Based in Englewood, Colorado, GearHost is a web hosting and software application services company. Since its inception in 2000, this company has provided various hosting solutions that are Windows-only based and eventually become dedicated to providing simple cloud hosting for .NET and PHP developers.
In normal cases, GearHost provides two hosting solutions, namely, Standard and Reserved. These hosting plans are regularly priced at $5/mo and $25/mo respectively.
In June of this year, however, the company released a new Free CloudSite solution that is pretty attractive at the first glance. But behind the solution, there remain some drawbacks that are revealed in this GearHost review.
What’s The Free Solution?
This Free CloudSite solution is launched originally for developers to develop their applications before going live. Within this free tier, GearHost claims only to put some limits on the resource usages and provide the same quality of uptime, performance, features, and support as that of the fore-mentioned two hosting plans.
However, according to our real experiences and hundreds of webmasters’ feedbacks, this free solution only brings users some outer beauties in regarding of price value, feature, performance, and support.
Why Not Choose It?
Limited hosting features
In fact, GearHost does provide each hosting plan with some basic features that are listed as follows.
- Full DNS record management & Git publishing
- Multiple PHP versions, including PHP 5.3, 5.4, and 5.5
- .NET 3.5, 4.5, and 4.6
However, some most critical features available with this free hosting plan are very limited.
- This solution offers only 100MB disk space and 10GB bandwidth to store and transfer web data.
- Only 1 Max Worker and 5% CPU usage are allowed.
- The available application pool space is merely 256MB.
- The session timeout is specified as 20 minutes.
With these rather limited features, you are only able to set up a fairly simple blog with very few texts or pictures. And very possibly these planned resources will be exhausted pretty soon. Also, no SSL support is included in this hosting solution by default, which may make your websites vulnerable to malicious attacks.
It is true that with the expansion of your needs, you are able to upgrade the free hosting solution to Standard or Reserved hosting plans to get more resources. However, compared with many other economic hosting companies who provide rich-featured hosting packages at less than $4/mo, the hosting plans of GearHost are not cost effective. A real example is the fairly overcharged MSSQL and MySQL database storage. It takes you $5/mo to get 1GB of this resource merely.
Frequent downtime issues
GearHost claims that it partners with some trusted data center providers who offer high-quality facilities to ensure redundancy and capacity. However, there are very few detailed specifications about the data center as well as the cloud servers, which makes it difficult to evaluate GearHost facilities theoretically.
As for the uptime guarantee, this company promises to ensure users with a 99.99% uptime. However, according to many webmasters’ reviews, there remain constant downtime issues with GearHost servers. According to our monitoring results, the average uptime that GearHost has achieved in the past thirty days is 99.89%, which is not that satisfying as it is claimed to be.
The following picture shows more detailed information about its uptime.
Fairly slow speed
With a free hosting solution, it is nearly impossible to expect a fast speed either for a page loading or responding to a server request. Except the lack of robust data centers and servers, GearHost only provides some shared web nodes for clustering your applications. This means that you have to share the limited resources with other users over the internet. Therefore, the speed of your websites is not protected or guaranteed.
On the basis of our monitoring outcomes, the average server response time of GearHost is 410ms. Technically speaking, this server response time is relatively long, which certainly lead to some negative influences on the overall performance of your websites.
The following screen capture displays GearHost server response time in a more detailed way.
Unsatisfying technical support
GearHost indeed provides a knowledgebase that contains various helpful tutorials and guides for users to find solutions for themselves. Also, this company provides multiple channels to access the technical support, including the phone, email, and ticket systems. However, there are still some complaints addressed to its support, which are explained as follows.
Firstly, GearHost claims that it does provide the live chat support. However, there is no live chat button in its helpdesk, with which comes the doubt that the company lacks a live chat option for technical support.
Besides, there are some unreasonable limits on the support time. GearHost support is available only from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm (Mountain Time) on regular working days. This may pose some inconveniences for users to get assistance at any time anywhere. Also, the overall effectiveness of the support will be leveled down.
Conclusion & Suggestion
From this in-depth review, the free hosting solution provided by GearHost is not worth trying. The features available with this solution are rather limited. Also, its performances in uptime, speed, and technical support are not satisfying.
As a result, we do not recommend GearHost free solution. If you are serious about your websites or you online business, the following alternatives are better for you. They are recognized as some of the best ASP.NET hosting companies by many experienced webmasters and industry authorities.
All of these companies are reputable for providing fast and reliable hosting plans that are both richly featured and reasonably priced. Also, they provide responsive as well as effective technical support to safeguard your optimized web presence and convoy your success in the future.