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On paper, Web World’s hosting plans look pretty great, but unfortunately, my experience with this Irish host was underwhelming. Sure, it has almost all of the features that I look for, but that doesn’t mean much when the loading speeds are unacceptably slow.
When you open Web World’s website, you might think you somehow slipped backwards in time. This Irish host’s website definitely looks dated. They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover – but should you judge a web host by its website?
Well, I put Web World through some intensive testing over the course of three months, and I found that the website isn’t the only thing that’s dated about it. While it ticks a lot of the boxes for essential features, there were also some serious issues. Web World isn’t a match for a brand like Hostinger, however, which offers very cheap prices and high quality performance.
Web World offers relatively low-cost shared hosting, VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting, dedicated servers, and server co-location hosting. Finding additional information is tricky, so I can’t tell you exactly where in Ireland its data centres are located. Since the company is based in Dublin, it’s fair to assume that its data centres are in Dublin, but don’t quote me on that.
If your website visitors are in Ireland then at least theoretically, using a host like Web World with Irish servers should result in faster page load speeds and a better user experience. To see if that is indeed the case, I spent three months testing the service.
I signed up for thelowest-priced shared hosting plan: Cloud Plan 1. Don’t let the plan name deceive you, though. I couldn’t find any evidence, either on the Web World website or in my test website’s performance, to suggest that the hosting is actually cloud-based.
In addition to performance, I also tested features and customer support to give you the full lowdown on what hosting with Web World is really like.
Even the most basic hosting plan from Web World comes with almost everything that you need to get your website online. The more expensive your plan, the more websites you can host, and the more storage and bandwidth you get. You get email accounts, too, and they come with spam filtering. All plans except the cheapest include unlimited mailboxes.
One thing that Web World doesn’t have is a backup and restore tool. It does take regular snapshot backups of your webspace but doesn’t offer any kind of automatic restoration if you need to roll your website back to a previous version.
Storage on the regular shared hosting plans(Cloud 1 through Cloud 4) is HDD, not SSD. There are plans with SSD storage, but these cost more. Storage is also relatively limited on some plans, with between 10GB (Cloud 1) and 750GB (Cloud 3). Bandwidth limits are between 100GB and 750GB per month, depending on the plan.
Free Domain Name
All hosting plans from Web World qualify for a free domain name, but there is a catch. Or rather, there are two catches: the first is that it’s only free for the first year. After that, you’ll have to pay an annual renewal fee for your domain name in addition to your hosting plan. The second catch is that the free domain offer only applies to the .xyz domain extension. If you want a .com or .org domain name, you’ll have to purchase that separately.
Free Comodo SSL
Unlike some other hosts, Web World includes free Comodo SSL certificates on all its hosting plans. These Comodo SSL certificates can be activated from your account dashboard (they’re not automatically enabled, unfortunately).
Automatic Update Tool (Optional)
If you use WordPress but don’t want to have to worry about keeping the platform, its themes, and its plugins updated (to prevent security risks), Web World offers the AutoUpdater tool as an optional add-on to your hosting plan. You can pay monthly or annually for this add-on and let the artificial intelligence-powered updater manage all the critical updates.
Weebly Website Builder
For a super easy way to get your website online, you can use Weebly’s drag-and-drop website builder, included for free with all hosting plans. Other hosts often include website builders with their plans but it’s rare to find one offering a top product like Weebly.
Web World is fairly easy to use. The signup process is quick and easy, and the dashboard for managing your account is designed to be as simple as possible. Despite this, setting up my account and installing WordPress on my website wasn’t 100% trouble-free and it took longer than it should have.
Managing Your Account and Using cPanel
Web World uses an incredibly user-friendly account management panel called WHM, which is popular with budget/shared hosting providers. With your domains, hosting plans and support tickets all appearing as links on the dashboard page, navigation is super simple.
For actually managing your webspace, Web World uses cPanel. If you’ve had web hosting before, chances are pretty high that you’ll have used it. If you’re new to cPanel, it can take a little getting used to, but it’s definitely better than some of the custom control panels that other hosts use.
Connecting a Domain and Installing WordPress
Theoretically, installing WordPress should be a straightforward process. All I had to do was navigate to my cPanel dashboard and use the 1-click installer to add WordPress to my website. As always with Softaculous, this was problem-free.
However, although my domain appeared to be connected to my hosting plan and I’d waited over 24 hours, when I tried to log in I found that the domain wasn’t pointing to my webspace. I had to contact support – and only then did Web World actually update the nameservers for my domain. The issue was resolved quickly, but it was still frustrating.
I also encountered a problem with uploading the custom theme I use for testing purposes. The installation failed due to the file being bigger than the maximum file size for uploads (which was set to a ridiculously small 4MB). Again, I had to contact support and the maximum file size was increased so I could install the theme.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a low maximum file size in WordPress – most hosts set it to at least 64MB. It is, of course, possible to change the setting yourself, but I really don’t think that should be necessary.
Unacceptably Long Page Loading Times, but at Least the Uptime Was Okay
As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter what great features a web host has or how easy it is to use if its performance is poor. What use is a beautiful website if there are times when it takes a long time to load or simply isn’t available due to server issues?
To summarise Web World’s performance, while it managed a respectable uptime of 99.93% over the course of the three months, its page load speeds were terrible.
Google recommends that a web page loads in a maximum of three seconds. Web World didn’t manage to meet that, no matter what time of day I tested. In fact, the fastest it loaded the test website was 4.3 seconds, and the average was a disappointing 5.06 seconds.
To test Web World’s performance, I signed up for the Cloud 1 plan, installed WordPress, and uploaded a customized SimpleShift one-page website theme. I’ve noticed that some review sites will test web hosts using a virtually blank website (literally just the WordPress installation with no additional content), but since your website is presumably going to have content on it, you want to know how a real website performs, right?
To give you accurate performance data, the theme I use has text and images (HD and non-optimized, to see if web hosts will notice the non-optimized images when I ask for help with optimization). If you want the full details on how we test web hosts at Website Planet, you can check out this article.
As you can see in the screenshot below, the test website looks pretty much like a landing page. The website was available at autonomous-shoes-ireland-i.com.
By far my favourite performance testing tool, GTmetrix gives you more than just the page load speeds for your website. I used it to run tests at different times and days of the week to see whether Web World’s performance was better or worse during peak and off-peak periods. (Spoiler alert: It was terrible no matter when I ran the tests.)
As you can see in the screenshot below, on at least one occasion it took more than twice Google’s recommended three seconds. Seven seconds is an unacceptably long time to wait for a page to load. Consider that the exact same web page theme was used to test other Irish hosts, such as OVHcloud and Hosting Ireland, that were able to achieve page load speeds of under one second.
The other metrics that GTmetrix provides are Performance Scores – PageSpeed and YSlow. I focus more on the PageSpeed score, as it’s calculated using Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
To put Web World’s score of 67% into context, the average PageSpeed score is around 75-76%. PageSpeed measures your website’s optimization as well as its speed. It’s no real surprise that Web World’s score isn’t great, since it offers no optimization features at all.
Sucuri Load Time Tester
I used Sucuri Load Time Tester to compare the results with those from GTmetrix and to see how Web World performed when the test website was accessed from international servers. For a lot of Sucuri’s test servers, testing was not possible. This can be because the test server’s IP address is being blocked (which could actually be a sign that Web World’s security is decent).
For those locations that were accessible, the page loading speeds are pretty consistent with GTmetrix, with the exception of the Amsterdam test server, which had a load time of just under three seconds for some reason.
The final testing tool I used was UptimeRobot, which is a tool exclusively for monitoring the reliability of web hosts. I had it running on my test website for around three months and, as you can see in the screenshot above, the results were pretty good. Overall, uptime was 99.93%, which equates to a total of around 27 minutes of downtime over the course of a month. There was a period of at least 30 days with 100% uptime.
Web World has an uptime guarantee of 99.5% (not the standard 99.9% that most hosts offer), although on some pages on the Web World website it claims to offer 99.99% uptime. You’re only eligible for any kind of compensation if your website experiences more than two consecutive hours of downtime, but with the score it achieved for the test website, that shouldn’t be a concern.
Web World is one of the few Irish hosts that have live chat help – most only offer ticket and phone support. The live chat support is also advertised as being 24/7, and it does actually seem to be available on evenings and weekends.
Phone support and 24/7 ticket support are only available if you have a managed dedicated server. If you have any other type of hosting (e.g. shared hosting or VPS hosting), then ticket support is only available during “business hours”. There’s no clear statement about what business hours are, but from my experience with submitting tickets, it seems to be between 9 am and 6 pm Monday through Friday.
Web World’s response times are actually pretty good compared to some Irish hosts I’ve tested. Apart from when I submitted support tickets after 6 pm or over the weekend, I usually received responses to my tickets within a couple of hours. That’s slow compared to the likes of SiteGround, which aims to respond to and resolve issues within 30 minutes, but with some hosts taking literally days to respond, I’m okay with waiting a few hours.
When I contacted Web World regarding WordPress-specific advice regarding installing a theme and optimizing my website, the responses were much less helpful – or even downright dismissive. If you’re looking for a host that can provide expert help with WordPress, Web World isn’t for you.
I encountered the same issue when I contacted live chat to ask for help with my WordPress installation. Instead of being given direct instructions, I was advised to follow a link that took me to a page that a) is the outdated version of the cPanel documentation, b) contains instructions that are overly-complicated, and c) doesn’t mention using the Softaculous 1-click installer provided for WordPress installation. There are much better articles about WordPress installation that the live chat agent could have directed me to.
Low Prices, but Watch Out for Setup Fees
Web World is one of the few web hosts that don’t hit you with expensive add-ons during the checkout process. There are a couple of add-ons available (automatic WordPress updates and SpamAssassin for email), but they’re not pre-selected.
The only thing you really need to watch out for at checkout is the €15 setup fee that’s applied if you choose a short-term plan. You can pay monthly, quarterly, or every six months, but those plans will all incur the setup fee, which is pretty high compared to the actual cost of hosting.
Web World was the first web hosting provider in Ireland to accept bitcoin as a payment method, and you can also pay by PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, or American Express. If you’re in Ireland, you also have the option to pay by Direct Debit.
Web World does have a 30-day money-back guarantee, so if you change your mind in the first month of your hosting plan, you can cancel and request a refund (minus the cost of your domain name and any add-ons purchased with your hosting plan).
It’s worth noting that you have to cancel by email and in writing via the postal service to take advantage of the money-back guarantee. Your cancellation by post must be received within ten days of your email cancellation and refund request.
Cancelling Your Account
The online part of the cancellation is pretty simple – there’s a cancellation button and a quick form to complete. There’s even a box to check for turning off automatic renewal on your domain name. You can choose to cancel immediately or at the end of the billing cycle.
Ultimately, although Web World has some features that I really like (the free SSL and the Weebly website builder in particular), its performance is a huge issue that cannot be overlooked.
If your website visitors have to wait seven seconds for your website to load, only a very small number of them are still going to be there when it finally does. You can’t risk losing the majority of your potential visitors like that – especially not if you’re using your website for business purposes.
There are other Irish hosts that have better performance and are still budget-friendly. Or you could opt for an international host like Hostinger, which now has data centres close by in the UK and is even cheaper than Web World.
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!)