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FatCow Review

ratings

Reliability

/100

Usability

/100

Customer Support

/100

Features

/100

Highlights

- FatCow Review

Hosting Plans & Pricing

FatCow Company Overview

10 Corporate Drive, Suite #300 Burlington, MA 01803

Customer Support Options

FatCow Plans & Pricing

Shared Hosting

Plan Name

Plan Price

Plan Features

The Original FatCow Plan

$4.08/mo.

FREE domain name

Site Building Tools

Money-Back Guarantee

Unlimited domains per account

Daily Server Backups

Dedicated Hosting

Plan Name

Plan Price

Plan Features

Startup

$149.99/mo.

Intel Xeon E3 - 1220LV2 3.5 GHZ

4GB RAM

500GB Storage

5TB Bandwidth

3 IP Addresses

Free Domain

CentOS 7

cPanel

Professional

$189.99/mo.

Intel Xeon E3-1265LV2 3.2 GHZ

8GB RAM

1000GB Storage

10TB Bandwidth

4 IP Addresses

Free Domain

CentOS 7

cPanel

Enterprise

$239.99/mo.

Intel Xeon E3-1230V2 3.7 GHZ

16GB RAM

1000GB Storage

15TB Bandwidth

5 IP Addresses

Free Domain

CentOS 7

cPanel

VPS Hosting

Plan Name

Plan Price

Plan Features

Wordpress Hosting

Plan Name

Plan Price

Plan Features

WP Starter

$3.75/mo.

Core hosting plan

Customized control panel

Pre-installed themes & plugins

Standard level support

WP Essential

$6.95/mo.

Core hosting plan

Customized control panel

Pre-installed themes & plugins

WP Experts support

Super speed

FatCow Full Review

FatCow, founded in 1998, is one of the oldest web hosting providers in the market intended to provide a different yet effective alternative to traditional web hosting.

The FatCow hosting company offers shared Web hosting options for small to medium-sized enterprises and individuals searching for a low-cost Web hosting choice. They've developed and pioneered a 'one-plan; one-price' strategy to simplify creating and hosting your personal or business website.

FatCow Hosting has two data centers located in the Boston, MA area, occupying over 2,400 square feet of space and containing thousands of servers that provide multiple Petabytes of storage. The hosting company services over two million customers worldwide. FatCow also claims that they have good customer support compared to other hosts on the market.

FatCow also features a comprehensive online help center and ticketing system, as well as step-by-step tutorials for managing your account. FatCow offers 24/7 customer support and a 30-day money-back guarantee with no questions asked.

As of 2021, FatCow web hosting has an overall rating of 4.6/5 stars. In this FatCow review, I will test one of their web hosting plans based on performance, reliability, support, features, and pricing.

Getting Started With FatCow Hosting

To get started, go to their website.

Screenshot of FatCow's web hosting offer

Screenshot of FatCow's web hosting offer

I was greeted with this cute and colorful homepage. Here, you will see that FatCow is offering a promotional web hosting plan for a limited time. To start, click the "Get Started" button. Keep in mind that by clicking "Get Started," you will be signing up for their shared hosting plans. However, if you wish to sign up for other FatCow web hosting services, you can find the options on the "Create a Site" tab.

Original FatCow Plan - A Linux-based shared hosting solution

Screenshot of FatCow's original plan information

Screenshot of FatCow's original plan information

WordPress Blog - A high-performance WordPress Hosting solution

Screenshot of the FatCow WP Hosting solution

Screenshot of the FatCow WP Hosting solution

VPS Hosting - A high-performance VPS hosting service

Screenshot of the FatCow VPS hosting

Screenshot of the FatCow VPS hosting

Dedicated Servers - Hardware and Software configurations

Screenshot of the FatCow Dedicated Hosting

Screenshot of the FatCow Dedicated Hosting

Reseller Hosting - For your own web hosting company, or use your own branded web hosting services to augment the development and design services.

Screenshot of the FatCow Reseller Programs

Screenshot of the FatCow Reseller Programs

After clicking the "Get Started" button, you will then be redirected to the domain registration page where you set up your hosting account or existing domain. Type in your free domain name and check to see if it's available. If not, you'll need to change it to something that no one else has used.

Screenshot of Step 1 of registering a new website

Screenshot of Step 1 of registering a new website

This part is a bit confusing since you have no idea what kind of hosting service you're signing up for. I decided to contact support first before proceeding.

For the purposes of this FatCow review, I went with the Original FatCow Plan; a shared hosting plan. It comes with unlimited storage space and bandwidth, unlimited POP mailboxes, a free domain name for 1 year, a free website builder, shopping carts, an SSL secure server, unlimited FTP users and sub-users, search engine marketing, a script barn - which includes WordPress, phpBB, Joomla and more, a 30-day money-back guarantee, and other server resources.

Screenshot of Step 2 of registering a website

Screenshot of Step 2 of registering a website

Your next step will be entering your billing information. There are also two payment options: via Credit Card or through PayPal.

By clicking "Check Out," you will receive an email containing the username generated by FatCow and a link to set up your password.

Using and Managing Your Website on FatCow

When you first attempt to log in to their website, you will be greeted with this screen.

Screenshot of the Login Screen

Screenshot of the Login Screen

Here, you can opt to log in via the Control Panel or Webmail. After inputting your log-in details, you will be redirected to the control panel page.

Screenshot of the Control Panel

Screenshot of the Control Panel

Here, you have access to website tools, domain tools, marketing tools, emails, and more. This dashboard enables moving files to your web server using the FTP protocol, managing your account’s email inboxes, checking your website’s resource usage, managing your domain names, and checking your account’s billing information.

FatCow vDeck Control Panel

Screenshot of the FatCow vDeck Control Panel

Screenshot of the FatCow vDeck Control Panel

vDeck is FatCow's control panel. They do not use the industry-standard cPanel. With that said, it’s actually user-friendly with numerous features for handling websites, emails, scripts, domains, files, databases, and using the site builder. For all intents and purposes, the vDeck is basically the same thing as the cPanel.

Emails

Screenshot of the Email section

Screenshot of the Email section

In the Emails section, you'll find the options to access MailCentral, Webmail, AutoResponder, and various settings to modify the tools that come with it.

FatCow currently offers POP Accounts (Business email accounts) and it includes a dedicated, private mailbox for the receipt of email messages. The private mailbox is used to set up each employee or department with a dedicated mailbox, customize each box with a dedicated alias ([email protected] or [email protected] as examples), and download mail to your personal computer’s email application such as Eudora ™, Outlook Express™ or Outlook™.

This feature can also be used for creating Email marketing services.

File Management

Screenshot of File Management

Screenshot of File Management

File Manager

You can find the File Manager on the Hosting Dashboard. Here, you can access, edit, and manage website files.

Backup

You can use the Backup interface to download and save your files, databases, forwarders, and filters to a backup file.

FatCow offers a Website Backup and Restore solution for a starting price of $2.27/month. This add-on gives you access to hassle-free automatic file backups, easy restoration of files onto the server, selection of all or specific files to restore from a backup. You can also manually create a backup anytime using the tool.

With such a low yearly cost, it's great for the protection of investments such as premium add-ons, plugins, and themes. This option is also great for medium-sized businesses considering they usually harbor plenty of files on their websites.

Disk Usage

Screenshot of Disk Usage statistics

Screenshot of Disk Usage statistics

All data on your account, including website files, MySQL databases, and email messages, contribute to the usage and filling-up of your website's storage space. FatCow's hosting services have no hard limits on disk space or bandwidth. They want you to have the necessary tools to establish a substantial online presence and 99.95% of all clients will have more than enough disk space and bandwidth to satisfy their needs.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

FTP is a programming language that enables computers to share and transmit files over the internet. Using an FTP client is the simplest and easiest solution to transmitting files. Depending on the sort of computer you have, there are numerous FTP clients available.

If you wish to access your FTP content, you can do so through the '.html' file that gets uploaded to the File Manager via an FTP connection.

Domains

Screenshot of Domains section

Screenshot of Domains section

In this section, you'll be able to add and set up domains, establish subdomains, set up redirects, and do a lot more. However, adding new domains is not free which makes your first website crucial in terms of creation, performance, and usability.

Getting a '.xyz' domain costs $2.99 whilst a '.com' domain will set you back $9.99. Purchasing a new domain registers it for 5 years, after which you'll have to pay again.

Although this isn't ideal, it's still not as terrible as what some other web hosting providers offer.

Databases

MySQL

Because of its speed and dependability, MySQL is most typically used as a Web application alternative to proprietary database systems. MySQL is compatible with UNIX, Windows, and Mac OS.

You can create a MySQL database by logging into the Hosting Dashboard; it can be found on the left pane. Here, you will need to set a username, password, and name of your new database.

MySQL generally improves site speed and creates a better user experience. Combine that with FatCow server speed and your website will be pretty quick overall.

phpMyAdmin

Screenshot of pHpMyAdmin

Screenshot of pHpMyAdmin

You can also manage your databases with phpMyAdmin, which can be found on the MySQL Management tab. phpMyAdmin allows for more control over the structure and type of data of your database. You can create and delete tables, import and export data, perform SQL queries, repair tables, and more.

Metrics

Various different website metrics are used in determining how well your business is operating. These metrics are also useful for marketing as they provide in-depth information about your website's performance and traffic numbers. You can check various data, track issues, and monitor bandwidth usage on the Metrics page.

This feature allows you to narrow down where your traffic comes from, how many users you have, and which parts of your website are most viewed.

Search engine optimization also plays a big role in website efficiency so make sure to keep an eye on that as well.

Security

When operating a website, online security is a major concern. Having Secure Socket Layer (SSL) security is necessary to protect payment communications on company websites. FatCow has teamed up with Comodo to offer SSL certificates starting at $35.99 per year.

Additionally, FatCow also partnered with SiteLock, the global leader in website security, to protect your site against cyber threats. You can purchase this if you want enhanced security for your website.

Software

The Software page is where you can expand your website's capabilities. This is mainly done through the use of PHP programming. PHP is a programming language that is always being updated and enhanced. Some PHP features and capabilities may be lost with each new version, while others may be added. Each successive version of PHP aims to improve the language's security and capabilities.

FatCow provides numerous pre-installed PHP versions to accommodate whatever application you choose to run.

Advanced

This section includes operations that are not frequently conducted, yet are useful for modification. FatCow's strong, secure network infrastructure is built on a pooled server environment, allowing almost any server on a network to access website files when a request is made.

It means that the first machine available will serve a customer's Web page, providing faster loading times and fewer service interruptions than traditional hosting methods and infrastructure.

Preferences

The Preferences tab is where you change and personalize your website. Language, themes, server configurations, and other parameters are accessed here.

FatCow Website Builder

FatCow provides a Drag-and-Drop website builder that is simple to use and ideal for beginners!

WebsiteBuilder allows you to enter the name of your site and then use the HTML5-powered builder to drag and drop site elements like text and graphics. Unfortunately, FatCow's website builder does not come free so you may want to stay away from it until it deems useful and affordable.

With that said, you can use the previously stated WordPress, Weebly, FileManager, or FTP as alternatives.

Apps Installer

You can quickly and easily add a broad selection of open source programs to your site using FatCow's Mojo Marketplace interface including WordPress, phpBB, and GBook. Apps and plugins such as Image Galleries, E-Commerce, Web Logs (Blogs), Content Management, Discussion Boards, Customer Service, and Guest Books can also be integrated here.

WordPress Themes

Screenshot of WordPress Themes screen

Screenshot of WordPress Themes screen

When you install WordPress using Mojo Marketplace, it will automatically come with WordPress themes you can install for your website. You can also manually install themes for WordPress using FTP. Some themes come with free web icons that you can use to further enhance your website.

Note: Themes downloaded directly from the internet are typically delivered in the form of a compressed .zip file. You can either unzip the file on your local computer before uploading it, or you can unzip the file once it has been uploaded.

FatCow Hosting Customer Support

Knowledge Base

Screenshot of Customer Support screen

Screenshot of Customer Support screen

FatCow hosting comes with a Knowledgebase; a comprehensive online help center, ticketing system, and step-by-step guidance for managing your account.

As mentioned earlier, the Original FatCow Plan that I've signed up for did not indicate the type of web hosting service I'm signing up for. To help myself understand this, I reached out to their live chat support. After typing my name, area of concern, and specifics, I clicked "Start Chat."

Screenshot of FatCow support ticket/chat screen

Screenshot of FatCow support ticket/chat screen

Here's how it went:

I waited for 2 minutes to get a response - not bad, but not great either.

Screenshot of our conversation with FatCow support

Screenshot of our conversation with FatCow support

I had to ask in detail as the customer support representative doesn't give full details right away; not ideal if you're in a rush and honestly - I expected more from such a large company.

Screenshot of our conversation with FatCow support

Screenshot of our conversation with FatCow support

They beat around the bush with their answers somewhat, purposely avoiding answering everything I asked them. When I told them that I had no more concerns, they left the chat.

Overall, I would say that they have good customer support as they provide how-tos for various questions or problems you might have. Specifically talking about the Knowledgebase here.

However, their live chat support is not as knowledgeable and reliable as other web hosting companies. I had to 'pull out' an answer from them, and even still they did not answer my follow-up questions.

Overall, a 2-minute wait time for a response is not that bad, and they do have a bit of knowledge regarding the web hosting services they offer.

Buyer’s Guide For FatCow

Plans and Pricing

Original FatCow Plan priced at $4.08/month

Screenshot of the FatCow Original Plan and info

Screenshot of the FatCow Original Plan and info

This plan consists of individual accounts on Linux servers and is a low-cost shared hosting choice for people on a tight budget. This plan is ideal if your business is just getting started in the digital environment.

You get all of the advantages that competitors' shared hosting plans provide. It comes with a free domain name for the first term, 24/7/365 assistance, unlimited storage space and bandwidth, and more.

WordPress Hosting Plan starts at $3.75/month.

Screenshot of the FatCow WP Hosting plan

Screenshot of the FatCow WP Hosting plan

If you choose to use the WordPress platform for your business, this is the way to go. WP Starter and WP Essential are the two WordPress hosting plans offered by FatCow. Both subscriptions include pre-installed themes and plugins, as well as a customized control panel.

Compared to the WP Starter plan, the WP Essential subscription includes faster speeds, greater security, and premium support. This package is ideal if you plan on having a high-traffic WordPress site.

VPS Hosting Plan starts at $19.99/month

Screenshot of the FatCow VPS Servers plan

Screenshot of the FatCow VPS Servers plan

FatCow has three VPS hosting plans: Basic, Business, and Optimum. VPS servers are suitable for those who want dedicated servers without spending too much. This plan is ideal if your business is expanding and you want to boost your online presence. Virtual Private Servers allow for more resources and traffic to your website without the greater cost of a dedicated server.

It is a middle-of-the-road package for expanding businesses. This plan covers a variety of semi-private resources as well as fully managed support for your organization's online projects.

Dedicated Server Plan starts at $119.99/month.

Screenshot of the FatCow Dedicated Hosting plan

Screenshot of the FatCow Dedicated Hosting plan

If your business has outgrown the previous FatCow plans and you want your own space rather than shared hosting with other users, the FatCow dedicated hosting plan is for you. This subscription includes many resources for high-traffic sites, extensive security, and mirrored storage for better data protection. If you're in the big leagues, this dedicated hosting plan is perfect for your business.

Reseller Hosting Plan starts at $49.95/year.

Screenshot of the FatCow Reseller Programs

Screenshot of the FatCow Reseller Programs

The Reseller Hosting plan is designed to meet the needs of anyone looking to make money by selling their own website services. Recurring revenue is beneficial because they will continue to pay year after year if consumers are satisfied. You receive wholesale prices for resale programs to your clients and enjoy years of passive income.

Server Speed

According to WebHostingMedia, their average server uptime is 99.92 percent, and their page loading speed is 1500 milliseconds. That is far too slow. You can save 1000 milliseconds by using other hosts like HostGator or InMotion. Plus, you will also have better uptime.

A poor server speed is most likely due to caching not being included in the plan, either on the server or client-side. If it is, it may enhance your speed, but other FatCow optimizations are required to get the speed up to par. All of this can cost money and generally isn't ideal when compared to other hosting providers that provide the same services as FatCow.

Security and Backups

FatCow lacks basic security measures on all plans, so much so that it appears security was overlooked when developing the service. An SSL/TLS certificate is necessary for just about any website, yet FatCow does not provide one immediately. This is baffling since they said that SSL is included in the plans for free. And if you try to enable it, you'll get redirected to the product page asking you to purchase SSL protection.

The same goes for backups - saying that they offer it for free, but when you try to access your backup files, you will be asked to buy an add-on. Additionally, malware scanning is non-existent, but at least you get quick access to SiteLock antivirus software for your website, right?

Nope! Not even the antivirus software is for free even if it was advertised as such. Starting to see a pattern here...

Features of FatCow

  • Unlimited email accounts
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited disk space
  • Free domain name for 1 year
  • Freebies included in all FatCow hosting packages
  • Average uptime of 99.92% - not bad for a hosting plan that costs less than $5.00/month
  • Daily backup service - you have to purchase a backup & restore add-on to access your backup files.
  • Hotlink Protection - Prevent other websites from loading files other than your own, saving you bandwidth.
  • WordPress optimized hosting
  • Wide range of e-commerce service
  • Offers a month-to-month payment option which starts at $5.00/month - other web hosts offer a much higher price if you choose a per-month payment option.

Pros

  • Affordable price point
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Acceptable downtime
  • Unlimited email addresses
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited disk space
  • Offers a wide array of hosting service
  • Eco-friendly - the first hosting provider to use 100% wind energy; they're an EPA Green Power Partner!

Cons

  • Upsells too much, e.g. website transfers are not free
  • No uptime guarantee - if your website goes down, you won't receive any compensation as they don't provide any assurance with regards to uptime
  • High renewal prices for your hosting plans
  • Limited choices for server location since both of the data centers are located in the same state
  • No windows-based servers
  • Slow service - understandable for the pricepoint
  • Different backend - although FatCow's backend is pretty straightforward to use, it does not have the advanced functionalities of cPanel, so for those who have previously used cPanel, you might find FatCow's control panel lacking
  • FatCow support is mediocre compared to other hosting providers like InMotion
  • No cloud hosting

Final Thoughts

Like other hosting companies that only have data centers in the US, FatCow is ideal if your primary audience comes from the US.

You should thoroughly check the plans they offer before purchasing; a good idea since they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Overall, I would not recommend FatCow at this point in time. It's better for you to choose web hosts that offer a more reasonable price for what you get, especially when compared to FatCow. That way, you'll get the most of your money even if you pay slightly more because, in the end, it'll end up being cheaper if you take all the necessary FatCow add-ons into account.

They might be veterans in the web hosting industry, but they can't be considered the best. Of course, you can still do your own testing but what we found was a web host that just isn't worth it. Others do a better job than what FatCow offers as a web host.

We hope our FatCow review helped you in understanding what this hosting provider offers and we wish you good luck in finding the perfect one for yourself!

Hosting Alternatives

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