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LAST UPDATED: June 27th, 2019
Homestead Technologies is the owner and operator of a paid web hosting service based in Burlington, Massachusetts. Homestead is a reseller for Tucows Domain, Inc. Its form has been changing since they launched in 1998 as a free service. Since then, it has expanded to include WYSIWIG site building tools, online marketing and e-commerce services.  

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The Good

  • Security features
  • Cross selling
  • ICANN accreditation
Security Features
Homestead offers a WHOIS domain privacy feature to keep the domain contact details secured from public Whois lookups. When you register a domain, your contact information is entered into a public database. Homestead can make this information private for you for $1/month per domain. This is a competitive feature that will help reduce junk mail and unsolicited telemarketing, guard against identity theft and protect your contact information from spammers.
Cross Selling
Homestead offers approximately 7 visible upsells during the check out process. When you select one of their 3 payment plans, you are shown a total of 7 add-on features: personalized domain names, additional email addresses, paid search ads, (There may be more, but this requires your credit card information being on file in order to proceed to the final checkout page). Compared to other companies, this number is on the lower end. It also is less annoying to users because the add-ons are displayed in the package description, allowing you to choose them all at once rather than some sites, which put pop-ups or squeeze pages along the way in a very aggressive manner trying to get you to buy more add-ons when you want to finish the transaction.
ICANN Accreditation

The Bad

  • Price
  • Other TLD prices
  • Number of TLDs available
  • Mobile app
  • ICANN fees
  • Simple domain transfer policies
  • Bulk price
  • Customer support
Homestead's prices are on par with other domain competitors at $5.99 per month. (This is for website hosting only). Domains are only included in Homestead's packages for businesses starting at $20.99 to $60.99 per month. These packages encompass the .com TLD domain, website hosting and email. Homestead provides one free domain with Website Business Package for $20.99/month and 3 domains free with the Website Business Plus/Platinum package for $60.99/month. Homestead charges $2/month or $24/year for domain registration in their Website Starter Package. For Homestead's Website Starter Package at $5.99/month, you get a 5 page site. If you register a domain name you will also be charged $2/month. So, the total charge is $7.99/month. If you register another domain name it will cost you an additional $2/month so the total charge is $9.99/month. For new business owners or entrepreneurs the package prices are steep, but it can be advantageous because it bundles the required services you need into one affordable monthly price. Some domain name companies charge a cheaper fee but offer additional services (like website hosting and email) for add-on costs. This can result in you using one company for the domain name and another for your email and then another for website hosting. Homestead offers it all in one, which can alleviate this issue. The deluxe business package at $60.99 is more beneficial for advanced business owners or entrepreneurs who are netting consistent income. Some major domain competitors have sales on domain names ranging from as low as 99 cents to $2.99, so if you are solely looking for a domain name, Homestead is not the cheapest option. Also beneficial is that Homestead offers customer service (most uniquely being toll-free phone support) no matter what payment plan you sign up for. So you get customer support by phone, chat and community even with the $5.99/month plan. Some companies will only offer email support until you upgrade to higher tiers of their payment plans. If you have questions about their payment plans and/or add-ons, you can call their 800 number to make sure you understand things clearly before purchasing. A unique feature Homestead offers is website statistics that comes with all payment tiers at no additional cost. These are 'real time' reports that function as marketing tools to help website owners see which pages are most popular, where your website visitors are coming from, how these visitors are navigating your sites and more. This is an extremely valuable marketing service for website owners with limited budgets who may not be able to employ professional help in this much needed area.
Other TLD Prices
While some companies only offer around 100 different Top Level Domains ( TLDs), and some offer over 500, Homestead offers only 5 additional domains: .biz, .net, .org, .info, and .name. The price of these domains depend on the package you choose. For example, you get one free domain with the Website Business Package for $20.99/month and 3 domains free with Website Business Plus/Platinum package.
Number of TLDs Available
• See Section "Other TLD Prices"
Mobile App
While some companies offer a mobile app that allows you to manage your domains from your smart device, Homestead does not offer any apps for iOS or Android. This puts them at a disadvantage in this area.
When purchasing a domain name on Homestead's website, it requires that you set up an account with your email and a password. The next page requires a credit card. What customers need to know about Homestead is that unlike some other domain name sites, Homestead's primary service is website hosting. Domain names are add-ons. If a customer wants to know if ICANN fees apply and how much, Homestead does not make this transparent to the naked eye during the check out process or even in their user agreement. Some competing domain sites make ICANN fees more visible.
Simple Domain Transfer Policies
Homestead has a stringent simple domain transfer policy. They will not allow you to custom build a site on a domain purchased and hosted with Homestead. If you won't use their products, you will not get a domain, either. This requires getting Homestead to unlock the domain so you can transfer to a different registrar. Transferring hosting is easy, but customers find transferring domain name registrars with Homestead to be a big pain in the neck. This creates launching delays for business owners-and loss of time and money.
Bulk Price
While some domain registrars offer discounted bulk pricing for non-profits or schools, etc., Homestead does not. They have affiliate registrars such as Afilias Limited, which may or may not handle such a request.
Customer Support
Homestead offers several avenues of customer support. This includes:
  • A toll-free phone number listed at the top corner of the website.
  • Live chat: an instant messaging tool that allows customers to talk to a customer representative online through Homestead's website.
  • 24/7 online community where you can read answers to past questions on similar topics or connect with other customers who can help. You can access the community through the View Help tab on the right side of the screen. A box pulls up, offering the option to ask a question, share an idea, report a problem or give praise.
  • Webmail: This is an email feature for Homestead account holders. It allows you to log in with your email and password to check email messages on Homestead's platform.
One downside is that the phone and live chat have limited hours. Typically, the benefit of live chat is having 24-7 customer support during the hours where the phone service is not available. Homestead's live chat is only from Monday to Friday between the hours of 3:45 AM to 4:45 PM United States Central Time (Boise). The Live Chat takes several minutes to connect, but the representative was responsive and answered all questions. Another minus is that the representative was outsourced (not in the U.S.).

The Bottom Line

Companies like Homestead appeal to small business owners because of their promise that you can build a professional website in just minutes. Homestead offers you the ability to create a customized domain name with a matching website that can help promote whatever you are attempting to do with creating an online web presence. They have created three different plans that cater to people's different situations. The company is not recommended due to expensive pricing for business packages and the difficulty searching for (and transferring) domain names. Also inferior is having your credit card information required for a free trial. Asking for all your information before you know if you are going to purchase their services is a bit nerve racking and risky. Ultimately, there are better, more modern domain registrar options out there for less trouble.
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