2019 October 2nd
When you are sick and tired of bad hosting providers, what do you do? You head over to Google and search for a 'Stable host'.
StableHost is a hosting provider aiming to provide its users with reliable and affordable hosting. It aims at both beginners and enterprises with its scalable plans.
So in this StableHost review, we'll test whether its actually stable, or is it just a big name. Let's get on with it!
What Is StableHost?
Launched in 2009, StableHost is a fairly new web hosting company offering affordable web hosting services. It provides shared, VPS, reseller, and dedicated server hosting as well as a SiteBuilder tool.
A fairly full-featured list of options! Of course not touching the levels of services offered by other providers like ResellerClub, but still, on the whole, this is a decently expansive list.
While the list is decent and all of these options are worth considering, the one we will be taking a detailed look at in our StableHost review is its shared web hosting services.
Before we get into that, however, there are a few standout features that caught my eye right out of the bat.
StableHost claims to provide all that is best for its customers. That includes several hosting features, like high-quality servers, unlimited bandwidth, and clustered hosting.
Let's take a look.
StableHost describes its hardware as high-quality.
All of its servers operate on an SSD (Solid State Drive) network with 96GB of RAM (Random Access Memory) and Dual-CPU's (Central Processing Unit).
This allows StableHost to, theoretically, offer superb speeds, uptime, and reliability.
Stable host offers unlimited bandwidth with all of its plans available on 200Gbps network.
And while a lot of hosts offer this feature, none of them can actually offer unlimited hosting. The same goes with Stable host.
You won't be charged for higher traffic levels, however, if you overload the servers, StableHost will offer you an option to scale up.
Clustered hosting allows higher availability, performance, and scalability.
By looking at the image above, it seems that this is going to make a really great difference to website uptime, by automatically re-allocating IO nodes, intelligently balancing server load, and automatically preventing node failover. We can only hope it lives up to the bill!
Stable Host Pricing
StableHost has 3 shared hosting plans with the price for the Starter plan beginning at $1.75/month. Pro plan starts at $3.75/month and the most expensive, Platinum plan will cost you $28.50/month. The advertised pricing for the Starter and Pro plans is only available for the first billing period.
Each plan provides you with unlimited bandwidth and disk space. You also get at least 1 full CPU core, 250,000 inodes, 25 databases, and DDoS protection. However, there are differences:
- Starter plan for $1.75/month gets you hosting for just 1 website.
- With the Pro plan for $3.75/month, you can host any number of websites.
- Platinum plan for $28.50/month includes a number of premium features - 500,000 inodes, 2 CPU cores, 50 MySQL databases, 99.99% uptime, spam filtering, and system repairs if hacked.
As for the pricing, the Starter and Pro plans are discounted only for the first 1-year billing period. After that, you'll be paying the regular price.
Take a look at the table, so you can see how much would it cost for different billing periods:
|Payment Period / Plan||Starter||Pro||Platinum|
The regular pricing of the Starter plan is $3.50/month, while the Pro plan regularly costs $7.50/month. And to get 50% off the regular price for the first year, you'll need to use the code 50OFFYEAR1.
Overall, pricing is confusing. StableHost does not even specify at what price the plans renew.
Once again these little tricks are revealed! Honestly, at this point, considering the number of reviews we have done, this shouldn't be surprising anymore. And well, it isn't, it's just disappointing.
Even the different billing period prices are different - not by a lot, but you save a bit by purchasing a lengthy plan. And everything has to be paid in advanced. Taking the Platinum plan into consideration, it's a lot of money. And you don't get that much more when compared to the Pro plan.
So which plan is the best for you?
In the table below, we listed all of the things you get with each of the plans:
|SSD Or HDD Used In Servers||SSD||SSD||SSD|
|SSL||Free '"Let's Encrypt" SSL||Free '"Let's Encrypt" SSL||Free '"Let's Encrypt" SSL|
|Anti-DDoS Protection||Yes - 2Gbit/s||Yes - 2Gbit/s||Yes - 2Gbit/s|
|Website Builder||Yes - SiteBuilder||Yes - SiteBuilder||Yes - SiteBuilder|
|Assisted Website Transfer||Included||Included||Included|
|Money Back Guarantee||30 Days||30 Days||30 Days|
|Customer Support||24/7 Chat/Phone/Ticket 24/7 (Only Technical Support)|
|Choice Of Server Location||Phoenix, Chicago, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Singapore|
|Free Automated Backups||Free In cPanel||Free In cPanel||Free In cPanel|
As you can see from the table above, the differences between the three plans are as follows:
- Starter - 1 domain only
- Platinum - 50 FTP accounts instead of 500
I'm kind of at a loss why StableHost would do this with the Platinum plan, possibly it's a typo on their fact sheet? Other than these two small differences though, almost everything else is identical.
Another thing that separates the Platinum plan from the rest is the inclusion of Anti-Malware software and VIP support.
So if you're looking for value, the Pro plan is the best option.
First Impressions During And After Purchase
Whilst deciding on which server to choose when signing up, I remembered the "Clustered Hosting" information from before. Noticing that only two servers, Phoenix and Stockholm offered this, I decided on using Stockholm servers.
The were no hidden fees during the purchase.
After dropping through the payment process, I landed in my hosting dashboard.
My first thought was: "Where have I seen this before?". And the answer? Here. It's not that strange to see two companies using the same dashboard, but what did strike me as odd is that there are a few similarities between StableHost and Tsohost. Mainly, they both brag about superior performance. So I'm very interested to see if StableHost follows the Tsohost path to oblivion or if the similarities end there.
Moving on from the dashboard, we head into the tried and trusted cPanel. I always love it when a host realizes that there is pretty much no way they are going to make a better panel than what cPanel offers. So props to StableHost here!
We are provided with a standard ‘paper_lantern’ cPanel theme to begin with, but there are customization options in the cPanel settings section.
As it turns out, StableHost has done a really thorough job here. I won’t show all the options in pictures, otherwise, this review will turn into a picture book. I will, however, point out some of my personal favorites and highlights.
- Softaculous App Installer (Over 400 installations available, from WordPress to SEO improvements)
- IP Blocker (Does what it says on the tin)
- File Manager (Again, self-explanatory. Really useful for adding images and files to your site’s backend)
- Open Ticket (Here, you can open and submit support tickets right from cPanel, no need to go back to the dashboard!)
cPanel makes things really quite simple and I truly believe that unless you have absolute confidence that your own solution is better, then every hosting provider should be using it.
In this section of StableHost review, we'll be testing its performance:
- Host’s speed hosting a small website
- Server’s overall uptime and performance
For this, we set purchased clustered shared hosting with StableHost and set up different websites.
StableHost Speed During Low Upkeep
For this part of the performance evaluation, I used the code editor to create a really simple HTML site. It has fewer than 30 lines of code, in total. So no host should actually have any problems loading such sites.
And StableHost did fine. It was stable. Though our tool rated the servers with B mark, we would say that the result is great. US and Europe don't climb over 200ms mark, which is great. Others also are below the industry average of 553ms.
All in all, that's the result, which, most of the times, is as good as it gets for the cheap hosting!
StableHost Overall Uptime and Performance
StableHost promises 99.9% uptime with its Starter and Pro plans. During our testing, it has kept 100% uptime. Which is a great result showing that StableHost does not experience any micro-downtimes.
The speed was okay, but nothing particularly special. It averaged at 438ms - a bit below than the industry average. What is interesting is that the speed, whilst not being particularly impressive, is incredibly stable.
So, clustered hosting, has it worked? Well, possibly! It certainly has given us a fantastic amount of reliability and uptime but hasn't made much difference, it seems, when it comes to server speed.
StableHost Customer Support
StableHost has 24/7 ticket, live chat, and phone support. Also, you'll find a knowledge base available, in case you're not up for a chat with a support agent.
But what's more important, is how all of these perform.
So for this part of StableHost review, we made a few phone calls, wrote a few letters, and searched through the knowledge base to evaluate:
- Phone Support
- Ticketing System
So how did it went? Check the details!
Traditionally, ticketing has been the way to go. That has kind of faded away slightly since the introduction of powerful and fast live chat systems. However, for anything detailed or technical, tickets are still preferred by technicians and users, alike.
However, StableHost has just recently introduced the live chat system. So before we could test it, we were heading over to the ticket support section. So how did it perform?
The short answer is: Good and bad.
Let me elaborate. StableHost offers 24/7/365 ticketing support only for technical issues. So, if like me, when you sign up for an account and have a hold placed on it awaiting further verification, you have to pray that the billing team is currently working!
Well, they work 9AM-5PM MST, which threw me for the loop a little, since my purchase was made at 6PM MST. I sat and hoped something would change but sadly not, I didn't get a response and activation until 9 AM the next day.
On the flip-side, when I genuinely encountered an odd issue, the ticketing response was good and very fast. I was browsing the cPanel options after setting up my account and it seemed to be missing the SiteBuilder that StableHost talks about on their page.
I checked the dashboard, nothing. I used CTRL+F and looked for "sitebuilder" in case I was being oblivious, nothing. So, I went ahead and sent off a ticket to support. Here is that thread:
Odd, right? Although what we are looking at right now is ticketing support, and StableHost did a decent job with it. The response was pretty speedy, but the first response seemed to not quite understand what I meant by SiteBuilder, even though it's on their own homepage!
This one is a bit harder to show off in a StableHost review. They offer two phone numbers to call, both based in the US. So I went ahead and called!
After waiting for a couple of minutes I was connected to an agent. I asked a few probing questions about what was included in the shared hosting packages (‘Do you use SSD or HDD in your servers?’) and generally tried to be not very polite. It’s not nice to do that, but it is a good test of how the support holds up.
And well, they held up well! Professional and polite throughout, as well as informative.
The knowledgebase itself is not particularly extensive. The information it does contain is valuable and accurate, though. Sadly, it's not very pretty or easy to find what you are looking for.
Anti-Theft Security Evaluation
For the final test of the StableHost review, I will be attempting to steal my own hosting account without anyone noticing. In doing this, I will find out how seriously StableHost takes security.
Firstly, I tried to brute-force my way into my account by entering an incorrect password as many times as possible and as quickly as possible. A really secure system would notice that this is probably a bot trying to access an account and would throw out some extra verification steps. And StableHost?
Well, after 30 incorrect attempts, I logged in with the correct credentials and that was it. Easy as that. Not ideal by any stretch, considering there are many simple options for extra verification available.
Next up, I attempted to lure some information out of the live chat support. I told them the usual excuse ('Oh I'm so sorry, I lost access to my email inbox so I can't receive a password reset!') and hoped they would slip up.
They didn't. I was required to show proof of purchase as well as an ID verification.
StableHost - the Verdict
In summary of this Stablehost review, I can definitely say that StableHost is a good hosting provider. Especially for the beginners. It's also very impressive StableHost offers the choice of 5 server locations across the globe!
However, you'll likely encounter some problems - no pre-sale live chat support and very average response times.
Pricing is also confusing.
Although the prices of the entry level plans are good, the Platinum plan feels horrendously overpriced for what it actually offers.
What do you think? If you've used StableHost in the past or are a paying customer right now, let us know your thoughts!
- 100% Uptime
- Stable Performance
- Good Ticket Support
- Confusing Pricing Structure
- Platinum Plan Is Overpriced