If you want a powerful and flexible web hosting service, Hostwinds should be on your radar. Hostwinds offers an array of shared, virtual private server (VPS), dedicated, cloud, WordPress, and reseller hosting packages designed to appeal to both mom-and-pop shop owners and bigger businesses. In fact, Hostwinds’ feature-packed VPS and reseller offerings make it an Editors’ Choice in those categories. Overall, Hostwinds is one of the best web hosts we’ve reviewed.
If your website doesn’t require high-end servers to keep it up and running, shared web hosting may be right up your alley. The low-cost web hosting places your website on a server with other websites, thus sharing system resources. You pay less money in this roommate situation, but big traffic spikes could cause your site to slow down—or even unavailable for some time. Hosts do their best to prevent this from happening, but be aware that this is the shared hosting tradeoff.
Hostwinds offers attractive, wallet-friendly Linux-based shared hosting plans that come in three flavors: Basic, Advanced, and Ultimate. Unfortunately, Hostwinds lacks Windows-based plans. Its prices have slightly increased since the last time we reviewed Hostwinds, but they’re still relatively low overall. Basic (starting at $8.99 per month) offers unlimited monthly data transfers, unlimited storage, a free dedicated IP address, and the ability to host a single domain. Advanced (starting at $10.99 per month) builds on Basic by letting you host up to six domains. Ultimate (starting at $12.99 per month) adds the ability to host an unlimited number of domains. Unless you’re on a tight budget, there’s not much reason to select anything other than the Ultimate plan if you want a Hostwinds shared hosting package that offers room to grow. As with other web hosting services, Hostwinds tosses discounts your way if you sign up for multiple months or years.
HostGator, our Editors’ Choice for shared hosting, gives small- and medium-sized businesses even more room to expand their web presences. Its Hatchling plan (starting at $10.95 per month) offers unlimited disk space, bandwidth, databases, and email addresses, plus support for one domain and third-party applications, such as content management systems and e-commerce platforms. HostGator’s Baby plan (starting at $11.95 per month) builds on Hatchling’s offering by adding unlimited domains. The top-tier Business plan (starting at $16.95 per month) also includes highly specialized options, such as a free dedicated IP and a secure socket layer (SSL) certificate upgrade. HostGator also lets you select Linux- or Windows-based server options. If you need to run Microsoft-specific scripts, you’ll appreciate the Windows option. For its flexibility, HostGator is the category’s top dog.
VPS hosting is for people who want to build their sites on servers that offer more power than what shared web hosting provides. With VPS hosting, your site still shares server space, but with far fewer other sites gobbling up resources. VPS hosting costs more money than shared hosting, but it’s worth the investment if you expect lots of traffic. VPS sites also tend to be more secure because some of their resources are isolated by virtualization.
If you’re looking for VPS hosting, Hostwinds has you covered, with four tiers each of fully-managed Linux- and Windows-based plans. The lowest tier of managed Linux VPS hosting (starting at $10.99 per month) offers 1GB of RAM, one CPU core, 30GB of SSD disk space, and 1TB of monthly data transfers, while the upper-end (starting at $50.99 per month) gives users access to two CPU cores, 6GB of RAM, 100GB of SSD disk space, and 2TB of monthly data transfers. Windows VPS hosting has the same range in terms of hardware capability, but with increased pricing (from $16.99 per month, up to $56.99 per month).
There’s also a number of unmanaged hosting plans with both Linux and Windows options. For example, the lowest tier of unmanaged Linux VPS starts at just $4.99 per month (for 1GB of RAM, 30GB of disk space, 1TB monthly data transfers, and unlimited email), while the tenth tier scales up to $328.99 per month (for 16 CPU cores, 96GB of RAM, 750GB of disk space, 9TB monthly data transfers, and unlimited email). The unmanaged Windows VPS plans start at $10.99 per month (for 1GB of RAM, 30GB of disk space, 1TB monthly data transfers, and unlimited email) and maxes out at a whopping $376.99 per month (16 CPU cores, 96GB of RAM, 750GB of disk space, 9TB monthly data transfers, and unlimited email). In short, Hostwinds has flexible, powerful VPS plans that outshine those of most of its rivals. As a result, Hostwinds is the PCMag Editors’ Choice for virtual private server web hosting.
Hostwinds gives you a choice of customizable or prefab Linux- or Windows-based dedicated servers. Dedicated hosting is powerful hosting that places your website on a server all by itself. As a result, your site has tremendous server resources to draw from so that it can withstand high traffic volumes.
Both prefab and customizable server prices start at $75 per month, but either kind of server can cost much more, depending on how you configure them. You can outfit the configurable servers with up to 3TB of hard drive storage or 1TB of SSD storage (per drive bay, with a maximum of four drives depending on your server option), 96GB of RAM, and unlimited in-bound monthly data transfers. Outbound data transfers start at 10TB, with an additional scaling cost of up to $750 for unmetered outbound traffic. If you max out everything, you could easily spend nearly $1,500 per month. Hostwinds’ dedicated server offerings are quite good.
Hostwinds’ dedicated packages fall a hair behind what AccuWeb offers, however. Regardless of the plan you start with, you can outfit AccuWeb’s dedicated servers with up to 512GB of memory, 8TB of storage, and 50TB of monthly data transfers. As a result, AccuWeb Hosting’s dedicated hosting plans surpass Hostwinds, the former category champ. AccuWeb now reigns as the Editors’ Choice for dedicated hosting.
If you fancy using the WordPress content management system to build your website, you’ll be happy to learn that you can install it on regular Hostwinds servers, as well as the company’s WordPress optimized servers. Hostwinds’ WordPress plans start at $8.99 per month for one hosted domain and unlimited storage and monthly data transfers (its top-tier, $12.99-per-month Ultimate plan adds unlimited domains). That said, for WordPress hosting with extra punch, we suggest checking out A2, the category’s Editors’ Choice.
The Linux-based A2 offers four excellent WordPress hosting tiers, starting at $2.99 per month, and offers unlimited storage and monthly data transfers from the $4.99 per month tier on up. The plans top out with the $43.99 per month Managed package that includes unlimited databases and websites. You also get a free SSL certificate across the board, too. For more on the fantastically popular content management system, you should read How to Get Started With WordPress.
Hostwinds also offers cloud hosting, a version of web hosting that spreads CPU, RAM, and other resources across multiple servers. It’s quite unlike traditional hosting, which draws power from a single server. The advantage is that your site isn’t tied to a single server’s resources.
Hostwinds’ cloud hosting packages start at $4.99 per month for a skimpy 1GB of RAM, a single CPU core, and 1TB of monthly data transfers. The plans top out at a hefty $328.99 per month for 96GB of RAM, sixteen CPU cores, 750GB of storage, and 9TB of monthly data transfers.
These are solid options, but DreamHost and 1&1 Ionos remain the category’s co-Editors’ Choice picks. DreamHost, which caters more toward small businesses, has packages start at $4.50 per month (for 512MB of RAM, 100GB of storage, and unlimited monthly data transfers) and top out at $48 per month (for four CPU cores, 8GB of RAM, 80GB of SSD storage, and unlimited monthly data transfers). 1&1 Ionos, on the other hand, has incredibly powerful cloud hosting packages that favor enterprise-level clients. Please read that review for 1&1 Ionos’ many cloud hosting options.
If you’re looking to get into the web hosting business for yourself, but you don’t want to deal with managing servers and other infrastructure matters, check out Hostwinds’ excellent reseller hosting packages. With reseller hosting, you rent server space from an established player and resell it to your own customers.
Hostwind’s reseller plans mirror its shared hosting plans, starting at $8.99 per month for unlimited email, storage, and data transfers. On offer are dedicated and VPS packages of both the Linux and Windows variety, as well as shared hosting, which is limited to Linux. The servers have the same RAM and storage amounts as those that Hostwinds supplies directly, which is not always the case. Hostwinds also lets you apply your own branding to the servers you rent, and it supplies 24/7 tech support, too.
Rivals web hosts, such as A2, GoDaddy, and HostGator, provide quality reseller offerings, too, but Hostwinds goes the extra mile with stacked specs in a variety of server categories. As a result, Hostwinds is the Editors’ Choice for reseller hosting.
Building a Hostwinds Website
The website builder that’s included with Hostwinds’ hosting packages is Weebly. The website builder comes care of e-commerce platform Square, and offers way to quickly create a website, blog, or online store. There are are hundreds of themes and styles to choose from for your planned site. Weebly’s builder gives users drag and drop site elements, including text, images, dividers, videos, maps, and more. Weebly also optimizes you site for desktop and mobile configurations, making it easy to design a site that anyone can browse.
E-Commerce and Security
Hostwinds’ Softaculous library contains the Magento ecommerce app. We used Magento to create an attractive store, using its drag-and-drop store builder. Please read our Magento review for an in-depth look at this open-source shopping cart.
Hostwinds offers Website Monitoring for its shared and reseller plans, monitoring your site around the clock. It automatically submits a help ticket on your behalf if your site experiences downtime. You can also add the $5.00 per year ID Protection, which masks your name and address in the Whois registry.
Website uptime is an extremely important part of the web hosting experience. If your site is down, clients or customers will be unable to find you or access your products or services—and they might not come back. Fortunately, Hostwinds is extremely dependable.
For this testing, we use a website monitoring tool to track our test sites’ uptimes. Every 15 minutes, the tool pings our website and sends us an email if it is unable to contact the site for longer than one minute. In our latest tests, Hostwinds went down zero times during the 14-day test period. It proved far more dependable than TMDHosting’s unreliable web hosting service.
Good Customer Service, Short Refund Window
Hostwinds offers 24/7 phone, web chat, and ticket-based customer support. We tested the chat support on a weekday evening, and we never had to wait more than a minute before a Hostwinds representative responded to my queries. The person on the other side of the chat window accurately explained the differences between shared and VPS hosting to me.
We also called customer support during a weeknight to learn about Hostwinds’ Minecraft hosting. The friendly representative gave us the details in a way that was easy to understand. Overall, we enjoyed the Hostwinds’ customer support experience.
Hostwinds used to have an impressive 60-day, money-back guarantee—not anymore. Instead, the company offers refunds requested within 72 hours of an order purchase. That’s falls short of most companies’ 30-day, money-back guarantees. That short window doesn’t give you much time to decide if you want to stick with the company. In addition, the cancel button isn’t easy to find. If you decide to quit Hostwinds, you must dig through the account management section.
The Way the Winds Blow
Despite its short refund window, Hostwinds remains one of the best web hosting services. It boasts satisfying customer service, reliable uptime, and attractively priced hosting tiers that appeal to a wide range of people and companies. More importantly, Hostwinds stands tall as the Editors’ Choice pick in the reseller and VPS subcategories. If you want dependable, across-the-board Windows hosting (something that Hostwinds lacks), the excellent AccuWeb will serve you well.