FastComet OpenCart Hosting Review 2015 Q4
Plans start at $2.95 per month with free domain for the life of the account.
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This is a review of the FastComet web hosting company, probably the best OpenCart hosting site I’ve used thus far. I have been using them for few months now and this will be a review based on my personal experience using them for my WordPress and OpenCart sites. I’ll be providing some detailed info and even get into an actual conversation I had the with support team during the OpenCart migration process.
Few reasons why I really like FastComet
- They have great migration team that will transfer your site for free,
- 1-Click OpenCart auto installer and free template setup (thought I prefer to install OpenCart myself…
- Free OpenCart upgrades
- Free OpenCart backup & restore via the web based 1-click restore manager.
- Free 24/7 Technical support with response time of 10 minutes or less for ticket inquiries.
Right now I pay only $3.95 per month with all these features and more, which I feel is a great deal. And I think one of the main reasons why they are providing all these features and support for low monthly price is that they are kind of new to shared hosting market, like I’ve never heard of Fastcomet before when I was researching hosting companies.
FastComet – History
Even though they’ve been around for more than 7 years, they just entered the public cloud hosting service in late 2013. So, they are trying to prove themselves to everyone by setting the bar even higher. At the heart of FastComet is the rocket fast 24/7 technical support. They resolved 93% of issues in less than 10 minutes based on over 10,000 support requests.
My Experience with Previous Hosting Provider – ServInt
I first want to discuss why I moved to FastComet from my previous hosting provider called Servint and prior to that I used Hostgator and Bluehost. I don’t have anything bad to say about Servint, they have great support team and you can contact them by phone and email and they usually respond right away. My biggest concern was that they just cost too much for my needs. Like most of my visitors are checking out my youtube channel than my website, which makes sense since my focus is on videos. I paid little over $50 per month with Servint and just to show you, this is the plan I had with them.
It’s called the Flex VPS plan and it came with all these features I just didn’t need.
Compare that to what I pay now, it was an easy decision. And Fastcomet even provides free domain for life with their plan that you can transfer over or register a new one through them. Here was my mistake while researching different hosting companies. I simply researched way too many hosting companies in the beginning to a point where I had no idea if one provided any real significant edge over another when looking at bunch of companies with price of under $10 per month. To be blunt, I was overthinking. And at the end, I somehow decided paying over $50 per month was a genius idea since I wanted quality hosting provider.
Looking back, I should have used all that time and energy towards coming up with great contents for my websites because if you have no traffic, it really does not matter which hosting provider you have. In the beginning at least, you should focus on providing great content for your visitors and once you reach a point where you are generating a heavy traffic you can think about moving to another hosting provider.
Now, let’s talk about couple of main reasons why you might be researching a hosting company. Your current hosting provider is not reliable or you might be signing up for a hosting company for the very first time. and with so many web hosting companies out there, you sometimes want a company that will hold your hands at least in the very beginning. That’s how I felt at least in the beginning, I don’t know about other people. Though I feel Fastcomet goes above and beyond just holding your hands in the beginning. And I’ll explain that in more detail later.
Table of Contents
I’ll breakdown this post into few sections.
- Section 1 – I’ll be discussing my actual migration process of OpenCart and wordpress sites.
- Section 2 – I’ll be discussing key features of Fastcomet for the OpenCart users and what makes them different from other hosting companies.
- Section 3 – Hosting plan I recommend. They are currently offering three different plans called Single, Multiple and Ecommerce. In addition, I’ll walk you through the process of signing up for an account.
- Section 4 – I’ll be contacting Fastcomet via Chat & Phone which anyone can access from the Fastcomet homepage to see how quickly they respond. You don’t need any account with them to ask questions.
- Section 5 – Speed test of the fresh installation of the OpenCart using the Pingdom website speed test.
Section 1 – OpenCart Migration Process with FastComet
Migration was simple and easy with Fastcomet. No stress and they don’t charge for migration. Here is how the migration process works with FastComet. Just give them access to your current hosting provider (cPanel credentials) and they’ll take care of the rest. This was the primary reason why I chose Fastcomet, because they really try to make my life easier.
Customer service was very quick to respond. I can simply open a ticket and they usually respond within 5-10 minutes most of the time. They did take longer for one ticket I had but it was not a high priority ticket for me. It did not matter what time I contacted them. After you have joined FastComet, they’ll email you the credentials for the Account Management Page & cPanel. The Account Management Page is where you can contact the support team. Let me show you how.
To open a ticket from the account management page and click Submit Ticket and here you just select the support you need. For my case, I initially contacted them to migrate my website.
So here is an actual conversation I had with the Fastcomet support team during the migration process. I opened a support ticket on July 12th 2015 at 12:30AM, this was New York City time and 7 minutes later got a response, first welcoming me to their hosting company. The person is letting me know they have initiated the transfer of my website to their server.
12 minutes later the migration was complete and provided me in detail exactly what was transferred over. Not only that, he gave me the URL link i needed to access the cPanel and reminded me to point my website to their web server. And also letting me know it might take few hours of propagation. For those newbies, when you transfer over an existing website to another server, it usually takes 24-48 hours (though from my personal experience it takes a lot less than that) for the name server changes to fully start working.
He even went ahead and created a test file which was available only on their server but not in the previous hosting provider to determine if the propagation is over. This help a lot because you’ll know exactly when your website is live through the Fastcomet server.
My advice for those who are considering to migrate, leave your current hosting provider open for at least one more month to make sure the migration was successful. And make sure you manually backup everything before you start the migration.
That pretty much sums up my migration experience with FastComet. You have no reason to pay someone else to migrate, which can be costly. And if you were afraid to change hosting provider, don’t be since FastComet does all the work for you!
Section 2 – FastComet Key Features
Let’s now take a look at some key features hosting your site with Fastcomet. First, you can register or transfer an existing domain for free. They’ll renew the domain free of charge for the life of the account.
35 gb of SSD Space – Which stands for Solid State Drives and provides up to 300% faster performance compared to HDD which stands for hard disk drives. (Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of SDD and HDD. HDD is an old technology. If your hosting provider is using HDD, it will take longer time for your customers to access your website. HDD must rely on the physical spinning platters and because it needs to spin, it takes longer time to access the data. SSD has no physical moving parts and datas can be accessed instantly. SSD’s cost more but if you don’t need to pay premium to have this feature, take advantage of it.
Take a look at this image, with SSD, more data can flow from your server to your visitors, which translates into faster load time and more user friendly experience. Hope you fully understand the benefits of having this.
Free 24/7 technical support – It is Fast (when I say fast, I mean fast) you saw my actual conversations with them above during my migration process. Most of the ticket inquiries are replied back within 5 to 10 minutes. According to their website, they have resolved 93% of issues in less than 10 minutes. They can also be reach by phone but I’ve had more success just messaging them from the account management page.
Daily & Weekly Backups – Not every hosting provider gives you this option for the basic plans. To perform the backup with Fastcomet, just go to Backup Wizard from the cPanel, select Backup… And here, you have the option for full backup or partial backup.
Free Cloudflare – Content Delivery Network or CDN for short. This is another feature that will make your website load faster. Without going into
too much detail, let me show you this image here. Let’s say your hosting provider is located in New York and you have a visitor to your site from say England. It’s far away from where your hosting provider is located currently. And this is where CDN comes in handy, they have servers located all over the world and it will allow your visitors to access your website from a server that is closest to them. Which translates to faster load time.
And more features which are pretty standard these days with other hosting companies.
Installing the lastest version of the OpenCart was easy. You have couple of options, have fastcomet install it for you by simply opening a ticket or use the auto install from the cPanel. I prefer you install it yourself so you know how to do it and I have tutorial videos that walks you through that process. It really is not that difficult and your’ll learn something new.
FastComet also provides free OpenCart themes for you to jumpstart your site. At this time they have 19 free themes to choose from that are available for both OpenCart 1.5 & 2.0. Also, FastComet will install the theme for free only for new stores only. So, if you already have an existing site, they won’t install the theme. Let me show you how to ask them to install the OpenCart theme for you. To access the free templates, just go to the templates page and select free OpenCart themes from the category.
And here you can narrow down the list by selecting either OpenCart version 1.5 or 2.0 templates. Select the template you want to preview. Copy the name of the theme since you are gong to ask the support team to install it for you.
Let’s go to your Account Management Page and click Submit Ticket. Here, enter your subject, in this case I want to say please install the “name of the theme” OpenCart template. Pick your priority level from low to high.
And in the message box, just say “please install ThemeGlobal OpenCart theme in my primary domain. Here is the link to the theme… I’m going to paste in the link here… Thank you.” And click Submit to send the message.
Also, since OpenCart is free platform, when it comes to upgrading to the latest version of the OpenCart, usually you do it yourself or hire someone to upgrade. You don’t have to do that with Fastcomt as they provide that service for free.
Now, I want to point out thought that they won’t guarantee the upgrade will be successful. Now, why is that? If you already have an OpenCart site that is not functioning properly to begin with or been heavily modified, it won’t be an easy process. That is why they won’t guarantee that it will be successful, but they will attempt and try their best to make it work. You probably won’t find this kind of service for free anywhere else at this price point. And if you want to know more about OpenCart, they have a pretty extensive step by step tutorials section that you can browse through. You can also watch my extensive OpenCart version 2 tutorial for beginners video.
Section 3 – Choosing the Right Plan
Let’s look at the different plans offered by FastComet. I recommend you sign up for the single website plan which I feel is more than plenty for a starter and mid-level users and get a free domain for life with new domains or transferred domains as long as you have an active hosting account with FastComet. They do have an E-Commerce plan for $6.95 per month with free SSL certificate, along with some other features but you can get SSL for less than $10 these days. So, I’m Not sure how much value you’ll get with E-Commerce plan if you are just starting out.
The Single Website plan starts at $2.95 month but in order to get that price, you must sign up for the 36 months which I feel is way too long. If you sign up for the 12 month plan, the price is $3.95 and you have to pay upfront for the entire year which works out to be only $47.40 with free domain included. That is still less than what I paid for one month with my previous hosting provider.
They do have 45 day money back guarantee for the shared accounts which is what i’m using and 30 day money back for the VPS and dedicated servers, if you are unhappy with them. They are currently running a special of buy one account and get second one for free which is a great deal.
Let me walk you through the actual process till we hit the checkout page, since I won’t be proceeding with the checkout.
First, go to my deals page from my website to get 10% off coupon codes and click FastComet. From their homepage, click See Plans. And select Get Started below the Single Website plan. Enter the domain name you want to register. This domain will be registered for free with this account. Or if you already have a domain, you can simple select I already have a domain. I’m going to select Register this domain for free and enter the domain name. Click Use this Domain. Here in Step #1, enter your account details. Scroll down to Step #2, the billing cycle. If you choose the 12 months plan, it will be total of $47.40 which works out to be $3.95 per month. You can lower that to $2.95 with 36 months, but like I said before that might be too long, so just choose 12 months plan. Step #3 are add ons, if you are wondering I did not add any of these when I joined them. Totally up to you if you want the add ons.
Step #4 is the Configuration Options to choose your datacenter location. They currently have 5 locations around the world. If you expect most of your visitors will be coming from your country, choose the datacenter location near you for faster load time.And finally Step #5, you enter your billing information and enter the coupon code from my website. Click Create Account.
After you do that, you should be getting welcome email from them. And if you still have any questions during the signup process, don’t be shy and click this LIvechat now button to ask any questions you might have that I’ve not covered.
Section 4 – Contact FastComet via Chat Box
Here is an actual conversation I had with the support team. You can access the chat box from their homepage. You don’t need an account with them to ask any questions. So, I asked about the free opencart upgrade and if it comes with any limitations?
And they said, there is no limitation, if you need an upgrade of your OpenCart based website, you can ask our techs and they will gladly attempt the upgrade. And then I asked about upgrading from opencart version 1.5 to 2.0 since that was a major upgrade and you can’t just install 2.0 over 1.5 by extracting the files. And FastComet said “Sure, but note that we cannot guarantee that the upgrade will be successful. Our techs will for sure attempt it.”
Just like I said earlier, it all depends on the situation of your OpenCart site. If you are using a default template or another theme that is compatible with OpenCart version 2, you probably have a high success rate… It’s worth a shot if you are in a situation where you want to upgrade but you don’t want to hire someone else since that be very expensive.
Section 5 – Pingdom Speed Test
I did a speed test using Pingdom with fresh installation of OpenCart 2.0. Now since it’s just fresh installation you expect to be fast. It gets a performance grade of 100/100 with load time of 729ms. 1000ms equals 1 second, so it took less than a second to load. The test was done from Dallas, Texas and the datacenter is located in Chicago, Illinois.
Here is also a test using PageSpeed Insights. For the mobile device, it gets 71/100 for speed and 97/100 for user experience. Desktop score is 89/100. So it gets a pretty high score from both Pingdom & Google.
I plan to do another video where I do a comparison test between Fastcomt and another hosting provider to see if there’s any significant differences, so make sure to subscribe to my youtube channel for an update.
I wish the best with creating your website and hope you found this video helpful.