Closte claims to offer top-tier WordPress hosting solutions, but my encounter with their service was nothing short of a nightmare. In this Closte WordPress Hosting Review, I will provide an extensive assessment, covering not only the limited number of free SSL certificates, poorly designed dashboard, and confusing pricing but also their performance, signup process, customer support, backups, file access, and more, to give a comprehensive overview of the hosting service.
Closte uses the Google Cloud Platform for its infrastructure needs. You will get access to any one of the data centers of GCP (according to your liking) to host your site. What about the server configuration? Here is how Closte sets itself apart from all the other hosting providers. There is no “fixed” vCPU or RAM or even disk space allocation. Everything is scaled up or down according to the traffic load.
For CDN, GCP CDN is there. Backups are made on demand and nightly to one of their Storage Buckets. Also, there is no fixed bandwidth allocation. Everything is scaled according to demand and this is the main issue of their hosting. The issue is (if it’s still not clear to someone), you don’t have a fixed budget to plan for beforehand. This is its biggest weakness.
Now, let’s look at the pricing of GCP
Now, let’s take a look at my configuration that I am using and then let’s compare the pricing w.r.t traffic (approx. 20K visitors per month).
My configuration –
- e2-micro instance (2 vCPU, 1 GB Ram, 30 GB Storage). Total pricing – $0 (will explain this part later)
- Fastly CDN (Minimum $50/month, which covers my entire bandwidth requirement)
- Backup service – Google Drive (FREE egress)
GCP provides 1 e2-micro instance ever month for FREE with 1 GB egress bandwidth to any destination in the US included.
Total cost per month – $82.50
(I am considering 400 GB Outbound bandwidth via Fastly (50 GB per region) and 50 GB Discounted egress bandwidth pricing from GCP instance to Fastly POP).
Now, the total cost per month (considering the discounted egress) = $0.04 * 50 = $2 + $82.50 = $85
I have recently switched over to Bunny CDN. So, let’s take into account Bunny CDN’s pricing with my setup:
Total Cost per Month = $8.1 + $14.5 = $22.6
Now, let’s consider the same parameters that I have considered, and then let’s take a look at Closte’s pricing:
$0.15 * 30 + $0.003 * 2 + $0.73 * 30 + $0.11 * 5 + $0.22 * 5 + $0.18 * 5 + $0.08 * 5 + $0.09 * 5 + $0.11 * 5 + $0.20 * 5 + $0.09 * 5 + $0.08 * 50 + $0.08 * 50 + $0.09 * 50 + $0.11 * 50 + $0.09 * 200 + $0.08 * 50 + $30 + $0.2 * 30 = $107.80
Hence, comparing the two, we can see that setting up a custom configuration like mine can drastically reduce costs. Also, one can use Cloudflare with its free plan with a full page cache plugin to reduce the total cost to only $2 per month!
Now, if we compare the recommended specs (for a starter website according to Closte i.e n1-standard-1), we get the following pricing (keeping all the disk and bandwidth requirement parameters the same)
It’s similar in pricing to my setup but much cheaper compared to Closte. Also, Closte charges an absurd amount of money to set up a custom CNAME for your CDN domain ($14.50 USD), which is basically FREE in GCP.
So, the final result (price per month)
- My setup – $85 (with Fastly), $2 (With Cloudflare free plan), $22.6 (With Bunny CDN, current setup)
- Closte – $107.80 (without custom CNAME for CDN), $122.30 (with custom CNAME)
- Closte “recommend” starting config (GCP equivalent) – $84.30
What’s ironic is that the starting configuration that Closte themselves recommend is cheaper than their own pricing! (Also forgot to mention that you do not get root access to the VM in Closte).
Also, I want to point out the fact that the CDN integration via Closte’s own plugin is broken. Assets of many themes don’t even completely get delivered via the CDN.
A hosting provider is as good as its UI
The user interface (UI) of a hosting provider is the first thing you see when you sign up for their services. It’s also the tool you’ll use to manage your account, so it’s important that it’s well-designed and easy to use.
A good UI should be:
- Clear and concise: The UI should be easy to understand, even for users who aren’t familiar with hosting.
- Consistent: The UI should use the same terminology and design throughout, so users can quickly find what they’re looking for.
- Responsive: The UI should be responsive, so it’s easy to use on a desktop, laptop, or mobile device.
- Secure: The UI should be secure, so users can be confident that their data is safe.
A bad UI can make it difficult to manage your account, which can lead to frustration and errors. It can also make it difficult to find the information you need, which can slow down your workflow.
The UI is pretty confusing given the fact that a first-time WordPress user will get confused as to where to find certain options. Also, many options that can be commonly and easily edited, cannot be found here or be easily edited. One more issue is that the latest PHP support (8.2 at the time of writing) is not there in the options. Instead, old and insecure PHP versions (7.0, 5.6, etc.) are available as options!
Now, coming to the PHP options and modules, PHP modules cannot be enabled or disabled by the user at all. Also, the maximum upload size is only 128 MB (which will most definitely cause a problem, especially while uploading large themes).
In-depth logging is not available. It only shows error logs. Logs are not accessible via ssh.
Also, making any changes (like adding SSL, changing domain, etc.) takes forever to complete which is totally unacceptable from a good usage experience standpoint
Keeping all these things in mind, I would rate the UI of Closte pretty low.
For Comparision, here is the UI of SiteGround:
As you can see, SiteGround’s control panel’s UI is a lot better and a lot more organized. As a bonus, you have a search option to quickly find specific options.
Performance is a critical aspect of any hosting service, and it’s a fundamental factor that can make or break a website’s success. Unfortunately, Closte’s performance left much to be desired. Despite their claims of utilizing cutting-edge technologies such as Google Cloud Platform and LiteSpeed web server, my websites hosted on Closte experienced frequent slowdowns and downtime, severely impacting the user experience and SEO rankings.
Load times were inconsistent, with some pages loading quickly while others took an agonizingly long time. The server response times were far from optimal, leading to a frustrating and unreliable browsing experience for visitors. The lack of consistent performance raises concerns about the effectiveness of their claimed top-tier hosting service.
Furthermore, Closte’s infrastructure seemed ill-equipped to handle traffic spikes, resulting in increased load times during peak hours. This lack of scalability not only impacts user experience but also raises doubts about the reliability of the service during periods of increased website traffic.
To prove further add to my above observations, I have added the performance testing numbers of Closte hosting (which uses Google Cloud and Google Cloud CDN), and below that, I have added my own site’s performance numbers (which uses Bunny CDN).
I guess the results are pretty evident. My own setup (using 2 vCPUs and 1 GB ram) has much better performance (response time and error rate wise) than Closte’s hosting setup, I guess their claim of “auto resource allocation by scaling up/down is clearly not working!
The setup used for load testing:
|Litespeed Cache||Nginx FastCGI Cache|
|Kadence Theme||Kadence Theme|
We’ve made the signup process so difficult, it’s almost like we don’t want you to sign up!
The initial signup process with Closte seemed straightforward at first glance, but it quickly turned into a cumbersome ordeal. While their website touted a quick and hassle-free signup, the reality was quite different. The account verification process took longer than expected and is not at all recommended to anyone who wants to set up a hosting account as quickly as possible.
Additionally, Closte’s onboarding experience lacked a user-friendly approach, leaving customers to navigate the confusing dashboard with little guidance. This lack of a streamlined and intuitive setup process adds unnecessary stress to website owners, especially those who are new to hosting or WordPress.
The main issue with Closte is that manual verification is implemented for signing up to their platform and based on the reason alone someone can be rejected access to their platform is a pretty bad move in my opinion. Also, they delay verifying accounts a lot.
Effective and responsive customer support is crucial for any hosting service, as technical issues can arise at any time. Unfortunately, Closte’s support team did not meet expectations in this regard. Despite their claims of providing 24/7 support, response times were often sluggish, particularly during critical moments of troubleshooting.
The quality of assistance varied greatly, with some support agents offering helpful solutions while others provided generic, copy-pasted responses that did little to address specific issues. This inconsistency in support quality leads to frustration and a lack of confidence in the hosting service’s ability to resolve problems efficiently.
Moreover, Closte’s customer support was limited only to tickets, with no option for direct phone support or live chat channels. This means that users are left with email-based communication as their only means of reaching the support team. During urgent situations, the absence of instant support channels leaves users feeling isolated and unsupported, exacerbating the stress of technical difficulties.
Backups and File Access
Regular backups are essential for safeguarding website data and protecting against potential disasters. However, Closte’s approach to backups was both limiting and costly. Basic nightly and manual backups were available for free BUT completely restoring from backup incurred a $100 fee, which leaves users with the difficult choice of risking their data or paying extra for an essential backup service.
Many other hosting providers include automatic backups and restore as part of their standard offerings, making Closte’s strategy feel exploitative. Customers should not have to pay additional fees for a basic feature that is fundamental to website security and peace of mind.
Furthermore, Closte’s file access was restrictive, limiting users from easily managing their websites. The lack of access to essential server files and directories made it challenging for advanced users to perform tasks such as custom configurations and troubleshooting. This restricted access further complicates the process of resolving technical issues independently.
Limited Features for the Price
Closte’s premium pricing does not align with the features they provide, making it difficult to justify the cost. Many standard features offered by other hosting providers are either missing from Closte’s plans or require additional fees, making the overall hosting package feel incomplete and overpriced.
Basic features such as email hosting, advanced file management, and security tools that are typically included in competitive hosting plans are not available. This may deter a lot of customers which might lead them to explore more comprehensive hosting options.
Limited Number of Free SSL Certificates
One of the most glaring issues with Closte’s hosting service is their restrictive approach to providing SSL certificates. While most reputable hosting providers offer unlimited free SSL certificates for every domain, Closte imposes an unreasonable restriction, providing only a limited number of free SSL certificates per account.
SSL certificates are not only crucial for securing websites and gaining visitors’ trust but also essential for SEO rankings. Closte’s refusal to offer unlimited SSL certificates feels like a cheap tactic to force customers into paying extra for a basic security feature that should be included in every hosting plan.
This limitation becomes particularly problematic for users managing multiple websites or running subdomains. As the number of domains grows, users quickly exhaust their free SSL certificates and are forced to pay exorbitant fees for additional ones. This approach is both financially burdensome and discourages users from expanding their online presence.
LiteSpeed Web Server (Seriously?)
LiteSpeed web server is a commercial product that is often marketed as being faster than other web servers, such as Apache and Nginx. However, there is some evidence to suggest that these claims are exaggerated. For example, a recent benchmark found that LiteSpeed was only marginally faster than Nginx, and in a lot of cases, it was significantly slower.
In addition, LiteSpeed has been accused of using scam benchmarks to inflate its performance numbers. For example, one benchmark that LiteSpeed used to market its product was conducted on a single machine, which is not a realistic way to measure the performance of a web server.
As a result of these concerns, some people believe that using LiteSpeed web server makes an expensive hosting company look bad. This is because it suggests that the company is trying to profit from misleading marketing claims.
Website security is of paramount importance, and a reliable hosting provider should implement robust security measures to safeguard customer data and protect against potential threats. While Closte claims to offer a secure hosting environment, their approach to security raises some concerns.
The limited number of free SSL certificates, as previously mentioned, is a major security drawback. Without proper SSL certificates for every domain, customers are left vulnerable to security breaches and data interception.
Additionally, Closte’s lack of proactive security features, such as proper malware scanning and real-time threat detection, exposes websites to potential attacks. Other hosting providers often include these security measures as part of their standard offerings, but Closte seems to offload them to LiteSpeed server’s in-built security modules (which is not a great idea in a lot of cases).
No fine-tuned firewall controls are present and no IP whitelist/blacklist option is present (which is even present in very budget-friendly hosts).
Furthermore, the restrictive file access and lack of server-level security configurations make it difficult for advanced users to fortify their websites against emerging threats independently.
The confusing pricing structure, limited features, and shady advertising create a sense of skepticism among users, who may feel that Closte is intentionally concealing information to maximize profits. This lack of transparency can be a significant turnoff for potential customers seeking an honest and reliable hosting partner.
Closte WordPress Hosting Review: The Verdict
My experience with Closte WordPress hosting has been overwhelmingly negative, encompassing their limited number of free SSL certificates, poorly designed dashboard, confusing pricing, lackluster performance, frustrating signup process, subpar customer support, restrictive file access, and questionable security measures.
Given the numerous shortcomings and drawbacks, I cannot in good conscience recommend Closte as a reliable and customer-centric hosting provider for WordPress websites. Those seeking a seamless and satisfactory hosting experience should explore other reputable alternatives that prioritize performance, user experience, transparency, comprehensive customer support, and robust security measures.
Hosting is a critical foundation for your online presence, and settling for subpar services like Closte could have detrimental consequences for your website’s success and growth. Take the time to research and find a hosting provider that aligns with your needs, offers competitive pricing with comprehensive features, and places the customer’s interests at the forefront. Investing in a trustworthy and dependable hosting service is essential for the long-term success and prosperity of your WordPress website.