Review SummaryUpdated: July 12, 2020
- Cloud-based servers provide reliable uptime.
- Smart backup technology that reduces the likelihood of losing files permanently.
- Great user-friendly website builder.
- In-house customer Service.
- Comprehensive WordPress plans and features.
- 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Windows and Linux hosting available.
- Strange cancellation fee policy
- Shared hosting lacks security if an add-on isn't purchased.
- Lacking monthly payment options on shared hosting plans
- Lacking free website-migration on all plans.
Shared Hosting Review
Best for Portfolio and Basic websites
Network Solutions offers shared web hosting through the cloud. While this isn’t yet ubiquitous across the web hosting market, it’s becoming more popular due to its increased versatility and extra security over traditional shared environments. For those wanting an economical solution, most of the plans are relatively inexpensive, with several coming with top-tier features provide more value for money.
The Starter plan is the ideal choice for anyone starting and includes a basic spread of resources, modest storage space for one website, and mediocre initial security. It’s best used if you have only an essential beginner website and want to grow it slowly as you learn the ropes. Network Solutions doesn’t outline whether a free Let’s Encrypt SSL is supported with their site, and the lack of a free included domain is a downside to the entry-level plan – offered as standard across the industry.
As for the Essential plan, you’ll get much higher storage, up to three hosted sites, Sitelock basic, and a domain name too. Ultimately, it’s a good choice for freelancers looking to host a few client sites, or even a single site with a lot of content – taking advantage of the beefy 300GB disk space, which is more than you’d usually get for a plan at this price.
The Professional plan brings things together, offering unlimited hard disk space and unlimited email inboxes. This level of plan is better if you intend to build an online business and want to run multiple client websites. Including Sitelock Premium as well, you’ll also benefit from faster page load speeds through its CDN (or Content Delivery Network).
Finally, the Professional Plus plan doesn’t scale very well – when compared to the professional plan. Only including SSL certificate on-top of the included resources. At $21.62 a month, this plan is at the higher end of the price spectrum when compared to other hosts. You’ll still only get ten websites, but the included SSL Certificate is a bonus – that said, it’s only for one of your sites.
Purchasing a one-year contract grants you a reduced monthly bill for twelve months, whereas the monthly billing amounts are a bit higher. Thus, it’s more economical to grab a yearly subscription if you want the most bang for your buck.
Both the Shared and WordPress hosting plans use the proprietary Network Solutions control panel. This is different from the cPanel used by most other hosting companies in the industry. It’s relatively user-friendly and comes with a step-by-step tutorial to help beginners get around the various controls and tabs. While cPanel is an excellent default choice for most, we feel that some will appreciate the Network Solutions custom interface.
Technical Setup Support
All of the shared hosting plans come with a trained setup specialist support, who can help you with FTP access, setting up firewalls, and transferring files from host to host. They’re entirely complementary, and the on-demand customer support will prove invaluable for beginner users.
Windows & Linux Support
You’ll also be able to choose between Windows or Linux depending on your preferences regardless of subscription plan. Network Solutions also supports PHP 7.0, PHPMyAdmin, MySQL, and Python across both operating systems.
Transferring your website from another hosting service to Network Solutions is quick and easy. The only downside is that it costs $9.99 if you also want to bring your domain name with you. While this is a low price for the service, it’s commonly offered from other hosts free.
Included Website Builder
All hosting plans can also take advantage of the Network Solutions website builder. It’s an excellent solution with thousands of templates on hand. They also provide you with a generous library of stock images to help you customize your site and make it appropriately flashy for first-time visitors. Even better, you can use the demo video on the website to figure out how the website builder works. It’s one of the more user-friendly features we’ve seen.
The website builder lets you add blogs or upload videos with ease. It even incorporates basic SEO features, which can help your website rise in the Google rankings. You can pretty easily customize the templates available, and you can quickly make them more attractive by using a little digital elbow grease.
Automatic Site Backups
Network Solutions does provide automatic backups of your websites for each of the last 14 days, but it doesn’t come with any manual controls, and the snapshot of your site may not be the one you need to recover data or save many hours of work. It’s a good barebones backup feature, but not as in-depth or user-friendly as we’d like. For more reliable site backups, you’d want to opt-in for the CodeGuard add-on offered at checkout.
Network Solutions’ shared hosting plans offer a decent spread of features. While several freebies that other hosting providers offer are only present as paid add-ons. Their premium plans are great value for money for resellers and individuals. However, some may consider the plans to lack enough scalability to push them past some of the top hosting companies offers.
WordPress Hosting Review
Best for: Blogs and eCommerce sites
Network Solutions also offers secure WordPress hosting options. In a nutshell, WordPress hosting packages are optimized to host WordPress pages and blogs. They’re designed to grow with online businesses and often come with WordPress specific features or add-ons to make them worth your time and money. Network Solutions have free subscription plans available based on your budget or needs.
WordPress for Entrepreneurs is their basic option for $7.99 per month and comes with enough storage, mailboxes, and support for one WordPress website with a lot of content. On-demand cloud backup and a free domain name are available on this plan as well. This package is excellent for those just starting with an online business or looking to grow an affiliate blog.
The next option, WordPress for a Growing Business, is ideal for those wanting to grow rapidly and comes with multi-site management (up to three WordPress sites). With 100GB, one could host multiple small to medium sites easily, and on-demand cloud backups will ensure you’ll never lose a thing. The plan also includes free SSL certification – which is an excellent addition, especially if you’re looking to run an eCommerce site.
Finally, the last subscription is WordPress for Professionals, essentially doubles the included resources of the previous plan and would be best utilized by freelancers looking to host multiple client sites.
Themes and Plugins
Each of the WordPress hosting options comes with thousands of themes and several plugins that make it incredibly easy to build a professional or user-friendly site from scratch. When combined with Network Solutions’ website builder, even total novices to the web hosting game should be able to come up with a great WordPress website for their business or hobby.
Optimized WordPress Servers
All the hosting plans will benefit from loading times that are about two times faster than regular web pages. This is done through the use of dedicated WordPress server architecture and plugins, which streamline the page loading process for all of your visitors.
On-Demand Cloud Backup
The on-demand cloud backup by each of the subscription options is particularly nice and ensures a copy of your site is always on hand.
Not only does this protect your website from long-term outages or data from being lost, but it also ensures that your data will never be fully deleted, as the backups will be spread across geographically diverse servers.
Overall, the WordPress hosting plans are pretty generous, given their reasonable asking prices and the inclusions that come along with each plan. The WordPress plugins and additional features like themes and automatic backup support are welcome bonuses. Overall, we give their WordPress hosting plans high marks.
Cloud Hosting Platform
Compared to Shared hosting environments, Cloud hosting provides a higher performance and lower redundancy solution.
Monthly Payment Options
Great for those who’re not looking to pay for annual terms upfront!
Network Solutions offers different security features depending on the type of hosting plan you use. Their shared hosting plans rely on SiteLock security features, which have to be added to the basic shared plan for an additional fee. Since SiteLock can cost between $99 per year and $499 per year, this can be a high additional cost for some.
However, plans from ‘Essential’ up do include SiteLock free, which is well worth the uptick in price between plans.
Sitelock brings defenses like malware scanners, SQL injection protection, and defenses against cross-site scripting attacks to your websites.
NetworkSolutions also offers SSL certification add-ons whenever you need them, although shared host subscribers will need to purchase the certificate in addition to their regular fees for most plans. This costs $69.99 per year. The Professional Plus and latter two WordPress hosting plans come with free SSL certification, however, which is excellent value for money. We would always recommend SSL certification if you plan to collect user data for any reason and especially if you want to build an online website in which you sell products.
They also allow you to lock your domain registration information, which can be helpful if you are concerned about others collecting your address or phone number. Websites that tend to be busier or who receive lots of unique visitors each month will probably want to invest in these options more frequently.
Trusted Site Seal
Network Solutions also provide several additional security add-ons you can pick up for more fees. One of these is a Trusted Site Seal, which adds a seal of authenticity or legitimacy. It proves to potential customers or visitors that your site is at the front for some illicit organization. Most probably won’t need this particular add-on, unless the business has lots of sensitive information or handles plenty of purchases: such sites are more frequently targeted by hackers.
Advanced tools let you make changes to your domains DNS records. This all gets fairly technical quickly, but those with serious online businesses may need to occasionally take these measures to ensure the safety of their records and user data. You can move specific domains to new name servers or configure the records to set of aliases that can be used instead of your main domain.
Furthermore, you’ll be able to update your domain name associated with your IP address. This could be a particularly useful security trick if you are having frequent tacking trouble and suspect it’s the same few people attacking your website over and over. Switching the domain name associated with your IP address is an excellent way to throw persistent hackers off your trail.
Furthermore, you’ll be able to specify the mail server used for your emails. Even if you have multiple servers to juggle, you can rank them priority wise. All the hosting plans come with email services built-in, but some of the more basic plans only have a few inboxes, and you might need to expand as your website becomes more popular or to increase email security.
Customer Support Review
Network Solutions offers both email and telephone support. Typical response times for phone calls or between five and 10 minutes depending on whether there’s a big outage in your area and many users may be calling simultaneously. Network Solutions does promise a 24 to 48 hour response time at maximum.
Web tickets, oddly enough, need to be submitted to the website of their parent company, Web.com. This, perhaps, is part of the reason why some email tickets have longer response times than others. It’s possible that Web.com handles multiple subsidiary companies at the same time, forcing their customer service team to prioritize issues.
No Live Chat Support
Unfortunately, there isn’t a live chat option offered by Network Solutions. Most other hosting companies do provide this communication method, and its absence means you’ll need to rely on phone calls if you want relatively instant assistance.
WordPress Specialist Support
The WordPress specific plans come with additional customer support options, granting you access to “experts” that have a little more technical expertise surrounding WordPress and its associated plugins. They can answer lots of questions about importing WordPress blogs into different websites, how to ensure the plugins work properly with currently loaded themes or other media types, and more.
30 Day Money Back Guarantee
Network Solutions does come with a 30-day money-back guarantee with their plans. Again, this is industry-standard, and it’s a good choice if you plan to use one of the shared hosting solutions that only come with year-long subscriptions.
Be aware that only specific payment methods are accepted for the refund, like credit cards.
However, we do need to mention the rather absurd cancellation policy.
Web Design and Development Service
If you decide to build a custom website through Network Solutions and then use one of their hosting plans, they also have a team that can help you maintain that website both in terms of organization and security. Using their full-service web design and development suite will let you build your site from scratch, host it, and later transition to a basic managed hosting option thanks to this team.
This team is responsible for things like backups and for ensuring that updates rollout across your various websites or servers smoothly. It’s typical for hosting companies that offer managed web hosting experiences, but we’re glad to see it here.
Overall, Network Solutions has a half-decent customer service, and if you’re a barebone beginner user, you might run into some frustrations with this host if you ever need customer support.
Technical support is available from 7 a.m. ET to midnight, 7 days a week
A separate support phone number is offered for international customers.
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