Speed, reliability and raw power: your website on the cloud…that’s what Omnis Network claims to offer its customers. They are not a budget hosting company, but their prices are reasonable – until you start adding on all the features you really want and need (which are included with many other hosting companies). That may make this company outside your budget for website hosting but they still have a lot to offer.
Want to find out more? Read on.
* Note: We no longer hold a web hosting account with Omnis Network currently.
Omnis Network has been around for quite some time, since 1999 to be exact. They claim to have served more than 400,000 domain names and customers (wouldn’t these be two different figures since one customer could have 50 domains?) Anyway, they are not the largest website hosting company by any means, nor the smallest.
When founded in 1999, the company was headed by a group of people familiar with the industry who wanted to provide affordable web hosting and domain registration services. That’s how they started out, although today they sell dedicated servers and VPS plans, as well as shared hosting packages.
Omnis has its headquarters in Torrance, California, USA, where the technical support department and administrative staff is located. Their datacenter is located at One Wilshire (“the most connected building in the world”) in Los Angeles, CA, as are many of the other California-based web hosting providers.
When it comes to customer service, you can rest assured that Omnis Network will do its best to satisfy you. Since 1999, they have been enrolled in the Better Business Bureau’s Online Reliability Program and have maintained a perfect rating based on excellent customer service standards.
Omnis is also highly awarded by other organizations. They received numerous awards, mostly from 2006 to 2009, such as “Top Affordable Hosting”, “Best Support” and “#1 Budget Hosting”. I couldn’t find anything more recent than a few years ago, however.
As far as an online presence, Omnis Network misses the mark. Their corporate blog is slowly dying, with only five posts last year and none so far in 2013. Their Facebook page is used mostly for the occasional update (and I do mean occasional; there were only 14 updates in all of 2012 and two so far this year). Their Twitter posts mirror Facebook updates and blog posts. A couple years ago they uploaded some rather informative videos on YouTube but nothing new has been posted since then. A dying online presence often indicates a dying company…
Omnis offers two shared hosting packages: Linux Cloud Hosting for $5.95/month and Windows Cloud Hosting accounts for $7.95/month. How can you decide which one is best for you? If you want to use PHP and Perl scripting for dynamic web design, the Linux account is a better choice. If you prefer using ASP or .NET applications, then go with the Windows-based hosting account.
Outside of these differences, all cloud hosting packages from Omnis include the following:
- Free domain name
- Unmetered disk space and data transfer
- Unlimited domains, domain aliases and subdomains
- Shared SSL certificate
- Search engine advertising credits
- Unlimited email mailboxes (POP3 or IMAP4) and forwarding aliases
- Webmail via Roundcube, Horde or Squirrelmail
- Multiple FTP user accounts (Linux only)
- PHP, Zend Optimizer, Guard & Ioncube Loader, Python, Ruby scripting
- 40+ CMS, including the most popular, such as WordPress
- Unlimited MySQL databases
There are several features available as add-ons, for an extra charge. These include a dedicated IP address, a private SSL certificate and a Pro or Ecommerce site builder (the free site builder only allows for a three-page website). If this is your first website building experience, you may want to find one of the other hosting companies that offers a full site builder for free.
Although Omnis advertises their packages include unlimited space, the limit is actually 1.7TB. That’s a lot of space – but a limit of 46,000 files contradicts this ample storage.
On the bright side, one user reported no problems at all making five simultaneous FTP transfers. If you prefer to use this form of transferring files over the control panel module, it will be quick.
What Kind of Control Panel Does Omnis Offer?
It seems that the industry standard – at least as of today – for control panels is the ever popular cPanel. Unfortunately, Omnis does not provide this. Instead, they provide a proprietary control panel they refer to as “Account Manager”. The layout is nice and clean, but there don’t seem to be as many management tools as you would find in cPanel or Plesk.
Since you will no doubt be spending a lot of time on the backend of your website, the control panel is important. If you don’t like learning new systems or have your heart set on using cPanel, then Omnis Network may not be the best fit for your needs.
Infrastructure: Datacenter and Servers
Like many American website hosting companies, Omnis uses the One Wilshire building in Los Angeles, California for their network connections. Also known as “the most connected building in the world” (or the west coast, depending on who’s making the claim), One Wilshire is where Tier-1 fiber optic network providers deliver connectivity to hundreds of companies.
Along with their administrative offices, Omnis Network’s data center is located in Torrance, California. Omnis uses Cisco for its network hardware. They also provide an SSD (Solid State Drive) RAID array using dual processor, quad core, hyper threaded Intel Xeon processors to provide optimum speed. Omnis refers to this as their “MySQL SSD RAID” for “ultra velocity”.
An Uptime Guarantee – or Not?
Does all that speed in the network make Omnis Network’s uptime better than other companies? They guarantee a 99.9 percent uptime to their customers, which is available if a website is down for 44 minutes or more, cumulatively, in any given month.
While this guarantee should be reassuring, it’s difficult to figure out how you might go about cashing in on it. The company’s website and Terms of Service say nothing about the specifics, not even whether you can expect to receive a refund or a credit to your account.
I did find a recent statistic that indicates the average uptime of Omnis over the past 8 years is 99.98 percent with a low of 99.58 percent and a high of 100 percent. That’s considered excellent. Maybe no one needs to ask them to make good on their uptime guarantee?
Options for support from Omnis are pretty standard: phone, live chat and email. These options are provided 24/7 and their support specialists are all based in the company’s Torrance, California headquarters. They also provide a Knowledgebase and library of video tutorials online.
From a review of online user comments, Omnis tech support reps get overall high marks for their quick, attentive and knowledgeable help. Many customers also rave about the speed and uptime of their sites and the company’s willingness to work with site owners experiencing big spikes in traffic that could cause them to go over bandwidth limits. Sure, there’s a few negative reviews of this website hosting company out there, but the positive ones far outnumber them.
So, can you tell if Omnis Network is the right hosting provider for you? I’ll make it a bit easier to decide by providing a list of the best and worst features of this company’s services.
- Good customer service/tech support – this is really beneficial for newbies.
- Speed – pages load quickly due to the SSD RAID array.
- Reliability – 99.9 percent uptime guarantee seems to be superfluous because they enjoy an excellent average uptime statistic.
- Onsite, American support techs – a bonus if for English-speaking customers (but not necessarily for foreign customers).
- Mid-range price – there are quite a few hosting companies that offer cheaper packages.
- Control panel – cPanel is not available and their proprietary control panel seems to be missing some functionality.
- Add-on features – many features that are free with other hosting companies are available at an extra cost with Omnis.
I can cautiously recommend Omnis for experienced users, but there are some better alternatives out there. For the novice website designer, having to pay extra for the advanced site builder simply doesn’t make sense and you would be better off with a company like InMotion Hosting, InterServer, eHost, or A2 Hosting.
For more details or to order Omnis, visit (link opens in new window): http://www.omnis.com