Hostwinds is a highly-regarded, US-based hosting provider that is known for its fast speeds and one of the best user experiences a hosting provider can offer. It provides its customers with many amazing features, expert 24/7 customer support, the latest cPanel control panel, and simple one-step installations. Additionally, Hostwinds is one of the rare providers that owns all of its infrastructures and doesn’t rely on third parties for its equipment, servers, and systems. So, everything you see at Hostwinds is done by the company itself. Hostwinds offers a variety of services, including shared, cloud, and both managed and unmanaged VPS hosting plans with dedicated resources.
So, you may have found yourself needing greater resources for your website than what shared hosting can offer, which is a great sign for you because it means that your business is growing. But, of course, a very important question arises: What is the next step? How can you keep providing a great user experience to your customers and avoid slower speeds and downtime without spending too much money on hosting? Well, the answer lies with VPS hosting, which enables you to upgrade your plan, acquire more resources, and do so in an affordable manner.
On today’s roster, we have Hostwinds’ VPS offer to review. We will explore its plans and see what features it offers, and check out the advantages and disadvantages so that you can determine whether Hostwinds is the one that can satisfy your website’s needs.
Getting Started with Hostwinds VPS Plans
The Hostwinds website is quite easy to navigate and has a simple and well-organized design. Its VPS hosting plans are extremely easy to locate at the top of the page under the VPS banner.
Also, Hostwinds enables you to choose other languages besides English to improve your experience. You can choose from ten different languages before you continue.
Two managed VPS plans are available, one for Linux and one for Windows.;
Two unmanaged VPS plans are also available, one for Linux and one for Windows.
If you purchase the Linux VPS option, you can choose from Debian, Fedora, CentOS, and Ubuntu. For Windows VPS, you can choose from Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2016.
Hostwinds has plans for everyone, both experts and beginners, as it offers managed and unmanaged VPS plans.
With unmanaged plans, you will be responsible and have total control over configuring and managing your VPS, which is why Hostwinds’ unmanaged plans come with a cheaper price tag.
If you are a beginner, we would advise you to get a managed plan to focus on your website and leave all the technical aspects in the hands of the provider. However, it’s worth noting that managed plans are more expensive. Additionally, if you do not have an IT team to help you out and don’t have the time to manage your VPS by yourself, getting a managed plan would definitely be the better option for you.
Choose the number of resources you need and only pay for those you use with each VPS plan. You can choose from getting one to getting 16 CPU cores. Each core comes with a different amount of RAM, storage, and bandwidth.
With Hostwinds, you will get 1 Gbps Ports, Solid State Drives, Free SSL Certificates, 99.9999% uptime, free website transfer, snapshots, custom ISO’s, nightly backups, Enterprise Firewall, a free dedicated IP, and much more.
The main difference between an unmanaged and managed plan with Hostwinds is that with a managed plan, you will have expert support at your disposal 24/7/365, which will take care of any and all issues you might have. With an unmanaged plan, however, Hostwinds will ensure that your VPS is up and running and has the required power, network, and connection between you and Hostwinds. Other than that, it does not provide any other additional support.
All Hostwinds VPS plans come with pre-configured applications and CMSs, and are compatible with Drupal, Joomla, WordPress, Minecraft, and OpenVPN, among others. Additionally, all VPS plans include a real-time monitoring system, where you can monitor your server as much as you want and detect any type of issue as soon as possible.
Now, this brand review will not be accurate if we do not do some testing. For my test, I will be purchasing the cheapest VPS plan available, which is one CPU of the unmanaged Linux VPS plan. And since I’m only testing the services and not hosting an app or a website, this plan will be good enough because I do not need a lot of resources.
So, to start the purchase process, click on the Order icon next to the number of CPUs you wish to purchase. After clicking, this is the screen that you will see.
The first thing you need to do is to either create a new account or sign up with Hostwinds. After logging in, you will need to fill in the required information regarding your company and other personal information.
After you’re done with your info, you can move on to the Package Information menu. Here, you can choose between a managed or unmanaged plan for the OS you’ve chosen. For instance, if you’ve decided to buy an unmanaged Linux VPS plan (like me), you can change it here to a managed plan.
Next, you can set the billing cycle, and Hostwinds enables you to choose from a one-month, three-month, six-month, annual, biannual, and three-year billing cycle. The prices for each cycle are shown.
Next, you can set your server location. Hostwinds has three different data centers in Dallas, Seattle, and Amsterdam. So, its services are more geared towards North American and Western European audiences. Thus, if you have a different target audience and you yourself are based somewhere outside these regions, the service you will get from Hostwinds might not suit you.
The next step is to choose the Operating System you want. In my case, I can choose from CentOS 8, CentOS 7, CentOS 6, cPanel/WHM + CentOS 7, Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 16.04,Ubuntu 14.04, Fedora 32, Fedora 31, Fedora 30, Fedora 29, Fedora 28, Fedora 27, Fedora 26, Fedora 25, Debian 10, Debian 9, and Debian 8.
For my testing, I will go with CentOS 8.
Next, you can choose how many IP addresses you want. If you need only one, it will be free. However, any additional IP address comes at a cost. You can choose from getting on to 250 IP addresses. The prices for the IP addresses are also shown here.
Additionally, if you wish to purchase a DDoS-protected IP address, you can do so here, and the prices for these IPs are shown. You can choose to get from zero to five DDoS-protected IPs. You can also purchase a C-Class IP address here, and you can get from zero to 250 C-Class IPs. All prices are shown separately.
This is what I will be purchasing.
The next step is choosing the number of CPUs you wish to buy. As mentioned, you can get from one to 16 CPUs, depending on how many resources you need. The more CPUs you buy, the higher the price will be, and prices are shown for each offer separately. Next up is to choose how many plans you want to buy.
This is what I will be getting.
Now, for the add-ons. You can choose to add cloud backups and Hostwinds Monitoring for your plan. Additionally, you can choose to add the cPanel Software License and the VPS Softaculous License if you wish. All of these add-ons come with a price tag.
The last thing you need to do before completing your order is to provide your payment info and choose the payment method you prefer. Beneath the Payment Information menu, you will be able to see the amount under the Total Due Now. To finish the purchase process, click on the Complete Order icon.
Setting Up a Hostwinds VPS Plan
Now that you have created your account and you’ve completed the order, this is what your home screen should look like. All of the settings you configured before making your account are saved, so your server location, OS, IP addresses, and the rest are all configured.
Now, since the most important settings are already saved, let’s see what else you can do from your Hostwinds dashboard.
The dashboard is quite intuitive and simple to navigate, and all features are clearly placed and well-organized. You can make a payment instantly from the dashboard, and you can see all the services you have with Hostwinds and their status.
If you click on the “Manage” icon next to your plan, you will be able to see what your first payment amount is, how much your recurring payment would be if you choose to renew your plan, your billing cycle, and the status of your plan. Additionally, you can change the password for your plan, upgrade or downgrade it, and see your server information. You can also check which option you can configure.
You can update your info directly by clicking on the “Update” icon under your name on the home page. There, you will be able to change your personal info, set a payment method and billing contact, change your address and contact info and join the Hostwinds mailing list by scrolling to the bottom of the page and checking the box next to the “Yes” icon.
Here, you can also change your account email. Under the “Billing Information” icon, you can see your current payment method and enter a new one at the same place. Additionally, you can see your invoices and pay them directly if you haven’t done so. You can click on the “Mass Payment” icon to pay for all outstanding services at once, and you can check your account credits and set up a PayPal account if you wish.
Aside from billing, you can also add contacts and sub-accounts, change your password, configure your security settings, and check your email history as well. Regarding the security settings, you can enable Two-Factor Authentication here and add a security question and answer.
Another thing you can do from the “Home” section is to order new services if you wish. By clicking on the “Order New Services” icon, you will be redirected to a page that will display all the different service categories you can purchase from Hostwinds. Additionally, you have a menu called “Actions,” from which you purchase a domain, check domain renewals, transfer an existing domain, and see what you have in your cart.
Moreover, you can register a new domain directly from the “Home” section by clicking on the “Register a New Domain” icon.
Last but not least, you can log out from your account directly from the “Home” section by clicking on the “Logout” icon.
Next up is the “Services” section. Under it, you can do three things: view your services and manage them, order new services, and see which add-ons are available to you.
On the “My Services” page, you can view the services you already have and manage them. You can see how many of your services are active, pending, suspended, terminated, and canceled. You can also place a new order directly from here and view the available add-ons.
Next, under the “Order New Services” area, you can choose from all of the services Hostwinds offers and purchase the ones you wish, and the page that appears is the one from the “Home” section’s “Order New Services” page.
Under the “View Available Add-ons” area, you can see what add-ons are available for the products you’ve bought.
Under the “Domains” section, there are multiple options. In “My Domains,” you can view the domains you have and which ones are active and which are expired. Additionally, you can renew your domain, register a new one, or transfer an existing one by clicking on the option you want in the “Actions” menu.
Additionally, under the “Domains” section, you have separate icons for domain renewals, domain registration, and domain transfer.
In this section, you can also view your unregistered domains and manage your DNS and rDNS.
The “Billing” section on your dashboard enables you to check your invoices and pay them directly, make a mass payment for all outstanding debt, manage your credit card, add funds, set a PayPal account, view account credits, and manage billing dates. We have covered many of these options, which are also available from the “Home” section under the “Billing Information” area, which is located in the “Your Account” menu, so let’s see what the ones we haven’t covered are about.
Even though Hostwinds has an “Add Funds” function on the dashboard that allows you to deposit money in advance, it is currently not available.
Under “Account Credits,” you can see your Hostwinds account balance and your Cloud credits balance and can add funds to them. However, as mentioned, adding funds is currently unavailable with Hostwinds.
Under the “Manage Billing Dates,” you can manage your billing cycle for the products you have or choose to set all of them to the signup date. Here, you can also view the next due date for each product you have purchased.
On the Hostwinds dashboard, you have direct access to customer support, where you can view your tickets, open a new one, and access the Hostwinds knowledgebase and downloads.
Under the “Tickets” icon, you can see all the instances in which you have contacted Hostwinds’ customer support, whether through live chat or email. You can also see if you have any open tickets, how many of them were answered, how many custom replies you have gotten, and how many tickets are closed. You can open each ticket separately and see the exact exchange that happened between you and the Hostwinds agent.
Next, you can open a new ticket about the issue you have. Depending on your issue, you can choose from three categories: sales, technical support, and billing.
Additionally, you can access the Hostwinds knowledgebase, where you can find solutions to many issues. Upon clicking on the “Knowledgebase” icon, you will be redirected to a new tab where you can search the Hostwinds Product Documentation and find the answer you need.
Under the “Downloads” icon, you can access and download various manuals and programs that will help you run your website.
Now, for the last section. Under the “Cloud Control” section, you can access your Cloud Portal, which is used to manage and configure your server. You can also create your server from the Control Portal if you do not have one.
Additionally, there is a “Monitoring” area under the “Cloud Control” section, where you can see previous and add new checks for your products.
If you wish to manage your API keys, you can do so from the dashboard by hovering over the “Hello, (your name)” section and clicking on the “Manage API Keys” icon. There, you can also create an API key, view the Cloud API Documentation, and regenerate your key.
Overall Reliability – Performance and Security
Hostwinds customers can expect a highly reliable service from Hostwinds with an uptime of 99.9999%. Additionally, Hostwinds has an excellent loading speed of 1.82s and a stable website speed of 745ms. Hostwinds also prides itself on being completely redundant, which means that it has backup plans in place to ensure that its services are always up and running.
Hostiwnds’ locations are all built according to 2N redundancy standards, which means that it has two of everything, from routers to fiber paths. So, if you decide to purchase a Hostwinds VPS hosting plan, you can rest assured that the provider has systems in place that will keep your website running no matter what.
Security is considered to be one of Hostwinds’ stronger sides. All Hostwinds VPS plans come with a free SSL Certificate, a free IP address, and AES-256-bit encoding. Additionally, all VPS plans have an Enterprise Firewall, which is used to screen, filter out bots, and prevent DDoS attacks.
Moreover, Hostwinds uses Internet Encryption Software and the SSL Protocol when collecting and processing sensitive data. All user data is encrypted so that you don’t have to worry about it being leaked and misused. Additionally, only a handful of experienced Hostwinds employees handle the data once it is received on the Hostwinds server.
Hostwinds VPS Customer Support
Hostwinds is well known to have excellent customer support. However, in order to get expert managed support from Hostwinds, you will need to purchase a managed VPS hosting plan. Otherwise, Hostwinds customer support is available through live chat, email, and support tickets. You can also access customer support through your dashboard by clicking on the “Support” icon. From there, you can open a ticket, see any current tickets you might have, and access the knowledge base and downloads.
Additionally, Hostwinds has extensive knowledge where you find solutions to many of your issues. It provides customers with product documentation, tutorials, and a blog.
To test out the customer support response, I decided to access it via the live chat option and ask about Hostwinds’ money-back guarantee.
The agent responded within minutes, which took me by surprise. He was very helpful and provided me with the information I needed immediately.
So, it is safe to say that the excellent Hostwinds customer support is not a myth but a reality.
Specific Features of Hostwinds VPS
Now that we’ve covered Hostwinds VPS offer in detail, let’s sum up what makes it stand out from its competitors:
- SSD storage
- Support of the latest cPanel
- A 99.999% uptime
- Free Migration
- Unlimited subdomains
- Support of many apps, including Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress
- Softaculous is auto-installed
- Locations are based on the 2N redundancy standard
- Deployment of Enterprise Hardware for all VPS plans
- Excellent and instant scalability
- Accepts multiple cryptocurrencies as payment
- Weebly Site Builder
Pros and Cons of Hostwinds VPS
- Unlimited FTP accounts
- Instant setup
- Great customer service
- Free SSL and dedicated IP
- User-friendly cPanel
- Simple and easy navigation
- Excellent performance
- Only three server locations
- Domain names are paid for separately
- Prorated money-back guarantee
- KYC or Know Your Customer document scans are required
- Daily backups are paid
I can confidently say that the Hostwinds VPS offer is one of the best available today. It is suitable for both experts and beginners because it offers unmanaged and managed VPS plans. Hostwinds is also quite easy to use, simple to navigate and has one of the best control panels that provide you with everything you need.
Additionally, Hostwinds’ customer support is excellent, and the response is immediate and extremely helpful. And the fact that it builds its locations according to 2N redundancy standards only adds to its reliability and stability.
Of course, there are certain areas where Hostwinds could improve. For instance, many essential add-ons are paid, like backups and domains, while most of its competitors include them for free in their hosting plans. Also, it is very limited when it comes to server locations, and it mainly caters to North American and Western European customers.
However, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, and Hostiwnds provides an overall excellent service and VPS plans. So, if you want a reliable provider that will ensure that your website has incredible performance and security, then we definitely recommend Hostwinds as your solution!