Gandi was founded in 1999 and is based in France. They’re currently the biggest domain name registrar in France, sixth in Europe, and among the top 15 worldwide. Although they have a wide variety of people and businesses as their clients, arguably the biggest are institutions belonging to the European Union, but also some large, multinational corporations. The company has offices in France, the US, Canada, Luxembourg, Singapore, and Taiwan.
According to the company’s website, as of April 2019, they have managed around 2.4 million domain names from all over the world - 192 countries, to be specific. An interesting part of their website is the “No bullsh*t” page, which they claim is their company policy, and any users with concerns that they might not be holding to that are free to email them through a special nobullshit email address.
- Want to try Gandi? Check out the website here
Gandi has been in the web hosting business for more than two decades and offers a decent range of features at fair prices, as well as a relatively generous free trial which lets users upgrade or downgrade as they see fit without ever providing credit card details. On the other hand, setting up can be a little complicated for complete newbies, but this is a relatively small obstacle.
While Gandi does offer a discount for new users, their usual prices are actually more prominently displayed, so users know what’s in store for them.
The cheapest web hosting plan is $3.75 (€3.60) with the welcome offer for the first year (double the price otherwise), and includes two sites and a CPU up to 256 MB. Those two factors are the only ones that change with a price increase.
Each plan also includes expandable storage, where you pay an additional $.25 (€0.22) per GB, free SSL certificates, and unlimited bandwidth. All prices include VAT. There is a 10-day free trial available and the company accepts credit/debit cards.
Ease of use
When creating an account with Gandi, you’ll have to provide your name, address, and phone number. You will have to verify your email address before you can complete your purchase, and if you don’t do that within a week, your email address will be automatically blocked. However, even after verifying our email address, it took a bit until we were able to complete the order of a free 10-day trial. The trial itself includes the same features as their Medium pack and it can be resized for free within the trial period. You are able to choose whether you want a WordPress-ready configuration or a custom one, as well as whether you want a data center in France or in Luxembourg.
When setting up your website, you’ll have to provide your domain address and Gandi will automatically validate your ownership of the domain in the background. Otherwise you can follow a link through which you can purchase a domain (not included in their plans). If they’re unable to validate ownership, you’ll need to add their information - a single line - to your DNS records.
If you leave your computer, Gandi will log you out after a while as a precautionary measure, which can definitely be useful. WordPress installation is only a click away and is a great way to deploy your website. Otherwise, you’re free to use their SFTP to upload your website - unfortunately, there is no browser-based File Manager like what you’d find in a cPanel.
Speed and experience
When it comes to speed, a GTmetrix test on Gandi’s main site shows that if that is any indication of their general performance, users can be extremely satisfied with their performance. The time to fully load the site was 2.6 seconds - three times faster than the average 8 seconds - and it took a mere 24 requests where the average is again more than triple that at 88.
When it comes to uptime, Gandi makes no explicit promises openly, but their Simple Hosting contract states that they guarantee an uptime of 99.95% per month. If their downtime is not part of their maintenance, security updates, or cases of force majeure, you may be entitled to compensation. During our two-week long test of their main website, we recorded no downtime at all, but many oscillations in response speed over the course of 24 hours -- none of them critical, but still notable.
Although Gandi offers a FAQ section and a Knowledgebase that covers a decent amount of ground, the only way to actually contact the support team is through a ticket - no phone number or live chat available. Neither the FAQ section nor the Knowledgebase are necessarily beginner-friendly, as they assume you already know your way around what needs to be done to prep your domain to be transferred to Gandi, for example. Since some domains need unlocking before they’re transferred, Gandi simply links the relevant documentation and how-to guides from each provider.
However, if you’re an experienced user, you might find more help than you’d expect at Gandi. Some questions, for example in the Domain Names section, are grouped together under the “Advanced Users” tab and include information like everything you need to know about Gandi’s secondary nameserver, configuration templates, and glue records, among others.
Although Aruba is cheaper than Gandi, its plans are also more rigid, and their website is not completely translated to English which can present a problem to people who don’t know Italian.
Bluehost and Gandi are similar in terms of price, but Bluehost’s price hike happens only after three years, instead of the single year offer that Gandi has.
Gandi and Hostgator are similar in terms of price and features, but the latter offers a more beginner-friendly experience, while Gandi tends to be more flexible with their plans.
Both Arsys and Gandi offer a similar price, but Arsys also throws in a free domain for the first year, as well as a 30-day free trial. However, Gandi also offers expandable storage, which is a relatively rare occurrence.
Gandi is a good hosting provider for relatively advanced users with great value for money and flexible plans, especially with their free trial that can be used to familiarize yourself with their interface. However, beginners may struggle less with the likes of Hostgator or Bluehost.
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