We’ve been a paying customer for WestHost for the last 38+ months. During that time, we’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 WestHost?
WestHost was founded in 1998 by Chris Russell, they merged with UK2 Group in 2008. WestHost is one of the oldest web hosts out there. It’s also worth mentioning that UK2 Group also owns MidPhase which is a very strong top 5 host on HostingFacts.com.
With a data center in Salt Lake City, Utah, WestHost boasts of hosting over 1 million websites worldwide. They claim to offer reliable web hosting that is affordable. We carefully investigated them by using their service and doing a background check to find out what other users think. Our unbiased review lets you know whether WestHost is worth it or not.
In order to make our review accurate, we bought WestHost “Personal Plan” back in June 2015 and set up a basic WordPress website. Our test site can be seen here and in-depth performance stats (uptime & speed) here. Click “History” to dig deeper.
Pros of using WestHost Hosting
WestHost offers a free domain name for life, along with a few other helpful ‘extras’.
Take a look:
1. A free domain name for life
You heard it right. If you stick with WestHost, they’ll not charge you for domain name renewal (which is usually around $10 to $15 /year). They’ll ensure you enjoy a free domain name for as long as you host with them. (Free domain comes with only Preferred and Business level plans)
2. Free migration and 30-days money back guarantee
WestHost will help you transfer your files and website from your current web host to their server. They also offer a full refund backed by their 30-days money back policy. If for any reason you decide that their service is not for you within 30 days of registration, they will refund you in full. This only applies to their shared hosting plans.
3. Instant activation (!)
Unlike with most web hosts (especially inMotion hosting & Web Hosting Hub), you don’t have to wait for hours or days for your account to be activated. With WestHost, your account will be activated instantly.
4. Enhanced security with nightly backups
With regular nightly backups for most of their web hosting plans, support for CloudFlare CDN and Automatic Malware Removal for their plans, WestHost seems to be a very secure host.
Cons of using WestHost Hosting
Unfortunately, WestHost posts average (or slightly below average) where it counts.
1. Uptime Right Below Industry Average
Over the past 10 months, they had an average uptime of 99.93 percent (.01 below the industry average of 99.94%). They’ve been quite good over the past six months, to be honest, but a couple of slow months led to bad statistics – January, February, and April were particularly poor.
Despite that, since May 2018, their uptime has been great. Hitting nearly 100% for the last 6 months. This is pretty phenomenal.
Last 10-month average uptime:
- December 2017 average uptime: 99.94%
- January 2018 average uptime: 99.86%
- February 2018 average uptime: 99.69%
- March 2018 average uptime: 99.99%
- April 2018 average uptime: 99.90%
- May 2018 average uptime: 99.99%
- June 2018 average uptime: 99.99%
- July 2018 average uptime: 99.99%
- August 2018 average uptime: 99.99%
- September 2018 average uptime: 100%
WestHost: Page Load Speed and Uptime (Last 10 months, full data can be found here.)
2. Slower Than Ideal Load Time
Our test revealed their average page load time to be 893ms over the past 10 months, which is very close to the industry average of 890ms (still slower than the top rated hosts).
Last 10-month average load time:
- December 2017 average speed: 897ms
- January 2018 average speed: 919ms
- February 2018 average speed: 903ms
- March 2018 average speed: 912ms
- April 2018 average speed: 821ms
- May 2018 average speed: 929ms
- June 2018 average speed: 815ms
- July 2018 average speed: 885ms
- August 2018 average speed: 909ms
- September 2018 average speed: 943ms
3. 40+ minutes to get in touch with their support
Not sure if it’s a con, but it took 40 minutes to get in touch with their customer support. Having said that, the support assistant was friendly and helpful. We’re also impressed by the fact that they offer a toll-free number for people who want to contact them from the U.S.
We also did a background check to find out what other customers think about WestHost and found that their customers had mixed reviews about their support.
Scott was helpful, but it took a lot of time to get in touch
4. Not “truly” unlimited
While some WestHost shared hosting plans promise unlimited files, bandwidth, and databases, it is important to note that their fine print says otherwise. Here’s a direct quote from their Terms and Conditions page:
“Our unlimited shared hosting is designed to meet the needs of most small businesses and personal websites; it is not designed to meet the needs of large businesses or client services that fall outside the average usage pattern for shared hosting and may be better suited for hosting plans that provide expanded features. Accounts with a large number of files (inode counts in excess of 200,000), databases exceeding 5GB in size or a cumulative size of all databases in excess of 10GB can have a significant impact on server performance. We reserve the right to request that the number of inodes (files and directories) and/or database sizes be reduced to help ensure server performance. Failure to comply with these requests may result in termination of your account.”
Essentially, even though they promised unlimited hosting, your account should generally not have databases that exceed a cumulative 10GB. If they deem your files too many and your databases too big, they can request that you reduce your files or upgrade to a better plan. Failure to do this can lead to your account being terminated.
We’re not happy that they hid what their “unlimited” hosting really allows on their Terms and Conditions page.
With that said, we believe that there’s nothing called “unlimited hosting” and that WestHost is generous enough for the prices they offer.
5. Cheaper plans come with a 3-year commitment
With most of their plans, especially their shared hosting plans, the prices are too expensive and are not properly communicated: for example, the Personal plan is advertised as $1.99 monthly but you can only get that price if you pay for one to three years at once. The actual price is $8 per month, and the minimum term you can pay for is 3 months at $9.00/mo.
6. Some stupid restrictions…
Some of their plans are too restrictive. For example, their WordPress hosting plans only allow 1 domain name per server. We believe that they can do better than this.
WestHost Pricing, Hosting Plans & Quick Facts
Here’s a quick overview of the various hosting plans offered by WestHost:
Shared Hosting: Their shared hosting – they refer to it as “Small Business Web Hosting” – comes with three main plans:
- Personal plan: This plan costs $1.99 per month. It comes with 50GB disk space, 1,000GB bandwidth, 1 database, 1 website, unlimited email accounts, and 10 sub-domains.
- Preferred plan: This plan costs $5.20 per month. It comes with 200GB disk space, 2,500GB bandwidth, unlimited databases, unlimited websites, unlimited sub-domains, and unlimited email accounts. It also comes with a free domain name.
- Business plan: This plan costs $6.40 per month. It comes with unlimited disk space, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited databases, unlimited email accounts, unlimited websites, and unlimited sub-domains. It also comes with a free domain name and dedicated IP.
- Free Domain: Only on Business + Preferred Plans
- Ease of Signup: Quick signup process.
- Payment Methods: Credit Card, Paypal.
- Hidden Fees and Clauses: Shared hosting accounts must not exceed 200,000 inodes or 10GB total database size.
- Upsells: No upsells.
- Account Activation: Instant activation.
- Control Panel and Dashboard Experience: cPanel.
- Installation of Apps and CMSs (WordPress, Joomla, etc.): Quick installation of popular apps and CMSs via Softaculous.
Do we recommend WestHost?
No, we don’t.
WestHost is an average host. They have an average uptime, average page loading speeds and a really average support. The only reason why it’s still rated in our top 10 is their low pricing.
You’d be better off finding a different host on our site.
P.S. If you want to see hosting providers that ranked above WestHost, check our best web hosts here.
If you’ve used WestHost, please leave a review below. Good or bad – doesn’t really matter as we’re trying to keep our reviews transparent and honest.