TL; DR: Servebolt, based in Norway, is taking cloud hosting to the next level with a managed solution that’s lightweight, fast, secure, and scalable. When onboarding clients, the company works to identify and remedy all infrastructure problems through a transparent and consultative approach. The company’s latest addition, Accelerated Domains, is a nonintrusive service that helps users unleash their site’s full performance potential while helping with environmental sustainability.
If you’ve researched or purchased web hosting before, you likely understand that most of the industry revolves around three server options — shared, dedicated, and virtual (cloud). For anyone who needs a refresher, we’ve explored each of the types and their use cases in depth here at HostingAdvice.
Now, one hosting company is challenging the status quo with an innovative option referred to as the Bolt™️. The concept, designed by the folks at Servebolt, aims to combine the most desirable characteristics from shared, dedicated, and virtual servers while eliminating the common pain points of each.
“A Bolt is not shared or dedicated hosting, but it has elements of both,” said Remkus de Vries, Head of Partner and Customer Relationships at Servebolt. “It’s not a VPS, but it has elements of a VPS. A Bolt is more like a collection of site’s staging, development, and production environments on a server in Servebolt Cloud.”
Each Bolt defines the capabilities, settings, and storage available in each environment and is secured by daily backups. Besides websites, Bolts contain lightning-fast databases, built-in support for Git, SSH, and SFTP, plus command-line tools for WordPress and Magento. Unlike traditional hosting environments, administrators can manage all Bolts through the web interface of Servebolt’s admin panel.
Bolts are more scalable with this off-server administration model because management tasks no longer demand each server’s resources. All environments have separate access credentials and can be configured separately. Best yet, all Bolts come with unlimited RAM and CPU.
Beginnings as Raske Sider, a Norweigen Hosting Company
Servebolt was initially launched in 2014 as Raske Sider — which translates to Fast Pages in Norwegian. The founders, Hans Kristian Rosbach and Erlend Eide, initially focused on providing performance-centric hosting to Norwegian customers.
“The founders started something that worked for clients in dire need of really fast hosting,” Remkus told us.
The company’s passion for performance continued when it rebranded as Servebolt to attract English-speaking customers across the European market. By 2017, the company had expanded again, this time to serve an international audience.
“Our growth has been steady, and I think it’s fair to say that our success is based on what our core product does,” Remkus, who joined the company in February 2020, said. “Everyone in the hosting business says they are the best, fastest, and most scalable. But we have independent parties that confirm such statements.”
Review Signal, a site that rates web hosting companies based on elaborate, long-lasting performance and scalability tests, benchmarks WordPress hosting performance annually.
In 2020, Review Signal named Servebolt as a top performer in all of its competing pricing tiers. The company has received high ratings in previous years, as well.
“While we are happy being in the highest tier, we also see a lot of room for improvement — and that’s why we’re different,” Remkus said. “ Our research and development department is not your standard DevOps team. We go the extra mile, so to speak.”
An Optimized Stack Built From the Ground Up
All Servebolt hosting packages come fully managed so developers can focus on coding rather than server management. The team takes care of server updates, security upgrades, patches, hardware failures, and network outages.
“We not only configure our hardware in a precise way, but every single software layer is our own trimmed down, slimmed down, highly optimized version for maximum performance,” Remkus told us. “We have our own version of PHP, Apache, and Nginx. We have a fork of MariaDB that is fed back to MariaDB, so we’re actively contributing there as well.”
The company also maintains its own Linux distribution, Servebolt Linux, which is optimized for speed and maximum hardware utilization.
“Everything we introduce to our platform must meet strict criteria,” Remkus said. “It can’t add anything to the Time To First Byte (TTFB) and it also can’t suck up CPU power running as a ghost — we’re not about that. It’s a hardcore approach, but it’s gotten us to where we are — and our clients like where we are.”
Servebolt caters to professional organizations of all sizes looking to optimize any website’s performance, scalability, security, and sustainability.
“Everything we do revolves around those pillars,” Remkus said. “We see a lot of customers turning to us who have good traffic but are running into problems with web worker limits, peak limits, or things of that nature. Businesses often come to us after they can’t succeed with another host — we’re the end solution that essentially solves all their problems.”
A Transparent and Consultative Approach
Servebolt is equally as hands-on with its onboarding process, especially for more complex sites. The company’s service is remarkably transparent, which sometimes comes as a surprise to customers.
“It’s a funny thing — every now and then we’ll migrate a client over, and all of a sudden they get certain notices or failures and they’re like, ‘It’s faster and wonderful, but we see problems; what’s going on?’” Remkus said. “And that occurs because the previous host was hiding those problems.”
Remkus was a Servebolt customer before joining the staff, so he knows the perks of working with the company firsthand. In addition to offering a two to six times increase in performance, the company has no tolerance for system inefficiencies.
“If there’s a failure on your site somewhere, you don’t want us hiding it from you like some hosts do, because, essentially, that is an indicator that your performance is not where it should be,” he said. “If you’re using resources that you really shouldn’t be using, we can help you find out quickly and address the problem, so you have a better-performing site.”
Remkus told us he’s seen situations where Servebolt has taken page load speeds from four and a half seconds to 400 milliseconds. “That’s a crazy number for a dashboard with 50,000 products,” he said. “We see these cases regularly. It all comes down to offering the best software and hardware solutions.”
Introducing Accelerated Domains
In April, Servebolt introduced Accelerated Domains, a new service designed to improves the performance, scalability, and security of websites and online stores while reducing carbon footprint. The technology works like a proxy in front of a website, making automatic improvements using machine learning.
“We’ve been looking for a way to extend our competitive advantages in sustainability, security, and performance in the Servebolt Cloud all the way over the internet, to work as close to the web visitors as possible,” said Erlend Eide, CEO of Servebolt, in a recent press release. “Accelerated Domains is that solution.”
Because Servebolt built Accelerated Domains on a global anycast network spanning more than 180 nodes, the technology can handle close to 60 Tbps bandwidth — and therefore mitigate all DDoS attacks. The service processes all optimizations, such as core vitals improvements, at the edge and caches the results on the 180-plus nodes.