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.
With GridPane, you just plug in your server to GridPane and it does the rest. And that saves a lot of efforts. So what do you need? GridPane and a trustworthy VPS provider, such as 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.
Gridpane WordPress Hosting Panel Review
In this WordPress hosting review, I will be looking at the features, performance, usability, pricing and support of GridPane. I’ve been testing GridPane along a 1c/1gb Vultr VPS, which comes for $5 a month along with the GridPane Pro Plan ($30 a month).
I haven’t found many other hosting providers who offer similar performance at this price point. This is especially true if you are hosting multiple servers. However, their platform still feels in development. During the period we’ve been using GridPane, I have encountered numerous bugs. Luckily, these were most quickly resolved.
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GridPane Review procedure
In this GridPane WordPress Review, and all my other reviews, a strict procedure is followed. I’ll evaluate to my best efforts the following aspects:
- Features: the 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 who 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 back-up 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 webites as a WordPress professional.
But hey, let’s get on to the actual content of this Gridpane review and talk about the features.
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 which 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 of size. And that’s one of the big advantages.
You will not hav 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 back-ups. At the moment of writing, the frequency of back-ups can’t be adjusted. It also has an option for manual back-ups, which can be created at any moment.
So by default, local backups are enabled, which are backups on the same server. But you can also add a remote backup provider. The providers supported for now are Backblaze, Amazon S3 and Wasabi. Obviously, additional costs need to be paid at these providers when you are storing files.
Now I found one major disadvantage in the back-up system and that is the sheer number of interactions that GridPane has with a back-up provider. And these interactions cost, comparatively, quite some money. In our time of using GridPane, backup costs almost equalled half of our server costs.
Additional safety measures incorporated by Gridpane are 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 your 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 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 which 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.
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 can handle up to 6 concurrent visitors on uncached pages. However, these are firing a request each second, which is pretty heavy usage.
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.
|Concurrent Visitors||WP Performance Test|
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.
Compared to other Control Panels for Hosting WordPress, such as Runcloud, GridPane performs up to 400% better and 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.
Some Comments on Stability: 99.84% uptime
Now while the performance screams like a rocket, I had some initial problems on the stability of our applications. In our testing period, I had 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.
Usability: It’s quite a pleasure to use
Now one of the major points of using a WordPress hosting panel is usability. To summarize, GridPanes usability is great. 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 to have 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 our opinion, this is a user-friendly way of managing websites.
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 tabs 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, which you can restrict access to certain sites to.
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 being able to chat about this. I never had the feeling I was not taking seriously.
In addition, the support is very knowledgeable on a technical level. Sometimes, solutions were even offered through the live-chat. However, not all bugs mentioned were finally resolved.
Numerous Bugs on Crucial Points
During our time of using the platform, I encountered a number of bugs which were crucial for managing a WordPress website well. For example, I switched from an external back-up 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 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 has a free plan which offers most of the basic features and includes great technical performance. If you’re not really in need of the frequent off-site back-ups through their platform, this is quite worth the money.
You only 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 back-ups, the backup fees may get pricey.
GridPane is really interesting though if you manage multiple 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.
What I do find though is that for me, the price jump from Pro to Developer is a little steep (although Developer delivers much more value).
GridPane offers the following plans. Prices indicated are monthly prices.
|Free||Pro ($30)||Developer ($100)||Enterprise ($300)|
|One 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||Safe updates|
|Priority Support||Priority Support|
|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 acess to 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 are Vultr, Digital Ocean and Linode. Also, a backup fee may apply for your offsite backups.
So do you like GridPane? I have a promotion for you. Register at GridPane using the Coupon Code RF-
Other comparable providers such as Cloudways, while providing more hosting features, include a larger fee for technical management. If you’re not scared of managing your own server through GridPane, this is certainly less pricey with multiple servers. If you are though, Cloudways is a great alternative.
Concluding my GridPane Review: 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 being beta, but I love the features on the platform. GridPane is something to keep an eye on. I believe this may grow quite big.
If you do not mind managing WordPress on a VPS you own, GridPane is a great and cost-efficient solution. It is a lot cheaper than most Managed WordPress hosts such as Cloudways and Kinsta. Especially value-wise.
Moreover, from all of the WordPress Control Panels, it is one of the best. For example, it’s much more tailored to WordPress as RunCloud.io. It is particularly useful and worth the value if you are managing multiple sites and servers. However, their free plan also serves smaller users well.