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After forming in 2004, this Lithuania-based hosting company has gained a lot of momentum after rebranding to Hostinger in 2011.
Look at this google trends graph. Although there is a little slump in recent years, their growth rate was terrific.
Competitive pricing and extreme discounts have been their main selling point since the first day. If you have ever searched for a free web hosting, you might have heard about 000webhost. It is another offering from Hostinger.
So, if you are looking for a cheap web host, is Hostinger worth considering? Does the quality suffer in any way due to lower pricing?
After reading this Hostinger review, you will be able to decide if it is right for you or not.
For writing this article, I purchased their cheapest shared plan and tested it for almost one month. So, this review solely depends on my personal experiences.
Custom Control Panel – hPanel
Unlike most of the other web hosts, Hostinger does not give you the traditional cPanel. Instead, they have rolled out a custom solution, which they call hPanel.
In my opinion, hPanel is a lot simpler for a beginner. Otherwise, if you are already familiar with cPanel, it can confuse here and there.
For example, if you have multiple domains under one hosting account, hPanel gives you a separate control panel interface for each of them. In contrast, cPanel allows you to manage all of them from the same interface. This difference had caused me some confusion in the beginning.
If you want cPanel, you can try Hosting24, which is a part of Hostinger. I came to know about it during a live chat session when I mentioned that I like cPanel over any other control panels.
In short, hPanel is a no-nonsense for any beginner, but expert users may prefer cPanel.
What’s the main thing that keeps Hostinger apart from others?
In my opinion, it’s their LiteSpeed servers. While the majority of hosts provide Apache servers, LiteSpeed is the reason behind Hostinger’s speed.
Also, Hostinger enables LiteSpeed Cache plugin on all WordPress installations by default. So, you don’t have to use any other caching plugin.
According to a test, LiteSpeed is almost 84X faster than a combination of Apache and W3 Total Cache. Not only Apache, but it could also outperform Nginx as well.
That means it should be able to handle a lot more traffic than a similar-sized Apache server.
Then why not all hosts support LiteSpeed?
LiteSpeed is not entirely free, like Apache. That might be the reason why most web hosts stick to either Apache or Nginx. It does have a free plan called OpenLiteSpeed; however, it is quite limited. It supports only one domain, and the server memory should be less than 2GB.
A2Hosting is another company where you can find LiteSpeed hosting. However, the option is available only on their high-end plans.
Around 43% of websites use Apache server, while LiteSpeed’s share is 5.2% – W3Techs.
As of writing this review, Hostinger offers data centers in four locations – two in Europe and one each in Asia and the USA.
- Europe (Netherlands)
- Europe (Lithuania)
- North America (USA)
- Asia (Singapore)
Choosing a location closer to your visitors can help improve your server response times. For this review, I selected the USA as the data center.
Even though Hostinger uses a custom control panel, you won’t find any problem installing your favorite apps or content management systems. Installing WordPress is just a matter of seconds.
If you want a drag-and-drop editor to build your website, you can use Hostinger’s website builder.
It’s not as polished as Squarespace or Wix, but it is sufficient to spin up a website quickly.
Speed & Performance
I have tested Hostinger multiple times for one month, and these are the results.
As I’ve said above, the LiteSpeed cache plugin was enabled by default. Apart from that, I didn’t make any performance tweaks.
- WordPress installation with ten images & some sample content
- LiteSpeed Cache Plugin
- Tested using GTmetrix
DigitalOcean performed a tad faster, both in terms of TTFB and Onload Times.
Uptime & Reliability
During my tests, Hostinger showed 100% uptime, according to UptimeRobot.
Hostinger offers 24/7 Live chat support to all customers using Intercom.
I got a chance to test their efficiency when I messed up with an SSL installation on my test site.
Here is what happened. I had got a free SSL activation along with my hosting plan. After signing up and installing WordPress, I activated it from the hPanel.
To know what will happen, I clicked the Delete Certificate button, hoping that I can re-install it again. However, when I tried to do it, I got an error saying Certificate not Found.
The website started showing an SSL error. Since I had enabled the Force HTTPS option, I couldn’t access it without HTTPS either. In short, the site went down, and I was locked out.
I could manually install another certificate and solve the issue, but instead, I contacted the support via Live Chat.
To my disappointment, nobody was there to answer the issue initially. I waited almost half an hour without any answer, and then I decided to close the chat window and try again after a while.
So, after one hour, I opened a new conversation. Again, I had to wait for a while to get a reply. Finally, somebody from the support staff picked up, and I could explain the problem. The person fixed it by re-installing the SSL certificate, and my website was up again.
I asked him why there was such a delay, and he replied that he had an overload of conversations.
Problem resolved? Yes.
Total Wait Time: ~2 hrs.
Apart from it, I had contacted their support a few more times. Only in one of those, I could get an almost instant reply.
Overall, it gave me the impression that there may not be enough members to provide quick responses, although they can solve the problems when they reply.
So, when your site goes down, there is no choice other than waiting in the queue to get a reply or fix it yourself if possible.
Hostinger’s shared plans start at $0.80/mo, which is quite tempting, right?
However, to lock that price, you have to commit to a 48-month billing schedule.
Instead, if you buy for one year, the lowest price is $1.95/mo for one website. Still, it is cheaper than other similar hosts.
Free Domain Name
Also, when you buy hosting for one year or more, you can get a free domain name for the first year.
Hostinger offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. I decided to give it a try as I had no plan to move from my current web host.
According to their refund policy, you can get a refund for your hosting purchase if you cancel within the first 30 days.
So, on the 30th day, I deleted my hosting account and contacted via live chat and asked for a refund.
Despite the delays between responses, the support personnel was so polite.
Meanwhile, he enquired why I was leaving. To be honest, I replied that I canceled the account as I no longer needed it.
When I said about my preference for cPanel, that’s when he mentioned about Hosting24.
He also asked me if I wish to receive the refund as account credits so that I can use those credits when I buy something from them in the future. I humbly rejected it and said that I prefer a real money-back.
Without further hesitation, he initiated a refund and said the money would arrive back within ten days. On the 4th day, I got a message that my credit card was refunded.
5 Pros of Hostinger
- Great Speed & Performance
- Lower than average prices
- High Uptime
- Beginner-friendly Control Panel
- Data Centers in three continents
3 Cons of Hostinger
- Slow Chat Replies
- No cPanel
- The extra cost for Let’s Encrypt SSL activation & Cloudflare integration, which are usually free with other hosts.
Conclusion: Do I Recommend Hostinger?
Yes, I recommend Hostinger if you are looking for an economical hosting solution with high speed and uptime.
However, support can be slow. So, if fast support is a must for you, you can try other options like SiteGround or Bluehost.