Author: Matthew Rogers
Last Updated: December 2019
Why our reviews are worth reading
As a web agency, we use/test a LOT of hosting providers to scale both our clients and our many many side-projects (we like to experiment).
Having done this for quite a few years now, we've used, analysed, and reviewed a lot of web hosts... these are our findings.
A few of the better-known brands that link to our content
HostMonster: A quick summary for people with no time (pretty much all of us)
Sadly, in a nutshell, we don’t recommend HostMonster, for a few reasons with the main ones being security and support. Let’s run through a few problems we found.
Security: Having an SSL certificate (https, a secure site) is a must these days, definitely with Google favoring https sites, and Chrome actively labeling non-secure sites as “not secure”… Basic SSL certificates are actually free these days, because they’re so important. Most hosts offer this also for free, because it’s easy to integrate. HostMonster, on the other hand, doesn’t off it on their basic plan, or their second plan, or their third plan… you’d have to go to their 4th “PRO” plan to get an SSL certificate. That’s just crazy!
Support: There are quite a few complaints about their support floating around, way too many to ignore. Everything from big delays in support responses, to just plain bad support.
Pricing: With no SSL certificates, no unlimited disk space, bad support, etc… you’d at least expect a decent cheap rate, unfortunately nope, they start at $4.95/mo, which is at least 1$ over what we see as an average, that usually comes WITH SSL and decent support.
So what we’re really saying is… there are a lot of web hosts out there that are a lot better at pretty much everything! Avoid HostMonster! Instead, check out our best web hosting list for the USA.
If you’re somehow still interested in HostMonster, keep reading below.
HostMonster started back in 1996 making the company one of the oldest hosting providers out there. It was founded by Matt Heaton, the same person who launched BlueHost. It merged with Endurance International Group (EIG) in 2015. EIG is a giant that owns many web hosting companies such as HostGator, BlueHost, and Arvixe.
Their headquarters is located in Provo, Utah, United States. This privately-held company provides a variety of products and services. These include Shared Hosting, VPS Web Hosting, and Dedicated Servers, among others.
HostMonster provides four different packages for their web hosting solutions. These plans are named Basic, Plus, Prime, and Go Pro. The said packages can be seen below:
The cheapest plan is called Basic and it costs USD 4.95 per month if you opt for a 36-month contract. Thus, you have to shell out a total of USD 178.20 upfront. If you opt for a 12- month and 24-month contract, you have to pay USD 6.95 and USD 5.95 per month, respectively. The said amounts are special introductory prices only. This promotional pricing is only valid in the first term. Regular rates will apply upon renewal of the plan you avail.
The Basic plan allows you to have one website only per hosting account. If you want multiple websites, you can opt for the Plus package which allows you to have at most 10 websites per hosting account. If you have more than 10 websites, then you have to get the Prime package which allows you to host an unlimited number of websites.
Website space is limited at 50GB. This means you can have a maximum of 50GB worth of data on your hosting account, which is usually more than enough for building a business website… actually you can build quite a few of them with that amount of disk space.
According to the website, Performance of the Basic Plan (along with the Plus and Prime plans) is Standard. So, what does this exactly mean? We asked their support team to learn more about it. According to them “Since it’s a shared server, we do not have exact resources. If you start to affect other websites on the same server, we notify you so that you can either fix it or upgrade a lot of times. However, this results in your website being shut down until the issues are resolved.” The said conversation can be seen below:
This means you share resources with other account owners on the same server. Once you start affecting the performance of the server, your account gets suspended. You have to fix this by upgrading your account to a higher-level package to accommodate your website’s needs. Once they learn that your account compromises performance of other accounts, yours gets suspended until the issue has been fixed.
Okay. Let’s move on with performance and go to mailboxes. You can have 5 email accounts per hosting account. The number is quite little compared to other hosting providers who offer unlimited email accounts. However, if you’re hosting a starter website, per se, this number is quite enough. Email storage is at 100MB per account. Again, for a starter, this can satisfy the requirements of each mailbox.
HostMonster gives you a free domain registration once you sign up with them. This is good if you’re trying to save a few bucks for other add-ons. Unlike other web hosting providers, the initial setup of your account is free of charge.
They provide an uptime guarantee of 99.99%. This means that your website will rarely experience downtimes. In addition, they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. Thus, if you are not satisfied with their products and services, you can get a refund.
HostMonster gives you a variety of options for support. These include the following:
- Online Live Chat
- Telephone Support
- Help Center/ Knowledge Base
- Ticket Submission
Technical Phone Support and Technical Live Chat Support are available 24/7. Telephone support for sales is available 7 days a week from 6am to 9pm, MST. They also have different online live chat and telephone support lines for Billing, Terms of Service Compliance Department, and Verification.
Their Knowledge Base or Help Center is filled with tutorials on how to set up and manage the products and services you pay for. Obviously, this is available on their website 24/7/365. It also contains video tutorials that might help you easily do the stuff you need to get your account up and running.
Reviews of their customer support service were mostly negative. Most customers were unhappy with their representatives. When websites get into trouble, their technical representatives only responded with apologies. There was no initiative to do something about the issues they face. Although they’re knowledgeable with simple questions, they can’t troubleshoot a lot of problems account owners encounter.
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
If you tried them out and decided they’re not the right fit for you needs, you can actually get a refund. Although this refund does not extend to domain name registration it’s still a good deal to save a few bucks.
Free Domain Registration
Yes. You actually can save a few bucks with their free primary domain registration. If you don’t have a domain name yet, then it’s time to take advantage of this offer.
There are multiple disadvantages to signing up with HostMonster.
Limited Disk Space
They only give you about 50GB of disk space. Not much use if you have large-sized videos and images you need to place inside your website. Also, if you have the extra downloadables, then this plan is not the right one for you.
If you want unlimited disk space, you have to opt for the third plan, the Prime package. The special introductory price is at USD 6.95 per month if you opt for 36 months. This means you have to shell out USD 250.20 upfront. If you want to go for the 12-month and 24-month contract, you have to shell out USD 9.45 and USD 8.45 per month, respectively.
Limited Email Accounts
You are only allowed 5 email accounts in the Basic Plan. But what if you have six people in charge of your website (or business)? Then, obviously, this isn’t the right fit.
You can opt for the next plan, the Plus Package which costs USD 6.95 per month if you opt for 36 months upfront. This is still the special introductory price. At renewal, you have to pay regular rates. Oh, BTW, the said more expensive plan allows up to 100 email accounts.
Poor Customer Support
Nope. They do not provide the excellent customer service they promised. Most reviews were unhappy with their representatives and their technical support team. Most technical reps had to apologize for poor service (e.g. servers going down, websites crashing, etc.). And to make things worse, they seriously only had to apologize and state that they can’t do anything about it.
One thing you have to look for in a hosting provider, excellent customer support. If a company doesn’t have it, then steer clear of them. What if your website crashed and your most important customer is currently surfing in it? What??!! Then, you lose a valuable client. What’s worse is that when this happens, the support team isn’t there to help you. What a bummer.
You might also notice my conversation (image) provided earlier in this review. The customer rep stated, “What brings you to Bluehost?” This means, both BlueHost and HostMonster has the same customer service reps. This might be obvious cause they are founded by the same person. But the fact that the customer service rep can’t distinguish between a BlueHost customer and a HostMonster customer shows that they can’t distinguish between the two company’s products and services too. We’ll show you a recap of the conversation:
We don’t know if this is actually a pre-made template they created for BOTH BlueHost and HostMonster. Or, probably, the rep actually made a mistake. Geez…
HostMonster is not a company we would recommend. Nope. Not gonna happen. The cons heavily outweigh the pros of working with the company. Great customer support is lacking and clearly, it’s just another EIG company out there. Features are very limited as well. You’re better off being with other hosting providers out there.