123-Reg Review: Web Hosting Review

Overview

Are you ready to make a splash online and make a positive digital impression? 123-reg bills itself as the service to help you do just that. After starting life as a domain registration provider, much like GoDaddy, 123-reg has expanded radically in recent years, today offering a full range of services designed to get everybody online, from first time bloggers to established enterprises.

Providing a wide variety of domain registration, web hosting, website building and marketing features, 123-reg presents itself as a one-stop shop for anyone looking to build a presence online, all delivered with expert support. With call centres in the UK and in many other home countries, 123-reg's customer service gets impressive reviews. Despite the broad range of products on offer, customer support staff are regularly reviewed as excellent, while 123-reg's online support section is impressively clear, helpful and thorough.

When it comes to price, 123-reg are competitive across the board. With basic monthly hosting starting from £2.49 (excluding 20% VAT) and domain names free for 1 year when you purchase hosting, this is a well-rounded service which will not cost you an arm and a leg. Whether you need hand-holding and support or strong technical features, 123-reg delivers on all fronts, with a refreshingly easy to navigate website.

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Hosting Features

Marketing Features

Site Builder Features

Up to 3 free

domains (Unlimited)

Email marketing

Easy-to-use

website builder

Up to 10 websites

(Unlimited)

Responsive, drag &

drop email editor

Hosting included

Up to unlimited MySQL

& Web space

Audience segmentation

& Real time reporting

Free domain

Up to 1GB database size

SEO tools

Responsive templates

SSL included (Unlimited)

Competitor & keyword

research

Fully customisable

Unlimited bandwidth

(All plans)

Detailed SEO report

30 day money

back guarantee

Website backup

& restore

Automatic submission

to Google, Bing, Yahoo!

and more

Image editor &

Photo gallery

Up to unlimited

email inboxes

Pay per click management

Embeddable video & 3rd

party content

Free website

templates

Fully managed campaigns

from PPC experts

Contact forms &

Google Maps

VPS  & dedicated

hosting available

Budget control

“Make Me a Website”

feature

 

Website Hosting

Let's start with 123-reg's website hosting. This provider offers a wide range of plans starting from the bare bones Essentials package (with few features but enough to get your first website up and running), all the way up to Premium plans and dedicated server hosting for larger enterprises.

For most users, however, it's 123-reg's four packages, aimed at individuals and SMEs which will be of interest. If you're serious about growing your online presence, we'd recommend avoiding the Essentials package. It may cost an unbelievably low £2.49 per month (complete with unlimited bandwidth and a free domain), but compared to other plans you will see little value for money.

Instead, it's worth looking to upgrade just one level to Business (£2.99 per month) or Unlimited (£6.99 per month) to get much more for your investment including: a plethora of including free website templates, a JavaScript generator, access to essential Linux apps like Joomla and WordPress, website statistics and – of course – more GB of website space, more email inboxes and 1GB databases. If you start with Essentials and your website flourishes, you'll find you have little room to grow. More substantial plans give you plenty of room for expansion.

123-reg's website hosting prices are fairly cheap but remember the rates displayed on the website are introductory “first year only” prices. Following your first year of use, these plans will become slightly more expensive – through remain competitive. In 123-reg's favour, most providers offer discounts on the first month of use only. This host offers an entire year's discounted hosting – and a 30 day money back guarantee if you're not satisfied with the service.

Marketing Features

123-Reg offers a trio of marketing features you can add on to your hosting plan to help you promote and grow your website online: Email marketing, SEO tools and pay per click management. If you like to have everything you need in one place, and have limited time or experience to expend on your digital marketing, these services present a convenient and low maintenance option.

With that said, when it comes to email marketing and SEO, there are more effective ways to handle your digital marketing if you have time and expertise. From Google Analytics, to Moz and MailChimp, there are more cutting-edge tools you can use to promote your site via email and to see better organic SEO results.

Ultimately, if you're short on time and expertise, 123-reg's marketing features are low cost, easy to use, supportive and accessible. But if you're planning on taking the web by storm, you'll want to use a much more advanced system or service.

This provider's marketing services also extend to PPC management, offered by Google trained pay per click managers. Again, if you don't know how to run pay per click campaigns or adverts yourself, this service will help you start promoting your website online. However, if you have a little knowledge or a little extra time to invest in researching other options, you may find other providers or techniques generate greater success.

Site Builder Features

If you're building a website from scratch and have no experience or limited time, 123-reg's website builder package could be right for you. Remember, however, this is a package, not a one-off service. That means if comes complete with a hosting plan which means there's no need for you to tack any extras onto your service.

There are two web builder hosting plans for you to consider with 123-reg: Basic (£29.88 for your first year) and Premium (£119.88 for your first year). Simple websites and blogs, built largely for fun or personal use are a good match for the Basic plan (be aware – you can only create 5 pages with this plan!). Businesses or anyone hoping to sell online are a better match for the premium package which includes unlimited pages, 40 responsive templates, Paypal integration, Google Analytics, 20 email addresses and more.

Templates can be a real deal-breaker when it comes to website builders. While the responsive and flexible site editor is easy to use, if your templates don't look the part to start with, your web design will be on shaky foundations. In reality 123-reg's themes aren't going to look jaw-droppingly good. However, nor are they going to look ugly or unprofessional. If you're looking for a cutting-edge appearance, this may not be the web builder for you, however, if you have the skills, you're always free to apply your own design yourself with 123-reg's hosting plans – without the help of web builder.

If you want to hand your website building over to the professionals, 123-reg also offer a managed website service which will build your website for you, whether you're looking to create a simple brochure site or a more complex eCommerce store.

The Bottom Line

This is a very full, well thought out service which offers everything beginner's need to start thriving online. Customer service from 123-reg regularly gets rave reviews and its pricing is very competitive. When it comes to extras like the site builder and marketing features, you won't get cutting-edge tools however, if you're new to the digital world and want a simple set of services in one convenient place that have been designed to be easy to use, this is a service well worth investigating.

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