NetRegistry continue to be a pretty big web hosting provider in Australia, and continue to acquire smaller hosts. Those of us who’ve actually dealt with them find this little short of amazing. Though NetRegistry are clearly still making money, and adding more hosting providers to their evil empire, they suck.
There are a number of reasons for this, and I’ll take you through them below. But in short, let’s say that if you want SSL with your web host, NetRegistry are going to make you pay through the nose for it. This, in combination with their appalling customer services, should be more than enough to convince you to have a look at the alternatives.
We realize that some of you don’t want to read 3500 words about Net Registry, so let me give you the lowdown. We’ve dealt with Net Registry and they are overpriced – roughly 5-6X the normal rates. They also have a host of hidden charges that will cost you $200-500 a year.
Instead we recommend Siteground. 1/5 the price with faster speed, more reliable hosting and the best 24/7 friendly support you’ll find anywhere. They also have a totally free trial.
What I’ll Cover In This Review
- 0.1 What I’ll Cover In This Review
- 0.2 But What Do We Know?
- 0.3 What Is Uptime, Downtime, and Load Time?
- 0.4 Pricing – What You NEED to Read
- 1 What’s This SSL Thing Anyway?
- 1.1 NetRegistry’s Appalling Customer Service
- 1.2 The Alternatives
- 1.3 Our Recommendations
- 1.4 1. Siteground – The Best Overall Hosting For Price / Speed / Uptime / Support. ($3.95 / month)
- 1.5 1. HostGator Cloud Hosting – The Second Best ($2.99 / month)
- 1.6 Some Final Thoughts
Here at Aussie Hosting, we like data. To an almost unhealthy degree. Over the last 10 years of running a web / SEO agency, we’ve built up a huge amount of knowledge and numbers on almost all the web hosts in Australia (click here for our full review).
In this review, I’ll take you through …
- NetRegistry’s uptime, speed, and reliability. The conclusion here, if you’re too lazy to read that section, is … meh.
- Then I’ll take you through their pricing. And oh dear, you’re not going to be happy with that.
- Finally, I’ll show you the web hosts we use, and explain why they’re better. I’ve even got facts for that section.
But What Do We Know?
If you’re reading reviews of web hosts online, I’m going to bet that you already know quite a bit about the web hosting and how it works. Well done you. 🙂
The guys I work with, though, know more than you. Here at Aussie Hosting we’ve been working with web hosts for over ten years, and have offices in two locations in Australia. A lot of our clients, some of whom are huge multinationals, ask our advice about web hosting in Australia.
We base our recommendations on our tracking system. We’ve got 413 of our client’s sites wired up to this system, and it continually tracks uptime, and the speed of these sites. So for us, getting data on which web hosts offer the most reliable, quickest service is just a question of pulling the data.
What Is Uptime, Downtime, and Load Time?
Also a fair question, but a pretty simple one to answer. If you can’t work it out from the terms themselves, let me spell it out. “Uptime” is the proportion of time your web host is “Up”. As in “On”. As in how much of time people can see you site. Got it?
Downtime is the opposite, obviously.
A good web hosting provider will have an uptime of more than 98%. A bad one will offer less than 97%. As you can see, this is an area in which small numbers really matter, so pay attention to the decimal places when looking at these stats.
Load Time is just as straightforward to understand. This is the speed with which your web host will deliver your page to potential customers. As you know from your everyday life, if a web page takes more than a couple of seconds to load, you’re going to switch off, so having good load times is super important in choosing a web host.
Hopefully, you got all that. Now let’s take a look at NetRegistry’s data against these three (well, actually two) measures:
- Uptime – 97.6%
- Average Loadtime – 1,912Ms
- Uptime – 97.9%
- Average Loadtime – 2,012Ms
- Uptime – 97.5% (ouch!)
- Average Loadtime – 2,182Ms
- Uptime – 98.09%
- Average Loadtime – 1,658Ms
Now. These are not the worst stats I’ve seen for a web host. GoDaddy still “wins” that category, even after all these years. But they are certainly not the best.
All I can say, really, is that NetRegistry offer an OK service in terms of uptime and speed. Not bad, but not too good either. Like I said above, meh.
Pricing – What You NEED to Read
Here we go. NetRegistry use that pricing model model that we’ve all become infuriated with over the past ten years or so. You know which one I mean – on the front page of the website, it looks like they are cheap. Then, 2 months in, they hit you with huge charges on a contract you can’t break.
Their pricing plans look like this:
Here they show you that they have completely normal stuff for any web host. I’m really not sure what the point of saying you support MySQL is anymore, it’s like saying you support HTML.
Then there is a huge list (on that same page) of loads of other completely standard features … scroll down, oh they support “Easy Install Apps”, great … scroll down … Ah! Here are the prices, finally:
Again, meh. I mean, this is not the most expensive web hosting around, but it’s also not the cheapest. They also don’t offer a free trial, which is a bit mean.
You can actually see the problem – the BIG problem – with NetRegistry’s pricing plan in the picture above. You see where it says “Dedicated SSL – Optional”? Ha ha. That’s NetRegistry’s little joke.
You can spend almost $1000 for three years on their “premium” plan, and you’re still going to need to pay extra for SSL. How much? $200.
What’s This SSL Thing Anyway?
OK, so maybe some of you didn’t get that joke, so I’ll explain it. SSL stands for Secured Socket Layer, of course, but that doesn’t help much in explaining what it does.
You actually come into contact with SSL pretty much every time you use the internet, including this very page. The green https:// above indicates that I’m using SSL here, and therefore that this website is safe.
SSL is now the standard way of ensuring that websites are safe from phishing or any other attacks. It was developed back in 1994 by IBM, because even back in those days people were worried about entering their personal details into websites.
There are two reasons why you need SSL on your web host. The first is that Google will not list your site unless it is SSL encrypted.
This is why NetRegistry charging clients for SSL is so cynical. “Yes, we will host your website,” they say, “but, oh, you also want it to appear on Google? $200 please”. Ha ha.
The other reason you need SSL is that if you don’t have it no payment processor will work with you. Even if you’re not taking payments through your site now, I promise you that one day you will need to, and you’ll regret not getting SSL now. If you don’t have SSL, visitors to your site will see this:
Which does not make a good impression.
Alright, So I’ll Just Get SSL
Go for it. The problem is that, if you are with NetRegistry and want SSL, you are faced with this:
That’s a kookaburra, right?
I think maybe that NetRegistry should replace it with a vulture, because charging “only $199” per year for SSL is ridiculous.
Back in 2003, some web hosts used to charge this much for SSL. In those days, it was a pretty complicated technology, and only used by the largest sites to process a lot of payments in their online store.
But now it’s 2017, nobody has to put up with these crazy charges, especially given that many web hosts give you SSL for free.
And for free is a lot cheaper than $200.
This charge is enough for me to recommend you steer well clear of NetRegistry. But before we take a look at some good alternatives, I just want to mention one more thing:
NetRegistry’s Appalling Customer Service
I’ve dealt with them a few times, and I have to say that I was not impressed. It seems that their phones kept cutting out mid-call, their hold music was diabolical, and when I finally got through I had to give lessons on the way web hosts are supposed to work.
Like a lot of people in this situation, I assumed I had had a bad experience. But no, it wasn’t just me. By far the most enjoyable part of writing this review has been reading through the forums where people review NetRegistry’s customer service department. Don’t believe me? Read the other 61 people who agree.
By now, you may have gathered that I really don’t like NetRegistry. Luckily, though, there are some alternative web hosts that I do like.
Before I tell you which ones they are, let me give you some data. In the past few years we’ve transitioned 15 clients away from NetRegistry. They were instantly more happy, of course, because they no longer had to deal with that customer service department.
But apart from that, we also saw a marked improvement in some of their other stats:
- An increase in client’s time spent browsing the site (people like fast websites)
- A better Google ranking (Google also likes fast websites)
- Better Uptime, and
- Faster load times
- More Sales
Which is great. This image is from a client of ours who we helped to free from NetRegistry’s evil clutches:
As you can see, they experienced a pretty big bump in their sales and client retention, and their faster website got them a better Google ranking.
Which site did we transition them to? Well, it was one of the following:
Average Uptime: 99.95%
Average Load Time: 475Ms
It’s hard to criticise the package that Siteground offer, and to our mind it’s by far the best web host in Australia at the moment. This is shown through our statistics, but a lot of other factors also come into play.
Almost all of our own websites run through Siteground, and unless you are building a super-exotic site to do something magic, you can’t really beat Siteground.
Where do I start? Ok, well, the support team at Siteground are really good. There’s someone there 24 / 7, they are in Australia, and they know how their service is supposed to work. They’ve won awards for the knowledge of their staff, and every time I’ve needed help they’ve sorted out my problem really quick.
Like I said, the uptime and speed of Siteground’s servers is also good. They’ve got a few data centres in Australia, unlike some other hosts, and this really helps in terms of reliability and data transfer speeds.
In the current context, and given what I’ve said above, one of the best things about Siteground is that they have free SSL. Yes, free. Like nothing at all. If you’re planning on taking sales through your site, this is a necessity. If you’re not, having SSL will significantly improve your web ranking.
1. HostGator Cloud Hosting – The Second Best ($2.99 / month)
Average Uptime: 99.4%
Average Load Time: 657Ms
We also love the guys at HostGator. Though their servers are just that little but slower than Siteground, they offer the same amazing customer service. It’s rare, nowadays, to find a customer service team who are simultaneously knowledgeable and friendly, but HostGator seem to have found just the right people.
In addition to great support, HostGator offers free email, daily backups, site transfer, a free website builder, and – like EVERYBODY should – free SSL.
They are also slightly cheaper than Siteground, though if you are worried about a difference of $1 per month perhaps you should re-think your business plan.
Some Final Thoughts
Well, I can sum it up pretty succinctly, I think: NetRegistry suck for a number of reasons. Their performance is nothing special, they make you pay a fortune for SSL, and their customer service team is hilariously incompetent. Go with someone else.