Names.co.uk Review: Hosting, Site Builder Tools for Bloggers
Names.co.uk sure looks like the place to go for UK-specific TLDs (top-level domains). What’s more, it offers a wide range of hosting and domain-related services that small business site owners will definitely appreciate.
But is Names.co.uk the right hosting provider for you and your brand? Possibly so — but that might depend on where you’re located and where your brand does business.
Of course, the co.uk domain tells you right away that this is a United Kingdom business, and it does, in fact, focus on customers in UK countries. But there’s much more underneath the hood at Names.co.uk.
Let’s find out more about this domain registration and hosting services provider.
Originally, Names.co.uk was known as Namesco, and it was founded in 2000. You can still find references to Namesco on the Names.co.uk site, including on a few of their Terms and Conditions pages and in some of their end-user/customer agreements.
These days, Names.co.uk is a part of Dada Group, a European umbrella brand focusing on the hosting and advertising industries. While Names.co.uk is (obviously) UK-based, Dada’s offices and other subsidiaries offer services for other European markets, including France, the Netherlands, Spain, Ireland, and Portugal.
Names.co.uk targets its services mostly at non-technology startups and small British businesses. We know this from a number of features the company discloses on its website, including the fact that co.uk domain names are included in the first year’s hosting package, and that users can easily opt in to VAT (Value Added Tax, a quintessentially British tax levied on consumable products sold by British and some European companies).
Names.co.uk’s Hosting Plans
Names.co.uk focuses on shared hosting plans, as well as offering reseller hosting plans.
With its three-tiered series of plans at escalating price points, Names.co.uk offers a choice of either Windows or Linux based servers. All plans enjoy a free domain registration and a free first month, no matter what level you select.
You’ll enjoy 99.99% uptime guarantee for all plans, ensuring your site will stay up and running for your visitors without interruptions.
If you select the entry-level Starter plan, you’ll be allotted 50 GB of storage space; all upper-level plans will enjoy unlimited storage space. All plans come with unlimited monthly bandwidth.
If you’re interested in hosting multiple domains on your Names.co.uk account, you’ll probably want to explore the higher-priced plans. The Starter plan only permits a single domain to be hosted per account. The next level up — the Professional plan — allows five hosted domains. Premium and Reseller accounts get unlimited hosted domains.
FTP and email accounts are tied to the specific plan levels as well. Starter plan customers get ten of each, while Professional subscribers get 100 of each. Premium and Reseller users enjoy unlimited accounts for both FTP and email. All levels get 1 GB mailbox storage.
Names.co.uk servers support a number of popular web-based technologies, including MySQL, PHP, Perl, Ruby, Python, and ASP .NET 4.0.
Names.co.uk uses its own custom control panel that gives the customer access to all the usual functions: email management, bandwidth reports, file management tools, and analytics.
The company’s hosting plans also offer a number of one-click installations of most of the popular scripts and applications, including popular CMS (content management systems) such as WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal; e-commerce platforms and shopping carts like Magento, OpenCart, and PrestaShop; and message board software phpBB.
Sitebuilder Tools and Templates
If you need a little extra help in creating your website, Names.co.uk offers access to sitebuilder app SiteMaker. You can choose from among hundreds of available templates or themes and add your own content and images.
In addition, you can sign up for another tool called CloudSite, which comes with its own hosting and a template/widget-based drag-and-drop site builder, and an e-commerce version called CloudShop, pictured below.
You can also access the ever-popular Softaculous, which is a one-click installation app that’s popular in many hosting control panels. With it, you can install a number of scripts, including several site-maker CMS platforms such as WordPress, Joomla! and more.
With a one-click installation script, you can install a number of e-commerce tools, including popular platform Magento as well as OpenCart and PrestaShop. However, there doesn’t seem to be any additional aspects of the Names.co.uk hosting plans themselves which are geared specifically to e-commerce.
Names.co.uk Performance & Security
Names.co.uk’s data centers are all located in the United Kingdom, including some Telehouse data centers located (presumably) centrally near London, and uses space in a tier 4 Pulsant facility located in Milton Keynes.
By the way, that information is available elsewhere on the web, not on the Names.co.uk website. That in itself tells us that the company really isn’t selling its services on the strength of any claim to cutting-edge technological specifications, but on other benefits to its target audience — things like value, simplicity, and user-friendliness.
On the other hand, the company does guarantee its users 99.99% uptime. That’s not necessarily a daring declaration of technological supremacy in the hosting industry, but it’s something that’s important to small business users so it’s worth considering.
The company offers a detailed support center with an extensive written knowledge base, including a few “Quick Start” guides and video tutorials as well.
You can also secure one-on-one technical assistance either through the ticket-based support system or by direct contact, based on the type of inquiry. Sales and technical support questions can be answered through telephone call Monday through Friday 8 AM through 7 PM, and on weekends between the hours of 10 AM and 6 PM.
Bear in mind these telephone numbers are UK-based, so depending on your location, additional fees may apply.
Finally, you can access customer and technical support directly from your user control panel, which is a nice little extra touch. Most of your technical problems will be encountered while you’re using your hosting administration controls, so it’s a bit of a time-saver not to have to go elsewhere to hunt down a link or a telephone number.
Billing & Cancellation
As far as guarantees go, the only one we can find after searching the Names.co.uk site is the 99.99% uptime guarantee. The terms of this are laid out in the SLA (Service Level Agreement) on the Names.co.uk site. According to those terms, the guarantee applies to all shared hosting and managed dedicated hosting plans, except where there are outstanding amounts due on the account at the time of the downtime.
Scheduled maintenance is also excluded from coverage.
The guarantee also applies to unmanaged and dedicated servers, excluding planned maintenance.
Is Names.co.uk Hosting Right for You?
With its focus on shared hosting and freebie co.uk domain registrations, Names.co.uk is clearly focusing its hosting and web-based services on the UK non-technology small-business market.
One-click installers, very basic hosting offerings, free domain registrations — it’s clear that Names.co.uk’s target market is the solopreneur or entrepreneur without much technological savvy and without the budget to retain the services of heavy-duty coders and developers.
On the one hand, this does result in something of a limited menu of services. You won’t get the broad-based possibilities you’d find with more cutting-edge servers and dedicated hosting, where you can create your own website adventure by installing and configuring apps to your heart’s content. If you’re creating something truly state of the art or even more technically complex than an ecommerce site, you’re probably going to want to keep shopping.
But for the target market — a small business without an on-call IT staff or experienced developer on call, and without the budget or bandwidth to manage complex web technologies just to put up and run a straightforward business site — such simplicity can be a godsend.
It’s to Names.co.uk’s credit that they’ve elected not to skip on the support for this market, given the reduced workload this must result in for their staff and resources. However, it’d be nice to offer a money-back guarantee in addition to the 7-days-a-week service options.
Is Names.co.uk Right for You?
All in all, it’s not a bad fit for UK-based business owners whose needs are simple, especially if they include a budget-friendly one-stop-shop solution. For these folks, Names.co.uk is a decent contender for your hosting needs.
Image Credit: Fancycrave1 | Pixabay