123 Reg Review: What Makes Them Special (And Not) For UK Users?

Need an easy-to-use website builder, marketing help, and low-cost hosting provider? Read our review of the UK-based 123 Reg company to get important facts.

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Brenda Barron
Brenda is a freelance writer, business owner, and WordPress enthusiast. She lives in California with her husband and two children.

Last Updated on August 5, 2020

If you’ve ever tried to get hosting for your small business, you know that some hosting companies treat customers like numbers. You find the support isn’t anything to write home about, the servers are packed with websites, and the pricing eventually goes up year after year.

123 Reg, on the other hand, stands out by offering quality local support, solid hosting, and low prices. The catch is that the London-based company primarily sells to UK-based customers.

You get to speak with British customer support reps, and the domain names are given out for free as long as you stick to a .UK domain.

What Do You Get From 123 Reg?

On the surface, 123 Reg is a shared hosting company. You can pay a small monthly fee to share a server with lots of other companies, and the performance is still solid. However, quite a few other services and tools are offered. These include tools related to security, backups, web design, and more.

Check out some of the primary offerings from 123 Reg:

  • Cloud Backup and Sitelock for keeping your site safe and ensuring that you can reboot your site if anything goes wrong
  • Virtual Private Servers
  • Domain names with the option to bulk order or get a free .UK domain name if you buy hosting through 123 Reg
  • Email hosting so that you can communicate with your customers and have a professional (i.e. domain-based) email address
  • Email marketing tools
  • One-click installations for things like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal
  • A website builder offering impressive templates and tools to create an e-commerce website or a standard business site
  • A wide variety of website templates for getting the ball rolling
  • An area to manage your pay-per-click ads

123 Reg review

See 123 Reg Plans

Web Hosting Plans and Options

123 Reg offers a variety of web hosting plans from which you can choose.

Web Hosting

With 123 Reg’s entry-level hosting option, you can choose from four different plans. The plans vary in the number of domain names included, websites supported, and disk space and database allocation.

If you would like a WordPress-friendly option, all but the most basic plan would fit your needs.

123 Reg only bundles SSL certificates with the two top-level plans, but fortunately, all plans come with unlimited bandwidth.

Premium Hosting

For those who want more than basic web hosting, 123 Reg offers Premium Hosting, which the company describes as “superfast, super-reliable hosting built to handle even the mightiest of websites.”

At this level, there are three different plans from which you can choose. You can think of these plans as managed VPS hosting (or even cloud hosting) options. 123 Reg is responsible for most, if not all, of the work required to manage or maintain the server, but you do get access to a control panel to handle tasks related to your hosting and website.

The downside to this setup is less control over your server; the upside is that you have to do less when it comes to server administration.

Premium hosting plans come with a 99.99% uptime guarantee.

Platform-Specific Hosting

123 Reg offers hosting plans catering to users of the WordPress, Joomla, and Magento content management systems (CMS). While the number of plans you can choose are limited (two), what you do get is an easy-to-use environment that has been preconfigured to support your CMS.

All plans come with a free domain and email services, backup and restoration services, one-click setup, unmetered bandwidth, and site migration assistance.

Virtual Private Servers

123 Reg also sells Virtual Private Servers as an alternative to shared hosting.

A VPS is a more advanced version of shared hosting, where you still share a server with multiple companies, but the number of websites on the server is usually limited to a smaller batch.

Furthermore, you gain access to tools and more advanced control panel modules, similar to what you would get with a dedicated server.

123 Reg doesn’t offer any dedicated servers, so a VPS is the most advanced you can get here. Basically, the VPS is a little more expensive than shared hosting, while remaining much cheaper than a private server.

Is 123 Reg Expensive?

123 Reg offers shared hosting plans that are packed with solid features, yet the company still keeps prices low across the board.

Shared hosting is almost always pretty cheap on a month-to-month basis, but 123 Reg seems to be an industry leader in keeping costs low. Not only that, but the bandwidth is unlimited for all shared hosting plans, and you get a free UK domain name to go along with your plan. Some higher-tier plans even provide multiple domain names.

That said, let’s take a look at the features you can expect with the most popular shared hosting packages:

  • Free UK domain names for branding your site and giving your company an online name
  • Free personalized email accounts to match your company and domain names
  • Linux-based hosting for high performance and speed at all times
  • A one-click WordPress installation button for launching your site within seconds
  • Support for programming languages like PHP, Perl, Python, and Ruby
  • Support for at least one website. This goes all the way up to unlimited websites depending on your package
  • Lots of web space to store all of your files
  • Unlimited bandwidth to support increases in traffic
  • Support for MySQL databases
  • A free SSL with select plans. This includes regular backups of your site to protect your information at all times
  • Hosting that allows for multiple sites on the same server
  • Fast loading times to boost your SEO and make your customers happy
  • A control panel that’s made for both beginners and those who need more technical features
  • Various Linux apps for things like WordPress, OSCommerce, Joomla, Drupal, and MediaWiki
  • Some plans include a JavaScript generator
  • Around 100 professional website templates for getting your design ready
  • Both simple and advanced website stats.

As you can see, each of the shared hosting plans includes several additional features that often aren’t offered by competing hosting companies.

Now let’s say you’d like to select one of these shared hosting plans and checkout. Are you going to have to pay a monthly fee or is it all upfront?

As with many hosting providers, the pricing is quoted as monthly on the website, but you eventually have to pay for a full year upfront. This is one of the downsides of 123 Reg, since it’s nice to be able to choose maybe a six-month plan. Or maybe you’d like to save a little money and lock down three years of hosting. That doesn’t seem to be possible when going through 123 Reg.

123 Reg review

View 123 Reg features

Upsells and Other Costs to Look Out For

As you move through the checkout process and decide on your hosting plan, you can expect to see a few upsells that you can either skip or pay for. VAT is billed separately.

Some of the upsells include:

  • Office 365 Business: this has everything from Excel to Word, so you can typically save a little bit of money by buying the suite through 123 Reg instead of through Microsoft
  • Cloud backups: emails, documents, photos, and other files are all backed up through this service
  • Domain transfer: if you already have a domain and would like to move it to 123 Reg, there’s an option to do so depending on the type of domain you have. Some domain names are completely free, but others will cost you a bit of cash
  • Domain privacy: when publishing a website and buying hosting you have to give your personal information. This information is attached to your website for anyone to look up. Ideally, this would only be useful for people maybe trying to buy your site or contact you for business. However, it often results in spam. If you pay for domain privacy, your info is protected.
  • Website Builder: you get this with 123 Reg’s hosting plans, but some people might want to take advantage of the website builder as a standalone service.

If you decide not to go with a hosting plan, 123 Reg still sells things like the website builder, domain names, and email hosting. Depending on the domain name you select, you could end up spending very little each year. However, pricing can go up to significantly if you choose one that’s already owned.

Intuitive Backend Interface for All Webmasters

The backend of the 123 Reg hosting area is fairly easy to understand, but some beginners might be a little confused if they’ve never used web hosting before. That said, you can find everything from one-click installation buttons to MySQL database access. You have the tools for quickly launching your site, along with more advanced options for developers.

WebSite Builder

123 Reg also has a website builder with hundreds of templates. You can launch your store easily, and it has a full drag-and-drop interface so there’s no need to know how to code. This is a basic website builder for small business sites, so if all you need are some social media buttons, pages, media support, and some other basic features, the builder should work just fine for you.

123 Reg review
One of 123 Reg’s many responsive website templates.

explore 123 Reg’s site designs

Other cool features include image editing, complete e-commerce site support (along with support for numerous payment gateways), and blogging capability. Essentially, standard businesses should be able to make beautiful websites while also improving their SEO in the process. Automated site backups and a developer mode are included in some plans as well.

Finally, the website checker tool evaluates how good your website is. For example, if you’d like to learn about whether or not your design is attractive, the website checker gives you some hints. You can also get some pointers for improving your SEO.

How Did 123 Reg Come to Be?

123 Reg has always been focused on helping small businesses, and it all started in 2000. As you may have noticed above, 123 Reg is located in London, and primarily supports small- to medium-sized businesses in the UK. The company claims to have sold over 3.5 million domain names, while also hosting more than 1 million sites.

This makes it one of the largest domain registrar companies in the UK, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that the company is owned by HEG, another large hosting company.

123 Reg review

Jonathan Brealey and Tim Beresford started the company back in 2000, just after they launched another company called Webfusion Internet Solutions. Over the years, 123 Reg has reached several milestones. For example, it became the first hosting company in the UK to offer Microsoft 2008 hosting.

It is worth mentioning that a data breach occurred in 2016. 123 Reg also accidentally deleted hundreds of VPS sites that same year. The company apologized for the problems and tried to fix them as best it could. But unfortunately, many of the site owners lost all of their data completely.

The Things That Make 123 Reg Really Special

Many people have trouble choosing hosting. That’s one reason this industry has awards, so regular customers can take a look at the results. This way, the experts get to evaluate hosting companies and deliver educated results for customers.

We would argue that its status as the largest domain registrar in the UK, is a solid reason to examine its plans. Besides being a good title to possess, it comes with benefits for users. First of all, every hosting plan from 123 Reg comes with at least one free domain name. In addition, the domain name pricing seems to beat out competitors, with extremely low costs and yearly plans.

Another reason 123 Reg stands out is because of the wide range of services and tools offered. You rarely see hosting companies selling Office 365, and the VPS and SSL offerings are impressive as well. Some of the hosting packages even give you a free SSL for setting up a completely secure e-commerce website.

123 Reg review

123 Reg Technical Support and Customer Support: What to Expect

If you ever run into issues with your website and web hosting, you can contact 123 Reg via:

  • Telephone
  • Live Chat
  • Support Centre ticket

123 Reg’s technical support team aims to respond to your contact within one hour, regardless of the contact channel you chose to use, if you get in touch between 9 AM and 7 PM on the weekdays and 9 AM and 4:30 PM on the weekends. If you get in touch outside of those hours, expect a bit of a delay in response from the team.

123 Reg offers 24/7 support (with caveats, as explained above), and the representatives are located in the UK. This might not sound like a huge deal at first, but it’s certainly better than talking to someone in a call center halfway around the world. With UK-based support reps, the company can control what is being said and train those in-house people so that they know everything needed to adequately help customers.

The support FAQ area has videos, tutorials, and other articles for guiding you through the hosting process. This is far more than a standard FAQ.

As for the means of support, 123 Reg has live chat on its website, a phone number listed, and an email address you can contact. You can decide to sift through the various tickets submitted in the past, or you can send in your own ticket.

Overall, 123 Reg has well-rounded support options.

Refunds and Money-Back Guarantees

123 Reg offers a 14-day cooling off period for non-business customers purchasing non-bespoke products (e.g., a web hosting package). If you cancel your purchase(s) during this period, you can receive a full refund of all fees paid.

123 Reg or GoDaddy?

If you are looking into 123 Reg, you have probably come across GoDaddy as an alternative hosting company you should consider. How do these two companies compare?

As you probably saw, 123 Reg is unapologetically British. If that works for you, great; however, if you want more generic branding (especially when it comes to your domain name), GoDaddy might be a better option cost-wise.

Additionally, GoDaddy offers more hosting plan options from which you can choose. If 123 Reg’s offerings do not meet your needs, GoDaddy will likely have something that works for you. However, both company’s plans are easy to use, and both offer control panels to make working with your back-end easier (123 Reg appears to provide a custom control panel, while GoDaddy ships the cPanel with its packages).

With that said, 123 Reg is a smaller company, so you may end up with a better experience when it comes to working with staff members.

Is 123 Reg Hosting the Right Choice?

That’s the big question, isn’t it? Now that we’ve outlined everything about 123 Reg, it’s time to decide whether or not it’s right for you.

If you want to avoid yearly plans, need a dedicated server, or have an enterprise-level business, 123 Reg won’t be a good fit.

However, this host is an obvious choice if you live in the UK, or if you want an inexpensive hosting plan that comes with a free domain name. It’s ideal for small to mid-sized businesses and offers plenty of customer support options, too.

123 Reg is a solid hosting option, all around. But only by evaluating your company’s needs and budget will you be able to decide if this is the right hosting company for you.

Check out dozens of actual user reviews at our sister site, WhoIsHostingThis.com. That way you can see what people who have actually used 123-reg hosting think. It should make your decision much easier.