Creating a website is an essential part of the business experience; choose not to build one and potential clients and customers won't be able to find you online. You need a Web hosting service that gives you the flexibility to create attractive, functional websites. Media Temple (starting at $20 per month) is one such service. The company offers a wide range of hosting options, including shared, virtual private server (VPS), dedicated, and WordPress. Media Temple isn't quite as well-rounded as Dreamhost and HostGator, our top picks for advanced- and novice-friendly Web hosting services, respectively, but it's still a capable host that may suit your needs.
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Shared Web Hosting Plans
Media Temple has three Linux-based shared hosting plans. They start at a $20 per month for 20GB of solid-state storage, 1,000 email accounts, 1TB of monthly data transfers, and the ability to host 100 websites, and scale to $150 per month for 500GB of drive space, the same 1,000 email accounts, 5TB of monthly data transfers, and the ability to host 2,500 sites.
Those are high-quality specs, but HostGator, the Editors' Choice for shared hosting services, tops Media Temple's offerings with unlimited monthly data transfers, storage, email addresses, and domains. HostGator also offers Windows-based servers, which comes in handy if you need Microsoft's operating system to serve as the foundation for your website.
VPS Hosting Plans
If you require more powerful server configurations, Media Temple has you covered with its six Linux-based VPS Web hosting packages, which range from $30 per month to $1,000 per month. That $1,000 per month plan is far more expensive than rival services' top-tier plans, but you'll get a feature-packed VPS that can be outfitted with 8TB of monthly data transfers, an incredible 64GB of RAM, and a robust 600GB of storage. Hostwinds, the PCMag Editors' Choice for VPS services, maxes out at 35GB of RAM and 170GB of storage.
That said, Hostwinds's VPS tops Media Temple's VPS in several important areas. Hostwinds is more wallet-friendly (a Media Temple VPS plan with 4GB of RAM has half the storage of a similar Hostwinds plan, but costs $19.50 extra), boasts unlimited monthly data transfers, and offers Windows-based servers. Hostwinds is the VPS host to turn to if you need reasonably featured and priced servers; Media Temple is the host to turn to if you need obscenely specced servers.
Dedicated Web Hosting Plans
The Linux-based dedicated servers start at an expensive $2,000 per month (yes, $2,000!) and include 1TB of storage, 128GB of RAM, and 10TB of monthly data transfers.
That monthly data transfer total is topped by Arvixe, the PCMag Editors' Choice for dedicated hosting that offers 25TB of data transfer per month, as well as 1TB of storage, and a choice of Linux- or Windows-based servers. Overall, Arvixe's top-tier dedicated package is a great bang-for-the-buck service. Still, that $2,000 per month price may be worth your while; the server's 128GB of RAM blows away Arvixe's $357 per month server that boasts 32GB of RAM.
WordPress Hosting Plans
There are two ways to get WordPress up and running on a Media Temple server. First, you can install WordPress on a Linux-based server environment you get through a standard Web hosting plan. Your second choice sign up for a managed WordPress service, which automically updates the contentment system, makes daily backups, and other essentials.
Media Temple has four managed WordPress packages: Personal ($20 per month), Studio ($60 per month), Agency ($240 per month), and Enterprise (call for a custom quote). Personal gives you 30GB of storage, 400,000 monthly visitors, and the ability to host two sites. Studio ups the storage to 100GB, allows 2 million monthly visitors, the ability to host 10 sites, and two Google Apps for Work email addresses. Agency supplies 500GB of storage, 10 million monthly visitors, the ability to host 50 sites, and five Google Apps for Work email addresses. All plans, except for Personal, have automatic malware detection and removal.
Media Temple's starting price for managed WordPress hosting is less than Pagely, Pressable or WP Engine's offerings, but nearly three times that of 1&1's $6.99 per month Basic plan. In fact, 1&1, the PCMag Editors' Choice for WordPress hosting, tops the competition by offering a $14.99 per month Unlimited plan that has unlimited website hosting, page views, visitors, disk space, and monthly data transfers.
Setting Up a Hosted Site
Most services include some type of website builder, so it is a little surprising that Media Temple does not. Like Dreamhost, Media Temple requires you to create your website elsewhere and then upload it via FTP.
That said, Media Temple has another option: Virb, a $10 per HTML 5-powered, standalone website builder that isn't compatible with the hosting plans. It's like Weebly in a sense, except that it doesn't support drag-and-drop website creation. Instead, Virb offer many themes that you can apply to your site. Virb creates slick, mobile-friendly sites, so my test site looked great on both my laptop and a Nexus 6 smartphone.
Virb has music features, too. It lets you stream individual tracks and albums from Soundcloud, and sell product using Bandcamp. It also displays Facebook or LastFM events. On the downside, Virb lacks email and domain registration, so you'll have to look elsewhere for those features.
The Magneto e-commerce app let me create an attractive store in just a few minutes by dragging and dropping website elements. Magneto has more flexibility than 1&1's Online Store in terms of colors and design options, but with that flexibility comes an extra layer of creation complexity that demands more of your time.
Media Temple also offers a SSL certificate for $75 per year. It ensures an encrypted connection, providing extra security for your site visitors when they look to make purchases through your website. If you're planning to sell product, consider this an essential.
Media Temple's Grid infrastructure includes the CloudFlare content delivery network with Railgun, which protects your site against botnets, hackers, and phishing scams. It also comes with integrated Cloudmark spam detection technology. The Web host also uses SiteLock's SMART (Secure Malware Alert & Removal Tool) technology to remove malicious code as soon as it's detected.
Website uptime is an important part of the Web hosting experience. If your site goes down, clients or customers will be unable to find you or access your products or services. For this testing, I used a website monitoring tool to track my Bluehost-hosted test site's uptime over a 30-day period. Every 15 minutes, the tool pings my website and sends me an email if it is unable to contact the site for at least one minute. The data revealed that Media Temple is very stable. You can count on it to serve as the bedrock for your online business.
I contacted Media Temple's 24/7 customer support team several times during testing—early morning, midday, and at night—to get a sense of its support team's effectiveness. Unfortunately, the Web chat and telephone support is limited to sales inquiries; you have to log into the Account Center to send a tech support message.
That said, a sales representative explained the importance of content delivery systems. I later sent a message via Account Center to learn how to install new themes and plug-ins. The questions were accurately answered within a few minutes.
Media Temple also has a deep knowledge database that you can search for answers to burning questions, as well as Sidekick, a WordPress plug-in that provides useful voice and video walkthroughs. If you're new to Web hosting, Sidekick is a good place to start.
Media Temple offers a solid 30-day money-back guarantee. It's not as lengthy as Dreamhost's 97-day money-back guarantee, but at least it's something; Pagely and Pressable—services that specialize in WordPress hosting—lack money-back guarantees.
A Very Respectable Web Host
Media Temple has a wide range of hosting options, but its expensive dedicated servers and email and data transfer caps keep it from toppling Dreamhost and HostGator, our overall Editors' Choices for Web hosting services. Still, Media Temple's ease of use, crack customer service team, and Sidekick walkthroughs make it a compelling service that's worth checking out.