Features and Ease of Use
ZEN Serve offers rental server services which also include shared servers, dedicated servers, housing services, VPS, and housing services. The shared hosting supports SSL, SSI, Perl, CGI, PHP, and Ruby. It also features:
- FTP accounts
- MySQL databases
- Unlimited bandwidth
There are three shared web hosting plans, collectively termed as the zero packages. These start out with 500MB disk space, unlimited bandwidth, one hosted website, and 30 email accounts. From here, users can then upgrade to up to 2.5GB disk space, five hosted websites, and 150 email accounts. However, these don’t offer very much to users whose web-based projects might require more resources.
Alternatively, there’s also 30 email accounts, 500MB web capacity, and 100 email accounts available as additional features (at an extra fee) which users can opt for.
Unlike most players in the market, ZEN Serve’s shared hosting also supports a rather unusual kind of CMS. All of its plans come with Movable Type for publishing web blogs and XOOPS which will give beginners an easy time to update, theme up, and customize their own websites.
However, I wouldn’t conclude that ZEN Serve is beginner-friendly. It doesn’t feature a one-click installer for apps and software nor does it have a website builder in its hosting plans. Most beginners will find it hard to set up their websites on their own.
Another deficiency is the lack of guaranteed uptime for its users.
Pricing and Support
ZEN Serve’s hosting plans are averagely priced but not worth the value. The fact that there is no SSL certificate included in all shared server hosting plans and that the most basic plan doesn’t support multi-domain hosting is quite a letdown. This will not only give most beginners a hard time but also incur extra expenses.
All packages have monthly and/or annual billing cycles which can be paid for through post office deposit, bank transfer, or credit card. However, it is important to note that you will be asked to pay for damages at a 14.4% rate per year if you are late in paying for your subscription. This is clearly stated in the terms and conditions.
It’s quite disappointing that there is no money-back guarantee or free trial period on offer. Therefore, you can’t take it for a test drive before committing to buying a plan.
ZEN Serve doesn’t offer 24/7 customer support. It handles customer and technical support via telephone and email, however, prospective buyers are encouraged to submit an inquiry form which redirects you to another vendor. I tried emailing but they have been unresponsive for days now, which could possibly be attributed to a language barrier.