FatCow Review

Published by Sam Wilson on

Eco-friendly hosting company offering affordable, all-inclusive shared hosting plans powered by green energy.

on’t be fooled by Fatcow’s playful demeanor and insistence on using words like ‘oodles’ throughout their website; the Endurance owned firm take what they do seriously.

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They pack a whole bunch of features into an attractive hosting package whilst at the same time cutting away most of the jargon and ‘technobabble’ employed by other cheap web hosting firms. We’d remiss if we didn’t mention their USP of offering 100% green web hosting, backed by renewable wind energy sources.

At a time when more and more consumers are concerned about their carbon footprint, proving that your business is doing its part to keep things green can go a long way to attract likeminded customers. It should come as little surprise to find that FatCow have been successfully providing quality business hosting from their Massachusetts, USA base for over 15 years now.

Still, green credentials aren’t the only thing the company have going for them. In the following guide, our experts detail everything you could possibly want to know about FatCow to determine whether or not their offering is worth your investment when it comes to purchasing a new web hosting package.

For small and medium sized websites, it’s hard to fault FatCow when it comes to value for money, especially when you consider the added benefits to your business reputation by hosting your site on severs driven by 100% renewable energy. Large scale sites may be better off elsewhere, but for those just starting out, this is a fabulous deal.

Plans and Pricing

FatCow Unlimited Hosting Plan

For a first term cost of £2.50 per month, FatCow’s unlimited shared hosting plan does represent exceptional value for money. Sure, you might be able to find other similar plans for less (take the iPage Essentials package for example), but similar is the key word here.

While many things such as unlimited resources and a free domain name are standard components of most shared plans of this type, FatCow does take things just that little bit further by bundling in a complete eCommerce solution which other companies will often charge a premium price for (see ‘Selling Online’ tab for more details).

The only major downside to this is when it comes to the renewal costs associated with keeping your FatCow account running long-term. FatCow’s huge initial discount means you’ll end up paying almost four times as much -£8.95 to be exact- once it’s time to renew.

As with everything, there are good and bad points. On the one hand, it does mean that the average website owner can get a great first-term deal to try out new projects and give FatCow a trial run, but on the other, it also means that you’ll need to be prepared for a hefty price increase should you choose to renew after your first year.

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Money back guarantee

If you’re unhappy with the service you receive from FatCow, you can cancel your account at any time within a thirty day period from the date your card is charged. By doing so, you’ll receive a full refund on the cost of your hosting, minus a $15 for the cost of your domain name. For UK users, this works out at just less than £10, and means you’ll be able to take your domain name with you to another web hosting company should you choose to.

Key Features

What’s included in the FatCow Shared Plan?

  • Free domain name
  • Unlimited storage
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Web analytics tools
  • Shared SSL certificate

FatCow Features

In order to draw a genuine like-for-like comparison throughout all of our hosting reviews, we tend to talk about a company’s shared web hosting deals. That said, when a provider does do a good job of selling Virtual Private Servers and dedicated hosting, we certainly think that’s worth a mention too.

Below, we’ll look at each type of hosting and discuss what’s included in the first term sale price.

FatCow Original Shared Hosting Plan

Fitting in with the brand’s commitment to keeping things simple, the ‘FatCow Original Package’ eliminates much of the headache that comes with weighing up the pros and cons of multiple packages, and means you should get everything you need, all for one relatively low price.

Unlimited bandwidth and hosting space comes as standard, as do limitless POP mailboxes, a domain name, and unlimited email. With regards to email, you’ll have a Webmail client complete with spam filtering at your disposal, as well as a smart Newsletter Manager Tool, which in our experience is comparable to e-marketing tools like Aweber, and does a solid job of managing email campaigns.

Free daily backups are included too, so if something goes wrong, it never takes long to restore your site to an earlier version and simply start again.

For those of you with programming or back-end concerns, you’ll have support for PHP 4 and 5, and Python, with unlimited MySQL databases and a comprehensive script library bundled into your package.

FatCow Virtual Private Server Hosting

FatCow’s Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting solutions are based on the same model employed by other Endurance International brands, with a sliding scale which increases in both price and resources.

At the lower end, a £19.99 month package will get you a 1 core basic VPS with 1GB of RAM, 1TB monthly data transfer allowance and 40GB of disk space. At the top end, you’re looking at £79.99 for four cores, 8GB RAM, 120GB storage and 4tB bandwidth allownace.

Along with these core resources, you’ll also benefit from an easy-to-use cPanel dashboard, a free domain name, personalised email and optional root access.

Dedicated Server Hosting from FatCow

If you need even more power and resource than a VPS can offer you, it might be time to invest in a full dedicated server. Obviously these don’t come cheap, but we have to admit that FatCow’s servers are some of the better priced.

Plans start at £119.99 per month for a two core processor on a server with 5TB of bandwidth, 500GB of storage and 4GB ram, and end up at the top of the scale with an Enterprise Solution which uses four cores to power a 1000GB server with 16GB of RAM and a huge 15TB of monthly bandwidth.

Much as with the VPS packages, you’ll also receive a free domain name and email, advanced cPanel and scores of preinstalled scripts, including CGI, SSI, PHP, Perl, Ruby, Python and Cron.

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Building a Website

FatCow Website Building Tools

As with most good hosting companies, FatCow include access to a free drag-and-drop website builder which can be installed via OneClick installation through your cPanel. This is based on popular site creation tools such as Wix, Weebly and SquareSpace, and though it’s not worth raving about, we do think this makes a decent solution for those in need of a quick, simple solution to launching a professional looking site.

For more advanced users, the same OneClick tool can be used to install WordPress, Joomla and over 100 more apps and platforms, whilst those building their sites offline and uploading later will benefit from unlimited FTP accounts and the obligatory web-based file uploader.

Selling Online

FatCow ECommerce

One of the best things about FatCow’s one-size-fits-all approach to web hosting is that you don’t need any huge upgrades to be able to create your own powerful, dynamic online score.

Everything you need is already bundled into the basic FatCow Original package, which goes a long way to justifying the higher cost than some of the other all-inclusive hosting providers.

Payment gateways, shared SSL certificates and several leading shopping carts are all included in the plan, and we’ve found no problem integrating major payment gateways into our FatCow hosted sites.

If you’ve never set up an online store before, you’ve got plenty of help at hand thanks to some quick, easy-to-follow walk-through guides, and access to customer support right around the clock.

What’s more, several hundred pounds worth of Google, Yahoo!/Bing, and Facebook advertising credits are on hand to help you attract your first influx of customers.

Reliability and Performance

It’s probably fair to say that if a hosting company can’t promise you at least 99.9% uptime, then they’re not worth investing any time or money in.

Weirdly, despite scouring FatCow’s website several times over, we couldn’t actually find any such guarantee. The good news however, is that the company do actually deliver solid, consistent levels of uptime, with our own FatCow-hosted sites returning records of 100% uptime over a two month period, and at least 99.9% at all other times.

Fatcow Uptime Performance 2016If you’re worried that green energy won’t be able to power your sites at the same level as traditional fuel sources, then you might be interested to know that the company utilises a pooled-server environment, which means that rather than basing your pages entirely on one server, they’re actually distributed from a central location, with the first available server being used to deliver your pages whenever a user comes to visit.

Likewise, each server machine comes with an identical backup copy which immediately kicks in should anything happen to primary server loading your sites.

Customer Service

Never ones to do things formally, FatCow’s customer service guarantee comes in the form of their ‘HeiferCraftic Oath,’ which you can read in full to the right.

This promises a one-minute response time with the majority of issues resolved the first time round.

In our experience, we can say that we’ve found anything to discredit this guarantee, and though we can’t say we were particularly blown away by FatCow’s customer service, we also can’t find much to fault them on either.

The only quibble we might have is the fact that all of their customer support operators are based in the United States. As we’ve mentioned with other hosts who use this as a selling point, US-based support is great for US-based customers, but for those of us based in the UK and across the globe, it may well be seen as something of a downside.

My Review

The Good

Fast, affordable, eco-friendly hosting is all that FatCow promise, and to that end they certainly deliver. One of the better all-inclusive shared hosting solutions out there, they’re as ideal for high-powered eCommerce solutions as they are for basic brochure style websites, with ample tools and resources available to help you make either with no complications.

Though some may take the company’s playful nature to be childish, if not completely off-putting, we think the light-hearted nature does much to appeal to web hosting beginners and those creating their first sites, whilst still providing a powerful enough solution to cater to advanced users.

All in all, we’ve certainly been very happy with the service we’ve received from FatCow. and though there may be cheaper alternatives out there, we think this is a solid investment for those who plan to expand their online presence.

The Bad

We don’t have a lot of bad things to say about FatCow. Their FatCow Original plan does pack a hefty punch, and makes an ideal choice for newcomers with a little more cash to spend on developing a powerful web presence right from the get go.

That said, we would like to see the company offer more flexible payment plans, as the higher initial investment could be a turn off for those looking to start a website on a limited budget, especially when there are so many other options available.

Again, the US-based support could be off-putting to those based outside the US, and we’d like to see the company show a little more consideration for its international customers.

Over to you

Is there something we’ve missed off our list of features? Something with which you agree, disagree or simply want to comment on? Top 10 Website Hosting is only as good as your reviews, so we’d love to hear from you. Why not share your experiences with us.

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