Fatcow Hosting stands out with one distinct motto: the cheapest hosting on the Internet. While there plans are indeed some of the lowest we have ever seen, do their low prices have an effect on their services?
If there is to be any indication of Fatcow’s performance, their Endurance International Group affiliation is certainly cause for worry. We’ve mentioned EIG numerous times in the past with other hosts, but could the same issues (reliability and customer service) be present with Fatcow?
So, do they fall in line with suffer from some of the same problems, or can they provide an affordable solution to your needs? Keep reading our Fatcow review to find out!
Fatcow Pricing & Plans
Fatcow offers shared, VPS and dedicated hosting, as well as WordPress hosting. While all plans have the already-mentioned low rates, it is definitely worth mentioning that Fatcow has different pricing not only after the introductory rate expires, but also depending on the length of your contract.
Shared hosting is only offered in one “Original Fatcow” plan, which is available at the ultra-low introductory price of $49 a year (roughly $4.16 a month). Included in this already low price is unlimited bandwidth, disk space, and e-mail accounts, while you are also given a domain name and SSL certificate for the life of your plan. Considering the usual price for similar shared hosting, this is quite the affordable option considering all the benefits.
VPS plans are available, with Fatcow giving a 20% discount off your first term to start at $19.99 a month for their starting plan which includes a single CPU core, one GB of RAM, 40 GB of storage, and one TB of bandwidth, along with a free domain. Although these VPS plans are comparable to most providers, they largely pale in comparison to the awesome prices and features of a true cloud provider like Linode or VPS.NET.
If your website has even greater technical requirements, dedicated servers are available starting at $119.99 a month (this is again a 20% introductory offer discount,which gives you two cores, four GB of RAM, 500 GB of storage and 5 TB of bandwidth. Dedicated servers also include a free domain name and CPanel comes installed.
All plans also come with $200 in various marketing and search engine credits, free JustCloud storage as well as a 30 day money-back guarantee.
Fatcow Interface / Security
Instead of offering the industry-standard CPanel with their hosting plans, FatCow utilizes their custom version of the vDeck interface, similarily to iPage and other EIG brands.
CPanel is included, however, in VPS and Dedicated plans, giving you the freedom and usability we have grown to accustomed to.
We were pleasantly surprised by how intuitive and visually appealing the FatCow interface is, as you are able to easily manage domains, as well as accessing e-mail and FTP. Security and marketing tools are also available, while you can easily track your site’s statistics and resources from the main page.
Fatcow’s Boston data center is protected by 24 / 7 on-site security, N+1 power configuration, a wide range of firewalls and clustered servers to prevent data loss and downtime. Spam filtering comes included with e-mail services, while Sitelock can also be purchased to further protect your website from security threats.
As mentioned previously,shared SSL certificates are also included in all hosting plans, which although a nice freebie, lacks the same punch as a private SSL certificate that is seemingly necessary for e-commerce sites. Luckily, Fatcow has private SSL certifcates from Comodo available starting at $31.99 a year ($2.66 a month).
Fatcow Speed / Reliability
Most people will agree that performance and up time are the critical components of any hosting provider. Unfortunately, we have noticed a disturbing trend in the past with most EIG-affiliated companies that usually shows us a drastic drop in performance shortly after being purchased.
That being said, we wanted to give Fatcow a fair chance to prove us and the precedent wrong, which they achieved! Our friends over at CloudSpectator tracked Fatcow servers to a 99.98% up time in January 2016, which is even more impressive considering Fatcow does not offer an up time guarantee.
The absence of an up time guarantee can be a potential cause for concern, but with the aforementioned clustered servers in Fatcow’s data center, servers are designed to take over another server’s workload if it goes down for any reason.
CloudSpectator also tracks response time of websites, and Fatcow achieved a very favorable 482 MS average response time in January! This is slightly better than Bluehost, but still lacking behind other EIG-brands in A Small Orange and iPage.
Fatcow is also similar to A Small Orange in that they are committed to 100% green energy for their data centers.
Fatcow Customer Service
We arrive at the part of the review that always has us the most worried when dealing with EIG brands: Customer service. We have seen a lot of hosting provider’s customer service nosedive after being taken over by EIG, but does this stay true with Fatcow as well?
Let’s start of by saying that social media is littered with various complaints about Fatcow’s customer service, with most complaints pointing to a lack of response when issues arise. While this isn’t surprising considering we have seen similar problems with HostGator and other EIG companies, the sheer amount of complaints is enough reason for worry.
There are numerous tutorials and a vast knowledge base available if you need non-urgent help, while 24/7 phone support and live chat is available from the “Moo Team” if you need a quick fix for your site.
We gave their live chat a test spin to see what kind of response and response times we would get and we were pleasantly surprised by the quick and informative session we had. Waiting five minutes on a weekday morning for a chat session is certainly welcome.
Fatcow has a nice touch with their “HeiferCratic Oath” policy, which is basically a guarantee of high-quality service. If you feel that you are not receiving the level of service you deserve, you can submit a ticket and Fatcow will credit your account accordingly.
Fatcow Review Conclusion
So, what was the general consensus on Fatcow hosting? For such a low cost provider, they impressed us even with the looming shadow of EIG hanging over their heads.
That being said, if someone is looking for a reliable and customer-oriented hosting provider, taking a look at Site5 or WebHostingBuzz might be a safer option.
Nonetheless, with a 30 day money-back guarantee, Fatcow could be an affordable hosting option for you. Give them a no-risk try and let us know what you think!
- Some of the lowest prices in the industry
- Free domain name
- Free shared SSL certificate
- Eco-friendly hosting
I wasn’t so sure about
- Customer service