I have decided to review HostMonster as the first provider I rate here on HostDispatch simply because it is the first-ever company I used to host a site.
I have been with the company for over 9 years now and I think I can give you a complete picture of what this company is about, the quality of its shared hosting services, prices and whether or not you can count on it to host your website or blog without having to constantly worry about downtime and other problems.
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HostMonster is a Provo, Utah-based company. It is a part of a repertoire of web hosting companies like BlueHost and FastDomain, which are owned by Endurance International Group (better known as EIG).
EIG itself is, of course, the giant in web hosting business, boasting with over 2 million customers across 40 different hosting brands.
HostMonster is well known for it budget shared web hosting services. The offering revolves around a simple package, whereby customers have the option to upgrade and add extra features. It was incepted since 1996, which qualifies the company as a veteran rather than some unproven young upstarts in the industry.
The company is not a Better Business Bureau accredited business (which is not that big of a deal really, since participation is voluntary and many thousands of other legit companies are not accredited either).
That said, it gets an A- rating from the BBB. There is also a total of 34 complaints filed against HM in the last 3 years, from which all were resolved. Usually, that is a good sign showing a company’s commitment to its customers.
Host Monster Hosting Plans & Pricing
Consistent with the wider industry practice, this host has also consolidated all of its plans into a generic offering:
One Plan with Unlimited Hosting – $6.95 pm
The offering covers 1500GB of storage space, 15000GB of data transfer/bandwidth and there is also a host of facilities to support your whole array of web strategy, from a small personal web page to a full-blown E-Commerce website.
All these are offered at an amazing flat rate of $6.95 every month (although this price goes up and down and sometimes by signing up through special links you can get a discount as well). If customers choose to pre-pay one or two years in advance, HM can sweeten the deal by throwing in one free domain registration.
Unlike plans offered by companies like HostGator, here there is no restriction on the number of sites. The plan allows you to host an unlimited number of full domains or sub-domains under the standard plan.
If these aren’t enough, you can opt for Pro Package, with the promise of the fastest possible speed and a dedicated IP. The Pro Package includes also site backup facility, SSL, Postini Anti-Spam protection and Domain Whois Privacy. There is flexibility here.
If you don’t need the full Pro Package, you can add features incrementally to your plans.
- Free Domain for the Life of Your Hosting
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Unlimited Hosting Space
- Unlimited Email Accounts
- Unlimited Domain Hosting
- Unlimited Email Autoresponders
- Unlimited Parked Domains
- Unlimited FTP Accounts
- Free Online Stores
- Free Search Engine Submission
- Free $100 Google Credits
- Courtesy Site Backups
- US-based Customer Support Team
- Easy Web Setup with Free Site Builder
- WordPress, Gallery, and More
The data center is housed in Utah. All the servers are under monitoring 24/7 by a bunch of technicians. As in the case of other hosting companies, it alleges that uptime is 99.9%, but there is little evidence on offer to substantiate the claim.
To mitigate outage, the data center employs a balanced, synchronized power system that is capable of sustaining an optimum level of performance.
Additionally, an extra UPS backup power supply and 24/7 live system monitoring ensure that the disruption to the outage is kept to a minimum. An automatic backup system is also in place to recover any accidental loss of data.
HostMonster has an online Help Center that is dedicated to knowledge base articles, tutorials, user forums and getting started guides. If you run into technical issues, you can get support 24/7 via email, telephone and live chat.
In addition, it also serves as a central point for you to access server status and help desk ticket history. Indeed, plenty of options exist to help you find what you want.
The support staffs are based in Utah, USA, and these support services are open to all paying customers free of charge. Some services like billing enquiries are only entertained on some prescribed hours only.
HM seems to be active in the Twitters space. They make regular tweets, and the team here looks responsive to issues surfaced by the users there.
Comparatively, they don’t do as good a job on its corporate Facebook account; the last I checked (for this review), the last entry was made more than one year ago. But there are more regular updates on the HostMonster fans’ Facebook, which is not surprising.
HM presents a control panel for users directly through the home page of the website. Users are required to login via cPanel for a range of administrative tasks, as is widely practiced in the industry. That makes it easier if you plan to come off from a service provider and subscribe to HostMonster.
For the signup bonus, there are one free domain name and a $100 Google Adwords credit offered by the company.
Scripts installation is easy as there are plenty of one-click options. It covers over 70 scripts, such WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and so on.
To quickly build a new website, a simple drag-and-drop website builder, Weebly, is offered.
Money Back Guarantee / Cancellation Policy
Cancellation is easy with HostMonster as you can raise your request via email, phone or online chat. They would need verification that you are the account/domain owner. However, make sure that all files, emails, and databases are backed up before you cancel your subscription.
If cancellation occurs 3 days from the opening of your account, you are entitled to a full refund (any additional packages like SSL, backup, SEO, SiteLock, domain names and domain privacy not included). Beyond 3 days and within 30 days, then you are expected to pay for any free domain names as well as and Postini or Dedicated IP fees.
- Unlimited domains come with the basic shared hosting.
- The price is decent. You need to pay only $71.40 in exchange for a full year of hosting. They further reduce this rate if you are ready for a longer term commitment.
- The use of the ubiquitous cPanel for administration purposes. Another plus point about their control panel is the tight integration with billing information.
- You can acquire dedicated IPs if needed.
- With 16 years under its belt, HostMonster has ensured right pricing for both dedicated and VPS hosting options. I haven’t got my hand on either, but should the need for a VPS arrive, I would check out their stuff. The assurance that you can always upgrade from existing shared hosting when the business scales up is a comfortable idea.
- There is also a tight integration of CloudFlare into cPanel. The company also prepares a full tutorial on the setup. CloudFlare mirrors your server content onto other servers, so if downtime happens, the DNS system will locate and switch to a server that isn’t down, all done automatically and temporarily. This is a great way to mitigate downtime on servers.
- Through the sole account I registered with them, I found an average uptime of 99.85%, which is fairly good considering my monitoring is done over 3 years.
- All support staffs are 100% U.S. based. It takes about 2 minutes to get through and I find the support competent.
- Payment is strictly yearly and upfront, so you can have your cash tied up without the monthly option. Moreover, there is no refund policy, I always feel that service providers who don’t over refund are effectively rip-offs.
- The SimpleScripts script installer is not as efficient as one might think. To include a CMS on your site could take a long time.
- There is still lead time for chat support, but once it is through, you would be glad of the competent technical help extended.
- As in the case of Bluehost, service representative has a problem if your query departs from their well-reversed scripts because he or she will advise calling a different number in a different department when the easier thing is probably just forwarding the call or equip service representatives with the right responses.
So, Is Hostmonster a Good Choice?
All in all, this company looks no different from other standard shared web hosting companies, and there are no unique features to shout about. Still, the services on offer are all well integrated and you will be handed the standard website tools. The obvious advantage is their highly competitive prices, which would surely entice many users.
The other plus points for me are the reliability and comprehensiveness of the support services. Support staff who are based in America ensures that there is no language barrier as all of them are native English speakers, those in the US would like that.
My thinking is that Host Monster can definitely measure up with the very best web hosting providers out there. The company is reputable, reliable, and with a knowledgeable and responsive support system to boot.
As you can probably tell from this review, I recommend you join HostMonster as their plan is considered feature rich and it is priced competitively. It has all the things one could expect from a good host!