Since its inception in 2002, Krystal has grown into the largest independent web hosting provider in the UK, delivering a wide variety of shared, managed, reseller, VPS, and dedicated server solutions. With its lightning-fast and secure servers, feature-rich plans, and ethical business practices, Krystal is highly recommended for anyone trying to find an honest host in the UK.
100% green hosting
Transparent payment policy
99.99% uptime guarantee backed by SLA
30-day free trial with managed WordPress solutions
60-day money-back guarantee with the rest of them
Worldwide coverage comes at a cost
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Krystal Hosting began as the brainchild of a 17 year-old Simon Blackler. While spending his summer vacation developing a fan site for an upcoming video game and learning how to build it in that process, he faced the problem of finding a suitable web hosting service. After being annoyed with a number of overpriced hosting solutions with dreadful performance on the UK market, he came up with the idea of offering an “honest, reliable, and personal” alternative.
Krystal Hosting was then founded in 2002 and has since become one of the largest independent web hosts in the UK which is currently hosting about 200,000 websites. Today, they offer a variety of hosting solutions, from standard shared hosting to managed WordPress, cloud VPS, and reseller hosting.
- Want to try Krystal Hosting? Check out the website here
As an ethical alternative to mainstream hosting providers at the time (a lot have become much better in terms for the environment). Krystal set out with a creed consisting of nine statements, which essentially cover the mission statement, "Currently the web hosting industry is dominated by two faceless corporations, who have gobbled up the competition to create a situation that is unfair to customers and harmful to the planet. But, we're here to show that there is a different way."
Krystal is headquartered in London (the UK) from where it maintains and manages its tier 1 data centers and over 220,000 websites for more than 30,000 customers. All of their data centers are 100% powered by green renewable energy, which means that their carbon footprint is reduced to a minimum and that our planet should be better with them around.
Krystal’s official site is refreshingly modern, well-organized, user-friendly, and pretty. The same is true about its official blog, which is chock full of articles written in an interesting, informative, and somewhat witty way.
As for social networking sites, Krystal can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Plans and pricing
Krystal offers a nice variety of web hosting solutions starting with simple shared hosting and application hosting (WordPress, Joomla, Magento, Opencart, PrestaShop, and Drupal), in addition to managed WordPress and advanced solutions such as reseller, VPS, and dedicated server hosting.
If a tight budget is one of your concerns, worry not. Although Krystal is not the most budget-friendly option on the market, it offers a few reasonably priced packages that come overloaded with features and with no limitations on bandwidth, databases, e-mails, subdomains, parked domains, and email aliases. All three shared hosting packages (Amethyst, Ruby, and Sapphire) also include free SSL certificates (via LetsEncrypt), one-click installers (Softaculous and Installatron), a user-friendly website builder (with no limitation on page/site numbers), an industry-leading cPanel, 24/7 support and 99.99% uptime guarantee.
All of Krystal’s hosting solutions come with a confident 60-day money-back guarantee, except for dedicated server plans (and understandably so), while with managed WordPress plans you can get a 30-day free trial.
Available payment methods with Krystal include credit/debit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, and American Express) and PayPal.
Ease of use
New users are prompted to create an account with Krystal, which requires a form to be filled out that includes personal information, payment details, and a password.
Accounts are set up in an instant, as they promised. We picked Onyx. Onyx is a fully managed plan, which means there is always someone from the technical team on the watch in case you get stuck or have any questions.
Krystal’s cloud-based shared hosting plans come with the industry-standard cPanel (which is always good news), a one-click installer with a myriad of available apps (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and many more), and a drag-and-drop builder. With all these tools you’ll be able to create a compelling site without writing a single line of code.
Speed and experience
We didn't test a website that we hosted on Krystal but we did the next best thing. We tested the Krystal website itself. Undoubtedly, this will be hosted on Krystal and quite important for them. If there's any issue on this site, not much can be said for what you host on them. As for uptime, Krystal guarantees 99.99% at all times. After getting UptimeRobot to monitor their main site for two weeks without a break, we got a glimpse of what you can expect to get while hosting with Krystal, and that is exactly what they promised. During our test, not a single second of downtime was recorded whatsoever and no major oscillations in response time to boot, which paints a picture of pretty presentable performance.
Seeking support on Krystal’s main site will give you a few options including opening a support ticket, starting a live chat, giving them a ring (if you are their client), or searching through the knowledgebase. The ticketing system is available round-the-clock but you can expect to get a reply every day from 6 AM till midnight. The same hours apply for the live chat, while telephone support can be reached Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 8 PM. However, if you’ve opted for one of their premium packages, emergency phone support will be available for you 24/7.
We tried the live support and the responses were lazy. We asked if they have 24/7 support to see how much effort they would put into their reply. Their answer, after a short wait, was, "You can obtain support via live chat (9am to 6:00pm), support ticket (24/7 submission - manned 6am - midnight) or phone (Monday - Friday 9am - 8pm and 24/7 emergency phone support)."
We found this a little misleading as we thought 24/7 emergency support is only covered in the more expensive plans.
So, we asked if this support is available for all plans. A Krystal employee responded, "That would be on the business packages only, as mentioned at https://help.krystal.uk/getting-started/what-support-is-included-with-my-hosting."
This still didn't really answer our question as there was no indication as to what "business packages" are (there are no plans labelled as business plans). The page also didn't explain whether 24/7 emergency support is available for VPS plans and on the VPS pages it wasn't immediately clear either.
After some digging we worked out that 24/7 emergency support is also available for all VPS plans but only with a management add-on that costs an extra £80/mo.
We also found that chat history is not handed over between shifts for chat support. This meant that we had to explain our query again only ten minutes after we first opened the chat.
Overall, we were underwhelmed by the support received and the help pages for what should have been a rather simple query.
Krystal provides a knowledgebase on the official site to help you find the best self-help option. It compiles over 300 easy-to-follow how-tos divided into 18 interconnected categories. At the end of each article, users are welcomed to leave a grade with a fitting emoji (charmed, confused, or a disappointed). As for our impression, we were pretty much charmed with everything we saw there.
If you are looking for an eco-friendly host with a similar scope of cloud-based products as Krystal’s, but with data centers across four continents, SiteGround might be a good pick. The hosts are remarkably similar in terms of pricing and features, however, SiteGround has the edge with its worldwide infrastructure.
Like Krystal, GreenGeeks is a likable beginner-friendly host that cares about the environment. However, since it offers data center locations in the USA and Canada (in addition to Europe), it may be more attractive to the wider audience.
Bluehost is another budget-friendly albeit US-based alternative to all the above, yet its US-based data centers don’t offer much flexibility in terms of location (unlike with SiteGround and GreenGeeks). Additionally, after a few years of hosting with Bluehost, the price of your package will dramatically increase, which may catch you unaware. There will be no such surprises with Krystal.
Much like Bluehost, HostGator is a US-based host offering a myriad of hosting options, features, and free apps for an attractive price. Unfortunately, just like Bluehost, it provides data centers in the USA only. Nevertheless, since all of these web hosting providers offer a money-back guarantee (Krystal’s is valid for 60 days), you can check them all out without the need to worry about wasting your money.
Krystal’s superiority in the UK market comes from its commitment to speed, stability, and sustainability. They also have a good reputation across multiple review sites and really nice business practices. For example, they offer free hosting to UK charities and start-ups in their first year.
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James has been tinkering around with tech since a young teen. He started by soldering radios together and progressed into programming microcontrollers and building basic websites as a hobby. Professionally, James worked editing technical documentation for tech giants like Alibaba and Tencent before moving over to TechRadar. Over the course of his career he’s edited everything from the UI of the most popular social media apps to the comments in backend code.
Now, James enjoys writing and editing web hosting and eCommerce pages helping people navigate through the options to find the most suitable solution for them.