Established in 1998, FatCow made a name for itself by providing web hosting services for small to medium-sized businesses.
FatCow is owned and managed by Endurance International Group (EIG), the company who also owns iPage, BlueHost, Hostgator, JustHost, and dozens of poopular hosting brands.* Because of that, FatCow is not just in competition with itself. It’s also in competition with its partner companies.
I tested FatCow in 2009, and at that time, I had a positive impression about its service. I was impressed by how different the company was, and I was pleased with its old-fashioned service. A lot can change in a few years, though, and that has been the case with FatCow.
Check out what FatCow has to offer and how my opinion of the web host has changed over the last several years.
* Note: You can see the full list of hosting brands owned and managed by Endurance International Group in this post.
I no longer recommend FatCow hosting due to a number of reasons:
- Limited choices for server location,
- Higher price compare to other similar EIG hosting services,
- Aggressive up-selling practice, and
- Slow server response time (as per Michael Bely’s experiments).
For shared hosting service with similar price tags – I recommend A2 Hosting and TMD Hosting.
For VPS hosting, check out InMotion Hosting and Interserver.
If you are willing to pay a little extra, check out SiteGround.
What’s in the Farm: FatCow Web Hosting Plans
You have four options if you want to get a hosting plan with FatCow. You can get (the names of the hosting plans): Original FatCow, WordPress Blog, VPS Service, and Dedicated Servers.
The Original FatCow is just another name for a shared hosting plan. This plan has an introductory price of $3.15 a month, but it renews for $8.95 a month.
That’s a steep increase after the first month. The plans include unlimited email addresses, disk space, and bandwidth. You’ll also get $50 in social networking credits when you sign up for a shared plan. Plus, you’ll get 1GB of JustCloud storage and access to a free website builder and domain name. These tools will help you set your site up.
If you just want to set up a WordPress blog, you can sign up for the company’s WordPress Blog hosting. The WP Starter plan starts at $3.75 a month, and the WP Essential plan starts at $6.95 a month. Both plans include the core hosting plan, a customized control panel, and pre-installed themes and plugins. The Essential plan has enhanced speed, security, and support, making it a good option if you are hosting a business blog. Otherwise, the Starter plan should provide you with everything you need for a WordPress blog.
VPS Hosting is another choice. FatCow offers three VPS Hosting plans. The Basic plan includes 1 core, 1 GB of RAM, 40 GB of storage, and 1 TB of bandwidth. The Business plan has 2 cores, 4 GB of RAM, 90 GB of storage, and 3 TB of bandwidth. The Optimum plan has 4 cores, 8 GB of ram, 120 GB of storage, and 4 TB of bandwidth. These plans range in price from $19.99 a month all the way up to $79.99 a month.
Finally, you can go with a Dedicated Servers plan. You will also have three options to choose from if you select Dedicated Servers hosting. The Startup plan has 2 cores, 4 GB of RAM, 500 GB of storage, and 5 TB of bandwidth, while the Professional plan has twice as much of everything. The Enterprise plan has 4 cores, 16 GB of RAM, 1,000 GB of storage, and 15 TB of bandwidth. These packages range from $119.99 a month to $191.99 a month, and they provide independent control and dedicated resources.
Advantage #1: Average Uptime Record
I like several things about FatCow. One of the best features is the uptime. While I don’t currently have a test site up, I track a site that is owned by a friend of mine, and I’m impressed by the site’s uptime record. The host is reliable, which is something that you always want when you have a website up, whether you are using it for business or personal use.
Based on my record – FatCow has been averaging 99.85% – 99.9% uptime. The numbers are not top in class but good enough for a host that charges less than $5/mo. The following images are recent uptime score (screen captured from Uptime Robot) of our test site.
FatCow Uptime (August 2014): 100%
FatCow Uptime (May 2014): 99.91%
Advantage #2: Daily Backup
I also like the way that FatCow offers a daily backup service.
Most budget hosting services don’t do this, so this is a huge benefit. You want your information to be protected, and you’ll get that with FatCow without spending a ton of money on third-party backups.
Point #1: FatCow Aggressive Upselling
FatCow engages in internal selling. Once you sign up for a hosting plan, FatCow will try to get you to sign up for free software and web application trials. You’ll find these right in your control panel, and they’ll look enticing. Once the trial ends, you’ll have to pay, and I assume that FatCow gets money when that happens. If you forget to cancel your trial, you’re going to end up with charges on your credit card.
I am not against hosting companies doing up-selling. But if you are careless, you can end up spending a ton of money on services that you don’t really want.
Point #2: Unlimited hosting is very limited
As with most unlimited hosting provider, FatCow advertises “unlimited hosting,” but it comes with a ton of limitations. Those limitations often lead to account suspensions. If you use up too much storage space, bandwidth, or CPU time, your account can be suspended (see quotes below). So much for “unlimited.” It’s only unlimited until FatCow decides that you’ve used too much.
- Post messages or software programs that consume excessive CPU time, or storage space, or network bandwidth; or
* Filed under FatCow’s Acceptable Use Policy Section (AUP) c. ii) 02.
Point #3: Limited Server Location
Unlike some other hosting providers, FatCow can only host their customers’ websites in United States. This is not a disadvantage if your primary audience are based in North America; but would be a great issue you need your host to be located in other continents – such as Europe or Asia, to reduce latency.
For more choices in term of server locations, check out A2 Hosting, Hostinger, and SiteGround.
Point #4: Similar service, higher price
Then, there’s the fact that hosts that are also owned and managed by EIG have plans available for lower prices.
For example, you can go with iPage and get the same services for less. It doesn’t make sense to go with FatCow if you can get the same for less.
|EIG Web Hosts
|Anytime Money Back
Michael Bely from Research As A Hobby wrote a long piece of review on FatCow Hosting and the following Q&A summarized his experience with the web host. This should be a useful piece of information for those who are considering FatCow.
J: Jerry Low / M: Michael Bely.
About Michael Bely and his time at FatCow
J: Hi Michael, thanks for helping with our FatCow review. For start, can you please tell us more about yourself and your experience in blogging?
I’ve been blogging since July 2013. My interest is researching and showing the bloggers efficient ways to achieve their goals in a detailed, truthful and helpful way. My primary focus is tools and means for bloggers.
How long have you been with FatCow? And briefly, how would you sum up your experience in hosting?
1 month with FatCow, and more than one hundred hosts within 2 last years. I’ve been working as a technical manager for SEO clients, so I’ve been closely dealing with all these hosting companies.
What Michael didn’t like about FatCow hosting
J: The biggest issue with FatCow is …
Initial problems after I bought hosting (I had to wait for 24-48 hours before installing WordPress. And website builder did not work out of the box). I could contact support to resolved the issues, but these issues should not have taken place in the first place.
[More details in the following images.]
When asking for a refund, the support was resisting that more than appropriate.
Positive in FatCow and hosting advice
J: Is there anything good you’d talk about this web host?
M: The support exists (chat, phone) which is good by itself. The support is polite in general.
J: Where do you host most of your sites nowadays? What makes you like/trust them?
M: I’d emphasize two companies above all – My main host is EuroVPS. It’s a professional-oriented hosting service. Also I like very much StableHost – reliable performance for very small price.
J: Thank you very much for your time.
The Bottom Line: So is FatCow a Go?
FatCow is probably past its prime.
At one time, it was a promising service with a lot to offer its customers, but that time is gone. I used to enjoy this host, but it’s time to put this cow out to pasture. Go with one of the other hosts managed by the same company. You’ll get the same reliable service for less money.
FatCow Hosting Comparison
If you were looking for a cheap web host like FatCow – InterServer, Hostinger, A2 Hosting, TMD Hosting, or even EIG-owned BlueHost are some good alternatives.
Here’s how these hosting providers stack up with FatCow.
For more details or to order FatCow, visit (opens in new window): https://www.fatcow.com/