Krystal Hosting began as a brainchild of Simon Blackler who was a 17-year-old at the time. While spending his summer vacation developing a fan site for an upcoming video game and learning how to build it in that process, he faced the problem of finding a suitable web hosting service. After being annoyed with a number of overpriced hosting solutions with dreadful performance on the UK market, he came up with the idea of offering an “honest, reliable & personal” alternative on his own.
Krystal Hosting was finally founded in 2002 and has since become one of the largest independent web hosts in the UK which is currently hosting about 200.000 websites. Today, they offer a variety of hosting solutions, from standard shared hosting to managed WordPress, cloud VPS and reseller hosting.
Krystal began its story of success as the brainchild of 17-year-old Simon Blackler born from its creator’s frustration with sloppy services and bad business practices. After spending his summer vacation annoyed while trying to make a fan site for an upcoming video game while dealing with overrated web hosting solutions offering nothing but an abominable performance on the UK market, young Blackler decided that he had had enough.
As an alternative to all of the above, Krystal was finally founded in 2002 and has since “remained true to its creed” with the creed consisting of eight (we’ll call them) commandments on how to “do the right thing” while running a business. The last of these so-called commandments proclaims that “they believe consumers are best served by legitimate competition, not monopolies” which is further elaborated down the page. In a nutshell, Krystal is the largest independent hosting company in the UK and it intends to stay that way.
Krystal is headquartered in London (the UK) from where it maintains and manages its tier 1 data centers and over 220,000 websites for more than 30,000 satisfied customers. All of their data centers are 100% powered by green renewable energy, which means that their carbon footprint is reduced to a minimum and that our planet should be safe with them.
Krystal’s official site is refreshingly modern, well-organized, user-friendly, and distinctively (and delightfully) purple. The same is true (except for the purple part) about its official blog, which is chock full of articles written in an interesting, informative, and somewhat witty way.
As for social networking sites, Krystal can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Plans and pricing
Krystal offers a nice variety of web hosting solutions starting with simple shared hosting and application hosting (WordPress, Joomla, Magento, Opencart, PrestaShop, and Drupal), followed by managed WordPress and advanced solutions such as reseller, VPS, and dedicated server hosting.
If a tight budget is one of your concerns, worry not. Although Krystal is not the most budget-friendly option on the market, it offers a few reasonably priced packages that come overloaded with features and with no limitations on bandwidth, databases, e-mails, subdomains, parked domains, and email aliases. All three shared hosting packages (Amethyst, Ruby, and Sapphire) also include free SSL certificates (via LetsEncrypt), one-click installers (Softaculous and Installatron), a user-friendly website builder (with no limitation on page/site numbers), an industry-leading cPanel, 24/7 support and 99.99% uptime guarantee.
All of Krystal’s hosting solutions come with a confident 60-day money-back guarantee, except for dedicated server ones (and understandably so), while with managed WordPress ones you can get a 30-day free trial.
Available payment methods with Krystal include credit/debit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, and American Express) and PayPal.
Ease of use
Since Krystal’s site managed to set up the right balance between aesthetics and functionality, finding the right solution should be as hassle-free as possible. However, if you still want to consult with someone before making a final decision don’t hesitate to get in touch with Krystal’s pre-sales support staff, for they are quite close to what they strive to be: “polite, knowledgeable, fast and always ready to help”.
All of Krystal’s Onyx-powered WordPress managed hosting solutions come with a 30-day free trial, so we’re going to give one of them a try. To get a clear picture of the overall cost, choose a billing cycle you intend to utilize (monthly, annual or triennial one) and click on the button to include VAT. The personal WordPress plan supports a single website, but you can add one additional unique site for the price of £5.00 ($6.90) per month. It also includes 5GB of storage space (SSD), 20,000 monthly visits, free daily backups, and instant setup.
Free domain name registration is featured on Krystal’s premium plans and it will be yours for a lifetime. However, if you picked out anything but a premium, a new domain can be yours for a price (however, transfers are free-of-charge).
In any case, the new users will be prompted to create an account with Krystal, and doing so will require them to fill out a form with their personal information, payment details, and a password.
Your account will be set up in an instant, as they promised. Besides being nice-looking, Onyx is a fully managed platform, which means there is always someone from the technical team on the watch in case you get stuck or have any questions.
Krystal’s cloud-based shared hosting plans come with an industry-standard cPanel (which is always good news), a one-click installer with a myriad of available apps (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and many more), and a drag-and-drop builder. With all these tools you’ll be able to create a compelling site without writing a single line of code.
Speed and experience
After putting the speed of Krystal’s main site to the test (via a trusty tool called GTmetrix), we got pretty promising results revealing a swift loading time of 3.9 seconds, which looks even better in comparison with the average result of 8.1 seconds. All other vital web metrics (largest contentful paint, total blocking time, and cumulative layout shift) showed a powerful performance culminating in an A (93%) as a final grade.
As for uptime, Krystal guarantees 99.99% of it at all times. After getting UptimeRobot to monitor their main site for two weeks without a break, we got a glimpse of what you can expect to get while hosting with Krystal, and that is exactly what they promised. During our test, not a single second of downtime was recorded whatsoever and no major oscillations in response time to boot, which paints a picture of pretty presentable performance.
Seeking support on Krystal’s main site will give you a few options including opening a support ticket, starting a live chat, giving them a ring (if you are their client), or searching through the knowledgebase. The ticketing system is available round-the-clock but you can expect to get a reply every day from 6 AM till midnight. The same hours apply for the live chat, while telephone support can be reached Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 8 PM. However, if you’ve opted for one of their premium packages, emergency phone support will be available for you 24/7.
Krystal’s knowledgebase is the first and the best self-help option you’ll find on the official site. It compiles over 300 easy-to-follow how-tos divided into 18 interconnected categories. At the end of each article, users are welcomed to leave a grade with a fitting emoticon (charmed, confused, or a disappointed one). As for our impression, we were pretty much charmed with everything we saw there.
If you are looking for a eco-friendly host with a similar scope of cloud-based products as Krystal’s, but with data centers across four continents, SiteGround might be a good pick. The hosts are remarkably similar in terms of pricing and features, however, Krystal comes a bit stronger when it comes to customer support, while SiteGround scores with its worldwide infrastructure.
Like Krystal, GreenGeeks is a likable beginner-friendly host that cares about the environment. However, since it offers data center locations in the USA and Canada (in addition to Europe), it may be more attractive to the wider audience.
Bluehost is another budget-friendly albeit US-based alternative to all the above, yet its US-based data centers don’t offer much flexibility in terms of location (unlike with SiteGround and GreenGeeks). Additionally, after a few years of hosting with Bluehost, the price of your package will dramatically increase, which may catch you unaware. There will be no such surprises with Krystal.
Much like Bluehost, HostGator is a US-based host offering a myriad of hosting options, features, and free apps for an attractive price. Unfortunately, just like Bluehost, it provides data centers in the USA only. Nevertheless, since all of these web hosting providers offer a money-back guarantee (Krystal’s is valid for 60 days), you can check them all out without the need to worry about wasting your money.
Krystal’s superiority in the UK market comes from its commitment to speed, stability, sustainability, and (above all else) customer support, as well as from the fact that they provide great value for money overall. But are they as honest, as reliable, and as personal as their motto suggests? We have to say yes, by all means.
However, all of Krystal’s data centers are 100% UK-based, which might not be enough to cover the entirety of your target audience. If this is the case, you might be better off with hosts such as GreenGeeks, HostGator, or Bluehost.