Who is HostMonster?
Founded all the way back in 1996, HostMonster truly is one of web hosting's most longevous players. Has that longevity translated into a comprehensively awesome hosting package?
There's only one way to find. Let's go and review HostMonster.
Everything Looks So Confusing!
Let's start by simply visiting its website.
Ever misspelled a URL and ended up on some dodgy-looking website full of text-based ads? That's pretty much what the HostMonster website looks like. It genuinely does; it's incredibly basic and rather outdated.
It certainly doesn't signal to me that it's a web hosting service I can trust.
My issues with the HostMonster website didn't stop there either, as I then found myself working through a maze to find the available hosting plans. I got there in the end, but this website is far from intuitive.
It initially took me a good while to realize HostMonster offers more than just shared hosting, as the only mention of other services (VPS and Dedicated Servers) are in the footer of the site.
When you click the links, they take you to a genuine page on the HostMonster site in which these services are offered. So, it's just plain weird if you ask me.
But I'm not going to judge a book by its cover. I'm going to test its services and give HostMonster a run for its money.
HostMonster Pricing & Plans
Let's have a look at a quick overview of the plans:
- Basic - $4.95 per month, 1 website, 50GB disk space, 5 email accounts
- Plus - $6.95 per month, 10 websites, 150GB disk space, 100 email accounts
- Prime - $6.95 per month, unlimited websites, unmetered disk space, unlimited email accounts
Aha! There it is. That lowly priced $4.95 per month is only valid when buying a plan for 36 months. And yes, you must pay that $178.20 sum up-front. Not so cheap anymore. Below, I'll show you exactly how much you'll be paying for each package.
|Payment Period / Plan||Basic||Plus||Prime|
As of the time of writing*, the Plus and Prime plans cost exactly the same. Whatever the reason, if you choose to go for HostMonster hosting now, then Prime is a no-brainer unless you are on a very tight budget.
Plans In More Detail
Now it's time to look at the plans in more depth. This will enable us to really find out what separates the three, and how they stack up against the competition. It's also a good chance to test the customer support in this HostMonster Review, as not all of the things I want to know are listed on their site. So, let's take a look!
|How many domains allowed?||1||10||Unlimited|
|HDD or SSD used in servers?||SSD||SSD||SSD|
|Assisted website transfer||Included||Included||Included|
|Money-back guarantee||30 days||30 days||30 days|
|Customer support||Live chat||Live chat||Live chat|
|Choice of server location||No - USA only||No - USA only||No - USA only|
|Free automated back-ups||No||No||No|
Since HostMonster have been around for such a long time, we should expect the pros list to be pretty extensive, right? Well, you would think so and so would I, but often the reality is that often these long-standing companies tend to rest on their laurels, with perhaps the exception of 1&1.
Customer support can make or break any company, hosting providers included. HostMonster does pretty well here, despite limited options. Here are the support options:
- Live Chat
- Online help centre
Sadly, despite searching their site, I couldn't find a number to call, and the only option on that Contact Us page was a live chat. Luckily, the live chat is knowledgeable and friendly! It's a big part of the HostMonster review, customer service, so it's a bit of a shame that it isn't as fully-fledged as it could be.
Security Options Are Great
HostMonster provides a plethora of ways to keep your site secure. From SSL support to Hotlink Protection, your site should be safe with HostMonster. They offer both Anti-Malware and Anti-DDoS protection at the server level, too. Back-ups are available, but for a fee of $1.99 per month.
Using SSD (Solid State Drives) in your web hosting servers is almost always a simple way to ensure better performance. Usually, SSDs are far more reliable and quick to respond when compared to their Hard Disk counterparts. Sure, they are more costly for the host, but if they ensure better performance and less chance of downtimes, it's absolutely worth it. It's really nice to see HostMonster using SSDs, as it shows that despite their age, they are still thinking and looking forward, not back.
So far there hasn't been that much good to talk about in this HostMonster review. And unfortunately for them, it's only going to get a little worse.
Pricing Is Less Than Desirable
The shortest term of contract available with HostMonster, on all three plans, is 12 months. Then you have the option for 24 months and finally 36 months. Contrast this with other hosts that offer 1, 3 & 6-month plans, and you can see that with HostMonster you really get tied into their services. The long contract lengths would be easily digestible if the prices themselves were solid. Sadly, they aren't that great either. $4.95 per month is quite a lot when compared to someone like Hostinger, who offer unlimited everything for just $3.49 per month.
You Have To Pay For Backups
Despite many hosting companies offering free automated backups, sometimes even nightly, with HostMonster you can only back up once per month, and they will charge you $1.99 each time you do it. This is pretty dated, and HostMonster is showing its age here!
Performance Is Weak
In our tests, the average response time for a page hosted with HostMonster was around 1000ms. That's nothing terrible, but compared to some other hosts that charge less, it's not good enough. Uptime was also iffy, to say the least. Hovering around a flat 99% sounds good, but when you check that with an uptime calculator you will see that this translates to up to 7 hours of downtime per month!
Lack Of Options
For every good thing HostMonster offers, there are two more bad things. Offering three plans is pretty standard, but the lack of features in each plan leaves me feeling pretty underwhelmed. It's a shame, as there are definitely options here for more. Why not include Softaculous auto-installer for more scripts? Simple solutions that haven't been thought of, it seems.
HostMonster Review - Is HostMonster right for you?
In a word: no. There are things HostMonster does really well, like customer support and security options.
However, the bad outweighs the good. Performance isn't great and paying for backups feels like something from the early 2000's, not 2018.
The site is amateur and confusing, while its value offering is way behind that of its competitors. Despite its age and adequate speeds, I strongly advise against paying for HostMonster. It's just remarkably overpriced.
Overall, there are many other good hosts out there offering more for less money, so check them out and decide on your favorite!
So that brings us to the end of our HostMonster review. We hope you enjoyed it, check out our other reviews!
- Good Support
- Nice Security Options
- Expensive Plans
- Backups Cost Money