Certa Hosting is a UK-based web hosting provider that comes relatively cheap and with a wide range of features, but not everything is included in their low-tier plans. Along with excellent customer service and a money-back guarantee no questions asked, they’re a decent option for small to medium-sized businesses, especially those that already have a website.
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Any history of Certa Hosting is incredibly hard to find, and the company only claims to have “over a decade of experience,” or more specifically since 2007, according to their sister company Ocean Telecom (UK) Ltd. The latter is a communications company providing voice, data and video communications solutions that was founded back in 1997. Both of them hail from Oswestry, a small town in England near the Welsh border. Finding information about Certa Hosting is especially complicated since their About section (and any other links under their Useful Links tab at the bottom of the landing page) are acting wonky (we tested this from different devices and browsers to be sure). It’s generally not a good look for a hosting provider.
The location of Certa Hosting’s data center also remains undisclosed, but it is clear that it is somewhere in the UK, most likely in the same town where the company’s office is. Of course, many hosting providers choose not to disclose this information out of security concerns, which is not unusual.
Certa Hosting boasts relatively low prices, which, although advertised without 20% VAT, they still show with VAT which helps make an informed decision.
The two cheapest options, Base and Lite, don’t include a free domain or a free website builder, while Base also excludes Litespeed. Base costs £1.99 per month ($2.60), Lite will set you back £2.99 ($3.90), Pro is £4.99 ($6.51), and Unlimited £9.99 ($13.03).
They also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee and a no contracts, cancel anytime policy. Certa Hosting accepts credit/debit cards and PayPal. Below are the list of services that they offer.
Ease of use
When choosing a plan, you’re prompted to select whether you want a new domain, to transfer one, or to update the nameservers manually to switch to Certa Hosting. You can add extra options to the cart, just know that SSL is not included in the price and costs anywhere from £17.99 to £1499.00 per year depending on which option you choose. When creating an account, you’ll need to give your name, address, phone number, and VAT/tax ID (if registered).
Once you’ve opened your account, you can find the cPanel by clicking on My Services and your chosen hosting plan (as long as you’ve paid for it). Since Certa Hosting uses cPanel, finding your way around will be very easy if you’re already familiar with the layout - and even if you’re not, cPanel makes for an intuitive user experience.
You won’t be able to use their website builder that lets you add widgets and features by dragging and dropping unless you pay extra for it if you’ve purchased the Base or Lite plan. Other, more expensive plans include it by default. However, if you already have a website built by hand you’re free to use the default File Manager. You can also install WordPress, although the process is not as straightforward as we’d prefer - you’ll have to find the Softaculous tab in the cPanel and go from there. There are also other Softaculous apps to be installed, like Joomla or PrestaShop.
Speed and experience
A GTmetrix speed test of Certa Hosting’s main website shows that it is decently quick, but closer to average than many other providers. The time to fully load it is around 7.7 seconds, compared to the average 8, but it takes slightly more requests than usual - 99 when the average is 88.
Every Certa Hosting plan guarantees 99.9% uptime, and we checked to see if this held up. After our two-week long uptime test, in a way, it was - but it must be kept in mind that 99.9% is still lower than, for example, 99.997% - and so Certa Hosting’s main website had a total of nine minutes downtime during this period. Its total uptime came up to 99.95%, slightly better than promised.
When you first visit the Certa Hosting site, you’ll be prompted to enter any questions you might have into their live chat feature. This feature is available 24/7, but you can also submit a support ticket and receive an answer from their team within hours.
There is no forum for user issues and concerns, but they do have a Knowledgebase with a number of articles categorized by topic. A general email address is also available, as is a phone number also guaranteeing 24/7 availability.
The company’s blog also has a number of different articles with tips and advice on running an online business, but it hasn’t been updated since late 2018 - and as its first article was in February 2017, it’s clear that the blog was an attempt that was quickly forgotten.
Both Certa Hosting and Catalyst2 are UK-based providers and budget-friendly options, but Catalyst2 is significantly cheaper. However, Certa Hosting does not impose the bandwidth restrictions that Catalyst2 has in place for each of their plans.
The 123 Reg lowest-tier plan is still more expensive than what Certa Hosting offers, but it includes one free domain, which Certa Hosting only has on higher-end plans. Both use cPanel and have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
The most significant difference between Bluehost and Certa Hosting is that one is US-based, while the other is from the UK. The prices are similar, but Bluehost increases their subscription price after three years, while it remains constant in the case of Certa Hosting. However, Bluehost also offers a free SSL certificate, which can significantly drive up the price of your Certa Hosting plan.
Similar to Bluehost, Hostgator also increases its price after three years, but its free SSL certificate and one domain may make up for the difference. They also include a free website builder with every plan and a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Certa Hosting is a decent enough provider with good prices, but the lack of SSL certificate and website builder in cheaper plans puts a damper on the rest. For users looking for an equally cheap but slightly more beginner-friendly option, Hostgator and Bluehost could be better suited to their needs.
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