If you're shopping for web hosting, you'll realize there's a ton of hosting companies but not all created equal.
Founded in 1996, HostMonster crams its hosting plans full of features like cPanel, easy WordPress install, 24/7 customer support, email accounts, and a free domain.
Sounds good, right? But are their hosting services the right choice for your website?
Our HostMonster review will help you decide.
- 1 Pros and Cons
- 2 About HostMonster
- 3 Hosting Plans
- 4 General HostMonster Features
- 5 Pricing and Billing
- 6 Resource Allocations and Limits
- 7 Performance/Uptime Guarantee
- 8 Freebies and Add-ons
- 9 Technical Support and Customer Service
- 10 HostMonster vs HostGator
- 11 Special Hosting Deal
- 12 HostMonster Review Summary
- 13 Your Review of HostMonster
Pros and Cons
Here's a quick look at the pros and cons of HostMonster hosting.
- Basic shared plans with everything
- Great uptime
- Supports a wide variety of CMSs
- Unlimited resource allocation
- Mediocre server speed
- No monthly contracts for shared hosting
In most cases, we think that having a lot of options is a good thing, but for those who just want hosting that works and don't care to look into the minutia, HostMonster's one-size-fits-most shared hosting plans will be a welcome relief.
There will be sites that find these plans too limited, but most users should be more than happy with these options (especially considering they come with an unlimited resource allocation and support a wide variety of apps and technologies).
As discussed below, HostMonster's page load speeds are not great. For most purposes, they are fine. But they are much slower than the top server speeds.
Another consideration is that HostMonster does not offer month-to-month shared hosting plans. You must sign up for at least a year.
HostMonster is a Provo, Utah-based hosting company founded in 1996. In 2010, the company was acquired by internet conglomerate, Endurance International Group (EIG), which also owns well-known web hosting companies like Bluehost, HostGator, and iPage.
Unlike many other providers that offer a wide array of options, HostMonster offers just three types of web hosting: shared, VPS hosting and dedicated servers.
Within each type of hosting, you have several options at a variety of price points.
HostMonster’s shared hosting plans are full-featured options that can get you online whether you’re launching just one site or many sites.
Resource-wise, you’ll get unlimited bandwidth and data transfer. You’ll also get a free domain name, access to HostMonster’s drag and drop website builder, and a cPanel to manage your website.
If you’re opting for a shared hosting plan, there are three options from which you can choose.
The entry-level option will get you support for one website, 50 GB of storage, 5 emails accounts (each of which supports 100 MB of data), and a free domain name.
The mid-range option gets you support for 10 websites, 150 GB of storage, 100 email accounts (each of which supports 500 MB of data), special marketing offers, and protection against spam.
The top-tier plan gets you support for an unlimited number of websites, as well as an unlimited allocation of resources (including email inboxes and storage). You’ll get premium marketing offers, spam protection, privacy protection, and automatic backups.
If you want a shared plan, but you’re interested in a high-performance server, HostMonster offers a Go PRO option that gets you a “souped up” version of the top-tier plan. This means that your website is hosted on a high-performance server, and you’ll get a dedicated IP address.
HostMonster’s servers all run Linux, and the company monitors its networks 24/7. It also makes automatic backups in case there are issues with the server.
HostMonster doesn't offer a dedicated WordPress hosting plan, but you can use any of HostMonster's plans for a WordPress site. Specifically, those with the shared hosting option can use the included cPanel to install WordPress.
If you’re looking to launch an online store in addition to your website, HostMonster offers the functionality you need to do so quickly. You can also be assured that your customer’s private data stays out of the hands of unauthorized users.
Your hosting plan includes:
- SSL certificate
- Password-protected directories
- Your choice of shopping cart integration
- OS Commerce
- Cube Cart
- Zen Cart.
If you’ve outgrown your shared hosting plan, or you want to get started with a more resource-intensive plan (perhaps you are expecting rapid growth in terms of traffic levels in the near future), HostMonster offers Linux-based VPS hosting options.
HostMonster’s VPS plans are cloud-based and can be managed with the enhanced cPanel that comes with your package. If you need to grant access to multiple people for server management, you can do so. You’ll get full root administrative privileges, and you’re guaranteed the resources indicated in your hosting contract.
Unlike many other hosts, who require hours (or even days) to provision their servers, HostGator offers instant provisioning, so you can get up and running in just seconds.
VPS Plan Options
Currently, there are four different VPS plans from which you can choose. All of them come with a free domain name.
- Standard: dual-core ($19.99). Comes with: 2 GB of RAM, 30 GB of storage, 1 TB of bandwidth, and a dedicated IP address.
- Enhanced: dual-core ($29.99). Comes with twice as many resources as the Standard plan.
- Premium: triple-core ($44.99). Comes with 6 GB of RAM, 90 GB of storage, 2 TB of bandwidth per month, and two dedicated IP addresses.
- Ultimate: quad-core ($59.99). Comes with 8 GB of RAM, 120 GB of storage, 3 TB of bandwidth, and two dedicated IP addresses.
HostMonster’s top-tier hosting option is its managed dedicated server. Like its VPS hosting, Hostmonster's dedicated servers can be provisioned in mere seconds. Currently, there are three different dedicated servers from which you can choose. As with all plans at HostMonster, they each come with a free domain name.
- Entry-level server: gets you a four-core environment with 3 MB of cache, 4 GB of RAM, 500 GB of storage (with RAID), 5 TB of data transfer per month, and three dedicated IP addresses.
- Mid-range server: is a four-core environment with 8 MB of cache. You’ll also 8 GB of RAM, 1000 GB of storage with RAID, 10 TB of bandwidth per month, and four dedicated IP addresses.
- High-end server: is also a four-core environment with 8 MB of cache, but you’ll get 16 GB of RAM, 1000 GB of storage with RAID, 15 TB of bandwidth, and five dedicated IP addresses.
General HostMonster Features
There are a few key features to consider when you're on the hunt for a new web host. These include things like support, bandwidth and storage, pricing and reliability.
Here are the features that come with HostMonster web hosting:
- Unlimited data transfer
- 24/7 customer support
- Free domain
- cPanel control panel
- Easy install for applications like WordPress.
Below, we'll take a closer at how cPanel hosting a one-click installs make it easier to run your website.
HostMonster web hosting plans with the Weebly sitebuilder.
Weebly is a popular sitebuiler because it's drag and drop functionality makes it easy to build an attractive website quickly.
If you're new to sitebuilder, you'll be able to get a decent-looking basic site up with ease using Weebly.
cPanel Control Panel
HostMonster ships the industry-leading cPanel Control Panel with their hosting options.
You can think of cPanel as the “command central” of your web hosting environment, since it is where you would go to do things like:
- Check on your website's resource usage
- Manage your email accounts
- Upload files via FTP
- Make backups of your site
- Manage your account's billing.
If you're familiar with cPanel, you'll feel right at home with HostMonster; the company does not modify cPanel in any way.
To extend the functionality of your website, HostMonster has partnered with MOJO Marketplace to offer you over 100 open-source apps, plugins, and themes that can be yours with just one click.
By taking advantage of the one-click installer, you can add or install things like message boards, mailing lists, image galleries, and CMSs like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla.
Pricing and Billing
HostMonster bills their plans in cycles of 12 months, 24 months, or 36 months.
You’re required to pay upfront for your service, and the longer your contract, the greater your discount (this practice is fairly common among host and used as an incentive for you to purchase lengthier contracts).
Refunds and Money Back Guarantees
Not completely sure that HostMonster is the provider for you?
HostMonster offers a 30-day money back guarantee. If you decide that what you've purchased isn't right for your website, you can cancel within 30 days to receive a refund on all monies paid for hosting services.
The money back guarantee, however, does not cover add-on products (including domain names). Domain names are non-refundable, but yours to keep even after cancellation.
HostMonster does not offer any refunds after 30 days.
Billing of VPS Plans and Dedicated Servers
VPS hosting plans, as well as dedicated servers, are billed slightly differently from shared plans. You can choose to pay for VPS plans on a monthly basis, but you can also pay upfront for extended contracts lasting 3, 6, 12, 24, or 36 months in exchange for a discount.
Resource Allocations and Limits
HostMonster boasts that its shared hosting plans come with an unlimited resource allocation, but what does this mean?
In short, it means that HostMonster will not bill you based on how much disk space or bandwidth your website uses.
The company is clear that 99.95% of its customers will have more than enough resources to manage their sites even though resources on a server are finite.
With that said, HostMonster requires that you comply with their Terms of Service and do not use the shared plan for websites and apps that would be better suited for a VPS or dedicated hosting plan.
To find outliers, the company performs statistical analyses on a monthly basis and they will reach out to anyone who uses more resources than 99.95% of the company's customers and ask them to reduce usage. They would then have 48 hours to comply before HostMonster takes corrective action.
HostMonster does not offer any performance-related or uptime guarantees.
The company merely states that the company handles most issues that arise within 15 minutes, though there are (on occasion) “extreme” issues that require longer than 15 minutes to resolve.
Using Pingdom, we tracked HostMonster's uptime for a year. Our data shows HostMonster achieved an average uptime of 99.99% during the period under review.
Freebies and Add-ons
You can also add to your purchase Domain Privacy Protection, Search Engine Jumpstart, and/or SiteLock Security.
If you purchase a plan that doesn’t come with any of the following options, you can add them to your hosting package during checkout:
- Domain Name: Purchases of a hosting package include a free domain name during the first year of service (you will be responsible for renewal fees in the subsequent years)
- Domain Privacy Protection: keep your personal details (such as name, address, and phone number) unlisted when HostMonster goes to register your new domain name
- Site Backup Pro: automatic back-ups of your website that you can use to restore your website if there are any server hiccups resulting in data loss
- Search Engine Jumpstart: get assistance with making sure that your site is found in search engine results
- SiteLock Security: prove yourself to be a safe and legitimate entity to your visitors by verifying your credentials and displaying the certificate you earn
- Comodo PositiveSSL Bundle: if you’re engaging in e-commerce, help protect your customers’ sensitive information with an SSL certificate.
Technical Support and Customer Service
HostMonster offers 24/7 technical support. You can get in touch with technicians via telephone, Live Chat, or the HostMonster support ticketing system.
You can access HostMonster's live chat function even if you're not an existing customer, and you have a question about the hosting service.
In terms of self-help resources, HostMonster offers the following options:
- Knowledgebase: search for individual articles that help you with a specific question or issue
- Getting Started guides: a full guide you can use if you’re new to the HostMonster platform and need assistance getting up and running
- Video tutorials: videos you can watch to learn how to set up things (like email) or implement certain functionality
- User forum: post questions and crowdsource answers, as well as ideas for your website.
There are over 80 reviews of HostMonster written by the company's actual customers. The company currently receives a rating of 2.4 out of 5.
HostMonster vs HostGator
If HostMonster isn't quite the right fit for you, you might consider HostGator instead.
HostMonster and HostGator are both subsidiaries of EIG, but the latter is a larger company offering a wider selection of hosting options.
HostGator offers shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting options like HostMonster, but HostGator offers multiple shared plans from which you can choose.
HostGator's plans also come with unlimited resource allocations, but by upgrading to a more expensive plan, you will be getting support for additional domain names and freebies like SSL certificates, dedicated IP addresses, and SEO tools.
Note that HostGator's high-end shared hosting plan is only a bit more expensive than HostMonster's plan.
HostGator also offers you options to get started on a budget, and the customer service offered by the company seems to be better than that offered by HostMonster.
The two hosting companies have different pricing structures, too. Unlike Hostmonster, HostGator doesn't require you to lock yourself into a contract. You can cancel your hosting package whenever you like.
Here's a glance at entry-level plans of HostMonster and HostGator stack up.
|Money-back guarantee||45 days||30 days|
|Bonuses||Free SSL||Free domain|
Bluehost for WordPress Hosting
Another option that might be right for you is Bluehost (again, a subsidiary of EIG). The company is known for its partnership with WordPress, so those using this platform for their websites would find a lot to like about the company.
Even if you aren't using WordPress, Bluehost offers a wide variety of feature-rich plans to support your website.
Special Hosting Deal
HostMonster Review Summary
HostMonster is a provider of shared and VPS hosting plans, as well as dedicated servers, at reasonable prices. Its aim is to provide quality offerings to individuals, small businesses, or those who are looking for options that are reliable and are backed by solid customer service.
If you’re looking to get started with your first website, HostMonster is a solid option. Its entry-level shared plans are inexpensive ways to get your website up and running, and if you ever run into issues, you can get in touch with the friendly and helpful customer support team.
Your Review of HostMonster
Are you a current or past customer of HostMonster? Would you recommend them? Please leave your comments below and let our visitors know what you think of HostMonster's speed, features and customer service.
Contributing editor: Bronwynne Powell.