There are hundreds of hosts on the market - finding one can be a challenge. You want something with best support, high uptime and blazing fast, and HostMonster surely stands out!
I’ve spent some time monitoring them to see if their characteristics match up to their name, and I’m going to tell you what I think on this HostMonster review.
Brief History of HostMonster
For more than 20 years, HostMonster has been working to provide their customer with reliability through high-quality, redundant systems designed to “maximize uptime for your Web site.”
The Utah-based company was bought by Endurance International Group in 2015, and now joins HostGator, BlueHost, Arvixe, and more than 75 other subsidiary brands owned by the company.
HostMonster has been growing through the years, and originally started with shared hosting plans. They now also offer dedicated and VPS hosting, with good support and a clear progression for Web site growth.
HostMonster Plans and Pricing
Shared hosting comes in three levels. All packages have unmetered bandwidth and one included domain.
Starts at $4.95 per month, normally $9.49 and is designed for one Web site. You get 50 GB of Web site space, five parked domains, 25 subdomains, and 100 MB of storage per e-mail account, with up to five accounts.
$6.95 per month with our link, normally $12.49!
You get 150 GB for up to 10 Web sites, 20 parked domains and 50 subdomains. Email accounts expand to 100, with 500 MB of storage per account, and you get 1 SpamExperts, as well as many other extras.
$14.95 per month with our link, normally $25.49!
This plan is unlimited for a variety of thing, like Web sites, parked and subdomains, e-mail accounts and e-mail storage, and unmetered Web site space and bandwidth.
You also get one SSL, one dedicated IP, one domain privacy, and SiteBackup Pro.
Dedicated Web Hosting
Each plan includes a free domain name with instant provisioning and CentOS 6.5. You can easily add SAN storage if you need, and have access to a dedicated support line.
$149.99 per month.
You get 3 MB cache, 4 GB RAM, 500 GB of RAID 1, three IPs and CentOS 6.5 on a dual core, 2.3 GHz Intel Xeon processor.
$199.99 per month
Enhanced customers get 8 MB cache, 8 GB RAM, 1000 GB of RAID 1, 10 TB/month and four IPs on a quad core 2.5 GHz Intel Xeon processor.
$249.99 per month
The premium plan includes 8 MB cache, 16 GB RAM, 1000 GB of Raid 1, 15 TB/month and five IPs on a quad core, 3.3 GHz Intel Xeon processor.
VPS Web Hosting
All VPS plans include a free domain name and CentOS 6.5.
$14.99 per month with our link, usually $29.99.
The standard plan includes 2 GB RAM, 30 GB, 1 TB per month and 1 IP on a dual core processor.
$29.99 per month with our link, usually $59.99.
The enhanced plan gives you 4 GB RAM, 60 GB, 2 TB/month and two IPs on a dual core processor.
$44.99 per month, usually $44.99.
You get 6 GB RAM, 120 GB, 3 TB/month and two IPs on a triple core processor.
$59.99 per month, usually $119.99.
You get 8 GB RAM, 240 GB, 4 TB/month, and two IPs on a quad core processor.
Solid UptimeBut Not The Best!
Anytime your Web site is down, you could be losing sales, customers, or both - ultimately, costing you business. Industry standard for uptime is 99.9 percent, with quite a few hosts guaranteeing that level of uptime, and exceeding those expectations.
Unfortunately, HostMonster isn’t one of them. They have regular uptimes that range from 99.78 percent (about 95 minutes of downtime a month) to 99.98 (about eight minutes of downtime each month).
The good thing about HostMonster is that they are closer to the 99.9 percentage than the lower percentages.
Fast page load times
Industry standard for page load times is between 800 and 900 milliseconds — still slightly slower than what some Web users have found to be the optimal time, but fast enough to be tolerable for the majority of users (800 milliseconds is four-fifths of a second).
HostMonster comes in at about 750 ms, on average, faster than the average speed. It’s been years since Google’s Matt Cutts, a software engineer, mentioned that site speed is a factor in search results ranking, primarily because it improves the experience of users.
HostMonster, coming in a little faster than many others, isn’t the fastest, but certainly provides a good experience for your Web site visitors.
HostMonster starts off on a rough note with a fairly long verification process. It can be a bit unwieldy and inconvenient, but once you get past, you’ll usually find decent customer service.
It might not be the most friendly or thorough, but they’ll answer your questions in a reasonable length of time. It’s nice that they offer more than one way to reach their reps (phone, live chat, and e-mail).
Other HostMonster customers haven’t had the same experience, though, so while I can’t say much for their consistency, I have had a good experience.
30 Days Money-Back Guarantee
30 days is an average period of time for a money-back guarantee with a Web hosting company, although there are many others that offer a longer stretch.
Also standard is the fact that money will only be refunded on money that is paid directly to HostMonster; any money given to third-party vendor won’t be refunded.
This includes money paid for SSL, SEO, backup, SiteLock, or any other add-ons.
A free domain name is great, and the $100 credit for Google AdWords is enough to get you started on PPC success.
While some hosting companies offer similar benefits, there are others that have done away with these extras, and I like that HostMonster still includes them.
Features and Applications
They include the standard features, like e-mail and FTP uploading, as well as a good array of security options. HostMonster connects you to Mojo Marketplace to quickly and easily install a variety of popular content management systems and other apps.
WordPress can be installed quickly, and the WordPress themes run well; you may run into some plugin challenges, though.
I think CloudFlare is great, and I love that so many different hosting companies, including HostMonster, are making it a standard part of their plans.
If you need a reverse proxy, this is the service you want. It protects your site from brute force attacks, DOS attacks, and brings a strong firewall for protection; the caching functionality of CloudFlare means your Web site will see faster speeds.
Free Weebly SiteBuilder
Right from HostMonster’s highly customized cPanel, you can activate a free subscription to Weebly SiteBuilder.
You won’t get the full version for free, and there are quite a few restrictions, but this awesome tool makes it very easy to build your Web site and tweak it to meet your needs and vision, even if you are completely new to Web site design.
They offer a limited version of SiteLock for just $1.99 per month!
Ah, it’s a paid service though, still a great feature!
While this isn’t the full version, for only $1.99 each month, you can add SiteLock to enhance your protection.
From daily vulnerability scans to firewalls and malware removal, knowing that you have a dedicated security addition to your site can bring you peace of mind.
Some Negative Sides Too:
No monthly payment option
Some customers prefer the comfort of knowing that their Web site will be hosted for many years by the same company. Others appreciate the extremely low prices that come with a long-term plan.
There are many, though, who would prefer a month-to-month contract, and won’t be able to find one at HostMonster.
Whether you want to “try-before-you-buy” for a few months prior to signing a lengthy contract or you just want that flexibility, HostMonster requires you to pay upfront for an extended period of time.
A customized version of cPanel
Because they use a highly customized version of cPanel, you will not be able to transfer your cPanel to another host.
HostMonster put a lot of thought into their cPanel control panel.
cPanel is industry standard, so at first glance, this looks like a excellent option. Their customization is very easy to use, with so many common needs right at your fingertips.
Managing your e-mail, databases, domains and files is easy with one click. Plus, many different hosts will transfer your cPanel site for free.
Unfortunately, HostMonster’s cPanel has been so customized that it’s unusable with other hosting companies, and you will most likely be excluded from their free site migrations.
Pros and Cons in a while:
- HostMonster gets you up and running, quickly. Sign-up is easy with only one page. Dedicated and VPS hosting include instant server provisioning — along with a free domain name.
- They have more than one security option that will keep your site safe and protected. They include and offer a wide variety of third-party protection options, like Spam Assassin, SSL support, SSH access, Hotlink Protection, and regular, frequent site backups.
- Should you exceed the limit on their unlimited plans, they have a clear upgrade path. HostMonster didn’t always include dedicated and VPS plans, so these two options make it easy to stay with the company as your Web site grows.
- This isn’t a con strictly confined to HostMonster, but the cheapest sites always require lengthy commitments — usually 24- to 36-month plans. If you want a shorter commitment, say 12 months, you can expect to pay quite a bit more. In addition, the lowest prices are only available for new customers; the price increases when you renew your account.
- I like the regular site backups — I don’t like that they add a charge for that service. While it’s only a couple dollars each month, it adds up, and stands out when there are many hosts who include site backups for no additional charge.
- I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it about HostMonster, too. Unlimited isn’t really unlimited. There are limits, and while many people won’t exceed them, it’s good to be aware of that fact. HostMonster monitors CPU usage, among other resources.