HostNine is a US-based web hosting provider that launched in 2006 and has since opened multiple data centers in various countries on three continents. During this time they offer a wide range of hosting services including shared, reseller, cloud VPS and dedicated server solutions. Beyond the above, finding relevant information about the company felt like full-time detective work.
HostNine’s main website offers little more than the usual self-promotion propaganda. The next logical step was to find out what we can find about them on social networks. Despite having LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter accounts, the last two haven’t been updated in a while. Her Twitter (which seems to have been ditched since 2019) gave us cause for concern, particularly regarding her customer care services, which did not seem to live up to some users’ expectations. There have also been multiple mentions of prolonged downtime, so you should think twice about this.
It appears that HostNine was a relatively small privately owned company employing 10 to 15 people until they were picked up by EIG (Endurance International Group) in 2012. EIG has been in business since 1997 and has since acquired a large number of employees from smaller companies that later became big brands (Bluehost, Hostgator, HostMonster, JustHost and many more).
HostNine’s main website, while quite plain at first glance, feels modern and is intuitive and easy to use, which is always commendable. The HostNine data center locations can be found at the end of the hosting plans advertised: US, UK, Singapore, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands.
When searching for HostNine’s official blog, we only found one out of date blog that has been gathering dust since January 2015. It does have a couple of decent, out-of-the-box tutorials, however.
Plans and prices
There are three levels of plans for every type of hosting that HostNine provides. Shared hosting plans are marked as: Personal, Business, and Enterprise, while the other types are simply marked with numbers (with a larger number indicating a Premium plan). The Starter plan (labeled as Personal) is $ 10.03 for a month and includes unlimited storage and unmeasured bandwidth. It does, however, include a free domain (it costs you an additional $ 15 per year), a free SSL certificate (it costs an additional $ 39.99), and the only data center available is in the US.
The “personal” plan, while the cheapest, is quite limited and doesn’t offer much for those just starting out with their first websites. On the positive side, there is no price increase at HostNine after you renew your hosting plan. So, at least when it comes to pricing, see what you get now or ever.
If you choose the HostNine plan for at least a year, you get a 45-day money-back guarantee that is a little longer than usual.
When it comes to payment methods, HostNine supports credit / debit cards and PayPal.
Choosing a plan with HostNine is quite easy as it shows them all alongside their features, prices for add-ons, as well as the locations of all available data centers. If you’d like to find out a little more about the plan before making a decision, there’s a “Show All …” option for each hosting type. Learn more about additional features (e.g. control panel and accessible applications) and price differences depending on the billing cycle.
After that, you’ll need to register a new domain (a free domain is included in more expensive shared hosting plans and all reseller hosting plans) or transfer an old domain if you have one. The two add-ons available are: Google AdWords (with $ 100 free credit) and Priority Support (which gives priority to your tickets for $ 15 per month).
To be completely honest, it doesn’t sound like much to pay $ 15 every month so that you can get the support you need fast enough. We can’t help but believe that users who have complained about HostNine’s customer support may not have accepted this overpriced ad. Even ID protection (security for personal data and reduction of spam in the inbox) costs an additional USD 12.95, but this time for one year.
After verifying all of the details about your purchase, you will need to provide your name, email address, phone number, street address, city, and state. Those who open an account on behalf of the company will be required to provide additional VAT information. After that, create a password, add a payment method, choose if you want to be part of the mailing list, and proceed to check out.
After looking at HostNine’s terms and conditions, we noticed a small (but noteworthy) detail of the 99.9% uptime guarantee. For every 60 minutes of downtime, customers receive a day’s credit in their HostNine’s account as an excuse.
Since HostNine provides its users with a cPanel and WHM control panel along with the Softaculous app installer with one click, hundreds of open source applications and CMS are available to you in no time.
Speed and experience
When asked “Why HostNine?” They give us some reasons and one of them was related to their performance. They claim that each of their data centers provides its users with “world class network speeds and reliability.” After seeing that HostNine actually knows how to “speak”, we had to check to see if they were “walking” too.
A repeated GTmetrix speed test on HostNine’s main website gave us a few reasons to question their promises. With an average result of 8.1 seconds, the page took 8.2 seconds to fully load. This may only take a millisecond longer, but we have to admit that it doesn’t leave an impression of “world class” speed. In addition, 114 requests were made while the page was loading, which doesn’t look very good compared to the 87 average. At the end of the test, GTmetrix rated the website’s speed performance with an F (46%).
However, an UptimeRobot-UptimeRobot test that ran on HostNine’s main website for more than a month showed more positive results. During the recorded time there was no evidence of downtime and only a significant variation in response time. Although a month is not representative of an entire year, these results are encouraging.
HostNine offers several types of customer support including: email, ticket, live chat, and phone. However, the latter is reserved for US citizens and is only made available during working hours. All other forms of assistance should be available around the clock.
If you choose to contact the HostNine team by selecting the appropriate option (ie “Contact Us”) on the landing page, the knowledge base will appear. At first glance, it looks different from the website and is a bit old-fashioned, but it is well stocked with a couple of hundred articles broken down into different categories. Some of them are pretty detailed, others give you the most basic instructions, sorted by ordinal number. However, both seem helpful enough.
Judging by the comments from dissatisfied users on social networks, live chat is the weakest link in HostNine’s customer support. However, our own experiences have been more positive than expected. We got our response in less than 30 minutes and couldn’t find anything to complain about.
Similar to HostNine, StableHost is another US-based host that has a good selection of products, features, and options for hosting. Although both are on the expensive side compared to their competition, StableHost offers them starter plans at great prices and throws in a SiteBuilder as a bonus.
Although Hostgator and HostNine are part of the same umbrella company (EIG), they do not share “how it works”. Hostgator strives to provide beginners with all the tools they need without feeling like they have paid a king’s ransom. On the other hand, HostNine is not afraid to charge them for every single thing, although, to be fair, it is done in a laudable and transparent manner.
Another EIG brand, Bluehost, is one of the largest providers in the web hosting industry today and can be expected to offer its users more competitive pricing than HostNine. If that’s not enough to convince you, Bluehost includes a free domain in all plans (for the first year) as well as a free CDN and SSL certificate.
Verio and HostNine are somewhat similar in terms of pricing, as both aren’t afraid to charge more for their services than most hosts. However, HostNine offers its customers the industry standard cPanel, while Verio offers a sleek control panel that is not user-friendly enough, especially by comparison.
HostNine is a perfectly capable host that has enough hosting options, features, and add-ons to meet the needs of most users, no matter how demanding their businesses are. Unfortunately, while it belongs to the same group as Bluehost and Hostgator, HostNine doesn’t offer the same value for money when it comes to small business owners. To be honest, HostNine is far from a bad host, but it doesn’t stand out much among other companies.
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