Network Solutions Reviews
- 99.99% Uptime
- 30-day Money-back Guarantee
- 1-Click Installs
- Hassle-Free FTP Accounts
- Extensive Programming Support
- Free Domain
Network Solutions was founded in 1979 as a consulting company, but it has changed hands numerous times since then. For much of the 1990s, it had a monopoly on the sale of domain names, and it was only in 1998 that ICANN was formed and Network Solutions began to lose its grip on the domain name market.
Network Solutions was owned by Verisign in the early 2000s, and following that, it was acquired by several private equity firms. After two high-profile security alerts, Network Solutions was bought by Web.com in 2011 for $405 million. The company was downsized considerably after the latest buyout.
Network Solutions offers plenty of web hosting products aimed at small businesses. It manages more than 350,000 websites and 7 million domains. The company has offices in three US states plus an additional office in Buenos Aires.
Network Solutions Hosting Plans
Prices vary depending on contract length: users can choose to pay monthly, annually, or every 1, 2, 5, 5 or even 10 years. All hosting is offered under a catch-all name, nsHosting, and plans are clearly aimed at small business users.
● The WordPress hosting service is a simple, straightforward way to get a WordPress blog online. It includes 50 GB storage and a 500 GB transfer limit.
● Next up is shared hosting, based around three models: Small, Large and Unlimited. Windows and Linux are both available. Data transfer is unlimited across all three, but disk space is limited to 300 GB on the Starter plan and 500 GB on the Large plan. On Windows, customers are limited to 100 concurrent connections. There’s also a site builder tool.
● SharePoint hosting is available in three plans: Small, Medium and Large. The limits on these plans are very low: Small offers just 500 MB disk space, for example.
● VPS hosting is available on two plans, Small and Large. Both include CentOS; the Small plan provides 10 GB disk space and 500 GB transfer, and the Large provides 50 GB and 2000 GB respectively.
Reseller hosting is offered, but this is provided through another brand, SRSplus. Specific ecommerce and mobile website hosting plans are also available.
Network Solutions Uptime/Downtime
Network Solutions has a 99.99% uptime guarantee for Linux customers and a 99.9% uptime guarantee for Windows customers.
Dig into the Terms of Service, however, and you’ll find that the company doesn’t provide any details about the guarantee at all. There’s no information on the compensation provided if it fails to meet its promise.
On a FAQ from 2005, I found some limited information about the company’s data centre, but this is probably too old to rely on. It appears that some customers on ecommerce packages were moved to a new data centre in September 2012.
Network Solutions Support
Network Solutions offer a FAQ, a toll-free US phone number, a set of video tutorials and a forum. There’s also a ticketing system. The latest video tutorial at the time of writing related to setting up Outlook 2007. There doesn’t appear to be a live chat facility on the site.
On Twitter, the Network Solutions account is very active but is mainly used as a tool to retweet industry news. There were no interaction with clients at all. Over on Facebook, clients who post about technical problems are redirected back to the ticketing system by technical support staff.
For an additional fee, customers can purchase MyTime Support. They then get help with email setup, website transfers and basic website tasks, such as adding links to their pages. Support is provided via an appointment system, and technicians call the customer back at pre-agreed times. MyTime appears to be aimed solely at beginners.
Network Solutions in the News
Network Solutions has hit the headlines several times in its history, although none of these stories relate to the period after August 2011 when it was acquired by Web.com.
In 2009 and 2009, the company was criticised for its domain name policy. It refused to register domains containing obscenities, but then allowed one very valuable four-letter domain name to be registered, much to the annoyance of the client who had reserved it.
In 2009, the company’s secure server was compromised and credit card details were obtained by hackers. The serious breach of security affected more than 573,000 customers who had made purchases through Network Solutions’ ecommerce hosting service over a three month period. Other services and clients were not affected. The company arranged for all affected people to receive one year’s free credit monitoring and set up a website to explain what happened. This was a massive news story, simply because it affected so many people who weren’t actually customers of Network Solutions.
In 2010, Network Solutions’ parked domain pages were found to be serving up malware to visitors. The code was added to a widget displayed within the normal domain parking page. It’s thought that as many as 5 million domains could have been affected. The malware went undetected by Google and Network Solutions; it was only discovered when security firm Armorize reported it.
Network Solutions Control Panel
On the service pages, I couldn’t find any information at all about the control panel used on shared hosting accounts. Digging into the Support area, I discovered that customers are provided with a custom control panel.
There are some screenshots in the help area, and a feature list at http://www.networksolutions.com/support/hosting-control-panel-site-map/. Judging by the images provided, the control panel is very basic, providing access to domain tools, FTP, email, script installs, stats and a site builder. There are nowhere near as many features as cPanel or Plesk.
On VPS accounts, Plesk is provided and the cost is included in the monthly subscription fee.
Network Solutions Extras
Customers on WordPress, VPS and shared hosting plans get one free domain name (bizarrely rebranded as a ‘nsWebAddress’) when they sign up. If they choose to select a domain, they receive a voucher which can be redeemed within 30 days. It seems that some advertising and marketing credits are included: clients get a $50 credit towards Network Solutions’ own Online Marketing product and a free trial of an email marketing package.
VPS customers receive Parallels Virtuozzo and a free domain name.
Network Solutions Money Back Guarantee / Cancellation Policy
All hosting customers have a 30-day money-back guarantee to fall back on. The refund does come with a significant catch, however: the cancellation fee increases depending on the length of the contract. Given that Network Solutions offers ten-year plans, cancelling a contract can be rather expensive.
● One-year packages are subject to an administration fee of $34.99 when they are cancelled.
● Cancelling a two-year or three-year contract will result in a fee of $69.98.
● Cancelling a five-year plan costs $114.95.
● Cancelling a ten-year plan will result in a fee of $179.90.
When a client wishes to cancel their agreement, they have to do this through the Account Manager area or via the support email form.
Network Solutions Summary
In its heyday, Network Solutions was a pioneering company and a world-renowned brand. Over time, controversy and outages have eroded its reputation. In 2012, Network Solutions appears to be relying mainly on the strength of its name, offering fairly standard website hosting services via an attractive and well-designed website.
Although its hosting is obviously capable of running most websites, the lack of a good control panel on shared hosting plans will be an issue for many people. Packages and services are presented well, but really offer little in terms of innovation. Its paid support product, MyTime, is heavily promoted, suggesting that Network Solutions want to entice non-technical users with the promise of a professional helping hand.
If you’re looking for a web host, Network Solutions is an established brand with the backing of Web.com, a huge organisation. Your data is almost certainly in safe hands. If you think your website needs room to grow, or if you need free technical help getting set up, take a look at a few alternative providers before you click that sign-up button. The cancellation fees on long-term contracts are massive, and that is perhaps the biggest disincentive of all.
|Hosting Plan||Disk Space||Bandwidth||Price|
|nsHosting Shared Small||300GB||3000GB||$11.95/month||View Plan|
|nsHosting Shared Large||500GB||5000GB||$17.95/month||View Plan|
|nsHosting Shared Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||$34.95/month||View Plan|
|nsHosting VPS Small||10GB||500GB||$40.00/month||View Plan|
|nsHosting VPS Large||50GB||2000GB||$80.00/month||View Plan|
|nsCommerceSpace Starter Plan||1GB||5GB||$26.95/month||View Plan|
|nsCommerceSpace Standard Plan||2GB||10GB||$49.95/month||View Plan|
|nsCommerceSpace Premium Plan||5GB||25GB||$99.95/month||View Plan|
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