We’ve always been fans of Hostinger, but it felt like a budget-focused host more than anything else. With a revamped interface and expanded range of plans, though, it’s starting to come into its own. It still lacks the power to run large, multi-website networks, but it’s a strong contender for the best web hosting you can buy.
In this updated Hostinger review, we’re going to take a second look at the service to see if the changes make it worthy of your dollars. We’ll talk features, pricing, server types, ease of use, security and support before giving our verdict.
We expected mild changes to the service, but Hostinger came out swinging. It has managed to maintain the user-friendly approach we liked so much before while expanding the control panel and adding services. It’s an excellent web hosting choice, especially if you want to save a few bucks.
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Free domain
- Free SSL certificate
- Website builder
- BitNinja DDoS protection
- Fast response times
- No email or phone support
- Lack of top-end plans
Alternatives for Hostinger
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Hostinger is focused on one thing: inexpensive service. Though no one’s hiding that, it usually implies that the features are lacking in one way or another. Thankfully, that isn’t the case here. Despite reaching for bargain bin prices, Hostinger includes an impressive range of options.
The first and most important is automatic backups. Depending on your plan, you’ll get weekly or daily backups. If you’re purchasing a plan that only offers weekly backups, you can upgrade to daily, too. Though you should still do manual backups, an automated system to catch anything that slips through the cracks is never a bad thing.
Backups are the most important feature, but they may not be the most attractive. To really sell the sizzle, Hostinger includes a website builder. Though we’ve seen built-in website builders before, they usually feel more like an afterthought than a useful tool (read our 1&1 Website Builder review for an example).Hostinger’s website builder offers around 200 templates to choose from, and though some feel bland, others shine. The service doesn’t reach the levels of SquareSpace in its template design (read our SquareSpace review), but it has many attractive options for a variety of websites.
One important change to the website builder since our last outing is the addition of automatic template resizing. The feature, which Hostinger calls “auto layout,” is still in beta, and it shows. We appreciate the effort Hostinger is making to bring responsive templates to its website builder, but there are still a lot of issues with it.
Text might move into other sections, graphics may overlap certain elements of the website and the overall layout doesn’t always translate well. That said, it’s clear Hostinger is making strides to address on one of our biggest complaints the last time we tested it, and that’s a good thing. Responsive themes aren’t there yet, but Hostinger’s progress suggests they’re not far off.
Outside of that, the website builder is impressive. It includes integrations with Zendesk, PayPal, social media platforms and more, all while maintaining a straightforward drag-and-drop interface. Though most web hosts seem content to tack on a mediocre website builder and call it a day, it’s clear that Hostinger is dedicated to making its website builder a serious design tool.
As for the hosting service, Hostinger leaves no stone unturned. In addition to automated backups, it includes solid-state drive storage, lifetime SSL certificates and Cloudflare integration, cementing itself as not just another cheap web host, but rather a full-featured provider.
Hostinger Features Overview
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Hostinger is the best value you can get with web hosting. Even inexpensive providers, such as Bluehost (read our Bluehost review), can’t match the Hostinger’s bargain bin prices. Though that was true the last time we reviewed the service, a more robust lineup of plans makes it more attractive than ever.
Shared hosting comes in three flavors: Single, Premium and Business. As with most shared options, Hostinger requires you sign up for a multi-year contract to get the best rate, which, in this case, is worth it. Single shared hosting is less than a dollar per month if you purchase four years. Added together, you get four years of service for less than $40.
Depending on which plan you buy, there’ll be extras you can purchase at checkout. Daily backups are $1 extra, an SSL/TLS certificate is $12 for life and Cloudflare protection is only $10. You can also purchase priority support for $2 per month and SEO Toolkit Pro for $10 per month.
We’re fans of the daily backups, but the other additions aren’t great. The SEO toolkit may help newcomers, but you can use free analytics software, such as Google Analytics, instead. Likewise, $12 is inexpensive for a lifetime SSL certificate, but Hostinger doesn’t say what type it is, which makes us think it’s a budget one, especially because it’s a one-time fee.
Providers such as DreamHost offer some of those extras for free (read our DreamHost review). That said, we don’t mind that Hostinger charges. By stripping away conveniences, such as Cloudflare integration and an SSL certificate, from the start, Hostinger is able to lower its prices. If you’re comfortable getting those a la carte, it’s easily the cheapest way to purchase hosting.
Purchasing multiple years isn’t a bad thing, either. Hostinger offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, meaning you can test the service without risking a dime. Though InMotion Hosting provides up to 90 days to refund expensive plans (read our InMotion Hosting review), Hostinger’s time frame is enough.
Its payment options are surprisingly robust, too. The usual suspects like PayPal and credit cards are present, but it also allows you to pay with cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, ethereum and litecoin.
One of our biggest criticisms of Hostinger the last time we tested it was its lack of options for power users. Shared hosting is fine, especially when it’s as cheap as it is at Hostinger, but serious users need more oomph to their web hosting. Thankfully, Hostinger has taken that into consideration, expanding its lineup to accommodate a more diverse customer base.
Shared hosting is still its core, though, and its lineup doesn’t disappoint. As mentioned, there are three options to choose from: Single, Premium and Business.
Single plans are inexpensive, but they’re best suited for small websites that don’t need a lot of traffic. With 100GB of bandwidth, 10GB of storage space and no free extras, single hosting isn’t an attractive option for most. That said, it’s a decent option for, say, a portfolio website.
Premium is the first option you should look toward. At around $2 per month, it offers unlimited disk space, bandwidth and MySQL databases. It also has twice as much processing power as Single, whatever that means. Though we don’t put too much stock in that claim, Premium hosting is still backed by Hostinger’s 99.9 percent uptime guarantee, so we’re content.
Business is the same, except it comes with four times as much processing power, a free SSL certificate and daily backups. Premium plans already include weekly backups, which should be enough, but if you’re keen on ensuring nothing on your website is lost, Business plans aren’t bad.
The newcomer is cloud hosting. Unlike traditional hosting, cloud hosting spreads your website across multiple servers in the cloud. Because it does it that way, you get redundant copies of your site available at all times. Cloud hosting ensures that your website not only loads faster, but stays online longer.
Cloud hosting plans come with a dedicated IP address, isolated resources, free domain registration, a free SSL certificate and unlimited bandwidth. The only differences between the three cloud hosting plans Hostinger offers are the amount of SSD storage, memory and CPU cores. There’s also a difference in “speed boost,” which we don’t put too much stock in.
There’s also VPS hosting, which allows you to have the benefits of a dedicated server without the extra costs. Hostinger has six options available, with the most built-out configuration receiving a 12,632 from Geekbench.
Hostinger Speed and Uptime
During our testing, Hostinger had 100 percent uptime, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Every plan is backed up its 99.9 percent uptime guarantee, and though there are plenty of reasons not to trust an uptime guarantee, it follows through. If it falls below 99.9 percent uptime in any given month, you can request up to 5 percent of your monthly fee back.
We tested speed using Dareboost, GTMetrix and Pingdom, and Hostinger had decent results across the board. It received a C rating (around 70 percent) from all three tests. Though that’s not too impressive, there are a lot of factors that play into how fast your page loads, not all of which are on the shoulders of the web host.
Though our results weren’t up to our fastest web hosting standards, the reasons for them were based on optimizations to our website. For example, every tool suggested reducing image size to bring the amount of data that needs to be transferred down.
With careful planning and strategic optimization, Hostinger can be fast. Out of the box, it may not be the quickest option, but that’s normally the case. The last time we tested Hostinger, it had mediocre results, but this round of testing was impressive, if not the best we’ve seen.
Ease of Use
One aspect of Hostinger we liked before was its no-nonsense control panel. While it was great for usability, it didn’t offer the flexibility of cPanel (read our best web hosting with cPanel guide). Hostinger has ditched the old interface and replaced it with something that feels much more robust, all while maintaining the user-first approach we liked before.
You’ll have to sign up for an account first. The checkout process is simple, clearly showing the price you’re paying and the time you’re purchasing. Though we’re never thrilled about extras during checkout, Hostinger doesn’t pre-check options or hide them at the bottom. Rather, they’re displayed next to the product you’re purchasing with short tips explaining what they’re useful for.
After finishing checkout, you’ll be sent to the dashboard with a prompt to finish setting up your website. Hostinger’s process is a thing of beauty. When setting up your domain, you’ll be asked to enter your WHOIS information and presented with a list of options for building your website.
Though it seems like a small step, those new to web hosting will appreciate a single button for, say, installing WordPress. You can also choose to use Hostinger’s website builder, which is surprisingly good (read our GoDaddy GoCentral review to see how an included website builder shouldn’t function).
You can choose to skip setting up a platform and manage your website through cPanel instead. Like HostGator (read our HostGator review), Hostinger has a modified version of cPanel, and we’re fans of the changes it made.
Though we like options, dated cPanel implementations can overwhelm a newbie. Hostinger still gives you plenty of control over your website, but the modern interface doesn’t feel as daunting. SiteGround, for example, has the same options as Hostinger, but it isn’t nearly as inviting (read our SiteGround review).
It’s clear that Hostinger designed the interface with users in mind. Advanced options are buried toward the bottom of the screen, while common features like email are featured at the top. Hostinger has a subtle difference in its cPanel that makes the intimidating aspects of web hosting much easier to digest.
There are options in the control panel for adding new servers, managing domains and updating billing information, which are standard for a web hosting provider. The store is an unusual addition, though. There, you can purchase any of the extras you saw during checkout, as well as other products.
For example, you can purchase a G Suite subscription to get professional email at your domain, as well as office suite tools, all backed by Google Drive (read our Google Drive review). Oddly, you can also purchase a subscription to NordVPN, which isn’t a bad thing, considering NordVPN is one of the best VPN providers around (read our NordVPN review).
Hostinger has managed something special with its new interface. It retained everything we liked about it before while adding more raw power for users who can harness it. Instead of just being a cheap web hosting provider, Hostinger feels like a proper option now, all while maintaining its appeal to newcomers.
Hostinger’s focus, even if it has expanded, is still on providing fast, inexpensive web hosting. Because of that, there aren’t many security features included, despite the fact that you can purchase additional protection during checkout. Some of the more advanced security features, such as website cleaning or malware protection, aren’t included.
Outside of Single Shared Hosting, all plans come with automated backups. Depending on the plan you get, those backups can be weekly or daily. Though that’s not the first thing that jumps to mind when thinking about security, the redundancy of backups are a nice safety valve to have if something goes wrong.
You can also purchase Cloudflare protection. As explained in our what is Cloudflare guide, adding the service to your website can help its speed and security. Cloudflare is a content delivery network, meaning it stores versions of your website on servers around the world and serves those copies to users close to a particular location.
Less travel distance means that your website will load faster, but it also means you’re less likely to fall victim to a distributed denial-of-service attack. Cloudflare can distribute incoming requests and identify DDoS attacks before they can take your website offline, handling the load across the network so that no individual server takes the hit.
One disappointing omission is SiteLock, or, for that matter, any scanning or malware removal tool. Though Hostinger isn’t the only web hosting service to skip malware removal, its user-first approach seems like a natural home for it. Of course, you can purchase SiteLock or any other scanning tool and add it to your website manually, but new users may not know that.
Website security is a burden that falls back on you, and Hostinger does a good job preparing you to fight any threat your website could face. Though the lack of a malware removal tool is disappointing, we’re happy with the spread of tools Hostinger offers.
It’s also worth noting that Hostinger is one of the few independent web hosts. Instead of owning multiple web hosting companies and using the same or similar infrastructure across them, you’re using Hostinger alone. As a private company, that usually means Hostinger is going to look out for your best interest rather than pleasing shareholders.
Hostinger leaves no question about how to contact support. Every time you open your account dashboard, a tip will pop up from a support agent, showing you where to contact live chat. That support agent may not be the same one you talk to when you reach out, but the small nudge to contact is nice to see.
We reached out to support at around 1 a.m. — your reviewer is a night owl — and received a response in under a minute. The response wasn’t redirective or cold, either. The support agent answered our question about Cloudflare integration thoroughly and quickly, with a positive attitude, to boot.
Plus, you can view your previous conversations with support reps every time you open live chat. Instead of sending you directly to a support agent, Hostinger shows your recent conversations and a search bar to find an answer in the knowledgebase. It isn’t forcing you to go to the knowledgebase, though. You can start a conversation without searching first.
Outside of live chat, you can email Hostinger. We reached out with the same question about Cloudflare and a rep got back to us in around six hours. As with live chat, the response email was friendly and through.
You shouldn’t need to resort to email, though. Hostinger has an impressive knowledgebase that provides answers to most questions. There are a few hundred articles, covering everything from billing to DNS.
What’s impressive about the knowledgebase is that it doesn’t focus on one aspect of the service. We’ve seen knowledgebases that focus on troubleshooting and others that focus on tutorials. Hostinger, on the other hand, has a good spread of troubleshooting guides and tutorials, helping new users get their footing while still assisting patrons.
Hostinger as it expands its services. In the short time since we tested it, it has grown to accommodate a larger customer base while maintaining the user-first approach that we liked so much before. From features to support, Hostinger is one of the best web hosting providers around.
That said, it still lacks powerful options, such as dedicated hosting for the customers who need it. Its services have expanded, but not enough to accommodate everyone. That’s neither good nor bad, though. It could provide high-end hosting, but the niche it fills needs a quality, independent option. Hostinger is that.
For power users, Kinsta is a good place to start (read our Kinsta review).
What do you think of Hostinger? Will you try a plan? Let us know about your experience in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.