Our Shared Hosting Hostnine Review
Hostnine shares the same management, servers and support team as their sister company A Small Orange. Both these companies were pretty good, but that seems to have changed for the worse throughout the latter part of 2015.
Although their support has slightly slower response times (15-30 minutes, rather than a couple of minutes) than our favorite shared host, SiteGround, we have found the help and assistance offered by them is exceptional, and in some cases far better. We typically tend to be quite demanding of the support due to some of the complex projects we tend to undertake, and Hostnine is always willing to help do migrations and go above and beyond what we expect. This is one of the main points reflected in the User Reviews at the end of the article.
It has been a while since we last signed up to Hostnine shared hosting (we have had some long term accounts that were slowly upgraded to their VPS). However, upon checking (March 2015), we noticed that they have increased the number of locations available to host your site to, so we thought we would sign up again, and run some tests to their Central US location.
- Central US
- East US
- West US
- Berkshire, UK
- Singapore, Asia
- Hong Kong, Asia
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Toronto, Canada
- Melbourne, Austrailia
This is great if your business attracts very local traffic, as you can be sure the server is relative close to your readers resulting in a slightly faster website experience.
The Different Plans
You can see above quite easily the main differences between the three different plans. The prices shown are for a one-year contract, but you can get further savings for signing up for three years, as well as by using our coupons here. Note that the minimum term for their Personal Plan is six months, but if you wish to pay monthly then you will need to sign up for their Business plan.
All the shared hosting plans feature state of the art data protection and backup, with Raid-1/10, protected local storage (Mirrored storage), as well as being backed up to remote servers using R1Soft. Also, Hostnine features the following amongst many other features:
- SSH Access (requires a static IP)
- Softaculous Script Installer
- Ruby on Rails
- Zend & Ioncube
We would probably have to point out that if you like the sound of Hostnine, but can afford a slightly more premium product (i.e. SSD hosting), then we recommend you check out their main brand (sister company), A Small Orange. Although it should be noted that A Small Orange only offers US hosting, rather than all the global locations offered by Hostnine.
Our Experience with Hostnine Support has been a very positive one, and indeed one of the reasons why we use them and their sister company so much. We don’t just mean problem-solving, but they genuinely go all out to help when you need help with configuring things or installing a custom SSL for instance.
Hostnine have one of the best support teams I have experienced. They go beyond the call of duty to make sure I am happy, and they are very knowledgeable. The hosting is very fast and haven’t had a single problem with them in the last six months or so. Overall, I highly recommend them.Peter
When we first started using Hostnine a few years ago (wow it has been that long), before the time when EIG purchased the company we used to see support response times within 15 minutes via ticket. Unfortunately, that time is now more like 1-2 hours. However, unlike some companies where you get unhelpful or brief responses, Hostnine take a much fuller approach. Therefore, the time to resolution is quite good, and you feel quite happy with the answers you do get.
Furthermore, if you need help fast, or just have a quick question their live support it was excellent. In fact, they have some of the most experienced front lines support staff around, that can do stuff (rather than have to refer anything remotely complex to their ticket system).
Overall, Hostnine support is probably among the best we have experienced.
Hostnine have a B- Better Business Bureau rating, although this doesn’t show much, as they have only one complaint here relating to Advertising \ Sales issues. What is more telling, is looking at their BBB rating under their primary brand name A Small Orange. This is a fantastic A rating. What is telling, is that unlike other hosts, the number of BBB complaints against the company is minimal.
We have already covered the main specifications of the plans above, but this is where we get to highlight any particular features worthy of note. Unfortunately, Hostnine is a pretty standard hosting provider in its offerings. Of course, we might point out their many locations and great support, and even Ruby but these in itself are not features that make their hosting specifications stand out.
There is one exception though… for a shared host that targets the cheaper end of the market using conventional HDD’s for storage they have implemented SSD Caching technology, which caches frequently accessed files onto SSD disks for faster performance.
It is always hard to get an idea of the uptime of a particular host. Sure, we could monitor a specific server for a week or so and report 100% uptime, but we feel that it doesn’t do our review justice. We can report that our personal experience of Hostnine is quite good. Over the last two years, while it hasn’t been incident free, the incidents of downtime (mainly back in April 2014 a couple of issues cropped up) are sparse and when they do happen are quickly dealt with. But that is just our view…
If you check out the Hostnine Twitter account, you will see the usual assortment of support requests, but overall for a company of Hostnine’s size, there is not overly much activity which is a great sign. Another place to look is to search on Webhostingtalk forums for Hostnine. Again there are no recent posts complaining about them (this particular forum is popular for its complaint threads), which is another positive sign.
Overall, while Hostnine isn’t perfect, we do feel they do a pretty good job with keeping their servers online. Sure, like any host there have been a few hiccups, but no more than any of the other great hosts we have reviewed.
What can we say? A rock solid host with excellent support from as little as $2.93 per month (3-year plan with our coupons). This is an incredible value and seriously worth considering.
- Great Support – One of the main things we like about them is their excellent support – we really cannot stress this enough!. We host this site with Hostnine, as well as many others, and have always found them to go to great lengths to help with things, even if technically it is not their responsibility to do so (i.e. help with .htaccess redirects), third party SSL installation, etc. Truly, this is where Hostnine shines.
- Telephone Support – If you live in the US, you can get support during office hours during the week by telephone.
- Great Price – Hostnine’s entry price level on their shared hosting for the features, support, and reliability is hard to beat. Of course, there are some other good companies around, and while they can be relatively competitive on price for the initial sign-up period when using our coupons, their renewal price cannot compete with Hostnine.
- Extremely Reliable – We have found Hostnine to be extremely reliable, with ourselves experiencing a 100% uptime over the last 5/6 months.
- CPanel – Hostnine uses the standard cPanel. We always recommend going to a host that uses cPanel, as it is extremely easy to move hosts should you ever need to. In fact, many hosts will move your site for you if you use cPanel.
- Softaculous installer – This is our preferred installer and makes it very simple to install WordPress, Joomla as well as hundreds of other scripts. For WordPress, it also includes rolling backup functionality for your site.
- 45-day money back guarantee – While not the longest money back period, 45 days should be more than enough to decide whether Hostnine is for you.
- 99.9% uptime guarantee – While we have never needed to claim on this guarantee, they will give you one day of credit for each hour of downtime should you qualify.
- Great Upgrade Path – Another great thing is the ability to upgrade to some extremely well priced VPS servers should you need to. Although, to be honest, we use some pretty CPU intensive WordPress plugins on some of the sites we manage, and have never received notification that we are using too many resources (unlike some other hosts we have used who may just switch off your site without warning).
- No choice of server location for the Basic plan – This is not a negative, but you should be aware that their basic shared hosting plan does not give a choice of server location. While this is not a problem if you live in the US if you live in the UK, or Europe you will need their “Business Plan”, which costs a couple of dollars a month more.
- Neglected Brand – We feel that the management team \ support prefer their main brand A Small Orange over Hostnine. You will, therefore, find this is reflected in the blog posts and knowledgebase which are far superior over at their sister company.
Final Thoughts on Hostnine
The bad things we had to say are minor issues, and in most cases not even relevant. Indeed, we would highly recommend them for your hosting needs particularly due to the excellent support, and the pricing levels of the different plans. Not only that, but there is a good upgrade path to their VPS or dedicated servers (we host this site, along with several others, on their VPS).
Reliability is excellent, and we have experienced no downtime on the shared hosting accounts we run over the last six months or so, and indeed this has been confirmed by several of our readers in the Hostnine Reviews they have left.
As we indicated earlier on, though, if you can afford a little more you can get everything we mentioned here (apart from multi-location), but on PURE SSD drives with A Small Orange, so that might be worth a look. Because we prefer A Small Orange over Hostnine, this host doesn’t quite make it on our Recommended list, but only for that reason. Indeed, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend that consider them as your host otherwise.