What is HostMonster Hosting?
HostMonster is an American web hosting company founded in 1996 that operates under the umbrella of Endurance International Group.
How Good is HostMonster Hosting?
Like too many other EIG-owned hosting companies, HostMonster fails to keep pace with the industry standards for speed, uptime, and customer service. While their security packages and simple, conservative branding may be appealing to many, their performance in most areas of service is consistently underwhelming.
- Free Domain for up to One Year
- Unlimited Domains, Subdomains, and Bandwidth
- Solid Security Features
- No Month-to-Month Pricing
- Below Average in Speed and Uptime
- Poor Customer Service Reputation
- No Free Back Ups
- Lots of Upsells
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Our Official HostMonster Hosting Review.
Despite their status as industry veterans, HostMonster is sadly yet another case of declining service and failure to innovate following an acquisition by EIG. Much like sister companies iPage and FatCow, HostMonster falls seriously short in all of the most important markers of a quality hosting company. Namely: Speed, uptime, and customer support. Add a confusing pricing structure, upsells, and the absence of an informed sales pitch, and we have to say that we wouldn't recommend HostMonster.
Best Features of HostMonster Hosting
While we suggest passing on HostMonster, it is worth mentioning their features that may have led you to consider them in the first place. For one thing, their branding is simple and conservative, which may appeal to those who are a bit overwhelmed by flashier tech companies and highly technical language. Plus, unlimited bandwidth and domains is a nice perk! But most importantly, they do offer a very comprehensive security package, which even we were impressed by. Here's the scoop
Free Website Builder
While WordPress is generally the standard for hosting companies, and there are resources abound to help even the least tech-savvy user get a template up and running, it is comforting for some to have a What You See Is What You Get website builder. HostMonster uses Weebly, which is super intuitive and well regarded in the industry. Just keep in mind that if a company places heavy emphasis on offering a free website builder, their target demographic generally isn't the techie crowd. You don't have to be a webdesigner to download a WordPress template, which may even be easier than dragging and dropping your website through Weebly. This isn't a bad thing, but it does speak volumes about the depth of knowledge most of their customers have upon signing up for their services.
Free Domain for up to One Year.
A good percentage of hosting companies offer this deal, so HostMonster is not by any means an outlier. However this is a nice perk!
Unlimited Bandwidth, Domains, Subdomains, Emails, and Storage
Sounds too good to be true, right? This is definitely a good deal if you plan to host lots of small, simple websites. But it is important to keep in mind that when hosting companies say “unlimited” in regard to basic shared hosting plans, that does not mean you could upload infinite data to infinite websites. More often than not, and in the case of HostMonster as well, they do place a cap on all data, they just don't advertise it. Furthermore, your site can only load data as fast as it can communicate with the server. The quality of the hardware in the end is what truly determines how “unlimited” your hosting plan is. If you're interested in truly unlimited hosting, we recommend looking at DreamHost.
Comprehensive Security Included
The one area where HostMonster is ahead of the competition is in the level of security they offer on their most basic plans. Included in shared hosting are SSL certificates, hot link protection, SSH access, Spam Assassin, and more. These services address most of the major vulnerabilities of web hosting, setting a solid foundation of protection for your site.
Downsides of HostMonster Hosting.
If HostMonster appealed to you for any of the reasons stated above, we highly recommend reading over the issues we encountered with them. While there is no perfect hosting company, and your decision should always necessarily be based upon your unique needs, there are some redflags that should be dealbreakers in any company. Unfortunately, HostMonster fails to meet our basic standards in quite a few areas.
Pricy Entry-Level Options & No Month-to-Month Pricing
HostMonster's entry-level pricing is at about industry standard, but this is only for the initial sign-up. Prepare to see your rates multiply should you choose to stay with them after your initial entry-level pricing has expired. Furthermore, they do not offer any month-to-month pricing. To receive the advertised monthly price, you need to pay for 3 years of hosting up front. This is a huge commitment for a service you haven't even had a chance to try out yet. And the standard 30-day moneyback guarantee is not nearly long enough to decide if you are okay with such a lengthy contract.
Below Average Speed and Uptime
Speed and uptime are likely the two greatest indicators of how good a hosting company is. After all, their job is to host your website. If they can't keep it up and running or working at the speeds that users expect, what exactly are you paying them for? Sadly, HostMonster just can't deliver in this area. While they do not have the worst track record we've seen, they are consistently below the industry standard in both areas. Where the averages among webhosting companies sits at 99.94% uptime and 700ms in page load times, HostMonster falls short of both markers with 99.91% uptime and around 880ms in page load times. If these factors are really important to you (which they should be), take a look at A2 Hosting, the industry leader in speed and uptime. Another company that takes this stuff seriously is JaguarPC, who will refund you 10x the price for every hour of downtime your site experiences.
Confusing Feature Explanations & Upsells
The HostMonster website does a poor job of explaining exactly what is included in their shared hosting packages, another testament to the fact that they target customers without much technical knowledge. This leads to a really confusing check out process in which you may end up paying extra for features you believed were included. The initial features page may lead you to believe you get free site back ups (pretty typical in the industry), but upon check out you realize that this costs an extra $3 per month.
Underwhelming Customer Service
While you can expect that HostMonster customer service will respond to your inquiries within a reasonable amount of time (about 10 minutes to connect via instant chat, and another 2-3 minutes between answers), do not expect the most knowledgeable help. Standard troubleshooting tips are frequently offered even when your question is far more specific. Furthermore, a quick Google search will pull up a tome of frustrated customer service stories. This tends to be a pattern among EIG owned companies, which leads us to speculate that post-acquisition priorities generally do not include investment in customer support.
We don't recommend HostMonster, if only for the fact that they are priced above average yet perform below average. Their single redeeming feature is comprehensive security as part of their baseline shared hosting. However, in many cases, paying a bit extra per month for a premium security plan for your website with another webhosting company would cost the same and result in a better customer experience.
HostMonster Questions and Answers
What You Need to Know Before Subscribing
HostMonster has been a popular option for many individuals looking for low-priced Web hosting. As part of multiple company groupings — first as a trio of hosting companies, then part of a larger corporation — it’s been one of the lesser-known options. We’ve answered the most popular questions people have about HostMonster so you can make the best decision when you’re looking for a hosting company.
When did HostMonster start?
HostMonster was launched in 1996, and is based in Provo, Utah. HostMonster, Bluehost, and FastDomain were in the same family, led by CEO Matt Heaton, who regularly kept customers updated on his own personal blog about developments in the companies and their services.
The companies were purchased by EIG, the powerhouse hosting conglomerate that now has more than 40 different hosting companies under its umbrella. As with many of them, the ownership by Endurance International Group has changed the perception of HostMonster in the industry.
In 2011, Heaton wrote a blog post, where he also publicly resigned as CEO, turning the reins over to Dan Handy, who held the position from 2011 to 2015. James Grierson is the current CEO of HostMonster, bringing extensive experience to the table as the co-founder and builder of SimpleScripts, the first online app store for open source products.
What is HostMonster’s claim to fame?
According to HostMonster’s Web site, the company has been dedicated to reliability since it began 20 years ago. They specialize in quality customer service and providing premium packages that meet customers’ needs at low prices.
They’ve based their plans on a simple package that can be upgraded for additional benefits and features. The company offers secure backups and dependable speeds and uptimes. They offer instant provisioning for virtual private servers and dedicated hosting, multiple security apps and options, and free domain names with their new plans.
Their Web site touts the following benefits for customers:
- Highest customer service
- The leading feature set available
- Quality equipment
- Secure backups
- Maximum guaranteed uptime
- Highly functional tools for administration
- Solid and honest business practices
Speaking of uptime, how is HostMonster’s uptime?
The company says they offer the maximum guaranteed uptime, but there is nothing in their terms about their uptime or the guarantee if your site doesn’t meet the uptime percentage they state.
Now, this would be fine if they got great reviews for their uptime. Industry standard is 99.94 percent uptime, which means that for the 99.94 percent of the month, your Web site is live, up and running. Some Web hosts are guaranteeing an uptime of 99.9 percent. Downtime at this level is about 43 minutes each month. Many of the Web hosts with this guarantee are actually coming in at a remarkable 99.99 percent – less than 4.3 minutes each month of downtime. HostMonster, though, isn’t one of them. Their one-year average squeaks in at 99.91 percent, and they only exceeded industry slightly more than half the year.
Others, though, have found slightly greater consistency, but over a one-month testing period.
What does HostMonster mean when they say “unlimited”?
According to their terms and policies, HostMonster doesn’t set an arbitrary cap on the resources single customers can use. This means that, as much as they are able, they will give you all of the storage, MySQL files, file transfer, domain hosting, and bandwidth you need to successfully power your Web site. For your site, this means that as long as you follow their rules you won’t see any negative repercussions or slower Web site speeds. However, it’s important to be mindful of your use of their resources, especially in periods of quick growth, as there could be adverse reactions to the system as a whole.
There are some noted thresholds, though; more than 200,000 files, more than 1,000 database tables, and more than 2GB of MySQL or PostgreSQL in a database can cause negative and slower server performance, and you may be asked to reduce these numbers.
Does HostMonster offer regular backups?
While they talk about their secure backups, HostMonster’s terms state that they occasionally perform backups, but have no obligation to do so. They also state that they have no liability for damages or loss of files, and that they won’t even try to back up accounts that exceed 50,000 files or 30 GB of storage space.
How is HostMonster’s customer service?
The company promotes the highest customer service, but again, this is another area where reviews are widely varied. A percentage of customers rave about the company’s service and response time. They have had excellent conversations with helpful service reps who truly care about their overall experience. A much larger contingent, though, has less-than-stellar things to say about the company’s service.
Customers are reporting that their sites were shut down without notice, that sites were half-functional, and that the company is unable to support apps that they themselves include in their hosting packages.
They have accounts on both Facebook and Twitter, although both are slightly out of date. Facebook’s last post was in 2014, and the last tweet was the only one in 2016, posted in September.
They don’t offer backups, but what about security and protection for your site?
Some studies show that as many as 41 percent of WordPress hacks are due to situations with their hosting company. HostMonster has taken steps to address that situation by providing customers with a variety of security features, apps, and plugins.
They offer SSH access, SSL support, Hotlink Protection, and Spam Assassin. They offer SiteLock certification for your online business transactions In addition, dedicated plans offer RAID 1 mirrored storage, which adds an extra level of protection for your data and account information.
When HostMonster talks about the leading feature set available, what do they mean?
For the price of the packages, HostMonster offers an unbelievably long list of benefits and features for their customers. They include quick installation for WordPress, although some customers have found problems installing a few of the WordPress plugins. HostMonster makes Mojo Marketplace connection easy, so you can also choose from a different content management system, like Drupal or Joomla.
- You can access a limited, free version of Weebly Sitebuilder to get your site up and running.
- CloudFlare is integrated into their plans. The reverse proxy gives you more protection from DDOS and brute force attacks, as well as a firewall. The app also has extensive caching functionality to give your site better page load speeds.
- HostMonster has plenty of e-commerce features to get your sales site operating, including Agora, Cube Cart, and Zen Cart shopping cart, free generated certificates, and password-protected directories.
In addition, they include the standard features, like FTP uploading, e-mail, streaming and real video and audio support, and an extensive list of scripts. Plans also include Google AdWords and Bing ad credits.
When HostMonster talks about quality equipment, what do they mean?
Shared accounts are hosted on dual quad processor performance servers, with UPS power backup and diesel generators for backup power. They offer a Linux operating system, with a customized Apache Web server. They also offer 24/7 network monitoring and multiple 10GB Ethernet connections.
The company’s datacenter is located in Provo, Utah, and they offer the latest versions of MySQL, CGI, Perl, PHP, Ruby on Rails, and Python. It’s tied into the latest SONET system, which uses laser signals to transmit over fiber optic lines.
What are the highly functional tools for administration?
HostMonster runs cPanel for its control panel. The skin looks a little different, but the fact that they provide this for administrators is a great option, because anyone looking to switch hosts can do so easily. cPanel is the industry standard for control panels. Because it’s so common, most hosting companies will include free site transfer for sites running the panel.
They allow prospective customers to check out their improvements to cPanel to see what they think right on their Web site.
What if I don’t like HostMonster?
Most hosting companies offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, and HostMonster is no different. There are some that offer much longer guarantees, ranging from 45 to 97 days, so while HostMonster isn’t the best, it’s certainly in the middle of the pack. Their terms list quite a few nonrefundable fees, but these are often in conjunction with services paid for third-party applications and add-ons. As long you cancel within the first three days, you’ll get back all of your money, except for the nonrefundable fees and the free domain name registration of $15.99 per name.
Anytime after three days, you’ll get back your fees except for nonrefundable fees, the domain name cost of $15.99 per name, and fees paid for Postini or for a dedicated IP. After 30 days, nonrefundable and setup fees are also excluded from cancellations.
Cancellation requests must be done via phone or online chat.
What does HostMonster include in their shared, standard plans?
All three shared plans include unmetered bandwidth, standard performance and one included domain.
- Basic hosting ($4.95/month, normally $9.49/month): Customers get one Web site, 50 GB of Web site space and five e-mail accounts. Each account gets 100 MB per account. You get one included domain, five parked domains, and 25 sub domains.
- Plus hosting ($6.95/month, normally $12.49/month): You get 10 eb sites with 150 GB of space. Each account includes one included domain, 20 parked domains, and 50 subdomains. Accounts get 100 e-mail accounts, with 500 MB per account. THese plans also include $150 in marketing offers, $24 per year in extras, and one SpamExperts account.
- Prime ($6.95/month; normally $14.99/month): This shared plan is truly unlimited, with no limits on Web sites, parked domains, sub domains, e-mail accounts, and e-mail storage. There is unmetered Web site space and bandwidth. The account includes one included domain. Prime includes $200 in marketing offers, $80 each year in extras, one SpamExperts, one domain privacy, and SiteBackup Pro.
It’s important to note that the low prices are only for the first term, and that prices may drastically increase upon renewal, as reported by some customers.
How is HostMonster’s VPS hosting?
In addition to the instant provisioning, VPS hosting includes managed services and guaranteed resources. They all come with a free domain name and run CentOS 6.5 (64-bit).
- Standard ($14.99/month, normally $29.99/month): You get dual core, 2 GB RAM, 30 GB, 1 TB/month, and one IP.
- Enhanced ($29.99/month, normally $59.99/month): You get dual core, 4 GB RAM, 60 GB, 2 TB/month and two IPs.
- Premium ($44.99/month, normally $89.99/month): The plan includes triple core, 6 GB RAM, 120 GB, and 3 TB/month, with two IPs.
- Ultimate ($59.99/month, normally $119.99/month): The ultimate plan is a quad core plan, with 8 GB RAM, 240 GB, and 4 TB/month. This also includes two IPs.
You have full root access, the ability to manage more than one account from your cPanel host, and Cloud technology like OpenStack and KVM.
What about dedicated hosting through HostMonster?
Dedicated plans have a money-back guarantee at any time, and allows you to add SAN storage whenever you need. They offer exclusive support lines for dedicated server customers, root access, and enhanced caching. They also all include a free domain name and CentOS 6.4 (64-bit)
- Standard ($149.99/month): dual-core 2.3 GHz Intel Xeon Processor with 3 MB cache, 4 GB RAM and 500 GB (RAID 1). There are 5 TB/month and three IPs.
- Enhanced ($199.99/month): quad-core 2.5 GHz Intel Xeon Processor with 8 MB cache, 8 GB RAM, 1000 GB (RAID 1) and 10 TB/month, with four IPs.
- Premium ($249.99/month): quad-core 3.3 GHz Intel Xeon Processor, 8 MB cache, 16 GB RAM, 1000 GB (RAID 1), 15 Tb/month and five IPs.
Can I pay monthly?
HostMonster is one of many hosting companies that don’t offer monthly payment options, and offers the lowest possible prices when you register for lengthy contracts. Choices include 12-, 24-, and 36-month plans.