If you want a powerful and flexible web hosting service, Hostwinds should be on your radar. Hostwinds offers an array of shared, VPS (virtual private server), dedicated, cloud, WordPress, and reseller hosting packages designed to appeal to both mom-and-pop shop owners and bigger businesses. In fact, Hostwinds’ feature-packed VPS and reseller offerings make it an Editors’ Choice in those categories. Overall, Hostwinds is one of the best web hosts we’ve reviewed.
If your website doesn’t require high-end servers to keep it up and running, shared web hosting may be right up your alley. The low-cost web hosting places your website on a server with other websites, thus sharing system resources. Because resources are shared, you pay less, but you definitely get what you pay for. If your site mates get big traffic spikes, your site could be slow—or even unavailable. Hosts do their best to prevent this from happening, but that in itself could mean that if your site gets on the front page of Reddit your host might throttle it, or even take it offline, simply to stop your site from taking down the rest of the server.
Hostwinds offers attractive, wallet-friendly Linux-based shared hosting plans that come in three flavors: Basic, Advanced, and Ultimate. Basic (starting at $4.50 per month) offers unlimited monthly data transfers, unlimited storage, a free dedicated IP address, and the ability to host a single domain. Advanced (starting at $5.50 per month) builds on Basic by letting you host up to six domains. Ultimate (starting at $6.50 per month) adds the ability to host an unlimited number of domains. Unless you’re really strapped for cash, there’s not much reason to select anything other than the Ultimate plan if you want a Hostwinds shared hosting package that offers room to grow. As with other web hosting services, Hostwinds tosses discounts your way if you sign up for multiple months.
HostGator, our Editors’ Choice for shared hosting, gives small- and medium-sized businesses even more room to expand their web presences. Its Hatchling plan (starting at $7.17 per month) offers unlimited disk space, bandwidth, databases, and email addresses, plus support for one domain and third-party applications, such as content management systems and e-commerce platforms. HostGator’s Baby plan (starting at $7.96 per month) builds on Hatchling’s offering by adding unlimited domains. The top-tier Business plan (starting at $11.96 per month) also includes highly specialized options, such as a free toll-free phone number for customers to call you regarding business matters and a private secure socket layer (SSL) certificate. HostGator also lets you select a Linux- or Windows-based server. If you need to run Microsoft-specific scripts, you’ll appreciate the Windows option.
VPS hosting is for people who want to build their sites on servers that offer more power than what shared web hosting provides. With VPS hosting, your site still shares server space, but with far fewer other sites gobbling up resources. VPS hosting costs more money than shared hosting, but it’s worth the investment if you expect lots of traffic. VPS sites also tend to be more secure because some of their resources are isolated by virtualization.
If you’re looking for VPS hosting, Hostwinds has you covered, with 10 tiers of VPS hosting in its Budget VPS, Premium VPS, Windows VPS, SSD Windows VPS, and SSD Linux VPS offerings.
For example, Tier 1 Premium VPS starts at just $13.50 per month (for 1GB of RAM, 50GB of disk space, unlimited monthly data transfers, and unlimited email), while Tier 10 scales up to $105 per month (for 15GB of RAM, 200GB of disk space, unlimited monthly data transfers, and unlimited email). The SSD Linux plan starts at $13.50 per month (for 1GB of RAM, 25GB of disk space, unlimited monthly data transfers, and unlimited email) and maxes out at $129 per month (18.5GB of RAM, 130GB of disk space, unlimited monthly data transfers, and unlimited email). In short, Hostwinds has flexible, powerful VPS plans that outshine those of most of its rivals. As a result, Hostwinds is the PCMag Editors’ Choice for virtual private server web hosting.
One unusual VPS note: Hostwinds also has Minecraft VPS server hosting. Like the standard VPS hosting, Minecraft hosting has a slider that lets you quickly select a preconfigured server. The entry-level tier ($8 per month) is designed for a maximum of 10 people. The high-end tier ($160 per month) can host a maximum of 350 people.
Hostwinds gives you a choice of customizable or prefab Linux- or Windows-based dedicated servers. Dedicated hosting is powerful hosting that places your website on a server all by itself. As a result, your site has tremendous server resources to draw from so that it can withstand high traffic volumes.
Both prefab and customizable server prices start at $99 per month, but either kind of server can cost much more, depending on how you configure them. You can outfit the configurable servers with up to 3TB of storage (per drive bay, with a maximum of four drives), 128GB of RAM, and unlimited monthly data transfers. If you max out everything, you could easily spend nearly $1,000 per month. Hostwinds’ dedicated server offerings are quite good.
Hostwinds’ dedicated packages fall a hair behind what AccuWeb offers, however. Regardless of the plan you start with, you can outfit AccuWeb’s dedicated servers with up to 512GB of memory, 2TB of storage, and 50TB of monthly data transfers. As a result, AccuWeb Hosting’s dedicated hosting plans surpass Hostwinds, the former category champ. AccuWeb now reigns as the Editors’ Choice for dedicated hosting.
If you fancy using the WordPress content management system to build your website, you’ll be happy to learn that you can install it on regular Hostwinds servers, as well as the company’s WordPress optimized servers. Hostwinds’ WordPress plans start at $4.99 per month for one hosted domain and unlimited storage and monthly data transfers (its top-tier, $8.99-per-month Ultimate plan adds unlimited domains). That said, for WordPress hosting with extra punch, I suggest checking out A2, the category’s Editors’ Choice.
The Linux-based A2 offers four excellent WordPress hosting tiers, starting at $7.99 per month, offers unlimited storage and monthly data transfers across the board. The plans top out with the $24.46 per month Managed package that includes unlimited databases and websites. You also get a free SSL certificate across the board, too.
For more on the fantastically popular content management system, you should read How to Get Started With WordPress.
Hostwinds also offers cloud hosting, a version of web hosting that spreads CPU, RAM, and other resources across multiple servers. It’s quite unlike traditional hosting, which draws power from a single server. The advantage is that your site isn’t tied to a single server’s resources.
Hostwinds’ cloud hosting packages start at $4.49 per month for a skimpy 512MB of RAM, a single CPU core, and 1TB of monthly data transfers. The plans top out at $22.49 per month for 4GB of RAM, two CPU cores, 50GB of storage, and 2TB of monthly data transfers.
These are solid options, but DreamHost and 1&1 Ionos remain the category’s co-Editors’ Choices. DreamHost, which caters more toward small businesses, has packages start at $4.50 per month (for 512MB of RAM, 100GB of storage, and unlimited monthly data transfers) and top out at $48 per month (for four CPU cores, 8GB of RAM, 100GB of storage, and unlimited monthly data transfers). 1&1 Ionos, on the other hand, has incredibly powerful cloud hosting packages that favor enterprise-level clients. Please read that review for 1&1 Ionos’ many cloud hosting options.
If you’re looking to get into the web hosting business for yourself, but you don’t want to deal with managing servers and other infrastructure matters, check out Hostwinds’ excellent reseller hosting packages. With reseller hosting, you rent server space from an established player and resell it to your own customers.
Hostwind’s plans, starting at $25 per month, have unlimited email, storage, and data transfers. On offer are dedicated and VPS packages of both the Linux and Windows variety, as well as shared hosting, which is limited to Linux. The servers have the same RAM and storage amounts as those that Hostwinds supplies directly, which is not always the case. Hostwinds also lets you apply your own branding to the servers you rent, and it supplies 24/7 tech support, too.
Rivals web hosts, such as A2, GoDaddy, and HostGator provide very good reseller offerings, too, but Hostwinds goes the extra mile with stacked specs in a variety of server categories. As a result, Hostwinds is the Editors’ Choice for reseller hosting.
Building a Hostwinds Website
Trendy Tools, a website builder that’s included with Hostwinds’ hosting packages, is what I used to build my test site. There are a dozen themed templates available, including Business, Church, and Photography—I selected Pizza. Trendy Tools prompted me to key in my site’s name and then use the HTML5-powered builder to drag and drop site elements.
Trendy Tools offers many site-construction options, but it isn’t overwhelming. I found it easy to drag and drop text, add images, and change the template and color scheme. Trendy Tools also lets you add your own code, which opens the door to a more custom look.
E-Commerce and Security
Hostwinds’ Softaculous library contains the Magento ecommerce app. I used Magento to create an attractive store, using its drag-and-drop store builder. Please read our Magento review for an in-depth look at this open-source shopping cart.
Hostwinds offers Advanced Website Monitoring for an additional $1.50 per month. This add-on causes it to monitor your site around the clock. It automatically submits a help ticket on your behalf if your site experiences downtime. You can also add the $5.00 per month ID Protection, which masks your name and address in the Whois registry.
Uptime on Hostwinds
Website uptime is an extremely important part of the web hosting experience. If your site is down, clients or customers will be unable to find you or access your products or services—and they might not come back. Fortunately, Hostwinds is extremely dependable.
For this testing, I use a website monitoring tool to track my test sites’ uptimes. Every 15 minutes, the tool pings my website and sends me an email if it is unable to contact the site for longer than one minute. In my latest tests, Hostwinds went down zero times during the 14-day test period. It proved far more dependable than TMDHosting’s unreliable web hosting service.
Hostwinds’ Customer Service
Hostwinds offers 24/7 phone, web chat, and ticket-based customer support. I tested the chat support on a weekday morning and afternoon, and I never had to wait more than a minute or two before a Hostwinds representative responded to my queries. The person on the other side of the chat window accurately explained the differences between shared and VPS hosting to me.
I also called customer support during a weeknight to learn about Hostwinds’ Minecraft hosting. The friendly representative gave me the details in a way that was easy to understand. Overall, I enjoyed the Hostwinds’ customer support experience.
Hostwinds has an impressive 60-day money-back guarantee that bests many web hosts’ 30-day money-back guarantees. It isn’t, however, as lengthy as DreamHost’s extremely generous 97-day guarantee. That said, if you choose to cancel, you have to dig through the account management section, as the cancel button isn’t easy to find.
The Way the Winds Blow
We liked Hostwinds when we first reviewed it, and the web host has only gotten better over time. It has quality customer service, reliable uptime, and attractively priced hosting tiers that appeal to a wide range of people and companies. It now ranks up there with the equally stacked DreamHost, HostGator, LiquidWeb, and TMDHosting as an overall Editors’ Choices for web hosting services, and it’s a winner in the reseller and VPS hosting subcategories.
For more on getting started online, read our tips on how to create a website. You might also want to check out our story on how to register a domain name for your website.
Hostwinds Web Hosting
Bottom Line: Hostwinds is an excellent web hosting service that has the tools you need for building attractive, functional websites. It’s a top choice overall, and VPS and reseller hosting plans are particularly strong.