If you’re reading this, chances are you’re looking to build an awesome website for yourself or for your business. Building a website is big business these days and people don’t make them just to let them sit on their own computers. A website is meant to be set free on the World Wide Web.
I admit building a website is a lot more fun than worrying about hosting it, but web hosting isn’t something you should take lightly. Choosing a web host is a make-or-break decision that would either bring you online success or complete failure. And this is where a hosting provider like Gate.com comes into play.
Gate.com has been in the upper echelon of web hosting for many years. They have been offering web hosting services even before the Internet became a “vital” part of our lives. This, however, doesn’t mean that everyone’s sold with their offerings. After all, new web hosts keep popping up like mushrooms and for all we know, they’ve already trumped Gate.com in terms of reliability and affordability.
Whenever I review a web host, I take a look at a number of different things like their plans, features, uptime record, customer support, and of course their price tag. So if you’re considering signing up with Gate.com, make sure to read this Gate.com in-depth review first and decide whether or not you should trust them for your web hosting needs.
Best of luck!
Gate.com Web Hosting – What’s Their Story?
Gate.com is one of the longest running web hosting providers, having been around since 1996. It’s built around a simple principle which is to offer affordable, reliable, and smarter web hosting solutions. They launched their complete line of hosting products in 2006. The following year, they were acquired by the HostWay Corporation, which is one of the largest Internet companies in the industry.
Gate.com largely operate the same as their sister company, HostWay, although they maintain separate websites and services. The fact that they’ve been acquired by such a powerful company allowed them to expand much faster, both in the number of clients and the geographic location they’re able to serve. Today, Gate.com is home to more than 600,000 client sites.
Gate.com Web Hosting Plans
Gate.com offers a number of different hosting plans for clients of all levels. They also offer domain registration, email marketing solutions, web applications, and many more but for this review, I’m going to focus more on their hosting plans.
With years of expertise and experience in web hosting, Gate.com offers hosting services for both Linux and Windows users. Whether you know exactly what you need for your business site, or you’re just starting out and need a straightforward plan to kick-start a web project, this web host promises to provide a specific solution that’s right for you. You can customize a hosting plan that will give you everything you need, and nothing you don’t. Upgrading and downgrading is a relatively swift process, too.
Gate.com offers both Linux and Windows hosting on some of their hosting plans. By utilizing a highly advanced system, they are able to provide reliable and high-performance shared hosting options that are ideal for small to medium sized businesses.
You can choose from three different tiers: Basic, Business, and Professional. Price ranges from $4.95 to $29.95. And if you opt for their prepaid annual subscriptions, you can get the first two months for FREE. Not all web host can give you the same generous offer, so you better take advantage of this money-saving opportunity before it’s too late! Besides this, all of Gate.com’s shared hosting plans come with unlimited bandwidth, Shared SSL Certificate, basic web analytics tool, as well as a website builder for fast and easy website creation.
Specifically tailored for those who are about to dip their toe in the online pond, the Basic hosting plan provides all the essentials for building a simple website. Starting from $4.99/month, this Linux-only shared hosting plan comes packed with 20 GB worth of disk storage, unlimited bandwidth, and 25 email accounts. The plan also includes a website builder where you can create up to 10 web pages, as well as website statistics and a Shared SSL Certificate.
For small business owners who want a little more out of a hosting plan, the Business plan provides the unlimited capacity and features needed to build a simple corporate site. In addition to the featured included with the Basic plan, the Business plan comes packed with unlimited disk space, email accounts, and web pages. These are exactly what you need to build a site that can support a growing business. This plans starts from $9.95/month, and supports both the Linux and Windows OS.
For companies and entrepreneurs who are looking to proactively market to and attract more customers, the Professional plan is the ideal solution for building a professional business site. It builds upon the Business plan, plus website enhancements and online marketing tools that can help you establish a strong online presence and boost your business’ growth. Starting from $29.95/month, the Professional plan comes with a FREE domain name and yearly renewal, with support for various eCommerce tools and services. Just like the Business plan, it supports both the Linux and Windows OS.
Haven’t decided which shared hosting plan to pick? Let this comparison chart serve as your guide to making the right purchasing decision:
|Ideal For||Personal websites, small businesses with basic information||Bloggers (especially for WordPress), small business that are expecting growth||Small to medium sized businesses, eCommerce hops looking to optimize their site for mobile visitors|
|OS||Linux||Linux or Windows||Linux or Windows|
|Disk Space||20 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Email Accounts||Up to 25||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|FREE Domain Name||1|
|Shared SSL Certificate|
|Host Multiple Websites|
|MySQL or MS SQL Databases||10||10|
|Website Builder Pages||10||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Mobile Site Creator|
|Basic Website Statistics|
|Advanced Website Analytics|
|Email Virus and Spam Protection|
When you factor in everything that you get with their hosting plans, Gate.com does offer excellent value for money. But if you make a side-by-side comparison with other popular web hosts like BlueHost, you’ll notice that they offer almost the same set of features but Gate.com is slightly more expensive by about a dollar. And considering Gate.com has been in the web hosting industry for many years, I haven’t seen any significant shift to add new feature or enhance the usability of their interface.
Additionally, there are a few missing features that I would otherwise find very important in a hosting plan. For starters, they don’t offer international domains so you have to stick with the standard .com, .net, and .biz. They also don’t offer any search marketing or ad credits, whereas most competitors provide at least $50 to help you establish your web presence. Another point of confusion is that they don’t allow custom cron jobs. You have to contact server admin first before you can use a script. After reviewing your script, the server admin will determine whether or not it’s safe and not burdensome to server resources. How long this process will take is unclear, but if cron jobs are vital to your site’s functionality, you might not want to trouble yourself worrying about it since there are many other web hosts that allow you to use cron jobs.
Of course, let’s not forget that there are other great features to highlight, like a free shared SSL Certificate that comes with every package, including unlimited bandwidth. Some web hosts will charge an extra fee for an SSL Certificate and for Gate.com to include it in their basic hosting plans is a big plus for me.
Virtual Private Servers (VPS)
If you’re expecting growth to your business and you think your site needs more room beyond what shared hosting can offer, then upgrading to a Virtual Private Server (VPS) is your best bet. With VPS hosting, you’ll get a more powerful and secure hosting environment. You can enjoy the freedom and flexibility of a dedicated server, but with the affordability and ease of use of shared hosting. Now, you can focus on what you do best – growing your business, launching new web projects, and taking care of your valued customers. You have the peace of mind knowing that you’re backed up by Gate.com’s dedicated team of support engineers.
VPS hosting is ideal for those who want to:
- Create and manage multiple sites
- Install a number of web applications
- Control servers with an automation control panel
- Resell hosting packages
- Gain more control over a hosting environment
Gate.com offers three different VPS plans (Basic, Developer, and Pro) where you can choose between the Linux and Windows OS. And for a limited time only, Gate.com is currently offering a 50% discount on all their VPS hosting plans – for life! You read that right. If you sign up for a new VPS hosting account with them today, you can take advantage of a reduced pricing as long as your account is active. Besides this limited time offer, you can also get any of their VPS plans for free for the first 2 months if you opt for their prepaid or annual subscription. Tempting, right?
Gate.com Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting Plans and Pricing Comparison Chart
|Disk Space (SSD)||15 GB||60 GB||240 GB|
|RAM (Memory)||1 GB||4 GB||8 GB|
|Dedicated IP Addresses||2||2||3|
|Control Panel||cPanel or Plesk 12||cPanel or Plesk 12||cPanel or Plesk 12|
|FREE cPanel to cPanel Migration|
|FREE Plesk to Plesk Migration|
|OS||Windows 2008||Windows 2008||Windows 2008|
|Disk Space (SSD)||15 GB||60 GB||240 GB|
|RAM (Memory)||1 GB||4 GB||8 GB|
|Dedicated IP Addresses||2||2||3|
|FREE Plesk to Plesk Migration|
Unlike most of their competitors, they offer ample amounts of disk space and even provide unlimited bandwidth on all their VPS hosting plans. The plans even come packed with 2 dedicated IPs and your choice of control panel. Their plans are also cheaper by a few bucks, although there’s no denying that the Windows hosting plans are a bit more expensive than Linux hosting (which is almost always the case among web hosting providers).
Dedicated Server Hosting
Gate.com give their clients the option to host their sites on a dedicated server but my issue with this option is that they don’t really have their “own” dedicated servers. And by this, I mean they’re offering managed dedicated hosting options from their sister company, HostWay.
If you visit their homepage, you’ll notice that there’s no mention of any dedicated hosting plans. Dig deeper into their site, however, and you’ll eventually find a page that gives you the option to upgrade to a dedicated server provided by HostWay. Most people won’t mind this but personally, it would have been better if they offer their own dedicated hosting plans rather than pointing clients to a different web host.
On the flipside, you are given the option to choose between Linux and Windows hosting. And as a client of HostWay’s dedicated server plans, you’ll get the following benefits:
- Affordable and competitive pricing
- High performance, industry-grade Dell hardware with powerful servers, full root access, and superior connectivity
- Compliance and security options available, from economical firewalls to full-compliance solutions for PCI and HIPAA
- In-house IT reduction so you can focus on your business while HostWay’s team of experts takes care of the daily tasks like backups, patching, etc.
- Dedicated account manager who works hand-in-hand with your support team to ensure your customized hosting solution works according to your needs and expectations
Again, I would much prefer if Gate.com itself offers its own dedicated hosting plans. If you don’t like the idea of transitioning from Gate.com to its sister company, it’s best to just look for a different web host altogether. But if you like what HostWay has to offer, consider checking out my in-depth review on their hosting services first. Better safe than sorry!
Creating a WordPress Blog / Website with Gate.com
Sadly, Gate.com does not offer managed WordPress hosting options for those who want a more optimized hosting environment that’s specifically designed for growing WordPress sites like yours. This doesn’t mean, however, that Gate.com doesn’t cater to those who love WordPress. You can still bring your WordPress site to their platform, or start a new one with them.
With the help of the EasyScript one-click installer, you can easily set up a WordPress site with Gate.com. The installer already comes built with their control panel, so you’re just a few clicks away from thousands of customizable plugins and themes that you can use for your site.
I recommend getting Gate.com’s budget-friendly Professional shared hosting plan, which is the ideal choice for running WordPress websites. If you want a more robust hosting package, you can go for their cost-effective and accessible cloud hosting infrastructure or get in touch with a customer rep to assist you regarding WordPress setup.
Special Mention: Website Builder
Want to build a site from scratch? No worries! Gate.com makes it a whole lot easier for you to build a professional-looking website – no technical skills required!
Simple called the Website Builder, this tool already comes packed with all of their hosting plans. It’s an intuitive and easy-to-use site-building tool lets you easily edit and design a site that’s perfect for your business. It even comes with beautiful pre-made templates. Simple point and click to modify your site. Once you’re all set, you can publish your site with a click!
Even if you’re new to web development, you’ll feel like a professional with the help of industry-specific templates, drag-and-drop editing, an online image gallery, and lots of widgets and calculators. You can even integrate social media into your site with a simple drag-and-drop. And if you feel like getting started is the hardest part of all, don’t worry because Gate.com has included relevant content to get you on the right track. Do you have your own design in mind? Advanced users also have the option to customize their own templates or even upload and edit their own code. Talk about flexibility and control!
Here’s a screenshot of the features and benefits you’ll get with the Website Builder:
Want more power out of this site-building tool, Gate.com lets you add the Website Builder Extender to your chosen hosting plan. As the name suggests, it lets you extend your online presence beyond your site with the help of online marketing tools like a mobile site creation and editing suite, a Facebook manager and page builder, plus the ability to create unlimited web pages to your site!
The Professional hosting plan already includes all of these online marketing tools, but they can also be added on a la carte to their other hosting plans via the control panel. Take note, however, that you need to pay an additional $9.95 a month in order to get the Website Builder Extender.
eCommerce Tools and Services
For proactive businesses that want to maximize their capacity to attract more customers and prospects to their online shop, Gate.com offers plenty of add-on tools and services that are designed for serious entrepreneurs. By adding eCommerce to your site, you will give customers the opportunity to buy whenever they’re ready – 24/7/365! That’s right, they’ll never miss a sale again!
Gate.com’s eCommerce add-ons provide the functionality and security you need to open your doors to customers and new revenue streams. Here’s a full list of their eCommerce offerings and how to get them:
Open Your eCommerce Store
With the Merchant Manager, you can add a shopping cart and product catalog to your site. This allows you to promote and sell your products and services online. Site visitors and customers can also create “wish lists”, with an email-to-a-friend option.
The Merchant Manager is an add-on that costs $9.95 a month, but is included for free in Gate.com’s Professional plan. You can also purchase it with their Basic or Business hosting plan, via the control panel.
Various Payment Methods
Do your customers prefer to pay in cash or credit? No matter the choice, Gate.com has you covered. By adding a Merchant Account to your eCommerce site, you can offer flexible payment options to your customers. The Merchant Account will securely and automatically handle online transactions, providing you with a safe avenue to process transactions and accept all major credit cards. Gate.com has even partnered with the ever-popular PayPal to provide the payment processing options that work best for your business.
High-Level Security for Online Transactions
Gate.com also offers plenty of security solutions to protect, certify, and secure your website. If you’re not satisfied with just a shared SSL Certificate, you can purchase a dedicated SSL to assure your customers that their private information is kept safe when they make purchases from your online store.
Take note, however, that purchasing a dedicated SSL certificate can be quite costly. You can opt to purchase Geotrust’s QuickSSL Premium for $149 a year, and/or the TrueBizID for an additional $199 a year for an additional layer of security to your site. They’re quite expensive, don’t you think? But security is everything, especially for your customers. That, and if you have plenty of cash to burn!
Gate.com also doesn’t provide dedicated IPs on their shared hosting plans and if you need one, you’ll have to shell out an additional $19.95 per year.
Choice of User-Friendly Control Panels (SiteControl, cPanel, and Plesk)
Gate.com lets you make changes to your hosting account on the backend of your server through a control panel. For shared hosting plan holders, you are given access to a web-based control panel called SiteControl. It’s a simple and easy-to-use control panel that allows you to manage your domain names, monitor your site traffic, check your billing info, and much more.
For those who have opted to their VPS plans, you’ll have access to the most widely used control panels in the industry, cPanel and Plesk. For Linux users, you have a choice between cPanel and Plesk. On the other hand, Windows users can only use the Plesk control panel.
With cPanel, you’ll get an extremely user-friendly web-based interface that gives you complete control over your server. It allows you to manage all aspects of your hosting platform in a single location. With this control panel, you can manage and use your VPS with a graphical interface, and manage all of your services, which include but are not limited to:
- Access to server logs
- Email creation and management
- File manager
- Website stats
- Details of server resources usage
- FTP users
Besides these, you can also install and add features like the Website Builder, PHP, or even manually add WordPress. There are many other options that you can add to cPanel once you’re logged into the interface.
Plesk works just like cPanel, as it gives you the ability to manage all your hosting options and services in a single place. You can also integrate WordPress into your account with this control panel. But unlike cPanel, Plesk supports both the Linux and Windows OS.
Both cPanel and Plesk are feature-rich and user-friendly control panels with similar functionality. The difference lies in how the tools and options are organized, as well as the security models used. For many people, it can be confusing or even frustrating to switch from one control panel to another because the functionality you expect isn’t in the same place as it was with the previous control panel you’ve used. But perhaps the biggest difference – and least desirable – between these two is migration from one server to another.
Unlike a custom in-house control panel, it’s easy to migrate cPanel and Plesk from server to server. That is, if you move to and from the same control panel. It’s an entirely different story if you move from one to the other. The good news is that Gate.com offers free migration services in their hosting plans, although it only applies to cPanel-to-cPanel or Plesk-to-Plesk moves.
The solution? Once you pick a control panel, it’s best to just stick with it!
Uptime and Performance – Are They Reliable?
Uptime and performance are important factors to consider in choosing a web host. Good thing Gate.com is one of those web hosts that focus on providing reliable hosting services. For faster website performance, they’ve deployed lightning-fast direct attached SSD drives in their servers. These servers are deployed within minutes.
Gate.com is so confident with their services that they’re providing a 100% uptime guarantee to their clients. But are they able to keep this promise?
In the web hosting world, promising your clients with zero downtimes can be a little absurd because, no matter how powerful a web host’s data centers are, outages are inevitable. Almost all web hosts these days – even the best ones – provide a 99.9% uptime guarantee or as close to it as possible.
The problem with Gate.com is that they’ve received a number of customer complaints regarding uptime. Their shared hosting services can be a little slow and even have brief outages at times. However, this is a fairly common complaint so it’s hard to know for sure whether or not it actually is an issue. It’s good to know, though, that the folks at Gate.com are quick to respond to such issues. Chances are you won’t experience lengthy downtime with this web host.
Still, they could’ve been more honest with their uptime guarantee. Also, they need to provide some form of compensation for customers who do experience downtimes. There’s no mention of a refund in their website in case of outages.
Overall, I could say that this web host is pretty stable. They operate out of high-end data centers located in Fort Know; with full redundant network connections and power supplies. What’s more, each of their data centers have multiple layers of defense against various threats like fire, flood, physical intrusion, and power failure. You name it, they’re fully prepared.
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
Each of Gate.com’s shared and VPS hosting plans carries a 30-day unconditional money-back guarantee. This means that if you’re not completely satisfied with their services or support, you can simple ask for a full refund of the fees you’ve paid in advance within the first 30 days. This money-back guarantee, however, does not cover add-ons and extras like domain registration. It also doesn’t cover dedicated servers since they’re already under HostWay. Items and services ordered through their reseller program also don’t qualify for the money-back guarantee.
Take note that hosting plans will automatically be renewed until you cancel your hosting plan. If you wish to cancel your account, you must contact Gate.com Customer Relations Team, available on weekdays from 8AM to 5PM. If your cancellation request is received beyond the first 30 days of service, however, it will no longer be eligible for any refund either in whole or in part of the fees already paid. This means that you must submit a cancellation request prior to the end of the first billing cycle.
24/7 Customer Support
Gate.com offers plenty of ways for you to get in touch with their customer care agents, including via 24/7 toll-free telephone, email, and even snail mail. You can also jump on live chat (which is mostly for sales) or submit a support ticket.
Although it took several attempts for me to reach a customer rep, I found support to be friendly and knowledgeable. They’ve responded to most of my concerns and questions in a timely and professional manner. If I asked something they didn’t know automatically, they’re quick to hunt down and provide me with relevant information. They’re surprisingly thorough and down-to-earth, too!
But just like any other web host, there have also been reports from customers complaining about customer service. Apparently, cancelling a hosting account is the most common complaint among customers. This is because as soon as someone cancels their account, Gate.com instantly cut their access to the control panel. Some people don’t really have issues with this but what some people don’t expect is that they continue to receive bills from Gate.com despite having already cancelled their account. It’s very frustrating and a number of people have already put a bank block on their account. I just wish this could be improved drastically by Gate.com so they can provide a truly satisfactory service to all their clients.
Pros and Cons
Gate.com has a solid reputation for being an easy web hosting provider to work with. But it’s not really cut out for everyone who’s looking for a budget-friendly web hosting solution. Following are the upsides and downsides of using Gate.com’s hosting services:
- Reliable hosting plans
- Fair pricing
- Provides support for both Linux and Windows OS
- Backed by a powerful company (HostWay Services, Inc.)
- Offers unlimited bandwidth on all their hosting plans
- Offers two months free for annual subscriptions on shared and VPS hosting
- Provides shared SSL Certificate
- Hosting plans include easy-to-use and feature-packed Website Builder
- Gives you a choice of user-friendly control panels (SiteControl, cPanel, Plesk)
- Good uptime record
- Customer support staff are friendly and knowledgeable
- Some plans are slightly more expensive than the competition
- Limited features in hosting plans, including MySQL / MS SQL databases
- Lacks a few key features like support for international domains
- No access to scripts/applications library
- Custom cron jobs not allowed unless you contact a server admin to have your script approved
- Does not offer control panel on low-tier hosting plans
- Does not offer its own dedicated servers, nor is there an option for managed WordPress hosting
- Lower hosting plans don’t have eCommerce support, dedicated IP address, and free domain name
- Some minor issues with uptime guarantee
- Tricky policy for account cancellation
- Costly add-ons like Dedicated SSL Certificates and extra dedicated IPs
Final Verdict – A Web Host That Needs More Improvement
Taken as a whole, Gate.com is indeed a promising web host that could be a good option for individuals and small businesses. However, their hosting services could not provide that much value to those who are expecting business growth. You can make do with this web host if you’re looking to build a simple website and you’re on a tight budget. Gate.com doesn’t really come with as much resources (CPU power, RAM, etc.) as many other web hosts that could help large-scale businesses.
On the bright side, Gate.com is undoubtedly one of the more reliable companies in the web hosting industry. Their professional approach to providing quality service to their customers is praiseworthy. They strive to provide hosting services that are especially designed with user requirements in mind. They offer high performance and reliability, and they even have a team of highly skilled and experienced staff that are standing by 24/7 to help customers.
So, should you trust them for your web hosting needs? The answer is yes, but only if you’re searching for basic web hosting. Otherwise, it’s best to just look elsewhere if you need a more robust hosting package for your growing business.
Gate.com is a good choice for beginners and businesses on a budget, but some clients may run into irritating red tape.