FatCow Review

FatCow is a web hosting company whose goal is to simplify the web hosting process so that it's understandable for novice webmasters and enjoyable for web professionals. The company has purchased wind-generated Renewable Energy Certificates to compensate for the electricity required to run their web hosting services, making it a great choice if you're environmentally-conscious. While describing their products and services, FatCow manages to center its entire website around cows and bovine humor, which transforms purchasing a web hosting plan from a necessary chore into an entertaining experience.

 

Company Information

Founded: 1998
Headquarters: Burlington, MA

Awards and Accreditations

fatcow

Pricing

FatCow offers just one web hosting package, which they call The Original FatCow Plan.

Below are the pricing options:

  12 month plan 24 month plan 36 month plan
Monthly Fee $3.67/month $3.15/month $3.15/month

Payments can be made with Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, check or PayPal. Domain registration is free for the first year, but you will be charged for this service when your plan is renewed. Prices for domain registration vary depending on the length of the contract and the domain name. Your account will be renewed automatically unless you specifically undo the auto-renew feature in the DomainCentral subfolder which is found in the Domain section of the control panel.

FatCow also offers a range of supplemental services that you can purchase upon checkout. You can select as many of these helpful services as you'd like with just a click of button to further customize your hosting package.

FatCow's extras include:

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Domain privacy package - $8.99/year
 
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Daily Automatic Site Backup - $12.95/year
 
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SiteLock data security package - $12.95/year
 
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JumpStart package - $12.95 one-time fee
 
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Listing in FatCow's Online Directory - $12/year
 
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RatePoint Customer Connection Package - $19.95/year
 
.
eGift Certificates - $1.99/month for the first 3 months and $14.99/month afterwards
 
Compare FatCow's Pricing to other Web Hosting Services >>

Money Back Guarantee

If for whatever reason you are not satisfied with FatCow's services you can request a refund. If this request is made within 30 days of opening your account, you will receive a full refund minus a $15 domain fee if you wish to keep your domain. If you request a refund once 30 days have passed, your refund will no longer take effect immediately, but will take effect 30 days after the request. In these cases, you will be refunded a prorated amount based on the time remaining in your hosting plan minus a $35 cancellation fee and $15 domain fee.

Features

FatCow's Original Plan offers a range of features that is suitable for both experienced webmasters and amateur site builders. Features include:

Unlimited Hosting Features:

  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited disk space
  • Unlimited domains per account
  • Unlimited email accounts

Site Building Tools:

  • Website builder
  • FrontPage extensions
  • Web analytics tools
  • Integrated Google tools included Webmaster Tools and Custom Search
  • FTP access

Website Marketing Tools:

  • $50 Google AdWords credit
  • $25 Yahoo! Search Marketing credit
  • HubSpot's Website Grader
  • Free Submitnet basic plan
  • Free 60-Day trial of RatePoint Feedback Service

Programming Tools:

  • Unlimited MySQL databases
  • Python
  • Script Library
  • CGI Directory
  • PHP 4 and 5 support

Domain Management Services:

  • Unlimited domain pointing
  • Unlimited subdomains
  • Automatic domain renewal available
  • Registrar transfer

Integrated Applications:

  • Joomla
  • WordPress
  • Gallery2
  • phpBB
  • Gbook

E-commerce Tools:

  • Credit card acceptance
  • PayPal integration
  • Secure SSL

Security Tools:

  • Load-balanced platform
  • 2 GB free backup from Carbonite
  • Multi-GB connections
  • Daily server backups
  • 24/7 facility monitoring
Compare FatCow's features to other Web Hosting Services >>

Ease of Use

FatCow's user interface is generally easy to follow, so registration should be a hassle-free experience. Once you pick your domain name and submit your credit card information, you will be directed to the control panel where you can begin building your website. FatCow uses the vDeck 3.0 control panel which contains identifiable icons with clear descriptions so that you can find what you're looking for at a glance.

A significant benefit of FatCow's web hosting services is their integration with Weebly's drag and drop web design service, which makes it possible to create an attractive site relatively easily. If you're thinking about using a web design service, however, there are many other web design options that can be easily integrated with your FatCow hosting account as well.

In the Scripting and Add-Ons section of the control panel there is an icon called InstallCentral, where you can install various popular applications directly onto your website. These applications are clearly organized into sections including CMS (content management systems), blogs, galleries, forums, e-commerce and more. I decided to install a WordPress blog onto my existing account. The process was entirely straightforward and only 1 page long.

WordPress Installation Page WordPress installation page
 

The result was a standard WordPress starter page through which I could post my own content.

WordPress blog WordPress blog
 

I also tried to create a mailbox by clicking on the Email section and the MailCentral subfolder. Creating this mailbox also required only 1 step.

Setting up email accounts Setting up email accounts
 

When I tried to test out my new mailbox, my emails kept bouncing back. I contacted a customer service representative who informed me that it takes approximately 20 minutes for the mailbox to be registered and it can take up to 24 hours if the domain is waiting for verification. Although I had hoped that it would work immediately, I was relieved to see that the email account was fully functional 1 hour and 45 minutes after it was set up.

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Customer Support

FatCow offers 24/7 phone and live chat support, as well as email assistance for all its hosting customers. Since most webmasters are interested in getting immediate results, I tested both the live chat and phone support services. During regular business hours, I found both the chat and phone responses to be much quicker than during off-peak hours. When I called at 10:27am EST on a Tuesday, the wait time was only 4 minutes long. When I called FatCow at 2:35am EST on a Wednesday, I was on hold for 15 minutes. On average, on I did not have to wait more than 4 minutes speak to someone on chat.

I found FatCow's customer service staff to be extremely pleasant and helpful. Most representatives that I spoke to apologized for my hold time and were able to answer my questions quickly and easily. Overall, I was impressed with the level of customer support offered by FatCow and was relieved to know that I had accessible support during the site setup process.

Chat Support Chat Support
 

I also tested FatCow's email system by sending them an email at 7:32am EST. I received a response at 10:04am EST the same morning in the form of an email telling me to login to the support center to view the requested information. The response was professional, helpful and straightforward.

My email to FatCow My email to FatCow
Ticket confirmation Ticket confirmation
FatCow's response FatCow's response
 
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Summary

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Positive Features

  • Integration with helpful applications such as osCommerce, WordPress and ZenPhoto
  • Google Webmaster Tools integration
  • Helpful customer service
  • Well-designed user interface
  • Drag and drop site builder
  • 2GB free backup from Carbonite
  • $50 Google and $25 Yahoo! Advertising Credits
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Negative Features

  • Long wait time for customer service during off-peak hours
  • When cancelling it is difficult to receive a full credit because you will be charged cancellation penalties and fees
  • FatCow renewal fees are often higher than their original prices
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