Hawk Host review – PC Authority

Our Verdict

Hawk Host is a Canada-based host with a global infrastructure that offers (almost) a full range of hosting options aimed at small to medium-sized businesses.

For

  • Budget-friendly hosting options with a full list of features
  • Worldwide network of data centers to choose from
  • Free Weebly website builder
  • 30-day money-back guarantee with all plans

Against

  • Fully dedicated servers are not an option
  • No free domain name registration

In the year 2004, Hawk Host decided it was the perfect time for it to spread its wings and ascend to the electronic skies. Although the name Hawk Host came later on (up to 2008 they called themselves Devoted Host), the company was founded and headquartered in Fergus (Canada), and has since been providing shared hosting, cloud hosting, reseller hosting, semi-dedicated hosting and VPS solutions to all types of businesses.

According to Hawk Host, the best web hosting solution is one where the services themselves know how to recover from common problems, as opposed to other hosts that require fixes from people. We have to agree with that, although the statement is somewhat reductive. In addition, they claim to monitor the “health” of all their servers night and day to ensure their timely response to any potential problems.

At the moment they manage and maintain seven data centers in Europe, North America and Asia. These are situated in: Toronto (Canada), Amsterdam (the Netherlands), Los Angeles, New York and Dallas (the USA), Hong Kong (China) and Singapore (Singapore).

In addition to being graced with the presence of Hawk Host’s happy-go-lucky hawk-like mascot giving us the thumbs up, their website is simply designed and pretty user-friendly. Their blog feels like a blast for the past with its old-fashioned visual style and teeny-tiny letters, but when it comes to its content, Hawk Host carries the day. This may not be the most active blog we ever laid our eyes on, but since 2007 Hawk Host’s bloggers have been publishing news, updates and (every once in a while) how-to guides on a monthly basis at least, so we ought to give them some slack.

Both Hawk Host’s website and blog are available in English language only. As for social media platforms, Hawk Host can be found on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but none of their profiles feels active enough.

Pricing

Hawk Host offers feature-packed web hosting at an affordable price (Image credit: Hawk Host)

Plans and pricing

Hawk Host’s hosting packages are pretty affordably priced, which means a lot considering they cover everything from basic shared and cloud hosting to reseller, VPS and cloud-based semi-dedicated hosting solutions. Currently, there are two plans for shared hosting, five for cloud hosting, three for reseller, five for VPS and two for semi-dedicated servers.

The most pocket-friendly option is shared hosting plan going by name “Primary” and for a $2.99 alone it includes some sweet unlimited features (bandwidth, domains, databases and SSL certificates), 10GB of storage space (SSD), a proactive malware scanning and defense, and (on top of everything) a free-of-charge drag-and-drop website builder by Weebly.

All these plans come with a standard 30-day money-back guarantee, which should make the most hesitant of us at ease.

As for methods of payment, Hawk Host supports credit cards, PayPal, AliPay and (something we don’t see often enough) Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Ease of use

In addition to the list of unlimited features, all of Hawk Host’s hosting plans come with migration support (free-of-cost), which is always nice to see. These plans are described in great detail, with all of their software and technical specifications listed underneath them.

When you opt for the optimum plan, you’ll start the sign up process, where the first step concerns your domain name (you can register a new one, transfer an existing one, or use it as it is while updating your nameservers). Since there is no domain name among Hawk Host’s free features, you’ll have to pay the price (that is, if you don’t own one) and it can cost you anything between $13.95 and $ $59.95 for a year. After solving the problem of initial domain name, you are free to set up an unlimited number of add-on domains, parked domains and subdomains.

The following steps will require for you to decide on a billing cycle (monthly, annual or a biennial one), a server location, and to consider attaching some of the suggested add-ons (additional GB of RAM, GB of disk space, DDoS protected dedicated IP or ID protection) for extra cash. To bring the process to an end, you’ll be required to input a number of personal information, create a password, fill in all about the payment method you’ll be using and choose whether to leave some additional data.

With all its shared hosting plans, Hawk Host provides Linux-based cPanel as its control panel of choice, which is welcome news to all non-masochistic individuals who want to enjoy all the benefits of an easy-to-use GUI. However, those with reseller packages will have to go along with WHM, and VPS users will have to settle for Hawk Host’s customized control panel, which appears to be (actually) rather convenient to use. 

One Click Installs

Hawk Host offers one click installs for many popular apps (Image credit: Hawk Host)

Since Softaculous and Fantastico are provided, useful apps like WordPress, Magento, Drupal, Joomla and many more are just a click away.

Website Builder

The inclusion of Weebly’s website builder is a big plus (Image credit: Weebly)

As an alternative, you can construct your website with Weebly website builder. With its drag-and-drop style editor, user-friendly UI and tons of templates, you’ll soon be on the way to make your dream website a part of reality.

Performance

We used GTmetrix to measure the uptime and response time of Hawk Host’s main site (Image credit: GTmetrix)

Speed and experience

With a highly questionable analogy let’s presume that if a hawk is one of the fastest members of the bird kingdom, Hawk Host ought to be one of the fastest web hosting providers on the market (right?). What is more, Hawk Host themselves claim that their shared hosting solutions are “fast, powerful and budget-friendly”.

With all this in mind, we decided to test the speed of their main website (via GTmetrix) and wait for the results with patience and optimism. A minute later GTmetrix presented us with an A (97%), which is among the best speed performances we have seen for some time now. The time it took for the page to completely load was 3.0 seconds (the average result is 8.2) and all vital web metrics except for one (cumulative layout shift was 0.4 seconds, while less than 0.1 is recommendable) were well above the average score.

With Hawk Host you’ll get an SLA-backed 99.9% uptime guarantee, which isn’t much, but it’s good to have nonetheless. After monitoring the uptime of Hawk Host’s website for a whole month (via UptimeRobot), we got pretty encouraging results.

Support

Hawk Host claims their support staff is available around-the-clock to offer assistance with all kinds of issues. They can be reached via telephone, live chat, ticket, online contact form and e-mail. That being said, live chat doesn’t seem to be “alive” at all times, since no one was on the job when we wanted to come into contact. Discouraged by this, we decided to throw them a couple of questions via the ticket system and we got our answer (and an apt one) within an hour. 

If you value self-sufficiency above all else, Hawk Host offers a blog, a knowledgebase and a status page (for news, product updates and all alerts) and a community forum. This forum feels alive and active, with all of the questions answered accurately by Hawk Host’s staff, for the most part.

Support

You can submit a ticket, read the latest news or access Hawk Host’s knowledgebase from its help desk (Image credit: Hawk Host)

Hawk Host’s knowledgebase can be reached through a section titled as “Help Desk”, where you can submit a ticket or check out the latest news. The knowledgebase itself utilizes a customary user-friendly layout and features a total of 207 articles, most of which are pretty easy-to-understand.  

The competition

Although both hosts can be described as a good deal to first-time users, Hostinger has web hosting solutions that are richer in terms of features than Hawk Host’s. Both of them include free SSL, one-click installer, automated backups and drag-and-drop website builder (though it is not free with Hostinger), among other things. However, with Hostinger you’ll get a free domain registration with all plans except with the cheapest one (and the second cheapest goes for $2.59 per month, which is pretty pocket-friendly as well), while there is no free domain with Hawk Host. In addition to this, Hostinger has Minecraft server hosting as an option for all the enthusiasts out there, while Hawk Host doesn’t.

Hawk Host’s beginner-friendly shared hosting plan is a bit cheaper than the one HostGator has on the offer, but both of them provide an attractive list of unlimited features, free domain and website transfer, easy installs, free SSL, standard money-back guarantee and free website builder. However, HostGator can provide its users with fully dedicated servers, while with Hawk Host one would have to settle with semi-dedicated ones.

Bluehost and Hawk Host are somewhat similar in terms of hosting options, features and pricing. However, Hawk Host is slightly stronger in the context of customer support and unlimited features (bandwidth, databases, domains and SSL certificates), while Bluehost offers fully dedicated server hosting, has slightly more apps for one-click installation and provides free domain for users that subscribe for a year at least.

Last but not least, GoDaddy is one of the best-known web hosting companies in the business and, therefore, another strong competitor to Hawk Host. Although GoDaddy offers a complete range of hosting-related services that can fit most bills, its entry-level plan leaves a lot to be desired. Hence, if your needs are simpler and you have a budget to worry about, give Hawk Host a go.

Final verdict

More than anything, Hawk Host feels like a decent web hosting provider that has much to offer to small and medium-sized businesses, as well as bloggers working on a shoestring budget. Besides a wide array of hosting options, some fantastic unlimited features, seven worldwide data centers to choose from and a powerful performance, Hawk Host will supply you with support from superb staff (even if it sometimes is slow to respond).

If you’re still not sure they’re worth checking out, take a look at hosts such as HostGator, Hostinger and Bluehost before making any decisions. Since all these hosts (Hawk Host included) provide a lengthy money-back guarantee, there won’t be much worries to keep you up at night.   

Mirza Bahic is a freelance tech journalist and blogger from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. For the past four years, Mirza has been ghostwriting for a number of tech start-ups from various industries, including cloud, retail and B2B technology.