FastDomain, founded in 2005 and based in Orem, Utah, is a small web hosting company offering simple, but comprehensive, shared web hosting solutions aimed at budget-minded individuals or businesses. They offer two variations of a shared hosting package, so you don’t have to spend much time deciding between options. The setup process, once you’ve paid the required fees, is almost instantaneous.
As a member of the Endurance International Group, a large web hosting company with nearly 3 million customers using its many services and brands, FastDomain is a sister hosting company to others, such as HostGator, iPage, and BigRock.
FastDomain sells only shared hosting packages; they do not offer virtual private server (VPS), dedicated, or reseller hosting options. They do offer an affiliate program; for each referral you make that results in the purchase of a hosting package, you will be compensated with a fixed sum.
- Getting Acquainted with FastDomain
- Shared Hosting
- Help and Technical Support
- Pricing and Billing
- Is FastDomain Right For You?
Getting Acquainted with FastDomain
When you first navigate to FastDomain‘s homepage, you’ll see that the company offers a live demo of their product. This means that you can get a feel for what it’s like to host your website using their services. You get access to a full test environment, so you’ll be able to see how they’ve configured their branded cPanel (the user interface by which you would make changes to your site), how easy (or difficult) it is to upload files, manage your CloudFlare Content Delivery Network (CDN), and so on. Few providers offer you the opportunity to try out their product even before they’ve gathered any information from you.
FastDomain only offers two packages. This is ideal for those who don’t want the information overload of too many choices. However, we found that some of the plan information on the FastDomain website was a bit confusing and somewhat hard to find.
This may prove frustrating, particularly for the methodical buyer type.
For example: on the FastDomain homepage, near the bottom, you see “Web hosting plans include” followed by a short list of features and a “Tell me more” button. When you click on the button you’re taken to a page that lists, not the plans (as you would expect) but all of FastDomain’s available features. The marketing tagline on this page is “The Complete Solution,” which could be mistaken for a plan name.
To find FastDomain’s two plans with their attendant features listed and compared one must go to the “Help Center” navigation link at the top of the site, then scroll down to a document called “Shared hosting packages,” click, and then scroll down some more. This is not intuitive for the user and doesn’t meet the demands of today’s consumers who abandon sites within seconds if they can’t find what they’re looking for immediately.
Also: the packages are named differently in different areas of the site. The low-level package is called “Basic” one one page, but when you click the “Sign up today!” button on the FastDomain homepage, the package is referred to only by the length of agreement: e.g. “12-month package,” “24-month package,” and so on. For this review, we are calling the low-level package “Basic.”
Likewise, the top-tier package is called “Pro” and “Pro Package” on one page. But if you check out via that “Sign up today!” button, it will be labeled “Business Pro.” We’re calling it “Business Pro” for this review.
Shared hosting means that your site’s files are located on a server that also has files for other sites. All of the server’s resources, both physical and software-related are shared between the sites. There aren’t really set boundaries around how much of a server’s resources a given site may consume. In some cases, this might mean your site performs less well (such as when one or more of your server neighbors see a sudden spike in traffic).
This means that FastDomain’s options are geared toward smaller or medium-sized businesses who get a normal traffic load to their sites and don’t host resource-intensive files like a product catalog filled with an abundance of high-resolution images or large video files. If you do show high-resolution pictures or embed videos onto your pages, this doesn’t necessarily mean that FastDomain isn’t the right fit for you — it just means that these items should not be the primary content on your site.
Types of Packages
When you sign up, you can choose between the two types of shared plans: Basic and Business Pro.
The Business Pro plan includes everything included in the Basic plan, plus more speed, more power, and fewer users.
The Basic Plan
The Basic plan includes everything you need to get your site online. If you’re just looking to try things out, or plan to see light traffic for the time being, this might be a good option for you. It might also be the option for you if you’re migrating to FastDomain from another shared hosting plan.
When you sign up for a new FastDomain plan, your package comes with a free domain name, and FastDomain will cover your registration fees for the first year. If you already have your own domain, FastDomain can help you transfer it free of charge. Registration fees for subsequent years are your responsibility.
Basic Plan Features
The Basic plan comes with the following features:
- Hosting for one website
- Five email accounts (POP3)
- 50 GB of hard disk storage (with a maximum of 50,000 files total)
- Unlimited bandwidth
- 50 subdomains
- 20 MySQL databases with a maximum of 1000 database tables
- CloudFlare Content Delivery Networks (CDN) to cache your site and serve it from the physical location closest to your viewers.
You also get access to a free, easy-to-use Site Builder so that you can design your own website without needing to hire a web designer and developer.
For those of you interested in selling products online, FastDomain offers the following e-commerce add-ons:
- SSL Secure Server and Encryption
- OS Commerce or Agora Shopping Cart
- Password-protected directories
The MOJO Marketplace
If you need more features for your site and you want to add them without involving a software engineer, you can do so easily with the provided one-click installer, which FastDomain calls the MOJO Marketplace. Owned by Endurance International Group, of which FastDomain is a member, the Marketplace is used by FastDomain’s sister companies, such as iPage, HostMonster, and FatCow.
The MOJO Marketplace consists of all sorts of nifty plugins and applications. Here’s an idea of what you can get from the Marketplace:
- Content management systems such as WordPress, Drupal, or Magento
- Community forums
- E-commerce tools like PayPal integration
- Graphics, themes, and templates for your site.
In some cases, the installation process takes as little as a single click!
While many web hosts offer free add-ons, scripts, and applications, FastDomain does not claim that everything that you can integrate with your site will be free of charge. The Marketplace does have a feature where you can bill your purchases to your hosting plan, so all costs relating to your website show up on a single bill.
In keeping with their focus on simplicity, FastDomain does not offer any WordPress-specific hosting plans. However, using their cPanel, you can install WordPress with just one click. You also have access to free some themes for your site.
Search Engine Optimization and Advertising
To get you started with search engine optimization (SEO) and advertising your site, your plan includes:
- A discounted subscription to SoloSEO, which helps you with things like getting your new domain indexed by search engines and provides you with resources like getting-started guides
- A discounted subscription to Constant Contact for email marketing
- $100 credit for advertising with Bing/Yahoo!
- $100 credit for advertising with Google.
The Business Pro Plan
For an additional fee, you can opt for the Business Pro plan instead of the Basic plan. This is a good option for those who want to stay with a shared hosting plan, yet need more resources and better performance.
Business Pro servers have 80% fewer accounts than the servers hosting Basic plan sites. As stated above, shared hosting means that multiple sites utilize a single server’s physical and software-related resources without strict delineation as to who gets to use what. By hosting your site on a server that has fewer websites, you get access to more resources, leading to better site performance.
Additionally, Pro plans do not have as many restrictions as the Basic plan. Essentially, every limitation FastDomain imposes on sites using the Basic plan (such as the amount of disk space, the number of POP3 email accounts, the number of subdomains, among others) is removed. The exceptions to this policy of unlimited resources are file count (where you’re limited to storing 300,000 files on their servers) and database tables (where you’re limited to a maximum of 3,000 tables).
Users have reported that exceeding any imposed limitations results in FastDomain taking down your site temporarily, so if you have a larger site and you want to improve the likelihood that your site stays online in the event of an unforeseen circumstance (such as a traffic spike), you might want to spring for the Business Pro plan from the beginning.
The Business Pro plan comes with the following useful features for your site (though subscribers of the regular plan can opt to add these services for an additional fee). These are especially useful for sites who engage in transactions involving users’ sensitive information, such as order processing.
- Domain Privacy
- Dedicated IP Address
- SSL Certificates.
The Pro plan gives you “Site Backup Pro” at no added cost, as well as a SpamExperts subscription for up to two of your domains, which will monitor your accounts and prevent unwanted emails from reaching your users’ inboxes. This filter is much more powerful than the version that comes with the regular plan.
Help and Technical Support
FastDomain provides an assortment of self-serve resources including:
- A getting started guide
- An in-depth knowledgebase
- Video tutorials.
If you ever have any issues with your site, or you want to reach out to someone with your questions, comments, or concerns, you can call their telephone line, which is staffed and answered 24/7 (they also have an international line for those outside the United States). FastDomain claims that the average hold time for their customers is less than two minutes.
You can also contact FastDomain’s support team via the following methods:
- Live Chat
- Opening a support ticket.
FastDomain does not appear to be very active on any social media sites, so you shouldn’t expect to communicate with the company in this way.
Pricing and Billing
Regardless of whether you opt for a Basic or Business Pro web hosting package, FastDomain requires you to agree to a twelve-, twenty-four-, or thirty-six-month contract paid upfront. By signing up for a contract that lasts longer than twelve months, you receive a small discount off your monthly fees. The longest contract is, therefore, the cheapest contract (when calculated on a monthly basis).
With the purchase of each new package, FastDomain includes free setup and a free domain (or assistance with domain transfer) for the first year. During the checkout process, you can also select the following add-ons for the Basic plan:
- Domain Privacy Protection
- Site Backup Pro
- Search Engine Jumpstart
- SiteLock Security
- Constant Contact (email marketing)
- Comodo Positive SSL Bundle.
The Business Pro package comes with Site Backup Pro included in the cost and the same list of potential add-ons above.
Note that the price of your contract is a promotional price. When it comes time to renew your contract at a later day, you will most likely have to pay a higher monthly rate.
FastDomain’s guarantees are made up of two parts:
- The web hosting package guarantee
- The domain registration guarantee.
If you find yourself unsatisfied with the service you’ve received or the web hosting package you’ve purchased, you can take advantage of the 30-day money back guarantee to receive a refund.
However, if you do not want to keep your domain name, you must cancel within three days. This offers additional security, as many other hosts do not refund domain registrations under any circumstances.
If you don’t end up canceling within three days, but you end up seeking a refund for your hosting within thirty days of signing up, FastDomain withholds the cost of registering your domain from your refund.
FastDomain does not refund fees for any add-ons, such as SSL certificates, dedicated IP addresses, and services like domain privacy.
While FastDomain promises customer satisfaction and “maximum guaranteed uptime,” the company never states specific figures on the website or in their Terms of Service.
The knowledgebase does mention that you can receive a refund for the remaining amount of time on your contract if you leave FastDomain and migrate to another web host due to server downtime. We note, however, that this stipulation is not noted in FastDomain’s current Terms of Service, so you’ll want to contact their Support team if you feel this situation applies to you.
Is FastDomain Right For You?
For those who are looking for a shared hosting plan due to a limited budget, a trial period, or just getting started or those who are currently looking to migrate to a new shared provider, FastDomain can certainly be a good option though. The company itself has not seen any major issues with publicity, and there are no known problems with consistency of service from FastDomain. The live demo of their product is a unique and useful feature. FastDomain’s MOJO Marketplace, video tutorials, guides, and online knowledgebase are strong positives.
While the simplicity of having only two plans to choose from is attractive, we believe that FastDomain’s site copy and architecture are unnecessarily clunky and confusing. The FastDomain brand promise, and their site visitors, would be better served with clarified website copy, streamlined architecture, and simplified layout.
Because FastDomain does not offer any type of VPS or dedicated hosting plans, those looking for a more robust web host provider should look elsewhere. This might also be the case for users who want a shared provider for the time being but plan to upgrade in the near future. While many hosts provide free migration assistance with a new purchase, opting for a host that offers solutions at a variety of levels can simplify the process. In some cases, a host may move a site from a shared hosting plan to a VPS or dedicated plan without affecting the site’s uptime.
Whether a host is right for you or not is dependent upon a lot more than technical details. So if you’re still unsure, head over to our sister site, WhoIsHostingThis.com. In addition to an expert review, it includes an FAQ list and reviews from actual customers. It may be the extra information you need to make a decision.