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Shockbyte Minecraft hosting review
4:43 pm | January 26, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro Website Hosting | Comments: Off

Founded in March 2013, Shockbyte’s mission statement has been to offer “premium services at unbeatable prices'' and it mostly meets those lofty goals. The Australian-based company is now one of the longest-running Minecraft server hosting providers. While it’s expanded its services to other games such as Project Zomboid, ARK: Survival Evolved and -- most recently -- Palworld, Minecraft is the big one here and the one we reviewed. 

Promising 13 server locations scattered around the world, 24/7 customer support, 100% uptime, full FTP access, and support for pretty much every mod you can think of, Shockbyte sounds pretty irresistible on paper. With an eye on whether it could be one of the best Minecraft server hosting providers, here’s how we found the Shockbyte experience from setup to playing on the server. 

Plans

Shockbyte has 12 different Minecraft-themed plans to choose from (Image credit: Shockbyte)

Plans and pricing

Shockbyte offers 12 different plans, plus a custom plan if you have specific needs. All the plans offer 24/7 customer support, 100% uptime, full FTP access, DDoS protection, and full mod support. Where plans differ is how much RAM they offer as well as the number of player slots. There’s good variety here with the option to upgrade any time as needed. To help customers know what to buy starting out, Shockbyte also has a few recommended plans for certain needs such as best for modding or the latest version.

The cheapest plan is the Dirt plan with 1GB RAM and 8 player slots at $2.50 per month. That ramps up to the Titan plan at $40 per month with 16GB of RAM and unlimited player slots with a 300 recommendation. Discounts are available for committing to quarterly, six monthly, or annual plans. 

Such a discount means the Dirt plan drops to just $22.50 for the year which works out as excellent value for teaming up with your mates on a private server. All servers use NVMe SSDs with unlimited disk space and bandwidth. Deciding which plan to buy mostly comes down to how many players you expect to play at once and RAM considerations.

Shockbyte offers a 72 hour refund policy so there’s just enough time to test things out if you’ve made a mistake with your needs. Payment is accepted via credit or debit card along with PayPal and Paymentwall methods. While signing up, you can choose to add on a preferred location, purchase a dedicated IP, and arrange server management options, all for a fee. That means the price can increase a fair bit depending on what you need with features like a dedicated IP costing $5 per month while server management costs $15 per month. While the cost can ramp up, at least it’s fairly clearly laid out so you always know what you’re paying for and why.

An image of Minecraft gameplay

(Image credit: Minecraft)

Ease of use

Starting out with a Minecraft server with Shockbyte is pretty speedy. Once you wrap up the purchasing process, you’re given two username/password combos. One is for the client side of things while the other is for the control panel. Access to the latter can then be shared with other users who you want to have control over things, although you’ll need to get in touch with support to get it set up.

The opening part of the control panel has you able to choose the server type you want. A near never ending choice of Bedrock or Java server types are available with recommendations highlighted. 

On the left hand side is the more complex set of options as well as the best ways to monitor your server. Chat and console are fairly self explanatory with the latter a good way of dipping in to check all is well. 

Dive into the Files section and that’s where things get a little more complicated. The Config Files section offers server settings such as if you want to set up whitelisting, change the game mode or difficulty, as well as disable or limit various settings. It’s clearly laid out with drop-down boxes allowing you to quickly change things. The responsiveness is fast with the majority of actions not requiring a server restart although Shockbyte recommends doing so once a day.

An image of Shockbyte's plugin list

(Image credit: Shockbyte)

If you want to add any modpacks or plugins, the Shockbyte interface is simple to use. There are a lot of plugins to choose from while you can use full FTP access to add anything that hasn’t already been thought of. Again, adding from the plugin list is straightforward and takes moments. It’s all designed in a way that makes the process as simple as possible, even if you don’t have prior server admin experience.

For those users who do have more advanced experience, there’s an appropriately titled Advanced tab too. Here, you can set up commands, scheduled tasks, add additional ports, startup parameters and MySQL databases. It’s reasonably comprehensive stuff that means Shockbyte is fairly good at catering for both novice users that simply want the basics right up to those who know exactly what they’re doing.

An image of Shockbyte's control panel

You can set up your Minecraft server using Shockbyte's custom control panel (Image credit: Shockbyte)

Speed and experience

Shockbyte offers servers across Europe, North America, Singapore and Australia, with the latter two requiring an additional payment each month. The Minecraft server I used was based in Europe, much like myself, and I found the ping to be pretty reliable. A steady 30-35 ping meant no issues with lag and that continued while adding players to the server. 

As promised by Shockbyte, there was no downtime either with the Minecraft server always ready to go. It’s a reliable force for regular players. 

During my time playing on the server and gathering together some friends, the experience didn’t dip in quality. Daily restarts and not cramming the server with mods and plugins is sure to help here but as a general, standard Minecraft experience, it works well out of the virtual box. That’s also where the level of ease involved in adding or removing mods, as well as simply restarting the server certainly helps keep things ticking along healthily.

An image of Minecraft gameplay and the inventory

(Image credit: Minecraft)

Support

Support is two-fold with a ticketing system and extensive tutorials. The tutorials are the true standout here. It feels like there’s a YouTube video for literally everything you could possibly need while setting up a Minecraft server. A full playlist is available or you can dip in for individual queries. Each tutorial is clearly laid out and no longer than it has to be. Whether you simply need guidance on which server type to choose from or you want to set spawns, manage whitelists, or learn how scheduled tasks can benefit you, it’s covered here with no padded out filler.

It’s a truly useful resource with things backed up by a Knowledge Base which answers many queries, followed by direct support. When I contacted support by sending off a ticket, I was impressed to get a response within an hour. The follow up, however, took a fair while longer. Cynically, paying helps. It’s possible to pay $3 to bump your ticket to the front of the queue which feels a little unsavoury but on the other hand, Shockbyte is pretty cheap elsewhere. 

Talking of payments, it’s also possible to pay $15 per month for the company to manage your server including controlling and setting up mods and plugins. With the many tutorials available, it’s hardly necessary for most people but it could be useful when starting out.

Knowledgebase

Shockyte's knowledgebase has plenty of helpful tutorials and the company's YouTube channel also provides a wealth of videos to help you get started (Image credit: Shockbyte)

Final verdict

Shockbyte is an excellent value way to snap up a Minecraft server that isn’t much hassle to set up and maintain. Ideally suited for novices but also anyone who wants to keep costs down, you can get straight on with setting up your Minecraft server pretty quickly, right down to installing some mods or plugins without having to delve too deeply.

Where things falter is a bit, is the added costs and occasional support quibbles. A little inconsistent with speed isn’t a dealbreaker for everyone when it comes to needing assistance from support and the YouTube videos certainly help, but if you run into a major problem, feeling obliged to pay an extra $3 will grate. 

Similarly, added costs for features like a dedicated IP or server management are transparent but something to be aware of when totting up the actual price you’ll be paying.

Neither of these issues will affect everyone though and for the most part, Shockbyte works well. Its 100% uptime and speedy servers mean you and your mates will easily be able to join in at any time without any problems. It fits nicely into that ‘it just works’ mentality that everyone appreciates about technology. It also makes the process far more accessible than server management ever was in the past. 

Krystal web hosting review
8:04 am | September 17, 2021

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro Website Hosting | Comments: Off

Krystal Hosting began as the brainchild of a 17 year-old Simon Blackler. While spending his summer vacation developing a fan site for an upcoming video game and learning how to build it in that process, he faced the problem of finding a suitable web hosting service. After being annoyed with a number of overpriced hosting solutions with dreadful performance on the UK market, he came up with the idea of offering an “honest, reliable, and personal” alternative. 

Krystal Hosting was then founded in 2002 and has since become one of the largest independent web hosts in the UK which is currently hosting about 200,000 websites. Today, they offer a variety of hosting solutions, from standard shared hosting to managed WordPress, cloud VPS, and reseller hosting.

As an ethical alternative to mainstream hosting providers at the time (a lot have become much better in terms for the environment). Krystal set out with a creed consisting of nine statements, which essentially cover the mission statement, "Currently the web hosting industry is dominated by two faceless corporations, who have gobbled up the competition to create a situation that is unfair to customers and harmful to the planet. But, we're here to show that there is a different way."

An image of Krystal's website showing their green credentials

Krystal is completely powered by renewable energy (Image credit: Krystal)

Krystal is headquartered in London (the UK) from where it maintains and manages its tier 1 data centers and over 220,000 websites for more than 30,000 customers. All of their data centers are 100% powered by green renewable energy, which means that their carbon footprint is reduced to a minimum and that our planet should be better with them around.

Krystal hosting's blog page

Krystal's blog is full of informative articles on a variety of web hosting topics (Image credit: Krystal)

Krystal’s official site is refreshingly modern, well-organized, user-friendly, and pretty. The same is true about its official blog, which is chock full of articles written in an interesting, informative, and somewhat witty way.

As for social networking sites, Krystal can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Krystal hosting pricing

Krystal offers three shared hosting plans that all include same-day migrations, free SSL, backups and a 99.99% uptime guarantee (Image credit: Krystal)

Plans and pricing

Krystal offers a nice variety of web hosting solutions starting with simple shared hosting and application hosting (WordPress, Joomla, Magento, Opencart, PrestaShop, and Drupal), in addition to managed WordPress and advanced solutions such as reseller, VPS, and dedicated server hosting.

If a tight budget is one of your concerns, worry not. Although Krystal is not the most budget-friendly option on the market, it offers a few reasonably priced packages that come overloaded with features and with no limitations on bandwidth, databases, e-mails, subdomains, parked domains, and email aliases. All three shared hosting packages (Amethyst, Ruby, and Sapphire) also include free SSL certificates (via LetsEncrypt), one-click installers (Softaculous and Installatron), a user-friendly website builder (with no limitation on page/site numbers), an industry-leading cPanel, 24/7 support and 99.99% uptime guarantee.

All of Krystal’s hosting solutions come with a confident 60-day money-back guarantee, except for dedicated server plans (and understandably so), while with managed WordPress plans you can get a 30-day free trial.

Available payment methods with Krystal include credit/debit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, and American Express) and PayPal.

Ease of use

New users are prompted to create an account with Krystal, which requires a form to be filled out that includes  personal information, payment details, and a password.  

Onyx

This is the user interface of Krystal's fully managed Onyx platform (Image credit: Krystal)

Accounts are set up in an instant, as they promised. We picked Onyx. Onyx is a fully managed plan, which means there is always someone from the technical team on the watch in case you get stuck or have any questions.

cPanel

Easily manage your website using the industry standard cPanel (Image credit: Krystal Hosting)

Krystal’s cloud-based shared hosting plans come with the industry-standard cPanel (which is always good news), a one-click installer with a myriad of available apps (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and many more), and a drag-and-drop builder. With all these tools you’ll be able to create a compelling site without writing a single line of code.

Performance

We used GTmetrix to measure the uptime and response time of Krystal's main site (Image credit: GTmetrix)

Speed and experience

We didn't test a website that we hosted on Krystal but we did the next best thing. We tested the Krystal website itself. Undoubtedly, this will be hosted on Krystal and quite important for them. If there's any issue on this site, not much can be said for what you host on them. As for uptime, Krystal guarantees 99.99% at all times. After getting UptimeRobot to monitor their main site for two weeks without a break, we got a glimpse of what you can expect to get while hosting with Krystal, and that is exactly what they promised. During our test, not a single second of downtime was recorded whatsoever and no major oscillations in response time to boot, which paints a picture of pretty presentable performance.

Krystal hosting support

Krystal Hosting offers support via ticket, live chat or over the phone (Image credit: Krystal)

Support

Seeking support on Krystal’s main site will give you a few options including opening a support ticket, starting a live chat, giving them a ring (if you are their client), or searching through the knowledgebase. The ticketing system is available round-the-clock but you can expect to get a reply every day from 6 AM till midnight. The same hours apply for the live chat, while telephone support can be reached Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 8 PM. However, if you’ve opted for one of their premium packages, emergency phone support will be available for you 24/7.

We tried the live support and the responses were lazy. We asked if they have 24/7 support to see how much effort they would put into their reply. Their answer, after a short wait, was, "You can obtain support via live chat (9am to 6:00pm), support ticket (24/7 submission - manned 6am - midnight) or phone (Monday - Friday 9am - 8pm and 24/7 emergency phone support)."

We found this a little misleading as we thought 24/7 emergency support is only covered in the more expensive plans.

So, we asked if this support is available for all plans. A Krystal employee responded, "That would be on the business packages only, as mentioned at  https://help.krystal.uk/getting-started/what-support-is-included-with-my-hosting."

This still didn't really answer our question as there was no indication as to what "business packages" are (there are no plans labelled as business plans). The page also didn't explain whether 24/7 emergency support is available for VPS plans and on the VPS pages it wasn't immediately clear either.

After some digging we worked out that 24/7 emergency support is also available for all VPS plans but only with a management add-on that costs an extra £80/mo.

We also found that chat history is not handed over between shifts for chat support. This meant that we had to explain our query again only ten minutes after we first opened the chat. 

Overall, we were underwhelmed by the support received and the help pages for what should have been a rather simple query. 

An image showing Krystal hosting knowledge base

You can also find answers to common web hosting questions in Krystal's knowledgebase (Image credit: Krystal)

Krystal provides a knowledgebase on the official site to help you find the best self-help option. It compiles over 300 easy-to-follow how-tos divided into 18 interconnected categories. At the end of each article, users are welcomed to leave a grade with a fitting emoji (charmed, confused, or a disappointed). As for our impression, we were pretty much charmed with everything we saw there.

The competition

If you are looking for an eco-friendly host with a similar scope of cloud-based products as Krystal’s, but with data centers across four continents, SiteGround might be a good pick. The hosts are remarkably similar in terms of pricing and features, however, SiteGround has the edge with its worldwide infrastructure.

Like Krystal, GreenGeeks is a likable beginner-friendly host that cares about the environment. However, since it offers data center locations in the USA and Canada (in addition to Europe), it may be more attractive to the wider audience.

Bluehost is another budget-friendly albeit US-based alternative to all the above, yet its US-based data centers don’t offer much flexibility in terms of location (unlike with SiteGround and GreenGeeks). Additionally, after a few years of hosting with Bluehost, the price of your package will dramatically increase, which may catch you unaware. There will be no such surprises with Krystal.

Much like Bluehost, HostGator is a US-based host offering a myriad of hosting options, features, and free apps for an attractive price. Unfortunately, just like Bluehost, it provides data centers in the USA only. Nevertheless, since all of these web hosting providers offer a money-back guarantee (Krystal’s is valid for 60 days), you can check them all out without the need to worry about wasting your money.

Final verdict

Krystal’s superiority in the UK market comes from its commitment to speed, stability, and sustainability. They also have a good reputation across multiple review sites and really nice business practices. For example, they offer free hosting to UK charities and start-ups in their first year.