One of the hardest parts of launching a website is finding a hosting service that’s worth your time and money and guaranteed to provide you with what you need. Before settling on one, it’s good to think about what you most need in a hosting service. These things will usually include sufficient bandwidth allowance, maximal uptime, and easy server customization and maintenance. I took a look at how Fatcow hosting service handles all of these things and how it holds up to the competition. All in all, Fatcow seems an impressive service. I had very little trouble setting it up, using it, managing it, and simply getting done what I needed to get done. Fatcow offered most services I had listed on my list of things an ideal web hosting service would have available, and the few things it didn’t seemed more necessary for large business rather than individual websites, so they would be inconvenient only in a few cases.
Fatcow is a hosting service that caters primarily to small businesses and individuals, so users who require huge or rapidly growing amounts of bandwidth and disk space might want to look elsewhere. Smaller operations will probably be quite happy with the service, however. Fatcow advertises itself as offering “oodles of storage” and “oodles of disk space,” which is all at once imprecise and accurate, since most users get everything they need, which we’ll discuss in more detail below. Bandwidth allowances are identical (“oodles”), and Fatcow comes with free access to website builders, a multitude of different content management systems for blogs, unlimited POP mailboxes, and free domain name, amongst other things. From that alone, it should be clear that Fatcow seems a good choice. Let’s look at it in a little more depth.
Storage and Bandwidth
As mentioned above, finding a straight answer to how much disk space and storage you’ll get with Fatcow is a bit difficult, since they advertise themselves as offering “oodles” of both. While this was frustrating at first, it made a lot of sense when I found an explanation for it on their “About” pages. It’s also confirmed by Web Nickel that users don’t receive a fixed amount of bandwidth or disk space, but rather, are given freedom to use their server as they see fit. Fatcow adjusts your bandwidth and disk space allowances as your websites adjusts, and apparently, about 99.95% of users get what they need. I personally had no issues with Fatcow’s allowances here during my tests, so they really do mean it when they say you get “oodles.”
Users who plan to launch file-sharing sites (even if they’re legitimate, e.g., sites designed for torrenting of open source scientific computing scripts) might find themselves exceeding bandwidth allowances, however, so if you plan to do this it’s best to look elsewhere. Another demographic that frequently overruns its disk space allowances is the group of people who use their servers for storing multimedia files not linked to on their sites. If you don’t plan to do either of these things, you should be fine, though.
Website Development and Launching
When I set up my website with Fatcow, they gave me free access to a website builder. This made it especially easy to launch a site, since I could just choose a template, customize it, and manage content from one of the several included content management systems. I give Fatcow full points for ease of use because of this. Even someone with no web design experience should have no problem setting things up with Fatcow hosting.
Users who want to launch a blog in addition to their site or as a component of it are in luck, as well. Fatcow has Joomla and WordPress as CMS options right away, and many templates are built with blogs in mind. If you have no idea how to design a site yet happen to want a really fancy design or one so eye-catching as to be considered art, you might want to turn to a different service or purchase a site template that you can launch with Fatcow. For simpler needs, though, Fatcow is sufficient.
E-Mail and Other Extras
One nice feature with Fatcow is the fact that users can create an unlimited number of POP email accounts. The downside here is that each mailbox can only store up to 10,000 messages or 250Mb of data, whichever comes first. This is pretty meager for an inbox these days, but for simple message exchange amongst administrators or site members, it functions just fine. Fatcow also gives its members free listing in the Yellow Pages and $50 of Google advertisement allowance, making it a bit easier to get your site’s name out there. These are by no means necessary features, but it’s nice to have them, and they definitely add something to Fatcow’s appeal factor.