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Even the biggest web hosting companies usually have pretty humble beginnings. But Lunarpages takes that idea to a whole new level.
In 1998, brick mason Ron Riddle was looking for a change from his career as a brick mason. Searching for something a bit less labor-intensive and with a bit better chance for future growth, he turned his attention to the then-new field of web development.
Teaching himself, he soon became a webmaster. He eventually earned enough from affiliate links to leave masonry behind. But it wasn’t until he first charged for server access did he truly understand what type of business he wanted to build online.
He partnered up with Max Anderson, a Swedish programmer he’d only known online. Together they developed Lunarpages.
Today, the oldest web host is still going strong. Data centers in California, Arizona and Nevada host domains for over 150,000 clients including Microsoft, Sony, Blackberry and more.
So, does all this experience matter for your hosting needs? My complete review of Lunarpages hosting starts now:
Our Rating Of Lunarpages
Experience matters, but not as much as it used to. Many domain hosting companies have caught up to the features offered by Lunarpages. Still, they’re a secure, fast domain host with a fair price. We give them a 3.5/5.
Lunarpages Hosting Review: Pros and Cons
First, the most obvious pro: Lunar hosting has been around for a long time. They understand what’s required to keep servers up and running no matter what. There aren’t too many web hosts with a better track record of success.
Plus, they understand hosting. They know the difference between a hosting trend which will be irrelevant tomorrow and a technical feature which is here to stay.
Many web hosting platforms offer a super-low introductory price only to increase the rates at month two. Or they’ll offer a lower price if you commit to three years than if you sign up for two or one. Deciphering the real price which you’ll pay most of the time can feel like uncovering The DaVinci Code.
Lunarpages doesn’t play around like that. They offer one flat rate which stays the same whether you sign up for one year or more. They don’t offer a monthly plan, but neither do most other hosting platforms. They do offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
This is where they really shine. Lunarpages has an average page load times in the 560ms range. Considering the average page loads in about 700ms, Lunarpages have a speed advantage you can actually see with your own two eyes.
These loading speeds can increase customer retention and even sales. People bounce from sites which are slow to load. But they’ll explore sites which load pages quickly.
Backup and Restoration
Here’s a feature you don’t see with every host, even though it’s often a lifesaver. Lunarpages automatically backs-up your site each night.
This is great news because plug-ins and third-party tools can cause your site to crash without warning. Lunarpages’ Premium Restore Service will restore your pages – and without any extra fees.
Check out this video detailing their basic web hosting plan:
Poor Customer Support
Even if you’ve never used web host services before – from any company – you probably have an idea of how customer support is handled. You can call, IM or email, right? Well, in most cases you’d be exactly correct. But not with Lunarpages support.
They do offer IM – but only for sales! They do offer phone support, but it’s not available 24/7, 364 days a year. What they really emphasize is creating a support ticket.
Unfortunately, receiving a reply can take up to half a day. That’s a pretty big time period if your site is down. You could miss out on a lot of sales.
Their website is cluttered and confusing to navigate. I’d prefer a more streamlined design, especially because their pricing structure is very straightforward in practice.
They have a lot of support information on their site. But it’s not written for beginners. If you’re new to web hosting, you’ll probably want to go elsewhere to learn the basics.
Most web hosts encourage you to switch your existing site to their hosting services. In fact, it’s very rare to find a domain host who charges for a site transfer. After all, they’re going to make most of their money from a long-term subscription.
Lunarpages charges customers a transfer fee. They also charge for cPanel. Sure, these fees are pretty low. cPanel is just two bucks a month. But considering cPanel access and transfers are almost always free, Lunarpages feels like they’re nickel-and-diming their customers at times.
Risk of Account Suspension
Although they promise many unlimited features, there’s a big caveat you should be aware of. Users can find themselves suspended due to “high resource usage.” Most users will never reach this limit – you have to be a pretty giant web presence to do so – but the risk is still a bit unnerving. Imagine waking up one morning to find out your website has been suspended for the entire night!
Top Product Features
- Fast Load Times
You won’t find much faster. Their incredible load speeds can drive sales.
- Low Prices
Their Windows Web Hosting Plan, which is their most expensive, costs just $9.95 a month but includes unlimited storage, bandwidth, email accounts, subdomains and MySQL databases.
- Nightly Backup and Free Restoration
You never have to worry about losing your files completely. Free restoration means you can install third-party software without fear.
Normally, I don’t care too much about the history of a web hosting company. I’m far more interested in what the web host can do for me today.
Lunarpages is a bit different. It’s not like they invented web hosting, exactly, but they’ve been in the domain game far longer than almost everyone else. I trust them to understand the difference between features which are necessary and features which are just a trend.
Plus, they’re fast. Very fast. Considering load time can translate directly into improved sales and conversions, their fast speeds can justify overlooking some of their negatives.
Lunarpages has an interesting history and they do some things very well. But they’re certainly not the best domain host out there. Most users will likely be better served with a different domain provider, although Lunarpages is a great choice if you value speed and backups over everything else.