HostMonster Hosting Review

 

HostMonster is one of the Endurance International Group’s (EIG) brands, started way back in 1996 and subsequently bought out by EIG, along with their sister site, Bluehost. It’s worth nothing that HostMonster and Bluehost [link to Bluehost review], being sister hosting companies, have exactly the same offering.

Prices starting at $5.99/Month

Shared hosting

HostMonster has three shared plans – the Starter Plan, the Plus, and the Pro Plan. Here they are in more detail. HostMonster works to make their shared hosting easy, so they make it as compatible as possible with third party applications, throw in add-ons like advertising credits, and provide a variety of ways to access and customize your site (e.g. SSH, FTP, phpMyAdmin). Each plan comes with:

  • SSI
  • SSH access
  • FTP access
  • Blog support (WordPress, b2evolution)
  • PHPBB and other message forums
  • CMSs (Moodle, Joomla, Drupal)
  • Image galleries
  • Ecommerce carts like OS Commerce, Agora, Cube, and Zen Cart
  • PGP/GPG encryption

Starter Plan: $5.99

The Starter Plan is HostMonster’s lowest tier hosting plan. It starts at $5.99 per month for a 36 month contract and goes up to $7.49 per month for a 12 month contract. However, if you’re signing up for the first time, your first month is discounted to $3.95.

The Starter Plan comes with all your standard hosting features like:

  • Email (POP and IMAP, 100 accounts)
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • 100GB storage
  • 1 domain and domain registration for a year
  • 25 subdomains
  • 20 MySQL databases with 1,000 data tables
  • CloudFlare CDN
  • Site Backup Pro
  • Drag and drop website builder

Note: unlimited does not mean unlimited. It means unlimited for the majority of customers (99.95%). HostMonster runs bandwidth usage through rigorous statistical analysis to determine what normal usage is for each plan. Generally speaking, if you’re using your account for web hosting, you’re not going to have any problems at all with their restrictions, making it virtually unlimited. If you’re trying to game the unlimited offering by using it for cloud storage or reselling your shared plan, you’re likely to be throttled and potentially kicked off the server.

Plus Plan from $9.99

The Plus Plan is all of the Starter Plan and then some, largely an expansion of what’s unlimited. The Plus Plan starts at $9.99 per month for 36 months and goes up to $11.99 per month for 12 months, the minimal contract. Of course, HostMonster offers a first month discount rate of $6.49 for the first month. In addition to what the Starter Plan gets you, the Plus Plan also includes:

  • Unlimited mail, storage, domains, and subdomains
  • Unlimited MySQL databases
  • SpamExpert protection for 1 domain
  • $200 in digital advertising credits

Pro Plan from $19.99

The Pro Plan is a significant jump in price, with the 36 month contract rolling in at $19.99 per month and going up to $24.99 per month for a 12 month contract. Again, there’s a first month discount, so your first month is $14.49.

The reason that the Pro plan is so much more expensive is that each Pro Plan is hosted on a server with 80% less accounts. That way, each account is afforded more CPU power, memory, and resources. The second reason that the Pro Plan comes packed with add-ons. When you go Pro, you get:

  • 300,000 file limit (as opposed to 100,000)
  • Lifetime domain registration
  • Domain privacy $11.88 Domain Privacy per domain per year)
  • Dedicated IP ($3.99 per month)
  • SSL certificate ($59.88 per year)
  • 3,000 database tables
  • Better site backups (Site Backup Pro –$23.88 per year)
  • SpamExpert protection for 2 domains ($2.99 a month per domain name)

According to HostMonster, all their various add-ons to the Pro package are worth a total of $180 per year. Combined with the better server you’re hosted on, if you use the extra CPU resources and the various add-ons then the Pro plan is a great deal. But for a lot of people, it’s just more than you need.

VPS Hosting from $24.99

HostMonster makes it easy to go the VPS route with 4 different plans. They start at $24.99 for a 12 month contract and go up to $99.99 for a 12 month contract. Shorter contracts (down to one month) are also available, but they are more expensive.

The Standard ($24.99) Plan gets you dual 2.2 Ghz cores, 2GB RAM, 30GB SAN storage, 1TB bandwidth, and cPanel and WHM root access. There’s a progressive increase in  processing power as you go up the tiers all the way to the Ultimate Plan’s ($99.99) quad 2.2 Ghz cores with 8GB RAM, 240GB SAN storage, 4TB monthly bandwidth, and 2 dedicated IPs (instead of just 1).

HostMonster strives for instant provisioning as well as guaranteed resources with KVM hypervisor virtualization and OpenStack for resource management.

Dedicated hosting from $124.99 per month

For those whose website needs surpass VPS, there’s always dedicated hosting. Dedicated hosting with HostMonster comes with RAID-1 protected hard drives, better caching, root access to your CentOS server, SAN storage, and an enhanced cPanel interface for easier server management.

HostMonster’s dedicated servers start at $124.99 per month for 12 months and go up to their Premium servers at $209.99 per month for 12 months.

Their Standard plan will get you a dual core, 2.3 GHz Intel Xeon Processor with 4 threads, 3MB cache, 4GB RAM, 500GB RAID-1 storage, 5TB bandwidth, 1 domain, and 3 dedicated IPs. Their Premium dedicated servers come use a Quad core, 3.3 GHz Intel Xeon Processor, 8MB cache, 8 threads, 16GB RAM, 1000GB RAID-1 storage, 15TB bandwidth, and 5 dedicated IPs.

Perl

With their enhanced cPanel access, Perl scripts are easy to deploy directly from the CPAN library. This includes mod_perl, mod_cgi, mod_fastcgi, and Nginx (VPS and dedicated only). However, while these can all be used, generally speaking it’s better to use phpconfig instead of mod_fastcgi, you can do whatever works best for you.

With regards to support, HostMonster have a significant chunk of knowledgebase questions regarding Perl. Plus, there’s always the robust Perl community at large to help you through trickier problems.

HostMonster runs Perl 5.8.8, so is compatible with the vast majority of the scripts in CPAN.

Technical details

  • CentOS 6.5
  • MySQL and PostgreSQL databases
  • SSH access
  • Override .htaccess support
  • Custom Cron jobs
  • Custom PHP.INI files support
  • Ruby/Ruby on Rails, PHP 5, and Python
  • CGI-BIN and CGI library
  • Javascript, DHTML, and Flash support
  • 1-Click Script Installs via Mojo Marketplace
  • Perl 5.8

Conclusion

HostMonster’s hosting option is great for those who want to work with a proven and reliable host. Their robust offering covers the vast majority of web hosting use cases. However, their enterprise-style structure means that they (and other EIG brands) lean towards cookie-cutter solutions. If you have a particular development challenge or slightly off-beat needs, then more customizable hosts like Arvixe are probably better option.

 

Prices starting at $5.99/Month

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