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Decent Features and Great Support, but There is a Catch
I put LetsHost to the test over the course of several months, and in many ways, it’s a pretty solid host. Yes, there are some things I don’t like about it, but they’re not such big issues that I wouldn’t recommend you give it a try. Still, there are some things you should know before you hit that Buy Now button.
Unlike many other local Irish hosts, LetsHost actually has data centres in other countries besides Ireland – the UK, Australia, and the US. By default, you’ll be allocated space on an Irish server, but you can also request a server in a different country.
LetsHost’s main focus is on providing budget-friendly shared hosting, although it does offer VPS (virtual private server) hosting and dedicated servers as well. One of its shared hosting plans is configured specifically for WordPress hosting, with optimized servers, although you can install WordPress on any of its hosting plans.
For this review, I signed up for the WordPress hosting plan and put every aspect of LetsHost to the test, evaluating its performance and contacting customer support, to bring you a hands-on overview of what hosting with LetsHost is really like.
Great WordPress Features – but Some Essentials Will Cost More
If it were down to features alone, LetsHost probably wouldn’t make it onto my list of recommended hosts at all, because it doesn’t have anything special to offer. There are also a couple of must-haves that LetsHost doesn’t include in its plans.
First, let’s have a look at what you do get. Storage starts at 15GB and goes up to a maximum of 50GB, depending on the plan you choose. Not a huge amount, admittedly, but definitely better than some of LetsHost’s Irish competitors.It doesn’t seem much compared to the international giants that provide (almost) unlimited storage space, such as InterServer.
Bandwidth is also limited: you get 100GB on the Starter and WordPress plans and 500GB on the Business and Enterprise plans. You can host multiple websites on all plans and take advantage of unlimited email addresses, too.
Now, the two crucial things that you don’t get included with your hosting plan are a domain name and an SSL certificate. Both can be purchased as add-ons, but, inevitably, this will increase the cost of your hosting overall. Having to buy your domain name isn’t such a big deal, but the lack of a free SSL certificate is a problem (admittedly one that many hosting companies share).
The reason I find it such a big issue is because there’s really no excuse for hosting companies like LetsHost not to provide SSL certificates. Free certificates are available from Let’s Encrypt and Comodo, but LetsHost has made the decision not to support these, effectively forcing you to purchase an SSL – and it doesn’t even offer any low-cost SSL options.
When you purchase LetHost’s WordPress hosting plan, you get some features that aren’t included with other plans. These include larger amounts of PHP memory, servers that are configured specifically for WordPress, and automatic updates of your WordPress installation, theme, and plugins.
All hosting plans have built-in security features, including a regularly-updated firewall and integration with Cloudflare. If you choose the WordPress hosting plan, you’ll also benefit from the additional security of CloudLinux with CageFX, which “cages” your webspace and protects it from being affected by malware infections on other websites hosted on the same server.
Automatic Daily Backups
Probably the biggest standout feature that LetsHost has to offer is its automatic daily backups on all plans. A lot of hosts would expect you to pay extra for daily backups that are stored off-site, but LetsHost includes these automatic backups as standard.
You can take it a step further if you sign up for the WordPress hosting plan, and benefit from backups that are taken four times every day. With these kinds of backups, you never have to worry about “breaking” your website – if something goes wrong, you can easily restore your webspace using one of the automatic backups.
Ease of use
Beginner-Friendly Setup and Account Management
LetsHost is pretty simple to get started with and I didn’t encounter any issues when signing up and getting WordPress set up. The checkout process is a little long-winded, with multiple screens to fill in before you finally reach checkout, but that’s a minor niggle.
One thing that is nice is that if you’re not sure what kind of hosting plan to choose, you can select the type of website you want and LetsHost will recommend the best plan for you.
Managing Your Account and Using cPanel/Plesk
There’s a separate account dashboard for managing your hosting account, which is very simple to navigate. You can manage domains, hosting services, change your billing details, and view past support tickets (as well as open new tickets) directly from the homepage of the dashboard. It’s one of the most user-friendly dashboards around (it’s one that many other hosting providers use).
For managing your actual webspace, LetsHost uses cPanel. While I’m not the biggest fan of cPanel (I much prefer Plesk), it is probably the most popular control panel for web hosting, and if you’ve had hosting before, you’ll be familiar with the way it works. cPanel isn’t all that beginner-friendly, with dozens of icons cluttering the screen, but LetsHost does have some help articles about it in its knowledge base.
Connecting a Domain and Installing WordPress
If you buy your domain name when you sign up, it will automatically be connected to your hosting account, so you can go straight ahead and install WordPress. This was definitely a welcome relief since I’ve encountered some hosts with needlessly complicated domain-and-hosting connection procedures!
In cPanel, you’ll find the Softaculous 1-click installation tool for WordPress. All you have to do is click Install Now and the installation wizard will walk you through the process. It’s not exactly 1-click (no 1-click installer truly is!), but it is a simple tool that can have WordPress installed in under five minutes.
Great Reliability, but Page Loading Speeds Could Be Better
While features and ease of use are important when I’m evaluating any web host, its performance is the predominant factor in deciding whether (or not) it makes it onto my recommended hosts list. You can have all the best features available, but if your website is slow to load, your visitors won’t be happy!
Of course, every host promises fast page loading speeds (they’re hardly going to claim otherwise, are they?) but I always put those claims to the test. With LetsHost, my performance tests were a little mixed.
LetsHost performed better than a lot of other Irish hosts, with an average page loading speed of 1.4 seconds. Although 1.4 seconds is pretty good (and well within Google’s recommended three seconds), there’s definitely room for improvement. LetsHost’s reliability is pretty great, though, with a score of 99.986% uptime over the three-month monitoring period (equal to around six minutes of downtime in a month).
To test LetsHost’s performance, I installed WordPress (on the optimized WordPress hosting plan) and uploaded a customized SimpleShift theme. I use the same theme to test all hosts, so all performance comparisons are fair.
You’ll find that some review websites will use a virtually blank WordPress installation for their performance tests, but I like to get accurate test results, so the theme I use is customized with text and non-optimized HD images and looks (and behaves) like a one-page website (as you can see in the screenshot below.)
If you’re wondering why I use non-optimized images, that’s so that I can ask the customer support team for optimization advice and evaluate their response. For full details about our testing processes at Website Planet, you can check out this article.
The test website was online for over three months so that I could repeat performance testing at different times of day to evaluate peak and off-peak performance differences. It was available at autonomous-shoes-ireland-f.com.
GTmetrix is my performance testing tool of choice, simply because it gives a variety of information, not just page loading speeds. It also provides performance scores from PageSpeed and YSlow, both of which rate the level of optimization for the test website. I tend to look more at the PageSpeed score, since PageSpeed is a Google metric that can influence your website’s ranking in search engine result pages.
The fastest page loading speed LetsHost achieved was 1.1 seconds, and the slowest was 1.9 seconds. You might expect the differences in these times to be due to the time of day the tests were performed, but in this case, the time of day was virtually the same for both tests, albeit on different days. Overall, LetsHost’s page loading speeds averaged 1.4 seconds, with the majority of the tests falling in the range of 1.1 to 1.6 seconds.
As I’ve already mentioned, these speeds fall well within Google’s recommendation of a maximum of three seconds for web pages to be fully loaded, but I was still a little disappointed with LetsHost’s speed. Because I chose optimized WordPress hosting, I was expecting LetsHost to deliver the kind of speeds that other optimized hosting providers achieve, in the region of 0.5 to 0.9 seconds.
I was also slightly disappointed with the PageSpeed Score for LetsHost. The average score for a website of this type is around 75-76%. Although some improvements could be made with an optimization plugin for WordPress, the score indicates that LetsHost’s WordPress servers aren’t as fully optimized as they could be.
Sucuri Load Time Tester
I used the Sucuri Load Time Tester to evaluate LetsHost’s performance from other locations around the world. One issue with Sucuri, however, is that a lot of web hosts’ servers have firewalls that block the testing servers it uses, resulting in errors. You can see below how it says “could not test website from this server”.
This can also contribute to the much longer page loading times that you can see in the screenshot below.
For this reason, I am largely discounting the result from Sucuri in my evaluation of LetsHost’s performance.
The final test I use when looking at web hosts’ performance is UptimeRobot. I monitored LetsHost’s uptime over a period of three months and there were very few periods of downtime. Over the whole monitoring period, LetsHost had an uptime score of 99.986, and during that time there was a 30-day period with a perfect 100% uptime. With this level of reliability, you don’t have to worry about your visitors not being able to access your website.
Customer Support That Actually Wants To Help!
LetsHost offers support via ticket and phone only (there’s no live chat), but one thing you do need to be aware of is that support is not 24/7. Phone support is available on “business days” (Monday-Friday, presumably) between 9:00 and 17:00.
Information about the hours for ticket support is not available, but in my experience, it’s not 24/7. If you submit a ticket after 21:00, you’ll have to wait until the next morning for a response.
I’ve tested a lot of hosts over the past few years and one thing that I find increasingly frustrating is the way that customer support teams are often reluctant to provide detailed help. My experience with LetsHost was a pleasant surprise, with support agents giving step-by-step advice instead of simply directing me to an online article.
When I asked about help with installing WordPress, I was given detailed instructions on how to find the 1-click installer, as well as basic installation settings. Although I was then directed to an online help article, this encounter with support was far more pleasant than the curt responses I’ve grown used to from hosting providers.
The best encounter with LetsHost’s support team was when I enquired about optimizing the performance of my website. I ask this question of every host that I test and by far this is the most informative and helpful response I’ve received in a long time (perhaps ever!) It felt like the support agent genuinely cared about me and my website and wanted to help.
In addition, the optimization advice I received was more than just a set of instructions – the agent took the time to explain why I should take the suggested actions and the impact they would have on my website’s performance.
The response time for ticket support was pretty great from LetsHost, too.With the exception of one occasion when I submitted a ticket overnight, the longest I had to wait for a response was around 90 minutes. In most cases, I had a response within 25 minutes. Compared to some hosts, that’s a really great response time, especially considering the detailed responses I received.
Affordable Hosting – But Additional Costs Can Add Up
LetsHost isn’t the cheapest option when you’re looking for Irish hosting, but unless you’re on a really tight budget, then it is still relatively affordable. Compared to hosts with similar features, its prices are around average – but the biggest drawback with LetsHost’s pricing is that you’ll end up paying more than the advertised prices.
That’s because of the things that aren’t included in the advertised prices, such as your domain name and your SSL certificate. While LetsHost offers domain names at very low prices, the same is not true of its SSL certificates. A single SSL will add the equivalent of the cost of nine months of WordPress hosting to your annual costs – a 75% increase at checkout. That’s without factoring in VAT, which is also not included in the advertised prices.
You have the option to pay monthly, quarterly, annually, or for two or three years upfront. Unlike with many hosts, you don’t get any discounts for paying upfront for a year or more, and there’s no setup fee if you choose the monthly option. All major credit cards are accepted, as well as PayPal and bank transfer.
If you sign up for LetsHost and then change your mind, you’re protected by the 30-day money-back guarantee. You must request a cancellation and refund within the first 30 days of your plan – and it only applies to your initial hosting fees, not the cost of domain names and SSL certificates.
Cancelling Your Account
If you decide to cancel, whether during the first 30 days or some point in the future, LetsHost has an easy-to-use cancellation wizard that only takes a few minutes to complete. You’ll be asked why you want to cancel and if you also want to cancel the auto-renewal of your domain name. You can also choose to have your service cancelled immediately or at the end of your current billing cycle.
LetsHost is one of the better Irish hosts that I’ve tested and I especially like its automatic backups feature. Although there’s room for improvement with its performance, its page loading speeds are pretty good and I definitely can’t fault its reliability.
My experience with customer support was possibly the best I’ve had in recent months from a shared hosting provider, so if you’re new to web hosting, you can be sure to get the help that you need.
My biggest reservation with LetsHost is the cost of SSL certificates, but if you’re not on too tight of a budget, then I’d definitely recommend that you give it a try.
If you’re looking for a cheaper host but you don’t want to compromise on quality, I’d recommend an international hosting company like Hostinger or InterServer.
Which web hosting service is the cheapest?If you’re looking for inexpensive web hosting, you don’t want to miss Hostinger’s shared hosting plans. The prices start at $1.99. But Hostinger isn’t just cheap – it also scored incredibly well on our global performance tests, meaning you get excellent value for your money.It’s always a good idea to visit our web hosting coupon page to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.Which type of hosting is best?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.If you’re not sure what you need, you might want to go with InterServer, which has only one shared hosting plan that conveniently comes with unlimited resources.
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!)