HostMonster Review (2020): Worth Signing Up With Them?

As far as tech companies and internet businesses go, today’s subject of judgment is VERY old.

HostMonster has been in business since 1996, making it senior to a lot of its much larger and more famous competitors in the hosting world.

When companies have been in business this long, but aren’t very famous, I usually ask these questions:

Has the company stayed in business so long because it’s a hidden gem, with a small but loyal base of customers?

Or has the company just managed to last by avoiding mainstream scrutiny?

The result, of course, affects how interested you are in using it.

Worry not, dear readers—we’re getting to the bottom of this issue here.

Let’s start with the positive points of HostMonster:

Pros of using HostMonster

Pro #1: Pretty good performance

  • I wouldn’t say HostMonster is the best performing host I’ve ever seen, so don’t get too thrilled.
  • But it usually has uptime higher than 99.95%, so it’s above the industry average. It doesn’t always get to 100% or 99.99% uptime, which is too bad, but not the end of the world for everyone.
  • The speed is like uptime:
  • Above average, usually pretty good, but not great.
  • A key strength in HostMonster’s uptime is that it’s consistent.
  • Some hosts have perfect uptime one month and then below-average uptime the next one, or below-average performance every three months, etc.
  • So the consistency is a good point, and it’s nice that it’s consistently GOOD (rather than consistently average).

Pro #2: Shared hosting features are good

  • I know you’ll want to see the prices these features cost, but that’ll come later…in the “cons.”
  • Don’t worry—they’re not too bad.
  • Anyway, let’s focus on what you get in the three shared hosting tiers:
  • hostmonster-features

  • The first tier is not the most generous I’ve seen, but is still going to be plenty for the typical entry-level user:
  • 50GB of space is more than most need, and bandwidth is unmetered.
  • Removing limits on the amount of websites, space, and email accounts just for the second tier is pretty generous, and a lot of competitors don’t go that far.
  • As for the third tier? I’m not so sure if the increase in features really stands out—it depends on how badly you want the extras. However, domain privacy and basic backups are pretty good.

Pro #3: Shared hosting storage is SSD

  • SSD (solid state drive) storage is a newer form of storage than traditional HDD (hard disk drive) storage.
  • SSD storage is not always best for everyone when it comes to personal use, but in general web hosting terms, SSD storage is faster and more power-efficient.
  • SSD is also more expensive than traditional storage.
  • Why am I bringing this up?
  • Because 50GB of SSD storage is a LOT for an entry level hosting package.
  • Many hosts offer similar amounts of storage in the shared packages, but it’s HDD. Others offer SSD, but have lower limits.
  • And some offer both lower limits and older forms of storage.
  • So it’s nice that HostMonster offers even its lowest-priced packages not just a lot of storage, but high-quality storage.

Pro #4: VPS and Dedicated packages are decently priced

  • These are the VPS prices:
  • hostmonster-prices-vps

  • It’s not crazy cheap of course, but is generally low.
  • The same thing goes for dedicated hosting:

hostmonster-prices-dedicated

  • As far as features go, they’re not crazy, but are generally solid.
  • For example, it’s too bad the dedicated servers have such high renewals and don’t come with RAID 10 storage (which is more secure).
  • But ultimately, these are overall competitive with what other hosts are offering—you’ll need to be the judge on what features are most important to you here.

Pro #5: Overall easy to use

  • As far as the interface of HostMonster goes, it’s pretty simple.
  • In fact, it’s a bit similar to Bluehost—perhaps not surprisingly, since both are owned by Endurance International Group (EIG).
  • In any case, HostMonster is good for beginners and basically anyone who wants to keep their hosting interface simple.
  • Aside from generally being easy to use and navigate, HostMonster uses cPanel, the standard control panel for most web hosting.
  • Unlike some hosts that have native control panels, HostMonster uses the same thing as everyone else—making it easier to get used to.
  • HostMonster’s website builder is also a great point towards ease of use, but it’s more than just that.
  • So the next point I want to talk about is…

Pro #6: HostMonster uses Weebly for its website builder

  • All shared hosting accounts get access to a free “drag and drop” website builder.
  • This in and of itself is pretty common in shared web hosting packages.
  • Usually the website builder is something created by the web host itself. It’s usually decent—works just fine, has some templates, but isn’t anything too special.
  • However, HostMonster lets you use Weebly’s software.
  • People pay Weebly to use a website builder that is both easy, but allows users a lot of flexibility and templates.
  • So the fact that your hosting package can include Weebly’s software for free is fantastic. It doesn’t just make your website management easier:
  • It also gives you an easier time designing and customizing your site, and saves you money by being free and included in a hosting package.

Cons of using HostMonster

Con #1: Shared web hosting prices are on the higher side

  • I don’t want to make this seem like it’s a major fault of HostMonster.
  • The thing is, these prices aren’t THAT high—they’re still within the range that I’d consider pretty normal for web hosting.
  • And ultimately, it’s what you get for those prices that will determine how good they are.
  • They’re just on the higher side of normal, is all.
  • Anyway, here’s what they are:

hostmonster-prices

  • The first tier is a buck or two higher than what most hosting companies offer, for the first year.
  • But the renewal price, at $9.49, is pretty high for an entry level option.
  • The third tier, Choice Plus, is pretty normal, and the second tier (Plus) is sort of in-between: the intro price is normal, the renewal price is kind of high.
  • But like I said, this isn’t a huge grievance and shouldn’t be a deal breaker unless price is your priority.

Con #2: Not a wide range of hosting plans

  • HostMonster only offers shared hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated servers.
  • While all these options are solid, and it means that HostMonster has the basics covered, it’s too bad there aren’t cloud, managed WordPress, or reseller hosting plans.

Con #3: Website is sometimes lacking

  • I mean this in a couple ways:
  • For one thing, it often seems like there isn’t enough information clearly expressed on the website.
  • And not just random things, but important ones—you have to click the “sign up” button on the home page to even SEE the tiered pricing structure, for example.
  • Also, the English is often poor—this isn’t a huge strike against HostMonster, but can make some native English-speakers skittish.

Con #4: Weak online support center

  • By the online support center, I am referring to the part of the website dedicated to providing information and articles for customers.
  • The help center, or knowledge base, whatever you want to call it—it’s generally lacking with HostMonster.
  • For starters, it’s terribly organized.
  • Take a look:
    hostmonster-support center
  • There’s a search bar, and a section for popular help content. And if you scroll, you’ll find more sections of help articles, right?
  • Nope. The help center is just a few popular articles, and a search bar. That’s it.
  • It’s also quite outdated:
    hostmonster-support center2
  • Some articles feature videos that no longer exist (as in the example above), and some are just old in terms of what the text/pictures describe.
  • Now, there ARE more support articles than the initial list on the support page. If you view an article, related articles will reveal new options. You can also try searching.
  • That said, it’s basically impossible to browse what there is, and it sucks trying to play games with a search bar on a website.

Con #5: HostMonster is a subsidiary of EIG

  • As I’ve mentioned earlier, HostMonster is owned by Endurance International Group, or EIG.
    hostmonster-EIG
  • Listing that it’s owned by EIG may seem a bit harsh. It does NOT guarantee poor performance or security/privacy issues.
  • It’s just that such issues are more likely with EIG.
  • It’s simply: EIG is a big company that is trying to maintain a solid profit margin—which may involve cutting costs on its subsidiaries.
  • So in 2013 something now infamous happened:hostmonster-EIG2
  • Basically, a switch failure at an EIG data center took out four subsidiaries of EIG.
  • Including HostMonster, by the way.
  • This basically happened because EIG was cramming a bunch of its subsidiaries servers onto a single data center.
  • If such servers were independently run, it may have looked different.
  • Of course, EIG has changed practices since this fiasco, and it was about 7 years ago.
  • Still, having a webhost that’s owned by a larger hosting conglomerate is an issue to a lot of prospective customers, so it’s worth mentioning even if there aren’t real security/performance issues anymore.

Con #6: Sub-par live chat

  • Although it’s sub-par, it’s still functional.
  • The main issue for me is that it just seems a little shoddy.
  • I found I often waited a little longer to get responses than some competitors, and the responses were less clear with poorer English.
  • For example:hostmonster-support-chat1-better
  • I asked because I was concerned the support articles I was reading were out of date with what I was seeing.
  • The response seemed to make sense, but the wording threw me off a bit, so I clarified:hostmonster-support-chat2
  • Frankly, I don’t care if a representative has perfect English or not. What matters to me is whether they can answer questions well.
  • In this case my live chat basically served its function, so I don’t want to criticize it too much—however, the wording DID make the interaction more confusing and will definitely unnerve some customers.
  • Plus, one gets the sense that more complicated issues may quickly fall apart in live chat.

Con #7: No uptime guarantees

  • This is one area that DOES set HostMonster apart from a lot of competitors.
  • Many webhosts guarantee a certain amount of uptime. There’s a fair range to this:
  • Some hosts, for example, guarantee at least 99% uptime (this sounds like a lot, but actually is on the low side, as it can mean 7 HOURS of downtime in a month).
  • Other hosts guarantee 99.95% uptime, which is closer to the industry average.
  • And some guarantee 99.99% uptime, which is usually the best guarantee. It breaks down to 4 minutes of downtime in a month.
  • You can view more about what uptime percentages actually mean for your site here.
  • Anyway, HostMonster does not guarantee ANY minimum uptime. Not even a low amount, like 99.9%.
  • Though to be fair, uptime on HostMonster in itself is not really much worse or better than competitors.
  • So the issue here isn’t the uptime—it’s that it IF there is a lot of downtime, HostMonster won’t credit you, and they’re not contractually obligated to meet basic industry standards of uptime.

Do we recommend HostMonster?

HostMonster is not that bad of a host. For the most part, it’s fine.

The problem is basically this: it doesn’t really stand out enough in a crowded field.

If it were much cheaper, it might be a great option for some. Same if it went the other way, and doubled down on features and performance.

But instead, it doesn’t really do anything, or any combination of things, better than competing hosting companies.

So while HostMonster is decent, I can’t really say it’s better than a lot of other options.

But hey—I always think it’s a good idea to see for yourself. So why not give HostMonster a try?

After all:

hostmonster-money back guarantee

Happy Hosting!

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