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OVH web hosting review

Robust, reliable European web hosting company, but it's not exactly beginner-friendly

21:9 Hero
(Image: © OVH)

Our Verdict

OVH offers great value multi-domain hosting, but beginners beware – customer support is poor.

For

  • Some very low prices
  • Cheap multi-domain support
  • Expert-level features

Against

  • 1-click install supports 4 apps only
  • Intimidating control panel
  • Terrible support website
  • Some French language interface elements

OVH was founded in 1999 by Octave Claba and is headquartered in France. In spite of the fact that they’re not necessarily a household name, they are the largest web hosting provider in Europe today, the third largest in the world based on physical servers, and it has the world's largest data center in terms of surface area.

In December 2010, it was revealed that they were the hosting provider for WikiLeaks. However, they were also named the second-worst internet service provider when it comes to the proliferation of spam by The Spamhaus Project in 2019.

As of 2020, OVH has 30 data centers all over the world, with more to come. All of their data centers and accompanying equipment belong directly to them, meaning they’re not leasing anything from providers, as is the case with many others. They also claim to have an additional 34 points of presence all over the globe.

OVH's prices are extremely competitive and the plans include more than with most other providers, but the support section needs significantly more work. They’re a great choice for slightly more experienced users who don’t need help with the basics.

Pricing

OVH has a variety of plans available (Image credit: OVH)

Pricing

OVH prices start relatively low: the Personal plan, which is mostly geared towards individuals, starts at $3.99 (€1.59) per month for an annual contract and includes support for 5 websites, a domain name that’s free for the first year, 100GB disk space, and WordPress optimization. 

The next two plans are filed under Business Hosting. The Professional plan costs $6.99 (€3.49) per month, with 250GB storage and 10 websites, while the Performance plan starts at $11.99 (€9.99) per month and allows clients to add more cores and RAM, increasing the prices accordingly. There’s also a Developer plan that starts at the same point and allows similar flexibility. 

All prices exclude VAT and OVH accepts cards and PayPal, but does not offer refunds or free trials.

Control Panel

Manage your account with a Sunrise control panel for free or pay extra each month to use Plesk instead (Image credit: OVH)

Ease of use

Signing up with OVH is quite straightforward: they will need your name, phone number, and address. After verifying your email address, you gain access to their control panel, from which you can complete your purchase if you haven’t done so already. Not everything is completely translated from French, but finding your way around isn’t too difficult. A special section of the control panel is called Sunrise with a number of new products and services you can preview, but most of them are still in French. Your login authorization occasionally runs out so you’ll have to login again.

Creating a website is pretty simple if you’re using WordPress, which is available as a one-click install no matter which plan you have purchased. They have no website builder of their own that would include dragging and dropping features and ready-made templates. You can, however, upload your website through FTP or a file manager that acts as a web-based FTP client if you prefer. 

If you would prefer another hosting control panel, Plesk is available as a separate hosting option with a total of three plans, starting from $15.40 (€12.99) per month (excluding VAT), but all of them also include a Web PRO license and reseller hosting options. Meanwhile, cPanel is only available through dedicated server hosting plans, which start at $55.68 (€47.49) per month (excluding VAT). This means that if you’re going for shared hosting, you’ll have to make do with their proprietary control panel that tends to be slightly less intuitive and slow-loading at times.

Performance

We used GTmetrix to measure the performance of our OVH site (Image credit: GTmetrix)

Speed and experience

Although the abundance of data centers would indicate great speeds, this doesn’t seem to hold true for OVH’s main website: a GTmetrix test shows that it takes 9.2 seconds for it to fully load, whereas the average is 8.3 seconds. Truth be told, the 50 requests (as opposed to the average 89) is still a step in the right direction. 

When it comes to uptime, OVH claims their data centers are designed to Tier III+ standards - meaning the maximum amount of downtime on an annual basis would be 1.6 hours, translating to 99.982% uptime. Our two-week-long uptime test of their main website showed no downtime at all, which means they’re well on their way to hold their promise.

Support

Unfortunately for beginners, this is where OVH falters. There is a Help & Support Centre, with featured FAQ being “Why has OVHcloud changed its customer support?” and “How do I find my OVHcloud username?”, but is generally very poorly handled. For example, a search for the term “refund” returns a single article: “What do I do if my OVHcloud account has been hacked?” 

OVH offers four levels of support: standard (available by default), premium (€50.00 ex. VAT/mo), business (from €250 ex. VAT/mo), and enterprise (callback required to get a quote). 

There is no live chat currently available, although their website states it’s “coming soon.” Users can either submit a ticket or send an email, but there are also local phone numbers for certain supported countries. There is also a community forum, but even some months-old questions weren’t answered.

The competition

Bluehost approaches the issue of customer support significantly better than OVH and their prices are similar, although the former increases its costs after three years, and they don’t offer the data centers around the world that OVH does.

For complete newbies, Hostgator is one of the best providers, with video tutorials and in-depth written guides. But OVH is generally more reliable and offers a better range of features.

As a fellow French hosting provider, Gandi is significantly more expensive, but they also offer a 10-day free trial, no strings attached. Both providers are considered slightly outside a beginner’s comfort zone, however.

Catalyst2 is one of the cheapest hosting providers in general, but their product is also extremely limited (only 500MB disk space for the lowest plan whereas OVH offers at least 100GB). However, Catalyst2 does offer great customer support.

Final verdict

Although OVH offers a decent range of features at absolutely bargain prices, their below-average support could be a dealbreaker for newcomers. Coupled with incomplete translations from French, many users without a tech background may be better off choosing Hostgator or Bluehost as their hosting provider.