Fatcow Web Hosting Review
Best For Beginners
FatCow first began webhosting in 1998. The name, as well as their “one plan, one price,” approach was meant to set them apart from competitors. Instead of using a bunch of techno-jargon, they use the icon of a cow to help distinguish themselves from all the other providers.
While some hosting companies have branched out, offering other services, FatCow continues to operate as a webhosting company only. During our FatCow review, we found they offer shared, dedicated, VPS and WordPress services. You can also look for other web hosting reviews on our main page.
For shared hosting, you have the original FatCow plan. This simple package comes as a one-size-fits all option. It features an online store and selling tools for small businesses, point and click site building tool, and email. All of this is for the low price of $49 per year. Which applies for the first year of service, after which, the renewal rate is $131.88 for 12 months, $239.76 for 24 months, or $323.64 for 36 months. After the initial term, you can choose to go month-to-month for $10.99 each month.
For businesses interested in dedicated hosting, there are two tiers to choose from. Packages and prices are:
- Startup: two cores, 4GB of RAM, 500GB storage, and 5TB bandwidth for $119.99 a month.
- Professional: four cores, 8GB RAM, 1000GB storage, and 10TB bandwidth for $151.99 per month.
Thriving businesses that have high-traffic volume can take advantage of the enterprise service. This also has four cores, with 16GB RAM, 1000GB storage, and 15TB bandwidth for $191.99 per month. As with the shared platform, these prices are for the first term only, after which the price rises 20%.
Because having virtual space is just as popular as having dedicated servers, FatCow offers Virtual Private Servers. This option offers no excess usage bill, customizable configurations, and instant deployment. Plans and prices are:
- Basic: one core, 1GB of RAM, 40GB storage, and 1TB bandwidth for $19.99 per month.
- Business: two cores, 4GB RAM, 90GB storage, and 3TB bandwidth for $47.99 per month.
- Optimum: four cores, 8GB RAM, 120GB storage, and 4TB bandwidth for $79.99 a month.
Finally, while all platforms can host WordPress, people want something a little more powerful for their blog. That is why FatCow offers a specific platform for just WordPress hosters. They have two plans that allows users to create a core hosting plan, customized control panel, pre-installed themes and plugins.
The WP Essentials package has super speed, enhanced security, and WP experts support. Starter plans are $3.75 a month, while the essential plan is $6.50 per month. Both come with free domain registration as well.
Comparison dozens of web hosting services FatCow offers one of the cheapest priced plans available to web masters.
When you purchase a package from FatCow, the account is setup and accessible within minutes. This means a user can go in and start working on a website, getting plugins and applications ready to go, and even get your email accounts going the very same day.
However, it does take 24 to 48 hours for the domain to become available, as it takes that long for the DNS servers to update worldwide. You may find your domain ready to go in less than a day, they simply ask that you give it at least two days before putting in a helpdesk request.
As far as usability, it is fairly straight forward and simple. The account control panel allows you to make adjustments to your service with just a few clicks of a button. WordPress, for those who prefer to use this application, is installed within minutes and ready to use.
These accounts do come with a point and click website builder, making it easy for anyone to create stunning pages. However, if you prefer to code yourself, there is an option to upload pages and direct your website using FTP. If you are transferring your domain and site information from another host, FatCow will assist with the process, for an additional fee of $75.
FatCow’s original plan comes with many features that will appeal to users. In addition to having a special introductory rate of only $9 for the first year, it also comes with free setup and domain name registration for the first year. Users get website builder, which allow you to simply point and click to create a new site. You also get web analytic tools to monitor visitor flow. For those who would prefer to create their site with HTML/XML, instead of What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG), there is FTP access.
Other features include unlimited POP mailboxes, with a webmail client, spam filtering, and newsletter manager tool. Also included is PHP4 and 5 support, CGI directories, Python, Script Library, and unlimited MySQL Databases.
Customers also get unlimited domain pointing, automated domain renewal, register transfer, and unlimited sub-domains. Small businesses get ShopSite Online store, and the ability to accept Credit Cards and PayPal as well as PowerPay. They also get a shared SSL. In addition, all shared accounts get $100 Google AdWords bonus, $50 credit for Yahoo!, Bing, and Facebook. Businesses can list on yellowpages.com for free.
Consumers also get a variety of easy to install apps to enhance their websites. WordPress is available as a single click install. Also GBook, Joomla, poll, survey, counter tools, and phpbb are available. Users interested in Gallery2 can also install it.
FatCow does have a good record for website uptime. While conducting our FatCow review we found that they have a 99.98 percent uptime. Since September 13, 2005 (over 3,300 days) there has been a total of 24 outages. The downtime lasted a combined total of 644 minutes or roughly 10.73 hours.
As for the FatCow website’s speed, we had a hard time finding recent figures. However we did find that Hostpeek.com performed several tests from July 2009 to May 2010 in which they clocked the download speed for this host. By their last test in May, the average speed was 252.65KB/sec. This was not the best results they received during that 10 month period.
One of our own websites hosted on Fatcow loaded in 1.46 seconds. This site has not been optimized for speed. So the results are pretty neutral. Overall, this website was faster than 81% of all tested websites on Pingdom.com.
At one point, speeds topped at 305.03KB/second on average, while the worst was in January 2010 when the site only tested at 94.69KB/second. If the speeds are similar today, it puts FatCow as not the slowest host out there for download speeds, but certainly not the fastest. They are firmly in the middle.
As far as upload speeds, we couldn’t find any data. However, based on the download speeds, it can be deduced that uploading content is middle of the road, speed wise, when compared to other hosting companies.
Like all hosting companies, FatCow does ensure that their servers have the latest security patches and updates to their software. This is the most frequent reason for any downtime users may encounter. They also offer a list of ways that you can help to ensure your website and domain are safe from intruders.
As with all hosting companies, FatCow suggests you keep passwords complex enough to not be easily guessed, but simple enough so you can remember them. They also suggest changing passwords from time to time to prevent hackers. They also suggest any plugins, applications, or other software you display on a website have the latest patches and updates as well. If you use the Joomla or WordPress applications, it is up to you to ensure that they are updated regularly.
In addition, they do offer SiteLock for their customers. This is a multi-layered security application that protects websites by performing numerous scans, including malware and email vulnerabilities among other problems.
There is an additional fee to use this service. You can add it to your account for roughly $15 a year. You can purchase the application separately by going to SiteLock’s website, however, it will cost considerably more; as FatCow has a contract with the company to offer this feature at a reduced rate as part of their service package.
While doing our FatCow review, we did take a moment to speak with customer service. We used the live chat option to gain answers about security, transferring of domain information, and setup time.
When we first contacted support, we were met with the message that all operators were busy, but that we would be answered in the order we were received. After about a five minute wait, our support person came on the screen. We found this person to be polite and knowledgeable. There was a short delay between each answer, however that could be due to typing speed or the tech could have been answering multiple chats at the same time.
While waiting, we did visit the knowledge base to see if our questions could be answered in this manner. There are some good documents there that will explain how to transfer information, how to place the account in someone else’s name, change payment options (as this is one of the few hosts that will allow you to pay by check or money order), and even how to set up email. However, these documents are not geared towards new customers, but to existing customers who would be in further need of assistance.
Users also have the option of opening a support ticket, which is answered in 24 hours, or call a technician with questions using one of their two toll-free numbers.
We know that finding the best web hosting company is no easy task. Overall, FatCow does seem like a good option for those who want a simple website to get started with. It is easy to use and setup, and will allow the use of WordPress on any platform. You can blog, run a small business or just have a website dedicated to whatever you want to dedicate it to.
As far as price goes, they are offering one of the best deals around. You can currently get a year of service for around $50. However, you do have to pay for the whole year upfront and it is only good for the first year of service. The regular price almost triples the following year, which you do have to pay for upfront as well. You can switch to month-to-month service if you desire, after the first year, making them one of the few month-to-month no contract providers.
One difference that may appeal to some users is the ability to pay via check or money order. Not many providers will allow you to mail-in a payment, preferring to have a credit card on file. However, after that first year of service, you can mail-in your payments if you prefer.
The company does have a great uptime record and their speed is average when compared to other companies. It could be a good starter package for someone who isn’t sure about creating and maintaining a website.