Tom's Guide Verdict
Although it’s far from the most popular web hosting provider in the world, Hostwinds offers a great range of shared, VPS, cloud, dedicated server, and business hosting for websites of all sizes.
Excellent “unlimited everything” shared plans
Loads of included tools and features
Pricing is confusing
Knowledge base is average at best
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
In our search for the best web hosting services, we’ve reviewed countless hosting providers offering solutions for businesses of all sizes. At first glance, Hostwinds appears to be an excellent choice, with a great selection of hosting products backed by decent performance and a comprehensive knowledge base.
In our Hostwinds review, we take a closer look at this popular provider to help you determine whether or not it’s a good option for your needs. We analyze its subscription options, user interface, main features, support, and more.
Hostwinds: Plans and pricing
There are numerous hosting options available, including shared, business, reseller, virtual private server (VPS), cloud, and dedicated servers.
Hostwinds’ shared hosting stands out as exceptional. All plans include unlimited bandwidth, disk space, email accounts, databases, subdomains, and more. They also come with full SSD storage, the Softaculous one-click installer, free site transfers, the Weebly website builder, and more.
Prices for shared hosting start from just $5.24 a month for a Basic plan, which supports the creation of one website. Upgrade to the Advanced plan (from $6.74 a month) for support for up to four websites, or unlock unlimited site connections with an Ultimate subscription (from $8.24 a month).
When it comes to VPS hosting, both managed and unmanaged options are available. Prices start from just $4.99 a month for an unmanaged or $8.24 a month for a managed plan, and you can choose between Windows and Linux operating systems.
Cloud hosting is billed by the hour, costing from $0.006931 an hour, or approximately $4.99 a month. Dedicated servers start at $106 a month, and you can customize everything from the amount of RAM and storage you need to bandwidth and IP addresses.
Like all top-rated web hosting providers, Hostwinds offers a selection of great features that are worth expanding on.
One thing that stands out is the excellent “unlimited everything” shared hosting plans. Unlike many competitors, which place constraints on bandwidth, storage, and more, Hostwinds offers unlimited storage, bandwidth, email accounts, databases, and subdomains with every shared hosting plan.
All shared hosting plans come with excellent backup tools, including regular automatic nightly backups. With this, all site files are backed up to the cloud, and you can restore them at any time if you need to.
Hostwinds also offers an impressive site transfer feature. All migrations are completed by the Hostwinds support team, which means that you can rest assured that everything will be left working properly. This is a nice change from the automatic transfer plugins that some other providers offer, as these don’t always work well.
Hostwinds: Interface and in use
Getting started with Hostwinds can be a little frustrating, as you need to create an account before you can even view the products in your shopping cart. For this, you will need to provide your name, address, email address, and phone number.
Once you have gotten started, the native Hostwinds management panel allows you to look after your domains, email accounts, and more. Navigate to the cPanel control panel for more advanced tools, including the popular Softaculous one-click installer.
Unfortunately, though, the included Weebly website builder isn’t really worth using. With it, you can only create a limited site with Weebly branding, and you will be constrained by a 500MB storage limit. You could upgrade to a paid Weebly plan—but if you’re going to do this, there’s no need to use Hostwinds at all.
On the customer service front, Hostwinds does everything you would expect. Live chat, email, and online ticket submission are available, and the support agents are generally responsive and helpful.
Unfortunately, though, things went downhill when we started looking at the knowledge base. Although there appear to be plenty of resources available, many of the links to articles and tutorials are broken.
On the plus side, the search bar works brilliantly, which means that you should be able to get a decent amount of resources related to your problems, even if some of them don’t work.
Alternatives to Hostwinds
Hostwinds is an excellent web hosting provider offering a wide range of solutions, but there are plenty of great alternatives out there as well.
Bluehost is an excellent beginner-friendly option for those who value speed and performance. Prices start from just $3.95 a month, and you will benefit from a free domain, excellent customer service, and the power of one of the world’s largest web hosting companies.
Another great option is Hostinger, which provides excellent value for money and a great range of advanced features. Prices start from just $0.99 a month, and the platform really focuses on security and file backups.
Hostwinds: Final verdict
Although Hostwinds doesn’t have any major flaws, it also doesn’t really offer anything to make itself stand out from the crowd. Its prices are competitive, its “unlimited everything” shared hosting is decent, and there are plenty of advanced features that you can draw on to optimize your website.
However, the poor-quality knowledge base, questionable pricing structure, and sub-par built-in Weebly website builder do detract from the platform’s positive aspects.
Ultimately, you could certainly do worse than using Hostwinds. But we’d recommend looking elsewhere if you’re serious about building a high-quality website that your visitors can rely on.
Further reading on web hosting
Make sure to check out our range of buying guides covering various hosting types, including the best VPS hosting, the best cloud hosting, the best WordPress hosting, the best Windows hosting, the best Linux web hosting, and the best unlimited hosting.
Daniel is a freelance copywriter with over six years experience writing for publications such as TechRadar, Tom’s Guide, and Hosting Review. He specializes in tech and finance, with a particular focus on website building, web hosting, and related fields.