HostMetro was recently founded in 2012 to specialize in providing only shared hosting.
They’re also one of the only web hosts with a ‘guaranteed price lock’, so your pricing doesn’t jump 200% when it’s time to renew.
In addition, they boast 99.9% uptime to round out a decent array of offers for budget-conscious customers.
But are all of these claims too good to be true?
We set up a basic WordPress test website on the HostMetric ‘Mega Max Plan’ back in June of 2015. Over the course of the past few months, we’ve monitored and analyzed their performance, compiling the most important results including uptime & speed to be able to provide you with this unbiased review.
Let’s get started:
Pros of Using HostMetro hosting
HostMetro’s ‘Price Lock Guarantee’ is one of the more innovative offerings we’ve seen after reviewing almost thirty different web hosting companies. What else do they offer besides low prices?
1. Inconsistently Decent Customer Support
Our experience with HostMetro’s customer support started pretty well. Their agents connected quickly and answered all of our questions in a timely manner.
Unfortunately, our background checks show generally mixed reviews about the availability (and effectiveness) of their customer support department.
- “We are unable to log in to our c-panel and email is not working. We have tried contacting your online support and no one is picking up. Will anyone of you explain to me what’s happening?”
- “Your customer service is terrible! I am definitely looking for a new host. I was told you would get my site reactivated so I could fix things re the plugins. It hasn’t been done. This has happened sooo many times and I am done.”
- “Hello guys, this is almost days now our websites are down and we are getting no help, taking 24hrs to reply for a ticket? I want help soonest, I can’t even reach you on call.”
- “What seems to be the problem with your support? I can’t get hold of anyone over the phone and its almost two hours wait. I can’t even connect with your chat support. And your email support is very slow. We are having an issue with our emails and I want somebody to fix it for me.”
2. Price Lock Guarantee (!)
Most hosts suck you in with a ridiculously low rate the first time you sign up with them. When your plan is up and it’s time to renew, that low rate disappears and your price can double or even triple seemingly overnight.
HostMetro bucks that trend though, guaranteeing your initial registration rate – even for future renewals!
That’s a tremendous deal, offering a huge price advantage if you plan on sticking with them long-term.
3. Free Website Transfer (With Limitations)
HostMetro will happily migrate your existing website over to their servers for free.
Only if it doesn’t exceed 3GB. Otherwise, you’re on your own.
And the site transfer needs to be requested within 30 days of creating an account.
If you’re unhappy, you can always take advantage of their 30-day, no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee.
4. 99.9% Uptime Guarantee
The Terms of Service page for most hosts is where optimism goes to die.
What seemed like such a good deal at first quickly starts turning into a nightmare as you read one questionable policy after another.
However, every now and then you come across something positive that restores your faith in some companies.
Buried inside HostMetro’s Terms is their Uptime Guarantee policy.
If their annual uptime average falls below 99%, you’ll get a free month of hosting credited back to your account. Even though this mark is lower than the average uptime we’ve seen across 30 hosts, it’s still a good policy that shows they stand behind their service.
A few standard exceptions apply, too, even if they’re fairly common. If one-off events like a natural disaster or big hack take place, this downtime won’t be factored into the uptime average calculation.
5. 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
If you’re unhappy at any time during your first 30-days as a new HostMetro customer, you can ask for a full refund. Overall, that’s a great thing.
Just keep in mind that there are a few issues that can affect your refund amount.
First, refunds only apply to hosting plans. So that means other add-ons, like backup services, or domain names aren’t refundable.
The good news about domain names is that if you paid for one, you can take it with you to another host.
However, if you were given a free one through HostMetro, that normal cost can be reduced from your refund balance. They can also subtract the cost of free SSL certificates, too. Make sure to double-check your plan when getting these ‘free’ extras, because they could come back to literally cost you when it’s time to ask for a refund.
Cons of Using HostMetro hosting
HostMetro has a few things to like. Especially that ‘price lock guarantee.’
Unfortunately, their service can’t match the value of that offer.
Starting with their page loading times:
1. Slow Page Speeds
Over the last eight months, HostMetro somehow managed to put up page loading times of 1,328ms. That’s over 49.2% slower than the industry standard of 890ms.
That’s good enough for our unofficial award for the Slowest Web Host of 2017 after they bested thirty other competitors for the title.
Considering a single second delay can result in 7% fewer conversions, HostMetro might cost you more in lost sales than actually paying for their service.
The worst part is that they’ve been consistently below average every single month. So it wasn’t like there was one bad month that brought down their results. No, they’re just THAT good at being bad.
Last 16-month average load time:
2. WELL Below Average 99.85% Uptime
And the hits keep coming. HostMetro delivered below average uptime of 99.85% over the past sixteen months (.09% below the average of 99.94%) – contrary to the earlier claims on their website.
The only silver lining with the performance this bad is that they’ll (reportedly) credit your account with an additional month of hosting if they fall below their promised 99.90% uptime.
Before jumping at that offer, consider this: An hour of downtime per month could cost you a lot more visitors, conversions and therefore sales and money than what you get credited back by HostMetro.
Last 16-month average uptime:
- March 2019 average uptime: 99.94%
- February 2019 average uptime: 99.84%
- January 2019 average uptime: 99.85%
- December 2018 average uptime: 99.95%
- November 2018 average uptime: 99.86%
- October 2018 average uptime: 99.96%
- September 2018 average uptime: 99.98%
- August 2018 average uptime: 99.89%
- July 2018 average uptime: 99.94%
- June 2018 average uptime: 99.95%
- May 2018 average uptime: 99.99%
- April 2018 average uptime: 99.70%
- March 2018 average uptime: 99.48%
- February 2018 average uptime: 99.72%
- January 2018 average uptime: 99.80%
- December 2017 average uptime: 99.70%
3. “Free” Backups Actually Cost You
Backups are an essential feature because issues will undoubtedly pop up from time to time. Most hosts offer them in some capacity, whether free or paid.
HostMetro’s Terms say that they offer “free backup services as a courtesy.”
Sounds awesome, right? Having regular backups on hand can save you a lot of hassles if your site gets hacked.
But there are three big problems with this claim:
- This backup service only runs once a month. (Ideally, you should have daily or weekly at a minimum.)
- They will only backup 1 GB of size. That’s not very large, to be honest, so you’ll probably pass this at some point.
- And worst of all, to restore the backup, it’s going to cost you $39.95.
That’s right: the “free backup service” isn’t actually free if you need it.
4. Only Shared Hosting
HostMetro only offers two shared hosting plans. No VPS, no cloud, or dedicated hosting options are available.
That will make it tough to scale your existing infrastructure if you outgrow things quickly, forcing you to move to another web hosting company in the near future if you get to that point.
5. Restrictive FREE Domain Offer
They offer a free domain name when signing up, but ONLY if you use their “FREE DOMAIN” coupon code.
Domain name renewals (or purchasing additional ones) will set you back with an additional $14.49, which is more expensive than many other major domain name registrars.
6. ‘Setup Fee’ on Monthly Plans
HostMetro does offer a true month-to-month hosting plan. The bad news is that the rate jumps significantly (compared to locking in a long-term plan) and you’ll also have to pay a setup fee of $14.49.
5. Short-Term Plans More Expensive
HostMetro advertises a $2.95/monthly price. However, to get that price, you’re going to need to sign up for a full three years.
There is no plan that’s shorter than a year in length. And even that one year option will cost $4.95/month.
HostMetro Pricing, Hosting Plans & Quick Facts
HostMetro only offers shared hosting. Here’s a quick overview of their shared hosting plans:
- Mega Max plan: This plan starts at $2.95 per month. It includes unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, and support for unlimited websites.
- Super Max plan: This plan starts at $6.95 per month. It includes unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, and support for unlimited websites. It also comes with a free SSL certificate, daily malware scan, and advanced security.
- Ease of Signup: The signup process is a bit difficult. This could be easier.
- Payment Methods: Credit Card, PayPal.
- Hidden Fees and Clauses: Accounts are limited to 200,000 inodes, 10 percent CPU and memory. In the event that you exceed this limit, your account might be suspended and you won’t be eligible for a refund.
- Upsells: A few upsells.
- Account Activation: It can take long. You can make activation instant by paying a $5 fee.
- Control Panel and Dashboard Experience: cPanel.
- Installation of Apps and CMSs (WordPress, Joomla, etc.): Easy 1-click install of popular apps and CMSs with Softaculous.
Do We Recommend HostMetro?
HostMetro’s customer service is inconsistently decent. Their ‘price lock guarantee’ is pretty cool. Otherwise, that’s about the nicest thing we can say about them.
HostMetro comes with the slowest page loading speeds we’ve ever seen. Considering site speed influences – not just user experience, but also your search engine rankings and conversions on your website – there’s a serious danger to your bottom line (read: income) here.
Their uptime is pretty bad as well. Consistently below average, with lengthy downtimes that can disrupt access at critical moments.
Honestly, there are lots of web hosts out there that will give you MUCH better page loading times, more stable uptime, and better customer service for the same (or less) bucks.
Have you ever used HostMetro? If so, please leave a review below. We welcome all reviews, whether good or bad, as long as they’re transparent and honest.