I think to simply call Pantheon a host would be a disservice.
Instead, it really is a full website management platform.
It’s got all the features you’d expect of a managed WordPress host, but adds a plethora of features that make it extremely easy for agencies and developers to manage all of their clients’ websites.
That being said, it is not right for everyone. Pantheon may be too complex for those who are new to WordPress or aren’t familiar with advanced development workflows.
Keep reading to learn more about what Pantheon offers, or feel free to check out their website at Pantheon.io.
Top Tier Managed WordPress Hosting
Pantheon provides you with many of the features you’d expect from a managed WordPress host.
- Daily backups, kept for 1 week to a month
- Security, including Denial of Service protection, Network Intrusion protection, and Antivirus
- Easy updates from the Pantheon dashboard
- Cacheing with Varnish and Redis
- Uptime monitoring provided by Pingdom
Needless to say, from a basic Managed WordPress hosting platform, Pantheon’s got you covered.
But what really makes Pantheon a step above their competition is the features they made specifically for developers and agencies.
What Sets Pantheon Apart
Below are the features that stood out when I was testing Pantheon.
Develop Sites For Free
Pantheon lets you create an agency or developer account, where you can build any site in a sandbox…all for free.
Once you’ve completed the build and are ready to launch, Pantheon lets you transfer the billing to the client. The client will make the payment and continue to pay for Pantheon, allowing you the luxury of not having to bill your client for hosting while still being able to manage their hosting environment.
WordPress Workflow Best Practices with Version Control Built-In
The best way to build and maintain a WordPress site is to use development, staging/testing, and live environments. This way, you don’t accidentally crash your live site or allow visitors to view your site in progress.
But managing all three environments can be a hassle.
Pantheon has you covered here. Built in to their dashboard are all three environments ready to go.
To sweeten the deal, they give you built-in version control. This way, you can track all changes that are made to your site’s files. On the higher plans, you can even branch work and have multiple developers working on different things, and then merge the changes together.
Moving files or databases between each of the environments is simple as well, with one click copying.
One-Click Installs From Scratch or Copy Existing Sites
Pantheon makes the install process simple with one-click installs. But that’s nothing new. Almost every host offers that.
But, Pantheon also lets you do an install by copying an existing site. This way, if you have specific themes or plugins you use on all of your WordPress builds, you can copy the setup from a previous install, rather than having to reinstall everything from scratch.
Who Should Use Pantheon…And Who Shouldn’t
There are so many managed WordPress hosting companies now available, it’s hard to say there is one that is the best.
Instead, it should be about which is best for your particular needs.
Pantheon’s website management platform is built specifically for agencies and experienced developers. Those who need to work in a specific workflow and require version control. Or who will have multiple client websites and want to have the client pay for hosting directly.
But Pantheon is not the best option for beginners or those who don’t have advanced development skills. Because Pantheon offers such advanced tools, they will likely get lost and frustrated using the Pantheon dashboard. For people like this, I would instead recommend a managed WordPress hosting company like WPEngine, which has just as much power but is simpler to use.
My Final Thoughts
I absolutely love Pantheon.
When I played around with it, I found the whole workflow process incredibly easy. It allowed me to spend more time on development rather than managing my workflow.
As I do more client work, I may begin moving some of my clients to Pantheon so I can more easily manage their sites.
The only thing I wish Pantheon would offer is SSL support for their basic plan.
Otherwise, Pantheon is great!