HostMonster Review


By Basil
HostMonster

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Disclosure: BestWebHosting2014.Reviews serves as an independent web hosting reviews resource for the consumer. While we receive compensation from the companies we review, the compensation is used to cover our testing costs, as well as compensation for the authors who take the time to provide such thorough reviews. However, the compensation does not influence the end review; it is not tied to the rankings in any way.
Main Features
  • Free Domain
  • Unlimited Disk Space
  • Unlimited Bandwidth
  • FTP Access
  • Web-Based File Manager
  • 100 MySQL Databases
  • cPanel Control Panel
E-Mail Features
  • Unlimited E-Mail Accounts
  • Web-Based E-Mail
  • POP3 / SMTP
  • IMAP
  • Autoresponders
  • E-Mail Forwarding
  • Spam Protection
Domain Features
  • Free Domain
  • Unlimited Domains
  • Unlimited Sub-Domains
Language Support
  • PHP
  • Perl
  • Python
  • Ruby & Ruby on Rails
  • SSI
  • .htaccess
Website Creation Tools
  • Website Builder
  • Wordpress
  • Drupal
  • Joomla
  • Image Gallery
  • Forum Software
  • Online Store / Selling Tools
Marketing Tools
  • Google AdWords Credit
  • YP.com Listing
Customer Service
  • 24/7 Phone Support
  • E-Mail / Tickets Support
  • Live Chat Support
  • Video Tutorials
  • FAQ / Knowledgebase
  • Support Forum

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Summary

One-stop hosting plan, unlimited space and bandwidth, MySQL support, PHP5 and Perl5 as standard, wide choice of tools and software to install and a convenient hassle free control panel – that's what HostMonster comes with. Add 100% US-based support and $100 free credits on Google AdWords advertising, mix with the competitive price, shake and serve!

HostMonster specializes in customer satisfaction – you'll never get stuck with its services, whether you want to add a new domain, create a mailbox, or do something more complex. The company is located in Utah and claims that everything, including technical support personnel, resides there. With over one million websites hosted and 15+ years of experience, HostMonster looks monstrously promising.

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The $4.95 per month price is a good deal, but the renewal price is $6.95, which is more or less average. The free domain name and site builder included with all new accounts let a newbie webmaster jump in quickly, and experienced clients will find custom cron jobs, raw access logs, and SSH available right from the beginning.

Secure SSL server and loads of eCommerce platforms make it easy to launch a new online store within a few hours. The Google credits and free search engine optimization services will come in handy as soon as you start promoting it.


Reliability

According to test results measured by Pingdom™, the overall uptime value was 99.50%* during the measurement period. Client's data is not backed up automatically, so you should either take care of this aspect of data security yourself or purchase the backup services offered for $12.95/month.

Speed characteristics are average for this class of web hosting. Pingdom™ benchmarking showed an average response time of 0,634* seconds.


HostMonster Uptime HostMonster Response Time
Uptime Response Time

Money Back Guarantee

Aside from the typical 30 day full money back guarantee HostMonster offers, there's also a "super full" money back guarantee that works for 3 calendar days after the purchase and includes a refund for dedicated IP and Postini anti-spam services. All other payments, including SSL certificates, Site Backup Pro, SEO Package, SiteLock, and domain privacy are non-refundable. You must also pay for your free domain if you want to keep it for yourself after cancellation.


Ease of Use

HostMonster implements an interesting approach to the control panel. In addition to the well-known hosting control panel application, cPanel, they offer a lite version of the "Command Center" control panel.


cPanel
cPanel

Command Center
Command Center

Command Center's menu is pared down to the most common tasks a web master may need: creating and managing e-mail boxes, adding domain names, assigning a design template to a site, and filling the site with content.

The link to cPanel is at the top of the page along with links to additional options: dedicated IP, Postini, DNS management, billing account management, and others.

The main control panel is more or less standard with the exception of links to third-party services, billing, and video tutorials. In addition to the free Weebly Site Builder available from the Command Center, HostMonster also offers an alternative: the Simple Scripts installation framework that allows the setup of several other web publishing solutions such as BasicPages or liveSite.


liveSite
liveSite

Not all of them are free, of course, but the real problem is that not all of them actually work. We had no problems using BasicPages, but Trendy Site Builder's trial failed to work, requesting the ionCube PHP loader library.


BasicPages Installation
BasicPages Installation

Offering multiple third-party software is a common marketing trick, but does it help if they simply don't install?

We also tried to install several other products including CMS, CRM, and blogs without any further problems.


Textpattern CMS
Textpattern CMS

PHP-Nuke
PHP-Nuke

SugarCRM
SugarCRM

Basically, HostMonster is not at all intimidating and provides every type of functionality a user needs including assisting novices with its smart and simple Command Center. Unfortunately, not all of the suggested third-party scripts worked as expected, which could indicate that the staff doesn't actually test all of them for compatibility.

Technical Support

HostMonster is equipped with multiple user communication channels but achieves only average response times. The responses were, however, precise and informative.


Live Chat
Live Chat

A typical "may I have more of this or that" message posted into a live chat was answered in roughly 6 minutes. Bad Monster, bad! An online ticket we created was answered after 36 minutes of wait, which is also a very mediocre result.


Online Ticket Support
Online Ticket Support

Other support channels are phone, community forum, and plenty of self-assistance materials. The personnel at HostMonster picked up the phone after 2 minutes – an average value again.

When you want to solve a problem yourself, you can enjoy dozens of video tutorials and an informative knowledge base containing answers to virtually anything, but when you need the help of a pro, you will probably have to wait on the queue.

Conclusion

It looks extremely cost effective at first glance, but HostMonster is a wolf in lamb's clothing. The default plan costs $4.95, but the company offers a Pro Package with free SSL, dedicated IP, daily backups, and higher CPU and bandwidth priority. With the Pro Package you probably won't notice longer hosting response times, the 200k file count limit, and 100 MySQL table cap. But it costs $19.95/month, not $4.95, and that's way over the top.

The number of third-party software offerings is impressive, but not all of them are actually compatible with the web host. The unhurried technical support is partially offset by the rich informational resources and the handy quick-start Command Center.

HostMonster is not ideal but is still a comfortable choice if you're looking for an easy-to-launch web hosting solution.

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* Uptime monitoring and response time data for hosting with iPage, FatCow, HostGator, WebHostingHub, JaguarPC, GoDaddy, BlueHost, HostMonster, and InMotion Hosting are presented for the period spanning from August 15, 2012 to September 30, 2012 inclusively. Monitoring data for hosting with JustHost are presented for the period spanning from October 02, 2013 to October 08, 2013 inclusively. Check interval is one minute.

How do we check uptime / response time?

Web hosting accounts are acquired from the providers that we are reviewing. Next, we design custom made sites to put on these hosting accounts. With the help of Pingdom™ monitoring services we receive the most accurate information available. We believe in doing everything ourselves and tweaking our sites to simulate different types of users. Other review companies just take the short way out but we are dedicated to up to the second information.
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