These products are a little limited, and prices are above average. The Startup plan supports a single website and comes with 10GB of disk space, 100GB bandwidth, 100 emails and a free Encryption Everywhere SSL certificate for £3.78 ($5) a month in year one, £5.30 ($7.05) afterwards. For comparison, the 1&1 Basic plan gives you 100GB storage, unlimited bandwidth, 500 email accounts and an SSL wildcard certificate for £0.99 ($1.30) a month in year one, £4.99 ($6.65) on renewal.
Elsewhere, very basic managed WordPress hosting starts at £1.89 ($2.50) a month paid annually, but getting just a single email address lifts the price to £2.64 ($3.50), and opting for 10 email addresses bumps it up to a bizarrely high £9.39 ($12.50).
These plans probably won't appeal much to experienced users, but Name.com does sometimes have interesting special offers for users registering new domains. As we write, its Prologue plan will get you a new domain registration with WhoIs Privacy thrown in, email forwarding and a customizable one-page website from under £0.76 ($1) a month. That could appeal to many, though keep in mind that other domain registrars may provide similar services.
Signing up with Name.com works much the same as any other web service you've ever used: choose a plan, click the Order button, enter your details to create an account, and pay via card or PayPal.
The one small difference is that the company validates your identity by using your phone number. This is simple enough, though: click a button, then seconds letter an SMS arrives with a code which you type in a box. We completed the entire signup process in just a couple of minutes.
Next up, the website asked us for our preferred domain, before redirecting us to Name.com's web hosting dashboard. This doesn't have very much functionality, but it gives you some useful status information (plan type and expiration, hosting server name and IP address), as well as providing a DNS Management tool for tweaking your DNS records and providing some links to documentation.
If you're not interested in any of these management details, a cPanel login enables you to access your management console right away, while, conveniently, a Quick Links list allows you to jump directly to your file manager, phpMyAdmin, email account manager and other key website areas.
Creating a site
Logging in to the Name.com management console takes you to an industry-standard cPanel installation, and that's just fine by us. Experienced users will get straightforward access to all the setup features they need, and although beginners might take a while to learn the basics, it's really not difficult, and the power and functionality available make it worth the effort.
If you're looking to install WordPress or some other big-name app, for instance, you're covered by the excellent Softaculous, a comprehensive platform which enables installing hundreds of popular apps with a minimum of clicks.
Existing websites can be uploaded and tweaked from within your browser via cPanel's powerful file manager. This allows you to copy, move, rename or delete files and folders, adjust permissions, view files, edit them and more, but its very Explorer-like interface – complete with handy right-click context menu – means even web novices will probably figure out most of the key details right away.
You need more? There's an option to create FTP accounts, with downloadable configuration files for popular FTP clients (FileZilla, CoreFTP and Cyberduck). Or you can set up cPanel's Web Disk to allow you to browse, upload and download files from WebDAV-enabled software, including Windows Explorer.
If you don't have time to create a full website right now, you could even use cPanel's Site Publisher to quickly get a single page site online. This is just about as basic as any website builder can get – choose a template, enter some content for the various headings and text boxes – but it's also very easy to use and allows you to get something online with minimal effort.
Name.com's hosting is aimed squarely at the beginner, and that means the company needs to provide the quality support its target audience requires.
The company's knowledgebase is decent enough. Menus and links point you to various topics, featured articles highlight common issues and there's a search box to help you track down what you need.
We tried a few test searches without much success. The engine regularly reported finding large numbers of articles (185 for 'email'), but some of our hits seemed to be repeats of the same documents. The most relevant articles don't often appear at the top of the list, so for example our top four 'email' results included three articles on MX records, and one on website contact forms.
The news improves once you find the article you need. There's not a lot of detail, but they cover the core points, with screenshots to point you in the right direction, and some video tutorials if you prefer.
There's a support team to deal with more complex queries. They're available via telephone and email, but only for a limited number of hours (8am to 6pm phone, 10am to 5pm chat), and as this is Mountain Time in Denver, it may be a little late for some European callers (chat is available 5pm to midnight in the UK during British Summer Time.)
You can also raise a support ticket, often a preferable route as it's easier to include screenshots or precise technical details.
We tried this, asking whether our web hosting plan had a temporary testing domain (like 'username.name.com') which we could use to access the website, until our domain was set up. Almost seven hours later a reply arrived, saying no, but bizarrely suggesting we create a subdomain, develop our site there, and then clone it to the main domain when it was ready.
This wouldn't help us at all – we could develop our site already, our question was about how we accessed it without our final domain – and although we can't judge Name.com's support on a single answer, it did leave us wondering how they would deal with more complicated queries.
The mood picked up a little at the end of the review, with our final performance tests. These showed excellent speeds from connections to US servers, although performance was more average (though still acceptable) from everywhere else.
Name.com's shared hosting plans don't make any major mistakes, they just don't give you enough power for the price you're paying. You'll find much better value elsewhere.
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