Is there any LOGIC behind STARTING your online business with StartLogic in 2020? (+99 points to the Pun Master).

Puns aside, we could of course settle on a superficial “yes” after examining their offer (“seems to tick all checkboxes”), their pricing (“looks reasonable”), and their server performance (“websites seem to be loading fine”) …

But that approach would make us pretty useless as professional hosting reviewers and webmaster helpers, wouldn’t it?

So, here’s the deal: this in-depth analysis will not dwell on the trivial (there are other StartLogic reviews for that) – instead, we’ll dig deeper into what this company really is, and try to answer the most pressing questions about Start Logic:

  • 🔌Who owns SiteLogic and why does it matter?
  • 💰What is the real price of SiteLogic hosting?
  • 💩Should you be aware of any caveats during checkout?

We will begin with a quick look at the history of StartLogic – you will soon see why it’s important to know their origins in order to understand their current situation:

How StartLogic… Started

Take out your dark glasses, leather gloves, and detective’s coat, because we’re going on an investigation!

There’s so little information available about StartLogic that one has to hunt for bits and pieces across the web with a magnifying glass and a sharp mind 🕵️

Good luck finding any specifics about the founding year or circumstances of the company… this looks like a job for our trusty time-traveling device, the Wayback Machine by Archive.org.

If we enter the www.startlogic.com domain into the query field, we’ll get a timeline of all snapshots ever taken by the Machine, which looks like this:

StartLogic timeline

This, and the brand analysis using the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database, gives us enough info to conclude the StartLogic was created in 2003 in Phoenix, Arizona.

In the first years of existence, they focused on premium web hosting, and their website looked like this (well, to be fair, most websites looked like this back in the early 00’s):

StartLogic first site

By the beginning of 2010s, StartLogic could boast 100,000+ customers as well as multiple awards and accolades:

StartLogic second site

But then, something happened in the late 2013: their homepage was drastically redesigned into what it looks like up to this day, and the product line was completely overhauled by dropping the more expensive VPS plans and focusing on cheap shared hosting.

Something indeed happened to StartLogic, and that “something” is called…

The Endurance Group!

Yes, our old friends Endurance, the conglomerate specializing in buying up decrepit hosting providers, moving the infrastructure to scaled-up farms, moving the support to India, and milking the cash-cow until it’s still profitable.

How do we know StartLogic is now a part of Endurance Group?

Well, as the first clue, we can use advanced Google search patterns like startlogic site:endurance.com to find mentions of StartLogic on the endurance.com website (you won’t find any by simply browsing, they list a lot of hosting brands but this one is not their primary focus so it only appears in Excel-based annual reports as well as obscure SEC filings).

To confirm our theory, StartLogic first starts appearing in Endurance reports somewhere around 2012-2013.

Secondly, a big fat clue is on that same Trademark Office page we’ve mentioned above: you can find Endurance listed under the “Current Owners” section.

Our final clue is right there on the StartLogic official website: no, not their (surprisingly superficial) “About Us” page – let’s click on the small-print “Privacy” link the footer instead.

Interestingly, the privacy policy page is situated on a different domain, and (hello there!) has an Endurance logo on it.

In fact, if you can find links to the same privacy policy page from other brands owned by Endurance, such as Purehost or Justhost.

So, what has Endurance done with its acquisition?

The Current State of StartLogic

Apart from their business model, there’s one more important thing we should understand about the new owner of StartLogic:

Endurance Group subdivides all brands in their portfolio into two broad categories: the flagship brands, which they actively develop and feature prominently on their official website – and all other brands, which they view simply as extras for the critical mass of their portfolio.

This philosophy is probably the result of necessity rather than anything else: after all, actively managing 40+ hosting providers would imply insane complexity unless you really truly focused on just a handful!

Guess which group our StartLogic falls into, though?

That’s right, the “all other brands” – the hosting providers they purchase en-masse and integrate into the same backend while preserving the trademarks and unique websites to create a semblance of choice for the consumers.

Here’s a taste of what we mean:

Go through the “Our Technology” subsection of StartLogic’s current official page. Now compare it with the corresponding section from the old StartLogic website of 2007 (i.e. before the acquisition):

StartLogic tech

They even preserved the old hosting architecture diagram, which, by the way, can be found on most other hosting providers owned by Endurance.

This either means that all “other” hosting brands in their portfolio are being serviced by the same data center with outdated tech that’s 10+ years old, or…

…that Endurance didn’t even bother updating the page for 10 years after acquiring StartLogic!

Either way, such setup does not make StartLogic’s offer more attractive – after all, would you rather pay for something that has been custom-made by the brand you’re choosing – or instead for something cost-minimized and bundled with other lookalike brands?

***

Speaking of being bundled with lookalike brands: support at SiteLogic is provided using an Endurance-wide “call-center” system which it shares will all other “non-important brands”.

The live chat is identical to all other live chats on other Endurance-acquired hosts, and when we say “identical” we don’t mean it in the positive way.

Since the support team handles all minor Endurance brands simultaneously, each specific representative is not too knowledgeable about the particular brand you’re asking about: for some examples of bloopers and outright errors, see e.g. this part of our Netfirms review or this part of our PureHost analysis.

***

As to the product offer, that also has been optimized to the max, first by removing the Virtual Private Server (VPS) plans of the pre-acquisition StartLogic, and then by reducing the number of hosting plans from three (“Express”, “Pro”, and “Supercharge”)

StartLogic old plans

– to a single one, organized according to the “all-inclusive” principle and packed with freebies, from domain and email to marketing tools:

StartLogic new plan

But are all those items marked in all-caps “FREE” actually free of charge? Let’s take a closer look:

The Real Cost of StartLogic

The first thing that we should note right away is the star next to its $2.75/mo* price offer: as any self-respecting asterisk, this one should also lead to some kind of footnote or special explanation, right?

Yes, it does – all the way down in the footer of the website, in the smallest text that is still legible (in fact, it’s the tiniest font used anywhere throughout the StartLogic website) – we find the other end of the asterisk:

StartLogic asterisk

The link in the footnote leads to a Help Center page with “regular rates”, which, unsurprisingly, are quite a bit higher (in fact, 2x higher) than the $2.75 advertised in big bold letters on the front page.

But that’s not something you can find out during the checkout process – all you’ll see are the promo prices which will only be valid for the first billing cycle..

Speaking of the StartLogic checkout process – or, should we rather call it:

Squeezing Out Every Dime

Remember we mentioned that Endurance Group’s core strategy was buying up hosting providers and extracting as much cash from the once-renowned brands as possible?

If you’re still not sure what this means, just try purchasing a hosting plan at StartLogic.

When you click on the call-to-action button on the homepage, you will first be asked to choose a domain name to use for your new website. So far, no mention of whether it will cost you anything… let’s move on to the next step:

StartLogic domain registration

Note the absence of real prices in the checkout summary – but that’s not the only thing that’s presented in a “promo way”: the domain name we’ve just picked in the previous step is listed as free!

Let’s look closer, though: the word “registration” should give us a hint – when StartLogic says “FREE” in all-caps, in fact it means “free for the first year” –

How do we know?

There’s a page with domain renewal prices, of course. Good luck finding it on the official website, though – it’s well-hidden deep inside the knowledgebase. According to that page, a standard .com domain renews at $17.99 per year, well above the average market price for this extension.

As a “bonus”, the Domain Privacy checkbox is checked by default – adding to your cart the ability of hiding your real identity from your domain name’s records, whether you need it or not. That’s an additional $9.99 per year with none of your consent, cha-ching!

While we’re on the topic of pre-selected extras:

Don’t scroll down too fast!

Because you might just miss the two randomly active checkboxes in the next part of the checkout screen:

StartLogic extras

Don’t get me wrong, the problem is not that security and backups are not essential to any self-respecting website!

The problem is that StartLogic assumes you need specifically those two things so badly that you shouldn’t be asked if you actually want them right now, with your hosting purchase.

And that’s another $19.95 per year for security and $14.99 per year for backups – both of which you can get absolutely free using popular WordPress plugins such as Wordfence and UpdraftPlus.

All of the above adds up to an extra $44.93 per year on your hosting bill – in other words, inflates your grand total by more than 60%!

But wait, there’s more (more costs, of course): remember in the previous part of our review we mentioned that the hosting plan itself gets more expensive after the first billing cycle?

If we combine this price hike with the fact that your “FREE” domain name will start costing $17.99 per year starting with year 2, we should expect our hosting payment to more than double in all the subsequent billing cycles.!

As a final nod to dark patterns, StartLogic wants you to tick a box if you don’t want to receive their newsletter. Sweet!

So, what are we left with in the end, apart from an oversize hosting bill? Let’s sum it up before discussing our final verdict:

Pros and Cons of StartLogic

  • A single hosting plan which includes everything you need to start a full-fledged website.
  • Relatively short and straightforward checkout procedure that consists of only two pages and takes no more than a couple of minutes to complete.
  • A brand name that has been around since 2003 and was one of the pioneers of the web hosting industry as we know it today.
  • Fast support on most occasions: even during the night hours our waiting time rarely exceeded several seconds.
  • 30-day money-back guarantee (note that as with most other hosts, this does not include domain names).
  • The company is currently owned by Endurance, which specializes on buying up failing hosting brands and cost-cutting to the max.
  • Several extras are pre-selected for you during the checkout, which means your hosting bill is artificially inflated by more than 60% without your consent.
  • The fact that the $2.75 indicated on the homepage is a promo price which will double in all subsequent billing cycles is not communicated clearly enough (in fact, one can get a feeling that this is being consciously hidden from the user).
  • All information on real (non-promo) prices is tucked deep inside the online knowledgebase.
  • There is no clear indication that the domain name you register during the checkout will cost you money after the initial billing cycle.

Should You Use StartLogic?

Remember, when you decide whether or not to use a particular web host, you’re not just thinking about the immediate out-of-pocket amount: since hosting is a continuous service, you also need to take into account the long-term recurring costs.

In the case of StartLogic, the math is not on your side: while you might end up with a rather generous offer for your first billing cycle (if you remember to un-tick all the extras, of course) – your yearly expenditures will inevitably grow my more than 100% after the initial “promo” period is over.

There’s certainly a clear logic at play here – but that logic is not in your favour as a customer.

StartLogic is a bit too eager to extract as much money as possible from your pocket (after all, that’s what their parent company does as their core business strategy) while offering little of value that you couldn’t get from a more transparent and modern hosting provider.

And this is a big turn-off for anyone looking for a long-term partner which will determine the stability of their entire online presence.

Pour your heart out