HostWinds Hosting Expert Review
Customer score for HostWinds
Table of contents - H3
Hostwinds has made a name for itself as a customer-first and incredibly versatile cheap hosting service. Although it’s relatively younger than some of the bigger names on the market, our Hostwinds review revealed a platform that is surprisingly deep, reliable, and an excellent value for the price you pay. Hostwinds stands out for its SLA promises for uptime, which go much farther than many of its competitors, as well as the abundant server alternatives, which include Linux, Windows, VPS, and a variety of others. With unlimited bandwidth and storage space, Softaculous for one-click installations, and a contender for the best free website builder, Hostwinds is a great choice if you’re just starting out, or even if you’re looking for a more affordable hosting alternative.
Hostwinds Pros & Cons
Perhaps one of our favorite aspects of Hostwinds’ service is the fact that the company offers so many different options for customers. This includes shared, business, cloud, reseller, and VPS accounts, as well as Linux and Windows variants. The company even offers budget versions of its Linux hosting tools and lets you choose between managed and unmanaged VPS.
One of the Highest Uptime Guarantees
Not satisfied to go with the industry average, Hostwinds is aiming for the title of best web hosting platform with its uptime guarantee. The company, not happy with the standard 99.9% SLA, made its own guarantee an eye-popping 99.9999%, a rate usually reserved for the top-tier luxury services. More impressive is that the company largely meets their standard.
Unlimited Bandwidth and Storage
Cheap hosting isn’t always synonymous with capacity, but in Hostwinds’ case, this is a major promise. The company’s plans all include unlimited bandwidth and unlimited storage space. Although you’re not likely to need so much capacity at first, it does make growing your business easier, and means you have less to worry about when it comes time to add more users.
Expansive Customer Support
We were impressed with the sheer breadth of support content and options Hostwinds offers for its users. This includes a knowledge base, and at least three separate ways to reach the company. Even better, Hostwinds support is available around the clock.
Plan Differentiation Can Be Confusing
The company’s plans are great, but the way they’re differentiated leaves some questions. On paper, the biggest difference between them is simply the number of domains you can host (in the case of shared hosting), but the FAQ points out different ways your resources are managed based on your chosen service tier, which could impact your performance.
No Managed WordPress Hosting
WordPress is one of the most popular CMS platforms, and it’s vital to many companies. We would have liked to see Hostwinds offer a managed WordPress alternative, and while it still lets you install the tools to manage it, it must be manually installed.
Hostwinds Hosting Prices and Payment Methods
Although it offers a wide variety of plans and server options, Hostwinds’ pricing models are fairly straightforward and affordable. It is worth noting that many of the prices listed are introductory, so you’ll have to pay slightly more after your initial subscription expires.
- Shared hosting plans start at an introductory price of $3.29 a month and give you access to a single domain. The Advanced plan offers four domains for $4.23 a month, and Ultimate offers unlimited domains for $5.17 a month. All three plans include unlimited bandwidth and disk space, as well as Softaculous and a free domain and SSL certificate.
- Business hosting plans start at $5.64 monthly for one domain, $6.58 monthly for four domains, or $7.99 per month for unlimited domain. Additionally, business hosting plans use Litespeed web servers and are Optimized for MySQL, so you can get much faster performance from your servers.
- Reseller hosting plans offer the same prices as shared hosting, with an important distinction—when you sign up for Reseller hosting, you can get larger discounts by purchasing more active accounts (with up to 30% if you have over 51 active accounts).
- White label hosting lets you offer completely branded hosting plans and models for $10.00 a month.
- Managed VPS is available in both Linux and Windows versions, with the former starting at $5.17 a month and running up to $23.97 monthly if you prefer the highest tier and 100GB of SSD space. Windows VPS starts at a slightly higher $7.99 monthly and can reach up to $26.79.
- Unmanaged VPS options start at $2.49 per month for Linux and scale up in price based on the number of CPUs and the specifications needed. Unmanaged Windows VPS starts at $9.89 monthly
- Dedicated cloud hosting is priced by the hour and starts at $0.006931 per hour.
You can pay for your Hostwinds account with any major credit card, PayPal, Bitcoin, or AliPay.
Hostwinds Hosting User Experience
Overall, we were happy with Hostwinds hosting, though there are some areas where the company can improve its user experience. One of the top features we enjoyed is the Weebly website builder, a drag-and-drop tool that lets you quickly create pages and sites that show the best side of your company. Combined with a free domain and SSL certificate, you have everything you need to start building your online presence with style. If you already have a website, you can take advantage of the company’s free website migration, which can save you significant work hours.
Once you’ve determined the appropriate plan, you’ll be set up with the Hostwinds cPanel, which is a useful tool if you’re a beginner, but lets you get more if you’re familiar with it. One area we would like to see improved is the Hostwinds WordPress integration. The company does not offer a built-in server option optimized for WordPress, but you can set up the popular CMS easily thanks to Softaculous.
Overall, we were happy with Hostwinds, which we would recommend for users who are already at least a little familiar with web hosting in general.
Hostwinds Hosting Load Times and Reliability
One area where Hostwinds web hosting stands out from the pack is in its reliability, which the company prides itself on. Hostwinds includes a 99.9999% uptime guarantee in its SLA and will refund you partially if you’re unhappy with the service. However, we were unable to find any instance of our hosting being down for more than a few seconds during our testing.
In terms of load times, we were happy to see that Hostwinds uses a variety of tools, including Litespeed servers, SSD drives, and more, to offer a top of the line loading speed for web pages. All in all, the company claims that its servers can produce load times as much as 500% faster than its competitors.
Hostwinds Hosting Main Features
Free Domains and SSL Certificates
Getting a website off the ground is expensive, and more so if you also must pay for domain hosting and an SSL certificate. While many companies will add this on for a fee, Hostwinds offers these two features for free.
If you’re building a website, you need to have the right infrastructure and tools available to properly manage it. Hostwinds gives you a variety of integrations and add-ons that you can install with one click thanks to Softaculous. This includes a Hostwinds WordPress integration, Shopify support, and more.
Easy Management with cPanel
We were pleased to see that Hostwinds, while not reinventing the wheel, offers easy administration with an intuitive dashboard. The Hostwinds cPanel tool helps you take full control of your hosting and servers, and lets you manage your website from a single, central location.
SSD Drive Optimized
One of the top advantages you gain from Hostwinds is speed. The company’s data centers use solid state drives, which results in faster loading times and more responsive websites. The company claims that its optimization allows it to offer loading times 500% faster than its competitors.
Hostwinds Hosting Customer Support
Overall, we were very impressed with Hostwinds support, which offers around-the-clock service. You can reach the company via phone and live chat or open a support ticket if your problem is less urgent. As with many other popular web hosting service, Hostwinds also provides an extensive knowledge base that includes information both about the company’s specific services and web hosting in general. We found that the company’s support teams were responsive and friendly, and able to answer our questions effectively.
Hostwinds Hosting for Free
Unfortunately, there is currently no free Hostwinds plan, although you can use promotion codes and coupons to get a hefty discount on your initial subscription.
Final Thoughts on Hostwinds Hosting
Our Hostwinds review found the company is a great alternative if you’re looking for straightforward and affordable web hosting. Hostwinds’ variety of alternatives means that you can find a server that works for your specific needs, and its blazing speed helps you deliver the best possible experience to your consumers. Although it doesn’t offer optimized servers for the best WordPress hosting, it does give you one-click installations to set up your hosting exactly how you need it. Is Hostwinds for you? See what others are saying in our user reviews before making a decision.