FatCow is a web hosting service provider focusing mostly on shared hosting, however they also offer a wide range of other services as well. The main concept of the company is to provide simple hosting solution for individuals and small business at an affordable price and eliminate as much as possible the need of technical knowledge.
The Original FatCow Plan and The Minimoo are the most popular hosting packages, the first being the plan that comes with all the necessary tools and features that a small website needs, and the second is basically en email hosting plan.
FatCow is a US-based company, and has been in the business for more than 10 years now. It is owned by the Endurance Group, who is the owner of other big names like BlueHost and Hostgator. Through its brands, the Endurance provides online service for more than two million customers worldwide.
What’s good about FatCow Hosting?
Inexpensive introduction price: with the current discount you can get through our website, the monthly rate is $3.15 with a minimum of 12 month subscription for the FatCow shared plan and one domain name for a year.
Website building tools and applications: whatever you choose to build a simple HTML website using a website builder, or decide to use script like Joomla or WordPress, with FatCow you can have them all.
WordPress optimized hosting: as wordpress is one of the most popular open source content management system, many choose to create their websites with this software. Fatcow offers optimized hosting for WordPress which includes the core shared hosting plan, a customized control panel, pre-installed hand-picked themes and plugins. The SSD based infrastructure is designed to significantly increase website speed and improve performance, security is provided by SiteLock and questions are handled by trained wordpress experts.
Room to grow: if it happens to exceed the shared hosting by using too much server resources due to the high amount of traffic you receive on your website, you can choose to upgrade to a VPS or dedicated server.
E-commerce made easy: Fatcow offers a wide range of e-commerce service and makes it easy to launch an online store. You can start selling online through Ecwid shopping cart, which is available at an extra cost. SSL certificates and credit card processing services are also available.
What’s bad about FatCow Hosting?
Account and domain renewal: although the starting price of the basic hosting plan is very affordable, the renewal rates are pretty high compared to the competition. The domain registration and renewal rates are also higher, so may want to consider registering your domain at other registrar.
In-Depth review of FatCow.com Hosting
If you made it so far, probably you know some things about the company already. In the next part of this Fatcow review, we will continue to analyze more closely and review every aspect of the company, and also share some personal experience we had while testing their hosting service.
It’s always pleasant to find a hosting company with a creative and noteworthy name. FatCow definitely succeeded at that. Though they aren’t the best on the market, but they are full of surprises. Both pleasant and unpleasant. I would be satisfied with their service, but FatCow lives up to its name too much. Their services are way too slow. It’s slow enough to not be good enough. Still, they are one of the oldest companies in the business. FatCow has been around since 1998, but it has been bought by the infamous EIG. There’s a lot of controversy surrounding any EIG brand, but it seems to me that FatCow has stayed true to its roots that have been established many years ago.
FatCow is an honest company, performing admirably in the field of web hosting. Though such a fatty wouldn’t win any medals, they follow the slow and steady approach pretty well. They performed well in the most important categories of a hosting check, except one. FatCow really lacks speed as their loading times almost cross the line of being just plain bad. But I have to admit that it’s consistent. So, let’s see how FatCow did in our review process.
Plans & Pricing at FatCow
What I really liked about FatCow is their up front and honest pricing that many companies lack in this business. The advertised price is the actual price you’re going to pay for a specific hosting service, without having to sign up for longer periods than you’re comfortable with. Their basic hosting plan costs $49 annually. So, when it comes to pricing, FatCow’s plans really have a lot going for them. Since most people are looking for some of the most basic hosting plans, I’m going to review shared hosting plans here, along with one of FatCow’s neat surprises.
FatCow’s Shared Hosting
FatCow’s simplified hosting plan costs $49 per year, which translates to a monthly price of $4.83 per month. It isn’t the cheapest hosting plan out there, but it’s a decent price. Once you’ve renewed said plan, the price will take a major jump. An about 250% jump. It will go up to $10.99 per month, making it cost $131.88 annually. Now that’s a mighty high price for a simple shared hosting plan and it’s definitely a pricing trick that you shouldn’t put up with. At least they are honest during the first period of the service.
This plan includes unlimited bandwidth, unlimited storage space and unlimited email account. It also provides a drag and drop website builder, popular content management systems and useful app integrations. About what you would expect from any web hosting service these days.
FatCow’s services offer the basic 30-day money back guarantee, but I would advise you to check their services thoroughly and decide whether you like it or not. Once you’ve crossed that period, they’ll charge a $35 early cancelation fee. It isn’t the end of the world, but it’s a lot for not cancelling early enough.
Once you’ve registered your account through a two-step sign up process, it will be activated instantly and you’ll have access to FatCow’s own customized control panel.
The core of their services is okay but not good enough. Their server uptime is 99.92% on average and their page loading speed is 1500 milliseconds on average. Which is way too slow. You cut off 1000 milliseconds just by choosing HostGator or InMotion and you would also get a higher uptime.
Now for the surprise! FatCow offers and extra cheap hosting plan called Cheap Sheep Hosting. It is THE cheapest hosting plan you’ll find on the market. It costs only $0.75 / month, which makes $9 annually. That’s ridiculously cheap. After renewing the plan, it will still cost only $20 per year. So, it’s a beast of a deal to make. This plan comes with some tight limitations of course, but it’s definitely good enough to run a simple website if you’re looking to cut some corners. It comes with 2 GB of storage space, 200 GB of bandwidth, $100 worth of marketing credits, along with the apps and integrations you would expect from any other hosting provider. This is pretty solid for an almost free hosting service.
Although FatCow’s prices are satisfying in many aspects, they still have plenty of upsells just waiting to jump on you once you provided your credit card information. For example, most hosting providers provide security features for free. So many of them give it away, that I almost forget that it could cost money. But FatCow reminds me of this by asking for an extra $1.94 / month to $38.75 / month for their security features. Don’t be fooled and think that you’ll pay for experts looking after and protecting your site. No. These are the prices for simple security features such as SiteLock, protection against DDoS attacks and the usual stuff. This wasn’t a cool trick to pull, FatCow.
FatCow’s Customer Support
Trying ourselves was the best test for FatCow’s customer support and we came back completely satisfied. It took them about 5 minutes to respond and we got all the useful answers were looking for. The interaction was human and went without any friction. My satisfaction lasted until I started to read other user submitted reviews on their customer service. It seems that not everyone had such a pleasant experience and a lot of people walked away frustrated after contacting FatCow’s customer support team. So, it’s definitely worth doing a bit of thinking and research before you buy a plan here.
The Pros and Cons of Using FatCow
Once again, I’m left with mixed feelings when it comes to FatCow. Luckily, my experience wasn’t all bad and I can definitely call FatCow a decent (not good, but decent) web host. Here are the ups and downs of having your website stored on FatCow’s servers.
- Honest Pricing - It was good to see FatCow’s pricing structure. After looking over so many companies that use misleading prices to draw customers in and make them subscribe for extra-long terms, FatCow came in good. Their advertised prices are the real deal, so you won't be disappointed once you actually end up buying into them, which worthy of praise.
- The Cheapest Web Host on The Planet - I doubt that you would find a decent hosting service for less than an annual rate of $9. Although it takes some digging to find, FatCow really does offer the cheapest commercial hosting plan on the market.
- Free Migrations - Free website migrations are always pleasant to hear about, since some companies charge $150 for them.
- Free Domain Names - FatCow will give you a free domain name for any plan you buy. Just about every hosting company offers this, so it’s not a big deal.
- Good Customer Support - Their customer support representatives respond in about five minutes. Although, they do seem inconsistent if I factor some of the user submitted reviews.
- They're Eco Friendly - Who wouldn't sleep better if they knew that hosting their website didn't damage the environment so much? FatCow did something very progressive by powering all of their data centers and offices with wind energy. They are an EPA Green Power Partner, so it seems that they really are working with green energy.
- Free Web Icons - I definitely wouldn't use these on my website, but you can use it on yours if you want. FatCow offers web icons that seem kind of distasteful and outdated for me, but they're definitely a freebie to look forward to.
- Way Too Many Upsells - While I did praise FatCow for having an honest pricing structure, upsells come further down the road. Once you've provided your credit card info, you'll be asked to spend money on something plenty of times. I've ended up thinking that this cow is trying to turn me into its own cash cow. Believe me, no cow likes to be milked as many times as FatCow tries to milk its customers.
- Extra Security Costs Extra - The simple security features just about any reputable hosting company offers for free, cost extra at FatCow. This is one of their upsells of course. Simple security features like Site Lock and protection against DDoS attacks could end up costing you more than $38 per month! That's a bit too much if you want to protect your website hosted on a $4.83 / month plan.
- It's Too Slow - Speed is a major factor for both hosting providers and websites. Not just because of user experience and its effect on conversion rates, but because Google takes it as a ranking factor too. FatCow doesn't do much of a favor for you in this regard, because a page takes an average 1500 milliseconds to load from their servers. So, FatCow really does live up to its name and won't win Olympic runs by any means.
- Backups are Not Free - Many commercial web hosts offer free backups. Some of them even go as far to offer free automated backups which are really awesome. A few of them provide very cheap backup services that won't cost you more than $1 a month. But FatCow asks for $16.95 per year if you want make daily backups made of your site. It's not terrible news but it isn't good either.
- Early Cancellation Costs Extra - If you use FatCow's services for a day more than the initial trial period, than it will cost you $35 to cancel it.
While I do like this company’s name and the fact that they offer an insanely cheap service, I wouldn’t recommend it. There are too many upsells and you would end up spending too much money on a service that’s slow. It would end up pulling your website back at some point. Not to mention that it will hurt your wallet after a while, even with honest prices and the cheapest hosting plan in the world. You’re much better off paying a reasonable price to a more reputable company like InMotion.
I hope you enjoyed reading through this review and that we have helped you learn something new today!