Whether it’s for personal use, a new eCommerce site, or implementing enterprise solutions that provide worldwide access for customers and your mobile workforce, there are options available without the expense of building a technology infrastructure from scratch.
Web hosting may be the answer you’re looking for.
What Is Web Hosting?
Anytime you log into your computer and start up a web browser, you’re accessing a vast array of servers interconnected to each other via the internet, often with no concern to where the servers physically reside, or who owns and operates the technology you’re using.
Each of those servers requires a blend of hardware, operating systems, and sophisticated database and application software to manage the applications they present to users. Along with the hardware and network connectivity required, keeping these devices running at peak performance and maintaining a high level of availability is dependent on a highly skilled team of technicians.
These professionals must be capable of monitoring systems, performing updates to operating systems, database software, and applications. Knowledge of configuring and upgrading critical networking components is also an important aspect of maintaining system performance and availability.
Sound complicated and expensive? It often is.
That’s where web hosting services can offer a faster return on your investment for individuals, small businesses, and global enterprises.
Web hosting services provide the technical infrastructure, operating systems, and often access to database software and applications for clients, with a guarantee of performance and availability levels for most services. Many web hosting services also provide tools for building and monitoring websites for customers needing those functions.
HostMonster is a web hosting provider that offers a complete range of these services.
Who (or What) is HostMonster?
Established in 1996, HostMonster (HM) has provided web hosting solutions for businesses and individuals including a base of thousands of customers.
HM prides itself in its record of high-performing, high-availability websites through their focus on quality and redundant systems that ensure optimum levels of uptime at a fraction of the cost of building your own technical architecture.
HostMonster’s success comes from their years of experience that allow them to offer a wide variety of services for every need, with a foundation based on:
- Honesty and integrity in dealing with customers
- Maximum uptime guarantee
- Quality equipment infrastructure
- Sophisticated and functional administrative tools
- Attention to customer service and total satisfaction
- Reliable and secure backups
HostMonster offers a variety of services, plans, and pricing to correspond to the varying needs of individuals, small businesses, and large companies.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) – VPS services offer customers most of the benefits of an exclusive server while sharing physical infrastructure. Virtual technology allows sharing server resources while providing all the security and functionality of private servers.
Some of the advantages of VPS plans and technology:
- Reduced cost of infrastructure
- Lower hosting cost results in lower cost to customers
- Instant provisioning – resources such as memory, processors, and storage can be dynamically assigned as needed
- Managed services – resources and activity can be monitored and controlled across multiple environments, permitting proactive assignment of resources and reliable performance
- Cloud based architecture that supports continuous upgrades
- Customers buy what they need, with a flexible growth path
Dedicated Server – for customers seeking the extra security and control provided by dedicated servers for their mission-critical applications and data, HostMonster provides dedicated server technology in their secure data centers.
This dedicated environment provides physically segregated servers that give businesses complete control over the resources available, while also permitting adding resources easily when needed. Advantages of dedicated services include:
- Single-tenant, secure environment physically segregated from impact of other server activity
- Cloud flexibility for easy upgrades on demand
- Performance – pick the level of performance tailored to your needs
How HostMonster Stands Up to the Competition
Making a quick search on the internet for web hosting services will reveal a plethora of options available to customers.
These range from “free” hosting services for individual websites that include limited storage resources and often minimal support contacts, to global corporations offering:
- 24×7 support
- Monitoring services
- eCommerce functionality
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools for monitoring web site activity
- Web site development tools, including multiple programming languages and databases
- Unlimited storage capacity
- High bandwidth availability
- Integrated security
- Redundant systems and data backups
HostMonster’s array of tools and functions ranks at the high end of web hosting providers, with optimum service levels and a sophisticated technical infrastructure that illustrates their years of experience in the business of web hosting:
- UPS backup power systems
- Backup power with diesel generators
- High-performance dual quad processor servers
- Variety of operating systems including Windows, Linux, and Apache web servers
- 24×7 network monitoring
HostMonster customers leverage these hosted solutions as a strategic business advantage.
As your needs change, HostMonster provisions additional resources quickly and efficiently, in a matter of minutes or even seconds, as opposed to costly internal upgrades as your web service requirements grow.
HostMonster has its own unique approach to web hosting, offering a variety of technology and application features, depending on each customer’s requirements.
Features available, based on the requirements of each individual or business customer include:
- Site building tools
- Unlimited disk storage
- Secure email support, mailing lists, email forwarding, and webmail solutions
- Spam Assassin protection
- Site statistics
- Access to over 100 open source applications
- Install WordPress with a single click
- Multimedia features include streaming audio/video support and more
- Database support includes MySQL and PostgreSQL databases
- Free website scripts are available for social networks, blog support, mailing lists, help center/support tickets, project management, and much more
The list of available features is considerable – this is only a partial list of what you can choose from, including ready-made eCommerce functionality:
- SSL Secure servers
- Shopping cart services including OS Commerce, Agora, Cube Cart, and Zen Cart
- Open PGP/GPG Encryption
Pricing and Promotions
HostMonster offers services on several tiers to meet the needs of each client:
- Standard – based on dual core processor, 2 GB RAM, 30 GB, 1 TB/month, and 1 IP
- Enhanced – dual core processor, 4 GB RAM, 60 GB, 2 TB/month, 2 IPs
- Premium – triple core processor, 6 GB RAM, 90 GB, 2 TB/month, 2 IPs
- Ultimate – quad core processor, 8 GB RAM, 120 GB, 3 TB/month, 2 IPs
Each plan includes a free domain name and access to powerful CentOS 6.5 software.
Pricing for VPS service begins an affordable $29.99/month for Standard service, moving up to $119.99/month for Ultimate.
First-period promotional pricing reduces Standard service to $19.99/month, with Ultimate offered at $59.99/month.
Like VPS offerings, there are multiple HostMonster tiers for dedicated services:
- Standard – 4 cores, 8 threads Intel Xeon processor, 3 MB cache, 4GB RAM, 500 GB, 5 TB/month, 3 IPs
- Enhanced – 4 cores, 8 threads Intel Xeon processor, 8 MB cache, 8 GB RAM, 1000 GB, 10 TB/month, 4 IPs
- Premium – 4 cores, 8 threads Intel Xeon processor, 8 MB cache, 16 GB RAM, 1000 GB, 15 TB/month, 5 IPs
Each plan includes Raid 1 storage protection, free domain name, and CentOS software.
Pricing for dedicated services starts at $109.99/month for Standard service, moving up to $209.99/month for Premium.
Dedicated services also offer first-period promotional pricing that reduces Standard service to $79.99/month, with Premium starting at $119.99/month.
What HostMonster Customers Say
Checking for customer opinions is a good barometer for what you can typically expect from service (it’s often beneficial to dismiss the glowing reviews and those users that seem to carry a grudge – look for what the average customer experience has been).
As with any technology, there will be times (other than an initial startup) that you will need support for your applications, encounter performance issues, or simply have “how-to” questions. HostMonster offers multiple options for support, including email, phone, and live chat.
Support is a critical consideration in selecting your web hosting provider, so it pays to test the waters through checking customer comments.
Reviewing multiple resources for HostMonster customer reviews/comments, most are generally satisfied with the support they’ve received, although some are less than totally impressed.
Customers provide high scores for security provided by HostMonster, through their practice of regular site backups, Spam Assassin protection, SSL support, and Hotlink protection.
Your website isn’t going to do you much good if you or your customers can’t get to it. Uptime is a statistic held dear by any hosting service. HostMonster customers report a high level of availability, at approximately the industry standard of 99.97%.
Page loading and response is critical to holding visitors’ interest and even to convert visitors into customers or bring them back in the future. Individual customers seem to have a less than stellar opinion of HostMonster’s speed, although some state that there has been improvement in recent months.
Ease of Use
When HostMonster says that you can have a web server up in seconds, they apparently mean business. Customers testify to startup experiences in mere minutes.
Instant provisioning is also more than a selling point, with customers quite satisfied with how quickly their changing needs or demands can be addressed and implemented by HostMonster engineers.
What We Think
HostMonster has been in business for many years, and their capabilities and range of offerings illustrate that they’ve learned plenty along the way.
With their multiple offerings, tiered pricing, and available features and options, they present an attractive solution for web hosting for both individuals and businesses of all sizes.
Their availability of multiple tools and a focus on support make starting up a web presence for eCommerce or small business operations more approachable, without a considerable investment in software or technical infrastructure.
Web Hosting has taken the technology world by storm in recent years, and as such, there are literally hundreds of companies in the business. HostMonster was an early participant in the marketplace, gaining experience and expanding its offerings along the way.
If you’re considering contracting with a web hosting service, let your business needs help drive your decision, including the prospective service’s focus (eCommerce, social media, etc). Some services market more toward individuals and small businesses, while others invest in colocated data centers and redundant technology marketed toward large enterprises.
Examples of other web hosting services worth considering:
It always pays to shop around for the option that’s best for you, including optional services provided, total cost, vendor reputation, and customer reviews.
Is Web Hosting Right for You?
Making the move to a hosted web solution should be based on a variety of considerations:
- Cost – implementing a hosted web presence is typically at a much lower cost over building the infrastructure internally or hosting your own personal web service. Additionally, some businesses can take advantage of counting the hosting bill as an operating expense, over capitalizing costly IT equipment.
- Speed – most hosting services emphasize how quickly customers can have a web site and service up and running, generating revenue or access to business applications in days, hours, or even minutes.
- Resources – utilize the technical expertise of the provider’s staff. Save the recruiting efforts and on-going expense of retaining and training internal personnel.
- Flexibility – multiple plans offered by web hosting services such as HostMonster allow businesses to start at one level, and expand their use of services easily without costly hardware or software upgrades.
- Internal Capabilities – not all individuals or companies are equipped to manage servers, security, and operating systems, and you may have already made a conscious decision that you don’t want to make such an investment. Web hosting is custom made for such customers, leveraging the experience, technical resources, and tools available through web hosting services.
Many services – including HostMonster – offer online demos of their web services and trial periods at little or no cost for prospective customers.
Consider your plans for use of the service over the long haul, to avoid any surprises such as additional fees for services, payment options, or lack of acceptable performance or support.
Also, be certain to include service level agreements (SLAs) in writing if making a critical business decision or signing on for long-term hosting contracts.