HostMonster has been around since 1996 and is very proud of their redundant systems and customer support programs. They are also proud to be 100% American and claim to “never outsource” which certainly means more to webmasters located in the United States than elsewhere but could be a strong selling point these days. The redundant systems allow them to guarantee maximum uptime, which translates to uptime in the 99% range, and means your site should basically never be down due to server issues, traffic spikes, or the like. They also list “solid and honest business practices” as selling points – as well they should be.
In addition to a plethora of contact numbers for every department customers should ever need, HostMonster’s customer support also provides a helpdesk (e-mail ticket submissions), video tutorials, text FAQs, user-powered message forum, and live chat. Like a few other hosts, they also offer postal mail customer support although one has to wonder why anyone would ever need it. The Getting Started Wizard is essential for newbie webmasters.
As for features, HostMonster is pretty standard when compared to other providers. They have unlimited disk space, domains, bandwidth, site transfer, POP3 and IMAP e-mail mailboxes, forwarding e-mail accounts, add-on domains, parked domains, subdomains, and FTP access. That sounds nice but the truth is that few will ever need unlimited reserves of any of these things. Still, some web hosts will suspend websites if they exceed these limits and this practice can lead to all sorts of problems for businesses.
They also support MySQL and Postgre SQL databases, CGI-BIN and library, Frontpage extensions, SSH, customizable error pages and cronjobs, and more. e-Mail comes with three webmail clients and spam assassin protection. Again, all of these features are pretty standard but be sure to read the list carefully as some features are repeated under different names – for example, they list “three webmail clients” as well as “webmail access.” Despite that gaffe, HostMonster has most of the same features as competing providers.
Add-ons and scripts include forums/message boards, photo galleries, mailing lists, poll and survey software, social networking, blogging platforms, and multimedia in all forms. Programming languages supported include some of the more popular ones but not all of them. Content Management Systems like Joomla are also available. Almost all of these are one click installations, though you should be aware that customer support does not necessarily support third-party software. With all of the helpdesk options though, that should not be a problem.
HostMonster boasts of superior technology, which includes quad processor servers, a customized Apache web server running under Linux which is monitored 24/7 for maximum uptime, an OC-48 backbone connection, and UPS back-up generator. They provide courtesy site backups, though it does not say if they are recurring or have to be performed manually.
For everything they offer however, HostMonster drops the ball when it comes to promotion and marketing. According to their site, they offer only search engine submission and $100 in Google AdWords credits – which is not very much, at all. Still, all told, HostMonster is a suitable host for both businesses and individuals and quite affordable at its current $4.95US price. That cost may go up after the first term though, as the regular rate is just under $7.00 per month. While still a decent deal at that elevated price, there are less expensive hosts with the same features and a few with even more.