It’s that time again! Here we are with yet another expertly written, sideways look at web hosts in Australia, brought to you by the ever-attentive team at Aussie Hosting.
Today’s victim? It’s Zuver.
OK – first things first. It’s almost impossible to talk about Zuver without making some reference to their name, logo, and overall web design.
Just take a moment to think about that brand name. Zuver. It sounds like something which fell from a 10 year-old’s brainstorming session, or the nickname you’d give to your mate who’s the first to pass out at every party you attend. It’s more than a little juvenile, and doesn’t exactly put across the kind of impression a professional tech company should be aiming for. High scrabble scores do not a top brand name make, after all.
Let’s leave the elementary school-inspired name to one side for a second, and move on to their logo. While their principle logo is perfectly decent (a stylised ‘Z’ shape which isn’t going to make much of an impact either way), their homepage is dominated by a logo for their ‘Zuver Movers’ service. We come across plenty of poor quality logos and branding designs in this job, but the Zuver Movers chosen imagery really is something else.
Featuring a surly, cross-armed and cap-wearing man (against a strangely Soviet-looking backdrop of orange rays), it looks for all the world like a pissed-off doorman at the world’s worst nightclub, or the park ranger from Yogi Bear during a mid-life crisis. At the very least, it makes the company appear somewhat confrontational, as if they’ve chosen the insignia of a third-rate militia to represent their business. So far, so strange.
The website itself doesn’t exactly instil visitors to Zuver’s homepage with much confidence, either. Blocky primary colours, a poorly-designed backdrop of toy trees… it really seems to be trying to keep up the elementary school vibe across every page, and does little to disguise the fact it’s been hastily put together on a click-and-drag webpage template builder. The very first word that leaps out from the page to the visitor in day-glo orange text? ‘Cheap’. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with web hosts being affordable – indeed, it’s one of the factors we’re always keen to look out for – it’s difficult to find anything particularly positive to say about Zuver. It seems that sometimes, you really do get what you’re paying for.
What We’re Looking At
- 1 What We’re Looking At
- 2 Why Should I Listen To You, Anyway?
- 3 The Numbers
- 4 What Do These Numbers Mean?
- 5 SSL
- 6 Talking To Zuver
- 7 The Alternatives
- 8 Our Recommendations
- 9 1. Siteground – The Best Overall Hosting For Price / Speed / Uptime / Support. ($3.95 / month)
- 10 Some Final Thoughts
As with all of our reviews, we’ll be basing our review of Zuver primarily on the facts and figures. If that sounds a little dull, I apologise. However, we’re pretty confident that this is the best way for both you guys and ourselves to fairly assess each web host… and anyway, it’ll save me from having to continue writing about Zuver’s graphic design choices.
Here’s what I’ll be breaking down in the following review:
- I’ll be looking at Zuver’s uptime, speed and overall reliability. If you’re looking to get an overview of this straight away, well… let’s just say that the general consensus regarding Zuver’s performance isn’t exactly a glowing review.
- Following that, I’ve got some more figures for you, but this time regarding Zuver’s pricing. As we’ve already established, this is a company which really, really wants to get across how cheap they are.
- And finally, I’ll be making some direct comparisons for you all, and demonstrating how Zuver compares against the web hosts we use at Aussie Hosting (principally SiteGround, if you’re interested).
Are you sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin!
Why Should I Listen To You, Anyway?
It’s a fair question, but one which can be answered pretty quickly and easily. Without sounding too up ourselves, what we don’t know about web hosting probably isn’t worth knowing. At Aussie Hosting, we’ve got ten long years of experience in working with and collecting data on web hosts, and over that time, we’ve managed to build up a seriously massive database on web hosts. We don’t want to brag, but it’s the biggest in the country, and more than likely the among the best in the world. We’re pretty damn proud of it, too.
Throughout the past decade, we’ve been busy wiring up no less than 418 of our clients’ sites to our bespoke system, and we’ve taken the time to thoroughly assess the performance of their web hosts. The web hosts themselves aren’t exactly the biggest fans of what we do, but we reckon it’s an important enough job to continue beavering away at it.
So, when we came around to reviewing Zuver, all I had to do was to take a look at our huge and comprehensive database. We use this data as the basis for all of our reviews, both good and bad (by the way, if you want to see some jaw-droppingly bad stats, just check out our reviews of Digital Pacific and VentraIP – trust us, it’s worth it!), and this one is no different.
Right – this is what you’re all here for. I’m just going to lay these stats right on the table, and those of you who know what you’re looking for will be able to make up your own minds straightaway.
- 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
As you can see, the prognosis isn’t exactly looking good. Zuver’s cheap as chips approach seems to be a fairly accurate representation of the real value of their service… and believe me, things are only going to get worse.
What Do These Numbers Mean?
For those of you who don’t spend their days looking at web hosting stats (and honestly, we don’t blame you if that’s the case…) some of these figures and terms are going to need a little explanation.
Uptime probably doesn’t need much of an explanation – the definition is in the name. It’s essentially the percentage of the time that a web host is turned on, running smoothly and providing web pages to their clients – that is, the amount of time that your site is ‘up’, or available. Easy peasy.
A good quality provider of web hosting will have an uptime exceeding 98%. Poor quality ones will be offering less than 97%… and a 0.1% difference can really hit a web hosting service and their clients where it hurts. There’s nothing more frustrating to a potential customer than a down website, and nowadays, those customers don’t tend to stick around and give businesses second chances. If your site is down even 0.1% of the time, you’re going to lose customers. End of.
How to Zuver do in this regard? Well, not particularly brilliantly. There’s certainly room for improvement, as my old school teachers used to say… and that’s frankly unacceptable in this day and age, when competition is so fierce, and so easily accessible.
Speed is, again, pretty self-explanatory. However, not everybody understands quite how significant minute differences in web hosting speed can be. Customers nowadays are more demanding than ever, and even a one second delay in page loading times will turn a huge amount of people off.
How to Zuver fare here? Again, they fail to make the grade where it matters most. If you’re looking to run a fancy, high-speed site, packed full of interesting graphics and impressive features… well, it’s best not to go for the company with the homepage that looks like it was designed as a high school homework project.
So, here’s we get to the crunch of it. How much do Zuver actually charge for their less-than-ideal web hosting services?
It turns out that their pricing really is very competitive, at the end of the day. However, if you end up losing customers due to their poor level of service, could the handful of cents you save each month on their pricing scheme actually lead to you losing much more money? Frankly, it doesn’t seem unlikely that this would be the case.
So, as we can see, the prices at Zuver start at a pretty reasonable $3 per month. But what exactly do you get for that price? Not very much, by a long shot. No wonder the cap-wearing beefcake on their homepage looks so fed up. For double that rate, you get something which looks a bit more tempting, but at $6 per month, you’re well within the price range of other, far more effective and reliable services. It seems a no-brainer, really.
Zuver are really quite keen to put across the fact that their service comes with a whole load of free extras… although it does seem a bit odd that the first thing they list is ‘free 24/7 technical support’ – as if that’s something to shout from the rooftops nowadays.
Here’s what they offer to their customers (although it’s probably worth noting the excessive use of words like ‘cool’ and ‘awesome’ in the header…)
It’s not a terrible list of extra features, but it doesn’t offer anything above and beyond the minimum of what we’d expect nowadays. Again, it’s impossible not to be put off by the naff design and wording of this site, even when they’re trying to communicate what a great set of additional features they’re offering.
Anyone who’s spent any real time browsing our reviews over the past few years (and if you haven’t, you’ve really been missing out!) will have noticed that we’re always banging on about SSL. There’s a good reason for this: it’s a really important feature, and one which causes plenty of web hosts to go down in our bad books.
What happens all too often is this: a web host draws in an eager crowd with the promise of decent enough hosting at cheap prices, and ends up with a flood of customers signing up for a year-long contract. Is there a catch? Of course there is! Those over-eager customers actually end up paying through the nose for a whole range of extra features which really should have been included in the price, and top of the list of usual culprits is the notorious SSL certificate. If you’re looking for a prime example, check out our NetRegistry review. Sure, they look cheap… but once you’ve paid a surcharge of $200 for an SSL certificate on top of their other fees, you’ll be kicking yourself harder than you’ve just kicked your brand new computer.
While Zuver might fail at pretty much every single hurdle we’re judging them by, they at least offer SSL as standard with both of their plans. Finally, I managed to find perhaps the one positive thing to say about this web host!
Talking To Zuver
As you can probably gather, we’re not exactly big fans of what we’ve seen from Zuver. Will their 24/7 customer service redeem them? In a word: No.
We’ve trawled the online forums and had a look at the stats, and before their users even begin to lay into their lacklustre speed and uptime etc, the main complaint people seem to have about Zuver is their lack of reliable customer contact. This is a particularly powerful issue when you consider that Zuver’s less-than-acceptable level of service means that their servers regularly have issues… issues which really do require an attentive and effective customer service team at hand all the time. If you can’t even provide that, well, your web host service is pretty much a lost cause.
It’s more than a little depressing to think that most of the time, the final sections of these reviews involve me scrabbling around and looking for decent alternatives to offer customers destined to be disappointed by the rubbish web host I’m writing about. Sadly, this review fits neatly into this category: by no accounts can I recommend Zuver to anybody looking for an effective, value-for-money webhost capable of looking after their site.
Thankfully, we still live very much in a free country, and nobody is by any means obligated to hand over their bank details to Zuver. If you’re after cheap, fast and trustworthy web hosting – believe us – there are far better places for you to go.
It goes without saying that getting hold of a good web host is an important thing for any business. Fast and efficient websites lead to happy customers, and happy customers will boost your profits, your overall well-being, and will allow you to spend more time in the Whitsundays on your luxury yacht without a care in the world (we all do that, right?).
If you’re even slightly unhappy with your web host (and god forbid you’ve found yourself lumbered with a yearly contract with Zuver), there’s never been a better time to think about swapping to a better service. Why? Because you’ll end up benefiting from the following:
- Your clients will spend more time browsing your site, due to its increased speediness and overall quality of use
- You’ll have a better Google ranking, because those boffins at Google love a fast site
- Better Uptime rates, and
- Faster loading times, meaning a higher retainership of your existing and potential clients
Even if you are halfway through a year long contract with one of the many crappy hosts found across Australia, it’s well worth your while to consider moving your site regardless. Web hosting here in Australia has come on leaps and bounds over the past few years, and moving to a better host can end up being a massively profitable move.
It doesn’t take much for a web host to excel in comparison to Zuver, and there are quite a few hosting services out there which would leave this bargain-bucket company well and truly in the shade.
However, we’ve done the studies, we’ve got the stats, and we’re confident in saying that the best alternative out there is the very hosting service we use ourselves:
1. Siteground – The Best Overall Hosting For Price / Speed / Uptime / Support. ($3.95 / month)
Average Uptime: 99.95%
Average Load Time: 475Ms
We have no problem whatsoever when it comes to singing the praises of SiteGround. It’s no exaggeration to say that SiteGround represent the very future of Aussie web hosting, and Zuver (rather fittingly) looks like a school project from 2002 in comparison.
If you’re the kind of person who likes those facts and figures, then you’ll be pleased to hear that SiteGround comes out on top of every stats table of any web host in the country. They’ve got a few close competitors, but streak comfortably ahead in every category. They offer free SSL – which we already mentioned is pretty damn key when it comes to saving you money and lowering your blood pressure – and a wealth of other features, too.
It’s fair to say that Zuver are a little cheaper than SiteGround, but the difference in cost is barely more than a dollar a month. If you’re worried that your business can’t stretch its budget to accommodate an extra dollar… well, you might just have bigger things to worry about than your Uptime.
Some Final Thoughts
To put things simply and frankly, Zuver are one of the most useless web hosting services we’ve come across for some time. Their amateurish approach and site design should raise plenty of red flags from the moment you visit their homepage, from the cookie-cutter templates to the grumpy park ranger icon, who seems to warn you against proceeding any further.
From there, it’s a fairly sad and irritating downward spiral into the kind of web hosting we thought we’d long since seen the back of. Best left in the bargain bucket, where it can be safely ignored.