HostMonster Review

Pros and Cons after 40+ Months of Tracking

Brad Smith  —  · Read user reviews
HostMonster review
HostMonster Homepage

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).

In June of 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) for a few months 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!

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. Over the Average Uptime (99.96%)

The industry average for uptime is around 99.94% based on our analysis.

HostMonster is above the industry standard, with an average uptime of 99.96 percent over the last sixteen months (just 0.194% above the industry average). That’s pretty good.

Last 16-month average uptime:

  • March 2019 average uptime: 99.96%
  • February 2019 average uptime: 100%
  • January 2019 average uptime: 99.95%
  • December 2018 average uptime: 99.98%
  • November 2018 average uptime: 99.94%
  • October 2018 average uptime: 99.92%
  • September 2018 average uptime: 100%
  • August 2018 average uptime: 99.98%
  • July 2018 average uptime: 100%
  • June 2018 average uptime: 100%
  • May 2018 average uptime: 99.95%
  • April 2018 average uptime: 99.83%
  • March 2018 average uptime: 99.92%
  • February 2018 average uptime: 99.83%
  • January 2018 average uptime: 99.94%
  • December 2017 average uptime: 99.90%
HostMonster last 16-month statistics
HostMonster average uptime 2017-2019 | See stats

2. Decent (Yet Inconsistent) Support

During our personal review of HostMonster, their live chat support agent connected within three minutes and answered most of our questions within 2 minutes each. We weren’t blown away by the support, but it was good enough to get the job done at the time.

While they offer phone, email and live chat support, there is a lengthy verification process which might be inconvenient for some users.

A background check, however, has revealed wildly inconsistent reviews from other customers. So tread with caution.

HostMonster Support

Decent customer support from HostMonster

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 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. Average Page Load Time Over Last 16-Months

HostMonster delivered an average page speed of 948ms over the past sixteen months, which is 6.5% more than the competition’s average of 890ms.

That’s definitely not the best but not the worst we’ve seen either.

That’s critical, considering the Aberdeen Group found 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

Last 16-month average load time:

HostMonster last 16-month detailed statistics
HostMonster average speed 2017-2019 | See stats

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.

HostMonster detailed pricing

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 nonrefundable.

30-day money back

4. They Charge for Backups

Speaking of extra fees, there’s also a $1.99 monthly charge for backups (if you want them). 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 good will.

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. Which 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 renewal pricing doubles after the first term.

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 hosting plans:

Shared Hosting: They have three shared hosting plans:

  • Basic plan: This plan costs $4.95 per month. It supports 1 website and comes with 50GB storage, unlimited bandwidth, support for 5 email accounts and 25 sub-domains.
  • Plus plan: This plan costs $6.95 per month. It supports 10 websites and comes with 150GB storage, unlimited bandwidth, 50 sub-domains and 100 email accounts.
  • Prime plan: This plan costs $14.99 per month, but is often on sale at $6.95 per month. It supports unlimited websites, storage, email accounts, sub-domains, and bandwidth

Please note that this pricing is only available if you sign-up for the three-year term.

HostMonster pricing and plans

  • Ease of Signup: One-page signup. They make it very easy to sign up.
  • Payment Methods: Credit Card, PayPal.
  • Hidden Fees and Clauses: By signing up, you agree to give them 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?

No, we don’t.

HostMonster’s performance is pretty average across the board, to be honest.

Their customer support is inconsistent and underwhelming.

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.

For example, our reviews have shown both A2 Hosting and SiteGround to be superior in almost every category. We recommend you try giving one of those two a look before trying out HostMonster.

Do you have any experience with HostMonster? We’d love to see a review below! We welcome all reviews – positive or negative – as long as it’s honest and transparent.

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12 user reviews for HostMonster


1 — 

Avoid Hostmonster At All Costs!

We have used Hostmonster for many years, and it has gone from bad to worse. Some of the issues with Hostmonster are:

Chat Support - OK for small issues, but can not resolve serious issues, and Hostmonster, for whatever reason, has removed their ticketing system for support issues. So you are stuck wasting time with Chat Support trying to get someone who can actually resolve your issue. If you get fed up with Chat Support and try to call, half the time you get the same person you dealt with in Chat, on the phone. I had this happen multiple times and was just infuriated. What's the point, if the same person who can't help you via Chat, answers the phone.

Broken Systems - Logging in to your cPanel from the Hostmonster front page, takes you to an outdated and broken cPanel, that says the page is deprecated and offers a link to go to the new cPanel. This has been an issue for at least 3 years, and I have spent at least a couple hours with support trying to get it resolved only to be run in circles as they had never heard of it until finally being told it was a known issue and nothing they could do about it. Waste of my time, and I am left with a broken cPanel and an extra step to get to the correct one.

While removing 3 sites from our Hostmonster hosting, I unassigned the domains, then attempted to delete the subdomains, and the system said I could not delete the subdomains, that I should unassign them first... I contacted support, who said, "You can not delete these subdomains because they were created with the cPanel" ... I said, "That makes no sense." ... they said, "Is it ok if I delete them for you?" ... I said "Sure! Please do." ... they said, "I am sorry but I can not delete them either, I am going to open a ticket." ... remember, they do not have a ticket system for support issues. Currently waiting on this issue to be resolved.

Slow About Everything - The cPanel is slow. I mean seriously slow. Expect 20-30 second waits between page loads. It takes at least 30 seconds from the time you press the button to login, until you are taken to the broken cPanel page. Then another 5-10 seconds to get to the right cPanel. Switching between sections of the cPanel take 15-20 seconds. And if you actually do something that runs a program, like assigning or unassigning a domain, you might as well take a coffee break.

Server Speed is Slow - Everything about Hostmonster is slow. All of our sites on Hostmonster lag, and will become unavailable on a regular basis. They may say they have a high uptime, but just because the server doesn't go down, doesn't mean anyone can reach your sites if they are operating at a snail's pace.

Prone to Attacks - They get DDoS attacks occasionally, that not only take down the Hostmonster site itself, but your sites as well. Their response to this is "So sorry, we are getting attacked, your sites will be available when we are no longer being attacked". So they apparently have no system in place for handling attacks.

Hackers are all over them like the plague. We have sites on multiple hosts, and our sites on Hostmonster were constantly under attack. I spent far too much time hunting down attackers and adding them to IP Deny. They were successful at breaking into our sites. If you host multiple sites, there is nothing preventing the hackers from spreading from one site to all of your other sites.

We had around 50 sites hosted with them at this time. We are currently migrating all of our sites off of Hostmonster to a new provider. We also have clients on SiteGround and PureSpeed. SiteGround is good, and PureSpeed is great.

Avoid Hostmonster At All Costs - There is nothing that Hostmonster offers that makes up for their terrible systems, servers, and lack of proper hosting infrastructure. Support is fast (at telling you they can't help) and extremely nice (at telling you they can't help) but ultimately useless.


1 — 

Beware of this company, they are going to find something against you if things are not going their way

First, the support is a joke, they are going to ask you to stay on hold for 5 to 7 minutes... then, a few words, then another stay on hold for 5 to 7 minutes. And, if you don't respond to them in a minute or two, they will just disconnect the session. They do not send the chat log automatically, as they used to. Be sure to ask them to send the chat logs, and be sure you have received them before disconnecting. This is important, their words just change all the time, you need a copy of what they said to you to hold them responsible. And, be sure to ask if the "full" version of the program you need is "fully" supported. In their advertisement, they say their shared hosting supports this and that. Be careful, they do support scared down version of most of the software they said they support. If you upload your own full version, you are going to run into problems.

I have been using web hosting services since long, long ago, this is the worst by far, comparing to the same services from other companies.

Their stability is another issue. Last year (2017) alone, our sites were down ranging from 4 hours to 1 and a half days.

In all, the site performance is not good, the support techs are not that good, and the stability is not good, and the prices are not that good. So, the question is, what do you need them for?


1 — 

Don't even think of using Hostmonster

Worst company ever! Have a problem and they just say they can’t fix it!
Can’t publish website and they don’t know how to fix. Web site went down for months.
I to start over from scratch.


1 — 

Worst service. Don't use them

Worst service. They are just hunting money from a customer.
They have 3rd class service and only want money without service. If they can, then they will ask for money on every login where a customer already paid for a package. Totaly frustrated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


2 — 

It's a con

They take my site down regularly because of malware, and of course, they offer security protection at an additional cost. I’ve been hiring web hosts since 1995, never had this problem with any company except Hostmonster. Pretty sure it is a scam to force you to buy additional services.


2 — 

Don't mind hurting your business site

Host Monster has a few pretty big issues.
1. I had three files that were not connected to my website, but were on saved in one of the folders. This was against Host Monster’s policies, so that was my bad. However, instead of asking me to remove the three files, Host Monster shut down my entire site along with all the subdomains and never told me about it. It wasn’t until sales stopped and I went to the site that I even realized it was down. When I called in, they said, “Oh yeah, you need to remove these three files when we’ll restore your site.”

Really? That’s what you do to a company that has been with you for like 5 years?

2. Then, I purchased their Site Backup Pro several years ago because it saves 3 backup copies of my website in case something goes wrong. It saves a daily copy, then one that is a week old, then one that is a month old. I never needed it, until once, but when I needed it, it wasn’t working. The files they had backuped up were corrupt and so when I restored my site, I restored corrupted files. Then, instead of telling me Site Backup Pro was not working, they said the problem was a coding problem that I somehow created and they would not help me fix it.

I can’t get away from them fast enough. I still had a year I had paid for that was left, but I’m leaving anyway.


1 — 

Support is crap

I just wanted the solve an issue and tried to chat with them but that’s really not possible! You have to wait at least 10 minutes and when somebody accepts your chat request, the response time is about 3 minutes. Also, the most used words are “sorry”, “there is an error”, “apology”, “we can’t”…

They told me to backup my website using FTP, after I purchased the Site Backup Pro. Those kids working there didn’t even hear about databases, it seems…

I wouldn’t recommend this hosting not even to my enemies…


1 — 

Worst hosting on the market

I’ve used Hostmonster for the last 3 years+, why? I don’t know.

This is the most wretched hosting company I’ve dealt with in the last 5 years of my life. They can’t even install SSL certificates and are constantly telling you it’s your problem even if you’re on shared hosting and not VPS. Not only that, when you try to cancel, they can’t even send the correct information for you to cancel the account. They are crooked and I hope their server farm floods. You can’t even download a full site backup from cPanel without contacting their worthless support to initiate one so you can download it via FTP. This has been ongoing for over 6 months.

These people are snakes and I would not trust your data here. Lazy tech support that has the skills of a moth. If you’re looking for hosting I’d stay FAR FAR MILES AWAY from this joke of business. You’re better off hosting your server on a box without a firewall than this outfit. SERIOUSLY.


2 — 

Speed is sluggish and so is their customer support

Site slows and slows and then stops and starts if you are on more than ten minutes.

They used to have a good source/preview model but it is quite limited, and if you want to set up some nice CSS detailing, the site does not support it. Your CSS style pages won’t connect to your HTML pages.

I have been waiting for live chat to go live now for 15 minutes, and also on the phone now for ten, waiting for something besides the muzak. You can’t open a ticket; that tab now refers you to the live chat or live phone contacts. Neither of which seem very live.

I have been with Hostmonster since 2004. Time for a change.


4 — 

Solid, but room for improvement

I’ve been using HostMonster now for about 5 years, I’ve never had any issues with downtime. I usually only run blogs or small business websites with them so traffic loads are pretty small with what I am doing. Whenever there is an issue or I have any questions, their customer service via chat is always very fast and they have always solved whatever problem I’ve brought to them.

The reason I give this less than a 100 is that their UI is very out of date and could use some work, sometimes it’s not clear where you can find everything but I can manage.


5 — 

Satisfied customer

I was surprised to see HostMonster so far down the list. I’ve been with HostMonster since 2004, so I guess you could say I’m a loyal customer. In 12 years, I have not experienced any downtime and in the few times I’ve needed support, the response time was reasonable and I was fully satisfied with the resolution.

The only issue I ever had was with installing WordPress to one of my sites through their Mojo Marketplace. (Their one-click install wasn’t working although I’ve used it without incident many times prior.) I contacted them and they corrected the issue within a couple hours.


5 — 

Decent cheap service...

I’ve been using HostMonster now for about 5 years, I’ve never had any issues with downtime. I usually only run blogs or small business websites with them so traffic loads are pretty small with what I am doing. Whenever there is an issue or I have any questions, their customer service via chat is always very fast and they have always solved whatever problem I’ve brought to them.

The reason I give this less than a 100 is that their UI is very out of date and could use some work, sometimes it’s not clear where you can find everything but I can manage.