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Interserver vs Fat Cow

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INTERSERVER

InterServer has been hosting websites since 1999. The service itself comes as a refreshing surprise with regards to pricing packages being simple, affordable, and having a flat-fee with no "gotcha" pricing at renewal time. InterServer's online community forums, where they handle the majority of their support requests, seem relatively open, low-volume, and civil when compared to other hosting company support experiences. Online reviews of InterServer have many more positive things to say than negative on average.

There is a single pricing plan for standard web hosting at $5 per month which will give you unlimited storage, transfer, websites, and email as well as free SSL certificates. That's rather rare.

WordPress hosting is a bit more expensive but still very reasonable at $8 for unlimited storage, unlimited transfer, 1 website, unlimited email, and free SSL.

If you're into ASP.NET web hosting (a Microsoft application server and scripting technology), InterServer's $5 plan will give you unlimited storage, unlimited transfer, 20 websites, unlimited email, and an ASP + MSSQL setup. SSL is not available with the ASP.NET plan.

All pricing plans are the same whether you pay yearly or monthly, and there are no plans that require a multiple-year commitment.

The web hosting centers are all owned by InterServer rather than leased or co-located. InterServer builds and manages all of its own servers in-house rather than outsourcing it to third-party companies. They even build their own custom Linux kernels (the core of the operating system that runs on the servers). This is another refreshing change from larger hosting companies and puts InterServer in a good position to serve their customers' needs more directly and quickly.

InterServer's Support page is rather sparse, with only an alphabetical directory of topics and articles and no apparent way to contact another human being, unless you happen to scroll all the way to the contact link and phone number in the footer of the site. The support article directory list is somewhat technical, so you'll need to know what you're looking for in advance if you hope to gain by using it. Your better option for connecting with a person (outside of the support ticket link and phone number in the footer), or if you're unsure of what you're looking for, is to use the online community forum.

Their reputation seems to be stellar as well. One stockbroker customer's review stated that he uses their VPS service for trading, clocking in at around 2 milliseconds of response time, which is a great response time for such a low price. Another customer notes that support response time is about 15 minutes. When compared to other hosting companies reviewed, this is quite good.

Overall, InterServer leads the pack in web hosting companies. Their competitive pricing, top quality components, and service all combine to earn InterServer our highest rating.

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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 Interserver 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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