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Hostinger web hosting review

Unlimited hosting with loads of features for a very fair price

Hostinger

Our Verdict

Offering good value shared and VPS hosting with some interesting features, Hostinger is worth a look for novice and intermediate users.

For

  • Good value shared and VPS hosting
  • Decent performance
  • Quality cPanel-like site manager
  • No restrictions on website builder

Against

  • Baseline shared accounts are very limited
  • Mostly covers shared hosting, no dedicated plans

Hostinger business web hosting | 4-years | $3.45 per month
Exclusive to TechRadar readers
. This is an incredibly cheap deal. For less than the price of a coffee every month, you can get a free domain, 100GB storage, unlimited traffic and a free SSL certificate. This package is perfect if you plan to host just one website and grow it rapidly with plenty of features not found at this price.
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Founded back in 2004 as 'Hosting media', Lithuania-based Hostinger has expanded to become a popular web hosting provider with more than 29 million customers, and offices around the world.

The company website sells the service largely on performance. Scroll down the front page and you're immediately confronted with phrases like 'fast and secure', 'spirit of performance', 'optimized for speed', and 'we are here for you, when milliseconds matter.'

The range starts with a 'Single Shared Hosting' plan aimed at home users. This is currently on offer for $1.45 billed monthly, falling to $0.80 if you pay for four years upfront. This plan limits you to a single website and subdomain, 10GB of drive space, 100GB bandwidth a month and just a single email address. An Easy Website Builder makes it simple to get started, though, and there are one-click installers for WordPress and other popular apps. The package is probably enough to run a simple personal or family site.

If you've bigger hosting ambitions, the 'Premium Shared Hosting' plan might be a better deal. It's currently available from as little as $2.15 per month but gives you 20GB disk space, double the processing power, plus it supports unlimited bandwidth, databases, FTP users and email accounts, allows as many websites as you need, and throws in a free domain name as a bonus (and an SSL certificate with subscriptions of a year or more).

The 'Business Shared Hosting' plan, which is currently available from $3.45 per month, doubles the processing power again (that's 4x more resources than the baseline account), throws in a free SSL certificate, and ramps up your disk space allowance to 30GB.

Subscribers receive 24/7 online support via live chat, no matter what plan they have chosen.

More demanding users could try one of Hostinger's VPS plans. These start at $3.95 a month for a basic specification: 1 vCPU, 1GB RAM, 2GB burst RAM, 20GB hard drive, 1000GB bandwidth. The plans aren't very customizable, but with six to choose from, ranging up to an 8 vCPU, 8GB RAM, 8000GB bandwidth monster, there's a good chance you'll find something that works for you.

But if you still need more, unlucky: Hostinger doesn't have any dedicated hosting plans.

All the plans are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee. This has the usual restrictions you'll get with hosting – you won't get a refund for domain name registrations, for instance – but we didn't notice any other sneaky clauses which might catch you out.

Account setup

While many hosts are annoyingly vague about the low-level details of their packages, Hostinger spells out almost everything in a lengthy comparison table. If you care that the baseline Single Shared Hosting plan only allows one cron job and doesn't support SSH access, for instance, you'll discover that here.

Choose a plan, click Buy and you might be surprised by the prices. The website doesn't make it clear, but the big headline figures are for the four-year plan only, and you'll pay a little more for shorter subscriptions. But this doesn't always work as you'd expect, either.

For example, the Single Shared Hosting plan costs $1.45 billed monthly, but rises to $1.95 over a year, then falls to $1.45 over two years, and hits a bargain $0.80 over four years. Paying for a single year upfront is more expensive than paying monthly? Seems odd to us, but that's the way it is. If you sign up, pay very close attention to the prices before you buy.

You can bump this figure up a little if you decide to purchase any optional extras. Daily backups are $0.95 a month. SSL certificates and Cloudflare integration are priced at $11.95 and $9.95 respectively for the lifetime of your account. If we assume you're buying all of these, and we spread the cost across a four-year subscription, that adds $1.41 a month to the pre-tax cost (though SSL and Cloudflare would be free after that).

We chose a plan and were prompted to create an account. Hostinger has options to sign up with Facebook and Google, unusually, which is convenient but not so secure (anyone with access to your credentials or a device logged in to Facebook or Google could access your hosting account, too). It's easy to create an account manually, though, and Hostinger only needs a few details: name, email address and password.

There are plenty of payment options available, including PayPal, credit card and Bitcoin. We chose PayPal and handed over our virtual cash in the usual way. A website link took us to a simple startup wizard and a welcome email quickly arrived with more details.

Creating a site

Hostinger's setup wizard opened by asking us whether we wanted to register a new domain, transfer a domain from another company, or use an existing domain but leave it with the current registrar.

You're also able to choose where to host your site, conveniently: North America, the UK or Europe.

We chose the 'existing domain' option and were given Hostinger's four name servers, and told to update our domain DNS settings.

The final 'Start website' step offered five options to help us create our website.

Install WordPress took us to a straightforward WordPress installer. All the default settings were sensibly assigned, and after choosing an admin password we could set the system up with a click.

(Image credit: Hostinger)

Auto Installer uses the same automated approach to install more than 100 popular apps, including Joomla, PrestaShop, OpenCart, phpBB and Drupal. We prefer Softaculous, the installer often provided by other hosts, but this one is perfectly adequate and will get your chosen apps installed at speed.

Zyro Builder is Hostinger's website builder. This covers all the basics, with 196 responsive templates, easy drag-and-drop customizations, and options to embed videos, maps, social media widgets and simple e-commerce features.

Hostinger

(Image credit: Hostinger)

It's not for advanced users – there's no blogging platform, for instance – and design is more about mild tweaking of a template than building something new from scratch. But it's capable of creating some quality sites, and there are no annoying restrictions on page numbers or site size to get in your way.

File Manager opens a browser-based file manager where you can upload your site. This is most useful for small static sites, but you could also use it to manually install more sophisticated apps, perhaps setting up custom databases and editing configuration files.

Access Manager is an unusual extra tool which allows you to give others access to your Hostinger account, enabling them to work on creating or managing the site with you. You could do something similar by sharing your credentials with others, but this is much safer. Everyone gets their own login, and the people you invite don't get full access to your account. They're able to create or edit a website page, for instance, but by default they can't buy a new product with your stored payment details, or change account details such as your registered email address.

If you don't want to commit to this right now, you can skip it all and head straight for Hostinger's well-designed cPanel-like site manager, where you'll find tools for organizing domains, subdomains, databases, SSH access, emails, FTP accounts and more. There's a lot of power here, and hosting first-timers might be a little intimidated, but start to explore and it quickly begins to make sense. Even novice users will be finding their way around the key features within a few minutes.

Performance

Everyone needs a helping hand sometimes, even experts, so it's important for web hosts to have a good support system.

Clicking 'Help' on Hostinger's Control Panel opens the service knowledgebase. This groups content by well-chosen topics (Getting Started, Website, hPanel, Email, Domains, Billing), lists popular articles and has a search box to help you find whatever you need.

We were impressed by the number of articles on offer (75 under Website, 83 for hPanel, 49 for Domains), but this wasn't quite as good as it seemed on first glance. Many were just a line or two, more like the content you'd get in a simple FAQ page than an in-depth support site. ('What's the maximum email attachment size?' – 25MB; 'Can I connect to my control panel from a mobile device?' – yes, use these two links; 'Are there any limits in Zyro Builder?' – no.)

Look past the more basic content, though, and you'll find detailed advice on a range of small but specific issues. Typing 'permissions' gave us advice on setting file and folder permissions, as well as referring to specific error messages ('403 forbidden'). Entering 'change PHP version' pointed us straight to the correct cPanel module. The content of these articles was basic, but enough to point readers in the right direction.

Hostinger has a big tutorials section with far more detailed articles: 'How to Make a Website – the all-in-one Guide', 'How to Launch a WordPress website', 'How to back up your emails', and more. These seem well-written and genuinely helpful, but, bizarrely, they can't be located from the knowledgebase search box. Hostinger has a lengthy tutorial titled '30 WordPress SEO Tips', for example, but if you type '30 WordPress SEO Tips' in the Search box on the Help page, it won't appear.

If you can't find what you need, support is available 24/7/365 via live chat and a ticket-based system. We submitted a query via live chat, and a helpful agent began providing a useful reply within a couple of minutes.

Uptime.com

(Image credit: Uptime.com)

We rounded off the review by running various monitoring and speed tests on the Hostinger server.

Uptime.com continuously tracked our server response times, and delivered generally positive results. Baseline response times were good at around 170ms, and although these frequently spiked upwards (probably as other sites on our server demanded resources), they still remained better than most at an average 200ms.

Dotcom-tools website speed test measured the download speed of our test site from 16 locations around Europe and the US. Again, speeds were better than average, with downloads some 20-30% faster than the low-end competition.

Final verdict

Hostinger offers plenty of features and powerful cPanel-like site management for a very fair price. Worth a look for intermediate users on a budget who need a little more than the shared hosting basics.