Tuesday 11th December 2018

FatCow Review

Excellent uptime and mixed bag of features but exorbitant renewal prices and very poor response time.

  • Its monthly uptime is among the best however its server response time is among the worst;
  • Its annual renewal fees are 266% more expensive than its annual introductory fees;
  • No free website migrations, daily backups or uptime guarantee;
  • They provide a free domain with new hosting packages and they allow customers to host “unlimited” websites from a single package;
  • Customer service is relatively poor, and they don’t provide ticketing as a form of support.

FatCow Review

Excellent uptime and mixed bag of features but exorbitant renewal prices and very poor response time.

  • Its monthly uptime is among the best however its server response time is among the worst;
  • Its annual renewal fees are 266% more expensive than its annual introductory fees;
  • No free website migrations, daily backups or uptime guarantee;
  • They provide a free domain with new hosting packages and they allow customers to host “unlimited” websites from a single package;
  • Customer service is relatively poor, and they don’t provide ticketing as a form of support.

Latest rankings

We performance test the world's biggests hosts on a second-by-second basis. The top 3 performers for July 2018 are listed below.

Host Uptime Response time
HostGator 100% 390
Bluehost 100% 502
Hostinger 100% 513

Latest rankings

We performance test the world's biggests hosts on a second-by-second basis. The top 3 performers for July 2018 are listed below.

Host Uptime Response time
HostGator 100% 390
Bluehost 100% 502
Hostinger 100% 513

Overview

FatCow’s uptime is among the best we’ve reviewed. In fact, it maintained 100% uptime for three successive months. The following month it maintained an uptime of 99.99%.

This is highly impressive; however, it’s hampered by its poor server response time, which is among the worst we’ve reviewed.

FatCow’s monthly server response time has ranged from 1,916 milliseconds to 2,226 milliseconds. This is significantly slower than the best performing web hosts, which typically post server response times in the low- to mid-hundreds.

To compare with other Endurance International Group web hosts, in July 2018 of this year Bluehost’s response time was 502 milliseconds while HostGator’s was 390 milliseconds (they were the top performers for that month).

Another downside of FatCow is its annual pricing, which increases, in percentage terms, significantly more between year one and year two than almost any other host we’ve reviewed (266%).

Like iPage, another EIG brand, it doesn’t provide an uptime guarantee. Very few other hosts we’ve reviewed have taken this approach; the only other example we can think of is InMotion.

While its uptime is excellent, it’s let down by a lack of features e.g. SSL, free daily backups, free website migrations, etc., relatively poor customer service, poor server response time and uncompetitive pricing (in the second year).

Overall, we feel there are better options at this price range.

Latest uptime

Month Uptime Response time
January 2018 100% 2169ms
February 2018 100% 1768ms
March 2018 100% 1967ms
April 2018 100% 1932ms
May 2018 100% 1956ms
June 2018 100% 1918ms
July 2018 99.99% 2,226ms

Key data

Click on a metric to compare the performance of all 18 hosts, or learn more.

N/A = Not applicable NS = Not specified RBNS = Restricted but not specified

Bandwidth/data transfer

Unrestricted

The not-so-small small print

1Many web hosts advertise monthly prices but don't allow you to pay monthly. If you can't actually pay monthly we don't display a monthly price.

2This metric lists the annual price for packages paid 12 months in advance. It doesn't calculate the cost of packages paid monthly for 12 months.

3This is what it costs to renew a package paid annually in the second year. Most hosts increase prices for the second and each subsequent year.

4A "free domain" may sound like an enticing offer but keep in mind its costs will often be subtracted from a refund and some web hosts charge significantly more for renewals than registrations.

5Most web hosts display their uptime guarantees to one decimal point e.g. 99.9% is actually 99.90%. While some uptime guarantees look more attractive e.g. 100%, it's the compensation terms - how much they pay you if they fail to honor it - that matter.

FatCow alternatives

Excellent uptime and response time but offers poor customer service and lacks essential features.

Annual price

$59.88

Uptime

99.99%

Nothing spectacular, nothing truly terrible. They're expensive relative to other web hosts.

Annual price

£94.99

Uptime

99.93%

1&1

Solid uptime but limited customer service, excessive legalese and overbearing restrictions.

Annual price

$11.88

Uptime

99.97%

Good uptime, features and value for money but no free domain and response time is average to poor;

Annual price

$24.88

Uptime

99.94%

Pricing

Like many web hosts, the monthly rate FatCow advertises ($4.08) isn’t the rate you pay if you actually want to pay monthly. Rather, to qualify for the advertised rate you must pay 12 months in advance.

If you actually want to pay monthly for their cheapest package, then you must pay $5 for the first month and $14.95 for every subsequent month.

If you want to pay annually i.e. 12 months in advance, you’ll end up paying $49 for the first year and $179 for every subsequent year.

This, relative to other web hosts, is very high. For example, Bluehost, which performs better than FatCow overall, and offers a wider range of benefits and features, charges $59.40 for the first year and $95.88 upon renewal.

Unfortunately, its domain registration pricing follows the same principles. FatCow charges $10.99 per year for a .com registration and $16.99 per year for a .com renewal. It also charges $9.99 per year for domain privacy.

FatCow’s money back guarantee is fairly standard at 30 days. By comparison, HostGator, InMotion, Dreamhost and A2 Hosting offer money back guarantees of 45 days, 90 days, 97 days and “anytime,” respectively (some of these guarantees come with caveats, however).

Key data

Click on a metric to compare the performance of all 18 hosts, or learn more.

N/A = Not applicable NS = Not specified RBNS = Restricted but not specified

Compare web hosts

We compare 17 web hosts against 56 metrics, including monthly and annual pricing and bandwidth, CPU, read/write, storage and database restrictions.

Technical

Unlike other web hosts, FatCow provides very little practical information on how it limits server resources.

Like iPage, FatCow (also an Endurance Internal Group brand) proclaims it affords you ‘oodles’ of bandwidth, which ultimately means it’s invoking playful marketing terminology to avoid disclosing how it restricts bandwidth.

However, a quick glance through their cPanel brings us to options, like with iPage, to upgrade our bandwidth (it’s $2 for 1GB).

Their user agreement has this to say about bandwidth and other “unlimited” services:

“In most cases, User Websites will be able to support as much traffic as User can legitimately acquire. However, FatCow reserves the right to limit processor time, bandwidth, processes, or memory in cases where it is necessary to prevent negatively impacting other Users.”

The stated limit on ‘bandwidth’ in their admin panel (vDeck), like iPage, is 100TB (not a typo).

We find this confusing because some of FatCow’s most expensive packages, e.g. VPS, cost $79 per month and restrict bandwidth (data transfer) to 4TBs.

We contacted iPage about it and they claim they restriction applies to all website on the server; however, our admin panel explicitly states your account’s bandwidth usage is as follows”.

This 100TB restriction isn’t publicised on the front-end of their website either.

As far as other restrictions are concerned we found nothing specific about I/O or CPU other than the standard statements most hosts make in terms of service or user agreements:

“FatCow expressly reserves the right to review every user account for excessive usage of CPU, bandwidth, disk space and other resources that may be a result of your violation of this Agreement or the Acceptable Use Policy”.

While storage, bandwidth and the total number of websites you can host is advertised as ‘unlimited’ or “oodles,” according to their user agreement there’s a 3GB restriction on total database size and you’re limited to creating no more than 1,000 tables within a database (which is more than enough for most users).

Key data

Click on a metric to compare the performance of all 18 hosts, or learn more.

N/A = Not applicable NS = Not specified RBNS = Restricted but not specified

CPU usage restriction?

RBNS

CPU usage restriction

NS

Number of CPU cores

NS

Bandwidth

Unrestricted

Storage restriction

Unlimited

RAM restriction

NS

Database size restriction

3GB

No. of websites restriction

Unlimited

Compare features

Annual price

Compare all 18 hosts by what it costs if you pay 12 months in advance.

Host Annual price
SiteGround $47.40
Bluehost $59.40
Hostinger $39.00

Free domain?

Compare all 18 hosts by whether they offer a free domain with new hosting subscriptions.

Host Free domain?
FatCow Yes
A2 Hosting No
HostGator Yes

Offers HTTP/2?

HTTP/2 was the first update to the HTTP protocol in 20 years. See which hosts support it.

Host Supports HTTP/2?
Just Host No
GoDaddy No
SiteGround Yes

Entry processes

Learn more about, and compare 18 hosts by, limitations placed on entry processes.

Host Entry processes
InMotion 20
GreenGeeks 100
Namecheap 20

Service

Unlike many shared web hosts, FatCow doesn’t offer an uptime guarantee or a free backup service.

That said, it has an article in its knowledge base that instructs users on backing up via file manager (for web files).

Aside from this, they do advertise a premium backup option for $1.14 per month; however, it’s actually priced $1.42 per month because it’s billed 12 months in advance and for a total annual cost of $16.99.

The only way to qualify for the cheaper rate of $1.14 “per month” is to pay 36 months in advance. The ‘backup and restore’ basic option gives you a daily backup of one of your websites, as well as the option of restoring it.

Key data

Click on a metric to compare the performance of all 18 hosts, or learn more.

N/A = Not applicable NS = Not specified RBNS = Restricted but not specified

Uptime guarantee

No

Live chat support

Yes

Ticket/email support

No

Phone support

No