If you’re looking for a well-established web hosting company that is experienced in helping its customers start, manage, and grow their online business, look no further than Network Solutions. Many hosting companies assist with the first two items: creating a website and getting it online and hosted. Network Solutions goes further with a set of digital tools designed to help you capture leads and conversions.
- Services Offered
- Web Hosting
- The Network Solutions Package That Is Right for You
- Online Marketing Help
Network Solutions was founded in 1979 as a technology consulting company focused on programming services using IBM’s environment. Since then, they’ve evolved along with the technology industry. A few years into their business, they began working with the federal government on domain names. At the time, they were the only contractor to bid on the National Science Foundation’s project!
Domain names have comprised a fair portion of their business since then, and through several ownership changes, they have ended up as a publicly-owned company that offers a host of services related to web development and hosting, as well as digital marketing. This is quite a shift from the early 2000s when over 90% of the company’s revenue came from domain registration services.
Network Solutions offers a suite of products, including all things related to domain name registration, web development, web hosting, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates, custom email solutions, and online marketing. While many other web hosting companies focus strictly on providing the infrastructure you need to serve your site to your visitors, Network Solutions is experienced in supporting its customers along the gamut of online success, from creation of your first site to driving growth. This is a key differentiator.
Network Solutions offers a variety of web hosting packages to meet your needs, including Shared, Virtual Private Server (VPS), and WordPress options.
While the resources and features of each package differ, all packages come with an uptime guarantee and 24/7 customer support availability (though you can always pay for premium support if necessary).
Note, however, that the uptime guarantee that comes with your package depends on which operating system you choose to run on your instance. If you opt for a UNIX (Linux) solution, Network Solutions guarantees an uptime of 99.99%. If you opt for a Windows solution, Network Solutions guarantees an uptime of 99.9%
If you’re just getting started with your online business, or you do not yet see high levels of traffic, a shared hosting package is an excellent way to dip your toes into the world of web hosting.
However, don’t think that these packages come with no frills just because they are the most inexpensive options offered by Network Solutions. All packages come with access to a technical adviser who will help you with the FTP process for getting your site files to their server and setting up the required security for your site. No need to feel daunted by the process.
When you choose your package, you can opt to run either Linux or Windows Server. Depending on which option you choose, the web development, application, and database features available to you may vary. Support for PHP 7 and phpMyAdmin, MySQL, and Python is universal.
To move your sites’ files from your server’s to Network Solutions’, you have access to FTP File Manager as well as Secure FTP (SFTP) and Secure Copy to transfer files containing sensitive data. If you don’t already have a website, you can use the easy-to-use site builder tool included with your package to create your site quickly and publish content to the internet.
If you need support for Ruby on Rails, Zend Libraries, Cron Jobs, or Java Servlets, you’ll need to opt for a server running Linux. If you need support for ASP, ASP.NET, or MS Access, you’ll need to choose for a server running Windows.
Your hosting plan comes with support for a variety of open-source applications, such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. Not all apps are supported on Windows, however, so if there’s a particular app that is essential to your business, check the website for additional details.
If you’re using WordPress, Network Solutions offers a one-click WordPress installation feature (this is separate from the WordPress Hosting Package we’ll discuss later in this article).
Essential Hosting is the most inexpensive package. (Note: On the “Web Hosting” page this plan is simply called “Web Hosting.” Once you place it in your cart, you’ll see it’s labeled “Essential Web Hosting.”).
This plan comes with the following features:
- 300 GB of hard disk space
- 1 free domain name
- 1,000 email inboxes
- Malware detection
- Secure FTP (SFTP) for encrypted file transfer from your servers to Network Solutions’ servers.
This is a good package for beginners. It offers everything you need to get up and running, including around-the-clock technical support, at a low price.
The Essential Web Hosting package is a very bare-bones package, so if you would like additional security features for your site, you can add to your package SiteLock Premium.
For a monthly fee, you get:
- Daily malware scans to identify and remove threats
- FTP scans to detect unauthorized access to your site</li
- Enhanced web security to prevent spammers and web crawlers from intercepting your personal data.</li
The Professional Hosting and Professional Plus plans include these features by default. If you want Sitelock Premium, depending on the length of your contract, it might be financially advantageous to purchase one of these premium plans.
If the Essential Web Hosting option doesn’t meet your needs, you can select the next step up regarding shared hosting: the Professional Hosting Plan. (Note: Both the Professional Hosting plan and the Profession Plus plan, once placed in your shopping cart, are referred to as “Unlimited (Premium) Web Hosting.”)
In addition to everything the basic plan includes, the Professional Hosting plan gives you:
- Unlimited hard disk space
- Unlimited email inboxes
- Site speeds that are up to twice as fast due to the inclusion of a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- Malware detection and automatic removal
- Prevention of and protection from common security threats, such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks.
For additional security (which might be required for your site, especially if you handle sensitive information like credit card billing information), you can upgrade to the Professional Plus plan, which includes Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates. This ensures that your site is using the correct protocols to securely transmit data.
Billing and Payments
All shared plans require, at the minimum, a one-year contract. Network Solutions offers discounts if you sign up and pre-pay for longer periods of time; the longer your contract and the larger your upfront cost is, the lower your overall monthly rate will be. If you sign up with a three-year (or longer) hosting plan, you will receive a discounted rate.
For those purchasing the Essential Web Hosting plan with the SiteLock Premium add-on, the price you pay for the add-on also decreases if you opt for longer- or long-term contracts.
VPS Hosting Packages
If you’ve outgrown the shared hosting packages and you are a tech-savvy web professional who wants the power of a dedicated server without the costs of actually having one, Network Solutions’ VPS hosting might be right for you.
Network Solution uses Virtuozzo Containers (a virtualization program) to partition a physical server into multiple virtual servers. Each virtual server (or instance) is capable of running its operating system (which is CentOS by default) and is allocated to individual websites.
So, with VPS hosting, there are other sites using the same physical server you are, but the resources that have been allocated to your website are strictly enforced. This is unlike shared hosting, allowing you to enjoy the control similar to what you would have with a dedicated server.
With VPS hosting, you get full, administrative (root-level) control over your server instance.
Because you have so much control over your server instance, you can easily manage multiple websites using your plan and install and configure nearly any program you’d like.
Hosting your site using the VPS plan requires in-depth knowledge of system administration, but if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, you can use one of Network Solutions’ 24/7 support options. For consulting services or issues outside the scope of standard support, you can opt for Network Solutions’ Signature Support.
There are two tiers of VPS hosting: Essential and Professional.
VPS Essential Hosting
With the VPS Essential Hosting plan, you get:
- 1 GB RAM
- 10 GB disk space
- 500 GB data transfer per month
- A dedicated IP address
- A free domain name
- Up to 10 managed domains.
VPS Professional Hosting
If you opt for the premium VPS Professional Hosting Plan, you get:
- 1 GB RAM
- 50 GB disk space
- 2000 GB data transfer per month
- A dedicated IP address
- A free domain name
- Up to 100 managed domains.
Pricing and Billing
When purchasing a VPS Hosting package, you have several options when it comes to pricing plans. You can choose to pay on a month-to-month basis: you will be billed every four weeks. Or you can sign up for a long-term contract that lasts 1, 2, 3, 5, or 10 years. Network Solutions offers discounts to those who opt for annual or multi-year contracts.
As part of your plan, you’re allocated a specific amount of data transfer (500 GB for the VPS Essential plan and 2,000 GB for the VPS professional plan). For every month that you exceed these limits, Network Solutions automatically charges your account $59.99 for each additional 25 GB of data transfer.
Secure WordPress Hosting
An estimated 70% of WordPress users are unprotected against online threats. If you’re using WordPress as your content management system, you can opt for Network Solutions’ Secure WordPress Hosting option to help mitigate threats against your site. These threats include malware, SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and DDoS attacks.
While you could easily host your WordPress site using the shared or VPS hosting plan, here are the WordPress-specific security features that come standard with your package and don’t require manual configuration from you:
- Automatic update of the WordPress core
- Automatic update of all plugins and themes used by your site
- Whitelisting of plugins and themes
- Malware scanning and automatic removal
- Datacenter-class firewall
- Daily backups
- SSL certificates.
Also, your package comes with unlimited storage and bandwidth, set-up assistance, consultation services, and 24/7 support.
Pricing and Billing
When purchasing a Secure WordPress Hosting package, you have several options when it comes to pricing plans. You can choose to pay on a month-to-month basis (though you will be billed every four weeks), or you can sign up for a long-term contract that lasts 1, 2, 3, 5, or 10 years. If you opt for an annual or multi-year contract, Network Solutions will discount your plans so that your overall monthly cost will be lower than if you were billed on a monthly basis.
The Network Solutions Package That Is Right for You
The biggest differentiators between Network Solutions’ shared hosting plans are disk space allocation, the number of email inboxes, and the tools and programming languages supported. As such, the first step in determining which package is right for you is to identify the needs for your site based on its traffic levels.
According to Network Solutions:
- The Essential Web Hosting package is designed for small business owners who want a simple online presence and who plan to interact with their customers via simple forms or a blog
- The Professional hosting package is for small- to medium-sized businesses whose site contains some dynamic content (such as images or videos) and who communicate with their customers via complex forms or a frequently-visited blog
- The Professional Plus hosting package is for small- to medium-sized businesses that want to manage multiple high-traffic sites using just one platform. These sites tend to have resource-intensive features — high-resolution images, videos, and other dynamic features — and high traffic levels.
However, do be aware that there are differences regarding the security features offered to those who select the Essential Web Hosting plan versus those provided to the Professional or Professional Plus plans. The Essential Hosting plan only includes rudimentary security features, so if you are planning on collecting or using any sensitive personal information such as names and addresses, consider upgrading to a higher-tiered plan so that you get security features for your site that you don’t have to implement by yourself.
The reasons why you might opt for VPS hosting over a shared hosting include:
- Higher levels of traffic
- Need for more hard disk storage space
- Need for additional security (with shared plans, the actions occurring on the sites of your neighbors can harm your site)
- Need to be able to customize your server environment with the appropriate applications for your business
- Need to host multiple sites using one platform.
However, due to the amount of control you have over a virtual private server, you’ll need to be familiar with system administration: Network Solutions assumes that you will be responsible for configuring and maintaining your instance. If you need help and your question is outside the scope of Network Solutions’ support contract, you can choose to pay for Signature Support, which encompasses the company’s consulting services.
Online Marketing Help
Driving qualified traffic to your site, capturing leads, and growing conversions are all fundamental to your success. Network Solutions offers a selection of options which give you access to digital marketing tools and marketing professionals.
Their professional services include the following:
- Ignite Online Marketing: this comprises their search engine optimization (SEO) services and focuses on your site getting found online
- Facebook marketing, including assistance with content generation and advertising
- Email marketing
- Pay-Per-Click advertising
- Local lead generation.
All these above services come with reporting so that you can view and assess your progress.
There’s a lot to learn about digital marketing, so if you’re just starting out, or have limited time, you may want to consider trying out some of these services. An added plus is that you can also learn more about marketing by using these services.
Network Solutions is a well-established company that stands out from some of the competition because of their “soup-to-nuts” program designed to help you start, manage, and grow your online business. The majority of online businesses fail. Your business’ digital marketing plan can be part of the problem or part of the solution. You will need to think it through carefully.
While the overall number of packages Network Solutions offers is low, and they don’t offer anything for those who need more than what a VPS plan can provide, the company offers good options for small- to medium-sized businesses looking for a simple, no-frills web hosting solution. The company does include a lot of conditions regarding the contract, so be sure to read all of the fine print so that you aren’t surprised by what you do (or don’t) receive or what fees you are charged on a month-to-month basis.
Is Network Solutions right for you? If you still have questions, head over to our sister site, WhoIsHostingThis.com. It offers lots more information, including a hundred customer reviews from people who do or once did host with the company. They can explain what it’s really like to host with them.