APlus Hosting Review

Aplus Hosting is an extremely well established web hosting company. Set up in 1992 they now operate as hosts for half a million domains from over 200,000 webmasters.

They also have 4,000 dedicated server customers and have designed 3,000 websites in the past three years. As far as established web hosting and design companies go, you would be hard pressed to find one that has been around longer than Aplus.net. However, being established for a long period of time doesn’t necessarily mean they have everything to offer their customers or that they provide the customer service that webmasters demand. This review looks at all of the factors that concern the Webmaster looking for a reliable host.

Unix Hosting Packages
Unix hosting comes in four different flavors, each offering a different level of storage, bandwidth, and additional features. The comparison chart on the Unix hosting page is very handy and shows all of the features that are included but here is a quick summary of each of the packages.

Solo Package
This is essentially the beginner package that Aplus.net offer and, as such, is the lowest priced of all the Unix hosting packages. You can quickly get a brand new site that isn’t overloaded with dynamic content or media files online. It will also allow for some growth with the data transfer limit.

Free Domain Name
A good addition to this discount hosting package is that you receive a free domain registration of any available .com, .net. or .info domains. You also receive ten free email accounts and can add more for a minimal cost if required.

Marketing Tools
While the list of marketing tools is relatively short with this package, the ones that are included should provide some genuine use to many Webmasters. The domain suggestion tool provides you with a list of suggest domains that are based on your keywords and informs you whether these domains are available. If any are on hold or are due to become available soon, you can also use the domain status checker tool to keep a regular check on their status. You can also keep track of newly registered domains based on your keywords and any domains that are due to be deleted as well as have access to detailed WhoIs records for each domain.

Email Accounts And Features
Your ten email accounts are POP3 compatible but also come with a web-based client so you can view emails on the move or on your desktop, depending on your preference at the time. A Spam filter and Spam protection package are also included to ensure that your Inbox doesn’t get literally clogged up with unsolicited junk emails. Wireless email access is also included enabling you to access your email not only from the web but also from wireless, mobile browsers like a cell phone or blackberry. Aliases, auto-responders and vacation messages round off what is a fairly impressive list of email features.

Control Panel Access
Control panel access enables you to manage your email accounts from anywhere with Internet access. This control panel is also responsible for managing your domains, your account, and even your billing. The powerful and updated control panel manages your FTP access and activity, mailing lists, and much more. The design is intuitive and features rich so makes a good addition to the package.

Further Features
As well as your free domain name you can choose to add extra domains for a nominal $1.99 per month. You receive 1 FTP account to facilitate quick and easy uploading and downloading of pages and files. Unlimited sub-domains are also included with your domain hosting.

The Solo package does not include support for any scripts but does offer Microsoft FrontPage extensions and support. The Aplus.net personal blog software is the only free script that is included in this package and while there is no site designer included you do get a thumbnail generator and picture manipulator as well as a web counter in various styles.

In all honesty that’s about everything that is included in the Solo package but considering it is the budget plan it looks likely that most of the budget has gone on providing a free domain name.

Solo XR Package
Additional space and storage and 3300 email accounts make this a much more serious contender for the serious Webmaster.

Marketing Tool Additions
There is a huge list of extra marketing tools that are also included in this package. For Google watchers a datacenter watch tool enables you to watch how your site is performing live without the usual toolbar lag, the KeySuggest tool provides you with an extensive list of keyword suggestions, while the PageRank tool displays the Google PageRank of your site. Also included are the innovative and unique KeyRank tools that show and constantly track the number of searches performed on a list of chosen keywords. Link popularity, analytic tools, and sales letter creation tools are also included as part of this package making it exceptionally useful for the online marketer and SEO based marketer.

Mailing List Management
You also receive one mailing list that enables you to include a full email list of all clients and prospective clients. This includes a function to enable recipients of newsletters to quickly and easily unsubscribe from your newsletter. You also receive one mailgroup which works in the same way but does not feature an unsubscribe function.

Domains And Security
Webmasters are able to host multiple domain names giving complete flexibility over the management of a site and its respective domains. Instead of just receiving one free domain name you receive two with this package, which is again a very good addition to a hosting account at this price. Security, too, has been enhanced from the standard Solo package with a shared SSL, FTPS, firewall protection, and even daily site backups in case the unthinkable does happen.

Script Support
In terms of script support, Webmasters receive PHP4, Perl, Ruby, C/C++, Python, and TCL support. They also receive access to more than 200 free scripts and libraries that give the power to create the ultimate in dynamic pages and a user-friendly experience. The personal blog that is included with the Solo package is also available, but so to is an advanced blog feature that is ideal for the budding blogger.

Pro Package
The Pro package really begins to push the boundaries of website hosting and provides more storage and still more data transfer, plus 3600 email accounts. Two mailing lists and 2 mailing groups are included, double that offered with the Solo XLR package and five FTP users are enabled. You have the ability to add your own SSL certificate to show customers that you run a secure and safe website and you also receive a Secure Server Certificate.

Basic Ecommerce Additions
If you are looking to include some basic ecommerce functions then the Pro package includes an OS Commerce storefront that facilitates the quick and simple addition and amendment of items as well as your own merchant account. You can also enjoy five MySQL databases, 900MB of online photo storage, and 50MB of online file storage.

EPro Package
The final and complete package is the ePro package. Storage and email features are the same as with the Pro package but you still receive a lot more for your money. A lot of the extra features are aimed at ecommerce websites and Webmasters and are powerful and feature rich for you and your customers.

A Mass Of Ecommerce Features
The eCommerce booster package provides Miva5 storefronts. These offer much greater capacity for search engine optimization and general online marketing. They allow for the easy addition and acceptance into the major shopping search engines like Froogle. Three mailing lists and three mailing groups are included so you can keep in touch with your customers and send regular newsletters. Three free domain names and ten FTP accounts are also included.

As well as merchant account functionality you also receive a credit card gateway and have the ability to easily connect your store front to Ebay, Amazon, Shopping.com, and Froogle. 10 MySQL databases will come in very handy for numerous categories and because you are likely to need to display a lot of images for your products you also receive increased picture storage of 1200MB.

Windows Hosting
The Windows plans are also broken down into four categories with similar offerings to the Unix hosting, apart of course from the scripts that are on offer. The marketing tools are still included with certain plans and a 99.99% uptime guarantee per year make the plans extremely appealing.

Dedicated Server Hosting – From $99/Month
The dedicated server plans are extremely appealing with even the cheapest plan at $99 per month offering an Intel Celeron 2.8GHz processor with 1GB of RAM, a 160GB Hard Drive, and 1000GB monthly transfer. At the top end of the scale, the most expensive dedicated server costs $349 per month and houses dual Intel XeonE 3.0GHz processors, 2GB of RAM, dual 250GB hard drives, and 3000GB of monthly transfer. There are also a number of AMD servers that offer a combination of incredible power and value.

Aplus Conclusion
As far as web hosts go, Aplus.net offers a huge range of products and has been in business for well over a decade. In this time they have amassed more than 200,000 customers proving them to be worthy of this business life. Whether you are looking for a budget UNIX hosting plan that gets you online for a minimal amount of money but includes a domain name, or you want the raw power of dedicated servers Aplus.net almost certainly have the package to match your needs.