According to InMotion’s comparison page, Web Hosting Hub was founded to attract “more of the start-up, and professional blogger market.” In practical language, that means Web Hosting Hub offers one product – shared linux hosting (ie, hosting that can run the most common types of websites and apps, such as WordPress without having to sustain large amounts of sustained traffic).
As many more well-known brands change pricing and get bought up by large corporations (ie, Bluehost, 1&1 and GoDaddy), there’s been an increased interest in independent companies with clear features, simple setups and affordable pricing.
Web Hosting Hub claims to be that provider. Some of my personal projects run on HostGator right now. But since this site runs on a VPS server with InMotion, I thought I’d try Web Hosting Hub with a hobby site that needed its own shared space. Since I’ve had that site there for more than a year – I decided to update this Web Hosting Hub review.
There are a lot of Web Hosting Hub reviews online – usually with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different approach. Like I’ve mentioned in other reviews, there is no such thing as a “best web hosting company” – only the best fit for your needs, budget, scope and expertise. Here’s the good and bad considerations I found with my Web Hosting Hub review – along with short comparisons with competitors (skip to Comparisons or skip to Conclusion).
Disclosure: I receive customer referral fees from companies mentioned in this post. All opinion and data is based on my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.
The Good (Pros!)
Let’s start with the pros of Web Hosting Hub. In general, they are clean, affordable, transparent and helpful. They’re most everything a beginner, start-up or small website owner would want.
Web Hosting Hub has 3 pricing tiers – Spark, Nitro and Dynamo – starting at $8.99/month going up to $16.99/month.
They usually offer a discount/coupon for around ~44% off the first year’s hosting here, so you can get the Spark plan for less than $5/mo (if, like other companies, you commit for more than a year).
When it comes to value pricing, the Shared hosting industry is notorious for making it impossible to compare apples to apples. Since shared hosting companies are making a tradeoff of resources among websites on a single server – most of the comparison confusion comes from caps.
I try to simplify it to the 3 core “D’s” that you are paying for – domains, databases and disk space. Most everything else is an upsell or bonus to compare separately.
Web Hosting Hub’s only caps are on it’s super-cheap Spark plan where they limit you to 2 websites and 10 databases. For many small site owners, that’s perfectly fine. A single install of WordPress requires 1 database. Their other 2 plans are unlimited under an acceptable use policy, so they compare directly to HostGator’s Baby and Business plans or GoDaddy’s Deluxe plan.
Overall, Web Hosting Hub’s pricing is very competitive for the unlimited features they sell. It’s better than Bluehost (now that they redid their tiers). And with the promos, they are right in line with HostGator – even for their cheapest Spark plans.
The only downside to their pricing is the lack of less-than-annual pricing. Companies like HostGator allow for contracts as short as a month. With Web Hosting Hub, you have to commit for a year.
They try to make up for it with a 90 Day Money Back Guarantee – which is not common at all in the industry. So overall, Web Hosting Hub’s pricing is in the pro column.
Beyond “domains, databases and disk space” – Web Hosting Hub does have several interesting plan features that make them stand out compared to other shared hosting companies.
Like their sister company, InMotion Hosting, they offer Solid State Drives (SSDs) on all accounts – instead of the typical “spinning disk drives.” This feature usually helps with server performance, and usually isn’t found in the small website (cheaper) end of the market.
As a resident of the East Coast of the US, I appreciate the ability to choose between data centers (ie, where your website files are housed). For small shared server websites, the physical location of your files usually isn’t the highest impact on speed for visitors. However, since they offer it, it is a nice bonus, especially if you (ie, the one uploading and editing files) live closer to one data center or the other.
Lastly, their standard package of features is very competitive with other shared hosting providers. They do a free domain name for a year, which is nice (though I recommend using a domain name registrar for domain names long-term since most hosting companies are expensive for renewals). Web Hosting Hub has all the standard marketing credits for Bing, Google and Facebook. They have a solid email interface if you need that. They also have a free website transfer service, which can be useful if you already have a website and find the migration process daunting.
Overall, Web Hosting Hub’s feature set is a solid pro for the product they offer.
Usability, Apps & Builders
If you go to the core of web hosting (serving files to a browser that goes to a domain name) – you can technically do that for free with your own computer.
But when most people are shopping for web hosting, they want a bit more (in addition to professionals managing good equipment) – you likely want to have a good user experience.
The idea of setting up a website can be daunting, so it’s important that any web hosting company make things simple. In fact, many people opt to go the website builder route where you don’t own your website, you just lease the hosting, files and platform in a bundle.
I really like how Web Hosting Hub does their user experience and “onboarding.”
At the end of the checkout process, they ask you a couple questions about your level of experience to send the right Getting Started material to you – or connect you to an account specialist.
Like their sister company, InMotion, they run your account through an Account Management Platform. It’s the single place to login, manage your account, install apps and access your actual server.
They also run their servers with industry standard cPanel software, so there’s no surprises. You can use website setup guides like this to install your website.
Or – you can use their install scripts which install most common web apps (ie, WordPress, Joomla, etc) in just a couple steps.
All the screens are uncluttered. I like how they install a clean version of WordPress (without any non-core pre-installed plugins).
And for customers who still want the website builder experience while still owning your own site, they’ve developed a website builder called BoldGrid, which is just an overlay software on top of WordPress – so you’re not even locked into a proprietary website builder like HostGator at all.
Again – solid props to Web Hosting Hub for usability.
Performance (for Shared Host)
Shared servers are kind of like apartments. You have your own space. You own everything in your space. And everything is pretty cool as long as your neighbors aren’t inviting hordes of people over – or as long as your landlord doesn’t re-configure the walls in your apartment.
In other words, even though you aren’t paying for (and don’t need) a VPS server (ie, a townhome) or a dedicated server (ie, your own plot of land) – you still expect your server to perform well.
Many shared hosting companies are infamous for slow performance and overloading servers. There are a *lot* of variables that go into judging this. And you should be careful to cast judgement on a company because of an intermittent issue (ie, Google, Amazon, Facebook and Netflix have all had downtime in the last year). There are many things companies can do to manage performance that is outside of the scope of this review.
That said, there are 2 rough metrics that I like to look at to get a general sense of performance.
Second is memory allocation. That is, how much memory does the host allocate to the account by default? WordPress runs better with more memory allocated (like more than 128M). Here’s Web Hosting Hub’s allocation –
As far as I can tell, Web Hosting Hub does very well with performance for a shared hosting company.
Customer Support / Service
Here’s the thing about customer service ratings for all companies online – at worst, the stories are either bullsh*t or hyperbole; at best, the stories are purely anecdotal and not representative of general experience. It’s why 5-star and 1-star reviews on Amazon are generally worthless (tip – look at the 3 star reviews). It’s also why you can’t really go by random stories of hosting customer service without deeper investigation.
For myself, I try to find “proxies” (ie, something that indicates or stands for something else) for customer service that indicate whether customer service is an investment or a cost. I also try to find “proxies” that indicate whether the right culture and processes are in place.
Web Hosting Hub’s “proxies” – their US-based support team – indicated that their customer service is an investment. Their ticketing system across multiple access channels indicates the right processes.
Their Onboarding emails and Community Q&As both indicate the right culture of solving the root problem rather than kicking along the symptom.
My interactions so far have been positive. All this puts their Support in the pro column for me.
If you have a story that indicates bad processes or bad culture (ie, not just a bad experience) – send it along to me!
The Bad (Cons!)
There is no such thing as a “best hosting company” – only the “best fit for you” – and Web Hosting Hub is not for everyone. There are plenty of Web Hosting Hub complaints around the web. Some are valid and some are anecdotal. Just like how they have plenty of pros – enough for me to use them for some projects – but they also have some cons.
Web Hosting Hub’s primary con has to do with their main selling point – that all they do is shared hosting.
Although most sites never need anymore than a shared hosting server, it is very convenient to just upgrade your hardware as you grow. If you start with Web Hosting Hub and get to where you need a VPS, you’ll have to switch companies (even if it just means to their sister company, InMotion).
If you ever need to scale up hardware or even get a VPS for an Extended Validation SSL, then you’ll need to switch. Web Hosting Hub’s focus is a plus in many ways, but it can be a con for some businesses.
Paid Backups & Domain Renewal
Backups are critical because stuff happens. You need to have software or a system to keep your website backed up and ready to go if (when) something happens. Many hosting companies offer varying levels of backups as a fail-safe.
Aside – You shouldn’t leave backups to only your hosting company. You should set it up and take responsibility for it. However, it’s good to have a backup to your backup,
InMotion does free backups and doesn’t charge to access it. HostGator does free backups, but charges to access the backup. Web Hosting Hub charges an extra $1/month for backup whether you need it or not.
It’s not much, but – if you are trying to save money, it does throw a small wrench in the price comparisons. In theory, you shouldn’t ever need it since you’re doing it yourself. If they need to charge for it – I like HostGator’s pricing model to protect users from bad choices.
Free domains can be convenient, and many users love bundling domains with their hosting provider. I think you can get better management, better prices and protect yourself more by keeping your domain name separate from hosting with a domain name registrar.
But if you’re going to keep your domain name with Web Hosting Hub, keep in mind that it’s $14.99/year to renew. It’s not too expensive, but it is above what you can get elsewhere.
Paid backups and pricey domain renewal – add up to a con for some users, especially compared to hosts that include it with their lower-priced plans (ie, HostGator).
Web Design & Marketing Services
Web Hosting Hub offers custom web design and marketing solutions in addition to hosting.
Like domain names, web design is a complementary business to web hosting. It’s likely good business development. It makes sense on one level.
However, the businesses are also very different. Web designers who offer “hosting” rarely pull it off well – it’s sometimes just a way to build up revenue and lock-in a client. And I’m skeptical of hosting companies who offer in-house design services.
Given Web Hosting Hub’s target market, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say that it’s a great way to provide one-stop service. But even that means they are more of a “create your website” company than a hosting company.
Overall, Web Hosting Hub has a clean ordering and onboarding process. However, they still do upsells. They mainly push McAfee Email Spam Protection and their own plans.
But what makes it a con for me is the vague benefit of the Dynamo upsell. Down at the bottom of their Plans page, they provide some vague insight of how the Dynamo plan is higher performance – though that’s not reflected at all in the feature table.
But on the checkout page, there’s a pretty hard upsell for better performance with the more expensive plan. It feels less like a good sales pitch (pay more and get [specific thing]) and more like an upsell (pay more and get better stuff!). It makes me wonder if the Nitro plan is going to be slow for some reason.
So that’s my experience with Web Hosting Hub. But how does it compare with other direct competitors that I’ve been able to use? Instead of a full post like I did with InMotion – here’s a few short takeaways.
Web Hosting Hub vs. Bluehost
Web Hosting Hub has better pricing and features after Bluehost’s recent plan changes. They’ve also done better with performance comparing my most recent tests. I wouldn’t tell my client to switch from Bluehost yet, but I also wouldn’t choose them over Web Hosting Hub now.
Web Hosting Hub vs. HostGator
HostGator is owned by the same corporation as Bluehost. However, HostGator still has the best long-term pricing for an unlimited shared hosting set of features of any well-known brand. HostGator also has short-term pricing. They do have an older-school interface and pre-install plugins with WordPress. Web Hosting Hub has better onboarding, usability and better performance. Both work well, though I think Web Hosting Hub is worth the extra bit of money if you want something for more than a year.
Web Hosting Hub vs. GoDaddy
So GoDaddy has been doing so much better since their lowest point a couple years ago. However, they are still GoDaddy – and they have a long history of being a stereotypical big corporation to live down. Unless you have a specific reason to choose GoDaddy (ie, brand, your email is with them, you like a specific tool, etc), Web Hosting Hub is likely better choice.
Web Hosting Hub vs. InMotion
Here’s how InMotion describes the brands’ relationship – “WebHostingHub was established, and currently is managed by InMotion Hosting, its sister company. Though the hosting infrastructure is the same, InMotion Hosting is still the brand chosen by web professionals that are more versed in website development; WebHostingHub attracts more of the start-up, and professional blogger market. There are subtle differences between the two, but one thing is identical – both brands’ commitment to premium quality hosting for all of their customers.”
If you are thinking that you want Web Hosting Hub’s Dynamo plan – just go with InMotion. Their Pro plan renews at the same rate – and you can grow with InMotion. If you are starting a small site with a tight budget – go with Web Hosting Hub.
Web Hosting Hub Review Conclusion
Web Hosting Hub is a solid addition to the starter end of the hosting landscape. I’m happy I finally gave them a try.
If you are starting out, looking for a cheap, reliable hosting company – go check out Web Hosting Hub here. Just make sure you do your site backups.
If you want something a bit cheaper (or shorter term), then go check out HostGator’s plans w/ 45% off discount here.
If you are looking for a hosting company with starter plans and room for heavy growth (ie, VPS and dedicated servers), check out InMotion Hosting here.
Lastly, if you’re still totally confused, go take my BuzzFeed-style hosting quiz here!