FatCow Review

Rating:

Reviewed by:

Pros: Cheap, eco-friendly, 24/7 North American phone support

Cons: Ads logging in, site loads slowly, no site transfer

Bottomline: If cost and the environment are both huge issues to you, go for it. Otherwise, you can probably find something better.

Special Offer:
40% off FatCow hosting from Clickfire
$4.67 per month

FatCow is one of the many hosting companies out there going green: they’re completely powered by wind energy (via Renewable Energy Certificates). They provide a single hosting plan — pretty cheap unlimited hosting at $5.50 a month — and include a free one-year domain name registration with hosting. They take pride in providing this simplicity to the customer, and call hosts that use pricing tiers “confusing.”

FatCow HomepageThe HeiferCratic Oath is FatCow’s promise to customers that they will provide great customer service. If you feel like the “Moo Crew” hasn’t kept this promise to you, you could even get a month of hosting free! Among the promises made in the HeiferCratic Oath: FatCow will do their best to answer any calls within two minutes, and they’ll do that without outsourcing any call centers outside of North America. You’ll also get a (somewhat) personalized phone call within a week of registration welcoming you to their service!

As far as the Terms of Service go, FatCow falls into standard territory. Don’t distribute viruses. No copyright infringement or pornography. One section of the Terms of Service mentions advertising on sites with a free web hosting plan. Something that will see the light of day in the future perhaps?

Site Management

FatCow Control Panel
FatCow members use a custom control panel that is very similar in functionality and layout to cPanel. For those used to cPanel, it’s primarily  a matter of figuring out a different name (i.e. InstallCentral is FatCow’s Fantastico) to find what you want. The actual modules themselves, though, while doing much the same things as their cPanel counterparts, may take a bit of getting used to, especially the file manager and MySQL manager.

A pet peeve of mine with the control panel was that I got full-page ads (the variety with the skip this ad and continue link at the top of the page) while logging into it twice.  Ads like that should be reserved for non-paid services.

FatCow File Manager
I used InstallCentral to install a WordPress blog, and it was just as easy as using Fantastico. The install loaded pretty slowly (with default settings and only the welcome post) compared to another WordPress blog I tested it against.

One big concern for those who may be moving a website rather than starting a new one is being able to transfer your site. Many hosts offer the feature of moving your site for you, but FatCow does not.

Unfortunately, the only FTP address you are given is ftp.yourdomain.com, and FatCow’s file manager doesn’t allow you to upload directories, so in most cases you’ll be stuck waiting until your domain has propagated to move your files.

FatCow Support

It’s very easy to open up support tickets if you don’t mind a bit of a wait. I submitted a mid-day support request asking a few simple questions (what PHP version they have installed, if Ruby on Rails is supported, and whether localhost is the MySQL hostname) and got a response in just under two hours. They also offer 24/7 phone support and a live chat option on their website. Since I was wondering about the aforementioned site transfer and couldn’t find any information about it on FatCow’s website, I used the live chat to ask about it.

Godson Davis: Hi Grace. My name is Godson, how are you today?
grace: hi i was wondering if you guys offered website transfers
grace: like not domain names
grace: but a whole site like some other places do
Godson Davis: Okay.
grace: i didn’t see any info about it looking around the site so figured i’d ask
Godson Davis: Could you please provide me with the URL from where you entered this Chat interface?
grace: fatcow.com/fatcow/fatcow.bml
Godson Davis: Thank you!
grace: sure thing
Godson Davis: Yes, you can transfer the Web site from other server to our servers using FTP.
grace: okay but so you guys don’t offer the service where you’ll do it for me?
Godson Davis: In order to transfer it to our server, please downloadit to your local computer, then upload it to our server.
Godson Davis: Please install the FTP client on your computer.
grace: okay i’m guessing that’s a no
grace: thanks!

I never did get a straight answer, and I gave him a couple of minutes to see if he was going to say anything else each time I responded back. I’m sure they have scripted support answers, as many live chats do, but in this case, the scripted answers were not helpful.

FatCow’s knowledgebase is pretty extensive as well, though some of the information on it seemed to be outdated. For instance, the instructions on taking a MySQL database backup did not seem to correspond to the current MySQL manager at all.

Price: $3.67

Coupon: Get 40% off FatCow web hosting

Visit: FatCow

Disclosure: Clickfire has an affiliate advertising connection with FatCow.

10 comments

  1. paul

    great insight into the future with the renewable energy plan in mind. and you gotta to give it to them. they are starting off cheap so thats why they have to put adverts up. all in all they sound like a good company to business with.

  2. jonsjon

    I am with FatCow. Concur with slow loading. However best deal with adwords. $44 a year hosting with $50 coupon. Tried to get as cheap with JustHost and BlueHost but they were $55 with $50 coupon. So generally good host for the people who are just starting out.

  3. Stanman

    Great review. We all need a company
    that will deliver good Customer support.

  4. someone

    fatcow is sucks I am sure from that they telling you that you have monthly bandwidth 100 TB and unlimited space but in the real if you used more than 1 TB they delete your account they are sucks web hosting I tried them myself and they deleted my account without warning or telling me that just deleted my account what this web hosting who deleting account without warning the account owner really I will not see bad service like them fatcow cheap but not good one of the most bad hosting services which got ever in my life it’s stilling they made me pay for account and after less than 2 months took my account without warning me what is this is there any hosting ever can do that I don’t know about the others but this exactly what happened to me

  5. Ruckus

    I’ve had a negative experience with this host. The wind energy angle is really nice. That’s about where it ends. They use their own control panel, which is inferior to CPanel by a lot in my opinion. They also leave out several features that every other hosts I’ve used included. The don’t support mailing lists, you can’t run cron jobs, and I too have experienced them shutting down my site without notice and telling me it’ll be back in an hour.

    I’ve had other hosts that are willing to install simple things that most other hosts have upon request. Fat Cow would not.

    I was really excited when I started with them, but the attractive design and wind energy angle do not carry through to quality hosting.

  6. Dave Mason

    I am sure you all must know by now that FatCow is owned by the Enhanced Group who also own iPage, StartLogic and about 20 other web hosting companies. They all list their address as Burlington, MA.
    I would expect that support and policies would be pretty similar across the board with all of these companies. It’s really difficult to get a straight answer about any one of them as there is so much paid for reviews out there.
    Especially hard for a newbie!

  7. Beth Harrison

    Fatcow doesn’t even abide by their own terms of service. I was dealing with them, even have three accounts with them, but the moment their team couldn’t do a simple domain name transfer I requested a refund. Funny how the loss of money made a fire light under their *ss because they were able to actually do it by then. Of course now they refuse to give me a full refund as per their own terms of service. So now I am canceling all my accounts with them and will refuse to ever do business with them or any other affiliate of their main company. Buyer beware!

  8. Marcia McGuire

    I also signed up with Fat Cow and immediately didn’t like their lame website builder and all the stuff they want me to buy. I tried to contact them and waited over 15 minutes and gave up. Then got on their chat which worked but was cut off three times before getting my order cancelled and then only because I told them I was going to cancel the order with my credit card company anyway. The chat girl, Reena, was nice though and that redeemed the ordeal alittle.

    I warn you! Don’t sign up with Fat Cow! Try another free website offer so you can see the builder before you buy. There’s a lot of nicer offers out there.

  9. John

    I have been with fatcow for about 20 years. They were very good for a long time, but like most corporations, have been getting worse over the last five years. Their live chat is with people in India who have very limited knowledge and can only read from scripts. If you can get live phone support, they are usually very good. But the sites go up and down, they won’t do anything extra anymore, they don’t issue credits after they are promised, etc. I don’t know a better service, but I know I am frustrated whenever I have a problem. Don’t waste your time with online chat, ever!

  10. John

    THESE REVIEWS WASTE SO MUCH OF MY TIME!!!!!— BUT MUST BE DONE—
    MAYBE I CAN SAVE SOMEBODY SOMEWHERE SOME MONEY AND STRESS!!

    —12/2/12—
    BASED ON MY EXPERIENCE… STAY VERY FAR AWAY FROM FAT COW…TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT…

    Signed up with Fat Cow on 24 January 2012… resigned 3February 2012
    MY OPINION…BASED ON EXPERIENCE…FATCOW DO NOT KNOW HOW TO LIASE WITH THEIR CUSTOMERS
    ………………………………………………………………………….
    Feb 4 (8 days ago)

    Thank you for your reply.

    We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. I have
    asked a member of our team who specializes in Billing to review your
    account. You should be hearing from this specialist within 24-48 hours.

    Thank You!

    Sincerely,

    Reed Safford
    Customer Support

    HAVE NOT HEARD A PEEP OUT OF THEM!!…
    IT’S NOW 192 HOURS…SOMETHING WRONG WITH THEIR MATHS
    BUT WHY SHOULD THEY HURRY?… THEY’VE GOT MY MONEY!…
    DON’T EVER PAY ANYBODY IN ADVANCE…
    …………………………………………………………………………

    Feb 9 (3 days ago)
    Well well well,
    it seems I made a verrrrry good decision here…
    it’s now many days since I told you people to close this
    account from which I was getting very unprofessional service,
    customer feedback and everything to make me unhappy…
    Now you refuse to answer my questions… again… and you
    just leave me in limbo as far as my finances are concerned…

    I think this is a very good reason to post a review which should
    be refreshed daily for as long as you keep me in the dark…
    Fat Cow really seems to have no concern for customer satisfaction
    and customer retention… my opinion from my experience with Fat Cow…

    Well you people must have a tremendously lovely day…

    yours truly unsatisfied…

    John Barnard

    NO MONIES RETURNED… NO COMUNNICATION FROM FAT COW…
    ………………………………………………………………………..

Leave a comment