There are more Web hosting companies on the Internet than you can try, so when you hear about a company with a rock-solid page load time, an extremely high uptime guarantees, and a variety of benefits at even the lowest of the shared levels, you definitely pay attention.
I did, and in my time trying out the company, I found that WestHost is one company you’ll want to consider when looking for a host for your site.
Brief History of WestHost
For nearly 20 years, WestHost has been trying to encourage their customers to “believe in better hosting.” They were launched in 1998 in Providence, Utah, led by Chris Russell. Since, the company received quality reviews from their customers and saw consistent growth.
In 2008, UK2 purchased the company; in 2001, Lloyds Development Capital acquired UK2 Group.
The company has said their goal since the beginning has been to provide the most secure and powerful Web hosting environment at a reasonable price, and says that leveraging the power of a larger-scale hosting group allows them to give their customers an even better experience.
They continue to be hosted in Providence, where they participate in Webucation programs at Utah State University to enhance their community.
WestHost Plans and Pricing
WestHost offers a wide variety of hosting needs, from shared hosting to Cloud hosting, from dedicated servers to optimized WordPress hosting. Each plan includes free backups each night, as well as Web site migration.
You get 24/7 customer support, and a money-back guarantee. Their shared hosting plans are their most popular, and cover a wide variety of needs for customers of all levels of proficiency and Web site size needs.
Starting at $2.40 a month, the personal Web hosting services include 50GB disk space, 1000 GB of bandwidth and gives you 10 sub domains. You get free setup on one Web site, with free file and database transfers.
The personal plan includes one MySQL 5 database.
Customers can add up to 100 POP3/IMAP accounts, and allows you to send up to 100 e-mails per hour, as well giving you 100 e-mail forwarders or aliases.Personal hosting plans have instant activation, cPanel control panel, network-wide backups, and include Softaculous and SSH access.
WestHost notes that this plan is the basic package, and is ideal for small sites only.
The preferred plan starts at $4.80 per month, and is a great option for customers with more than one Web site or domain, or those who need more than one database and the ability to handle large amounts of traffic.
Customers get 200 GB of disk space, 2500 GB of bandwidth, and unlimited databases.
WestHost preferred plan includes free setup and a free domain. Your main domain gets unlimited e-mail accounts, unlimited e-mail forwarders, and unlimited mailing lists. Preferred customers are still limited to 100 e-mails per hour.
Business plans start at $7.20 per month, for a plan with unlimited resources, like disk space, databases, and bandwidth. Customers get unlimited e-mail a free dedicated IP, free domain, and free SSL certificate. As a result, this option is ideal for customers who are selling products or services through their online store or business. It’s also nice because it’s the only plan to include for free many features other lower plans include.
How Good Is The Uptime?
WestHost guarantees a 99.9 percent uptime for their shared hosting packages (their dedicated hosting plans, too). While they have had some spurts with consistency issues, they have lately been very good.
Actually, better than good, by beating their 99.9 percent guarantee with a nearly 100 percent uptime for a few months in a row. I’m glad to see that they are improving their uptime and performance.
Reliable and Affordable Web Hosting
While WestHost isn’t the fastest or most consistent with their uptimes, they are reliably good.
Not the best, but certainly a great company worth looking into for small business owners, new developers, and experienced developers who want a great value for their investment.
Great Customer Support
WestHost has ongoing live chat and ticket support, and both toll-free and international phone numbers to give customers 24/7 support, every day of the year.
They also offer an extensive, searchable database so that customers can find the information they need.
30 Days Money Back Guarantee
WestHost used to have a nice 60-day money-back guarantee; in recent years, they’ve lowered that, giving customers a 30-day money-back guarantee for shared hosting accounts.
Customers will get a full refund on services paid to the company, which is standard; SSL certificates and domain registration are excluded.The guarantee doesn’t apply to many other products, either, like Cloud hosting, reseller hosting, dedicated hosting, and custom services.
Includes an intuitive website builder
Website Builder v7 is a very easy-to-use site builder that WestHost has included for their customers.
The hosting company, true to their plan to provide quality support to their customers, has made it easy for inexperienced administrators to meet Google’s increasing push for responsive and mobile-optimized themes.They havemore than 100 drag-and-drop themes feature rich themes that work equally well on any kind of screen.
Free cPanel & Domain Name
As long as you stay with WestHost and a preferred or above shared hosting plan, you’ll get a free domain name for the entire time you keep your hosting with the Utah company.
Most hosting companies also include this feature in their plans, saving you between $10 and $15 each year, and it’s nice seeing that WestHost also provides this benefit.
WestHost gives their customers access to SSH, or Secure Shell Protocol, a nice feature that allows you to transfer files, run commands, or even browse the Web over an encrypted, remote terminal environment.
It’s secure, which is important - customers can communicate with the kernel, or the operating system core.
Best for Small Business Owners
WestHost has done a good job putting together plans and packages that pull popular, needed benefits.
Customers, especially those who are new to Web development and design, have access to a great deal of resources and tools that will give them a favorable experience.
They offer a good array of services at very reasonable prices.
Some Negative Sides, Too:
There are no perfect Web hosts out there, and WestHost is the same, with a few drawbacks to their service.
Unlimited email accounts on higher plans is only available on your main domainWhen you’re working as a reseller, or want to create multiple sites for smaller businesses, it’s important for you personally to meet your customers’ needs.They same should go for businesses providing your needs.
WestHost customers only get unlimited e-mail accounts on the higher plans — and only for your main domain, which means that if you are administrator for any of these smaller pages, you won’t be able to offer them unlimited email accounts for their own growing business.
A few customers have complained about the customer supportWestHost used to have an outstanding reputation for very high quality customer service. They met their customers’ expectations, quickly, and were able to resolve any situations.
Customers were thrilled with the responsiveness. Over the past few years, though, customers have complained that they have a hard time connecting with a qualified customer service rep.
They are placed on hold for extended periods of time, and I can understand the frustration - every second your Web site down is a second you’re not converting visitors into customers and followers into friends.
Pros and Cons in a while:
- Speedy page load speeds make it easier for their customers’ Web visitors to get online and on their Web page. It’s not the fastest, but beats the industry average
- As your plan size increases, so do the number of included freebies, including an SSL certificate, a dedicated IP, and a domain name at the business level of their shared plans.
- Friendly, knowledgeable customer service, even though some other customers have expressed a decrease in the quality of service over the years.
- Included nightly backups are fantastic, and I think it’s great that they include that feature.
- I like the free migration. Their experienced staff will help you move your site over and get up and running.
- To get the best possible price, customers need to sign up for three-year plans. WestHost does include different contract lengths, starting at three months, but the shorter the plan, the higher the monthly price.
- Like many other hosts, WestHost’s unlimited plan isn’t really unlimited, capping your databases and numbers of inodes. You could be asked to upgrade or reduce your files, and if you don’t, you might find your account terminated. I know this is true of many other hosts, and while I think that WestHost is presenting a very fair plan, I’m not a fan of the overall practice of giving unlimited shared hosting with limits listed in the terms and conditions.
Do I recommend? Yes!
WestHost provides customers with a good value, including many great services and features, for a low price.
They have some glitches, like many other companies, but nothing so egregious that would keep me from using them for my Web hosting needs.
Other Hosting We Reviewed: