Saturday 18th August 2018

Hostinger Review

Overview

Overall rating:

7.5/10

Price:

$2.15

Uptime (Jan 18):

99.98%

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Overview

Overall rating:

7.5/10

Price:

$2.15

Setup:

6 hours

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Overall

We like Hostinger (it’s difficult not to).

  • Their usage restrictions – they restrict I/O, CPU, storage, databases, entry processes and physical memory – are excellent for the price of the package. They are better than a number of (significantly) more expensive hosts.
  • They’re very sneaky with how they market their uptime guarantees. It’s 99.90% (marketed as 99.9%) for ‘Premium’ and ‘Business’ package customers, however it’s 99.00% for ‘Single’ package customers. 99.90% uptime allows for 43 minutes downtime per month, while 99.00% uptime allows for 7 hours and 18 minutes downtime per month. They almost universally market it as 99.9% or 99%, without emphasising the distinction in the uptime guarantee between packages.
  • They charge $39 per year for their ‘Single’ package (this is the package we’ve focused on for this review).
  • One of the main things we like about Hostinger is what most people don’t often pick up on (they should advertise it more) – the renewal price for their service is broadly equivalent to the introductory price. More information below.
  • Storage is pegged at 10GB for the single hosting package and ‘unlimited’ for premium and business accounts (there’s a 250,000 inodes restriction, see below)
  • Bandwidth – seemingly defined by Hostinger as ‘data transfer’ – is restricted to 100GB on the ‘single’ hosting account. It’s ‘unlimited’ for the slightly more expensive ‘premium’ option.
  • They don’t appear to support HTTP/2 on the ‘single’ package (they do offer SSJ access though)
  • ‘Premium’ and ‘business’ packages also qualify for a free domain name (‘single’ hosting packages don’t). A free SSL certificate is available for annual subscribers to the ‘premium’ or ‘business’ packages (it’s not available on the single hosting package; you need SSL for HTTP/2)
  • From what we can see they don’t offer a website migration service (if you’re a non-technical user this could be problematic); a number of web hosts offer this service free of charge (eg InMotion, GreenGeeks, Siteground and Hostgator). There are guides available though.
  • Like many of their rivals, Hostinger offers a 30 day money back guarantee; for the purpose of comparison, InMotion offers a 90 day money back guarantee and Dreamhost offers a 97 day money back guarantee. There’s more information below.
  • Performance is excellent considering the price of the package – they compete admirably with some of the big names on both uptime and response time.
  • Their admin panel is the fastest we’ve reviewed (we rank it highly for usability as well). It’s excellent (we’d go as far as to say it’s the best admin panel out there).
  • They offer a free automated weekly backup (some hosts offer automated daily backups).

Features

7/10

service

6/10

Performance

8/10

Cost

9/10

Host overview

Performance: January 2018 (to date)

Response Time:

574ms

Uptime:

99.98%

Average uptime for all hosts in January 2018 (to date) is 99.80% while average response time for all web hosts in January 2018 (to date) is 1,254ms.

Cost, setup and website migrations

Like a lot of hosts they advertise monthly rates without allowing users to pay monthly. Their ‘Single’ package is advertised at $2.15 per month however to qualify for this rate you have to pay 36 months in advance.

We decided to pay 12 months in advance and the total cost was $39.00, which, if you were actually paying monthly, would work out at $3.25 per month. Hostinger also affords users the option to subscribe for 6 months (total cost $21.30 for the term) or 3 months (total cost $11.97 for the term).

Firstly, this is very cheap relative to other web hosts (albeit Hostinger offers fewer features relative to slightly more expensive hosts).

Secondly, and like most hosts, Hostinger automatically renews your package at the end of its term for another of the same duration. However, unlike most web hosts, the renewal price is the same as the introductory price (at least it is in the UK, and Hostinger seems to offer the same package features and service between the US and the UK).

While that may not sound surprising, and it may be subject to change, it’s highly unusual for web hosts to offer such a low introductory rate – particularly when we consider how good Hostinger’s package is relative to the price – without ramping up the price when it comes to renewing for another term.

Sadly, they don’t appear to offer website migrations – a number of web hosts of free website migrations, however there’s no mention of this on their website. They also lose marks for only offering a free domain on the ‘Premium’ and ‘Business’ packages, not the ‘Single’ package.

When you factor in the cost of a domain at most registrars (typically about $15), it brings Hostinger’s introductory price up to $54 – at least it would if Hostinger charged the same rates as every other registrar (they don’t).

Their domain prices are among the cheapest we’ve found – you can register a .com domain for just $8.99 (Web.com charges an absurd $37.99, Siteground charges $14.95 and iPage charges $10.99 but $16.99 for renewals).

Domain privacy at Hostinger.com is also remarkably cheap relative to other web hosts – they only charge $5 per year. Siteground charges $12 and Bluehost charges $14.88.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any information about domain renewal prices on their website – we’ll submit another support ticket after a few days and update this review accordingly (we’ve pestered their support team enough for one day!). They really should have this information freely available on their website though.

Setup was also remarkably easy, largely because their admin panel and checkout process is excellent.

Hostinger requested information on our domain after checkout. Immediately following checkout, and after we’d paid for our hosting package, we were given nameservers to point our domain to.

It may seem insignificant, but Hostinger made it easier than every other company we host with to set-up an externally registered domain (we don’t even want to repeat how long it took us to find GoDaddy’s nameservers). All in all, it took about 6 hours till we went live.

Restrictions

Hostinger places a number of restrictions on accounts on its shared hosting servers.

Restrictions are always difficult to compare because most web hosts will restrict you without telling you what the limit of the restriction is (in other words, just because a restriction isn’t specified don’t assume it doesn’t exist) eg they’ll give you a percentage value you aren’t permitted to exceed.

  • You’re restricted to using 25% of 1 CPU core under their ‘single’ package. It’s difficult to compare and contrast with other providers as this is the only information we could find, however Siteground limits to 20% and A2 Hosting limits to 10% (both are more expensive than Hostinger). This said, it’s worth noting some web hosts set restrictions on the duration for which you can use this amount of resource (this hasn’t been specified by Hostinger, however for Siteground it’s 10 seconds).
  • I/O is limited to 1MB/s. I/O is simply input/output or read/write speed to storage. The outcome from exceeding this limit is usually a ‘lag’ in performance until usage returns to ‘normal’. GreenGeeks offers 4MB/s, InMotion offers 2MB/s and A2 Hosting offers 1MB/s (all of these limits apply to their entry-level packages)
  • You’re also restricted to 250,000 inodes, which is quite good considering the restrictions set by other web hosts at this price range. InMotion restricts to 50,000, Siteground restricts to 150,000 and A2 Hosting restricts to 600,000. An inode is simply meta data (information) for a file; 1 inode broadly equals 1 file (1 email also equals 1 inode).
  • Interestingly, Hostinger is one of the few web hosts which offer an actual data transfer limit (100GB). This isn’t a bad thing – we all know web hosts restrict bandwidth, however most web hosts stipulate data transfer is ‘unlimited’ or ‘unmetered’ until it exceeds the data transfer of similarly situated customers.
  • You’re restricted to 10GB of storage space, 1 website and 1 MySQL database. GreenGeeks specifies unlimited websites, unlimited storage (SSD) and unlimited databases, Siteground specifies 1 website, 10GB storage (SSD) and unlimited databases while InMotion specifies 2 websites, 2 databases and unlimited storage (SSD).
  • Physical memory (RAM) is restricted to 512MB.
  • Entry processes are restricted to 100 (this is very high – ie good – relative to other more expensive web hosts). A limitation on entry processes is limit on the number of simultaneous script executions (eg a script execution could be requesting an index.php file from a WordPress installation). The entry process resets once the script is executed. A lot of users believe 100 entry processes is equal to 100 simultaneous visitors, however it’s not that simple. Each visitor would have to execute a script at the precise moment every other user executed a script – which is unlikely.

It’s worth noting that InMotion restricts entry processes at 20, A2 Hosting restricts them at 15 and GreenGeeks restricts them at 100 (a lot of hosts don’t specify what the restriction is and all of the aforementioned – who’ve been transparent with their offering – are more expensive than Hostinger)

The maximum permitted size of a MySQL database is 1GB and MySQL databases are not permitted to contain more than 1,000 tables (more than enough for the average user). You’re also restricted to 1 email account and that account can be no larger than 200MB (this is very low relative to other web hosts).

Backups, guarantees and security

All Hostinger accounts come with a 30 day money back guarantee and a 99.0% or 99.9% uptime guarantee.

They’re a little sneaky with the uptime guarantee – we were wondering why we’d seen the uptime guarantee advertised in some places as 99.9% and in other places as 99%; it’s because the uptime guarantee for the ‘Single’ package is 99.00% (marketed as 99%) while the uptime guarantee for the ‘Premium’ and ‘Business’ packages is 99.90% (marketed as 99.9%).

What’s the difference between 99.90% uptime and 99.00% uptime? 99.9% uptime guarantee allows for about 43 minutes of downtime per month while a 99.00% uptime guarantee allows for about 7 hours 18 minutes of downtime per month.  

This only becomes apparent when you compare every feature of their package side-by-side on their full feature list comparison page.

If they fail to honour the guarantee – if they fail to less than 7 hours of downtime each month they are the worst host ever! – they’ll give you 5% off the cost of one month of hosting (which contrasts to, for example, Hostgator, which offers one month of free web hosting).

We’re a bit disappointed by the rate of compensation – and the sneakiness around the uptime guarantee – and feel they could offer more.

It’s also worth noting that what constitute downtime or uptime is solely determined by Hostinger (ie you can’t provide your own performance data).

Products purchased with cryptocurrencies will be non-refundable and are not included in the 30 day money back guarantee. There are some other exceptions, too:

  • A purchase of a new domain extension (a gTLD) is refundable but only if cancelled four days after purchase.
  • Some ccTLDs eg .be, .fr, .it etc are non-refundable. .uk is apparently refundable.

Automated backups are offered on a weekly basis for the ‘single’ and ‘premium’ packages and you can access these very easily in their admin panel (you can also download them to your computer). You can also generate manual backups from the same place (and it’s quick!)

The admin panel

It’s the best admin panel we’ve reviewed. The vast majority of web hosts utilise cPanel – as does Hostinger – however most installations are quite slow and clunky; Hostinger’s admin panel is lightning fast, usable and aesthetically pleasing.

While a number of web hosts have ‘hacked’ the cPanel installation or created their own information architecture (navigation and labelling) on top of cPanel, Hostinger has kept most of the traditional installation.

  • There’s a useful details page which lists all of the information you’ll ever need, from SMTP, FTP and nameserver details to IP addresses, server details and port numbers. With other web hosts we could end up clicking through 20-odd links – or help articles – to collate all of the information Hostinger provides on a single page.
  • The backup page is simple and easy to use – and fast. Hostinger creates weekly backups and they’re all dropped onto the backup server; you can access your backups or generate new backups from your admin panel.
  • There’s a really useful and simple integration with Github and Bitbucket (version control).
  • You’ve got some of the standard security and performance features you’d expect from a cPanel installation including hotlink protection and IP blocking; you’ve also get SSH access.
  • You can obviously access PHPMyAdmin directly from cPanel if you choose; alternatively you can use the cPanel interface to manage databases.
  • DNS is fully configurable from within the admin panel.
  • The email management options are fairly limited relative to other providers and there’s limited usage data (most cPanel installations display usage data in the sidebar – Hostinger’s does too, however there aren’t as many metrics as we’d expect)
  • There are around 50 automated scripts you can install from the admin panel (including WordPress).
  • We usually hate website builders, however there solution is pretty good. It’s powered by Zyro and templates are a lot better than most (there are a few Bootstrap templates in there).

If you ever host your website with Hostinger and then move to another web host you’ll quickly realise how much you miss their admin panel.

Hostinger Customer Service

  • Live chat support: yes
  • Ticketing support: yes
  • Phone support: no

Good luck getting through!

  • January 23rd, 2018: We initiated live chat and after a 10 minute wait we eventually gave up (we’ve got hosting reviews to write!).
  • January 23rd, 2018: We sent a ticket with a technical question about entry processes as well as another question about website migrations. 15 hours later we’re still waiting for a response.

It’s disappointing – Hostinger excels in most other areas however they need to improve customer service response times before we feel comfortable recommending them.

Single - 3 month term

Price

$3.99

Bandwidth:

100GB

Storage:

10GB

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Single - 6 month term

Price

$3.55

Bandwidth:

100GB

Storage:

10GB

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Single - 12 month term

Price

$3.25

Bandwidth:

100GB

Storage:

10GB

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Single - 24 month term

Price

$2.85

Bandwidth:

100GB

Storage:

10GB

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