A bit of background
We’ve been a paying customer for HostRocket for 17 months. During that time, we’ve monitored their performance.
This review relies strongly on data, such as uptime, load time (speed) and customer support experience.
Typically when you go to a web host’s website for the first time, their homepage attempts to quickly boast about impressive speed, amazing customer support, or rock solid uptime.
These value propositions can help nontechnical customers immediately grasp the primary benefit they stand to gain when signing up.
But not HostRocket. Instead, they lead with:
SSD Shared Hosting.
Huh. Interesting approach.
To find out what they hell they’re supposed to be good at, we purchased and set up a WordPress website on the HostRocket ‘Shared’ plan in June of 2015.
Over the past few months, we’ve been reviewing their performance stats including uptime & speed to put together an unbiased, BS-free review.
Here are the details.
PROS of using HostRocket Hosting:
HostRocket starts strong, delivering good page loading times and decent customer support. Here’s a quick overview.
1. 3% Faster than Competition (Over the Last 12 Months)
HostRocket sprung out of the gates with an average page loading time of 676ms over the last year, besting the competition by 3% (vs. their average of 700ms).
Even better news?
They’ve been consistently fast, posting respectably good page loading times over almost every month we’ve seen to date.
Consistency proves a good track record, which is more credible than meaningless marketing phrases. Maybe their homepage was on to something?See previous load time - 2015 (expands)
- June average speed: 537ms
- July average speed: 618ms
- August average speed: 574ms
- September average speed: 529ms
- October average speed: 515ms
Last 12 months average load time (2015 – 2016):
- November (2015) average speed: 546ms
- December (2015) average speed: 536ms
- January average speed: 606ms
- February average speed: 685ms
- March average speed: 694ms
- April average speed: 656ms
- May average speed: 698ms
- June average speed: 757ms
- July average speed: 763ms
- August average speed: 766ms
- September average speed: 736ms
- October average speed: 697ms
2. Pretty Good Support!
HostRocket only provides customer support through a ticketing system and telephone (no live chat or email).
Initially, we weren’t very happy, as tickets typically take years (in internet speed anyway) to resolve.
We were pleasantly proved wrong, however, when only 11 minutes later we received an answer. Beyond the swiftness of their reply, it was also a helpful and informed response.
A quick background check into the experience of other customers confirms an overall decent experience. Any problems or gripes most customer’s experience originate with other factors (that we’ll get to in a second), but not their support.
3. You Can Choose Between Two Server Locations
If we had a category for “things that are kind of good, but… meh”, this would win it.
They allow you to choose which data center you’d like to use. In theory, that could be a perk if you’re in one country trying to cater to customers in a different country.
The only catch?
They have two data centers in the U.S.; Chicago and New York. Which, if you’re unfamiliar with U.S. geography, aren’t THAT far apart. Like, less than a two-hour plane ride, close.
So in theory, this a good perk.
In reality, it’s merely OK.
4. Over 250 App Integrations
HostRocket has integrations with over 250 popular applications (like WordPress, Drupal, Magento, Zen Cart, Open Cart, and more), which should help you get started a little quicker. This is another small benefit before worth mentioning before we move on.
CONS (-) of using HostRocket Hosting
Despite HostRocket’s strong initial start, they faded fast down the stretch. Unfortunately, they hit a few stumbling blocks along the way.
1. Poor Uptime of ~99.68% Over Last 6 Months
Industry standard uptime is 99.9%.
That means you can expect very little downtime (~10 minutes) throughout the course of a week that shouldn’t affect your sales or customer support too terribly.
However, HostRocket was only able to hit 99.68% (despite some better results in the past few months). That corresponds to over an hour of downtime during the course of the week.
(You can see for yourself how uptime affects how long your website might be grounded with this handy uptime calculator.)
Overall, HostRocket’s performance in this category is not good.
Case in point:
Go check out their Facebook Page Reviews.
Sure, Facebook page’s tend to bring the worst out of consumer’s comments. But this one is especially negative, littered mostly with tales of inconsistent uptime (and the problems caused by it).
One frustrated customer’s review captures all of this:
As I write this, all my client’s websites that are using HostRocket are down, AND HostRocket’s main website itself is down. No updates on Twitter or Facebook to let you know what is going on.”
There is a silver lining, though.
Their Terms of Service page says the following.
If you feel that your site was not up the guaranteed 99.5% during a given month, please submit a trouble ticket stating your situation and we will review this with you, and credit your account accordingly.
After checking our test site performance using HostRocket service, it seems like we should be able to get credits for September, October and January. Huh… On the good side, it seems like they’ve improved their uptime for the last couple of months (new datacenter perhaps?):See previous uptime - 2015 (expands)
- June average uptime: 99.60%
- July average uptime: 99.84%
- August average uptime: 99.68%
- September average uptime: 99.43%
- October average uptime: 99.44%
Last 12 months average uptime (2015 – 2016):
- November (2015) average uptime: 99.87%
- December (2015) average uptime: 99.74%
- January average uptime: 97.03%
- February average uptime: 99.97%
- March average uptime: 99.90%
- April average uptime: 99.99%
- May average uptime: 99.93%
- June average uptime: 99.99%
- July average uptime: 99.99%
- August average uptime: 99.98%
- September average uptime: 99.99%
- October average uptime: 99.79%
HostRocket: Page Load Speed and Uptime (Last 12 months, full data can be found here.)
2. Relatively Expensive Hosting
HostRocket’s cheapest plan starts at a stiff $5.99 per month.
That’s already on the expensive end (especially considering their performance so far).
It gets even worse, because you have to sign up for two full years and pay up front to enjoy that (already) inflated rate.
They say you get what you pay for. And that holds true for some hosts we’ve reviewed, like A2 Hosting.
But so far, not HostRocket.
3. They Still Charge a ‘Setup Fee’ ($29.99!)
Most web hosting companies will happily get your site up and running for free. They’ll help migrate an existing site over, or even throw in a free domain name for a year.
HostRocket, unfortunately, is one of the rare few to still charge a ‘setup fee’ of $29.99 if you decide to pay monthly or semi-annually.
4. Expensive Domain Name Registration ($20!)
HostRocket provides one free domain name at signup.
However, additional domain names can cost you around $20 a year, even though the going rate is typically less than HALF that on other sites.
Nickle and diming at its finest.
Overview on HostRocket Shared Plans
Shared Hosting: Here’s a quick overview of their shared hosting plans:
- Basic Shared Hosting: This plan starts at $5.99 per month. It comes with unlimited disk space, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited email accounts and support for unlimited websites.
- SSD Premium plan: This plan starts at $9.98 per month. It comes with 5GB SSD RAID storage and 200GB bandwidth.
- SSD Professional plan: This plan starts at $13.98 per month. It comes with 20GB SSD RAID storage and 300GB bandwidth.
- SSD Executive plan: This plan starts at $18.98 per month. It comes with 40GB SSD RAID storage and 400GB bandwidth.
Please note that this pricing is for their ‘Biennially’ (which is a stupid name for ‘two year’) plans.
- Free domain? Yes.
- Ease of Signup: Lengthy checkout process. This can be improved.
- Payment Methods: Credit Card.
- Hidden Fees and Clauses: Shared hosting accounts cannot use more than 15 percent total bandwidth, 10 percent RAM, 10 percent of total number of active connections and 15 percent total disk space of a server.
- Upsells: A few upsells.
- Account Activation: Instant Activation.
- Control Panel and Dashboard Experience: cPanel.
- Installation of Apps and CMSs (WordPress, Joomla, etc.): They offer “Easy Installs” to help you install your favorite apps and CMSs in a few clicks.
Do we recommend HostRocket?
No, we don’t.
When you compare their performance with their hard costs, here’s what you get:
Their speed is good, but not that good.
Their support is good, but not that good.
Their uptime is simply not good enough to begin with.
HostRocket’s performance is simply too average compared with the high cost and additional setup fee.
Instead, you’d be better of checking out A2 Hosting and HostGator cloud who post similar (if not better) page load times, with MUCH better uptime and pricing too. You can find a longer list of top web hosts here.
Have you used HostRocket? Let us know about your experiences (good or bad), we’d love to share it with our visitors. You can leave your HostRocket review below:
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2 user reviews for HostRocket
Decent speed, but..
HostRocket isn’t a bad host. In fact, it’s pretty speedy, but as you said their uptime sucks.
Could be better..
I found a forum thread where people suggested Hostrocket. I decided to give it a go although it seemed a bit pricey.
Overall, I’m not satisfied with their uptime. You got it right – their uptime isn’t the best. They’ve credited my account for several times due to failing 99.5% mark. Thus, I’ve moved my bigger websites out of HostRocket.