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123-Reg is a UK based web hosting company and as the name suggests, it’s focused on offering cheap domain names. Despite this, the company does offer a wide range of web hosting plans, including email hosting, cloud hosting, VPS and dedicated hosting.
123-Reg was founded in 2000, but arise a part of the Webfusion group, a larger company which has been around since 1997. Webfusion is in turn a part of the Host Europe Group which claims to be the largest privately owned hosting company in Europe. The Host Europe Group also owns Heart Internet, Domain Monster, RedCoruna and DonHost, providing customers in the UK, Germany, US, Austria, Switzerland and Spain with web hosting services.
123-Reg claims to be the largest UK based domain provider, having registered over 3 million domain names and hosting more than 1.4 million websites. The company philosophy is that website creation should be for the masses, and this is reflected in their web hosting portfolio. 123-Reg is also keen to stress its green credentials and that its UK based state-of-the art data centre is eco-friendly.
Despite being focused on domain name registration, we will look at their hosting plans in this review.
123-Reg Hosting Plans
123-Reg is unusual in the web hosting business as it does not seem to offer a simple shared hosting plan. Instead, all of its web hosting is designed for people and companies who prefer cloud hosting over VPS or dedicated hosting plans.
● The Starter Package offers one free domain name with 500 MB of space and unlimited bandwidth. However, this package doesn’t allow for the installation of applications such as Wordpress or Drupal or the creation of any databases. It also doesn’t allow for multiple site hosting or a SSL. The package is designed for customers who need a very basic and static website.
● The Business Package offers two free domain names, 25 GB of space and unlimited bandwidth. The package is designed for small businesses and allows for 5 databases, 5 applications and multiple site hosting.
● The Unlimited Package is more suitable for multiple site hosting and larger websites. This package provides 3 free domain names, unlimited space and bandwidth, unlimited databases and applications, multiple site hosting and an SSL Certificate.
There are three VPS plans on offer from 123-Reg, along with the ability to customise a VPS plan to your liking. All of the VPS hosting plans allow for a choice of Linux-based web hosting or Windows hosting.
● The VPS100 plan is marketed as the perfect step up from a standard hosting package. This provides 1 processor core with 1 GB memory, 50 GB of storage space and unmetered bandwidth.
● The VPS200 plan, ‘A Designer’s Utopia’, offers 2 processor cores, 2 GB of memory, 100 GB of storage space and unmetered bandwidth.
● The VPS300 plan is their VPS ‘hosting powerhouse’ plan. This package provides 3 cores, 3 GB memory, 150 GB of storage space and unmetered bandwidth.
123-Reg offers dedicated hosting with a choice of either Windows or Linux based platforms (at slightly different prices). This gives clients a quad-core processor with 2 GB of memory, 2 160GB drives and unlimited bandwidth.
123-Reg doesn’t make any claims about uptime, other than the claim that your site will be ‘online, at all times, no matter what.’ Their data centres are based in the UK and are monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but they do not publish any statistics regarding uptime or past performance.
The dedicated hosting plans come with a SLA which guarantees 99.9% uptime, allows for instant reboots of the server, provides regular security updates and guarantees an instant server replacement should the hardware fail. It also ensures that customers’ bandwidth isn’t compromised should this happen.
All of the 123-Reg hosting plans provide access to UK-based support and live chat support during office hours. There is also a support desk for customers which provides user guides, FAQ’s, live system status and video tutorials. There is also a 123-Reg self diagnosis tool to help solve common web site issues, plus a knowledgebase for self-help and reference.
123-Reg has very active Facebook and Twitter accounts and staff seem quick to respond to queries and other issues. The amount of social media activity is definitely a good sign, and something which is lacking on competitors’ sites.
123-Reg in the News
As one of the UK’s largest web hosting services, it’s perhaps understandable that 123-Reg has attracted some negative publicity. in May 2012, the company came under attack from hackers based in China and its services were badly affected, albeit briefly. It appears that the main attack was contained within the first 15 minutes despite the attack lasting for over 12 hours in total. The hack was big enough for the BBC to run an article on it at the time.
123-Reg Control Panel
Customers of 123-Reg have a choice of control panels for their hosting plans. They can choose from the well-known and familiar Linux-based Cpanel, or the Linux/Windows based Plesk 11, which is a popular alternative if not quite as ubiquitous as Cpanel. The fact that customers have the choice is a good thing in itself.
Most of 123-Reg’s web hosting plans come with at least one free domain name. Other extras include a £50 Google Adwords credit and a further £30 when you spend over £36 on domain names. There is also a student discount offer, which is worth noting if you’re in higher education.
There are 22 free scripts that are available with Linux hosting plans, including WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, PHP Nuke and Media Wiki. Windows Hosting comes with blogengine.net, My Web Pages Starter Kit, screwturn wiki and AtomSite.net. All of the apps are installed through the control panel.
123-Reg Money Back Guarantee / Cancellation Policy
To cancel a 123-Reg account, customers are required to provide written notice 30 days from the cancellation date. The team do provide a 7-day money back guarantee as well. It isn’t as good a guarantee as the ones offered by many other web hosting companies, as it doesn’t allow much time for evaluation.
If you wish to end your service, plans can be cancelled over the phone. Like most money back guarantees, any refunds don’t include the cost of domain name registering or any other software licensing fees.
123-Reg is a popular, well-established UK based web hosting company with well-structured and competitive hosting plans in the cloud. Its adoption of a modern social media approach to customer interaction is a good selling point, and if you’re a regular Twitter or Facebook user, that’ll be a bonus worth considering. 123-Reg’s green hosting boasts are commendable, but the company does not really provide enough details about this to back up the claim. More information would be a good thing.
The 123-Reg money-back guarantee is not as good as many other hosting sites out there, and if you’re nervous about joining, you may consider this a negative point. The company’s servers have obviously been targeted by hackers, and the press reports were certainly scathing, but their support team’s response appears to have been exceptionally speedy.
All in all, 123-Reg stands up well against many other web hosting companies and will particularly appeal to customers in the UK and Europe. If you’re looking for hosting in the cloud, give them a look.
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