Today, I’m going to talk about one of the cheapest hosting service provider – Hostinger. In this Hostinger review, I’ll talk about what I like, didn’t like, features, pricing, and walk you through how to start a self-hosted blog for as low as $0.8/month.
Choosing the web hosting is indeed the first most crucial task of being a blogger. You want to pick an affordable, good quality, trustable, and feature-packed hosting.
If you’ve been searching the internet for “cheap web hosting,” you’d have come across Hostinger by now. It is one of the cheapest web hosting service available with excellent reviews.
Since I moved to Cloud hosting a few months ago, I stopped using shared hosting for my sites. But, Hostinger team reached out to me and convinced me to give it a try. I tried the hosting with one of my niche sites, and this post is all about it.
In this Hostinger Review, I’ll talk about a few essential features of Hostinger hosting, how it performed in real life, and if it’s worth your money. Ready to roll? Let’s get started.
About Hostinger Hosting: Are They Trustworthy?
Hostinger comes from the team behind 000webhosting.com – the only free web hosting portal with useful features and no ads. Started first in 2004, Hostinger has reached some noteworthy milestones, such as:
- 29 million users served
- 20 thousand new users/day
- 24 million live websites
The USP of Hostinger is their pricing and business model. They first attract beginners by giving free, unconditional hosting with limited features, and as the users feel the need to expand, he switches to the premium hosting.
Services Provided by Hostinger
As of today, Hosting provides following internet services:
- Shared Web Hosting
- Business Hosting
- VPS Hosting
- Domain Registration
- SSL Certificates
It is geared towards beginner bloggers and personal projects. As the name suggests, a single server is shared by multiple users. The exact number of user sharing a server isn’t mentioned, but they do have some restrictions to provide satisfactory performance.
The pricing starts at $0.8/month (more on it later) and goes up to $7.95/month. I’m using the shared web hosting service for the review purpose.
2. Business Hosting
If you’re a growing online business or a start-up looking to host their big site, Business hosting is for you. It comes with some fantastic features like dedicated IP, speed boost, etc.
3. VPS Hosting
Virtual Private Server hosting gives you the power of business hosting at a more affordable price. The complete server is dedicated to you and not shared by other users. It makes it perfect for websites with huge traffic. You can also scale up as and when needed with few clicks.
4. Domain Registration
If you just want to register a domain name, Hostinger offers that too. You can either register a new domain name or transfer your existing to Hostinger.
The pricing is the market standard for .com domains at $8.99/year. However there are cheaper options available (.xyz, .tech, .online, .store, etc., for $0.99)
You can find some more amazing domain registrar on this page.
5. SSL Certificate
In 2018, SSL is a fundamental requirement for a successful blog. Google will mark your website as “Not Secure” if there’s no valid certificate installed. It’ll scare away your readers.
Hostinger offers cheap SSL certificate for all users (and free on some hosting packages.) They also provide a lifetime SSL certificate for one-time payment of $14.99
Hostinger Review: Top Features
As stated, I used the shared hosting for my review purpose. I have used the “business shared hosting” plan, but the performance will be similar for all shared hosting plans. Here are few of the fantastic Hostinger hosting features I like.
1. Affordable Pricing
Pricing is the #1 reason, Hostinger has managed to attract customers in such a competitive market. With a starting price of just $0.8/month, it’s a steal and worth checking out.
For the shared hosting, there are three plans available:
Single Shared Hosting
Meant for a small website or project, the single plan comes with:
- 1 Website
- 10 GB Disk Space
- 100 GB Bandwidth
There’s no free domain or SSL certificate included, and I would suggest you stay away from this plan if you want to make money blogging.
Premium Shared Hosting
This plan is ideally suited for serious bloggers who are expecting good traffic and want to host multiple websites. It comes with:
- Unlimited SSD Disk Space
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- 2X WordPress Optimized Speed
- One free domain (with annual subscription)
With this plan, you shouldn’t face any problem if your blog is mid-size and doesn’t attract millions of monthly traffic (in which case, you should willingly move to a higher plan.) If Hostinger could offer free SSL certificate for this plan, it’d be perfect.
Business Shared Hosting
The top-most plan comes with everything available in a premium plan, plus:
- 4X WordPress Optimized Speed
- Daily Backups
- Deluxe Live Support
- 2X Processing Power & Memory
- Free SSL Certificate to secure
I have no idea what they mean with 2X and 4X optimized speed or technology they use for optimization. Anyone with a fair understanding of WordPress can optimize their WordPress website, so let’s just call it a marketing gimmick.
2. Worldwide Servers Availability
This is something I genuinely appreciate about Hostinger. Unlike other low-budget hosting companies, Hostinger has data servers in many countries. It allows you to choose the server location nearest to your target audience for faster load time.
They also have a custom website for each country in the respective language, so that’s something helpful for beginners. As of today, Hostinger has offices in the following countries around the world.
3. Free Domain Name Included
A domain name will set you back by at least $10 (plus the hassle of setting up nameservers.) Providing a free domain name has worked great for web hosting companies (ask BlueHost), and it makes the process of starting a blog straightforward.
Following the footsteps, Hostinger offers a free domain name with Premium and Business shared hosting plans (annual plan only.) However, only the first domain name is free and additional domains will cost extra.
4. Free SSL Certificate
Although I believe that SSL should be free on each and every hosting plan, Hostinger treats it as a luxury. It offers free SSL certificate with the business plan only and provides an option to buy SSL certificate for other users.
However, with their cheap SSL certification pricing, you can still buy it as an add-on without creating a hole in your pocket.
5. No-limit Hosting Features
For both premium and business shared hosting, you get access to an unlimited number of websites, sub-domains, bandwidth, domain parking, and SSD disk space.
Although the “unlimited” features sound good on paper, don’t take it very seriously. It’s just a marketing tactic, and all shared hosting companies have a fair usage policy. If you’re overusing the server resources, they’ll ask you to upgrade or kick you out.
Since I’m running a general blog site with decent traffic, I haven’t face any such issue, and everything is working great. I also don’t store huge files as to exceed the fair usage limit of disk space.
If you’ve experienced any issue with Hostinger’s “unlimited” features, let me know in the comments.
6. Professional Customer Support
Customer support should get the highest weight when deciding on a web host. The customer support should be fast, professional, and knowledgeable with multiple communication channels available.
If a web host offers only email support from 10AM – 6PM, it can create some unnecessary problems. What if your site break in the middle of the night? How would you be able to get it online without any customer representative to help you out.
Sure, you can wait for another 10 hours till the support come to live, but that’ll result in loss of traffic and customers.
Hostinger, fortunately, excels at providing customer support. It offers 24/7 live chat support with a dedicated support team. On average, I had to wait 2-5 minutes to get a response from someone (Do note that, I live in India, so time zones are different.)
You can send a general inquiry email to ask about any pre-sale question as live support is available only for logged-in users (discussed in cons)
They also have a solid knowledge base available, which should pretty much all your questions. You can even reach out to them on Twitter @HostingerCOM to get a faster response.
Here’s a screenshot of one of my recent chat with their customer support. As you can see, Filip was speedy to respond and provided proper assistance.
7. Custom Designed Easy to Use Interface
Although Hostinger is powered by CPanel (the most popular control panel used by shared hosting companies), they have customized it for an even better experience.
It has flat-designed tiles look and ability to search for a setting or feature. I personally loved that they spent extra hours customizing CPanel to distinguish them from other hosting companies.
However, it doesn’t mean they have added extra groundbreaking features. The functionalities are the same available in an organized way. Installing WordPress is a few clicks away, and I’ll walk you through the steps later in this review.
8. 30-days Money Back Guarantee
Worried if Hosting is the right hosting for you? You can give it a try without worrying about losing your money. Every plan comes with a 30-days no questions asked money back guarantee.
If you feel it’s not a right hosting for you, you can ask for your money and get a full refund. There are some hidden T&Cs when it comes to domain refund, so make sure to contact the support and get it clear.
Hostinger Review: Pricing & Plans
You know the plans and features available. What about the pricing? How much would it cost to host your website with Hostinger? Here is your answer:
The Hostinger shared hosting starts at just $0.8/month and goes up to $7.95/month for the business plan. You can choose the one based on your budget or requirements.
Unless you’re starting a hobby site or a small project, choose between Premium or Business hosting. However, the pricing shown is only “looks too good to be true,” and there’s a catch. Check Hostinger cons #1 for more details.
Hostinger Review: Real Life Performance
Well, everything looks good on paper, let’s see how well Hostinger performs in real life tests.
1. Loading Speed Test
For a cheap web hosting, I usually expect it to load under 3 seconds out of the box. Anything less than 2 seconds is incredible as there’s next to no content on the homepage but default WordPress page.
Testing the website speed out of the box gives a good idea of how optimized a server is and if unnecessary scripts are being called. Hostinger performed exceptionally well, and the total load time was just 1.15 seconds.
To check if it can get lower, I did some WordPress speed optimization. Here is everything I did:
1. Installed GeneratePress theme (free version) and deleted all the default themes. I didn’t customize it other than adding a logo.
2. Installed few of the must-have WordPress plugins:
- Yoast SEO
- Contact Form 7
3. Compressed images by using WP Smush plugin (deleted it after compressing the photos)
The result? Here it is.
Insane right? Well if a cheap web hosting can load under 1 seconds, it speaks quality. However, the site may slow down as I add more content and images. But, I’m sure it won’t cross the 3-seconds load time anytime soon.
Hostinger promotes 99.99% uptime loud and clear. You can find it on every page of their website, and I had to put it to a real-life test.
I created a UptimeRobot tracker to keep track of uptime for the domain hosted with Hostinger. After 30 days, I opened the tracker, and I was expecting at least few downtimes (that’s what you get with almost every shared web hosting company, a 1-2 hours downtime in a month.)
Surprisingly, Hostinger results were mind-blowing! A 100% uptime.
You can also notice that the response rate never crossed 1500ms mark and average is 929ms (similar to what we got in our speed test.)
Honestly, it’s something I wasn’t expecting from a shared hosting provider. A thumbs up 👍 to Hostinger for their quality.
Hostinger Review: What I Didn’t Like
I was offered a free review period, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to talk about positive points only. Every company has some cons, and there are a few noteworthy cons of using Hostinger.
1. Unclear Pricing
Following a market standard pricing strategy, I found Hostinger pricing to be vague and confusing. The low pricing shown on the homepage is only available when you buy a long-term plan.
The cheapest plan of 0.8/month is only available for 3-months after which you’ll have to pay $3.99/month. Or you can go for 48 months plan to get $1.80/month pricing.
The same applies to all other plans, and you can get it for cheap only after subscribing to a long-term package. Although the pricing is still lower than most competitors, I personally prefer a more clear pricing structure.
Also, there’s no monthly payment option available which could be added.
2. Live Chat is Only Available for Logged In Users
I recommend my readers to contact the support team and ask some pre-sell questions as to get a clear idea of what to expect on a long-term basis. You can also ask for extra discounts or bonuses.
The above process becomes more straightforward if the website support live-chat for regular visitors as well. You can just click on the floating button, ask your question, and within a minute someone would be helping you.
Hostinger, on the other hand, doesn’t support it. There’s no live chat option for non-logged in users which makes thing complicated. You’ll have to fill a form to contact the support team.
3. SSL Isn’t Free on All Plans
This is probably the biggest con of Hostinger which needs to be fixed. SSL to me is a must-have element of a website. Now that Google shows a big “Not Secure” warning, you can’t ignore it.
And charging extra for SSL plan is plain cruel. Since most hosting companies use Let’s Encrypt SSL, which is available for free, why to charge for it? At least one SSL should be free with every hosting plan.
Sadly, Hostinger uses the situation to their advantage and SSL certificate is only available for “Business Shared Hosting” users. Even with their cheap lifetime SSL priced at $14.99, I still consider it as a con.
Don’t judge me!
Although the pricing is already on a cheaper side, if there is an option to save more, why not? Hostinger officially doesn’t advertise this coupon code but if you try to leave the site after going to the checkout page, you’ll get it as a popup.
To save extra 15% on your total bill, use Hostinger discount code “SAVE15” (you can thank me by purchasing the hosting from my affiliate link :p)
How to Install WordPress with Hostinger Hosting
Now that pros and cons are listed let’s see the steps required to install WordPress with Hostinger shared hosting.
Once you’ve made the purchase, you’ll have access to the dashboard where you can manage web hosting. Under the hosting section, click on “Manage” button which would take you to the customs control panel.
Scroll down and look for the section titled “Website” and click on “Auto Installer.”
You’ll find WordPress under “Most Popular” section on the top. If you want to install other CMS or script, you can browse the complete list or use the search panel.
Click on WordPress, and it’ll take you to the next screen. Choose the domain name to install WordPress. You can choose a custom folder or URL by checking the “Custom URL” box.
On the next screen, enter the admin credentials to be used. Make sure to not enter the generic username and password such as “admin” and “123456.”
You can use a password generator to create a secure password which is tough to crack.
On the last step, you need to choose the language for your site, give it a title, and choose if you want to overwrite, i.e., replace old WordPress files (since it’s a fresh installation, leave it to no)
Click on Install button and done! Your job here is complete, and the control panel will handle the rest.
You’ll get access details via both email and in your dashboard. Access it using the credentials you added and start blogging.
Hostinger Review: Final Verdict
Although there are some visible cons, the pros outweigh them which makes Hostinger one of the best shared web hosting. It also performed excellent in my real-life tests, so yes, I can safely recommend Hostinger to beginners.
However, I also recommend to perform your own tests and compare it with other similarly priced hostings before making a decision.
If you enjoyed reading this article, do leave a comment and share it with your friends. I would love to hear your experience with Hostinger, so let’s start the discussion.
- Ease of Usage
- Customer Support
- Extra Perks
Considering the cheap pricing of Hostinger, I expected it to perform poorly and provide a lot of hiccups with frequent downtimes and slow website. But, when the real-life results came out, I was mind blown. The host quality is excellent, no downtimes recorded, customer support is excellent, and the user experience is spot on!
There are few cons such as unclear pricing, no free SSL to everyone, and live chat. But those aren’t deal breakers.
Overall, I recommend using Hostinger for beginners to start a blog and grow without creating a hole in your pocket.