Established in 1998, FatCow have been providing invaluable web hosting services for small-to-medium-sized mom-and-pop businesses. Being part of the widely-known EIG (Endurance International Group) brand, which also owns other popular hosting companies such as iPage, BlueHost, HostGator, Arvixe and many others, you can expect nothing but the best out of their varied services.
I’ve personally tested FatCow’s most popular shared hosting plan and can say they are an excellent company based on my experience with this specific plan. I’ll be covering my experience shortly, but before that, let’s first pore over the hosting plans they have got in the box for you.
Table of Content
At FatCow, you get to choose from a total of four different hosting packages, namely Original, WordPress Blog, VPS and Dedicated Hosting.
This plan is, in fact, shared hosting under a fancy name. It starts at only $3.15 for the first month, then increases to a whopping $8.95 per month at renewal. The renewal price is considerably higher than what other hosting providers offer, but the features easily compensate for this inflated price, namely unmetered disk space, bandwidth and unlimited email addresses and storage. On top of these, you’ll also receive $50 worth of social media marketing credits, along with 1GB of JustCloud storage and exclusive access to a comprehensive website builder and free domain name.
If you are in need of more flexibility, security and overall reliability, FatCow offer a total of three VPS hosting plans: Basic, Business and Optimum.
- The Basic plan comprises 1 core, 1 GB of RAM, 40 GB of storage and 1 TB of bandwidth.
- The Business Plan provides 2 cores, 4 GB of RAM, 90 GB of storage and 3 TB of bandwidth.
- The Optimum plan has 4 cores, 8 GB of RAM, 120 GB of storage and 4 TB of Bandwidth.
With respect to pricing, the Basic plan costs $19.99 per month, while the Optimum plan costs a whopping $79.99 per month. Factually speaking though, I don’t think you’ll need more than what the Business plan has in the box. Unlike shared hosting, these prices are fixed and won’t increase at second renewal.
Those who run established companies that need to house tens of thousands of daily visitors per day can always opt for a dedicated server. The main difference between shared, VPS and dedicated hosting is that the very latter is not shared among multiple clients. In other words, you’re the only rightful owner of the server you rent, which brings with it many advantages and a few disadvantages as well. The Dedicated Hosting offering is divided in three distinct plans: Startup, Professional and Enterprise.
- The Startup plan has 2 cores, 4 GB of RAM, 500 GB of storage and 5 TB of monthly bandwidth.
- The Professional plan has 4 cores, 8 GB of RAM, 1 TB of storage and 10 TB of monthly bandwidth.
- The Enterprise plan has 4 cores, 16 GB of RAM, 1 TB of storage and 15 TB of monthly bandwidth.
As I said, dedicated servers are inherently better than shared and VPS due to the fact you do not have to worry about other server cohabitants conducting shady businesses that can get the whole server penalized by Google or any other major search engine. With a dedicated server, FatCow allow you to go on your own
Still, this implies a few major disadvantages as follows:
- Dedicated servers are hard to manage. Unless you’ve already worked with a dedicated server before or are willing to learn the ropes, you’ll find that self-managing such a server is a tad difficult for the average customer;
- Full control does not necessarily mean reliability. Managing the server on your own also implies being able to keep it up and running at all times. FatCow provide the physical resources for your server to function, but the rest is basically up to you to make it work;
- It costs quite a bit. Money does not grow in trees, and I think you’ll surely notice it in the first few months. If you do not have a preplanned web hosting budget for at least a few months in advance, say 3 or 4, you would be better off not committing to a very long-term contract with them as you’ll manage to burn a hole through your pocket, and you won’t even notice it (the cheapest plan starts at $119.99 per month).
As I said in the introduction, I have been using their services for the past couple of months and must say they really are great with regard to shared hosting at least. In order to determine the reliability of my trial website, I had decided to resort to an online uptime tracking website. The results were beyond satisfactory: 99.99% uptime, a blistering 2-second main page loading time and overall good response to “external stimuli”.
I was as impressed to see that the folks at FatCow offer daily backup for all of their share-hosted websites, which not many providers bother to supply.
Also, the fact that they provide services beyond shared hosting is great because it allows you to expand with them in the future, should your website grow and need additional resources that shared servers are incapable of providing.
Another good thing about them is the constant discounts and giveaways they organize. It’s great to receive some perks after contributing a few hundred dollars to them, and FatCow really won’t disappoint you regarding this aspect.
To me, FatCow are near perfection. However, there are some annoying gimmicks they make use of to attract more clients, therefore more money to their vaults. If you spend enough time surfing their website and offer, you’ll find that they are constantly trying to entice you to subscribe to “free” third-party apps and software. At first, they look great, but nobody really bothers to read the clauses, so they take advantage of it. Those “free” apps are, in fact, paid – and you won’t know that until you will have used the app for a whole month.
Similar to this tactic, the “unlimited” hosting they promote with their shared plans is, in fact, very limited. The right term for what they offer is “unmetered”. As the name suggests, they won’t impose you a specific disk space or monthly bandwidth cap and give you the feeling that everything’s unlimited, but if you exceed specific unseen limits, you’ll find that your website has suddenly gone down for no apparent reason. Well, now you know: it’s because you used 1 TB of bandwidth, for example.
If you overlook the obvious upsells and misleading “unlimited-everything” tactic that, really, is found at virtually every web host on this planet, then FatCow come to par with the stringent requirements of this industry. If you want to subscribe to a shared hosting plan, then I wholeheartedly recommend them to you. For any other plan, I recommend to carry out your own due diligence. Good luck!
If your websites’re currently hosted at FatCow, please tell us your experience with FatCow on the comment session below. Thank you!