123 Reg Hosting Review: CMS-Focused Hosting for Bloggers
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If you’re a blogger located in the United Kingdom and you’re in the market for cloud-based or virtual hosting services, 123 Reg is a solid contender that competes well on value as well as on features.
The company’s size may reassure both new and experienced bloggers. Moreover, its solutions also include some packages designed for specific content management systems, which may be attractive to impacted users interested in the most common blogging platforms, such as WordPress and Drupal.
123 Reg Company Profile
123 Reg is a domain registration and hosting company based in England that claims to be the UK’s largest accredited registration services provider. By 2016, the company managed over 3.5 million domains and over 1 million UK websites.
The company focuses on small and mid-sized business clients, although individual and personal bloggers can certainly also find value here.
Launched in 2000, 123 Reg was created by Tim Beresford and Jonathan Brealey, the people behind Webfusion Internet Solutions Ltd. which launched in 1997. These days, the company is a member of HEG, which is the biggest privately-owned hosting services provider in Europe.
In 2016, several VPS servers were apparently accidentally deleted by 123 Reg during a period of routine maintenance. The company admitted its error, but users lost hundreds of websites and files. The problem lasted for days, during which time a data breach rendered support tickets visible to customers unconnected to those tickets.
In 2012, hackers apparently located in China targeted 123 Reg in a DDoS attack. While the breach prompted major press attention and lasted over 12 hours total, the company was able to contain the damage from the attack within fifteen minutes.
123 Reg’s corporate mission is to simplify website creation and make it more accessible for people everywhere. The company also emphasizes its environmental commitment in its ecologically friendly datacenter facilities.
As a UK-based company, 123 Reg is clearly focused on UK-based businesses and individuals. Its name suggests a focus on simplified and low-cost domain registration, and that’s certainly a large part of its business.
However, the company also offers a varied range of hosting solutions, including VPS, cloud hosting, and more.
At the entry level, you’ll find four levels of basic shared web hosting plans. They all include domain registration (one to five domains, depending on the level of plan you select), as well as multiple possible websites on a single account on the higher level plans. The top two plans also include a free SSL security certificate for your domain. And in all cases, you can choose between Linux and Windows servers.
In addition, if the basic plans don’t meet your needs, you can choose from three levels of premium hosting plans. These premium plans, the company asserts, offer the convenience and ease of use we associate with shared hosting along with the flexibility and performance of a dedicated server.
The company also offers four tiered plans with VPS (virtual private server) hosting. These plans allow for multiple blog sites to be hosted on VPS servers, along with unmetered data transfer, a range of storage and memory allotments, and your choice of server OS. All of the company’s VPS machines are backed up every 24 hours, making recovery of files a snap.
WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla!: CMS-Specific Hosting
123 Reg offers specialized hosting plans for the three most popular content management systems and blogging platforms: WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla! It doesn’t look like these plans would meet most folks’ definition of “managed hosting,” but the plans do include some features that help both new and experienced bloggers save time and effort, such as automatic updates of core files.
All of these plans include a number of features, such as a free domain registration, email addresses, backup and restoration tools, unmetered bandwidth, simplified one-click installation scripts, and a free site migration if you already have an existing blog.
For each CMS, the company offers a choice of two plans. The lower level plan includes two domains, five websites, and 100 GB of storage. The higher-tier plan includes one domain but unlimited websites as well as a free SSL certificate and 2 GB of dedicated RAM.
cPanel, Site-Builders, and Add-Ons
When you sign up for a 123 Reg hosting plan, you can choose your operating system — Linux or Windows — and also your preferred control panel. The Linux-based cPanel is always a popular choice, or you can select instead Plesk 11, a fairly popular alternative choice that’s available for Linux and Windows.
In addition, you can choose from among over 20 installation scripts when you select a Linux-based plan. These scripts will install a number of platforms and CMS such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla! and more, all relatively simply and quickly, leaving you free to focus on adding content to your new blog.
If your selected plan doesn’t already include one, SSL certificates are available as an add-on purchase from the company.
123 Reg offers a comprehensive knowledge base for many of the more common technical and customer support needs its users may encounter. You’ll find a number of helpful articles on a wide range of topics, including general online business, SSL certificates, cPanel/Plesk and more.
The knowledgebase also includes some helpful video tutorials, if you prefer learning via video over reading.
There is telephone support offered, but that’s for UK-based customers; if you’re outside the UK, you’ll need to use one of the other methods, such as the ticket-based system available on the company’s website.
How is Billing Handled?
Customers can pay 123 Reg invoices using any major credit card, a debit card linked to a bank account, PayPal, or with a credit balance on your account. You can add specific payment methods for future invoicing and select your desired method when paying through your user administration panel.
The company also offers a guarantee but, again, it’s not quite on par with others in the hosting solutions market. It’s only good for seven days, during which time you can cancel over the telephone (again, assuming you’re located in the UK). The refund will not include fees for domain name registration or any other add-on services you might have selected.
After the guarantee period expires, cancellation isn’t quite as simple or direct as with some other providers. You’ll need to provide written notice at least thirty days prior to the date you’d like the account to be canceled.
Is 123 Reg Hosting Right for Your Site?
123 Reg’s focus is clearly on domain registration and user-friendly shared hosting for UK-based customers, including both individuals and small to mid-sized businesses. If this describes your situation, you’re likely to find a level of service and features to suit your needs at 123 Reg. That’s especially true for the budget-conscious or beginning blogger.
The company’s inclusion of domain registration isn’t necessarily groundbreaking or unusual, but it’s a value-added benefit that new customers and bloggers will appreciate.
For UK-based customers, the telephone customer service option is a welcome addition. However, no matter where you’re located, ticket-based systems are certainly ubiquitous and typically are capable of handling the majority of technical issues requiring expert assistance.
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