Review SummaryUpdated: July 11, 2020
- Low price point.
- 24/7 chat and phone support.
- Free Website Builder.
- Complete storefront, analytics, and marketing e-commerce option.
- Full-service design & marketing support option.
- Tailored WordPress hosting.
- 30-day money-back guarantee on basic hosting.
- Low ceiling, only advised for basic websites.
- Shared hosting only.
- No monthly billing option.
Web Hosting Plans
Domain.com’s basic hosting plan is a highly economical solution for individuals or small businesses simply looking to establish an onlince presence with a website. As for ‘Deluxe’ and ‘Ultra’, these plans are best suited for those looking to host multiple sites and will take advantage of the increased FTP logins and databases. Across all plans, Domain.com offers ‘Unlimited’ storage and bandwidth (referred to as ‘Scalable’). This is an attractive offer, though new customers should know that these resources come with usage restrictions. Essentially, if your website(s) start to use resources to the point where they start impacting server performance, you will have to upgrade to a dedicated resource plan, or your hosting will be terminated. This is outlined technically in Domain.com’s Resource Usage Policy. In it they outline:
“Accounts with a large number of files (inode count in excess of 200,000) can have an adverse affect on server performance. Similarly, accounts with an excessive number of MySQL/PostgreSQL tables (i.e., in excess of 1000 database tables) or of database size (i.e., in excess of 3GB total MySQL/PostgreSQL usage or 2GB MySQL/PostgreSQL usage in a single database) negatively affect the performance of the server.”
This is common practice across all hosting companies and are measures that ensure that shared hosting environments aren’t being used by illegal torrenting or streaming sites. To give you an idea, most WordPress blogs require less than 50MB storage, and most customers will ever experience these issues with hosting. Where the problem lies with this is that, unlike otehr hosting companies, Domain.com do not offer a VPS or Dedicated hosting solution to upgrade to. What this means is you’ll likely have to migrate your website to another provider if you ever outgrow your plan. Whilst this process isn’t as big of a hassle as it sounds, it’s a hassle non the less.
Overall, Domains shared hosting plans are a no-frills solution. While you will be able to host a website (to a certain point), other plans on the market are more inclusive at only a slightly higher price point. As we mentioned earlier, these plans are best for basic sites or blogs only. While an eCommerce solution could be managed without a doubt, the limited scalability is the major factor in why we’d not be able to recommend this plan for online shops.
New customers can take advantage of discounted pricing for your first year of hosting, offering some of the lowest discounted prices on the market; at $3.75/mo, $6.75/mo, and $13.75/mo respectively. While Domain.com doesn’t offer month-to-month pricing, their prices are still considerably lower than most – event at renewal rates. Be aware that auto-renew for all of your websites and services is turned on by default, and each individual service must be canceled to cease charges, as even without a website to host, domain privacy will continue to be billed.
Unlike most hosts, you won’t get free domain registration with Domain.com, which will add another $45 per year to your hosting if you register with them. Domain.com is also specific about refunds, with a 30-day money-back guarantee only available on Basic Hosting Plans (doesn’t include website builder). Customers looking to recoup some of their hosting costs may be interested in their reseller program offerings.
Additional Features and Benefits
WordPress Hosting plans
For customers looking for a WordPress tailored solution, Domain.com offers two packages. ‘Starter’, priced at $3.75/mo, comes with unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, pre-installed popular themes, and a slightly customized WordPress control panel. These resources are limited to specific usage restrictions outlined in Domain.com’s Resource Usage Policy.document. However, this shouldn’t affect those looking to host a basic WordPress blog.
Their premier plan, ‘Essential’, is $6.95/mo and offers additional speed optimization, SiteLock, automated malware removal, and advanced, expert support. Essential is a great deal for CMS-based websites as its pricing includes the security features of their Prevent security add-on in the package.
Domain.com’s support for WordPress hosting includes 24/7 chat or email support. Essential customers also get a direct phone number to their WordPress support specialists. Their online knowledgebase support articles cover core, common topics, and include helpful pictures. Overall, Domain.com’s WordPress offerings are quite basic and primarily offer customers a considerably lower price than other WordPress plans on the market. For those looking for a simple business blog or website, this plan would be a good place to start. However, do expect to swap hosts if you ever outgrow your plan.
Slick Website Builder
What Domain.com really stands out for is their intelligent Website Builder: intuitive, slick, and smooth. Website Builder boasts business-savvy features that include SEO, basic versioning control, storefront capability, inventory management solutions, PayPal capability, and support for product promotions. It also includes ready-to-use stock images without the pricing and licensing hassle. Website Builder pricing is built out by tiered functionality package at $1.99/mo for a personal website, $6.99/mo for unlimited pages, integrated analytics, social media, lead contact forms, and $12.99/mo for a full-blown e-commerce website with all the stops except personnel and tax management. This tiered pricing model is exceptionally convenient scaling for a product as it goes through the development cycle from concept to offer.
Full-Service Design & Marketing
If Website Builder can’t advocate your product or service to its fullest, Domain.com has an additional tier of service for Full-Service Design & Marketing. This tier comes with an account manager, professionally guided SEO, and monthly reviews of your promotional campaigns. Pricing is custom-built to your needs but starts at $250/mo.
Email Integrations (G-Suite and Office 365)
G-Suite integration is offered as an add-on to any package at $6/mo. Or, you can purchase Microsoft Office 365 (O365) at $1.99/user/mo in their Essential tier, more storage, oneDrive, and social networking for $4.99/mo/user as their Business Plus tier, or Business Pro for $9.99/mo/user that comes with Bookings, Invoicing, MileIQ, and the Office suite, complete with synching. These O365 prices are considerably lower than Microsoft’s own standard price offerings.
For the sake of accessing the Office suite, Business Pro might be a deal for a short or risky operation, but for anything else, purchasing Office outright will be more affordable long-term. These packages are a tiny bit sneaky in their upsell as Domain.com makes it difficult to find the standard email options that come with web hosting. G-Suite integration can be a bit tricky, and some users may need customer support assistance.
Reliable Site Security
Security-wise, Domain.com is standard pickings with a domain privacy option at $8.99/year. SSL is offered via Let’s Encrypt for free on all of its hosting tiers, but other options are available, starting with their Domain Validated SSL at $35.99/yr. Website security is an add on, starting at $3.99/mo (Essentials tier) to $24.99/mo (Prevent Plus tier). All the website security options feature SiteLock, but support can be quick to offer it as an end-all-be-all for every security concern. Website backups are a must-have for any website, and they are an additional add-on item at $1.13/mo for a single site or $2.28/mo otherwise; while this isn’t expensive, this charge feels frivolous and inconvenient, especially as it’s not hard to find other website hosts that offer this free, being as it is a basic part of website maintenance.
Free Website Builder
Domain offer all customers a simple way to create modern, professional sites with little technicality.
Domain.com Server Performance
To test Domain.com’s hosting performance we used a few Pingdom reports. Over the span of a year, Pingdom’s probes (located across North America) performed daily checks, on a basic website (less than 100KBs) hosted on Domain.com’s shared server environment. Additionally, there was no throttling added to these checks, so slower response times can be expected for 3G or 4G connections.
Yearly Server Performance:
Average Response Time
Data shown as monthly Uptime averages for a basic Domain.com website
Server performance can affect all aspects of your site. Case studies have consistently found that customer wait times (page load and response times) directly affect everything from SEM, revenue, and traffic growth. By a lot too, here’s just one example:
For Mobify, every 100ms decrease in homepage load speed worked out to a 1.11% increase in session-based conversion, yielding an average annual revenue increase of nearly $380,000.
Domain.com’s primary security add-ons are SSL through Let’s Encrypt and SiteLock. Domain.com is able to offer low hosting pricing by dividing out barebones hosting from the security aspect, offering security services as an additional add-on. All in all, Domain.com’s security offerings are in line with the other major hosting web-hosting companies’ tiers, with the exception that their beginner security tier is slightly cheaper. A static website with no stored user input can probably get away without SiteLock, but any website that’s capturing user input really should have their Prevent tier for the XSS security and database safety. CMS-based sites need these security features as well, but Prevent Plus would be better due to the automated software updating. An e-commerce site absolutely needs the Prevent Plus, due to PCI requirements. The yearly cost for Prevent Plus is an absolute bargain compared to how much PCI consultant specialists charge hourly if one was to try to pass PCI by other means and is still a fraction of the cost for the fee for remaining non-PCI compliant.
Let’s Encrypt SSL
For basic web hosting, Domain.com offers a free SSL via Let’s Encrypt but is not supported for their Website Builder and full-service design websites. Let’s Encrypt is effective, will suit a majority of sites, and are widely versatile as they encrypt all sub-domains. Typically different applications reside on different sub-domains, such as a member-login area, mailing server, unsubscription, and e-commerce pages, which would all be encrypted under a single wildcard certificate.
Domain.com’s paid SSL offerings come in three tiers, with their basic Domain Validated (DV) certificate at $3.33/mo, wildcard SSL at $10.00/mo, and an e-commerce SSL that includes a green padlock stating “secure” for $25.00/mo, all plans billed yearly. Compared to other web hosts, Domain.com’s price point is on the cheaper end. Very large website entities will want an EV certificate with the fancy green URL bar and corporation name, or at least an OV certificate, but Let’s Encrypt doesn’t offer them, so neither does Domain.com – however, this isn’t a negative as very large website entities aren’t well suited for shared hosting services like Domain.com. In fact, very few web hosting companies offer OV and EV certificates through their CA’s.
Any certificate level should help bolster your search engine rankings, along with your customer’s trust. If your website is a hobbyist or personal website, it wouldn’t need an SSL certificate, especially if you’re not collecting user data. Entity websites such as non-profits and campaigns will want a basic DV certificate to increase user trust and search engine rankings. For websites with multiple subdomains, the wildcard SSL is a no-brainer. Storefront websites will want to have their premium tier e-commerce SSL for the green URL security iconography to increase their shopper’s willingness to spend.
SiteLock’s core functionality is to scan your website’s physical file structure and files within, looking for common malicious patterns and verifying anything dubious against SiteLock’s cloud-based analysis service. From there, it will remove and clean up any malicious files or code. But it has more features, such as monitoring your website against search engine blacklists to ensure that your business doesn’t stop attracting new visitors. All of this comprises the basic tier, Essentials, at $3.99/mo.
The Prevent tier is $14.99/mo and also includes a web application firewall, protecting your website against cross-site scripting attacks (XSS) and some forms of SQL injection. DDoS protection is included, as well. This tier includes database scanning, to make sure that your database hasn’t stored malicious data that will be served to customers. Prevent has a faster response time from customer support.
Prevent Plus tier is their premiere security tier aimed for e-commerce sites at $24.99/mo. This tier includes all the rest plus the quarterly vulnerability scan required by the payment card industry (PCI) for websites handling and passing credit card information. Prevent Plus also includes CMS vulnerability patching. Keeping up to date with CMS patches and updates is one of the keys to keeping your website secure; if you don’t have the time to log in regularly, this tier is a must-have.
The problem with SiteLock is that customer service leans on it heavily as their sole security front with the line of reasoning that if you have an issue, simply upgrade to the appropriate tier and let SiteLock take care of it. SiteLock simply scans and fixes the mess. It can do nothing for finding why the hack happened and fixing the actual vulnerability – which means that some websites may experience the same type of hack over and over again. There aren’t any strong knowledge base customer support articles on good security practices in general, meaning that customer service doesn’t have de facto articles to point customers to when they have issues. They don’t have general education articles on why SSL, domain privacy, and website security services are important, either, but this isn’t necessarily a negative, as education-interested customers can easily find such information elsewhere on the web.
Customer Support Review
Customer support is tiered up in a way that isn’t quite visible to customers, but makes sense for better customer experiences. For most customers, there is 24/7 access to chat and through email. But for the Website Builder eCommerce customers, there is also much needed phone support for more complex issues, especially where a customer’s money is in question.
When tested, customer service representatives were swift to answer initial questions, but a tad slower to answer follow-up questions, which is typical for web hosting customer service. All the representatives shared adequate response times, finesse, and were able to tackle both easy questions and convoluted ones. Email support is a slower-paced option than chat, but having this option is convenient when you have multiple people on a team monitoring an issue. Customers should be aware that when it comes to solving technical issues involving non-standard domain registrars, response times are unpredictable, which is standard across all web hosting companies; special registrars are their own entity – for example, the .me top-level domain name extension.
The customer support area also boasted a button that you can press to onboard your technical support agent. This is super snazzy and time-saving for home computers, but when working on your website on your corporate work network, installing third-party software can be extremely troublesome, if allowed at all, from a corporate IT support standpoint. But customer service had alternate screen-sharing solutions available to help.
The customer support area has a wide array of technical articles, but very few articles aimed towards a novice website-builder looking to understand a concept. This isn’t a bad mark against them, though, as there are plenty of other informational articles elsewhere. The technical articles come with plenty of pictures and are well-written, even sometimes boasting additional items of help or troubleshooting for later on down the line. Domain.com’s online article knowledge base also has a filter to narrow down returned search results when searching by a common word, which really helps.
But for a shared web host who boasts a complete e-commerce kit, there really weren’t very many technical knowledgebase articles available at all. There aren’t any articles on how to operate Website Builder, on solving Website Builder technical issues, on SEO, or on operating the storefront. It’s all left to the experience while using those parts of the website themselves. Additionally, some of the knowledge base articles appear old, outdated, or contradictory to the offerings on Domain.com’s website.
There isn’t a webpage that Domain.com has to monitor a website’s uptime by watching the server that it is hosted on. Most shared web hosters have such a technical support area to help customers with their self-service, but with 99.8% uptime, the issue is rarely going to be that a server has gone down, anyways. Those wanting to monitor their website’s uptime, or performance, can enlist in one of many third-party offerings. Domain.com’s support offerings, response times, customer service knowledge, and quality of support received are average and hover near the industry standard for a shared website hosting.
Domain offers technical customer support via phone 24 hours a day.
Domain offers basic customer support via live chat.
Tutorials & Guides
Domain knowledge base offers technical articles and guides for basic troubleshooting.
Domain does not offer free or paid website migration support for any plans.
Domain does not have a dedicated community forum for customer support and troubleshooting.
Domain do not offer support ticket-based support.
Domain does not mention offering customer support across multiple languages.
Domain does not offer a specialized technical support channel for specific hosting platforms or problems.
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