HostMetro Hosting Review: Affordable, Reliable Shared Hosting
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Some bloggers may need all the bells and whistles: the fully customizable virtual or dedicated machine, the cutting-edge drive technology, the absolute state of the art in-security systems and power redundancy.
But the vast majority of small business and personal bloggers have far simpler needs. They need reliable hosting with excellent uptime rates and straightforward tools to help them create, launch, grow, and manage their blogs.
HostMetro specializes in the latter type of hosting, and if you’re looking for an optimal mix of great value and simplified choices, it’s worth a closer look.
Founded in 2003, privately held HostMetro is a web hosting company that focuses its efforts tightly on a specific slice of the hosting market. The company’s products and services are targeted to the overwhelmed new or experienced blogger who needs reliable, simplified hosting for a personal or business blog at the lowest possible price point.
To that end, it only offers two potential hosting plans, both of which are built on the shared-server paradigm. There is no VPS or dedicated hosting available. HostMetro aims its services at the entry-level or new blogger without extensive technical knowledge who simply wants to put up a basic blog quickly and efficiently.
HostMetro is based in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Published corporate profiles state that the company employs around 35 employees and does about $7 million in revenue on an annual basis.
HostMetro really commits to its goal of simplifying hosting by offering exactly two plans, and only those two plans. Both are shared hosting plans; there are no virtual private server (VPS) or dedicated options offered.
Both of the available HostMetro plans offer unlimited FTP accounts and MySQL databases. You’ll also enjoy regular weekly backups and as many unlimited email accounts as you like. The top-level plan also includes free business privacy in domain registration as well as free SEO and search engine submission tools.
Both plans also come with free basic site migration services, subject to some limitations.
Bandwidth and Storage Space Limitations
HostMetro offers two slightly unusual terms in both of its plans, called “Maximum Bandwidth” and “Maximum Storage.” The two terms work similarly to govern the amount of each you’re entitled to use in your plan.
HostMetro asserts that 95% of customers will never exceed the initial quota set for bandwidth and for storage. However, if users find themselves using 90% or more of that quota, they can request an increase from the company. The request will be granted, with no extra charges assessed, if the user is compliant with HostMetro’s terms of service.
For bandwidth, the website suggests that noncompliance would include issues such as “illegal or malicious activity.”
For storage, the company limits upgrade requests to those using less than 15% or 2GB of the available storage for multimedia files, backup files, and email.
cPanel, Site-Builders, and Add-Ons
Like the majority of providers who focus on shared hosting plans, HostMetro does indeed offer cPanel with both of its plans. This should reassure nervous newcomers to blog creation and management since cPanel is so well documented, popular, and prevalent. Most users find its graphical interface, tools, and menus fairly self-explanatory and easy to master.
HostMetro sticks to its bread and butter — those two shared hosting plans — and that’s pretty much it. There’s no managed hosting plan available, and not a huge variety of add-on services to sweeten your experience or augment the value, unlike with many other providers in the shared-hosting market.
That said, you can register a domain when you sign up with HostMetro, and you can also grab an SSL certificate for your blog, which is definitely recommended.
HostMetro also offers Softaculous, the leading one-click installation script that’s popular with many hosting providers and customers alike. Through Softaculous, you can easily install a number of popular platforms, tools, and content management systems (CMS) on your server which can help you create your new blog.
For example, you can install WordPress, the world’s most popular CMS and blogging platform, with just a few clicks. The whole process takes less than a minute, saving you lots of time and possible frustration — especially if you’re new to working with WordPress. You can build your blog and start publishing content almost instantly.
Other app installations offered by Softaculous include phpBB, a PHP-based message board platform; b2evolution, a content and community platform; Joomla!, another popular PHP-based CMS; and even e-commerce tools, such as PrestaShop and CubeCart.
Like many of its competitors in the value-conscious shared hosting market, HostMetro tries to address most of the commonly encountered through published documentation in its knowledgebase. There, you’ll find written guides and tutorials for specific tasks in a number of categories, including domain management, SEO, email, and more.
Whether you’re completely new to blogging or have been blogging for years, you’ll likely find this documentation a helpful starting point.
If the published guides don’t help, you can initiate a request for support via online chat, email, or telephone. The company says these methods are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The HostMetro company blog has a number of articles, but it seems the company stopped publishing new content there in 2015. The company is slightly more active on its Facebook page and its Twitter feed, but the company’s YouTube channel only features four videos, none published any later than 2015.
Billing and Cancellation
HostMetro’s fees are based on a per-month structure. You can earn stepped-up discounts if you prepay and sign up for a two- or three-year contractual term for your chosen plan; those discounts are between ten and forty percent.
Customers can pay their invoices using PayPal or most major credit cards.
Finally, all new users enjoy a price lock guarantee; see the next section for more information about that.
HostMetro offers a full money-back guarantee for thirty days. At any point during your first thirty days with the company, if you’re not satisfied, it will refund the entire cost of hosting, no questions asked.
HostMetro also offers a somewhat unusual “Price Lock” guarantee. You are guaranteed the same renewal rate for as long as your hosting account stays active.
This is quite unusual in the value-priced shared-hosting market, where many providers have earned criticism for extremely low initial rates that are replaced by much higher rates after the initial term is over, causing sticker shock for renewing customers.
Who Should Choose Host Metro?
If you need customizable or dedicated space or the deployment freedom you’d find in more high-end hosting solutions, HostMetro probably is not the best fit for your needs.
Rather, the company aims its limited but fairly well-featured service plans at those of us who are not coders or experienced site developers — the people who run blogs for small businesses, side hustles and community groups who want to get a blog up quickly with as little fuss, muss, and cost as possible.
If your blogging plans are straightforward, if you’re confused by the lingo and options offered by larger and more expensive companies, or if you’re just tired of weighing and evaluating all those choices, HostMetro may be just what you’re looking for.
Image Source: Pixabay | Frabre