PROS / The support representatives were knowledgeable and courteous.
CONS / Cron jobs are not allowed unless you jump through several hoops.
VERDICT / Gate.com works for casual users, but serious or long-term clients may run into irritating red tape.
On the outside, Gate.com looks like an excellent small business web hosting service, and it has been in the industry for a long time. However, there has been no significant shift to add features or improve the usability of its interface.
Gate.com isn't suspicious, but it has a few policies that don't make a lot of sense. Take its pricing policy as a prime example: It has several packages, but they aren't listed in order of increasing service level. The bottom line is the Basic Plan is the best value. In addition to being the cheapest, the plan offers 20GB of storage, unlimited web traffic and up to 25 email accounts. We did some digging to find out if there is any unique benefit to one of the more expensive plans, all of which have a disk and bandwidth limitations, and found little incentive to pay the higher prices.
Custom cron jobs are another point of confusion. Strictly speaking, they're not allowed. If you really need one for your site to function, you can appeal to the server administrator and let them review your script. If they deem it safe and not burdensome to server resources, it may be allowed. How long this review process generally takes is unclear, but if cron jobs are a part of your site's functionality, you might not want Gate.com as your web hosting service provider.
Although it took several attempts to reach them, we found the support team to be friendly. We had a laundry list of questions and the live chat attendants answered them thoroughly. If we asked something they did not know automatically, they hunted down the relevant information. They were surprisingly thorough and down to earth.
There are other good features to highlight as well, including a free SSL certificate with every package and unlimited bandwidth. It's not at all uncommon among web hosting services to charge a fee for SSL certificates, and to have it included in the startup package is one of many small bonuses.
At the same time, there are some features we could not find. For starters, it doesn’t offer international domains, so you have to stick to the coms, nets and bizzes. It also doesn’t offer any advertising credit, where most competitors provide at least $50 to get you up and into the air.
During our evaluation, we found nothing to be particularly wrong with this web hosting service. When comparing our experience with previous reviews, we found their support staff to be helpful but average. Overall, this hosting service may not provide enough value to overcome the limitations to the basic shared hosting plans.