An Affordable U.S.-Based Host
Founded in 2010 and based in Seattle, Washington, Hostwinds is an American website host with data centers in Seattle, Washington, and Dallas, Texas, in the U.S., as well as one in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
It offers a variety of hosting services, including inexpensive shared hosting, Linux and Windows VPS hosting, and even dedicated and cloud hosting, and it has surprisingly low prices for a U.S.-based company.
But just because it’s affordably priced, that doesn’t mean it’s the best website host for you. Like its competitors, Hostwinds has its pros and cons, so it’s important for you to consider your options before making a final decision.
Hostwinds is set up to offer reasonable website load speeds across North America, but what about the rest of the world? And with such low prices, can you really rely on it to provide quality customer service?
Read on to find out whether Hostwinds is the right website host for you.
A Nice Variety of Freebies
Despite being a relatively budget website host, Hostwinds offers decent features, ranging from auto-installers to free SSL certificates and unlimited FTP accounts. Much of it comes standard, including the latest version of cPanel, and it also has unlimited email accounts, subdomains, MySQL databases, and more.
Of course, like most website hosts, Hostwinds offers easy installers for several popular applications, including WordPress and vBulletin. It also offers free website transfers, as well as a free domain name and instant setup so that you can get started as soon as you open an account.
Hostwinds promises to make sure that your site is always online through its uptime protocols (in fact, it offers a stellar 99.9999% uptime guarantee), though there are occasional reviewers whose sites were down for days at a time. Still, it’s reassuring to know that it offers a high degree of redundancy, as well as continuous cooling and multiple power sources. It certainly does more than most hosts.
Choice of Operating System
Hostwinds offers both Linux and Windows website hosting, though its Windows unmanaged hosting packages are considerably more expensive than its Linux unmanaged hosting packages (but if you choose managed hosting, the Linux and Windows plans are the same prices).
Windspeed and Windshield
Windspeed is all about improving performance by optimizing your server, while Windshield is a security tool that’s designed to improve the security of your server and stop unwanted break-ins.
A lot of hosting companies try to cut corners and to save on costs by locating their servers in countries where the cost of land and living is a little cheaper. Hostwinds bases its data centers in the United States (Seattle and Dallas) and in the Netherlands. Its facilities are all SAS Type II, audited, and Tier 4 — which is actually quite rare and should mean less than 26 minutes of downtime per year.
Ease of use
Pretty Good Compared to the Competition
Hostwinds is surprisingly easy to use, which is refreshing compared to some of the other hosting companies I’ve tested. It sticks to mainstream software such as cPanel, and if you’ve worked with a standard shared Linux server, you won’t find it difficult to get started. There are no long waiting periods to worry about for your account to be created, either.
Hostwinds offers a free content delivery network (CDN) that’s designed to help you maintain faster loading speeds and prevent downtime. Using cPanel, it only takes a couple of clicks to install the free CDN and it is a nice feature that cheap hosts don’t usually provide.
You don’t get backups by default, but you can pay a little extra for Hostwinds to make nightly backups on your behalf. Of course, it’s still a good idea to make backups yourself, but the nightly backups are pretty affordable and easy to set up, so why not take advantage of them?
Simple Control Panel
Hostwinds uses cPanel, which is an industry standard. As well as allowing you to easily set up email accounts, FTP users, new subdomains, redirects, and more, cPanel is so common that you’ll find plenty of user guides to help you out if you get stuck.
Creating an Account
Signing up with Hostwinds is pretty simple, and it’s also nice to know that you’re covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee. The actual signup process can be a little confusing, mostly because there are so many options for features and functionality. It’ll still take you less than five minutes to get started, though, and you can find out more about it here.
Connecting a Domain and Installing WordPress
Hostwinds offers one-click installers that make installing WordPress easy—simply log into your hosting account, browse to cPanel and use the Softaculous installer. Mapping a domain name is a little trickier, but still simple if you know what you’re doing. It’s easy to install the free CDN it provides too. Click here to learn more about the process.
Reasonable Performance When It Works
By all accounts, Hostwinds’ performance is pretty good considering what you pay for it, but it’s far from the best on the market. Most unhappy customers had problems with the customer service and not hardware issues, but there are still people whose websites were offline for several days. That suggests that it doesn’t always live up to its 99.9999% uptime guarantee—not to mention its 100% satisfaction guarantee.
As usual, I ran a Sucuri page load test, and the results were what I expected. Hostwinds has reasonably rapid speeds across the United States, but they start to drop off elsewhere in the world. However, in recent months, it’s added an additional data center in the Netherlands, which may improve the speed in European locations, although I can’t confirm that for sure.
Surprisingly, it also has an impressive load time in Australia, but overall it has typical speeds for a U.S. host.
Plenty of Channels, but Not the Best at Solving Problems
Hostwinds has a pretty good range of support options, but it doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to solving problems. It has a team of trained engineers keeping their eyes on the servers at all times, as well as a thorough knowledge base. Hostwinds also provides support via live chat, email, telephone, and a ticketing system.
I tested the customer service team to see if it was any good. While the team picked up on live chat instantly, when I asked if they offered a free Cloudflare CDN, they said no. It definitely does because I’d already installed it, so perhaps the agent just wasn’t well informed. They also answered a support ticket within an hour and an email within two.
Pricing is where Hostwinds really shines, with affordable hosting packages and the ability to scale up from simple shared hosting to dedicated servers. Even its higher-end server setups are pretty reasonable, making it a good choice if you’re looking for a budget host for a new build.
Cancellations & Refunds
Canceling a Hostwinds account is easy as long as you know what you’re doing. Be warned, though: there’s one important step that—if you don’t make it—will stop your cancellation from being processed. Log into your dashboard to get started and submit the cancellation form.
You’ll then need to contact customer service if you’re within the money-back guarantee period and want a refund, and even once your cancellation ticket has been created, it won’t be processed until you copy and paste the pre-prepared bold statement. Click here to find out more.
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Hostwinds will take care of you, as they have me
I like this web host! My experience dealing with them has been perfect. The site will sometimes be down for a few minutes (once in 3 months or so), but that is common. Overall, I am happy to recommend them. Hostwinds is the most professional host. I always get support via email within a couple of hours, and I rarely experience downtime. I think that some people are a little cranky and expect a little too much for their money. It is GREAT!!!
Nice and friendly support. Fast hosting.
Nice and friendly support. Fast hosting. IMHO. The best price but very good for its services. I try it for two sites and very happy with that. Would I Recommend? YES, Definitely! Solved many problems with hosting provider after moved to hostwinds.
They're honest, fast!
I love the support! Hostwinds uptime is great, Their promise of 99.9% is correct. The tools provided are great! I am thankful for their skillful team for providing me with good and stable services. My last WebHost would sometimes take days to respond to your help ticket. Can also add that there many useful features included in their hosting solutions, so I run my web site efficiently.
Really nice SSD web hosting provider
Well, they have been an amazing host. They are quick with their responses and seem to be very reliable. I'm the webmaster for about a half dozen sites. I moved my personal site to Hostwinds and was so impressed with their service I ended up moving all my sites to them. They have an easy-to-use control panel, great features and easy as heck to setup.
Used live chat.
Used live chat. Did not have to wait more than a few seconds. The answers were quick, clear and detailed. Gave me the information I needed and made clear that Hostwinds was actually offering a superior and cheaper service to the one I was currently paying for. I will certainly be giving very carefully consideration to making the big decision to transfer my domains to Hostwinds .
Great support team as always. Always going the extra mile to help me out! Many times I have questions about site speed optimization and they always seem to have the answer. Fantastic work and always quality for me. They know how to run their services successfully.