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Pickaweb review

Pickaweb lags slightly behind other hosting providers as it doesn’t include some common features

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(Image: © Pickaweb)

Our Verdict

Although decent for UK-based customers only, even they can find better service for cheaper elsewhere.

For

  • Six months free available on annual contracts
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Great knowledge base

Against

  • No plans include an SSL certificate
  • Cheapest plan is extremely limited
  • Plaintext password storage

Pickaweb was one of the first UK web hosting providers, founded in 1999 and the company currently provides services to more than 20,000 customers. However, this number has not changed since January 2014 at least (according to a snapshot by the Wayback Machine from the Internet Archive), meaning they either haven’t seen much growth in the years since, or they haven’t updated the data since (although the website itself has changed its design in the meantime). Their primary customers are small and medium sized businesses, as well as bloggers.

Pickaweb has a single data center in the Enfield borough in London. They claim to have “ultra-high levels of security”, although no other information is available from their website. The network is protected by several layers of security and redundancy. Unfortunately, no other data centers for customers from other countries are available.

Their prices are on the higher side compared to most and they only have the one data center in London so they’re best suited for UK-based customers who can afford their plans. Their money-back guarantee, however, is especially helpful for users who don’t want to commit before trying.

Pricing

Pickaweb offers a fairly wide range of hosting plans (Image credit: Pickaweb)

Pricing

The cheapest Pickaweb web hosting plan starts at £4.99/mo, and only includes 5GB of storage space, 30GB of monthly data transfer, and a single email account. No apps can be installed (this includes WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and any others they offer). 

The Starter plan goes for £7.49/mo and includes 8GB storage space, 50GB monthly data transfer, a free domain with an annual plan, and all of the aforementioned one-click install apps. 

The Pro account (£10.99/mo) removes the data transfer limit and offers 25GB storage space, while the Business plan (£16.99/mo) does not have a storage limit either. 

Payment methods include cards, PayPal, Stripe, and Gocardless, and there is a 30-day money-back guarantee, and users who opt for annual contracts can get the first six months free with a promo code.

Ease of use

To make an account with Pickaweb, users need to fill in their name, address, and phone number. They will receive their login information in an email from the provider -- unfortunately, this is how we learned that passwords are stored in plaintext, which can be a serious security issue in the event of a breach. 

Control Panel

The control panel is where you'll find all of your services, account details and support options (Image credit: Pickaweb)

Once you’re logged in, you gain access to a control panel where you can see your services, your account details, and a help section. Through the purchased service, you can access the cPanel, which makes for an intuitive user experience. To create a website, you can use WordPress (unless you went for the cheapest plan they had), or you can use their free website builder, which is included in every plan. The latter has a decent amount of templates and is relatively easy to use, with drag and drop features and widgets you can use to embed social media posts, YouTube videos, contact forms, etc.

Performance

We used GTmetrix to test the performance of our Pickaweb site (Image credit: GTmetrix)

Speed and experience

The speed of Pickaweb’s main website is pretty average. A GTmetrix test showed that it took 7.1 seconds to fully load the website, which is certainly better than the average 8.1 seconds (admittedly, not by much), but it took 118 requests, which is more than the average 89.

Pickaweb offers 99.9% uptime, but they add that “we usually exceed this.” In theory, this means that over the course of a year, they should have less than 9 hours of downtime, while on a biweekly basis, they can afford around 20 minutes of downtime and still be within those limits. During our own test that spanned two weeks, their main website recorded no downtime at all, so that their promise of exceeding the guaranteed 99.9% probably holds true.

Support

Pickaweb offers 24/7 support through live chat, email, and phone. There is also a link to the cPanel user manual, hosted on cPanel’s website, as well as a knowledge base and hosting video tutorials. However, searching for a term through either of these services returns a combination of videos and written guides. Pickaweb does not offer any sort of user forum.

Many of the written guides have video tutorials embedded and offer in-depth explanations and step-by-step walkthroughs, separated into distinct categories. These range from “Why Is My Website Running Slow? (How To Fix A Slow Site)” to “Install And Configure PhpMyAdmin With Apache In CentOS Server,” meaning most customers are likely to get the help they need. An article titled “Scope Of Pickaweb’s Hosting Support” goes into detail about what their support staff can help customers with and what sort of issues are best handled by others, like specific software vendors.

The competition

Catalyst2 is significantly cheaper than Pickaweb in every aspect, but their limitations are also much more strict. Pickaweb also offers a website builder, which is especially useful for newcomers without an existing website.

eUKhost is slightly cheaper than Pickaweb, but the latter’s knowledge base and customer support are much better. Since both have data centers based in the UK, customers might want to choose between price and customer support in this case.

In terms of price, Bluehost is much cheaper than Pickaweb, especially since it includes an SSL certificate and there is no limit on bandwidth. 

Hostgator and Pickaweb are similar in terms of tutorials and guides in both video and written form. However, Hostgator is cheaper, although it features a price hike after 36 months.

Final verdict

Although Pickaweb offers a decent range of features, it is still extremely expensive compared to other providers, but their services don’t justify their price (especially when it comes to the extremely limited basic plan). Plus, many other features that are extremely common nowadays, like SSL certificates, significantly bump up the price. Most users can find the same features but cheaper at providers such as Bluehost and Hostgator.