Shared Web Hosting Packages
HostMonster doesn’t offer month-to-month Web hosting options. Instead, it requires you to sign up for an annual plan. HostMonster throws a few savings bones your way, should you sign up for a two- or three-year plan, but those who don’t want lengthy commitments should invest in Arvixe if they want to pay on a monthly basis.
The Starter shared hosting package (starting at $6.95 per month with a one-year contract) includes a free domain name that you can keep as long as you use HostMonster, free domain transfer, 100GB of storage, unlimited bandwidth, and the ability to host a single website—Arvixe lets you host six domains with its basic plan. The HostMonster Plus package (starting at $14.95 per month with a one-year contract) adds unlimited storage, unlimited domain hosting, and spam prevention. The Business Plus package (starting at $19.95 per month with a one-year contract) tops all of HostMonster’s shared hosting plans with a dedicated IP address, an SSL certificate, and two anti-spam apps.
Virtual and Dedicated Web Hosting Packages
HostMonster also offers virtual private server (starting at $29.99 per month) and dedicated server (starting at $149 per month) plans. These servers have more power than shared servers, and should be considered must-have investments if you’re expecting high traffic volumes.
If you are looking at HostMonster’s dedicated servers, you have a variety of configurations from which to choose. The servers can be outfitted with a Linux operating system and up to 1TB of hard drive space, 16GB of RAM, and 15TB of data transfers per month—the same specs as Bluehost, which has the same parent company.
Those are solid numbers, but HostGator$3.47 at HostGator – Shared—the PCMag Editors’ Choice for dedicated Web hosting—one-ups HostMonster with a choice of Linux and Windows operating systems and a generous 25TB of RAM (of the Web hosts we’ve tested, only Arvixe offers more RAM at 96GB).
HostMonster hosting packages come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, but Arvixe one-ups it with an impressive 60-day money back guarantee. Read HostMonster’s terms of service for full details.
Setting Up a HostMonster Hosted Site
HostMonster gives you several tools for building a website, including Weebly, our Editors’ Choice for Web-based site-builders. Weeby’s drag-and-drop functionality let me quickly build an attractive page complete with slideshows, contact forms, social media links, and more.
Weebly’s free version gives you basic Weebly functionality (you can create six pages and add custom HTML), but upgrading to the $8.95 per month Professional tier offers even more flexibility (custom themes, password protected pages, and more). Check out our Weebly review for a deeper dive into its offerings.
Setting Up a WordPress Blog
HostMonster offers WordPress hosting (starting at $6.95 per month with a one-year contract) and a simple WordPress setup. I did so by visiting the website creator section, installing WordPress, selecting the superfuntechhost.com URL from a drop-down menu, entering my WordPress username and password, and clicking the Install icon.
The process of setting up a WordPress install on a HostMonster server was a bit easier than doing so on a GoDaddy server. For some reason, GoDaddy required that I first delete a database before installing WordPress. It was simple to do, but I could imagine less-skilled users being intimidated to execute such a drastic-sounding action.
Who launches a website without email? Answer: No one. Fortunately, HostMonster lets you create up to 100 email addresses with its most basic plan. Every other HostMonster package tier lets you create unlimited email addresses. That sounds like a decent offer on the surface until you take a look at Arvixe, which lets you create unlimited email address with even its most-basic Web hosting package.
Setting up an email account is a breeze. You don’t set up an account during the Web hosting sign-up process as you do with Arvixe. Instead, you sign into the control panel, click the email icon, and create one.
E-marketing and E-commerce
HostMonster offers Mojo Marketplace, which has email marketing tools such as DaDa Mail (starting at $34.95 per year), software that lets you send email-based newsletters to a subscribers list. Mojo Marketplace also contains Magneto (an e-commerce application), which let me create an attractive store in just a few minutes by dragging and dropping website elements. Magneto has more flexibility than 1&1’s$4.99 at 1&1 – Shared Online Store in terms of colors and design options, but with that flexibility comes an extra layer of creation complexity that will demand more of your time.
HostMonster Web hosting packages come with a slew of security features including anti-spam and hotlink protection. That said, if you want higher-end protection, sign up for HostMonster’s Business Plus package that comes with a SSL certificate and two anti-spam protectors: antispam.
Unlike 1&1, HostMonster has both 24/7 telephone support and an online Web chat—I tested both help methods. This is one way in which HostMonster one-upped Arvixe.
I dialed into the telephone tech support at 10:30 a.m. on a weekday to ask a representative about the differences between regular Web hosting and optimized WordPress hosting. The rep stated that optimized WordPress Web hosting is designed for big websites that need to support millions of visitors per month. He added that it’s only available on virtual private servers (starting at $12.50 one-month trial; for $25 per month after that). I was quite satisfied with his response.
I fired up the Web chat at 8:00 p.m. on a weekday to ask a representative about how to import my WordPress.com setup into HostMonster. A rep came to my aid just 5 minutes later and pasted a very helpful link into the chat that contained step-by-step instructions.
Good, But There Are Better Options
HostMonster is a respectable Web host that makes setting up a site or WordPress blog a breeze, but Arvixe and Dreamhost—the PCMag Editors’ Choice winners for Web hosting services—simply offer more features and flexibility. That said, I liked HostMonster’s customer support team more than Arvixe’s squad. If you’re the type who frequently reaches out for assistance, you’ll find that HostMonster is a Web host that’s worth checking out.