123 Reg is a full-service website shop The company focuses on domain name registration, as well as…
Web Hosting Companies Reviews: Heart Internet
Not everyone who needs hosting is looking for enterprise level functionality to host a massive, complex website. Heart Internet understands that interests and goals can vary and they’ve structured their hosting plans to cater to a wide audience of users.
For simple consumer or personal websites, or companies with a basic landing page or microsite project, the Starter Pro plan provides useful features to help you get a website online fast.
From the Starter Pro plan the services scale up accordingly, offering more robust features for the Home Pro and Business Pro plans including unlimited web space, unlimited bandwidth, and unlimited MySQL databases.
For professionals and business owners who want to make website maintenance easy, Heart Internet offers specialized WordPress hosting as well as one-click WordPress installs for their Home Pro and Business Pro hosting plans.
While the Starter Pro plan lacks MySQL, SSH login and additional FTP accounts, it is still a terrific starting point, especially for growing businesses and startups who can easily upgrade to the more versatile and comprehensive plans as their business grows. There’s a great deal of flexibility in choosing the right hosting plan to suit your needs.
Pricing and Key Features
Let’s cut right to the chase, at £8.99 per month, Heart Internet’s Home Pro plan is one of the more expensive shared hosting accounts on the market right now.
I’m not going to do that today because, in all honesty, I just don’t feel that Home Pro -or any of Heart’s cloud-based hosting solutions- is actually a good value for money deal, especially when compared to other web hosts who offer more features and resources at lower prices.
Heart Internet Hosting Plans
Heart Internet offer Linux-based shared hosting under three different plans, all which also allow for some customisation.
● The Starter web hosting plan is designed for small websites. It provides 5,000 MB of web space, 30,000 MB bandwidth and allows for one website. It attracts a setup fee, though. For an additional fee you can get larger mailboxes, a virus scanner, a mobile website builder, StopTheHacker website security, multiple domain mappings and so on.
● The Home Pro web hosting plan is designed for websites that also need blogging, database and ecommerce functionality. It provides unlimited web space and bandwidth and allows for one website only. You can also purchase add-ons, as above, if you want to beef up the plan.
● The Business Pro web hosting plan is designed for larger organisations and small businesses. It provides unlimited web space and bandwidth and allows for three websites. You can purchase add-ons, but a virus scanner and other bits and pieces are included.
Reseller hosting through Heart Internet can be either Windows or Linux-based. It provides unlimited space and bandwidth and allows for unlimited domains. You can also purchase advanced search engine submission, larger mailboxes and an email virus scanner if you wish.
Heart Internet have three VPS plans. Each is customisable, and the company allows you to purchase up to 12 cores, 500 GB of hard drive space and 32 GB of RAM. You can also choose from a variety of Windows or Linux based operating systems.
● The Base plan provides 1 core, 50 GB disk space and 1 GB RAM.
● The Plus plan provides 2 cores, 100 GB disk space and 3 GB RAM.
● The Pro plan provides 4 cores, 150 GB disk space and 6 GB RAM.
There are five types of dedicated servers to choose from with Heart Internet. Each provides unlimited bandwidth and a 100 Mbps connection. The servers range from a 2.33 Ghz dual core processor with 4 GB RAM up to a 2.8 GHz processor and 32 GB RAM. Again, you can choose from Windows and Linux based operating systems.
Heart Internet Uptime/Downtime
The Heart Internet data centre is based in the UK and is manned by the team round the clock. It’s also monitored by CCTV at all times. The server farm also has backup power systems should the main power fail.
Heart Internet doesn’t make any uptime promises on its shared web hosting plans, but the VPS hosting product comes with a 99.99% SLA and dedicated hosting comes with a 99.9% SLA. The company will credit your account with one free day of service for every additional hour of downtime beyond four hours.
Heart Internet Support
Heart Internet has a UK-based support team providing support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. However, there is no phone support. Technical support is provided through an online customer service system only.
Heart Internet has a customer charter outlining the service you should expect from their staff. They don’t make any promises regarding support response time, but they aim to respond to support requests within minutes of them being raised.
The Heart Internet Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter pages are very active and the team take time to interact with their customers. However, customers looking for support appear to be directed to the online ticketing system, so there are no short-cuts if you choose to contact them via social media.
When Unlimited isn’t Unlimited
Though unlimited web space and bandwidth are a good start, I’ve found that Heart are pretty strict -and not always consistent- with their Fair Use Policy, restricting ‘unlimited bandwidth’ to somewhere between 5-8GB before my sites starting to see some serious performance issues.
I’ll talk more about those later, for now, let’s look at Home Pro’s basic set-up.
Despite having -theoretically at least- unlimited disk space, you can only use that for one single website, whereas most other unlimited plans don’t come with any restrictions (beyond fair use) on how many sites you can host.
Good for Email
On the plus side, free site backup and restoration tools are included in the price, as is a very generous 10,000 mailboxes for managing your business email, each with web mail access, unlimited email forwarding and autoresponders.
The only drawback here, is that the company wants you to pay an additional £19.99 per year for basic virus scanning, something which even the most basic of shared hosting providers normally offer free of charge.
Ultimately, I don’t believe Heart Internet offer anything which justifies the high price tag. As you’ll see throughout the rest of this review, even when they’re at their very best, they’re only ever on a par with other, more affordable services.
Most web hosting companies will offer at least a year’s free domain registration with their package, whilst others are stating to promote ‘free domain for life,’ deals, where you never have to pay for your domain for as long as you host your website with that company.
Heart Internet however, are not most companies, and don’t actually offer anything in the way of a domain name freebie.
Instead, you’ve got two options, both of which involve adding to the cost of launching your new website by paying separately for a domain name.
Buy one directly from Heart, and you’ll be paying yearly fees of £6.99 for a .co.uk, £10.99 for a .net and a cool £11.99 for a .com.
These prices are actually not the most expensive I’ve seen out there, yet their far from the cheapest either. You can get a much better deal elsewhere, such as with 1&1, a German company which, whilst not the best hosting company on the planet, do at least offer some incredibly low cost deals on domain names.
This brings me to the other option; registering a domain name elsewhere and configuring it to work with your new Heart-hosted site. Here’s where I ran into the biggest problem whilst setting up a website.
As a professional web developer and website manager for a number of years, I’ve lost count of the amount of external domains I’ve had to link up to a website hosted by a third party, and always liked to think I’ve got a pretty good grasp on how it’s done.
That was until Heart Internet came along and made things far more complicated than they should be.
Something that is usually a fairly simple process required several support tickets and a whole heap of time spent tearing my hair out to get right. Though I got it taken care of eventually, it was so annoying that I was almost tempted to scrap the idea and just start over with a new domain registered with Heart Internet themselves, something which I have a sneaky suspicion the company would much rather I did anyway.
Ease of use
For those with a little hosting savvy under their belt, you might be put off by the lack of Plesk or Cpanel for the administrative side of controlling our hosting account. While these are favored among web hosts, Heart Internet doesn’t leave you with a terrible, clunky experience.
Heart Internet has built a proprietary “eXtend” control panel that is fast, easy to use, visually driven and provides access to everything you need in one place. It’s so easy to use that nearly a quarter of all shared hosting websites utilize this proprietary control panel. From file organization to accessing email, one-click apps to using advanced web tools, you can manage your hosting account from one convenient space.
Aside from a long list of features bundled into most of their hosting plans, Heart Internet provides some additional features that make managing your website easier.
The eXtend control panel provides access to a list of over 70 applications, like WordPress, that can all be installed through a single one-click interface. This runs all the scripts necessary to get applications in place without the need to worry about file configurations or FTP uploads to the right folder.
In addition to a large app database, site owners get access to audience-building marketing tools to help you engage your audience. This includes email hosting to help you increase productivity with Microsoft Exchange accounts as well as using email marketing to reach your customers through targeted email campaigns. Those are terrific additional features when you figure in the cost of more expensive 3rd party email marketing platforms.
Heart Internet also provides additional tools that not only keep your site secure, including SSL certificates for e-commerce and data-related sites, but also professional site builders to help you build and host beautiful websites on the fly with no coding knowledge needed.
The company provides a large, in-depth knowledge base to assist with any technical issues and to educate customers. Those who have difficulty are able to get in touch with a support team via the trouble ticket system, with teams available 24/7/365. The only downside to the support services is that they cannot be reached via email or phone.
Performance and Reliability
As I mentioned earlier, Heart’s promise of ‘unlimited’ bandwidth isn’t always what it seems. I’ve found that even a modest increase in traffic over a short period of time can dramatically reduce my site’s loading speeds, and I’ve seen many instances of sites being pulled for what the company deems excessive bandwidth hogging.
My own experience has shown that uptime in generally decent, but merely having a site online is no use if that site performs so sluggishly as to turn away visitors.
Building a Website
If you’re looking for a simple drag-and-drop style website builder with Heart, you’ll have to look outside of their hosting plans at their separate SiteDesigner packages.
These offer a similar solution to the likes of 123-Reg’s Instant Site tool, in that you get a basic web editor, a small number of pre-designed templates (15 to be exact), and 2GB of disk space to host just five pages for a total of £5.99 per month. Upgrading to the ‘SiteDesigner Unlimited’ plan removes the restrictions on storage and number of pages, and increases the number of pre-designed templates to 50.
Originally posted 2018-10-24 13:12:42.