A look at cheap hosting with Hostinger
Hostinger is a provider which looks to offer a wide range of options to host websites or Minecraft servers on. They offer billing in various currencies, and appear to have translations of their site for a variety of languages to suite a wide customer base.
In their own words:
Hostinger platform is designed to make web hosting control intuitive and simple to use. Web creators can be sure the server is enhanced by the latest technologies, service plans include features for making their websites fast and secure. It comes with an internally developed hPanel (alternative to cPanel/WHM) – a highly-scalable dashboard for intuitive web hosting service control, monitoring, and optimization. Hostinger teams of more than 1000 people are based in Lithuania, Brazil, Indonesia, and all over the World. The majority of them are working remotely. The platform has more than 1M subscribers across 156 countries, supported 24/7 mainly by Live Chat support.
Hostinger are ranked third in Digital.com's list of "best web hosts", from which this series of posts is derived, where they are listed as the best choice for "small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs)".
As with the previous hosts I've looked at, Hostinger tried to entice you in with a low upfront cost, which increases when you renew. Their headline hosting price of £1.49 is only applicable to a 4-year term, which renews at £2.99 per month, on a plan which is billed as being £9.99 a month. Confused? I'm not surprised!
They want to be seen to give you a great deal, knowing you are likely to commit to the longer period to make such a huge saving. Let's face it, if you could get 4-years hosting for less than the price of 12-months' hosting, wouldn't you do it?
Their basic hosting package comes in, month-to-month, at £11.99 including UK taxes. There's also an £10.79 a year cost for the domain name from the start on this. That gives us a 12-month cost of £154.67, a 3-year cost of £464.01, and a 5-year cost of £773.35 for basic web hosting.
Hostinger also offers VPS hosting with a similarly cloudy pricing strategy. Their entry package (normally £10.79/month) can be bought for £201.02 if you pay for 4-years upfront.
Paying monthly gives an annual cost of £140.27 (assuming you're also buying a domain name at £10.79/year); a 3-year cost of £420.81; with the 5-year cost being £701.35.
If you know how to configure and manage a server, you are better off going the VPS route with Hostinger.
Like SiteGround, there's no free domain included with the entry-level plan with Hostinger. I also couldn't see an obvious way to add one at the checkout for the hosting. Perhaps that's why it is billed as best for SMBs which may already have a domain which they can transfer in, or change DNS settings for elsewhere.
Hostinger bill their entry tier hosting as being good for ~10,000 visits per month. This is the same as SiteGround and likely what is intended with Bluehost - though they just say their bandwidth is unmetered. What sets Hostinger apart from SiteGround and Bluehost is the disk space. 50GB storage is available on the entry hosting, as well as a free SSL certificate and a weekly backup.
That's likely to be sufficient for a lot of smaller businesses, even if they have a fairly image intensive blog. However, there's no option for a staging environment until their top-tier, unless you want to use a subdomain and do it manually on their middle-tier (that's a perfectly viable option).
On the VPS side, the entry level hosting gets you 1GB RAM, 1vCPU, 20GB disk space, 1TB bandwidth and a dedicated IP address. It's not a great deal, but you can't expect it to be for the money.
The biggest concern with their VPS product is the network. This is on a 100Mbps network. That might seem like a lot, but there's a lot of ISPs out there offering internet speeds to homes faster than that. The network here could end up being a bottleneck to delivering content to your clients.
Hostinger has a dedicated knowledgebase to help people. This is available to anyone. They also offer 24/7 live chat support on all of their plans. There may be more options to raise a ticket for future when you have signed up, and access to that live chat should become available when you are logged in. But details about their support are fairly limited (restricted to a hoverover
? icon against their plans.
There's not a lot of information about datacenter locations for Hostinger on their website. The closest I can find is via their status page.
This lists different locations for data centers and their various different services (email, payment, shared hosting, cloud hosting etc.). Doing a little bit of digging and (potentially incorrect) extrapolation, it looks like Hostinger don't run their own data centers, instead preferring to rent resources from other providers like AWS (for emails), OVH for servers, possibly ANS (formerly UK Fast) or Fasthosts - I'd wager the latter based on the cost of their offerings) and others.
That might not be a bad thing, as it means they aren't reliant on a single supplier for everything. On the other hand, it may mean that if there is an incident, then they won't have an update until their provider has an update. That puts you, their customer, even further down the chain. Not exactly ideal if you are a reseller and your clients add to that chain.
I also saw nowhere on in the checkout process for hosting to be able to select your desired location for hosting. As with Bluehost, this might not be an issue for you if you only do business outside of the EU, but may mean you fall foul of GDPR regulations otherwise.
On the surface the cheap long-term options offered by Hostinger are certianly appealing. If you are starting a blog and want long-term, low-cost hosting, this could be ideal.
As a reference point, I pay more than their entry level hosting for this site (at the time of writing), and have used around 10GB space for images on here. The 50GB space on offer should keep most hobbyists going for long enough that the 4-year tie in isn't an issue, unless the service and performance is poor.
The VPS hosting specs look fine, except the network which I highlighted earlier. I think that product is one to skip with Hostinger.
As an UK/EU resident, my primary concern is the lack of control over where my data are stored, and the data of my clients. With no option to select a location or region at checkout, the only assumption is that it's randomly allocated. Your site could be hosted on the other side of the planet from where you are. Again, skip this one if those are concerns for you.