A bit of background
We’ve been a paying customer for WestHost for 15 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.
WestHost was founded in 1998 by Chris Russell, and 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, and they claim to offer reliable web hosting that is affordable. We carefully investigated them by using their hosting 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 for in-depth performance stats (uptime & speed) can be found 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. 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 are hosted with them.
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. Enchanced 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 twelve months and they had an average uptime of 99.93 percent (just below the industry average of 99.94%. They’ve been OK over the past few months to be honest, but one bad month led to bad statistics – in February they had an uptime of 99.34%.
However, since May 2016 — their uptime has been great. Hitting nearly 100% for the last 4 months. This pretty phenomenal.See previous uptime - 2015 (expands)
- August average uptime: 99.99%
- September average uptime: 100%
- October average uptime: 99.98%
Last 12 month average uptime (2015 – 2016):
- November (2015) average uptime: 100%
- December (2015) average uptime: 99.99%
- January average uptime: 100%
- February average uptime: 99.34%
- March average uptime: 99.99%
- April average uptime: 99.83%
- May average uptime: 99.99%
- June average uptime: 100%
- July average uptime: 100%
- August average uptime: 100%
- September average uptime: 100%
- October average uptime: 99.98%
2. Right Below Industry Average Page Loading Times Too
Our test revealed their average page load time to be 737ms over the past 12 months, which is just below the industry average of 700ms.See previous load time - 2015 (expands)
- August average speed: 764ms
- September average speed: 703ms
- October average speed: 706ms
Last 12 month average load time (2015 – 2016):
- November (2015) average speed: 730ms
- December (2015) average speed: 766ms
- January average speed: 769ms
- February average speed: 782ms
- March average speed: 776ms
- April average speed: 794ms
- May average speed: 754ms
- June average speed: 674ms
- July average speed: 661ms
- August average speed: 714ms
- September average speed: 698ms
- October average speed: 737ms
WestHost: Page Load Speed and Uptime (Last 12 months, full data can be found here.)
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 to 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.
With that said, we believe that there’s nothing called “unlimited hosting” and that WestHost is generous enough for the prices they offer. However, we’re not happy that they hid what their “unlimited” hosting really allows on their Terms and Conditions page.
5. Cheaper plans comes 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 $2.67 monthly but you can only get that price if you pay for 3 years at once. The actual price is $8 per month, and the minimum term you can pay for is 3 months.
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.
Overview on WestHost shared hosting plans
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 $8 per month; it costs $2.67 monthly if you decide to pay for three years at once. It comes with 50GB disk space, 1,000GB bandwidth, 1 database, 1 website, 100 email accounts and 10 sub domains.
- Preferred plan: This plan costs $13 per month, but can cost as low as $4 per month if you pay for three years at once. 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 $17 per month but can cost as low as $6 per month if you pay for three years at once. 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: Yes.
- 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 average uptime and average support. While they do throw in a free domain name for life, there’s not much to preach.
You’d be better of 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.
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1 user review for WestHost
Performance is OK, customer support is great
I use WestHost for my small e-commerce site that gets approx. 1000 visits/month. I know it’s not much, that’s why I opted in for WestHost shared hosting (according to my research it’s pretty cheap).
I’ve seen some temporary glitches – a bit slow loading times or site being offline, but that has never been very long (probably 5 minutes max).
However, I must give a big thumbs up to their customer support as whenever I have issues, it never took more than 5 minutes to get in touch with them (using live chat) and in ALL cases they’ve answered my questions very professionally. If you ask me to rate WestHost, I’d give it 7,5/10.