HostMonster Full Review: The Darkhorse of Hosting
HostMonster is a strong competitor in the hosting world that is often overshadowed by its older brother BlueHost. HostMonster provides hosting plans that include shared hosting, VPN hosting, and dedicated server hosting.
The company has servers spread over large areas in the world and provides amazing features that many may find very similar to BlueHost which isn't a surprise considering they both were created by Matt Heaton three years apart, and both are owned by Endurance International Group.
Are you thinking of a host for your online store? Something affordable, probably? As mentioned, HostMonster and BlueHost are two faces to the same coins with a few differences.
The plans are very similar to each other in almost all specs. However, the prices sometimes differ according to times of the year. In addition to a few differences in their products mainly relating to reseller hosting and WordPress, as WordPress officially recommends BlueHost, despite the similar features between BlueHost and MonsterHost.
HostMonster's Hosting Plans and Pricing
HostMonster offers different types of hosting depending on the plan you need. These include:
- Shared hosting: For small-medium businesses looking for more room to grow. We'll get into all the details below.
- VPS hosting: If you're a small or medium business looking for better options, VPS hosting is what you need. Price range between $19.99-$59.99/month.
- Dedicated hosting: If you want your own dedicated server, you can do so for $79.99/month with HostMonster.
Each hosting type can provide users with more advanced features than the previous, choosing which mainly depends on how much traffic your website receives. Hosting plans provided by HostMonster than their features include:
1. Shared hosting
If you’re a startup or you're starting a new project, a shared hosting plan is what you need. You’ll be sharing a server with others, but you’ll own hosting space for a lower price.
Unlike other websites, HostMonster offers an annual shared hosting plan varying from 1-3 years. HostMonster’s shared hosting prices decrease as you subscribe for a longer time. If you want to sign up for website hosting for 36 months, prices range between $8.99 and $26.99.
There are four different shared hosting plans on HostMonster:
|Plans||Basic||Plus||Choice Plus (Recommended)||Pro|
|Number of Websites||One||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Emails||5 email accounts||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Max. files amount||200,000||200,000||200,000||300,000|
Number of Allowed Databases
|Max. DB Size||5 GB||5 GB||5 GB||5 GB|
|Starting Price (36 Month Plan)||$4.95/month||$6.95/month||$6.95/month||$14.95/month|
|Renewal Price (36 Month Plan)||$11.99/month||$14.99/month||$17.99/month||$29.99/month|
If you are just starting your website, you can choose any plan and later on upgrade to another one.
2. VPS hosting
In VPS hosting, users get a separate virtual space that isn't shared with anyone else while the physical space remains shared. Using VPS hosting provides users with better features which can be essential for large websites with a lot of traffic.
There are four different VPS hosting plans on HostMonster:
|CPU Cores||Dual Core||Dual Core||Triple Core||Quad Core|
|RAM||2 GB RAM||4 GB RAM||6 GB RAM||8 GB RAM|
|Storage||30 GB SSD||60 GB SSD||90 GB SSD||120 GB SSD|
|Bandwidth||1 TB/Month||2 TB/Month||2 TB/Month||3 TB/Month|
|Free Domain Name||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year|
|Operating system||CentOS 6.5 (64-bit)||CentOS 6.5 (64-bit)||CentOS 6.5 (64-bit)||CentOS 6.5 (64-bit)|
3. Dedicated hosting
Dedicated hosting is for heavy-duty websites which require a lot of resources and receive millions of visitors monthly.
Dedicated hosting means your website is separated from other websites physically and virtually, which means you will share neither resources nor space. Its main advantage is the high customizability it provides.
There are three different shared hosting plans on HostMonster:
|Cores||4 cores, 8 threads Intel® Xeon Processor||4 cores, 8 threads Intel® Xeon Processor||4 cores, 8 threads Intel® Xeon Processor|
|Cache memory||3 MB Cache||8 MB Cache||8 MB Cache|
|RAM||4 GB RAM||8 GB RAM||16 GB RAM|
|Storage||500 GB (RAID 1)||1000 GB (RAID 1)||1000 GB (RAID 1)|
|Bandwidth||5 TB/Month||10 TB/Month||15 TB/Month|
|Free Domain Name||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year|
|IP Adress||3 IPs||4 IPs||5 IPs|
|Operating system||CentOS 6.5 (64-bit)||CentOS 6.5 (64-bit)||CentOS 6.5 (64-bit)|
Tips to consider and keep in mind
Shared hosting doesn't have month-to-month plans. However, that might not be a bad thing.
Renewal prices are higher; that’s why it’s better to prepay two or three years upfront; the average monthly price decreases, but you’ll be paying in advance. You’ll also get a free domain for the first year and be charged afterward $17.99.
You don't have to start big; start with shared hosting, and you can always upgrade later on when your website needs the upgrade.
If you are using VPS hosting, keep in mind the upcoming events such as black Friday a month ahead of time so you can upgrade your plan in advance for a month, then go back to the original plan.
All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. However, the money-back guarantee doesn't include the 1-year free domain (i.e., the cost of the domain will be deducted from the refund).
Whether you’re looking to pay using your credit card, PayPal, or check and money, HostMonster gives you an option. Credit cards include Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express; they’re all accepted.
All you have to do is fill in your card number, cvv2 code, and expiry date code. On the other hand, PayPal can be used online, but it should be your default payment method for future auto-renewals.
If you don’t want to pay for your plan using a credit card or PayPal, there’s a Check or Money payment option. However, such an offer doesn’t come without conditions:
- Orders must be in U.S. dollars.
- Accepted for hosting terms of 12 months or longer.
Ease of Use
If this is your first website, you’re probably looking for something easy to use. HostMonster is an adaptable hosting service; using the Weebly drag-and-drop website builder is an extra for users with no experience developing websites.
The tools available make it easier for a beginner to build a website. Likewise, the free domain and the SSL certificates for the first year helps in maintaining the website.
HostMonster offers great customer service support to help you with any problem you face if you feel a bit confused or lost.
If you don’t feel like contacting anyone, you can access HostMonster's blog, which has many articles, step-by-step guidelines, and video tutorials to help you with issues you might come across.
When you can’t find a solution, you can resort to another way to contact an agent that will support you through live chat, email, or even phone support. They even encourage customers to contact them on social media.
HostMonster lacks a ticket-based support system, which is essential for issues that cannot be solved over live chat or phone.
When running a website, you have to think about things from the users' perspective rather than the owners only. HostMonster provides users with several useful tools they can utilize, which ultimately provide a better user experience, which will ultimately translate either directly or indirectly into traffic.
Features HostMonster offers to ensure your website is safe and secure include:
An SSL certificate provides TLS protocol encryption to your website. Adding this encryption helps make your website more secure. It is often shown in the form of a small lock next to the URL of your website on web browsers.
Users often consider this feature when entering websites by search engines when ranking websites, and it is essential for e-commerce and online transactions.
HostMonster provides users with a free SSL certificate on all of its plans.
With email services, you get SpamAssassin protection that identifies spam mails. As a safety precaution, HostMonster offers it for free with their plans.
To avoid hotlinking from other websites, HostMonster has a Hotlink Protection security feature. There's no need to worry about anyone linking to your files and pictures.
This is useful when you're trying to build a backlink profile, and a competitor is trying to use a negative SEO attack on your website by lowering your backlink profile score, using bad backlinks.
You don't have to worry about losing your data; there are daily automatic site backups with HostMonster that help in preventing major website disruptions.
When using HostMonster, users are granted access to free CDN after HostMonster partnered with Cloudflare recently.
Content delivery network (CDN) helps facilitate data delivery and ensures your data reaches over safe and fast. It is especially important for users far away from the available server locations.
All of these features make it one of the safest web hosting services. However, it is recommended for e-commerce sites to invest in extra security like the SSL premium certificate, which is only for $49.99/year.
This is important for sites selling online as users might be adding personal information (credit card details); therefore, it’s essential to keep their data secure and encrypted.
Load Times, Reliability, and Features
Uptime & Speed
HostMonster has an uptime of 99.98% despite hosting many websites, with a total downtime of only one hour a year, making it one of the fastest services. This translates into a higher SEO ranking with less effort.
HostMonster plans come with a lot of beneficial features that will blow your mind. You get unlimited emails, unlimited SSD storage, and unlimited bandwidth, depending on the plan you choose.
If you want to migrate your website, HostMonster does that free of charge. They even offer assistance if needed while migrating all your files.
For Advanced Users
HostMonster offers several customization tools for developers. In addition, free website scripts provided by the platform include social networking, Drupal, and Joomla.
Other features for advanced users include:
- Different programming languages:
- Ruby on Rails
Not to mention the MySQL database and FTP accounts & access. Not to mention the Secure Shell (SSH) Access for developers to safely shared data.
There are plenty of E-Commerce tools that can be bought on HostMonster to enhance your marketing.
One of the marketing tools you might need can be DaDa Mail, which costs $34.95/year and lets you send emails to your subscriber list. If you’re an online store, you might also need an application to accept payments.
HostMonster Website Building
You can use plenty of website builders to organize your websites on HostMonster, such as WordPress or Weebly. Using the drag-and-drop function can let you build a page with whatever content you might need.
The free Weebly version allows you to add custom HTML and build up to six pages, but you can upgrade for the professional building for $8.99/month, which offers more services.
Custom Error Pages
To make your website look more professional, you can customize error pages. HostMonster has a step-by-step guide that tells you how to customize it from the cPanel in their knowledge base.
The best part about using HostMonster is there are a number of data centers worldwide, whether you're looking in North America, Europe, or the Far East, for everyone to use.
The downside of working with HostMonster is their constant upsell pitches, especially during the sign-up process. Luckily, you can easily uncheck any add-on if you don’t need it.
Especially if you choose the basic plan, which comes with some heavy restrictions, you’ll have to buy anything extra, like more security, or have multiple websites you’ll have to go for at least the next pricing tier, which is twice as expensive.
Unfortunately, these restrictions are standard on the cheapest plans of any web hosting site used.
Is HostMonster a good service for me? HostMonster definitely provides top-notch services.
HostMonster might be the best choice amongst all available hosting providers depending on the time of the year and the available offers. After all, you can try it for the first 30-days and get your money back if you didn’t like it.
Like any hosting provider, it has its pros and cons, so if you’re looking for unlimited bandwidth with high speed and a drag-and-drop builder, Go for it! After all, the money value is seen in the features offered in every package!
What are you waiting for? You have 30 days of money-back guarantee trial to decide, go for it!