FatCow is one of the oldest players in the web hosting game. Their longevity speaks well for their services, but it doesn't guarantee that they are among the best and biggest providers.
Instead, FatCow hosting appears to have carved out a niche for itself as a low-cost provider that offers an acceptable level of services and security. As this FatCow review reveals, this web host does not offer the best uptime numbers or the fastest speed. Nonetheless, their customer support appears solid if a bit uneven, and the company does boast transparent pricing practices.
Whether or not you sign up for a FatCow login, it is vital that you weigh the pros and the cons of this provider. While they are certainly not the best in the industry, they still may perform well enough to satisfy the needs of an individual or the owner of a small- or medium-sized business.
An Introduction to FatCow
In operation since 1998, FatCow is definitely one of the oldest web hosts that's still in the business. It was founded by Jackie Fewell in Albuquerque, New Mexico with the goal of providing shared web hosting services to small- and medium-sized businesses.
From the beginning, Fewell and FatCow touted a commitment to resist outsourcing their customer service operations. Fewell, as the company's CEO, also was dedicated to attracting loyal, satisfied customers by offering superior services and support.
The company did so well that they eventually attracted the notice of Endurance International Group, which frequently is referred to as EIG. In addition to FatCow, EIG is the parent company for other web hosts such as BlueHost and HostGator.
This doesn't necessarily mean that you shouldn't get a FatCow login, but it is something of which it may be helpful to be aware.
FatCow Doesn't Deliver Uptime
The EIG FatCow connection is well-known. Unfortunately, it seems like many of the web hosts that are held beneath the EIG umbrella stumble when it comes to providing excellent, reliable uptime.
This was confirmed throughout the course of this FatCow review. Over a 16-month period, this web host delivered uptime numbers of 99.82%. Those who are new to the web hosting game might think that a 99% uptime isn't too shabby. Those who have been in the game for a while will recognize that an average of 99.82% uptime just isn't cutting it.
Look at it this way. The industry average for website uptime is 99.94%; compared to FatCow's 99.82%, that is a far more desirable number.
Uptime matters because when your website is down, your customers can't find you. This forces them to seek out your competition, and they may never come back to you. Although that .12% more downtime than the average amount doesn't sound like a big deal, it can come back to haunt you if you're trying to get a business off the ground.
On the other hand, the uptime provided by FatCow isn't the worst in the industry. When paired with their low-cost, transparent pricing, this may be a compromise that you're willing to make.
FatCow Lacks Speed
Next to uptime, speed may be the most critical factor when it comes to choosing a web host. Milliseconds count in this game, and visitors will be looking elsewhere if your website takes anything longer than 890 milliseconds (ms) to load.
The bad news for this FatCow review is that their websites have an average loading time of 1,124 ms. When the industry average is 890 ms, you just can't afford to have a page load time of 1,124 ms.
Why is speed such a crucial metric? It's because the faster your website is, the higher it's likely to rank in any search results. Additionally, a faster website generally yields a higher conversion rate. If you're trying to sell something, then you want the best when it comes to this critical measure.
Of course, your experience with FatCow may vary, especially when your visitors are from North America. You may have one of those websites that's able to load with speed that's an improvement over FatCow's average. However, it may not be a chance you're willing to take.
Servers Geared Toward North America
If you're building a website that is designed for a marketplace in North America, then FatCow may be right for you. That's because all of its servers are located on this continent. This is not a drawback if that's where you're doing business. However, if your focus is in Europe, Africa, the Middle East or elsewhere, then you may need a web host that offers more diverse server locations.
If you're new to being a webmaster, then it's good to know that where servers are located can affect how stable and quick your website is. The closer the server is to your customers, the more likely it is that your visitors will consider your website fast and responsive.
It's also worth noting that most of the FatCow hosting plans are shared plans. This means that your website will be hosted on a server that also is being used by multiple other websites. If one of those websites experiences a huge upsurge in traffic, this may mean that your website's performance suffers.
With a low-cost provider like FatCow, the activity on other websites is more likely to affect your site's performance levels because you're probably sharing your server space with far more websites. Accordingly, servers are just one more thing to consider as you weigh price versus performance.
FatCow Delivers "Oodles" of Bandwidth
As they claim on their website, each FatCow hosting package comes with "oodles" of bandwidth. In fact, there are no set limits when it comes to bandwidth, and that is good news for webmasters. This means that you can have just as much traffic and data as you like flowing between your website and the rest of the Internet.
Accordingly, if your website sees an unexpected spike in traffic or if you need to upload tons of new content, FatCow isn't going to penalize you.
Nonetheless, the company does monitor bandwidth usage. They say that they are able to accommodate the needs of 99.5% of customers without issue. When that small percentage of customers gets too big for this type of shared hosting plan, then FatCow may recommend a move to a VPS package that delivers more dedicated resources.
In line with the unlimited bandwidth is the unlimited disk space that you get with your FatCow login. This means that your website could have thousands of files associated with it without running afoul of the web host's terms of service.
As with bandwidth, FatCow does keep tabs on just how much disk space each website is using. If a customer is in danger of getting outside of the terms of service, FatCow says that they are willing to work with their client to reduce the amount of disk space being used.
FatCow Customer Service Is Satisfactory
Testing of FatCow customer service went well. However, taking a deeper look around the Internet shows that FatCow support tends to be a mixed bag. While some reviewers mentioned a speedy response and helpful results, other customers were left dissatisfied with the experience.
Accordingly, if you believe that you will need to rely heavily on FatCow customer service to get your website running and to maintain it, then you may want to look for a web host that offers more reliable support.
If you are more interested in taking the DIY approach, it's worth mentioning that FatCow support includes an excellent knowledge base. All you have to do is search for a term that interests you or click on one of the categories to take you to in-depth articles that explain what you need to know in pretty clear terms.
If you are looking for more one-on-one service, then dial the FatCow phone number. Customer service reps are waiting to take your call. Interactions during this FatCow review suggest that this web host's employees tend to be knowledgeable and friendly.
Of course, the most frequently used method of interacting with FatCow support is via the live chat capabilities. During the review process, these contacts went better than other web hosts' chat support, with support reps responding quickly and providing helpful tips and information.
However, this isn't the most robust web host customer support that's available today. Novice webmasters who are looking for lots of one-on-one guidance may be wise to look elsewhere.
FatCow Features You Need to Know About
If you're wondering about the FatCow control panel, FatCow email or whether or not you can get a domain through FatCow, you'll find answers here.
FatCow Uses vDeck as a Control Panel
It's worth noting that FatCow doesn't give you a top-of-the-line cPanel interface for maintaining your website. CPanel is one of the most popular and widely used web-based control panels. Many experienced webmasters are familiar with it, and they may even be turned off by a web host that doesn't use it.
This is the case with FatCow, which uses vDeck instead of cPanel. While vDeck is not as popular and familiar as cPanel, improvements in recent versions suggest that the company is taking steps to be more user-friendly and accessible to beginners. The latest releases of vDeck are more visually appealing and offer enhanced functionality when compared with earlier versions.
Opinions are mixed among experienced webmasters with some saying that vDeck is intuitive while others say that it can't compare with cPanel. Either way, the FatCow control panel could be a make it or break it feature for you.
If you are considering going with this web host, then you'll want to know that the vDeck FatCow control panel allows you to manage FTP clients, domains, email, e-commerce, website backup and restore and security. It even has a drag-and-drop website builder.
If you aren't already a dedicated cPanel fan, you just might be really pleased with the FatCow login control panel.
Hosting Packages Include FatCow Mail
Even the most basic hosting packages from this company include FatCow webmail. In fact, you get your own customized FatCow email address that corresponds to your unique domain name. Thanks to FatCow webmail services, you can even catch up with your inbox on any device from anywhere in the world.
With your FatCow email log in, you get unlimited email addresses. This includes an unlimited number of POP/IMAP accounts. Each mailbox features a maximum storage of 10,000 email messages or 500 MB.
Other features of FatCow mail include spam filtering and a newsletter manager tool.
Register a FatCow Domain
If you don't already own a domain, then you can get a free one for one year through a FatCow hosting package. Search for your FatCow domain at the website to see if it's available.
Those who opt to register a domain name with this company but do not use the web hosting services will be required to pay a registration fee, which may be less expensive elsewhere.
Build a Website with FatCow
If you have an existing website that is hosted elsewhere, then FatCow will transfer it for free. On the other hand, people who are starting from scratch will be interested in FatCow's website builder.
It's a basic drag-and-drop setup that nonetheless provides some decent designs and features. If you don't want to use FatCow's website builder, then you'll appreciate having access to other builders and content management systems like WordPress.
FatCow Has E-Commerce Capabilities
Anyone who is hoping to set up an online store will appreciate the availability of the ShopSite online store and the ability to accept credit cards. PayPal shopping cart integration and PowerPay are both on FatCow as well as shared SSL.
FatCow even makes marketing easier with $100 bonuses for both Google AdWords and Bing Search Marketing. HubSpot's Website Grader is available too.
Get Ready to Pay for Security
FatCow provides desirable security features that are designed to protect your website from hackers and malware. Unfortunately, these tools aren't included in your hosting package.
If you want protection like a daily malware scan, the ability to block bot attacks, automatic malware removal and a web application firewall, then you'll have to pay extra.
A tiny security package costs about two dollars per month. If you want full protection, it will cost closer to $40 per month.
Since many of FatCow's competitors include these security tools in even their cheapest hosting packages, this extra cost is a big black eye for FatCow.
Exploring FatCow Plans and Pricing
The Original FatCow Plan is available at a promotional price of approximately four dollars per month if the new customer signs up for 36 months. After the introductory period, the package renews at the regular rate of $14.95 per month for one year, $13.95 for two years or $12.95 for three years.
Along with a FatCow email log in, each of these packages includes unlimited MySQL databases, 24/7 support via phone and live chat, automated domain renewal, marketing tools, e-commerce capabilities and much more.
The company does offer a 30-day, money-back guarantee, so if you're not completely satisfied with their services, you do have the option to cancel. Those who choose to cancel their package after the expiration of the 30-day period are subject to at least a $35 cancellation fee.
Hosting Types Offered by FatCow
In addition to the Original FatCow shared hosting plan, the company also offers WordPress, VPS and Dedicated Hosting.
The WordPress packages are divided into two tiers: the WP Starter for $3.75 per month and the WP Essential for $6.95 per month. In the Starter package, customers get the FatCow core hosting plan, a customized control panel and pre-installed plugins and themes.
Upgrading to the Essential plan gets customers improved speed, security and customer support.
The VPS, or Virtual Private Server, packages are designed for customers who need more control over their website. These plans have cPanel, one GB of RAM, 40GB of storage and one TB of bandwidth at the Basic level. Packages with enhanced resources are available at extra cost.
When customers require the ultimate in power and versatility, they may sign up for a FatCow dedicated hosting package. Dedicated packages are available at three tiers, each one with improved performance and capacity. As these plans offer independent control, they are the most expensive with even the Startup plan costing about $150 per month at the regular rate.
Despite its slow loading times and slightly below average uptime numbers, FatCow isn't a terrible web host provider. They provide a good amount of bandwidth and a fairly broad list of features.
This means that FatCow is only recommended for individuals and startup businesses that are on really tight budgets whose target audience are in the Americas. Even then, there are better alternatives out there.
Frequently Asked Questions
FatCow isn't the best hosting company, but they aren't the worst either. They may work well for an individual with a personal website or a new company that's being launched in North America. However, as your website grows, you may need to migrate to a different host.