Web Hosting Hub Shared Hosting Review
Web Hosting Hub was launched in 2010 by Todd Robinson and Sunil Saxena with the intention of providing affordable web hosting. They have been in the web hosting business since 2001 when the co-founded InMotion Hosting, which provides more specialized hosting for businesses.
Unlike their sister brand, InMotion Hosting, they focus on ease of use, and simplicity. They have data centers in the east and west coast of the United States allowing users to host their websites near their users.
InMotion Hosting is one of our recommended hosting providers, and by extension, this host should be as well. That being said, we would push you towards their sister brand simply because it is their main brand, and displays all of the upgrade paths (VPS \ Dedicated) that you may wish for the future.
Regarding size, they (along with their sister company) have a total of 200+ US-based staff, and over 40,000 customers.
The Different Plans
They currently have three plans on offer. All but the Spark plan include unlimited domains, with the Spark plan only allowing two domains.
What we particularly like is that each shared hosting plan includes more resources, allowing a very cheap “mini” upgrade path before requiring a more expensive VPS \ Cloud solution. They refer to their resources as the “Hub Power Units” which contains a combination of CPU, Memory, and Disk I/O and what they call “dynamic resource allocation.”
A larger plan will make your website more responsive, especially during traffic spikes or if it is an extremely dynamic e-commerce site.
You can see a brief summary of the differences between the three plans below:
|Spark Plan||Nitro Plan||Dynamo Plan|
|Choice of Data Center||No||Yes||Yes|
|Web Design Discount||No||20%||30%|
The following features apply to all plans:
- Unlimited Hosting – This includes disk space, bandwidth, Emails, FTP accounts, Databases. With Unlimited Hosting, you should be aware that there are in fact limits, usually concerning “fair use”. You can read more about the resource limits in their Terms of Service, clause 10.
- SSD Storage – This is an absolute must and is becoming more prevalent among web hosts as the price of SSD storage is reduced. SSD’s are up to 20 times faster than traditional disks, boasting much higher read/write times. Also, the reduced latency can have a noticeable impact on response times, especially when using disk caching. You can read more about the benefits of SSD’s here.
- Free Domain Registration – All accounts come with a free registration of a new domain, or you can transfer an existing domain for free.
- 24/7 US Based Technical Support – No outsourcing with this company. All support is US based.
- cPanel Control Panel – They use the most popular control panel. You can read more about the differences in control panels here.
- Email management – Email management is easy with the popular cPanel. You can implement SpamAssassin and other advanced features. See our Email tutorials for detailed insight.
- Softaculous one-click installations – With Softaculous you can easily install hundreds of different scripts including WordPress.
- Backup Wizard – Unfortunately, backups do not come with their hosting as standard but can be added as an add-on for $1 per month when signing up. You can always choose to take a backup manually using the cPanel wizard available free of charge, but we would recommend paying the additional amount, as well as ensuring you have a copy of your website away from the server.
Web Hosting Hub have APC Cache, and Memcache enabled as standard for dynamic caching (see our W3 Total Cache Tutorial about how to implement this). Essentially, this will allow you to store your database and PHP cache into RAM making it much faster. The downside is that APC Cache is limited to PHP 5.4, which is much slower than PHP 5.6 or even PHP 7 which you will see more and more during the first half of 2017. If you want dynamic caching with PHP 7, you can do so with Siteground.
They enable you to choose which PHP version you wish to use, up to a maximum of PHP 5.5, so will soon find itself behind on the technology front if they do not roll out some updates soon.
Apart from SSD storage (which is fast becoming a standard feature among web hosting providers) and the RAM-based dynamic caching, the only other thing that makes this company stand out is the offer of Web Design Services. An example of a site they built is below:
If you look at their portfolio, there are a mix of designs, but the example above looks very respectable.
There are no other features we would class as premium. They are more a host that uses tried and tested technologies to do standard hosting well.
There are a couple of paid add-ons you may wish to consider:
- Automated secure backups – Most hosts will include this as standard at no extra cost, however, the price of their hosting is still good value even after adding the $1 per month for backups.
- McAfee Virus and Anti-Spam Protection – Many hosting providers will now provide SpamExperts anti-email spam at no extra cost, but then their hosting plans may cost slightly more. We don’t have an opinion on this add-on, and it will be down to your personal preference whether you believe it is worthwhile (i.e. are you having email spam problems?).
Although they only offer shared hosting, their sister company does offer VPS and Dedicated Hosting. The support and management between the two companies are seamless, so you would easily be able to upgrade to one of InMotion Hosting’s VPS or dedicated hosting plans.
Speed \ Performance
We have already touched on this is a premium feature, but they have several technologies that can significantly increase the speed of your website. With SSD Storage, APC Cache and Memcache, you can configure caching plugins to store database and PHP computations into RAM. You can see how to do this via our W3 Total Cache Tutorial if you use WordPress.
The only caveat is that APC Cache only works with PHP 5.4, and with PHP 7 now released (you will see many web hosting providers switch to this in early 2016, or you can use it now with Siteground) you may be caught between using great old features and updated alternatives.
The Control Panel
They use the popular cPanel control panel with the new Paper Lantern theme for a sleek modern look (as in the image above). You can read a little more how the cPanel Control Panel compares to its competitors here.
cPanel allows you to manage all aspects of your hosting account, from file management, editing, emails to databases. The greatest thing, though, is that because it is so popular, it is easy to move to a new host using the same control panel. This is because (in most cases) the new host can use your login details to automate an account transfer in minutes (i.e. copies emails, SSL, website files, databases). This is why you will often find hosts willing to transfer your websites to their hosting services for free if you use cPanel.
Web Hosting Hub Support
Their support is one of the best things about this hosting company. Their live chat is always extremely helpful and from our personal experience using them (see our InMotion Hosting Review (their sister company) for more details) you can expect a response to a ticket within around 2.5 hours, which is very respectable for a hosting company.
What struck us the most, was that they didn’t just answer the tickets in a procedural way, but went out of their way to ensure you were aware of any related issues that your request may cause.
While they don’t push this point on their website, their sister site (which uses the same support team) claims that the following about their support:
- Their Web Hosting experts average four years of professional hosting experience
- All support staff undergoes a “rigorous” internal training program with all staff being required to have at least 160 hours of internal training before being allowed to interact with customers.
- Their management team average over ten years of web hosting experience.
We looked around the web \ social media to check whether there were any particular complaints about their support or services. For a company of its size, there are surprisingly few mentions. They had a major outage on around the 21st November that caused a few issues, but there are very few mentions of issues apart from that.
Web Hosting Hub Uptime \ Downtime
They do not appear to advertise any uptime guarantee on their website. We are not overly concerned about this as we think they are a waste of time, as any payout under the guarantee is usually just a few days of hosting (i.e. under a dollar). It is much better to choose a host with decent support and proven reliability.
While we there have been a couple of minor incidents (i.e. the 21st November incident mentioned above), we have found communication excellent, and any incidents brought under control relatively quickly. All hosts do have issues, but quite often it is how they are dealt with that makes all the difference.
Web Hosting Hub Popularity
This is a rather interesting metric that we have recently been following. Excellent web hosting providers quite often have a buzz about them and as such grow their user base relatively quickly. With an increased user base the number of Google Searches for the company name will increase. Of course, other factors may increase the number of searches such as advertising campaigns, etc., but despite that, we think it gives a great indication all the same.
The following graph shows the popularity of the company name (we included both “Webhostinghub” (red) and “Web Hosting Hub” (blue) in Google Trends (click the link for the latest results):
As you can see from the graph, their popularity has been slowly decreasing, which may indicate an issue that they are going out of favor with the public. That being said, this is certainly nothing to worry about. This is because InMotion Hosting is their sister company, and you will see that on our related review that InMotion Hosting’s popularity has rocketed. We suspect it is more to do with their marketing focus than anything else.
To get an idea how popular the company is (without the presence of definitive user figures) you can look at the Bing Webmaster Tools keyword data (gives an indication of the number of searches over the last six months:
It is quite interesting that the trend differs slightly to Google’s search figures, but, at least, you now have the basis to compare with our other hosting providers (coming soon).
One interesting comparison using Google Trends was how Web Hosting Hub (blue) compared to Siteground (red):
As you can see, this is a great comparison for their respective popularity. It is worth noting that Siteground started performing particularly well when changed focus to premium web hosting and features in 2013. You can read more about those here.
Is the Hosting Worth the Money?
We are never ones to like budget hosting, but we do think that a web host should offer value for money for the pricing structure they set. You also have to consider renewal costs versus the discounted first invoice with our coupons. $3.99 for two websites, with SSD Hosting, is pretty good. That being said, you will want to add $1 to that for backups.
At renewal, the price goes up to $8.99, and it is then you may need to give it some thought. If you are happy with their service after being with them for a while, then that counts for a lot.
They are one of the few hosts that offer dynamic caching into RAM, albeit on slightly outdated technology. It remains to be seen whether they will remain competitive with this in a year or two. But with dynamic caching quite rare, and usually only provided on premium plans costing a little more than this, then arguably they do offer reasonable value.
90 Day Money Back Guarantee
They offer one of the longest no questions asked money back guarantees at 90 days. You do not have to give any reasons, although we are sure they would appreciate the feedback in any event.
Please remember that money back guarantees do not usually include add-ons such as domains, SSL or dedicated IP’s. Even if you are offered a free domain, they will deduct this cost from the refund.
Our Web Hosting Hub Review Final Thoughts
As we have indicated first, because we have their sister company InMotion Hosting as one of our recommended hosting providers, we should really by extension should recommend this host. We don’t because we would recommend signing up with their sister company instead, if only because there is less confusion if you ever need to upgrade.
Our only concern is that their technology will fall behind. This, however, is a little unfair, as the RAM based caching is rarely offered these days, and the fact they offer it at all is pretty good. That being said, they need to start preparing things like PHP 7 and Opcode caching along with Memcached if they want to maintain this premium quality.
So yes, this host is better than most.
Web Hosting Hub Frequently Asked Questions
Does They Offer Windows Hosting Plans?
They only offer Linux hosting at this time. It does not offer Windows Hosting or ASP.net.
Will the price go up when I renew my hosting?
They offer significant discounts with our Web Hosting Hub Coupons, but these are only available for the invoice. To lock in savings, you should sign up for a longer period.
Do I get a free domain?
Yes, they do offer a free domain with new accounts. You can either transfer your existing domain for free or purchase a new one. Please note that any new domain is not covered by their Money Back Guarantee. You may wish to forgo the free domain and sign up with a specialist domain company such as Namecheap.
Do they have VPS or Dedicated hosting packages?
No Web Hosting Hub do not offer VPS or Dedicated Hosting Packages directly. You will need to upgrade via their sister company (this is seamless) InMotion Hosting, who have the same support and management.
Does they support Python or Ruby on Rails?
They do support Python, Perl, PHP and Ruby on Rails.
Do they backup your website \ account?
They actively encourage you to make your own backups. We would recommend a third party service such as Vaultpress, Codeguard or something similar that will store your backups away from the server and allow one click restores.
For $1 per month, they will take and store backups, and regardless of whether you have arranged your own backups to be taken, you may want to consider this for redundancy.
I need to run multiple websites. Which plan should I choose?
The spark plan only allows 2 websites to be installed. If you wish to run multiple websites then you may need to consider their Nitro or Dynamo plan. A larger plan will offer more resources, so depending on your usage may be more suitable to maintain a more responsive site. In addition, it can sometimes be wise to spread your websites over several accounts in order to avoid being force to upgrade to more expensive VPS Plans.
How many emails can I create?
While you can create unlimited emails you should bear in mind that each time your client (sometimes you configure multiple clients for one email, i.e. desktop, mobile etc) checks for an email it uses a process. Shared hosting usually restrict the number of entry processes to between 10 and 20. Therefore, you should not consider shared hosting appropriate for the create of 100’s of email addresses, no matter which hosting provider you use.
Can I use Web Hosting Hub for Media Streaming?
We recommend using a third party service such as Vimeo, Youtube or Dailymotion to embed videos into content. Their terms and conditions restrict the right to use their service solely for media streaming.
Can I use them for hosting lots of images?
If you wish to host many images then Web Hosting Hub recommends their top level Dynamo plan. However, you should be aware of their terms and conditions which state that you may only host images that are used in connection with a website hosted on your account.
Can I host an e-commerce site with them?
They offer many one-click installation scripts for platforms such as Prestashop, Magento and Opencart (you can see a summary of the differences between them here). Dedicated IP’s and SSL certificates must be purchased separately. If you need to store credit card details directly on your server then you will need to use their sister brand InMotion Hosting. Their servers are not PCI compliant. That being said, many e-commerce shops use third party payment processors that will be fully compatible.
Where are their headquarters?
They are located at 3629 Sentara Way, Virginia Beach, VA 23452.