- Free Phone Support
- Money Back Guarantee
- Extensive Scripting Support
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.
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.
Fast growing shared hosting provider, BlueHost, offers a plan with plenty of features and unlimited domains.
Read our BlueHost Reviews
Web Hosting Hub offer an incredible deal: unlimited bandwidth & disk space, plus phone support, for $4.95/mo. What's not to like?
Read our Web Hosting Hub Reviews