FatCow is one of the older industry hosting providers, offering quite a few services designed for small business and individuals. And there are also some bigger plans for more advanced users as well.
The focus of FatCow isn't only on reliable and speedy services - the company also tries to deliver pleasurable user experience as well. Moo Crew support team claims to be one of the friendliest in the industry.
So in this FatCow review, we'll see if this is a great host - or will it get butchered.
What is FatCow?
FatCow is a hosting provider, offering shared, WordPress, VPS, and dedicated hosting options. FatCow has an all-in-one solution for those getting started: scalable hosting options, interactive website building tools, eCommerce features, free domain names, and customized email addresses.
FatCow also offers domain name registration with a bunch of new TLDs with the pre-registration option.
So if you're new to the web hosting world, these tools should be enough both for a personal blog and a pretty big online store.
And also, FatCow wouldn't be a FatCow if it wasn't taking the environment into considerations. Its servers run on 100% renewable energy.
FatCow has only one fit-all shared hosting plan named the Original FatCow - it costs $4.08/month, and includes all the basics of web hosting. That means unmetered disk space and bandwidth, unlimited domains and email accounts, and an SSL certificate. To get the cheapest price you have to sign with FatCow for at least a year. The prices will jump after the first term and will cost $5/month.
The Original FatCow includes a bunch of other features as well. You get a free domain name for a year and can choose a website builder in case professional web development is not really your thing.
You can also build an online store with shopping cart and PayPal integration. And if you need to market it, you get $100 Google AdWords credit. Also, FatCow supports major CMS options such as WordPress and Joomla.
However, in FatCow plans, there's also one glaring omission. And that's the automatic backups. The plan does not include them at all! The feature will cost you an extra $1/month - considering many other hosting provider include it for free, this is quite bad.
So, to sum it up - FatCow has quite a lot to offer. But not everything is as good as it seems. Here you can see the summary of the shared web hosting plan:
|Original FatCow (Shared)|
|How many domains allowed?||Unlimited|
|Customer support||Live Chat & Phone|
|Free automated back-ups||Extra fee|
I would personally describe FatCow's pricing as upsells, lots and lots of upsells. You have to pay for backups ($1/month) and even such security features like malware and vulnerability scans ($1.66/month). The website builder is $6.99/month, and G Suite will cost you extra $6/month.
FatCow is pretty slow. During our testing, response times averaged at around 750ms. That's almost a second. Compared to some of the fastest web hosting providers, it's several times slower.
Add more visual content, higher levels of traffic, and eventually, a website hosted on FatCow will be as slow as if it is one.
Server uptime wasn't that bad, averaging around 99.8% during our testing.
But take in the consideration that a few downtimes and slower response times might add up to a pretty big bounce rate and loss in conversions. So if your business depends strongly on your website, don't use FatCow - mooooove elsewhere.
FatCow claims to have one of the friendliest support teams in the market calling themselves Moo Crew.
Support services are available 24/7 and include both live chat and phone support. Also, it has pretty elaborate knowledge base so you can find solutions and answers for the most frequent questions fast.
As far as contacting a supplier via live chat goes, FatCow does a pretty good job.
The representative replied to me immediately and gave professional answers and advice on which of their plans will fit my website the best. For technical questions, I kept getting referred to the tutorials and knowledge base entries. Not great, but a good enough job.
Unfortunately, phone support does not work as good as live chat. It took a while to get connected and every other word was punctuated by 'stay on the phone and I can help you buy a plan'. The technical Well, I was asking for advice in the first place, yet I was offered one of the more expensive plans to buy.
That's understandable, but is the support supposed to be sales representatives?
So, if you are a paying customer already, I believe the Moo Crew will do a pretty good job in solving your problems. Though I would stick with the live chat.
FatCow Review - the Verdict
FatCow offers a decent web hosting plan for an average market price. Sadly, the performance simply isn't good enough to fully recommend this provider. In addition to that, the plan lacks some important features including advanced security and daily backups too.
FatCow gets a big plus for going green - all of their servers run on renewable energy - but that isn't enough to deserve a purchase.