FatCow is an intriguing webhost that offers a full-featured plan with a wide range of sophisticated options at a bargain price: $56.04 per year, or $4.67 per month. When FatCow launched, this plan was actually $99 per year, so they’ve been selling this plan at a significant reduction. That has made them quite popular, and I figured it was time to assess FatCow for myself, and determine whether this new low price came at the cost of diminished performance and satisfaction. Based on what I’d been hearing, I didn’t think this would be the case, but of course, I wanted to experience it for myself.
Value for Money
Unlike so many other webhosts, FatCow has just the one package, and this makes the entire process rather simple. There are no setup fees or activation fees, and activation is instantaneous. If you want to commit to 24 months, you can even reduce your rate to $3.67 per month, or $88 per year. I was concerned that FatCow does not offer a month-by-month payment plan, but they do allow you to opt out within the first month, no questions asked, so I went ahead and took the plunge.
At both $4.67 and $3.67 per month, FatCow gives you a free domain, unlimited disk space, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited subdomains, unlimited email accounts, built-in point-and-click site builders that are extremely newbie friendly, powerful online store tools, blogs, photo galleries and so forth. Available applications include WordPress, phpBB, Joomla, Gallery2, GBook and more. They even toss in $150 worth of free advertising with big names, such as Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Facebook and so on.
Performance & Reliability
On their main site, FatCow does not actively promote their uptime, so there are no bold claims. However, that lack of attention to uptime had me a little concerned, and I actually had to dig a bit to find numbers and then confirm them. I was actually surprised at what I found because the number since November 2005 is quite respectable: 99.853%. The only negative is that FatCow seems to experience a small outage nearly every month, but it’s usually less than an hour and often as low as 15 minutes.
During the month that I tested FatCow for the purpose of this review, there wasn’t any downtime at all, and the site ran without hitch. On the 29th day of service, I even called to inquire about opting out of my 12-month contract. Although I didn’t actually want to opt out, their 30-day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee is an important consideration since they don’t offer monthly contracts. Therefore, I wanted to put it to the test. They asked me some questions about why I was leaving, and then they began the opt-out process in a very professional manner. They were also quite graceful when I came clean about my intentions.
FatCow is active about promoting their “Moo Crew” 24/7 customer support, and they even have a “HeiferCratic Oath,” which details their promise to the customer. I experienced their excellent support firsthand when I called to opt out. I also had an opportunity to experience it during the sign-up process via live chat. Live chat can be a little impersonal, so I was pleasantly surprised at how well FatCow overcomes those limitations. I asked them a series of questions, each question more difficult than the last. Where do you maintain your servers? What are the restrictions, such as attachment size, related to the email accounts? Finally, how do I set up URL redirection? In each case, the agent was helpful, knowledgeable and concise, and in the case of the redirection, the agent walked me through the process.
• Live Chat
• Support Console (requires login)
• Support Ticket System
• Feedback System
As you can see - finding a way of getting in contact with the support won't be difficult.
Ease of Use
The control panel has gotten a new sleek design that I really like. Everything is easy to find and it’s extremely user-friendly. This is the perfect control panel if you like things uncomplicated. I know that I do.
• Their impressive customer service, which includes extremely brief wait times.
• That they have a wide range of tutorials for supported applications and built-in modules.
• That FatCow gave us no trouble trying to use the 30-day guarantee.
Important to Know
• FatCow does not provide an uptime guarantee.