As a noted brand in the world of WordPress hosting, Synthesis (or WebSynthesis) was originally established by the creators of StudioPress themes and Copyblogger media in 2010 in the US. One big difference between Synthesis and other WordPress hosts is that webmasters can get content development guidance, on-page optimization advice, plus the so-called “Site-Score Technology” there.
However, it still lags behind many big names like InMotion and HostGator especially in customer service and refund policy aspects. To have a comprehensive understanding of this company, this Synthesis review will cover both the highlights and drawbacks as below. Now, let’s start with editorial ratings and customers’ reviews.
What Have Their Clients Said?
Based on the customers’ testimonials published on the homepage of Synthesis, a majority of users are satisfied with the offered service. To name a few, some clients reflect that the migration process is smooth and painless, making them 100% focused on their businesses. However, this may not be a convincing indicator, and according to our survey, this company charges a fixed fee of $99 for WordPress migrations.
How About the Mostly-Concerned Pricing & Technical Specs?
Synthesis managed WordPress hosting consists of four plans, ranging from Standard option to Enterprise package, through to the Professional and Advanced solutions, and custom hosting packages for those wanting something more precise. As for the technical specifications,
- Standard – allows for 1 domain (or WP Install), along with 1GB memory, 20GB disk space, 2TB monthly bandwidth as well as 10GB backup storage. This equals to 10,000 daily views, and its hosting fee is $47/mo.
- Professional – includes more than 2 domains, 2GB memory, 40GB total storage, 20GB backup storage and 3TB monthly bandwidth as well. The supported daily traffic is up to 20,000, and visitors should pay $97/mo for buying it.
- Advanced – hosts more than 5 domains with 4GB of memory that includes 80GB disk storage, 4TB monthly bandwidth and 40GB backup storage. The plan supports up to 85,000 daily page views, costing $147 each month.
- Enterprise – offers at least 5 domains and up to 8GB memory, 160GB total storage, 80GB backup storage, 6TB monthly bandwidth as well as 300,000 daily views. Note that, even this highest priced plan (costs 300 bucks per month) doesn’t support multisite WordPress installs.
The Highlights of Synthesis Hosting
#1: Enhanced Site Security
As security is of utmost importance for any site, Synthesis offers locked-down configurations that protect users’ websites without affecting any publishing activity. The DOS/DDOS protection is also enabled on each package to prevent some jerks from using common attacks to damage website uptime and popularity.
Meanwhile, their exclusive “Synthesis Security” software always works proactively to block hack attempts without compromising with site performance. The hosting provider also claims smart-pattern protection and promises to stop cross-scripting attacks and brute-force logins. However, the .htaccess file is not allowed, which means users will have to contact this company whenever they want to make customizations with rewrites.
#2: Site Senor Uptime Monitoring
Each hosting plan with Synthesis comes with “Site Sensor” that will offer the standard uptime checks as a website monitoring service does. To be exact, this type of monitoring checks both downtime and uptime of websites, and in the meantime, keeps content publishers on top of important maintenances and updates.
Besides, Synthesis clients can enjoy many other checks, such as WP update check for WordPress code, SMTP server check for email uptime and privacy check for users’ search engines, etc. If something goes wrong, they will be notified by text message, APP, email or automated phone call. Though this company doesn’t have any uptime guarantee rate, the testing result conducted through the UptimeRobot.com is pretty encouraging.
#3: Marketing Tools to Increase Revenue
Since June of 2003, Synthesis has added a content optimization and marketing plugin named “Scribe Content Marketing Software” to every hosting account. This tool can be installed in every WordPress blog and allows users to look for profitable keywords and optimize the content for better SEO rankings. A standalone version of this tool costs $97/mo, but it’s freely offered in all Synthesis plans.
#4: A Choice of CDN Providers & Backup Facilities
To meet customers’ business and performance objectives, Synthesis now goes into partnership with many famous CDN providers, including Amazon S3, MaxCDN, EdgeCast, Amazon Cloudfont and NetDNA. In the further, free daily backups are available for each of their clients, and the “Personal S3 Backups” takes disaster recovery to a new higher level.
The Drawbacks of Synthesis Hosting
#1: Not Ethical Refund Policy
According to the “Terms of Service”, any Synthesis users cancel their accounts via the “Cancel” link within the first 30 days of purchase can receive a full refund. This looks reasonable unless we don’t look at following conditions:
- No refunds will be claimed after the first 30 days, and Synthesis doesn’t provide any pro-rata refunds for those canceled accounts.
- Once one account is canceled, this company would deactivate the account and site promptly, and all related files will be also deleted.
- If the initial refund period expires, Copyblogger Media will continue to charge users on monthly/quarterly basis unless they cancel their accounts via the mentioned “Cancel” link located at the account panel. Payment is always made on either monthly or quarterly basis, and users will be notified via the provided email address.
#2: Unsatisfying Page Loading Speed
Synthesis pays a lot of attention to speed by providing “Fragment Caching” and “Genesis Framework” powered themes. The use of W3 Total Cache (also W3TC) – one of the best WordPress cache plugins – also greatly improves user experience and boost server performance.
After a number of page-speed testing using tools like Pingdom and Y-Slow, we’re disappointed to find Synthesis just deceives most webmasters with empty words. There are many complaints about “Synthesis Slowness” within online forums,, and the following chart will also give an idea of how slow Synthesis is.
#3: No Telephone & Live Chat Support
As noted earlier, Synthesis provides fully managed WordPress hosting and takes full responsibility for the optimization and management for Linux, PHP, Apache and MySQL database. Plus, they promise to answer customers’ queries through the exclusive “Helpdesk”, and the FAQs section contains a wealth of suggestions and tutorials for WordPress hosting or other Copyblogger products.
Perhaps the Achilles’ heel of Synthesis is the absence of telephone and chat support, and this definitely causes inconvenience for cases that need to be handled in a timely fashion. InMotion customer team is 24×7 available through phone call, live chat as well as help desk portal. The active Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages also let webmasters stay in touch with InMotion.
Apart from that, there are some aspects that should be paid special attention, including:
- Synthesis only works best with Genesis framework, and users will have to contact this company before starting a plan with a third-party theme. Thesis 2.0 or its newer versions won’t perform properly on their web servers.
- This company disallows plugins and they will require customers to remove plugins that may cause performance issues. For example, the WordPress Firewall 2 and Broken Link Checker plugins are not permitted on their sites.
- BuddyPress installations are still subject to approval, and the Beta Page Speed Service of Google is not supported currently.
Final Thoughts – Synthesis Hosting Is Not Recommended!
Synthesis is indeed a great WordPress theme company that offers a set of marketing tools, consolidated security and uptime monitoring systems. However, it’s still not a recommendable option for those wishing a risk-free, high-performance and helpful WordPress host at an affordable price. There are top three companies that are unbeatable in every aspect of WordPress hosting.