Thursday 24th May 2018

Fasthosts Review

Overview

Overall rating:

5.5/10

Price:

£2.50

Uptime (Jan 18):

98.42%

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Overview

Overall rating:

5.5/10

Price:

£2.50

Setup:

12 hours

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Overall

Fasthosts is owned by United Internet, the same company which owns 1&1. United Internet purchased Fasthosts for £61.5 million in 2006.

Fasthosts are a relatively cheap provider, particularly in relation to upfront costs, however we don’t recommend them for shared hosting (largely because we can’t find anything about how they restrict shared accounts on their website and other web hosts at this price range provide features Fasthosts don’t).

  • Uptime is acceptable however response time is slower than average.
  • Unlike a number of other web hosts at this price range they don’t appear to offer free SSL or support HTTP/2
  • Fasthosts don’t appear to offer a free website migration service (unlike a number of other hosts)
  • They do offer support via live chat and a ticketing platform, however they’re quite hard to find. The number for telephone support is publicised everywhere.
  • They offer a custom admin panel as opposed to cPanel (this could make it more challenging to migrate to a cPanel web host in future). Their admin panel seems to be missing a few features you would typically find in a cPanel installation.
  • They state they offer ‘unlimited bandwidth’. Their TOS also makes reference to ‘burstable bandwidth’ (see more below)
  • They offer a 99.99% uptime guarantee however this doesn’t seem to apply to shared hosting accounts.
  • Their ‘Cluster Platform’ seems to include some interesting features, however features like ‘intelligent load balancing’ aren’t available through the entry-level package (more information below)
  • All shared hosting packages come with a free domain name.
  • Fasthosts offers a 30 day money back guarantee however it’s not advertised particularly well (eg it’s not listed on their main shared hosting pages and it’s quite difficult to find in the admin panel)
  • All of the shared hosting packages are subject to a minimum 12 month contract. There are cancellation rules (see more below)
  • All shared hosting accounts automatically renew at the end of their term (and the price increases to £5 per month)
  • We can’t find a live chat option in their admin panel (it’s located at help.fasthosts.co.uk and you have to login) and we struggled to find an email address (they don’t seem to want to publicise it but there is a ticketing system at the aforementioned URL). Telephone support is available 24/7 but interestingly the cancellation team and live chat team is only available Monday-Friday.
  • They offer an online backup service for shared hosting accounts however it’s significantly more expensive than the account itself (£10 per month).

Features

5/10

service

6/10

Performance

4/10

Cost

7/10

Host overview

Performance: January 2018 (to date)

Response Time:

1749ms

Uptime:

98.42%

Average uptime for all hosts in January 2018 (to date) is 99.80% while average response time for all web hosts in January 2018 (to date) is 1,254ms.

Cost, setup and website migrations

The entry-level Ignite package is priced £2.50 per month (excluding tax). Unlike many other hosts (if not most hosts), the price advertised is the price you pay and the term advertised is the term you pay over. Fasthosts, like 1&1, are transparent with their pricing.

Fasthosts don’t allow you to pay in advance for their Ignite package, however it will automatically renew at full price ie £5 per month.

You’ll receive a free domain with the Ignite package however after 12 months it will automatically renew for the retail price (and they will also charge you for it 30 days before it expires).

It’s impossible to get a clear answer on how much it costs to register and subsequently renew a domain name with Fasthosts.

On this page it tells us it costs £12.99 to register a .com for 1 year and £12.99 to renew a .com for 1 year:

Fasthosts - domain renewals

When we click through to the checkout it tell us it costs £4.99 to register a .com for one year but in fine print underneath it tells us “renewal £25.98 per 2 years” (£12.99 x 2 is £25.98 so perhaps they’re telling us we have to renew for 2 years after the first year).

Fasthosts - more domain renewals

We then reviewed the terms and conditions for this ‘special offer’ and it states a domain costs £4.99 for the first year but it renews at £10.99 (another distinctive price) for the second year. These prices exclude VAT, however when you add VAT the renewal price comes to £13.18.

Fasthost - another domain renewal

We got in touch with Fasthosts through live chat and they informed us it costs £4.99 to register a .com for 1 year and £13.99 to register a .com for 2 years. They told us renewals are the same cost as the registrations.

We asked if this meant a .com registration would cost £4.99 in the first year and £4.99 in the second year, to which we received the response: “Yes, I believe”

We were then told to call Fasthosts billing department for more information (we’re not prepared to do that simply to find out how much it costs to buy and renew a domain with Fasthosts).

All in all…colour us confused.

This package only entitles you to host 1 website and holds you to a 12 month contract (section 2.1 of their ‘general terms and conditions’). In reality, when you factor the costs in, Fasthosts will cost you £30 per year.

We’ve had an extensive look at their website however, unlike a number of other web hosts, Fasthosts don’t appear to offer a free or paid website migration service.

Setup was relatively simple. Fasthosts nameservers were relatively easy to find and DNS propagated within 24 hours. We also took advantage of the 1-click WordPress installation.

Restrictions

Fasthosts state very little about usage restrictions. We know they have them but unlike a lot of other hosts either they don’t monitor your resource usage (web hosts usually utilise CloudLinux to apportion a set amount of resource to each shared hosting account) or they simply don’t state how they restrict you.

Most hosts specify a number of metrics to guide you in your resource usage (I/O, CPU usage, physical memory allocation, entry processes, HTTP connections, etc.) however, after an extensive look through their website, Fasthosts doesn’t seem to publish anything other than scant information about the above topics.

They restrict storage to 10GB however they don’t specify an inodes restriction (an inode is just meta data for a file and an inode restriction signifies the total number of files you’re permitted to create). They do use SSDs as opposed to HDDs for storage though (which is always a plus).

They state the following about bandwidth in their acceptable use policy:

Fasthosts - acceptable use policy

As you can tell, it doesn’t give us very much.

Fasthosts also state in their acceptable use policy that ‘You may not use the services:’

Fasthosts - acceptable use policy

Again, it doesn’t give us very much.

And that’s all we have. Our restrictions section is usually the longest section of our reviews, however we can’t recommend a host which doesn’t seem to publicise how it limits or restricts its customers (particularly when other web hosts are willing to and thus enable consumers to make comparisons).

Backups, guarantees and security

They offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee – it’s marketed on their cloud pages – but it doesn’t seem to apply to shared hosting customers. This guarantee is also outlined under their service-level agreement for virtual and dedicated servers.

This contrasts with a number of other web hosts that do offer an uptime guarantee for shared hosting accounts and also publicise it prominently on the shared hosting pages of their websites.

We can’t find information about how to backup your website. A cPanel installation will typically come with an option to manually backup your website, however as Fasthosts uses a custom admin panel this option isn’t available to customers.

Instead they offer you a premium option which starts at £13.20 inc. VAT per month, which is 3x more than the cost of your hosting account. If you want to backup your files or database, you can go through PHPMyAdmin and either the file manager or an FTP client.

Their 30 day money back guarantee does apply to shared hosting accounts however it can be a little challenging finding out how to redeem this (there’s a link right at the bottom of the main ‘web hosting’ page in your control panel).

Again, we couldn’t find any reference to their money back guarantee on their main terms and conditions page, however that’s because it’s linked to from your admin panel (it’s in a separate terms and conditions document which isn’t linked to from the main landing page containing all the other terms and conditions).

The guarantee is fairly standard, however it’s worth noting there are no refunds for domain names purchased (which is also standard for most web hosts) and that ‘any refunds given will be minus the usual cost of the selected domain name extension’.

The admin panel

Fasthosts - admin panel

Fasthosts offer a custom admin panel and there are a number of features missing from a more traditional cPanel installation.

You can still configure zone files, access a file manager, manage mailboxes, set-up MySQL databases and utilise 1-click installers, however you can’t monitor resource usage, implement hotlink protection, block IP addresses, etc.

Fasthosts - applications

They do provide options to upgrade though. You can add an additional 10GB of storage to your account for an extra £2.99 per month (again, the cost of your hosting package) or you can purchase an SSL certificate for £59.99 per year (they don’t offer a free SSL certificate like a number of other hosts do eg Hostinger or Siteground).

Fasthosts Customer Service

  • Live chat support: yes
  • Ticketing support: yes
  • Phone support: yes

Fasthosts offer live chat support but good luck finding it. We had to traverse their website before we discovered their support system is available at help.fasthosts.co.uk.

Live chat was fairly responsive; however:

  • They struggled to answer basic questions eg domain renewal fees. We were given the answer ‘I believe’ in relation to the cost of renewing a domain name.
  • Their live chat closes at 6pm.

They aren’t the best on support by any means, however at least they offer ticketing, live chat and phone support (unlike a number of hosts).

Pay monthly - Ignite

Price

£2.50

Bandwidth:

Unlimited

Storage:

10GB

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Pay monthly - Momentum

Price

£7.00

Bandwidth:

Unlimited

Storage:

20GB

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Pay monthly - ultimate

Price

£15.00

Bandwidth:

Unlimited

Storage:

120GB

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Price

Bandwidth:

Storage:

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