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Hostwinds review

In our Hostwinds review, we take a close look at this popular web host, explaining why you should consider using it

  • Excellent performance
  • Decent support resources
  • A great selection of hosting products
  • SSL installation can be confusing
  • Prices could be clearer

Hostwinds offers a series of hosting plans for different uses and requirements, and ranks among the best web hosting services as a result. There’s a hosting plan for everyone, with options ranging from cheap shared hosting to advanced cloud hosting and dedicated servers. 

Hostwinds review: Snapshot

Although it’s a little more expensive than some competitors, our Hostwinds review will show that this company offers excellent value for money across the board. 

On top of this, every aspect of Hostwinds’ service is backed by advanced tools and excellent performance. Shared hosting comes with a leading 99.9999% uptime guarantee, and we saw nothing to suggest that this is an exaggeration. This places the company among the best web hosting services on performance alone. 

In addition, you will benefit from a neat cPanel control panel. Installing scripts and apps is very straightforward thanks to the Softaculous one-click installer, and there’s even a Weebly-based site builder to help you get started. 

If you’re looking for a solid hosting provider with a range of great features, Hostwinds is a decent option. But if value for money is your priority, competitors such as Bluehost and Hostinger could be better suited to your needs. 

Score: 4.5/5

Read on for the full Hostwinds review.

Hostwinds' competitors

How does Hostwinds compare to its main competitors?

 HostwindsBluehostHostinger
Score4.5/53.5/54/5
Pros- Decent performance
- Excellent support resources
- Great range of hosting products
- Feature-rich shared hosting plans
- Beginner-friendly cPanel control panel
- Impressive 24/7 support
- Great value for money across
the board - Neat hPanel control panel - Excellent security tools
Cons- Pricing is a little unclear at times
- Website is difficult to navigate
- Deceptive introductory prices
- Terrible performance
- Underpowered VPS and dedicated
server plans
- Strict resource limitations with
some accounts - Performance can be an issue - Limited high-end hosting options
VerdictHostwinds offers a range of hosting products, making it an attractive option for those looking to scale their site in the future.Bluehost is a very popular web host that’s recommended by WordPress.org, but it’s far from the most powerful we’ve used. If you’re looking for a budget hosting
provider, Hostinger is arguably the best option on the market today. 
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Hostwinds: Key features

Although Hostwinds is a little expensive compared to some of the alternatives, it boasts an excellent selection of advanced tools and features. Along with the necessary basics, you will benefit from unlimited storage and bandwidth and a suite of management tools. 

For starters, Hostwinds offers a basic version of the Weebly website builder with every shared hosting subscription. It’s a little limited, but it’s a great way for those with little time and tech skills to get online. 

Weebly's website builder within the Hostwinds user interface

The integrated Weebly website builder offers a streamlined way to get online fast

Hostwinds/Weebly

Another neat tool is the Softaculous App Installer. With this, you can install a selection of CMS, scripts and other useful programs to help you get the most out of your hosting account. Simply select the script you want to install and follow the prompts. In general, installations shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes.

Hostwinds' Softaculous one-click installer plugin within its dashboard

The Softaculous one-click installer is excellent

Hostwinds

If you’re transferring an existing website to Hostwinds from another hosting provider, you will love the free site migration service. In short, the Hostwinds technical support team will take care of the entire migration, transferring your site and its files to your new server. 

Hostwinds also offers built-in Cloudflare integration, which enables you to optimise your site’s performance and security. Benefit from the power of one of the world’s largest CDNs and take advantage of the built-in DDoS protection.

Hostwinds' user interface with a Cloudflare pop-up window

Cloudflare can be used to secure and speed up your site

Hostwinds

Hostwinds: What's new in 2022? 

Hostwinds is in the process of overhauling its website and hosting plans, addressing ongoing issues with the aim of improving the customer experience. 

For starters, the entire website has been re-designed, removing the broken links and navigation issues that we’ve found so frustrating in the past. Multi-lingual support has also been added, making Hostwinds that little bit more accessible to non-English speakers. 

The support site has also been updated, with mobile accessibility added to all tutorials. The product documentation, which was sometimes a little dense and hard to navigate, has been separated into clear blocks, and new content is being added regularly. 

On top of this, the company has recently discontinued its Reseller hosting line. Existing customers won’t be affected, but new subscriptions are unavailable at the current time. Overall, it’s nice to see Hostwinds addressing issues that have been around for a while.

Hostwinds: Pricing

Hostwinds offers a selection of hosting options, including shared, VPS, cloud, and dedicated servers. There are three shared options, with prices ranging from £4.30 to £6.76 a month for an initial subscription. Note, though, that prices will increase significantly on renewal. 

Managed and unmanaged VPS hosting is available in both Windows and Linux flavours across a wide range of options for storage, RAM, and bandwidth. Linux VPS starts at £6.76 a month for a managed plan or £4.09 a month for an unmanaged solution. Windows VPS starts from £10.45 a month for managed hosting or £9.01 for unmanaged. 

Cloud hosting starts from 0.0057 per hour (approximately £4.09 a month), while more advanced dedicated servers are available from £86.93 a month.

Hostwinds' pricing plans

Shared, business, and reseller hosting

Plan type/featureBasic SharedBusiness BasicReseller BasicAdvanced SharedBusiness AdvancedReseller AdvancedUltimate SharedBusiness UltimateReseller Ultimate
Cost per month£7.37*

£9.83*

£5.73*£9.01*£11.47*£7.37*£10.65*£13.93*£9.01*
Cost per year£88.44*£117.96*£68.76*£108.12*£137.64*£88.44*£127.80*£167.16£108.12*
Unlimited bandwidth
Unlimited storage
Website connectionsOneOneOneFourFourFourUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Free SSL

*We’ve listed the standard prices here. Expect to receive a discount of up to 50% for your first billing cycle.

Testing Hostwinds

In order to comprehensively compare Hostwinds to the competition, we analysed a series of its features and tools to see how it performed. This included creating a WordPress website, checking its server response times, and seeing how simple it was to set up an SSL certificate.

How do you create a WordPress website with Hostwinds?

Hostwinds' WordPress installation options window

Installing WordPress to your new hosting account is a very straightforward process

Hostwinds

Creating a new WordPress site with Hostwinds is a very straightforward process. Hostwinds offers the Softaculous one-click installer, which you can use to install WordPress—or other programs—to your hosting in a matter of minutes. 

When you log into your cPanel control panel for the first time, you will be prompted to install WordPress and start your first site. Simply click on the button, configure any of the settings you would like to, and hit install. 

The full installation process took us no more than a couple of minutes, which was nice to see. A placeholder theme was added to aid with the site creation process, and a selection of useful tips was provided to help beginners get started. 

Once you’ve installed WordPress, you can begin customising your site by navigating to your WordPress admin panel. Here, you will find all of the expected editing and site management tools. You will also be able to access the full theme and plugin libraries as required.

How does Hostwinds perform?

The author's Hostwinds site's performance plotted on a graph

Hostwinds boasts excellent performance across the board

Hostwinds

To test Hostwinds’ performance, we created a simple WordPress site and monitored it using Uptime.com. Both availability and server response time was monitored regularly over a seven-day period, and the results were great to see. 

For one, our tests returned a 100% uptime figure, which is as good as you can get. This is consistent with Hostwinds’ industry-leading 99.9999% uptime guarantee. 

The average server response time of 285ms was also nice to see. This places Hostwinds’ shared hosting up there with the best performing on the market. What’s more, the response times were very consistent, with few spikes and a slowest response of just 524ms.

How easy is it to set up an SSL certificate?

Hostwinds' SSL certificate options menu in its user dashboard

It’s relatively easy to upload a third-party SSL certificate

Hostwinds

Installing a valid SSL certificate is crucial to ensure that all data transmissions to and from your website are encrypted and protected from prying eyes. Many hosting companies provide streamlined SSL management tools, but Hostwinds isn’t one of them. 

Instead, it relies on the stock standard cPanel SSL tools. With these, you can install and manage your SSL installations, but it’s not the simplest process we’ve seen. 

By default, a self-signed SSL certificate will be installed. This is better than nothing, but we’d recommend upgrading to a third-party SSL for added security. If you follow the prompts to add a custom SSL, HostWinds will encourage you to purchase a premium certificate. 

However, it generally isn’t necessary to pay for an SSL certificate unless you have a large site dealing with a lot of sensitive data transmissions, especially with the suite of free third-party options available. 

To install a free SSL certificate from a third-party source, you will need to upload it directly within your SSL management panel. This is relatively easy to do, but beginners with little experience will likely become confused by the technical terminology that’s used.

Alternatives to Hostwinds

Hostwinds has worked through some major improvements over the past few months, and it now sits alongside the best hosting options on the market. It is a little expensive, though, with the cheapest shared hosting plan starting from £6.50 a month

This does, however, unlock access to an excellent range of features, so the value for money is still great. You will benefit from a full cPanel control panel, as well as good support, unlimited storage and bandwidth, and a great selection of security and data backup tools. 

Another popular option is Bluehost, which offers budget hosting from just £6.50 a month after the discounted initial term. This makes it one of the more affordable options available, and the company has a great reputation as a beginner-friendly host. 

With a base-level plan, you will be restricted to just 50GB of SSD storage. Like Hostwinds, though, Bluehost offers a free domain, top-notch support, and streamlined one-click installations. However, its security tools could be better.

Alternatively, you might like to use Hostinger if you’re on a tight budget. Its shared hosting starts at just £2.99 a month, and you won’t find better value for money anywhere. 

As to be expected, hosting that’s this cheap does come with limitations, and you will only be able to connect one website with 30GB of storage and 100GB of bandwidth. Hostinger is known for its excellent security tools, though, and its native hPanel control panel is arguably even more beginner-friendly than Hostwinds’ cPanel.

Hostwinds' features compared to the competition

ProductHostwindsBluehostHostinger
Control panelcPanelCustom cPanel interfaceYeshPanel
Free domain✔ (with upgrade)
One-click installations✔ (hundreds available through Softaculous)✔ (hundreds available through Softaculous)✔ (more than 100 applications)
Support24/7 live chat, email, and online ticketing24/7 live chat and phone24/7 live chat and online ticketing
Basic plan£6.50 a month£6.50 a month£2.99 a month

Hostwinds: The verdict

All things considered, there’s a lot to like about Hostwinds and its web hosting products. It offers everything from cheap shared hosting to advanced dedicated server and cloud solutions. And everything is backed by the power of modern server infrastructure and a range of great features. 

One thing that stands out about Hostwinds’ shared hosting is its great performance. During our tests, we experienced 100% uptime and industry-leading server response times. 

Hostwinds also makes it easy to start a new site, with full access to the Softaculous one-click installer and a basic Weebly website builder integration. Benefit from the power of the Cloudflare content delivery network, and ensure your site is fully secured at all times. 

On the downside, Hostwinds isn’t the cheapest host we’ve seen. Competitors like Hostinger present better options for those on a tight budget. Installing an SSL certificate will require some technical knowledge, and the company really doesn’t advertise its prices very well. 

At the end of the day, though, there’s a reason why Hostwinds is one of the world’s most popular web hosts. It offers excellent service across the board, making it an option well worth considering.

Further reading on web hosting and website builders

Check out our guide to managed vs unmanaged hosting to find out which is best suited to your needs, and discover the best VPS hosting or best cloud hosting services. If you're looking to create a new website, make sure you look over the best website builders before making your choice. If you’re still unclear about why you need hosting, you can find out more in our article asking what is web hosting?

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