HostMonster, owned by Endurance International Group (EIG), offers a few virtual private server (VPS) and dedicated server hosting plans, as well as three affordable shared hosting plans: Basic, Plus and Choice Plus. Although HostMonster is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau, EIG has an A- rating with the BBB. You can try out HostMonster risk-free by taking advantage of its 30-day money-back guarantee policy. While HostMonster provides a number of valuable features, they are not all included in every plan. The company provides customer support over phone and live chat. HostMonster also provides its customers with a control panel login feature to access web hosting information.
Types of Web Hosting Offered
HostMonster offers VPS, dedicated server and shared hosting plans. The VPS and dedicated server hosting options cost much more than the shared hosting plans. VPS and dedicated server hosting primarily cater to large corporations that require more bandwidth, more security and faster load times.
Shared hosting is best for small businesses, as it is the most cost-effective type of web hosting that includes the basic features a business will need. HostMonster offers three shared hosting plans, which are viable options for small businesses looking to start an e-commerce website. However, aside from the most expensive plan, its shared hosting options have limited security measures.
HostMonster Pricing and Plans
HostMonster has three shared hosting plans. The cheapest plan, Basic, starts at $4.95 per month. It provides 50GB of disk space, five email accounts and unmetered bandwidth. It can host one website per account.
The Plus plan, which starts at $6.95 per month, can host 10 websites, and it offers 150GB of disk space, 100 email accounts, unmetered bandwidth and $150 in marketing offers. The Choice Plus plan also starts at $6.95 per month and lets you host unlimited websites. It offers unlimited disk space, email accounts and bandwidth. This plan also comes with $200 in marketing offers.
All plans come with a free SSL certificate. The Plus and Choice Plus plans also come with spam prevention, and the Choice Plus plan includes privacy and backup protection.
These listed prices are for the promotional pricing available at the time of this review. Promotional pricing is only available for the first term of service; regular rates apply after that. The regular rates are $9.49 per month for the Basic plan, 12.49 per month for the Plus plan and $14.99 per month for the Choice Plus plan.
Another option is the Go PRO plan, which is listed at $25.49 with a promotional price of $14.95. It has a dedicated IP, SSL certificate, domain privacy and site backup.
You may receive a free domain name for the first year of your contract. Should you decide HostMonster isn't the right solution for your business, you can get your money back if you cancel within the first 30 days. The money-back guarantee does not apply to domain names or most add-on products. If your plan initially included a free domain name, you will be charged a $15.99 fee upon cancellation. You retain the rights to your domain name and will be able to transfer it to another registrar if needed.
HostMonster Web Hosting Features
HostMonster offers an extensive list of features, but they aren't all available in every pricing plan. You can see a breakdown of which features are in which plan on the HostMonster website to help you decide which plan is right for your small business.
Storage and Bandwidth: The Basic shared plan is geared toward smaller websites, but it has all the standard features, including 50GB of disk space, five email accounts and unmetered bandwidth. The Plus plan is for slightly larger businesses and offers 150GB of disk space, 100 email accounts and unmetered bandwidth. The Choice Plus plan, which is the most expensive, offers unlimited websites, disk space, bandwidth, parked domains, subdomains and email accounts.
Keep in mind that "unmetered" and "unlimited" do not mean infinite. HostMonster, like many other web hosting companies, uses these terms as a selling point to convey the fact that it doesn't charge you based on usage. However, to maximize uptime and security, it does set parameters for how much data it expects you to use, like a maximum of 5,000 database tables, 5GB usage per database and 10GB total database usage. HostMonster says if you exceed these limits, you will be asked to reduce your usage or your account may be terminated. HostMonster's policy of termination with or without notice for excessive usage is slightly more aggressive than many competitors' policies.
Security: HostMonster offers a range of security options for different plans, including SSL certificates, SpamExperts spam prevention, privacy protection, CodeGuard Basic backup protection, hotlink protection, Secure Shell (SSH) access, Server Side Includes (SSI) and AllowOverride .htaccess support.
Pre-installed Apps and Integrations: Creating complex websites is easy with HostMonster's website builder and cPanel control panel. It includes free website scripts like Drupal, Joomla, Moodle and Tiki Wiki. It also offers e-commerce features like SSL-encrypted servers, multiple shopping carts and password-protected directories. If you need multimedia features, you can look into its streaming video and audio support, MIDI file support and custom MIME types.
Domain Transfer: You may receive a free domain for the first year of registration with some hosting plans. However, HostMonster reserves the right to lock any generic top-level domains governed by ICANN for the first 60 days of registration. This means that, although you will retain the rights to your domain name, you will not be able to transfer it to another domain registrar during the first 60 days of either your initial registration or your transfer to a Bluehost plan.
Reputation and Customer Service
HostMonster has mixed reviews online, the majority being negative. While there isn't a specific Better Business Bureau listing for HostMonster, its parent company, EIG, has an average one-star review rating and 392 customer complaints over the past three years. Keep in mind that EIG is the parent company of several other web hosting services, including Bluehost, HostGator, iPage, FatCow, Just Host, Arvixe, A Small Orange and HostNine.
You can reach HostMonster customer support through the phone, live chat and email ticketing system. A perk the company offers is that it discloses whether phone and chat support agents are online and how long the average wait time is. You can also find answers in the online help center, which provides user forums, a knowledgebase and video tutorials.
Bluehost and HostMonster have the same parent company, EIG, which does not have great reviews. When looking through some of HostMonster's terms of service, like the domain registration agreement, we were often prompted with information about Bluehost. This information can be confusing when you're trying to decipher which company you are looking at and subscribing to. When we asked the representative the difference between the two services, they alluded to Bluehost offering better features. This makes sense because, while the Choice Plus plan has most of the features you could need, HostMonster's cheaper plans are missing key features that many small businesses require for web hosting.
To the same point, HostMonster offers very limited plans. Small and midsize businesses have a narrow selection. Only one or two of the shared plans have most of the essential features for a small business to take advantage of, which makes the selection even more minimal. The pricing is very reasonable, so it is worth looking into one of the more expensive plans. If it has all of the features your business requires, it may be a good fit.