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1 & 1 vs Fat Cow

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1 & 1

1&1 is the web hosting company that has been around the longest (since 1988, before the Web, when it served other IT markets). They now mainly serve small businesses with 50 or fewer employees.

1&1's main features include:

  • all domain name purchase, registration, and transfer services
  • a website builder or an option for a custom website design created by a 1&1 expert or via pre-made template
  • Shared web hosting on Windows or Linux servers
  • Optimized, managed WordPress hosting
  • Managed cloud and dedicated server hosting for specialized projects
  • Email
  • eCommerce with an online store builder
  • Local marketing tools such as local listings, search engine marketing, search engine optimization, email marketing, and a tool for determining website readiness
  • Security tools, including SSL certificates, an SSL readiness checker, and Norton online shopping security tools

Between standard and WordPress hosting, there are six website hosting plans of varying complexity that are all priced in 3 basic tiers.

  • 12 months $0.99/month, then $7.99/month
  • 12 months $4.99/month, then $9.99/month
  • 12 months $8.99/month, then $14.99/month

None of these plans have setup fees, all are payable in advance, and there's a minimum contract term of 12 months. Each has a 12 month billing cycle and a 30 day money back guarantee. Also, each plan includes a free domain when you add it to your order at purchase, but free domains renew at the normal price after 12 months.

For reputation, 1&1 tends to be below average in the number of people who are likely to recommend it to others. This may be due mainly to their brand name not being as recognizable in popular culture, general word-of-mouth, and in mainstream advertising as are GoDaddy and other big name web hosting providers.

On review websites, there are numerous complaints of outdated server software, bad security practices, poor customer service, not being able to cancel service, bad domain registrar service, and people being charged for services they didn't order or use. However, on the consumer complaint sites reviewed, 1&1 is making an effort to reach out to people to resolve their issues.

1&1 claims to be the "safest of the safe" web hosting companies. They do offer SSL, DDoS protection, geo-redundant infrastructure, and secure data centers. However, the fact that they offer a separate security package (SiteLock) as a paid add-on demonstrates they are not fully committed to providing the best security for all customers at all times. A great hosting company will offer the best security for every site on its platform.

Security incidents reported by 1&1 customers include hackers using social engineering to trick 1&1 employees and even account owners into giving them access. Most of these types of incidents appear to be from 2011. In 2016, Symantec, the online security company, recognized 1&1 with its "Game Changer" award for global security leadership. So it is likely that 1&1 has improved its security practices since 2011. Still, complaints about bad security persist in online forums.

While all web hosts eventually experience some degree of down time, performance reviews (in terms of site availability) for 1&1 generally agree that the uptime is very close to 99.9%, as most web hosting services who want to stay in business generally will be. Performance as measured by page loading speed, according to one review, has been steadily improving over GoDaddy performance as measured through a period of 3 years.

For customer service options, 1&1 offers only email and phone support, not online chat support. However, you do have access to 24/7 phone and email support for both technical issues and billing problems.

One customer service review noted it took about 2 minutes to talk to a representative on the phone and 1 hour from when the account owner emailed 1&1 customer service until receiving a response. For both the phone and the email transaction, the first response was courteous and useful one. Everyone's experiences will vary based on the complexity of each individual customer service issue.

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FAT COW

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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Web Hosting

To help you find the Best Web Hosting, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of 1 & 1 and Fat Cow.

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.

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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