Hostwinds Editorial Review & Aggregated Reddit Reviews

Hostwinds 01

December 22, 2019

By now, most hosting providers should have a way for new clients to test their service, and get their money back if the customer isn’t satisfied. I took a look at Hostwinds website, and they appear to have a money-back guarantee.
source

Reddit Anonymous User

Hostwinds 02

December 22, 2019

I have used hostwinds and have found that. I have used both for clients, but they had already had them set up. Wondering which would be best for my use case :/
But I’ve found that the support offered by Hostwinds has been excellent before, despite the slightly longer response times.
source

Reddit Anonymous User

Hostwinds 03

December 22, 2019

I like Hostwinds’ offerings but in my experience their support takes at least 24 hours to respond to tickets (even updates).
source

Reddit Anonymous User

Hostwinds 04

December 22, 2019

Host winds is a very spam happy provider. You can find plenty of WHT threads about it.
source

Reddit Anonymous User

Hostwinds moto is “provide fast servers at guaranteed low prices.” 

That bold statement shines brightly as the central requirement on the company’s home page. That is an audacious goal – but looking for the best available hosting is exactly what we are looking for.

So let’s take a look. In this Hostwinds view, we’ll go over everything in detail.

Founded in 2010, Hostwinds wants to change the industry landscape with a new set of standards. The company even makes a personal promise to treat each client as if they were a family. In this review by Hostwinds, we will find out if it is a happy family or if it needs advice.

Services offered by Hostwinds

Hostwinds can offer several services:

  • Hosting – general / Business / Reseller / White Label
  •  Cloud Hosting
  •  VPS
  •  Dedicated servers

It’s a pretty vast choice. Hosting “White label” is probably the most interesting of all. That means that Hostwinds offers its services to other companies that sell them as their own. 

Maybe it means that I’ve used Hostwinds before? If it does, then let’s see what the real thing is.

Hostwinds Pricing

Hostwinds offers three standard hosting plans – they cost $3.29, $4.23 and $5.17, respectively. They all offer unlimited bandwidth and unlimited disk space.

In general, each Hostwinds plan will include a fairly complete package – apart from Softaculous applications and cPanel (which come standard on most good hosts), there are a few shiny things.

There are unlimited MySQL databases, FTP accounts, mail accounts, and subdomains. That is a luxury that is unavailable for much more expensive plans.

But there is one thing that got me thinking. It’s a free dedicated IP address. It’s crazy, and let me explain why.

There are very few IPv4 addresses at the moment. And the demand for them is very high, so due to the laws of the open market, they tend to be expensive — for example, SiteGround charges about $50 a year for this.

And Hostwinds gives out IP for free! That is terrific news for users.

Because if you share it with several other sites, for example, and one of them sends out malicious information, your website will also be punished.

And if a brutal attack is made on an IP, guess what – you’re hurt too.

For Hostwinds, this is an anti-DDoS and anti-intrusion system that helps track spam/intruding accounts and protect users. And for them, it’s a great bonus.

Now, let’s have a look at the prices

In the figure above, you could see that the Basic, Advanced, and Ultimate rates are $3.50, $4.50, and $5.50, respectively.

But it is not that simple – let’s take the Basic plan as an example. The monthly prices of this plan are fluctuating quite a bit – take a look:

The cost of $3.29 is valid for 12 months when purchasing a plan. If you buy a plan for a more extended period, it becomes a little cheaper. If you buy it for a shorter period, it is more expensive.

That’s great – after all, many providers tend to advertise their lowest possible price, which is valid only when buying hosting for a few years ahead. Hosting wind, however, shows its average prices.

The cost of renewal is slightly different – once your plan is over, you will be charged for the same period you have chosen earlier.

Hostwinds expects you to pay for the entire plan in advance. That is what the prices in the cart would be – for every plan and every duration.

 

Payment Period/Plan Basic Advanced Ultimate
1 Month $4.23 $5.17 $6.11
3 Months $12.42 $15.19 $17.95
6 Months $24.21 $29.60 $34.99
12 Months $39.53 $50.84 $62.15
24 Months $67.66 $90.25 $112.84
36 Months $84.51 $118.38 $152.25

It’s a pretty good deal, especially considering the features you get. And the price gap between the plans is not very big – so if you’re considering having multiple sites running on the same account, that’s not a bad idea.

Speaking of payments, we should take a quick look at the payment options available to us!

These are mostly standard options, but it’s nice to see another company accepting the cryptocurrency! Hostwinds also gives the nod to the ever-expanding Asian market by accepting Alipay payments from customers in China.

Detailed plans by Hostwinds

So far, in this Hostwinds review, we have talked about prices and checked the main features. But to see what you get, we must go into details. Here’s a head-to-head-to-head comparison of all three shared hosting plans.

Basic Advanced Ultimate
Disk Space Limit Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Bandwidth Limit Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
How Many Domains Allowed 1 4 Unlimited
SSD or HDD HDD HDD HDD
SSL In cPanel In cPanel In cPanel
Anti-DDoS Protection ‘Technicians working 24/7 to keep it from happening’ ‘Technicians working 24/7 to keep it from happening’ ‘Technicians working 24/7 to keep it from happening’
Anti-Malware Protection Bi-monthly scans Bi-monthly scans Bi-monthly scans
Email Accounts Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
FTP Accounts Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Website Builder Yes, Weebly Yes, Weebly Yes, Weebly
Website Templates 50+ 50+ 50+
Assisted Website Transfer Free Free Free
cPanel  Yes  Yes  Yes
Auto-Installer Softaculous Softaculous Softaculous
Auto-Installer Scripts 446 446 446
Money Back Guarantee 60 Days 60 Days 60 Days
Customer Support 24/7 Chat, Phone support, Tickets 24/7 Chat, Phone support, Tickets 24/7 Chat, Phone support, Tickets
Choice Of Server Location Dallas / Seattle Dallas / Seattle Dallas / Seattle
Free Automated Backups No No No

 

The only difference between Basic, Advanced, and Ultimate plans is the number of domains that you can connect to your account. One for Basic, 4 for Advanced, and unlimited for Ultimate.

It is a little weird for a company to offer something like this. There are usually a few differences between plans that allow you to scale as needed. I believe that Hostwinds has decided that everyone deserves all the best features, and there are more expensive plans for people who want to scale and have more websites. 

That makes perfect sense – even the most basic plans include unlimited bandwidth/disk space/email/FTP accounts, subdomains, and, as mentioned earlier, a dedicated IP address. This is a very cool – fair game!

And for those who want to create a website, it is possible to use Weebly. 

Now, shortcomings.

There is always something, and in the case of Hostwinds, there are no free backups and servers still use outdated hard drives. For most standard websites, HDDs are good enough, but if the hosting provider gets too many users on one server, the speed can seriously drop.

Another big problem is the lack of server-level protection against DDoS or malware attacks.

Of course, Hostwinds performs malware scans every two months, but frankly, this is just not enough to provide complete protection. Instead, this company, I quote:

Technicians work 24/7 to make sure that doesn’t happen.

That’s exactly what Hostwinds said when I asked about their lack of anti-DDoS prophylaxis. One may have many technicians working 24\7, but this will not match the reliability of a built-in preventive measure such as a piece of anti-DDoS software.

Fortunately, however, there are enough free tools you can use to avoid problems. And I am sure that these technicians have their tools. So maybe, after all, that’s good.

Hostwinds Customer Service

This section is interesting. Since we registered for testing hosting, Hostwinds customer service has experienced some real ups and downs.

These are the four support options:

  • Telephone
  • Live Chat
  • E-mail / Tickets
  • Knowledge Base

You will notice that all four are marked “24/7.” But that’s not entirely accurate – some departments are open 24 hours a day, some are not. For example, if you want to talk to a billing representative, they are only available from 8:00 AM Pacific Time – 6:00 PM Pacific Time.

Chat support

As for the help in live chat, on the one hand, it is excellent, the response time is super fast, and the chat is proactive. 

That means that a chat agent can greet you without making a specific request. That is a good way to eliminate any confusion that a purchase can cause.

Problems begin if you want to know something specific about the service. Representatives tend to answer in one word, and sometimes they are not very clear. In many ways, Hostwinds chat support is like a group of friends trying to help each other. It is not like an ultra-professional customer service experience. But with trials and adversity, he gets a job.

Phone support

Telephone support with Hostwinds is something I’ve been looking forward to testing, as talking to someone on the phone always gives us a chance to be more personalized. It is the preferred option for many people, often because of this.

I wasn’t disappointed with Hostwinds performing here. The agent I talked to (hi, Michael!) was professional, polite, and understanding my problems. He helped with what was possible – in general, Hostwinds has outstanding phone support. Keep up the good work.

Ticket support

Ticket support is a little more problematic. Usually, the most technical version, Hostwinds tickets, do not feel much more advanced than live chat. The problem with the code may require several answers to correct. 

Considering that the response time for tickets is up to 12 hours, it may take some time!

User experience

Well, during a couple of shopping processes for this Hostwinds review, I noticed that getting there wasn’t always easy. In some (seemingly random) cases, you may be met with this:

So, if you post a deposit and decide not to submit documents, the return process will be lengthy.

Other problems may arise if you use a virtual credit card. As you can see, Hostwinds requests a photo of a physical copy. Without any other option, I sent them a picture of my virtual credit card displayed on the screen – and the day after that, my site was taken. 

So it sucks.

Dashboard and Hostwinds panel

After everything has been sorted with the payments, you should finally see the Hostwinds panel.

It’s pretty standard! You have a few quick options for email accounts, file managers, etc. Above there is a link to the cPanel option, and from there, the possibilities are quite extensive!

Do you know what I mean? Extensive. And there is also a place in the panel where you can access the Weebly website constructor.

Another cool thing is the Hostwinds file manager.

I went into the subdomain file manager, which I created to make a simple index.html page to check the server speed on a simple page. This is what I found:

Pretty detailed and deep code editor! And not just HTML code. It is very nice to see that this is enabled – everything can be done right from cPanel.

Next, I took a look at the WordPress installer to see how easy it would be to launch the site. It turns out to be quite simple!

One-click later, it is installed. The job is done! The panel and dashboard of Hostwinds are fine.

All in all, you won’t have much trouble working with Hostwinds. Everything is intuitive and straightforward – as long as the payment process goes smoothly, you are gold.

Hostwinds performance

During our tests, we saw that Hostwinds could handle itself – the performance is actually quite good.

In this part of the Hostwinds overview, let us take a deeper look at how it was.

As always in the Performance section, we will look at four things:

  • Hostwinds’ speed with a simple site
  • Host speed with large site
  • Total server uptime
  • Evaluation of anti-theft protection

Speed test

It’s an elementary but straightforward test. To see how the Hostwinds server handles itself, I made a site that has barely 20 lines of code! 

I used Bitcatcha, as always, to test the server’s response speed.

For a larger site

The next test is a little more complicated. Using the page publisher cPanel, I created a website and then put many data into it to make it much harder to download than a simple HTML page.

Unfortunately, London and Bangalore again seem to be running servers, but an overall decent performance from Hostwinds here. However, it should be noted that the A+ score here is a bit distorted. It’s better to look at the numbers here – and the Hostwinds is doing quite well, keeping most of the world response time around 150-350 ms. 

No problem at all.

The total running time of the hosts

For the third test, we created a simple WordPress blog under our domain, which was hosted by Hostwinds. We specified this address in Uptime Robot and configured the program to search for a keyword on this page. 

That allows us to see how often and quickly a keyword is found, and this shows the response time of the server in use.

On the whole, it’s pretty good. The response time of 400-500 ms is not perfect, but it is ideal for most sites. What bothers them most about the uptime is the uptime. 99.94% is only an average, especially when Hostwinds itself promises “99.999%”.

And while this server looks okay, it still doesn’t match the “testing server” of Dallas, whose IP is issued publicly for those who want to track a bit without buying.

The results he recorded were quite stunning.

Hey, that’s why we’re here, right? Don’t trust the blind performance of the test servers. They’re fully optimized to display the best possible data and not always reflect reality – which I must add is still pretty good.

Evaluation of anti-theft protection

For the last test, I’ll try to hack into my account. What for?

It’ll let us know how seriously Hostwinds takes account of account security. We already know that they seem incredibly pedantic in ensuring that we pay legally, so I expect to see the same here.

First of all, I tried to commit a brutal attack. It’s straightforward. 

I just went ahead and entered the wrong password as many times as I could in as little time as possible to emulate the script, trying every possible combination to get in. To do this, I changed my IP address and browser and started guessing incorrectly.

After 40 incorrect attempts (duh), I entered the correct password and was immediately allowed in. No crap, no verification, nothing.

I know for a fact that many hosting providers have fascinating security mechanisms to help them avoid this. It’s too bad Hostwinds isn’t using them.

In the second test, I was just trying to engineer a customer service representative into giving me account details. At least it didn’t go very well for me – I was required to prove who I am by providing information about the card I paid with, address, and ID number.

That’s what I’m talking about. 

Hostwinds live chat agents may have some flaws, but your hosting account with them is secure.

To sum up Hostwinds review

Hostwinds has many promises – plans offer many opportunities and very competitive prices. But this little American startup has still not reached its full potential. There are some problems, but once they are ironed out, they have to be reckoned with.

Here are a few things that could be improved

  • The buying process can be smoother.
  • Customer support could be more competent and useful.
  • Pricing is confusing.
  • Failover time and response time could be better.

But that’s all. If you look at this, you can see an exciting project. For your buck, you get incredible value with a dedicated IP address and Weebly builder. Even on the cheapest plan!

There may be problems; there may be problems. But Hostwinds do their best and bring an outstanding return for your money. That is a provider to be interested. A couple of fixes will make it great.

Hostwinds promise to “always treat you like a family.” I think that might be true.

Pros

  • 24-hour support
  • Dedicated IP
  • Weebly integration

Cons

  • The buying process should be smoother
  • Customer support should be more competent

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