If you are looking for an online destination, you need a web hosting service to lay the foundation. Domain.com is a competitor in a busy space, one that gives you the storage, data transfer, email, and other tools to do so. Unfortunately, the service lacks the advanced hosting levels and flexible pricing options offered by competitors, such as 1&1 Ionos, A2, AccuWeb, DreamHost, HostGator, and Hostwinds services. Still, if you don’t need the features, Domain.com lacks, you will find it a capable and reliable web host. Here is our Domain.com review.
The sign-up process for Domain.com seemed simple until we noticed that our shared hosting plan required us to buy a domain – we couldn’t use one we already owned, as allowed by just about every competitor. The website told us that we could use a DOMFREE code to get the domain for free, but our shopping cart page warned us that this was ‘invalid.’ Why? It turned out that the DOMFREE offer had expired almost three months earlier.
To make life worse, the payment page refused to accept an email address using our domain (the one we’ve been using for years, not the new one), with the warning that it was ‘invalid.’ What? Why? We have no idea, and the site ‘forgot’ to tell us.
We tried a Gmail account, and it worked, although we were then warned that “our order verification team will review your purchase” and “the review process is usually within 24 hours”. It’s good to see that a host works to keep scammers off the site, but not as convenient if it blocks you too, for the faintest of reasons.
Domain.com review: Creating a website
Your Domain.com website is managed from its control panel, with vDeck on hand for more advanced tasks (MySQL, AWStats/Webalizer, .htaccess editor, more.) You do not get a cPanel. Domain.com’s panel is very, very basic. Install WordPress; create email accounts; manage domains, DNS, and nameservers, which is the most crucial functionality. VDeck looks a lot like cPanel, but considerably less (our setup had only 19 tools.) But again, it covers the basics, and experienced users need to find their way quickly.
A notable problem with Domain.com’s custom solution is that the company can include many and many ads. Our overview page suggested that we bought domain privacy, for example. And G Suite. And gave us a list of domains we might want to register. Click a menu item for a feature you didn’t buy, and you’ll see an image suggesting you do. And sometimes, the site recommends upgrading our account to get more features.
Fight your way past that, and it’s easy enough to get started. For example, an automated WordPress installer should set you up in a few minutes. (However, there is no Softaculous, so no support for automatic installation of anything else). You can also upload a static site via the file manager or FTP, or dive into vDeck, create new databases, or whatever you want to do.
We still missed the access to cPanel and Softaculous, and the hosting of Domain.com has deteriorated considerably as a result. But there is enough power here to save it, and you should run most sites without much hassle.
Domain.com review: Performance
Domain.com’s web hosting packages come with a wide range of security features, including a password-protected directory and SSL support (Secure Sockets Layer). An SSL certificate acts as a digital passport that allows data to travel through secure networks and protects valuable information such as financial and credit card transactions, subscriptions, and so on. If you plan to sell products, SSL should be considered an essential complement.
Website uptime is one of the most important aspects of a hosting service. If your site is down, customers or customers will not find you or access your products or services. You don’t want that. I used a website monitoring tool to track the uptime of my Domain.com-hosted test site over two weeks. Every 15 minutes, the tool pints my website and sends me an email if it cannot contact the site for at least one minute. The data showed that Domain.com is very reliable; it did not go down once in the 14 days.
Domain.com review: Pricing and plans
The Basic Plan includes all the features we have described above and is priced at $3.75 per month on the initial plans of one, two, and three years, renewing at $4.99. (Yes, that’s right, no discount for longer-term subscriptions and no option for monthly billing). The Deluxe plan adds support for unlimited websites, 25 databases, and 25 FTP accounts and is priced at $6.75 per month on initial one-, two- and three-year plans, which renew at $8.95.
The top-of-the-range Ultra plan supports unlimited databases and FTP accounts, adds ‘premium support’ (the website does not indicate the benefits, presumably because regular support would look poor), and is priced at $13.75 per month on the one, two, and three-year plans. (There is no introductory discount on the Ultra plan, so the renewal price is the same).
These prices look a little expensive, but that’s partly because other hosts usually give you a discount on the first term. HostGator’s single site Hatchling plan starts at just $2.75 a month, for example, a $1 saving on Domain.com’s deal, but you need to sign up for three years, and it renews for $6.95.
However, if the price is your priority, there are cheaper providers nearby. For example, Namecheap is also a top-domain registrar, but it has a much more comprehensive range of products, including some real bargains. Shared hosting starts at a 20GB storage, three websites, unlimited bandwidth product for just $1.24 per month on the two-year plan, $2.88 on the renewal.
Domain.com review: WordPress hosting
Domain.com’s WordPress hosting starts with some straightforward shared hosting plans. WP Starter gives you unlimited storage and bandwidth, a custom control panel, pre-installed themes and plugins, and… No, sorry, there is no ‘and’: that’s it. It initially looks cheap for $3.75 a month, or more than one or two years, but it is extended for $7.49 every three years, or $9.49 a year.
WP Essential includes malware scanning and removal and specialized WordPress support. The price is $6.95 per month, monthly or more than one to three years, but it is extended for $10.49 in the three-year plan and $12.49 per year.
With a WP Live series, you get more support, design guidance, and even advice for website optimization. Prices range from $24 to $118 per month on the annual plan. While that’s not cheap, monthly billing is available. If all you need is help polishing, optimizing, and setting up your site, a month or two of WP Live may get the job done.
This is not bad, but the best hosts will give you many more options and features. IONOS’ WordPress range starts at $3 billed per month for a straightforward single site plan. In contrast, the WordPress Pro range offers features like staging, daily backups, intelligent updates, malware protection, and a stack of caching and optimization technologies for $18-$120 per month.
Domain.com review: Customer support
Domein.com has both 24/7 telephone support and online web chat- I tested both help methods. I called Domain.com’s telephone technical support weekly to ask a representative about the differences between shared hosting and dedicated hosting. The representative came to my rescue in less than three minutes and gave me an informative answer. Later, on a weekday afternoon, I started the web chat to ask a representative how to import my WordPress.com setup into Domain.com.
I waited for a little less than 2 minutes before a phone technician placed my call. He gave me a walkthrough that allowed me to import an existing blog quickly. Overall, I am happy with Domain.com’s customer service.
There is much to love about Domain.com, including e-commerce tools, vital customer service, and reliable site uptime. That said, Domain.com lacks options for cloud, VPS, dedicated, and reseller servers. There is also no option for Windows-based servers. The fast and reliable results of Domain.com are attractive (and it’s also a real value), but the small product range and the lack of standard features (cPanel, Softaculous) mean it won’t be a smart choice for most people.
Domain.com's basic range and the lack of features left us unimpressed; the speed tests' excellent results helped us save the review. Check it out if you're looking for simple but fast shared hosting (or maybe a web store), but give it a miss for everything else.
- Good shared and WordPress hosting packages.
- Excellent uptime.
- Quality customer service.
- Multiple website-builder tools.
- No cloud, VPS, dedicated, or reseller server options.
- Lacks monthly plans.
- Doesn't offer Windows-based servers.