Besides the strange name, HostMonster has gained a reputation as a solid web hosting provider in the industry. HostMonster, like several small scale web hosts mainly focuses on shared hosting inviting potential webmasters who are only concerned with running a website comprising a small number of visitors. This can be applicable for personal websites and blogs, small businesses or other content websites or interactive forums pertaining to a relatively small niche market. However, of late, they have also started offering VPS and dedicated server hosting. In this review, let’s put this hosting provider under a magnifying glass.
HostMonster Shared Hosting Package
HostMonster offers a single, shared service rather than being a jack of all trades. This allows them to be highly specialized and provide an excellent service which is reflected by their popularity and relatively few numbers of complaints from the thousands of customers that they serve.
The first thing that will catch your eye upon visiting their website is their unlimited provision of resources from the disk space to the bandwidth as well as email accounts. The “unlimited” clause should be taken with a grain of salt with any shared hosting service that advertises this. While this is true theoretically, practically unlimited bandwidth is not feasible as all processors have a limit. The resources of a shared hosting server are divided by hundreds of users which would typically mean that your bandwidth is in fact, very limited. HostMonster would be ideal for a small-scale website. For sites that demand a relatively large amount of bandwidth, it would be recommended to try another option.
In terms of email, HostMonster supports both email protocols which is one feature that some shared hosting services don’t tend to provide. The web based mail is pretty basic. Of course, If you are not comfortable with HostMonster’s stock email software, you can change your MX records and manage your email via Gmail. Apart from this, a number of standard features are provided such as Mysql support, FTP access and analytics software.
HostMonster offers extensive support for third party software solutions including content managements systems and other scripts; some notable names that HostMonster supports include WordPress, Joomla and forum scripts such as phpBB.
The site-builder provided is simple to use and optimized for user-friendliness and accessibility thanks to the drag-n-drop layout. HostMonster also provides free shared secure server access as well as e-commerce management software. It should be understood that such services generally come at a price so expect certain limitations as it is provided free of charge. A Google advertising voucher worth $100 is also given with their service. This is not the most attractive promotion offered in comparison to some of the other shared server hosting companies that provide incorporate offers from a number of other advertising companies.
One area that HostMonster tends to lag behind in is customer support, typically with email support. HostGator’s email support representatives tend to provide stock answers found in the knowledgebase which may not specifically answer the query you ask for in your mail. If you need support for an issue, it would be advisable to directly call a customer support representative instead. However, due to their extensive knowledgebase, efficienct service and user-friendly interface, you will rarely need support.
Server Hardware and Quality
HostMonster sits on a powerful network of servers comprising of quad processors housed at their own data center. The processors are capable of hosting hundreds of shared websites globally with minimal downtime. Complaints of downtime are typically expressed by customers who have overestimated the capabilities of a shared server and have heavily taxed its resources to the point where service had to be temporarily suspended. Its datacenter has backup mechanisms in place to prevent interruption during power outages or other complications as well as a periodic backup of all shared servers on the computer systems.
Additional Points to Consider
Here are some additional points you should consider before making the jump; these will help you take an informed decision:
- The shared hosting package is a comprehensive solution which includes the provision of a shared SSL certificate which is generally sold at a separate cost. Keep in mind that these free add-ons that are generally sold at a premium will have limitations.
- HostMonster will not be suitable if you are targeting visitors in the range of several thousand a day. Additionally, websites comprising of a lot of processing might also use up resources and lead to downtime. However, it is ideal for small-scale websites.
- While the price is portrayed in the home page on a per month basis, payment has to be made for a minimum of one year.
Is HostMonster Worth It?
Answering this question can be approached in two ways. First of all, it needs to be understood that the “unlimited” specifications are in fact very much limited. If you have a fair idea of the capabilities of a shared server and then consider this question, then of course, HostMonster is worth the investment. However, if you are expecting a monstrous server capable of withstanding terabytes upon terabytes of bandwidth on a daily basis, then you might be in for a bit of a surprise. In short, HostMonster is certainly worth the price for a reasonable shared server.