Don't confuse PowWeb with iPowerWeb as they are two different hosting providers. They have been around for a decade since 1999 and have built up a good reputation in the cheap web hosting market. They offer one single hosting plan.
$4.88? $3.88? Offer Price Explained
PowWeb has been listed here since I launched this site. I am happy to see that there are still able to perform well. They are currently offering an offer price of $4.88/month for their 12 month plan and 24 month plan. Once awhile they increase their offer to $3.88/month (usually in the weekends or holidays).
Please note that the special price is only for your initial contract. Your renewal price will be the regular price of $8.95/month for 12 months, $7.95/month for 24 months and $6.95/month for 36 months.
Plan Size and Features
Same like others, they are now offering unlimited disk space and unlimited bandwidth and allows you to host unlimited websites.
They have included 75 MySQL databases free in their hosting package. They also offer a free domain name for 12 month and 24 month orders.
PowWeb has developed their own custom control panel software, called the "OPS". Most web hosts use commercial control panel software such as CPanel or Plesk. It is quite powerful and easy to use. It handles most of the basic tasks, from billing to setting up email accounts and registering new domain names. The downside of using a custom control panel is learning curve. You have to learn how to use the control panel and if you choose to move to another host, you will have to learn to use the new control panel. Unlike picking a CPanel host, you can move around LunarPages, HostGator or BlueHost easily because they use the same control panel. You can also easily backup a CPanel site and restore it to your new CPanel host!
They no longer offer online demo to OPS so you can't really try it before you buy. However, you can click on the picture above to view the complete screen capture of my OPS account, just to get the feel.
InstallCentral - Fantastico Replacement
Since they do not offer Fantastico Scripts Library (like in HostMonster and LunarPages), they are offering InstallCentral as a replacement but it contains less scripts than Fantastico. What included currently are Joomla, Drupal, Mambo, e107, WordPress, PixelPost, b2evolution, Gallery2, Coppermine, ZenPhoto, Gbook, phpBB, SMF, osCommerce, AgoraCart, ZenCart, Gregarius, MediaWiki, SugarCRM, X7Chat, WebCalendar, Moodle, OpenRealty and phpFormGenerator.
Their email support is very good and effective. They were able to answer all our questions and every email sent was answered promptly. They've also added a toll-free line to their office, which is 1-877-4POWWEB (1877-476-9932). The toll-free line is available Monday to Friday 6am-8pm PDT and Saturday to Sunday 11am-4pm PDT. The line is available to US and Canadian customers only. Live chat support is also available now!
They are also doing a great job of preparing a lot of frequently asked questions (FAQ) in their web site. You can find a lot of solutions to your common problems and also a lot of tips and tricks, such as how to create custom error message, how to do HTTP streaming for real audio and many more.
They also provide an online community forum as a place for their customers to meet (Just like LunarPages). It is a good place to meet some other PowWeb customers who are willing to help each other out. Web host with an open forum usually means they are quite confident of their services because they allow open discussion about them. An active forum with lots of customers also means that they have a successful and established business. Their forum has more than 20,000 members!
No More Limitations
They have addressed most of the limitations I have posted here ever since I posted this review 5 years ago. For example in January 2004, they installed AWStats to allow their customers to view the traffic statistics of their websites. Before that, they provide no web stats.
They also provide toll-free support and live-chat support later. You are now able to create password protected directories directly via the control panel. You are also able to setup email autoresponders now. We can see that they are constantly improving their hosting package.
PowWeb has also removed their maximum number of files limit. They used to have this "funny" limitation where each user cannot have more than 50,000 files in an account. It is funny because it looks like they are the only host in the whole industry that imposed this limitation. But now it has been removed.
They have increased their MySQL databases to 75 in February 2007 after I highlighted it in the review. There are lots of free scripts available to us today (such as forum, blog, etc.) and all of them require a MySQL database. Having more databases means you can install more free scripts. It is good that my writing does have an impact on them. :)
Free Domain Name
If you are registering a new domain name for your hosting account, PowWeb will register it for you for free. This offer is only apply to 1-year or 2-years order. If you are transferring your domain/website to PowWeb, you will not get another free domain name.
About 2 years ago, Andrew Te, the founder and president of PowWeb at that time, left the company after he sold it to Endurance International Group. Endurance International Group has actively acquired many web hosting companies. Some of the acquired companies (such as iPowerWeb) suffer badly after the take over. Fortunately, PowWeb is still able to maintain its service quality. I hope future policies of Endurance will not affect the quality of PowWeb.
Read my other reviews to learn more about PowWeb's competitors especially my iPage Review and my HostGator Review. You will definitely learn a lot just by reading our reviews. If you want to go with PowWeb, make sure you order for at least 1 year to get a free domain name.