Last Update | September 2021
Monthly Update - September 2021
|Hosting Plans||VPS Hosting|
|Top Features||Fast Scalable Linux Cloud VPS Servers; Performance Guaranteed; Awesome Control Panel; Epic Support; 24 Hour Free Trial|
|Customer Support||Ticketing System and Limited Phone Support|
During September, Webdock Hosting:
- Had a major outage in its Webdock Backup Storage Backend USA
During August, Webdock Hosting:
- All systems were operational
During July, Webdock Hosting:
- All systems were operational
During June, Webdock Hosting:
- All systems were operational
During May, Webdock Hosting:
- Didn’t issue any new features or updates
- Had operational servers, with 4 seconds of network disruption due to maintenance
Webdock is a hosting service that offers private servers known as VPS that are Linux-based and are hosted on the cloud. Each and every one of them run on SSD drives are coupled with extensive software features.
They also specialize in providing their own, custom-built, proprietary control panel that works seamlessly across all of the servers. You always have the option to run a third-party control panel as-well, however, it is an important feature to point out.
Getting Started with Webdock
When you visit the official website, you will be greeted with a lot of information, and while this may seem a bit overwhelming at first, its structure will guide you through the process in no time.
The website itself is well optimized, and anyone can set up their server instantly, be it from a desktop computer, laptop, or even a mobile device if they wished to.
For the purposes of this review, I’ll set up an SSD Microserver, although you can set up whatever VPS server fits your profile best.
Each of them has its own benefit, and with each jump in price, you are receiving more. When it comes to the Micro package, the cheapest option out there, you are still getting quite a lot. 2 GB of ECC RAM, 5 GB of On-Board SSD Drive Storage, 6 cores and 12 threads through Intel Xenon Processors, 1 Gbit/s-port with unlimited traffic, and 1 dedicated IPv4 address. When you compare this to the competition out there, this is an insane deal and should be on anyone’s radar.
Now, things can get slightly trickier if you want to flash an image. These images serve as the operating system that will run on your purchased server subscription, and will ultimately allow you to do the things you have in mind to do - however keep in mind that this is limited only to snapshots previously created from another Webdock server as they will not support external snapshots for easy migration, this is due to the possible different server configurations that may conflict.
By default, Webdock as a company recommends installing the latest version of Ubuntu, with NGINX as the recommended web-server, although you always have the option to choose others. PHP version 8.0 is recommended, but it has support for older versions as-well if you are running native applications. This is the path we’ve chosen for this review, although what you choose will ultimately be dependent on your level of knowledge in managing servers as well as the specific needs of your website.
If this is your first time hosting a website, I’d recommend leaving the default setting as is. However, if this is not your first adventure through the world of online hosting providers, you should be pretty familiar with what you need.
Now, what I genuinely love about this is the fact that you can flash your pre-existing snapshot or image and get up and running in no time. You can even install a fresh installation of Focal Fossa Linux, without any of the Webdock management features if you are into that sort of thing, or hey, if you are feeling old-school and don’t mind manually fixing all of the security vulnerabilities in older versions of Linux, you can opt in to install an older version of Linux as-well while you are at this menu, the sky's the limit, or in this case, the cloud.
Now you’ll need to create an account to get things up and running.
What I enjoyed here is the fact that, well, the company claims that it bills once every 24 hours, which means that, if you get your timing right, you could be able to use the server for 24 hours, free of charge, and if you don’t like it, just opt out of it and not have to deal with any refunds by having to manually contact the support team, requesting for a refund, waiting for them to approve it, and waiting a week at the least to get the funds back on your bank account. I genuinely enjoy this system as it provides an easy point of entry and destroys any skepticism. This is how you know a company genuinely believes that they are providing a solid product.
Setting Everything Up in Webdock
Now, when you first log into the website once you’ve created an account, a large red ball with a + sign on it will show up on the right corner of your screen, you can click on it in order to create a new server.
You will only need to wait a few minutes for the server to set up. I’d recommend getting a cup of coffee or tea at this point to ease you into the entire setup process.
Once that is completed, you can click on the newly formed, red ball on the right corner of the screen with three dots on it in order to manage your server.
For the sake of privacy, I’ve blocked your view of some of the passwords and other information here, but you should have a general image of what information you can see from the main hub. Now, on the right side, you might notice that Disk and Network are at 0% usage.
Worry not, this gets filled up quickly on the first package once you manage to set everything up and get it up and running.
Now, on the server management side of things, you have access to a whole set of server management features.
Server Overview, as the name might imply, showcases everything you need to know about your server in quick, easy to read and understand graphs. Here you have access to the status of your server, the alias, the IPv4 and IPv6 information, the webroot, monitoring, server location, profile and image.
You also have MySQL information such as your admin or root user, your password, the MySQL Database information, user and password.
The FTP username and password, and even the Shell user and password.
By far one of the most useful graphs in this menu are the Disk and Network usage utilization graphs that showcase exactly how much of a work-load your server is doing and requires, so you remain aware so when you will, inevitably, need to upgrade to more memory on the Disk.
You also have a clear view of the latest events, as well as the network activity of the past seven days here, which is excellent.
Upgrade / Downgrade
The upgrade or downgrade menu, as the name might also imply, is where you go to change your package. Let’s assume you are just starting out, and a lot of users end up visiting your site, your memory is low, and your server just can’t keep up. In this case, instead of having to manually order a new package, and manually transfer the snapshot there, you can simply upgrade your server with a simple click, where you will automatically unlock access to a lot more GB of ram, GB of SSD storage and processing power that you require based on your workload.
On the other end of the spectrum, let us imagine a scenario, which hopefully nobody has to deal with, ever, where you have a slow month, and just are not using the resources that you are paying for, in this case, you can downgrade until things pick up the pace again. This is an excellent feature that any web hosting provider should have, as life is unpredictable, and a lot of us want to manage our funds efficiently.
Okay so, for those unfamiliar, here’s a little crash course when it comes to Snapshots. Snapshots are basically an instantaneous image of your server’s file system that has been taken at a certain period of time. This picture essentially captures the entire system file as it was when you took it. When this snapshot is used to restore the server at some point in time, the server will revert to exactly how it was at the time the snapshot was initially taken.
On this menu of the server, you can create a snapshot by entering the snapshot’s name, or restore an existing snapshot on your account to this specific server. Keep in mind that throughout this process, your server might experience some downtime, but this is typically kept at a minimum. In around 10 seconds, or maybe less from my testing, it reboots back into the new image with ease.
Cron jobs are essentially scheduled tasks. Cron is a Linux utility that has the ability to schedule a command or a script on your server to run automatically at a specified time and date. Scripts that are executed as Cronjobs are typically used to modify files and databases.
The CronJob menu gives you a list of example commands.
Keep in mind that you can also create a custom command, and schedule it to its minute, on its hour, day, month, day of week, and user.
The downside of this cron management tool is that unlike cPanel it doesn’t offer predefined time settings making it difficult for the non-experienced user to set up.
The server scripts can be added at any time, and they are essentially groups of steps that must be taken in order for a feature to be deployed on a website for example once it is live on a server.
Through this Webdock system, you can choose a file or a script, and an absolute path and filename on the server, then simply click on “Deploy This Script” to get it up and running in no time.
There is no such equivalent feature in cPanel which makes this pretty unique, with cPanel you’d have to log in to the terminal and run the script from there.
Edit Config Files
Config files are files that are used to configure the parameters and individual settings for the server.
On this Webdock menu, you can quickly edit the most commonly used PHP settings, and quick-edit PHP settings will update any php.ini file that matches the pattern. Once they are updated, php-fpm will be reloaded so your changes can take immediate effect.
An example is showcased on this image here:
Unfortunately, as you can tell, comparing this with what cPanel is allowing you to change from their GUI the screenshot is showing pretty basic configuration edit options and you’ll have to find what you need.
On this menu, you can add a shell user by selecting a username, and a password. You can then add them to a group, the shell, and assign them public keys.
In order to assign one or more public keys to a shell user, you need to initially add public keys to your account. Sudo commands will always require a password, so if you want to change this, you need to run the Passwordless Sudo script on the server from the script library.
To create one using this Webdock menu, you need to enter the database name, enter a new or existing username, and enter a password.
This menu is intended to provide a simple means to create databases, however, you can always go into more detail while using the phpMyAdmin option.
Through this menu, you need to enter a username, a password, a group and a home directory. All Webdock stacks use Pure-FTPd as the FTP daemon.
To set your website’s identity, you need to use the server identity tool. Here you need to enter your main domain as well as aliases.
This tool serves you as a user with three things, it sets which domains your webserver responds to, it sets your hostname and it sets the reverse DNS for both IPv4 and IPv6. Remember that it is advisable for you to generate your SSL certificates.
When adding multiple sites on the same server, make sure not to add all of your domains here as there will be a conflict later on.
Now, before we get into it, I have to note that it is extremely convenient that Webdock gives you access to a free SSL certificate that’s actually solid.
Through this tool, your web server will be configured to issue SSL certificates for the selected domains. These certificates will then be automatically renewed by a cronjob on your server. Ensure that you configure Cloudflare cache at this point in time.
On this menu, you can configure the outgoing email as well as the incoming email.
Specifically, in the case of Webdock, it offers outgoing transactional emails from your servers at no charge through the usage of Postmark. This only works for welcome emails, reset password emails, notifications, weekly digests and receipts and invoices.
When it comes to incoming email, Webdock also offers free incoming mail forwarding through the usage of ImprovMX.
Of course, you always have the option to transfer over what you are using now, or just opt-in for something else entirely.
Before you can interact with WordPress, you need to install and deploy WP-CLI.
Once this is done, you can install WordPress, or set a path if it has been pre-installed.
In my case, it was not installed so I am just going to click on “Install WordPress Now”.
The server will not generate this table with information, but feel free to modify anything as you see fit here.
That’s all there is to installing WordPress.
You can also check for updates, or update WordPress manually yourself.
You also have the option to enable BotGuard.
Now, BotGuard is a service that protects your website from malicious bots, scrapers, crawlers or other hack attacks. It does this by selectively blocking bad traffic in real-time when it grants unrestricted access to the website to other users, search engines and affiliate bots.
After all of this has been configured, you will notice that the server is using a lot more of that SSD storage, this is normal, as we just installed and configured a lot of things.
Running multiple websites
In February of 2021, This one can be a real headache as Webdock does not have native GUI support on this; however, they do have a great guide (nginx) (apache) that will explain to you how to do that.
To be honest, if you are not proficient in ubuntu you may want to avoid doing that until Webdock provides GUI support on that however if you are looking to save some their documentation is easy to follow and I’ve managed to run 5 sites on a single VPS.
We were told that along with upcoming changes throughout 2021 this will be taken care of, as of now the official recommendation is not to use the VPS for multiple websites, but if you insist on it Webdock supports 3rd party control panels as Runcloud, Gridpane and more.
Level of Support at Webdock
When it comes to customer support, Webdock falls behind its competitors. They provide a contact form to insert your name, email, topic, and question/comment. Once you submit, the team can take up to 24 hours to respond to your request, which is quite disappointing compared with 24/7 live chat support.
Webdock also offers phone support in limited periods, four hours per day from Monday to Friday.
Security and Backups
Webdock provides extensive security features, multiple tiers of DDOS protection, and round-the-clock in-depth monitoring. In turn, these add-ons allow them to spot and inform you, as the end-user, of a hack.
You can also turn off the components you don’t need, with a few clicks, such as the FTP using scripts in the Webdock control panel.
As explained, Webdock provides more backup snapshots than most. You can do up to three snapshots for each server, while their team provides for two per day and three weekly snapshots so that you have lots of content to roll back on.
Specific Features of Webdock
Like most web-hosting providers, Webdock does have some unique features that set it apart:
- 24 Hour Free Trial
- Lots of Freebies
- Dedicated IPv4. IPv6 Addresses
- Fully Supports Docker and LXD
- Green-Energy Only Datacenters
- Fully GDPR Compliant and SLA Friendly
- Constant Monitoring and Notifications
- High Baseline Security & DDOS Protection
When all was said and done, it took me around 6 hours to make the switch, and it should take you even less if you are experienced or have used Ubuntu in the past with a similar interface. While lacks a cPanel like a file management interface, and as a person who has been using cPanel for years, it was quite difficult to get used to using a file manager that does not have a GUI (Graphical User Interface). WPML integration was smooth, and features such as WordPress lockdown truly make it unique.
Given the fact that it has some of the most affordable starting packages, its main target audience can be both newcomers as well as experienced website owners who need a more affordable option when it comes to server management.
With great upcoming changes in 2021/2022, is our personal and HostAdvice can recommend Webdock as being the top VPS provider for 2021