Is FatCow a Good Hosting Company?


Ten out of 10

PlansVPS, Reseller, Shared, and Dedicated VPS Servers
Data CentersMassachusetts/US
SupportChat, Phone, & Knowledge Base
UptimeExcellent (99.99% in the past 6 months).
Migration is free
Best forBasic Hosting & Affordable Prices
StrengthsSimple Hosting Plan
WeaknessesSlow Performance & Custom Panel
PromotionPurchase for Only $3.15 per Month

What is FatCow?

FawCow was an early web host, founded in 1998. Newfold Digital acquired FatCow in 2005. FatCow is a web host brand. They offer web hosting services that range from shared hosting to VPS server hosting to domains with distinctive branding.

Pricing for FatCow

FatCow offers a narrow range of hosting plans. Here is a quick overview of each.

Web Hosting

Web hosting (i.e. Shared) is the mainstay of website hosting. Each account is a separate account on a Linux server. They can run WordPress and any other application on a LAMP Stack. It is a reliable and cost-effective way to host most websites.

FatCow has only one hosting plan, unlike other web-hosting companies.

PlanFatCow Plan
*Prime Price$3.15/mo.
Renewal price$8.95/mo.
No cost domain name1 Year
SSL Free
IP dedicated
Daily Backups

* Prices per month for a 36-month subscription

Get FatCow

WordPress Hosting

WordPress can be run on shared hosting. However, many hosting companies offer WordPress hosting plans to meet customer demand and fulfill the hardware requirements of WordPress. Many hosting companies offer WordPress hosting that is exactly the same as their shared hosting plans.

FatCow offers a WordPress Blog Hosting Plan. It’s a shared hosting plan that includes pre-installed plug-ins. Check out their plans.

VPS Hosting

VPS hosting allows you to have a set amount of server resources without the need to lease an entire server. Your website can live on the same server that other websites, but you are in complete control of the resources. This guide will help you learn more about VPS hosting. FatCow offers several VPS plans at very affordable prices.

Hosted by a dedicated server

You can lease a dedicated server through dedicated hosting. This is the best way to maximize control and performance. FatCow offers a variety of dedicated hosting products at competitive prices.

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What is FatCow?

FatCow is a web hosting and web services provider. FatCow has been in business for quite some time. They were founded in 1998, and are based in Burlington MA – possibly in the same data center that their sister brand iPage.

FatCow is a brand that focuses on DIY website owners and beginners. They also have a friendly, fun brand, which makes them stand out in an industry that has traditionally been focused on technical server jargon and developers.

FatCow, like most shared hosting companies also offers email and a website builder. They also offer a variety of complementary services to web hosting, including 24-hour support and a 30-day guarantee for your money back.

Is FatCow a legit company?

FatCow is a well-established hosting company. Newfold Digital owns them, one of the most important web services companies on the Internet.

FatCow is an American company that has been in operation since 1998. Its headquarters are in Burlington Massachusetts.

FatCow is a legitimate company. They’re not a “fly-by-night” hosting company.

What is FatCow used for?

FatCow hosts websites and web apps. Their marketing focus is on hosting affordable websites and offering free software with hosting. They offer a complete range of website products, including domain names, hosting, email, and web design.

There are many FatCow reviews available online. Most of them are user-generated reviews, based on anecdotes or personal experience. This is fine, but I prefer to look at the benefits and drawbacks of hosting.

As I have stated in my reviews of hosting companies, it is all about finding the right company for you based on your needs and goals. As a FatCow customer, here are my pros and cons as well as an overview of FatCow products.

FatCow’s Pros

There are many FatCow reviews available online. Most of them are user-generated reviews, based on anecdotes or personal experience. This is fine, but I prefer a different approach. As I have said in previous hosting reviews, there is no best web host.

Your goals, budget, experience, and expertise will determine the best web hosting service. These are the benefits (and disadvantages) of FatCow.

Short-term Pricing & Plan Structure*

FatCow’s main advantage is its plan structure and short-term pricing. You are likely to receive a significantly discounted rate if you sign up for one year. FatCow does not have pricing tiers.

You can choose from a single web hosting package that includes unlimited everything. This is important as it can be confusing to compare pricing plans from different hosting providers.

*FatCow’s pricing structure and plan structure do have a quirk. This will be covered in the Cons section.

Although web hosting companies all sell the same thing, a website home, they offer different plans, with different renewal prices, caps, bonuses and different benefits. Most people find it difficult to determine their true value without dividing them into smaller parts.

To make it easy to compare apples to apples, I have broken down the Core hosting features into Bonus hosting features. This allows you to see exactly what you’re paying for and how it compares with other providers.

The “3 D’s” are the core hosting features – domains and databases as well as disk space. Hosting servers are designed to host website files.

  • Domains refer to the number of domain names that you can point at your hosting account. Multiple domains are required if you plan to host multiple websites. It is also important to consider email addresses per domain. Sometimes, these are also capped.
  • Databases allow you to run multiple pieces of website software on your hosting server. One database is required for a WordPress install. You will need additional databases if you have apps, Listservs, or other services.
  • The amount of files that you can place on your server is called disk space. This includes images, text and PDFs.

Other features include advertising credits, website builder software, backend software and many others.

It is possible to at least compare apples with apples, and gain a sense for value based upon what you need.

FatCow simplifies things by only offering one shared hosting plan, their “Original FatCow Plan”, which is usually a $49/year introductory price (sometimes even discounted more at this link), but it can be renewed at $179.40/year thereafter.

The shared plan offers unlimited domain add-ons and unlimited bandwidth. It also includes unlimited disk space and databases. There are many bonus features, such as a free SSL certificate and unlimited email, unlimited ad credits, daily back up, and a free domain.

FatCow is a great option for those with tight budgets who need short-term hosting at a cost of less than $50/year.

Product Simplicity and Bonuses

FatCow’s simplicity in pricing is reflected in their product and stability focus. FatCow is one of the longest-standing hosting companies. FatCow is one of the few hosting companies that has remained true to its core product.

Hosting companies are always looking to grow and develop “platforms”, or a multitude of confusing product variations. Some of these are fantastic. In a fast-moving field, changes and upgrades are essential.

It’s refreshing to see companies stay on top of technology, while still sticking to their core product and market. It’s like hosting with Coca-Cola. FatCow’s approach to hosting is an enormous advantage for small businesses that want stability and predictability.

FatCow also offers a number of other bonus features that can be a big plus. They were the first company to fully harness wind power. A free 1-800 number is included, which can prove useful for businesses. You also get a lot of random bonuses, such as free logo design icons and a friendly brand tone.

Everything is positive in my book.

Simple Backend*

Hosting accounts are usually accessed via an account dashboard. This allows you to manage your products, plans, and add-ons. Access to the backend of your server will allow you to install software or get information about it.

Your server’s backend may offer a variety of auto-installers to install common software such as WordPress.

Each hosting company approaches each one differently. Hosting companies’ backends can be very different.

FatCow’s backend is custom. They don’t use the standard cPanel. This will be a disadvantage.

FatCow’s hosting backend is simple, but not too easy, for beginners or those with very basic needs.

Although it isn’t the most beautiful backend, it’s still not difficult to use.

It’s enough to have access to the QuickInstall (ie for WordPress) and server information.

FatCow’s primary audience will be my custom backend. This is a pro-tip for FatCow.

Cons of FatCow

FatCow Hosting is like any other web host. These are some of the cons I encountered while using FatCow as a hosting provider.

Long-term Pricing and Structure of a WordPress Plan

FatCow offers simple plans and great pricing, as I already mentioned in the pros section. They do throw some wrenches in the equation.

First, the Original FatCow plan renews at $179.40 per annum if you renew for one year.

No matter where you renew, their pricing is higher than that of direct competitors. HostGator renewals start at $6.95 per monthly if you sign up for 3 year terms and $8.95 a year. Web Hosting Hub renewals are $8.99 per month

FatCow, a long-term host, is more expensive than others.

Second, FatCow launched two “WordPress blog hosting plans (vs. their Web Hosting plans) similar to their sister businesses.

*Aside: “WordPress Hosting” is perhaps the most confusing and frustrating terminology in the whole hosting industry. The truth is that WordPress can be used with any Linux shared hosting. WordPress does not require any special hosting. Here is a complete definition of WordPress hosting.

If you’re not purchasing hosting from a company that does WordPress, such as WP Engine or WP Engine, “WordPress Host” services are simply upsells with renamed advantages.

FatCow can’t promise everything they claim in their WordPress plans. They promise to pre-install plugins. WordPress plugins require three clicks to install. They often pre-install plugins that aren’t good. These are the plugins that make FatCow rich.

Their claims of speed due to W3 Total Cache is another example. Although installing a caching plugin won’t speed up your WordPress website, it doesn’t mean that it will. W3 Total Cache isn’t the best option for shared hosting plans. Use WP Rocket instead. Their security promises are the same.

Their WordPress plans are also cheaper than their Original FatCow plan. It’s great, but I wonder what the missing piece is. Their WP Essential Plan seems like an upsell, with no real benefits.

These plans, which look like they are implementing across multiple Newfold Digital brands in order to make more money and consolidate their services, don’t fit into FatCow’s brand or other services.

WP Engine is a good company to use for WordPress-specific hosting. SiteGround offers WordPress Hosting plans that offer real developer benefits. If you don’t have Linux shared hosting, then you can install WordPress from that account.

FatCow’s long term pricing and confusing WordPress-specific offerings fall in the cons category.

Confusion with Upsells

The topic of general upsells is closely related to WordPress services.

They are not always a bad thing. These upsells offer lower overall prices and specific services to anyone who is willing to pay.

Upsells are not always a good thing. These can be dangerous if they become too aggressive or if they are added to a contract without consent.

They can also be dangerous if they cause confusion and devalue the product. FatCow is at this point.

They offer upsells at checkout and in the backend. They do not complement their services but instead overlap with key features. Many come pre-checked. I almost bought Google Apps without knowing why.

It’s not a major disadvantage. Although their upsells don’t affect their core product it can be a detriment compared to other competitors.

Custom Backend

FatCow’s backend is simple and straightforward, as I have already mentioned. It’s not cPanel, but it does have a custom backend. FatCow’s backend is not for those who are used to cPanel on a previous host.

Their customer service and performance are good, but not great. A cPanel backend would have made their service much more efficient than their current setup.

Customer Support & Services

It is not easy to judge customer support. It is difficult to judge what’s really happening behind the scenes and whether a company will respond positively when you contact them.

Many user-submitted online reviews of any company are either exaggerated positives or naive negatives. You never know what anecdotes are about, and you don’t even know if it is a trend or a one-off.

Instead, you should be looking for indicators that a company views customer service as an investment or a cost. So, is the company trying to cut costs and maximize profits in the short-term or do they want to create happy, long-term clients?

These are the two most reliable indicators that I have found:

  • Accessibility through a variety of support channels
  • Investment in DIY customer support

FatCow support on both is poor. Although not terrible on an absolute level, it is still below InMotion.

They offer chat and phone support for availability. My chat wait was not too long, but it wasn’t terrible either.

Their support team appears to monitor Twitter but doesn’t have any other methods (i.e. forums or comments) on the actual website.

They have a knowledge base as well as a section for users who are looking for DIY support.

Both are not bad (just like Arvixe), but they don’t cover all the bases and neither are comprehensive. Both cover beginner topics and vendor-specific topics.

FatCow’s customer service is average, but not exceptional in comparison to other providers.

Is FatCow worth it?

So. So.

FatCow hosting was a good web hosting provider overall. They’re not great but they’re not terrible. FatCow is a great option if you find their short-term pricing appealing.

Find out More

If that’s not possible, I would look for other options with a more complete package.

InMotion Hosting is a great alternative to traditional web hosting services that offer better pricing, faster performance and customer service. They also charge an annual fee.

HostGator is a great option if you’re looking for something cheaper and with the ability to pay monthly. For more information, see the HostGator review.

You may be confused about the best web hosting for your needs. Or, you can use my website setup guide.

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