Easy CGI Review

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Pros: Good database support, easy to contact technical support, near total control over domain/web site, fair prices and practices.

Cons: Not visually stunning, no amazingly unique features.

Bottomline: Easy CGI is a straight forward host that provides everything expected with a few nice pluses all for a fair price with pretty good service and reliability.

Easy CGI is by most standards, a fairly large host. Founded in 1994 as an ISP (the hosting section came four years later), they’ve prided themselves on providing word class support and services. At first glance, Easy CGI’s web site isn’t bad – it’s easy to navigate, easy to get information, and all of the things you’d expect from a web site. While EasyCGI.com not visually stunning, it does work.

From what I observed, everything seems pretty conventional with the Easy CGI. Pricing is about average for a budget host, The company’s Terms of Use is pretty standard, and there doesn’t appear to be any hidden or crazy things they get you to agree to or buy. Easy CGI seems straight forward, and seem to do a good job of communicating this. It’s nice to deal with a web host knowing they aren’t trying to rip you off.

The proof is in the pud. The Easy CGI control panel (which has no name, it’s just “Control Panel”) seems pretty generic in terms of features. It’s a little slow and clunky compared to cPanel, DirectAdmin, or the other major control panels, but it manages to get the job done without too many hassles. There’s definitely a learning curve if you’re used to the other major control panels (mainly because of layout, different wording, etc.) and with almost literally no graphics, the control panel is pretty ugly, but again, still functional. Within about 15 minutes, I was using it without any problems.

A nice thing is that Easy CGI supports lots of databases (MySQL, MsSQL, ODBC). They allow you to change the A, MX, and CNAME records from your control panel, and of course, do all of the standard email/FTP things. Webmail and stats somewhat lack, but again, are functional. FTP was pretty quick and worked without any problems. I managed to install some basic scripts (a forum system, a CMS, etc.) without any problems. There were some slight confusions with the host name (most of the time it’s localhost, but Easy CGI seems to use a different server for SQL, which is good). Once installed, everything ran fine.

There are no separate billing systems you have to deal with, which makes things easier and far less confusing. The billing functions are straight forward, easy-to-update, and simple enough. You can add/remove services, upgrade plans/features, view invoices, etc. all from your control panel, which means less hassles. There’s a built in ticket system, which seems simple enough, as well as some basic tutorials and a knowledge base.

From my experience, Easy CGI support was pretty good. I managed to figure out what I needed on my own. I didn’t really need them, but no review is complete without support contact. I called technical support and was speaking to a human about 20 seconds after dialing. Two simple questions–do you support mod_rewrite (Yes) and do you run Windows or Linux (Windows)–were answered quickly and politely. I sent the same questions via email (at noon EST) and got a helpful reply within 3 hours–pretty good for a Sunday.

Disclosure: Clickfire has an affiliate advertising connection with Easy CGI

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Douglas Hanna is a former writer for Clickfire and other publications who went on to become CEO of a major web hosting company.

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