FatCow Reviews

FatCow Reviews
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Our Fatcow Shared Hosting Review

fatcow reviewsFatcow was originally founded in Albuquerque, New Mexico back in 1998 and historically focused ONLY on shared hosting and then with only one plan that offered “Unlimited Hosting.”

They have very clear branding, and if you visit their site, you will see numerous puns related to Cows such as “Un-Herd of Deals” or “A bullpen full of site templates.” This is humorous for all of two minutes, but, unfortunately, doesn’t give off the most professional image and is more of a gimmick to grab your attention. That being said, this has no reflection on the service offered, which we will come to in a moment.

Due to their success in their early years, they attracted the attention of the Web Hosting powerhouse that is EIG and was purchased by them in 2004. They one of EIG’s vDeck brands, a unique control panel used exclusively by “some” of EIG’s companies.  We will discuss more about the control panel later.

Besides our detailed Editorial review, we highly recommend checking out the Customer Fatcow Reviews at the end of the article.

Shared Hosting Plans

They have for a very long time only had one “unlimited” hosting plan.  However, they have now expanded their arsenal with WordPress Hosting as well as VPS and Dedicated servers.  We will focus here on the “original Fatcow Plan” as well as their new WordPress offerings:

Original Fatcow Plan

This is their cheapest and the original plan they first started with.  Unless you have a static HTML or low traffic site, we would recommend you avoid this plan.  We suspect that the CPU and RAM resources assigned to these plans is fairly low and thus may not be suitable for a WordPress, or another CMS is you want reasonable performance.  According to their website it includes:

  • Free domain name for the first year
  • Free setup & transfer
  • 30 days money back guarantee
  • Unlimited Storage, Bandwidth, Domains, etc., but do check their terms and conditions as there are restrictions.
  • Website Builder
  • $100 Adwords credit (you must spend $25 to get it)
  • $100 Bing \ Yahoo search marketing credit
  • Toll-Free Number
  • Hubspot’s website grader
  • Daily Backups
  • Application Installer via Mojo Marketplace
  • Justcloud 1GB Storage

WP Starter Plan

If you are going to sign up with them and use WordPress, we would recommend at least this plan.  It is superior in every way to the Original Fatcow Plan:

  • Integrated Themes
  • Important Plugins such as Jetpack and W3 Total Cache pre-installed
  • We suspect the resource allocations are more than the Original Fatcow plan (as a dynamic website such as WordPress does need it).

WP Essential Plan

We are a big believer that you get what you pay for.  For the sake of a couple of dollars a month, they are no exception.  Their WP Essential Plan comes will all previous features discussed for the Original Fatcow Plan and WP Starter, with the following additions:

  • All the things in the WP Starter Plan, including Integrated Themes, Plugins, etc
  • “SSD-based infrastructure” – We suspect this is some kind of SSD Caching for frequently accessed files, but there is little information provided.
  • Enhanced security with Sitelock
  • Personalized Support
  • Unfortunately, the resources allocated are not very transparent, but certainly at the price, we wouldn’t be surprised if higher allocations are present.

Plan Space Transfer Websites Free Domain Free SSL PCI Compliant SiteLock SSH Price
Original Fatcow Unlimited Unmetered Unlimited Yes No No No Yes $4.08
WP Starter Unlimited Unmetered Unlimited Yes No No No Yes $3.75
WP Essential Unlimited Unmetered Unlimited Yes No No Yes Yes $6.95

Highlighted Features

They don’t have any features that make us go “Wow”, and indeed, they don’t use an established Control Panel such as cPanel or Plesk (but we will talk about that in a moment).

Instead, they are one of those “Unlimited” hosting providers that will give you pretty standard hosting at a reasonable price.

There are a couple of highlighted features that seem interesting and that we should talk about:

  • mojo marketplaceMojo Marketplace – This is a marketplace where you can buy premium themes and plugins as well as acting as a “One-click” installer.  The Marketplace is owned by the parent company EIG, so is incorporated in many of the EIG Brands.  For someone new to web hosting you would probably like it as it opens up a lot of possibilities especially with the theme and plugin store that perhaps you may not have realized existed. However, if you are someone that just likes to “get the job done” you would probably prefer something like Softaculous, but this is a personal preference.
  • SiteLock pricesSitelock (WP Essentials Plan only) – If you are worried about your website getting infected, perhaps because you are unfamiliar with WordPress or how to properly secure it then Sitelock can help.  It will scan for vulnerabilities each day, and automatically remove any potential threats, as well as incorporating a firewall that helps against issues such as comment spam.  You can read more about Sitelock here, but please have in mind that it is a customized more limited Sitelock plan so doesn’t include things like website acceleration or DDoS protection, unless you upgrade at additional cost.  You can see an indication of pricing to the right, noting the basic plan is included free in the WP Essentials hosting plan.

vDeck Control Panel

As mentioned previously, Fatcow uses a custom control panel (common with many EIG Brands) called vDeck.  You can read a little more about the control panel on their website here.

If you do not care about the backup file compatibility (this makes migration to new hosts simple and easy) with the many hosts that use cPanel (our preferred control panel) then vDeck does everything you will need for a standard hosting account.  We cannot fault it, but equally, we cannot say we particularly favor it.  After signing up it took us a little while to adjust, and indeed, this was not helped by a very inadequate welcome mail and the fact the WordPress installer pushed a lot of the information further down the screen.

That being said, installing WordPress was super easy, although setting up Sitelock was less than clear.  With Sitelock, when you go to the Sitelock screen it looks as if you need to pay for it even though it is included in the plan.  As a hint, if you enter your email for the alerts everything becomes much clearer, and you see more options to set it up.  When you go to choose a plan, there will be an option to apply a credit to your current website, or you can choose a higher plan at additional cost.

vdeckYou can see in the video that vDeck includes the following features:

  • Website Management
  • Email Management
  • Domain Management
  • E-commerce Services
  • Marketing Services
  • Account Management Services

OK Support

We have in our limited testing only had one occasion to use their support via live chat, so for further insights, you should check the Customer Reviews at the end of this article.

The reason we needed support was that their welcome documentation was not clear or adequate. This was particularly the case when trying to configure Sitelock the vDeck panel seemed to imply that we had to pay for it even though it should have been included in our plan.  After querying this with support, after a 5-minute wait to speak to a support technician, they dealt with the question fast and the issue was resolved quickly.

You can see the conversation we had below:

Toggle for Live Chat conversation

Info: Thank you for contacting us.At the end of our conversation, please keep this window open and complete our one question survey to let us know how we’re doing.Please hold for the next available operator to respond.

Info: All operators are currently assisting others. Thanks for your patience. An operator will be with you shortly.

Info: All operators are currently assisting others. Thanks for your patience. An operator will be with you shortly.

Info: You are now chatting with ‘Nazmeen K.’

Nazmeen K: Hi Jonathan. My name is Nazmeen, how are you today? I apologize for the wait time.

Jonathan: I just purchased the WP Essential Plan. How do I setup Sitelock, as it is included free with this plan

Nazmeen K: I am checking your account.

Nazmeen K: Thank you for your recent purchase.

Nazmeen K: I will provide you the information.

Nazmeen K: You can setup the SiteLock at:

Nazmeen K: https://www.fatcow.com/controlpanel/SiteLock/SiteLock.bml

Jonathan: Yes, but that link just says “view plans”?

Nazmeen K: You can ignore it.

Nazmeen K: Enter the email address in the box and click on the Submit button.

Jonathan: Ah I see

Jonathan: Thank you for your help

Nazmeen K: You’re welcome!

Nazmeen K: Have I answered all your questions?

Jonathan: yes, have a great day

Having looked at their Twitter Support Account, it seems there are very few complaints for a company of their size, and indeed they are always quick to respond.  Didn’t have to go far either to see some positive comments.

Fatcow Review Final Thoughts

They one of those companies people love to hate.  EIG, who owns them, does not have the best reputation especially on Web Hosting Forums among other web hosts (perhaps they don’t like the aggressive advertising, pricing, etc., or perhaps they don’t like how some great brands purchased by EIG end up being not so great.  Either way, there is a significant anti-EIG movement.

So what do we think?

Well, overall we were a little disappointed in the performance of what should be their premium WordPress Plan.  We just felt without the caching it could have been a little faster, and we suspect the server we were on might have been a little overloaded.  Certainly, the loading of static content was perfectly fine.

As for the functionality and the Control Panel, while not our preferred system we could find nothing wrong, and add-ons such as Sitelock was a nice touch.

And then it comes to price.  It certainly looked reasonable when signing up, but when it comes to renewal, you are looking at significant price increases.  As such we must now compare Fatcow against other more expensive plans, and unfortunately, they do come up short.  We highly recommend you look at our highest rated host Siteground (who we host this site with).  Either way, we think you can do better.

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  1. Reply Gem Burke May 21, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    They are driving me up the wall. I contacted them about an issue which they fixed, but despite asking they were unable to tell me what was actually wrong. It seems their support are overseas because they seem to imply everything is your faul when it isn’t. They even ask me to fill out a survey that only lets you say good things. Their telephone service is always unavailable, but you don’t get any indication on where you are in the queue. It seems I don’t have much luck, as moved here from GoDaddy after having an issue, and again support is rubbish.

    Helpful(1) Unhelpful(0)You have already voted this
  2. Reply Hari Aakash December 18, 2014 at 11:33 am

    It can be hard to find a good web hosting company, as I have learned over the last few years. I have tried a number of different companies but have never really been happy with any of them. This is probably why I have had to try so many different services, since none of them offer everything I want.

    One that I tried recently was FatCow, and at first I had high hopes for them. They came strongly recommended by a friend of mine, and he said that he had gotten great service from them. I had been having trouble with my hosting company, so I figured they were worth a try.

    At first things went pretty well. It was easy to get things set up, and their pricing structure seemed quite reasonable. I would be able to save a decent amount of money by switching, so this seemed like a good idea.

    However, I quickly started to have problems with the service. One major issue was downtime. While there was not a lot of downtime, there were a number of unexpected incidents. This caused me a lot of trouble because people could not make it to my site.

    Even when they had a scheduled downtime for maintenance or upgrades, they were not very good about warning me ahead of time. Often, I only found out at the last minute, which made it hard to plan ahead. When I called to complain, the person I talked to was not very interested in what I had to say.

    I guess if you need a basic hosting service and are not very picky, you could do worse than choosing this company. However, if you want reliable service and helpful support, I would definitely suggest that you look elsewhere.

  3. Reply Carlo Mignatti November 4, 2014 at 4:34 am

    One of the hardest things to do is pick a web hosting service. There are so many different companies out there that it can be hard to settle on one. Unfortunately, not all of these companies are able to deliver what they promise. This is what I discovered when I signed up with FatCow.

    At first, I was pretty happy with my choice. The service did not offer all of the features that I was used to, but it also was pretty cheap. I figured that I would be able to easily find workarounds for anything that I could not easily do.

    Unfortunately, this did not prove to be the case. There were things I tried over and over to do, but just could not get to work. This started to be pretty frustrating, and calling customer service was not any help. I had a hard time getting anyone on the phone, and when I did, they were often not able to give me a satisfying answer.

    It almost seemed as if they were trying to give me the runaround after a while. Their server response time was also pretty slow, and even though they promised that they were going to upgrade, they never did. If I had been trying to earn money online, I would have been very unhappy.

    Fortunately, I was not actually needing a host for an online business, so this was not really an issue. I thought that they would be fine, since my site was pretty bare-bones, but even so, they did not really offer the kind of functionality I was looking for.

    I guess if you just need a very basic hosting service, this one would suffice. If you need anything more sophisticated, however, I would definitely recommend that you look somewhere else.

  4. Reply Steven August 9, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    I have recently had to move away from them due to performance issues. Whilst the support tried to help, and I spent time configuring W3 Total Cache, I finally took the plunge to SiteGround and have instantly noticed the difference. Sorry Fatcow, you need to up your game abit.

  5. Reply Orlando January 12, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    I can recommend FatCow as well. I’ve been with them for close to a year now, and I don’t recall ever having any problems.

  6. Reply Ron January 12, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    I host 2 of my sites with FatCow, and I’d definitely recommend their service. I haven’t had any problems with their service. No uptime issues or anything else.

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