Gandi web hosting

More widely known as a domain name registrar, Gandi is a French web hosting provider registered in 1999 and launched a year later. Its story of success started with a vision of internet pioneers Pierre Beyssac, Laurent Chemla, David Nahmias, and Valentin Lacambre, and was later acquired by an experienced executive team that would help them shape this vision into reality.

In two decades Gandi has remained a “small but mighty” company employing over 150 different experts across three continents, with offices in France, the USA, Canada, Luxembourg, and Taiwan. They are currently managing more than 2.4 million domain names and hosting over 100,000 websites from 192 countries all around the world. As we write, Gandi is considered to be the largest domain name registrar in France, the sixth largest in Europe, and among the top 10 worldwide.

Gandi’s head office can be found in the world’s capital of love & lights, Paris (France), and their data centers are located in France and Luxembourg. Its official website is easy on the eye and equally easy to use. It is also available in English, French, Spanish, Chinese (both orthodox and simplified), and Japanese, and the translations appear to be done through and through.

Social media aficionados can follow Gandi on Facebook, Twitter, and GitHub, and all the accounts seem to be more active than not.  

Pricing

All of Gandi's plans include unlimited bandwidth and a free SSL certificate (Image credit: Gandi)

Pricing

Gandi’s scope of hosting solutions covers both low-end and high-end parts of the market, which means there is something to suit everyone’s needs. Those who want something simple will check their shared hosting or WordPress hosting solutions, while those interested in something more advanced will go for one of their cloud hosting, VPS or IaaS server packages.

Although the starting price is surprisingly cheap (currently 85% off) for new users, it will end together with the promotional period after which you’ll be charged at the regular price. The most pocket-friendly shared hosting plan is “Starter” and for €0.90 ($1.05) per month it will provide two websites (which is more of a recommendation), 1 CPU (up to 256MB), unlimited bandwidth, 50GB of storage space (it can be expanded up to 2TB), free TLS/SSL certificates, automatic linking to your domains, one-click installs, and Varnish web accelerator. The only thing that changes with the “bigger and better” shared hosting plans is the number of CPUs.

Although Gandi doesn’t provide a money-back guarantee, there is a 10-day free trial, and you won’t even have to fill in your credit card information.

Gandi accepts payments via all major credit cards, PayPal, electronic bank transfers, check (French residents only), and cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin Cash).

Ease of use

To get started with Gandi you’ll first have to pick out a hosting plan, which shouldn’t be a hard task since all of them are transparently presented. Hitting the “Select” button will get you to the configuration page where you can choose between “Standard” (which includes PHP 7.3, MySQL 8.0, and WordPress installation) and “Custom” (where you can select a programing language, version for PHP, and database) type of plan. Available programming languages include PHP, Node.js, Python, and Ruby, and there are a few versions of PHP (7.2, 7.3, 7.4, and 8.0), MySQL (5.7, and 8.0) and PostgreSQL (11, 12, and 13) databases, so choose wisely.

Before going ahead, you’ll also have to select a data center location (France or Luxembourg) and confirm the plan you’ve picked out earlier. However, this is where we have to stress that if you want to take advantage of the free trial, here is where you can select “no strings attached” 10-day trial as your plan. It will provide you with all of the features of the “Medium” plan.

Dashboard

You can see all of your hosting products from Gandi's dashboard (Image credit: Gandi)

Now you’ll have to create an account with Gandi (if you don’t have one), and to do so you’ll be asked to provide a username and your email address, and come up with a password. After this, you’ll be transferred to Gandi’s dashboard which looks rather advanced yet straightforward to use. Here you can do everything from managing your account information, browsing through Gandi’s other products, and checking out how-tos, to getting down to business by creating a new site, connecting your domain to it, installing WordPress, and getting the creative juices flowing.

If you already have a superb site, you can upload it via SFTP, since there is no browser-based File Manager you would usually get with the most popular control panels. We should also note that all Gandi’s hosting solutions come with a free snapshot backup feature. This means that if it all comes tumbling down you’ll be able to restore your site data, at no extra charge.

Performance

We used GTmetrix to measure the uptime and response time of Gandi's main site (Image credit: GTmetrix)

Speed and experience

Although Gandi doesn’t boast about its speedy performance, a report from the GTmetrix speed test that was carried out on Gandi’s site shows that it would have a valid argument to do so. The site completely loaded in just 1.3 seconds, which simply looks stellar in comparison with the average of 8.1 seconds. At the same time, all other critical speed measuring metrics (largest contentful paint, total blocking time, and cumulative layout shift) presented us with one of the most perfect performances we have seen in a while, resulting in an A (100%) as a final GTmetrix grade.

As for uptime, Gandi doesn’t say much besides guaranteeing 99.95% uptime per day, which is backed by its “Simple Hosting” contracts. If the amount of downtime exceeds this, you’ll be rightfully compensated with credits equal to an entire day of hosting. Fortunately, we had no reason to try this for ourselves since not a single second of downtime was recorded during our two-week test via UptimeRobot (our tool of choice).

Support

The FAQ section and knowledgebase provide useful information on setting up your Gandi site (Image credit: Gandi)

Support

All self-sufficient folks out there will be glad to hear that they’ll get all of the self-support stuff they typically expect with Gandi. There is a help center, a comprehensive knowledgebase, a FAQ section, a server status page, and everything looks up-to-date. That being said, although guides cover most of the ground they aren’t particularly beginner-friendly. 

On the other hand, experienced users might find more help than they would expect with Gandi. For instance, some questions in the “Domain Names'' section are assembled into the “Advanced Users” tab and include information about Gandi’s secondary nameservers, configuration templates, and Glue records, among other things.

Those who would like to get in touch with Gandi’s support team can do that by opening a ticket or by scheduling a telephone meeting with a member of the team. Unfortunately, Gandi doesn’t offer round-the-clock support via telephone, and we only noticed the “semi-live” chat option after selecting a plan, both of which might drive away less experienced users. 

The competition

If you are a user from France who wants to find an alternative to Gandi without going global, OVHcloud is a fellow French host and a good one to boot. Both of them are short on support, geared towards tech-savvy users, and capable of offering some of the most comprehensive cloud-based solutions on the market. Nevertheless, there are differences. Gandi comes a bit cheaper at first and offers a 10-day free trial, while OVHcloud offers some nice freebies (such as a domain name for the first year) but no free trial nor a money-back guarantee.

Nuxit is another long-standing French web hosting provider, but one that offers its services exclusively to customers from France, which makes it impossible to recommend to users elsewhere. However, if this isn’t an issue for you, be sure to check it out. Nuxit provides a wide variety of usability, security, and performance-boosting features, round-the-clock customer support, and a 30-day money-back guarantee thanks to which you’ll have enough time to try everything out before the big decision.

Bluehost and Gandi are somewhat similar in terms of pricing. Both hosts give a heavy discount at first just to hit you with an equally heavy price hike later on. However, to be fair, both are commendably transparent about it.

Like Bluehost, HostGator is a US-based host with all of its data centers within the borders of its homeland. On the other hand, with Gandi, you can choose between data centers in France and Luxembourg, which makes Gandi more appealing to users from Europe. Besides this, with Bluehost and HostGator users can expect to get a more beginner-friendly experience, while Gandi expects their users to know their way around.

Final verdict

Gandi promises simple, scalable, and secure hosting solutions and as far as we are concerned it delivers on that promise with flying colors. It may not be the most budget-friendly choice on the market but it gives a great value for money, comfort, and credibility. However, there are a few drawbacks with Gandi, which is why it isn’t the ideal choice for everyone. 

If you can’t cope with subpar support, or not having data centers outside of Europe, you should struggle less with hosts like HostGator and Bluehost. 

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