2020 May 14th
“You get what you pay for”, right? If a product is cheap, then there’s no way it can also be good.
So when a hosting provider comes in and promises "lightning-fast performance, strong security, and helpful customer support" for just $0.99 a month, it only makes sense to be skeptical.
But guess what (spoiler alert!) - after I was done testing Hostinger in 4 worldwide server locations, and checked all of the promises, I was left very surprised.
If you're looking for a combination of good performance and great price - this Hostinger review might just help you see why this is the best provider you could choose.
Here's what I'll cover here:
- Hostinger's speed and reliability
- Hostinger pricing
- Plan limitations and no unlimited plans
- Hostinger security features
- Ease of use (it's brilliant!)
- Great customer support
Hostinger is fast and reliable - all around the world
Current response time: Unavailable
Last downtime: Unavailable
Hostinger has a 99.9% uptime guarantee, which is a standard in the whole hosting industry.
Now, that may sound pretty good - but it really isn't. If your host is up 99.9% of the time, it (logically) means that it's down 0.1% of the time. And that equals to over 43 minutes of downtime every month - or nearly 9 hours every year your host can be down without being held responsible.
In the counter below, you can see the stats for yourself - and see what uptime guarantee would you find acceptable instead. Try changing the "Expected Uptime" yourself to see the difference.
But that's only one part of the equation. Your hosting provider also needs to be fast.
A fast website means happier users, happier users mean more revenue. Google Test My Site feature shows that even for an average-sized online business, a modest 0.9-second improvement in load time means nearly an additional $10,000 a year!
Also, the faster your website is, the more likely it is to rank higher in search engines.
Who says that? Only Google, that's who.
2018's Speed Update to Google's algorithm meant that between two similar websites, the one with a faster loading time, tends to rank higher on users' searches.
Now - the speed of the website depends on many things, but there's one thing that depends entirely on the hosting provider, and that's response time. A server's response time is the amount of time it takes for a server to respond to a visitor's request (Hey, start loading a website!) and to start doing a task.
A solid response time of a server is usually seen as around half a second.
And this is where I found a lot of hosting providers slipping up - badly, with their response times often being a few times that.
Bluehost live response time:
HostGator live response time: Unavailable
A2 Hosting live response time: Unavailable
With that in mind, how does Hostinger do in real life? In both uptime and response time?
Well, luckily enough, long term reliability results are much better than the promises.
In order to test Hostinger properly, I create 4 test Hostinger websites and put them in 4 server locations across the world to see how would they do.
A+ performance in all locations, meaning you'll get high-speed servers all across the host's infrastructure. For this Hostinger review, I set up websites on all 4 available worldwide locations, which you can visit on the links below. But to make a long story short - this what I've gathered.
The server response time was always around 500ms - and it never went down once, making this both a fast and reliable location.
Given that the tests were carried out in North America and Europe, it's probably no surprise to see Singapore servers lack behind. But even then, response times were routinely under 1 second and not a single downtime was detected.
The Netherlands server is also super reliable, and very fast. The response times rarely exceed half a second.
Hostinger's home Lithuania server was the only one that had any sort of downtime - but it was very small, lasting only one minute. The upside of that is the fact Lithuania's server had blazing fast speeds, going close to 400ms.
You can compare the live response times yourself - but from what I've discovered, Hostinger is head and shoulders above a lot of the competition when it comes to response times. Goes without saying - in this part of the Hostinger review, the provider gets full marks.
Hostinger promises little - maybe even too little - but delivers handsomely. It is one of the fastest web hosting providers available and also has a solid reliability record. And while there's a small space for improvement, Hostinger definitely offers one of the best values in terms of performance.
Hostinger has 3 shared hosting plans starting at $0.99/month for the Single plan. For up to 100 websites it has the Premium plan for $2.89/mo. All the benefits and daily backups are available with the Business plan for $3.45/mo.
Long story short - these prices are super low. The ones you see right now are like this because of a special sale - and I don't think there's a major hosting provider with a better deal right now.
And I can make the deal even better. Enter HOSTINGREVIEW coupon code at the checkout to get a 10% off extra discount.
But of course, you can't let a low price fool you. There's a bigger question I had to ask:
What do you get for your money?
Surprisingly a lot, actually.
All plans, even the cheapest one, offer fast WordPress optimized servers, weekly backups, and top-level customer support. And as you go up the tiers, you get even more additional resources and features:
- The Single plan for $0.99/mo includes 10GB of disk space and 100GB of bandwidth, 1 email account, and hosting for 1 site.
- The Premium plan for $2.89/mo includes 20GB of disk space, unlimited bandwidth, hosting for up to 100 websites, and a domain name.
- The Business plan for $3.99/mo includes 30GB of disk space, unlimited bandwidth, domain name, SSL certificate, and daily backups with the restore function.
Also, Hostinger sells its own cheap domains starting at $0.99/year and includes one for free if you choose a Premium or a Business plan. The only genuine problem with the plans is that a free SSL certificate with installation (a must for many businesses!) is only included with the $3.99/month hosting plan.
You can compare all of the features offered with different plans in the table down below:
|Customer Support||24/7 live chat, email||24/7 live chat, email||24/7 live chat, email|
|Free Automated Backups||Weekly||Weekly||Daily|
Sounds good? There's only one catch with Hostinger pricing. To get the lowest price possible, I'd also need to sign up for the longest period available - 48 months.
However, when you really think about it, it's not that big of a problem.
Hostinger is probably the cheapest hosting provider offering premium features and excellent performance. The plans and pricing fits the needs of both individual and business users with multiple options to scale.
No unlimited plans! (But it's nothing to cry about)
A while ago, Hostinger had unlimited plans - unlimited-unmetered bandwidth, unlimited storage, etc.
And this feature did look great. Especially with the cheap pricing. "All the servers I could ever need? For a couple of dollars a month?!"
But a few months ago - poof - the unlimited plans were no more. Now you get 10-30 GB storage space and 100 GB to unlimited bandwidth depending on your plan. "Well that looks like a total scam" I first thought. 'Hostinger is basically scamming people away from resources!'
But then I put the entire thing into perspective:
With 10 GB of hosting you'd able to have from 5 to 10 big WordPress sites, complete with media libraries and multiple plugins. That's more than enough for most users and costs $0.99 a month. For $2.89 a month will get you 20 GB of space, which is twice as much. And should I want to go supersonic, there's always a $3.99 plan that includes 30 GB of space, enough for dozens of major projects.
But the unlimited plans are still gone. So what gives?
Well, a lot of Hostinger competitors, like Bluehost, are more than happy to offer things like "unlimited storage".
"You get unlimited storage! YOU get unlimited storage! YOU ALL get unlimited storage!"
But how unlimited those unlimited plans actually are? Often, they're just as big as Hostinger's right here.
"Unlimited" hosting companies add disclosures where they mention that their resources are only like this if you use the hosting "normally". It makes sense.
Just imagine this: if hosting plans were actually limitless, Jeff Bezos could just buy one hosting plan for $2.89 a month, and move the entire Amazon infrastructure to one host, completely bankrupting it.
In the alternate universe where hosting companies offer actually unlimited hosting plans, news headlines would look like this:
At press time, Mr. Bezos was quoted saying: "Yeah, I'll do it again, too. What are you going to do, stop me?"
So yes, all of the hosting providers have their limits. Hostinger just makes them very clear. And quite frankly, looking at what you get for money, there's not much to complain about.
Hostinger has removed the unlimited data from its plans and since then sticks to a stricter plan structure. While it may seem limiting, the provider shows you the clear guideliness of how much of the server resources you can have.
High-level security included free of charge
With the Business plan, Hostinger includes all essential and premium security features. That's an SSL certificate, Cloudflare CDN, DDoS protection, and daily backups.
In layman's terms, this is pretty much the most complete set of security features currently available in any shared hosting plan in the market. Reminder - it costs $3.99 a month, so that's a pretty good deal.
Here's what these features will do:
- SSL certificate will ensure visitors don't run away from your site screaming about the data that's not being encrypted. In fact, if you have an online store you'd struggle to make any transaction without an SSL. It's the key security feature ensuring your user sensitive information remains safe and private when traveling across different servers and the browser.
- At the same time, Cloudflare CDN will make sure to keep your uptime 100% or as close to it as possible. This way you can remain available for your visitors at all times. It also protects you from DDoS attacks by creating a network of worldwide servers and masking your IP.
- Daily backups serve as a, well, backup option. Even in the case of a critical failure: getting hacked, or your site crashing, you will be able to simply revert to the previous version of the website from the very recent past.
This means you can trust even the most mission-critical data to Hostinger without the fear of it getting lost or intercepted. This is essential not only for big business users but also for small website owners wanting to keep privacy.
And while these features are all included for free in the Business plan, you can purchase them separately.
For example, SSL will cost you $11.95 one-time fee (or you'll catch a deal and get it for free - as you can now!). For that, Hostinger will take care of SSL installation in under a minute. And if you've ever tried doing that yourself, you know how painful it can be.
Cloudflare, included in the Business plan, can also be bought separately. You would pay $9.95 for a lifetime subscription and Hostinger promises to take care of every back-end detail, including updates.
Daily backups will cost you an extra $0.95 a month.
And for all Hostinger accounts, two-factor authentication is included as standard, so you can be sure your own hosting account is safe as well.
Now - a cynic in me noticed me one thing. Cloudflare protection and a Let's Encrypt SSL are both free already. The resources are out there, and you can actually get both things just by dedicating a few hours to set everything up.
So what is Hostinger charging $12 and $10 for?
Seemingly, that's the price you have to pay for a lifetime of updates and complete ease of mind. The SSL certificate won't expire once every 90 days, Cloudflare will get all the crucial updates and work with all of your websites, and so on. You don't pay much - and you don't get much. Luckily, $22 is not a big price to pay for indefinite website security.
Hostinger doesn't offer groundbreaking security features. Instead, it takes the basic options and makes them incredibly simple to use. It's a decent way for less experienced users to have ease of mind and not have to worry about anything.
Hostinger is super easy to use
I found Hostinger one of the easiest hosts to use. The entire process is streamlined for a complete newbie, without scrapping the features necessary for more experienced users.
Once you sign up and confirm your email, all you'll need to do is follow the three-step process of setting up a website.
And if you already host a website elsewhere, Hostinger promises to transfer it for free. If not, you'll only need to order, set up a domain, and choose a way to build your website.
After the purchase, you'll also be able to use an intuitive and modern Hostinger's control panel. It's a custom-made control panel, that features all the settings needed to manage your account.
This means file manager, auto-installer scripts, database management, backup manager, and more.
The panel is simple, modern, and also very quick to use.
It's functional, too. You're getting over 100 software auto-installs, and includes most of the major applications, such as WordPress, Joomla, PrestaShop, and many others.
All of this sounds just a little bit too complicated? Looking just for a simple way to build a website? There's an option for that, too.
Aptly named "Website Builder", Hostinger's website builder is a strikingly simple, yet still, a very functional way to go online.
There are dozens of responsive templates to choose from, and while they won't win any design awards any time soon, they're going to be just fine for many websites.
One-stop-shop for all of your online needs
If you love your phone's app store and wish there was another one, you're in luck! Hostinger has its Power Store, full of hosting and not-hosting related stuff.
What is it about?
It's basically a small application store that goes beyond hosting. It still includes upgrades to its own plans and domain names. But in there, you can also purchase enterprise email solutions, such as Flockmail or Google's GSuite, SEO tools, or even a VPN service.
What does it mean for you (and why should you care)?
Well, Hostinger puts its best efforts into expanding this feature as much as possible. If all goes according to plan, I can only imagine the Power Store growing even more...powerful.
And with that, your hosting provider could end up offering some great features that would be very simple to purchase and use.
Overall, that's a win-win situation. We'll keep our eyes peeled on how this feature progresses through time.
Hostinger has plenty of tools and software to match even the most specific user needs. The installation process is very simple as well. Overall - using Hostinger was a complete breeze.
One of the most helpful support crews...ever?
Hostinger claims that it has an amazing 24/7 dedicated customer support team. The best way to reach it is through a live chat system - sadly, there's no phone support, which comes as standard in many other major hosting providers.
Is the live chat good enough to compensate for the lack of phone support? From my findings - yes, it is.
Why do I think so? There are a few points I'd like to go across.
Worldwide customer support
Live chat customer support is available in 20 languages in over 40 locales. Non-native English speakers will know just how big a deal this actually is. Having someone quite literally speaking your language when there's a problem can be a very refreshing experience.
And the support not only speaks the languages, but it also knows what it's talking about.
Zero-tier agent system
Many hosting providers use either a "department" system or a "tier" system.
The department system means that there are separate teams for, i.e. billing, sales, and technical issues. Often, they even have different working times and may even tell you to return later because "billing team works from 8 AM to 5 PM Eastern time".
The tier system means that some agents have "basic knowledge". They know how to install things, how to use the panel, all the regular stuff. If there's something more serious, however, a conversation has to go up to a higher-level support agent. And so on. And so on (until, presumably, you reach the CEO of the company or something).
Hostinger, however, uses something that can only be described as a "zero-tier agent system". This means that every agent can help you with any of the problems. So, you won't get thrown around departments or told to come back later. It's a small feature, but a feature I enjoyed nonetheless.
Low waiting times - with a catch
If you ever had problems with your website, you'll know that being told "please wait to be connected" is about as pretty as being attacked by a swarm of wasps. Luckily, Hostinger is pretty quick to connect - it only took me up to 5 minutes to connect to a customer support agent.
Sadly, this is also the part of this Hostinger review, where I can offer some criticism. And the issue is the lack of consistency.
"A few minutes" is telling me absolutely nothing, Hostinger
Sometimes, you get connected instantly, in just a few seconds. Sometimes - the process takes a few minutes. And in Hostinger's customer support panel, there's no way of knowing which one it will be. Mind you, both a few seconds and a few minutes are great results. But at least a ballpark estimation of the remaining time would be a very welcomed feature.
A gif is worth a thousand words
Human interaction is perhaps my favorite part of Hostinger's customer support. While many customer support teams resort to using the same robotic answers and links to dry (and complicated) knowledge bases, Hostinger does it a little bit differently.
Answers to your questions often include visual aids and on top of that, both you and your agent can communicate using emojis and gifs.
"Big deal" you may think. "Who wants to ask about a completely destroyed database and receive a gif from the Office?" And you'd be right.
But what this really achieves, is it makes you feel like you're talking to a real person (because you do). And in the end, it's just a bit more fun.
To sum up:
Hostinger support is doing a great job. They are pro-active, friendly, and effective. Not to mention fast. Best of all, you can reach the support 24/7 every single day.
To conclude this Hostinger review...
As far as our experience from this Hostinger review goes, the provider is great. The performance of the cheap host can compete with the industry giants. It's easy to use, the customer support is excellent, and transparency offered about the plan limitations is very much appreciated.
However, there still are a couple of drawbacks Hostinger might want to improve. Some users would enjoy just fewer resource limitations (just 100 GB bandwidth on the entry plan) and phone support.
And at least I personally would wish for the live chat software to be a little more user-friendly.
Hostinger is very cheap, powerful, and secure option to start and grow your website. It has an intuitive control panel, great customer support, and scalability options for the future.
So when choosing a host, be it a cheap one or not so much, we would strongly consider Hostinger.
- Cheapest web hosting
- Powerful and reliable servers
- Excellent customer support
- No phone support
- No unlimited plans