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’.
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. Uptime Right Above Industry Average
Over the past 16 months, they had an average uptime of 99.96 percent (.02 above 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 – December, January, and February were particularly poor.
Despite that, since May 2018, their uptime has been great. Hitting almost 100% for the last 11 months.
Last 16-month average uptime:
- March 2019 average uptime: 100%
- February 2019 average uptime: 100%
- January 2019 average uptime: 100%
- December 2018 average uptime: 99.99%
- November 2018 average uptime: 99.98%
- October 2018 average uptime: 100%
- September 2018 average uptime: 100%
- August 2018 average uptime: 99.99%
- July 2018 average uptime: 99.99%
- June 2018 average uptime: 99.99%
- May 2018 average uptime: 99.99%
- April 2018 average uptime: 99.90%
- March 2018 average uptime: 99.99%
- February 2018 average uptime: 99.69%
- January 2018 average uptime: 99.55%
- December 2017 average uptime: 99.15%
2. Free Migration and 30-Day 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.
5. One-Click Apps and Website Builder
WestHost offers a one-click installation for many of the top apps on the Internet through Softaculous. That includes everything from WordPress to Joomla, Drupal, and Magento.
However, while those apps are tailor-made for savvy webmasters, novice bloggers might need a little more help.
Fortunately, WestHost also offers a DIY website builder and online store options, too.
The website builder includes over 165 drag-and-drop themes, plus an all-in-one plan that includes a domain name, hosting, and email addresses. Basically, everything you need to start your first site under one roof.
And at only a $3.71/mo starting introductory price point, it’s still an affordable, convenient option so you don’t have to set up or connect all of these things manually.
6. Relatively Transparent Pricing List
Web hosts are notorious for burying costs in the places you least expect them.
You usually have to pour over their terms of service to find the biggest ones. And even then, there is often a ton of upsells waiting for you like a landmine during the checkout process.
Many of these ‘hidden’ costs revolve around increased renewal rates. That’s why we were glad (and frankly, surprised) to see WestHost has a big price list of these details for all of their products. Everything is literally all out in the open for you to review — no tricky legalese to decipher.
The only tedious thing is that you’ll have to sort through dozens, if not hundreds, of their product variations to find specific answers (like the renewal rate differences between domain names with .coms vs. .org).
But either way, we applaud their effort to at least be open about all of the ways their products could cost you more in the near future.
Cons of Using WestHost Hosting
Unfortunately, WestHost posts average (or slightly below average) where it counts.
1. Slower Than Ideal Load Time
Our test revealed their average page load time to be 896ms over the past 16 months, which is very close to the industry average of 890ms (still slower than the top-rated hosts).
Last 16-month average load time:
2. 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
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
Intro Pricing Period Too Short
All web hosts will reel you in with an incredibly low starting price. It often looks too good to be true because it is: after your first term, the price jumps back up to normal levels (often two or three times the initial rate).
The silver lining is that most hosts will allow you to lock-in that low rate for up to three years. So you’re saving a ton of money over that time period.
The problem with WestHost is that while they do have a really affordable rate initially ($1.99/mo), you can only purchase it for a single year. After that, the price then jumps to $8/mo.
Compare that ‘lost’ ~$6/mo over the course of two years in comparison, and you’re basically overpaying by around $144 over the first three years.
That’s not the only issue, though.
WestHost’s cheapest shared hosting option (the Personal plan) does not offer a free domain name, dedicated IP address, or SSL certificate. Only their more expensive plans include those things. So all of a sudden, what looked pretty affordable at $1.99/mo now ends up looking really expensive when you factor all of these ‘hidden’ costs.
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 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.