By Pete Griffin
If you’re shopping around to find the best company to serve up your website, Network Solutions hosting plans might be an attractive option. It has been around since 1979, when the Internet was still very much in its infancy, and Network Solutions’ advertised rates are among the lowest in the industry. But is there more than meets the eye with this inveterate host?
As one of the first businesses in the domain name game, Network Solutions knows a thing or two about Web hosting. After nearly 20 years of helping customers, the company went public in 1997. Then, in 2011, rival Web.com acquired its long-standing competitor, and welcomed Network Solutions into its Jacksonville, Florida, headquarters.
This Network Solutions hosting review takes a look at the company’s various offerings, and lets you know how their tools and services compare with other popular website hosts.
Network Solutions has a robust selection of hosting plans, with options for nearly any current or aspiring webmaster. You can buy a domain, build a blog or e-commerce site, and host it on their servers. Individuals and business owners with basic needs will find plans perfectly suited for them, and those seeking more advanced technology will also discover just what they’re looking for. That’s not to say you won’t encounter some common Network Solutions hosting problems too, especially if you install WordPress.
Many Network Solutions WordPress hosting reviews call out the company for its suspicious pricing practices and dismal customer support. Unfortunately, these complaints extend to Network Solutions Windows hosting and beyond. So while this company may have a long history and a lot to offer, it’s worth digging into the customer reviews to find out if this is the platform for you.
There are many facets to this company’s offerings, and even the most enterprising entrepreneur will find plans to fit her needs. Network Solutions ASP.NET hosting is available for fans of Microsoft’s open-source framework, while Network Solutions’ hosted exchange plans provide excellent options for customers with email needs. There are many other packages offered as well, including virtual private servers and an assortment of marketing tools. If you’re not sure which type of package you should choose, Network Solutions Essential Web Hosting for Unix is a safe bet for most users.
Network Solutions provides hosting technology that works with the latest and most popular operating systems and software packages. This company’s servers provide stability, performance, and security for your website, and offer the ability to scale with your business. No matter what your business needs are now, or where you expect them to be in the coming years, in the technology arena, Network Solutions has you covered.
Each of Network Solutions’ hosting packages includes a free domain, unlimited data transfers, one gigabyte of email storage per account, 100 domain pointers, and traffic analytics provided by AWStats. The differences between the packages basically boil down to storage space and email options. Here’s an overview of Network Solutions’ Web hosting pricing:
|Essential Hosting||Professional Hosting||Premium Hosting|
|Disk Space||300 GB||500 GB||Unlimited|
|Price for 1st Month||$9.96||$13.29||$29.13|
|Price after 1st Month||$15.95/month||$23.95/month||$41.95/month|
Concerning usability, Network Solutions’ interface took a bit of getting used to before I felt like I knew my way around. There is a lot of upselling across this platform, which was a bit of a turn-off, but it didn’t take long for me to tune that stuff out. Otherwise, the user experience was mostly straightforward, but still far less intuitive than the interfaces on some more recently launched website hosts.
Similar to many other long-standing website hosts, including the other Web.com properties, Network Solutions gives users the ability to build their own websites by using a helpful website builder that’s included with all hosting plans. The builder is a solid little tool, though it’s not quite as full-featured as competing website builders offered by more modern companies. Check out the below video for an overview of how Network Solutions’ website builder works.
Each of the 10 best website hosts has its own set of advantages and hindrances. Here’s a quick look at the standout aspects of Network Solutions:
Network Solutions Pros
Network Solutions Cons
Customer support continues to be an area of frustration for many of this company’s users. Live chat isn’t an option with Network Solutions, and email support can be pretty spotty. Telephone support is available around the clock, but that doesn’t mean the department you call will be available to help you.
One of the trickiest things to do with Network Solutions is cancel hosting. This company doesn’t like to lose its users, and that’s very apparent when it comes to their cancellation practices. In order to cancel any services with the company, you need to call them and navigate their automated phone system to reach a support representative. In my experience, while attempting to cancel a product, I was immediately disconnected after stating the reason for my call. I ultimately had to connect to a sales agent in order to be transferred to the correct department.
Before you pull the trigger and get a plan with this company, you might want to spend a few moments looking around for a money-saving Network Solutions Web hosting offer. It’s not at all hard to find an online promotion to take a chunk out of your balance at checkout. There are always Network Solutions Web hosting coupon codes and promos being advertised online—if you know where to look. There are bunch of sites that specialize in aggregating online offers, so head to your favorite search engine to find a Network Solutions hosting coupon to save you some cash.
Although Network Solutions doesn’t offer any free trials or completely free services, the company does bundle many of its products together. For instance, when you purchase a website builder plan from Network Solutions, free hosting is included by default. Conversely, the website builder is a free add-on with any hosting package. This kind of “added bonus” structure is common feature not only with Network Solutions, but also many of the other top hosting companies.
The Network Solutions hosting control panel, also called the cPanel, is where you can manage various aspects of your hosting account. With this back-end system, you can access files, create email addresses, and install server software, among many other tasks. The interface of Network Solutions’ hosting cPanel is relatively run of the mill, so if you’ve ever worked with a website host before, this system should look pretty familiar.
Unlike many of its competitors, this company doesn’t offer dedicated servers for websites that attract an above-average amount of traffic. Rather, virtual private servers (VPS) fill that void. Network Solutions VPS hosting offers many of the advantages of dedicated Web hosting, without the hefty price tag traditionally associated with its committed counterpart. VPS plans come in two flavors, Essential ($40 per month) and Professional ($80 per month). Depending on the number of websites you have, how much storage space you need, and how many email inboxes you require, one of those plans might be right for you.
Shared hosting plans constitute the core component of Network Solutions’ offerings. Many prefer this type of hosting because by sharing resources, costs stay low for everyone. The downside of shared hosting is that websites on the server are less secure than sites on dedicated servers, and they may load slower based on the amount of traffic other sites on your server receive. That said, shared hosting is a fine choice for the majority of small-business owners, who merely need a simple site to explain to the world more about their products and services.
Owners of big name businesses or popular Web portals might instantly dismiss Network Solutions as a candidate for their computing needs, based on the fact that the company doesn’t offer one of the most highly desired hosting options. With Network Solutions, dedicated hosting is simply not available. And although most small businesses just starting out wouldn’t need all that comes along with a dedicated server, established brands and big-budget enterprises will probably want to look elsewhere.
Cloud hosting is one of the latest developments in the hosting world. This type of service provides users with any number of dynamically assigned, decentralized servers based on several determining factors. Cloud hosting is generally considered more reliable than other types of hosting, because the nature of the framework eliminates any single points of failure. Unfortunately for customers of Network Solutions, cloud hosting isn’t an option. So if you’re in desperate need of this particular type of hosting, you’d better explore your other options.
When you choose to serve up your website with help from Network Solutions, email hosting is included as part of the deal. And the deal is actually pretty sweet, since the plans include a ton of email addresses and plenty of storage. Most small-business owners won’t ever use anywhere near the 1,000 email addresses that come with the Essential package, let alone the 2,500 in the Professional plan, but if your company ever undergoes rapid growth, you’ll be ready. And with Network Solutions, hosted email accounts get a gigabyte of storage each, so all of your employees will have sufficient storage to get started.
Though Network Solutions has been on the market far longer than most of its rivals, the company’s practices actually seem to have suffered over time. Yes, Network Solutions’ options are full-featured and their technology is reliable, but unfortunately, their unclear pricing practices and questionable methods of customer support aren’t doing the company any favors. Unless you have a penchant for overpaying, you might be better off exploring your other hosting options before committing to this particular platform.
About Pete GriffinPete is a digital strategist with 15 years of experience in media production
and web project management, in PR and broadcast media environments.
He’s the owner of "We Are Digital Vision," a Cardiff based digital communications
consultancy the offer consultancy, content and design services