FastHosts Introduction

FastHosts is a well-established web hosting company based in Gloucester, UK. The company was established in 1999, giving it over a decade’s worth of hosting experience. Like 1&1 Internet and Sedo.com, FastHosts is now a part of United Internet AG which is a large German internet services organisation. FastHosts offers a comprehensive range of services, from website hosting to broadband and cloud storage.

Domain name registration appears to be the main focus of FastHosts. In terms of hosting, the company doesn’t appear to have a speciality.

Many hosting companies boast a range of awards regarding their services. Whilst these awards are often easy to come by, some are worth noting. In 2011, FastHosts won the award for the Microsoft Global Hosting Solutions partner of the year, which I thought was worthy of a mention in this review.

FastHosts Hosting Plans

FastHosts provide its customers with four different shared hosting packages to choose from. Customers can also choose from either Linux or Windows operating systems for their hosting and can choose from plans up to three years in length to further reduce their cost.

  • The Personal package allows customers to host one website, with up to 50 subdomains, 50 starter mailboxes, 1 MySQL database and 5 FTP accounts. This package comes with 5 GB disk space and unlimited bandwidth.
  • The Business Bronze package is a step up from the personal package with 50 GB disk space, 500 subdomains, 10 MySQL databases, 500 starter mailboxes and 50 FTP accounts.
  • The Business Silver package allows customers to host two websites and provides unlimited disk space, subdomains and starter mailboxes. This allows customers to host 100 MySQL databases with 100 FTP accounts.
  • The Business Gold web hosting plan adds unlimited MySQL databases and FTP accounts to the Silver plan. Customers can host up to 3 websites.

There are two reseller packages available through Fasthosts, should customers want to sell their own hosting space. There is a package for new resellers and one for companies with more advanced requirements. Starters get 20 GB disk space and unlimited bandwidth whilst advanced resellers get unlimited space. Both Windows and Linux hosting is available to resell. Interestingly, advanced resellers are also able to resell broadband services to UK customers.

Both Linux and Windows-based VPS hosting is available through FastHosts. There is one Starter package available and two Professional packages. There is also a customisable advanced package, so customers can set up their VPS with a range of hardware capabilities. This starts at 512 MB RAM, 50 GB disk space and 1 processor and goes up to 16 GB RAM, 1 TB disk space and up to 4 processors. Each plan comes with unlimited bandwidth and 2 IP addresses.

For customers who are looking for a dedicated server, FastHosts provide 6 hardware options, ranging from a 2 core processor with 2 X 250 GB SATA disk space and 4 GB RAM up to 32 core processors, 2 X 120 GB SSD & 2 X 2 TB SATA disk space and 64 GB RAM. Customers can choose from a range of Linux and Windows-based operating systems and get unlimited bandwidth.

Cloud hosting is also available through FastHosts, but customers need to contact the sales team directly to discuss it, so I can’t cover it in any detail in this review.

FastHosts Uptime/Downtime

FastHosts does not make any boast about its server uptime, and it does not publish any uptime statistics. VPS and dedicated server hosting customers are provided with an SLA and a 99.99% uptime guarantee, allowing them to claim a days’ worth of free hosting for every hour of downtime.

FastHosts own its own data centre and do not rent space elsewhere. The server farm is located in Gloucester in the UK and is manned and monitored 24 hours a day. The data centres are fully secured and utilise backup power systems to keep them up and running in the event of a power failure.

FastHosts Support

There are a wide range of support options open to FastHosts customers. Support starts with live system status reports, where customers can check for any known issues. There’s also a knowledge base, a range of user guides, a domain health checker, a training center (which includes a number of webinars) and a blog.

FastHosts offer support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week both online and on the phone. The company is also on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, and the company actively encourages its customers to follow them. More importantly, the company does liaise with its customers through these channels should any support issues arise.

FastHosts in the News

FastHosts is a relatively large hosting company and has appeared in some prominent news sites, although none of the press I found relates to poor service or downtime.

FastHosts Control Panel

FastHosts’ shared hosting customers get a custom control panel to manage their websites. However, there is little available information regarding the control panel, so it is difficult to compare this to cPanel and Plesk.

VPS hosting customers are provided with Plesk.

FastHosts Extras

There are a whole host of extras and freebies bundled with FastHosts hosting plans, with a few extras that other hosts don’t provide. These include a free site builder, Google Adword credits, Bidvertiser credits and Mirago credits. A website statistics tool called MatrixStats comes with each hosting account and there is a free TrafficDriver SEO service for business hosting customers. Often SEO services are chargeable, so this is an interesting addition.

Shared hosting comes with a free one-click installer and supports range of applications such as PHP, Perl, Python, WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and more. Windows hosting customers who purchase Professional Mailbox as an add on also get Outlook 2010 for free.

FastHosts Money Back Guarantee / Cancellation Policy

Unlike most other web hosting companies, FastHosts does not offer any kind of money back guarantee for its customers. However, there is a 30 day free trial of the website builder tool, so customers can to try this out before purchasing any hosting packages.

The FastHosts cancellation policy requires customers to provide 30 days notice. If the customer cancels before the end of the agreed term, they will remain liable for the remaining costs.

FastHosts Summary

FastHosts offer a distinctive range of hosting services, setting them apart from some of the run-of-the-mill hosts I’ve reviewed. The lack of a money-back guarantee may put some off, but then again, a Microsoft award goes a long way towards building confidence in the services FastHosts provides.

The location of the data centre will appeal to customers looking to ensure their website is hosted in the UK, and the massive range of services can only be matched by a few other companies. The level of support options provided by FastHosts is also a big plus, as is its adoption of modern support techniques through social media channels.

The huge array of web hosting options may put some people off, and I think it could be complicated for first timers to get to grips with what’s on offer.