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EarthLink offers a number of web-based services, and does not specialize in web hosting. Perhaps this explains why their hosting plans do not offer good value for money or the features you would expect from premium web hosting packages. Although they offer many of the tools to create a basic site, for these rates you would expect to see advanced site building software or at the very least unlimited storage and bandwidth. Unfortunately, EarthLink.com offers none of this.
EarthLink has employed an unusual site design, so it is difficult to directly compare each of its products. If you decide that you want an ASP-supported hosting plan, rather than their regular Unix-based model, you have to click a text link at the bottom of the page, rather than being able to see the option in the main information box. And their pricing plans, whilst not quite misleading, may cause you to believe that you are getting a better deal than you think you are getting if you do not read the small print.
However, by far the worst aspect of EarthLink is its bad value for money. If you are paying nearly $100 per month for shared hosting, you would expect something very special for your money! But other than an increase in the basic specifications, upgrading to the ProSite or PremiumSite plans offers little in the way of additional features. There is no added functionality and no additional website design tools, meaning you really are paying premium rates for quite limited storage space and bandwidth. In the case of the eCommerce plans, this is similar. Upgrading from SuperStore to SuperStore Unlimited does almost nothing except increase the number of store items allowed. Whilst this is perhaps a desirable upgrade, doubling the cost is more than you might expect. EarthLink's hosting plans have really been designed with businesses in mind, and their eCommerce plans constitute their main attraction. Although there are some smart features here, there is nothing that you cannot get elsewhere for a more reasonable rate.
Technical support is the backbone of any good web hosting company. EarthLink offer a few options for contacting support, but they let themselves down greatly with their online help area. Their support search is also used as the support center for their other online products, meaning that search results are likely to show more irrelevant items, and making it harder to find exactly what you are looking for. And beyond this very limited area, there are few online tools or community areas to help you with your problems.
Overall, EarthLink's service is a mediocre one at best. Were it a quarter of its current cost, it might be worth considering, but at these rates there is no good reason to choose it over the competition. If you are interested in their eCommerce features, by all means head over to them and see what they offer. But do not consider a purchase until you have really had a proper look at the alternatives - we have a feeling you may change your mind!
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