When I first heard about Hostinger’s cheap hosting plans, I thought the prices sounded too good to be true. When a service is that cheap, you usually can’t expect much. I decided to build an actual website and test Hostinger’s performance over a period of three months. I was quite surprised at what I found out.
An Amazing Bargain, or “You Get What You Pay For”?
There’s no doubt that when it comes to web hosting, Hostinger is simply the cheapest option available today, with prices starting at $0.99 per month. No other company manages to even come close. Most of them offer a basic plan for five times the price.
Thinking that it’s too good to be true? It isn’t. But let me let you in on a little secret right now. To get the best prices, you’ll have to commit to Hostinger for several years.
This would be a smart thing to do – if the service is actually great. Because your visitors couldn’t care less about how much you pay for hosting. They do care about fast loading speeds, and about actually being able to reach your site when they need to. They also want to know that their personal data is going to be secure and protected.
Can Hostinger offer that? I’ve got my opinions, but I didn’t want to base my review on my opinion alone. You see, as Website Planet is available in many different languages, it just so happens that we have web hosting experts scattered all over the world. This was my golden opportunity to perform a large-scale test, and I decided to do just that.
We had 30 experts sign up to Hostinger and launch a local version of our testing website in 30 different countries. They played around with every available feature, monitored loading speeds and performance, and even bombarded customer support with questions. They compared the results with other popular hosts, like SiteGround and InterServer.
This quick answer to all our questions is that Hostinger performed remarkably well. In some countries, like Russia, it came in at #4. In others, like Israel, Hostinger snatched the #1 place.
Read on for the long answer. I’ve detailed my full personal experience with Hostinger, and I’ll explain exactly how to make the most of what the company offers. To see how Hostinger compares to other services, check out our list of the top web hosts.
With prices being as low as they are, my anxious personality immediately identified two areas where Hostinger might be trying to pull one over on me: features and performance. Sure, I’d love to pay half of what the competitors charge, but I don’t want to get only half of what they provide.
Three shared hosting plans are available – Single, Premium, and Business. All three work on top of Hostinger’s very own control panel, hPanel, which includes easy auto installations of WordPress and dozens of other content management systems (CMS).
I signed up for the basic plan, which came with 10GB of disk space, 100GB of bandwidth, 1 email account, and support for a single website. It’s enough resources to build a very respectable website – think hundreds of pages and thousands of HD images. Definitely enough to showcase your writing, creativity, products, services, or whatever you’re planning on hosting.
The two advanced plans come with unlimited bandwidth, unlimited email accounts, and unlimited websites. Some extra perks that you won’t get with the Single plan include SSH access for you Linux-savvy developers, unlimited subdomains, and unlimited databases. Automatic daily backups are the one critical feature that the basic plan lacks, meaning you’ll have to perform backups manually or purchase the service as a separate add-on.
Hostinger does have a drag-and-drop website builder by the name of Zyro, but it isn’t available as part of the hosting plans.
Before we dig deeper into Hostinger’s best features, a word on the VPS and cloud plans. Hostinger is first and foremost a shared hosting provider. Don’t be that guy who goes to the best pizza joint in town and asks for pasta. There are hosts that specialize in VPS and cloud services – Liquid Web and Kinsta, for example – and while Hostinger’s offerings in the field aren’t the worst, there’s no reason to go for them.
hPanel Has All the Basic Features, but Lacks Some Advanced Ones
As I said before, Hostinger has developed its own proprietary control panel, meaning you won’t be getting to play with the beloved cPanel that you know and love. What’s that? You don’t develop emotional attachments to hosting control panels? Well, you’re the weird one.
Anyways, while cPanel used to be the standard control panel you’d get with most hosts (including Hostinger), things change. Due to some boring enterprise drama that happened a while ago, hosts have been switching panels left and right.
hPanel is Hostinger’s venture into the panel world, and you’ll find it equipped with all the goodies you need. From easy auto installations and DNS zones configurations to email accounts, a file manager, and MySQL databases, it’s all very similar to what cPanel offers.
But… some things are different. For example, auto installations in cPanel are done with Softaculous, which also lets you clone your site, set up a staging version, and even configure a backup schedule. hPanel’s Auto Installer does a great job at auto-installing WordPress, but lacks these useful extras.
Advanced email features, like mailing lists, filters, and routings, are also missing from hPanel. Did I ever actually use them myself when they were available to me? Honestly, never. I’m not sure who does. But that’s hPanel for you – it might not be capable of everything, but it’s definitely enough for most users.
Powerful Caching Thanks to the LiteSpeed Web Server
LiteSpeed isn’t the physical metal server, but the web server technology that Hostinger uses. It consistently ranks as one of the fastest and most reliable web servers, outperforming the older Apache technology that hosts like GoDaddy still use.
You won’t have to do anything to configure it. Just sit back and enjoy the top-notch performance it delivers, especially for WordPress websites.
What you can do, and most certainly should do, is activate LiteSpeed’s caching function, known as LSCache. Sounds too technical? Well, turning on the Automatic Cache option pretty much sums it up. Cached copies of your pages will be created, significantly cutting delivery times to visitors. Static pages, like business pages and portfolios, will benefit from this even more.
An SSL Certificate That You May or May Not Be Getting
You need an SSL certificate. No matter what you think, and no matter what anybody might’ve told you – you need an SSL. Why? Because without an SSL certificate to encrypt and secure your visitors’ data, the many evils lurking online will come for it. You’ll not only be risking your project and your visitors’ safety, but you’ll also take a hit on Google’s rankings.
Today, Hostinger provides an SSL with all of its plans. In the figurative yesterday, which in my case was just a couple of months ago, no certificate was provided. What’s going to happen tomorrow is anyone’s guess. Hostinger often plays around with its plan features, and I suggest that you triple-check and make sure that an SSL is indeed included with your plan. Know that if an SSL isn’t included, it’s possible to purchase one as a separate add-on. Still, that shouldn’t be the case.
Everything Is Well Designed, but You’ll Be Under Constant Attack From Upsell Pop-Ups
Putting it simply, Hostinger’s user experience experts have engineered a fantastic interface and user journey, from signup to using and managing your hosting. Thing is, Hostinger’s business strategy relies on constantly pushing you to upgrade and purchase extras. It’s annoying at best, and confusing at worst.
But still, the plans are clearly laid out, and all Hostinger asks for on signup is your name, an email address, and a password. Hurray for doing away with all the irrelevant information that other hosts are so keen on collecting.
Connecting a Domain and Installing WordPress
After purchasing my plan, it was time to connect a domain and install WordPress. I was presented with the option to automatically install WordPress as part of the signup process, but I chose to do it the regular way, using the control panel itself, to check how Hostinger’s tools compare to what other hosts provide.
Now, my domain was actually included for free when I purchased the Single plan, meaning it was already connected to the hosting. Today, for whatever reason, only the advanced plans come with a free domain.
If you end up getting your domain name from another provider, connecting it is easy. Nameserver information is readily available at the top of your hosting details page, and all you have to do is copy-paste them into your domain panel.
What about WordPress? I opened the Auto Installer tool, picked WordPress as my CMS of choice, and entered the basic website details. It was even simpler than how Softaculous does things, and my new website was up and running within one minute.
Managing Your Hosting with hPanel Is Easy
We’ve covered the process of getting your website online, but from this point on you’ll still use hPanel to make edits and changes to your hosting. Setting up an email account, running manual backups, managing the databases, and more, are all doable through hPanel.
How does it all compare to doing things with cPanel? Well, in my opinion, it’s downright easier. hPanel icons are bigger and better organized, the interface isn’t as cluttered with extra options that you’ll never use, and the integration with Hostinger’s other services (support, purchasing extras, viewing billing) is seamless.
So, can we call it a perfect ease-of-use experience? No, not really. The reason, as I said before, is that oftentimes your workflow will be hurt by upsell pop-ups. Think having to make a critical change to your DNS records, just to be greeted with this:
I didn’t “Raise the bar.” I didn’t actually do anything except log in. But Hostinger is keen on pushing plan upgrades, and you’ll have to always be prepared to shut down these attempts, of which there are many. Don’t think for a second that these pop-ups mean that you’ve somehow used up your resources and need to upgrade.
Hands Down, It’s the Fastest Shared Hosting Service We Tested
Speed and uptime, that’s what I’m looking for. Sadly, shared hosting services tend to falter in these areas, big time. The reason is that as the name implies, you’re sharing resources with many other users and their websites – sometimes up to hundreds of others. It takes a great host to balance everything and avoid a bottleneck situation where everything’s slow and nobody’s happy.
I’m very happy to report that Hostinger not only excelled in the performance tests, but it actually exceeded every other shared host that we tested, including the top-tier SiteGround, FastComet, and InMotion Hosting. The only two hosts that did better, and only by a small margin, were the premium Liquid Web (Nexcess) and Kinsta. By the way, they can cost about 20 times as much as Hostinger.
Just to give you an idea of Hostinger’s abilities, the average loading time of my fully-fledged landing page was a phenomenal 1.56s, and uptime over a few months of testing was upwards of 99.99%, exactly as promised.
My Hostinger test website is hosted on Hostinger’s US data center, located in Asheville, US, but the host also operates data centers in Amsterdam, NL; Singapore; and Lithuania. My website is still up and running, and you’re more than welcome to visit it and independently run any of the tests yourself. It’s a fully working landing page, complete with HD images and text, very much like what your website might look like:
As I do with all hosts I test, I extended Hostinger the opportunity to optimize my website and make it faster. This is something you can (and should) do as well – just ask support for help. The agent advised that I update WordPress and PHP to their latest versions, and install a few common optimization plugins. I implemented the advice, and proceeded with testing.
The testing itself was done using three tools: GTmetrix PRO, the Sucuri Load Time Tester, and Uptime Robot’s Pro plan. The Dallas, TX, GTmetrix server was used to measure speed and optimization scores in the US. Sucuri was used for global performance insights, and Uptime Robot – surprise surprise – for tracking the website’s uptime and availability online in percentages.
I ran multiple GTmetrix tests over a few months, aggregated the results, and calculated the best, slowest, and average speeds.
Hostinger showed a very promising average loading time of 1.56s. The best recorded time was 1.0s, and the slowest one was 1.9s. Not only is the slowest loading time well below the 3s mark (the point where most of your visitors will probably jump ship), but the average scores prove that Hostinger is as reliable as can be.
Here is the result of one of my tests:
You can see that score-wise, we’re getting double Bs. That’s not only completely acceptable, but also one of the highest scores I saw in my tests. The only thing left to do in order to get full scores is to optimize the images further.
Check the following table out to see how Hostinger performed compared to other big names in the industry (it beat them all):
Average loading time
Fastest loading time
Slowest loading time
Sucuri Load Time Tester
As with GTmetrix, I ran Sucuri tests multiple times. Sucuri gives you the loading speed results for many global locations, and I calculated the averages of the fastest location (which was unsurprisingly in the US, close to my data center), the slowest location (Bangalore, India – the other side of the world), and the global average.
The average for the fastest location was a whopping 0.177s, while even in good ol’ Bangalore the average was satisfactory – 1.11s. The global average was 0.499s, which earned my website an A global rank.
To be honest? I was stunned by these numbers. A global average of 0.499s is unheard of for a shared host, and all I did to “optimize” my site was install a few plugins. There wasn’t even a CDN (Content Delivery Network) active. That’s LiteSpeed and LSCache for you, ladies and gentlemen. Get it while it’s hot.
Here’s one of these tests for your viewing pleasure:
What good are fast speeds if your website has low availability? No good. Luckily, Hostinger is keeping it tight with almost perfect uptime – 99.997% over the past few months. I’m continuing to track and update the results, but coming just shy of 100% is exactly what I demand from my host.
Uptime guarantee-wise, the situation is a bit different. There’s supposedly a 99.99% uptime guarantee provided, but Hostinger has a real sketchy legal explanation of when and how you can get your money back. It mostly sounds like “never” to me, and even if you somehow qualify for a money-back (as solely determined by them), it’s a measly 5% of your monthly cost. Oh, and it’s just for store credit. Bah.
Anyways, aside from this guarantee issue, Hostinger really blows it out of the park in the performance test.
As a longtime user of Hostinger, I’ve had the pleasure of testing it again and again… and again. One of my favorite parts of the service used to be the support. There wasn’t (and still isn’t) any phone support available, but wow,was live chat an effective way of getting help.
24/7 service, manned by professionals, and backed by an extensive knowledge base of gargantuan proportions. The only problem? While the agents used to respond instantly, today they take about 40 minutes to get back to you. Sometimes live chat isn’t even available, and you’re transferred to some ticket/email system which I’ve had very little luck with.
I’ll be completely honest with you about what this means: it’s going to be you and the knowledge base. You can’t count on having an hour available to simply wait around, and even when the agents do answer, that’s just the beginning of the process. With 3-4 minute response times in between messages, asking some simple questions can balloon into an entire workday.
When I wanted to contact support before signing up, live chat wasn’t even an option. They made me use email. Why? Why would you do that to anyone? At least when the response came, it was clear that the agent was not only knowledgeable, but also honest about what I could expect:
I asked if they would help me with “setting up my site and everything” (question #3). Many hosts will give you the answer you want to hear – yes – and when the time comes, will leave you high and dry. Honesty goes a long way – I respect it much more when a host says “Well, development is kind of on you, man.”
Contacting the agents after signup was a mixed bag. Sometimes they would take “a few hours” to answer:
And sometimes I would just be redirected to the ticket screen:
The knowledge base proved to be a much better source of information, as it’s been built and organized in a way that will let you easily cover almost every aspect of your hosting experience. Installing WordPress, for example, has a super easy-to-understand step-by-step tutorial:
I did manage to contact live support and ask them about optimizing my website and making it faster. The response, while not the most detailed one, was enough that my website rose to the top of our speed rankings, as you’ve seen in the Performance section.
So, all in all? It’s not the best support experience. The knowledge is there, but there’s a lot of room for improvement in the availability department. I was most annoyed about the fact that Hostinger’s support used to be one of the best, and it’s a shame to see how things change for the worse. Then again, following the tutorials and manuals should be easy enough, even if you’re just starting out in the hosting world.
The Cheapest Long-Term Prices on the Market, by Far
Honestly, folks, this is the reason you’re reading this. When going over the many hosting options available today, Hostinger’s prices stand out. I mean, $0.99 a month? That’s almost too cheap. What’s the catch?
Simple. Hostinger wants you to sign up for a long period of time, and it’s willing to give you incentives to do so. Four payment periods are available: monthly, yearly, bi-yearly, and quadrennially. That last word means four years, and it’s barely used because almost no other host asks you to sign up for that long.
What’s the situation when signing up for shorter periods? Well, bi-yearly and yearly plans aren’t expensive, but they’re much more in line with the market average. Monthly plans come with a setup fee and don’t make any financial sense.
Value-wise, as long as an SSL is included (check!), the plans are completely on par with the industry standard. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you’ll have ample time to test the service yourself and see if it’s a good fit.
One thing to notice during the checkout process is that there are a few optional add-on services. Thankfully, none of them come pre-checked. I recommend that you skip them all. You can always add them later at the same price, or “persuade” a support agent to give you a better deal… threats of leaving the service can work wonders here.
Looking for a free domain? Sometimes it’s included in the plans; sometimes it isn’t. The advanced plans usually come with one when signing up for a year or longer. When I signed up, a domain was also included in the basic plan. Now it isn’t – go figure.
As for making payments, in addition to the expected credit card and PayPal options, you’ll also be able to pay with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Whatever your reasons are for wanting to host a website anonymously, crypto is the way to do so.
I have been using Kamatera for several weeks, and I was facing performance issues. I applied to the technical support team, and in a matter of hours, with their help and advice, the problem was solved.
it is a pleasure to know that you can rely on such excellent service.
Hostinger is cheap, no doubt, but it comes with a catch. They will find every possible reason to permanently suspend your account, but only after the refund period has ended. Support is lazy and has a standard reply to your query.
Choose Hostinger only if u want a cheap but unreliable hosting provider. Don't buy there hosting for more than a year, so when they suspend your account, you don't lose much money
Hello, Sameer, we are sorry to hear about such an inconvenient situation, and hopefully, we can turn around your experience for the better! Regarding your account's suspension, we had no other choice, as our clients and our team must comply with terms of usage. We always try to help out in every possible way for our clients, and we truly could not do anything else regarding your situation. We are happy that you have decided to stay with us. Therefore, our Customer Success agents have given you guidelines on avoiding this situation in the future! We hope that we can start on a new page and continue our cooperation successfully. If you need any assistance whatsoever, feel free to contact us, and we will assist you!
I was trying to pay for my hosting with Hostinger and I was getting errors about the server. the next thing I saw was an sms showing a debit alert from Hostinger. I refreshed my page hoping that it will reflect in my account but it didn't. It was super messed up as I fell behind my deadline and wasted time trying to figure out how to get my money back. Please consider other countries in payment methods so as to prevent such an issue from recurring.
Hello, Chisom, thank you for bringing this up, and let’s find a way to solve this situation immediately! If you have a spare minute, please contact us via mail at [email protected] with more details. We promise to find a solution and fully explain this situation you had to go through. Meanwhile, we are sorry that you had to experience this, and we hope that we will be able to upscale your insights shortly. Best regards, Team Hostinger.
I'm satisfied with the service and the hosting, at the beginning I was a bit skeptical but the staff is really at the little care as soon as you have a boo-boo. There is also the wordpress cache manager which is delivered with wordpress with the enterprise version, which is a must!
The GUI beautiful, the customer service is always friendly, helpful and blazing fast. I hate having an issue, having to send a mail to an email hidden somewhere or navigating through a lot of questions only to be referred to a forum. You just press the chat, pick your issue, if the bot doesn't solve it a human comes in after a few seconds/minutes, solves the issue and you're done.Being using this service for years, and while I have tried other hosting services in the meantime, I never find a reason to switch. All in all, great service.
Actually, everything is working as they should for me. And thank you for listening and caring, cuz to be sincere I thought nobody will listen to me but the actual do listen and offer help. The hosting and domain services are one of the best that I have come across so far. Thank you.👍
Hostinger’s affordable shared hosting plans are worth your time, your money, and your consideration. Performance has been surprisingly great, and while it’s not the most feature-packed offering around, it’s got everything that you really need.
Should you go for it? If you’re building a blog, a business page, a personal project, or a similar small-to-medium website, my answer is a resounding yes.
If you’re looking to build an e-commerce store, or a complex service like an online course portal, you’ll need something a bit more powerful than shared hosting. You can find some great options on our list of the best web hosting services for 2021.
Ben is an avid web developer who really loves to tinker with code, whether in the back-end or in the front-end. He's searching for the world's best website host, but also tries to find time for his other interests - comics, traveling, and home cooking.