 99.99% only permits them about four and a half minutes of downtime. In practice, it might not make much difference, but it’s clear that VpsCity is more ambitious than its competitors in New Zealand.
VpsCity offers 24/7 support through phone and email. There’s also a live chat service, although availability varied during my testing. Overall, the support was great. Responses were fast, polite, and complete. That’s my favourite kind of responses.
Here’s my pre-sales enquiry. Note that Hasan picks up the conversation within one minute.
Here’s another enquiry about installing WordPress. The support person could have directed me to a knowledge base article. But instead, he installed WordPress for me, which saved me some time and effort. Not a lot of time and effort, given those one-click installers, but still!
The staff at VpsCity are clearly very well-trained, polite, and helpful. Everyone took time to respond and went the extra mile to help. No complaints here; I had a great experience.
Reasonable Pricing and Realistic Contracts
On shared hosting, the more basic plans offer slightly better value than the more powerful ones. Do bear in mind, though, that the resources are limited on the entry-level plan, and pricing excludes tax.
You can sign up for three months, six months, one year, or two years. These are all pretty reasonable and realistic contract lengths. At checkout, you’ll notice that it says you can lock in a discount by paying upfront – but I didn’t spot any discounts for committing long-term.
If you do decide to sign up, VpsCity has a good choice of payment methods: all major credit cards, PayPal, or bank deposit.
There’s also no money-back guarantee on shared hosting. But there is a trick. If you’ve signed up for a annual or biannual contract and you decide to cancel, you’ll get a pro-rata refund for the rest of your contract term.
It’s not quite a money-back guarantee, but it’s better than nothing. Because if you sign up for the Simple plan and you hit those low resource limits, you could back out part-way through the term and claim a partial refund. That’s good to know.
VpsCity uses cPanel, so the cancellation procedure is easy. I decided to disable automatic renewal on my domain name first. I don’t like leaving domains on auto-renew, just in case the company attempts to bill my card for a domain I no longer need.
This was simple. Click Domains, Manage Domain (the little wrench icon), then the red Disable button.
Cancelling the hosting is also very easy. Click Hosting, expand the relevant row using the little arrow icon, then click the wrench icon.
Click Cancel Plan.
Provide a brief reason for the cancellation and click the big, red Request Cancellation button.
VpsCity is a great all-rounder. I saw astonishing global loading times in Sucuri, pretty good results in GTMetrix, and great uptime. VpsCity is transparent about its data centres and provides lots of reassuring information. Tech support is great, the website is clear, and it’s easy to sign up or cancel your hosting.
It’s just a shame that a few important features are missing from its shared hosting plans. And I just can’t get over the fact that the limits on the cheapest plan are so low.
If you can live with those restrictions – and the lack of free SSL – VpsCity is a good choice for any website with global readership, even without a CDN. If you can’t, consider 1st Domains for unlimited resources from a host based in New Zealand, or compare with Aussie competitor VentraIP if you really need some of those missing features.
If you’re targeting a global audience, I’d recommend looking into an international host like Hostinger or Liquid Web.
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).