HostMonster Review: Dated Dud Or Next Big Brand? We Asked 87 Users
If you are looking for web hosting, HostMonster is worth a look. In this article, I go through what it has to offer and how it compares to other hosts.
HostMonster’s homepage. Screenshot courtesy of WhoIsHostingThis.
Small Business Hosting
HostMonster is yet another web hosting company that specializes in hosting for small businesses.
Larger companies can find more powerful hosting options with their VPS and dedicated server plans. However, HostMonster is mostly focused on providing budget shared hosting.
Their plans are well-suited to anyone starting a website for the first time.
Small Business Features
With included domain names, easy hosting set-up, a free site builder, and one-click app installations, people can get started without needing any technical knowledge or going elsewhere for additional services.
HostMonster’s Corporate Background
HostMonster is a web hosting provider that’s been around for two decades. The company is part of the Endurance International Group, a collection of hosting brands for small businesses.
As a result, HostMonster will provide a fairly similar hosting experience as other companies under Endurance International.
For example, HostMonster is a sister company of Bluehost and the two seem almost identical in what they offer.
HostMonster Reviews by Our Community
Overall Rating from 87 Reviews by HostMonster Customers
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Getting a Domain with HostMonster
All HostMonster plans include a free domain name for one full year. After this, you will have to renew your domain registration and pay for it yourself.
If you’re looking to get a domain name alone, check out HostGator. They will let you purchase names on their own and point them to whichever hosting company you choose.
PRO TIP: You won’t be able to buy domain names from HostMonster without purchasing a hosting plan as well.
You Get Unlimited Resources for Shared Hosting
HostMonster’s shared plans are perfect for small business web hosting.
It seems commonplace for hosting companies to offer unlimited resources to their shared hosting customers — and HostMonster is no exception.
All of their shared hosting plans will give you unlimited bandwidth. But, this doesn’t mean that you can use as much as you want. It just means that the company won’t charge you according to how much you use. Instead, accounts on a shared server share all the bandwidth.
But Sometimes “Unlimited” Isn’t Actually Unlimited
Sharing bandwidth can be a problem for demanding websites as they may require more bandwidth than is available at times.
However, this storage situation should be adequate for personal websites and small businesses since they won’t have a problem with bandwidth limits. In fact, 99.95% of HostMonster’s customers will be fine with their bandwidth and disk space.
Your disk space allotment will depend on the shared hosting plan that you choose. There are strict limits placed on their cheaper plans while their highest-level plan provides unlimited disk space.
Any small website will have more than enough disk space, even with their cheapest plan.
HostMonster’s Cheapest Plans
HostMonster’s cheapest plan also only allows you to host one domain and manage 5 email accounts.
On the other hand, their most expensive shared hosting plan will give you unlimited email accounts, and allow for the hosting of unlimited domains.
Why You Might Want a More Expensive Plan
Why would you need all these email accounts, you ask? Well, you’ll probably never need hundreds of them.
But for businesses, it’s nice to have different addresses for professionalism. If you have many different employees, then you can give out email addresses to them which they can use for work or to communicate with customers. This makes your businesses appear much more professional and unified.
With HostMonster, you’ll have three different webmail solutions, so your employees can choose the email client that they like the best.
HostMonster’s Top 10 Shared Hosting Features
If you explore HostMonster’s website, you’ll eventually land on their “Hosting Features” page. This is full of everything that they offer. But these features aren’t necessarily included in every plan. This list is a bit overwhelming, so I’ll break it down for you.
|Shared Hosting Features|
|Website Builder||In addition to their unlimited resources, they have listed many other inclusions. For one, all accounts will have access to the free Weebly website builder. This will be described in detail later on.|
|MOJO Marketplace||Additional user-friendly features include HostMonster’s partnership with MOJO Marketplace. With access to this marketplace from your control panel, you’ll be able to install applications in one click.|
|WordPress||So, if you want to start a WordPress website, you won’t have to spend any more time on your HostMonster control panel then you want to.|
|Blogging||As a result, HostMonster supports blogging. You will also be able to collect mailing lists, insert survey software on your site, or add scripts for project management.|
|Developer Features||Developers will have features like FTP access, SSH access, custom Cronjobs, MySQL databases, and CGI-Bin.|
|E-commerce||For e-commerce functionality, HostMonster gives you various shopping carts to choose from. For example, OS Commerce, Agora, Cube Cart, and Zen Cart.|
|Security Certificates||Your website will be hosted on an SSL-secure server and you can generate a free shared security certificate to place on your website. This will provide your customers with the reassurance they need to enter payment information on your store.|
|Bonus Plan||If you want a dedicated IP address and a private SSL certificate for further e-commerce security, HostMonster offers a bonus plan with these included. This bonus plan also comes with Site Backup Pro so you won’t have to purchase it separately.|
|Media Hosting||So that you can give your website all the dynamic and interesting content it needs to keep visitors around, HostMonster supports video streaming, audio streaming, and MIDI files.|
In addition, HostMonster’s technology includes:
- Dual Quad Processor Performance Servers
- Diesel Generator Backup power
- Linux operating system
- 24/7 network monitoring
These architecture and infrastructure specifications allow HostMonster to offer reliable hosting, reducing the risk of their customers’ websites experiencing large outages.
“Our mission is to bring the power and promise of the web to people.” James Grierson, CEO of HostMonster.
Free Website Builder
HostMonster gives you access to the Weebly site builder, a popular drag-and-drop website builder. It allows almost anyone to design and build a website. The website builder software is completely online, meaning you won’t have to install anything to use it.
Using Weebly’s Site builder
Designing with Weebly is simple. You just choose a template to start with and then customize it to suit your brand. You can change colors, fonts, and add social sharing buttons. You can drag in pre-built sections like forms.
Weebly vs. WordPress
Upon logging into HostMonster for the first time, you’ll be greeted by options to pick a theme to start designing your new website with WordPress. This shows how simple it is to get started on WordPress when you host with this company.
How to Activate the Weebly Site Builder
But, if you’d rather use the Weebly site builder, you just have to enter your control panel instead and navigate to it.
When you select Weebly from the control panel, you’ll be prompted to pick a theme. Then you’ll have complete drag-and-drop control over your design. Add elements to your pages like maps, contact forms, and buttons.
Building an Online Store Is Easy
People building online stores will like that they can add product pages and categories to their store as well.
Add a product to your store with a few clicks. Screenshot courtesy of WhoIsHostingThis.
You’ll also have the possibility of adding entire pre-built sections to your website pages.
To test this out, I added a menu and a “meet our team” section to my website. These snapped into place and integrated nicely into the homepage.
Dragging pre-populated sections to a web page makes it easy to change your site quickly. Screenshot courtesy of WhoIsHostingThis.
HostMonster’s 24/7 Customer Support
One thing I always look for on hosting company websites is live chat for their browsing site visitors. It’s unbelievably helpful to be able to just start a live chat with a customer service member.
Support for Prospective Customers
Sometimes you’ll want to know something about a hosting company that they don’t make clear on their website. For example, they may not make it obvious where their servers are located, if they offer website migration, or what kind of control panel they give you.
Having live chat support for everyone, not just paying customers, is a great thing that HostMonster does. I had a chance to ask them a question and they responded within 5 minutes with a helpful answer. I was satisfied with our short interaction.
Support for Paid Customers
For customers of paid plans, HostMonster support can be reached by live chat or with a toll-free number as well.
These resources are available 24/7. Their website displays a little green light on the support page if their phone and chat assistants are online. They also have a place to display the average wait time you may experience.
Anyone can contact HostMonster’s support. Screenshot courtesy of WhoIsHostingThis.
Quality of Online Help Documentation
When you land on HostMonster’s support page, you’re greeted with links to their most popular help articles. These will tell you how to do things such as set-up your email account.
The articles themselves are very helpful, but the layout of the knowledgebase isn’t. I would have liked to see some kind of organization on this page.
Many other companies, like Bluehost, make it easier to find help articles on the topics you need. But with HostMonster, you’ll have to use their search feature to find anything.
Payment and Renewal Options
HostMonster gives you multiple payment options and billing preferences. Their services are auto-renewed by default to prevent you from experiencing outages or losing your domain name. However, you can also choose to renew your services manually.
The company does not offer monthly billing options. You will need to sign up for and pay in advance for at least a full year of hosting.
Cancelling Your Plan
You also won’t be able to get a refund if you cancel your plan before your term is up. So, keep in mind that you’ll be stuck paying for HostMonster’s services until the end of your term if you decide you no longer want to host with them.
Monthly vs. Yearly Payments
If you don’t like this and would rather pay for hosting month-to-month, then HostGator may be a better company for you. They offer their plans on a monthly basis so you can cancel anytime without losing months of hosting that you’ve already paid for.
HostMonster has powerful virtual private servers (VPS) for people and businesses that need more power. These plans are all fully-managed, so you won’t need technical expertise to use them.
You’ll also be given dedicated and guaranteed server resources.
No Need to Worry About Shared Resources
What does this mean? That you will always have the disk space and bandwidth that is pre-defined by the plan you choose. No sharing of resources with other people on one server. The resources that you purchased are guaranteed to always be available to you.
HostMonster’s servers are built on cloud technology, allowing them to offer you scalable features. As a result, you can expand your business in the future with easy resource upgrades.
VPS Pricing at HostMonster
Their VPS plans are the same prices as the ones you’ll find at Bluehost and HostGator. However, their cheapest plan will give you much less disk space than you’ll get with HostGator’s VPS plan. And, Bluehost gives you unlimited bandwidth on all of their plans.
HostMonster has a variety of VPS plans. Screenshot courtesy of WhoIsHostingThis.
Our HostMonster Discount for You
If you want to give HostMonster a try, don’t forget you can get a full refund if you cancel within 30 days. Just make sure you take advantage of our discount before signing up.
We can give you a special intro offer on their shared hosting plans. No coupon or promo code necessary, just click here to receive the discounted hosting rate.
Behind the Scenes
For managing your hosting, HostGator gives you their own customized version of cPanel.
Using the HostMonster control panel is simple. Upon logging into your hosting account, you’ll be greeted by a clean and organized space to work with. Right away they give you a preview of your website and an easy log-in button to access WordPress.
HostMonster’s Control Panel. Screenshot courtesy of WhoIsHostingThis.
On the left sidebar, you’ll be able to view the sites you’re hosting, visit the Marketplace for themes and add-ons, check and manage email, as well as access advanced features typical to cPanel.
When you select these advanced options, you’ll be able to view information about your hosting plans and keep track of disk space and bandwidth usage. You’ll also have access to various statistical tools like AWStats and Webalizer.
You’ll find it easy to install applications like WordPress and Joomla from the “website” section of the control panel.
Also, try out the included Weebly website builder if you want to build your website here instead of on WordPress.
Advanced options on HostMonster’s Control Panel. Screenshot courtesy of WhoIsHostingThis.
If You Like This Host, Also Look At…
If HostMonster sounds good to you but you want the reliability of an uptime guarantee, you should look at HostGator.
HostGator is a very similar hosting company with a lot of the same features and pricing structures. HostGator includes a 99.9% uptime guarantee for all plans. You can receive compensation from them if your site experiences more downtime than this.
HostMonster may run WordPress, but all they offer is one-click downloads of the app. Other hosting companies can give you optimized WordPress plans that are designed to run the CMS system at optimal performance.
For this, look into Bluehost’s WordPress plans which are built on VPS technology for extreme speed.
You’ve got questions? I’ve got answers!
What do HostMonster’s courtesy backups entail?
The company states that they provide courtesy backups for your website. So, what exactly does this mean? First of all, they don’t offer redundant or mirrored backups. Only one copy of your website will be backed up.
They run these backups at their own discretion. These are not guaranteed, so don’t rely on them for your backup needs.
Instead, you can add Site Backup Pro to your plan which will allow you to perform your own daily backups and restore your website from multiple points in history. It will be your own responsibility to download backups if you wish to keep a copy of your data.
HostMonster will delete backups older than 30 days.
Does HostMonster make an uptime guarantee?
No, so you will not be compensated if your website experiences significant downtime. Other companies, such as HostGator, provide uptime guarantees and will compensate you with a full month of hosting credit if you experience significant downtime.
Instead, HostMonster makes the same uptime statement as many other companies that don’t offer guarantees. They acknowledge that their servers may experience downtime which is caused by issues typically resolved within 15 minutes. Though, it can sometimes take longer to fix problems.
As a result, HostMonster will issue a pro-rated refund if you cancel your hosting account due to server downtime. You can engage in uptime monitoring from your control panel to keep an eye on this.
How easy is it to set up a basic website with HostMonster?
The process of getting a website up and online will be fairly simple. Once you choose a hosting plan, you’ll be prompted to pick out a domain name. Remember you’ll get one for free with HostMonster. Then, you’ll be given additional add-on options including Site Backup Pro, Search Engine Jumpstart, and SiteLock Security.
Once you have set up your account and paid for your hosting, you’ll have access to HostMonster’s cPanel. Here, you have two options for creating a website quickly. The first is using their site builder, and the second is installing WordPress.
Either way, you’ll be able to create a basic website in minutes and post it online for the world to see.
Does HostMonster offer a content delivery network (CDN)?
Yes, they give you access to CloudFlare, a powerful CDN, for free. You will just have to enable this from your control panel by clicking the CloudFlare icon and clicking “activate.”
CloudFlare caches the content of your website across a global network so that your website viewers will receive content from the location closest to them. They will enjoy much faster loading times as a result of this.
This will help you reduce bounce rates from visitors who don’t want to wait a few seconds extra for your website to load.
HostMonster Quick Overview
Here’s a look at HostMonster from cruising altitude.
HostMonster provides great customer support. They are available 24/7 via phone and live chat, ready to answer any question and help you solve problems.
They allow inexperienced users to install apps with zero difficulty through MOJO Marketplace.
HostMonster is fantastic for developers, with many access features and developer tools available.
HostMonster offers a website transfer service from your account. They will migrate up to 5 websites and 20 email accounts for you, from one single account with your old hosting provider.
Online Support Documentation
HostMonster has good online help materials.
- Searchable Knowledgebase with 550+ articles
- “Getting Started” launch page that links to all the steps you’ll need to take as a new website owner
- “How-to” video tutorials
- All help pages are tagged, making it easy to find relevant search terms
- Live chat 24/7.
HostMonster uses a customized version of the cPanel control panel.
The company’s datacenter is located in Utah, USA.
HostMonster offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can cancel your hosting account by contacting their customer service and you will be issued a full refund.
HostMonster’s Lowest-Priced Plan
HostMonster’s cheapest plan starts at $4.95/month for your first term, when signing up for 36 months. Your plan will renew at their regular rate which is $10.99/month.
This plan comes with:
- One website and one free domain
- Unmetered bandwidth and 50 GB of storage
- 5 email accounts, each with 100 MB of storage
- 5 parked domains
- 25 subdomains.
HostGator will provide courtesy site backups. However, the details of how they work are unclear.
You can add Site Backup Pro to your hosting plan at an additional charge for further control over your backups. This will allow you to backup your site daily and restore yourself with one click.
Site builder Included?
Yes, HostMonster offers a free site builder via Weebly.
Yes, HostMonster supports PCI compliance on all of their plans.
HostMonster’s Biggest Customers
I wasn’t able to find any large companies or brands which use HostMonster.
Pros and Cons
Let’s summarize. What’s HostMonster best at? What could be improved?
- HostMonster has a user-friendly control panel with easy application installs
- The company provides many tools for developers, such as various avenues of access to code, files, and databases.
- Their shared hosting plans include unlimited disk space and storage which is great for smaller websites.
- HostMonster doesn’t make an uptime guarantee which means you cannot receive compensation from them if your website experiences significant downtime
- They could also do with a more organized and user-friendly knowledgebase.
It doesn’t provide much detail for consumers and lists a lot of features without really explaining them. You’ll also have to do some work to find the breakdown of their shared hosting plans as they’re hidden behind a “get started” button.
However, the company does have some affordable hosting options. You can find some basic shared hosting for smaller businesses at a budget price. And many included features that developers will enjoy.
However, there is nothing that really sets them apart from their close competitors.
Most Popular HostMonster Hosting Plans
|Price||$4.95 / mo||$6.95 / mo||$14.95 / mo|
|Visit HostMonster||Visit HostMonster||Visit HostMonster|
|30GB||1TB||$28.74 / mo Visit Host|
|60GB||2TB||$57.49 / mo Visit Host|
|120GB||3TB||$86.24 / mo Visit Host|
|240GB||4TB||$114.99 / mo Visit Host|
|500GB||5TB||$143.74 / mo Visit Host|
|1000GB||10TB||$191.66 / mo Visit Host|
|1000GB||15TB||$239.57 / mo Visit Host|
HostMonster Frequently Asked Questions
- Does HostMonster offer any Windows hosting plans?
HostMonster is a Linux-only provider.
- Where are HostMonster’s datacenters located?
HostMonster does not publicize the location of its datacenter.
- Are managed dedicated servers available at HostMonster?
Yes. HostMonster provides both dedicated servers and VPS servers with full management.
- Do I get a free domain with my hosting plan?
Every plan comes with a free domain for the first year.
- Will my price change from the intro price when I renew my services?
HostMonster offers a promotional price for the first term only. It renews at the regular rate. It offers progressively lower prices for longer contracts.
- If I am dissatisfied, can I get a refund?
HostMonster provides a 30-day money-back guarantee on most hosting plans. If you cancel after this time, you will receive a pro-rated refund for unused months.
- Will HostMonster compensate me for downtime?
No. HostMonster does not have an uptime guarantee.
- Can I get support on the phone?
Yes. 24×7 support is available by phone.
- Does HostMonster still offer reseller plans?
No. HostMonster announced in late 2014 that it will no longer be accepting reseller hosting signups.
- Can the team help me with transferring an existing site?
It will migrate up to 5 websites and 20 email accounts from a single account. More information is provided in the customer account area.
- Does HostMonster allow more than one domain per account?
Yes. Unlimited domains can be hosted.
- Does the company have a sitebuilder?
Yes. To help users create sites easily and quickly, Weebly is provided.
- Does it offer cPanel?
Yes. cPanel is provided as the default control panel.
- What payment options does HostMonster accept?
HostMonster accepts credit cards, including Visa, Master Card, American Express and Discover. It also accepts PayPal, checks (USD) and money orders (USD).
- Is there a one-click installer library?
Yes. All customers can use Mojo Marketplace which allows you to install or upgrade applications, including WordPress and Joomla!.
- Does HostMonster set up monthly contracts?
Yes, you can opt for a monthly contract or a longer deal.
- What does its backup policy look like?
HostMonster backs up data at its discretion, and those backups are kept for a maximum of 30 days. It would be sensible to set up your own backups, as HostMonster does not guarantee availailability.
- Which of service would be most appropriate for multiple websites?
All HostMonster hosting plans can accommodate an unlimited number of websites.
- Does the company provide unlimited bandwidth and unlimited space?
Yes. HostMonster offers unlimited bandwidth and disk space, subject to its fair use policy.