When you are on the hunt for a hosting option that is good enough for your website without too much hassle, you might have come across HostMonster in your reviews.
They are a company that specializes in packages for beginner users anyway, and their packages are easy to use and great in their features.
However, the competition that is in the web hosting sector has meant that this platform is not the popular kid on the block that it once was. It has been on a steady decline since 2008, with many new we hosts giving better packages and better value for money.
Reading this, you might wonder whether it makes sense to sign up for their service – but it is still helpful to read some reviews on them before making a decision.
In this article, we do a HostMonster review and see whether the company has learnt from its mistakes and revamped its packages for new customers – so read on to find out our thoughts on this hosting provider and whether it is still worth it.
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What is HostMonster?
This is a web hosting company that is quite well-known due to its presence for years, and they aim to offer hosting plans and free domain names that target smaller businesses or entrepreneurs.
The history of the hosting provider goes back to 1996, so it does have the element of experience that many web hosting companies lack. In all fairness though, it is not always the outer appearance that matters, but the product itself.
They are a part of the EIG (Endurance International Group) of companies, which makes sense considering they market themselves to smaller businesses.
Hosting solutions that HostMonster offers
The company does offer several options you can use – VPS, shared, domains and dedicated servers. If you are a regular user, you might find it attractive because of the pricing, comfortable cPanel or fast servers that come along with the package.
On the other hand, certain users might find themselves discouraged due to the slightly outdated website that is your introduction to the company.
The company considers shared hosting to be its crown jewel – which is understandable, given that the other options can be quite pricey. They also seek to offer smaller businesses web hosting solutions as we noticed in this HostMonster review, and allow you to start off without necessarily having web coding or other forms of technical knowledge.
In addition, the technology you will find on their platform includes these benefits:
- 24/7 monitoring of networks
- Linux operating system
- Dual Quad Processor performance servers
- Backup power that uses a diesel generator
Thanks to their infrastructure and architecture specifications, it allows them to offer reliable hosting services, which in turn will mitigate the risk of their customer’s websites experiencing outages.
Here are some quick facts on the pricing
The company provides you with many options for billing preferences, and their services are always in auto-renew mode as a default, in order to prevent cases of outages or loss of domain names.
You can choose to renew your services manually, though.
- They will not provide monthly options for billing, which means you will have to pay for a full year in advance when you sign up.
- If you cancel your plan before the set time lapses, you will not get a refund
- You can pay for these packages through PayPal or credit card. Unfortunately, the options available are quite limited, so you will not get extra methods.
If this does not sound appealing to you and you would rather pay for monthly hosting packages, then you are better off choosing another host. Here is a quick overview of what they have in store:
Our HostMonster review reveals that the company has 3 shared hosting packages:
- Basic –
Costs $4.95 a month. Supports 5 email accounts, 1 website, 25 sub-domains, 50 GB storage, and unlimited bandwidth.
- Plus –
Costs $6.95 a month. Supports unmetered storage, unlimited websites, unlimited email accounts, unlimited sub-domains, and unlimited bandwidth.
- Prime –
Costs $14.99 a month. However, it is often put on a sale offer, with the price dropping to $6.95 a month. It has the same benefits as the Shared Plus plan.
Note however, that the pricing is only applicable when you sign up for the three-year term rather than the annual plan. In summary, these are the options for the shared hoisting:
|Shared Basic||Shared Plus||Shared Prime|
|Cost (on offer)||$4.95||$6.95||$6.95|
|Website space||50 GB||Unmetered||Unmetered|
|Email storage||100 MB/account||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Extras||–||Over $24 per year||Over $80 per year|
All VPS packages come with these benefits:
- CentOS 6.5 (64-bit)
- Free domain name
They have 4 packages in their VPS hosting, as summarized below:
|Price per month||$19.99||$29.99||$44.99||$59.99|
|RAM||2 GB||4 GB||6 GB||8 GB|
|Storage||30 GB||60 GB||90 GB||120 GB|
|Bandwidth||1 TB per month||2 TB per month||2 TB per month||3 TB per month|
All dedicated hosting packages have the following benefits:
- 8 threads Intel Xeon processor
- 4 cores
- Free domain name
- CentOS 6.5 (64-bit)
They have three dedicated hosting packages available:
|Monthly Price (usual)||$109.99||$159.99||$209.99|
|Monthly Price (on offer)||$79.99||$99.99||$119.99|
|Cache||3 MB||8 MB||8 MB|
|Storage||500 GB (RAID 1)||1000 GB (RAID 1)||1000 GB (RAID 1)|
|RAM||4 GB||8 GB||16 GB|
|Bandwidth per month||5 TB||10 TB||15 TB|
Things to note
Regardless of the specific plan you choose to go for, there are a few things to always note:
- Hidden clauses and fees –
When you are signing up for their hosting packages, you will need to agree to give them a royalty-free, non-exclusive license, in order for them to use your account’s content as they see fit. In addition, all the shared hosting accounts will have a limit of 200,000 inodes, 3 GB total database size, and 1000 total database tables.
- All account activations are on instant basis
- There are a few upsells you can get, depending on the package you sign up for
- The installed apps and CMSs that you can get will include Mojo Marketplace, which will provide for easier installation of these apps and plugins.
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The company has only one datacenter, which is only in the state of Utah.
Free domain registration
As we mentioned earlier in the HostMonster review, part of the benefit of signing up is getting a free domain name, which lasts for a year.
However, you will have to pay for it after the 1-year period lapses. This means that if you are looking for a domain name alone, you are better off checking other hosting providers for cheaper packages.
The most affordable plan on the platform will allow you to manage 5 email accounts and host one domain.
The most expensive plan, on the other hand, will allow you to host unlimited numbers of domains, as well as managing unlimited numbers of email accounts.
If you are owning a personal website, you might wonder what the use is of hosting a multitude of email accounts – however, it will be helpful if you have a business or want to start an emailing list, as it will allow you to host more employees, or subscribers in the case of a blog.
On the HostMonster platform, you have a choice of 3 webmail solutions, which will also give your employees an opportunity to select the email client they want to use.
When you land on the company’s website, you will see a menu called the ‘Hosting Features’, which is a summarized list of all the things they offer.
It is important to know that not all these features will come with all plans.
Other than the unlimited resources that come with the shared hosting packages, there are some other inclusions. The most notable is the free website builder by Weebly.
This is a drag-and-drop website builder that is quite popular for its user-friendliness, and is entirely online – which means you will not need to install extra apps just to use it.
When you use Weebly to design your website, the process is very simple, as you will only need to select a template you want and then add elements to customize it.
For instance, you can add social sharing buttons, change fonts and colors, or drag in pre-made sections such as Google Forms.
If you want to activate Weebly on the website, follow these steps:
- Log in to the control panel, and select ‘Weebly’.
- This will prompt you to select a theme
- Use drag-and-drop to modify the theme design.
If you happen to be a web developer, you will also have access to certain features such as CGI-Bin, MySQL databases, SSH access, FTP access, and custom Cron jobs.
You will also notice the support for multiple programming languages that the platform has, which include:
- Ruby on Rails
It is important to have a user-friendly feature that makes your management of your website easier, and this comes in form of the MOJO Marketplace.
Thanks to accessing of this feature from the control panel, it allows you to install applications in one click – similar to what you would find in Softaculous.
Blogging and WordPress
Similar to every bargain website hosting platform, we note in the HostMonster review that they will provide a chance for you to make and launch a WordPress website, all in a user-friendly way.
In fact, it is possible to achieve this from the dashboard (control panel) directly.
If you already own a website, you may not know that you can actually add a WordPress blog to it – unless you are an experienced web developer.
The good news is that HostMonster will give instructions on how to do it, and all this is comprehensive information.
In addition, this package comes with media hosting, which will allow you to spruce up your website with audio streaming, video streaming, media and MIDI files if you wish to.
You will likely buy and sell things on your website, so having fully functional e-commerce abilities is very important.
Fortunately, you will find a variety of shopping carts on the HostMonster platform, which include Zen Cart, osCommerce, Cube Cart, and Agora.
The platform will host your website on a secure server that has SSL encryption, and you have the chance to generate a free security certificate that you can display on your website menu or home page.
This will help to reassure your customers that their payments are safe, and they can be free to enter their payment information.
However, this benefit is not just for e-commerce stores; it is actually applicable to other websites as well, as this is part of best security practices.
The HostMonster bonus plan gives you additional bonuses: a private SSL certificate, as well as a dedicated IP address.
It will also include Site Backup Pro, which will eliminate the need of buying it separately.
Features of online stores
If you are building an online store, you will appreciate the ease of adding product categories and pages to the store as well, through the use of Weebly.
You also have a chance of adding pre-built options to the pages on your website as you see fit.
We notice in our HostMonster review that the platform has some impressively powerful VPS (virtual private servers), which will cater to individuals and businesses that require extra power on their websites.
Fortunately, you will not require technical knowledge to operate them, since they are all fully managed by the platform. In addition, you are guaranteed to get great server resources, as well as dedicated speeds and service.
The company does not have an uptime guarantee – which means that you will not receive compensation in the unfortunate event your website experiences downtime.
This is quite the disappointing aspect, since there are numerous web hosting providers that offer the same packages but with uptime guarantees.
HostMonster does acknowledge that their servers can experience downtime at certain points, and these are usually due to issues that are solved in a relatively short time – usually 15 minutes or so. Sometimes though, it can take a longer time for them to resolve certain issues.
Because of this, they offer to give you a pro-rated refund when you experience server downtimes and cancel your subscription.
If you want to monitor your uptime, you can also use the monitoring menu on your control panel to do so.
The interconnected nature of the internet means that you will likely be operating a website that receives traffic from different global regions.
This makes it important to have a CDN in your plans, because it allows different browsers from these countries to use the servers that are closest to where they are, as well as reducing loading time.
Regardless of the plan you want, our HostMonster review shows that they will provide you with free access to Cloudflare, which is a powerful and useful CDN.
The activation process is simple – you simply need to go to the control panel, select the Cloudflare icon, and then select ‘activate’.
The benefits of Cloudflare are numerous, although the most well-known one is its ability to cache all your website’s content and spread it across a globalized network.
This, in turn, will allow all visitors of your website to access your content easily, regardless of the location they are in, as well as experiencing faster loading times.
Free SSL certificates
Many web hosting platforms will give free SSL certificates, but only as a part of the higher-end plans.
The most common case is that these certificates will cost extra cash to get them, except in this case, as they are a part of the deal regardless of the plan.
Unlimited bandwidth and storage
The term ‘unlimited bandwidth’ can be quite confusing, because what it means is ambiguous.
Many hosting platforms are not exactly clear on it either, and will prompt you to sign for higher packages when you exceed your limits, with the case being the same here.
If you are a small blogger or operate a small website, this will not be a major issue for you. However, you do need to be careful with the package you are signing up for if your website has heavy traffic levels.
Control panel cPanel
To help you with your hosting activities, the company gives you cPanel, but a customized version of it. The panel is quite simple, and you will have an organized and clean space to operate from.
In fact, they will give you a preview of the website, as well as logging in button that helps you to access WordPress.
On its left sidebar, you can see the sites you are hosting, manage and check your emails, visit the MOJO Marketplace to get add-ons and themes, and even access any advanced features that you would typically get from cPanel.
When you choose the advanced options, it will be easy to view information related to your account, such as bandwidth use and disk space, as well as accessing statistical tools.
Your hosting provider might allow you plenty of uptime guarantees and great space limits, but it is still essential to ensure their customer service is great.
The more efficiency there is in handling customer complaints, the better your experience will be.
Customer support is integral to the success of a hosting platform, and one of the main pillars on HostMonster is their live chat option.
Here are some elements we note:
Support for potential customers
Sometimes when you look through a hosting platform, you might have questions on some features or packages, and you would like to ask customer support before making a decision.
The good news is that HostMonster has good support teams, and they will respond to your queries quickly.
Tech support for their customers (applies to paid plans)
If you are a paying customer, you can reach the team through a toll-free number or live chat.
This is available on a 24/7 basis, and you will know whether the support team is online through a small green light on the website’s support page.
In addition, they also have an indicator that will tell you the average waiting time you can expect.
Support articles (available for everyone)
The first place the website’s support page will direct you to their help articles, which are quite popular. They do a good job of explaining the basic procedures, such as setting up your account.
While the articles are quite helpful, there is a problem – the layout and organization of the knowledgebase is not, and it is quite challenging to find articles that you want if you are in a hurry.
Pros & Cons
- Their uptime is above the average in the industry, at 99.96%
- Uses cPanel control panel
- A lot of tools for developers
- Decent levels of support
- Good options to increase the security of your account
- Quick setup and instant provisioning
- Good value for your money
- The average loading time of pages is quite long
- Prices are misleading at times, and long term commitment is needed
- Hidden fees and costs in their packages
- Unorganized support knowledgebase
- The company charges for backups
- Migration costs are expensive
- No Windows hosting available
With all said and done, it is worth noting in this HostMonster review that the platform is still worth a try, especially if you are searching for a web host that has the unlimited bandwidth packages (which is quite a struggle to find).
Their packages are also good for the money, featuring one-click WordPress installation, 5 email accounts, and a free domain name, along with a 30-day money back guarantee.