'FatCow was born in 1998 and the rest is history' - That's the first thing you'll see on FatCow's About Us page. 1998 is 20 years ago now! So has 20 years of hosting experience translated into true quality? Like many other brands, FatCow was acquired by EIG(Endurance International Group) back in 2004. So has that acquisition changed them for the better, or for the worse? How much does that 20 years of experience count for? Let's find out in this, our FatCow review.
Services Offered By FatCow
FatCow offers a fairly modest selection of packages. Just three, in fact.
Dedicated Server Hosting
Shared Web Hosting
Three offerings, pretty decent and hopefully all very much cared about. For the purposes of this review, we will be taking a look at just the Shared Web Hosting offerings.
FatCow Pricing & Plans
Let's have a look at a quick overview of the plan:
Basic - $4.08 per month, unlimited domains, unmetered disk space, unlimited email accounts
Having just one plan is a very interesting take. We've seen some other hosting providers do similar things, GreenGeeks comes to mind. So maybe FatCow's single plan is as good as GreenGeeks? We shall see!
As we have seen with many other hosting providers, these monthly prices don't always tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Let's break down the prices in more detail.
Actually not so bad! We've seen other providers prices go up by $5-10 if you don't pay for a long contract, so props to FatCow here! Here is the plan, showing how much you'll pay at the checkout for each contract duration. (VAT Included)
Payment Period / Plan
It's important to remember though, that there are almost always renewal prices! That $5 pay monthly plan is only $5 for the first 12 months. After that if you want to continue paying monthly you'll be charged $10.99 before VAT. That's over 100% extra for the same plan.
Plan In More Detail
Now it's time to look at the plan in more depth. This will enable us to really find out what separates the three, and how they stack up against the competition. It's also a good chance to test the customer support of FatCow, as not all of the things I want to know are listed on their site. So, let's take a look!
How many domains allowed?
HDD or SSD used in servers?
Assisted website transfer
No - vDeck
Live Chat & Phone
Choice of server location
No - USA only
Free automated back-ups
Since FatCow have been around for such a long time, we should expect the pros list to be pretty extensive, right? Let's take a look and find out!
Customer support can make or break any company, hosting providers included. FatCow does pretty well here, despite limited options. It's an important part of any review, customer service, and it's no different in this FatCow review. Here are the support options:
As far as contacting a supplier via live chat goes, FatCow does a pretty good job. Nothing special, but decent. The representative I spoke to knew what he was talking about and responded fairly quickly and professionally.
Unfortunately the same can't be said for their phone support. It took me an age to get connected in the first place, and every other word was punctuated by 'stay on the phone and I can help you buy a plan'. It's understandable that a provider wants to do its best to ensure that potential customers turn into paying ones, but this kind of repetitive pushing just doesn't work and only makes the customer less likely to buy.
Pricing Isn't A Sham
It's a sad state of affairs when this can be considered a pro, yet here we are. FatCow is upfront with their pricing. Sure, you will pay a little more than $6 for the first month on a monthly plan, but after that, it's $5 and that's it. No hidden fees, no scams, just up-front and honest pricing.
FatCow claims to have their offices and server centres powered 100% by renewable energy. FatCow purchases Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). The RECs that they purchase are used to generate wind energy to negate their regular energy usage in the office. Actually, they purchase twice the amount that they use. FatCow claims to prevent the release of 999 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year, which is quite a fantastic accomplishment if it is to be believed.
If you're somebody that cares about your environmental footprint, then you really have to options: FatCow or GreenGeeks.
30 Day Money Back Guarantee
Something that is becoming increasingly standard with hosting providers is offering a money back guarantee. It's nice to see the same thing here in this FatCow review!
Despite all the good, there are also some negatives that we should take a look at before you decide to give FatCow your money. Here are some of our biggest worries.
Performance Is Poor
During our testing, FatCow had average page loading times of around 1,500ms. That's 1.5 seconds. It doesn't sound like much, but it's almost 30% slower than the already slow industry average of 1,150ms. Even on FatCow's own site, pages load slowly!
Considering that site speed has a massive bearing on both search rankings and page conversions, slow loading times are a big drawback for any commercial website looking to attract users and money.
Server uptime wasn't much better, averaging around 99.8% during our testing. Again it's nothing bad but it could certainly be much better.
You Have To Pay For Backups
Despite many hosting companies offering free automated backups, sometimes even nightly, with FatCow you can only back up once per month, and they will charge you $1.49 each time you do it. This is pretty dated, and FatCow is showing its age here!
Security Takes A Back Seat
FatCow offers some nice security features like SiteLock, which can protect your website against cyber attacks, malware, and more. Unfortunately, you have to be willing to pay for it. And full protection (which includes daily malware and vulnerability scans, automatic malware removal, a web application firewall, and more) costs as much as $38.75 per month.
Upsells For Days
Like I mentioned in the support section, upsells are common and frequent. Brace yourself for the storm of frustrating upsells that kick off immediately after purchasing your hosting package.
Is FatCow right for you?
Probably not, no. I'm sure before being purchased by EIG, FatCow was a solid host that we'd probably have no problem recommending. Alas, that isn't the case.
Support was decent, and the commitment to environmental protection is definitely something I can get behind. With that said, though, the performance is poor and having to pay extra to keep your site secure when many other providers offer this for free just leaves a sour taste in my mouth.
Overall, I can sum up this FatCow review simply with this: there are many other good hosts out there offering more for less money, so check them out and decide on your favourite!
Support Is Decent
Pricing Is Clear
Performance Is Weak
Lack Of Security Mesaures
Unmetered Bandwidth & Disk Space
Prices range from $4.08 to $4.08 on following 1 hosting plan offers
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