Hostwinds review 2021 – ITProPortal

Our Verdict

Hostwinds offers a range of hosting products, making it an attractive option for those looking to scale their site in the future.

Pros

  • Excellent performance
  • Decent support resources
  • A great selection of hosting products

Cons

  • SSL installation can be confusing
  • Prices could be clearer

Hostwinds offers a series of hosting plans for different uses and requirements, and ranks among the best web hosting services as a result. There’s a hosting plan for everyone, with options ranging from cheap shared hosting to advanced cloud hosting and dedicated servers. 

Hostwinds review: Snapshot

Although it’s a little more expensive than some competitors, our Hostwinds review will show that this company offers excellent value for money across the board. 

On top of this, every aspect of Hostwinds’ service is backed by advanced tools and excellent performance. Shared hosting comes with a leading 99.9999% uptime guarantee, and we saw nothing to suggest that this is an exaggeration. This places the company among the best web hosting services on performance alone. 

In addition, you will benefit from a neat cPanel control panel. Installing scripts and apps is very straightforward thanks to the Softaculous one-click installer, and there’s even a Weebly-based site builder to help you get started. 

If you’re looking for a solid hosting provider with a range of great features, Hostwinds is a decent option. But if value for money is your priority, competitors such as Bluehost and Hostinger could be better suited to your needs. 

Score: 4.5/5

Read on for our full and detailed review.


Hostwinds’ competitors

How does Hostwinds compare to its main competitors?
Hostwinds Bluehost Hostinger
Score 4.5/5 4/5 4/5
Pros – Decent performance – Excellent support resources – Great range of hosting products – Feature-rich hosting solutions – Beginner-friendly control panel – 30-day money-back guarantee – Great value for money across the board – Neat hPanel control panel – Excellent security tools
Cons – Pricing is a little unclear at times – Website is difficult to navigate – No monthly subscription options – Performance can be an issue – Strict resource limitations with some accounts – Performance can be an issue – Limited high-end hosting options
Verdict Hostwinds offers a range of hosting products, making it an attractive option for those looking to scale their site in the future. Bluehost is one of the world’s most popular web hosts, and it’s easy to see why. If you’re looking for a budget hosting provider, Hostinger is arguably the best option on the market today.
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Key features

Although Hostwinds is a little expensive compared to some of the alternatives, it boasts an excellent selection of advanced tools and features. Along with the necessary basics, you will benefit from unlimited storage and bandwidth and a suite of management tools. 

For starters, Hostwinds offers a basic version of the Weebly website builder with every shared hosting subscription. It’s a little limited, but it’s a great way for those with little time and tech skills to get online. 

Another neat tool is the Softaculous App Installer. With this, you can install a selection of content management systems (CMS), scripts and other useful programs to help you get the most out of your hosting account. Simply select the script you want to install and follow the prompts. In general, installations shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes.

Hostwinds: key features and highlights

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Weebly's website builder within Hostwinds' framework

The integrated Weebly website builder offers a streamlined way to get online fast (Image credit: Weebly)

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Hostwinds' user interface, with the Softaculous installer

The Softaculous one-click installer is excellent (Image credit: Softaculous)

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Hostwinds' free site migration webpage discussing the service

Free site migrations are available for all Hostwinds customers (Image credit: Hostwinds)

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Hostwinds' webpage discussing Cloudflare integration

Cloudflare can be used to secure and speed up your site (Image credit: Hostwinds)

If you’re transferring an existing website to Hostwinds from another hosting provider, you will love the free site migration service. In short, the Hostwinds technical support team will take care of the entire migration, transferring your site and its files to your new server. 

Hostwinds also offers built-in Cloudflare integration, which enables you to optimize your site’s performance and security. Benefit from the power of one of the world’s largest content delivery networks (CDN) and take advantage of the built-in DDoS protection.

What’s new? 

Hostwinds is in the process of overhauling its website and hosting plans, addressing ongoing issues with the aim of improving the customer experience. 

For starters, the entire website has been re-designed, removing the broken links and navigation issues that we’ve found so frustrating in the past. Multi-lingual support has also been added, making Hostwinds that little bit more accessible to non-English speakers. 

The support site has also been updated, with mobile accessibility added to all tutorials. The product documentation, which was sometimes a little dense and hard to navigate, has been separated into clear blocks, and new content is being added regularly. 

On top of this, the company has recently discontinued its Reseller hosting line. Existing customers won’t be affected, but new subscriptions are unavailable at the current time. Overall, it’s nice to see Hostwinds addressing issues that have been around for a while.

Pricing

Hostwinds offers a selection of hosting options, including shared, VPS, cloud, and dedicated servers. There are three shared options, with prices ranging from $5.24 to $8.24 a month for an initial subscription. Note, though, that prices will increase significantly on renewal. 

Managed and unmanaged VPS hosting is available in both Windows and Linux flavors. Linux VPS starts at $8.24 a month for a managed plan or $4.99 a month for an unmanaged solution. Windows VPS starts from $12.74 a month for managed hosting or $10.99 for unmanaged

Cloud hosting starts from $0.006931 per hour (approximately $4.99 a month), while more advanced dedicated servers are available from $106 a month.

Hostwinds’ pricing plans
Plan type/feature Basic Shared Advanced Shared Ultimate Shared
Cost per month $8.99* $10.99* $12.99*
Cost per year $83.88* $107.88* $131.88*
Unlimited bandwidth
Unlimited storage
Website connections 1 4 Unlimited
Free SSL

*We’ve listed the standard prices here. Expect to receive a discount of up to 50% for your first billing cycle.


Testing Hostwinds

In order to comprehensively compare Hostwinds to the competition, we analyzed a series of its features and tools to see how it performed. This included creating a WordPress website, checking its server response times, and seeing how simple it was to set up an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate.

How do you create a WordPress website with Hostwinds?

Hostwinds' installation options for a WordPress website

Installing WordPress to your new hosting account is a very straightforward process (Image credit: Hostwinds)

Creating a new WordPress site with Hostwinds is a very straightforward process. Hostwinds offers the Softaculous one-click installer, which you can use to install WordPress—or other programs—to your hosting in a matter of minutes. 

When you log into your cPanel control panel for the first time, you will be prompted to install WordPress and start your first site. Simply click on the button, configure any of the settings you would like to, and hit install. 

The full installation process took us no more than a couple of minutes, which was nice to see. A placeholder theme was added to aid with the site creation process, and a selection of useful tips was provided to help beginners get started. 

Once you’ve installed WordPress, you can begin customizing your site by navigating to your WordPress admin panel. Here, you will find all of the expected editing and site management tools. You will also be able to access the full theme and plugin libraries as required.

How does Hostwinds perform?

Hostwinds' response time and uptime shown on graphs

Hostwinds boasts excellent performance across the board  (Image credit: Hostwinds)

To test Hostwinds’ performance, we created a simple WordPress site and monitored it using Uptime.com. Both availability and server response time was monitored regularly over a seven-day period, and the results were great to see. 

For one, our tests returned a 100% uptime figure, which is as good as you can get. This is consistent with Hostwinds’ industry-leading 99.9999% uptime guarantee. 

The average server response time of 285ms was also nice to see. This places Hostwinds’ shared hosting up there with the best performing on the market. What’s more, the response times were very consistent, with few spikes and a slowest response of just 524ms.

How easy is it to set up an SSL certificate?

Hostwinds' settings page for SSL certificates

It’s relatively easy to upload a third-party SSL certificate (Image credit: Hostwinds)

Installing a valid SSL certificate is crucial to ensure that all data transmissions to and from your website are encrypted and protected from prying eyes. Many hosting companies provide streamlined SSL management tools, but Hostwinds isn’t one of them. 

Instead, it relies on the stock standard cPanel SSL tools. With these, you can install and manage your SSL installations, but it’s not the simplest process we’ve seen. 

By default, a self-signed SSL certificate will be installed. This is better than nothing, but we’d recommend upgrading to a third-party SSL for added security. If you follow the prompts to add a custom SSL, HostWinds will encourage you to purchase a premium certificate. 

However, it generally isn’t necessary to pay for an SSL certificate unless you have a large site dealing with a lot of sensitive data transmissions, especially with the suite of free third-party options available. 

To install a free SSL certificate from a third-party source, you will need to upload it directly within your SSL management panel. This is relatively easy to do, but beginners with little experience will likely become confused by the technical terminology that’s used.

The competition

Hostwinds has worked through some major improvements over the past few months, and it now sits alongside the best hosting options on the market. It is a little expensive, though, with the cheapest shared hosting plan starting from $5.24 a month. 

This does, however, unlock access to an excellent range of features, so the value for money is still great. You will benefit from a full cPanel control panel, as well as good support, unlimited storage and bandwidth, and a great selection of security and data backup tools. 

Another popular option is Bluehost, which offers budget hosting from just $2.95 a month. This makes it one of the more affordable options available, and the company has a great reputation as a beginner-friendly host. 

With a base-level plan, you will be restricted to just 50GB of SSD storage. Like Hostwinds, though, Bluehost offers a free domain, top-notch support, and streamlined one-click installations. However, its security tools could be better. Read our Bluehost review to learn more about the service.

Alternatively, you might like to use Hostinger if you’re on a tight budget. Its shared hosting starts at just $1.39 a month, and you won’t find better value for money anywhere. 

As to be expected, hosting that’s this cheap does come with limitations, and you will only be able to connect one website with 30GB of storage and 100GB of bandwidth. Hostinger is known for its excellent security tools, though, and its native hPanel control panel is arguably even more beginner-friendly than Hostwinds’ cPanel. Our comprehensive Hostinger review explains what we made of the hosting provider.

Hostwinds’ features compared to the competition
Product Hostwinds Bluehost Hostinger
Control panel cPanel Custom cPanel interfaceYes hPanel
Free domain Yes Yes Yes (with upgrade)
One-click installations Yes, hundreds available through Softaculous Yes, hundreds available through Softaculous Yes, more than 100 applications
Support 24/7 live chat, email, and online ticketing 24/7 live chat and phone 24/7 live chat and online ticketing
Basic plan $5.24 a month $2.95 a month $1.39 a month

The verdict

All things considered, there’s a lot to like about Hostwinds and its web hosting products. It offers everything from cheap shared hosting to advanced dedicated server and cloud solutions. And everything is backed by the power of modern server infrastructure and a range of great features. 

One thing that stands out about Hostwinds’ shared hosting is its great performance. During our tests, we experienced 100% uptime and industry-leading server response times. 

Hostwinds also makes it easy to start a new site, with full access to the Softaculous one-click installer and a basic Weebly website builder integration. Benefit from the power of the Cloudflare content delivery network, and ensure your site is fully secured at all times. 

On the downside, Hostwinds isn’t the cheapest host we’ve seen. Competitors like Hostinger present better options for those on a tight budget. Installing an SSL certificate will require some technical knowledge, and the company really doesn’t advertise its prices very well. 

At the end of the day, though, there’s a reason why Hostwinds is one of the world’s most popular web hosts. It offers excellent service across the board, making it an option well worth considering.

Hostwinds review 2021

Hostwinds offers a range of hosting products, making it an attractive option for those looking to scale their site in the future.