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Hostwinds Expert Review
Founded in 2010, Hostwinds is quickly catching up to its bigger and more established peers thanks to a winning trifecta of affordable prices, customer-first services, and generous features. In our Hostwinds expert review, we tested the company to discover whether it could deliver on its lofty promises. Overall, we found that Hostwinds’ reputation is well-earned. Many features that competitors charge extra for are free with Hostwinds’ budget-friendly plans. Moreover, the company’s uptimes and blazing loading times helped set it apart even further.
Pros and Cons
- Improve your website’s trustworthiness with highly reliable load times and free SSL certificates.
- Get thorough help from Hostwinds’ forward-thinking technical support team via phone, live chat, email, and ticketing.
- Utilize the latest cPanel to easily update and make changes to your backend.
- Use intuitive tools like the Weebly website builder and Softaculous Auto-Installer to quickly customize your website.
- Start afresh with ease thanks to free website migrations and instant setups.
- Take advantage of unlimited bandwidth and disk space to launch innovative, unfettered websites.
- Fully integrate your team into your online business with unlimited email accounts.
- Customer support resolution time can be longer than expected, though still within reason.
- The company runs disaster recovery backups nightly, but more accessible backups are only available as a paid add-on or by submitting a customer support ticket.
- The large variety of dedicated server plans and customization options can be confusing for new users.
Pricing and Payment Methods
Hostwinds offers a variety of different hosting services to choose from. Their Basic shared hosting plan starts at $3.95 monthly and gives you 1 domain with unlimited bandwidth and disk space. Basic also comes with useful features including the free Weebly site builder and a free SSL certificate. If you opt for their Business plan, starting with Basic at $5.64 monthly, you receive several add-ons that optimize your site for customers such as Litespeed web servers and performance optimized MySQL.
Reseller plans start at $3.29 a month and include multiple features, as well as discounts tied to the number of accounts purchased. In the same vein, resellers can talk to Hostwinds’ customer support to set their business up as a white label product.
Finally, if you need personal and private servers, Hostwinds does offer VPS and dedicated servers at competitive prices. unmanaged VPS Linux starts at $4.49 monthly and gets you 1 CPU Core and 30 GB of disk space. Dedicated plans start at $106 a month, though because Hostwinds lets you customize aspects like server type and outbound bandwidth this price is subject to change.
Ease of Use
The specific features that Hostwinds offers, coupled with their really exceptional customer support team, make the platform extremely user-friendly. Beginners can make the most of intuitive tools like the Weebly website builder or use Softaculous 1-click app installation to set up WordPress, shopping carts, CMS and much more. Other features that help the less tech savvy get acclimated to the service quickly are free SSL certificates, free website transfer and instant setup.
We often require more complex tools, and we can report that Hostwinds delivers easy-to-use advanced functionalities as well. Multiple PHP versions, unlimited MySql databases, cronjobs and many other apps available through Softaculous enabled us to make changes to our backend almost effortlessly. In the case of Hostwinds, we would say that the knowledge base can itself be considered a tool. Its detailed, straightforward instructions can help beginners get a foothold in web science and give experts the background they need to innovate and problem solve.
Load Times and Reliability
99.9% uptimes are slowly but surely becoming the new industry standard for excellence. We tested Hostwinds for reliability over a period of several months to determine how much downtime and service disruptions they experience on average. We found that while the service doesn’t always reach the 99.999% uptimes they guarantee, they do consistently offer better than the 99.9% standard.
Their load times are likewise admirable thanks to a combination of SSD storage, Cloudflare CDN and other amenities. Over the months we tested the platform, load times averaged around 1.5s. Though this isn’t the fastest load time we’ve seen, it’s well under Google’s recommended 2s load time and fast enough to keep customers engaged with the site.
Though Hostwinds’ plans are very affordable, the company isn’t frugal with its features. Basic plans come with a Weebly drag-and-drop website builder to help beginners get their website off the ground in no time, as well as a simple 1-click application installer for hundreds of apps. Other features such as unlimited email accounts and free SSL certificates enable you to communicate easily with customers and build trust, essential functionalities for any business. Unlimited MySQL databases let you store and analyze data with ease, a function that’s becoming more critical with the rise of data science.
Developers and IT teams that want to take charge of their backend can also do so easily with Hostwinds. We were happy to see the most of the company’s basic plans actually offered a high level of customization. You can choose between 4 different versions of PHP, have access to phpMyAdmin, Cron jobs and more. Thanks to Hostwinds’ use of the latest cPanel, the software environment is really intuitive and easy to navigate. Overall, Hostwinds delivers big on ample features for very low prices.
One of Hostwinds’ best features is its exceptional customer service. You can reach agents quickly 24/7/365 by the usual channels: live chat, phone, email, and ticketing. Each time we contacted their team with a question, we were met with very knowledgeable staff were able to quickly help us. Although resolution times were sometimes longer than average, on most occasions this was due to the fact that the agent was trying to come up with a lasting solution instead of a quick fix.
We found that Hostwinds’ knowledge base holds useful articles for both beginners and experts. Each article includes clear step-by-step instructions and accompanying graphics, which empowered us to largely resolve emerging issues on our own. Hostwinds also has a frequently updated blog that presents a lighthearted take on some of hosting’s more complex technical aspects.
Our expert reviews use in-depth testing to evaluate hosting service features, performance, and the overall experience. Before you decide to purchase a Hostwinds plan, we recommend you read through our regular users reviews as well to get a wide-end view of the products and service.
Overall, our expert review showed that Hostwinds provides excellent services that meet a wide range of needs and experiences. Beginners with little programming background can still create beautiful websites with the Weebly website builder and add an array of functions like shopping carts and CMS to their site with the help of the Softaculous 1-click installer. Experts, on the other hand, have access to a comprehensive collection of tools that make backend customization incredibly simple, such as multiple PHP versions and unlimited MySql databases.
As far as both beginners and experts are concerned, the (very affordable) price of Hostwinds is right. In addition to the plentiful features and tools that come with each plan, the access to a very helpful customer service team and consistent reliability position Hostwinds as a standout web hosting service.