HostICan is probably one of the lesser known hosts. Based in Virginia, they were founded in late 2003. Their slogan is “Unmetered Bandwidth” as they offer unmetered and unrestricted bandwidth on their upper level plans. Their customers generally consist of those with at least some knowledge of web sites and hosting as they don’t provide a site builder.
HostICan provides shared, virtual private, as well as dedicated hosting. They offer two plan levels for each hosting category and all upper level plans offer the unmetered bandwidth. Their virtual private hosting is available on both Linux and Windows platforms. For a control panel, HostICan offers cPanel as an option for all plans, as well as Plesk for VPS hosting, both of which are hosting industry standards for easy and efficient administration. As an additional service, HostICan can also provide merchant accounts through a partner to those who need to manage transactions on their web site.
HostICan’s plans likely are not the ideal choice for a new user since they do not provide a site builder, but the company does offer templates. Their hosting is priced a bit higher than some of the competition, but they offer large discounts (nearly 50%) if a two year billing cycle is selected. They don’t disclose that the advertised price is based on large billing cycles until you get to the order form. HostICan’s services are backed by a 30 day money-back guarantee that ensures satisfaction.
The customer service they provide is valuable as they offer 24/7/365 toll-free phone and email support. The toll-free number is displayed clearly on every page of HostICan’s web site. They also offer live chat online, available seven days a week from 8:30 AM to 10:30 PM. A searchable knowledgebase and flash tutorials that cover various aspects of the control panel interface, DNS management, FTP access, etc. are also available to customers. Although small, they have a forum community with about 250 members. This scope of a support offering is comparable to that of competitive hosts like HostGator.
The reliability of their hosting is backed by Equinix, a leading datacenter provider. Though backed by a reliable provider, HostICan only utilizes one datacenter, which is located in Virginia. They do provide a 99.9% uptime guarantee and if this is not met, they will refund one month of hosting to the customer.
During the review of HostICan, FTP access was fast and the test site loaded quickly. When your site is first created it creates some default pages such as a placeholder homepage and some default error pages with the HostICan logo and a few links. These should be changed, unless you want to give the company free advertising.
HostICan Customer Support
As part of my HostIcan review of customer support, I tested the HostICan live chat online and received a response to my question in less than two minutes. When submitting another support question via email I received an automated response that told me that “support staff representatives will be in contact shortly with a reply.” It also listed some support resources that I could check out in the mean time. My support email was sent on a Saturday at 4:01 PM. I received a response to my basic question four minutes later. Although my question was as simple as asking about a feature offering, the response time was impressive.
For the next part of the customer support review, I called their support on the same day with the same question and my phone call was just as quick. I was prompted by one level of options and then I was directly connected with a representative. The menu recording and the representative did not demonstrate a high level of professionalism. I had to listen to the menu twice to understand which option I needed to select as it was obviously not a voice studio quality recording, and the company name given didn’t even sound like HostICan. The representative I spoke to was nice enough when I asked him to repeat his question, but not impressively so. My basic issue was answered without being put on hold or having to wait at all. This conveyed to me that they know their service well and they care, although a more difficult question could have thrown them off. I was also glad that the support wasn’t outsourced and that I got to speak to a human quickly.
The conversation went something like this:
Call placed at 4:48 PM.
Prompt: Good afternoon and thank you for calling – what doesn’t even sound like “HostICan” –, an industry grade web hosting service provider, for technical or billing inquiries please press 1 (…continues with other options, I press one)
Me: Hi, I was wondering if Ruby on Rails is supported?
Rep: What plan? (Speech unclear)
Me: I’m sorry, what?
Rep: What plan are you talking about?
Me: Oh, just the shared hosting.
Me: Oh, okay, thank you. Bye.
Call ended 4:52 PM.
HostICan appears to be an overall good host offering competitive services and features. Their plans are a few dollars more than the competition, but their customer service is accessible and quick. They provide all of the qualities of a reputable host and at a reasonable price.