Editor's Note: Updated November 2018 You've probably heard of Bluehost -- if there's anybody that can…
HostMonster Review: So Good, It’s Scary!
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Bloggers in recent years have been blessed with numerous web design apps and integrations.
Think about it.
It wasn’t too long ago when the average blogger had to install WordPress manually, using an FTP. That approach is problematic for the least tech-savvy among us. Sometimes, it required hiring someone to get the job done.
The same went for e-commerce. Magento and PrestaShop weren’t easily installed on a hosting account back then.
Now, hosts like HostMonster help you get up and running within minutes.
It’s all because of the wonderful world of apps. And thankfully, HostMonster has embraced app integrations with gusto.
- HostMonster: A Brief History
- Hosting Your Blog with Hostmonster
- Uptime and Speed: HostMonster Test Results
- Hosting Your WordPress Site with HostMonster
- What’s HostMonster Support Like?
- Tons of Apps & Integrations to Grow Your Business
- A few Downsides
- HostMonster FAQ
- Will HostMonster be a Good fit for my Blog?
HostMonster: A Brief History
HostMonster has been selling hosting since 1996. It’s maintained a focus on helping beginners, small businesses, and individuals who need to get a site online without a lot of technical knowledge.
Therefore, HostMonster has placed resources into building its customer service team and equipment.
HostMonster is owned by the Endurance International Group, the same company that owns major hosting companies like Bluehost, HostGator and iPage.
Hosting Your Blog with Hostmonster
The actual hosting from HostMonster is pretty standard, but the infrastructure is built to allow beginners to launch professional-looking websites.
There’s no managed WordPress hosting, but the WordPress one-click installation button is enough for most bloggers and small businesses.
There are even apps for things like Cube Cart and Drupal. It doesn’t matter which platform you use since it’s all provided through HostMonster.
Combine that with excellent customer support and HostMonster is a viable hosting partner for smaller sites. This especially applies to those who consider themselves beginners.
With all this in mind, keep reading our HostMonster hosting review to learn more about its pros and cons, and who would benefit the most from its services.
Shared Hosting Packages
The standard website hosting from HostMonster is shared hosting. This type of hosting is usually inexpensive. As mentioned before, HostMonster isn’t a low-cost leader, but the shared plans are still fairly cheap.
With the standard shared hosting from HostMonster, you get adequate website space, bandwidth, and some included domains.
Subdomains and parked domains are included as well, along with some email accounts to make your email communications look more professional.
If you’re looking for a dedicated IP, SSL certificate, domain privacy, or site backups an additional fee is required.
How Does Shared Hosting Work?
Shared hosting is one of the most common types of hosting for bloggers who are just starting out.
In shared hosting, your website is hosted alongside other sites. While your blog is growing this will likely be suitable, you won’t have access to dedicated resources and might need to upgrade to a powerful hosting package as your traffic increases.
In this HostMonster review, we’ll look at the benefits, and potential drawbacks, of selecting the shared hosting service for your blog.
HostMonster’s shared hosting packages come with the following features:
- Free SSL certificate to protect your site against hacks
- Free domain registration
- Support for five email accounts on the entry-level plan and unlimited on the top tier package
- Unmetered bandwidth
- Free 1-click installs on applications like WordPress
- Scripts to host image galleries on your blog
- Integration with social networking sites – useful to promote your blog
- Analytics to help you monitor your site traffic which can support the development of relevant blog content
Is it Easy to Manage Your HostMonster Site?
When you sign up for a web hosting service you’ll manage your site from an admin dashboard. Most hosting companies use the industry-standard cPanel.
cPanel is easy to use and because it’s widely used, you won’t struggle with figuring out a new interface when you move to a different hosting company.
You can do the following things from the HostMonster control panel:
- Install WordPress
- Enable spam protection for your email
- Manage your domains
- Manage your mailing lists, especially useful if you’re building a subscriber list for your blog
Is my Free Domain Really Free?
You get one free domain when you sign up with HostMonster. This promotion is valid for one year, after which you will have to pay to renew the domain.
If you decide to leave HostMonster within 30 days you won’t be refunded the cost of the domain. You can keep the domain and transfer it to a registrar of your choice.
What Does “Unlimited” and “Unmetered” Actually Mean?
During your search for the right hosting solution, you’ve probably seen the claims of “unlimited” and “unmetered” bandwidth and disk space.
Bandwidth is the speed at which data is transferred from your site to your reader.
If they find you’ve exceeded these, you’ll have to fork out for a more expensive package. (HostMonster said 99.95% of its customers have enough disk space and bandwidth to meet their needs.)
Thing is, if you see a massive spike in traffic – like a viral blog post – you might find you’ve violated your shared hosting agreement.
Will HostMonster Throttle my Shared Hosting Account?
HostMonster’s raised the ire of unhappy customers with its practice of CPU throttling. On its website, HostMonster describes a “CPU Protection System”, enabled on all shared hosting accounts.
Under this system, your shared hosting account can be suspended under the following circumstances:
- Your site is being attacked by hackers
- Themes or plugins that slow your site down
- Too many downloads taking place at the same time
Securing Your HostMonster Site With a Free SSL
From your cPanel, you can select the SSL_Certs option to activate AutoSSL, a free SSL certificate.
Increasing Site Speed
Site speed will play a key role in your blog’s performance. Slower sites won’t rank as well. And they provide a poor user experience.
To help increase your speed, HostMonster offers a free integration with the Cloudflare CDN (Content Delivery Network).
The Cloudflare CDN caches copies of your site content so it’s closer to your reader – reducing load time significantly.
Free Site Backups
As soon as you start blogging, you should have a plan to back up your site regularly.
If anything goes wrong – your site gets hacked, files are accidentally deleted – a backup will help to minimize the disruption to your site.
You can access free plugins to back up your WordPress sites, and HostMonster does free backups to add another layer of security.
Displaying Image Galleries and Video on Your Blog
You may want to include content like images and video. HostMonster comes with support for image galleries, streaming audio and streaming video.
Uptime and Speed: HostMonster Test Results
The best website is useless if it’s not operational.
This is why it’s key to pay attention to a hosting solutions uptime. Most hosts will offer customers an uptime guarantee which includes some form of compensation if they fail to meet a specific percentage.
HostMonster does not offer any type of guarantee but promises that “most server issues” are usually resolved within 15 minutes.
This may or may not be the assurance you need.
What is HostMonster’s Uptime?
We used Pingdom to check HostMonster’s uptime and server response time. Pingdom works by performing uptime checks from servers across the world to help you identify potential issues with your site.
We retrieved the statistics from Pingdom to calculate the average uptime and average response time over a six-month period.
HostMonster maintained 99.9% uptime but server response times was below average, according to our data from 2018.
Average response time is the average time it takes for the web host’s server to start responding to a request on your blog, e.g. a reader clicking on some type of content.
What does this mean? If you run a busy website, uptime and speed are critical — so we couldn’t recommend HostMonster’s base hosting packages for serious website owners. However, if your website is just for a hobby or low traffic — you likely will not notice the slower response time impacting your site negatively.
Hosting Your WordPress Site with HostMonster
There’s no specific HostMonster WordPress plan, but you can host your WordPress site with this web host.
Installing WordPress on Hostmonster
Installation is easy. You can install WordPress simply from your cPanel:
- Login into cPanel
- Select Install WordPress
- Choose the relevant domain
- Configure your site settings
- Click “Install Now”
HostMonster also provides step-by-step instructions in its knowledgebase.
WordPress vs Weebly
In addition to WordPress, HostMonster gives you the option of creating your site with the Weebly site builder. While it’s an easy drag and drop tool, there’s far less room for customizing your site.
Customizing and Securing Your WordPress Site
WordPress powers 60 million sites. Its popularity makes it a target for hackers, and this is why it is important to secure your site.
WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS -this makes it vulnerable to attacks.
You can browse the Mojo Marketplace for plugins to help secure your site. Here you can also select from themes to customize your WordPress site.
From your WordPress dashboard, you can also search for other tools like Wordfence, a free plugin to increase your security.
Is HostMonster the Best Option for Hosting my WordPress Site?
HostMonster doesn’t sell managed WordPress hosting so bloggers will need to pursue a different host for that service.
While you can host your WordPress blog with HostMonster, you may want to look into WordPress-specific plans.
Hosts like WP Engine, SiteGround and Bluehost (owned by the same company that owns HostMonster) are among the most popular WordPress hosts.
These hosting companies offer WordPress hosting packages that come with:
- Enhanced WordPress security to protect your site against hacks
- WordPress pre-installed
- Automatic updates so you don’t have to worry about installing any updates yourself
- WordPress specific support to help you quickly solve problems related to the platform
WordPress.org lists the hosting companies it endorses. It has ranked hosting solutions on security and ease of WordPress installation. It may be worth checking their recommendations to help you decide.
HostMonster vs WP Engine vs SiteGround
To help you gain a better understanding of the differences between HostMonster and popular WordPress hosts SiteGround and WP Engine, we highlighted how they stack up against each other in the table below.
We selected features that make it easier to manage and customize your WordPress blog and investigated each hosts offering in that area.
|Company||Customization||Staging Server||Updates||Average response time||More|
|Comes with 35 StudioPress themes.||Yes||•Automatic updates |
•Tests new plugins
Visit WP Engine
|WordPress hosting plans come with a selection of free themes.||Yes||•Automatic core updates |
|Download or buy themes from the Mojo Marketplace.||No||Step by step instructions for DIY updates||1117ms||Visit HostMonster|
HostMonster is the cheapest option when it comes to things like web space and bandwidth. But it’s lacking in important WordPress features like automatic updates and a staging environment. A staging environment is a great help in letting you experiment with changes to your site before they go live.
WP Engine is the most expensive web host featured here, but you get what you pay for. WP Engine hosting is secure, fast and comes with access to modern, responsive themes. It is hassle-free WordPress hosting.
SiteGround is officially recognized by WordPress as a leading WordPress host. The endorsement means it’s easy to install WordPress (comes preinstalled), and it’s secure hosting. SiteGround is great value for money and its support is among the best.
We also calculated the average response time over the past six months. A study of the data over the past six months found HostMonster had the poorest showing, while WP Engine had the best times, according to our test data.
If you only measure on cost, HostMonster is cheaper and you get more bandwidth and space, but the WordPress hosting experience may be more seamless with the other hosts.
VPS and Dedicated Hosting
The two other forms of hosting offered here include VPS and dedicated.
VPS Hosting: HostMonster Specs
The VPS is far more affordable than competing services. It offers dual-core, free domains, multiple IPs, and a decent amount of RAM.
The VPS services are built on cloud technology and provide enhanced cPanel and root access. Also, the multi-account management keeps all your accounts in one location.
Does my Blog Need Dedicated Hosting?
The dedicated server option from HostMonster provides one server for all of your business needs. The multiple cores and Intel Xeon processors deliver exceptional performance, while the multiple IPs are great for website networks.
A dedicated server is best for larger companies with lots of traffic coming to their websites. The VPS option works nicely for small and large businesses and bloggers since it’s more affordable.
What’s HostMonster Support Like?
HostMonster puts lots of focus on its live chat module. This 24/7 area asks for your name, domain, and whether you’re an existing or new customer.
It’s one of the more helpful live chat modules we’ve seen, seeing as how the wait times aren’t that long and the customer support reps take their time with each customer.
HostMonster also has technical support over the phone, with the main line for the United States customers as well as an “outside the US” line. This telephone support is also available 24/7, allowing you to contact the team late at night if needed.
It’s clear that HostMonster prefers phone and live chat support over email, but there is an email address if you need it. Other than that, the HostMonster website has a help center for researching your own problems.
The HostMonster help center has relevant articles for getting your email account setup and using name servers, too.
The help center leads to links for opening a ticket, looking at your support history, and viewing the full knowledgebase.
HostMonster provides video tutorials in this area as well. Not to mention, you can chat with other users in the HostMonster forum.
We tested the HostMonster support for ourselves, and while it wasn’t great, the query was resolved relatively quickly.
We asked the agent more about the WordPress installation process and received a general response that didn’t answer the specific question. The queries were resolved during the session and the agent was able to respond promptly.
Tons of Apps & Integrations to Grow Your Business
HostMonster has a partnership with MOJO Marketplace. If you’re not familiar with MOJO, it’s a website for buying anything from WordPress themes to Magento extensions.
Many of these apps and extensions are completely free, but the value comes into play when all of this gets combined with your hosting provider.
So, HostMonster can provide one-click installations for WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, OpenCart, Magento, and PrestaShop.
This means bloggers don’t need any installation experience with WordPress, and e-commerce newcomers aren’t forced to work with FTP or anything else more complicated.
The one-click installations only scratch the surface of MOJO Marketplace. You can find WordPress and Magento plugins, CSS code, HTML code, and PHP scripts. Some of this is for more advanced users, but the template collection is sure to help out beginners at some point. For instance, the marketplace has templates for Magento, WordPress, OpenCart, Tumblr, and more.
We liken the app and extension collection to that of an iPhone. It’s cool without the apps, but true personalization and functionality come when you start adding apps. The same goes for hosting.
A few Downsides
The starter (shared) hosting from HostMonster isn’t the most affordable on the market. It’s still pretty inexpensive for hosting, but there are far less expensive options.
Another problem we found is that HostMonster fails to offer any monthly hosting plans. This means you must signup for at least one year.
The 30-day guarantee mitigates that problem a bit, but we don’t like seeing customers forced into 12-month contracts.
Other than that, the pros seem to outweigh the cons. The HostMonster pricing isn’t ideal, but the features packed into the plans — like apps — give you a good amount of value.
What is the HostMonster cPanel like?
Like most web hosts, HostMonster uses the industry-standard cPanel. cPanel is an easy and user-friendly dashboard from where you manage your hosting account.
You can manage emails, install new applications (like WordPress) and upgrade your SSL certificate from the cPanel.
Is there a HostMonster website builder on offer?
When you sign up for web hosting with HostMonster, you have two options: running your site using a CMS like WordPress or opting for a drag and drop site builder.
The Weebly site builder comes with HostMonster. It is easy to use and you can have your site up and running in a matter of hours. The problem is that there’s far less room for customization compared to a CMS like WordPress.
How do I reach HostMonster support?
The importance of selecting a hosting provider with solid support options cannot be overstated. If something goes wrong you need help to fix the problem quickly.
Imagine your site crashes over a weekend and your hosting company only offers support by ticket or telephone support during the week? You can get in contact with HostMonster via live chat and telephone 24/7.
Should I choose HostMonster for my WordPress blog?
You can host your WordPress blog with HostMonster. But hosts that offer optimized WordPress hosting plans will come with more features.
SiteGround and WP Engine will give you a staging environment to test changes to your WordPress site before they go live and access to several high-quality WordPress themes.
HostMonster doesn’t have a staging environment. You can purchase themes from the Mojo Marketplace.
Will HostMonster be a Good fit for my Blog?
HostMonster provides access to a ton of apps, plugins, and themes. If you’re interested in a one-click installation for something like WordPress, Magento, phpBB, or Drupal, HostMonster has you covered, too.
Affordability is a little tricky here. The shared hosting plans are a little more expensive than the competition. So, if you’re looking for the absolute cheapest hosting out there, HostMonster might not be the right choice for you.
That said, the VPS hosting is a great value. Even dedicated hosting has a lot to offer in terms of pricing. Therefore, low-price seekers will find those two forms of hosting appealing.
Finally, the customer support from HostMonster is hard to pass up. If you’re interested in a reputable support team with a 24/7 live chat, phone line, and ticketing system, HostMonster has what you need.
Overall, bloggers and small businesses are going to enjoy the apps and one-click installs, while larger sites will like the cheaper VPS and dedicated hosting options.
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