Tuesday, November 30, 2021

eUKhost web hosting

True to its name, eUKhost is a web hosting provider from the UK. Launched in 2001, it was one of the first such companies in Europe to offer fully automated web hosting solutions. Since then, eUKhost has grown and widened its range of hosting-related services aimed both at hobbyist bloggers and small to mid-sized businesses. They claim to host over 150,000 domains and have more than 35,000 seemingly cheery customers across the globe.

Curiously, eUKhost’s founder and managing director, Robert King, was in his teens when he launched eUKhost two decades ago. Today, the company exists as a part of Hyperslice Group, which is one of the UK's leading providers of managed IT services and web hosting services through their two subsidiary brands, Web Hosting UK and (obviously) eUKhost. Headquartered in Leeds (the UK), eUKhost operates data centers in Wakefield, Maidenhead, and Nottingham, which means that the users from the UK can expect lightning-fast network speed.

eUKhost’s official site is uninspiringly but brightly blue, deftly designed, and easy to operate. The same applies to its official blog where you’ll find more than a handful of handy tips.

You can also find eUKhost on several social channels including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.


eUKhost's cPanel plans allow you to manage your website using the industry standard control panel (Image credit: eUKhost)


eUKhost offers shared hosting, cloud hosting, VPS hosting, reseller hosting, and dedicated server hosting, and (they add proudly) all with the “highest quality hardware from Intel, Dell, and HP”.

The entry-level shared hosting plan with cPanel will set you back for £3.66 ($4.95) per month, and for that money it will provide unlimited sites (that’s new), unmetered bandwidth, 2GB of storage space (SSD), one free domain (with all annual accounts), unlimited e-mail addresses, ten MySQL databases, a free SSL certificate (by Let's Encrypt), spam filtering, daily backups, and one-click app installs.

More expensive plans increase storage space and the number of MySQL databases, and that’s about it. The Windows-based, WordPress-specific, and Business-oriented shared hosting solutions start with a limited number of websites.

eUKhost offers a 30-day money-back guarantee with all of its services except for dedicated servers and licensed add-ons.

Acceptable forms of payment with eUKhost include credit/debit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Visa Electron, and UK Maestro), PayPal, direct debit, bank transfer, and cheque.

Ease of use

Although picking out a perfect plan for yourself should be a piece of cake, if you’re not certain with which to go, do not hesitate to “ask an expert” from eUKhost’s pre-sales team.

After choosing a plan, you’ll be prompted to register a new domain, transfer it from another register, or use it as it is while updating your nameservers. No matter what you choose, the next step is to opt for a billing cycle (you can pay monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually, and biennially), and going for an annual or a biennial one will get you one free domain. You’ll also be offered several add-ons, two versions of Marketgoo SEO tools, and Patchman (anti-malware) in our case.


You can manage your domains, plans and more from eUKhost's dashboard (Image credit: eUKhost)

If you don’t have an account with eUKhost, now is the time to create one. Doing so will require your full name, physical and e-mail address, phone number, billing information, and coming up with a fresh and formidable password. After finishing your purchase you’ll get moved to eUKhost’s easy-to-use client area where you’ll be greeted by several notifications. Here you can manage your account data, domains, and other services, as well as seek customer support or enter your control panel. Thankfully, everything is just a few clicks away.

One Click Installer

eUKhost includes a 1-click installer that will allow you to install WordPress, Joomla, WooCommerce and many other popular apps (Image credit: eUKhost)

Which control panel you’ll get to utilize depends on your hosting package, but for most of them, you’ll either get cPanel or Plesk, both of which promise an easygoing user experience. From your control panel (by choosing “Softaculous” with cPanel or “Applications” section with Plesk) you can easily install a whole variety of useful apps such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, PrestaShop, WooCommerce, and much more. If you opted for a WordPress-oriented plan, you’ll get a complete WordPress toolkit that includes some of the features you won’t get by simply installing WordPress with any other plan.

Unfortunately, eUKhost doesn’t offer a website builder, but if you already own a splendid website, the technical team will migrate it for you within 24 hours. However, only a single site can be migrated free-of-charge.


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

Speed and experience

eUKhost describes the infrastructure of its data centers as “state-of-the-art”, which seemed like boastful talk until we looked at the results of the GTmetrix speed test that was performed on their official site. It took mere 2.1 seconds to completely load, and 60 requests at the same time. On top of this, all other essential speed measuring metrics (largest contentful paint, total blocking time, and cumulative layout shift) showed that eUKhost mastered the test. In conclusion, GTmetrix rated the site's performance with an astounding A (99%).

When it comes to uptime, eUKhost guarantees a minimum of 99.95% of it in any given month with its shared and email hosting solutions, 99.9% with VPS, and 100% with managed cloud servers and on mirrored dedicated servers. After monitoring eUKhost’s site to check how it holds up, we were overjoyed to see a picture of stability without a single second of downtime.


The first support option that attracts attention on eUKhost’s site is live chat, but before getting in touch with a support agent you’ll be asked to fill in a short form. Regardless, you should be connected with a living, breathing, and (most importantly) helpful person without further delay. Alternatively, you can use a toll-free UK telephone number or ticketing system.


You can find useful tutorials on a variety of web hosting related topics in eUKhost's knowledgebase (Image credit: eUKhost)

Users also have an option to post their problems and concerns on eUKhost’s community forum. Yet, no one seems to be in a rush to respond to questions since some of them are already two weeks old. If you a believer in DIY self-help, comb through eUKhost’s knowledgebase where you’ll find over 900 how-tos, some shorter than others. Unfortunately, when we tried to open a couple of these how-tos, the only thing we got was an error which is an annoyance with a capital “A”.  

The competition

tsoHost is a fellow British web hosting provider that offers some superb truly managed WordPress-specific solutions, but the lack of free SSL with entry-level packages makes them less recommendable to those looking for simpler (and cheaper) solutions. In contrast, all of eUKhost’s hosting plans come with a free Let's Encrypt SSL certificate.

A2 Hosting and eUKhost have been around for quite some time. Both are UK-based hosts with a comparable scope of hosting solutions and a similar price-quality relationship. eUKhost’s entry-level packages are a bit cheaper, but A2 Hosting includes more freebies including a website builder. However, when it comes to customer support there is room for improvement with both hosts.

While all of eUKhost’s data centers are deployed in the UK, with HostGator you’ll find them in the USA. So, if it boils down to geography, the choice is clear. If not, HostGator is more novice-friendly with its free drag-and-drop website builder and 45-day money-back guarantee, while with eUKhost you won’t have to worry about a price hike after the promotional period is over.   

Much like HostGator, Bluehost is a novice-friendly host from the USA with a lot of freebies and a significant price spike that comes after the promo period. Although it provides more beginner-friendly features than eUKhost, Bluehost only offers Linux, which will drive away the users who wish to use Windows.

Final verdict

All in all, eUKhost is set upon the path of greatness, but it isn’t great yet. It offers lots of hosting options for start-ups, small and mid-sized businesses, and most of them provide great value for money. Those that don’t are the entry-level plans, since 2GB of storage space with cPanel hosting (or 5GB with Windows and WordPress plans) simply doesn’t cut it today.

If having a host from the UK is not a must-have, check out HostGator and Bluehost, for their solutions are less limited and will surprise you with a few freebies.

Experian IdentityWorks

Our series on identity theft protection apps will evaluate the features, pricing options, competition, and also the overall value of using each app. However, these are not full hands-on reviews since evaluating identity theft protection apps is almost impossible. It would require several months of testing, purposefully hacking accounts to see if the protection app works, handing over personally identifiable information, performing multiple credit checks, and risking exposure of the reviewer’s personally identifiable information.

Almost every review or news report about Experian IdentityWorks has to start with the same disclaimer, and this review is no different. Whether that’s actually fair is debatable. IdentityWorks, a name you probably don’t know, is an identity theft protection app from the company Experian, which is a name you more than likely do know, but not for a good reason. In 2015, this consumer credit reporting company announced one of the most well-known data breaches up to that point involving a data leak of over 15 million customer records. The truth is that many data breaches have occurred since, but perhaps it was the irony of a credit reporting agency announcing a massive breach that made worldwide headlines.

That was five years ago. Serious movie fans will know this reference, but it might remind you of a scene in the movie The World According to Garp when Robin Williams is shopping for a house. A plane suddenly crashes into the living room. He decides to buy it. “The chances of another plane hitting this house are astronomical,” he says. The same is true here. Experian likely strengthened their data security more than other companies. And, you could argue that the chances of another severe data breach would be “astronomical” at best.

Plans and Pricing

Experian offers a number of plans to choose from depending on how many adults and children there are in your household (Image credit: Experian)

Plans and pricing

What is it about identity theft protection apps thinking we might have “up to” 10 children? Sure, that might be your choice, but the Census Bureau has a different take. (The average number of kids has stayed pretty consistent at two per family. In the U.K. it’s even fewer.) That hasn’t stopped IdentityWorks from offering pricing plans for one or two adults with up to 10 kids to use the app. It is easily the most confusing rubric we’ve found.

There is a one adult plan for $9.99 monthly, a one adult and up to 10 children plan for $14.99 monthly, and a two adults and up to 10 children plan for $19.99 monthly. Unfortunately, there is no option for two adults, with no children, which is a fairly common family these days. Additionally, only a few folks out there have ten children, so many folks will be overpaying for their plan.

Each of the above prices is for the “Plus” plan, which is really a euphemism for the base plan, and ends up adding to the confusion. It has the expected features, such as a Social Security number trace, fraud resolution services, and address change verification. It also goes beyond the basics that some others offer with Dark Web monitoring, social media monitoring, and the ability to lock and unlock your Experian credit file. It also has up to $500,000 of identity theft insurance should the need present itself.  

With the Premium plan, you get access to $1 million in insurance protection for dealing with bank account problems, credit issues, or emergency travel, which is in line with most of the identity theft protection apps. Additional features include monitoring of court records, payday loan monitoring, and financial account activity. The upper plan also includes three bureau credit scores, which the lower plan leaves out. The downside is as would be predicted the additional cost of the Premium plan, as it rises considerably, depending on the amount of people covered. For example, for the one adult with up to ten children the cost rises from $14.99 monthly for the Plus plan to $24.99 for the Premium plan.

The above pricing is all for the month to month price. There is also a discount for paying annually of about 17%.


Experian does not offer a standalone app for IdentityWorks and instead the service is baked into its credit report app (Image credit: Experian)


Thankfully, we’re dealing with a major company here that knows how to design an app. Similar to how Norton LifeLock presents everything in a clear and understandable interface, IdentityWorks also uses a dashboard with tabs up top and a wizard that shows how many steps you have completed or accounts you have configured. Unlike PrivacyGuard, the interface is clean and subdued, as though you are working on something more serious and not playing Pokemon. (The PrivacyGuard site and app is a little too colorful).

While there are links on the Identity Works website to both Android and iOS apps, this is not what most users expect. It really is to the Experian app, but not a dedicated app for IdentityWorks.


Despite the incredible amount of information on their website and in the app about the threat detection topic and hundreds of blog posts at Experian.com, IdentityWorks still tends to mirror the features found in Norton LifeLock and others. You can check your credit score and monitor your credit, see if a sex offender moves into your area, and get notified if someone tries to steal your bank details. Fairly standard stuff, but IdentityWorks does add a few interesting extras. 

One that doesn’t come up too often with other apps is a court records verification. You can see an alert if there is a check or change to your court records (if they even exist in the first place). IdentityWorks also does a better job of simulating credit checks and FICO scores. The Plus and Premium plans differ in how often you can view and analyze these credit checks - with Premium, you can see a daily FICO credit score which might be a bit too often.

The competition

Experian has one main competitor, and it’s Norton LifeLock. Anyone familiar with the identity theft field will know that LifeLock is a leader, and they will likely also know about Experian. While Norton is primarily a security company, Experian is primarily a credit reporting agency. That gives them a leg up in the industry and all of the ways you can destroy your credit (or have other people destroy your credit for you). There is a decision, though, about whether you care more about identity theft in terms of security and privacy - your good name tarnished - or whether it is related to your credit and buying a new house or a car. In the end, both are important as two sides of the same coin, but potential users need to be cognizant of the product they are choosing.

Final verdict

In the final analysis, we would give the nod to Norton LifeLock compared to Experian IdentityWorks because the main concern here is personal security, not just your credit. In fact, credit is only one aspect of identity protection. There are concerns about how a criminal can damage your reputation and what it takes to expunge your record. You might want to know more about how someone is impersonating you online to their own gain in addition to credit and financial concerns.

Experian IdentityWorks does provide some excellent educational info. If you do care mostly about credit and finances, it can be a good option, but undoubtedly some users will have a hard time getting past that data breach.

We've also highlighted the best identity theft protection

The Lüften manual standing desk

Being more active while working from home or at the office is a great New Year’s Resolution for those looking to burn off a few of those holiday pounds and one of the best ways to do this is with a standing desk. Sitting at an office desk and staring at a computer screen all day can have negative effects on your health which is why more people are turning to standing desks to help break up their workdays.

If you’re considering upgrading to a standing desk, one of the first things you’ll need to decide is whether you want an electric or manual standing desk. While electric standing desks can be raised and lowered with the push of a button, they can also be noisy and need to be close to an outlet when in use. Manual standing desks on the other hand can be the perfect solution for those that want to keep things simple while also eliminating cable clutter.

Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, The Standing Desk sells a number of electric and pneumatic standing desks that are designed by expert furniture makers in Germany, made with the highest tolerance steel from Switzerland and built by hand in Michigan. Today we’ll be taking a look at build quality, assembly process, features and usability of the company’s Lüften pneumatic standing desk to help you decide if it’s the right upgrade for your home workspace or office.

Pricing and availability

The Lüften is available directly from The Standing Desk for $765 at the time of writing. While this may seem expensive at first, keep in mind that the company provides free shipping and a 5-year warranty in case you run into any problems down the line. You can also purchase the Lüften Base by itself for $515 if you already have a tabletop you want to use as well as a cable management kit for $29.95. The Standing Desk even sells lockable castors for only $8.95 for those that want to be able to roll this standing desk around their office or workspace.


(Image credit: Future)


Right off the bat, the Lüften standing desk sets itself apart from other manual standing desks due to its low visual profile that makes the desk appear like it’s floating. While most electric standing desks feature either “T” or “L” shaped legs on either side, both of the Lüften’s legs are positioned in the center and towards the back of the desktop.

The desktop made from recycled wood substrate is quite spacious with a width of 60-inches, a depth of 30-inches and a thickness of 1.25-inches. The Standing Desk offers several different work surface finishes to choose from including dover white, graphite twill (black), neutral twill (light gray) and urban oak. There is also a Formica strip around the edges of the desktop to protect it both during shipping and while in use.


(Image credit: Future)

Unlike other manual standing desks that feature a hand crank or a handle which protrudes out to adjust their height, the Lüften’s black handle is quite discrete and tucked away neatly on the underside of the desk. Squeezing the handle toward you allows you to raise or lower the desk and we found the company’s claim that “The Lüften lifts and lowers in 3 seconds” to be true during our tests. The desk itself can be lowered all the way to 27.75-inches or raised to 45.25-inches though the optional casters do add an additional 1.5-inches to its height.


(Image credit: Future)

The Lüften’s base is made from powder-coated Swiss steel as we mentioned before and is very sturdy. The twin columns that hold up the desktop are connected to the underside of the base using bolts and you can also attach castors to the underside of the base. The Lüften’s base is even available in black, grey or white in case you want it to match the color of your desktop though you can go for a two-tone design instead like we did with a black base and a white top.


(Image credit: Future)


The Lüften arrived in two boxes with one box containing the desktop and the other containing the two columns, base, top plate, Boden cord clip, instruction manual, two Allen wrenches and all of the bolts and screws needed to put the desk together.

Column Assembly

(Image credit: Future)

To begin putting the desk together, you first need to remove the traveling screws from both columns and put them someplace safe as you will need them to prevent the columns from moving while in transit. From here, you need to attach the top plate to both columns using eight flat head screws.

Base Assembly

(Image credit: Future)

Once the columns are connected to the top plate, you then need to attach it to the desktop using a Phillips head screwdriver. The base then needs to be bolted onto the columns using an Allen wrench and eight hex socket cap screws.

Bogden Cord

(Image credit: Future)

As this is a pneumatic standing desk, the handle used to lift and lower it is attached to one of the columns with a Boden cord. The handle needs to be screwed onto the front of the desk and the Boden cord is secured to the underside of the desktop using the provided Boden cord clips.

Overall, assembling the Lüften wasn’t too difficult though you’ll likely need another person to help you flip the desk over once it’s complete due to the fact that the base is quite heavy. Compared to other manual standing desks, the assembly process was a lot simpler than with the Ergotron WorkFit-D though not nearly as easy as putting together the Vari Standing Desk.

In Use 1

(Image credit: Future)

In use

After we finished assembling the Lüften, we first tested it out using a Chromebook though we also added the Dell 27 Video Conferencing Monitor later as the desk is capable of supporting between 40-50lbs. 

Since this is a manual standing desk that in all honesty looks a bit more like a table (in a good way) than some of the other desks we’ve reviewed, we figured this kind of setup would be perfect for a shared workspace in an office where employees might be hot desking or moving around more frequently. With a laptop and a monitor on the desk, we had no trouble adjusting its height from a sitting to a standing position and there was plenty of room left on the desktop for a laptop stand and some other useful business accessories

Cable Management Kit

(Image credit: Future)

The Standing Desk also sent TechRadar Pro one of its Cable Management kits which we affixed to the back of the desk. However, unlike with the cable management trays offered by other furniture makers, this one is more like a cable sleeve used to tidy up cables running from the desk to the floor. The design is also quite nice and its links resemble the vertebrae of a spine. 

Cable Management Tray

(Image credit: Future)

While it was perfect for use with a laptop and a single monitor, we ended up using this under-desk cable management tray from Amazon during our second round of testing which we were easily able to affix to the underside of the desk using some wood screws.

In Use 2

(Image credit: Future)

For our second round of testing, we placed a small form factor desktop PC on the Lüften along with an ultrawide monitor from LG, a mechanical keyboard and a Nest Hub. As we had multiple devices that needed to be plugged in, using a cable management tray allowed a power strip to move up and down with the desk without us having to worry about anything coming unplugged. Even with a large monitor and a desktop PC on it, the Lüften was still able to lift and lower quickly and the desk remained sturdy while in use.

The competition

If you’re interested in the design of the Lüften but want an electric standing desk as opposed to a manual one, The Standing Desk also sells the Ändern Electric which features one center column instead of two for $702 at the time of writing. However, if you have your heart set on a manual desk, Vari and Ergotron offer two that we looked at previously.

The Vari Standing Desk costs $595 and unlike the Lüften, its top and legs are only available in one color, white. While this desk lacks customization options, assembly is a cinch and you only need to screw in the four legs as Vari’s rowing-lift mechanism comes pre-built and attached to the underside of the desktop. Another plus is that the review model we tested came with a cable management tray pre-attached to the back of the desk with holes on either side for running cables. It’s worth noting that due to the unique design of Vari’s Standing Desk, the desktop protrudes out slightly when raised.

Another more expensive option than the Lüften worth considering is the WorkFit-D Sit-Stand Desk from Ergotron. This desk costs around $900 and you will need to find a reseller to purchase it. The WorkFit-D has a lever on the right side of the desk which is used to raise and lower it and this desk uses integrated brake locks to prevent tipping or sway. Despite its higher price, you’ll also need to purchase a cable management tray separately if you want to attach a power strip to the desk.

Final verdict

The Lüften is one of the most unique manual standing desks on the market today. It’s floating design will likely turn heads at the office or in your home and the solid-steel base gives the desk a sturdy feel even with the columns at the center instead of on either side. The large work surface is another plus and the optional castors give you a bit more flexibility when using the Lüften in a larger space. 

The only real downside to this desk is its more expensive price but unlike with larger furniture makers, all of The Standing Desk’s products are built by hand by three people at the company’s Grand Rapids facility and its entire team is made up of around 10 people. The company also uses higher quality materials and provides free shipping as well as a 5-year warranty. If you’re looking to upgrade to a manual standing desk and want to support a small business at the same time, the Lüften just might be for you.

Looking to upgrade your home office setup? We've also featured the best office desk, best standing desk and best office chairs

LaCie 2TB Portable SSD (2021)

Two minute review

The LaCie Portable SSD is a nice looking 2TB portable solid state drive that comes with a free data recovery service from Seagate, a generous 3-year warranty but also a rather steep price tag for what it offers, which is USB 3.2 Gen 2 speeds and nothing more. As such it is a tough sell against the likes of the Kingston XS2000 or the SanDisk 2TB Extreme portable SSD, both being significantly cheaper without any performance penalties. That said, some might argue that the data recovery service alone is worth it, something that’s unique amongst mainstream solid state drive vendors (although other less stylish Seagate products - like the OneTouch have the same feature). Which brings us to the real question; are we paying a premium for the LaCie name?

Pricing and availability

The model tested (STKS2000400) has a suggested retail price of £339.99 but it is available from Amazon UK for £269 and from Amazon US for $330 respectively. Two smaller models are available, a 500GB and a 1TB one, on sale respectively for $100 and $170 at Amazon US and £90 and £185 at Amazon UK. As expected, the largest model has the lowest cost per Terabyte. We’d expect a larger 4TB model at some point as well. Note that this drive range occupies the entry-level segment in LaCie’s portfolio.


(Image credit: Future)


Compared to some of its predecessors like the 2019 edition (LaCie Portable SSD 2TB), it is more compact although we’re not sure about the thought process that convinced the designers to choose the parallelogram as the inspiration. It’s worth - at this stage - mentioning the French origins of LaCie or La Compagnie and how aesthetics was at the core of its mission.

Before its acquisition by Seagate in 2014, the company had carved itself a lucrative niche amongst like-minded designers (and creative professionals) looking for creatively-inspired peripherals that could perform, regardless of the price. Trendsetters like Neil Poulton or Philip Stark collaborated with LaCie to design some iconic products. So the adage, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, holds truer than ever in this case.

USB-C Port

(Image credit: Future)

The drive itself is presented as a monoblock of machined aluminum with a Type-C connector at one end, a status light and the LaCie logo etched. Minimalist and stylish at the same time, it is also small enough to be carried around unnoticed (10.6mm x 50mm x 80mm for a weight of 45g). Inside the box is a USB Type-C cable, a 1-month subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud and details for Seagate’s Rescue Data Recovery services.


(Image credit: Future)

Performance and in use

The LaCie 2TB Portable SSD is built to last and should be able to withstand shocks and knocks. Just be mindful that the metal surface can and will get scratched if it falls on something that’s abrasive (think concrete floor). Note that it doesn’t have any IP rating, which means that it is not waterproof or dustproof. That puts it at a disadvantage compared to others.


Here’s how the LaCie 2TB Portable SSD performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

CrystalDiskMark: 1049MBps (read); 1039MBps (write)

Atto: 1004MBps (read, 256mb);  1009MBps (write, 256mb)

AS SSD: 922MBps (seq read); 933MBps (seq write)

AJA: 887MBps (read); 951Mbps (write)

When it comes to sheer numerical tests, the drive itself performed in line with our expectations. Seagate promised read speeds up to 1.05GBps and write speeds up to 1GBps. We notched 1.05MBps (read) on CrystalDiskMark and 1.04GBps on write using the same benchmark. Other benchmarks reported slower numbers while a single 10GB file was transferred in 17.6 seconds (or a real life speed of 574MBps), slightly faster than the Seagate OneTouch Pro.

We suspect that the latter and the LaCie drive share at least some components. The storage device didn’t warm up significantly during our tests and perhaps the only small complaint we could put through is the short length of the bundled cable.

Side View

(Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the LaCie 2TB Portable SSD (2021)?

Buy it if:

You want a storage device that has a great design. We won’t lie, the drive looks great but that’s a personal opinion and one that, unsurprisingly, doesn’t have any influence on the actual performance of the device. But yes, this LaCie drive is solid and built to last.

Data recovery services are a must to keep your data safe. Losing data is not fun especially if you’re a creative professional. Fortunately, Seagate’s data recovery services can come to the rescue although we’d still advise you to go for a cloud backup solution.

Don’t buy it if:

You want enterprise grade protection out of the box. For that Seagate has another product called the LaCie Mobile SSD Secure which is basically the same drive with enhanced security. Oh and it is only on sale at Apple.com. Alternatively one feature that LaCie could add to its drive would be a fingerprint reader similar to that found on the Samsung T7 Touch.

You want the fastest or the cheapest drive. The Sandisk Extreme, which we mentioned before, retails for only $230 at the time of writing with the faster USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 version costs about $300. The Crucial X8 is even cheaper at $190. For ultimate speed though, you will need a Thunderbolt 3 drive and the most affordable 2TB version is the $360 Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q.

You want a waterproof drive. This drive doesn’t have any IP rating. Coincidentally, LaCie has one called Professional SSD which has a bright yellow rubber sleeve, an IP67 rating and an industry-leading five-year warranty with data recovery services for just as long. 

We've also highlighted the best portable SSD

Monday, November 29, 2021

Easyspace web hosting

Operating since 1997, Easyspace has been part of the domain registration and web hosting industry in the UK from the get-go. In 2004, it was purchased by iomart, a Scottish information technology and cloud computing company that was the first to offer consumer broadband connections in the UK. Easyspace has since greatly benefited from iomart’s investment into the network and infrastructure with ten self-run data centers that stretch across eight locations throughout England, Scotland, and Wales.

Data Centers

Easyspace has 10 data centers located throughout the UK (Image credit: Easyspace)

Easyspace takes satisfaction in the simplicity of its mission, and that’s to supply its customers with the “best service, uptime, and reliability.” Headquartered in Glasgow (the UK), Easyspace offers ten data centers in locations across the UK including London, Manchester, Nottingham, Gosport, St. Asaph, Leicester, Maidenhead, and (naturally) Glasgow. These data centers are monitored 24/7 and managed by Easyspace’s own technical team, which the company considers as one of its greatest assets.

If you want to find more about Easyspace’s network and infrastructure, its official site provides plenty of information on the subject. However, if you want to know a bit more about the company itself, you’ll have to get off the beaten track since the official site is somewhat secretive.

To be fair, it still goes into the details about how the site itself looked over the years, from “basic with bright colors” to “eye-catcher” we have today. Today, the site looks overwhelmingly orange, modern, and very convenient to use. It will also lead you to Easyspace’s official blog which features everything a blog should have, although it isn’t too enthusiastically updated.  

Fans of social networking websites can follow Easyspace on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, where some accounts feel lively while others are almost dead to the world.


Easyspace's cheapest plans don't include an SSL certificate while its more expensive plans do (Image credit: Easyspace)


With Easyspace you can decide between various hosting types including shared hosting (entry-level, standard, premium, and WordPress-oriented), cloud and VPS hosting (where you’ll find highly flexible solutions), and dedicated server hosting (where you can opt between pre-built and custom servers). In addition to hosting, Easyspace offers Microsoft 365 packages, business email, SSL certificates, a website builder, web design solutions, and management services.

With all shared hosting plans you can opt between Linux and Windows, even with the entry-level one, and for the same price. The most pocket-friendly plan Entry starts at £2.99 ($4.05) and provides a single site, one free domain name for a year, countless subdomains, 1GB of storage space (that’s hardly enough), unlimited bandwidth, but no SSL certificate. To get a free SSL certificate, you’ll have to go with the “Premium” plan at least, and even then it will be yours for one year only.

There are no free trials or refunds with Easyspace, so consider everything very carefully before giving them a chance.

Easyspace isn’t too flexible with the payment methods allowing its customers to pay with their credit/debit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express) and PayPal.

Ease of use

Tap into “Web Hosting”, select a hosting type, hit “Read more” and “Compare” options to get a clearer picture of features you’re going to get with each plan, and (after some consideration) opt for one of them by clicking “Buy Now”. Afterward, you’ll get an opportunity to further configure your plan. Although selecting a plan shouldn’t be complicated, if you’re not certain which one is best for you, don’t hesitate to contact the pre-sales support staff.

After picking out a plan, you’ll be asked to select a billing period (three months, or one, two, three, four, or five years), an operating system (Linux or Windows), and whether to include email with the hosting package (it’s free). After this, you’ll be prompted to add a domain name, some of which are available at a bargain price.

When it's all set and done, you’ll have to create an account with Easyspace (or sign in if you already got one), and for that, you’ll have to provide your full name, both email and physical address, telephone number, and a sturdy password. After adding payment information and completing a purchase, you should get a welcome call so prepare any questions you might have. However, if you’re not from the UK, you might just get an email instead.

Control Panel

If you run into problems, you can access support right from the control panel (Image credit: Easyspace)

Easyspace’s custom control panel is simple-looking and easy to use with its familiar layout, colored tiles for every area, and handy sidebar menu. There are no one-click installs, which would have been bad news if you couldn’t request the technical team to install WordPress (or any other useful app) on your behalf. If you went with a WordPress-oriented plan, then WordPress will be installed automatically for you. We should also note that users that purchased cloud-based packages can expect to get either cPanel or Plesk as their control panel.

As for site building tools, Easyspace also provides a WebBuilder which comes with plenty of in-depth guides, both in textual and video format. It also comes at an extra cost.


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

Speed and experience

Even though Easyspace seldom mentions speed on its site, it seems it has nothing to worry about when it comes to speedy performance. According to our trusty tool of choice GTmetrix, Easyspace’s official site took 2.2 seconds to fully load and a total of 70 requests at the same time. The site also mastered all other vital speed measuring metrics (largest contentful paint, total blocking time, and cumulative layout shift) but not enough to earn a top grade. Nevertheless, GTmetrix rated the site with a respectable B (89%), which was only one percent away from an A.  

As for uptime, Easyspace guarantees an impressive 100% of it. Although it seemed unlikely that they would fulfill this, after monitoring the site’s uptime for two weeks via UptimeRobot we were proved otherwise. There was no downtime at all and no major oscillation in response time to boot, all of which is an unspoken promise of reliable performance.  

Live Chat

Easyspace's live chat can be quite useful for resolving quick problems (Image credit: Easyspace)


If you run into trouble with your website, or simply want to throw a question or two, your best bet is to get in touch with Easyspace’s staff via live chat. It is supposed to be available round-the-clock, but our experience tells us that you’ll be better off trying to reach them during office hours. Alternatively, you can give them a ring Monday to Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM, submit a support ticket, or send them an email.  


The knowledgebase has a number of helpful articles separated by topic (Image credit: Easyspace)

As for self-support options, Easyspace’s support section offers a “System Status” page and a comprehensive knowledgebase well-stocked with step-by-step guides. These guides are separated into ten suitable sections (like email help, hosting help, server help, and such) which are further divided into more specific subjects. As far as we can see, most of the guides follow the rule “show, don’t tell” and seem pretty user-friendly.

The competition

If you are looking for a UK-based host with a similar scope of options and features, but with a 30-day money-back guarantee, check out Heart Internet. This company also provides its users with an industry-standard cPanel with Linux-based packages (and Plesk for Windows), so if that’s your thing, take them up on the offer.  

Both Certa Hosting and Easyspace are UK-based hosts quite similar in terms of hosting types, options, and available features. That being said, if you are looking to save some money, Certa Hosting’s solutions come a bit cheaper and with more freebies, such as weekly backups, a 30-day money-back guarantee, and a website builder.

Bluehost offers affordable hosting packages but with a wider variety of features (abundance of apps for one-click installation, an SSL certificate, and a money-back guarantee among other things). However, since all of Bluehost’s data centers are US-based, while Easyspace’s centers are based in the UK, this may be a critical point for some users.

Much like Bluehost, HostGator is a user-friendly host from the USA with a bit of something for just about everyone’s needs, from sharp-witted bloggers to business owners. If you don’t mind hosting your site in the USA, with HostGator you’ll get unlimited disk space, unmetered bandwidth, a free domain (with yearly plans), an SSL certificate, one-click installs, a website builder, and a generous 45-day money-back guarantee which will give you enough time to make up your mind.

Final verdict

With a wide variety of reasonably priced hosting solutions that come with all the essential features you need for a successful start, there isn’t much to dislike about Easyspace.  A welcome setup call, 24/7 support, and in-depth guides are likely to attract less tech-savvy users, while superb speed performance and ten self-run data centers across the UK will easily charm everyone, especially the users from the Old Blighty.

If you’re looking for a host from the UK and don’t mind the lack of a free trial or refund policy, Easyspace might be one of the top choices for you. If that is not the case, hosts like HostGator and Bluehost will give you plenty of time before compelling you to part with your money permanently.  

Asustor Drivestor 2

One-minute review

Having a NAS at home is becoming more commonplace, as it functions as both a private network storage space as well as a handy media center for sharing and streaming music, photos, videos, and more. The Asustor Drivestor 2 is an affordable 2-bay NAS that will tick most boxes for those looking for an easy-to-use home NAS.

There are several home-friendly apps that can be easily installed, and the two drive bays should be enough for most storage needs. Whether you’re looking for a quick network backup solution or want to stream and share home videos and photos, it’s easy to set up quickly.

Where things might be a bit tight is if you’re looking to stream video content that’s higher quality than 1080p. This puts quite a strain on the Drivestor 2’s CPU, and transcoding files takes several seconds to finish before files will start to play again. 4K content is even harder to watch, so if you’ve got any of these files, it’s not going to play back smoothly, given the limited internals of this NAS.

Price and availability

The Asustor Drivestor 2 is available now and is priced at $169, but pricing may vary slightly by region.

At that price point you get a NAS with 2.5GbE connectivity, two drive bays for plenty of storage, and a number of media-friendly apps as well as fast network storage and backup solutions. It’s a good price point to start from, and the fast Ethernet connectivity is a huge boost if you have the infrastructure in place to support it.

Design and Setup

In keeping with the home aesthetic, the Drivestor 2 has an all-black design with a small footprint. There’s a patterned cover in the front along with LED lights for power and drive activity, a single USB 3.0 port, as well the Asustor logo at the top. The plastic exterior is easy to wipe clean, and overall looks very simple to the naked eye.

At the back you have a power connector, another USB 3.0 port, and a 2.5GbE ethernet port. There’s also a circular power button near the top, along with a small pinhole reset button. That’s about it – the Drivestor 2’s no-nonsense design makes it as plain as possible while still retaining all the features that most home users will need.

Asustor Drivestor 2

(Image credit: Asustor)

While most NAS make it easier to get to the hard drive bays, the Drivestor 2 firmly locks its drives away inside, so getting to them is a little tricky. The possible reasoning behind this is that Asustor assumes that home users won’t need to hot-swap drives like advanced NAS users, so you can only access the drive bays by shutting down the NAS and unscrewing two screws at the back. While Asustor does advertise the Drivestor 2 as ‘tool-less’, the thumb screws at the back are quite firm, so you’ll need. A screwdriver to loosen them up first.

Once inside, you’ll see the two drive bays that fit two 3.5” hard drives. Included in the box are four screws to secure the drives in place, and that’s the extent of the drive installation. It’s important to note that the Drivestor 2 doesn’t support 2.5” drives – while technically you can slot them into the bays, the included thumbscrews don’t fit, so you’ll either need to get a 3.5” drive caddy first, or just go with native 3.5” drives to begin with. This also means that you can’t install an SSD drive to serve as file cache, if that’s a feature that you were hoping to tap into.

Asustor Drivestor 2

(Image credit: Asustor)

The rear of the Drivestor 2 sports one large cooling fan, which generally is quite silent during operation. It’s able to draw air in from vents beneath the system, so overall the Drivestor 2 operates with hardly any noise, making it easy to set up even in a busy living space.


Powering the Drivestor 2 is a Realtek RTD1296 CPU along with 1GB of DDR4 RAM. That’s not a lot of wriggle room to play with, given that a small chunk of CPU resources is going to be dedicated to running the OS. So, what you’re left with is just enough juice to run a few background apps and manage file transfers. The Drivestor 2 cannot be upgraded with more RAM in any way, and it seems that Asustor were clear that they didn’t want users tinkering around too much with this model.

Once you’ve got drives installed in the bays, you’ll need to power up your NAS and download (and install) the NAS detection software to see your NAS on the network. It’s an annoying extra step to have to install and download software just to be able to connect to your NAS, when companies like Synology can detect a NAS using just a standard web browser.

The setup process is quite painless, and you can opt for certain advanced features during some parts of the setup. Most of the time, users will simply click through to set up a basic partition, username, and that’s it. The file system supported is only ext4, and you can set up your disks in JBOD, RAID 0 or RAID 1.

Asustor Drivestor 2

(Image credit: Asustor)

The Drivestor 2 runs ADM OS, a desktop-style interface that makes it easy to navigate around, install apps, and see what’s stored on your NAS. It’s further enhanced by App Central, where you can access common applications to download on your NAS. There are several programming and database apps, as well as media players and media streaming services such as Plex. Of course, the more programs you install and run on your NAS, the more system resources are taken up, so we’d advise only installing apps that you’re going to use.

For us, we chose to install Plex as our main testing ground, since the Drivestor 2 is mainly designed for file sharing and media streaming. Plex was quick to detect and catalog our video collection, which has a mix of video files in all kinds of formats and bitrates.

Playback via the Plex app on our Samsung TV was pretty much flawless, with the Drivestor 2 being able to easily stream 720p and 1080p files encoded in H.264. Where things got a little bit sticky is if you attempt to play back files encoded with H.265, which Plex has to transcode to display properly. A test 1080p H.265 file was barely able to play, with Plex furiously trying to transcode and cache the file in the background.

Similar performance occurred with a 720p file as well, so we’d stay clear of trying to play any files encoded with H.265. Even when we attempted to transcode a video file encoded with H.264 (rather than playing natively), Plex had a few issues making this work smoothly. In short, if you’re playing back files natively via Plex, you’ll be fine. But if you attempt to transcode any of them to different resolutions, you’re going to be spending a lot of time staring at a blank screen. When we attempted 2K and 4K videos, Plex didn’t even bother loading the file’s first few frames – the entire system came to a halt, with nearly 100% CPU usage.

Asustor advertises the Drivestor 2 as having great H.265 playback, but there’s a slight catch – this is only within their own media software, LooksGood. We tested this software out and didn’t find it as comfortable to use as Plex, though it is able to stream to Chromecast and DLNA devices.

The Drivestor 2 also has a dedicated ‘Media Mode’ in the settings which reserves 512MB of RAM for multimedia, presumable to allow for smooth streaming when other activities are going on such as files being accessed of copied. Even with this feature, we didn’t notice much of a change in overall performance.

Outside of media streaming, the Drivestor 2 is still a great choice for network backups and file storage, with several backup apps available that can integrate into popular cloud solutions for seamless file syncing. The 2.5GbE Ethernet port is certainly handy to have if you’ve the network bandwidth to support it, and even with regular Gigabit Ethernet, file read and writing were at acceptable speeds.

Should I buy the Asustor Drivestor 2?

Buy it if…

You want a fast network drive
The inclusion of 2.5GbE connectivity at this price point is an instant winner, and future-proofs you for if you install a faster network at home.

You want to setup and forget about your NAS
Once set up, the Drivestor 2 can safely be tucked away in a corner to save all your files and stream your media, with minimal user input and very little noise.

You want something affordable
The Drivestor 2’s price tag is one that will appeal to plenty of users, especially with its feature set and range of downloadable applications.

Don’t buy it if…

You’ve got high-resolution media files
Transcoding on the Drivestor 2 takes its time, and you’ll have trouble scrubbing through high-res videos with considerable delays.

You want file caching
With no support for SSDs, you’ll have to forego any options for file caching, or opt for a more advanced NAS from Asustor.


If you’ve never used a PDF editor before, it can be surprisingly complicated to find the right one on the current market. There are lots of different products available, and some of them are much more complex than others. Some PDF editors are intended for power users who do lots of conversions and other edits every day, while others are more for the average user who occasionally needs to convert a document for their own archiving.

PDFZilla is a nice middle ground between these two ends of the spectrum, offering a good range of features in a convenient, clean interface, but without overloading the user with too much functionality that most will never even touch. It’s stable and works very fast, making it a good choice for less powerful computers as well. However, it’s not a good option if you want to try out its full features for free, due to the way its free demo is structured. If you decide that you enjoy how PDFZilla works though, the premium version is definitely worth the investment.


You'll need to pay for the full version of PDFZilla if you want to convert files to and from a PDF (Image credit: PDFZilla)

Plans and pricing

The application comes with a free demo, but it’s only enough to get a basic preview of its functionality, because it limits your operation in certain ways. For example, you can only convert half of a document. Still, this should be good enough to get a sense of how well PDFZilla works and whether it fits the bill for your own specific requirements. You’re allowed to use most available features in the free version to check them out, but the above limitation (and a few others here and there) still applies.

The full version costs $49.95, though you should check the site frequently if you’re interested in buying it, because the developers regularly run various promotions. Sometimes you can get it for as low as 20% off, which is a nice bonus in the context of what the application has to offer. There aren’t any different pricing tiers though – at least not for individual users – so you can’t buy a cheaper subscription if you don’t plan on using all features. However, you can purchase multiple licenses at a discount.


You can merge, cut and rotate PDFs as well as convert them to many other file formats (Image credit: PDFZilla)


You are able to do various types of conversions and edits, all offered from a centralized main menu. You can convert a PDF to different formats, including Microsoft Word, images, plain text files, HTML pages, and even Flash, despite the fact that it’s deprecated at this point. You can also convert PDFs containing tables to Excel sheets, which can be very useful for accounting and other similar use cases.

Some additional features include the ability to split a document into multiple separate ones or, conversely, merge several PDFs into one. You can also convert an image to a PDF, which can come in handy if you ever need to submit documents to a site that only accepts PDF documents and nothing else. However, the conversion is a bit limited in this regard and you shouldn’t expect too much flexibility.


PDFZilla gets the job done but its interface is quite dated when compared to more modern options (Image credit: PDFZilla)

Interface and in use

The interface of PDFZilla is nice and clean, although it looks a bit outdated in places. The application hasn’t received any major UI updates in a while, but that’s not a problem since the current interface does a fine job at presenting you with all options you might need and making them easily accessible. There aren’t any flashy effects or animations, and the interface is kept very simple for the most part.

That doesn’t prevent PDFZilla from being a powerful tool though, and it lets you reach most options quickly and without having to dig through complicated menus. The tool can be perfect for those who need to do some quick work and want to streamline that process as much as possible. 


PDFZilla has a number of useful tutorials available on its site (Image credit: PDFZilla)


There’s an in-depth tutorial and help section available at the official website, and those cover most potential issues you might run into with the tool. The developers can be contacted through their site too, but their support leaves a little to be desired. They do respond fast in most cases, but more complicated issues can take longer to resolve, and it does seem like the company doesn’t have an extensive support department. Still, they’ve done a fine job covering most points in their help section.

The competition

PDFZilla has various competitors, including PDF24 and Adobe Acrobat, and it’s hard to make a good comparison between them because each application in that field typically shines with something unique. Where PDFZilla proves truly useful is for users who need something quick and convenient, and don’t mind paying a one-time fee for a lifetime subscription for the product. If you don’t mind the slightly outdated looking interface, it’s definitely a tool that can work well for most people’s needs.

Final verdict

PDFZilla is a great choice for a PDF editor and converter, and the application is offered at a reasonable price. It takes very little time to get used to how it works, and it comes with lots of features right out the box. If you don’t mind the somewhat slow customer support compared to other similar tools, this one is definitely worth checking out.

We've also featured the best PDF editor and best free office software

MyFico identity theft protection

Our series on identity theft protection apps will evaluate the features, pricing options, competition, and also the overall value of using each app. However, these are not full hands-on reviews since evaluating identity theft protection apps is almost impossible. It would require several months of testing, purposefully hacking accounts to see if the protection app works, handing over personally identifiable information, performing multiple credit checks, and risking exposure of the reviewer’s personally identifiable information.

Among a sea of competitors, finally, there’s an identity theft protection app that’s worth your time and money. This kind of makes sense as MyFico is the consumer division from the same company that invented the FICO credit score, which has become “An industry standard for more than 25 years.”

MyFico emphasizes your credit score and credit reporting, providing not only a healthy amount of information about your credit status, but also a wealth of educational info. The mobile app looks more professional than most of the apps we’ve tested and presents information in a colorful and clear format. While this product tends to cost more than some, it checks all of the boxes that signal a great product.

For starters, the interface is intuitive and clear. We can’t emphasize that enough because a clunky and boring interface in any app makes it hard to use. With identity theft protection, it’s even more important because finding the features you need easily could help you ward off a criminal or hacker trying to steal your personally identifiable information. MyFico shows credit scores in a colorful way that’s engaging; alerts pop up to warn you about dangers. 

The app provides $1 million in identity theft insurance, like most products. Yet, that’s even part of the most basic pricing plan. There’s also a credit score simulator - you can see how a new car loan will impact your credit, for example. The company behind MyFico is well-known and trusted. Overall, this is a smart and efficient product for monitoring your online identity.

Plans and Pricing

MyFico offers three paid plans to choose from depending on your needs (Image credit: FICO)

Plans and pricing

The Basic plan costs $19.95 per month, and automatically auto-renews. True to its name, this entry-level plan includes only one credit bureau (Experian) and the $1 million insurance in case you fall victim to identity theft. FICO credit scores are updated monthly, and there is score and credit monitoring. You also receive Identity Theft Restoration via a customer support hotline for help in recovering your identity at all hours of the day.

The next tier up plan is the Advanced plan for $29.95 per month. You can view credit reports from three agencies so this is a more complete plan, but the updates are less frequent at every three months. This plan also adds identity theft protection - the app scans thousands of websites looking for personal identity fraud and other credit problems. Otherwise, the plan is identical to the lower one.

The top plan is the Premier plan, and it is the most expensive identity theft protection pricing option we’ve found in this software category. It costs a hefty $39.95 per month and provides monthly credit reports and monthly updates from all three agencies making it the most comprehensive coverage. However, it does not add any additional features to sweeten the deal.

Mobile App

MyFico has one of the best looking identity theft protection apps we've seen yet (Image credit: FICO)


While many identity theft protection apps look and function like a clunky tax program from a decade ago, MyFico is a bright spot in the field. The mobile app in particular looks more engaging with a colorful credit score indicator and a more modern design. 

The interface is trim and efficient, which means you can glance at the mobile app and see your credit score and investigate problems or review the alerts about identity theft and resolve them. There’s also something to be said for how the credit score simulator works - it’s more like a wizard that shows possible scenarios if you do buy a house or a new car and can determine whether that’s a good idea. 

If the clarity of the interface actually helps you resolve an identity theft issue or avoid a credit problem due to the simulator and how it all works, it’s worth the higher price tag. Other identity theft apps tend to be clunky and outdated, so even if the features are more impressive they are harder to find.


MyFico doesn’t reinvent the wheel - or even invent one. All of the features are quite predictable, including credit scores and monitoring and threat detection for your personal information (the app can analyze thousands of websites looking for potential identity theft issues). All plans include $1 million in identity theft protection insurance which gets underwritten by the American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida. It’s all wrapped up in a clear and intuitive interface meant to point out any credit history problems.


Figure out how your purchasing decisions will affect your FICO score with the service's FICO Score Simulator (Image credit: FICO)

There’s also a FICO Score Simulator. This tool lets a user run a simulation of what a financial move, such as buying a car with a loan, or taking out a mortgage, will do to the FICO credit score. Users get to explore up to 24 different financial scenarios, and see what the effect will be. In fact, you can track potential impact to all three credit bureaus simultaneously.


You can find answers to common problems by visiting MyFico's Support Center (Image credit: FICO)


There is a MyFico support center to help users having an issue. There is a direct toll free number, and also an email- both facilitate direct contact. The hours of operation are Monday to Friday, 6 AM - 6 PM, and on Saturday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

There are also articles organized by topics, such as “Why did my FICO® Score change?” and expert education about credit.

The competition

The only real hesitancy here in recommending MyFico to anyone interested in protecting their online identity is the price. Even the Basic plan at $19.95 is more than almost every other low-cost identity theft app we found, such as Complete ID and Allstate Identity Protection. Moving up to the plan that provides monthly data from three credit bureaus, you’ll find the price is higher than any other identity theft protection app around, including Norton LifeLock. We also wish that there was a way to pay for an individual search so this made better sense for low volume users not looking for a monthly plan.

Final verdict

That said, we do like the interface and the feature set that is available. The company backing this product is well-known and established - you won’t be wondering which tiny identity theft company is protecting your information and alerting you to problems. A FICO score is one of the best ways to determine if you need to look into credit history problems. 

We also like that the most basic plan still includes identity theft insurance in case of fraud. MyFico reps are available all day if you need to call and resolve an issue. This MyFico product is sound and we recommend it, but Norton LifeLock and IdentityForce are better options with more features and a lower price.

We've also highlighted the best identity theft protection


Popular Posts


Blog Archive