HostMonster was founded way back in 1996, making them one of the oldest web hosts in the industry.
We purchased the HostMonster ‘Basic Plan’ to begin running detailed performance tests to evaluate their performance. We created a basic WordPress website and have monitored site statistics like speed & uptime (among other important criteria) to determine where they stack up against other web hosts in the industry.
Does HostMonster’s experience give them a competitive edge?
Let’s take a look at what we found!
General Info & Hosting Overview
Our Verdict: 3.0
|SPEED:||1190 ms (April 2020 to March 2021)|
|UPTIME:||99.94% (April 2020 to March 2021)|
|SUPPORT:||24/7 Live Chat, Phone, Knowledge Base|
|APPS:||WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Moodle, and more.|
|FEATURES:||Unlimited Bandwidth, 50 GB Storage, One Website, Free SSL Certificate, Email Accounts, 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee, Site Builder|
|HOSTING PLANS:||Shared, VPS, and Dedicated Hosting|
|SITE TRANSFER:||Single WordPress Site for Free|
|PRICING:||Starting at $4.95/mo (renews at $9.49/mo)|
Pros of Using HostMonster Hosting
We’ll admit: we had high hopes for these industry veterans.
They’ve been around the block a few times and are now owned by one of the biggest industry conglomerates (EIG). So you’d think they should have their stuff together.
Here’s a quick summary of the biggest positive aspects we’ve found:
1. Good Uptime (99.94%)
The industry average for uptime is around 99.93% based on our analysis.
HostMonster delivered an average uptime of 99.94% with a bit more than five hours of downtime over the last 12 months. There were three troublesome months (May, July, and October 2020) but for the rest of nine months, their performance was reliable.
Last 12-month average uptime:
- March 2021: 99.97%
- February 2021: 99.93%%
- January 2021: 100%
- December 2020: 100%
- November 2020: 99.95%
- October 2020: 99.83%
- September 2020: 99.99%
- August 2020: 99.98%
- July 2020: 99.85%
- June 2020: 99.98%
- May 2020: 99.91%
- April 2020: 99.94%
2. Decent Support
HostMonster offers phone, email, and live chat support. We tested out the latter.
Our live chat experience went rather well. The customer support agent connected within a few minutes and replied also quickly (even though he didn’t seem too eager to talk to us).
3. Good Security Options
HostMonster provides a few different security options to choose from to help you protect your site and keep malicious people (or programs) at bay.
Incredibly, the leading way WordPress sites get hacked is through the vulnerability of their hosting company.
Following closely behind are ‘insecure themes’ and ‘vulnerable plugins’, which is the natural result of so many different third-party tools trying to work together in a quickly evolving environment.
HostMonster does a good job including different security features like Hotlink Protection, SSH Access, SSL support, regular site backups, and Spam Assassin Protection.
4. Instant Provisioning & Fast Setup
If you decide to go for their dedicated or VPS hosting, they promise instant provisioning of their servers.
That’s good news for people who wanted to get started quickly (or those located overseas outside the U.S.) because you won’t have to go through a long, drawn-out verification call or anything. Instead, you should expect your servers to be ready in seconds.
Like many other web hosting providers, they’ll also throw in a free domain name for one year with all new plans.
5. Pretty Good Value (50 GB Storage, Unmetered Bandwidth, Free SSL)
HostMonster’s Basic plan isn’t the cheapest at $4.95/month, but you do get a pretty good value considering some of the restrictions and extras.
For starters, you’re getting up to 50 GB of storage and unmetered bandwidth right out of the gates. In addition, you’re getting a free SSL certificate, too.
Moreover, a free domain is included for the first year.
6. One Free WordPress Site Transfer
Similar to Bluehost, HostMonster just recently started offering free sign migrations.
However, there’s a catch.
Site migration is only free for one WordPress site that fits the given criteria. Moreover, the migration has to be done within the first 30 days of the initial signup.
What if your site isn’t eligible?
In this case, you’d have to pay $149.99. For that price, you’ll get up to five site transfers and 20 email accounts migrations.
7. Easy-to-Use Control Panel
When you log in to HostMonster’s client area, you’ll see a very minimal interface.
From the left sidebar, you can access your domains, email accounts, marketplace. From “My Sites” you can log in to WordPress and start managing your site.
What concerns the control panel, then similar to many other hosts, HostMonster also uses a cPanel.
The cPanel is accessible via the “Advanced” button on the left sidebar. There you can manage all the hosting-related issues.
Cons of Using HostMonster Hosting
So far, our support experience was good.
We appreciated the extra attention to detail on security issues, helping to make sure their customer’s sites are safe and secure.
But here’s where things get interesting.
Let’s see what negative aspects you should keep in mind before deciding on your next web host.
1. Slow Page Load Time Over Last 12-Months
HostMonster delivered an average page speed of 1190 ms over the past 12 months.
The good news?
They have shown improved speed results monthly basis. But for now, they’re still not fast enough to earn a place in our pros section.
That’s critical, considering that only a little, tiny one second delay causes a hit across the board:
- 7% decrease in conversions
- 11% decrease in page views
- 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.
2. Misleading Pricing with Long Commitment Required
HostMonster does not offer a true month-to-month plan, with the minimum requirement starting at 12 months.
What’s even worse — the price ($6.95) is more expensive for this option, too.
For example, if you’d like the cheaper ‘promotional’ rate they show on the site, you’re going to have to commit to three years (paid in full upfront).
That’s a big commitment to make when you have literally no idea if you’re going to like them yet.
Unfortunately, this technique is also standard practice in the hosting arena.
3. Hidden Costs & Fees
Sadly, there are also a few hidden costs along the way that might surprise you.
First up – your ‘Low’ promotional rate is only available for new plans. When your plan renews, the price will jump back to the regular (inflated) rate.
Their ‘free domain name’ isn’t free. If you decide to cancel your account, you’ll be charged a fee that’s non-refundable (again it is quite a common trick in the hosting industry).
4. They Charge for Backups
Speaking of extra fees, there’s also a $2.99 monthly charge for backups (if you want these). Many other web hosting companies we’ve reviewed so far will toss this feature in as a freebie, so it’s just another fee in the long list that is adding up now.
5. High Plan Renewal Costs
Web hosting websites don’t lie per se. They just stretch the truth a little bit.
Take the pricing page as an example. Those rock-bottom rates look great first pass, right? A few bucks a month probably doesn’t even cover your coffee bill these days.
However, it’s only when you dig through the Frequently Asked Questions or Terms and Conditions that you start to peel back the layers of deception.
The first common flaw is usually that you can only get those low advertised prices if you prepay for a minimum of three years. We go from bad to worse, though, when you start looking at how much these plans will cost when it’s time to renew after the first few years.
HostMonster’s ‘cheap’ monthly rates will double in the blink of an eye, going from $4.95/month on the low end up to nearly 12 bucks for the same exact service. The bigger Plus, Choice, and Plus Pro plans increase even more dramatically, costing you premium prices for a relatively basic offering at the end of the day.
So if you don’t see yourself wanting to move hosts again in a few years, it’s probably worth ponying up a few extra dollars and getting the best value over the long term.
HostMonster Pricing, Hosting Plans & Quick Facts
Here’s a quick overview of HostMonster’s shared hosting plans. Please note that this pricing is only available if you sign-up for the three-year term.
|Basic Plan||Plus Plan||Choice Plus Plan|
Renews at $11.99/mo
Renews at $14.99/mo
Renews at $17.99/mo
|Other Features||–||• 1 SpamExperts||• 1 SpamExperts
• 1 Domain Privacy+Protection
• CodeGuard Basic
- Domain Name: Free for the 1st year.
- Ease of Signup: One-page signup. They make it very easy to sign up.
- Payment Methods: Credit Card, PayPal.
- Money-Back: 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Hidden Fees and Clauses: By signing up, you agree to give them a non-exclusive royalty-free license to use content available on your account with them as they deem fit. All shared hosting accounts come with a limit of 1000 total database tables, 3GB total database size, and 200,000 inodes.
- Upsells: A few upsells.
- Account Activation: Instant Activation.
- Control Panel and Dashboard Experience: cPanel.
- Installation of Apps and CMSs (WordPress, Joomla, etc.): Mojo Marketplace for easy installation of popular apps and CMSs.
Do We Recommend HostMonster?
HostMonster’s performance is pretty average across the board, to be honest.
Their customer support and uptime are decent and we’re happy to see that they now offer free site migration for WordPress sites.
But HostMonster failed in our speed tests and that’s a huge concern, seeing as a ‘working’ website is kinda a necessity here.
Then you have the issue of all-too-common pricing tricks, which isn’t quite as good as advertised when you start adding up all the extra fees and charges over time.
Simply put – there are better hosts out there for your money.
Very Good Uptime | Easy to Use for Beginners | 24/7 Customer Support
Read Bluehost review
Extremely Affordable | Top 3 Load Time | Multilingual Support
Read Hostinger review
Best Month-to-Month Plan | 97-Day Refund Period | Unlimited Bandwidth
Read DreamHost review
Further reading: The 10 Best Web Hosting Services (In 2021)
Do you have any experience with HostMonster? We welcome all reviews – positive or negative – as long as it’s honest and transparent.