FastHosts is a pretty old web hosting and web development company which started offering its services back in 1999 to a wide range of audiences from webmasters to entrepreneurs to small and medium-sized businesses. Their recognition for providing the best value products is unmatched within the industry. During its 10 years of operation, the company has evolved rapidly because of its innovative business approaches and dedication towards customer care in order to make their experience with them the best possible. They keep their hands on the pulses of their customers to know what they need and have become market leaders because of being continually able to provide solutions which cater to such needs. They deserve to be called the UK's best web hosting company.

Their rating as the UK's number one web host is not without reason, they actually prove they are worthy of this position by providing the best value products at highly competitive prices. As a result, the company dominates the UK hosting market because of providing its customers with sophisticated tools and functionalities needed to create a highly successful web presence.

No one comes even close to the company when it comes to professional Microsoft or Linux web hosting services. The number of domains hosted by them currently exceeds 1 million. They have recently earned a rating of 4.5 out of 5 by The Independent which shows their commitment to continue offering the best value in web hosting products. Their dedicated server hosting products utilize Cisco switching and dedicated virtual pipe technology and offer total control remote access as well as unlimited bandwidth.

FastHosts are not only the leading web hosting provider, they also offer unlimited download broadband Internet plans on a month-to-month basis as opposed to the majority of their competitors which only offer a yearly broadband package. Furthermore, a reseller account with the company enables the reseller to resell all the products included within their product range along with custom rebranding so that every product appears to be the reseller's own.

Although the services of FastHosts are as good for international websites as they are for UK websites, hosting a business website with them which operates within the UK or any other website which targets the UK's visitors is definitely a plus point for that business. This is because the website is able to harness the maximum UK download speed as well as better SERPS with Google and other major search engines since Google views that web business as a legitimate UK based business.

 

Disclaimer: The editorial review of FastHosts may not be reflective of its current ranking on WHL. The quality of the host may have improved or deteriorated since it was reviewed. To find out the latest user ratings and reviews, please read FastHosts user ratings and reviews.

 

The Fasthosts Difference

FastHosts stands ahead of its competition by offering advanced functionalities with all its hosting plans needed to create a professional website. All the major scripting technologies such as ASP, PHP, Perl, Python etc. and MySQL databases are included within all of the web hosts's Linux hosting packages which also include the SSH secure shell access which makes accessing the web server's command line as hasslefree as using a personal computer. On the other hand, ASP.NET 2.0 as well as MS SQL are included with their Windows Developer and Business web hosting plans. The business plans also includes load-balancing which is not available with the other plans. Because of the load-balancing functionality, the uptime as well as the reliability of the website increases manifolds. Their unique real-time resource monitoring software deployed on their state-of-the-art architecture allows to transfer web visitors to the server with minimum load at that particular time.

The password protection functionality enables a website administrator to restrict certain users to only specific areas of the website. Their Windows hosting plans also include added database control along with advanced password protection. The developer and business hosting packages are also perfect for e-commerce websites because they incorporate secure 128 bit SSL encryption from Thawte because of which the flow of information from a website visitor to the vendor is 100% secure. Additional functionalities include custom tailored error pages, bandwidth monitoring tools as well as e-mail alerts to track the website's bandwidth utilization, a test domain for temporarily viewing the website while a domain name server propagation takes place, subdomains as well as a host of other functionalities.

 

Website Administration - Control Panel

FastHosts offers two different types of control panels, one for shared web hosting and the other for dedicated server hosting. Both their control panels have received a 5-star rating from .net Magazine which is a clear-cut indicator of their flexibility and ease of use.

 

Salient features of their shared hosting control panel are as follows:

  • Ability to manage all website aspects from a single interface
  • Much easier to make alterations with just a few clicks
  • High-level expertise not necessary
  • Creation of new email accounts, auto-responders & forwarders a breeze
  • Vivid graphical website statistics which help gain a deeper insight into visitor's behavior
  • Very easy to add additional functionality like FrontPage Exts
  • Advanced password protection for restricting access to only certain areas of the site
  • Extremely easy to set up ODBC, MySQL as well as MS SQL databases.

 

Their dedicated server control panel is as good as their shared hosting control panel, the only difference being the added functionalities needed to administer a dedicated server.

 

Packages Offered

The company offers Email Hosting, Shared Linux/Windows Hosting and Dedicated Server Hosting. Beginner level plans for each hosting type are listed below.

 

Email Hosting

FastHosts' Email Hosting packages include Mail Plus, Exchange and Business.

Mail Plus
Standard Mailboxes 5
Advanced Mailboxes 2 (1GB each + anti virus & anti spam)
Email Forwarders 5
Professional webmail (using the web browser) Yes
Roaming SMTP (send mail using any connection) Yes
Individual mailbox user control panels Yes
Free 30 day trial Yes
Addition of extra mailbox space when required Yes
24/7 UK call centre support Yes
Purchase Price (1 Year Sign up) £1.25 /month

 

Shared Hosting

FastHosts' Shared Hosting plans are available on both Linux and Windows platforms and include Home, Developer, and Business plans.

Home
Disk Space 2 GB
Bandwidth Unlimited
Free Domain Yes
Subdomains 20
E-Mail Accounts 500 Std + 10 Adv
FTP Accounts 5
Free FTP Software Yes
FrontPage® 2002 Extensions Yes
Money Back Guarantee 30 Days
Purchase Price (1 Year Sign up) £4.99 /month + VAT!
Free Setup Yes

 

Dedicated Hosting

FastHosts' Dedicated Hosting packages include DS250, DS450, DS650 and DS850. The details for the starter plan DS250 are listed below.

DS250
Processor 2 x 1.8 GHZ Intel Core 2 Duo
Memory 512 MB
Hard Disk 80 GB SATA
Bandwidth Unlimited
Remote server control Yes
Operating Systems Linux /Windows
IP Addresses 2
Multiple UK internet connections Yes
Microsoft Mail Server Yes
Purchase Price (1 Year Sign up) - Linux based £49 /month + 1 month FREE
Purchase Price (1 Year Sign up) - Windows based £59 /month + VAT
Free Setup Yes - with 1 year sign up

 

Features vs. Cost Analysis

A comparison of the features offered by the company in contrast to the cost incurred reveals that their features to price ratio is at par with the other major web hosting companies. For a measly £5 per month, you get 2 GB of disk space plus unlimited bandwidth, 20 sub-domains and roughly 500 e-mail accounts. The 30 days moneyback guarantee gives you enough time to think whether to continue hosting your website with them which is always a source of much comfort. Their dedicated hosting packages are also very competitive with respect to the features-price ratio and the cost over here is also more or less the same as that charged by their competitors. However, as already mentioned in our review of FastHosts, a UK-based website can benefit immensely by hosting with them by harnessing premium UK download speeds as well as much better rankings with the major search engines.

 

Customer Support

The customer support of the company is second to none. The rocksolid web hosting infrastructure that they offer to their customers leave very little room for any problems arising afterwards, in fact a recent research survey has shown that less than 10% of the customers need to contact the company after signing up with them. Nonetheless, they are well aware of the fact that problems can and do arise even in the highest possible failsafe environment and to tackle such problems of their customers, they have a highly organized customer support department in place. Their friendly and skilled customer support personnel strive their best to resolve queries as soon as they are received. The customer support is guaranteed for the life of the hosting package with FastHosts and because of this the bulk of their customers tend to stay with them.

Their state-of-the-art call center in the UK has experts on hand 24 x 7 and can be contacted by e-mail at "customersupport (at) fasthosts.co.uk" and by UK rate telephone at 0870 888 3800. Consequently, their customers can rest assured that someone will always be there to respond to their call. The customer services department's response is very quick (typically 2 hours) and sometimes even less than that.

Furthermore, they also have a comprehensive knowledge base which in most cases is very helpful to solve commonly encountered problems. It includes a FAQ section, searchable how-to articles, white papers demonstrating the use of a wide range of technologies, user manuals and quick start guides as well as a discussion forum where their customers can gather together to exchange views on help one another.

 

Speed & Reliability

FastHosts operate two state-of-the-art data centers in Gloucester each containing thousands of servers, which are monitored on a continual basis by their team of expert engineers. Starting back from 1999, they have continued to invest millions of pounds to their data center infrastructure in order to give their customers uninterrupted service and to keep their websites and e-mail live 24x7x365. Each data center contains server racks housing thousands of servers operating on Linux and Windows 2003 platforms along with the exchange mail servers. All these servers support the latest scripting and database technologies and are connected to a fully redundant tier 1 Internet connection in order to ensure maximum uptime and reliability. The data centers utilize sophisticated uninterruptible power supply systems to guarantee continuous power for the servers. Furthermore, there are diesel generators in place which are switched on as soon as the power supply is disrupted thereby making the power supply interruption literally zero. These generators are capable of supplying power for a full month without interruption.

Both the data centers operate in a climate controlled environment which is monitored and adjusted by multimillion pound Denco systems. Top brand air conditioning units, humidity and temperature monitors as well as fire suppression equipment make sure that the operation of the data centers is as smooth as possible. The data centers are monitored by security guards as well as CCTV surveillance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to restrict the access of unauthorized personnel. Furthermore, access to the data centers is only granted either by swipe-card, multiple digit PIN or finger-print plus accurate weight matching, practically making it impossible for unauthorized personnel to gain access to the centers. Along with security monitoring, the team of expert engineers at the company also continues to monitor the data centers round the clock to make sure any technical problems with the architecture are resolved as soon as they arise.

 

Conclusion

FastHosts is an excellent web hosting choice for international as well as UK-based websites. They have been in business for the last 10 years, so they know the ins and outs of the hosting business. Their state-of-the-art data centers with multimillion pound infrastructure ensure both lightning speed downloading as well as the maximum uptime. Their shared and dedicated server hosting packages are both feature-rich and cost-effective. They know what it takes to satisfy their customers and they have a 24-hour UK call center to respond to their queries with the minimum possible delay. Sign up today!

 


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