If you were to ask an average online user which OS to host on, 9 out of 10 would tell you to go with Linux. But there's still that 1 left - and those people need to find the best Windows hosting option there is.
Winhost wants to be a provider for them. In this Winhost review, I focus on checking whether switching from the usual Linux-based environment to a Windows one can benefit your online ventures - and is it the best Windows hosting option around?
Who is Winhost for?
The company is a small hosting provider headquartered in Sierra Madre, California. Unlike many of their bigger competitors, they own and manage all of their hardware in a local data center - it's a homegrown hosting company, if you will.
Naturally, they are happy to serve customers from all around the US and most definitely won't have issues taking money from anyone else either. Despite their focus on Windows, they tailored their offer both for those who need a reliable ASP.NET hosting, as well as beginners who just want to host their first WordPress website.
Services Offered by Winhost
Their primary offer consists of three different hosting packages that differ in price and specifications. All of their servers using stable Microsoft hosting environment software – Windows 2012 and 2016, IIS 10.X and IIS 8.x, SQL 2016, 2014 and 2012, ASP.NET 4.7 and ASP.NET Core.
On top of the core three tiers (Basic, Max, and Ultimate), they also have an extra one – Managed WordPress hosting. But, because I think that the core plans are more than enough (and they include WordPress too), in this Winhost review I’ll be focusing exclusively on them.
Winhost Standard Hosting Pricing & Plans
At first glance, the company has a very simple pricing structure – $3.95 per month for the Basic plan with 3GB disk space and 50GB bandwidth all the way to $15.95 for the Ultimate plan. But, as it usually happens, there is a pricing difference between various contract lengths.
You can sign up for each plan choosing one of three different contracts – a quarterly one, annual, and biennial. Naturally, the longer your contract, the more you save, with the maximum savings of $144 between a 3-month and 2-year plan (if the former is kept active for two years, i.e. eight billing periods).
|Package||3-Mo. Plan (Total after 2 years)||1-Year Plan (Total after 2 years)||1-Year Plan Savings||2-Year Plan (Total after 2 years)||2-Year Savings vs 3-Month||2-Year Savings vs 1-Year|
The good news is, they aren’t trying to hide this pricing scheme. The information about the different monthly price for each of the plans depending on the contract length is easy to find and publicly shown on the website.
Winhost – Windows Hosting Plans in More Detail
How does each of the plans compare to its counterparts? While the Max and Ultimate plans look very decent, the Basic plan is a lot more limited. With just one MySQL database, there is not much room for testing. Moreover, because of that, it’s impossible to host more than one WordPress site should you choose it.
|Disk Space||3 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|No. of MySQL Databases||1||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|MySQL Disk Space||500 MB||2 GB||5 GB|
|Anti-malware protection||Site Lock – from $19.95 or 1st year free with Ultimate Plan|
|Website builder||Yes (as one of the available apps)|
|Website templates||Yes (in one of the available apps)|
|Free Website Migration||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|cPanel||Control Panel included but not cPanel (which is available only on Linux)|
|Money-back guarantee||30 days||30 days||30 days|
|Customer support||Ticket System|
|Server location||California, USA||California, USA||California, USA|
|Free automated back-ups||No||No||No|
Another significant drawback is the lack of free automated backups. Considering how fast things change and how much testing and editing websites require, having a backup is a must if you want to stay on the safe side.
Naturally, you can buy that feeling of security – starting at $35.40 for 10 GB of backup storage:
|10 GB Storage||$2.95||$35.40|
|30 GB Storage||$6.95||$83.40|
|60 GB Storage||$12.95||$155.40|
Winhost - Performance
To my surprise, Winhost performed exceptionally well and the testing tool I used graded its performance A+. Sometimes servers that are five or more times more expensive than this Windows hosting offer are left way behind it in speed tests.
However, the Winhost team covers themselves up when it comes to uptimes. There's only a 99.9%, uptime guarantee, which means that statistically speaking, your server shouldn’t go down for more than one minute and 30 seconds every day. At least according to our uptime calculator.
Winhost isn't magically brilliant, nor it has any obvious problems. Despite being a Windows host, the server looks not much different than its Linux competitors. What are its strong sides?
Intuitive Control Panel
While it’s no cPanel (which is available exclusively on Linux and, even then, not all hosting companies offer it), Winhost control panel is easy-to-use and intuitive enough even beginners will find everything they need inside it. And, unlike some other control panels, you don’t have to pay a dime extra for it.
Money Back Guarantee
A 30-days long guarantee, while far from beating industry standards, gives you enough room to change your mind and decide you don’t want to use their offer. It is also plenty of time to learn the ins and outs of the platform and even start a new project from scratch.
Let’s be honest – it’s a cheap web host. Its goal is to be affordable. This means that I did not expect it to score as high as it did in my performance test. But, it turns out that having just one local data center and actually taking care of it may pay off. A big plus for Winhost.
Straightforward Pricing Comparison
While Winhost varies its pricing between different contract lengths (which is one of my least favorite practices), they don’t hide this fact and even allow you to compare the monthly price before you make a purchase. Way to go!
There weren’t that many benefits that could make or break the decision about signing up. There are also not that many disadvantages. Sadly, some of them could be deal breakers for potential customers.
Just One Server Location
Maybe I’m spoiled by all the cheap web hosting companies that have their data centers located all around the world. But, in today’s highly competitive hosting world offering just one location is not enough.
There are some basic features that I never like to see being offered as an upsell. One of them is paid backups. I believe that such services should be treated as core parts of every hosting offer. Especially that in this case, they are not that cheap either – $2.95 per month is more than two-thirds of the price of their cheapest hosting package.
No Real-Time Support
No matter if it’s your first or tenth website – being able to talk to someone when you come across technical problems is a must. Whether it’s a phone or chat, nothing beats real-time contact. Unfortunately, Winhost offers ticket systems only.
Winhost Review Summary
Despite the few disadvantages, I think people at Winhost did a good job and deserve giving their product a try. I like that, despite having just one location they are doing everything to provide their users with excellent performance. If you’d like to give this Windows hosting a test, take advantage of their 30-day money back guarantee and sign up now.
- Straightforward pricing
- Great performance
- Intuitive control panel
- One server location
- Paid backups
- Poor support