Some things get better with age. That’s the old adage anyway.
Unfortunately, it’s not always the case.
HostMonster was founded way back in 1996, making them one of the oldest web hosts in the industry (before merging with EIG in 2015).
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? Or has their performance slipped, like so many other recently acquired EIG brands?
Let’s take a look at what we found!
General Info & Hosting Overview
Our Verdict: 3.0
|SPEED:||1190 ms (February 2020 to January 2021)|
|UPTIME:||99.95% (February 2020 to January 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, Five Email Accounts, 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee|
|HOSTING PLANS:||Shared, VPS, and Dedicated Hosting|
|SITE TRANSFER:||Not 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. So you’d think they should have their stuff together.
HostMonster does deliver some decent stuff (throwing in a few nice extra features like instant provisioning).
Here’s a quick summary of the biggest positive aspects we’ve found:
1. Good Uptime (99.95%)
The industry average for uptime is around 99.93-99.94% based on our analysis.
HostMonster delivered an average uptime of 99.95% with almost 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:
- 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%
- March 2020: 99.98%
- February 2020: 99.97%
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 (as high as 41% in one study)!
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. Yippee!
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.
Considering GoDaddy tries to upsell you another $100/year for just this feature and you realize that the initial price is a pretty decent value.
Cons of Using HostMonster Hosting
So far, our support experience was good. But we’ve found several mixed reviews from others.
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 and their speed has gone even worse during this year.
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 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.
4. They Charge for Backups
Speaking of extra fees, there’s also a $1.99 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. Expensive Migration Costs
Moving your existing website from one hosting company to another isn’t the most challenging thing in the world. Technically, the process is pretty straightforward if you know what you’re doing.
But that’s exactly the problem:
Doing all of this manual labor isn’t really worth your time if you’re not already a tech-savvy webmaster.
That’s why many web hosts we’ve reviewed will provide you with site migrations at no additional cost. It makes sense for them, seeing as they’re basically gaining a new customer while their competitor is losing one at the same time. So it’s an easy ‘freebie’ to offer people to gain their goodwill.
Unfortunately, HostMonster doesn’t quite agree with this take. Instead, they’re using it as another money-making opportunity.
They’ll allow you to migrate your own site for free through FTP (which stands for “File Transfer Protocol”). But, as we’ve discussed, it’s probably not worth your time.
So HostMonster can do it for you, but for a cool $149.99 in return. They’ll do it for up to five sites and 20 email accounts. However, it’s still pretty pricey in the grand scheme of things when the hosting plan you’re purchasing probably doesn’t even cost you this much.
At least, not during the first term anyway. This brings us to the next issue…
6. 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 ten 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 $9.49/mo
Renews at $12.49/mo
Renews at $14.99/mo
|Other Features||–||• 1 SpamExperts||• 1 SpamExperts
• 1 Domain Privacy+Protection
• CodeGuard Basic
- 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.
But HostMonster failed in our speed tests and that’s a huge concern, seeing as a ‘working’ website is kinda a prerequisite 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.