HostNine is a US-based web host that has been offering a variety of hosting solutions since 2006. Holding the goal to provide flexible and secure managed hosting services, this company now offers shared hosting, cloud VPS, dedicated servers and reseller hosting, all of which are managed.
This review, however, focuses on the shared hosting plans only. From the pros and cons analyzed below, you are able to learn how HostNine performs in service value, ease of use, performance and technical support.
Before reading the details, you may want to know our conclusion about the company’s shared hosting. In fact, after looking into all the important factors of a hosting service, we don’t recommend HostNine because its service quality is descending. Below are our ratings about the company’s services.
Pros of HostNine Shared Hosting
Generally speaking, HostNine shared hosting plans are affordable and easy-to-use. The money back guarantee also makes the plans worth a try (if you don’t care about what discussed in the cons).
Affordable hosting prices
Currently, HostNine has 3 shared hosting plans – Personal, Business and Enterprise. Apparently, the first plan is designed for individuals with basic hosting requirements only, and the latter two are suitable for businesses. Below are the prices of the plans.
- Personal: $3.99/mo for annual terms and $5.29/mo for monthly terms.
- Business: $5.99/mo for annual terms and $6.79/mo for monthly terms.
- Enterprise: $9.99/mo for annual terms and $11.99/mo for monthly terms.
To be honest, these prices are quite affordable in today’s shared hosting market as you can get what you need at a cost of less than $10/mo.
Besides, the Business and Enterprise plans come with a free domain , and Enterprise also includes a free dedicated IP (valuing $2/mo) and an SSL certificate (valuing $39.99/year).
cPanel with Softaculous installer
For all the shared hosting plans, HostNine provides cPanel control panel to make sure that every user can manage his/her hosting accounts and start websites easily.
In addition, the Softaculous installer is integrated with cPanel so that you are able to install, update and uninstall over 300 scripts including Drupal without worrying about any technical issue.
Besides cPanel and Softaculous, HostNine offers many other basic features that are needed to start and maintain an online presence. These include unlimited disk storage, bandwidth, FTP accounts, email addresses and subdomains.
However, if you expect some advanced features, you might be disappointed because HostNine doesn’t intend to offer them. For more information about this, read the following comparison between HostNine Personal plan and the Plus plan from BlueHost, a popular shared hosting provider.
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For shared hosting, HostNine promises a 45-day refund period. If you request a cancellation during the first 45 days of your term, you can receive a refund via the initial payment method.
For cancellations after the period, account credits for the unused services will be issued. Besides, payments made via checks and money orders will only be refunded as credits.
Good hosting speed
As we have been monitoring the speed of HostNine shared servers for some time, we find that HostNine is actually doing well in server response speed. Page loads are not bad, either. According to our surveys, the factors that may contribute to these results are:
- HostNine provides multiple server locations, including the US (Texas, Seattle and Washington DC), the UK (London), Netherlands, and Singapore, so you can select one near to your audience to get fast speed. Pay attention that the users of the Personal plan can only select a location from the available choices in the US.
- The company caches users’ files to SSD storage to improve the page loads.
- The smart routers guarantee that the fastest possible network is used.
HostNine has been offering the average server response speed and sometimes performs even better. You can get some information in the screenshot below.
Cons of HostNine Shared Hosting
After reading the pros, you may think that HostNine can meet all your basic needs although it is not very excellent. However, you must still pay attention that this company is somewhat disappointing in the reliability and technical support. If you value these two things, don’t rush to the decision before learning the details of the cons below.
B- rating from BBB
BBB, the abbreviation of Better Business Bureau, is a non-profit consumer protection organization that reviews businesses and alerts users of the complaints about businesses.
Unlike some popular web hosts like InMotion Hosting which have been maintaining an A+ rating from BBB, HostNine only receives a B- rating which doesn’t seem good. Although this rating doesn’t mean much, you still need to be careful if you are planning to make a purchase.
To increase users’ trust, HostNine has released an SLA of 99.9% uptime. Covered by this agreement, you are entitled to a credit of 1-day free service for each 60 minutes’ downtime. For this uptime guarantee, you should note that:
- Credits are not applicable to the first 0.1% of downtime since the guaranteed uptime percentage is 99.9%.
- Downtimes caused by DDoS attacks, hardware failure, firewall blocks or any other accident that is out of the direct control of HostNine are not counted for any compensation.
HostNine once delivered good uptime. But since 2015, the reliability has declined, and there have been several major downtimes lasting days since then. For example, a significant downtime that lasted for more than 3 days happened in December 2015 (around the Christmas) affecting a large number of users.
Despite the occasional unbearable downtimes, HostNine can offer good uptime sometimes. In the recent month, the company achieved an average of 99.94% uptime in our monitoring.
Limited technical support
In addition to the reliability, technical support is another major demerit of HostNine. About two years ago, the company received many compliments for offering professional and timely technical support. However, things have changed. The bad support has already been the most criticized part.
Below are the current statuses of the technical support offered by HostNine.
- The ticket system which can be accessed through the help desk is the only official method for technical support. But according to user reviews, the responses for tickets usually take 6 hours or longer, which is annoying if you are in an emergency.
- Live chat is available for support, too, but it is not an official method, so limited support is offered through this channel, and the availability and accessibility are not guaranteed.
- Live chat is only available for general inquiries that don’t require any access to a server or account, so it cannot be used to resolve account issues. The support team has the right to refuse the support for issues requiring access to server/account via this method. Besides, you cannot request the updates to tickets on live chat, either.
- Phone is not a support method anymore.
Conclusion – HostNine Is Not a Top Choice for Shared Hosting
From the analyses in this review, we must conclude that HostNine is a below-the-average web host that doesn’t offer reliable shared hosting services. Beginners who need timely technical support should always stay away from this company.
If you are in the way to look for affordable yet reliable shared hosting, we will suggest you consider one of the following web hosts which have been enjoying a high reputation in the industry.