FatCow is a simple domain hosting service. The hosting industry can be very technical and complicated, but FatCow strives to simplify what is a complex process by nature, and it mostly succeeds. With this domain hosting service, you have the standard tools necessary to get your website up and running on a familiar interface. However, it lacks numerous security features and charges you extra for many that it does offer. If you're looking for a domain host that gives you advanced tools and the ability to customize your website down to the smallest detail, you may be disappointed.
FatCow only has one shared hosting plan, and while it is a cheap domain hosting plan, it limits your website's ability to grow on a shared server. However, the plan includes unlimited bandwidth, disk space, domains, subdomains, email accounts and MySQL databases. All of these features make the plan quite versatile. Like the other services in our domain hosting review, though, FatCow does limit bandwidth and disk space based on average usage rates. You can learn more about these restrictions in the company's terms of service.
The domain host has several security features available, but you have to pay to use some of them. While you can back up and restore your website, FatCow charges a premium for these two features. Most of the other services we reviewed include this security feature in the monthly premium.
The service has antispam safeguards in place to protect your email from unwanted junk mail. It also features a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) if you use eCommerce. This ensures that your customers' transactions and personal information are safe. The service also has raw access logs, which is a standard security feature that allows you to view who has been accessing your website by IP address, date and time.
Some features the company lacks are a secure shell (SSH) and solid-state drive (SSD). The SSH is a convenient feature that allows you to access your employees' or customers' computers, which is particularly useful for customer service. An SSD is more of an advanced feature that only some of the domain hosts in our review feature. It ensures fast uploads and minimal downtime for your customers. If you have large media files on your website or high traffic times, you will want a web host with this feature.
FatCow includes a site builder with the service. This site builder is fairly easy to use, but we found that the setup process and control panel navigation is more difficult than with our higher-ranked services. The company’s knowledgebase and tutorials help immensely with this process, though. You can search for text within your own site using an integrated custom Google Search feature. You also get plenty of tools to manage your website. You can add message boards and incorporate photo galleries or a blog into your site. The service integrates with numerous third-party applications, including eCommerce services and WordPress.
Customer and technical support are integral to a domain hosting service. You never want to have a problem with your site and no recourse to fix it. FatCow emphasizes this by providing 24/7 support over email and live chat. During our testing, FatCow’s technical support team took longer than most to connect with us on live chat and answer our questions. However, we could access and search the in-depth knowledgebase and tutorial videos, which answered many of our questions. The domain host’s startup wizard is also helpful when you're learning how to use the site builder.
Compared to the best domain hosting services in the industry – and there is a lot of competition – FatCow is a mediocre service. It has the features personal users and small businesses need, such as a solid site builder and a respectable feature list. However, you may be disappointed by the lack of some security features, long technical support wait times and clunky control panel.
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