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Is Strato the host for you?
Last reviewed Nov 12, 2015
$ 6.58 / Month
Strato was performing reasonable and quite affordable for me so far. I run 5 websites through 4 domains. One of the 5 websites got hacked and all sites were locked by Strato. No problem, security first etc. But now problems really start. Contacting support leads to reactions that the abuse department which takes care of blocking/unblocking can not be contacted and there is no way to find out in what time the problem will be addressed. Five day's later mails from this department come in in bulk - since Strato had a problem with their own mailserver - . The regular support - which is already hard to reach - blames you for being hacked (without even knowing how and what caused it). After some discussion he states that users should have programming knowledge to avoid being hacked. He expects that without reading installed PHP scripts from plug-ins (we did not discuss checking the updates, or external adressed scripts as well :)) you are yourself to blame and should wait your turn. Most ignorant helpdesk ever and only annoying. If you are looking for cheap and uptime and support is no requirement, Strato is not to bad. If you have/want more than a blog about the growth of vegetables your garden, keep looking for another provider !
Well. It is really difficult to make changes, move domains or cancel the contract. We had two domains and it took a lot of effort to move them to another hosting. Further more, they didn't allow us to cancel the contract as they have a 1 year minimum suscription and you have to tell them 1 month before (and moving the domains was really long, so they could charge another year).
On the other hand, working with them is really difficult. Before I decided to move I asked them to make a few changes and... never happen.
Furthermore, the price is so high compared with other hostings. We end up with them cause my wife contracted Lycos (a company they bought) and she didn't take a look at prices so much.
Their support is worthless. They have their own control panel that doesn't even work. There's no way updating your CMS system from their control panel. At first there's a button 'update' whenever the CMS system comes up with a new version, but clicking that button didn't help me update the system. It's crucial to update to latest version if you have an e-commerce website. I called them zillion times, they promised to call me back, email me back but they're just promises. Tickets were closed without having the problems solved and informing me about it while I was still waiting for their answer. 'Update' button got removed and call it solved, per their definition. It's more like to avoid responsibility. In short their system doesn't work, their support is 0. They don't even work in the evenings and weekends like most webhostings do. So when you're having problem with your website, you have to wait for 2 days before being able to contact them. Don't waste your money on this webhosting provider.
We had a client come to us for a website redesign, but wanted to retain their existing hosting with Strato.
Their support is atrocious, and worst of all rude! They flat out refused to help us, there's no error reporting and they said it wasn't possible for them to enable it.
They instead suggested we enable it via htaccess or php.ini, we tried this .htaccess resulted in 500 errors and php.ini made no difference, they refused to look at our code or provide example code (we used correct syntax direct from docs).
They also don't support the logging of any errors, so no checking error_log for the errors!
I had a heated conversion with Lee in their support department who told me he had tested it then and there, got it working with no problems, but then removed it again as it was only a test - as far as I'm concerned this was just spiteful, why not just leave it in place, solve all of our problems and retain a client?
By far the worst hosting company I've ever dealt with! Avoid Strato at all costs!
We've had trouble enabling standard features of PHP, the support line refused to give any actual help ut suggested we use an .htaccess file, something which could not work with their setup. Later calls revealed that this was not the case, I was actually told by their support to get a 'web designer' to fix the issue, something of an insult to someone who has ben developing sites for 15 years! We've copied the exact lines of code needed from the PHP manual to no avail - they clearly have php.ini overrides disabled on their setup. To make their general unhelpfulness worse they have spoken to several of my collegues over the same issue and we get a different story each time, they are even trying to play us off against each other.
I've dealt with 20+ hosts in my time, without a doubt these are the rudest and least helpful I've yet had to deal with.
Customer service is a waste of time. I;ve only had to contact them a couple of times over the years and every time there's 'problem'
I'm now looking for another server to host my website and emails. I don't hold out any hope that this will be a smooth transition. Avoid!!!
They seem to hae issue taking payment and then blame you. I changed my card details which seemed to cause all end of trouble. They didn't take payment despite the details being valid. I then paid manually online (with the same card) and assumed things were fine as the bill showed as "paid". A week or so later I receive an email on a Saturday at about 4pm telling me that they have suspended my service due to "irregularities" and that I should check my account. Rather vague. I check my control panel and sure enough all my bills are paid and there is nothing else to indicate a problem. The website tells me to contact support if all my bills are paid. I call, but they only work weekdays. I'm incredulous that they feel they can terminate my hosting on a weekend at a time when they are unavailable to answer for their mistake. As soon as the server is back up, I'm copying everything off and moving to somewhere else.
They are useless! I have been with them for some time as they hold the registry for my domain, so in the past 2 years i have used them solely as an email provider and a way to redirect to my website using my domain. This has been a problem as their email service is detected as spam by most other email services, not ideal for business purposes! I recently wanted to move my domain to my current hosting service, i requested 4 domain transfers well before my contract expiry, each has been turned down by strato. I changes the ips tag correctly well in advance of my contract expiry so that the transfer would leave me with minimum down town as i need my email!! This morning i have awoken to no contract, no email, no domain transfer! I will call strato and they will offer no solution! keep clear, go with professionals.
Strato is part of Deutsche Telekom, one of Germany’s primary telecoms companies. Strato’s headquarters are in Berlin, and the company provides hosting services to customers all over Europe. Founded in 1998, the company has 200 employees and offers support in six languages.
In terms of focus, Strato is keen to promote shared hosting and sweetens the deal with free domain names. It also offers site builder hosting, virtual servers and dedicated servers.
Strato Hosting Plans
Strato’s hosting doesn’t really offer anything out of the ordinary. We’ll take a brief look at its plans.
● Its site builder plan is called Web Starter and gives novices the opportunity to build a basic template website. Users are tied into a 12-month contract when they sign up, and they can add up to 20 pages of content.
● Shared hosting is offered across four plans, from Basic to Enterprise, and these all appear to be Linux-based. Again, all are based on 12-month contracts. The Basic package doesn’t include any one-click script installers, which seems a little bit harsh given that less experienced users are likely to benefit from them. (It’s also a little dubious that these are marketed as being a ‘plus point’ of shared hosting when they’re not included in one plan.) Also, note that customers on shared hosting also get access to the Web Starter site builder, but on the Basic plan, you can only create 10 pages of content.
● Webshops hosting is ecommerce hosting. Three plans are offered; contract lengths are 6 or 12 months. The system offered by Strato seems to be a proprietary ecommerce platform with a limit on the number of products, pages and categories users can create.
● Strato provides three Linux VPS hosting plans and three on Windows. The minimum contract here is one month, and all plans come with Plesk. As with all plans, telephone support is only provided on weekdays.
● Dedicated servers are also offered with Linux or Windows, and again, the minimum contract length is one month. All come with Plesk pre-installed.
I searched the Strato website, including its Terms and Conditions document, for any mention of uptime. I also checked its dedicated FAQ site. There’s no mention of an uptime guarantee at all. The Terms and Conditions do mention that Strato’s “server availability and data flow… shall be a minimum yearly average of 99%”, which may be a hint at an uptime guarantee.
If you work this out in real terms, Strato could theoretically cause more than three days of downtime - measured annually, remember - without customers having any cause to complain.
The Terms and Conditions don’t say what happens if this 99% uptime figure isn’t met, but it gives the host a huge amount of leeway, it seems hard to imagine a scenario where it couldn’t live up to it anyway.
There’s no server status page (at least, not on its public pages) and no archived information about its uptime performance.
Strato has two ISO27001 certified data centres located in Germany. Both offer UPS and diesel power backup, fire detection and a gas sprinkler system. Data is mirrored between the two facilities.
Telephone support is only offered on weekdays between 7am and 7pm (GMT - these are the times published on the UK version of the website). There’s no support on weekends, no obvious social media support and no live chat support.
Customers can also email support through the website, but it appears that there’s no guarantee of a reply outside the help desk’s stated opening hours.
Strato has its own FAQ website containing self help material, video tutorials and FAQs. It’s clear that the company prefers to steer its clients to this help portal rather than encouraging contact through other channels. However, when I looked for some basic topics (information about uptime, and information about its control panel), I didn’t get any relevant results, so do check the information carefully to ensure it covers the topics you’ll need to know about.
Strato in the News
In August 2000, Strato was briefly covered in the news after one of its clients registered a domain that referenced Hitler. The domain was deleted by Denic, Germany’s domain registrar, and not by Strato. Strato responded with a press release confirming that it had ceased hosting services for three unrelated extremist websites.
Strato Control Panel
On shared hosting plans, the control panel in use isn’t mentioned, but all signs point to a custom control panel. Unfortunately there’s nothing in the support documentation about it, so it’s incredibly difficult to cover the control panel in this review.
Customers on virtual and dedicated server hosting plans are provided with Plesk; this is preinstalled on all packages, both Linux and Windows.
As mentioned at the beginning of this review, one-click installers are provided on some, but not all, hosting plans. Notably, the Basic shared hosting plan doesn’t include them. Customers do get a certain number of free domain names, depending on the package they choose.
Strato also offers a £45 Facebook advertising voucher, 5 Fotolia credits and discounts on a couple of unrelated services.
Strato Money Back Guarantee / Cancellation Policy
All of Strato’s plans are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee. This isn’t mentioned at all in its Terms and Conditions, so it’s difficult to say how a user would go about claiming their money back, what’s included or whether there are any special rules to follow.
In terms of cancellation, all users are bound by their contract (this is 1, 6 or 12 months, depending on the product and price). If they wish to cancel, they need to do so before the contract renews. According to the Terms and Conditions, cancellations must be made by fax or in the customer’s account portal “if this option is available”. Strato reserves the right to raise prices prior to renewal as long as they offer the client some notice.
Strato’s services will appeal to European users looking for a host with a data centre close by. With the backing of a major German telecoms firm, it looks like Strato is a reputable host that will be around for the long term.
It was surprising to see such an established company fail to offer any uptime guarantee, or to hint at a meagre 99% uptime. This, combined with the lack of 24/7 support, would concern me if I were to sign up. Having said that, Strato’s packages are affordably priced, and for some users, the company will offer the right balance between features and their budget.
Strato only offers Linux technology on their shared web hosting products. This allows them to specialize in the technology that suits their value best with a full range of products to support that.
The company does not do any promotional pricing to be concerned about. The price you pay when you sign up is the price you pay when you renew, so there are no surprises. Of course, the longer you are in a contract, the better the overall price is.
A range of dedicated Linux host services are available, with various options based on CPU, disk size, bandwidth and more available built to suit a customer’s particular needs.
Depending on the shared web hosting plan you choose, you get either 1, 2, 3, or 5 free domains with your account for the first year.
Customers looking for domain registration services will find them on the site and they feature top level domains (TLD) from around the world like .com, .net. info and so on.
The company offers customers the security of a 30 day money back guarantee.
Three compelling VPS options will greet customers that are looking these kinds of services. They are built around CPU, memory and disk requirements for fast, manageable and dedicated resources.
The company is available by phone from 9 – 5:30 pm GMT for support and sales help.
They provide support in English, French, Dutch, Spanish, and Italian on the phone, on their website, through their email and on their support ticketing systems.
The company is based out of Berlin, Germany.
Two redundant data centers that are based in Germany serve as the technical base of operations.
Their Linux web hosting plans support PHP, Perl, Ruby and Ruby on Rails as the programming languages.
The company does not have a reseller hosting program.
The company's affiliate program allows participants to take part in a commission-based structure with uncapped rewards, free advertising material and daily reports as well as other tools.
You are not going to find any specific migration service designed to help customers move over to their products from another provider. They do offer their support and documentation to assist with customer moves.
WordPress is supported and provided by this host, with one-click installations available.
Each of the company's four shared web hosting plans will support up an unlimited number hosted domains.
The company provides their easy to use web site builder tool called WebStarter. It offers an easy way to get your web site going quickly, in minutes without technical expertise in three easy steps.
For security, the company features specialized antivirus and antispam measures in their secured data center enviornments.
PrestaShop is provided on their highest two web hosting plans and the space and features on those plans are conducive to a successful launch.
The popular content management system Joomla is provided for installation with their highest two web hosting plans.
WordPress is provided with their top three shared web hosting plans with easy installation. It is one of the top blogging platforms around and their plans are well suited to support it.
The company provides a number of e-commerce applications and supports them fully. They offer support for all the features that are required for e-commerce including shopping carts, SSL and more.
If you need to host an image heavy site, you are best served by the features in their highest shared web hosting plan, the Enterprise Web plan. This plan allows for 50GB of space and unlimited traffic to support the demands of such a site.
All the requirements to install Magento are available on their shared hosting web services, but it is not explicitly supported. That being said, you definitely have the capacity and tools to build and launch a Magento site on this platform.
Since they provide Linux services, the company provides the popular control panel cPanel to control all the features of your account.
They accept all major credit card payment methods like Visa, MasterCard, and Discover
The company does not feature an uptime guarantee on its site or terms of service.
For additional security the product known as SiteGuard is included on all four of their shared web hosting plans. This advanced security product is known for anti-malware, anti-hacking technology and more.
The company does not offer any CDN services on their shared hosting plans.
Customers will be sign up under one year plans at a minimum. That means you will pay for an entire year up front plus since they are in the European Union, an additional Value Added Tax (VAT).
Customers looking for WHOIS domain privacy services will have to look elsewhere as they are not available from this company.
The company only backs up servers for their own usage, and on no guaranteed basis. It is best described as best effort backups. It is recommended that each customer back up their own data.
If you’re looking at a five site deployment since all of their plans include unlimited hosted domains, you could host that on any of them. However, the available disk space sizes of 2 GB, 6 GB, 20 GB and 50 GB on their plans may have people looking for more room quickly.
The company's plans allow for up to a 2GB email box space for email accounts. Their plans also allow for 1,000, 2,000, 4,000, and 6,000 email accounts at the very most.
They do offer unlimited data transfer, but this company does not offer unlimited terms on disk space. As as always, the provider is the ultimate decider on what acceptable terms are.
The company does not regularly provide promotions of this type for students, non-profits, and schools.
AdWords or other promotion credits on their shared hosting plans are not a part of their hosting plans.
Video streaming is better suited for dedicated resources that are provided by dedicated servers and VPS plans. This host does not openly support streaming video protocols on their shared hosting.
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