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Host Papa vs Fat Cow

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To help you find the Best Web Hosting, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Host Papa and Fat Cow.

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If you’re a business owner, a writer, or a hobbyist, sooner or later you’re going to want a website. To have a website, you’ll need a web hosting service. There are hundreds of web hosting companies available to host your site, but which one do you choose? And, how do you know what to look for?

The first step in choosing a web host is figuring out how much you want to spend per month in hosting costs. While some web hosts are nearly free when you sign up, there is often some fine print involved. Many web hosting companies will lure you in with cheap pricing at the outset, but then will raise the monthly subscription cost when you renew at the end of a month or a year.

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2018

Web Hosting Reviews

4.5 stars
Host Papa

HOST PAPA Visit Site

HostPapa, a private Canadian hosting company operating in 14 countries and hosting over 500,000 websites, has been in business since 2002. They, like FatCow, use renewable energy sources to power their server farms. HostPapa offers shared, VPS, and reseller hosting.

Price plans follow the usual introductory pricing scheme that most companies in the web hosting industry follow. But HostPapa makes an exception in not graduating its rates according to the term of service the customer selects. Instead of reducing the monthly cost as the term increases, the monthly cost remains flat.

  • $3.95 per month renewable at 12-, 24-, and 36-month increments at $9.99 per month. This plan will get you 2 websites, 2 GB of disk space, 100 email accounts, and the starter edition of the web builder tool.
  • $3.95 per month renewable at 12-, 24-, and 36-month increments at $14.99 per month. This plan will get you unlimited websites, disk space, email accounts, and the starter edition of the web builder tool plus faster speed, a free training session, and over $200 per year in free extras.
  • $12.95 per month renewable at 12-, 24-, and 36-month increments at $24.99 per month. This plan will get you unlimited websites, disk space, email accounts, and web builder tool use, plus faster speed, free training, and over $400 per year in free extras.

HostPapa offers a mobile-responsive website builder tool priced independently of its hosting plans, but includes it to varying degrees in the plans. Pricing for the website builder is not subject to renewal rates and is:

  • $2.99 per month for 3 pages and 120 design templates
  • $9.99 per month for unlimited pages
  • $19.99 per month for unlimited pages, 230+ design templates, CSS editing, one-click social media publishing, and mobile tap-to-call, Google Maps, and office hours.
  • $39.99 per month for everything in the $19.99/month plan plus e-commerce

Customer support includes searching the knowledgebase, video tutorials, live chat, a dashboard, support ticket info, and a network status tool. Security upsells can become quite expensive (between $29.99 and $479.99 per year) depending on the level of care your site needs. And extra web hosting, email, and domain services are also available a la carte.

Automatic website backups are available, but for a fee of between $35.88 and $249.95 billed annually depending on how much space your site needs for being backed up. Their backup pricing is the most expensive reviewed compared to FatCow's price of only $16.95 per year.

Out of all the hosts we've reviewed, HostPapa seems to have the most positive comments by customers using the service regularly. They're not unlike all the other hosts in the fact that there are several customers who have not had such positive experiences.

Some have complained about being ignored in email ticketing while their sites remained down for over a week. Another user complained that phones go unanswered and tickets and chat are the only way to get through to support.

Further complaints involved malware, spam from the company and other entities who seem to have bought customer email addresses from HostPapa, no support at all on Fridays and weekends, and rude customer service representatives.

Reliability of HostPapa sites is very good, with an overall availability of sites 99.94% of the year. However, performance measured by page loading speed was about 40% slower than the industry as a whole.

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3 stars
Fat Cow

FAT COW Visit Site

FatCow was founded in 1998. Since then they've made a speciality of low-cost hosting for individuals and small businesses. FatCow uses energy generated from wind to power their services. Their brand is quirky and even includes a "heifercratic oath" stating, among other things, that their mission is to provide "around-the-clock phone and online support, a satisfactory resolution to any issue that may arise, and - most importantly - a consistently positive, can-moo attitude."

Hosting plans at FatCow include "Original FatCow" static website hosting, WordPress, VPS, and dedicated servers. For static web hosting, which is essentially unlimited in everything except cloud storage, they have a sale price of $49 for the first year, renewable at a regular rate. The regular renewal rate prices are:

  • $12.95 a month (billed $466.20 for 3 years)
  • $13.95 a month (billed $334.80 for 2 years)
  • $14.95 a month (billed $179.40 for 1 year)
  • $14.95 a month (billed $44.85 for 3 months)
  • $14.95 a month (billed monthly)

There is a $15 non-refundable domain fee if you register a free domain with monthly service through FatCow and later cancel.

For WordPress, here's what you'll expect to pay for the introductory rate:

  • $3.75 per month for WP Starter. This includes the core hosting plan, customized control panel, pre-installed themes and plugins, and standard support.
  • $6.95 per month for WP Essential, which is everything in the WP Starter plan plus Super Speed, enhanced security, and support from WordPress experts.

When you renew the WordPress packages at FatCow for the WP Starter, you pay:

  • $8.49 a month (billed $203.76 for 2 years)
  • $9.49 a month (billed $113.88 for 12 months)
  • $10.49 a month (billed monthly)

Renewal for the WP Essential plan will set you back:

  • $15.95 a month (billed $574.20 for 3 years)
  • $16.95 a month (billed $406.80 for 2 years)
  • $17.95 a month (billed $215.40 for 12 months)
  • $17.95 a month (billed monthly)

FatCow's reputation, in terms of net positive reviews, is higher than other hosting companies. But because it has grown beyond its kitschy beginnings, and has been acquired by Endurance International Group (a company that tends to drag hosting company brands down when it buys them), customers are starting to see and complain about FatCow's focus away from an optimal support experience in a perceived pursuit of more profits.

Performance of FatCow's web hosting clocks in at about 99.90% uptime, which is lower than BlueHost. In terms of overall percentage, it's not too terrible, but it still leaves about 9 hours that an average website might be down in a 12-month time span.

FatCow also has some pretty slow page speed times. One reviewer measured average speed of an active account's web pages over 12 months and found it to be 1.2 milliseconds. That is far slower than many of the speedier hosts out there which tend to fall into the sub-millisecond range.

Support includes live chat, a support ticket form with email notifications, and a toll-free phone number. However, even with FatCow's higher satisfaction ratings, there are still a significant number of customers who aren't happy with the company. One complaint was with a $35 fee charged for cancellation after the 30-day moneyback guarantee period. In other words, if you go past the guarantee period, you can't just walk away and cut your losses. You must pay to leave the service.

Backing up your site isn't free, either. You can get daily backups of your site for $16.95 per year.

Other complaints were about far too many upsells when signing up for the service. New registrants are encouraged to watch the line items at checkout carefully to make sure to not buy more than is needed.

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Continued from above

Some web hosting companies will offer you a lower overall cost if you choose to pay up front for multiple years. While some web hosts will seem really expensive compared to other, that's because they're usually offering more value for your dollar in more advanced or innovative features their cheaper competitors aren't covering. Whether you choose a more expensive host will depend on whether those features improve convenience or lead to a better return on investment (ROI).

That leads us to the next decision to make: features. You'll want to decide which features you genuinely need versus which ones you don't really need at all. Aside from the core service of hosting the actual website will be offerings such as web design, do-it-yourself site theme implementation, domain registration, email, eCommerce tools and setup, online advertising to promote your website, website development tools, and search engine optimization (SEO) help. Some of these will be important to you and others will not be necessary.

Security and performance are considerations that often get overlooked in the drive to find the cheapest web hosting available. Cheaper cost to you means the web host is cutting corners somewhere in how they host your site. Often that means "shared hosting", which means your site is put on the same web server as hundreds of others. There are security and site speed implications to this that often are not in your best interests.

Reputation can also be a key factor - web hosts with bad reputations or "fly by night" business practices can hurt your business or position in search results.

Finally, you want to know how reliable and supportive each web host is from the perspective of its customers. How many people are complaining about hacked sites, slow page load times, poor support, and price hikes over time? There will be many, many complaints across all web hosting options, so you'll want to narrow the list of things that are important to you and focus primarily on those as you evaluate options.

Once you have an idea of which web host you want to subscribe to, shopping online will make it easier than ever to find it. To summarize, as you decide which web host should get your business, keep in mind these criteria:

  • Features. Which features does the web host offer and do you need all the features or just some of them?
  • Cost. How are the hosting costs structured? Will there be monthly subscription cost hikes after a certain period of time?
  • Reputation. What are people saying about the web host online? Is the web host going to shut down or change names soon, and are they engaging in shady practices that can hurt your brand?
  • Security. How many security incidents has the web hosting company experienced? Are there widespread complaints of site outages? If so, how quickly and to what extent were those issues addressed?
  • Performance. Are websites generally faster or slower on one web hosting service compared to its competitors? Does the web host offer plans that handle increasing numbers of visitors or sudden traffic spikes with more ease?
  • Customer Service. If you experience problems with your website, what are the contact options for getting support, and how responsive are they? Are support representatives courteous and helpful, or are they rude and condescending? How long does it take to fix problems?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best web hosting companies available today. We hope these reviews will help you find the right web host to make your website appealing, secure, and affordable!

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