Author: Matthew Rogers
Last Updated: February 2020
Why our reviews are worth reading
As a web agency, we use/test a LOT of hosting providers to scale both our clients and our many many side-projects (we like to experiment).
Having done this for quite a few years now, we've used, analysed, and reviewed a lot of web hosts... these are our findings.
A few of the better-known brands that link to our content
123 Reg: A quick summary for people with no time (pretty much all of us)
Sadly, in a nutshell, we don’t recommend 123 Reg, for a few reasons with the main ones being security and support. Let’s run through a few problems we found.
Security: This is the big one, they made several headlines over the past few years with numerous hacks, loss of data, accidentally removing entire sites, emails, etc. It’s crazy!
Support: There are quite a few complaints about their support attitude floating around, way too many to ignore. Everything from customers being ignored to very rude responses from the support staff.
Pricing: While you can get the first year at £1/mo… the renewals at £3.49 are more costly than most of the (much much better) competition.
So what we’re really saying is… there are a lot cheaper web hosts out there that are a lot better at pretty much everything. Our favourite is still SiteGround, they’re GREAT at security, very responsive support, have multiple data centres around the world (including in London), and are officially recommended by WordPress (they can, of course, tackle any CMS you throw at them). They’re a true no-brainer, check out our review here.
Still interested in 123 Reg, keep reading below.
123 Reg Hosting Review
If you’re a UK based business owner who relies on your website for marketing your products and/or services, then you want to make sure it’s always in tip-top condition. To make sure of that, you have to use a web hosting provider that uses high-quality servers and data centres giving your browsers access to your pages anytime they want to. You wouldn’t want your website to go offline when you and your customers need it most right?
User experience suffers during downtimes and slow loading times. And when your potential customers undergo a bad experience, they are less likely to purchase from you. You lose credibility because poor-performing websites are associated with a poor business. Thus, it is your job to choose the best web hosting provider that won’t let you suffer the consequences.
As an agency, we know that it’s hard to find the right provider out there. With our experience and reviews, we can help you choose the best web hosting company. Each and every review will focus on a different provider. In this article, the focus will be on UK’s 123 Reg.
An Introduction to 123 Reg
123 Reg is a company, based in England, started by Tim Beresford and Jonathan Brealey back in 2000. They became UK’s largest domain registrar in 2004. While in 2009, the company was the first to provide Microsoft 2008 hosting in the said country. As of the moment, they have registered over 3.5 million domain names. In addition, they are the hosting provider of over a million sites. Aside from domain name registration and web hosting services, they also provide virtual private servers (VPS).
Their partners include ICANN, CentralNic, and .EU Registry. They are also an Accredited Channel Partner of Nominet. They also garnered multiple awards such as a recommendation from PC Pro in 2006 as a provider of web hosting services combined with top customer support services. WebHost Directory also voted the company as the best budget hosting provider. In 2016 and 2017, TechRadar considered them as one of the best value web hosting companies.
It is important to note that the company has been under fire during the year 2016. Negative press stated that during their VPS systems clean-up operation, a coding error resulted in the deleting of data including its customers websites. The maintenance operation was implemented on a virtual private server and it wiped out a lot of websites in one go. The sad part about this is the fact that 123 Reg didn’t have a backup of the data. However, they said they are working with data recovery specialists to restore it.
123 Reg offers four packages for its web hosting service. These packages are named “Essentials,” “Business,” “Unlimited,” and “Premium+.” The said packages can be seen in the image below:
Their cheapest plan, Essentials, costs GBP 1.00 per month for the first year. Although, it obliges you to pay for an entire 12 months with no month-per-month mode of payment. As stated in their package, the 20% value-added tax (VAT) is excluded from the stated price. So upon signing up with 123 Reg, you have to shell out a total amount of GBP 12.00 + GBP 2.40 which equates to GBP 14.40. This can be confirmed through the checkout process seen below:
After the first year, you will automatically pay an amount of GBP 3.49 per month. During this time, the 20% VAT is not included as well.
The Essentials package gives you one free .co.uk domains. Although this domain will only be free for a year. You can have ten subdomains included in that single domain name. Plus, you can only host one website in one account. The amount of disk space given in this plan totals to 10GB.
The good thing about this plan is it gives you unlimited bandwidth. This means that if you have thousands of website visitors, you can cater to them all.
The plan also gives you one mailbox with an allocated size of 5GB. Email features include anti-spam protection, anti-virus protection, and unlimited email forwarders. It also includes autoresponders which allows you to automatically respond to an email with a specific, customized message. The catch-all emails feature allows you to forward all the messages sent to your domain to another email address.
As for supporting tech to help you build websites, the plan supports PHP, Perl, Python and Ruby. It also supports Custom Error Pages, ImageMagick, GhostScript, Zend Optimiser, GD, and RealAudio.
123 Reg provides a variety of options to contact them for support:
- Online live chat,
- Ticket submission,
- Telephone call,
- Self-Help Support FAQs, and
According to their website, their live chat support is available from 9am-7pm on weekdays and 9am-4:30pm on weekends. Their telephone support and ticket support systems are available 24/7. Their self-help Support FAQs gives you access to various guides and videos that helps you get started on their platform.
123 Reg customer support has garnered mixed reviews. Some reviews stated that the company provided a helpful customer support system. Reviews stated that their support team spoke in layman terms and did not use technical jargon that will confuse its users.
Other reviews told that customer support was not up to par. A lot of support tickets were ignored. It took about three days (or even more) for them to answer simple problems. Sometimes, it was necessary to repeat questions and state them in detail for the support team to understand what the customer is asking for.
Free UK Domain Name
You can have a free .co.uk domain name for free. Although this is limited for a year only, it can still save you some cash… hey, at least it’s something.
Getting 123 Reg’s hosting service has way too many disadvantages:
One Website Only
You can only host one website in your account. Again, compared to other hosting providers, this is too few. If you own more than 10 websites, you have to opt for their most expensive web hosting plan, Premium+. This costs GBP 14.99 per month for the first year exclusive of the 20% VAT. It will cost you GBP 19.99 per month for the following years, again, exclusive of the VAT.
Only One Mailbox
With the Essentials package, you are given only one mailbox. This is very inconvenient especially if you need to have multiple email accounts for a variety of people. For all four packages, you are given only one mailbox per hosting account. So, there’s no option for you to upgrade the plan just to have more mailbox accounts.
Apps Not Supported
The cheapest plan of 123 Reg doesn’t support WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal, MediaWiki, and osCommerce. If you are an avid fan of these platforms, then this plan is not for you. It is only available in the next plan, Business. The more expensive plan costs GBP 1.00 per month for the first year exclusive of VAT charges (which is pretty cheap as far as hosts go in the United Kingdom). It will cost GBP 6.99 per month for the following years.
The negative press surrounding the company in 2016 is definitely horrifying. If you’re a website owner signed up for their hosting services and your website got swept away all in one go, you’ll definitely have a huge dilemma.
If your website is your only source of income, what would you do? 123 Reg’s mistake during the maintenance process is devastating. You wouldn’t want this to happen to the hosting company you are working with.
Not even going there, what a mess.
A big fat nope from us, instead go check out SiteGround!