HostMonster: The BIG Review

Here lately we’ve been delivering you all kinds of reviews of some of the smaller web hosting companies running around the Net. We’ve been doing this as sort of an educational venture, attempting to bring you some of the lesser known (though still totally awesome) provider options that you’re likely to find. However, during all of this, we somehow managed to miss one of the largest web hosting companies in the business. Yes, we didn’t mean to in the slightest, but that’s just the way it is! So without further ado, we’re going to shoot to correct this oversight, bringing you today a full roundup on all the information you need before signing up with HostMonster.

We’re not sure how the company managed to slip through our cracks, but slip they certainly did! This is surprising, because if you haven’t already heard of HostMonster, we’re not entirely sure what rock (or planet) you’ve been living on. They’ve been catering up some of the biggest and best web hosting around for more than a decade now, which means it’s about high time we produced a full written review for you to look over.

So if you’ve never heard of HostMonster, have never considered them for your primary hosting provider, or have absolutely no idea why you even should, then you’re in the right place! We’ll be giving you all that information and more, starting with a full rundown of who the company is, and generally speaking, what you’ll find by signing with them. So without further ado, let’s jump straight into the mix of things!

Who is HostMonster?

If you haven’t already heard of HostMonster (God only knows how) then let us be the first to give you the full picture. As a web hosting provider, HostMonster has been catering up fine hosting services for more than a decade now, having opened their doors way back in 1996. Since then, they’ve refined their products to offer hosting packages that help businesses and individuals get high-powered services at a fraction of the cost—that’s according to their website, anyway!

They go on from there to give you a few of their top guarantees. We always like to mention these, as what an hosting company promises is often quite indicative of what you’re likely to find within once you’ve actually signed the digital lease. So here’s the straight skinny:

HostMonster’s Guarantees:

  1. Higher customer service
  2. Quality equipment
  3. Maximum guaranteed uptime
  4. Highly functional tools for administrators
  5. The leading feature set available
  6. Secure backups
  7. Solid and honest business practices

Now, for the most part all of that sounds like some basic patter given to us by just about every web hosting company alive. However, we do like a few things in there. First of all, guaranteed maximum uptime is always a bonus, as this means the company (at least on paper) recognizes the importance of maintaining an online presence. Secondly, we like the promise to promote and maintain fair business practices. So many times in this business we hear about people getting scammed or being bumped out of a service they deserve. With that kind of a guarantee, we’re hoping that HostMonster will at least take a few steps toward guaranteeing the safety and performance of your Internet lease.

Just a few more pointers, and then we’ll move on to bigger and better things. First of all, HostMonster is based locally here in the United States (Sorry for all you Europeans, that’s not much of a boon!) in Provo, Utah. This means their call centers are located directly in the heart of your country, and are available 24×7 to give you up to date information about the status of your server, as well as solutions to any problems that you may have. Now, we don’t like to consider call centers in the USA a default plus (we’re big on the whole Global Melting Pot idea) but if you’re looking for educated, competent, and understandable support, we have to admit it’s easily the way to go. Take it as you may, though.

The Technology Behind HostMonster

Now, usually we try to give you at least a little bit of information about what the hosting provider de jour is packing in terms of server potential. However, today’s offering is a bit strange, as we’ve got nothing to share with you about HostMonster. Absolutely nothing. They haven’t mentioned at all what sort of technology is at the heart of their servers, and we can’t get any direct answers out of them.

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This is troubling, and allows us to take a moment to explain something: Any web hosting company that isn’t outright about the kind of hardware that they’re using is usually not a great fit for just about any web hosting need. The reason for this is simple—you just don’t know what you’re getting! It’s like buying a used car with absolutely no idea what’s underneath the bonnet. Odds are, if the thing runs and comes with a guarantee, that you’ll be alright in the end. But then again, how do you really know until you drive the car off the lot?

All of this to say one simple thing: Before you get all gung-ho over HostMonster, be sure that you at least ask a sales representative about the technology that they’re using. You may not get a straight shooter answer, but at the least, you’ll have more than we can give. And after all, knowing the most you possibly can about the hardware at work is easily one of the best ways to ensure that you don’t get scammed out of your hard-earned budget. That’s our piece, and now we’ll move on!

Web Hosting Features with HostMonster

Now, up until this point we’ve been talking an wful lot about who HostMonster is, what they can offer, and what you can expect when hosting with them in terms of technology—sadly, we’re still drawing blanks there. However, where HostMonster does give a ton of information is in the web hosting department. They’re sure to spit up as much data as possible, which means it’s high time we dove into some of those tasty nuggets to bring you the full wrap on what kind of hosting you can expect to obtain with HostMonster. So without any more prattling on on our part (We do get wordy, don’t we?) let’s hit the ball with the bat and start rounding the basis!

HostMonster Shared Hosting

Now, before we get too far into this, we feel we have to mention just a few things. First out of the bag, HostMonster’s hosting plan comes with a particularly important guarantee. Or is it a credo? Either way, it’s remarkably telling, and it goes something like this: “From the business owner to the individual who desires full functionality on a small budget, HostMonster provides your complete web hosting solution.”

So there we have the claim, and now it’s time to crack open the nut we’re faced with to find what’s on the inside! Here’s the gist.

The other thing we wanted to mention is the price that you’ll be obtaining with HostMonster.It’s just about one of the cheapest we’ve seen anywhere on the Net, and though it isn’t the cheapest ever, it’s still pretty stellar. For only $4.95 a month you get to enjoy all of the full features that HostMonster has to offer. Again, it isn’t the totally rock bottom pricing we’ve seen at some other budget hosting solutions, but for a company that’s this big and offers this much functionality, it’s hardly a bad price. So what exactly will you bet getting for that money? To answer that, let’s hit the thing on the nail and get digging.

The Features of HostMonster Shared Hosting

Firstly, the services that you’ll get with HostMonster are of a shared nature. This means that you’ll be sharing your server space with upwards of a thousand other people, all of them resting comfortably on the same hardware location as you. That’s not exactly a bad thing, but if you’re looking for more security, privacy, or performance, obviously HostMonster isn’t really the way to go. The web hosting provider only offers shared hosting, and doesn’t come with any other forms to tide you over. So if you’re an huge corporation looking for a massive web hosting service to match, you’re likely much better off elsewhere—Our suggestion is to try InMotion Web Hosting for their breadth of services.

For the rest of us, though, HostMonster is certainly a doable option! The features are really quite comprehensive, and there’s no better place to start a list like this than with the unlimited features the company touts.

With HostMonster at the wheel you’ll get unlimited domains, unlimited email accounts, unlimited secure IMAP, unlimited data transfer (that’s bandwidth, unlimited disk space, unlimited email responders, unlimited FTP accounts, unlimited subdomains, and unlimited parked domains. Now, obviously the unlimited disk space and bandwidth are what we’re really after here, but the fact that HostMonster has left so many of its services unmetered is really quite the boon.

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We should mention the darker side to all this, however: You see HostMonster is one of those hosting providers that comes with an “acceptable use” agreement. This means that, should your website start to use what is considered “unacceptable amounts” of the company’s resources, they have every right to either move your site, shut it down, or start charing you an extra fee for the hosting that you’ve already paid for. We hate these kinds of agreements, and though they make sense—shared hosting really does only have so much room and performance to go around—it’s still terribly unfair to you the customer. As such, just keep it in mind before you sign up with HostMonster, especially if you’re expecting a whirlwind of traffic to come down the pipes while you’re hosting with the company.

Additional HostMonster Features

Okay, so we’ve already established that a tub full of unlimited features is great, though perhaps not guaranteed. So with that in mind, what else does HostMonster offer that might make them more of a budget option, or something I’m more likely to want to consider? To get that party started, let’s kick into software:

If you’re looking for coding and software support, no one has things nailed down quite like HostMonster. They offer the full roster of just about everything else that you could possibly want. Want to start up a WordPress site, or perhaps a site based on another popular content management system? With HostMonster, it’s hardly a problem. The host comes with a wealth of one-click installs that will easily get you on your way. How about forums, polling software, image galleries, and even a site builder? Yes, you can have your cake and eat it too where all of these are concerned.

One of the more important software packages that arrives with HostMonster has to do with eCommerce. The site offers full support for these kinds of packages, including OS Commerce support, Agora shopping cart integration, as well as an SSN Secure Server. All of this adds up to easy creation and management of your very first (or possibly not) eCommerce site on the Net. Still not satisfied, though? You’re very hard to please—but we understand!

With HostMonster, you’ll also get multimedia features and support, including streaming video and audio, real audio and video support, flash support, shockwave integration, and even MIDI support. Just promise us you won’t have some kind of Star Trek remix running in the background of your site: It ain’t classy, and it just never will be!

Aside from that, the last things you need to know about the HostMonster hosting support have to do with promotion: Search engine submission is free with the provider, as is a whopping $100 in Google Adwords credit. Need to get your site promoted and listed quickly? With HostMonster, it simply isn’t a problem.

The Technical Assistance Experience at HostMonster

We’re going to round off this review with some of our own, true thoughts about HostMonster. We’re also going to include some of the reviews and opinions expressed to us by our dedicated readers, via the User Submitted Reviews. However, before we can get to that sort of stuff, we’re going to need to have a discussion about the technical assistance you’re likely to obtain with HostMonster. So without any more blabbering on, here’s our full thought on the matter:

We have a lurking suspicion that hosting with HostMonster will be hit or miss, in terms of tech support. Why do we say that? It’s simple really. They’ve got all of the methods that we like to see in a web hosting provider, including a ticket system, a help control panel, and email support. We’re also seeing live chat support which is a great option here in the modern age. And, of course, if you’d like to simply pick up the phone and give HostMonster a solid call, you can do that, as well—they even offer snail mail if you’d like to go that route, though we have no idea why.

So why do we have our misgivings about using the HostMonster technical support? Simply put, we’ve been in the industry for so long now that we can usually spot problem tech assistance. In HostMonster’s case, we’re seeing a lot of warning signs. Firstly, there’s no mention anywhere of trained and qualified staff. Sure, the person on the other end of the line is a native English speaker, but at the most they might only be able to tell you to turn it on or off again. When looking for quality technical support, you really want to know that you’re end user agent is dedicated and educated: With HostMonster, we’re just not sure. In fact, we have no idea if that’s the case.

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Our Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, though, we have this to say about HostMonster:

In our eyes, they’re surely a safe way to go if you’re only goal is to find budget friendly web hosting. The features seem to be rock solid, and though HostMonster comes with a lot of things we don’t like (unfamiliar technology, questionable tech support, a reasonable use policy, etc.) we’re willing to overlook all of that in favor of the services offered at the price given. In other words, we can’t promise that what you’ll get with HostMonster is earth shaking, but it will at least be passable.

And as always, be sure to read our user submitted reviews before signing onto any new host. We’ll be giving you a few of the reviews here in a second, but before we do that, we want to encourage you to check out some of our favorite web hosts first. InMotion Hosting and Web Hosting Hub are two of our favorites, and though they’re priced similarly to HostMonster, they seem to offer more information. Just a thought, but do give them an hard looking over before committing to HostMonster.

The User Experience

As promised, here are some actual user reviews of HostMonster for your consideration. Starting with:

“Hi, I have been using many web hosting providers shared hosting services for various projects, mainly done in Drupal. Recently I took on HostMonster because my client already had their domain there, so I said what the heck, they taut the same description and capabilities as all other webhosts in their category [shared hosting]. It’s a pain to deal with their tech support for in-depth issues, it seems they can’t really be helpful other than sending you links to forums and tutorials because it’s not their responsibility to address certain issues. They also take an average of 30-48 hours to answer. Chat support is much willing to assist, but they can only go so far.”

“I’ve used Hostmonster for 4 Years. Last time there’re lots of good technical support rep in hostmonster. The problem now is that all of them are gone and new Technical support Rep cant even answer any question that i asked. Another Problem on Virus when they scanned the system and found out that my account was infected by a virus and asked me to removed few files but, on february 2012, i got hacked that use the vulnerability on .htaccess. so my site was redirected to specific domain through .htaccess. I asked em why didn’t they notice this and ask me or help me remove this. They told me that its because somebody told them to scan things for the previous case, but i think this is ridiculous. 1st they asked me to removed several infected files, as for the second time, they told me to do several things like changing password, updating script etc2 and i did that but still won’t work. I asked em to help me regarding this but they gave me a shit. they told me that they cant help me with this.”

“In both cases i’ve needed tech support for hostmonster they’ve failed miserably. Interestingly while i was moving to hostgator the HostGator support rep helped me with my Host Monster problem! The most recent of the two support tickets, i requested the modified files for Feb 19 as the hack occurred around that time, but they only provide you with the last 12hours of ftp logs. Four days later they sent me the logs for the LAST 12 hours of the 23rd… As you can guess i let them know that was incorrect. Two days after that the ‘next guy’ responded saying the first guy did send me what i requested and that i could do plenty of research online to fix my problem. This is the same response i received the first time i contacted support. The only difference was this time i caught the hack before HM did. Last time they found it. They still haven’t detected the infected files on my account…. I suggest you find a company with better support.”

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