HostMonster Review

Pros and Cons after 37 Months of Tracking

Brad Smith  —  · Read user reviews

I’ve been a paying customer for HostMonster for the last 37 months. During that time, I’ve monitored their performance – avg. load time and uptime.

This review relies strongly on data, such as uptime, load time (speed) and customer support experience.

 

What is HostMonster?

Some things get better with age.

That’s the old adage anyway. But 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).

HostMonster review
HostMonster homepage

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 gives 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 (like throwing in a few nice extra features like instant provisioning).

Here’s a quick summary of the biggest positive aspects we’ve found.

 

1. 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 another two 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

2. 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 vulnerability with 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 though does a good job including different security features like Hotlink Protection, SSH Access, SSL support, regular site backups and Spam Assassin Protection.

3. 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 of 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!

 

Cons of using HostMonster Hosting

So far, our support experience was good. But we’ve reviewed several mixed reviews from others.

We appreciated the extra attention to detail on security issues though, 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. Uptime Less than Desirable

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

HostMonster fell just in the industry standard, with an average uptime of 99.94 percent over the last eight months (exactly the industry average of 99.94%).

That’s fine.

2017:

  • September average uptime: 99.91%
  • October average uptime: 90.90%
  • November average uptime: 99.94%
  • December average uptime: 99.98%

2018:

  • January average uptime: 99.92%
  • February average uptime: 99.83%
  • March average uptime: 99.95%
  • April average uptime: 100%

HostMonster: Page Load Speed and Uptime (Last 12 months, full data can be found here.)

2. Average Page Load Time almost the same as the industry average Over Last 8 Months

HostMonster delivered an average page speed of 1,036ms over the past eight months, which is 16.4% over the competition’s average of 890ms.

That’s alright. Not the worst we’ve seen by any stretch, but still not good enough.

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 pageviews
  • 16% decrease in customer satisfaction

So far so good with HostMonster!

Last 8 month average load time

2017:

  • September average speed: 1,007ms
  • October average speed: 1,026ms
  • November average speed: 1,028ms
  • December average speed: 965ms

2018:

  • January average speed: 1,052ms
  • February average speed: 1,229ms
  • March average speed: 993ms
  • April average speed: 989ms

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, is that 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 (paying 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 pricing is not 'clear'

3. Hidden Costs & Fees

Sadly, there are also a few hidden costs along the way as well that might surprise you unless you read an awesome website that features in-depth, data-backed hosting research and analysis while also featuring entertaining (or slightly annoying) commentary.

First up, your ‘Low’ promotional rate is only available for new plans. And if your plan renews, the price will jump back to the regular (inflated) rate.

Their ‘free domain name’ also isn’t very free. If you decide to cancel your account, you’ll be charged a fee that’s nonrefundable.

Big problem with HostMonster 30-day money-back guarantee

4. They Charge for Backups

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

 

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.
  • Pro 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.

host monster shared hosting 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 nonexclusive royalty-free license to use content available on your account with them as they deem fit. All shared hosting accounts come with a limlit 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 uptime tests and that’s a huge concern, seeing as a ‘live’ website is kinda a prerequisite here. And their speed has fallen below average over the past year.

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 showed 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 they’re honest and transparent.

 

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10 user reviews for HostMonster

1/100 — 

Don't even think of using hostmonster

Worst company ever! have a problem and they just say they cant 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.

1/100 — 

Worse service. don't use them

Worse 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 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

25/100 — 

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.

40/100 — 

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.

1/100 — 

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…

10/100 — 

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 its 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

20/100 — 

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.

65/100 — 

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.

98/100 — 

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.

90/100 — 

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.