7.5 Out Of 10
|Support||Chat, Phone & Knowledge Base|
|Uptime||Good (99.98% past 6 months)|
|Migration is free|
|Best for||cPanel Hosting|
|Strengths||Part Of A Larger Company|
|Weaknesses||Sister Company Offers Better Prices|
Newfold Digital owns HostMonster, a web hosting company. They offer shared Linux Hosting, which is what most website owners need. HostMonster offers email, a website creator and other complementary services to hosting.
Their data center is located at Provo, Utah in (what appears) the same facilities that their sister brand (see Bluehost review). Their brand is actually a replica of their Bluehost and JustHost brands.
HostMonster is used by one of my most trusted clients. However, I have never written anything about them. This is my HostMonster Hosting review. It’s based on both my experiences as a customer and as a consultant to customers.
|No cost domain name||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year|
* Prices per month for a 36-month subscription
Here’s how HostMonster compares to the top web hosts I have used as a consultant or customer.
Migration is free
Starting At $1.39/mo
Migration is free
Get 65% Off
Migration is free
Starting At $2.95/mo
The Best Web Hosting
HostMonster vs. GoDaddy
GoDaddy has been the “granddaddy” of the web hosting industry, thanks to its TV ads and other offline ads.
GoDaddy shares many of the same pros and cons as HostMonster, despite much improvement since 2013. Both are great choices, but HostMonster is my favorite. If you’re comfortable with GoDaddy then go.
HostMonster vs. HostGator
Bluehost, HostGator is a well known brand within the hosting industry. They are also part of Newfold Digital, making them a sister brand to HostMonster. The names are very similar.
HostGator, which is based in Houston, has a unique pricing structure and a different brand focus. They are more focused on starter websites, and offer cheaper plans with more features. You can also choose to pay monthly. I prefer HostGator.
HostMonster vs. Bluehost
Newfold Digital owns sister brands HostMonster (see the Bluehost Review).
They have the same data center. They have the same plans. Bluehost is my choice. They are Newfold’s marquee brand and seem to be getting more attention than HostMonster. Visit Bluehost.
HostMonster vs. iPage
iPage is HostMonster’s last sister brand. They seem to be another brand Newfold has forgotten about, like HostMonster. iPage offers deeper discounts than HostMonster.
HostMonster appears to have a slightly more robust backend. I would choose iPage. However, neither of these options is very appealing.
HostMonster vs. InMotion Hosting
InMotion hosting is one the fastest-growing independent (i.e. owned by employees and not a large corporate holding) hosting companies.
This website uses a VPS server and InMotion. They offer better pricing, support and performance than HostMonster.
InMotion hosting is, in my opinion, a better option than HostMonster.
HostMonster reviews are plentiful online. Most of them are user-generated reviews, based on anecdotes or personal experience. This is fine, but I prefer a different approach. As I have stated in other hosting reviews there is no “best” web host. Based on your needs, budget, experience, and expertise, the “best” web host is the one that will work best for you. These are the advantages (pros) of HostMonster.
HostMonster pricing and actual plans are a problem (which I’ll discuss in the cons section). They do offer deep discounts for their first year on all products.
HostMonster offers discounts on their Basic plan to save you money and get you started.
These numbers are based on a lot more context (ie, what you actually get). If you’re only starting one website over the course of a year, however, their deep discounts can be an advantage.
Creating a website is a daunting task if it’s your first time. It should be easy, straight-forward, and well-guided. It should be easy to access settings, billing, server and account information.
And even if you have run websites/email/scripts before, you still want a simple way to do what you need to do.
HostMonster uses cPanel to back-end its hosting accounts. cPanel is an industry standard, so you can find plenty of guides and help online. It is also quite simple, although it can be a bit ugly. HostMonster helps clients integrate their billing and profile settings into cPanel, without cluttering it with upsells or ads. This is the backend.
**though I won’t attempt to defend this hideous shade. It’s supposed to be called “Monster Green”.
The backend of the site is what you will see when you sign up. This allows you to jump right into your project with no intermediate screens. You will see the most popular options, such as WordPress auto-install, right in front of you with information about your server on the side. After signing up, you will receive an email confirmation with your account information.
Many providers have a proprietary backend (dreamHost, IONOS), or they clutter up the site with upsells and ads (iPage). HostMonster has a simple backend which is a huge advantage.
Apps & Install Process
Their app installation process is similar to HostMonster’s clean, simple (but hideously green!) backend. They use MOJO Marketplace to install their app. This is a template and theme provider owned by Newfold Digital.
Although there are a few upsells and ads, the one-click WordPress installation process is easy and very useful.
HostMonster offers a wide range of scripts and apps because they use MOJO marketplace, a premium theme-template marketplace owned by Newfold. All apps and scripts are easy to install, despite the fact that they use MOJO ads.
Although not a significant advantage, it is a solid pro when compared to other industry providers.
Cons of HostMonster
HostMonster is not without its flaws, as with all web hosts. HostMonster complaints are numerous online. Some are valid, some are not. These are my experiences with HostMonster hosting.
Pricing & Plan Structure
HostMonster’s biggest problem is its pricing. HostMonster’s pricing is high for the product they sell, no matter what your perspective may be – whether you consider it short-term, long term, total value or simple.
They use Bluehost, and JustHost pricing structures. Both of these are recent changes that have made it worse. HostMonster’s online signup looks like a rebranded Bluehost shopping basket.
It is difficult to compare pricing between different hosting companies. Different companies have different plans. They offer different renewal prices, bonuses, and caps. It can be difficult to figure out how much you will pay each month or year.
I have broken down the shared hosting pricing plan into Core hosting features, and Bonus hosting features. This allows you to see exactly what you’re paying for and how it compares with other providers.
The “3 D’s” are core hosting features – domains and databases, disk space, and disk space. All of them relate to the core purpose a hosting server serves, which is to provide website files to anyone who types in your domain name.
- Domains refer to the number of domain names that you can point at your hosting account. Multiple domains are required if you plan to host multiple websites. It is also important to consider email addresses per domain. Sometimes, these are also capped.
- Databases allow you to run multiple pieces of website software on your hosting server. One database is required for a WordPress install. You will need additional databases if you have apps, Listservs, or other services.
- The amount of files that you can place on your server is called disk space. This includes images, text and PDFs.
- Other bonus features include website builder software and advertising credits.
You can begin to break it down and you will be able to at least compare apples with apples. This will allow you to get an idea of the value you are getting based on your needs.
HostMonster offers three shared hosting plans: Basic (from $9.49/mo), Plus (from $12.49/mo), or Choice Plus (from $14.99/mo). Prices are listed monthly, but you must pay for 1-year, 2-year, and 3-year contracts.
*Aside: “Unlimited” in HostMonsters’ case means “unmetered”. This means that they don’t track the activity of your website, other than in relation to its total resources. Hosting companies have limited resources, even Amazon. It’s all about managing those resources. HostMonster doesn’t preemptively limit your usage. If you do not respect the server’s limits, HostMonster reserves the right to throttle your website.
HostMonster’s Basic plan heavily limits domains and disk space. It’s still more expensive than Bluehost, HostGator, and Bluehost .
The Plus and Choice Plus plans have fewer caps than their sister brands HostGator and independent competitors InMotion and Siteground.
Plus and Pro plans attempt to increase their value by adding bonus features. The majority of features are not worth the money (“1 SpamExpert” or “$200 in Marketing Offers”), more complicated than they sell (GlobalCDN) or devalue Basic and Plus plans (“High Performance” and “Site backups = so… the other plans are poor performance with no backups?”).
HostMonster’s pricing for a single website without email is acceptable, but you can get a better product elsewhere.
As I said in my best article, it is difficult to judge customer service at an individual level. Reading other people’s stories is not enough to tell the whole story. It is impossible to know the context of a help session given by another person. It is impossible to know whether they have the worst or best employees.
I believe it is better to find out if support is viewed as a cost or upsell opportunity, rather than an investment.
Here’s how I view customer support.
- What number of support channels are they able to access (accessibility?)?
- What amount do they spend on DIY support?
HostMonster initially seems to be a good company for customer support. Support is available via chat, email, and phone. There’s even a knowledge base.
Their user forum does not load on a regular basis. Their knowledge base isn’t as up-to-date or as comprehensive as some other knowledge bases I have seen. It is also littered by broken links and poor design choices. It appears that they used to invest in support resources years ago, but have stopped.
Their customer service is excellent. It’s a pro, but I would hesitate to call it that. However, when you consider the other disadvantages and the problems that I mentioned, it will be in the cons column.
Branding and Design
No one wants to purchase a product that a large company has neglected or not invested fully in, even though the product is excellent.
Consider the apartment block that the landlord neglects and doesn’t maintain instead of remodeling or upgrading. Or the car that is still in good condition but the owner hasn’t spent money on valuable upgrades.
HostMonster is like a brand Newfold has forgotten.
Their sister brands Bluehost, HostGator have been given new designs and services. Even iPage has gotten a design refresh.
Like FatCow or JustHost, HostMonster has a lot of stock imagery from 2006 and broken links.
It’s not because stock imagery or basic design are bad. This doesn’t affect how reliable their servers are. It is a sign of how passionate the owners and management are about the company, and a glimpse into the culture.
Comparable to their sister brands, and even independent competitors like:
- InMotion Hosting
- Web Hosting Hub
HostMonster’s brand, business and image are outdated and a huge disadvantage.
Performance is average
You are not only paying hosting companies for a space for your website, but you also expect them to deliver your website quickly to anyone who types in your domain.
How fast your website loads is dependent on many factors. Website speed can be affected by everything, from the type of website to how many images are used to where your visitor is located (plus 100+ other factors).
A 1988 Honda Civic has never been able to win a Formula One race. A slow server will not allow you to win speed contests, no matter how optimized your website is.
Without behind-the scenes access it is difficult to judge server speed. However, the Time To Last Byte (TTFB), can be used as a guideline for how efficient a company’s servers are.
Time to First Byte refers to the speed at which the server transmits the first bit of information to a browser following a request.
They didn’t perform well when I tested HostingMonster on my website.
TTFB can be considered a trend, but it is important to remember that it is not a new phenomenon. They share a Bluehost datacenter so it could be a one-off problem (or misconfiguration if there are separate sections).
Here’s a comparison of a website similar to Web hosting Hub (a rival starter website hosting company).
HostMonster is a good choice for small sites, but they don’t offer strong performance and are not comparable to direct competitors.
Overall, I found HostingMonster to have a “meh” option for what they were selling.
If you already have a website, you’ll be fine with them. However, you can do a lot better for your money with Newfold’s sister companies Bluehost and HostGator.
View HostMonster’s current plans and pricing
InMotion Hosting is a great independent hosting company that offers good pricing, superior performance and excellent customer service.