If you’re not familiar with command line prompts to get things moving along on a server. You’ll probably like to have a control panel to simplify the process. Originally I started out online using Shared Hosting or Virtual Private Server’s (VPS) using cPanel. However the cost of cPanel compared to revenue stream of a small website, may not be beneficial.
The other day while on Twitter I saw a few people trying to help out one of the folks I was following with an alternative to Hostgator. A recommendation for DigitalOcean had came across and the utilisation of ServerPilot to get everything setup. No one could find a ServerPilot review so I decided to do a bit of hands on research and write one up myself.
I had become intrigued with what ServerPilot had offered, especially with the option of having a Free Plan with no credit card required. So I decided to test it out and migrate a site that had little to no traffic. I chose the host as DigitalOcean as I haven’t had an issue in the past with uptime or performance.
ServerPilot has three tier month-to-month plans starting from Free to their $49 a month Business plan.
The features are a bit limited, However it does include setting up an app, domains on a server, setting up a database, auto-updating security, and a firewall. Not to mention the easy to use installation.
This adds additional SSH/SFTP users, SSL/SPDY deployment, HTTP/2 deployment, and real time analytics.
The business plan add’s better support, additional stats, slow request notifications, and a server log viewer.
What are the Pro’s?
ServerPilot was incredibly easy to get up and running. The only requirement is using Ubuntu 14.04 or 16.04 on 64bit architecture. The installation does need to be clean, meaning you simply setup the server than move onto ServerPilot to do the rest.
All you really need to do is:
- Login to ServerPilot
- Add the Server, which you will have you create the “serverpilot” account and password.
- Copy the code and run it from your hosted system or
- If supported by your system ServerPilot can do the installation from its website with a push of a button.
It took me about 10 minutes for the installation process and than I was ready to go.
Now you have a new server setup to manage in ServerPilot. This allows you to add an application and manage your apps. One of the things I was impressed by was the ability to choose the PHP version and having different apps running different versions. Once you add the app and choose what domains you want to access it, you just add it and ServerPilot works its magic. It creates the app in a directory on the server and makes changes required for it to run properly.
Now you can go into the app and everything is ready to go.
- You can’t see what the firewall is setup to do in the control panel, nor can you make alterations from ServerPilot itself.
- You can’t change the default SSH port (22). I personally opt to change the port number from its default for additional security precautions.
- There is no migration feature. It would of been great to be able to migrate everything from one server to another without a hassle. Unfortunately ServerPilot does not make this possible.
- The pricing for me seems expensive. I took advantage of the medium tier plan for $10 a month because it allows me to integrate SSL.
- The pricing applies per server which became a bit disappointing for me personally considering the amount of cost. (come on guys, give us at least 3 servers)
- The pricing for me would of made more sense for the additional features to apply to the medium tier coach plan with the business plan adding additional support.
The simple nature of ServerPilot and the ability to manage multiple servers from various hosts through the one dashboard, is what drew my attention and it does, flawlessly!
Tho some of the issues mentioned above may not be of much concern to others, ServerPilot seems to lack in creating additional features opening up a wider market. At the end of the day, does it really replace something like cPanel? Well it doesn’t and isn’t meant to do everything cPanel does. However some of the features that cPanel does have when compared to ServerPilot, ServerPilot makes it less difficult.
Tho the $10/mo/server is cheaper than Cpanel and Plesk,with a lack of features. The only thing that made me upgrade from the free level plan was the ability of SSL integration for my WordPress app. Tho if you do have command line and VPS experience you may want to opt for an open source alternative.
For those who have read this article you can get $10 for free with ServerPilot by clicking here to test out the coach plan to decide if it is for you.
If you’ve used ServerPilot and think I’ve missed something in this server pilot review. Let me know in the comments or send me a tweet @ShaquilleRay