What You See Isn’t Always What You Get
Go4Hosting is a small hosting company that simply isn’t a match for big brands like Hostinger. The bigger hosting companies simply offer a better price for similar configuration.
Go4Hosting was established in 2000 with the goal of providing cost-effective hosting solutions to all kinds of users. Currently working with 10,000 customers and operating worldwide with versions of its website available for 13 countries, India-based Go4Hosting has data centers in India and partners with data centers in the U.S.
From a 99.95% uptime guarantee and SSD storage to 24/7 customer service, Go4Hosting appears to offer everything you need (and more) to launch a successful website. However, once you start exploring deeper, the reality is that its offerings are not so robust.
To give you a sneak preview, for instance, the menu displays an array of services (such as shared hosting or reseller hosting), but after confirming with customer service, Go4Hosting only actually sells dedicated server rentals and virtual private server (VPS) plans. (And, unless explicitly mentioned elsewhere, it’s these services I’m focusing on for this review.)
If you’re thinking, so what, Go4Hosting has a few outdated products on its menu, you’d be right. I’ve reviewed hosts with much worse misinformation on their websites, but the problems with Go4Hosting, unfortunately, run far deeper.
The question is, do the pros outweigh the cons? Does Go4Hosting meet your requirements so well that you can overlook some pretty serious flaws?
Let’s find out.
All the usual features are available, albeit usually for an additional fee. For instance, SSL certificates, backup and recovery solutions, and a cloud content delivery network (CDN) are all available as paid add-ons.
Go4Hosting only provides the server infrastructure, so you won’t find a website building tool, but for an additional monthly fee, you can ask them to add a Softaculous one-click installer (IF the team is able to install it… you can read more about that here).
Tier III Data Centers
You can expect Tier III-compliant data centers with temperature control systems, dual power supplies, and robust backup and recovery systems from Go4Hosting. Essentially, it should mean you get 99.982% uptime, or no more than 1.6 hours of downtime per year.
Windows or Linux Operating System
Choose between Linux or Windows for the operating system with both the VPS and dedicated server plans. The Linux plans come with cPanel, while the Windows plans use Plesk. If you’re newer to the technical world of VPS and dedicated servers, having a well-known control panel like cPanel or Plesk helps you get started much easier.
Free Server Setup and Upgrade
Go4Hosting will help you set up or deploy and upgrade your servers when you need it. It will even migrate your website over for free or a fee, depending on the size. In fact, the team’s very helpful when it comes to getting you started, but it’s downright difficult if you’d like to leave (you can read about that here).
All of the plans, including Linux, Windows, virtual private server (VPS), and dedicated server, come with solid-state drive (SSD) storage, as well as RAID configuration. This means your website should load up to ten times faster than with a hard disk drive (HDD), and your data is protected in the event of disk failure.
Ease of use
While Go4Hosting knows the importance of good infrastructure and security, whoever built its website didn’t do a great job. The site is full of issues — the SSL certificate is not installed correctly, the Order Now buttons don’t work, and the site regularly crashes. Not only is this a huge warning sign, it also makes it difficult to complete basic tasks.
Creating an Account
Despite the presence of Order Now buttons on the website, I was not able to purchase a VPS package online. Every time I tried, the website crashed. Luckily, the helpful live chat agent was eager to manually guide me through the process.
He completed the entire process—from setting up the account to configuring the server and accepting payment—via the live chat window. While the agent was efficient, I was on live chat for around one hour, and it took a further 16 hours for the server to be set up. You can read more about my experience here.
Connecting a Domain and Installing WordPress
In contrast to the messy account opening process, connecting a domain and installing WordPress is simple, largely thanks to cPanel. But no thanks to the Go4Hosting team, who’d been unable to install Softaculous for me and left me to figure it out on my own. You can read about the exact process here, and if you follow my tutorial, you can expect to be up and running within 40 minutes.
Regular Data Backup
It’s always good to see data backups included in the plans. Many companies make you pay for the privilege of keeping your data safe. With Go4Hosting, you get a “regular backup of data (usually weekly)”—yes, it’s vague, but it’s still helpful.
A Managed Service
If you prefer to be more hands-off, you can purchase a fully managed service from Go4Hosting. This should mean the day-to-day management of your server updates and security is handled for you, leaving you to focus on running your business. Based on my experience with Go4Hosting, if you’re opting for this, I’d find out exactly what’s included before giving them any money.
Things Aren’t Looking Any Better
Go4Hosting locates its servers in Tier III data centers and has a decent 99.95% uptime guarantee. It also has a number of positive reviews online about its speed and performance. So far, so good, right? Wrong.
Go4Hosting’s own website is full of issues. It’s constantly crashing and if you can get on it, the call-to-action (CTA) buttons lead to security errors. As I’ve talked about here, I couldn’t actually purchase a plan without crashing the website. Alarm bells should definitely be ringing by now.
Nevertheless, after battling through a long 16-hour setup process to create a WordPress website, it’d be rude not to test it on Sucuri page load speed. Which is exactly what I did.
If you’re waiting for hope here, I appreciate your optimism, but it’s not coming, my friend. My WordPress website scored a mediocre grade C; the vast majority of websites I test score A or A+.
Oddly, the load speeds don’t seem to correlate directly with its server locations or its partner’s server locations, with some of the worst scores (load speeds slower than 2 seconds in some locations) appearing in the U.S. Even the India score is pretty bad, with the first-byte speed over one second, despite the fact there are two India-based data centers in use.
Good Start, but an Awful End
Let’s cover the fine print first. Go4Hosting offers 24/7 customer service via live chat, email, Skype, and phone. It also has a pretty substantial knowledge base with how-to guides and tutorials, with an interface that’s easy to use.
On paper, it seems to have it all. However, I put it to the test. I say that, but actually, since the website was so buggy, I was forced to do most actions via live chat with the help of customer service.
Go4Hosting started off great. When I wasn’t able to set up an account online, I jumped on live chat several times to complete the process. The agent was attentive and efficient, answering my questions politely and quickly. I won’t go into detail, since you can read about it here, but I was impressed.
However, when the time came to cancel my account, the tone changed entirely. Not only was the operator less polite, he also stopped answering my messages or left me on live chat, waiting for over an hour. I had to follow up many times, but it didn’t help. It was too bad, since it was the same agent I’d originally dealt with. You can read more about it here.
You can pay by all major credit cards and debit cards, along with less common methods, such as NetBanking and E-Sign Consent.
Cancellations & Refunds
Why do you keep changing the rules, Go4Hosting? When I signed up, one of the first questions I asked was whether there was a money-back guarantee. I was advised there was on a pro rata basis, so I purchased a plan.
When I tried to cancel, apparently this only applied if there was an issue from the “server end.” Despite various issues, none of mine were “from the server end,” so I wasn’t due any money back. None, nada, zilch. You must read this before making a purchase.