2019 November 29th
Nominalia is a Spanish host, that's a part of the large international Dada Group, uniting many service providers all around Europe. This firm has domain registrars and hosts in Ireland, United Kingdon, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.
For users of the services, this can be either bad or good news. There are examples when a corporation treats international expansion as a priority over its clients. Then, as a result, clients suffer.
On the other hand, international expansion can have a lot of benefits. More countries mean a more developed infrastructure and additional experience which then can be used to improve the quality of the services. In this Nominalia review I will try to find out which one it is. Should you trust this international corporation with your website? Let's discover that together.
- Shared web hosting
- VPS/Cloud VPS hosting
- Dedicated hosting
- Reseller hosting
- Domain names
- SSL certificates
Nominalia offers plenty of services for Internet experts of varying degrees. In addition to hosting and domain names, the company also sells many different types of SSL certificates, fitting for both regular security and e-commerce purposes.
As far as hosting is concerned, Nominalia has a few interesting features that set it apart from many others:
Softaculous Auto Installer
Sometimes, we tend to take easy app installations for granted. But little do we know, there are still many providers out there who don't have a big auto-installer app library. Nominalia is not one of them - by teaming up with Softaculous, this host can offer more than 150 apps for you to install and use almost immediately.
Free Domain Name and SSL Certificate
If you are setting up a website, you need a domain name. That is not really up for a discussion. However, that is not it. An SSL certificate is also very important. It will not only increase the security of your website but it is also going to increase your Google rankings.
Genuine Free Trials
Many providers tend to offer free trial periods so you can test their services. What often remains untold is the fact they ask for your credit card details and may even charge you once the trial is over. Nominalia acts differently: after proving your identity you may test its services without giving your payment information or worrying about later fees.
After only scratching the surface, I thought Nominalia to be a very interesting company. International to the core, offering free trials and including many features, it has a promise to be a perfect host for European websites. Is it really like that? I took a trial for shared web hosting and tried finding that out myself.
For now, let's have a look at the plans available.
There are three plans available for you to choose from - Smart costs €4.88/month, Advanced costs €7.46/month, and Enterprise one will set you back €12.46/month.
Here's what these plans are:
- Smart - a plan with significantly more disk space and unlimited bandwidth.
- Advanced - a plan which has even more disk space. It is also upgraded to SSD storage.
- Enterprise - the ultimate shared web hosting plan. SSD servers, 500 email accounts and everything else either unlimited or unmetered.
This is a more thorough comparison of all three plans:
|Disk space limit||100GB||200GB||Unmetered|
|How many domains allowed||5||10||Unlimited|
|SSD or HDD used in servers||HDD||SSD||SSD|
|SSL||Supported, included (Let's Encrypt)||Supported, included (Let's Encrypt)||Supported, included (Let's Encrypt, Rapid SSL free for 1 year)|
|Anti-DDoS protection||Not included||Included (SiteLock Starter)||Included (SiteLock Starter)|
|Anti-malware protection||Not included||Included (SiteLock Starter)||Included (SiteLock Starter)|
|Email accounts||25 (2GB per account limit)||100 (2GB per account limit)||Unlimited (10GB per account limit)|
|Website Builder||Not included||Not included||Not included|
|Assisted Website Transfer||€79.90||€79.90||€79.90|
|Auto-installer||Included (Softaculous)||Included (Softaculous)||Included (Softaculous)|
|Money back guarantee||14 days||14 days||14 days|
|Customer Support||Live chat, email, phone||Live chat, email, phone||Live chat, email, phone|
|Choice for server location||No||No||No|
|Free Automated Backups||Yes||Yes||Yes|
The prices for all of these plans are "monthly" - this is how Nominalia displays them anyway. Let's see what are the "real prices" are - what are you asked to pay when you add one of the hosting plans in your basket?
In Nominalia, there is no such thing as a "monthly" plan. You may try out the services by picking a trial option. Yet if you decide to actually purchase them, the only option will be picking a 12-month package. By doing so, you would have to pay in advance.
This is how each of these packages look at the checkout.
|Payment Period / Plan||Smart||Advanced||Enterprise|
|1 month||Not available||Not available||Not available|
|3 months||Not available||Not available||Not available|
|6 months||Not available||Not available||Not available|
|24 months||Not available||Not available||Not available|
|36 months||Not available||Not available||Not available|
*VAT not included - your prices may increase, depending on your locale.
This Nominalia review has revealed a great little thing this provider offers. Combination of HDD and SSD storage options is something really interesting and not always available with other hosts. There are obvious speed benefits of storing your files in SSD servers - but some may be interested in lower prices rather than a slight speed increase. Nominalia gives its clients an option to choose from the two - which is very much appreciated.
Lack of a website builder is a definite drawback. Although to be entirely truthful, Nominalia does have a website builder but it requires a separate plan to be used. It is not a part of the shared web hosting plan.
Clear limits of disk space on 3 out of 4 plans are actually very welcomed. Some hosting providers may ban you from using the services if you go above even 30 or 40GB. Limits of 100GB or 200GB are actually very generous. If using responsibly, regular users are incredibly unlikely to run out of space.
Overall, they appear to be pretty good. A good selection of plans allows you to have full web hosting for around €30 for the first year. Although looking at the prices it clearly shows that Nominalia wants you to pick a more advanced package, as you would pay only 54 euros extra to go from 'Domain' to the best available 'Enterprise' plan.
The reason for that is clear when you look into the renewal prices. To put it simply, after one year you are offered an option to either leave Nominalia or to renew your plan. If you choose to renew, the prices increase significantly, and the gap between 'Domain' and 'Enterprise' grows from 50 to 165 euros.
There are no monthly fees, you pay for 12 months once again. Here's what the renewal prices are:
|Payment Period / Plan||Smart||Advanced||Enterprise|
Nominalia Customer Service
Good customer service is a very important part of every hosting experience. You may be a highly experienced expert as well as a complete beginner - it is great to know that should a problem arise, someone will always be by your side to help.
As you can see, Nominalia offers three main types of customer support:
- Live Chat
- Ticket Support (responded via email)
Before we start, it is important to note that none of these services work 24/7. You will be able to find help in working hours every day but problems don't use a clock and you may have issues any time of the day. For a corporation this big, lack of 24/7 support is genuinely concerning. For now, though, let's see how Nominalia support holds its own as it is.
Phone Service Evaluation
Despite offering phone support in many languages, Nominalia's interactive menu offers only Spanish options. In all of my attempts, it took only around 30 seconds of waiting to be connected to a representative. They tried their best to help me with many of the issues I had. That being said, at times I was slightly disappointed with the general knowledge of the people behind the lines. Some of them did not speak English, some had troubles explaining even the most regular of things. Many times, however, it was completely perfect. In a way, I can say that Nominalia phone service may be a bit of a lottery. You may get an absolutely solid agent capable of explaining everything with no problems. Then, twenty minutes later you could get a polar opposite. Lack of consistency is definitely the problem. Apart from that, with minimal waiting times, the phone support appeared to be fairly solid.
Ticket Service Evaluation
Email/ticket support service is a good way of solving big technical issues - so I came forward with quite a few of them and put Nominalia agents through some big testing.
The results were in: Nonimalia ticket support is definitely not bad. During the working times, it always took less than an hour to get a reply. There were some problems in terms of how throughout the answers were. Very often, follow-up letters were needed for me to get all the required information. At times, I wished Nominalia agents put slightly more work on each of the replies. Luckily, if you are dedicated and stubborn enough, you will get the answers you need. Just prepare that it may take a while.
Chat Service Evaluation
When testing chat service, I look into the three main things: speed, knowledge, and quality of the communication. Personally, I think that all three of those are equally important.
Speed is important because what's the use of 'instant chat' if you have to wait half an hour for it?
Knowledge is important because you need answers to your issues - there's no use if a person helping you doesn't know way more than you do.
Communication is also very important - if there's an issue with your website, the last thing you need is a rude representative who is unable to understand what your problems are. Sometimes, a person reassuring you that everything can be solved quickly and efficiently can make all the difference.
So, I set up 10 different chats and attempted to test all three of those things. This is what I found out:
In terms of waiting times, it usually took me roughly around 2 minutes to get connected. Interestingly enough, if the wait time exceeds 5 minutes or so, your request gets forwarded as a ticket and you get a response to your email. I have to admit I'm not a fan of this. What if I genuinely want to talk to someone?
As far as knowledge and communication go, there is definitely room for improvement. Slightly more difficult questions led to the agents leaving to talk to their "technicians". With that in mind, it was always slightly difficult to have a real conversation going. Monica, as well of the other agents, has been as courteous as possible but it's simply impossible to hold a proper bond when there are serious gaps in knowledge. Disappointing: I wish they knew slightly more because the promise to be good is already there.
First Impressions During and After the Purchase
Nominalia is one of the first hosts I've encountered who have a two-stage registration process. That means you have to get your ID verified before you can even begin buying the services. In my case, the process dragged on for a while. It took a weekend to get everything sorted. After that, the purchase process was a breeze. There are not many upselling attempts - and you can pay with both credit card or PayPal.
Immediately after either paying or signing up for a trial, you get transferred to your hosting panel. A familiar image waits there - Nominalia uses a paper_lantern theme of cPanel:
If you've used one cPanel - you used them all. That's a good thing because all of the basic things can be found with no problems. If you get lost, finding information on the Internet is fairly easy as well.
Up to this point, I must say that this Nominalia review has made me pretty interested. A well-known and well-loved cPanel interface is included in all 4 shared web hosting plans. Between the 4 of the plans, 2 use SSD storage, and 2 use HDD - it is up to you to decide what do you want. The freedom of choice is clear, as you are even allowed to use the services for free without giving away your card details.
It is now time to see whether those services are actually good. These are the performance-related tests I will be doing here:
- Host’s speed during low upkeep
- Host’s speed with a website created with a website builder
- Server’s overall uptime
- Anti-theft security evaluation
These tests will get constant updates: that means you will always see the newest information available.
IMPORTANT NOTICE - in order to properly compare the hosts, we always use the same tools. After plenty of testing, we chose Bitcatcha and a special uptime tool. It should be remembered that those tools are not always completely correct: the numbers also depend on the performance of their own access points. However, the same is right with every host we test - so the numbers you see here are good for comparison purposes. This analysis will help to rank Nominalia with the others.
Host Speed During Low Upkeep
In theory, a small HTML website will show the best possible provider results. It's pretty much obvious: a simple website may be only 20 or 30 lines of code, therefore, it would respond quicker. In order to see the apparent ceiling of Nominalia performance in servers all around the world, I set up this simple website:
This is how it did:
By all means, that is pretty decent. Considering the servers are in Europe, great speeds in the USA are very admirable. Everywhere else around the world, it is good as well. Singapore and Bangalore servers showed some worse results early on but after the website cached, it was pretty great.
Host Speed With a Website Builder
In order to see the "real life" results, I had to use Nominalia to make a simple website: something a regular user may have. For that, I used the thing closest to a website builder I could find in Softaculous. That is the Microweber CMS, which is basically a drag-and-drop website builder, suited very well for inexperienced users. This is a website that I made:
This is how it did:
The ratings can be considered somewhat inflated here - it's important to look at the times as well. There are clear problems in Singapore and Bangalore. Yet the speeds in the USA are very good. Servers are clearly optimized to work well on either side of the Atlantic Ocean. If your visitors come from either Europe or the Americas (or both) - you won't be let down.
Server Overall Uptime
An uptime-tracking tool was set up in order to see the overall performance of Nominalia servers. The test saw the changes and dips in performance, as well as downtimes.
As you can see, the response time here rarely went below 500 ms. Usually, it was hovering around the 600 mark.
During 1 month of testing, there were also some downtimes to report.
Dinahosting went down 3 times - resulting in 12 minutes of total outage. That is a fairly weak result, as the best hosts are down for considerably smaller durations. "A freak accident" shouldn't be considered as well, as three occasions make it look like quite a rule.
Anti-Theft Protection Evaluation
In this part of the test, I tried two things. First up, I simulated a brute-force attempt. That meant me typing in the wrong password 20 times in quick succession. Then, on my 21st try, I got it right. If there are sensitive security measures applied, I should be locked out of my account - just like the people trying to guess your password would be.
However, that did not happen. I was still allowed to get inside my account. Perhaps there are some other methods applied, the ones I was unable to see. But in this simple test, Nominalia did not stop me.
For the second test, I attempted to use the live chat service to lure the password of my own account. I changed my IP and logged in from a different browser. I acted as if I'm the rightful owner of the account and that someone else took the control of it. Having provided no tangible proof of the account ownership, I was not allowed inside. The ID verification process I mentioned earlier was what saved me - I was asked to send my ID back to them, so they could prove the ownership of the account. This is almost always a guaranteed way to ensure safety as people from the outside, trying to hack into your account, rarely have access to your personal documents.
NOTE - keep your ID and your personal information safe. Use different passwords and make it very difficult for people to guess them!
Nominalia Review - Conclusion
Overall, Nominalia is a pretty decent hosting provider - but it has some issues that make it a pretty difficult host to recommend. Customer service could most definitely be improved, the same goes to performance.
There is also only one plan length to choose from - and after those 12 months run out, you may be subject to not only the increased renewal prices but domain fees as well. Downtimes and generally average speeds only show that some updates are very dearly missed.
In general, Nominalia isn't a bad provider and if you're currently using it, there may not be too many reasons to upgrade. Although for now, new users may want to consider some other alternatives.
- cPanel is a good option - and there are 150+ apps to go with it.
- Four plans to choose from. The changes are serious they can genuinely affect the performance.
- Decent speeds in Europe and the Americas.
- There is a free trial and it doesn't even require your payment details.
- ID verification process can drag on for a while.
- Customer support should be better.
- No website builder.
- Despite being offered international servers, you can not pick a location.