Hostwinds Review: Hosting For Busness On A Budget. We Find Out Whether It’s Good.

Hostwinds Host Review

Hostwinds Host Review

If you’re looking for a reliable host with great support, and that accepts bitcoin, HostWinds should be at the top of your list.

Note that Hostwinds accepts bitcoin to broaden their range of payment options, but unlike other hosts, don’t provide any special privacy or anonymity features beyond that.

Brief Company History

Hostwinds opened its doors for business in Tulsa, Oklahoma and has been providing “fast, affordable” hosting since then. The company’s aim was to merge the extremes of hosting service to create an optimum service.

Hostwinds Services

Services and Specializations

Hostwinds provides a variety of web hosting services for its customers and they include shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting services. The company’s primary market consists of individuals and businesses looking for reliable hosting services at a reasonable price.

Other than hosting plans, HostWinds offers services such VPNs, SSL certificates, and domain registration.

In total, there are 7 types of hosting plans on offer:

  1. Shared Hosting
  2. Business Hosting (also shared)
  3. Cloud Hosting
  4. VPS Hosting
  5. Dedicated Server Hosting
  6. Managed Hosting
  7. Unmanaged Hosting

Bear in mind that managed hosting isn’t available on all plans.

Shared Hosting

Hostwinds offers its customers a set of shared hosting plans all of which offer unlimited bandwidth, unlimited disk space, unlimited email, as well as a free dedicated IP address.

There are 2 main types of shared hosting on HostWinds:

  • Standard “shared hosting”
  • “Business hosting”

The shared plans mainly vary by the number of domains that can be hosted. The top plan, which is still affordable has no cap on domains.

Besides the standard features, the shared plans include automatic installs via Softaculous to help customers load popular platforms like WordPress. The business plans include all the features from shared hosting and more. The prices are a bit more expensive but still affordable.

How Much Better Is The Business Plan?

Customers needing even faster speeds for shared plans can select from the company’s set of Business plans which feature more PHP memory as well as usage of LiteSpeed servers which utilize solid state drives (SSDs) for more speed.

According to HostWinds, the business plans are up to 500% faster than standard shared hosting packages.

A big part of this is that there are fewer sites sharing a server on a business plan, meaning your account gets more resources.

Cloud Hosting

HostWinds offers an intermediate type of hosting that’s between shared and VPS hosting, which the prices reflect.

With cloud hosting, you create an instance on HostWinds cloud servers for your site data to be stored. Similar to a VPS, you have your own dedicated resources, which keeps your site running at a more consistent speed.

Scalability and Costs

These plans have SSDs available, and can easily be scaled up or down at any time. This makes them good if you have unexpected spikes of traffic.

Finally, there’s both hourly or monthly billing for these plans, and you only pay for the resources that you use, so it can be more cost-efficient than other types of plans.

VPS Hosting

A range of plans within the Managed VPS section.
A range of plans within the Managed VPS section.

Customers interested in having more resources to handle additional website traffic should take a look at the company’s VPS plans.

Hostwinds’ VPS plans allow customers to select many options including a choice of either Linux or Windows operating systems, varying numbers of CPU cores, and amount of RAM, disk space, and bandwidth.

Managed or Unmanaged VPS?

You can also choose between managed and unmanaged variations of each plan. A managed plan means that HostWinds will take care of server security, maintenance, and updating for you. You pay a bit extra for this convenience.

Many of the VPS plans support OpenVZ virtualization while some of the company’s “premium” plans offer KVM virtualization which helps with server performance.

The company also has plans hosted on servers equipped with SSDs along with plans dedicated to Minecraft hosting.

Dedicated Servers

Besides VPS plans, Hostwinds offers a set of dedicated server plans for customers needing resources fully devoted to their website. Like the VPS plans, the dedicated plans feature servers with Intel or AMD processors along with varying amounts of RAM and disk space.

Customers select a base plan and add on their operating system choice along with outbound bandwidth (inbound is free) and port speed needed.

Reseller Hosting

In addition to shared hosting plans, Hostwinds offers a set of reseller plans. These also offer unlimited bandwidth and disk space and vary by the number of cPanel accounts.

There is also the option of white labeling these plans for customers interested in creating their own hosting company or having their own unique brand.

Hostwinds Control Panel

Hostwinds Reviews by Our Community

Overall Rating from 24 Reviews by Hostwinds Customers

Support
Quality
Features
Value

Most Helpful Reviews

Antonio Silva avatar
Antonio Silva cloudti.com
Oct 16, 2018

I contracted some services with them
they are very poor in the support they canceled my cpanel license without any reason and they did not reimburse me the old BurstNET I was sad because it seemed like a serious company, I ended up getting in the wrong
avoid this company because they are not a serious company

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Jap Tan avatar
Jap Tan maymomoo.com
Jul 04, 2018

Shared Hosting – Disabled MySQL remote access. I have been to 2 web host and ever since I normally avail a shared host. It’s my first time to encounter a share host provider with a disabled MySQL remote access.

The worst thing is that they don’t even mention this during their pre-sales and you can’t even find a detail of it on their website. I felt scammed!

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Ricky Dickson avatar
Ricky Dickson dixonwalther.com
Jan 29, 2018

They have this support ticketing process that never yields results. The front line phone staff have no resources to resolve any issues on a first call resolution basis. All my emails on the dedicated server are yet to send a single email and the issue is not yet solved. I bought a wild card SSL certificate and installing it seems to be some nuclear science to their technicians who they hide behind the wall!

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Nikita ikita avatar
Nikita ikita nafk.io
Apr 20, 2017

Terrible service where nobody can help you. I’ve hosted my 2 websites here but they’ve blocked my account and deleted all the data because of some mystic internal error. And if you want to spend around 2 days solving your problem – go ahead and use Hostwinds. But don’t use it – just look for something else!

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Violante Monaldo avatar
Violante Monaldo tornodianos.info
Mar 02, 2017

I am fully satisfied using Hostwinds services. They have great plans and lots of server features. Their plans’ capacity might not be amazingly huge, but it’s reasonable and fair.

I just wish every company I’ve deal with on a daily basis are as quick and professional as they are, alas many don’t come even close… however, at least I know that my website hosting is secured for years to come!

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Ryan Thompson avatar
Ryan Thompson tpnetworks.net
Nov 29, 2015

I had a grueling experience starting for the first time in May 2014 when Burst.net dropped me on Hostwinds. Burst.net said that Hostwinds would help with the migration of my data. When hostwinds tried, they could not migrate the data.

So I lost a bunch of site’s data due to this abrupt change. That was mostly Burst.net’s fault. But I think Hostwinds could have tried harder to help with the data migration.

So I cancelled. Then I tried again in May 2015 with Hostwinds, only to find that I was experiencing excessive downtime, and I cancelled again. Then I got roped in today because of their "Black Friday" deals.

Really good deals, really bad support. First before I signed up, I asked their chat support if I could run "Virtual Box" on the VPS server I was choosing. They said "yes, as long as you can set it up".

When I attempted to set it up, I got an error about Vt-x needs to be enabled. I asked them if they could do that, and they said "no, you need a dedicated server". So since it says on their website "These servers are pre-configured and ready to launch within an hour".

Well, they failed to give notice that dedicated servers need manager’s approval before deploying. Which management is not there on weekends, nights, or holidays. So 16 hours later, they finally got a manager to respond to my ticket.

He said, if I wanted to sign up, they could get the server up in a few hours. Which would have made it a 24 hour turn around, not 1 hour. I had ordered their "advanced server monitoring service", and in the 16 hours since I originally ordered my VPS, the VPS had went offline 4 times in 16 hours, it had an uptime of less than 60% in that time.

So I will never use Hostwinds again, regardless of how cheap they are. Word to the wise, you get what you pay for, except in the case of getting services from Hostwinds.

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James Elum avatar
James Elum quizzyssoftwareshop.com
Jun 18, 2014

Bought a Windows VPS, good clean service, fast set up time. I Will buy from these guys again. There support was great as well.

The ability to pick and choose optional extras was very useful because I needed a faster transfer speed and more ram and it allowed me too without me spending lots. When I got my server it never lagged, and was always on top form. Would have given it 5 stars but I could not choose the location (E.U US West/East coast) but that can be overlooked. I would recommend to anyone looking to buy a VPS from these guys :D

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Tareq Mahmood avatar
Tareq Mahmood tareqmahmood.com
Dec 07, 2017

They charged me $500 for server renewal for additional one year which I don’t want, but they are denying me to refund the money showing their "insane" refund policy. Totally ridiculous. Please read their terms carefully when you buy service from them. Also, their support has been so bad now that that reply by 3-4 days for each question.

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Brianna O'Keefe avatar
Brianna O'Keefe viscernity.com
Oct 24, 2016

Let me be 100% honest with you guys. I just bought a server from HW Friday. The initial process was actually pretty good they were able to give me 50% off my first month even though the server I wanted wasn’t covered over the promotion they are currently running.

But then things just went downhill from there. They had told me that the process of building the server usually takes 2 – 3 hours and will definitely be completed within 24 hours. 31 hours later I am still wondering what’s going on, I am then told that they were unable to install the OS onto the hard drive and were having a senior tech head down to take a look at it as we were speaking. My question is why didn’t they have the senior tech take care of that after 5 hours of the first guy not being able to do that.

It seemed ridiculous at the time and honestly still does. So after that I get a message saying that they figured out the problem and I would have access to the server within 10 minutes. I took that time to shut down all my services and compress them so I could transfer, I receive the credentials and attempt to login only to find that they had forgotten to configure the internet correctly and my port speed was locked at about 5 mbps.

At this point I’m infuriated because I was experiencing down time for no reason. Two hours later they let me know that there is nothing that they can do until Monday when a manager gets there. So I had to unpack all my stuff and start my services on my current host as well as pay for a whole month of service with them because my due date had been reached.

So a server that originally cost me only 148 dollars had now cost me 360 dollars, and that’s not even including the overtime I paid my staff on two separate occasions when they assured me things would be done that night (night time is the optimal time to do any maintenance) So I’m currently waiting for Monday and I must say I have never been more frustrated with a company the current provider (Limestone Networks) is providing a server with the absolute worst network connection with only 35% of my users being able to connect. Weekends are usually the best for us but because of all the lag we have witnessed one of the worst weekends of all time. I am not very optimistic about them at this point, in fact I am expecting more garbage from them on Monday I will update you guys when that day comes. But as it stands right now this is the worst hosting company I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with.

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Hannah Norman avatar
Hannah Norman friendlygorilla.com
Aug 01, 2014

I would advise anyone considering Hostwinds for their next web host to seriously reconsider. Do not make the same mistake I did. I signed up with Hostwinds after shopping around and finding their VPS hosting to be particularly well priced compared to some other competitors.

Their pre-sales support was good and Michael helped me choose the correct tier of VPS suitable for my requirements. Everything went okay for the first few weeks, and then the problems started. About a week in I realised that the transfer to them from my old host had not gone smoothly, and they had actually managed to lose ALL of my old emails in the process, despite being told the transfer had been a 100% success.

Then my sites and emails started going down. I run a web design company and host my clients websites for them, and the downtime became so frequent that I lost several clients because of it. The level of support I received during this time was as good as useless – one word responses to tickets, and several hours of waiting between replies.

The live chat support feature they offer is actually purely for sales, not for support. There was no explanation for the downtime until I threatened to leave, and then they offered me 1 months free hosting and told me the downtime was caused due to updates to their servers. In the last month I was with Hostwinds my sites were going down everyday.

I wish that was an exaggeration but it isn’t. The response time to support tickets was now between 12 – 24 hours, and each response gave a different explanation for the downtime. No one seemed to know what they were talking about.

In my opinion the most important factors I look for in a hosting company is reliability and support – Hostwinds offers neither. This is without a doubt the worst experience with ANY company I have ever had. I am now just glad it is over, and hope I never have to deal with such a high level of unprofessional-ism again in my life.

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Control Panel — cPanel and WHM

HostWinds offers the latest cPanel for all their hosting plans.

It comes fully stocked with tools like Softaculous Auto-Installer, which allows you to install open-source software like WordPress, PrestaShop, Joomla, and more in just a few clicks.

Should I Try cPanel?

Well, why not. It’s free to try and if it’s a new piece of software to you, you should have a sniff around.

For plans that require server management, cPanel’s server-equivalent, WHM, comes with each plan at no extra cost.

Both are the most popular control panels in web hosting and are easy-to-use, even if you have no experience with web hosting.

What Can WHM Do For Me?

More than a few things. Let’s cover the perks of having a management agent of this sort on board.

cPanel Dashboard
cPanel Dashboard

Benefits of Feature Problem It Avoids
Backups Sufficient backups Loss of Data
High-Security Constant monitoring by engineers Malware, viruses and spam
Cost Saving No hidden costs Forced and expensive add-ons
Quality Assurance User restriction to ensure server health You can’t cause harm to the server
Effective Resource Use Shared responsibility Allows your team to focus on your business rather than the server

Overview of Hosts Reliability

The overall reliability of a hosting provider comes down to a good few factors. It isn’t enough to have a powerhouse behind your website if your risk of being offline is extortionate.

Strictly speaking, the features of HostWind which are vital to cover are:

  • Infrastructure of Host
  • Uptime
  • Support and Customer Service
  • Knowledge Base
  • Billing Procedure
  • Money-Back Guarantee

Infrastructure and Uptime

Hostwinds guarantees an uptime of 99.999% as a result of their robust infrastructure.

The company’s hardware infrastructure includes Tier 4 datacenters in Dallas and Seattle, fault tolerant power systems, cooling systems, and physical security.

Hostwinds also uses multiple communications providers for redundancy and high-speed connections.

Support and Customer Service

To go along with its friendly customer support, Hostwinds offers excellent technical support.

Customers can contact the company for help through phone, email, live chat, and support tickets. All support services are available 24/7. Not only is this convenient but a good influence on a piece of mind.

Knowledge Base

One aspect of HostWinds that stands out to me is that they have a robust knowledge base.

There are hundreds of articles about a wide variety of hosting topics that will help you if you ever run into trouble.

A solid, categoric knowledge base by HostWinds.
A solid, categoric knowledge base by HostWinds.

Each article is well written, broken down into simple steps with many clear images.

Billing

Hostwinds gives its customers flexible payment options. Customers can choose from a variety of payment terms ranging from monthly plans to triennial plans with longer terms costing less.

Customers also have a number of ways to pay including credit cards, PayPal, Skrill, and Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a good option if you’d like a bit of extra privacy for billing, but note that there are no other special privacy features on HostWinds.

Money-Back Guarantee

HostWinds has a pretty generous 60-day money back guarantee on most of their hosting plans.

It applies to:

  • Shared hosting
  • Business hosting
  • Reseller hosting
  • VPN Services (different from VPS)

But there is no money back guarantee for VPS hosting.

Additionally, refunds are not issued through bitcoin or Skrill. If you use one of these payment methods initially, your refund would be in the form of an account credit.

Hostwinds Similar Hosts

Liking HostWinds? Check These Hosts Out!

HostWinds may not be the perfect hosting provider for you, even if there are some things you like about it.

Here are a few alternatives that share positive aspects with HostWinds.

Bitcoin Web Hosting

This is a host that supports not only Bitcoin but several other cryptocurrencies. Other than that, their big selling point over HostWinds is that they offer a high level of privacy and anonymity.

You can see a more detailed Bitcoin Web Hosting review here.

LiquidWeb

If you like the high level of customization and hosting options available on HostWinds, you’ll like LiquidWeb.

They offer very high-performance servers, and you can customize plans however you’d like. The service and speed are amazing, but prices are much higher. You can learn more about LiquidWeb here.

Hostwinds Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons of HostWinds

Like all hosts, there are both good things and bad things about HostWinds.

Let me break down the most important pros and cons.

Pros

  • A wide range of payment options and services: one of the few hosts to accept Skrill and bitcoin.
  • Great support: a great knowledge base, and 24/7 support available through live chat, email, and phone.
  • Good customization options: one of the few hosts to offer both Windows and Linux hosting, as well as managed and unmanaged options.
  • Emphasis on speed: SSDs and a few other features are available on many plans to speed up your website.

Cons

At this point, you might think that everything seems perfect.

But when it comes to hosting, you also need to look at what isn’t there. Hosts never mention something negative about themselves, so it can be hard to see cons.

Here are the standout weaknesses to me:

  • Limited server locations: Hostwinds only has 2 data centers, and both are in the U.S. Your site will not be as fast for visitors across the world.
  • You have to pay extra for SSL certificates: many hosts provide SSL certificates for free now. You need to buy them at an additional cost, and they aren’t cheap.
  • Refunds have strict conditions: if you get a refund after buying with Skrill or bitcoin, you’ll be stuck with account credit (which you probably don’t want if you’re canceling). The money back guarantees also only apply to specific plans and services.

Summary

Hostwinds offers fast, friendly service featuring a variety of hosting plans ranging from basic shared hosting to VPS and dedicated servers.

Customers looking for a customer-centered host that supports a wide variety of payment options, and is focused on reliable service will find much to like about Hostwinds.

Useful Links

Here are a few useful links from this page which you may want to check out.


Additional material by Brian Wu.

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Dale Cudmore

About Dale Cudmore

Freelance blogger by day, developer by night, Dale is a freelance writer who specializes in technology and digital marketing. He studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo. After finding that unfulfilling, he moved onto a career in freelance writing, while self-teaching himself web development on the side.

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