GridPane is not a traditional WordPress hosting provider perse. It is a WordPress control panel for hosting
Following, you can deploy WordPress to this VPS in minutes. And this VPS will be totally optimized for WordPress. It is a service meant for WordPress professionals or developers. And it is really, really fast!
Usually, if you buy a VPS, you have to install all the software required to run WordPress manually. And this requires quite some technological knowledge.
Use Gridpane to easily install WordPress on your own, blazingly fast, VPS servers.
With GridPane, you just plug in your server to GridPane and it does the rest. And that saves a lot of effort. So what do you need? GridPane and a trustworthy VPS provider, such as Upcloud, Digital Ocean, Linode or Vultr.
In other words: GridPane is a Hosting Control Panel. In this review, you’ll discover if GridPane is a great one.
ps. I started reviewing WordPress hosting because I am in search of the best WordPress hosting. Many reviews did not talk about what I needed, and so the quest began. I hope this review may serve you well!
- If you’re a WordPress professional or if you host various (client) websites, GridPane is one of the best control panels for WordPress. The performance is incredible, it’s great to use and it has some very nifty features. You only need to connect it to a VPS provider.
- GridPane is expensive if you manage just a few servers or sites, and therefore meant for ‘serious’ agencies.
- If you’re a little afraid of having your own VPS but still want something similar, you can opt for Cloudways. If you’re a real WordPress beginner, GridPane is not advised.
- There are some worthy competitors for GridPane, such as Runcloud, Ploi, SpinupWP, Cleavr and Vepp.
- Developer plans now support Litespeed, a great option for highly-performant websites.
The big, detailed and honest Gridpane WordPress Review
In this elaborate WordPress hosting review, I will be looking at the features, performance, usability, pricing and support of GridPane. I know it’s long, but every detail is in here!
I’ve been testing GridPane along with a 1C/1GB Vultr VPS, which comes for $5 a month along with the GridPane Pro Plan (at the time of writing, $30 a month). I’ve also tested it on servers from Linode, Digital Ocean, Upcloud, Hetzner and the new high-frequency packages from Vultr.
GridPane Review procedure
In this GridPane Review, and all my other reviews, a strict procedure is followed. I’ll evaluate to my best efforts the following aspects:
- Features: WordPress related features. What is offered?
- Performance: the actual performance. Can it handle many visitors?
- Usability: the interface and performing basic managed tasks. Is the platform user-friendly??
- Support: the knowledge level, response time and documentation. Can support answer my question?
- Price: is there a good balance between price and quality?
For whom is GridPane?
Before I start explaining the features of GridPane, it is good to consider for whom GridPane is meant.
Obviously, GridPane is meant for hosting WordPress. You may put your own applications on their servers. But, at your own peril! Secondly, you have to configure your own VPS and backup providers. Hence:
- In my opinion, GridPane is aimed at WordPress professionals and developers. You have to understand how to set-up a VPS.
- GridPane makes it a whole lot easier to set-up your own or clients WordPress websites as a WordPress professional.
How to use/install GridPane
Now before really beginning this GridPane hosting review, there is one thing I want to consider. And that’s how you can connect GridPane to your server.
It’s simple. I explain the process in the video above, but basically, you have to do the following steps:
- Create an account at GridPane.
- Get an account from a Cloud Provider. My favourites are Upcloud and Vultr, and for Europe Hetzner.
- If using Vultr, go to your account and create an API key. Connect it to GridPane as explained here.
- Otherwise, create a new server at your provider.
- Login to Gridpane and click add server. Choose custom, fill in the details and copy the command you’ll see.
- Now, login to you server and paste the command. GridPane is being installed!
But hey, let’s get on to the actual content of this Gridpane review and talk about the features.
- Looking for more WordPress Hosting reviews? Compare all WordPress hosting providers here. GridPane is a hosting control panel, so you might want to read all my reviews for WordPress Hosting control panels and see what’s out there.
- Gridpane is aimed at WordPress professionals. You can find more WordPress reviews aimed at professionals in our review database.
Features: Next Level WordPress Hosting Features
In this section, I will describe the essential functionalities that Gridpane offers.
What I feel is that GridPane is bringing in features that are really next level. In my opinion, this should form the basis for what a serious WordPress hosting company should have. But what makes their features so next level? Well, let’s explain a couple of them!
Because GridPane is a control panel that you actually connect to a VPS, some of the features mentioned here are inherited from the VPS.
I tested GridPane on a 1GB/1C VPS from Vultr, which had 25GB of SSD storage and 1TB of bandwidth. That’s enough to serve over 500000 visitors if an average page is 2MB in size. And that’s one of the big advantages.
You will not have the restrictions of a managed hosting provider, which usually caps on monthly visitors or CPU usage. Your only limits are the resources of the VPS you’re utilising. Compare that with what you’re getting for 35 bucks at WP Engine, for example.
Now if you have an account at Vultr, Linode or Digital Ocean, it can be automatically integrated with GridPane, so you can add new servers through the GridPane control panel and never have to leave their panel for managing your sites and servers (besides eating or having an offline life, of course).
Back-ups, Firewalls & Safety
GridPane does take a backup every 15 minutes, which we’d almost indicate as real-time backups. At the moment of writing, the frequency of back-ups can’t be adjusted. It also has an option for manual back-ups and local back-ups, which can be created at any moment. There is an update below – backups on GridPane will be changed.
So by default, local backups are enabled, which are backups on the same server. But you can also add a remote backup provider. Some of the providers supported for now are Backblaze, Amazon S3 and Wasabi. Obviously, additional costs need to be paid to these providers when you are storing files.
Now I found one major disadvantage in the backup system and that is the sheer number of interactions that GridPane has with a backup provider. And these interactions cost, comparatively, quite some money. In our time of using GridPane, backup costs almost equalled half of our server costs.
Just an update as of January 2021! GridPane completely revamped its remote backup functionality. This functionality is now available and makes remote backups a breeze.
Additional safety measures incorporated by Gridpane have enhanced server security and a web application firewall on the application level. In other words, each WordPress installation has its own firewall.
I haven’t covered one-click SSL integration yet. But obviously, they support it.
GridPane offers functionalities such as a staging environment and the cloning of websites, even over different servers. It also has a single screen for monitoring your servers, such as the disk space, RAM and CPU resources used. It does however not offer a feature to scale up your server from their own panel.
Now application and server access is possible with GridPane through SSH keys and System users. On the server level, it is possible to add additional SSH keys to access your server. On the application level, you can add system users and connect these to any WordPress website of your liking. The big advantage is that access to these websites is isolated to this system user. This provides additional security in case a website is hacked and access is compromised. Only the websites linked to the specific system user may get vulnerable.
There are just a couple of things I would like to see from a developers perspective.
What I still miss (at the time of writing) in GridPane is the integration of WP-CLI, the . One of the founders of GridPane contacted me and ensured WP-CLI was installed. It includes modules for arbitrary code executing (WP Profile), security checks (WP Sec) and WordPress checks (WP Doctor).
Also, you can connect DNS Made Easy with GridPane. In this way, your domains are automatically pointed to Gridpane. For this, a DNS Made Easy account is required. And obviously, you need a domain.
Git is also installed, but at the time of writing not yet available through the user interface. We’re looking forward to it!
By default, and this is a good practice, GridPane does not set up a mail server at any of the servers you connect to GridPane. This means that it will not send any transactional emails originating from your server. These are the emails that are sent from your WordPress website, such as new user registration emails.
To be able to send these emails, you have to connect GridPane to transactional email providers such as SendGrid or Mailgun. Normally, you have to do this through your WordPress website using plugins. GridPane has the functionality to enable this within their control panel. Unfortunately, Mailgun is not yet supported.
In addition, GridPane has a Slack integration so you connect all essential messages to a Slack channel of your preference. Think of messages such as the creation of new websites, failures and automatic resolutions. If you’re not familiar with slack yet, just check it out. It’s awesome.
Obviously, being a control panel, GridPane does not provide email hosting or the ability to add email addresses.
Automatic Controlled Updates & Resolutions
And now I come to the features we’d call the next level. Oh yes, this I really love about GridPane.
The first feature I really love is the automatic controlled updates feature. This is a feature in which GridPane makes a copy of an existing site, perform Plugin, Theme and WordPress updates. Then, it compares this copied site with the original site for any visual changes. If these changes surpass a certain threshold, the updates are not performed on the original site. If everything is looking good, updates are performed.
This feature is a game-changer, only offered by a couple of other WordPress hosting providers such as Pantheon.
Another feature I love is an intelligent resolution feature that automatically fixes bugs that cause a white screen of death (WSOD). A white screen of death in WordPress is essentially your website displaying a white page, and nothing else. This is often caused because there is a small programming mistake somewhere on your website.
Features on Higher Plans
Higher plans of GridPane include the following features:
- Teams and Client Support
- Premium plugins and themes included
- More priority on support and feature requests
- Snapshot Failovers
- High Availability
- Private managed instances and white-labelling.
You can read more about the various plans in the pricing section.
Performance: Wow, what a performance!
Performance is where GridPane really shines. It outperforms most of the other set-ups we’ve been testing.
(I tested this with various VPSes. A VPS usually comes with a certain amount of RAM and CPU cores, which indicate the power of a VPS).
LEMP Stack with Redis for caching
Okay, I have to admit. It is time for some technology talk. GridPane installs a
This is lightyears beyond Apache and makes your WordPress websites scream! But how fast exactly? Let’s delve into the performance results.
For the performance testing with Gridpane, I set up a bulky WordPress theme with WooCommerce and imported demo content. I am using this exact similar set-up for all hosting parties I am testing.
Subsequently, I simulated a large number of visitors, while maintaining a maximum website load under 2 seconds. I also tested this number for pages that could not be cached.
Concurrent Visitors: 800
Gridpane combined with a 1GB/1C Vultr VPS Server can handle up to 800 concurrent clients without passing the 2 second loading time boundary. That means it can handle up to 48000 requests in
If I crank up the maximum response loading time to 10 seconds, it can handle up to 1600 clients per second with an average response time of 4,53 seconds.
Concurrent Visitors Uncached: 6
But what if your pages are not cached? For example, if you’re logged in to a webshop? The given Vultr plan of 1GB of ram and 1 core can handle up to 6 concurrent visitors on uncached pages with an average response time of 1,9 seconds.
Closest Loading Time Averages: 0.49s
Our test server was located in Amsterdam and I tested response times with Pingdom, WebPageTest and GTMetrix. The closest Pingdom server (Frankfurt), loaded the website in 0.49 seconds on average. The GT Metrix Server, testing from Canada, averaged 2.7 seconds and the WebPageTest averaged 3.59 seconds.
Time to First Byte: 29ms
With a seven-round test of measuring the time to the first byte, I averaged a time to the first byte of 29ms.
Other performance benchmarks:
To finish it off, I also ran this set-up through the WordPress Performance Tester plugin. The regular 1GB/1C program of Vultr with GridPane scored the following figures in other benchmarks:
- A Performance Test Server Score of 0.582.
- A Performance Test Execution Time of 3.236 seconds (lower is better), with 309 queries per second.
For all these providers, I did the exact performance test as described above. All of these plans offered a 1GB/1C VPS. A summary of the results can be found below.
|Maximum Simultaneous Visitors Under 2 seconds||800 / 160 (weighted) - GridPane + Vultr 1C/1GB ($5 Monthly)1100 / 183.33 (weighted) - GridPane + Vultr HF 1C/1GB ($6 Monthly)1000 / 200 (weighted) - GridPane + Digital Ocean 1C/1GB ($5 Monthly)900 / 180 (weighted) - GridPane + Linode 1C/1GB ($5 Monthly)1900 / 544.41 (weighted) - GridPane + Hetzner 2C/2GB ($3.49 Monthly)1300 / 257.43 (weighted) - GridPane + Upcloud 1C/1GB ($5.05 Monthly)|
|Maximum Simultaneous Visitors Under 2 Seconds (Uncached)||6 / 1.2 (weighted) - GridPane + Vultr 1C/1GB ($5 Monthly)11 / 1.83 (weighted) - GridPane + Vultr HF 1C/1GB ($6 Monthly)5 / 1 (weighted) - GridPane + Digital Ocean 1C/1GB ($5 Monthly)5 / 1 (weighted) - GridPane + Linode 1C/1GB ($5 Monthly)14 / 4.01 (weighted) - GridPane + Hetzner 2C/2GB ($3.49 Monthly)8 / 1.58 (weighted) - GridPane + Upcloud 1C/1GB ($5.05 Monthly)|
|WP Performance Test Queries per Second (higher is better)||309 - GridPane + Vultr 1C/1GB ($5 Monthly)787 - GridPane + Vultr HF 1C/1GB ($6 Monthly)262 - GridPane + Digital Ocean 1C/1GB ($5 Monthly)258 - GridPane + Linode 1C/1GB ($5 Monthly)484 - GridPane + Hetzner 2C/2GB ($3.49 Monthly)403 - GridPane + Upcloud 1C/1GB ($5.05 Monthly)|
As you may see, the new Vultr’s high-frequency plan beats them all, with a marginal increase in costs. Linode was, generally speaking, performing behind the pack.
How does GridPane compare to competitors?
Compared to other Control Panels for Hosting WordPress, such as Runcloud, GridPane performs up to 400% better. It performs more or less equal to SpinupWP. Compared to Cloudways, a managed WordPress hosting provider with a similar set-up, it performs 10-50% better.
If you want better performance comparisons, select a metric below to show a beautiful chart. No better comparison than a visual comparison!
Some Comments on Stability: 99.84% uptime
Now while the performance screams like a rocket, I had some initial problems with the stability of our applications. During my testing period, I measured a 99.84% uptime. For example, numerous times I encountered 504 errors while editing or adding posts – something I did not encounter on other hosts that frequently.
This might be because I’ve been testing multiple WordPress websites on a single server. Or perhaps because of the novel technologies used. But I expected the server to be able to handle more WordPress installations at a single time.
And again some updates! Since I have been using them more frequently the last year, stability has greatly increased.
Usability: It’s good
Now one of the major points of using a WordPress hosting panel is usability. To summarize, GridPanes usability is okay, as it has become kind of cluttered with options recently.
The big usability advantage: it renders the management of servers and applications respectively in a single overview. This makes it quite easy to use.
What I love in terms of usability is having a single overview where I can manage and edit servers and websites. And this is exactly what GridPane offers.
The screens for adding new servers, new sites and also managing staging environments and safe updates are all respectively grouped in one tab. By clicking on a website, a pop up with extra information will appear. In my opinion, this is a fine way of managing websites although the pop-ups may be overwhelming.
Staging and Cloning Websites
There is a tab called Tools within the GridPane panel which allows you to perform most of the basic website tasks, such as restoring backups and cloning websites.
The major advantage of cloning websites is moving applications to other servers. This is particularly useful when applications grow too big and need to be placed on a bigger server.
This tab also features some quick fixes such as forcing updates or resetting file permissions. The latter is quite useful as many problems related to uploading new media on WordPress are related to file permission problems.
Other usability perks
While I have been testing the professional plan, higher plans also support the Teams and Client feature. This feature includes the addition of team members and/or clients, to which you can restrict access to certain sites.
Support: It is great, but…
We’ve had quite some contact with their support over a couple of issues and questions. From the pro plan, they offer chat support and usually react within a couple of hours. Higher plans offer more priority on support.
Timely and friendly responses
Their support is very friendly – I have not encountered such friendly support so far. On average, while I just had the professional plan, support reacted within a couple of minutes.
I had various issues with the platform, and it was a good thing to be able to chat about this. I never had the feeling I was not taking it seriously.
In addition, the support is very knowledgeable on a technical level. Sometimes, solutions were even offered through live chat. However, not all bugs mentioned were finally resolved.
Numerous Bugs on Crucial Points
During our time using the platform, I encountered a number of bugs that were crucial for managing a WordPress website well. For example, I switched from an external backup provider. This broke down the system for backups, creating staging environments and moving sites to other servers. This was recognized as a bug and solved in a matter of days, but in these days of waiting, I was not able to use our staging environments.
Another thing is that I was not able to download our invoices. By the time of writing, this issue was resolved but it took a few weeks before this bug was fixed. Needlessly to say, this had a higher priority for us due to tax administration requirements.
I have to add a positive note here. GridPane takes great efforts to listen to their customers, up to even scheduling one-hour calls to listen to customer suggestions. Remember it is still a young company. Many of the aforementioned bugs have been resolved in the past time.
Good Documentation for Starting
GridPane has a helpful amount of documentation on using their WordPress Control Panel. It describes the essential elements of adding servers, sites, connecting to them and managing your account.
I found that essential things were described in the documentation, although it could be a little more elaborate (at the time of writing this review).
A Note on Pricing
If you are a beginner starting out, GridPane had a free plan which offers most of the basic features and includes great technical performance. If you’re not really in need of frequent off-site back-ups through their platform, this is quite worth the money.
GridPane has grown expensive, but worth the money if you manage many servers and websites.
While GridPane had a free starter plan, it seems it’s abandoned for serious use: it’s now only possible to combine the free starter plan with Amazon Lightsail and most advanced options and support are not available.
In addition to the monthly fees of the plan, you have to pay the fees for your VPS, which often start from just $5 monthly. For the performance you get, it is a no-brainer if you don’t mind running your own VPSes. However, if you turn on frequent backups, the backup fees may get pricy.
I found the price jump from Pro to Developer is a little steep (although Developer delivers much more value). The Pro pricing plan is also more expensive than a couple of other control panels out there.
GridPane is really interesting though if you manage many servers because of their fixed monthly fees. This fee is independent of the number of servers or WordPress installations you have. Most other control panels, such as Serverpilot, charge a surplus for each of the servers and applications added.
GridPane offers the following plans. The prices indicated are monthly prices.
|Free||Pro ($50)||Developer ($200)||Enterprise ($1000+)|
|One Lightsail server||Unlimited Servers||Unlimited Servers||Unlimited Servers|
|10 sites||Unlimited sites||Unlimited sites||Unlimited sites|
|Staging Sites||Staging Sites||Staging Sites||Staging Sites|
|Cloning & Migrations||Cloning & Migrations||Cloning & Migrations|
|Safe Updates||Safe Updates Pro||Safe Updates|
|Priority Support||Priority Support Pro|
|Malware Protection||Malware Protection|
|High Availability and Failover||High Availability and Failover|
|Team Support||Team Support up to 100 members|
|Premium Plugins & Themes||Premium Plugins & Themes|
|Private Instance and access to a private group|
|Priority for Feature Requests|
Please note that in addition to the plans from GridPane, you need a VPS starting from $5 monthly. Supported providers by default are Vultr, Digital Ocean, Amazon Lightsail and Linode.
You can also try to integrate GridPane with a custom provider of your own. Also, a backup fee may apply for your offsite backups.
Other comparable providers such as Cloudways, while providing more hosting features, include a larger fee for technical management. GridPane is certainly less pricey with multiple servers, and if you don’t mind managing your own servers. If you do mind, Cloudways is a great alternative.
Speaking about alternatives, let’s talk about a couple of alternatives.
5 Great GridPane Alternatives
What is an honest review without comparing the alternatives? GridPane is a very promising panel, but there are some worthy competitors lurking. Here is a list of the competing WordPress hosting control panels:
If you like to consider an alternative, also look at the best control panels for WordPress.
Concluding my GridPane Review: it is the best WordPress hosting panel!
In this GridPane hosting review, you read about the features, performance, usability and support quality of this WordPress control panel.
GridPane is a very promising WordPress hosting panel for professionals and WordPress developers. The performance is unbelievably great. It features great and friendly support. It is aimed at managing WordPress on your own VPSes. Or in other words: it is a WordPress hosting control panel.
On a side note, we’ve encountered a couple of bugs and numerous features were being developed. It still feels like a very new release, but I love the features on the platform. GridPane is something to keep an eye on. Another thing is that some interesting things on their roadmap take ages to develop, such as the addition of Mailgun to GridPane.
If you do not mind managing WordPress on a VPS you own, GridPane is a great
and cost-efficient solution. It was a lot cheaper than most Managed WordPress hosts such as Cloudways and Kinsta, but only if you’re managing a lot of sites. If you just run a couple of servers or sites, GridPane has unfortunately turned expensive.
From all of the WordPress Control Panels, it is one of the best. Because it’s focused on WordPress only, it’s also tailored towards WordPress better than most other panels.
In the end, it is particularly useful and worth the value if you are managing multiple sites and servers. So, if you are a serious agency managing dozens of sites, they may be worth it. Why not have a try?