Register.com has grown leaps and bounds from its humble beginnings as a domain-name registrar. The company now offers plenty of additional services, including Web hosting for small and midsize businesses. Like most Web hosts, Register.com hawks different packages that range from bare-bones storage and bandwidth with few frills to high-end plans that come with shopping carts and/or integrated credit-card processing. Unfortunately, none of Register.com's offerings stack up to the competition in terms of price, standard features, or extra benefits. For better, cheaper basic packages, check out competitors such as Brinkster and EarthLink. If your site requires e-commerce, go with Hostway.
Register.com sells a trio of stand-alone Web hosting packages: Basic, Shopping Cart, and eCommerce. All of the plans are slightly discounted if you prepay for a full year. The Basic plan, which costs $149 per year, includes 24GB of bandwidth and 750MB of storage. The Shopping Cart package goes for $199 per year. It offers the same storage as the Basic plan, along with 48GB of bandwidth and Easy Store Maker Basic, a tool that allows you to add a shopping cart to your site. Once users check out, their payment information is forwarded to you via e-mail, and you must then process credit-card orders through your own credit-card swiper or collect users' hard-copy checks. The eCommerce plan takes this idea one step further, allowing you to build both a shopping cart and credit-card processor into your site itself. The eCommerce package comes with two levels of storage/bandwidth: 1.5GB/80GB ($299 per year) and 10.5GB/200GB ($759 per year). All of these packages have one very conspicuous absence: e-mail. You'll have to pay for e-mail options separately; the four options range from Webmail with 5MB of storage ($9.99 per year) to Multi Email with up to 10 mailboxes and 100MB of storage ($99.99 per year). All three packages force you to pay to register your domain name as well: $35 per year for a dot-com address. At least Register.com doesn't skimp on CGI, PHP, and PERL. The eCommerce packages also support MySQL, ColdFusion, ASP (Active Server Pages), and SSL security. (For very small businesses, Register.com has two additional Web hosting packages. For $10.25 per month, with an annual contract, users can choose the Quick and Easy Site Building Solution. Using a template-based tool provided by Register.com, users build a five-page site by uploading text and images and get one year of domain registration, one e-mail account, 25MB of disk space, and unlimited data transfer. For $18.66 per month, users can opt for the Flexible Web Hosting plan, which is designed for users who want to FTP their own files to build a site. They get 750MB of storage, 24GB of data transfer, 10 e-mailboxes with an additional 100MB of e-mail storage, and a domain name.)
|Domain registration included||No||No||No|
|Data transfer per month||24GB||48GB||80GB/200GB|
|Phone and e-mail support||Yes||Yes||Yes|
After you purchase a Register.com hosting package, you can access your new account by logging in to your control panel via the company's site. You can then either upload your preexisting site using the panel's FTP Manager or build a new one with the Easy Site Wizard tool. The comprehensive tool is simple to use, taking you step by step through the process of choosing a design from among dozens of templates arranged by usage categories (education, law, real estate, and so on). You can personalize the malleable templates by adding text, images, tables, and Site Sparks, which include flash pages, sound, a page counter, and more.
Beyond site building, your control panel provides access to several other features. Highlights include a Web Stats tool for viewing traffic on your site; a Disk Usage tool for keeping tabs on your site's remaining storage space; Site Promoter, for search-engine seeding; and File Restore for recalling past site versions. We should note that although Register.com backs up your published site, the backup history lasts a very short three days. If you choose to add e-mail to your site, you must manage your mail through a separate interface; competitors like Hostway allow you to manage both your site and mail through the same control panel.
The best part about Register.com's hosting packages is the service and support. The company's toll-free telephone line is open 24/7. We called the line at several different times of day and always experienced the same thing: a support rep picked up almost immediately. In addition to its extensive, searchable FAQ list, the Register.com support site features a link to initiate a live chat with a service rep. You can even fill out a form to have a tech support rep call you at a time convenient for you.