HostClear Web Hosting Review: Is It Worth The Investment?
Looking for a web hosting provider that provides reliable services for small websites, at an affordable price? If the answer is yes, then you better stick with us for a bit and take a detailed look at the hosting solutions offered by HostClear.
You’ve probably never heard about HostClear before, but this web host deserves more attention than what it’s getting right now, particularly among individuals and business owners who are looking to build a simple website. They offer a number of amazing features and site-building tools that are easy to use and extremely affordable, too.
In order to get a better understanding of HostClear, let’s take an in-depth look at the various features and options on offer; including the pricing, customer support, uptime and performance, and everything in between. Is it worth the investment? Let’s find out in this HostClear web hosting review!
Why Choose HostClear?
HostClear is a web hosting provider that prefer to keep everything simple; providing only the best and most essential features a customer needs to run a successful website. They offer affordable hosting services, including web hosting, website design using amazing site creation tools, domain registration, as well as products and cloud-based hosting solutions for individuals and businesses.
HostClear’s fairly recent re-launch under the Endurance web hosting brand (part of the Endurance International Group or EIG) has seen the company advance significantly as a hosting provider. Their slogan, “Clear, Simple, Web Hosting – That’s quick and easy” means that nothing is hidden and that customers will know what they’re getting for their money. Their goal is to provide various hosting services to small and medium sized websites, along with the technologies they need using various user-friendly tools. Their simple and budget-friendly hosting plans gained them immense popularity in recent times.
But the question remains: Is HostClear reliable?
As with any web hosting provider, reliability is the most important thing to look into before moving on to the features and affordability. Thankfully, HostClear passes the first test with flying colors. This company provides premium hosting services from a state-of-the-art data center that’s among the best in the industry. And to further improve reliability, HostClear ensures that every website is fully secure and runs daily backups in order to protect it from data loss in emergency situations.
Now that we know HostClear can be relied on for quality hosting solutions, let’s take an in-depth look at the web hosting plans currently on offer!
HostClear Web Hosting Plans
HostClear differs from most of today’s web hosts in that they offer a one-size-fits-all shared hosting plan, instead of the usual multi-tiered hosting packages. It’s an unlimited plan that provides just about everything you need in a shared hosting environment.
At the time of writing, HostClear is even offering a special introductory price on their shared hosting plan, with a 50% discount from the regular price. So from $5.98 per month, you can now get this plan for only $2.99 per month. Take note, however, that the promo price is valid for the initial term only and will automatically renew at the regular rate. Moreover, if you register a free domain with them and decide to cancel your hosting account, you will also be charged an extra $15 fee, but only if you wish to keep your domain.
HostClear offers unmetered storage space and bandwidth, unlimited domains, unlimited MySQL databases, and unlimited email accounts, just to name a few. Each of these email accounts will give you access to webmail, email forwarding, autoresponders, custom spam filters, and even virus checkers. What’s more, all of the features and services in your hosting account can easily be accessed from the cPanel control panel, which is today’s most popular control panel.
If you’re a business owner who’s looking to set up an eCommerce site, HostClear also includes a free online store in the package, complete with your choice of shopping carts and PayPal integration. And to help you promote your business, their plan also comes packed with Google AdWords, a solid $100 Credit for Yahoo!/Bing Sponsored Search, and a number of useful online marketing guides to help you every step of the way.
But as with any other shared hosting plan, HostClear imposed some restrictions on storage space and bandwidth. For instance, storage space is only for web applications and cannot be used for online storage. And while they include “unlimited email accounts” into the package, each mailbox is actually limited to 500 MB – equivalent to about 10,000 email messages. The company runs usage test on a regular basis to find out which hosting accounts are using higher than usual resources. If your account is identified, HostClear will then provide a minimum of 2 days for you to make the necessary adjustments. Otherwise, they will take your account offline. This may seem harsh to some but it’s important to remember that it’s a shared environment, which means you’re sharing space with other website owners. Anyone using abnormally high resources can greatly impact the experience of everyone else on that particular server.
Bottom line is that HostClear’s one-size-fits-all shared hosting plan is tailored with individuals and small businesses in mind. This makes it even easier to choose when you’re signing up, since there’s only a single hosting plan to speak of. That being said, this particular plan isn’t entirely perfect. For example, there are a few things that are noticeabley absent from their email options. For one, they don’t offer email aliases or catch-all email. HostClear also doesn’t allow you to create mail scripts, which could come in handy if you send emails frequently, like a welcome email that’s sent to those who sign up for your newsletters. And since they’re focused on simplicity, they really don’t offer too much extras. HostClear clearly just focused on providing the basis, which is pretty much what many people are looking for. And if you’ve finally outgrown your shared hosting account, there’s no more room for growth and scalability, which can be a problem if your business grows and needs to drive in more traffic.
Take note as well that HostClear offers Linux-only hosting. This means that if you’re a fan of Windows or need to run an application using Windows-specific frameworks like ASP.NET, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Consider checking out other web hosts like iPage or eHost for more flexible and scalable hosting options.
One of the best things about this web host is that they chose to provide clients with the most user-friendly control panel there is: cPanel. This industry-standard control panel allows you to easily navigate through various aspects of your site, and even install new programs and applications. It’s the top choice among beginner and professional website owners alike since it allows you to easily manage your site the way you want it to.
With cPanel, you get the flexibility to host unlimited domains from a single hosting account, as well as get an email package for handling email addresses that can easily be accessed in different ways, including web mail, IMAP, and POP3. HostClear’s version of cPanel also lets you take part in the latest eCommerce revolution by providing a simple eCommerce package for building a small online store for promoting and marketing your business. You’ll get all the basic stuff you need to get started, including an online shopping cart and PayPal integration, for smooth online transactions. However, if you need a more robust and feature-rich eCommerce suite, you might need to look elsewhere since HostClear doesn’t offer any of the advanced eCommerce options regarding secure payments and overall security.
With cPanel, you have access to a wide range of pre-made web templates that allow you to design a professional-looking website. You’ll even get an integrated blog setup wizard to design blogs and other features such as image galleries and video support. Apart from these, you can work on your site for further enhancements by getting valuable insights about your site traffic and monitoring your online presence in search engines like Google and Bing. And if that’s not enough, HostClear also offers 1-click install options so you can easily add CMS and other open source applications like Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress – making creating new content a whole lot simpler! Really, cPanel has everything you could possibly need to be as efficient as possible when managing a website.
Take note, however, that when starting out, you will first have to choose between cPanel and HostClear’s very own drag-and-drop website builder, which is what we’re going to talk about next.
Drag-and-Drop Website Builder
One of the best things about HostClear is that they give you the option to use their state-of-the-art, drag-and-drop website builder. It’s powered with plenty of cool site creation tools and features, making it on-par with some of the best site builder platforms in the market, such as Weebly and SquareSpace. It’s easy to use so even a beginner will find it a piece of cake to build a site from scratch. Now, you can be free of any worries even if you have limited technical skills regarding website-building.
Just like cPanel, HostClear’s site builder comes with thousands of templates and a blog setup wizard. And if you wish to have more control, you can even install many of the popular CMS and open source applications like WordPress.
As mentioned earlier, you will have to choose either cPanel or the drag-and-drop website builder before you can start developing your website with HostClear. I suggest you go for the drag-and-drop site builder that they offer if it’s your first time managing a website, since it’s more user-friendly and easy to navigate with. While it doesn’t have as many features as cPanel, it does provide you with just enough tools to get started. However, there are very few cases where I wouldn’t recommend going for cPanel, because there are a lot of things you can do with it. Even though this web host is clearly tailored for entry-level users, you can do some fairly advanced tasks with this control panel, including creating CRON jobs, tracking DNS, and using PERL modules and PHP, among many others.
Perhaps the biggest downside to choosing HostClear is that you are not given the option to switch from cPanel to website builder or vice versa once you made the initial decision. This makes it all the more important to think carefully about which one is more important to you in the long run. I suggest you speak with one of their staff from the customer support team to help you determine which is best for your situation.
Uptime and Performance
An unreliable web host shouldn’t be even part of your options, especially if you’re planning to run a small business from your website. Even minor hiccups can cause potential customers and would-be readers to abandon your site and never come back. That spells lost opportunity and revenue for you! And if you lose important data along the way, it may cause irreparable damage to your brand or business.
Lucky for you, HostClear offers a solid 99.9% uptime guarantee, so if your shared server with HostClear experiences downtime that falls short of their uptime guarantee, the company will grant you one month of credit on your hosting account. This guarantee, however, does not include scheduled maintenance. The server’s uptime refers to the reported uptime from the operating system (OS) and the Apache Web Server, which may be different from the uptime reported by other individual services. If you believe HostClear has breached its uptime guarantee and that you need to request a credit, simply visit their Help section and submit a support ticket to their billing department, with justification within 30 days of the end of the month for which a credit is requested.
Based on real customer reviews and testimonials, there really aren’t a lot of significant complains regarding HostClear’s downtime. From the looks of it, the company seems to keep their servers up and running at optimum performance.
45-Day Money-Back Guarantee
HostClear is a great option for managing small websites, with their streamline and straightforward features and services. However, if you’re not satisfied with what they have to offer, the company can give you your money back – no questions asked. HostClear offers a 45-day money-back guarantee, which is a bit longer compared to most money-back guarantee offered by other web hosting providers. So during the initial 45 days upon opening an account with them, you’re free to cancel your account at any time and HostClear will give you a full refund.
24/7 Customer Support
Customer satisfaction is a top priority at HostClear, and the company is confident that you’ll be fully satisfied with their services. They have a team of knowledgeable and friendly customer support staff who are ready 24/7 to assist you via telephone, live chat, or email. Their support team is based exclusively in the USA, and they didn’t opt to outsource their support like some other web hosts do to countries like India or the Philippines. This alone convinces me that they’re truly passionate about providing real, top-notch customer support.
Their live chat support is my preferred method, especially if it’s an emergency that needs to be resolved ASAP. HostClear’s live chat support is both quick and efficient, and it helps a lot that you can share links with them and they can easily guide you visually with any issue you have. Phone support is just as good, with commendable response times (although some customer representatives have long queuing times which can be time-consuming and annoying). Overall, their reps are friendly and knowledgeable in the areas I questioned them on. Most of them were even able to describe fixes and were able to explain things to me in a simple and logical manner, which is a huge plus to those with little experience in managing a website.
On top of the usual support methods, HostClear also has an extensive and well-structured online help section that contains hundreds of useful tutorials, informative articles, and a knowledgebase. You can find various guides here, from troubleshooting and web design, all the way to setting up a simple online shop and getting your site online. They’re really gone above and beyond what most web hosts can provide when it comes to customer support, and they certainly won in this aspect when compared to other providers.
Pros and Cons
HostClear is a really good option if you’re just looking for basic web hosting for a simple website. There are, of course, some limitations, although this won’t be a problem for many website owners and developers. Following are the pros and cons of hosting your website with HostClear:
- Affordable, one-size-fits-all shared hosting plan
- No confusing multi-tiered packages
- Offers free domain for life and not just for the initial term
- Uses cPanel control panel
- Offers drag-and-drop website builder
- Basic eCommerce features, including $100+ worth of advertising credits so you can start marketing your website
- Provides 99.9% uptime guarantee
- Top-notch 24/7 customer support
- Extensive online help section with hundreds of well-written tutorials and guides
- Limited disk space and bandwidth
- No room for growth and scalability once you outgrow your shared hosting account
- Does not offer managed WordPress hosting
- Does not provide advanced eCommerce features like SSL certificates for enhanced security
- Ownership structure can be complicated
- Linux-only hosting (no option for Windows hosting)
- Can’t switch from cPanel to website builder and vice versa
Final Verdict – Simple, Affordable Option for Small Businesses
Overall, HostClear is just like any other web host out there; offering the usual set of features at an incredibly low price, round-the-clock support, 99.9% uptime guarantee, etc. There are, however, some things that make HostClear stand out from the rest; making them a premier choice as a valuable web hosting provider.
This web host offers only a single hosting plan, allowing them to focus solely on it – and they’re doing a pretty good job with it! They’re budget-friendly and easy to work with, although there really is no room to grow to more powerful servers. If you think you don’t need to upgrade anytime soon, HostClear isn’t such a bad choice. They are, however, not suitable for larger websites, as well as those that expand quickly and get a huge number of site visitors every day. So if your site falls under this criteria, you may have to start looking for a new web host much sooner than the end of your term for your current HostClear hosting account. Otherwise, it’s worth the investment! So what are you waiting for, sign up with HostClear today!