2019 October 3rd
FastComet provides hosting services for small businesses and individuals. But more importantly, FastComet focuses on delivering five-star customer support from the moment you visit the company website.
But then you are choosing hosting, customer support is not the most important feature. A hosting provider must be fast, reliable, and offer good value for money.
Is it the case with FastCommet? We tested the provider ourselves so we can tell you all about it in our FastComet review!
What is FastComet?
FastComet is hosting provider offering shared, WordPress, Cloud VPS, and dedicated hosting services. It also offers domain names and SSL certificates for sale.
In the industry since 2010, FastComet started being known outside its home city of San Francisco only in 2014. Since then, FastComet did all it could to establish itself as an international superpower. Offices in Europe (Bulgaria) and data centers in different countries show just how high this company is really aiming.
Still relatively small, the host has a great reputation of focusing on customer service and superior performance. Caring for its clients and its websites, FastComet also expects for them to return the favor - it's one of the first companies I've encountered with a very strong and clear "zero tolerance" policy, openly condemning the hosting of child abusive, violent, racist or other harmful material.
FastComet sure does give off an impression of a very interesting, modern, up-and-coming hosting provider. It has huge goals and expectations.
So without any further ado, let's see how it went!
FastComet is a hosting provider aiming to offer an all-in-one solution for small businesses and individuals. For that, it is equipped to provide easy launch process, fast servers worldwide, and great customer support.
But apart from that, it's an all-in-one solution. You also get a free SSL certificate and a domain name with most of the plans.
FastComet appears to be taking a page out of all the world's best providers. Proactive 24/7 customer service and worldwide servers all come together to make this Californian host a very exciting option for different kinds of users. So - we bought FastComet shared web hosting services and started the testing.
Easy setup and fast website migration
FastComet has equipped its web hosting with tools for easy launch of the new websites and transfers for existing sites. So if you choose to host with FastComet, you'll get step by step instructions, 450 one-click installations, and 20+ frameworks and development tools.
And if you already own a website and want to switch hosts, FastComet will also help you with that. It promises you an expert team, who will migrate your site with no downtime. And fast.
Considering this, it appears that at least the beginning of your journey with FastComet should be smooth.
FastComet international data centers
FastComet has 9 data centers scattered in the US (Chicago, Dallas, Newark), Europe (Frankfurt, Amsterdam, London), Asia (Singapore and Tokyo), and Canada. This ensures that no matter your target audiences visit your website from, they get the fastest possible page performance.
The host says it has clients in over 80 countries. It should come as no surprise - with location options so widespread, it is more than ready to rival even the world's biggest hosts.
Many of them, mind you, don't even have servers outside of the US. For FastComet, going global is a great thing to do in an increasingly globalized world.
FastComet customer service
FastComet claims to provide the best customer support that includes 24/7 live chat, ticket, and phone support.
Also, if you're not up for a chat, there's an extensive knowledgebase. You'll find almost any question answered there alongside the step-by-step tutorials.
In order to test whether FastComet claims about its great customer support, we've tried reaching out with ourselves.
So in this part of FastComet review, you can see, how its support actually is.
Phone Service Evaluation
Well...If there ever was an awkward phone service experience, it's one right here. FastComet does say it provides phone support. And you can easily find the number in its support page.
Yet...Do you know what happened when we tried calling that number? This.
That is odd. Three full days of attempting to get a call - nothing. Naturally, it's not good. Several live chats I've fired up had agents reassuring us that everything fully works and there's probably a mistake. At the end of the year 2017, we were still unable to reach FastComet phone support team.
But everything's changed in 2018. "New year, new me"? Indeed. In January, I tried again. Ten seconds of dialing sound and I've been connected to an agent.
He was knowledgeable enough and knew a thing or two about the technical things that bothered me.
There was no menu to select, no custom elevator music to endure - it felt just like calling a friend who knows all about hosting. Simple and efficient. Yet I was still puzzled.
What happened in December? Why was the support "receiving calls" but I got told it's busy? Is it because the lines were so full I didn't manage to sneak in? If so, that's a poor showing. But I can only guess. What I can say for sure is that when it works, FastComet phone support is absolutely fine.
The months went by and I kept trying and investigating. And now, in late February 2018, I can come to a proper conclusion. At the end of 2017, I made a promise I'll keep nagging FastComet phone support to find out whether those weird few days in December were anything to judge it by.
FastComet passed this test in flying colors - not being "Busy" for any of the calls that I made. So while my experiences in December won't get deleted and replaced yet, I will offer FastComet some redemption. It takes a good company to address its problems.
UPDATE JULY 2019: It seems FastComet is still doing great and you can easily reach them on the phone.
Ticket Service Evaluation
FastComet claims to provide an average of 15 minutes wait time. So we sent a couple of requests during different times of the day to see whether that's close to the truth.
Ticket responses tend to be the slowest in the night/early morning (Pacific time). The times were still quite decent - 35 minutes or less.
In peak times (lunchtime, PST) the response times dropped to very respectable 10-20 minutes. In the tickets themselves, the representatives were proactive.
They did not send in dry answers - and followed my questions up with further inquiries, so they could help me better. Overall - I was quite impressed.
FastComet Live Chat Evaluation
In this part of the FastComet review, we took a look into quite possibly the most popular way of contacting customer support - live chats. FastComet was doing pretty great up until this point, and we are interested to see whether it does so with live chat service.
We evaluated the response times, knowledge of the agents and their overall performance.
Chat wait times are almost non-existent. All of the times we tried, we were always #1 in the queue. In that regard, it's perfect. FastComet appears to be very confident in having enough resources, as the chats are often prompted without us even starting them! Chances are, if you just go on and click the "Visit FastComet" link to your right, it won't take 2 minutes until you're having an open chat with someone.
Now, let's talk about the knowledge and the human factor of the agents. Things have been quite interesting here.
As we asked the support agent about how many auto-installer scripts does this host have, we haven't been given the answer clearly visible on their website. Instead, we've been told that everything will be installed for us - manually.
So basically, sometimes we didn't get the answers we needed. Instead - we've been offered something that was way above our expectations. A bit weird, isn't it? I'm not complaining though.
The oddities didn't stop there either.
While trying to collect information on the provider, we came across this case where the agent simply didn't have the information required. Instead of maybe asking for extra time and trying to find out the answer, Daniel seems to have played stupid. He said that the completely public information is 'confidential' and later attempted to save face.
Damn Daniel, back at it again with domain plans.
While a completely minor non-issue, this is a practice that can't continue. Clients' questions, even if weird or borderline stupid, have to be answered with a maximum level of respect. What we see here is not good - what if other clients now actually believe that the questions they have can't be answered? Not nice.
Some other issues have happened as well. A seemingly simple inquiry has pretty much left one of the chat representatives literally speechless.
Shame we can't show you the times but we started worrying about 15-20 minutes into Emma's "Just a moment" message. Later then, it took another 5-10 minutes to respond fully to our question. Although the first message times are incredible, it may take a while to get a full answer. It's growing increasingly clear that a lot of the chat representatives simply don't have the required knowledge to answer a lot of the questions and that either makes them play stupid or take a lot of extra time.
So, what can we say about FastComet customer support?
Despite the host being incredibly proactive and prompting chats at every opportunity possible, they can't always keep up with the demand. A case of Emma reflects badly not on her but on FastComet itself.
Phone support, or lack of it, is also a serious issue. But it was fixed afterwards - so at least that's been solved.
Overall though, I am happy FastComet is attempting to have great support. And to be quite fair, ticket support is absolutely great. Live chat, though, still needs a lot of improvement. Maybe the current problems are due to lack of business experience? If so, the only way is up.
FastComet has 3 shared hosting plans with the pricing starting at $2.95/mo for its StartSmart plan. ScaleRight costs $5.95/mo and you can upgrade up to SpeedUp plan for $9.95/mo.
Each plan will get you all essentials - free domain, daily backups, and an SSL certificate. The difference comes in storage space and other features:
- StartSmart for $2.95/mo gets you one-website hosting with 15GB of storage space. It's suited for 25,000 monthly visitors.
- ScaleRight for $5.95/mo is a multiple-website plan with 25GB of storage. It is suited for 50,000 monthly visitors.
- SpeedUp for $9.95/mo allows unlimited website hosting and provides 35GB of storage. It will suit websites with around 100,000 monthly visits.
As additional values, each plan includes Cloudflare caching, browser optimization, HTML optimization, etc.
To see which FastComet plan is best for your needs, you can compare them all in the table:
|Bandwidth||up to 25,000 visits||up to 50,000 visits||up to 100,000 visits|
|Customer Support||24/7 live chat, email, phone||24/7 live chat, email, phone||24/7 live chat, email, phone|
|Money-back guarantee||45 days||45 days||45 days|
The best part about the pricing is - you get a free domain for a lifetime. Not a year, not 10 - you get it for free for as long as you need it.
However, as you may know, the displayed prices are often only partially true. There are always little things where hosts try to get as much money as they acceptably can. FastComet is not an exception, unfortunately.
Once you reach the checkout section in the shopping cart, you'll see that the cheapest advertised pricing is only available with the longest billing period.
Another thing is, FastComet has quite a few upsells and it's just a little bit aggressive about it.
You'll see, that domain privacy is pre-selected. Of course, domain privacy is essential for some, but you might not need it. So why pay for it?
As you can see, you need to be careful with hosting providers so you don't pay for something you might not need.
Also, if you choose a monthly plan, there's a $19.95 setup fee. With other billing periods, you won't see that.
In the table below, we calculated the pricing for each plan according to the different billing periods so there are no surprises for you:
*The prices already have VAT included. Your experience may vary, depending on your locale.
But there one more thing.
FastComet pricing does not increase after the first billing period. So if you paid $95.40 for a yearly ScaleRight plan, it will renew at the same price. And that's a rare sight in the hosting industry - many providers tend to increase the renewal pricing.
FastComet Performance Evaluation
FastComet promises great performance and 99.9% uptime guarantee. This leaves them around 1 minute per day gap to do maintenance and fix unexpected issues. Apart from the great uptime, we also expect the response time to average at around 200ms.
In this part of FastComet review, we'll see if the Comet is actually Fast and reliable. To evaluate the performance of the host, we test 4 main things:
- Host speed hosting a small website
- Host speed hosting FastComet website builder-made site
- Server overall uptime and performance
- Anti-theft security measures
Performance of the host is one of the main things deciding if we can recommend it. However, many hosts' performance is constantly changing - some of them are improving all the time, and some of them are going downhill.
We try to keep up and update the results as often as possible. Therefore, you'll see only the most relevant results.
Host speed hosting a small website
Simple HTML websites require little to no resources. They put a minimal strain on the server they're in. Therefore, a simple HTML website should show the theoretical highest results possible. To see just how Fast the Comet really is, I uploaded this 20-line masterpiece.
FastComet was rated B+ for its server performance which is not an excellent result with only a few lines of code. However, the only thing that's dragging FastComet down is its Singapore servers averaging at 731ms - almost a second delay to page loading times!
Other locations are performing great - The US East Coast has 1ms response time!
Elsewhere, times hovered around the Google-recommended 200 ms mark.
Host speed hosting FastComet website builder-made site
FastComet uses a drag-and-drop HTML website builder. Basically, it is expected to be similar but way, way more clunky than the page we tested just previously. I've made a builder site, put loads of random information and let it out to the wild.
Borderline criminal speeds in the US East again.
However, some other locations have slowed down quite a bit - Singapore still shows the poor result, London slowed down a lot as well as Banglore.
What we can say from this? FastComet is still fast, but heavier websites tend to slow it down a bit.
Server overall uptime and performance
Live FastComet uptime: 99.95%
Live FastComet response time: 202ms
An uptime status tracking tool has been put on a basic WordPress website. Then, we tracked the server's every step - once a minute. This helps us to see the host's overall availability and peaks in performance.
The first week of testing, FastComet was really great. Speeds were very constant on the 300ms mark. Also, there have been no spikes in performance, the response time has never reached 2 seconds, and there were no downtimes, of course. Overall, everything was really quite impressive.
Fast forward a year and a different picture emerges.
Notice the sneaky upwards trend? Going from early 300s up to 400-500 ms, FastComet server our website is in appears to be getting slightly slower! That is not good, you don't need us to tell you that.
Now, in July 2019 we see quite a better picture. Looking at the live response and uptime trackers, we see a great 99.96% uptime, and speeds below the 200ms mark.
So it seems, FastComet is flying faster than ever!
Anti-theft security measures
As every other anti-theft system test on this website, this was conducted in two parts. In the beginning, we changed our IP, logged from a different browser and simulated a brute-force break-in. This meant guessing the password incorrectly 20 times in the row, as quickly as possible.
On our 21st attempt, we finally wrote the correct password in. Much to our surprise, we were allowed inside with no hassle.
Later we contacted FastComet - its representatives swore that there is a brute-force protection system applied to their website. Maybe we weren't quick enough - maybe the system is only meant to stop a script from guessing your password through numerous incorrect attempts?
That being said, if you made someone angry and they have a clue of what your password may be, it can be guessed without much resistance. Decent? Yes. Could still be better.
For the second part, we had to put on my secret agent garments and go on a mission. After changing our IP and browser again, we pretended to be the righteous owners of our hosting account. Our mission was to get the live chat to give us access to the client panel. That is, without offering any substantial evidence of being the owner. This is what they asked us to do:
A modern hosting provider, no doubt. This is the first host which has asked us to take a selfie!
Usually, the hosts ask for your ID (I sent mine via email!) - this one also asks for your picture holding an ID card. This is perhaps the best combination of speed and security. Personally, we thought it was pretty cool - and the whole process took no time at all. Overall, this could've gone much worse.
NOTE - keep your personal information safe! Use different passwords, consider using additional security software and whatever you do, don't take pictures of yourself holding an ID card unless you ABSOLUTELY have to.
FastComet Purchasing And User Interface
FastComet has a somewhat solid lineup of payment options. This means several credit card companies and PayPal - just about enough for an absolute majority of clients.
During the purchase, you can also select the server location.
The purchase process itself was quite fast but there were still some delays. Instead of simply allowing us in, FastComet has asked for further identification.
Funny enough, you actually have to verify yourself - instead of receiving a phone call, we popped into the chat and asked to be examined. After a few questions (where are you, what do you do, what is your mother's maiden name?) we only had the final trial waiting.
The same agent who has been chatting with us called us to the number we provided.
After a few questions, we bid each other goodbye. I sent a photo of my ID to the Sales email and the hosting account was all set up and ready. From start to finish, the whole process took around 20 minutes. Definitely not bad.
After that, we were able t0 login to the host's dashboard.
The FastComet dashboard is very plain and lacking a lot of information (the sidebar is pretty much all you get!).
However, this is not where the magic happens. After a couple of clicks, I found what I wanted - the link to cPanel. The classical look. cPanel with paper_lantern is a simple option, you can't possibly go wrong with this. FastComet played it safe and there's no reason not to.
Overall, FastComet is pretty decent from the user point of view - all thanks to the cPanel that makes managing your hosting intuitive and easy.
So, let's recap.
FastComet is simple to use - the panel is the easiest thing ever. The prices are definitely on the high side but you get plenty of features for it. The purchase process is only slightly frustrating but the whole "Fraud Check" process is as swift as it can be. However, while all of that has been great, I felt seriously let down by the very promising customer support department.
FastComet Review - the Verdict
FastComet is brimming with promise. Amazing performance, an easy-to-use interface and decent security measures are all lovely. FastComet isn't attempting to woo its clients with low prices - instead, it aims to please using advanced features.
There are still some shortcomings - mostly, in the support department. The chat agents still appear to lack the required knowledge in certain questions. And this hurts the company's goal of providing chat support to literally everyone. Phone support also had its problems, but right now - it seems they are solved.
So what we can take from this FastComet review?
FastComet is a very interesting young provider. Many of the shortcomings can be forgiven if the host intends to fix them. For the most part, FastComet is actually quite brilliant, providing really good performance. Most of the users will find it is just what they need. So it is definitely a host we can recommend both for small business and individuals.
- Easy-to-use interface
- Several premium features
- Solid uptimes
- Fair renewal prices
- Support has its shortcomings
- Expensive entry plans