I’ve been a paying customer for HostNine 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 HostNine?
HostNine is one of the younger faces in web hosting, originally founded in 2006.
All hosts like to lie stretch the truth a bit when it comes to promotional claims on their website.
They put catchy soundbites on their website, regardless of the facts, attempting to coast by on reputation alone.
HostNine is no different, claiming they are “an award-winning web host with an uptime of 99.9%”. (Without spoiling the punchline, remember this uptime claim.)
We purchased HostNine’s ‘Personal Plan’ back in June 2015, setting up a WordPress website to monitor and run tests over the past few months. We’ve compiled the most important data, including uptime & speed, and are ready to make a ruling in this unbiased review backed by facts and statistics.
Here’s what we found.
Pros of using HostNine hosting
HostNine delivered the goods in a few different areas, including pretty good page loading times and a refreshingly modern, easy-to-use website.
1. 12% Faster than the Competition
HostNine delivered pretty fast page loading times, besting the rest of the competition by about 11.8% (785ms compared to 890ms). Their quick page loading times (unlike their uptime, which we’ll come back to) was also fairly consistent, posting above-average speeds every single month we’ve hosted with them.
Last 8 month average load time
- September average speed: 829ms
- October average speed: 831ms
- November average speed: 839ms
- December average speed: 858ms
- January average speed: 816ms
- February average speed: 708ms
- March average speed: 711ms
- April average speed: 691ms
2. User-Friendly Homepage
Most of the major web hosts were started back in the 1990s or early 2000s. Their websites, for the most part, look like it.
Many are outdated, difficult to use, and simply unappealing. They’re tough to navigate and find simple information, which only becomes more problematic on mobile devices (which weren’t around when some of these websites were originally designed from the looks of it).
Thankfully, HostNine has a contemporary website with clear organization and attention to information hierarchy that makes your life simple.
Hopefully, that attention to detail and focus on the user’s point of view is a sign of things to come…
3. 45-Days Money Back Guarantee & Free Site Migration
Many hosts offer a standard 30-day money back guarantee. HostNine is nice enough to extend that be a few weeks, giving up to a month and a half to get your refund before it gets locked in.
And if you already have an existing website hosted somewhere, they’ll help you migrate it for free.
4. Ability to Choose Different Datacenters
HostNine has data centers in six different locations, including the US, UK, Singapore, Canada, Australia, and Amsterdam.
While their cheapest shared hosting option can only be hosted in their US datacenter, you can choose your own location with their other plans.
Cons of using HostNine hosting
Usually, if a web hosting company is going to struggle anywhere (while getting the basics like uptime right), it’s speed. That’s not the case with HostNine, which posts respectable speed despite massive downtime.
Here are the grim details of one of the worst occurrences we’ve seen after reviewing nearly 30 other web hosts.
1. Inexcusably Bad Uptime
A few minutes ago, you read a bold claim from HostNine about their ‘award-winning, 99.9%’ uptime.
In months they were online (foreshadowing), they only got to 99.66% – .28% below the industry average of 99.94% We were extremely disappointed, to say the least.
Apparently, we weren’t the only ones. We conduct a background check into each host reviewed in order to provide a well-rounded profile that won’t fall victim to bias.
In this case, the overwhelming majority of reviews we’ve seen directly from other customers backs up our experience. Take a look:
- “I just lost the 3rd client in a row, because their emails have not been working over a week…”
- “My site has been down 4 days now.”
- “Had 18 sites go down last week for over 24 hours….two servers get blacklisted and my client’s emails were down for three days and counting with no end in sight”
- “My websites are down again…. all of them. And they are spread across a dozen different servers. Not sure how much more I can take of this crappy service.”
That doesn’t paint a very rosy picture.
But wait, because it’s about to get a whole lot worse.
In February, we learned that HostNine servers crashed and our site was offline for two months. Fortunately, a few months later we’re back online and everything’s running normally. But two months of downtime is, well, inexcusable.
So what happened? Where was customer support on this one?
Let’s take a look.
- September average uptime: 99.55%
- October average uptime: 99.67%
- November average uptime: 99.46%
- December average uptime: 99.28%
- January average uptime: 99.35%
- February average uptime: 100%
- March average uptime: 100%
- April average uptime: 100%
HostNine: Page Load Speed and Uptime (Last 12 months, full data can be found here.)
2. Decent, Yet Ineffective Support
Our first experience with HostNine’s customer support was extremely good.
There was zero delay to connect with a support agent. They answered all of our questions, with details and even links to additional resources – all in less than a minute!
It was honestly a fantastic experience that made us want to give them a 10/10.
But then, our website went down. And all we got was ONE email from them.
Email from HostNine
TWO months of downtime, and a single email where they basically admitted they had no plan to recover the data and didn’t have any backups, either. Not even an offer to refund for those two months of being offline.
Here’s the thing.
It’s not that their customer support is truly terrible (like some other web hosts we’ve reviewed). We experienced fantastic results in dealing with them ourselves.
But when their company’s uptime is so atrocious, their hands are tied. There’s not a whole lot they can do, except go down with the ship as it sinks.
Further research backed this up, with customer support unable to do much to help other customers either:
- “Live Help is a joke as they can’t do anything more than help someone recover a password or open a help ticket that no one will respond to in over 72 hours. This was the EXACT reason I left HostGator and now you guys are doing the SAME thing! #pathetic”
- “So….30 hour wait for an response to a support ticket.”
- “3 support tickets since Saturday + No answers on any of them other than a “we’re looking into it” (which was 2 days ago) = Just moved all my sites to a new host.”
Unfortunately, their customer service is guilty by association in this case.
HostNine Pricing, Hosting Plans & Quick Facts
HostNine offers shared, reseller, VPS and dedicated hosting – no matter what level of service you need, you will find it with them. Below is a quick overview of their shared hosting plans:
- Personal plan: This plan starts at $6.99 per month. It supports 1 domain name. Your server will be located in the U.S.
- Business plan: This plan starts at $11.09 per month. It supports unlimited domain names. It comes with a free domain name and you can choose servers from the US, UK, Singapore, Canada, Australia and Amsterdam.
- Enterprise plan: This plan starts at $14.99 per month. It supports unlimited domains. It comes with a free domain name and you can choose servers from the US, UK, Singapore, Canada, Australia and Amsterdam.
All shared hosting plans come with unlimited storage and bandwidth.
- Ease of Signup: One page signup. Very easy signup process.
- Payment Methods: Credit Card, PayPal.
- Hidden Fees and Clauses: A limit of 10 percent CPU usage, 5 percent or 512MB memory, 50 running processes, 15 minutes max Max Execution Time, 150,000 total inodes and 500 outgoing email messages per 60 minute period is placed on shared and reseller hosting accounts.
- Upsells: Very few upsells.
- Account Activation: Very quick activation.
- Control Panel and Dashboard Experience: cPanel.
- Installation of Apps and CMSs (WordPress, Joomla, etc.): Quick and easy installation of popular apps and CMSs via Softaculous.
Do We Recommend HostNine?
Only if you’re a masochist.
Jokes aside, absolutely not.
They could be above average, as their page speed and a few other categories performed well.
Unfortunately, their uptime (or lack thereof) is a nightmare, bringing the rest of the company’s performance down like an albatross. Considering they have the deep pockets and heavy backing of EIG, that’s inexcusable.
These root problems trickle down, to the point where we only received a single email when our test site went offline for about 2 months. No calls, no additional notifications, no change or migration of data centers.
Their bold uptime claims at the beginning are almost an outright lie too, which on top of everything else, doesn’t leave us with a good, warm, fuzzy feeling.
P.S. If you want to see hosting providers that ranked above HostNine, check our best web hosting services here.
Do you have any experience with HostNine? Please leave a review below – good or bad – doesn’t really matter as long as it’s transparent and honest.