- Free Setup
- Free Domain
- 24/7 Live Phone Support
- 30-day Money Back Guarantee
- 99.9% Uptime Guarantee
- Blackberry Push Email
Aplus hosting specialises in low-cost shared hosting, and its plans are based around site builder tools. It’s aimed at business users who want to create two or three websites or ecommerce stores quickly, without delving into reams of technical detail.
The hosting provider has a complex past. It was founded as a subsidiary of Abacus America, Inc in 1993. Over the years, the company was linked with a number of other companies, including Names4Ever and TheDomainRegister (now Huge Domains). Aplus began to offer web hosting services in 1998 and was purchased by Catalyst Investors, a company based in New York, in 2006. It is now owned by Deluxe Corp, a $1.4 billion business services company that offers a number of printing, hosting and checking services.
Aplus’ headquarters are in Shoreview, MN within the Deluxe corporate building.
Aplus Hosting Plans
Aplus hosting has three core plans which are all Linux-based.
The first is a Business plan which offers two free domains, 100 email addresses, 200 GB storage space, 2,000 GB bandwidth and the website builder.
The Professional plan includes 3 free domains, 250 email addresses, 300 GB storage, 3,000 GB bandwidth, the website builder and an extra site builder tool, Mobile Express, for mobile sites.
The Ecommerce plan includes unlimited storage and bandwidth, 500 email addresses and a number of ecommerce scripts: EasyStoreMaker Pro, osCommerce and Pinnacle Shopping Cart.
A limit of 2GB is applied to every mailbox hosted on Aplus’ servers.
Aplus’ Service Level Guarantee Policy specifies a 99.9% uptime guarantee which has a number of awkward clauses.
The 99.9% figure is averaged over three months rather than one month. The guarantee only applies to “critical” services: email, hosting and so on. Should Aplus fail to meet its uptime promise, customers can claim a refund of 10%-50% of their monthly service fees.
In order to make a claim under the uptime guarantee, 20% of Aplus customers must have been affected by the same issue. Customers also need to claim their credit within 60 days of the end of the month when the problem occurred.
Should the service level drop below 92%, customers are entitled to end their contract without penalty.
A press release from 2008 suggests that Aplus’ data center was located in Phoenix, AZ. This press release pre-dates the company’s acquisition by Deluxe Corp, so it’s not clear where its data centre is located at the moment.
Aplus offers 24/7 support via an email form, live chat and a US telephone number. Customers are asked to contact the customer services department at Deluxe for Business to log support requests.
It claims to offer a wiki and FAQ, but I couldn’t find these on the website, although it’s possible they are hidden behind a login page. The Learning Center link takes users to a company blog which covers general web hosting topics rather than anything specific to the company.
Aplus hosting has active Twitter and Facebook pages. The Twitter feed is purely a one-way stream of announcements and retweets. Staff do interact with customers on the Facebook page, although discussions are normally taken to email fairly quickly.
Users should note that searching the Aplus.net website for support and information also searches MerchEngines, Deluxe For Business, Deluxe Social, LogoMojo and EasyContact. It’s a good idea to narrow down your search if you’re looking for something specific to Aplus’ hosting products.
Aplus in the News
I couldn’t find any press relating to Aplus’ services after it was acquired by Deluxe Corp, so it doesn’t seem that the host has encountered any high-profile problems that have caught the attention of reporters.
Aplus Control Panel
Aplus offers a custom control panel, simply called DFB Control Panel. There’s no mention of Cpanel, Plesk or any other standard panel being offered to clients, so it’s safe to assume that this is the only option available.
There is no documentation about the DFB Control Panel on the company website and no help documentation to describe its features.
The same control panel is shared between customers of Aplus, EasyContact and MerchEngines which are all companies owned by Deluxe Corp.
The only freebies on offer to Aplus customers are the free domain names they receive on sign-up: two free domains on the cheapest plan, three on the other two plans. These domains are only free for one year and must be renewed and paid for thereafter. There are no advertising credits on offer.
Aplus’ main offering is its site builder, EasySiteWizard Pro, and several mobile website builders. The Professional plan includes one extra mobile site builder, Mobile Express DIY; this can be bolted on to another plan for a fee. The other two site builders are paid extras on all three plans.
Aplus Money Back Guarantee / Cancellation Policy
When signing up for Aplus, customers have the peace of mind that comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. However, there is no information about the guarantee in its Terms of Service document or on its website.
Aplus’ hosting plans are centred around website builder tools; additional features do exist, but they are fairly well-hidden. It’s possible that you could build a website using EasySiteWizard Pro and upgrade to WordPress over time.
Additionally, Aplus has the advantage of being backed by a massive company which means its services should be fairly stable. However, its support features are centralised within Dexluxe Corp, and the same support department appears to serve a number of different websites.
I was more concerned about the lack of information on the website, though - it was difficult to figure out who owned the company until I researched elsewhere. Aplus’ money-back guarantee isn’t well-defined either, and the 99.9% uptime guarantee has a number of strict clauses which make it quite unattractive.
|Hosting Plan||Disk Space||Bandwidth||Price|
|Managed Hosting Basic Plan||$30.00/month||View Plan|
|Managed Hosting Select Plan||$60.00/month||View Plan|
|Managed Hosting Premium Plan||$90.00/month||View Plan|
|Business||200GB||2000GB||$89.95 (Pay only for 9 months)/month||View Plan|
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