Founded in 1994 and now based in Sunnyvale, CA, Yahoo! is obviously extremely well established as a company. Current CEO Marissa Mayer previously worked at Google, and chairman Alfred Amoroso was formerly chair of Rovio, formerly known as Macrovision.
Yahoo! Web Hosting is a division of Yahoo!; it’s a hosting service aimed squarely at personal and small business users. Although Yahoo! bought up Geocities in 1999, it didn’t build on the service and simply closed it a decade later.
Yahoo! Web Hosting is part of the Online Channel Division within Yahoo! Inc. Previous head Rich Riley left when the entire company was restructured in June 2012.
Yahoo! Web Hosting Plans
Yahoo! Web Hosting is a shared hosting provider. Although the provider has only a few products, their pricing structure is complex, with all kinds of introductory offers and bonuses to choose from.
It concentrates solely on shared hosting for small businesses only, although the Basic plan is recommended for personal use. Larger businesses are not permitted to use the service due to resource concerns.
● Web Hosting Basic includes one domain, 250 email addresses, a site builder for up to 10 pages, 100GB of disk space and 1,000GB of bandwidth. You can’t use anything other than Yahoo! Web Hosting’s own site builder on this plan, so it doesn’t include FTP, a File Manager, Dreamweaver support, WordPress, PHP, MySQL and so on.
● Web Hosting Advanced ups the limits and allows you to use third party tools and/or program your own website using Linux-compatible scripts. Space is limited to 500GB and transfer 5,000GB, and site builder pages are unlimited, should you choose to use them. If you do, you’ll get a desktop design tool which appears to be Windows-only. This plan also includes shared SSL.
● Web Hosting Premier is another step up. It provides unlimited space, transfer and pages, 1,000 email addresses and the ability to create your own site. Interestingly, this plan also includes private domain name registration. You’ll also get shared SSL.
Hosting must be paid for by credit card or PayPal, and the default payment is one full term’s service. Having said that, monthly plans are available. If you choose a cheaper 3-year plan, you’re billed for the whole lot upfront. Once the first term is up, Yahoo! Web Hosting automatically renews the plan and takes payment for the next term.
Extra bandwidth is chargeable, and you can only host one domain on each plan.
Yahoo! Web Hosting Uptime/Downtime
Yahoo! Web Hosting offers clients a 99.9% uptime guarantee. It states that this is based on internal network monitoring and does not cover any predictable, scheduled outage.
Users on the Basic plan do not receive backups of any kind. The other two more expensive plans provide Snapshot backups which are automatically activated and run every four hours.
There’s no published data on their uptime, nor the location of their data centres.
Yahoo! Web Hosting Support
Yahoo! Web Hosting offers round-the-clock support via telephone and email. The company also has a help centre with the usual getting started material, videos and other support.
The whole customer support interface is very plain and the content quite basic. Much of it is geared around its own site building tools, and I found searching the help section quite a tedious process. For example, a search for ‘control panel’ brings up more than 1,400 results, many of which have identical summary text.
Yahoo! Web Hosting in the News
Yahoo! had plans to sell off Yahoo! Web Hosting in 2009 but later held on to the company. Bloggers and journalists speculated that the asking price may have been too high, but Yahoo! declined to comment.
On Cyber Monday in 2007, Yahoo! Web Hosting experienced performance problems and ecommerce outages. Given that Cyber Monday is the biggest online shopping day of the year in the US, this was met with fierce criticism and the outage was widely reported in the US media.
Although not directly related to Yahoo! Web Hosting, its parent company Yahoo! were strongly criticised for shutting down Geocities’ servers ten years after buying them out. Seven million websites were deleted without backups, although enthusiastic amateur archivists managed to save around one third of them before they were removed.
Yahoo! Web Hosting Control Panel
Yahoo! Web Hosting provides a custom control panel which is accessed using your normal Yahoo! sign-in details. The control panel is split into email, site creation, site management and site promotion tabs. From the screenshots in the hosting help section, it seems that accessing even basic options (such as email setup) is quite difficult. Some items are buried within submenus and additional screens. This doesn’t appear to be a control panel designed for advanced users.
Yahoo! Web Hosting Extras
All Yahoo! Web Hosting plans come with their own site builder and templates, although the low-end plan does have limits on the size of your site. If you go for a higher-priced plan, you can remove those limits and download a site builder tool for Windows.
All plans also include forms, maps, photo gallery tools, video and audio players, social media help, PayPal buttons and so on. Presumably these are all part of the site builder.
In addition, all new users receive $75 in Microsoft Advertising adCenter credit and auto-submission to four major search engines. Users can also access an SEO tracker and various reports.
Yahoo! Web Hosting Money Back Guarantee / Cancellation Policy
Yahoo! Web Hosting offers a fairly standard 30-day money back guarantee. Customers who are new to the service, or who migrate from other Yahoo! Small Business services, are eligible.
If you’re unhappy, Yahoo! Web Hosting promises a full refund, including setup fees. A domain registration fee of $7 is deducted from any refunds, so if your refund is equal or less than this amount, you won’t get anything back. Additionally, top-up services can’t be refunded.
Claims have to be made via telephone within the first 30 days (day one being the day you signed up), and customers must specifically ask for a refund during the call to be eligible. Note that the telephone number for refunds is a US number.
Yahoo! Web Hosting Summary
The Yahoo! Web Hosting site is part of Yahoo!’s Small Business portal, and it mentions small business specifically in their Terms of Service. It’s pretty clear who they’re trying to attract. In fact, their documentation specifically dissuades larger businesses from signing up, due to the “undue burden” they might place on servers and infrastructure.
If you’re already bought into the Yahoo! Infrastructure, Yahoo! Web Hosting might be worth considering for basic websites. But with free site builders and blog hosts readily available - and cloud hosting on the horizon - Yahoo! Web Hosting’s packages look a little out of date. The help material is poorly indexed, and the control panel isn’t the friendliest I’ve ever seen.
Yahoo! Web Hosting places great emphasis on its own site building tools and offers competitive pricing on long-term contracts. The question is whether customers who need these easy-to-use features would actually outgrow their hosting plan over a two or three-year term
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