HostGrid review: the new kid on the block
HostGrid is a very new entry into the web hosting industry. But, in just slightly over a year, the host has established itself as a firm favorite of quite a number of users by offering cheap prices, reliable performance, and super easy management.
However, for the most part, the provider is still very much flying under the radar with a limited online presence.
Sure, we know things like it offers a few hosting solutions like shared and WordPress hosting. And, that it offers a free domain name for the lifetime of your subscription even for the cheaper solutions.
But, there’s still much that we don’t know about it yet. And, that’s why I did a little investigative work.
After vigorous research, comparisons, and tests, let me share with you how the provider fares in this HostGrid review. That’s everything from pricing and ease of use to performance and security. Let’s jump right in.
|Price:||Prices start at $1.99/month|
|Hosting types:||Shared, WordPress, and Premium|
|Server locations:||the US|
|Support:||24/7 live chat, email, and phone|
|Current deal:||Get up to 80% OFF Hostgrid!|
Pros and Cons of HostGrid
- Affordable shared hosting plan starting at $1.99/month
- Free domain for the lifetime of your subscription
- Easy to use dashboard integrated with Plesk
- High renewal price for shared hosting at $9.96/mo
- Security measures are on a more basic side
HostGrid pricing & plans
HostGrid’s most sought-after solution is shared hosting – of which it only has 1 plan that’s priced at a very cheap $1.99/month. Its only 2 other options are WordPress hosting and premium hosting.
|Type of hosting||Best for|
|Shared hosting ($1.99/month)||Beginners and those looking to build personal or smaller websites for blogging, passion projects, and small businesses.|
|WordPress hosting ($1.99/month)||Small to medium-sized websites looking for an optimized solution.|
|Premium hosting (3.29/month)||Those in search of a more advanced option with improved RAM, CPU power, and priority support.|
For this HostGrid review, I’ll be focusing on its shared hosting solution since that’s the one most users opt for to launch their hosting journey.
Unlike the majority of providers out there, HostGrid is all about minimalism and offers only 1 shared hosting plan that comes for $1.99/month with an annual subscription. And, when the time comes, the plan will renew at $9.96/mo.
Alternatively, there’s also an option to pay by the month. But, if you do go for this billing cycle, you’ll see the monthly price balloons up to $4.99/month.
In any case, the plan comes with:
- Unlimited disk space, bandwidth, and hosted domains
- Domain for the lifetime of your subscription
- Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate
- Email addresses
- Site builder
- Marketing tools
The resources offered are certainly very generous, especially if you take into account that the plan is only $1.99/month. For a typical small website, these resources should be more than sufficient. And, with just 1 plan available, you don’t have to struggle to choose between different options – it’s either take it or leave it.
If you aren’t quite sure just yet if you belong in a team "take it” or in team “leave it”, you’re in luck. You can try it risk-free as the provider has a 30-day money-back guarantee for annual plans. Additionally, there’s also a 14-day money-back guarantee for the monthly billing option. Regardless, just be aware that the guarantee covers only the hosting service and not things like domain registrations.
For the best deal with HostGrid, go with its annual plan, which is priced at $1.99/month. It’s a good fit for bloggers, small businesses, hobbyists, and anyone looking to build a personal or basic website.
All things considered, HostGrid is an affordable hosting provider. While the variety of choices is pretty limited, you do get a plan with generous resources for a reasonable price.
Hosting management – is HostGrid easy to use?
For hosting management, HostGrid uses a combination of a native dashboard and a Plesk control panel. Both interfaces are very easy to use and intuitive enough even for newbies. Most importantly, they’re functional and house all the tools and features you need to run a website.
Upon login, you’ll first encounter the main dashboard. This is what it looks like:
As you can see, the management features are all neatly-organized and clustered on the left. This includes domain names and email addresses configurations as well as the marketplace.
Meanwhile, there’s no way you’ll miss the shortcuts to Plesk control panel management modules, as it’s right there, smack dab in the center of the dashboard. Just one click and you’re there.
Overall, the native dashboard is clean, fresh, and very easy to navigate. There’s virtually no learning curve since everything is intuitive. No doubt a relief to beginners and those who are less tech-savvy.
But, for those who want or need advanced functionalities, you want to make your way to Plesk.
If you’re familiar with Plesk, you’ll notice that HostGrid’s version is somewhat different from the usual Plesk interface. That’s because it’s integrated with HostGrid’s branding. In simple words, HostGrid has dressed standard Plesk in its own custom skin.
In any case, the interface still bears a heavy resemblance to the default version. And, it’s every bit as straightforward and user-friendly. In fact, the entire panel is very minimalistic and clean to make navigation easier.
To your left, you’ll find a menu with all the functionalities you need to run a website. They’re well organized under different categories, including applications, files, databases, and WordPress.
Speaking of WordPress, it’s a category of its own on the Plesk interface and a very functional one at that. Here, you have a clear overview of your WordPress status, including whether your plugins and themes are up-to-date.
More importantly, there are various tools for you to configure almost every aspect of your WordPress site. For instance, file manager, updates, themes and plugins, and database. Plus, there’s even a security checklist to ensure that you’ve taken all the necessary steps to keep your site safe and protected.
As a whole, HostGrid’s custom dashboard integrated with Plesk is everything you want to see in a hosting management system. The pair is easy to use, intuitive, and powerful, which, together, makes the site management process a breeze.
Performance – is HostGrid fast?
When it comes to performance, HostGrid is a little bit of a mixed bag. The host is extremely reliable in terms of uptime and harbors pretty good speed, its traffic-handling abilities could be better.
HostGrid uptime and response time
For the first test, I monitored HostGrid for a month. During this period, the provider maintained an incredible 100% uptime with 0 outages and downtime. That is far better than the 99.9% uptime guarantee stated in its Service Level Agreement (SLA).
Of course, such perfect uptime is quite impossible to keep long-term. But, it does speak volumes about HostGrid’s reliability and good server health.
Now talking about the response time, HostGrid’s has averaged out at 763ms. While that’s far from terrible, it’s also not the best either as the market average for shared hosting is 600ms.
That said, this is just a bare server without optimizations just yet. Plus, to give credits to HostGrid, its response times were pretty consistent and steady throughout the period.
Overall, HostGrid’s uptime is very impressive, while the response time could use some improvement.
HostGrid hosting speed
For the second test, I decided to see how fast is HostGrid in terms of site loading speed. The test was conducted on both empty and fully built websites.
To better read the results, there are 2 measures you should evaluate – Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) and Fully Loaded Time.
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is a measure that Google takes into account when ranking sites on its search result page. For best results, this measure should be no higher than 600ms for an empty and 2.5s for a fully built site.
- Fully Loaded Time, as the name suggests, is the time it takes for the site to fully load all elements. For the best user experience and lowest bounce rates aim for anything less than 3 seconds.
Well, my empty WordPress website’s LCP took 729ms. Obviously not ideal, still pretty good compared with some of its peers. The Fully Loaded Time, in this case, is just 783ms, and that’s mainly due to the fact that there are almost no elements on the site.
Now I moved on to see how it fares for a built WordPress site. This time, HostGrid demonstrated an LCP of 1.9s.
Understandably it is higher than with an empty page, yet it does fall under the unwanted 2.5s mark. This means that the site stands a good chance of ranking higher on search engines’ results pages.
Plus, I also kept an eye out for its Fully Loaded Time, which came at just 2 seconds. Loads of wiggle space until you hit that undesired 3-second mark too.
In short, HostGrid delivers pretty good speed results. The provider might not compete with the fastest hosting providers in the market, but the results are good enough to not raise any concern at all.
HostGrid stress testing
My final test is a stress test that aims to see what kind of intensity traffic can HostGrid accommodate.
As a starting point, I sent 50 virtual users (VUs) its way, which proved to be too much for the host. However, I’m still curious to see how much is not too much anymore.
Therefore, I ran the test again and again by lowering the number of VUs by 5. The first success was with 15 VUs.
This time around, there were no failed requests (red line), which is a great sign. While the response time (blue line) was not the most stable, it also remained reasonably good in contrast to the rising VUs number (grey line).
Keep in mind that 50VUs on a website every minute for a month would result in around 50 000 monthly visits. That’s intense traffic that not every shared hosting provider can handle. So simply put, 15 VUs, which could result in ~15 000 monthly visits is still pretty good traffic that can be expected from popular blogs or small business sites.
All things considered, I’d like to see some improvement in HostGrid’s performance. While its reliability is impeccable and the site’s loading speed is good, its server responsiveness and traffic handling abilities could be better.
Security – is HostGrid secure?
When it comes to security, HostGrid keeps things very bare and you won’t see the full stack. Instead, it only offers a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate, automated backups, and firewalls and that’s about it. Other options are only available as paid add-ons.
Let’s go through the free security measures first:
- SSL certificates – HostGrid includes a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate to help encrypt the connection between your site and your visitors. I’d consider this the bare minimum for a host but it’s still a welcomed sight.
- Automated backups – the provider offers automated daily backups that can be saved for up to 4 weeks.
- Firewalls – these server-level firewalls help to filter out malicious traffic from reaching the server and your site.
And, that’s all you get from HostGrid for free. While all these are very much appreciated, I would expect the host to offer a more rounded security package.
Now, if you’re willing to open up your wallet, HostGrid also offers a few paid extras. This includes automated updates and security patches, managed SSL, and advanced server monitoring.
All in all, HostGrid offers only the most basic security features, which definitely won’t land it among the most secure hosting providers. However, if you’re willing to spend some extra, the host has a few additional features to offer.
Will HostGrid support help me?
HostGrid support team is available 24/7 via live chat, email, and phone – with its live chat reserved only for billing and tech support questions. Besides that, there’s also a knowledge base with articles covering a variety of topics.
My preferred support channel is live chat and I’ve tried out this channel multiple times. From my experience, the response times tend to be quick. But, the last time I reached out, my chat with the agent was abruptly disconnected. Luckily, the same agent joined the new chat and we were able to solve the issue pretty quickly.
As an alternative to the live chat, email, or phone, you could also head to HostGrid’s knowledge base. But, fair warning: it appears that for now at least, there are only articles on 3 topics: hosting, billing support, and technical support.
Within these 3 topics, there are dozens of articles on domains, WordPress, Plesk, troubleshooting, and more. On the plus side, these articles are well-written and structured for easy reading. At the same time, they could be more detailed. However, since the provider is still in its infant stage, I’m sure that it’s just a matter of time until they get it right.
Keen to help, knowledgeable, and quickly accessible, I’d say that HostGrid’s support is very good. But, there’s still room for improvement – especially with its knowledge base.
HostGrid review – the final verdict
As a whole, this HostGrid review confirms that the provider is a good choice for many users. It’s true that the host isn’t perfect nor is it as smooth as the more established names. But HostGrid is full of potential and could very well be the main contender in no time.
|Feature||Affordable host for smaller websites|
|Pricing||HostGrid prices are very cheap, with its shared hosting plan priced at just $1.99/month. Its features could be more well-rounded and generous but resources are plenty.|
|Ease of Use||HostGrid uses a mix of custom dashboard with Plesk control panel. The combo is easy to navigate, intuitive, and functional.|
|Performance||The host's performance was good with the uptime being a perfect 100%, response time sitting at 763ms, and fully built website loading in 2 seconds.|
|Security||HostGrid only offers a free SSL certificate, automated backups, and firewalls. Everything else is a paid add-on.|
|Support||The support team is available 24/7 via live chat, phone, and email. Its agents are helpful and fast. However, its knowledge base could be more populated.|
All things considered, I’d recommend HostGrid to beginners, budget-seekers, and those building a small website. It’s very affordable, generous with resources, and easy to use.
Alternatives to HostGrid
HostGrid certainly isn’t lacking in appeal and charm. That said, you might not find it to be a good fit for you or your website. Or, perhaps it lacks certain features that you absolutely need. In that case, I’ve handpicked 2 alternatives for you.
Hostinger is top of the list if we’re talking about good quality web hosting at affordable prices, with its plans starting at just $1.39/month. The popular host isn’t as liberal with its resources but it’s much more comprehensive and generous with its features and tools.
Additionally, the host is also well-known for offering easy hosting management via its hPanel as well as boasting a very friendly and helpful support team. Plus, its excellent performance with 100% uptime and data centers in 7 locations around the world is certainly a huge pull, too.
Bluehost is a massive name in the industry and is popular for its WordPress-centered hosting solutions. With hosting plans starting at a very affordable $2.95/month and a laser-sharp focus on beginner-friendliness, the provider is often the first provider in many users’ hosting journey.
Meanwhile, more experienced users would appreciate its cPanel integration as well as rich business tools that are accessible via its dashboard. Moreover, Bluehost shines when it comes to performance, too. The host is extremely reliable with a trustworthy uptime and reasonably fast speed results.
Where is HostGrid located?
HostGrid is located in West Midlands, United Kingdom, and has servers in the US.
Is HostGrid com legit?
Yes, HostGrid com is legit and is incorporated in the UK in 2020.
Do I get a free domain with HostGrid?
Yes, you get a free domain with HostGrid for the lifetime of your subscription.