Choosing a web hosting provider is a walk in the park – or not. There are literally hundreds of thousands of web hosts to choose from, making the search for the right web hosts a downright pain in the butt (especially if you’re not sure what to look for)! At least, this was my experience back when I was new to web development and I needed a reliable and affordable web host that can help me build professional websites. I first settled with a shared hosting plan but later moved over to a more robust and flexible dedicated server.
But of course, not everyone can upgrade to a dedicated hosting plan because for one, it’s expensive (no less than $100 a month!) and it’s not always fully managed by the web host which means it’s all up to you to fix things if you run into trouble. Oh, and did I mention it’s expensive?
All of this begs the question: Can a web host like HostRocket provide what the necessary features and services at budget-friendly prices? Can they provide top-notch customer support in case I encounter a problem with my hosting account? What makes them stand out from a whole plethora of other web hosts?
If you’re wondering whether or not you should go for this web host, then please take some time to read this unbiased, in-depth review. Here, I am going to talk about HostRocket’s features and services – from their web hosting plans and pricing; to their uptime and performance, customer support, and everything in-between.
HostRocket Web Hosting: What’s Their Story?
HostRocket is a web hosting company that was founded in the year 1999 in Clifton Park, NY. It’s a privately owned company that provides clients with various types of web hosting packages and other hosting solutions. At the time of writing, the company hosts over 50,000 client sites on their servers.
One of HostRocket’s mission is to provide quality products and services to their clients, at budget-friendly rates. Their hosting packages are designed to meet the needs of clients of all levels, particularly those who are running small businesses. To keep up with the fierce and fast-paced web hosting industry, they have employed a team of experienced network engineers and quality assurance agents.
HostRocket Web Hosting Plans
Hostrocket offers different types of hosting plans, depending on your needs and budget. Their basic hosting packages include Web Hosting and SSD Shared Hosting, which are basically the same except for a few extra features.
In some of HostRocket’s hosting plans, there are additional features that they provide, including unlimited data and storage. They also offer Reseller VPS Hosting, as well as Dedicated Hosting for those who want more power and functionality to their websites.
Firs off are HostRocket’s Web Hosting plans. These shared hosting packages are ideal for those who want a simple website for personal or business purposes. This package lets you host all your websites under a single hosting account, and they already come packed with unlimited disk storage and bandwidth. This is impressive in itself, since not all web hosts can offer unlimited data on their basic hosting packages.
You can choose from four tiers, which are based on your billing cycle: Monthly Plan, Semi-Annual Plan, Annual Plan, and Biennial Plan. The price gets cheaper the longer you commit to HostRocket’s services. It’s a nice offer, considering that you’re not forced into paying for their service a year in advance.
Besides unlimited disk space and bandwidth, the core features included in these plans include unlimited number of websites and email accounts, 24/7 customer support, software support (MySQL 5, PHP 5 with suPHP, Perl 5, SSH Access, CRON abilities, etc.), and more. Unique to the Annual and Biennial plans are the FREE setup, and three months and six months of free hosting, respectively. Take note, however, that the free hosting is only available to new HostRocket clients or those who have not had HostRocket service for the initial 60 days.
Also included with all shared hosting accounts is the handy RVSiteBuilder, which is an online website building tool that lets you build a website and get it up and running quickly. Newbies will find it very easy to use, and it comes with many favorable features, as well. You can even choose from an extensive library of pre-made templates, or you can opt to make your own.
If you want to add more features to your hosting package, you need to pay an extra cost to get them, as seen below:
Not sure which Web Hosting plan to choose? Here’s a plans and pricing comparison chart that will guide you along the way:
cPanel Control Panel
24/7 Tech Support
Compared to other web hosts, HostRocket’s basic hosting packages are feature-rich. My only concern is that they’re slightly more expensive than other web hosting providers like iPage and BlueHost, which are both able to offer almost the same set of features at much lower prices. They even offer free setup on all their hosting plans. With HostRocket, setup is free only on high-tier packages. So before you decide to sign up with HostRocket, make sure to check out my in-depth review on these web hosts first to see which one suits you best.
SSD Shared Hosting
[SSD] Besides standard shared hosting, HostRocket also offers one-of-a-kind SSD Shared Hosting plans for those who want more power to their hosted sites. The prices for these plans are on the higher end, though, but that’s because of the solid-state drives (SSD) that are included in the package; creating a redundant array of independent disks (RAID) that result in faster performance.
Like their Web Hosting plans, these shared hosting solutions are ideal for both personal and business sites. You can choose from three different levels: SSD Premium, SSD Professional, and SSD Executive. They’re also available for the monthly, semi-annual, annual, and biennial billing cycles. The longer you subscribe with HostRocket, the more benefits you’ll get and the cheaper you’ll pay.
HostRocket SSD Shared Hosting Plans Comparison Chart
SSD RAID Storage
FREE Domain Registration
cPanel Control Panel
HostRocket offers a standard set of features that are usually supported by most popular web hosts. There are no caps placed on disk space and bandwidth, although there are some constraints on accounts that use unusually high levels of data. HostRocket is also a good choice in terms of email since they provide unlimited accounts.
But unlike other web hosting providers, HostRocket doesn’t offer free dedicated IP address. You’ll have to pay an extra $2 a month if you wish to get one. Here’s a list of add-on services that require you to pay an extra fee:
Another noticeable constraint is the lack of support for Ruby on Rails. It may not be as popular as PHP or Perl but Ruby does have a dedicated and loyal community. If you’re one of them, you might want to consider looking elsewhere.
Reseller VPS Hosting
Want to become your own hosting provider? You can go for one of HostRocket’s unique Reseller VPS Hosting packages. Starting at just $9.95 per month, their cloud VPS hosting is a user-friendly platform for reseller hosting. HostRocket claims that there’s no limit on the number of servers, as well as the reliability and scalability of their cloud hosting platform. The sky’s the limit!
For these hosting plans, however, HostRocket will redirect you to their partner site, DotBlock, which is known for offering reliable hosting solutions at budget-friendly prices. They offer unmetered bandwidth, which means you can accommodate a greater number of clients on your chosen hosting package. This is a pretty good offer compared to other web hosts that has a cap on the number of users allowed on a reseller hosting account.
There are 13 different plans to choose from. From the website, you’ll see a slider where you can specify the number of processor cores you want (1 to 24), RAM (1 GB to 24 GB), SSD RAID storage (20 GB to 250 GB), and bandwidth (500 GB to unmetered).
Make sure to visit HostRocket to find out which Reseller VPS Hosting plan suits your needs best!
If you don’t intend to sell hosting to other people, don’t worry because this package is still an excellent value for those who want to host just one website. Here’s what you’ll get if you order this hosting package:
- Host unlimited domains and sub-domains
- Unlimited MySQL databases and FTP accounts
- Unlimited email accounts
- Free site backups
- FREE website analytics tools
- Support for programming languages such as PHP 5, Perl, etc.
- FREE Perl module installations
- SSH access
- cPanel/WHM control panel
And for an additional $14.95 per month, you can get a cPanel license to upgrade your hosting into a more powerful reseller platform. You can even create your own nameservers, replace the cPanel logo with your own, and/or completely customize the look of your control panel using the Branding Editor. You can even add your own payment system. Besides these, you can create and modify your clients’ accounts, as well as create and apply your own hosting plans. You can control which features are to be made available to your clients, and you can even send emails to all your clients on the server. Neat!
If you’re not comfortable with being in a shared hosting environment, or if you require more resources in terms of server hardware, disk space and bandwidth, then upgrading your plan to a dedicated server should be your next big step.
HostRocket’s dedicated server hosting are slightly more expensive compared to other web hosts like BlueHost, but they occasionally offer special discounts. At the time of writing, Hostrocket is offering a limited-time 50% discount on all their dedicated hosting packages. This discount will last over the lifetime of your dedicated server so if you don’t want to miss this money-saving opportunity, then head on over to HostRocket today!
You can choose from four different plans, and choose between 12 cores and 24 cores. All of their dedicated servers including the following features:
- 100 TB Tier 1 Bandwidth. Ideal for those who are expecting high traffic volumes to their sites and require large amounts of disk space and bandwidth.
- CentOS or Ubuntu Linux. Choose the Linux OS you want to use. Besides this, you can also choose to host your site on the Windows platform.
- Hardware Replacement. All dedicated hosting plans come with 1 hour of FREE hardware replacement.
- Upgradeable packages. Need more RAM or disk space? No problem! You can easily upgrade your dedicated hosting plan.
HostRocket Dedicated Hosting Plans and Pricing Comparison Chart
16 GB INTEL E5-2620
32 GB INTEL E5-2620
16 GB DUAL INTEL E5-2620
32 GB DUAL INTEL E5-2620
2×500 GB HDD or 2×120 GB SSD
2×500 GB HDD or 2×120 GB SSD
2×500 GB HDD or 2×120 GB SSD
2×500 GB HDD or 2×120 GB SSD
Free RAID 1
HostRocket’s dedicated hosting packages may be appealing to some but if you compare it with other budget web hosts, they are far more expensive. Unlike other web hosts, they charge a fee for domain registration, even if you purchase a hosting plan. This fee gets dumped on top of the hosting payment, which comes out less affordable than you might expect. Also, SSL is not included in their standard hosting plans and must be purchased and installed separately. If you wish to get an SSL certificate, you need a dedicated IP address which, as I’ve mentioned earlier, costs an extra few bucks per month.
With all that said, you need to keep a close eye on the price tag before you purchase a plan with HostRocket. Or better yet, consider checking out other web hosts if you don’t want to spend a few more dollars on costly add-on services.
Building a WordPress Blog with HostRocket
WordPress is the most popular blogging platform in the industry, so it’s quite a surprise that HostRocket doesn’t offer managed WordPress hosting plans for those who wish to create or transfer an existing WordPress-based site or blog to their platform. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t create a WordPress blog or website with HostRocket.
Thankfully, HostRocket offers the ever-popular script installer, Softaculous, which allows you to install open source applications and scripts like WordPress with just a few simple clicks.
Once you click the WordPress icon found on your cPanel control panel, you can simply click on the “Install” button and you’re all set! You can now work on your WordPress site with HostRocket.
Besides WordPress, you can also install many other applications such as Drupal, Joomla, phpBB, OS Commerce, image gallery programs, mailing list software, polls and survey plugins, and more than 40 other free tools.
User-Friendly Control Panels
Even with their shared hosting plans, you’ll get to use the popular and award-winning cPanel and WHM control panels. cPanel is perhaps the most widely used control panel in the market. It features large icon buttons and easy-to-read menus, so even if you’re new to the whole web hosting thing, learning how to control various aspect of your website is easy-peasy.
cPanel even allows you to manage and monitor your email accounts, as well as FTP accounts. You also have quick and easy access to an array of tools. You can also view useful stats like disk space and usage, as well as bandwidth. You can even easily upload files, install software and password-protect directories, among many other things that are otherwise hard or not possible to do without it.
cPanel is provided for free on HostRocket’s shared hosting packages, as well as an advanced control panel (WHM) with their reseller VPS hosting plans. But for their dedicated hosting plans, you need to purchase a license month-by-month. It’s worth noting that the cPanel license on their dedicated hosting plans is more expensive than on reseller accounts.
99.5% Uptime Track Record and Overall Performance
Although not as impressive as other web hosting providers, HostRocket is kind enough to give an honest 99.5% uptime guarantee to their clients. The company offers account credits if downtime lasts longer than expected, although clients need to manually apply for the credits. This is good enough, considering the fact that some web hosts don’t even have an uptime guarantee. This uptime policy is clearly stated on their knowledgebase so if you ever have issues with your site being down for an extended period of time, you can contact HostRocket to give you a compensation. And from the research I’ve done, it seems like there aren’t a lot of complaints about downtime. Only a very small percentage of HostRocket clients have complained about their uptime and I take it as a good sign.
HostRocket is also one of the very few web hosting companies that offer RAID 1 protected storage on their hosting plans, using powerful and reliable network equipment like Cisco switches and routers to help ensure that all client websites will not be down due to a second-rate hardware. And with redundant cooling units in their server room, electrical units that are run at only 75% of their maximum, full UPS battery backup, and a powerful Kohler diesel generator that automatically starts up withint 3 seconds of power outage, rest assured that your site will be up and running smoothly, with minimal interruption.
HostRocket has a full-time staff that makes sure everything is smooth-sailing at all times. With experienced technicians in place, you have the peace of mind knowing that your websites are in good hands and that network issues will be handled in a timely and professional manner.
Whenever you sign up with a web hosting provider, you need to make sure they provide all the features and services you need to run a fully functional website. Get past the price tag and you’ll see that HostRocket offer some of the most feature-rich hosting packages you’ll find in the market today. But since you’re paying a little extra with their packages, my hopes for their performance are high.
For the most part, HostRocket do deliver great performance since they use SSD hosting to ensure that your sites are running smoothly. For that, they’ve passed my test with flying colors. And just like their uptime record, I haven’t found a lot of complaints regarding their performance. It’s safe to say that you shouldn’t experience any major performance issues with this web host.
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
HostRocket offers an industry-standard 30-day satisfaction guarantee. So if for any reason you’re unhappy with their hosting services (or if you just wish to cancel your account within the trial period), you will be entitled to a refund of the hosting fees you’ve paid thus far, excluding any setup fees of domain registration payments.
When requesting for a refund or closing your account, make sure to include the last 4 digits of your credit card.
24/7/365 Customer Support
HostRocket gives you plenty of options to get in touch with their customer support staff in case you run into a problem with your account. For those who have purchases their shared hosting package, you can ask for assistance via US-based telephone support or by submitting a ticket. If you need quick answers, perhaps you can check out their extensive knowledgebase and FAQ system. The knowledgebase includes various categories, including beginner’s guides and advanced tutorials. This covers domain registrations and DNS, sales and billing, website development, email services, using the control panel, and so on. HostRocket continue to publish more helpful articles on a regular basis to help their clients.
For those who have ordered a reseller or dedicated hosting account, you can submit a ticket, manage your own account, or take advantage of their FAQs section. Support is available 24/7, even on weekends and holidays.
It’s worth noting, though, that there is not an option for live chat support, so the only way for you to get immediate help is via telephone. Some clients have also complained about lengthy wait times, while some felt that a call to their customer support staff is largely sales-based.
Here are some client feedbacks regarding HostReview’s customer support:
HostRocket Pros and Cons
Before you decide to take the plunge, here are some of the pros and cons you need to take note of regarding HostRocket’s web hosting services:
- Wide range of hosting plans to suit all needs and budget
- Competitive prices for shared hosting plans
- Offers free domain registration
- Reliable uptime record
- Offers unlimited data even on standard hosting plans
- Affordable reseller VPS hosting packages
- Rebranding solutions included with a cPanel license
- Includes an easy-to-use website builder
- Offers SSD hosting for better and faster performance
- Knowledgeable, US-based customer support staff
- High-tier hosting plans are more expensive than the competition
- Low-tier hosting plans come with setup fees
- No free dedicated IP address
- Some add-on services are costly, including SSL certificates, domain registrations and transfers, etc.
- Free SSL certificate not included in plans
- No managed WordPress hosting plans
- cPanel license gets more expensive on higher hosting packages
- Clients need to apply manually for credits in case of longer downtimes
- Some clients report constant upselling
- Lack of live chat support
HostRocket has been in business for well over a decade now and remains to be a good web hosting choice among individuals and business owners on a budget. But if you look at the bigger picture, it has lost a bit of altitude over the years, perhaps due to the constant influx of more budget-friendly web hosting providers. For the most part, pricing lacks the competitive spirit that you usually find in top web hosting providers.
Get past the pricing and you’ll surely be impressed by the wide array of features and unlimited data offers that come packed with each of their hosting plans. Their cPanel is easy to set up and maintain, and it even comes with the Softaculous apps installer for quick installation of your favorite applications and scripts. They even added a handy website building tool so you can get your site up and running fast, even without professional help.
Despite some reports of inadequate and slow response times with customer support, there are more feedbacks about satisfied clients who are pleased with how HostRocket handle technical problems. On balance, HostRocket has earned my approval and I would recommend it to those who require a solid web hosting plan.
HostRocket offers reliable shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting packages, but falls slightly behind the competition in terms of pricing.