DIGITAL PACIFIC REVIEW 2018 – BEWARE OF HUGE HIDDEN FEES
Digital Pacific is one of the leading Australian web hosts. They provide web hosting for businesses throughout Australia. This review covers why I don’t recommend using them.
Here’s the summary:
Digital Pacific is an average host with slightly below average uptimes/downtimes and prices that are fairly standard. They also have BIG hidden upcharges ($200-250). Overall, it’s not a great choice. We believe there are some much better options.
Earnings disclosure: Some of the products we reviewed on this page contain affiliate links. We use those proceeds to help cover costs of maintaining the website and doing research. Thanks again for your support.
WHAT WE WILL COVER IN THIS REVIEW
We are all about data here at Aussie Hosting. We have accumulated over 10 years of data via running a web/seo agency for the last ten years. We use that data to help our clients/readers find the best hosting available.
- Digital Pacific’s load times/speed/reliability from 5 major Australian cities
- Look at their pricing and show you the hidden $200 fee they will hit you with.
- Compare their support plans with other hosts
- Suggest 2 alternatives which we use ourselves (we have the data to prove it too )
WHY LISTEN TO US
My name is Lucas Johnson and for the last ten years we have been running a digital marketing and web development agency with offices in two locations in Australia. We have a lot of web clients and as part of our service we provide a totally inclusive marketing plan that includes hosting.
For the last ten years we’ve been using an internal system for tracking our clients websites. With a portfolio of 413 sites (as of 4/4/2017) sites we track everything in an internal dashboard.
So when we decided to write this review we just pulled data from our existing Australian clients who were using Digital Pacific. We also did that in our VentraIP review which you can see here.
Uptime tracking via our American clients
WHAT IS UPTIME AND DOWNTIME AND LOAD TIME?
When it comes to web hosting these are the most important factors to remember. They basically dictate how fast a website will load and how often it will go “down”.
Let’s look at them in more detail…
This is the amount of time a server is “up” or functioning without being disrupted. The higher the uptime the better a host is. A quality host will have an uptime of 98%+ and ones on the lower end will have >97%.
This is bad. Downtime is a measure of the amount of time a website is down or unable to be accessed by visitors or clients. Generally speaking, we avoid hosts with any downtime issues as it’s usually a pretty good indication that they are running old servers and underpowered datacenters.
This is the amount of time it takes to load website data for a visitor. So this requires a connection between the visitor’s computer/ISP and the actual datacenter that the host is utilizing.
Now that you know the basics let’s look at the data….
- Uptime – 97.6%
- Average Loadtime – 1,912Ms
- Uptime – 97.9%
- Average Loadtime – 2,012Ms
- Uptime – 97.5% (ouch!)
- Average Loadtime – 2,182Ms
- Uptime – 98.09%
- Average Loadtime – 1,658Ms
While these definitely aren’t the most terrible results I’ve seen (GoDaddy is much worse) they definitely aren’t worth the insane prices they will get you with.
More about that below.
THE REALITY BEHIND DIGITAL PACIFIC’S “COMPETITIVE” PRICING
Here is their pricing.
On average this is pretty standard and at first glance you would think this is pretty standard. So let’s take a closer look but in order to do that we’ll have to look at something called SSL.
INTRODUCING SSL AND WHY YOU NEED IT
SSL or secured socket layer has become the standard for the modern web browsing experience. If you’re ever seen the green https:// on any website (like mine) you’ll know it’s safe.
Developed in 1994 by IBM to address a growing concern for Internet security it has become the standard for the safe web browsing experience. It’s now almost required for any website to be considered safe from phishing or other malicious attempts.
Google openly requires it if you want your website to show up on the Google Search Results. Chrome has recently begun warning web visitors if a website doesn’t have SSL installed or is running an outdated certificate.
If you’re accepting payments on your website and don’t have SSL no payment processor will work with you.
This is not what you want your clients to see. Back to safety isn’t a very reassuring first impression.
At this point you’re probably thinking, what’s the big deal – I’ll just get SSL.
Yes, you will and when you do – Digital Ocean will hit you with this.
So that $49.99 a year suddenly became $250-300 a year. A nice 6X markup.
Like I said the devil is in the details.
Paying for SSL at this rate is NOT standard practice. It was in 2003 when SSL was new, but now SSL certs are ubiquitous with free and safe browsing.
So much so that most hosts have entirely free SSL services using a great initiative developed by a group of engineers called “Let’s Encrypt“.
USE LET’S ENCRYPT ON ANY OTHER HOST FOR FREE
Siteground has one of the free SSL certificates that is installed in 1 click via your hosting dashboard.
EASY TO INSTALL
Most hosts utilize the cPanel and a really easy to use app called Softalicious. From there anyone can open it up and install either SSL certs or WordPress on a new domain or subdomain. Either way if you get stuck at any point, support can do it for you.
OUR RECOMMENDED ALTERNATIVES
Like I mentioned, Digital Pacific has slightly below average speeds and load times. We’ve helped transition over 11 clients thus far from their servers and with each one we’ve noticed:
- Increase in time on website
- Better Google Ranking (Google likes fast websites)
- Better uptime
- Faster Loading time
The image below is from a corporate client who ran a large window installation website. People could choose how they want the windows built and customize some features online.
This is the before and after switching to one of our better quality hosts.
As you can see they experienced a massive increase in sales, client retention and improved their Google ranking by a full page on the search results.
So which hosts do we recommend?
OUR ALTERNATIVE HOSTING SOLUTIONS
1. Siteground ($3.95/MONTH)
BEST OVERALL HOSTING FOR PRICE/SPEED/UPTIME & UNBEATABLE SUPPORT
Load time: 475Ms
Support: Live Chat
Our favorite host. Hands down the best out there. Nearly all our personal websites and new client sites use Siteground. They have never failed us in terms of service, support and overall awesomeness. Not to mention, no hidden fees or stupid upsells.
Also huge discounts on all plans.
24/7 Support that can answer all manner of technical questions. Siteground Support has won awards for their highly trained staff. It will be difficult to find a hosting services that beats them in the support area.
Great Speed and Uptime
With multiple datacenters throughout the world, Siteground’s datacenters are catered towards the Australian market and provide lightening fast speeds.
One Click Installs and Free SSL
You can easily install your new WordPress site in quick one click. They also offer free SSL which is an absolute must for anyone taking money on their sites.
Best Choice for Beginners
If you’re new to blogging or building your own business’s website, Siteground is definitely the top choice for newbies. It’s easy to use with an easy to navigate interface.
2. HOSTGATOR CLOUD HOSTING – RUNNER UP (ONLY $2.99/MONTHLY)
Load time: 657Ms
Support: Live Chat
A2 is another quality host that prides itself on good support and reliability. We’ve used A2 for a lot of our hosting packages for both our Australian clients as well as our American/Canadian clients. Works well from all Australian cities.
Hostgator combines quality uptime with equally good service. It’s also priced at a very reasonable price point and offers flexible plans as your business/traffic grows. No hidden charges either.
Host Gator offers some really discounted rates for new websites and also some flexible plans for all different needs.
That’s it. I hope the review has been helpful. Drop your comments below and I’ll do my best to answer any questions that might come up.