Trying to find a web hosting company that fits your needs? Confusing, isn’t it, to go through all the plans, tiers, and options? You can narrow your choices by using this comparison between two popular webhosting companies, InMotion Hosting and FatCow.
Both InMotion Hosting and FatCow have been in the web hosting business for over a decade – FatCow since 1997. InMotion’s focus is on small and mid-sized businesses, concentrating on service and support. FatCow’s goal is to make things simple for the customer by eliminating what they call the “techno babble.” InMotion and FatCow provide shared hosting, managed WordPress hosting, and VPS and dedicated server plans. Both InMotion Hosting and FatCow are Linux-based.
InMotion is a consistent winner of “best of” awards, including “Best Managed WordPress Hosting”, “Best Performance”, and “Best Web Hosting.” FatCow has won numerous “best of” awards as well, though the majority of them were in the early-to- mid 2000s.
InMotion is California-based and employee-owned. Since 2007, FatCow has been under the umbrella of Endurance International Group (EIG). Though EIG sites are not clones of each other, there are a number of similarities between EIG owned hosting companies. If you have had an issue with an EIG company, you may have the same issues with another EIG-owned host.
Uptime and Reliability
Uptime. InMotion Hosting has a 99.9% guarantee, with a free month of hosting if it falls below that percentage. FatCow does not offer an uptime guarantee.
Performance. InMotion uses Dell PowerEdge servers, with anywhere from 16 GB to 64 GB of RAM, depending on the type of plan used – and all their plans use SSD storage. FatCow uses SSD storage in its WordPress Essentials plan.
Testing an InMotion site resulted in a load time of 1.98s, faster than 73% of the sites tested with Pingdom. A test of a comparable FatCow hosted website resulted in a load time of 2.54s, faster than 62% of the sites tested.
Reliability. InMotion has data centers in Los Angeles, California, and Herndon, Virginia. The data centers are powered and cooled with redundancy and diesel backups, and are monitored onsite for security and to head off issues before they become problematic. To further improve website performance, you have the option of either west coast or east coast data centers when you purchase your plan.
FatCow has two data centers in the Boston, Massachusetts, area. The data centers have 24/7 monitoring onsite for security and management, as well as being fully power redundant. The data center servers utilize NetApp clusters and are load balanced to improve speed and reliability. They back up their servers daily.
Opinion on InMotion Hosting and FatCow Performance
InMotion Hosting has significantly faster response and load times than FatCow. The lack of an uptime guarantee for FatCow could be a cause for concern.
Compare Key Features
Note: Web hosting companies regularly use the terms “unlimited” and “unmetered” when discussing features. However, the terms don’t actually mean what you think – they refer to what hosting companies “deem reasonable usage.”
Domain Registration. Both hosts are domain registrars. InMotion offers one year of free domain registration for the initial term when the term is 12 months or longer, and it offers a free transfer if you already have a domain. FatCow also offers a free domain registration for a year, and free domain transfer if you are registered elsewhere and want to move it to FatCow.
Website Builder. InMotion provides BoldGrid, an easy-to- use, full-featured website builder based on WordPress, free of charge. FatCow provides the drag-and- drop Weebly Basic free of charge (though it is limited to 5 or 6 web pages). An upgrade to Weebly Premium is available for an additional fee.
Databases. Depending on the plan chosen, InMotion provides from 2 to an unlimited number of MySQL databases. InMotion also supports PostgreSQL. FatCow offers unlimited MySQL databases.
Email Accounts. InMotion and FatCow both provide unlimited email accounts and email forwarding.
WordPress Hosting. Both InMotion and FatCow offer managed WordPress plans. Managed WordPress plans usually cost more than a standard shared plan – though InMotion’s are priced the same. The advantage of managed WordPress hosting is that updating WordPress and the plugins, and creating daily backups, are done for you, allowing you to focus on your site’s content.
InMotion has three plans. Launch, limited to two websites and 2 databases; Power, with 50 databases and a 6 website limit; and Pro, with unlimited websites and databases. All the plans are SSD-based and have unlimited storage and unlimited bandwidth. WordPress is pre-installed at check-out when purchasing the hosting. BoldGrid is included in the plans. InMotion offers some of the best price vs. features for managed WordPress hosting in the industry.
FatCow offers the common EIG managed WordPress plans – Starter and Essential. Both have unlimited storage, unlimited number of sites allowed, and unlimited bandwidth. The main differences are that Essential storage is SSD (Starter’s is not), and Essential has enhanced security included.
eCommerce Solution. Both InMotion and FatCow provide free open-source shopping carts through their control panel, such as Magento, ZenCart, PrestaShop, and others. InMotion will pre-install PrestaShop at check-out, and also provides web design services. ShopSite Basic, commercial store software, is available from FatCow free of charge. More advanced versions of ShopSite are available for an additional monthly fee. A drawback is that the store is not easily transferred elsewhere, should you decide to change hosts. InMotion’s website builder, based on WordPress, also has eCommerce options built into it.
Backups. InMotion does backups of websites every one to two days, free. Restoring a backup is free as well. FatCow does daily server backups. For an additional monthly fee, they offer Site Backups and Restore, which does automatic backups, and allows restores at the file level.
Hosting Security. InMotion scans and proactively acts against DDoS threats. It uses SPAM Safe Email with IMAP for secure emails. FatCow also provides email spam filtering.
Both InMotion and FatCow provide free shared SSL for their plans, and Private SSLs may be purchased.
InMotion and FatCow are Linux-based for all their plans.
Control Panel. InMotion uses the industry standard cPanel. FatCow uses the relatively new vDeck, which is powerful, but it could make it more difficult to transfer your site should you change hosts later.
Green. InMotion is dedicated to being green. InMotion had the first green data center, with its Los Angeles center. Using outside air technology for cooling, it is cutting cooling costs by 70% and lowering its carbon footprint by 2000 tons per year. FatCow uses wind power to achieve 100% of its power and it supplies badges to put on your website if you wish to advertise being green.
Extras. InMotion has $250 worth of credits to Google Adwords and Bing; FatCow has $100 credit for each. InMotion will pre-install Joomla at check-out, if requested. FatCow offers 1GB of cloud storage free.
Opinion on InMotion Hosting and FatCow Key Features
Both hosting companies provide plenty of features at budget hosting prices. If there is an edge, it could be with InMotion for using cPanel, offering PostgreSQL support, and having the better free website builder.
Hosting Plans & Pricing
Note: Even though there has been some consolidation of web hosting companies by groups such as EIG, pricing is still very competitive. Promo prices slash regular pricing by as much as 80%, though they are typically only good for the first term of service – so signing up for a longer term results in higher savings. Even without promos, longer terms of service equate to a break in pricing.
InMotion Hosting. InMotion offers three shared plans – Launch which allows two sites, two databases, and is priced $5.99 per month; Power which allows up to six websites, 50 databases, and is $7.99 per month.; and Pro, which has unlimited websites and unlimited databases allowed, and is priced at $13.99 per month. All the plans come with a free year of domain registration on an annual plan, free data backups, and all have unlimited SSD storage and unlimited bandwidth. Premium support comes with the Pro plan. Power and Pro are eCommerce ready.
FatCow. FatCow is one of the web hosting companies that operates on the belief that simple is better. They offer one shared plan for $49 per year (although renewal pricing is nearly three times more). It comes with a free domain registration for one year. It features unlimited bandwidth, email, MySQL databases, and storage.
Both InMotion and FatCow offer managed WordPress hosting. InMotion offers three plans, with the same features as found in its shared plans. Launch is $5.99, Power is $7.99, and Pro is $13.99 (the same pricing as regular shared plans). All three are eCommerce ready and WordPress comes pre-installed. FatCow offers two plans, both with unlimited storage and bandwidth. Starter is $3.75 per month, and Essentials is $6.95 per month – with the main difference being speed (Essentials are SSD-based) and security features are better for the Essentials plan.
InMotion and FatCow both offer three VPN plans. InMotion’s and FatCow’s pricing is very close, though InMotion’s server specifications are slightly better – with the exception that InMotion limits the number of sites per plan (top tier allows 3), while FatCow allows unlimited domains.
InMotion offers six dedicated server plans. The top three tiers of what they call Commercial Class Servers have impressive RAM and SSD storage, but they come at a much higher price – $419.99 to $589.99 per month. They are managed, and come with Premier Support. The three standard dedicated server plans on InMotion are very similar in features to the three plans offered by FatCow, though slightly higher priced. Another difference is that, once again, InMotion limits the domains (top tier allows 15 IPs), while FatCow allows an unlimited number on all three dedicated tiers.
InMotion offers $250 of marketing credits, and FatCow offers $200. Both sell domain names and offer a free year of domain registration.
InMotion and FatCow offer money-back policies. InMotion offers a 30-day guarantee for dedicated servers and monthly plans. For all other plans, the guarantee is 90 days. FatCow has an industry standard 30-day guarantee (if purchased with a credit card). If you have the free domain registration on FatCow or InMotion, they will withhold a domain registration fee from any refund, but you will be able to keep the domain name.
Opinion on Hosting Plans Pricing
FatCow has a slight edge in pricing, while InMotion has a better money-back guarantee, and a slightly better infrastructure. If you require a dedicated server, InMotion servers have impressive specs for its Commercial Dedicated Plans – but they come at a premium price. FatCow makes choosing a plan easy, and its “unlimited everything” features make it a good choice for beginners or the small business site. InMotion is geared to small-to- mid-size businesses – their shared plans are listed under Business web hosting on their website.
Ease of Use
Control Panel. InMotion uses cPanel, which is the industry standard, and its icon-based interface has most of the features needed to administer your site. FatCow uses the newer vDeck, which in Version 4 offers features comparable to cPanel, but would take some getting used if you came from a cPanel host.
One-click Installer. InMotion provides one-click app installation to hundreds of apps through Softaculous. FatCow provides one-click installation of a number of apps through the MOJO Marketplace. FatCow has one-click installation of WordPress – which is preinstalled on InMotion Hosting.
Website Navigation. You want a site that is clean and easy to get around in to find the information you need to choose a plan. Both of the websites of these hosting companies have convenient comparison charts for comparing tiers in their plans. FatCow has, surprise, a cow- related theme, which is a cutesy gimmick – but the information is clearly presented and easy to find.
Opinion on Ease of Use
Both InMotion and FatCow are easy to use, but a slight edge might go to InMotion for using the industry standard cPanel. FatCow’s vDeck is not as easy to transfer should you ever change hosts.
Technical and Customer Support
InMotion makes a point to emphasize its U.S. based support as being top-rated. FatCow has the “heifercratic oath”, which pledges high quality support. It states that if they fail in their promises, you will receive one month of free hosting. Both InMotion and FatCow customers report that support personnel are considered friendly and knowledge.
Both InMotion and FatCow have phone, email, and live chat 24/7. Both have an extensiv knowledge base that can answer just about any question you might have. Inmotion has a blog and a forum. FatCow has a blog as well, though it doesn’t appear to have been updated since October of 2015. InMotion Hosting has a YouTube channel, and can also be contacted via LinkedIn, Twitter, Skype, and Facebook. FatCow has a Community Directory which lists all the websites hosted on FatCow by genre.
Opinion on User Support
When you need support, you want to be able to get it right away. Both InMotion and FatCow make it easy by providing multiple methods of contact. While FatCow customers highly rate the customer service, InMotion concentrates on support as a key part of their services – and consistently high customer ratings back that up. InMotion also has an edge here with its greater social media presence.
Note: Every web hosting company has its naysayers and promoters, so you should never use a review as the deciding factor for choosing a web host. But, when something continually comes up in customer reviews, you should take that into consideration. Just remember that reviews are generally posted by those who are passionate – so most reviews are either strongly negative or strongly positive.
Negative Reviews for InMotion Hosting and FatCow
InMotion. InMotion customers are dissatisfied with the upselling, and with the non-transparent way excessive usage on shared plans is handled.
FatCow. FatCow users also complain about the non-transparent handling of excessive usage. Remember, “unlimited” is not unlimited.
Positive Reviews for InMotion Hosting and FatCow
InMotion. InMotion is consistently rated highly by customers and reviewers for its service and hosting plans – particularly its managed WordPress hosting.
FatCow. FatCow gets positive reviews from customers for its service and the simplicity of its one-plan hosting, and its low promo pricing.
Opinion on User Reviews
InMotion Hosting has more positive reviews from customers than most other web hosting companies, but, overall, InMotion and FatCow both come off well in customer reviews.
Which hosting is best for you?
Advantages and disadvantages can be found for both InMotion and FatCow.
Reasons to choose FatCow over InMotion Hosting:
- Lower pricing for the first term of service
- Simplicity of one plan
- More “unlimited” features
Reasons to choose InMotion Hosting over FatCow:
- Employee owned, not under EIG umbrella
- SSD storage on all plans
- Longer money-back guarantee
- Pre-installed WordPress
FatCow offers the simplicity just one shared plan, which makes choosing as easy as it gets. Individuals and small businesses will find FatCow’s unlimited bandwidth and storage appealing. If you feel you may transfer hosts in the future, InMotion’s cPanel will make it easier for you to move to more companies than FatCow’s vDeck, should you decide to transfer hosts later. InMotion has good pricing on its managed WordPress hosting, and its website builder, BoldGrid, is based on WordPress, so if you are a WordPress user, InMotion is a great choice. Small to mid-sized businesses will find InMotion well suited to their needs. InMotion puts limits on its lower-tiered plans, so if you are mid-sized or larger, you might require an upper-tier plan, or move to VPS or dedicated hosting. Both of these hosting companies offer a ton of features at very good prices.
These are just two of the many web hosting companies out there. If don’t mind spending just a few dollars more for speed and premium features, you might find SiteGround worth investigating.
Do you have any questions about InMotion Hosting or FatCow? What have been your experiences with web hosting in general? Leave your comments and let us know.