Professional. Reliable. Respectable. These words fill CoolHandle’s site, from the front page to the articles buried deep within it. Although it’s a relatively obscure hosting company, it promises the same level of quality and customer support as the major players dominating the shared hosting space.
CoolHandle may not have the most extensive offerings or dozens of plans to choose from, but perhaps this host has a few tricks up its sleeve. Let’s dig a bit deeper into this web hosting company and see what it has to offer.
Find What You’re Looking For
CoolHandle History – A Glimpse Into the Past
In 2001, a group of IT professionals banded together to revolutionize the standards of web hosting. The result was the creation of CoolHandle hosting. In 2010, the company was acquired by and merged with ProNetHosting.
It’s a fairly quiet past for a business nearly two decades old. But in its small corner of the internet, it’s making waves. CoolHandle promises top-notch customer support, a unique approach to retaining customers, and, overall, a fast and reliable experience.
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Where in the World is CoolHandle?
CoolHandle operates a state-of-the-art datacenter located in Los Angeles, CA.
Generally speaking, this fact will not impact you much, but the physical location of a host’s data center may matter in some situations (after all, the closer the host is to your visitors, the faster your website will load due to the shorter distances data packets have to travel).
Is CoolHandle Right For You?
CoolHandle offers Linux shared hosting. If you’re on the hunt for a dedicated server, cloud hosting, VPS, or any other type of web hosting, you’ll have to go elsewhere.
As the company itself states: “CoolHandle’s service is designed to meet the typical needs of small business and home business website clients in the United States.”
In other words, CoolHandle is best suited for low-load sites like blogs, small forums, and portfolios. If your site does not fit this description, you’ll likely need to look elsewhere. For those of you running a smaller-scale website, however, stick around and see if this host is what you need.
Choosing Your Hosting
For many small businesses, a shared hosting plan will be sufficient. However, not all shared hosting services are created equal, so what should you look for? Here are some things to consider:
- Resource allocation (e.g., bandwidth, disk space)
- The inclusion of a free domain name
- The inclusion of tools like a GUI control panel and site-building tools
- Easy-to-use dashboard
- CDN included
- Free website transfer
- Nightly backups
- Ran on renewable energy sources
- Extended focus on customer data privacy
Additionally, you will want to see how good the company’s customer service is, as well as if there are any consumer protections, such as refunds or money back guarantees.
CoolHandle offers only two types of hosting plans: shared and reseller. Since the main difference between these plans is in the end user and not really in the features, we’re going to focus on recapping those features here.
As far as pricing goes, all three of its shared plans come with a decent price tag; not the cheapest on the market, but certainly nothing to scoff at when you look at what comes with each.
For those of you willing to get one of the feature-packed, upgraded plans, here is a list of what you can look forward to:
- Control panel – you may expect a host this size to shirk its duty of providing a free copy of a control panel, but CoolHandle delivers.
- SSH/Shell Access – not commonly seen on shared hosting plans, but a boon for advanced Linux users.
- Unlimited Storage and Bandwidth – perfect for small but ambitious businesses. You won’t need to worry about running out of space when traffic picks up.
- Dedicated IP Address – For fairly high-volume businesses, a dedicated IP can alleviate issues related to email deliverability. Make sure you research this issue thoroughly first before deciding to switch to a dedicated IP. Includes private SSL certificate.
- Web File Manager – a small necessity, but a necessity nonetheless.
- Email Service – all plans come with multiple mailboxes, mailing lists, spam filters, and more.
- CloudFlare CDN – CDNs help deliver your website around the world. This means global visitors won’t have to wait more than a few seconds for your website to load, which can make a big difference in the overall user experience.
- Site Transfer – domains, files, databases, and scripts: all will be transferred over for free.
- Knowledgebase – with articles, tutorials, and Flash videos.
And then there’s the software it supports, such as coding languages, e-commerce programs, and more. All of that is covered below.
In addition to the general web hosting plans, CoolHandle offers WordPress-specific options. The WordPress plans are very similar to the shared hosting options, but for a few dollars more, you get a slightly more powerful environment that has also been tailored for WordPress users (e.g., pre-installation of the WordPress core).
While the WordPress plans are fairly standard, they aren’t as cheap as they could be. Screenshot via Digital.com
There is not much that makes CoolHandle’s WordPress options stand out, but that does not mean that these are not solid options — they are.
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It’s worth taking a look at CoolHandle’s reseller plans too. We have compared them side-by-side so it eases your mind. The plans are quite simply named 1, 2 and 3.
|Plan 1||Plan 2||Plan 3|
1 Dedicated IP
There’s a surprising amount of information available on the technical side of CoolHandle’s business. Many web hosts seem to offer little or no information about their datacenters and the hardware used, so this is refreshing.
Here is what we know about CoolHandle‘s technical specs.
All servers run on CloudLinux/CentOS and come with a control panel. Fantastico and a number of its plugins are included and supported, including WordPress. OSCommerce, Siteframe, and Drupal are some of the others of note.
All the standard coding languages are supported: Python, Perl, Ruby, and more. Video and audio are supported and allowed, and it even encourages video sharing sites like YouTube with its FFmpeg support.
Finally, all plans come with a shared SSL certificate. You can obtain a private certificate, if you prefer, on the premium plans.
Dedicated IP Addresses
One of the add-on options available to you is a dedicated IP address. In short, doing so makes your website stand out (on a shared server, all websites will be recognizable with a single IP Address unless otherwise specified).
By opting for a dedicated IP address, you can prevent third parties from confusing your website with others. For example, if a particular country censors the IP address associated with websites on your server, a dedicated IP address ensures that your website is not caught in this broad-reaching ban.
For most small businesses, a dedicated IP address will not be necessary, but it is nice to have that option available to you.
CoolHandle’s web hosting packages all come with unlimited bandwidth, but is this really the case?
Well, yes and no.
In the Terms of Service, CoolHandle states that it “does not set an arbitrary limit or cap on a number of resources a single Client can use” and that the company “makes every commercially reasonable effort to provide its Clients with all the storage and bandwidth resources needed to power their websites successfully.”
Preventing Abuse of Services
However, CoolHandle does have several mechanisms in place to prevent abuse of this privilege. CoolHandle is very clear that its products are shared services, which means that they are designed to “meet the typical needs of small business and home business website Clients…NOT…large enterprises, internationally based businesses, or non-typical applications better suited to a dedicated server.”
For most small businesses, the ambiguity of CoolHandle’s terms should not be a problem because their websites will not terribly resource intensive. If your website grows to the point where it is a problem, CoolHandle will work with you to find an appropriate solution.
Overall, there is nothing too advanced or confusing about CoolHandle, but it’s nice to have all this information readily available in order to make an educated decision.
Small Host, Big Problems?
CoolHandle is a host that seems average in nearly every way. Perhaps that in and of itself is an issue. But, for a small host, there are some glaring issues that can’t be ignored, the least of which is the lack of a refund policy.
Limited Hosting Options
Shared hosting isn’t for everyone. For larger websites, it can lead to slower and less secure experiences for visitors; it can also compromise your ability to manage a site. But for smaller websites and those that are meant to be used solely for personal or private purposes, it can do the trick just fine.
CoolHandle is cheap, but it’s not the cheapest, which can lead you to wonder why you should pay the same price for CoolHandle’s shared hosting as you would a higher profile provider. CoolHandle actually mentions that speed isn’t the most important thing, so how does it stand out from the crowd of more popular web hosting companies?
It seems as though CoolHandle hasn’t quite figured that out yet.
When you own a business, however small, secure servers are important; backups, even more so. Most hosts are happy to list the ways in which encryption is employed to keep servers secure. However, CoolHandle’s site does not seem to offer up any details on how its servers are protected.
Sure, it offers password-protected directories, but that’s the only security-related information provided.
Information on site backups appears to be just as vague. CoolHandle’s web hosting plans include “Instant Backup/ Restore,” but the terminology is questionable. From what we can surmise, it doesn’t label its backup-and-restore services as “free backups” (as you’ll find with many hosts) because that’s not what is offered.
Upon closer examination of the Terms of Service, it appears that CoolHandle states that it does not back up its customers’ sites for any reason.
How Is It Justified?
Here is the language used:
“Customers are solely and entirely responsible for their data and backup of their data, and CoolHandle is in NO way responsible for the management and backup of any customer data, and any updates, upgrades, and patches to any software that customers use in connection with CoolHandle services. CoolHandle will not attempt to back up any account larger than 5 GB.”
This is quite a red flag and one potential customer should keep in mind if they’re considering using this site to store sole copies of their data or content.
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Small Host, Big Dreams
It may not have the fastest servers on the web, or the most amazing support team, but CoolHandle brings a few unique elements to the table that make it worth using.
A Small Team for You
With managed hosting, you’re usually tossed about from team to team. No single employee will work specifically on your site. With CoolHandle, a dedicated team of service engineers is assigned to you. These experts do work on other websites, but they’ll be familiar with you and your website.
CoolHandle’s employees know the intricate details of your server and the applications that run there, so, if a problem arises, they’ll already know the context behind the issue. And the smaller workload for each team means they can focus on clients’ needs better.
It’s a small difference in what you’d encounter with other hosts, but the personal touch is nice.
Niche Host, Better Focus
It’s sad to see CoolHandle choose to ditch a versatile and reliable offering such as VPS hosting, but the decision does come with some benefits. This enables CoolHandle instead to focus more on making its shared servers the best they can be.
Most companies include shared hosting just as a given, and don’t seem to really give it much thought. CoolHandle instead provides customers with a more feature-packed experience: an email service, CloudFlare, multiple domains, and more are included. It’s not the most feature-rich plan we’ve ever seen, but all that just for shared hosting seems like a pretty good deal.
Attention to Detail
There’s more to a host than its speed, and this company knows this well. As other hosts bicker over who can load a page 0.1 milliseconds faster, CoolHandle puts the focus on developing its customer care program, adding more features to plans, and upgrading systems.
This results in a host that’s rather well-rounded. The hardware is top notch and housed in a well-known facility, and software is regularly updated and improved.
CoolHandle Deserves a Chance
So, CoolHandle may not be the most robust host on the market. It doesn’t have the best speeds, prices, or customer service. But it’s not a bad host, so why should you consider choosing it?
Well, it’s a simple solution that would work just fine for small personal websites or blogs. Each plan would offer you more than enough in the way of managing your site — and doing so simply and without the assistance of a professional web developer. When you’re looking to cut costs and cut down on time spent understanding a new platform in order to put your work on the web, this might just fit the bill.
Does CoolHandle take care of my backups for me?
They do more than just take care of your backups. CoolHandle offers nightly automatic backups, accessible directly via your management console.
What do I do if my credit card is declined?
Unfortunately, CoolHandle does not take any responsibility for declined transactions, so the source of the problem is going to be your account with the selected bank. This is either insufficient funds or account limitations, which you may have to get in touch with the bank about.
How do I cancel CoolHandle’s services?
You can instantly cancel your hosting plans with CoolHandle. While the actual cancellation doesn’t happen immediately, the request is sent through and usually approved within fair time frames. In order to submit such request, you have to log in to your client area and find the ‘Cancel Services’ sub-menu under ‘My Account’.