Register.com Review: Web Hosting
|Sign up for Register.com|
|Discounted first year; frustrating limitations for advanced users, counterintuitive for beginners|
Although Register.com is a solid web hosting service with great features like virus scan and automated site backups, it doesn't justify the high price.
Register.com, which is probably the most well-known domain registrar site, is also the most expensive hosting option. While a discounted first year is only $4.95 per month, the price shifts to $11.95 per month for twelve months after that. Alternately, you can move to a three-year contract which brings the price to $6.95 per month. Domain registration is free for the first year, but you'll need to pay an additional $11.00 a year for domain privacy (something we recommend for individuals).
Register.com offers a fairly standard 30-day money-back guarantee, but no pro-rated guarantee afterwards. As usual, you will not receive a refund for the domain, which they will charge you $35 for.
Register.com is one of the few web hosts to set concrete limits for storage (5GB) and data transfer (20GB). What does that mean? For example, NextAdvisor's site is about 25 megabytes. On this plan, roughly 51,200 people could view the entire site every month and fall within the traffic limits. While not enough for our site, it'll probably be ok for individuals.
Register.com does not offer anything above and beyond in terms of bundled design applications. It uses the Fantastico brand of scripts which provides shopping cart solutions like Zen Cart, osCommerce, and CubeCart along with blogging solutions that include Wordpress. The shopping cart solutions are better suited to users with a pretty substantial inventory to sell. Those looking to sell only a few products will want to look into another solution.
We installed the popular blogging application Wordpress without issue. Unfortunately, we found we couldn't simultaneously install the ZenCart ecommerce package (or a photo gallery for that matter), since Register.com only allows you have one MySQL database. This is an unfortunate limitation, and should make pretty much every user think twice before signing up for Register.com. You can upgrade to a more expensive $14.95/mo plan to get access to 10 databases or pay $29.95 per month for unlimited databases, but these prices seem unreasonably high for something other hosting companies offer even for their cheapest plans.
The site construction tools mentioned above are the same you'll find with a cheaper host like HostPapa. ViaStep is one option, and it requires you to choose a template, download that template, edit it on your computer, and then upload it again. This feels cumbersome. SoHo Launch is the preferable option, but is still not one of the best editors we've seen. It lacks true WYSIWYG functionality, and may be confusing to first-time users.
Register does offer some nice peace-of-mind features. First, there's a virus scan, a feature not seen with many other web hosts we reviewed. This will scan your site for any infected files. It also offers automated site backups, so you can revert to an old version of your site if you need to. Register.com also guarantees 100% uptime, whereas most guarantee 99.99%. The service may still go down, you'll just be compensated for any time that it does. Uptime guarantees are a bit of a shell game, however. There are half a dozen exceptions, including planned maintenance and things beyond their control.
Register's one MySQL database, which is a problem for beginners, should be a total deal-breaker for advanced users. Register.com supports PHP, Ruby on Rails, CGI, SSI, Perl and Python. Shared hosting accounts use Linux servers, and users do not have shell access (SSH) for making advanced commands.
We had a few usability issues with Register.com, including trouble finding the right login page for the control panel. Once properly logged in, Register is not too difficult to use, though its limited features can be frustrating. Since Register uses the familiar Fantastico script interface, many day-to-day tasks work exactly the same as they would with another host.
Despite its flaws, Register.com did fairly well in testing. Register's uptime score was just a bit worse than average, while the response time was a little better than average. See the chart below for details. For uptime, higher percentages are better. For all others, lower numbers indicate better performance.
Register.com Web Hosting test data:
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- Register.com Review
Here is NextAdvisor's review of Register.com: http://www.nextadvisor.com/web_hosting/register_web_hosting_review.php