Last updated: December 29, 2018
BrainHost Review: Are They A Smart Investment?
Brain Host Introduction
Brain Host specialises in “unlimited web hosting”; typical shared hosting plans with solid tech support, unlimited resources, Cpanel and a website builder. The company’s premises are in Ohio, with the HQ located in Akron and the operations department located in Brunswick.
Founded in 2010, Brain Host is a relatively new hosting provider. It already has more than 95,000 customers. In July 2012, Brain Host appointed a new CEO, Corey Hammond. He was previously the President of the company and has been involved in its growth since day one.
Brain Host Hosting Plans
Brain Host offers three Linux hosting plans in its shared hosting portfolio. These aren’t named, so I’ll refer to them as Plan 1, Plan 2 and Plan 3.
- Plan 1 provides the basics: unlimited hosting, domains, email and bandwidth, plus a website builder. That’s it.
- Plan 2 tops this up with unlimited MySQL databases, $250 in ad credits and access to ‘more than 50’ one-click installers.
- Plan 3 is the most expensive, but it actually appears to be a step down from Plan 2. It only offers unlimited hosting, domains and email accounts, the website builder and the marketing credits.
Brain Host states it offers dedicated hosting, but there are no prices or details on the site. We can therefore assume that customers who require advanced hosting packages are considered an exception rather than the norm.
Brain Host Uptime/Downtime
Brain Host doesn’t say where its centre is, but it does provide information about its green credentials. The company arranges its servers in such a way as to eliminate hot-spots which requires less air conditioning and therefore less power consumption. Technicians also install low-voltage servers for the same reason. Beyond this, technical data is not apparent.
The company offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee, although there’s no published data on its past history.
There doesn’t appear to be an obvious automatic backup option, although backups can be created via Cpanel as you’d expect.
Brain Host Support
Brain Host’s tech support department is open 24/7 all year round. It offers support via ticket, phone and live chat (via Cpanel).
The company has active profiles on social media, although its social media pages are geared more towards posting links and photos than providing support. The Brain HostTwitter page is mainly a feed for their blog and press releases, although staff do reply to the occasional tweet. The blog does seem to be the central point for interactivity.
Their Help Centre portal is fairly small, with a ticket login and a knowledge base containing around 600 articles. A huge 100 of these are related to the web builder tool. There don’t appear to be any user forums, wikis or other opportunities for clients to interact.
Brain Host in the News
I didn’t find anything negative in the press about Brain Host. Given that it’s a fairly new company, this is probably to be expected.
Brain Host Control Panel
All Brain Host’s plans offer Cpanel as standard. Account and billing options are located in a separate account which is customised, but the actual technical control panel will be familiar to anyone who has used Cpanel before.
Brain Host Extras
- One-click installers at Brain Host feature all the usual suspects: WordPress, Magento, MediaWiki, phpBB and so on. Bear in mind that one-click installers are only available on Plan 2.
- Advertising credits are also provided on Plan 2 only. These include credits for Google, Yahoo!/Bing, Miva and Myspace, and the combined value is $250.
- It appears that Brain Host occasionally runs free domain name promotions, but you won’t get a free domain as standard.
Brain Host Money Back Guarantee / Cancellation Policy
Brain Host offers a standard 30-day money back guarantee on shared hosting plans, excluding sign-up fees and domain name registration fees. The refund covers the entire term of the contract, but cancellations may only be made by telephone to their US number.Dedicated hosting customers are not eligible for any money-back guarantees.
Brain Host Summary
BrainHost’s website proclaims that they’re my own city’s ‘#1 Choice In Web Hosting’. While I have no stats to prove this, I’m not sure that’s strictly true. Additionally, it claims that their load balancing technology is unique, but again, it didn’t seem to be that different to the standard clustering offered by many shared hosts.
Brain Host’s prices are fine, but they’re not as competitive as some of their bigger peers. The most expensive Brain Host plan, Plan 3, represents poor value, particularly since it’s much less capable than Plan 2. In addition, it’s odd that dedicated hosting is nothing more than a footnote, when Brain Host dedicates an entire page to its drag-and-drop website builder tool.
If you’d like to use a small, independent host that’s eco-friendly, Brain Host is a good option. Support is geared towards more basic topics and their services and prices feel a little immature, but this is a young company so that’s to be expected. The fact that it already hosts 95,000 websites after just two years is a good sign for the future.
Brainhost Reviews by Our Community
Overall Rating from 22 Reviews by Brainhost Customers
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Brainhost Frequently Asked Questions
- What hosting products are available with BrainHost?
BrainHost offers shared hosting products only in two tiers: business or consumer. Business is about three times as much per month as consumer. Contact customer support for more details on what separates the two plans.
- Will BrainHost help me migrate my site?
Yes. BrainHost has a free site migration service. However, there are no details available on their site. Contact customer support for more information.
- So there’s no VPS or dedicated hosting?
That’s correct. Currently, BrainHost offers no VPS or dedicated hosting products.
- What applications are available with BrainHost?
BrainHost includes Fantastico! on all shared hosting plans, which provides easy access to hundreds of applications. Applications available include popular CMSs like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal and shopping carts like Magento and Zen Cart.
- Is there a money-back guarantee or free trial?
BrainHost offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all shared hosting plans. Setup fees, domain registration, and some upgrades are non-refundable. See their Terms of Service for more information (look under “REFUND POLICY”).
- Does BrainHost have an uptime guarantee?
Yes they do. They guarantee 99.9% uptime, but do not provide any details in their Terms of Service. Contact customer support for more information.
- How can I pay for my hosting account?
You can pay via PayPal, BitCoin, Alipay, and major credit cards. They operate on a monthly billing cycle only, with no discounts available for longer contracts.
- What sort of support does BrainHost provide?
BrainHost has self-directed support via a knowledge center and video tutorials. They also provide standard support through email, ticketing, and live via cPanel.
- Where are BrainHost’s datacenters?
BrainHost does not say where their datacenters are located anywhere on their site. Their own website is hosted with RockSolid Networks, which is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. According to customer press releases, their headquarters is in Akron, OH.
- What programming languages are available with BrainHost?
BrainHost supports PHP 5, Perl 5, Python, and Ruby on Rails as well as other industry standard programs like Java.
- What security features does BrainHost provide?
They offer spam assassin protection, SSLs, Open PGP/GPG encryption, and a range of server redundancies and securities both within the server and physical security for their datacenter.
- What backup features are available?
BrainHost offers courtesy site backups on all accounts and has a video tutorial for how to back-up your site manually on their website.
- What control panel access does BrainHost provide?
BrainHost provides access via cPanel. This access is included in all plans.
- Does BrainHost offer unlimited disk space and bandwidth? What does this mean?
Yes they do. But they do stipulate in their Terms of Service that they are a web hosting company, and thus customers cannot use their accounts for online storage or backups. Also, if MySQL databases get too large, they may cancel your account without notice. As for bandwidth, they do say it’s unlimited but if your website starts to impact the performance of other sites, BrainHost reserves the right to throttle your traffic.
- Does BrainHost offer any CDN services, either themselves or through a third party?
No. BrainHost makes no mention of a CDN network nor do they mention a third party option like CloudFlare.
- What about domains? How many can I have and how many registrations are included?
BrainHost offers truly unlimited domains per account for all their shared policies. However, domain registration is not free and not included in the cost of their shared plans.
- Is there website building software or help available?
BrainHost offers Launch Pad, an easy website builder that will get a site up and running in “just 5 clicks” according to the BrainHost website.
- Is BrainHost eco-friendly?
Yes. Their datacenter is 100% powered by wind.
- Will BrainHost support my web marketing?
Yes. When you sign up to BrainHost, they give you a set amount in ad credits spread across Google AdWords, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, and Shopsite. They also have an intro packet to web advertising including traffic generation resources, SEO help, and social media marketing basics. Finally, they provide access to Attracta to further help with SEO.
- Does BrainHost offer an affiliate program?
Yes. They offer a per-sale program.