One web hosting service that just can’t seem to catch a break is HostMonster. They started out way back in 1996 – even before FatCow. However, they never really took off (comparatively speaking). So in the early 2000s, they tweaked the service to include more features and functionality. Still, no big change occurred. Then in 2013, they further upgraded their service so webmasters would get the best web hosting experience possible, particularly in regard to reliability and customer service. They even temporarily went “offline” during this giant upgrade to ensure they would have the best service once all was said and done. Nonetheless, there was still no significant customer increase. While HostMonster offers first-rate plans for individual webmasters, it seems as if they also decided to focus on business customers with their VPS and dedicated hosting plans. In our humble opinion, this turned out to be great since HostMonster is considered a “smaller” provider while offering a great all around service. Their feature list is very extensive, the usability of the cPanel control panel is great, and their support and reliability have been upgraded to match or even exceed even the largest of hosting services.
HostMonster makes their features known in the best possible way – far better than any other hosting provider. They run a separate page that is dedicated to showing you what you receive however it is laid out perfectly. This should likely be under a separate section labeled “layout” or “design” however it is worth mentioning that they market their service on their website better than any other provider we have seen. Since many business customers choose HostMonster, all of the programming languages, scripts, e-commerce features, databases and technologies are offered (and even more). As just one of many examples, not only are MySQL databases offered but HostMonster includes PostgreSQL Databases in their packages. Aside from that, all of the major features are supplied such as:
- Unlimited disk space
- Unlimited transfer/bandwidth
- Unlimited FTP accounts (and consequently – FTP access)
- Unlimited MySQL databases
- Unlimited e-mail accounts (and unlimited POP3/POP3 and IMAP/Secure IMAP support)
- Unlimited sub domains, add on domains and parked domains
- Secure shell access (SSH)
- SimpleScripts 1 click script installations
- Poll/survey software
- Courtesy site backups
The first thing we said when we saw the HostMonster ‘Contact Us’ page was: “one option?” We couldn’t believe this. How can a top 10 web hosting service only offer one support channel (via phone)? Yes, it’s 24/7, but one choice? Then we realized that HostMonster hides all other methods of contact by putting them deep within the ‘Help Center’ page. We are very fond of live chat however we decided to place a phone call first since HostMonster really advertises that method of contact. We were silenced when we called to inquire about the Coppermine image gallery – one of the many free website scripts they offer. We made the call at 4:57PM and were answered at 4:58PM by service a representative named ‘Sarah.’ That does not even do it justice since half of that minute was used navigating their automated message system. To be sure this was not a fluke, we called back at 9PM EST and at 2AM EST. Both times we received replies within two minutes. Each time, there was a separate service rep, and each time they understood our complicated technical questions. Regarding HostMonster’s help center: you can open live chat or a support ‘ticket,’ browse through their knowledgebase, read over the ‘Getting Started’ section, watch numerous video tutorials and even join a user forum. However, with such fast phone response times, you don’t even need those options. Also, HostMonster has a 30 day money back guarantee which should be enough to tell if the service is right for you.
Ease of Use
Firstly, we would like to point out that you can experience a live demo to see what you will really get with HostMonster. This is especially beneficial in regard to seeing what the navigational experience is like. They use the cPanel control panel which, as we have noted many times throughout various web hosting reviews, is one of the most user friendly control panels you can find. The top of the control panel is really laid out intuitively with all of the functions set in a horizontal navigation bar. More basic tasks, such as building a website, would be performed in the Command Center – an even easier version of the cPanel. Although you can see advanced functionalities within their control panel for more proficient webmasters, HostMonster chose the cPanel to encompass the rookie webmasters as well.
HostMonster Control Panel – Live Demo
As mentioned above, HostMonster makes building a website simple, which is done through the Command Center section of the cPanel. HostMonster really stands out here by not only offering the ‘drag & drop’ for beginner website builders, but they also offer powerful site builders such as SimpleScripts, BasicPages and liveSite. Creating a more complex website seems to be more in line with what HostMonster wants to deliver (which is great news for expert website builders). Moreover, unlike other hosting services who offer only dozens of templates on their basic hosting plan, HostMonster provides over 1,000 professional templates on every plan. However, they may not have the best website building experience but it is certainly ranks on top with the best.
In 2013, HostMonster restructured their entire service specifically to outdo every other hosting provider in terms of reliability. They did not disappoint. They guarantee 99.9% uptime. Words are nice and anyone can claim 99.9% uptime however HostMonster is one provider that really does not have many complaints. Not only are they one of the most reliable web hosting services we have come across, but they are also one that has remarkably fast speeds due to the use of Quad Opteron servers. They also monitor their networks 24/7 which ensures maximum security.
Unfortunately, HostMonster does not receive the love and credit it deserves. They have notable reliability and speeds, great customer service and they cater more to businesses, which essentially means you know you are getting a resourceful service. Any hosting provider who generally accommodates businesses cannot afford many hiccups, if any at all. In all likelihood, you will be pleasantly surprised if you decide to sign up with HostMonster.