Reviewing hosting providers is sometimes a tough journey that’s filled with disappointment and the same thing over and over again. Companies just seem to view their clients as dumb cash cows that they can leach onto and milk them constantly for more and more money. Their favorite human trait is ignorance that makes people buy more expensive packages, hoping that it their website will be better somehow. Sadly, not every hosting company is looking to provide users with an outstanding service. Which is why I’m very critical about them.
Today’s web hosting market is filled with so many names that it’s impossible to keep track of them all. Some of them are up front and honest, helping their clients achieve their goals. Others just set up a few servers and ask for your money. It isn’t easy to find a complimentary service that has both speed and uptime in check, while offering a customer support that really makes a user feel like someone has their back.
Why such a long rant about such lame hosting services? Because Network Solutions is just what I suspected. It doesn’t offer much more than the basics of almost every decent hosting service out there. Sure, they’re pretty decent and reliable in many regards, but they have many surprises down the road for their clients. There were a few pleasant surprises though, that made me reconsider my opinions, so it’s worth looking into what Network Solutions has to offer. Stick with me in this review and see for yourself!
Network Solutions Overview
Network Solutions has been around since 1979, but it wasn’t always a hosting company and it isn’t just a hosting company even now. It started out as an IT consultancy and soon became a domain registrar. They were doing really well by selling domain names but that didn’t last after ICANN’s confirmation in 1998.
For the past 20 years, Network Solutions has been switching owners like people switch panties. Many private equity firms owned the company which has led to a lot of confusion eventually. Two high-profile security issues led Network Solutions to be sold by Web.com for $405 billion, which led to the company being downsized by a lot.
Since then, Network Solutions offers a variety of services such as web development, online marketing services, email marketing and email solutions and hosting services. They are deeply rooted in online services and have plenty of professionals who know every knot and jolt of running a website or an online business. This makes them a pretty solid all-in one solution for a business that would like to branch out into the online world. Though if you just want a hosting service, there’s a lot to consider. Since the company itself offers a multitude of services, some of those have leaked into their web hosting platform as well. This makes them unique and worth seeing in my opinion.
Network Solutions Plans and Pricing
Like I said, Network Solutions isn’t just about web hosting, they offer a multitude of other services that fall under completely different categories. We’ll start with reviewing their basic hosting plans and then move up to the other services they offer to users.
Network Solutions has some pretty low prices, which I really like. Their shared hosting plans start at $2.99 / month. It’s a fair offer and it would be hard to find any other decent plan with such a low price. But since they are an online marketing company as well, their second shared hosting plan is the Web Hosting and Marketing plan. This means that they’ll toss in some simple SEO services, such as listing your business profile in numerous search engines you don’t even know about and to major ones too like Google, Bing and Yahoo!.
The first hosting plan that I mentioned the Essential plan starts at only $2.99 per month, providing 300 GB of hard disk space and unlimited bandwidth. It also comes with 25 FTP accounts and 1000 email accounts with 1 GB of storage per account. That’s a lot, considering that some companies only give you 100 MB per email account.
Following up is the Professional plan, which provides marketing services as well. It also comes with 500 GB of hard disk space and unlimited bandwidth. The rest of the provisions is doubled with 50 FTP accounts and 2500 email boxes that have 1GB of storage. You will also be provided with a statistics software for your email accounts.
Finally, there’s the Hosting, Marketing and Store plan that provides you with the additional marketing services and everything else you need to run an online store. You’ll get an SSL certificate, shopping carts and any other software that you require to run your website. It costs only $4.99 / month which is a very solid offer. Most companies charge $10+ for the same services.
All of the services come with a free domain name and an additional 100 domain pointers.
Network Solutions also offers VPS hosting for $40 per month. It provides 512 MB of RAM, 24/7 live support, 10 GB of storage space and 500 GB worth of data transfers.
Network Solution starts out really cheap but they use similar tricks that every other company does. Sure, you bought a nice $2.99 / month package, but as soon as you start building your website, you’ll constantly have to look at the detailed billing screen to know where so much of your money went. There are many upsells and add-ons that just sell themselves as you work on your website.
Also, if you leave the auto renew button on, you’ll be surprised with how much more money you’ll spend. Network Solutions will just up their domain name renewal prices with 50% when they feel like it.
Network Solutions Customer Support
Now, this is where I got really disappointed about Network Solutions, once I forgot about the shady pricing structure and the multitude of upsells. My experience with their customer support wasn’t too pleasant, and I didn’t come across many positive reviews either. Neither did the customers or other reviewers speak about Network Solutions’ customer support in a high regard, which hints that they are offering a crap service 24/7/365.
People say that it took days for them to reach their customer support service even when they were online. But there are times when they can’t even be reached because they’re offline. They have made themselves a very bad reputation over the years. For a company that’s about 40 years old, this is unacceptable. The only consistency you find in their customer support department is a consistent dissatisfaction among their clients.
It seems that even though they offer a multitude of online services, they really seem that they aren’t trustworthy at all. One of the best reviews I’ve read about Network Solutions customer support service is this: “If you don’t have high blood pressure, you will with Network Solutions.” That’s enough to get the general idea, I think.
Wait! It gets even better! Even though their regular customer support sucks all the way, they offer a service that I haven’t seen before. It’s called Premium Support. Will they actually talk to me if I pay it? Will I become a VIP? Nobody knows and I have a feeling that it’s better that way.
The Pros and Cons of Using Network Solutions
Now that I have broken down Network Solutions’ services it’s time to put it into a more digestible form. Let’s see if the pros can actually outweigh the cons (spoiler: they can’t). This list of cons is long. I didn’t expect that I’ll have to rack up this many disappointing facts about Network Solutions, but they “asked” for them.
- Instant Account Activation - It's always a good thing about a hosting provider if it doesn't take long to register an account and activate it. There's no need to wait for verifications, validations and other kind of nonsense. Your account will be set up in a few click.
- Easy To Scale Your Plans - If your business has reached a point where it needs to grow and needs the extra firepower to do so, Network Solutions has an easy solution. With a few short clicks, you can instantly buy a more powerful package and have a lot more server resources at your disposal.
- Web 2.0's Influence - A lot of the bad that Network Solutions has done is due to the fact that it has changed owners at least 10 times since the company launched. It got taken over by Web.Com in 2011 and about half of the company's original staff had to leave due to its downsizing. It was left with compliant rats that help downgrading this company to only a source of wealth instead of an honest business.
- Too Many Upsells - The auto renewal button is a death wish. Once you press it, you'll be charged more than you expected initially. There are also plenty of upsells waiting for you after registration. Even after you reach out to the customer support team to install a new feature or to get help with running something, they'll say that it's only possible if you upgrade to a higher plan. Way to do business Network Solutions.
- No Money Back Guarantee - Once you've registered to Network Solutions, you won't go off without them making money off you. They are one of the first companies I've come across that don't have a trial period for their services.
- Dirty Cancellation Policy - If you want to cancel your account, you'll be paying a pretty high fee, called Processing Fee. It will cost you $34.99 to cancel your subscription. They still need to milk you one more time before you leave.
Do I recommend using Network Solution’s services? No. Definitely not! There are way too many upsells and way too many places that you won’t get the help you were promised and end up paying loads of money for nothing at all.