Heart Internet Hosting Review 2017
Is Heart Internet The Right Host For You?
Heart Internet are one of the UK’s most establishing hosting providers, having started supplying hosting services way back in 1998. They offer shared hosting, VPS and dedicated servers, but these days, I would suggest it’s their VPS and dedicated server that really stand out.
Overall, they are able to deliver great hosting solutions, with the kind of support and reliability you should demand from your hosting provider. They have been selected as the uk’s best hosting provider for 3 years consecutively by PC Pros.
When it comes to reliability and support, reviews would suggest it’s been a little inconsistent but if you’re looking for a VPS or dedicated server solution, at a reasonable price point, you have to consider Heart Internet and in this review we’re going to outline how they measure up.
Detailed review of Heart Internet Hosting
Heart Internet have been around a long time. Since 2004, they have been part of the same corporate group as 123-Reg, Host Europe and Webfusion. They are now owned by the hosting giant, GoDaddy.
However, they run the services independently maintaining their own data centers and networks. They have their own products and their own pricing.They offer the complete range of services. It includes shared hosting, VPS and dedicated servers packages. To be honest, their shared hosting is ok, it’s certainly not bad, but it’s such a competitive area of the business, there are service providers that offer a much better shared hosting package.
It’s with their VPS and dedicated hosting packages that they really make their mark. Both are worthy candidates and worth your attention. They have been doing this a long and it shows in the quality of their more complex packages. It’s these services that have made Heart Internet award winning and I would recommend this solutions to you.
Up time of a minimum of 99.5% guaranteed
Customer Service is Exceptional
Easy Signup, especially for novices
Easy to Install CMS and Third Party Integrations
Relatively expensive for Entry Level
Intuitive custom CPanel
Access After Payment is Not Instant
Heart Internet Hosting Features
Their shared hosting package hits the benchmark of 3 seconds for the average page load time. Not great but definitely respectable. Their VPS was excellent in the speed test, with a registered speed of 1.38 seconds, blink and you’ll miss it. There dedicated server can boast sub 1 second page loads. I’ve witnessed faster but really, it’s a luxury, Heart Internet’s speed is as good as you need.
Heart Internet’s packages range from adequate to outstanding, they clearly appreciate that these days website visitors are jittery and impatient. Generally speaking, you can expect to lose up to 40% of your website traffic if you ask them to wait 3 or more seconds. That drop off rate decreases the quicker your pages load.
This is an area where Heart Internet could improve. They boast of having 99.9% uptime but when you look at the customer reviews that are online it’s clear to see some inconsistency.
There are lot of online reviews, because Heart Internet have been successful and popular and therefore have a large customer base. When looking at online reviews you need to take any negative feedback with a pinch of salt because human nature means people are more likely to complain that compliment. But having made that caveat, it’s clear to see that more than an acceptable number of customers have had the an issue with down time.
As a customer of Heart Internet, using a dedicated server, I also experienced downtime of a few hours at a time, pretty regularly. More than I have experienced with other dedicated servers from other suppliers. At the end of the day, a few hours here or there might not make a lot of difference to your business, but be aware it’s a possibility.
At the time, I used the server to host an online course with students around the world. 4 hours of down time would results in customers going through the support channels, making complaints, which would ultimately cost me money. Enough extra cost that it caused me change provider.
You can say many things about GoDaddy, love them or hate them, their customer support is excellent. It’s quick and, well, it’s supportive. Just like some of the reliability issues Heart Internet used to have, customers have complained in the past of having inconsistent customer support. Initial support was often on the button. It was easy to get in touch with Heart Internet, it just took some time to get anything done.
So, the speed in which the problem was resolved was often a little hit and miss. However, being bought by GoDaddy has meant that issue has been resolved and you’ll find less and less complaints about customer support. Their standards have gone through the roof.
They have an excellent Support base for those customers who like to find their own answers and solutions. They are contactable by ticket and phone and these days you’ll find their support efficient. They still wouldn’t be my go to hosting provider if you’re looking for a managed VPS or dedicated server, I’d expect more from my support, but for a shared hosting package that generally has less technical support needs, then I think Heart’s support hits the spot.
First you should probably know what hosting package you want
Before you choose a host, it's good to know what the different packages they offer are. We think their VPS service is top notch, our favourite 3 options are the following.
Key features of the Starter VPS Hosting Package
- 1GB Ram
- 30 GB SSD Storage
- Unlimited Domains
- Unlimited Bandwidth
If you're looking for a hosting service that combines great quality with a really strong price point then you're i the right place. Especially if you want to work with an award winning hosting provider with an outstanding reputation online.
Key features of the most popular VPS Package
- 2GB RAM
- 60 GB SSD Storage
- Unlimited Domains
- Unlimited Bandwidth
If you are expecting more traffic or your audience is already building then you're going to need a little my might and power from your host without costing the earth. This is what they package offers and why it's the most popular.
Key features of the largest VPS Hosting Package
- 8GB RAM
- 120 GB SSD Storage
- Unlimited Domains
- Unlimited Bandwidth
If your website is eCommerce or has a well established audience then this is the perfect place to start looking. You get the extra performance which you need, but with a company you can trust and all at a reasonable price that offers value.
What other hosts provide similar services?
Another Hosting service worthy of your consideration is WP Engine. When it comes to specifically hosting WordPress websites they have no equal and also score a full 5 stars. Expect amazing site loading speeds and all the support you need to never have to worry about your WordPress website. Check out our WP Engine review right here.
Heart Internet Hosting: Other things to know
Average speed, amazing uptime, but noncompetitive pricing...
We've done a cross-comparison analysis of Heart Internet Hostings performance benchmarks vs the benchmarks of several other hosts in their bracket.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to pick the right hosting provider for you?
When setting up a website, you need to start researching what type of hosting, and what type of host provider is going to best give you what you need. The first step in that process is actually to sit down and figure out exactly what type of hosting is going to best suit your needs. Maybe it’s a shared host or perhaps you want a little more oomph or security? In some cases, a dedicated server or managed host might be the best option. Be very clear in your mind, which is going to best match your needs.
It’s important to keep in the forefront of your mind that hosting is a massive massive business. But at only a few dollars a month, for hosting providers, it’s about converting clients in large numbers. So, naturally, they hire the best copywriters in the business to persuade website owners that it’s their hosting package that’s going to take their business to the next level.
OK, so let’s take a look at it.
The best place to start is to define exactly what you need. What level of performance do you need? What else do you need in terms of functions and features?
Ideally, we can all go and pick a dedicated server that’s managed. Then we’d get all the performance, reliability and customer support we need. But the reality is, that might be overkill. Why pay $1000 - 3000 a year on hosting when $60-100 a year might be more than good enough for your needs? And not everyone has the budget for a dedicated server.
But that’s all I’m going to say about pricing. Because it’s normally costing that leads us down the wrong path. At least to start. Pricing is really dependent on the type of package you need. If you plan to pay $5 a month but you have massive E-commerce store, then you are going to hit a brick wall. You’ll either have a poor service, that wasn’t designed for large E-commerce sites, or you’re going to have to change your budget.
As a general rule, you get what you pay for with hosting because the more performance and scale you need, the more hardware you are going to need which as a cost to it. Shared hosting is going to start at around $5 and a VPS (Virtual Private Server) at around $20. With dedicated hosting the range is vast depending on each circumstance but $100-500 per month might be a good ballpark.
Let's look at what you need.
I have a small business website or blog (50 pages or less). A shared hosting package should be good enough, especially if you follow our advice and choose a better host. If you have 10 or 20 pages, like a small business website, then you can even go for the more basic option. If you have a growing blog, you can choose the package that fits the stage of your growth, but don’t worry, if you start to get more traffic, your hosting can grow with you.
If you’re asking visitors to login, you might want to consider a VPS regardless of its size. As a general rule of thumb, it’s a little safer and with personal data, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
This moves nicely into E-commerce. You’re going to need an SSL certificate to protect payments, and you’re likely to collect personal data, so for that reason, I’d recommend a VPS. But also, because more often than not E-commerce sites have 100s and 1000s of pages, tens of thousands even. You’re going to need a host that can deal with.
It’s similar to training courses, forums, directories. Any kind of platform to a website that is likely to have hundreds, if not thousands of pages.
To be honest, the difference between a managed VPS hosting, that’s based on Google’s Cloud or Amazon, and a dedicated server can be minimal. Unless your site is a huge authority site. A massive business in itself, there’s no need for a dedicated server.
Once you worked out what type of hosting provider you need, then you need to look at the hosting providers in that category and choose the best one for you. The best way to decide which hosting is right for you (besides just reading our reviews) is to assess each host you like the look of by using the 3 hosting pillars. Performance, support, and reliability. Let’s take a look at each one.
Performance is always going to be important. But it’s a little like cars. A good quality car is likely to have all the performance you need unless you happen to be racing car driver. Sure you could have a Ferrari, and if you’re rich and can afford it, then why not. But day to day, you can do just find a good, solid car.
Hosting is no different. You can have the fastest hosting available. But it will cost you. And there comes a point where your website doesn’t need to be any quicker.
Basically, it’s all about page load speed, and there’s good reason for you to be concerned about it. Plenty of recent studies have shown that website visitors who need to wait more than 3 seconds for a page to load, tend to click away and go to another site. It’s less than 3 seconds with mobile views as well.
Studies suggest as much as 40% will click off. Can you imagine losing 40% of your visitors, just because your website page load speed is a little slow? Especially when it’s easily fixed.
You should have some clear expectations with your website load speed. And here’s what we expect from your websites.
Page load speeds can be sped up at the site level with plugins that change caching or even a CDN or condensing images. But before any of that happens here’s what to expect.
For a shared hosting package, the minimum requirement is 3 seconds and under. I’ve seen some hosts that have been tested at 1.5 seconds, and at the level, the faster the better,
With VPS packages, the benchmark is 2 seconds. Don’t accept any host that’s slower than that. You’re paying more, for more performance and so many are 1 second or lower, that even if you choose a more budget option, which is fine, we all have budgets, then don’t accept.
Finally, with dedicated servers, demand page load speeds that are quicker than 1 second. Expect half a second.
WIth hosting performance it’s a little similar to cars. Performance is important to a point, but there comes a stage where it’s just showing off. It’s nice to have but probably not needed or used very often.
A word of warning. Some hosts might over deliver on speed, and come up short on reliability and customer support. Try to remember that although faster is, in fact, better, there comes a point where the advantage is minimal, let me give you an example.
If I had a shared hosting that had page load speeds of 2 seconds, and have great reliability and customer support, or an option for hosting with page loads speed of 1 second, but the reliability was a little inconsistent and customer support not great, then I would pick the slower hosting with the better package every time. Because although I’d love page load speed of 1 second, not at the detriment of other features.
Now let’s shine a light on reliability.
Of course, reliability is important but exactly how important depends on what your website. The reality is, most hosting providers are pretty reliable. It’s rare it’s less than 97-98% reliable. If your website is a business website, a brochure site, then being down for 30 minutes a day is likely to be no more than a nuisance, it shouldn’t really affect your business. But if you have an E-commerce store, and/or you pay for advertising to your site, being down 30 minutes a day might lose you sales. If you made $20 a sale, and you lost 2 sales a week because of your site is offline, then you’re losing $2000 a year in sales.
Uptime matter when it comes to trust. If a site’s down, we instantly trust it less. So that’s worth bearing in mind. And anyway, if you follow our reviews our better options for every type of hosting solution is 99% or higher. In fact, most are 99.99% and the only reason they don’t boast at being 100% is that it’s setting you up for a fall.
When going through the process of checking which hosting provider is most reliable remember the golden rule. Don’t believe what the hosting providers say about their service. It’s not that they’re lying, it’s just that statistics are easy to manipulate.
The best thing to do is check user reviews. Yes people like to complain, so you’ll find more negative reviews but it’s not that we’re looking at, our goal is to find recurring themes. If you have the odd user complaining about downtime, you shouldn’t read anything into it. But if you find the same complaint over and over, then you can start to see that they are either, at best, a little inconsistent, or they don’t have the best infrastructure and reliability is a problem.
The final area you need to spend some time looking at is customer support. I would always recommend taking a managed hosting service. They’ll help with the setup and optimization of your site and be monitoring your site 24/7 to react to any potential problems before they become an issue. However, if you decide not to go the managed hosting route you need to really focus on customer support.
If you really value your time and you should, poor customer support could mean you spend hours and hours trying to resolve a hosting problem. Sending emails, waiting for answers, trawling through the knowledge base. It can take hours and your site can be down for days. If you translate that financially, it can add up to several thousand dollars of your time and lost sales from having your website down.
Whereas, great customer support, they guarantee response times in 20 minutes, 24/7. The world over. They work next to the technical team, so work gets done. The come back to you in minutes. You can ring them. All this stuff adds up. Problems get solved in a quarter of the time.
So there you have it. That’s how you decide which hosting provider is going to be the best fit for you. Have a clear idea what type of hosting service you need. Don’t let hosting providers try to sway you. Next, have look at the features you need. Email hosting or not. Managed hosting or not.
Now, we’re ready to look at each hosting provider. We want to look at page load speeds, reliability and customer support. With page load speeds, run your own tests or read our reviews, because we’ve done it for you. 3 seconds for shared hosting, 2 seconds for VPS and 1 second for a dedicated server. That’s the absolute minimum download speed you should expect.
With reliability, it’s all going to depend on how much money you make directly from your website. Either through advertising or E-commerce,.98% is the worse you should expect if you’re going for a better quality shared hosting, expecting 99.9% is not asking too much. With VPS or dedicated servers, demand perfection.
Customer support is the last thing to look at. You want to host providers that guarantee the speed of their service. You know you’re not going to waste your time going back and forth. Managed hosting is excellent for that, they preempt problems and are instantly on hand to help out. If you don’t go the managed hosting route, then make sure to check user reviews.
The final pillar that has to be part of your research is customer support and it’s often overlooked by potential hosting customers, much to their financial detriment.
Just like hosting packages, the levels of customer support offered by hosting providers differs massively. In some cases you have a ticketing system and a knowledge base, the support team is outsourced to Asia and is only available during office hours. It can take days to have a problem resolved because the customer support team need to liaise with the technical staff onsite at the data center, often across time zones. You’re often asked to fix the problem yourself, they’ll just provide you with the solution.
At the other end of the spectrum, often for very little difference in price, you can expect to find the customer support team housed onsite at the data center, working directly with the technicians. They can be available 24/7 via phone and chat as well as the usual ticketing and knowledge base. They are very good, they know it, and they illustrate it by being able to offer guaranteed response times.
It really depends on your needs. Of course, we’d all like perfect customer support, and if you could then why not? But if your website is simple, a WordPress install with just a few pages (under 20) then hopefully you’re unlikely to need to use customer support often. It becomes less of an issue. Some hosting providers decide to shortcut customer support by outsourcing and limiting support channels to reduce cost so they can afford to offer lower prices.
This is something you can take advantage of, but if you have a slightly more complex website it’s false economy.
Let’s say you make 10 sales a day on your website, the average sale makes $49 and your website is down for 4 hours, that is a loss of revenue of $98. If it goes down like this once every 3 months or so, that’s a loss of revenue of almost $400 a year.
To get the problem resolved, you need to spend 4 hours on the case. If you were to value your time at $30 that is a cost of $120 a time. At the end of the day, time is money, I’m sure you would much rather be spending that time doing something more productive. Again, with a problem occurring every 3 months, that’s an added cost of $480.
You choose a shared hosting solution that cost you $5 a month, just $60 a year. But, in reality, you lost $400 and spend $480 of your time trying to get it fixed. The real cost of the hosting is over $900 a year.
Now, let’s look at the same scenario but using a hosting provider that offers better customer support. When you contact them, they work right next to the technicians onsite at the data center, problems get solved a lot quicker. Instead of needing 4 hours to go through knowledge bases, email back and forth and try to fix the problem, you need just 1 hour.
Using the same figures as the first example, you’re losing $100 a year in lost revenue and $120 in lost time. Even if the hosting cost you a little more, you’re hosting is costing you $300 a year in total rather than $900, that’s how big of a difference picking the right hosting provider can make.
That’s our advice to you. Make a list first of what you need. There is no point in getting sidetracked by cheap shared hosting packages that claim to have unlimited bandwidth when you really need a VPS to manage your traffic and deliver better page load speeds. You want to be laser focused.
Try not to get too hung up on price, not until you’ve determined which hosting providers better suit your needs, then obviously find those hosts that fit your budget.
Finally, you need to look at performance, reliability and last but by no means least, by customer support. Different components matter more or less depending on the type of hosting you’re looking for but you need to focus your energy there and check either consumer reviews or our reviews which check what consumers are saying as part of the review.
How they can improve?
To be fair, they are improving as they should. It's about reliability and customer support and now, being taken over by GoDaddy, they're getting better and better.
"Heart internet have all the power of GoDaddy behind them, and it's starting to show"
Heart Internet have a pretty solid reputation and have a strong customer base.They’ve won numerous awards over the last 5 years and have recently been bought by GoDaddy, but have kept their independence, with their own network and data centers. They are particularly worth your attention if you’re looking at hosting for a UK audience.
They offer all the hosting solutions you’d need from a hosting provider, but I would strongly suggest that you consider their VPS or dedicated server. Their shared hosting is perfectly fine, it’s a solid option, but I would consider either WPEngine or SiteGround, they offer so much more for the same price point.
WIth their VPS and dedicated server you’re in safe hands. They have the odd reliability issue from time to time but it’s a few hours only and it will be an issue for a select few of their customers. In terms of customer support, they have been guilty of being a little inconsistent in the past but in the last few years, that have put a stop to that. There customer support is on a par with some of the top hosting providers on our top 10 list.
All in all, Heart Internet delivers. They are a solid option for shared hosting and one of the better choices you can make with their VPS and dedicated server.