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Hostwinds review: loads of resources for an affordable price


Hostwinds is a US-based web hosting provider that mostly flies under the radar but actually has more than 10 years of experience under its belt. With Hostwinds, you can expect to find pretty much every hosting solution: shared, business, reseller, managed and unmanaged VPS, and more.

The company was apparently built out of sheer frustration with the other options in the market. It came forward with a stubborn mindset that small-to-medium businesses can get high-quality solutions and support at affordable prices, too.

Now, if we judge by the many positive Hostwinds reviews from customers, the provider achieved what it set out to do. In fact, many praised its rich resources, ease of use, and support.

But, of course, to confirm or deny that, I need to test it for myself. Hence, I purchased a plan from Hostwinds to see if it holds up its end of the bargain.

Let’s dive right in.

Rating:
4
Price:Prices start at $3.74/month
Uptime:99.89%
Hosting types:Shared, VPS, cloud, and dedicated
Server locations:US (Seattle and Dallas) and EU (Amsterdam)
Support:Live chat, ticketing, and email
Current deal:Get Basic, just $3.74/mo now!

Hostwinds Pros and Cons

Hostwinds pricing

As with most providers, Hostwinds’ most in-demand solution is shared hosting, where plans start from $3.74/mo. Beyond that, it also offers a range of other hosting solutions, including VPS, cloud, and dedicated.

Type of hostingBest for
Shared hosting ($3.74/mo)Beginners, smaller websites (such as blogs, portfolios, passion projects), and those looking for ease of use.
VPS hosting ($8.24/mo)Mid-sized websites and those who prefer an advanced option with better control, resources, and performance.
Cloud hosting (from $4.99/mo)Anyone looking for flexibility and scalability in addition to better performance and security.
Dedicated hosting ($179.00/mo)High-traffic websites, sizable online stores, large organizations, and other users with advanced needs.

Not the cheapest hosting provider in the market, but still pretty reasonable prices.

In this Hostwinds review, I’ll be focusing on its most sought-after option: shared hosting.

Hostwinds has 3 shared hosting plans to offer: Basic ($6.74/mo), Advanced ($8.24/mo), and Ultimate ($9.74/mo). Now, you might think that your memory has betrayed you or that I’ve made a mistake because I definitely stated cheaper prices earlier.

Hostwinds shared hosting plans

Well, you can get cheaper prices if you commit to longer subscriptions. The prices you see in the image are for month-to-month billing. However, if you opt for the longest term of 36 months, you can get Basic for $3.74/mo, Advanced for $5.24/mo, and Ultimate for $6.74/mo. Quite a significant change for sure.

But, strangely, Hostwinds doesn’t display the cheaper prices right on the product page or even better make it clear that it offers different billing terms. Instead, that information is only available on the checkout page, which is far from ideal since it’s somewhat hidden.

Hostwinds billing periods with prices

Marketing faux pas aside, I’m quite pleased with what’s provided. All 3 plans are furnished with cPanel, Weebly site builder, free SSL, dedicated IP, unlimited bandwidth, disk space, and email accounts.

The only variation is the different number of domains each offer:

  • Basic – 1 domain;
  • Advanced – 4 domains;
  • Ultimate – unlimited domains.

Those are some very generous resources considering the immensely affordable prices. And, it certainly simplifies the decision-making: choose a plan according to the number of websites you need to host.

Now, a few things to note about Hostwinds’ payment and billings. For starters, you can pay for your plan with cryptocurrency. Since 2017, it accepts more than a dozen coins like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and even Dogecoin.

However, be aware that Hostwinds only offers a 72-hours money-back guarantee and only for hosting services. Outside of it, the host only provides account credit. So, if you’d like to play it safe, go for Hostwinds’ 1-month subscription instead.

One more thing, your plan is going to renew at a higher price. For instance, the Basic plan costs $3.74/mo now but will hike up to $4.99/mo upon renewal. But, to be fair, Hostwinds’ renewal rate isn’t as exorbitant as the other providers.

All things considered, Hostwinds is ideal if you want more for less. The provider is extremely generous with resources like storage and bandwidth despite its inexpensive prices.

Hosting management: is Hostwinds easy to use?

Hostwinds provides a custom dashboard with cPanel integration for management. Both interfaces are well-organized, beginner-friendly, and (most importantly) have the complete tools and features you need to run your site.

Upon login, you’ll encounter Hostwinds’ custom dashboard. This is what it looks like:

Hostwinds native user interface

As you can see, the native dashboard is clean and orderly. So, even if this is your first foray into web hosting, you shouldn’t have any difficulties navigating the interface. Instead, you should be able to intuitively find your ways to the features you need for account and service management. For instance, billing, support, and domain management.

For advanced functionalities, make your way to cPanel. This is where you can install WordPress, set up email accounts, add subdomains, access file manager and databases, and more.

But, if you’re expecting a familiar face for cPanel, you’ll be surprised. This is because Hostwinds has the latest cPanel, which features Glass as its default style.

Hostwinds cPanel

The makeover gives cPanel a cleaner and fresher look but still retains much of its old appeal and with the same powerful tools. Uncluttered and without distracting icons, both rookies and experienced users can easily and swiftly find their way.

Straightforward, intuitive, and with all the needed tools and features, Hostwinds’ combo of custom dashboard and cPanel is an easy win. Good user experience is a given.

Performance: is Hostwinds fast?

When it comes to performance, Hostwinds is more middle of the road. While it’s not the provider’s strongest point, it still demonstrated fast website loading speed. However, uptime, response time, and traffic handling abilities could’ve been better.

Hostwinds uptime and response time

In almost 2 weeks of monitoring, Hostwinds had a single outage. Single, but significant my site was down for 19 minutes. This brought the overall uptime to 99.89%.

While this is not the worst result I’ve seen, I am a little concerned that the provider gives no official uptime guarantee. Meaning your site could be down for much longer.

Hostwinds uptime and response time monitoring

Now talking about response time, Hostwinds averaged at 945ms. Overall, not a very ideal result. Especially considering that the shared hosting market’s average lays at 600ms.

In sum, Hostwinds is a little questionable when it comes to uptime and response time. The provider showed a reasonably okay uptime and a little poor response time.

Hostwinds web hosting speed test

To start with the speed test, I first tested if Hostwinds is fast with an empty WordPress site. What I want to see here is an LCP below 600ms, which would mean it’s incredibly fast.

Hostwinds' empty site demonstrated an LCP of 665ms. Just barely over the 600ms threshold. While Hostwinds is not the fastest web host out there, it’s still very fast indeed.

Hostwinds empty website loading speed test

Next, I ran tests on a fully built WordPress site and, this time, the LCP came in at 1.5s. I will happily accept that as Google gives thumbs up for anything up to 2.5s.

Hostwinds fully built website loading speed test

However, if your site caters mostly to a variety of international audiences, do note that you might see slower results. Hostwinds operates only 3 data centers – 2 in the US (Seattle and Dallas) and 1 in the Netherlands (Amsterdam). For the best result, choose the one closest to your target audience.

Hostwinds stress test

My last test was a stress test. By sending an increased number of virtual visitors (VUs), I test how much traffic Hostwinds can handle.

I’ve started my test with 50VUs. Keep in mind that 50 visitors is pretty intense traffic that not all shared hosting providers are able to cope with. Such traffic can easily overwhelm a server. And it seems like Hostwinds was no different.

Hostwinds stress test failed with 50 VUs

50 VUs was way too much for Hostwinds to handle. The speed isn’t that bad, but the number of failures was extremely high – almost 97% of all requests sent.

Ideally, you want a flat blue line (response time) as the gray line (number of visitors) goes up. It’s also crucial that the red line (failed requests) is at zero.

So, I decreased the number of VUs by 5 each time until success. The first pass was with 10VUs. But, the tradeoff was an increase in speed.

Hostwinds stress test pass with 10VUs

This isn’t ideal, of course. But for a little perspective, 10VUs still translate to thousands of monthly visitors – quite a big deal for shared hosting. More so, the tests were run on Hostwinds’ cheapest plan, which does clearly states that it caters mostly to smaller sites.

Overall, Hostwinds web hosting could do with some improvement in its performance. There are no complaints about the website’s loading speed, but the server’s responsiveness could be better. Uptime guarantee would also add a layer of trust.

Security: is Hostwinds secure?

If there’s one area that Hostwinds lag slightly behind, it’s security. Unfortunately, the provider only provides an SSL certificate and malware scanning. But, if you’re willing to pay, there’s also an option to add on paid 24/7 monitoring and nightly backups.

Let’s zero in:

  • SSL certificates – Hostwinds automatically enables a free AutoSSL for all of its shared hosting plans. Frankly, this is the bare minimum that you should expect from your provider as it helps to create an encrypted connection between your site and your visitors.
  • Malware scanning – Hostwinds malware scanning isn’t automatic, but you can submit a ticket, and the admins will perform it for you free of charge. While an automated one would be more convenient, it’s still very much appreciated and helpful for the health of your site.

This is where Hostwinds free security measures end. However, you can get a few paid additions:

  • Monitoring – For an additional $24/year Hostwinds team will keep a close eye on your site 24/7 to ensure that threats are handled quickly. If there’s an issue, a support ticket is automatically submitted to deploy support engineers for help. More so, immediate alerts and detailed reports are also included.
  • Backups – For an extra $36.00/year, Hostwinds automatically backs up your data and transfers it to a cloud storage drive every night.

Overall, Hostwinds’ might not be the most secure web host, but its current security features are reasonable. However, DDoS protection and firewall inclusion would’ve been highly appreciated.

Will Hostwinds support help me?

You can contact Hostwinds’ support via live chat, ticketing, and email. The provider has a huge selection of guides and tutorials in its knowledge base, too.

I got in touch multiple times via live chat and, each time, my experience was A+. The agents were all fast, helpful, and professional. Most importantly, they provide answers to my questions and solutions for my issues.

Hostwinds live chat with a support agent

Beyond that, Hostwinds also has a massive knowledge base with product documentations, blogs, and tutorials. There are hundreds of articles on everything from billing to how to use a VPN.

Hostwinds knowledge base

All articles are very well-written and helpful. As for tutorials, you get step-by-step guides with pictures to help you solve your issues faster and easier.

Efficient, eager to help, and swift, Hostwinds’ support is worthy of a 5-star rating. Plus, its humongous knowledge base is definitely a pull, too.

Hostwinds review: final recommendations

As a whole, this Hostwinds review shows that the provider is a very feasible option for many. Sure, there are some areas that could be improved, but its pros trump its cons.

Here’s a final verdict of how it fares:

Feature
4
Affordable and easy to manage hosting provider
Pricing
4
Hostwinds is extremely affordable, with prices from $3.74/mo. Despite its cheap pricing, the provider is very liberal with resources, too.
Ease of Use
5
Hostwinds utilizes a custom dashboard with the latest cPanel integration for easy and intuitive management.
Performance
3
The provider lacks an uptime guarantee, the response time is on the lower end, and the cheapest plan can handle relatively low traffic. However, the website's loading speed was very good.
Security
3
Hostwinds only offers a free SSL certificate and malware scanning. Automated backups and monitoring come for an extra charge.
Support
5
The provider offers customer support via live chat, email, or ticketing. The agents are attentive, fast, and helpful. More so, there's an extensive knowledge base available.

For those seeking very affordable solutions, Hostwinds web hosting is a good option. Beginners, hobbyists, and those building basic websites will appreciate its generous resources, eager-to-help support, and ease of use.

Hostwinds alternatives

While it’s undoubtedly attractive to many, Hostwinds might not be the one for you. So, here are two other great shared hosting providers to check out.

Hostinger

Hostinger is a must-mention as it offers even more affordable plans from just $1.39/mo. While Hostinger isn’t as free-handed with its resources, it more than makes up for it with its well-rounded features. Plus, the provider is every bit as user-friendly as Hostwinds.

Besides that, Hostinger is popular for its performance, too. Remarkably reliable, incredibly fast, and extremely stable, it’s as good as it gets.

SiteGround

SiteGround is a WordPress-focus premium provider. With plans starting from $3.99, it offers all the tools and features you need and more to run your website.

And, if you upgrade to its mid-range plan, you’ll also get advanced features such as staging, custom PHP, and more. A solid choice for all, Siteground is a good investment if you’re looking for a top-notch host.

Hostwinds FAQ

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