JustHost is yet another massive web host company looking to lure you away from your current hosting environment. Is it worth it? Are their deals and specials a great value?
Unfortunately, JustHost promises a lot, but in the end, they do not fully deliver.
The end result is that from 2013 to 2017, providers approximately half of their hosted domain names.
At the beginning of 2013, JustHost had almost a half a million domain names, by the end of 2017, that number was hovering around 240,000.
What Is Just Host and How Does It Work?
JustHost was a latecomer to web hosting business, as it was launched in 2008 by UK techpreneur Chris Phillips. JustHost is now a part of the Endurance International Group (EIG), which is basically the Microsoft or Google of web hosting. They eat up smaller web hosting companies and then continue to market them as standalone brands.
EIG also owns BigRock, HostGator, SiteBuilder.com, Domain.com, and Bluehost, among others.
Like most modern web hosting companies, JustHost offers a variety of plans and packages, starting from their rock bottom Basic shared hosting plan as well as VPS and reseller plans.
A VPS is a Virtual Private Server that gives you the illusion of having your own server, but it is hosted on a computer with other VPS accounts. Your account is separated from the others and you may get the equivalent of “root” access for your section of the server.
JustHost is mainly targeting the large shared hosting market with seemingly rock bottom prices and a lot of bells and whistles added on. They promise a lot of space and bandwidth for very little money.
Like many web hosting companies today, they offer 1-click installs of popular content management systems such as WordPress.
What Makes Just Host Unique
Honestly? Nothing really makes JustHost unique. JustHost is yet another run of the mill web hosting company promising the sun, the moon, and the stars for the lowest prices they can manage.
Like many other web hosting companies in their general competitive space, Just Host lures people in with cheap pricing and ends up with a lot of dissatisfied customers. Probably for some users who have a website they run as a hobby, Just Host is sufficient and does the job. However, based on user reviews, JustHost has terrible support and it can be very, very, very slow.
Just don’t expect a lot from Just Host, and you might find it is a cheap option for your personal web hosting needs. It is probably not the best web hosting service for a business, however.
JustHost promotes itself as a great deal, but is that really true?
The reality: JustHost’s pricing structure is not as great as they initially advertise it to be. Their whole promotion of low monthly prices is not about a “monthly” price at all, but a discount that you get for purchasing many months (in reality: years) in advance.
They won’t actually let you know what the total payment is for their “terms” until you get to the checkout page. They list everything by “monthly” price, even though you can’t pay for the terms month to month.
The various pricing levels or “terms” by JustHost break down as follows:
1. Monthly Price
This is the actual price if you paid month to month. However, JustHost will do everything they can to use their shopping cart software to force you to buy for a longer “term.”
2. 12 Month Term
This is not where you agree to pay for 12 months, but where you pay in advance for 12 months. For example, the “Basic” package is listed as being $10.99/month for the 12 Month Term, but that means your actual upfront payment would be $131.88.
3. 24 Month Term
Notice they say 24 months and not two years? For the Basic package, this is listed as $9.99/month, which comes out to a pre-payment of $239.76.
4. 36 Month Term
This is a whopping three years of hosting you would be buying in advance. The rate is hardly better than the 24 Month Term at $9.49/month. The total you would pay upfront for a basic plan (with only one website) is $341.64.
Note that if you buy a discount package when you first sign up (at $3.95 per “month” for 36 months), once those months are up, you will automatically be charged $341.64.
Just Host’s Four Levels of Service
Just Host has four levels of service, Basic, Plus, Prime, and Pro.
Basic offers “standard” performance, one website, five email accounts. This level offers 50 GB of storage, not “unlimited” as advertised, with a file count is 50,000, though they have a footnote that they don’t typically enforce the limit until it gets to 200,000.
You don’t get any free advertising credits with this level, nor do you get any spam protection.
Plus offers unlimited storage in terms of gigabytes, with a file count limit of 50,000 (same note as above). You get 10 websites with this plan. You also get “SpamExperts” on one domain as well as 100 email accounts. The service performance level is still “standard.”
The Prime level is like Plus, only with unlimited websites and email addresses.
Pro adds on the “high performance” level and increases the file limit to 300,000. The spam service is available for two domains instead of one.
Just Host’s Expensive Add-Ons
While they may seem cheap at first, the additional services (many of which you will need) start to add up. They include:
- Additional Domain Names: $15.99 per year of registration
- Dedicated IP: $5.99 per month
- SSL Certificates: $49.99 per year
- SpamExperts Mail Filtering: $2.99 a month per domain name
- Privacy: $14.88 Domain Privacy per domain per year
- SiteLock: Starting at $23.88 per domain per year
- Site Backup and Restore Pro: $35.88 per year
- Expired Account Reactivations: $30.00
As you can see, $15.99 per year for each domain name is not cheap, and their cost for “privacy” for your domain names is very expensive at $14.88 per domain each year. SSL certificates are not included.
It is not clear whether their Site Backup and Restore Pro service is per website or for your entire account, so you should assume that it is per website. That means if you used their site backup and restore functionality for 10 websites, you are looking at more than $350 per year in additional costs.
Public Perception (Other Just Host Reviews)
Unfortunately, for the most part, Just Host gets terrible reviews from users.
The most common complaints are poor technical support, inability to get a hold of support by telephone, slow speed of the websites, and price increases after the initial term.
Some users have also complained that the version of cPanel is terrible and has fewer features than you might typically find with a cPanel installation.
It appears that Just Host’s quality of service started to decline in late 2016 or early 2017 based on the comments of some disgruntled customers. Just Host account holders who had been with the company for years have stated that the service started to decline in the past two years. Many of these users have expressed an intention to move to another web hosting service.
You can find some positive online reviews of JustHost, but you have to be careful. Some online articles that give JustHost a positive review are perhaps written by affiliates or resellers who will gain a commission by your Just Host purchase.
How It Compares
JustHost is clearly going for the lowest common denominator with their marketing. In other words, their main selling point is that they are supposedly “cheap” or a “great deal.”
If having a website is just a hobby for you, and you aren’t really planning on doing heavy promotion for it, then Just Host is just another cheap web hosting company that will probably be mostly sufficient for your needs.
If you are a developer and want a customized server with root control and the option of using something like Webmin instead of cPanel, you would be better off with a company like Digital Ocean.
Those companies who need a bit more support and guaranteed uptime with managed server would probably be better off going with Rackspace or LiquidWeb. While both of these companies have their issues, they perhaps have better infrastructure for more popular websites and online stores that need to be functional 24/7.
What We Think
Our rating for JustHost is a 2 out of 5 stars. It is veering on the edge of a one-star rating, because almost all user reviews are uniformly negative. However, if you are aware that their pricing will go up after your initial term, the extremely low price for the first three years might be worth it to you.
At best, Just Host is your average web hosting mill that really doesn’t have much special to offer. If you have a small website that doesn’t get a lot of traffic, and you aren’t relying on it for your business, then Just Host might be sufficient.
However, if you are planning on running an enterprise-level website, or have a well-trafficked blog or online store, Just Host is definitely the wrong choice. With so many complaints about their sub-par technical support, and no uptime guarantee, JustHost is probably the last place you want to host a highly trafficked website that needs to be up 24/7.
We also don’t like how JustHost purposefully obfuscates their pricing. As we mentioned above, you have to dig to find out exactly what the real monthly fees are for each pricing level. The default purchase option is the longest term, which is 36 months. This means you will be locked in for three whole years. Three years!
This type of purposeful confusion in order to make you buy a long-term package is par for the course these days with many cheap web hosting companies. Still, that doesn’t make it right.
Coupons and Deals
JustHost offers a number of incentives to encourage potential customers to sign up for their web hosting services. Most of these deals are featured prominently on the home page of their website.
1. Money-Back Guarantee
Just Host offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on their hosting plans, but this does not include any setup fees that you might have paid. If you registered a domain with JustHost, you cannot get a refund for that, but the domain name is yours to keep.
2. Special Introductory Offer
As of this writing, Just Host offers a deal of $3.95/month for their basic hosting package. The fine print says this is just for the first “term” only, however, the definition of “term” is not clear. Is this a one-month term? A 12-month term?
You only find out that the $3.95/month is for a pre-paid 36-month term when you get halfway through the sign-up process. This comes out to $142.20 that must be paid up front.
For comparison, their Basic hosting plan is $11.99/month and $10.99/month when you purchase a year in advance.
3. Free Advertising Credits
JustHost, like most other hosting companies these days, offers free advertising credits with Google AdWords and Bing Search. The problem is that, typically, these offers are only good for new accounts with Google and Bing. Likely, if you already have paid Google AdWords to advertise your business, you won’t get the benefit of JustHost’s advertising credit.
4. Free Domain Name
You get a free domain name when you set up your account. But, reading the fine print, it looks like you won’t be able to get a refund for that portion of your initial payment should you choose to leave the service in 30 days or less.