Eco-friendly is a phrase that is fairly frivolously tossed around these days, and maybe it's for a good reason. Our planet needs us to set aside our differences and focus on sustainability and long-term energy efficient solutions to solve our problems. One company that is taking on the challenge of environmental sustainability is Eco Web Hosting. The United Kingdom based hosting provider has been around for over 10 years now, after being founded in 2007.
Eco Web Hosting operates a server base in the East Midlands, with all shared servers operating on Solid State Drive (SSD) infrastructure. The aim of the company is to provide affordable and high-performance hosting whilst also taking care of the environment. So, let's see if they succeed in this, our Eco Web Hosting review.
Eco Web Hosting Services
The offerings from Eco Web Hosting are fairly standard. Take a look:
- Shared Web Hosting
- Dedicated Server Hosting
- Domain Services
The main area of focus, when looking at their home page, is clearly the Shared Web Hosting package. So in this review, that's the one we'll be taking a good look at!
Eco Web Hosting claim, on their homepage even, that they are 'Up to 48x Faster than other UK hosts'. A bold claim! Using state of the art SSD storage on their autoscaling cloud hosting platform, Eco Web Hosting definitely have the hardware to back this up. But hardware is not the only thing to consider, as we've seen other hosting providers with SSD servers seriously lag behind the competition in terms of performance. So, obviously, things are a little more complex!
What’s Included In The Eco Web Hosting Packages?
4 packages to take a look at! From first looks, the basics are shown. The number of websites allowed, how much disk space and bandwidth, etc. It's not until you click on 'learn more' that you find out what kinds of features and additions make each plan special.
There we go! The first thing that springs to mind here is: 'is that it?', but I suppose we should never judge a book by its cover!
Let's take a look at these 4 plans in some more detail:
|Disk Space Limit||5GB||10GB||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|How Many Domains Allowed||1||3||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|SSD Or HDD||SSD||SSD||SSD||SSD|
|Email Accounts||Unlimited 10GB Mailbox||Unlimited 10GB Mailbox||Unlimited 10GB Mailbox||Unlimited 10GB Mailbox|
|FTP Accounts||1 Account - Unlimited Logins||1 Account - Unlimited Logins||1 Account - Unlimited Logins||1 Account - Unlimited Logins|
|Website Builder||SuperSite Builder||SuperSite Builder||SuperSite Builder||SuperSite Builder|
|Assisted Website Transfer||Free||Free||Free||Free|
|Money Back Guarantee||45 Days||45 Days||45 Days||45 Days|
|Customer Support||Live Chat, Tickets, Phone, Knowledgebase||Live Chat, Tickets, Phone, Knowledgebase||Live Chat, Tickets, Phone, Knowledgebase||Live Chat, Tickets, Phone, Knowledgebase|
|Choice Of Server Location||No - UK Only||No - UK Only||No - UK Only||No - UK Only|
|Free Automated Backups||Daily||Daily||Daily||Daily|
Each plan is identical in all ways but 3. Those being:
- Disk Space Allowance
- Number Of Domains
This is a nice way to separate the plans, as it shows a real distinction between each one!
Now we've looked at the plans, we should take a brief overview of the pricing!
Starting at just £2.99 per month, Eco Web Hosting can certainly boast some good prices for their most basic plan. However, things scale upwards fairly quickly! If you want unlimited Bandwidth and Disk Space, you'll have to fork out £9.99 per month.
Compare this to another eco-friendly hosting provider like GreenGeeks, who offer unlimited Bandwidth and Disk Space for just £2.80 per month, and it's looking difficult to recommend Eco Web Hosting for those who need unlimited everything! Unless, of course, the performance beats out the competition. We'll find that out later on!
Eco Web Hosting has a super simple and streamlined purchase process. You have two choices for each plan. Monthly, or annually. That's it. None of this hassle of 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, etc. Clear and concise. Just how it should be!
Here are the prices you'll pay in the cart for each plan:
|Payment Period / Plan||Starter||Standard||Advanced||Reseller|
You'll obviously save money by purchasing the annual plans, and that's true for all of these packages. But how much exactly will you save? I'll show you.
- Starter: 12 months paid monthly = £35.88. Paying annually will save you £5.89
- Standard: 12 months paid monthly = £59.88. Paying annually will save you £9.89
- Advanced: 12 months paid monthly = £119.88. Paying annually will save you £19.89
- Reseller: 12 months paid monthly = £239.88. Paying annually will save you £39.89
So, there you have it! Paying long term saves you up to nearly £40! Only you can decide if it's worth the saving or not!
June 2018 update: Eco Web Hosting is on a big sale right now. If you go ahead and sign up for any plan you will get the first month for just £0.99! After that, the hosting prices will go back to £2.99, £4.99 £9.99 £19.99 respectively.
Each plan is packed with some really great features. We're talking SSD's, free daily backups, SSL included and more. This is really quite fantastic, as many hosting providers will make it so that their cheapest plan is almost unusable unless you have the most basic of sites. Eco Web Hosting doesn't skimp on features for their cheapest £2.99 Starter plan!
This leads me nicely to another point. Clarity. Clarity is something that we sometimes (Often) struggle to find with some hosting providers. At Eco Web Hosting, however, it's true to its namesake. You want to know the difference between the Starter plan and the Standard one? Storage - Bandwidth - Domains. That's it. And Eco Web Hosting show you that, too. On their site, there is a great comparison page showing exactly the differences between the plans:
Ease Of Use
Ease of use isn't something that's entirely straight-forward. It can encompass many things and each reviewer or user is going to find ease of use very relative to their own experiences. For example; I may see a messy control panel and decide it's a pain to use and therefore the ease of use for me would be really low.
But, you may see that same control panel and have different expectations, or just have different priorities, and decide that it isn't a big deal at all. Like I said, it's all relative.
Either way, let's take a look at how I found Eco Web Hosting when it comes to ease of use.
Solid! Very, very solid. Of course, there are a few kinks just like in almost every hosting provider. On the whole, though, Eco Web Hosting do a really good job. Take a look at the control panel, for instance:
Yes, it's not cPanel, and usually, that would be a big downside. There's 1 hosting provider that doesn't use cPanel but still scores well, and that's our number 1 host: Hostinger. Well, Hostinger, it seems you aren't the only one that can make a good custom panel!
Eco Web Hosting does a really nice job here. Everything is clean, flat and modern. Not to mention it's very easy to see what things are. Subdomains are called subdomains. FTP accounts are called FTP accounts, not something vague like 'WebSpace Explorer'. This keeps the customer informed, and allows you, the user, to know exactly what you are doing, all of the time. Good stuff!
Even the dashboard itself is incredibly intuitive:
See? There are your domains, you can add what you want, manage what you need, and see all of your support options, account details and invoice all in one side panel. Not to mention, the courses available to purchase, too!
Eco Web Hosting Customer Service
Customer service. Is it the be-all-and-end-all of a company, nay, a hosting provider? Well, yes and no. It certainly can make an otherwise great experience feel tiresome or strained, but it also can lift a modest provider into a higher score. Let's find out how seriously Eco Web Hosting takes customer service.
Eco Web Hosting offers the following option in regards to support:
- Support Tickets
- Telephone Support (Sales Only)
- Postal Support
- Live Chat
Plenty of options! We tested all but one - the post! Since we aren't based in the UK, this one would be costly and time-consuming. There is a good reason that Eco Web Hosting offers postal support, though. The UK uses the postal service. A lot. And plenty of customers will still trust an official letter over an email!
When you finish your sign-up, you'll be greeted with this:
Quick and handy helpsheets with titles like Getting Started - Email - Cute FTP - Smart FTP. It seems these are exactly what Eco Web Hosting call them - Helpsheets. They aren't incredibly detailed, and they certainly aren't a troubleshooting guide. They are, however, valuable pieces of information for new users!
For the more detailed things, Eco Web Hosting has an extensive knowledgebase:
In this screenshot, you only see 10% of the articles available. And guess what? They are actually good! Quite a few hosting providers are offering these knowledgebases nowadays, but not all of them offer this much information! This is a really smart move from Eco Web Hosting.
They know, that if 90% of the issues customers face are easily resolvable through some guides, then they will have to spend less on customer service agents, and make the customer feel better too, as they can fix things on their own.
Email Ticket Support
Ticket support is usually reserved for real technical issues that need investigation by technicians. Not always, though. Take a look below, you can see that in the Priority selection, there are 4 options:
- I've got a general question or enquiry (P4 - Low Priority)
- I can't figure something out and I need some help (P3 - Standard Priority)
- Something is broken but my service is operational (P2 - High Priority)
- My service is down (P1 - Critical)
I chose the P3 option, as I felt that described the issue I was having best. Okay, I knew exactly where to set up redirects, since the control panel is so clear and well designed. The purpose of this was testing the response time and accuracy of the answer. So, let's see how they did:
Well, they did pretty fantastically! In less than an hour, I had my answer. It was polite, professional and concise. Can't ask for more than that for a priority 3 ticket!
Live chat support should be something that is constantly available for a quick fix to a minor issue or simply to answer some questions. With Eco Web Hosting, however, it doesn't seem to be that way. The live chat is only available for members that have an account, and even then it seems to just be available whenever it wants. For instance, I'm writing this at 7:30 am GMT and there is no live chat available. Other times I've connected at midnight. It seems to be hit or miss.
With that said, when the chat does connect, it's always very good. Support agents are professional and polite, and respond really quickly!
Like I mentioned above, the telephone support is only for pre-sales. You can't get technical support this way. So I called Eco Web Hosting and asked about the differences in the plans. The call connected quickly and the agent knew what he was talking about. Very solid, that's how I'd describe Eco Web Hosting's phone support.
In this section of the Eco Web Hosting review, we will be taking a detailed look at a very important part of any hosting provider: Performance. Here's what we'll be looking at:
- Host’s speed during low upkeep
- Host’s speed with a website created using SuperSite website builder
- Server’s overall uptime
The tests will get constant updates – the speeds are changing, the servers get upgraded and we can only expect the results of every host to fluctuate as the time goes by.
Also, I feel like this must be made clear – the tools are rarely completely correct. The BitCatcha and Uptime Robot tools that we use also have their own access points. It is only expected for the results to slightly depend on them as well. The results you’ll see down below, however, are perfect to compare with the other hosts we’ve done. After all, all of those tests use the same software.
Host Speed During Low Upkeep
HTML websites are simple. They do not strain the server and are expected to be the fastest pages you could ever host. Such is the test website I made – it took up just around 20 lines of code. Let's find out how Eco Web Hosting handled it:
Not too bad! It's clear that the best results come from London, which makes sense since the servers for Eco Web Hosting are located in the UK.
Host Speed During High Upkeep
Now, it’s time to see just how good the Eco Web Hosting server optimization is. I used SuperSite – the included website builder from Eco Web Hosting, and came up with something way more clunky than a small HTML website.
Side note: The website builder itself is nothing special. It feels really similar to SitePad, which other hosting providers often bundle in their packages. It's decent enough for basic sites, though.
Let's see how Eco Web Hosting performs here:
Not bad, not great, either. A score of C+ is perfectly acceptable, as despite the Sydney and Bangalore servers everything else clocks in under 400ms. Excluding Japan and you've got 5 servers hitting under 200ms, too. Good stuff. But now, onto the really interesting bit.
Server Overall Uptime
A basic WordPress website was set up. A website tracker was checking its performance once every minute – by doing so, we can now see the host’s overall availability. Both in downtimes and in the fluctuating response times. Here’s how it went through several weeks of testing:
Really good. Anything under 300ms is considered very fast, and that's what we see here. Not only is the speed good, but the uptime has been consistently 100%. This is really fantastic and is certainly helped by the use of SSDs.
Eco Web Hosting Review – Conclusion
Where to start when attempting to sum up Eco Web Hosting. A relative unknown offering low prices and bragging about great performance? Usually, these things are too good to be true. However, this time it is true!
Eco Web Hosting not only provide amazing performance, but their support is great, their feature list is packed well, and their cheap plans truly are cheap!
There are some downsides, of course. If you need unlimited bandwidth and storage you will have to pay almost £10 per month, and the live chat support could be available far more often than it is.
With all that said, I can honestly say I would recommend Eco Web Hosting to anyone looking to do their bit for the environment whilst not skimping on performance or having to pay a fortune.
In a head to head with GreenGeeks, Eco Web Hosting loses out due to the slightly more expensive pricing and the inability to choose your server location.
Still, if you need a new host and you love our planet, you can't go wrong with Eco Web Hosting!
- Eco Friendly
- Great Performance
- Unlimited plan is pricey
- No choice of server location