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Fasthosts offers a range of web hosting solutions from quite basic shared plans through to fairly high-end dedicated servers and everything in-between. Whilst the company does not perhaps offer the same array of choices that customers have come to expect, it still boasts a good selection of products to suit most needs. However, when it comes to value for money, the company lets itself down, with nearly all plans costing above what you can find elsewhere. The website also quotes its main prices without VAT, which is fairly irritating and means you need to be aware that you will ultimately pay more than is advertised.
All shared hosting plans from Fasthosts come with unlimited bandwidth, so you never need to worry that your site will attract too many visitors! And although they have slightly stricter limits on disk space, these are still quite generous, so you should be able to host all the multimedia your site requires. Unfortunately, the website builder can only be used to create sites of up to 10 pages on all shared plans. However, the complete script support means that with a little extra work, you can design something just as effective by other means. Other potential problems lie in the fairly limited database provision, and indeed, the Personal package in particular offers quite low functionality all-round, so most customers will want to upgrade to one of the company's Business packages. Fasthosts also uses its own control panel, so customers used to cPanel will have to get used to a new system. However, this should not be a major hurdle as the control panel is fully functional, and performs just as well as cPanel in all the basics.
Unfortunately, the company's relatively high standard in shared hosting is not backed up by competitive pricing. And, although the free '.uk' domain name may be a draw for some, Fasthosts's higher prices mean that you are not making any real saving over the competition.
Virtual Private Servers and Dedicated Servers
This story of poor value continues into Fasthosts's more high-end plans, and the VPS packages in particular are not good value for money. This is a shame, because the raw products themselves are quite impressive. Unlimited bandwidth, for instance, is a great addition to any virtual private server, and the SAN storage is also a bonus. All virtual private servers perform well, with up to 16 GB of RAM to support a high level of usage, and most specifications can be customized to suit the customer's needs. Whilst this customization is certainly quite limited - you cannot alter burstable RAM levels, for instance - it is a lot better than many companies provide. When it comes to Fasthosts's dedicated servers, an equally high spec level is found and customers can choose between a reasonably-sized range of plans. There will never be the same level of choice as is available from a host specializing in dedicated servers, but for an all-round web host, this is certainly above average.
Fasthosts provides a decent selection of online support information, from frequently asked questions to user forums. Direct support is mainly via telephone, but with this available 24 hours a day, this is no down-side. In fact, the company boasts that only 10% of their customers ever need to call them, and this is testament to their reliability and the adequacy of their online help center.
Overall, Fasthosts's plans are fairly strong, and with a little improvement may even one day qualify for a place in our Top 10. However, the company's website lacks clarity and its unnecessarily high prices put it out of the running. If you are looking for equally strong hosting with more flexibility and greater value for money, check out our Top 10.
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