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2016 osTicket review: Everything you need to know

Overview: osTicket caters to businesses and organizations that need help tracking customer support tickets.

Pricing:

Basic: $9.00/mo for shared hosting.

Standard: $12.00/mo for shared hosting.

Premium: $16.00/mo for shared hosting.

Ideal Customer: All business types that need a way to keep track of customer issues or requests will benefit from osTicket’s well designed ticket system.

Trends:

Unique Features:

Free Trial: osTicket’s cloud hosted solution is known as SupportSystem. You get a free trial for 30 days while enjoying all the benefits of email and phone support, walk-through session, SSL encryption, scaling and security, managed upgrades and maintenance, and automated backups. You also get configurable attachments, unlimited tickets and unlimited users just like the paid versions. The free trial doesn’t require your credit card to sign up, which is another plus. After your trial ends, you’ll be asked for your billing information if you wish to continue. The paid version comes with 3 plans: Basic, Standard, and Premium. The 30-day free trial is a good way to gauge which plan you might want to use once you convert to paid. SupportSystem pricing is based per agent (someone who interacts with your customers), and all plans include unlimited number of customers and tickets.

Self-Hosted: If you don’t want to go with the paid version of osTicket (SupportSystem), even with the 30-day free trial, you always have to option to self-host osTicket. You need your own web and database server (through another web hosting company, for example) and you’ll have to do all the installation, setup, and troubleshooting yourself. You’ll get no personal support other than what’s in the community forum and wiki, you’ll have to set up your own SSL encryption and email, and you’ll have to deal with backups, maintenance, and security. So why bother self-hosting osTicket on your own platform? The biggest reason is that it’s free. It’s a reasonable option if you’re technically savvy.

Openly Developed: osTicket is openly developed on GitHub page. As a user, you can report bugs or visit GitHub to see the latest development. You can also contribute to the internationalization efforts at Crowdin page. osTicket is actively being translated to languages other than English. Another aspect of osTicket’s open development is their community wiki, as users contribute tips, tricks, troubleshoots, and other information about installing and configuring osTicket. This level of transparency and community involvement ensures that user feedback is taken into account and osTicket is constantly being updated and fine-tuned.

Reviews:

We looked at several online sources to find reviews for osTicket. We found customers love its easy installation and customization.

One happy customer states: “I absolutely love how easy it is to install osTicket and even more importantly, how easy it is for my customers to get in touch with me.”

Another reviewer writes: “osTicket is a free system that is definitely worth trying. The user interface may not be the most beautiful eye-candy piece of software ever made, but that can all be customized as needed.”

We also found a few negative reviews. These osTicket customers are disappointed with feature implementation.

One customer explains that: “It is loaded with features, but sometimes those features are a little cloudy and complication, and there can certainly be times where this becomes frustrating, especially during implementation.”

Another reviewer complains that: “Any features that are not currently implemented into osTicket, I have to code myself, as plugins seem to be slightly lacking.”

We also checked Twitter to see what customers had to say. This user is happy with the ticketing system:

Another user is upset at the lack of merging abilities:

Pros:

  • Good Documentation: osTicket boasts superior documentation, through community wiki, blog articles, release notes, and support forum. It’s mostly user-contributed so you know the information is current and from the field.
  • Use Your Own Domain: You can use your own domain to brand your support platform. So if you want to download osTicket on MyAwesomeSupport.com, you can do so.
  • Cancel Anytime: If you’re paying for any of the three SupportSystem plans (Basic, Standard, Premium), you can cancel anytime without paying cancellation fees.
  • Affordable Pricing: SupportSystem plans are affordable and can scale based on the number of agents you have. The Basic plan starts at $9 per agent, while the Premium plan is $16 per agent with more robust features.
  • Migration and Integration: You are provided assistance with migration to osTicket from another platform or integrating it with existing business applications.

Cons:

  • No Live Chat: There is no live chat help offered with osTicket’s cloud hosted solution, SupportSystem. You only get email and phone support. But because the community wiki is so well-documented, this is probably not a big problem.
  • Not a Lot of Information: Other than their plans and the list of features, there’s not a lot of information on the system itself, but that could be due to the fact that you can download it for free and see it for yourself.
  • Agent-Based Pricing: Agent-based pricing means you’ll pay $9 per agent (in the Basic plan), so as your support team grows, you’ll pay more. That makes sense, but it’d be nice to have a flat-fee option for unlimited number of agents.

Summary:

osTicket itself is not a web hosting plan. It’s a free, open-source support ticket program. You have the option of installing it on your own web server and hosting it yourself, or use the cloud hosting solution called SupportSystem. You can try SupportSystem for 30 days for free to see if you’d rather self-host it. The program is thoroughly documented and there are three paid options. The paid plans use agent-based pricing, so the bigger your support team, the more you pay.

Takeaway: If you have your own web and database server, you can download osTicket and install it for free. If you’re not technically savvy, you can try SupportSystem (osTicket on cloud hosting) so someone else can do maintenance and updating. osTicket claims to be the worlds most popular customer support ticket system so either way you can be sure that your business will be efficiently taking care of any customer issues.

2016 Amazon S3 review: Everything you need to know

Overview: Amazon S3 is not your typical hosting solution as it caters specifically to businesses and app developers.

Pricing:

Amazon prices their data plans based on the resources you use per GB and can be accessed from their website.

Ideal Customer: Businesses or app developers will benefit from Amazon’s simple storage solutions.

Trends:

Unique Features:

Scalable After Free Tier: Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) is initially free, and then it becomes a pay-as-you-go system. On the free tier, you get 5 GB of standard storage, 20,000 Get Requests, 2,000 Put Requests, and 15 GB of data transfer per each month for one year. This free tier expires after the initial year. Afterwards, you only pay for what you use. Many businesses and individuals enjoy this cost saving solution. You can choose from multiple regions in the U.S. (East and West Coast), EU, Asia Pacific, or South America. Amazon S3 offers three levels of storage classes. Amazon S3 Standard is for general purposes and data that are accessed frequently. Amazon S3 Standard – Infrequent Access (Standard – IA) is for less frequently accessed data. Amazon Glacier is for long-term archive for data that are rarely accessed, but still need to be stored.

Host Static Websites: Amazon S3 isn’t exactly a web hosting plan. It’s mostly for storing files. But you can actually host static websites on Amazon S3. What are static websites? Those are websites consisted only of HTML, CSS, and/or JavaScript. There is no dynamic content and no interaction with users. If you want to host server-side scripts like PHP or Rails app, you’d have to look elsewhere. To host your static websites on Amazon S3, you just need to create a bucket in the management console (similar to a folder), enable the website hosting option, and upload your pages. You can point your own domain or subdomain in your domain’s DNS settings. If you’re mainly experimenting with HTML and don’t want to pay for a full-fledged hosting account, hosting your static websites on Amazon S3 is something you’d want to look into.

Simple Monthly Calculator: AWS (Amazon Web Services) has created a JavaScript-based simple monthly calculator to help you figure out your monthly cost. This isn’t terribly useful if you’re a small-time user with just a few files uploaded, but if you’re sharing lots of files that you expect to be downloaded many times, this calculator helps you estimate how much cost you might incur. Because of the pay-as-you-go nature of Amazon S3, figuring out how much you might owe will prevent any surprises later on. This unique feature will be invaluable to businesses or individuals that need the flexibility of S3 but are also on a tight budget and need some way to plan for usage costs.

Reviews:

We looked at several online sources to find out what customers were saying about Amazon S3. We found that customers were positive about the features and site speeds.

One customer happy with speed and value writes: “I really like Amazon S3 because it’s fast, really cheap and has very easy API to work for my projects in every programming language.”

Another reviewer agrees saying: “Amazon S3 is a great hosting service. They are always up, have great speeds, and amazing support. I would recommend it to anyone who needs file hosting of big files.”

Not all reviews were positive however. We found some customers were disappointed with customer support and specific pricing options.

One upset customer writes: “Support is a little slow. I hate their bandwidth pricing. Because when i started getting too much traffic it started taking more money.”

Another frustrated reviewer states: “Customer Support is bad for Free-Tier users & you need to pay to get a prompt response! Although I never had to contact them for S3 until now.”

We looked at Twitter to see what was being said about Amazon S3. This user is excited about their opportunities with the host:

There were no recent negative tweets, however we found this user who was having major problems:

Pros:

  • Uptime Availability: Amazon S3 has a published uptime availability of 99.99% in a given year, making the service highly reliable.
  • Low Cost: The free tier for first 12 months and the pay-as-you-go model make using Amazon S3 extremely low cost for storing large amounts of data. There are no minimum fees or upfront commitments.
  • Secure: Amazon S3 automatically encrypts all your data once it is uploaded, so it can be transferred securely over SSL. You can also configure your own bucket policies and manage permissions, deciding on who gets access to what. You can do this through AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM).
  • Scalable: You can store as much data (including static websites) as you need. You can also decide on the frequency of accessed data, so you can move them to appropriate storage classes (Standard – IA or Glacier) if necessary. You’re in complete control of how much scaling up or down you want to do.
  • Integrated: Amazon S3 works well with other AWS services such as Amazon CloudFront, Amazon EMR, and much more.

Cons:

  • Support: The support has limited hours.
  • Only for Static Websites: If you’re using Amazon S3 in lieu of a full-fledged web hosting plan, you can only host static websites and not server-side scripts like PHP.
  • Need to Estimate Usage: Estimating your usage, even with a simple calculator, might be a hassle for some people.

Summary:

Amazon S3 is primarily a storage platform, but you can use it host your static websites. This option works great if you don’t anticipate a lot of traffic on your website, you don’t update your website a lot, or you have a small, personal website that you don’t want to pay full hosting for. Amazon S3 for hosting static websites has been highly reviewed by other users online; they like the constant availability, speed, and no-to-low cost.

Takeaway: If you have a small website that doesn’t need to be updated often, there is no need to pay for a hosting plan from another company. Amazon S3 should suit your needs and you’ll pay very little (nothing in the first year).

2016 Omnis Network review: Everything you need to know

Overview: Omnis Network offers a full array of web services that will appeal to small businesses, personal users and hobbyists alike.

Pricing:

Linux: $6.95/mo for shared hosting.

Windows: $8.95/mo for shared hosting.

Linux VPS: $15.00/mo for VPS hosting.

Ideal Customer: Any webmaster looking for well defined hosting plans but are comfortable only using Omnis’ custom control panel.

Trends:

Unique Features:

Clearance Overstock: Omnis offers what they call Clearance Overstock. They offer previous generation servers at a discounted price. It’s similar to buying a slightly used car. It still functions well but you just pay less for it. All servers feature 24/7/365 technical support, 6 TB data transfer, custom-built premium server hardware, IPv4/29 range, control panel that’s easy to use, real-time bandwidth graphs, power manager (reboot, power on, power off), and web-based reverse DNS manager. Depending on the options – CPU, memory, HDD – the price of Clearance Overstock servers range from $56 to $132 per month. Compare this to their current servers that they named In-Stock Servers that cost $72 to $156 per month. If you’d like to save a little bit of money by using previous generation servers, Omnis Network gives you that option.

Single Plan for Linux or Windows: Omnis places more emphasis on dedicated servers and VPS, but they do offer shared cloud web-hosting plans. There is no haphazard selection of multi-tier plans though. There is only a single plan for each platform: Linux Cloud and Windows Cloud. Linux Cloud is $5.95 per month with unmetered disk space, unmetered bandwidth, and unlimited email. Windows Cloud is a little bit higher at $7.95 per month with the same features as Linux Cloud. There is no indication that these are introductory prices, which means you’ll pay the same price when the renewal comes up. Both plans include a free domain for a year, 30-day money-back guarantee, free site builder, shared SSL, and more. You have the option of purchasing a premium site builder, dedicated IP, or private SSL.

Omnis Network Script Installer: One-click installers of popular applications are not new or unique, but Omnis has their proprietary installers called Omnis Network Script Installer. You can access them through the account manager. Omnis has handpicked the best software for every purpose – blogging, content management systems, forums, image galleries, ecommerce, and additional scripts. This means you won’t get every app under the sun but only the ones Omnis thought were worthwhile, but the list of available packages is still exhaustive. It is perfect for your personal or business site to get going fast while helping the site look and run at its best.

Reviews:

We checked online review sites looking for honest opinions about Omnis Network. We found customers had good things to say about their reliability and customer support.

One customer writes: “Tech support is always reachable and easy to communicate with. And I don’t have to talk to several different support employees to get an answer.”

Another reviewer writes: “Omnis network has been for me very reliable, up to date, efficient, and extremely helpful. In the two years that I have been with them, I can honestly say I don’t recall them ever being down.”

Not all reviews were positive however. We found some customers were upset with resource limitations and server performance.

One frustrated reviewer warns: “Even though they tout that you have access to unlimited bandwidth, storage, emails, etc, when you start increasing your use, they start limiting your resources.”

Another customer complains: “Its almost as if they have servers that need replacement or a lot of maintenance. I’ve also found that they often perform maintenance during business hours (US) instead of in the middle of the night which is dreadful.”

We also looked at Twitter to see what people were saying about Omnis Network. This user is happy with customer support:

Another user is frustrated with an ongoing issue:

Pros:

  • Uptime Guarantee: For shared cloud hosting plans (Linux and Windows), Omnis has a published uptime guarantee of 99.9% on their website.
  • Unlimited Resources: For shared cloud hosting, you get unlimited bandwidth, disk space, and email.
  • Money-Back Guarantee: For shared cloud hosting, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee with the usual fine print – no refunds on domain names or any extras purchased.
  • Free Domain Name: Free domain name is included up to a year.
  • Support: Omnis Network’s support is pretty standard with email, phone support, and live chat. There’s also a usable knowledgebase. There doesn’t seem to be any option to upgrade to VIP or premium support.

Cons:

  • Limited Site Builder: The “free” site builder that comes with shared cloud hosting plans is limited to 3 pages, which is paltry. If you want more robust options, you’d have to upgrade to a premium site builder for $7.95 per month for the pro version or $11.95 per month for the ecommerce version.
  • No cPanel or Plesk: There is no mention of the popular cPanel or Plesk, which means you’d have to learn to use Omnis Network’s proprietary control panel.
  • No Extras: There doesn’t seem to be any extras, such as credits towards Google AdWords or Yahoo ads.

Summary:

It’s pretty clear Omnis Network’s main target audience is those looking for dedicated servers or VPS. They offer a wide range of options for dedicated servers, including Clearance Overstock for previous generations of servers. They do have shared web hosting plans (Linux Cloud and Windows Cloud) that are simple but robust in what they offer. No cPanel or Plesk could be troublesome for those who like using these popular control panels. The prices are reasonable for being non-introductory. The site builder is very limited and upgrading to the pro version or ecommerce version can be cost-prohibitive. Their website claims that the host focuses on premier customer service and affordability.

Takeaway: Omnis Network’s products don’t seem geared towards beginners, especially if you want to stick to shared hosting and use their site builder. You’d be better off uploading your own HTML and code rather than paying for the site builder upgrade. But if you’re looking for more inexpensive dedicated servers, you’d do well with Omnis Network’s Clearance Overstock.

2016 Verio review: Everything you need to know

Overview: Verio caters to small businesses or small to mid-sized ecommerce sites with highly scalable hosting solutions.

Pricing:

Basic: $9.95/mo for shared hosting.

Enhanced: $19.95/mo for shared hosting.

Premium: $29.95/mo for shared hosting.

Ideal Customer: Any small business looking to expand their online presence with specific hosting options.

Trends:

Unique Features:

LiveChime Intercept Marketing: Verio’s online marketing tools include LiveChime Intercept Marketing. It’s a type of social media marketing tool that’s cloud-based and uses a kind of “listening tool” to find customers whenever they’re talking about certain keywords that pertain to your business. It enables small to medium businesses to find customers that might currently need their services on social media (Facebook, Google+, Twitter). It’s a way to build qualified leads and put your business in front of potential customers, instead of waiting for them to come to you. Once you find the potential leads, you can interact with them through email, messages, or live chat. Those interactions would be highly targeted and therefore would be more likely to convert into sales. This service will be invaluable to any business looking to save time and make more money. Verio offers LiveChime Intercept Marketing as an add-on service with 5 different pricing plans.

Verio Marketplace: Verio Marketplace is a one-stop-shopping place for you to find business solutions. You can research, evaluate, and select tools that will help your business grow and scale. You can evaluate multiple solutions, one of them at no cost. It currently has two offerings, with more to come: Verio Cloud N and Verio Cloud Builder. Cloud N serves as an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS); you get to have the flexibility of public cloud service to scale your business without the high maintenance costs. Cloud Builder offers custom prebuilt solutions that are already configured to your needs. This service is free and acts a companion product to Cloud N. These services are perfect for any business either looking to get started online or wanting to expand their online presence.

Ecommerce Hosting with ShopSite: Verio places special emphasis on ecommerce by offering separate hosting plans for ecommerce sites. They use ShopSite – a shopping cart software designed specifically for small to medium businesses. ShopSite is easy to learn but still has all the powerful features to run a successful online store. It’s browser-based so there is no software to download or install. There are three ecommerce hosting plans by Verio: Starter, Manager, and Pro. Starter is aimed at merchants starting out with 15 products or less. Manager is for those that have lots of products and need mobile-ready pages. Pro is the most comprehensive plan with Facebook integration, inventory tracking, digital downloads, and more. ShopSite uses Constant Contact as their email marketing software, so customers will have to set up an account with Constant Contact.

Reviews:

We looked over several online reviews to find out what people were saying about Verio. We found customers were pleased with customer support and service.

One happy customer explains: “Verio does still have 100% accessible support in America, and they are quite knowledgeable, with some willing to go out of their way to help educate you.”

Another reviewer writes: “Their service is rock solid, updates are consistent and problem free, and they are very flexible concerning disk quota’s and storage. Although $$$, well worth it.”

Not all reviews were positive however. We found customers disappointed with uptime and billing.

One frustrated reviewer writes: “The system is overly complicated, almost intentionally making it difficult to leave the service. We turned our account off months ago, only to discover it is still on and still billing us.”

Another customer complains that: “The mail servers are down all the time now, the web hosting servers are down at least 5% of the time, which may not sound like a lot, but that is HUGE for web companies that rely on their site to be up 24/7.”

We checked Twitter to see what customers were saying about Verio. This user is happy with a helpful support tech:

Another user is frustrated at an ongoing issue:

Pros:

  • Windows, Linux, Unix Hosting: Verio offers three hosting platforms: Windows, Linux, and Unix. Shared hosting plans are offered in both Windows and Unix. Linux is only offered for VPS and managed dedicated servers.
  • 24/7/365 Support: Verio offers the standard around-the-clock support through live chat and phone number. There is also a knowledgebase and control panel demos. A separate billing platform allows you to still make a payment if you can’t access your account, without having to contact support.
  • No Setup Fees: There are no setup fees for any Verio plans.
  • 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee: Verio offers the industry-standard 30-day money-back guarantee with the usual exceptions – no refunds for extras.
  • Uptime Guarantee: Verio publishes a 99.9% uptime guarantee on their website.

Cons:

  • Bad Reviews: Verio doesn’t seem to have many favorable reviews online. Complaints seem to generally revolve around their support, or lack thereof. While it’s possible only the most disgruntled customers leave online reviews, the fact that there aren’t that many positive reviews can be startling.
  • Priced High: Verio’s basic web hosting plans seem to be priced higher than competitors. Basic hosting offers 25 pages at $9.95 a month. This could be due to the fact they don’t have introductory prices.
  • No Free Domain: No plans include a free domain.

Summary:

Verio has a wide range of options for shared web hosting, VPS, and dedicated servers. Their products come in three different platforms: Windows, Linux, and Unix. Shared hosting plans are offered on Windows or Unix platforms, while Linux is only offered for VPS and dedicated servers. They also have a special focus on ecommerce websites with three different plans using ShopSite. Support, product offerings, and money-back guarantee all seem standard. Because there are no introductory prices on any of their plans, even the most basic shared hosting plan might seem a bit high.

Takeaway: If you’re concerned about bad reviews, you’ll obviously want to stay away from Verio. Their products don’t seem to stand out among competitors and there is no distinct advantage to their service over others.

2016 HostDime review: Everything you need to know

Overview: HostDime specializes in secure, high-end shared hosting for businesses.

Pricing:

sWIN1: $13.70/mo for shared hosting.

sHD1: $17.96/mo for shared hosting.

sWIN2: $18.29/mo for shared hosting.

Ideal Customer: HostDime is great for companies with limited IT staff who wants to tailor a customized server to meet their specific needs.

Trends:

Unique Features:

cPanel Options: The most popular control panel for developers and webmasters is arguably cPanel. Many hosts offer it with each hosting plan, but some developers and resellers need more licenses to fill the needs of their business. HostDime has become a licensed reseller of the cPanel control panel software and offers it on their site. cPanel allows webmasters to access FTP files, email, statistics and other features easily and you can purchase an internal license of version 11 for $30/mo or a VPS optimized cPanel for only $13/mo. You can also choose to purchase external licenses in bulk. One VPS optimized cPanel for $15/mo or options for 2-10, 11-19, 20-49 ranging in price from $30.95/mo to 33.95/mo depending on the number you need. The licenses are fully brandable to show your business name when anyone accesses their files. It comes with free installation and a free virus scanner to make sure your hardware is safe.

Web Presence Builder: Site builders are an industry standard and are provided by almost every company that sells hosting plans. Most have drag and drop interfaces and templates to get you going fast. Although, most of them lack what is becoming more and more important over time, which is keeping the audience in mind. Parellels Web Presence Builder has an easy to use drag and drop builder and thousands of templates, but the other options set them apart from the normal builders. To start, Presence offers industry specific templates from over 100 types of businesses. This software is also multilingual to help you if English isn’t your first language. Keeping your audience in mind, your site is easily integrated with social media and every site you build will be optimized for mobile devices. Small businesses will also enjoy the ability to have a shop directly on their site or hooked up to their facebook page. This site builder is one of the most versatile in the hosting world and is perfect for someone who needs a website, but isn’t a programmer.

Disaster Recovery: Everyone with a website understands that data can be lost easily in a variety of ways. You may not know that half of all businesses close within two years of a data disaster. Sadly, many users and hosts aren’t proactive enough with their data, but if you wait to react to disasters you may be putting your business in jeopardy. Data disaster recovery is something that HostDime takes seriously by offering plans that are custom made for each plan holder. By offering specialty backup schedules, redundancy systems, or even choosing a secure data center to prevent the result of man made or natural disasters, HostDime will create a plan that makes sure the files and information on your server is secure. There is no pricing information on the site and anyone interested has to contact the provider directly, but once your data is safe you won’t have to be concerned with potential hacks, disasters, or data loss anymore.

Reviews:

We checked different internet review sites looking for customer opinions of HostDime. We found these users were mostly happy with the wide variety of features available.

One happy customer writes: “They had a lot of features, like auto installer for scripts such as WordPress and alot more such as forum scripts. Also one thing which I liked also is that they had a full featured Cpanel.”

Another reviewer agrees saying: “The offerings with Hostdime, cpanel/whm, ssl services and more are better than reliable. I’ve gotten SSl’s over the years at a more than reasonable rate and Hostdime installs them painlessly for you.”

Not all reviews were positive however. We found some HostDime users disappointed with with customer support and downtime.

One frustrated reviewer explains: “Yeah, the prices are good for what they promise. The only problem is that they don’t deliver the uptime, the tech support, the customer service they promise, so the value is nil.”

Another customer upset with support writes: “When I have had to contact the support desk to find out what to do I have found some of the personnel arrogant, unhelpful, and indirect.”

We also checked Twitter to see what customers were saying about HostDime. This user is delighted with the level of service from the host:

Another user is frustrated at constant downtime:

Pros:

  • Fully Managed: All of HostDime’s services are fully managed which means that they set up your site and help you along every step of the way.
  • In-House Support: HostDime claims to focus on customer support by having all of their tech specialists in-house. Support is available 24/7 by phone, email, or online chat.
  • Real-time Updates: Anyone can look on HostDime’s website and see live video feeds of their data center, and they show real-time network and server status updates.
  • Freebies: Your hosting package will come with freebies such as Softaculous, Fantastico, Parallels Web Presence Builder, and CORE Management Portal.
  • Wide Range of Options: HostDime offers six dedicated managed plans, multiple VSP and business hosting plans, and five different SSL options to purchase.

Cons:

  • Costly Migration: While migration is free for sites 500MB or less, larger accounts cost extra. The cost varies depending on the size but can reach up to $50.
  • Convoluted Uptime Policy: HostDime does guarantee 99.9% uptime, however if you wish to receive a credit if they fall short of this number, they have a series of hoops you have to jump through.
  • Not for Hobbyists: HostDime caters primarily to businesses and does not offer a low cost basic hosting option.

Summary:

If you’re looking for a company that can host your website with excellent service and incredible security, HostDime may be your ideal provider. While it is shared hosting, their resources and data protection make it a better value than most VPS hosts.

Although, if you’re looking for the cheapest hosting out there, this isn’t for you.

Takeaway: HostDime is a solid choice for businesses of any size to host their sites by a professional company.

2

2016 KnownHost review: Everything you need to know

Overview: KnownHost specializes almost exclusively in VPS hosting options.

Pricing:

VPS 1: $23.75/mo for VPS hosting.

VPS 2: $33.33/mo for VPS hosting.

VPS 3: $42.50/mo for VPS hosting.

Ideal Customer: KnownHost is great for those looking specifically for Linux managed VPS and managed dedicated hosting.

Trends:

Unique Features:

VPS Specialists: Virtual private servers are a great way to protect your files, your company, and your business. That’s why KnownHost specialized in VPS hosting plans. If you want to have a plain shared hosting plan, you will have to find them elsewhere, because they aren’t offered by this provider. There are seven different plans that fit a range of budgets and resource needs. If you plan to have a ecommerce site that needs the security that a VPN offers, you’ll be excited to see the security options that are provided by KnownHost. It’s also a great idea for a business that will have a lot of secure files for your employees or customers. If you have a large traffic site or blog, you can easily scale your plan, or even upgrade to a dedicated server. The two main reasons for wanting a VPS are security and resources. You may not need as much bandwidth or disk space that’s offered by a VPS, but may need more security for your data than a traditional shared plan can give you. Likewise, if you’re looking for more resources, but don’t want to jump to a dedicated server, a VPS may be the best option for your website.

A la Carte Data: Developers and webmasters don’t always know how many resources they’ll need from month to month and this can cause a problem if your hosting plan isn’t big enough. Although, having a plan that’s too big for your needs may mean unnecessary expenses. The ever-changing needs of site owners have led KnownHost to provide add-on resources that you can apply to your hosting account as you need them with no contract. There are several options including resource upgrades like RAM, HDD, IP addresses, and bandwidth. By adding the resources you need from month to month you can pay for them when they are needed and save the money when they aren’t You can also add software upgrades like unlimited cPanel, Blesta, WHMCS, and Softaculous. Having these options means that you’re only paying for hosting and the options you need to succeed. If you don’t need billing software, you don’t have to pay for it. This flexibility keeps your costs lower and your site fast and secure with only what you need to make it work.

KnownHost Blog: Having a host is a lot like having a silent partner for your website. Without them, your files aren’t accessible to the world. Although, you still want to know that they are alive and well to keep your partnership going. One of the signs of life provided by KnownHost is their regularly updated blog. Not only do they regularly talk about their company goals, but it’s a great place to find tips and tricks to get the most out of your site. Posts on the blog cover a variety of topics in eight different categories. There are hosting and VPS categories to help you with your hosting. You’ll also find small business and blogging categories to help you polish up your ability to woo visitors into customers. WordPress users can take a look at the category that is set up just for them to help utilize the CMS better. Finally, there are hardware, internet and news sections that will keep you up to date on important information about the latest products or get in the loop on recent internet related news.

Reviews:

We looked over several online review sites to find honest opinions about KnownHost. We found these users are pleased with the speed of email response times.

One customer pleased with response time states: “They have email only support, and they are very responsive. Once you send them a question they typically take a matter of minutes to respond.”

Another reviewer agrees saying: “I’ve had a couple of instances where I couldn’t figure something out, and it turns out it was my own ignorance. But, their support responded within minutes and helped me out to resolve my issue.”

Not all reviews were positive, however. We found some KnownHost users upset with tech support and downtime.

One frustrated reviewer went without email for a week due to a tech error but: “The support manager reviewed the ticket and said that their tech support couldn’t be responsible for changes they made on a maintained server.”

Another customer also disappointed with tech support states: “They are very fast with email responses but none of them know anything and the service is down at least once a day.”

We also checked Twitter to see what customers were saying about KnownHost. This user is happy with his migration with the help of the support team:

Another user is frustrated with support response time:

Pros:

  • Good Knowledgebase: KnownHost provides a very thorough knowledgebase for their customers as well as a download library full of useful manuals and software.
  • VIP Reseller Program: Customers who purchase multiple VPS and SSD VPS packages can receive guaranteed discounts with higher discounts the more you purchase.
  • Money Back Guarantee: There is a 30 day money back guarantee for dedicated hosting, but only for new customers.
  • Uptime Guarantee: KnownHost provides a detailed SLA which outlines their 99.9% uptime guarantee and under what circumstances in which you can expect a credit.
  • Specialized Options: There are seven different VSP options , five SSD VPS options, and four dedicated options so you can be sure to find exactly what you need.

Cons:

  • Limited Support: KnownHost does not provide telephone or chat support. All customers must either use email or their ticketing system.
  • No Freebies: KnownHost does not offer any marketing ad credits and other features that may be included on other host providers are paid extras here.
  • No Domain Services: KnownHost does not offer domain registration or transfer services, you need to already own a domain before purchasing hosting.

Summary:

If your site has outgrown its shared hosting plan and needs a boost in resources or the security, you’ll enjoy the VPS plans that have been created by KnownHost.

If you want a host that has multiple types of hosting plans to try out and choose, there are other options that are closer to what you desire.

Takeaway: KnownHost is a great place to transfer your site when it’s ready, or to start a site with the security options that VPS offers.

2016 Codero review: Everything you need to know

Overview: Codero caters specifically to businesses and corporations looking for dedicated, cloud or managed hosting.

Pricing:

Basic: $60.00/mo for dedicated hosting.

Core i3 Dual Core: $104.00/mo for dedicated hosting.

Select Managed: $110.00/mo for dedicated hosting.

Ideal Customer: Great for businesses or ecommerce sites that need powerful hosting options.

Trends:

Unique Features:

Hybrid Hosting: When you’re a developer, finding the resources you need to host your files is a very large part of your overall strategy. Making sure you have the space you need to help with traffic spikes and other issues is very important when choosing a hosting company for your projects. Codero has created a one of a kind solution for developers, Hybrid Hosting. Imagine if you could have both the power of a dedicated server and the scalability of cloud hosting together in a seamless integration for speed and power. That’s exactly what you’ll get with this option from Codero. Both the dedicated and cloud communicate as if they were connected at the same switch and provide incredible flexibility for your projects. Your data will automatically be upgraded during spikes to ensure files are always available without a lot of extra cost. To harness the power you simply select your dedicated or cloud server and add the Hybrid Networking. You’ll need to choose the speed of your network. There are four options, 10Mbps, 100Mbps, 250Mbps, and 500Mbps.

Smart Servers: Codero prides themselves on both cloud and dedicated server technology and understand the ever changing needs of the development landscape. Smart Servers are yet another way they cater to designers and developers to make your life just a little bit easier. With this server package, you’ll receive several benefits including free backups for life and on demand snap shots to know your data is safe, one click upgrades and scalability to ensure you have the resources you need, and one click instant reboots in the event of any problems on either end. You’ll also receive the flexibility of the cloud, while also having fully dedicated hardware at your disposal. With remote VNC you’ll be able to access your Smart Server remotely causing greater flexibility. The security of having your own server that will never be shared along with the flexibility of the cloud will ensure a smooth and fast programming environment and steady performance for users.

Proactive Managed: Managed hosting is an option that many different providers offer, but it’s typically only basic server maintenance and possibly a backup of data here and there. Codero has created a two tiered managed hosting program, Essential and Proactive. The essential plan includes all basic network upkeep and should you experience any issues a support team is available every day all day. The proactive plan is more in depth and includes backups, network usage, strategies for your data to help make sure you have the proper resource allocation and much more. The proactive part comes in with advanced monitoring to identify any server performance problems, and help creating custom instructions and rules for your environments to help the development process. There are also tests and other scans to ensure that your data is looking and performing at it’s best. This is a great feature if you want a hands-off hardware experience.

Reviews:

We have looked over several reviews to give you an idea of what people are saying about Codero. We found several people with positive things to say about their customer support.

One satisfied customer states: “Codero has the best sales and support team, and that’s the main reason we use them. We feel completely supported in everything we do.”

Another happy reviewer writes: “We signed up for our servers, and have been nothing but pleased with the services and support provided. I have only had to contact support once in almost 1 year, and they were on top of things and quick to reply.”

We also found negative reviews for Codero as well. Here customers are having problems with reliability and the sales team.

One frustrated reviewer writes: “For me the server intermittently crashes every 5 or 8 days. Sometimes it even crashes twice in 2 days. We have used two Codero Windows Servers and we had to agree that you get what you pay for.”

Another customer warns: “They tell you one thing and do another. I should have learned from the day I was dealing with the sales rep. He told me one thing, put another in the quote and then told the techs something completely different.”

We also looked at Twitter to see what customers were saying about Codero. This user is expressing his gratitude for the level of support:

Another user is upset because his server got suspended:

Pros:

  • Support Centered: Codero prides itself on exceptional service. They list a less than 35 second chat response time, a less than 20 minute response time from the help desk, and 24/7 phone support.
  • Uptime Guarantee: Codero offers the rare 100% uptime guarantee for their dedicated customers and a credit on your next bill under certain conditions.
  • Price Match Guarantee: If you find a publicly advertised price from a competitor for identical products and services they will match it.
  • Customer Loyalty Rewards: A points for dollars reward program that allows you to save any points you earn and then spend them to upgrade your hosting.
  • Green Host: Codero data centers have been updated to reduce energy consumption by 25-30%, employees are engaged in sustainable practices, and also plant trees to offset carbon and produce oxygen.

Cons:

  • No Shared Hosting: Codero doesn’t offer any shared hosting options but focuses on dedicated and cloud.
  • No Free Backups: Codero only offers paid backup services. These two services cost $10-$20 a month respectively.
  • Overwhelming Options: The dedicated hosting alone accounts for 35 different different options for you to choose from.

Summary:

Definitely not the cheapest option, but it may be the best in terms of service and quality. Codero focuses on giving the best service and hosting possible and that comes with a reasonable, but higher price tag.

If you’re looking for an entry level or mid price range service, you’ll want to search a few other options.

Takeaway: If quality is worth it and options are important, you’ll appreciate what Codero has to offer.

2016 Domain.com review: Everything you need to know

Overview: Domain.com is a registrar that offers inexpensive hosting options.

Pricing:

Basic Linux: $3.75/mo for shared hosting.

Basid Windows: $4.75/mo for shared hosting.

Deluxe Linux: $6.75/mo for shared hosting.

Ideal Customer: Anyone looking for a well-established company to purchase domains and hosting with a good variety of options.

Trends:

Unique Features:

Domain Focused: With a name like Domain.com it’s obvious that this hosting company specializes in providing excellent domain registrar services to it’s customers. While they do offer an impressive line up of hosting solutions, their first service is to provide you with a great new name for your new website. Domain.com’s tagline even states, “It all starts with a great domain!” There is a large amount of services provided that are domain specific like bulk registration which allows you to snag hundreds of names at one time and domain transfer to park your domains in bulk. You will also find all of the new TLD’s in an easy to sort out list to find the one that best suits your venture. Domain.com has all of the hottest TLD’s (almost 400) at some of the most reasonable prices to be found online. If you are looking to purchase domains for future use or for resale, this may just be the hosting option for you.

Business on Tapp: If you own or start a business, you need all the help you can get. Advice, insights and tactics aren’t easy to come by and can be costly when you do. In an effort to draw business owners and entrepreneurs to their platform, Domain.com has created a free app called “business on tapp”. A content focused app that allows you to read about game changing tactics, get advice from leadership in a variety of industries, and how-to style articles on all sorts of subjects. The site for the app promises to feed your inner entrepreneur will giving you answers and helping you make connections. There are a lot of entertaining articles as well as great guides. If you’re new or just starting there is an entire section called “101” meant to help beginners answer questions about applying for a business loan and basic SEO tips. The app as a whole can be a refreshing way to learn about business or even take a break from the everyday grind and relax for a minute.

Fully Custom Designs: There are several hosting companies online that offer to design your website, but almost all of them use a version of a drag and drop site builder that just about anyone can use. Very few offer custom design services that create a one of a kind website without a starting from a simple template. Domain.com offers a pro-level design service for businesses who want a custom option. The service starts at $49/mo and includes a dedicated designer for your project that works with you until your site is published and available online. You’ll also get professionally written content so your site sounds as good as it looks. The words will be crafted to fit your business model and industry, and will compel people to take action. All the monthly maintenance and updates your site needs will be taken care of so you can concentrate on your business. All the designs are also search friendly to make sure that you’ll pick up search engine visitors down the road. All in all, this is a great option for anyone who wants a hands off website for their new business.

Reviews:

We looked over different online review sites to find customer opinions of Domain.com. Many users are happy with their easy site set up and user friendly features.

This customer pleased with the ease of use writes: “They give you great features that anybody can learn to use quickly and easily. The CPanel is very user friendly and is great overall.”

Another reviewer also content with the straightforward features states: “We have been very pleased with the uptime, with how smoothly the site runs, with all the aspects of how easy it was for us to create our website and to do updates to it.”

We found negative reviews as well. Some Domain.com users are upset with lack of customer service and long resolution times.

One frustrated customer warns: “Run away as fast as you can from this company, or you’ll be stuck in a never ending loop of impossible changes and hours of wait times with the worst customer service reps known to man.”

Another disappointed reviewer writes: “Worst support ever. Things takes ages to fix, and most of the times they break something while fixing things. Support doesn’t know what they are doing and it’s completely not worth the money paid.”

We also checked Twitter to see what customers were saying about Domain.com. This long-time user happy with his service writes:

Another user is angry at a billing issue:

Pros:

  • Green Hosting: Eco-friendly hosting features such as their energy being 150% offset by wind energy, wind powered hosting badges, and high efficiency servers.
  • Affiliate Program: Domain.com has a generous affiliate program that offers you $100 for each person that signs up for hosting and 30% of the cost of domains for each customer who buys.
  • Website Design: Domain offers custom website design that includes publishing your site, professionally written content, and monthly maintenance.
  • Free Phone Number: When you purchase any hosting option Domain will provide you a free local or toll free number for your business.
  • Fully Loaded Basic: The basic hosting plan offer all of the features, applications, and marketing tools of the more expensive plans, so it’s perfect if you don’t mind being limited to only one domain.

Cons:

  • No Uptime Guarantee: Domain.com does not have an uptime guarantee or a tracker posted on their site but they do claim their datacenter exceeds industry standards.
  • No Backups for Shared Hosting: Backups are available for VSP but shared hosting users are on their own to backup their files.
  • No Phone Support: Tech support is maintained through live chat and a ticket system. There is also a knowledgebase and user guide for customers.
  • No Money Back Guarantees: Domain does not list any money back guarantees or refund policies on their site so if you want to cancel it might be hard getting your money back.

Summary:

Domain.com wants individuals, hobbyists, and small businesses to find the perfect domain name and then host your new website with them.

However, their options may not impress larger sites and developers.

Takeaway: Domain.com is a great place to start your new site, pick up the newest TLD’s, and get a great value for shared hosting.

2016 NameCheap review: Everything you need to know

Overview: NameCheap is a domain registrar that provides inexpensive TLD’s and hosting.

Pricing:

Value: $3.98/mo for shared hosting.

Professional: $6.48/mo for shared hosting.

Ultimate: $10.98/mo for shared hosting.

Ideal Customer: Those looking to streamline their purchases by buying their hosting and domain from the same well-established company will enjoy NameCheap.

Trends:

Unique Features:

SSL Options: Having a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate for your site let’s your customers know that any transactions or data they give you is safe. That’s why companies like Google actually rank your site better if you have one. NameCheap doesn’t just offer SSL certifications they offer 10 different types of SSL’s to choose which one best suits your business. You’ll be able to choose from dozens of plans to prevent fraud from happening on your website or ecommerce shop while not overpaying for something you don’t need. There are also several validation steps that you can put your files through to ensure that you are safe and ready to hold transactional data. You’ll have access to a site seal to let your visitors know they are safe, top tier support, a high level of encryption of all data, and NameCheap’s SSL’s are recognized by all of the top web browsers.

SiteBooster: When it comes to launching a site, you’ll need a few things to succeed. A professional looking design, excellent content, products (if you’re selling), and a way for people to get in contact with you just to name a few. Although, if you have these things set up correctly, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have people visiting your site. To do that you may need some help and that’s exactly why NameCheap offers SiteBooster. This is an app available with their hosting service that helps you spread the message of your business online. You can list your site on the major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing as well as other business friendly services like Yelp, Foursquare, and Twitter. SiteBooster offers one interface to control how all of the data in your listing goes out to these search engines. This simple way to manage your image online, is only $4.99/mo and is a great option to help you get the word out the right way when launching your new business websites.

BriefMetrics: There are several things to keep track of in regards to website maintenance. You’ll want to track malware, updates, and other things to make sure your site is functioning well. Although, an important set of data to keep track of is how people are interacting with your website. Things like traffic, conversions, bounce rate and others can help you configure your site for better sales, and gain even higher traffic. Briefmetrics is an app from NameCheap that provides detailed reports to webmasters to help you keep an eye on how people go through your site. There are other services that keep track of data, but Briefmetrics will send you a summary report of your analytics to help you decipher what the data means for you. The app is $80/year and will help you cite potential problems and improve the overall condition of your user experience.

Reviews:

We looked over different online sources to find out what users were saying about Namecheap. We found customers were happy with their pricing and features.

One customer happy with support writes: “We’ve never had a problem accessing support even at odd hours on on weekends, when we’ve needed them. Very fair pricing and speedy response time.”

Another reviewer pleased with the overall value states: “The prices are extremely low compared to the rest of the market (as much as 50-75% off) But the reason I signed up is the plethora of features.”

Not all reviews were positive however. We also found some Namecheap users frustrated with the reseller and cloudflare hosting.

One disappointed customer states: “Namecheap is pretty good for Shared Hosting, but not as good for reseller hosting. Their servers are too slow when it comes down to reseller hosting.”

Another reviewer complains about a specific hosting service saying: “I would recommend to steer away from cloudflare. Their https makes everything slow.”

We also checked Twitter looking for opinions about Namecheap. This user is pleased with chat support:

Another user is frustrated with customer support not solving a long-term issue:

Pros:

  • Money Back Guarantee: NameCheap offers a 14 day money back guarantee however sales of dedicated servers and add-on products are final and non-refundable.
  • Uptime: There is an 99.9% uptime guarantee. NameCheap uptime monitoring is available in an app for free from their marketplace for your site.
  • Large Datacenter and Network: Multiple datacenters are located across the US with each having fully redundant key systems, including network, power, climate control and security.
  • Whoisguard: Free for the first year and after for a small fee, it is designed for domain owners to keep your confidential information private.
  • FreeDNS: NameCheap offers a free DNS servers that is compatible with supports A/AAAA/CNAME/NS/MX/TXT/SRV DNS record types.

Cons:

  • Renewal Prices: Renewal Price are much more expensive than the initial sign up price. However, unlike other hosts, NameCheap does clearly state these increases.
  • Limited Support: NameCheap does not offer phone support, only online chat and through a ticket system can you get help.
  • No Extras: None of the hosting plans offer bonus marketing credits such as Google Adwords, Facebook credits, or Yahoo credits.

Summary:

Namecheap is a great option for anyone who wants the simplicity of getting a good deal on their domain name and hosting from the same place. The plans are a great value and the domains are inexpensive. The hosting plans aren’t the most intricate, but are decent enough for smaller sites.

Although, if you’re looking to have a host that is focused on keeping your files online more than selling .com/.net/.orgs you may want to look around a little more.

Takeaway: Small business and individual site owners will find decent priced hosting to go along with their new domain name. If you have a domain name, it’s a decent stand alone host as well.

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2016 Netfirms review: Everything you need to know

Overview: Netfirms caters specifically to small businesses that are looking for a basic site with low to mid-levels of traffic.

Pricing:

Plus: $4.95/mo for shared hosting.

Advantage: $9.99/mo for shared hosting.

Business: $14.99/mo for shared hosting.

Ideal Customer: Small business owners and small blogs will love the options they’ll find with Netfirms.

Trends:

Unique Features:

Ready-to-go Websites: Hosting companies that market to beginners and the less technically savvy, typically use site building programs to help their users build websites on their own. Netfirms takes this concept further with their Ready-to-go Websites service. Unlike a site that you have to build out from scratch (with the help of a template), these sites already have everything set up, including content that may be similar to what you want to have on your site. The words and pictures on the page are there to get your mind moving in the right direction, helping you avoid writer’s block while constructing your content. The ready to go sites are optimized for performance and SEO purposes to help search engines (like Google) rank them faster. This is a great option for someone who wants an easy solution to get online quickly.

Shopsite: Setting up a digital store online means having different needs than just normal hosting. Netfirms has catered to ecommerce store owners in a variety of ways in their Shopsite program. Starting at $12.99/mo you’ll get business hosting and Shopsite together which is everything you need to start selling over the internet. The whole software is easy to setup and prepopulates store information to help you get an idea of how to start, including demo products, to see how your products will look after you get it all setup. There are several customer status modes to only show prices to who you want (unrestricted, must register to see, etc.). Shopsite has unlimited category depth and you can have both physical and digital products available for sale. Your items will be easily viewable in a variety of ways that you choose for better customer navigation. There are also several customer retention tools like newsletters, gift certificates, and order status emails to keep buyers happy.

Netfirms Marketing: Marketing your website is necessary for any business owner. Ranking organically in search engines can take months if your not experienced and you’ll need traffic faster than that. Netfirms Marketing has several features to help you get traffic. First, there are several services you can add to your hosting plan that will help you get on Google’s radar fast to get natural organic traffic flowing to your site. Some of the services include SubmitNet (which helps you by submitting your site to search engines and other places), SEO help from marketing professionals who can help your site be more search friendly, and PPC credits to help you get some traffic to your site. Credits you receive for joining Netfirms total $100 along with a free listing in YP.com (yellow pages).

Reviews:

We searched through several online review sites looking for honest opinions about Netfirms. We found that its customers were pleased with their affordability and small business specialization.

One happy customer wrote: “I would highly recommend Netfirms to anyone that is looking for a Hosting Company that is inexpensive and has the tools a small to medium business needs to ensure a relevant presence on the internet.”

Another reviewer delighted with the host said: “The few times I called on their support I was actually surprised at how conscientious their response was– they really do seem to be focused on serving small business as their niche.”

Not all reviews were positive however. We found that some Netfirms customers had issues with WordPress hosting and security policies.

This frustrated user warns: “Since moving to a WordPress site and upgrading to their version of WordPress hosting, I have had nothing but problems, crashes and a website that has been more offline than online.”

Another reviewer complains about having to pay to have their site reinstated: “I find it egregious that Netfirms launches a partnership with a security provider and then forces you to subscribe to it.”

We also checked Twitter to see what Netfirms customers were saying about them. This user is delighted at the support team:

Another user however is frustrated with the lack of ticket response:

Pros:

  • Money Back Guarantee: NetFirms offers a 30 day money back guarantee, however it is only available if you paid by credit card. No other payment methods will be refunded.
  • Multiple Support Options: NetFirms offers 24/7 customer support through email, chat, and by phone. For their Business level customers they offer “Premium” support.
  • Green Hosting: All energy used at their offices and data centers are offset 100% by wind energy and they offer “green” badges to certify your site as eco-friendly.
  • Easy Options: With only three options you won’t get overwhelmed. They are laid out in a nice comparison chart on their website so it’s easy to see the differences.
  • Fast Start: NetFirms helps you to get going fast with Ready-to-Go websites, one click applications and their drag and drop builder.

Cons:

  • Subdomains Extra: While all plans do offer at least one free domain, on all options subdomains cost extra and are little pricey.
  • Dedicated SSL: A certificate is only available on their Business plan, which is also their most expensive hosting plan.
  • Confusing Adwords Credit: On their website each plan offers a $100 Google adwords bonus. However when you click on it you see that you have to spend $25 to get the $100 bonus credit.
  • Renewal Prices: Netfirms does not extend any discounted hosting or domain pricing to renewals so once your initial period is up expect to pay double what you paid initially.

Summary:

Netfirms wants to work with small businesses. Their hosting plans are perfect to keep your corporate site up and running at very reasonable prices. The options are business friendly and crafted for business owners who don’t understand much about hosting.

If you are looking for versatile options for developers and agencies there may be better options.

Takeaway: Netfirms is almost exclusively targeting small business owners. If that’s you this is a great option.