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It was nice to read that Eco Web Hosting takes various measures to reduce its carbon footprint, but I was surprised to find that it actually has a lot more to offer. There’s plenty to like about its hosting packages, but I did find that its performance didn’t quite meet the company’s claims. In addition, some of its plans are on the pricey side.
Eco Web Hosting works to minimize the environmental impact of its services by partnering with tree-planting organisations to offset carbon emissions, embracing a green work environment for its staff, and using energy-efficient servers. But what about the quality of the hosting itself?
Eco Web Hosting is UK-based and doesn’t have a data centre outside of the UK, so it’s not really suitable if your audience is more international. If your target audience is UK-based, though, Eco Web Hosting has a lot to offer. In fact, it offers even more than some of its rivals.
Because its data centres are located in London and Derby (in the British Midlands), Eco Web Hosting can (theoretically) deliver decent performance no matter where in the UK your visitors are located. Eco Web Hosting isn’t a match for a brand like Hostinger, which offers excellent performance worldwide, and has data centers in the UK.
It also offers a range of different hosting types. It has three different shared hosting plans, four managed WordPress hosting plans, and you can also opt for VPS hosting (at much lower prices than many other UK hosts). Keep in mind, though, that there is no option to purchase a dedicated server.
For this review, I signed up for one of the shared hosting plans and thoroughly evaluated everything from features to customer service, with a particular focus on performance. I spent three months testing everything in order to bring you this in-depth review of what it’s really like to host your website with Eco Web Hosting.
To sum up my experience with Eco Web Hosting in a sentence or two, there’s definitely a lot to like about this host, but its performance can be sluggish at times. Additionally, its customer service is a bit hit-and-miss. Let’s start by looking at some of Eco Web Hosting’s best features.
Eco Web Hosting includes a broad range of features in its plans. I found all the essentials that I look for, plus some premium, value-added features that I was pleased to see.
Unlike some UK-based hosts, Eco Web Hosting’s shared hosting and managed WordPress plans all come with free Let’s Encrypt wildcard SSL certificates, which can secure subdomains (blog.example.com, for example) as well as your main domain name.
All Eco Web Hosting’s plans include storage on fast SSD, but only the top-tier managed WordPress hosting plan will give you unlimited space. When you install more than one website on your hosting plan, Eco Web hosting allocates a specific amount of SSD storage space to each one, rather than sharing it across all of the websites. The Essential shared hosting plan and the Basic Managed WordPress plan will let you host a single website. All the others give you the option to host multiple sites.
Bandwidth is limited on the Essential and Professional shared hosting plans (50GB and 100GB per month respectively), but all other hosting plans provide unlimited bandwidth. If you choose to pay annually for your hosting, no matter which plan you choose, you’ll also receive a free domain name for the first year. However, you can only choose from certain domain extensions (including .com, .org, .biz, and .net).
One thing the shared hosting plans are lacking is any kind of automatic backup feature. This means that you’re actually better off choosing one of the managed WordPress hosting plans instead, because backups are included, as are other valuable features like NGINX Edge caching for enhanced speed and automatic WordPress updates.
Managed WordPress Hosting
With a managed WordPress plan, you’ll benefit from automatic updates, backups, and security taken care of by the Eco Web Hosting experts. The managed WordPress hosting plans also include a staging area for testing changes without affecting your live site, and servers that are optimized to counteract the effect WordPress can have on website speed.
Global Content Delivery Network (CDN)
All of the shared and managed WordPress plans (except the Essential plan) include a global Content Delivery Network that improves the speed and performance of your website. The CDN also comes with other tools to ensure that your website performs at optimal levels. In addition, Eco Web Hosting bundles the StackCache plugin with every WordPress installation for faster delivery of static content on your website.
If you currently have a website hosted elsewhere, you can use Eco Web Hosting’s free migration service by submitting a request form from your dashboard. You will need to know the cPanel login details for your existing website to complete the migration successfully.
Autoscaling of Resources
Unlike some shared hosting providers that tend to “throttle” websites that use a lot of bandwidth at once, Eco Web Hosting actually has an autoscaling system that allocates more resources to your website if you experience a sudden surge in traffic. This means your website is less likely to experience downtime and your visitors won’t experience slower page loading speeds.
When I signed up for my account with Eco Web Hosting, the purchasing process was pretty straightforward, but I found the set-up process confusing. After completing the purchase, I logged into my account dashboard and still couldn’t see my hosting package anywhere. There were links for managing my hosting package, but when I clicked there, it said I had no hosting packages and instead asked if I wanted to create one.
I reached out to customer support and within minutes received a response that you actually have to manually create your hosting packages in your dashboard – they don’t appear automatically. I’ve never encountered this kind of setup with shared hosting before, and it’s not at all beginner-friendly.
It also took over an hour to receive my welcome email – and you can’t create hosting packages until after that’s been received. My hosting experience with Eco Web Hosting didn’t start off on the right foot, but thankfully, things improved once I was able to create my hosting package.
Managing Your Account and Using the Control Panel
I appreciated the account dashboard with the helpful links in the sidebar, as well as the clear icons. The dashboard is easy to navigate and it’s easy to find the tools that you need.
Eco Web Hosting doesn’t use the traditional cPanel that many hosts use for managing your hosting space. Instead, its hosting packages use StackCP, which is actually much more user-friendly than cPanel because it is more streamlined.
Installing WordPress is a simple process, as StackCP includes a basic one-click installer. However, StackCP doesn’t use the Softaculous one-click installer, which means you can’t take advantage of Softaculous’ options for automatic WordPress updates and backups. Those features are only available if you choose one of Eco Web Hosting’s managed WordPress plans.
Installing WordPress with the StackCP one-click installer only took a few minutes, but I didn’t particularly like having to wait to configure the installation after receiving the “installation complete” notification. You can’t set up your username, password, and site title until you receive this notification, which means installing WordPress is not actually a one-click process.
Performance is one of my top priorities when I’m evaluating web hosts. Like most of its rivals, Eco Web Hosting makes bold claims about its speed – and based on my previous experience with other hosts, these claims are often outrageously exaggerated.
To summarise Eco Web Hosting’s performance, it’s definitely not the fastest host I’ve tested, but it still delivers pretty good page loading speeds. On average, its fully loaded page speed was around 1.4 seconds – that’s two times faster than the three seconds that Google recommends for page loading speeds. It achieved a decent score for reliability (uptime), too, with an average of 99.98%, well above the minimum of 99.9%.
When I test web hosts, I don’t simply test the performance based on a blank WordPress installation, which is what some review websites do. Instead, after installing WordPress on the Essential hosting plan, I uploaded a customized SimpleShift one-page website theme (the same one I use to test all web hosts). I’m not interested in how well a blank website performs, because, well, your goal isn’t a blank website, is it?
The custom theme I use is pre-designed with text and HD non-optimized images to replicate a simple landing page. I use images that aren’t pre-optimized so I can test any optimization features included (such as bundled plugins) or implement any advice I get when I contact the hosts for optimization tips.If you want the full details of how we test web hosts at Website Planet, you can check out this article.
My test website was online for several months, and was available at autonomous-shoes-uk-r.co.uk. After testing web hosts, we typically remove the site from the servers to make sure a host can’t manipulate the performance results after the review has been published.
GTmetrixGTmetrix is one of my favourite tools for testing website performance because of the different metrics it shows. I always run the tests multiple times and at various times of day to see how the web host’s performance fluctuates at peak times. Eco Web Hosting’s results ranged between 1.1 seconds and 2.2 seconds, with an average of 1.4 seconds. Even its slowest page loading speed is well within Google’s recommended speed of three seconds.
Although its page loading speed is pretty decent, it’s definitely not the fastest UK host I’ve tested (the fastest was consistently loading within 0.4-0.6 seconds). In fact, there were only a few hosts that tested slower than Eco Web Hosting.
The other important metrics that GTmetrix shows are the performance scores. What I found unusual about the scores for Eco Web Hosting was the difference between the PageSpeed and YSlow scores (B/85% and C/73% respectively). Web hosts usually have similar rankings for their PageSpeed and YSlow scores (around five percentage points), but with Eco Web Hosting, there was a difference of 12 percentage points between the two scores.
In spite of this, Eco Web Hosting’s performance scores are actually above average compared to many of the UK hosts that I’ve tested. Its PageSpeed score was particularly impressive, andindicates that Eco Web Hosting’s servers are better optimized for WordPress than some of its rivals.
Sucuri Load Time Tester
I use the Sucuri Load Time Tester to evaluate the performance of web hosts from different test servers around the world. The results from servers located in the UK and Northern Europe are similar to the results from GTmetrix, but for other locations in the world, page loading speeds are somewhat slower.
But in most cases, the page loaded in less than three seconds, so Eco Web Hosting is still a viable option if you have international visitors as well as UK-based visitors to your website.
UptimeRobotMy final performance test was using UptimeRobot to monitor the reliability of Eco Web Hosting over a period of three months. Eco Web Hosting scored a very respectable 99.98%, which equates to only a few minutes of downtime each month. It achieved one of the best reliability/uptime scores out of all the UK hosts I tested.
Expert Support – But Live Chat Isn’t Always Available
Eco Web Hosting offers two support options: 24/7 ticket support and live chat during regular business hours. There is a telephone number provided, but this is for sales and billing enquiries only; you can’t access technical support via telephone.
I had some good experiences with Eco Web Hosting’s live chat. However, Eco Web Hosting advertises that its live chat is available Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 5:30 pm, but on several occasions when I visited the website during those hours, there was no live chat option.
On other occasions, the live chat button appeared on the sales pages, but when I started a chat to ask a question, I didn’t even receive an automatic response and the chat window abruptly closed.
When live chat is available, however, the support agents are helpful and quick to respond to queries.
For ticket support, Eco Web Hosting states that you can expect to get a response to your query within 30 minutes. That’s an impressive claim, considering the majority of hosts I’ve tested tend to take at least an hour (or, often, several hours) to respond.
I put this claim to the test on several different occasions and on two out of five occasions, Eco Web Hosting responded to my ticket requests in around ten minutes.
The other three occasions, however, were not so impressive. Despite the claim of 24/7 ticket support, when I submitted a ticket at 23:48, I didn’t receive a response until 9:08 the following morning. My other support tickets took around an hour and fifteen minutes for a response. Not terrible, but certainly not the 30-minute timeframe that I was looking forward to.
The quality of the support, though, was very good. The support agents always gave me detailed information and/or quickly resolved any issues that I had. Compared to many of the UK hosts that I tested, Eco Web Hosting’s support was definitely superior.
Packages to Suit All Needs – But Some Options are Pricey
From a new business looking to host a basic website to an agency hosting multiple websites, Eco Web Hosting seems to offer a package for everyone. However, some of Eco Web Hosting’s packages are not particularly budget-friendly, especiallythe managed WordPress plans.
You’ll want to keep in mind that the lowest-priced shared hosting package doesn’t include the global CDN. I’d recommend choosing the Basic WordPress plan instead, which offers the global CDN, more bandwidth, storage space, backups, and more, for only a few additional pounds per month.
Overall, the managed WordPress plans offer more value and features than the shared hosting plans. The only exception to that assessment is if you need more than three websites – the cost for WordPress plans for five or unlimited websites jumps massively.
The advertised prices don’t include VAT, so 20% tax will be added when you check out. Other than that, there are no check-out surprises (like pre-selected add-ons) that you’ll sometimes encounter with web hosts. You can pay via PayPal or any major credit card, and you have the option to pay monthly or annually, though you won’t get the free domain name if you choose to pay monthly.
Eco Web Hosting offers a generous money-back guarantee period of 45 days. If you change your mind or find that Eco Web Hosting isn’t right for you, you can cancel your plan and get a refund (minus the cost of the domain name if you chose the annual payment option).
Cancelling Your Account
Eco Web Hosting doesn’t provide a cancellation button, form, or link, so I used the live chat to inquire about cancelling my hosting plan. Luckily, the live chat was available and I got a quick response. The chat agent raised a support ticket for me and the cancellation team turned off auto-renewal for my monthly plan. It was a straightforward process that only took a few minutes.
I discovered later that I could simply turn off auto-renewal for my plan and domain in the renewals manager panel in my account dashboard. However, if you’re on an annual plan and want your website and files deleted before the end of your plan, you’ll need to speak with the cancellations team via ticket support or chat to have them fully cancel your account. Otherwise, your website and files will be deleted around 14 days after your hosting plan expires.
Sustainability and environmental-friendliness will be an increasingly important element when it comes to web hosting, but you won’t want your host to skimp on features, performance or value. Eco Web Hosting’s plans offer a lot of features that I love, especially with the managed WordPress plans, and its performance scores beat out some of its UK competitors. But the live chat availability (or lack thereof) was disappointing and the pricing for some of the WordPress plans is fairly expensive if you’re on a budget.
If you’re just starting out, then I’d suggest the Basic WordPress plan, as it offers more value at the same price as the Professional shared hosting plan. If you need more than one website, the Business WordPress plan may stretch your budget, but offers more features than the Ultimate shared hosting plan.
For five or more websites, though, Eco Web Hosting gets expensive and you’ll find other hosts (like Hostinger, which also has UK data centres) that offer the same features at a lower price.
Ari is passionate about web hosting and design and has been building websites with WordPress for over ten years. When he’s not testing web hosts, you’re likely to find him trying (in vain) to train his three beagles (who are better at training him than he is them!)