Author: Matthew Rogers
Last Updated: December 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 we've been featured on
FastHosts: A quick summary for people with no time (pretty much all of us)
Sadly, in a nutshell, we don’t recommend signing up with FastHosts for a few reasons. The main reasons would be the mixed customer reviews, the lack of free SSL certificates on their basic plan (https – no idea why they charge for these, nobody else is), and they’re more expensive than most of the competition that does offer all the essential stuff like free SSL, free CDN, etc.
On the surface, FastHosts is actually not that bad, but when you start to look a bit deeper, you’ll be looking for better alternatives pretty quickly.
So what we’re really saying is… there are better alternatives out there. Have a look at our web hosting comparisons where we researched and analysed the top web hosts for different countries (both from a quality and cost perspective).
A privately-held company, FastHosts was founded by Andrew Michael in 1999. It was first created as part of an A-level school project. In 2000, it opened its corporate headquarters in Gloucester Quays located in South West England. Techtrack 100 ranked the company as UK’s 2nd fastest growing technology company in 2002. During this year, FastHosts started to provide multi-platform UK web hosting.
Deloitte & Touche ranked FastHosts as Europe’s 10th fastest growing technology company in 2003. During that year, the company became the UK’s first company to support Microsoft’s .NET Framework 1.1. They also launched multi-server, load balanced hosting architecture in 2003.
In 2004, the company’s business-class email services were given a rating of 4.5 out of 5 by the Independent. Netcraft, a company composed of Internet research specialists ranked FastHosts as the world’s top Windows 2003 web host. They were also part of the top 50 UK companies as awarded by the Business XL magazine.
2006 was a life-changing year for FastHosts. It was acquired by United Internet during that time. It was also awarded a spot on PC Plus magazine’s Hotlist because of its dedicated servers. They became a Microsoft Certified Partner in 2009 and on the same year they launched their cloud services. In recognition to their stellar customer support services, they received an accreditation from the Institute of Customer Service.
FastHosts provides three plans for its web hosting services. The said packages are named Ignite, Momentum, and Ultimate. These can be seen below:
The cheapest plan is called the Ignite Plan and costs GBP 2.50 per month for the first 12 months. It will then cost GBP 5.00 per month after the first year. A 20% VAT charge is excluded from those prices. You are required to enter a 12-month contract when you first purchase the plan. Thus, with a monthly mode of payment, you have to sign up for a contract of 12 months.
With the Ignite plan, you can have one website in one hosting account. If you have multiple websites, you can opt for the next plan, Momentum, allowing you to have 3 websites in a hosting account. If you have more than three websites, you should opt for the Ultimate plan which allows you to have 100 websites in one hosting account. The most expensive plan costs GBP 15.00 per month during the first year and GBP 20.00 per month on the following years.
The cheapest plan gives you 10GB worth of disk space using solid state drives. This means, your website gets to load faster compared to using traditional drives. A faster websites equates to better user experience and higher rates of converting customers (e.g. turning potential customers into loyal, paying customers).
Unlimited bandwidth is one of the features of the cheapest plan. This means that even with a high level of demand, your website will always perform at its peak. You can cater to thousands or even millions of viewers per day without compromising your website’s performance.
When it comes to SEO, you are given a basic tool called Traffic Driver SEO. The package covers a single domain only. Extra charges are applied to extra domains. With the said tool, you can improve your search engine rankings and rank on top of results pages.
You are also provided with unlimited mailboxes meaning you can create multiple email accounts for different departments of your business. Email sharing won’t be necessary anymore as any person that needs an email address can have his/ her own. Catch-all emails feature is also available. Plus, you can get unlimited email forwarders allowing you to forward a message sent to account X into another account.
If you are into marketing, you will also be given GBP 130 worth of ad vouchers. Applications are also supported and you can install them all in one click, making building a website pretty easy. These apps include WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal, and PrestaShop.
There are a variety of support options provided by FastHosts. These include the following:
- System Status page,
- Support Page,
- Support Community,
- Online Live Chat, and
- Telephone Support.
Their System Status page allows you to view the latest status reports. It gives you a page that displays various system issues and planned maintenance schedules. Their Support Page has a variety of features for support including a self-help knowledge base, downloadable PDF guides, and a domain health report.
The Support Community is similar to a forum where you can create an account, post questions, and also answer other users’ queries. The live chat feature is available once you are logged into account. Telephone support is also available 24/7/365.
Reviews are mixed when it comes to their customer support service. Some state that they quickly answer to easy and even complicated questions which means their support staff is trained on their products and/or services. However, other reviews stated that their support team needed multiple tickets to get to the problem. Some even said that it took approximately three days to get a response from them.
Signing up for FastHosts has its advantages. Here are some of them:
When you have thousands (or even millions) of viewers per day, you don’t get charged for using too much bandwidth. They don’t restrict the amount of data transferred from their servers to the devices requesting for it.
With the cheapest plan, you get unlimited email accounts. It’s a good thing especially if you have multiple people managing your website. Each person can have his/ her own account.
Free SEO Tool
With Ignite, you get TrafficDriver SEO. It’s an SEO tool that can help boost your ranking in search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.
Free Domain Registration
Care to save a few bucks? If you opt for a 12-month contract, you get a free domain registration where you get to choose from a variety of extensions.
Custom Error Pages
Need a custom 404 page for both conversions and SEO purposes? With each web hosting plan, you can create customised 404 pages. These customised 404 pages can be formulated to lead users to another link that might be relevant to what they are actually looking for. So, instead of hitting the back button, your customers will go to another page in your site.
The plan support multiple applications such as WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal, and PrestaShop. Plus, you can change which type of plan you want, a Windows Plan or a Linux Plan, even after purchasing the package.
Instead of using traditional drives, they employ solid-state drives (SSDs) which pulls in data relatively faster. This means faster loading speeds for your website.
FastHosts does have quite a few cons:
No free SSL
This. Is. Weird. Seriously, in this day and age, with Google actively labeling non-https sites as not secure… how can you not offer free SSL certificates (let’s encrypt gives them out for free, how hard is it to integrate this… everybody else is.)? While they do offer free ssl on their higher priced hosting packages, it’s only for the first year.
If your data centres are located in 1 country, the least you can do is offer an easy way to enable a CDN, again there are free options here that other hosts have integrated, with the main one being CloudFlare.
This, for us, is a big one. The company prides itself on having a great customer support team. But is it actually true? Mixed reviews state both positive and negative comments about their support services. Same can be said about uptime and a host of other technical issues. Its reputation is definitely suffering.
As mentioned in the summary, we’re not that impressed! They seem ok on the surface, but dig a little bit deeper and you’ll find the negative user reviews, the lack of global data centres, technical issues, the lack of SSL, no CDN, etc.
We would highly recommend you check out our detailed top UK web hosting list, or have a look at our other country-specific web hosting comparisons.