I’ve heard a lot about FatCow and how their hosting sucks but I wanted to see for myself if there were any truth to that. I know they’re EIG-owned so I kinda knew what to expect but I got a shared hosting account regardless. I paid $100+ last January (annual plan, I didn’t have a choice, since they didn’t have a monthly billing option) and I gotta say, it’s like I paid more than a hundred bucks for one year’s worth of cow dung supply.
Servers Are Slow Like a Fat Cow, Literally!
I guess the guys at FatCow chose the right name for their company. After all, their servers are as slow as a fat cow freely roaming around the fields. Take a look at the speed test results of one of my sites hosted with FatCow:
That’s right — 4.88 seconds for a 1.2mb page with 46 requests. And yeah Pingdom says my site is faster than 32% of all tested websites… like that’s something to be proud of. Sure, it isn’t as bad as my client’s site hosted with HostPapa but this figure is nowhere near what it should’ve been if the site were hosted on a decent host’s server.
Now if you have no idea how slow 4.88 seconds is, let me ask you this. Would you wait almost 5 seconds for a simple blog to load? Yeah I figured there’s no way in hell you would. ;)
Sites Always Down!
What’s worse than slow websites? Websites that won’t even load, of course! My sites go down on a consistent basis it makes me think that some real cows are regularly tinkering with FatCow’s servers.
With FatCow, you can expect that your websites will be down at least twice a week. My uptime monitor consistently reports a 96% to 97% uptime per month for my sites hosted on FatCow’s servers. That translates to 20+ hours of downtime per month. I know it sucks but I’m really glad I only have hobbyist sites on my FatCow account.
Support? What Support!?
FatCow may have their phone number and even a live chat button on their website but this doesn’t mean they know what customer support means.
I contacted them several times due to uptime and speed issues and I always got canned replies. It’s either they were “looking into it for me” or “there’s nothing wrong on their end.” Ticket response time isn’t even half-decent (we’re talking days here) and live chat support is useless. I mean, there was a time I couldn’t connect to FTP and their live chat tech said something like, “what’s FTP?”
They’re bad alright, but here’s what makes it all worse: their support team has never resolved a single issue for me. It’s either the problem magically went away (and eventually came back after some time) or the problem persisted.
I am giving them a score of 0.5 for support just because they have guys (or cows, maybe?) whom they call “support reps.” These support reps are practically non-existent though, as they don’t know anything and they seem to be perfectly fine with leaving customer account issues unresolved.
FatCow’s pricing makes me crack up. They have monthly plans but these are subject to availability. I mean, come on! Whoever thought of that idea must be crazy. I haven’t checked with them but something tells me that their sales reps would always say that monthly plans aren’t available. Annual plans are $131.88 ($10.99/mo), biennial plans are $239.76 ($9.99/mo) and triennial plans are $323.64 ($8.99/mo).
Oh and one more thing… I’m so tired of hosts who say they offer hosting for a certain price, then once you sign up you’ll find out the real cost is twice the advertised price. Why am I not surprised that FatCow is one of them…
Alright so on their homepage it says their hosting is for $40 per year. That’s cheap for unlimited everything plus a free domain name. Hey wait a sec, there’s an asterisk right there. See that? No worries if it took you long to notice it, I’m pretty sure they made it small on purpose. Anyways that means go read the fine print. Their hosting plan isn’t for $40 PER year, it’s $40 FOR THE FIRST YEAR. Your next bill would be $131.88 if you wanted to stay with them for another year (you wouldn’t)! That’s more than triple the advertised price and I really hate companies who trick people into buying stuff by doing cheap marketing tricks such as this one.
Two thumbs down for FatCow.
Want to get milked for cash? Go with FatCow. Seriously though, don’t be fooled by their cute logo/mascot and their ridiculous pricing. Take my advice and avoid FatCow at all costs. This web host is a big joke. Their service sucks — servers are slow, support techs don’t know up from down, and pricing is crazy.
Don’t sign up even if it’s just to try them. You’ll have a hard time moving out especially if you aren’t very technical and this is due to their horrible proprietary control panel. This web host sucks so much you’d waste your time even just by trying them out!