In 2012 Hosting.co.uk started its journey to become one of the most popular web hosting options in the UK. Headquartered in London (the UK), the company is oriented towards the European market with a particular emphasis on its homeland. On the rhetorical question “Why choose Hosting.co.uk?” they provided us with more than a few good points.
Their most unique advantage over other web hosting providers (and worthy of pointing out) is a price lock guarantee. In other words, the price you paid for your hosting package initially is the same price you will be paying after the renewal period. Although this excludes special offers (which should be clearly indicated), not having to worry about the unexpected price spikes is always a boon.
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Other reasons to choose them include their in-house customer service, tier 3+ Midlands data centers, 30-day “no quibble” money-back guarantee and environmentally-friendly approach. To add to the last point, the servers Hosting.co.uk uses are supposedly the newest Intel powered low power CPUs offering both great performance and a way to be economical with energy usage. Although all this doesn’t make them 100% green, they add that they recycle the majority of the waste that their data center and offices produce.
All of Hosting.co.uk’s data centers are found in the UK and they claim that their tier 4 Midlands data center provides “lightning fast speeds” to customers from the UK, the Europe and the rest of the world.
Hosting.co.uk’s main website looks rather conventional and it features a blog, which is filled with plenty of articles on a variety of topics, some of which are of recent date. Additionally, there are links to Facebook, Twitter and Google+ on the main page of Hosting.co.uk’s website. However, their Twitter account is seemingly suspended, the Google+ one is no longer available, and all that is left is Facebook, which is (fortunately) pretty active.
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Plans and pricing
Trying to fit all needs, Hosting.co.uk offers a wide range of services from simple shared hosting to reseller hosting, VPS and dedicated servers. The prices are bent so as not to force the customer to break the bank, with the cheapest shared hosting package starting at £2.00 ($2.70) per month and supporting hosting of up to two websites, 10GB of storage space, up to 100GB data transfer per month and 10 email accounts.
All of four different-sized shared hosting plans include a free website migration (and within 24 hours), one-click installations, DDoS protection, Encryption’s SSL certificate and cPanel as your control panel. Even with other hosting types there is a minimum of four plans to choose from, each suited for different needs.
For these packages you can pay via all major credit cards, direct bank transfer, PayPal and cryptocurrencies, which is more options than usual. In case you change your mind about Hosting.co.uk, there is a standard 30-day money-back guarantee.
Ease of use
All hosting products are presented in a clear manner, and if you click on “View more info” you’ll be forwarded to a chart filled with the most important features of each plan, where you can make a comparison yourself. With shared hosting plans you can choose to be billed on a monthly or annual basis (and going for a year will save you about 16% out of the total cost), while you won’t see much flexibility with other hosting types.
After opting for a plan, you’ll be asked to determine what to do about the domain name: to register a new one, transfer an existing one or use it while updating your nameservers. Although there is no free domain registration for newcomers, some of them go for £5.99 ($8.14) which is rather reasonable. In any case, there is a full range of domain names to choose from, from the most popular ones (.com, .org, .net and more), those which are specific to counties (.de, .uk, .lu and so on), all the way to new generic domains (.Club, .Shop, .online and such), and all are listed in a table featuring all relevant details.
Only during the next stage we’ve noticed that the billing cycle was actually rather flexible and can go (in addition to month and a year) for every four months, each two or three years. After this, you’ll be asked to provide few information about your business and (right after) an immodest amount of your personal information. Before proceeding to check out, you can leave some extra information and choose whether you want to be part of Hosting.co.uk’s mailing list or not.
Now we have both good and bad news. The bad one is that all shared hosting plans are Linux-based and consequently don’t support Windows. However, the good one is that they all include (as you may suspect) industry standard Linux-based cPanel which will make managing all aspects of your new website feel like a walk in the park. In addition to this, with the Softaculous one-click installer, useful apps such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and others will be yours in a heartbeat.
Speed and experience
Given that Hosting.co.uk promises a “lightning fast speed”, that is exactly what we were expecting to see, but not exactly what we got. According to GTmetrix, a speed performance testing tool, the speed of Hosting.co.uk’s main website should be rated with an E (46%), which is pretty far from fast, let alone “lightning fast”. The vital web metrics related to speed (such as total blocking time, largest contentful paint, critical request chains and so on) all showed lower than average results.
On the bright side, the page was fully loaded in 5.1 seconds which is certified as less than the average result of 8.1. At the same time, it took 95 requests, which is, also, slightly less than the average.
Hosting.co.uk guarantees a 99.9% of uptime, which is rather common nowadays. After monitoring the uptime performance of Hosting.co.uk’s main website for a month (with help of UptimeRobot) we were presented with a flawless result and a promise of reliability. During the monitored period not a single second of downtime was registered nor were there any major spikes in response time.
Seeking assistance on Hosting.co.uk’s main website will take you to a support page where you can open a support ticket by choosing one of five appropriate departments listed below: Support, Sales, Cloud Apps, Billing and Affiliates Since the page suggests that we should check out the knowledgebase before asking for help, we did exactly that.
At first glance, Hosting.co.uk’s knowledgebase looks like many others, with relevant categories filled with articles, some of which are highlighted at the bottom. Although they cover most of the issues and are done in easy-to-follow manner (all with adequate pictures) there are not many of them (77 at this moment).
Those who would rather have assistance from a living soul, can reach them via live chat or dedicated telephone number. These ought to be available, as they state, “24x7x365” and “including Christmas, Easter and Bank Holidays”, so you should be able to get help you need at any time.
The most obvious difference between Hosting.co.uk and Bluehost is the location of their data centers, with one being located in the US and the other in the UK. As for the features, Bluehost is more generous towards newcomers as it offers free domain registration (for a year), free CDN and SSL certificate even with its most pocket-friendly plans. However, since they do not offer a price lock guarantee (like Hosting.co.uk does), the price spike upon renewal might make you jump out of your skin.
Tsohost is one of Hosting.co.uk’s UK-based competitors which offers economy hosting solutions and beyond. Although competent, they both have specific advantages and disadvantages, so the choice will probably be made based on your personal preference. For instance, Tsohost offers a free domain and daily backup system (and Hosting.co.uk’s doesn’t), while Hosting.co.uk provides a more responsive customer support which is available around-the-clock.
HostGator is another competitor to Hosting.co.uk, but the one located in the USA. Even though both hosts strive to be beginner-friendly, HostGator (not surprisingly) manages to offer a bit more. In addition to everything Hosting.co.uk supplies, HostGator throws in a free domain, free transfer, free migration and equally free (and rather user-friendly) website builder to sweeten the deal.
Brixly is a fellow UK-based host and the one with extremely competitive prices to boot, particularly when it comes to reseller hosting. Although Brixly’s entry-level shared hosting plan is a bit pricier, it represents a great value for money and since Hosting.co.uk isn’t far behind you are unlikely to make a mistake by going with either of them.
On the surface, Hosting.co.uk doesn’t distinguish itself much from similar hosts on the UK market. However, with an abundance of feature-packed hosting solutions, tier 3+ data center, price lock guarantee, 99.9% uptime guarantee and in-house customer support available at all times, Hosting.co.uk is clearly worth checking out.
In any case, there is a standard 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try them out without fearing anything, except the waiting time. To those who would rather have a safe bet, we can recommend more known hosts such as HostGator and Bluehost.
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