Review SummaryUpdated: July 12, 2020
- Versatile and Scalable Servers.
- Free domains for the first year.
- Fully managed support options.
- Flexible billing terms.
- Hands-off Reseller service.
- No full money-back guarantees. Prorated refunds are available.
- Limited to 1 or 4 domains with entry-level packages.
Shared Hosting Review
Best for Portfolio and Basic websites
On the surface, Hostwinds’ offer of all-inclusive shared hosting packages should be alluring to anyone wanting to get their online foot in the door. Unlimited resources mean ambitious customers won’t be held back from growing their brand or small business, while free features like an SSL certificate, domain for the first year, and quality infrastructure mean you’ll have everything you need to kick off.
Higher-performance, but more expensive, shared hosting is also available for customers who have reached their goals and want to expand even further. More exclusive server space and optimized web server environments will give you top stability and performance.
The good news is that all of Hostwinds shared hosting plans come with completely unlimited bandwidth and SSD storage. There are also no “soft limits,” although inodes (files) are capped at 250,000, which is industry standard. The only catch is that you are only allowed to use your storage for website-related content:
“That unlimited disk space and bandwidth may only be used to store and transfer files relevant to the website(s) being hosted on those services.”
In case you do use up resources to the point where your site starts affecting other customers, you may be required to upgrade. Those looking to create a basic static site should never run into this issue. However, those looking to grow an eCommerce site on these plans should expect to upgrade once you reach a good level of monthly traffic.
If you do plan on hosting multiple sites, just keep in mind the one and four domain limit on the Basic and Advanced plan. However, with an Ultimate plan, you can host as many as you want.
Hostwinds shared hosting also makes use of the industry-standard control panel cPanel with the one-click installer Softaculous. For a more beginner-friendly option, you can build out your website using the Weebly CMS.
If for some reason, you have to host more websites under your account, the good news is that you can upgrade at any time without experiencing any downtime.
One of Hostwinds’ most impressive features for shared hosting customers is the three data center locations you can choose from: Dallas, Amsterdam, Seattle. Few hosts enable-shared hosting customers to choose their data center, and not all hosts even have multiple data centers to offer. Picking the server closest to your target market should result in faster and more consistent website loading speeds.
Security and Performance
To keep your website, data, and any recent changes you have made safe, you can add automatic nightly backups to your account. While some hosts offer weekly backups for free, most hosts charge for daily backups as well. Hostwinds also doesn’t save your data to the same physical server. Instead, they save it to the cloud for greater security and redundancy.
Another powerful feature you can add is 24/7 server monitoring. With this activated on your account, your server will be monitored, and any issues automatically reported via a support ticket. In this way, a problem might be solved for you before you even become aware of it. If having uninterrupted uptime or operation is very important for your business, the $1 extra it costs per month is well worth it.
There aren’t any mentions of the other typical security measures you might expect some might find useful, like spam filtering, firewalls, or caged environments. However, these are usually paid extras or come with more expensive hosting packages.
You also get a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate, which is a standard must-have nowadays. Another pretty standard feature is the dedicated IP, which distances you from any blacklisting of other customers on your server.
Hostwinds also don’t seem to offer any additional optimization to speed up your website. Instead, they provide business hosting packages for customers with more stringent performance requirements. Since it’s cPanel hosting, however, you can utilize Cloudflare CDN (freemium service). Choosing a data center closest to your audience may also speed up your website to those customers.
It pays to keep in mind that Hostwinds uses SSD storage devices for all hosting accounts, which is much faster than conventional storage. They also claim to operate high-speed infrastructure, which should affect the end result. Still, it’s a little disappointing not to see caching or even WordPress-specific optimizations like some other hosts.
Surprisingly for an affordably priced host, Hostwinds offers a very comprehensive support service. Even shared hosting customers get fully managed support for free. This means that support staff will help you with any issues related to your hosting, not just those that are website-specific. Particularly if you’re not too familiar with the more technical aspects of hosting, this should be attractive.
Furthermore, support is offered across all channels – ticket, phone, email, and a knowledge base. Live chat times are just about immediate. In my experience, the reps never keep you waiting in the middle of a conversation and always give you accurate information. The knowledgebase is a bit lacking as a lot of the links point to pages no longer available. However, the content that is there is thorough and broken down into step-by-step instructions.
Even with this high level of support, you can still opt into a monitoring service that will report and fix problems with your server automatically. This is a great feature and pretty rare for shared hosting.
At first glance, the standard shared and business hosting plans seem to have a lot in common. Both offer unlimited bandwidth and storage with all plans, and both follow the same domain limits. You also get the same environment with cPanel.
The difference, however, is that Hostwinds promises a 500% performance increase – something businesses who have to worry about customer satisfaction will be happy to hear.
Part of this comes from the addition of LiteSpeed server software. In short, LiteSpeed is built to handle much more traffic than Apache or Nginx (Typical server software). Business servers are also more sparsely populated to free up more resources for every individual customer. As a knock-on effect, it should also be more stable, and Hostwinds backs this up with a 99.9999% uptime guarantee, one of the highest of any other host.
Two other bonuses are higher inode limits and more emails per hour. As businesses typically need more feels and use a lot more emails, this is a useful addition.
All-in-all, Hostwinds business hosting is superior to some competitors on the market. It’s also not that much more expensive, starting at $5.64 per month ($13.99 at the regular month-to-month rate). That also makes it cheaper than most other business hosting options. That being said, it doesn’t have other proprietary security features like some other business hosting.
Hostwinds’ pricing is pretty inclusive. Not only do you get unlimited bandwidth and storage, but it also covers your domain for the first year, SSL certificate, and dedicated IP. The only extras you could pay for are daily backups and server monitoring if these are features you want.
Not only that, but their pricing terms are also very flexible with 1, 3, 6, 12, 24, and 36-month options. That’s way more than most other hosts offer and will enable you to choose a plan at the price you’re comfortable with. Discounts range from about 53% to 70%, depending on your plan and term.
The least you can pay is $2.35 for a 36-month Basic plan. Few other hosts can go lower than that. However, the standard rate of $8.99 isn’t the cheapest for an entry-level shared hosting plan.
Unfortunately, Hostwinds don’t offer a full money-back guarantee like almost all other hosts. If you decide to cancel, they will return the unused portion of your term. For example, if you cancel after the first 30-days and you have a 1-year contract, they will only return the amount you paid for the other 11 months.
Like with almost any host, you will always have a tradeoff to make. With Hostwinds, that tradeoff is having unlimited storage and bandwidth at the cost of less extra features. One thing you don’t have to compromise on is support with Hostwinds offering full support across a range of channels 24/7/365.
Hostwinds may not be the cheapest host, but they make up for that with fairly inclusive pricing and fantastic flexibility when it comes to your hosting term. A prorated refund might not be ideal, but it’s better than nothing.
To sum up, Hostwinds is a fantastic option for ambitious personal or small business websites. It will give you the freedom to grow your website(s) tremendously before you run into any roadblocks. If you commit to a longer hosting term, it will also be a budget-friendly option.
Furthermore, superb extra features like daily cloud backups and 24/7 server monitoring will keep both individuals and businesses running around the clock, without any interruptions.
Reseller Hosting Review
Best for: Agencies or Professionals hosting client sites.
Becoming a reseller through Hostwinds works a bit differently than with most other hosts. They offer two different ways to do so: by selling hosting services under Hostwinds branding or by white labeling it as your own.
You’ll be able to market your services to customers’ useful features, like unlimited resources, SSL certificates, free domains, and fully managed customer support services. By providing website transfers and support using their own resources, Hostwinds removes any responsibility for the technical aspects of hosting from their resellers. This frees resellers up to focus on their core business functions.
Hostwinds’ reseller hosting plans are exactly the same as their shared hosting. All plans have unlimited bandwidth and storage with the same domain limit and even pricing. The difference is that you can order these packages in bulk quantities (up to 100) and resell them to other customers. For this type of reseller account, the hosting service will still be branded under Hostwinds, which means your customers will know they are using Hostwinds’ hosting.
The alternative is to use Hostwinds’ White Label Reseller service. This has a number of advantages over their standard reseller, particularly if you are serious about your reselling business.
For one, you can sell the accounts completely under your own brand as if they were your own service. Using WHMCS, you can set your own pricing and billing terms and charge whatever you wish. Customers can buy hosting accounts from your website, and the order will automatically be sent to Hostwinds, and an account with the client’s details will be created. There is also no limit on the number of accounts you can resell in this way.
The fact that it’s unlimited is great because you don’t have to worry about how much storage or bandwidth your clients are using. This can cause significant headaches with limited reseller accounts.
To streamline your business even further and to allow you to focus on your core services, Hostwinds also completely handles customer support. They even go as far as to do the free website migrations to their servers. Like with shared hosting, you can choose between Hostwinds’ three data centers. This is great if you’re mainly marketing yourself in a certain location and want the closest data center to that.
Security and Performance
As you’re basically reselling Hostwinds’ shared hosting packages, you can expect the exact same performance and security features. That means an SSL certificate for encrypted browsing and a dedicated IP to distinguish you and your customers from others on the server.
One big difference is that daily backups are no longer a paid extra but included with a plan. That’s a great feature for you and a strong selling point when reselling accounts. The same goes for performance. There aren’t too many extra features to point to, but you will be hosted on the same great infrastructure with SSD storage – another good selling point.
The most outstanding feature of Hostwinds’ reseller service is that they will even transfer your clients’ websites to their servers for free. Very few other hosts offer this, and it’s another great feature to free up your time to focus on your core business. Being able to advertise that your reseller business offers free website transfers is an appealing offer for potential customers.
On top of that, Hostwinds offers fully managed support to all of your customers. This, combined with the free transfers, means you really don’t need any technical expertise or experience to run your reseller business. All customers can also purchase Hostwinds 24/7 monitoring as an extra service.
Of course, you yourself can also use Hostwinds’ 24/7/365 customer support across all of the available channels. In terms of customer support, Hostwinds is one of the best reseller hosts out there. It totally frees you up to focus on the non-technical aspects of your service, like branding and client relations.
Although Hostwinds’ prices seem cheap on the surface, it can get expensive very quickly. With the normal reseller service, you can buy shared hosting accounts in bulk in quantities up to 100. You can then resell these at your own price. Even reselling 100 Basic plans could cost up to $2692.00 per year. Reselling 100 Ultimate plans will cost $4232 per year.
These prices are with the first-term and 12-month discount. Terms start at a month, and you do get higher discounts for longer terms. The white label reseller service works a bit differently. You don’t have to pay upfront for a number of shared hosting accounts to resell. The cost of becoming a white label reseller is $10 a month, $6.75, with a first-term discount.
It’s hard to directly compare Hostwinds’ pricing with the competition as they work a bit differently. The normal reselling service may require a significant upfront investment – more than most other hosts. However, you will have minimal expenses, and you can resell these accounts at any price.
For what you get, the white label service is probably the best value for money. You have to pay an extra monthly amount, but it’s a very small amount, and you carry much less risk. Some good news is that you get a discount depending on the active number of accounts under you with up to 30% discount for more than 51 active accounts.
Cloud Hosting Review
Best for high-traffic websites with a global reach.
With both self-managed and fully managed servers, Hostwinds can provide a service appropriate for all customers, whether you have technical hosting knowledge or not. On top of that, Hostwinds has a tremendous selection of server configurations to choose from that you can fine-tune even further. They even provide custom templates to quickly configure one or multiple servers with the same environment.
Add reasonable pricing and Hostwinds’ customer support, and you have a versatile and capable cloud solution for just about any individual or business needs.
Right off the bat, you can choose from a large selection of 10 cloud server configurations. With resources scaling all the way from 1 CPU, 1 GB RAM, 30 GB of SSD storage, and 1 TB of bandwidth to 16 CPUs, 96 GB of RAM, 750 GB of SSD storage, and 9 TB of bandwidth, it’s one of the most scalable and generous selections around.
Some customers may be frustrated at the inability to customize individual resources at the beginning. However, you can do this later when you are already signed up. Despite this, and not having any unlimited options, Hostwinds provide more resources and configurations than most other hosts at a similar price point.
There is also a lot of configuration you can do beyond resources. Hostwinds provide a number of OS and control panel options. You can also choose from their three data centers and specify the number of dedicated IP addresses you need. If that’s too much effort, they also provide custom templates to speed up setting up and deploying your server.
Another flexible feature is the option to quickly and seamlessly add storage blocks to your server. This is great if you suddenly need to accommodate a lot of new data or start running out of space.
Hostwinds don’t offer too many extra security or performance measures with their cloud hosting. Again, you’ll enjoy the benefit of fast SSD storage devices and their powerful server hardware. If you use cPanel, you’ll also be able to install a free SSL certificate. Hostwinds also uses object storage, which prevents very large databases or amounts of data affecting your performance and stability.
Customers have a choice between self-managed and fully managed servers. The latter is a great option if you don’t have the necessary technical skills or time to manage your own server, although it will cost you extra. You can also rely on full-stack support services via all of Hostwinds’ support channels. To top it off, there are both Linux and Windows-based servers available, something not all cloud hosts offer.
With the 10% first-time customer discount, Hostwinds’ cloud pricing starts at a very low $4.49 per month. Their most expensive configuration costs $269.09, but this amount is still reasonable based on the resources you get. There aren’t any discounts for longer terms, which means monthly customers will pay the same per month as 1-year or even 3-year customers.
There are a lot of potentially paid extras that can significantly increase the price, especially if you have a cheaper plan. However, these are completely optional, like extra IP addresses, DDoS protected IPs, and C-Class IPs.
You can also add daily cloud backups and Hostwinds monitoring services for $1 and $2, respectively. However, these are very important features for a cloud server customer, and we would recommend them as being well worth it.
The monthly cost of fully managed support depends on your server configuration. It only costs $0.68 with the entry-level configuration, which is extremely cheap but can go up to $48 per month for the top configuration.
Unfortunately, cloud customers also only have prorated refunds available to them. Still, Hostwinds competitive prices might make that worth the risk.
Dedicated Hosting Review
Best for: High traffic sites, maximum resources & security
Scalability is the name of the game when it comes to Hostwinds’ dedicated servers. You can choose higher amounts of storage, bandwidth, RAM, and IP addresses than with other entry-level hosting providers. In fact, Hostwinds offers enterprise-grade scalability.
You can build both Linux or Windows-based servers and add cPanel, the most powerful and popular hosting control panel. 24/7 customer support across live chat, ticket, and phone, nightly backups, server monitoring with automatic ticket resolution, and full server management – it’s a powerful yet accessible solution.
No matter how high your hosting requirements are, you will be able to configure a solution that can handle it. Hostwinds even recommends their dedicated servers for customers that want to implement machine learning, AI, enterprise application hosting, or infrastructure virtualization.
Just like their cloud offering, Hostwinds’ dedicated servers are exceptionally scalable and configurable. You basically start off by selecting a CPU and RAm combination of your choice and can then choose the amount of storage, bandwidth, and IP addresses you want. Although you can’t individually scale the amount of RAM, you can pick up to 256GB!
Unlike most other providers, you can choose up to 6 different storage devices with up to 3 TB of storage each. There are also both enterprise HDD or SSD options to choose from. When it comes to bandwidth, you can pick anything from 10 TB to Unmetered, although the latter is very expensive at $750 per month.
If you have more than one hard drive, you can choose the RAID configuration of your choice. Very few other hosts provide a selection of RAID configurations, which makes this unique.
On top of all of this, you can also choose your operating system, which includes a number of Linux-based options as well as Windows.
You will start off with a typical sandbox environment, but you can add cPanel with Softaculous to your account to ease management somewhat. Unfortunately, unlike their other forms of hosting, dedicated servers are only available in Seattle.
Hostwinds’ dedicated server packages come with the same range of contract terms as their other hosting. This is by far a greater amount of flexibility than most other dedicated server providers.
Hostwinds don’t provide discounts for longer-terms which means even monthly customers will pay the same price as long-term customers. However, they do provide a 24% first-term discount, which can lead to hundreds of dollars in savings.
Generally, Hostwinds’ pricing is pretty reasonable compared to the competition. However, adding on a lot of storage or high amounts of bandwidth can raise the price significantly. Still, the amount you get is usually worth what you have to pay extra.
Hostwinds Server Performance
To test Hostwinds’ hosting performance we used a few Pingdom reports. Over the span of a year, Pingdom’s probes (located across North America) performed daily checks, on a basic website (less than 100KBs) hosted on Hostwinds’ shared server environment. Additionally, there was no throttling added to these checks, so slower response times can be expected for 3G or 4G connections.
Yearly Server Performance:
Average Response Time
Data shown as monthly Uptime averages for a basic Hostwinds website
Server performance can affect all aspects of your site. Case studies have consistently found that customer wait times (page load and response times) directly affect everything from SEM, revenue, and traffic growth. By a lot too, here’s just one example:
For Mobify, every 100ms decrease in homepage load speed worked out to a 1.11% increase in session-based conversion, yielding an average annual revenue increase of nearly $380,000.
Except for the extra security customers can add on to their accounts, Hostwinds only really provides the basics. Customers can get a free SSL certificate via Let’s Encrypt and cPanel. Hostwinds also sell premium SSL certificates separately through their websites.
Dedicated IP addresses are also another common issue that they provide. This protects customers from blacklisting by separating their IP from others on their server. Hostwinds provide at least 1 for free with most of their products, while server customers can add multiple addresses at extra cost.
Frequent backups are the most reliable way to save your progress and protect your precious data, especially if you’re a business. For shared hosting, most other hosts offer backups on a monthly or weekly basis, but very few offer free daily backups. So, although you have to pay $1 extra per month, it’s still very affordable considering what an important feature this is. This service is also available with other types of hosting, while it’s included for free with dedicated servers.
Once again, RAID redundancy is a fairly common dedicated server feature. However, what’s great about Hostwinds is that they let customers choose what kind of RAID redundancy they want based on their storage devices.
Enterprise DDoS Protection
Dedicated server customers can also secure their solutions with enterprise-grade DDoS protection. This should protect you against most automated or bot attacks – the source of the majority of online threats. At $50 a month, it is quite expensive, especially considering some hosts offer this for free. However, it’s a very important feature for customers hosting enterprise applications.
Customer Support Review
Hostwinds offers very comprehensive customer support services. They offer free website transfers with all of their hosting plans, even for the clients of resellers. All support services are also 24/7 and offered across all channels, including phone, ticket, and live chat. Full management is provided to shared, business, and reseller customers.
Cloud, VPS, and dedicated server customers can either self-manage their environments or add fully managed support at extra cost. There is also a fairly extensive knowledge base with self-help articles, although there are some dead links. Regardless, it’s a support package that doesn’t leave anything out.
24/7 Server Monitoring
This is a very unique and valuable service offered by Hostwinds. If it’s enabled on your account, their staff will monitor your server and automatically open a ticket on your behalf if they find an issue. This means problems can be solved before you even notice them. Dedicated server customers have this activated by default, but shared, business, cloud, and reseller customers can add it for a low $2 per month.
Fully Managed Servers
Cloud, VPS, and dedicated server customers can add fully managed server support to their accounts while shared, and reseller customers already have fully managed support. Prices start at only $0.20 for entry-level cloud hosting but can go up to $48 for dedicated server customers per month. At this price, it’s much cheaper than most other hosts. However, this is a must-have if you don’t have the technical know-how or experience to manage a server.
Free Reseller Website Transfers
Free website transfers are not exactly something new or unheard of. However, Hostwinds go much further in providing this service than most others. If you’re a reseller, they will even transfer your clients’ websites to their servers for free. This will save you a lot of time and effort and provide you with a great selling point.
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“ Customer service was good at helping to upgrade “
Hostwinds has a solid service, but don't go for the cheap VPS because it's just not strong enough even for the most simple site. I went for price at the beginning, where I thought, I'd be saving money. Instead, I ended up wasting time and had to upgrade. No worries, their support was very helpful.
1 year ago
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