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If you’re just getting started, and you want a quick and easy website to go with a new domain you just bought, you could do a lot worse than Porkbun. Its performance, in particular, took me by surprise.
But it’s not the cheapest hosting, and it has some limitations.. Read the full review to find out what’s good (and what’s not) about Porkbun, and whether it could be the right choice for you.
Porkbun is a relative newcomer on the scene, having started in the year of the Ice Bucket Challenge.* Since then, the company has made a name for itself by selling… well… names. Specifically, it sells domain names, and web hosting.
Despite trying harder to be quirky than that one kid in high school, Porkbun’s reputation for low prices and good service has won over more than a few hearts and minds, including mine.
Yes, that means it’s time for full disclosure: At the time of this writing, I’m actually using Porkbun for my personal domain names, and I like it. That has little to do with the hosting, but I thought I should be clear about where I’m coming from.
But while the domains are good, we’re looking at the hosting today. The eternal question is this: Can Porkbun meet your business’s needs? Could you build a stable business on its platform? Will it make the list on our top web hosting comparison? Well, that’s what I’m looking into today.
*Aka the year 2014, when How I Met Your Mother ended, everyone started singing Let It Go, and Scotland voted not to let it go. Simpler times indeed.
Porkbun is not very versatile in the hosting space, to be perfectly honest. The only thing you can get is shared hosting,intended for smaller websites and small- to medium-sized businesses. That means no VPS, no dedicated servers, and no Minecraft servers (Hostinger has those). It’s all about letting people who buy a domain from Porkbun quickly start a website to go with it.
It’s not a bad strategy, actually.
All plans come with unmetered bandwidth and one major caveat: Everything you host must be related to your website. In other words, you shouldn’t be using Porkbun hosting for your personal cloud.
And if you use it for illicit file sharing, I can’t guarantee that an angry pink pig won’t be coming after you. Look, it’s not likely, I’m just saying it’s not impossible.
There Are Four Specialized Kinds of Hosting
So the actual hosting features vary widely, because all of the hosting services are designed for quite different purposes. Let’s have a quick rundown, shall we?
Site Builder hosting
Like so many other hosts, Porkbun cut a deal with Weebly to provide a simple drag-and-drop way for you to design your own website. Weebly actually has a bunch of pretty solid features, which you should read about in our Weebly review, because it would take up too much space here.
Because Weebly is a third-party service, the Site Builder hosting is split up into five different pricing plans, the cheapest of which starts with a free three-month trial, after which you’ll need to pay $3.00 per month. You’ll have to pay a bit more for the Starter plan, if you want to get rid of the Weebly ad at the bottom of your site.
Easy WordPress hosting
This does exactly what you think. You pay, then you get a managed hosting package with 10GB of storage, and WordPress pre installed. But more than that, you get some WordPress performance enhancements, automatic updates, and some WordPress-specific security services.
See, it’s “managed” WordPress hosting, which means Porkbun staff and software will do all the maintenance for you. That means you can just build your WordPress website and leave it alone, knowing that someone will keep an eye on it for you. (That’s not the best way to do SEO, but it’s still cool.)
The one limitation is that there is a list of pre-approved plugins you’re allowed to have, and all others will be automatically uninstalled. This is for the safety of your site, and the safety of other sites on this shared hosting service.
But if there’s a plugin you want to install that’s not on the list, you can ask Porkbun to check it out. If it’s safe, the company will add it to the list. You’ll end up paying a little more for this kind of hosting, but it’s worth it for the extra personalized help and security.
Oh, and there’s a 15-day free trial when you buy a domain through Porkbun, too.
This is hosting for small, simple websites that don’t need a content management system (CMS) or use a site generator. You get 2GB of storage space, FTP access, a file browser and editor, and a number of server enhancements specifically for serving this kind of site.
This is the cheapest non-Weebly hosting package, and it’s good for sites that don’t need to change often, like business brochure sites and portfolios. It’s also great for landing pages.
OK, something for the nerds: You can also hook this hosting up to a GitHub repository and use that to automatically update your site.
This is your classic Apache-based cPanel hosting with all the trimmings: the Softaculous installer (so you can install any major CMS you want), FTP access, databases, the works. You also get unmetered storage space.
I mean, that storage space is still subject to the general “don’t be a jerk about it” rule that applies to bandwidth, but it’s cool that there isn’t a hard limit.
Free SSL Certificates
For the newbies, SSL allows you to encrypt all the information that goes between your site and your users. This provides added protection against hacking, and search engines may give your site a small ranking boost for having it.
Whether you buy hosting with Porkbun or not, you can get free SSL certificates via LetsEncrypt for any domain you purchase. These certificates will be automatically updated and can be used with just about any hosting company you want.
Porkbun Is a Domain Registrar
So I mentioned this before, but I’d like to reiterate that domain registration is Porkbun’s main business. In fact, some of the best domain deals I’ve ever found have been on Porkbun, and I’m not entirely sure how that happened. The interface for managing your domains keeps it simple, too.
No, seriously. I’d say Porkbun gives even Namecheapa run for its money. So even if you don’t get hosting with Porkbun, you might consider buying your domains there.
I have personally found Porkbun’s site to be very easy to use for its domain management services. Signing up and buying products is dead-easy, and important information is generally put right in front of your eyeballs. You know, where you need it to be.
But how easy it will be to use your hosting depends on the kind of hosting you get. The Site Builder hosting will provide a very beginner-friendly experience for building your first website. Likewise, the WordPress and cPanel hosting will be easy enough for anyone familiar with those platforms.
I can’t vouch for the static hosting. I figure that if you can use a file manager (and maybe an FTP program) you’ll be just fine.
I didn’t have a lot of time to test Porkbun, but I did throw together a simple four-page website (using the three month Weebly free trial that came with my brand new domain name) to see how well Porkbun performs.
I’ve got to say, I was impressed. Just look at those speeds (below). Considering that all it cost me was the price of my domain (less than a dollar for an .xyz domain), performance-wise Porkbun seems like a win-win opportunity. (It’s actually faster than some of our top recommended web hosts, like Hostinger and InterServer!)
In my experience, Porkbun’s support team has always been helpful and prompt, as long as you reach them during their working hours. The schedule for live chat and phone support is 9 am to 5 pm Pacific Time every day of the year.
And for anyone wondering… yes. The phone number is 855-PORKBUN (855-767-5286).
Live Chat and Email
Support is handled by one of those little pop-up windows on the bottom-right, where you can send the support team an email or chat with them live.
I’ve used both for personal inquiries over the last few months, and I have found the support team to be knowledgeable and helpful. Not once have I felt like a less-valued customer because I haven’t spent much money on the service yet.
The wait times for help can be a bit long, especially when you write to them outside the live chat operating hours, but someone is always on call. If you’re not running, say, an income-critical online store, this is acceptable performance.
Need to know how to connect your domain to a third-party hosting service? Want to know how to set up your static hosting? You’re in luck. There’s a fair-sized knowledge base with simple instructions and basic tutorials for how to use every part of Porkbun’s services.
Well, the tutorial for how to use Weebly is mostly a video that comes from Weebly, but still. It’s useful information.
Well technically, you can get hosting for as low as$3.00per month if you go with the static site hosting and pay yearly. More conventional hosting is going to cost you a bit more. The prices are average, as it goes, and fair enough in my opinion.
However, you can get a lot more features for the same amount of money (or less) from Hostinger, InterServer, and others.
If you do decide on Porkbun, you can pay with all major credit cards (including Diner’s Club and JCB), several forms of cryptocurrency, and PayPal. That last option has been working rather well for me.
Well, it’s shared hosting. That means it comes with limits. But if you’re just getting started and you want a quick and easy website to go with a new domain you just bought, you could do a lot worse than Porkbun.
But then, it’s not the cheapest hosting, either. Check out our list of the best web hosting services, and you might find a much better deal in terms of features-to-price.
Does Porkbun offer VPS hosting?No, unfortunately not. The only type of hosting available with Porkbun is shared hosting. In most cases, shared hosting is enough for a small-to-medium sized website – but if you do need VPS hosting, Kamatera has a 30-day free trialyou can take advantage of.Is Porkbun cheaper than Google Domains and GoDaddy for domain names?It depends. GoDaddy is sometimes cheaper for the first year, but when it comes to renewals, the prices shoot up. Google Domains tends to be a little cheaper than GoDaddy in the long-term – but prices for domain names are always changing, so it’s best to shop around.Can I transfer an existing domain name to Porkbun?Yes – and Porkbun has a step-by-step guide on how to do this in its knowledge base. You’ll need to make sure your domain isn’t locked, and get an authorization code from your current domain registrar. When you transfer a domain to Porkbun, you’ll pay a fee (depending on the domain) but this includes a years’ registration.Can I get hosting from Porkbun without purchasing or transferring a domain?No. You will need to create an account and purchase or transfer a domain in order to get any kind of hosting from Porkbun, unfortunately. This means that even if you have an existing domain name, you can’t just point it at Porkbun’s nameservers – you have to complete (and pay for) a full domain transfer.
Ezequiel Bruni is biologically Canadian, legally Mexican, and self identifies as a total nerd. He’s been a web and experience designer off and on since he was a teenager, and loves sharing the kind of beginner’s advice he really wishes he’d had when he first started. He also loves video games, tacos, open source software, video games, sci-fi and fantasy in all their forms, and video games. He does not love writing in the third person.