HostMetro Web Hosting Review: Affordable Shared Hosting For Small Businesses
Looking to build a website and make your own mark in the World Wide Web? You need to start by choosing a reliable web host first. There are quite literally thousands of web hosting providers out there wanting to reach out to every person in need of services to connect their website to the Internet. Given this fact, how does one choose what’s right for his/her business? Choosing a web host doesn’t have to cause unnecessary hurdles to your site’s success, which is why I’m here to make things a lot easier for you, by helping you choose the right web hosting provider to fit your needs and budget!
Shared hosting is the most popular solution offered by most web hosting providers, and they’re mostly aimed towards individuals and businesses that are new to such web technologies and usually don’t know what to look for in a web hosting plan. It’s really important to know the technical processes that come into finding a proper hosting solution and once you understand, the rest would be easy. If you want a straightforward, no-nonsense web host that cuts away all the unnecessary features, shared hosting expert, HostMetro, is definitely worth your consideration.
The web hosting industry is ever-changing, with companies changing positions and new ones popping up in the market almost every day. How does HostMetro fare from this fierce competition? What makes them stand out from the rest? Can you really rely on their affordable shared hosting for small businesses? Let’s find out in this in-depth HostMetro web hosting review.
Why Choose HostMetro?
Established in 2003, HostMetro is a web hosting company based in Arlington Heights, Illinois, in the United States. The company focuses on providing budget-friendly shared hosting packages that are ideal not just for individuals but for small businesses, as well. They’re a well-established web host composed of a powerful team of professionals who know web hosting like the back of their hand. Their staff has a combined 50+ years of experience and expertise in the industry, and it really shows in the level of service they offer. They have a strong focus on shared web hosting solutions but apart from these, they also provide email hosting and domain name registration services.
HostMetro firmly believes that providing high-quality support and service is the key to satisfying their customers. This is why they made sure to provide premium services that are not just affordable but also easy to create, manage, and maintain. Not only does HostMetro offer tools to help you easily run your site, they also have a professional tech support team attending to your needs 24/7/365, as well constantly monitoring the systems to prevent downtime and other server issues. The company also gives their clients complete freedom to run their websites, which is why they don’t put any limit or restriction on their features. True enough, you can take your site “To The Max” with their hosting solutions. No wonder HostMetro is rated as one of the most reliable web hosts in the market.
HostMetro Web Hosting Plans and Pricing
HostMetro is a Linux-based web host that focuses on providing budget-friendly, shared hosting packages. But compared to other web hosts, you can only choose from two different shared hosting plans: Mega Max and Super Max. It’s a pretty simple choice, right? Both of these plans come at very affordable prices and the longer the length of your contract, the cheaper the monthly subscription fee gets!
Both the Mega Max and Super Max plans are shared hosting environments that come with cutting-edge cloud technology, a number of “maximum” and “unlimited” features (including unlimited hosted domains), free shared SSL certificate, some useful eCommerce features, and many more cool perks. Both plans also come packed with unlimited email and FTP accounts, MySQL databases, and even a free online website builder. You also have the option to install one of the many available web apps with the convenient script installation tool.
Check out the comparison chart below to see which of the two plans suits you best:
|MEGA MAX||SUPER MAX|
|Monthly Pricing||Starting at $2.95||Starting at $6.95|
|SSL Certificate||$2.50 / month||FREE|
|SiteLock Security Seal||$2.50 / month||FREE|
|Search Engine Submission||FREE|
|SEO Marketing Tools||FREE|
|One-Click Application Install|
The Mega Max plan is ideal for general-purpose sites, while the high-tier Super Max plan best fits websites that require more functions and options, like eCommerce sites. Hosting accounts on both plans are managed via cPanel control panel, which is good news for those who want ease of use and convenience in managing their hosting account and websites.
For those who are wondering what HostMetro meant with the “maximum” disk space and bandwidth, there’s a bit of a strange clause to this because customers actually have a quota – one that HostMetro says is enough to satisfy majority of their customers’ needs. Simply put, you won’t be getting unlimited resources, which is to be expected in a shared hosting plan. However, you are allowed to request more space if you really need it, although HostMetro will turn it down if 15% of your existing space is taken up by files that are not used for website-building. This is perhaps a way for them to prevent customers from using their service as some sort of file storage facility, although I’m pretty sure some of you folks won’t feel comfortable without figures to rely on.
Additionally, HostMetro doesn’t share too much details on the actual hardware they’re using for their hosting services. This isn’t to say it’s unusual for web hosts, so it’s likely nothing to be worried about. On the upside, you can stream video and audio, no matter which hosting plan you choose. Pretty cool, right?
Want more options? Don’t forget to check out our in-depth reviews on other shared web hosting providers like eHost, BlueHost, and iPage!
HostMetro Price Lock Guarantee
Nowadays, most web hosts will suck you in with ridiculously low rates the first time you sign up with them. But as your first term ends and it’s time to renew, the rate will skyrocket – doubling or even tripling the price almost overnight!
Good thing HostMetro bucks that trend through with their unique Price Lock Guarantee that assures you your initial subscription rate and your future renewals, as well! The company fully understands their customers’ need for reliable and affordable hosting, and it’s not just limited to new customers. Loyalty is an important thing and that includes offering the same rates for renewals as you paid the first time you signed up with them. Just check out the comparison chart below and see how their Mega Max plan compares to some of HostMetro’s competitors similar plans:
Pretty done deal, right? HostMetro clearly has the most cost-effective offering, both short term and long term. With the Price Lock Guarantee, you’ll get a tremendous deal that offers a huge price advantage the longer you stick with them.
Instead of making their own custom control panel, HostMetro chose to provide their clients with the best, most user-friendly control panel in the market: cPanel. This is a big plus for me, since most web developers are already familiar with the control panel. Even those who are new to web hosting will find it easy to use cPanel. There are no other advanced hosting options, cPanel is the one and only option for this web host.
With cPanel, you can handle all aspects of your hosting account, including technical details, email addresses, FTP accounts, domains, applications, and many more. You have several options for managing content, as well, including:
- Easily manage and upload web pages in the File Manager
- Web Disk feature for dragging and dropping files into your hosting account
- Creating additional FTP accounts for your clients/employees
Besides these, cPanel also comes packed with many other cool and useful features and options, such as:
- Install popular web applications like WordPress, osCommerce, phpBB forums, etc.
- Data backup via Backup Wizard
- Virus protection for safe and easy file scanning; site owners can also prevent other sites from inappropriately using their resources and password-protect areas of their site, as well as automatically ban users who share a password to a restricted area of the site
- Quickly view server PHP configuration, install Ruby Gems, customize error pages, etc.
- Create email accounts associated with a website (support for standard mail protocols such as IMAP, SMTP, POP, both with and without SSL encryption)
- Comes with powerful spam deterrents like BoxTrapper and SpamAssassin
- Built-in web interface for checking emails
- Mail filtering and mailing lists
A lot of SEO experts also prefer cPanel over any other control panel because of the amount of info it provides about web traffic. You can generate web statistics using 3 different stats generators. What’s more, you can also get useful info regarding error logs encountered by your site visitors, bandwidth tracking, as well as raw FTP access logs.
cPanel also comes with a convenient Getting Started Wizard to help you set up your account. You’ll also have access to a bunch of built-in video tutorials and onscreen documentation where you can get step-by-step instructions.
Uptime and Performance
Everyone knows the rule of thumb – anything less than a 99.9% uptime guarantee is a no-no. In the case of HostMetro, they run an average 99.97% overall uptime on any given 12-month period. This is reported by Nagios Server Monitoring and is calculated based on the uptime of the operating system and Apache web server. What’s more, the site’s response rate ranges from 1,000 to 2,400 ms, which isn’t so bad for a budget-friendly shared host.
As stated in their Terms of Services, HostMetro will offer credit to your hosting account, along with an additional month of hosting if they fall below their promised 99.9% uptime. This, however, does not include areas in which the company has no direct influence, such as backbone provider failures, DNS issues, denial of service attacks, connection issues between their servers and the client, and any unscheduled downtime. Simply send a request for additional hosting credit by sending an email to [email protected], with justification.
Additionally, HostMetro provides free weekly backups to ensure quick restoration in the event of a major problem. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information online from actual customers saying anything about the web host’s speed and reliability. This isn’t to say it’s a bad thing, but it would be nice to see more information on this.
On the upside, it appears that this web host takes security as a top priority. Their data center is located in Elk Grove, IL; just 15 minutes north of Chicago. Their network is composed of redundant network notes, with 10 GB/s connections to ensure that their customers’ websites do not experience downtime. There’s complete redundancy in HVAC, network connectivity, fire suppression, power, and security; making HostMetro’s data center one of the most efficient in the web hosting industry.
In terms of power, HostMetro data center also has backup generators, with N+2 redundancy. To further assure that data is not tampered with, the company also has 24/7 video surveillance in place, along with equipment screening, badge and biometric authentication points, as well as tracking systems. They also conduct daily spam and malware scans.
Furthermore, HostMetro uses CloudLinux to keep each hosting account isolated so that if another account on a shared hosting environment encounters resource spike, it won’t affect other accounts or websites. Traditional shared hosting environments don’t have this much control over each hosting account so with CloudLinux, you’re assured of a much more stable and secure server, with guaranteed resources to each website.
With HostMetro’s full 30-day money-back guarantee, they prove to be not all just talk, but action as well. All of their hosting services are backed by their Metro Max Guarantee; assuring every customer that they’ll be satisfied with their hosting. HostMetro makes sure that all problems are solved promptly and professionally. If, for any reason, you’re unhappy with their service, they’ll refund you the whole hosting cost – absolutely no questions asked!
Take note, however, that the money-back guarantee does not include add-on services like the cost of registering a domain name and an SSL certificate. Likewise, it’s only available to new customers, although the company provides a 5-day guarantee that covers any future renewals. That’s better than nothing, right?
Being around for over a decade means that HostMetro is one of the more well-established web hosting providers that managed to survive the ever-changing, ever-competitive web hosting market. The company is composed of an experienced team of professionals who have combined their expertise in this industry to provide the highest level of service to their customers. They also focus on offering great customer service, with 24/7 US-based support via phone, live chat, and ticket submission. They have a technical support team filled with friendly and knowledgeable individuals who will be more than happy to help you create and maintain your websites. This is just one of the many reasons you should try out HostMetro because you know that when you contact them, you’ll always be talking to someone who will be willing to assist you with whatever you need.
Apart from these, they also have an extensive database of helpful articles, video tutorials, and how-to’s to help you get started with your hosting account. So whatever you need, you know HostMetro has got you covered!
Pros and Cons
If all you need is basic hosting for your site, then HostMetro could be the perfect solution for you. You only have to choose between two simple hosting plans, making it a lot easier to select what you need and get started with your project right away. The company aims to provide straightforward, no-fuss services to new web developers and site owners, which is what most people want these days.
Following are the pros and cons you need to keep in mind before signing up with HostMetro:
- Simple, low-cost shared hosting options (especially if you decide to subscribe for a longer period)
- Free domain name registration
- Unique Price Lock Guarantee
- Free website transfer
- Solid 30-day money-back guarantee (Metro Max Guarantee)
- 9% uptime guarantee
- SEO-friendly hosting solutions
- Feature-rich and user-friendly cPanel hosting
- Decent 24/7, US-based customer support with knowledgeable and friendly customer representatives
- Secure and reliable backups
- Must sign up for annual hosting to fully enjoy perks and avoid setup fees
- Does not offer VPS and Dedicated Server Hosting
- No Windows hosting
- Lesser known company compared to the top dogs in the market
While HostMetro is a really good place to start you’re a website for a small business, there’s really no option to grow. This could be a problem if you outgrow your shared hosting plan and you’re expecting larger amount of traffic to your site. So if you need more than what you have on your current hosting account, you’ll have to move to another web host that offers more hosting options, like eHost, BlueHost, or InMotion Hosting.
Final Verdict – A No-Fuss Shared Hosting Company for Small Businesses
It’s pretty clear that HostMetro’s plans are designed to be as simple and straightforward as possible, although it has its drawbacks. While they offer “unlimited” resources with a few strings attached, they pretty much only offer customers the space they need. It’s a great options for those who are just getting started on the Web, but if you need more than what HostMetro can offer, it can be pretty restrictive. This is especially true if you sign up for a long-term plan. Who’s to say you won’t outgrow your shared hosting account once your brand or business grow? Despite this, there’s something to be said for a low-cost hosting provider that doesn’t confuse its clients with technical jargon.
Bottom line is that HostMetro is a reliable web host with an excellent technical team that’s ready to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They deliver fast and competitively priced hosting solutions that make it simple and easy for anyone to create and manage a website. They have an impressive network uptime record, and the fact that they offer cPanel hosting for managing and maintaining a hosting account is a huge plus for me. I didn’t have a lot of issues with this web host so I won’t hesitate recommending them to anyone looking for affordable shared hosting for small businesses.
Go ahead, try them out today!