Ah, HostMonster! We’ve got a bit of personal history with HostMonster and we’re quite excited to be cracking open the Utah-based hosting company today in this article. As with a few of our other, previous posts, we’ll be exploring a few of the more common complaints and problems that we’ve accumulated through our user-submitted reviews—and where these guys are concerned, you lot have definitely been talking. So, if you’ve been looking for a cheap web host to manage your digital goods, and have at any point in the process considered HostMonster, we strongly suggest you keep reading. We’ll be breaking the issue down into complaint-based sections, but before we even get that far, we’d like to first just take a preliminary look at who HostMonster actually is.
Who is the HostMonster?
First and foremost, HostMonster is one of the few companies to still remain within the continental United States. Their home base is in Provo, Utah, and as far as we know, they’ll be there until either they close their doors, or Utah falls into the sea—we’re assuming it might when California finally goes.
HostMonster offers all the sort of features we look for in a competent shared web hosting provider, including cheap prices (their plans start at only $5.95 a month) and a laundry list of unlimited features. Signing with the host will earn you unlimited disc space, bandwidth, email accounts, domains, and even a free domain name with your first registration. They’ve also got an whole host of site-building and management utilities, which is something we consider icing on a shared hosting cake. Oh, and of course there’s that guarantee that they’ll never outsource the work to foreign countries.
Still, all the promises in the world don’t amount to much when user experience is concerned. So what have you guys been saying about HostMonster? To find out, simply jump on down the break to explore our first section of complaints!
Variable Rates: This is a common ailment with cheaper web hosting providers, and we’re really quite sad to see that HostMonster has fallen into this trap. Apparently, the company is at least at risk of jacking up your rates once a year has passed. Even scarier, we’re also hearing reports that they’ve changed user’s rates without provocation. If you’re looking for a locked-in rate, all we can say is that you aren’t likely to find it here.
Errant Charges: We’ve been seeing a lot of errant charges complaints with these cheaper web hosts, and between you, me, and the walls, we aren’t sure why. As with so many others, it appears users are finding strange or unwarranted charges on their credit cards, leading them to dispute the claims with HostMonster later. Thankfully, they’re usually pretty good about refunding the money, but it’s still a pickle and a half to deal with.
Customer Support Complaints
Sudden Disconnect: In perhaps one of the most disturbing complaints we’ve seen anywhere, it appears that HostMonster will yank any content at all that’s been flagged as disputable. This isn’t such a bad idea, but when a flag is malicious, or perhaps just accidental, the loss of online site time can be a tremendous revenue drain. One of our reviewers spent hours trying to get his site back online, and seemingly without much support from the HostMonster customer support representative on the other end of the line. All in all, we’d be wary of your site’s presence with the company.
Blaming Others: Having worked in customer service before, we hate to see this amongst the complaints, as it just isn’t professional. Apparently, it’s quite common for HostMonster reps to blame other factors, rather than the HostMonster servers themselves. There is always a solution for server-side errors, and it’s a shame this is the company’s way of handling things.
Not Quite Unlimited: This is yet another quite common complaint we’ve seen amongst share hosting providers, though it makes it no less egregious. Apparently, like many others, HostMonster isn’t really offering unlimited services to its clients. If you reach a point where your shared hosting account is stretching the limits of their server’s resources, they reserve the right to inform you that your usage is “unreasonable.” And yes, you guessed it, this comes with a few extra charges. It’s a real shame, especially when other web hosting providers are capable of providing unlimited services no sweat.
CSS Problems: This is a new one for us. It appears that, at times, HostMonster’s servers have had a heck of a time reading CSS. We’ve never seen something like this before, and though we have no reason to doubt the user review is valid, we’re really quite surprised. At its core, this reveals a much deeper software problem than HostMonster would likely be willing to admit to.
Up-Time Issues: We’ve seen this with quite a few other shared hosting providers, and to be honest, we aren’t exactly surprised to find it here with HostMonster. As with so many other reviews, it appears that the 99.99% up-time guarantee is not quite correct. We’ve even got reports of user’s sites being down for as much as two days: A truly horrendous lapse if your business uses the Internet for the majority of its revenue. All in all, we’d simply caution you to be wary of relying on such up-time claims, as in nine cases out of ten, they turn out to be not quite true.
So, there you have it! When the chips are counted, it appears that HostMonster may not be quite as bad as some other shared hosting providers we’ve looked at recently, but when you get down to it, it’s also still not the picture perfect host we’d hoped for. As always, be sure to read our user-submitted reviews before signing to any hosting provider: They’ll keep you from some severe headaches, we promise.