Geeky fast and green? What’s not to like about it? GreenGeeks is a host that certainly knows how to attract customers through a unique blend of friendliness and advanced...
The first time I visited Hostinger.com two things struck me: the extremely low prices for shared hosting and the informative value of the site. Sure, it entices users to buy hosting with some of the standard marketing tricks, but it also has plenty of legit info, while the monthly fees are unrealistically low.
Another thing I noticed while preparing the preliminary research for this Hostinger review was that this is a host with a strong technical pedigree. However, technically sound hosts are abundant on the pages of the Hosting Tribunal. More information was needed.
That’s why I purchased the Premium shared plan, installed a clean WordPress on it, and began monitoring its uptime and speed.
After months of testing, here’s what I can tell you about Hostinger, all summed up in an unbiased, detailed review.
What Is Hostinger?
Created in Lithuania some 15 years ago, Hostinger is an international brand with a very strong presence in many markets. This is a company that doesn’t bow to EIG or GoDaddy. Instead, it strives to create an empire of its own. Only that this empire feels surprisingly good.
After all, Hostinger created and still runs the biggest free website hosting provider. Now, 000webhost is not without its flaws – far from it – but the fact that it was conceptualized and realized by the people behind Hostinger, and still charges nothing because of them counts for something.
Uptime is one of the major telltale signs of a quality web host and Hostinger does reasonably well.
99.91% uptime over six months of monitoring is not a bad result; it falls within the promised 99.9%.
So far, only in December 2018, my small WordPress site was offline for longer, leading to a 99.63% uptime. Truth be told, because of the festive period it fell in, I didn’t find the time to file a complaint with the host.
Hostinger promises 5% reimbursement of the monthly hosting fee whenever the uptime SLA is breached. Given that in 4 of 6 the months the uptime was impeccable, I don’t expect to have a reason to complain anytime soon.
Still, the promised compensation is very small
"Hostinger upholds 99.9% uptime but promises very limited compensation, indeed."
Average Uptime 2018
Average Uptime 2019
Note: If you run speed tests on my domain, results might fluctuate a bit. Even from the same testing platform, two tests would normally display slightly different results. My Hostinger site is hosted across the Atlantic, so I tested it from US locations. All plugins and server-side caching were disabled.
A consensus between users and professionals is a rare thing online. Still, most people agree in their Hostinger reviews that this is a quick host. The data I compiled from four different benchmark testing tools confirms as much.
In fact, this is one of the fastest hosting providers I’ve tested so far.
The frontend speed is nothing short of spectacular. The Hostinger server takes about 0.19 seconds to respond with the first byte of data. Then, it needs only 0.68 seconds to render the page fully.
With such results, my Hostinger WordPress installation is the fastest loading site under monitoring, just edging the likes of InterServer and Dreamhost.
When it comes down to backend speed, Hostinger also delivers.
It is far from the best performers in this category, but it is equally distant from the worst. 1.17 seconds average response time to nearly 300 simultaneous requests is not bad at all.
Average response time 2018:
Average response time 2019:
Fully loaded page 2018:
Fully loaded page 2019:
Response under load 2018:
Response under load 2019:
"Hostinger is a seriously fast website hosting provider."
If you go to Hostinger.com, you might be surprised to see that the support team is dubbed “Customer Success Team”. Sounds grand, but my experience with impressive marketing terms has been rather uneven.
The moment I opened the support page, two alarms went off.
First, there is no telephone number listed anywhere. Oddly enough, the office addresses of the company in Kaunas and Larnaca are there, so you can, presumably, send a letter. Both locations are listed with their respective postcodes.
The apparent lack of phone support is extremely strange, but I wasn’t ready to discount Hostinger just yet.
Then I saw the second weird thing under the guise of a vibrant “Let’s Chat!” button that allows you to… send an email?
Seriously, you click it, and it takes you to a contact form. I tried it several times, thinking that maybe it was sending my query to a chat agent who can prepare adequate answers. What I got was an email that contained a one-line answer to my one-line question.
In this regard, it feels like a chat.
Only that it isn’t.
Mind, I managed to reach the chat, eventually. It is accessible only at the Hostinger support page; the page itself is not linked on the home page. I tried from Hostinger.in and also from the UK version of the host but found no direct links toward support.
Oh, and it didn’t work on Firefox.
Anyhow. The chat button is located at the bottom right corner, and I ended up having a pleasant, albeit not entirely convincing conversation with a support agent. He was prompt and friendly, but a bit of poking and probing revealed that certain advertised features are misleading. More on that in the cons section of my Hostinger review.
While wandering around the Hostinger website looking for the elusive for the chat option, I decided to check the Reddit web hosting threads for some additional insight.
My search for the best web hosting often takes me to Reddit where Hostinger also frequents. The support there is rated rather well, but the apparent lack of a couple of the main channels of communication is appalling.
"The support team seems competent, but the lack of phone is a serious omission. The live chat option could also be delivered in a much more accessible manner."
I will go in greater detail about the Hostinger fees a bit later on, but let me just tell you that the company is mere $0.99 away from being dubbed a free website host. No joke. 99 cents. Not even a dollar.
Hostinger promises certain CPU and RAM power for each of its three shared hosting plans, which is excellent news for those who grow and expand. Knowing what you are paying for and all that jazz.
It is always difficult to tell how well such precise resource management is implemented, but seeing an effort to dedicate certain computational power to each user is always nice.
In terms of infrastructure, Hostiger keeps up with the latest industry standards. All its servers run on SSDs. Solid-state drives are much faster than the older HDDs, so that’s an obvious upgrade.
All Hostinger plans have Nginx caching enabled. Without descending deeper into technicalities, suffice to say that Nginx is a powerful and fast web server; it was designed to outperform Apache and duly does so. When server-side Nginx caching is configured properly (which the Hostinger support assured me is the case), even content-heavy dynamic sites should perform flawlessly.
While only the Business plan guarantees daily backups, each of the shared hosting solutions backs up your data weekly. Many would consider this the bare minimum a premium web host must do – I fully agree with this notion – but the truth is that regular backups are not universally provided. I am looking at you, GoDaddy.
Money back guarantees are standard practice among the top web hosting companies. Hostinger doesn’t excel at it but goes with what most providers offer. 30 days are not that much to test a web hosting service properly but are infinitely better than nothing. I am looking at you, GoDaddy.
You heard that right, unlimited cronjobs. The smallest plan (that is already with one leg in the free web hosting category) supports only one cronjob at a time, but the other two shared solutions can handle as many as you’d like. Cronjobs are awesome. You can never have too many of them.
While we are at it, let’s geek it out to the fullest. All Hostinger plans come with Git version control repository. If you don’t know what that is, you probably won’t be using it anyway, but if you do – awesome, right?
WordPress caching plugins and servers ready to accommodate this popular content management system make Hostinger an excellent home for it.
1-click installer and automatic updates make the Hostinger WordPress package a rather tempting offer.
Truth be told, I needed quite some time to decide whether having an in-house built control panel belongs in the Pros category or not.
While I admire such initiatives, they rarely are better than existing solutions. I instinctively wondered why Hostinger doesn’t use cPanel.
However, the company devs have done a pretty spectacular job. Admittedly, the control panel looks a lot like cPanel, but that’s not a bad thing; it saves learning time.
It is slick and functional, allowing enough control and seamless access, which makes it ideal for novices.
Hostinger provides a decent amount of 1-click installers, but it also has a decent site building tool. The Hostinger website builder is included in all plans and has a functional drag-and-drop interface that can help you craft a web page quickly and efficiently.
While I am not a particularly big fan to such website builders, I must admit that this is one of the better iterations I’ve seen.
Now, I mentioned the introductory prices are ridiculously low, but you can also get some serious Hostinger discount with relative ease. It feels a bit surreal typing that as the starting prices are so low to begin with that discounting them further barely makes sense.
Yet, it is a very realistic possibility.
Less than three months after my Hostinger review was published the company reached out to thank me for pointing out some issues on Hostinger.com.
The first negative point in the Cons section of my review was about the misleading phrasing used by the company when describing its plans.
However, Hostinger took active steps to address the issue and now its plans’ parameters are described much more adequately. The limitations are clarified with asterisks, making everything significantly more transparent and less misleading even for the most distracted of users.
I must admit that it felt great on personal level as making the web hosting companies fairer and more transparent is one of the main reasons behind the existence of Hosting Tribunal.
Naturally, seeing a host that actually cares enough to take a few simple steps toward honest marketing is a massive positive sign.
Hostinger has a well-rounded shared hosting package, but advanced users might find it lacking in certain areas. Yes, there is Git, cronjobs, and Curl, but many goodies available in cPanel are simply absent. Ruby on Rails, Python, and others are nowhere to be found.
Migrating a site over to Hostinger can be problematic. While the support is ready to help in any way necessary – advice or direct involvement in the process – the fact that the host runs a proprietary hosting panel makes it difficult to transfer existing sites over.
It is possible, but it is highly likely to be a serious hassle.
If you want to ensure your site with an SSL for free, Hostinger isn’t ideal. Only the biggest of the three plans includes a secure certificate.
Generally, I find this weird because the lack of SSL impairs SEO and the Let’s Encrypt solution can be incorporated in most hosting environments with relative ease.
Be that as it may, if you want to get SSL you’d either have to pay for it separately, manually procure a Let’s Encrypt one, or purchase the biggest of the three Hostinger plans.
Hostinger has three shared hosting plans. The fees are stunningly low. I was told that these temporary offers but preparing this Hostinger review took me the first couple of months of 2019 and they didn’t change. Still, I will check again next month to make sure the information stays relevant.
Single Shared hosting The smallest plan of the company is limited to a single website and mailbox, but it can be procured for the price of (!) $0.99 per month. No joke. Admittedly, you have to commit for four years to get that, but even if you pay for three months (the shortest term available), the price is only $2.15.Add to Cart
Premium Shared hosting Here begin the “unlimited” features: bandwidth, server space (400,000 inodes), domains, emails, databases, etc. The price begins at $2.59. Like, for real. Oh, and if you are looking for a free domain, Hostinger Premium has you covered.Add to Cart
Business Shared hosting For as low as $4.49, you can enjoy all of the above, plus daily backups and a free SSL certificate. That’s practically the only difference with the Premium package.Add to Cart
|Bandwidth:||100GB for the Single plan, unlimited for the rest|
|Storage:||10GB for the Single plan, unlimited for the rest|
|Database:||MySQL and InnoDB|
|Domain names:||Free registration available for Premium and Business users|
|Control panel:||Proprietary control panel that looks and feels like cPanel|
|Software installation:||Solid 1-click installer options|
|Migration:||The support team is ready to assist but technical difficulties are highly likely|
|Payment options:||Credit cards and PayPal; bitcoin is also listed but you should check with support to have such payments handled|
|Account setup:||Fully automated process, rather quick|
|Upsells:||A few but nothing particularly obtrusive|
Yes, I do recommend Hostinger for a good number of reasons.
If you are looking for a cheap hosting solution, that’s probably the best option.
Speed and performance are impressive as well.
Access to the support team can be optimized, but the agents are responsive and knowledgeable.
The lack of more advanced hosting options and several instances of typical hosting marketing lingo I mentioned throughout this detailed Hostinger review don’t change the fact that this company provides great value for money.