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I was expecting great things from Hosting Ireland, especially because all its hosting is advertised as cloud-based – and in some areas it didn’t disappoint. Performance was good and it’s reliable. On the other hand, I was quite disappointed with its support, and there are some key features you’ll have to pay extra for.
Some Great Features – But Support Could Let You Down
Hosting Ireland has been one of the country’s most popular web hosting providers for some time now, but there are some things you need to know before you sign up for a plan. During my time testing the service, I found some issues that are hard to overlook. One thing I really don’t like is how you have to pay extra for features I consider to be essential.
Hosting Ireland has one data centre, located in Dublin, so if your website visitors are exclusively located in Ireland they should experience faster page loading speeds.
There are several different types of hosting available, including shared hosting, WordPress hosting, and Cloud VPS hosting. There are storage and bandwidth restrictions on most plans, however, which is something you need to consider.
For this review, I signed up for the basic shared hosting plan (the most budget-friendly) and spent three months testing Hosting Ireland’s performance using a range of different tools. I also interacted with customer support with three different queries to give you a clear idea of what to expect.
While there are some things I like about Hosting Ireland, it’s always a good idea to check out Hostinger’s latest deals before you make any final decisions.
Cloud-Based Hosting – But Some Essentials Will Cost Extra
One thing to note about Hosting Ireland is that its lower-priced plans in each category (shared, WordPress, and CloudVPS) are quite limited in storage (although I’ve seen worse).
With shared hosting and WordPress hosting entry-level plans, you get 10GB of SSD storage and 200GB of bandwidth (per month). You can host up to 10 websites on a single plan. This sounds good, and it might be enough for simple websites or landing pages, but if you intend to host larger websites, you may need to upgrade to a more expensive plan.
With all hosting plans you get essentials like email accounts (from 50 on the entry-level CloudLite+ plan), cPanel, MySQL databases, and Softaculous for easily installing apps like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.
What bothers me, however, are the things you don’t get with the hosting plans. Domain names are not included, so you will need to purchase one or use one that you already own. Nor are automatic backups included. You can create backups manually in cPanel, but you’ll have to pay extra for automatic offsite backups.
What’s more, Hosting Ireland’s plans don’t include an SSL certificate, and there is no support for free SSL certificates from Let’s Encrypt or Comodo. I can live with paying extra for a domain name and backups, but free SSL certificates are the least you can expect from a website host.They protect your visitors’ data and prevent the ominous “not secure” browser message that deters visitors.
You will need to pay the extra cost of one SSL certificate per domain (there’s no wildcard SSL available), and while this costs less than with some hosts, it’s still something you shouldn’t have to pay for.
This is one feature I was pleased to see as standard with all plans. Surprisingly, not all hosts offer this (or they expect you to pay extra for it), but with Hosting Ireland your website will be regularly scanned for any signs of malicious activity or malware. The scan runs in the background automatically without you having to worry about it.
Automated Security Patching
Another feature I like that comes with all hosting plans is automatic security patching. Hosting Ireland puts effort into ensuring that its servers are as secure as possible and deploys security patches as soon as they are available. This isn’t quite as good as SiteGround, which develops its own security patches, but, along with 24/7 human monitoring of all servers, this feature can give you peace of mind.
Before I tell you why I like Hosting Ireland’s WordPress optimization, note that this is only available on WordPress hosting plans, which cost more than shared hosting plans.
For the additional cost, you benefit from heightened security, servers that only host WordPress websites, and the use of highly redundant systems. High redundancy servers means that if one server experiences problems, another server takes over so your website is still available.
Is the upgrade worth it? As you’ll see in the performance section below, my test website performed quite well without the WordPress-optimized servers. However, due to WordPress security vulnerabilities, you do benefit from the enhanced security that comes with the optimized servers, as well as near-perfect reliability.
LiteSpeed caching, which boosts your page loading speed, is only available on WordPress hosting plans. It stores static content (like images and pages that are not updated frequently) on servers, so it loads faster for your visitors. LiteSpeed also includes a WordPress plugin that allows you to determine which content should be cached.See full list of features
Ease of use
Straightforward Setup in Minutes
After choosing your plan, you can easily create an account with Hosting Ireland in less than 15 minutes. And unlike with some hosts, you don’t have to uncheck preselected add-ons at the checkout.
Managing Your Account and Using cPanel
Hosting Ireland has an account dashboard for managing renewals, billing, support tickets, domain names, and more. It’s the same dashboard many web hosting companies use, and it’s incredibly beginner-friendly. You won’t find yourself searching through dropdown menus to find what you’re looking for.
You use cPanel to manage your webspace. If you’re unfamiliar with it, I have one piece of advice: don’t be overwhelmed by the sheer number of icons. There are a lot of tools in cPanel that I’ve never used in 10 years of building websites! If you want to use WordPress, just look for the WordPress logo to access the 1-click installer.
Connecting a Domain and Installing WordPress
If you buy your domain through Hosting Ireland, it will be connected to your webspace. Just log into cPanel using the link in your account dashboard, click on the WordPress icon to access the installer, and click the Install Now button on the WordPress page.
You’ll need to choose your login details and provide the title of your website. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes for installation to complete.See if Hosting Ireland is Right for You
Above-Average Page Loading Speeds and Decent Uptime
When a host advertises cloud hosting, it’s often unclear whether it’s genuine cloud hosting or if they’re using an operating system called CloudLinux. Unfortunately, hosting companies often use the term “cloud hosting” to describe CloudLinux. Technically speaking, this isn’t cloud hosting at all.
I’m cautious whenever low-cost cloud hosting is mentioned, because I’ve been disappointed with performance that barely differs from regular shared hosting. Hosting Ireland doesn’t say whether it uses genuine cloud hosting or CloudLinux. However, I was pleased to discover that the page loading speeds on the CloudLite+ plan are great.
When I tested Hosting Ireland, the average page loading time was a blazing-fast 0.7 seconds (the best out of all the Irish hosts I’ve tested) and it also scored highly for reliability, with an average uptime over several months of 99.988%. That’s around five minutes of downtime per month.
To test how Hosting Ireland performs with a real website, I installed WordPress on the Economy plan (now called ‘Standard’) and uploaded a customized SimpleShift one-page website theme. You’ll find that many review sites test performance on a basic WordPress installation with no content, but that doesn’t give you accurate performance results. I’m sure you don’t care about the performance of an empty website.
For accurate and realistic results, I used a theme with text and non-optimized HD images, so it looks and behaves like a typical landing page website. Why non-optimized images? Well, that’s so I can ask support for help with optimization and see what they advise. If you want the full details of how we test web hosts at Website Planet, read this article.
The website was online for around three months and was available at autonomous-shoes-ireland-d.com.
GTmetrixGTmetrix is my favourite performance testing tool, because it gives you more than just the page loading speeds. You also get information about how well optimized your website is with Performance Scores from PageSpeed (Google’s tool) and YSlow.
As you can see in the screenshot below, Hosting Ireland’s fully loaded time in this instance was 0.9s. This was the longest time out of all the tests I ran. I always run multiple tests, at different times of day and on different days of the week, to see how consistent hosts are and whether you’re likely to see a slow-down of your website during peak periods.
Hosting Ireland was fairly consistent, with page loading speeds ranging from 0.5 seconds to 0.9 seconds. Google recommends a maximum page loading speed of three seconds. Hosting Ireland’s performance is between three and six times better!
The optimization scores aren’t great, but I was deliberately using non-optimized images so I could test Hosting Ireland’s support. (As you’ll see in the Support section below, Hosting Ireland gave me no help with optimizing my images.)
The average PageSpeed score is around 76%. Although my test website fell below that average, with the help of a caching plugin and an image-optimizer plugin, it wouldn’t be too hard to achieve a PageSpeed score above 80%.
Sucuri Load Time Tester
I use Sucuri Load Time Tester to see how a test website performs from different locations in the world – rather than just testing from locations (relatively) close to the host’s servers. It’s important to note that often a hosts’ security can affect results from Sucuri, either by blocking the Sucuri test servers from accessing the website or by slowing down the connection.
I want to focus on the First Byte column in the screenshot above, which shows the time it takes the browser to receive the first byte of data from the host server. Here, the First Byte was received in 0.098 seconds from London. However, speeds from further afield drop away to over 0.5 seconds for First Byte. Hosting Ireland is best suited if your website visitors are located in Ireland or the UK.
UptimeRobotMy final test is to see how reliable a host is over a period of time, and I measure this using the monitoring tool UptimeRobot. As you can see in the screenshot below, not only did Hosting Ireland achieve a close-to-perfect score of 99.988%, but it had periods of at least 30 days without any downtime at all. The minimum uptime acceptable for any host is 99.9%, or below 43 minutes of downtime across a monthly period. Hosting Ireland is more than capable of achieving this.
I really wasn’t impressed with Hosting Ireland’s idea of support. There’s no 24/7 support of any kind and live chat isn’t an option. I found that response times weren’t particularly fast (although not quite as bad as some hosts I’ve tested).
You can contact support via email and phone from Monday to Thursday between 8:30am and 9pm and Friday between 8:30am and 8:30pm. If you need support during weekends, only email (ticket) support is available. To avoid having to wait possibly over 12 hours for a response, I’d recommend always selecting “High” in the priority box.
The actual quality of support is another issue I had with Hosting Ireland. As you see below, the agents did not seem particularly keen to help me with WordPress installation and installing a theme. I’ve had much better results from other hosts, who have given me detailed instructions.
My experience wasn’t any better when I enquired about optimizing my website. I do this with every host I test, and this was literally the first time I’ve experienced upselling in a support ticket for WordPress optimization.
You can see for yourself in the screenshot below. Other hosts I’ve asked this question have usually given me advice about optimization plugins that can be used within WordPress. This is the kind of advice that I was looking for – help with the product I had purchased, rather than being told I needed to upgrade.
Affordable Starter Plans – But Watch Out for the Added Costs
Hosting Ireland’s web hosting plans start at very budget-friendly prices and you can save even more by choosing to pay annually instead of monthly. If you choose monthly, watch out for the setup fee, which is equivalent to the cost of one month’s hosting.
Hosting Ireland advertises its annual plans as being the equivalent of getting two months free, but once you subtract the setup fee, you’re saving the cost of three months’ hosting by paying for a year upfront.
Although it’s possible to save money by changing the billing cycle, there are still added costs for essentials like a domain name and an SSL certificate, as well as valuable extras like offsite backups. Remember that VAT will also be added to your purchase at checkout.
You can choose to pay by credit or debit card (all major cards accepted) or PayPal. Whichever payment method you choose, recurring billing will be set up for automatic renewals of your service(s) and domain name(s). You can turn this off in your account dashboard.
Hosting Ireland doesn’t advertise a money-back guarantee with its hosting plans, but if you look in the terms and conditions section of its website, you find a 30-day money-back guarantee (for shared hosting only). The company might not want you to know about this, but if you change your mind in the first month of your hosting plan, you can request a refund for hosting costs.
Cancelling Your Account
It’s quite simple to cancel your account with Hosting Ireland, thanks to the cancellation button on the product page for your services and domains. When you request to cancel your account, you can choose to cancel immediately or at the end of the current billing cycle. Don’t forget to also cancel domain name auto-renewals.
I'm a designer I have used this company for myself and my customers for years.I have found them extremely helpful. My customers have also found then supportive and helpful when asking questions outside their own knowledge. I'll continue to recommend them.
They took money out of my account for services I did not authorize. They've put a disclaimer in their own terms and conditions that they can rob you so you've no way to getting your money back. During this lockdown when small businesses are suffering, this company will most definitely put you over the edge.
Hi Maria, We're very sorry to hear that you didn't have a great experience with Hosting Ireland. I can see from our records that our Support Team reached out to you and issued a full refund. We take customer satisfaction very seriously and we're committed to supporting our clients through these difficult times. Regards, Philip Hosting Ireland Support
I have mixed feelings about Hosting Ireland. Performance is really great (and would be even better on the WordPress-optimized plans), and it has most of the features I look for in a decent web host. However, my experience with support makes it hard to recommend if you’re likely to need even a little help with your hosting. Then there’s the limited amount of storage and the added cost of your SSL certificate.
My advice? If you’re tech savvy or experienced with web hosting, Hosting Ireland’s performance does outweigh the downside of paying extra for your SSL and backups. It’s the best Irish host for speed among those I’ve tested, and reliability is also great. But if you’re just starting out, or you need a host that can reach excellent loading times all over the world, I recommend you take a look at Hostinger’s shared hosting plans. This global host is not only cheap, but also provides the best performance out of all the shared hosting services we’ve tested.
There is a wide range of hosting services available, from budget-friendly shared hosting to fancy dedicated servers. The best hosting for your website will depend on your specific needs. If shared hosting isn’t enough for you, there are several cheap and reliable VPS hosting services available.
How do I choose a hosting plan?
Try to estimate the size of your website, and how many visitors you think you’ll be getting each month. Since most web hosting providers will let you easily scale up your plan, it’s always the most cost-effective to start small and upgrade later.
Ari is passionate about web hosting and design and has been building websites with WordPress for over ten years. When he’s not testing web hosts, you’re likely to find him trying (in vain) to train his three beagles (who are better at training him than he is them!)