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Krystal Hosting review

Should you trust the UK's largest independent web hosting provider?

21:9 Hero
(Image: © Krystal Hosting)

Our Verdict

Krystal Hosting is an independent and highly-experienced green-powered host from the UK. They might not be the cheapest hosting solution out there, but they are more than able to meet most needs.

For

  • 24/7 customer support
  • Generous 60-day money-back guarantee with all plans
  • Free website builder
  • Free LetsEncrypt SSL certificate
  • Powered by green energy
  • Transparent payment policy

Against

  • Lack of official forum
  • Only one data center in the UK

Krystal Hosting began as a brainchild of Simon Blackler who was a 17-year-old at the time. While spending his summer vacation developing a fan site for an upcoming video game and learning how to build it in that process, he faced the problem of finding a suitable web hosting service. After being annoyed with a number of overpriced hosting solutions with dreadful performance on the UK market, he came up with the idea of offering an “honest, reliable & personal” alternative on his own. 

Krystal Hosting was finally founded in 2002 and has since become one of the largest independent web hosts in the UK which is currently hosting about 200.000 websites. Today, they offer a variety of hosting solutions, from standard shared hosting to managed WordPress, cloud VPS and reseller hosting.

Green Hosting

Krystal Hosting is completely powered by renewable energy (Image credit: Krystal Hosting)

One unique feature of Krystal Hosting is their eco-friendly approach. It was launched in 2017 when they became one of the earliest hosts to be powered by 100% renewable energy, thus reducing their carbon footprint to a minimum. Additionally, their data center is located in London and all data is stored on a 100% SSD disk to allow its users the highest speed possible.

Krystal Hosting's main website feels modern, user-friendly, well-organized and distinctively (and pleasantly) purple. The same could be said about their blog which, while it does not appear to have been updated in recent months, is loaded with articles written in articulate, informative and slightly witty fashion.  

As for social media, Krystal Hosting maintains a presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. All of these accounts appear active, with rather regular posts, responses to comments, answered questions and general level of interaction with users which can be described as friendly. 

Pricing

(Image credit: Krystal Hosting)

Plans and pricing

Three different hosting types (shared, WordPress and VPS) are highlighted on the website's landing page with their most significant features. Selecting any of them will lead you to another page with a larger variety of options, depending on a hosting type. The most affordable shared hosting plan is labeled as “Amethyst” and goes for £4.99 ($6.57) a month. With this you should get same-day migrations, capacity to host two sites, 10GB of SSD space, a free SSL certificate and a website builder (with as many pages as you want). This may not be the cheapest shared hosting plan out there, but it definitely represents an excellent quality-price ratio.

We should mention that just below the selected plans there is an option to switch on/off calculation for VAT (a value-added tax), which will give you a clearer picture of all costs.

Krystal Hosting offers an open-handed 60-day money-back guarantee with all of its plans, which is twice as much time than with most hosting providers. It’s important to have in mind that this applies to all products and services except domain names.

When it comes to payment methods, Krystal Hosting supports credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Maestro and American Express), bank transfer and PayPal.

Ease of use

If none of the pre-designed hosting plans are attractive enough, slightly below the rightmost one there is an option titled “Show me larger plans”. It will take you to two additional and premium plans suited to the most challenging businesses. Additional information about the plans should be provided, such as websites’ performance, frequency of daily backups, number of recovery points and supported apps and features. If you are not exactly sure what plan best fits your needs, you have a choice to seek further assistance by contacting Krystal Hosting’s support team.

Selecting the option to be charged annually will get you two charge-free months, and with a triennial plan you may halve the total amount you would need to pay on monthly basis. After deciding on a plan, you’ll be prompted to register a new domain or transfer the one you currently have. You can then choose a billing cycle, add basic information about your business type, country and region, review your shopping cart and proceed to checkout. Curiously, a few countries weren’t listed (a handful of non-EU nations) in the options, so we suppose you can select the one that is closest to you.

Creating your account with Krystal Hosting is a fairly straightforward process. After entering your personal data, you’ll create a password and pick a security question, which can be something personal, such as your mother’s maiden name or more general such as the name of your favorite superhero. Well, since we know it’s Batman, here’s a little word of advice: choose a question that only you know the answer to. Additionally, if you want, you may add an alternative e-mail address or join Krystal Hosting’s mailing list.

cPanel

Easily manage your website using the industry standard cPanel (Image credit: Krystal Hosting)

Krystal Hosting provides all of its users with a cPanel as a control panel platform. Popular applications such as WordPress, Softaculous, Joomla, Drupal, b2evolution, MediaWiki and many more are just a click away, so you shouldn’t have trouble managing your newly created website.

Performance

We used GTmetrix to measure the uptime of our Krystal Hosting site (Image credit: GTmetrix)

Speed and experience

After performing a speed performance test provided by GTmetrix on Krystal Hosting’s main website, we got rather humble results. The time required to load the page was 7.5 seconds, which is slightly less than the average of 8.1. In parallel, the process needed 107 requests, which is somewhat more than the average of 87. The final performance score was a modest C (72%), which is a bit above the average.

An uptime test determined by UptimeRobot running on Krystal Hosting’s main website for more than a month showed us rather pleasing results. This is quite fortunate, since they guarantee a 99.99% uptime. During the testing period, no downtime was recorded whatsoever. But there were a few major oscillations in response time. However, they are too few to be of any greater importance in regards to overall performance.

Support

Krystal Hosting offers support via ticket, live chat or over the phone (Image credit: Krystal Hosting)

Support

Since Krystal Hosting, while explaining their creed, emphasizes their belief that “quality support is a right” and therefore they “will never outsource our support”, we had to give it a closer look. Seeking support on their main website will provide you with several options: to open a support ticket, start a live chat or give them a telephone call, the latter being available from 9AM to 8PM. There is telephone support ready to receive calls round-the-clock, but solely for customers who purchased their Business hosting plan.

As for self-help options, the first thing presented to you will be their knowledgebase, probably because it is a well-made one. There you’ll find around twenty categories filled with suitable articles, some of them containing about seventy entries and others just a single one. Three from each category (which applies to those that have a minimum of three articles) are highlighted and, from the look of it, most of them are written in a straightforward, beginner-friendly and helpful manner. Interestingly, at the end of each article, users are invited to leave a grade with a fitting emoticon (enamored, baffled and a gloomy one).

The competition

HostPapa is Canada-based while Krystal Hosting is from the UK, but their focus on being eco-friendly and using 100% renewable energy is what draws them together. Both providers offer a free website builder even with the low-cost plans, but while HostPapa limits its builder to two pages, with Krystal Hosting you can use as many pages as you wish.

Hostgator is one of the toughest competitors to any host, particularly because it offers a myriad of hosting options and features (a free website builder is included) with its all-inclusive yet budget-friendly plans. In comparison to Krystal Host, Hostgator is more affordable, but it is not powered with pure green energy.

Both Bluehost and Krystal Host are more than capable hosts, especially in terms of hosting types and options, covering all the basics, add-ons, ease of use, reliability and affordability. Bluehost is one of the largest and, deservedly, best known hosts around, but if you would rather support a smaller and independent business, Krystal Host might be a good choice for you.

HostRocket is a fellow independent web hosting provider, yet a US-based one. Much like Krystal Host, it provides a decent range of services and features, good performance and user-friendly cPanel with its plans. However, HostRocket’s plans can get pricey, particularly with unexpected and way too expensive setup fees. In contrast, with Krystal Host what you see is what you get.

Final verdict

With a wide variety of its all-inclusive services, hosting options and extra features, it is no surprise that Krystal Host is considered to be the largest independent web hosting provider in the UK. They might not be as budget-friendly as Hostgator or Bluehost, but they will not fail to ensure the top quality, all while remaining nature-friendly. After all, if you should change your mind about them, there is a generous 60-day money-back guarantee.

Mirza Bahic is a freelance tech journalist and blogger from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. For the past four years, Mirza has been ghostwriting for a number of tech start-ups from various industries, including cloud, retail and B2B technology.