Rocket.net is a managed WordPress hosting provider. The company focuses solely on WordPress and lets you put WordPress on autopilot. We’ve talked with Ben Gabler, Founder & CEO of Rocket.net about the history, services, and solutions of the company.
Can you please tell us about Rocket.net’s story? How did you decide to establish the company?
Absolutely! It all started for me in 2003 when a friend of mine told me about this awesome way to make money by selling “web hosting”. I immediately started my first hosting company and ultimately joined forces with HostGator back in 2006.
When HostGator decided to move to Houston, TX, I stayed back in Florida and started my own company HostNine. After bootstrapping HostNine to success, I once again joined forces with HostGator in 2010.
After Hostgator decided to sell the business, I decided to take some much-needed time off. My next adventure was GoDaddy, where I relaunched the entire hosting division including a Managed WordPress product in 2013. This was also when I really saw Hosting at scale… we were adding thousands of accounts a day and things were really clicking.
Following GoDaddy, I worked on some SaaS startups, paving the way for my tenure at StackPath. I joined StackPath as Chief Product Officer and that’s when everything changed. One of the companies we acquired was MaxCDN (massive in the WP community) and I was working with dozens of WordPress users a day… and every user had the same goal – improve speed and security.
The problem was, it was confusing and there wasn’t exactly an easy button for configuring CDN and WAF, not to mention most plugins were pushing customers to a static asset-only integration. With a static asset-only integration, every request to your WordPress site still goes back to a single server/location where it’s hosted… so as you can imagine there isn’t much of a benefit with this route.
In February 2020, I decided to venture out on my own to accelerate, protect, and deploy WordPress at the Edge.
How is Rocket.net different from other WordPress hosting companies?
Rocket.net is vastly different as we’re not only focused on speed and security, but we’re extremely passionate about customer experience. We not only built the World’s fastest and most secure WordPress platform, but we’ve built what we feel is a very painless experience for WordPress users.
I know this sounds cliché, but we have the science to prove it! You see, we place Cloudflare Enterprise ($6,000 value) in front of every single WordPress install on our platform, allowing each install to benefit from things like full page caching, website security, image optimization, Brotli compression, and much more…. All at no additional cost!
What kind of benefits does your partnership with Cloudflare provide for users? What are the differences between Free and Enterprise Cloudflare?
Some may not realize this, but there are actually quite a few differences between Free CloudFlare and Enterprise + Argo Smart Routing.
With Enterprise, our customers not only get their WordPress site entirely cached in all 200+ PoP’s around the world (Free does not have all PoP’s like India, Australia, etc), but they get priority routing… meaning our Platform’s traffic takes priority over all other Cloudflare traffic due to the Enterprise configuration in place.
To top it off, we also leverage Argo Smart Routing with Tiered Caching to increase our efficiency even further. With Argo Smart Routing, over 70% of our traffic is routed with the fastest possible path to our servers (which are in the same data centers as Cloudflare) providing a 34%+ improvement on TTFB.
We also have several Enterprise-only features enabled on our platform including Bypass Cache on Cookie to support dynamic WordPress sites like WooCommerce, bbPress, etc.
Are there any features Rocket.net provides that eliminates the need of paid WordPress plugins?
There are! We provide daily backups with 14-day retention allowing customers to forgo paid backup plugins. We also provide a very robust WordPress Security Suite (including not one, but two WAF’s, and real-time malware scanning) allowing customers to improve performance even more without the need of security plugins like WordFence.
We also do not require any caching plugins to take advantage of our full-page caching (98% cache hit ratio), but do recommend plugins like WP-Rocket and Flying Press as they provide some great content optimization features that can really help improve your core web vitals even further.
How does Rocket.net’s WordPress Control Panel simplify managing the website for users?
My #1 rule in my career is everything we build has to be easy to use. When things are easy to use, you can support everyone ranging from a Small Business to a CTO.
Our control panel makes it easier than ever to manage your WordPress sites. From single sign-on into WP Admin to single sign-on to phpMyAdmin – we try to make everything available to our customers with the least number of clicks.
Which security products are used for scanning and monitoring? How do you provide security for your customers?
We provide every WordPress install with an Enterprise-grade security suite that’s always on at no additional cost.
For HTTP traffic, we leverage the Cloudflare Enterprise WAF and Imunify360’s Web Shield on every server. This prevents OWASP Top 10 attacks, Bruteforce attacks, and much more.
For malware protection, we leverage Imunify360 on every server to scan and patch malware in real-time. Our real-time scanning will scan every HTTP request and file that’s attempted to be written to the file system, so our customers are always protected.
What happens if a customer wants to migrate an infected website to Rocket.net?
Our real-time scanning will pick up the infection during the migration and make the necessary patches (including in the database). If there is a case where something can’t be automatically patched, we will work with the customer (at no charge) to get them back up and running.
How did the pandemic affect Rocket.net? Were you able to meet your expectations for 2020?
While the pandemic can never be classified as “good” for anyone, we did still have an amazing year at Rocket.net. For me, it was extremely satisfying to help small businesses get online and stay open during the pandemic.
As far as my expectations, we definitely far exceeded them all things considered.
Which features are you planning to improve in 2021 or are there any new products on the horizon?
We’ve already been working extremely hard to deliver new features for our customers this year. At Rocket.net we’re extremely customer-centric and truly value all of our customer feedback… so much so it helps drive a big part of our roadmap.
We’ve already shipped a number of new features this year (including single-sign-on phpMyAdmin) and we’re just getting warmed up!
The big thing we’re working on right now is our public API and white-label offering.
How does your support team help customers optimizing their websites?
Our team will work 1:1 with our customers to help in any way possible. From recommending plugins and configuring them, to recommending trusted developers and designers – we make sure our customers are always taken care of.
Typically, customers see a 3-10x speed improvement just by moving to our platform with no changes to their site. That may seem like a wide range, but it truly varies on the hosting company.
For instance, customers moving off other managed WordPress providers like WPEngine will see a 2-3x speed improvement… whereas customers moving off commodity shared hosting like GoDaddy will see an 8-10x improvement.