In our continued search for quality shared hosting providers, we arrive at HostMonster, sister company of Bluehost. As you might’ve guessed , HostMonster is also a company under the Endurance International Group umbrella (read more about EIG here), meaning there is definitely cause for concern.
Budget-friendly plans combined with unlimited bandwidth and domains mean that you are getting great bang for your buck, but is there a certain decline in customer service that we have come to see with other EIG providers as well? Nonetheless, we still strive to give everyone a clean slate before conducting a review.
So, how does HostMonster fare as a budget shared hosting provider? Keep reading our HostMonster review to find out!
HostMonster Pricing & Plans
HostMonster stays true to their reputation by offering extremely affordable shared hosting with unlimited bandwidth, storage (unlimited only for Pro plans) , and domains at a low introductory rate of just $4.95 a month for their entry-level “Basic” plan.
It is important to remember that as with other providers, HostMonster has prices that are different from the first term of your contract. The same $4.95 Basic plan will run you $7.99 a month after your first term ends, meaning it’s worth doing the proper research to find out how much you could really be paying.
All shared hosting plans come standard with a free domain for your first year, as well as free setup and site builder. You have the option to also add daily backups with Site Backup Pro for an extra $1.99 a month (billed till the end of your hosting term), although this is slightly disappointing when considering other providers typically offer free daily backups.
VPS plans are also available starting at $24.99 a month (with a $14.99 first-month rate), although this is based on signing up for a yearly contract, as the month-to-month price jumps to $29.99 a month. With full root access to CentOS and KVM hypervisor virtualization present, you will always get the most resources available. Their VPS plans are certainly attractive for your growing business, but if you are looking for a more cost-effective or powerful VPS solution, we recommend giving VPS.NET or Digital Ocean a try.
Dedicated packages are also available starting at $149.99 a month ($74.99 for your first month), which includes 500 GB of Raid-1 storage and 5 TB of monthly bandwidth. There is also dedicated 24/7 support for plans, while all servers are built on powerful Intel Xeon processors and CentOS. While some of the features are quite impressive, if you are in the market for a dedicated server, the lower prices and greater available bandwidth of WebHostingBuzz might be a better option.
In case you are hesitant about signing up for a HostMonster hosting plan, take solace in knowing that HostMonster has a anytime money back guarantee, meaning you can cancel your subscription any time to recieve a prorated refund without a penalty.
HostMonster Video Review
Check out this HostMonster video on the importance of using SSL certificates.
HostMonster Speed and Reliability
With HostMonster relying on powerful hardware to power their servers, they subsequently advertise great speeds as well as a 99.9% uptime guarantee. Unfortunately, their EIG-affiliation and recent complaints over social media has also given us plenty of reason to worry and doubt about both their speeds and uptime.
HostMonster servers are housed in Utah, where sister EIG-brands Bluehost and Justhost also reside. 24/7 monitoring and UPS power backup supplies are in place to protect their servers from downtime, while there is a automatic backup system in case of emergencies as well.
As we mentioned previously, social media complaints are littered across the Internet in regards to HostMonster’s reliablity, something that while worrying, has unfortunately become quite the norm with EIG-affiliated companies.
We gave HostMonster a test run with Pingdom’s Website Speed Test, which gave us pretty good results, albeit these are not conclusive of HostMonster’s preformances. Still, loading a .6 MB page in under 1.5 seconds was still pretty impressive.
For Plus and Pro plans, Global CDN is included, which can be especially helpful if you have a lot of dynamic content on your site, or serve a wide range of visitors from all over the world.
HostMonster Interface / Security
HostMonster utilizes the industry-standard CPanel as its hosting interface, a welcome surprise considering it’s ease of use seemless integration with numerous web applications.
1 click installs of popular apps are available through the Mojo Marketplace, with WordPress, Perl 5, Python, Ruby on Rails and PHP 5 just a few of the available options, with e-commerce support for popular software such as Zen Cart, OS Commerce and Agora Cart also included.
Plus and Pro shared hosting plans also come with various marketing credits, while Plus subscribers are also given a dedicated IP address, which will be neccasary if you plan on installing a SSL certificate. There are also numerous addons that can be enabled for your website from the comfort of CPanel.
Security apps included with plans are Sitelock ($1.99 a month, included with Pro plans), along with Site Backup Pro ($1.99 a month, included with Pro plans), while private SSL certificates are available for purchase starting at $59.88 a year. Domain privacy is yet another add-on that can be purchased to better protect your identity.
Spam protection in the form of SpamExperts Mail Filtering is also available, while HostMonster protects your server from external threats via network and application firewalls. Additional security options include: SSH access, .htaccess overriding, hotlink protection and custom cronjobs.
HostMonster Customer Support
As we’ve mentioned in the past, the most glaring problems that tend to arise with EIG-affiliated companies are usually in the customer service department. Whether this is due to outsourcing customer support to external agencies or simply a downward trend with EIG companies, it certainly has us worried.
That being said, HostMonster offers 24/7 phone and live chat support, with e-mail inquiries also being available. We tested their live chat client at 9 AM EST on a weekday, getting a response after about 25 minutes of waiting. While the wait time was slightly disappointing, we did receive a sufficient answer to our OS-related question.
We gave their telephone support a whirl as well, although this was an even longer wait (30 minutes according to the automated reply), so we decided to end the call early instead of waiting. While this isn’t certainly isn’t conclusive of HostMonster’s phone support, it is an indication that there might be some truth to the various complaints one can find all over the Internet.
If you sign up for one of their dedicated servers, you are also given an extra level of support via exclusive access to a dedicated support line.
As we’ve mentioned previously, social media and the Internet are littered with various complaints about HostMonster’s reliability and customer service, which is certainly worrying and should be taken into account prior to signing up.
HostMonster Review Conclusion
- Affordable plans
- Free domain name
- Anytime money-back guarantee
I wasn’t so sure about
- Site backups are $2 a month
- lack of unlimited e-mail
- Questionable reliability
- EIG affiliation
- Customer support
So, what did we think of HostMonster after conducting this review? With similar offerings to sister companies HostGator, Bluehost and Justhost, they nail affordable shared hosting with unlimited bandwidth right on the head.
That being said, they also suffer from the same issues that tend to plague EIG-affiliated companies, namely customer support and reliability.
If you are a newcomer to hosting and are looking for a cheap solution for a standard website with little traffic, I would recommend HostMonster, while more advanced websites should take a look at other options (such as Site5 or WebHostingBuzz) first.
Nonetheless, take advantage of HostMonster’s anytime money back guarantee and give their low prices a try today!