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Aplus.net is a well-respected name in the hosting industry, and has been a major presence since 1998. They deal mostly in personal and small business web hosting, their narrow range allowing them to focus on specific customer needs, like the inclusion of Blackberry push emails with most options, to keep users permanently in the loop. With only four plans for shared hosting, they may not offer as much variety as larger sites, but they do manage their few avenues well. On their website you can find a basic comparison of their plans’ features, so that rather than bombard you with information they clearly give you the price and four basic specifications: storage, bandwidth, domains and emails. There’s little in the way of small print either, with their 99.9% uptime guarantee explained (essentially, if at least 20% of their customers are affected, they will credit you for your inconvenience) and included on all hosting options. As you may guess from the well-designed website, aplus also deal in web design, and it is clear this knowledge and experience has been transferred to hosting, with the design tool ‘Easy Sitewizard Pro’ also thrown in as standard. This means even less computer-savvy users can get a site up and running quickly. On top of that, once your site is up, there are various forms of marketing freebies given with each plan, ranging from $25 to $75 of Adwords or Facebook advertising credit to help get you noticed.
aplus' basic option comes in at $5.95 a month, which is steep compared to much of its competition, given the storage and monthly bandwidth allowances of 15GB and 250GB respectively. Its other specifications, such as 50 email addresses, an unlimited FTP account as well as support for PHP 5, Perl, CGI Scripting and others don’t quite make this value for money.
Stepping up to their next option unfortunately fails to improve the value on offer here; unless you count the occasional deal being run (at the time of writing, the price drop to $4.95 is worth consideration), otherwise this is still expensive for the given specifications. The memory and bandwidth again leave a lot to be desired, though the support stats improve once more: 10 domains, 250 email addresses and $25 of Facebook advertising credit offered this time around.
At $19.95 a month you’d expect a lot from this hosting package, which it ultimately fails to deliver. A meager 300GB of storage (this may be ample for some people but there are unlimited storage options out there for $6 a month) again drags the value down, and the options here such as 50 domains, $50 of Google Adwords credit, really don’t help enough.
In addition to all the features of the previous plans and for $34.95 a month, with this option you can sell online using a shopping cart system, a payment gateway and a merchant account, as well as an optional dedicated SSL certificate to prove your site’s security.
Often hosting providers look like great bets until this section, where so many fall down on one of the most important qualities to look for in a provider: good customer service and technical support. aplus' support network includes a US-based 24/7 call center, an online ticketing system run through the control panel, online live chat with an advisor and an FAQ section on their website. This adds up to impressive support, essential for many personal users or small businesses who would rather focus on selling themselves and their products than fixing bugs in their website’s script.
In conclusion, though their support system, ethos and website are all sound, aplus.net is just too pricey. You will in all likelihood be better off with a shared option from one of our top 10 rated sites, so check out our definitive list of the best hosts.
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