The Truth About HostMonster

Host Monster Hosting Facts, Host Profile & Hosting Reviews

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Our Review - HostMonster

By Mark Shroyer

If you've ever intensely researched Web hosts it's likely you've already found HostMonster and BlueHost. (They're very popular!) What you may not know, however, is they're the same company.

Host Monster keeps it simple. That is what make them so unique. They offer one package for shared web hosting at a very low price. ($8/month!) Included are many unlimited features; disk space, bandwidth, domains email accounts and more!

Another thing I like is HostMonster has several site builders. You also get a toll free phone number for technical support. These two features are especially great for newbies.

500-1400 is the average amount of accounts they put on a server. But sharing a server with a few thousand other static web sites is possible. Wait! Before you think Host Monster overloads their servers remember most static web pages take very little space. To ensure the server you share isn't overfilled HostMonster uses a formula.

Want to know the best part? Unlike most web hosts, you can cancel your account with HostMonster anytime and you aren't penalized. Instead you get a pro-rated refund of the unused portion of your hosting agreement.

Though HostMonster offers a lot of unlimited features the truth is they do have a few limitations. (This could impact you depending on your web site.)

One limitation HostMonster has is they limit database connections to 20. If you don't use databases (i.e., MySql) then don't worry about it. If you do, then just keep it in mind.

Another limitation is their inode limit of 200K files/items per account. Okay, this is more than most webmaster's will ever need. But if you use 2.0 blogs or forums then a day could come where 200K isn't enough. If that happens you'd be forced to either delete excess files, start another HostMonster account, or switch to a different host.

Another thing to know is their 7% of a 16 core cpu usage policy. Okay. That is a lot of power. Again, the typical web site will probably never have any issues. But if you quickly use up resources using a script (like forums or busy 2.0 blogs) then you may run into problems before you know it.

Here is where HostMonster is different than most web hosts...

Most web hosts will suspend your account automatically or force an upgrade on you if you go over their limits. But Host Monster rarely closes a Web site down for going beyond their limits.

Instead, they slow down (aka throttle) your web site speed until you fix the problem. In fact, your site gets throttled automatically any time their 7% cpu limit is exceeded or you have more than 200,000 files on your web site. (i.e., a web page, an image, an email, etc. each counts as one file/inode.)

What happens next is instead of redirecting all your traffic to an "account suspended" page (like most hosts do) your web pages simply load slower. Obviously, no one wants a slow web site. But isn't it better to have that than for it to be unreachable?

Something else that isn't typical for shared hosting is that HostMonster allows full shell access. Acquiring it is a pain since you're forced to send your personal information first. (i.e. passport, driver's license, etc.) But that's NOT a bad thing. Why? Because with full shell access comes security risks. It totally makes sense that HostMonster wants to know who is using shell access.

There are two things I wasn't thrilled about with HostMonster. (At least not at first.)

I was not impressed when I first heard only 150 emails could be sent out per hour. But then I discovered if you simply ask them to raise their email limit per hour to 750, they will. (That is 18,000/day!) If you are a budding email marketer 18,000 emails per day is a great start.

HostMonster only offers shared hosting. Now, that is okay for most web site owners and may never be a problem. But want to hear the truth? The best way to look at hosting is to be sure you have a plan in place for upgrading. (i.e., VPS or Dedicated Server.) When you have a web site with high traffic or you keep going over their CPU limits that means you have out grown shared hosting. It is time to upgrade.

Since HostMonster only offers shared hosting this means a day could come where you must move to a different host. Actually, if your account grows too big Host Monster's fast remedy is to have you purchase a second hosting account so you can move a few of your domains and files there to free up more hosting resources. Now, if you're just beginning then don't worry about it. As your web site gains success just remember that.

Okay. I know some won't like to hear that you must pay upfront per year. ($8/month X 12 months = $95/year altogether.) But the difference is you can cancel your HostMonster account anytime and they'll give you a pro-rated refund of any unused portion of your hosting agreement. (That means if you must leave them you won't lose money like you would with many other web hosts.)

The bottom line is that I think HostMonster is a great place for those just starting out with a personal web site or small business web site who have medium traffic or less. However, if you have a critical ebusiness site, a growing site that potentially will have thousands of page views and traffic, busy blogs, forums, or interactive social sites where limits could get reached rapidly then going with Host Monster may not be a good idea.

Here are my reasons why I like HostMonster so much. It is because they've been in business since 1996 and they have an A rating with the BBB. They offer just one package (at a ridiculously low monthly price!) which avoids confusion. They keep things EXTREMELY simple. Since you can send up to 750 emails/hour that's a great start for email marketing. Rarely will your account be suspended for exceeding their limits (unless their policy is abused); nor do they force you to upgrade to their next higher priced package. (Host Monster only offers one package!)

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