What is HostMetro?
HostMetro started in 2012 with a focus on shared hosting, and cool features like a guaranteed price lock, and 99.9% uptime. It’s a great choice for the budget-conscious beginner, who’s looking for a solid web host. It sets itself apart by tailoring its servers to total beginners for whom a shared hosting environment is more than adequate.
If you’re making your hosting decision on price alone, then it’s going to be hard to find a better-priced option than HostMetro. Below we dive into its two-level hosting structure, overall features, and explore if HostMetro is going to be the right choice for your needs.
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Hosting Plans Available
HostMetro offers two easy to understand hosting options. A lot of other web hosts have complicated hosting packages, multiple add-ons, and other confusing terminology. HostMetro’s hosting packages are as simple as it gets.
There are two hosting options, the Mega Max Plan and the Super Max plan. Both plans offer you maximum levels of disc space and bandwidth. However, “maximum” actually means there is a set limit for data usage. However, the quotas will reportedly satisfy 95% of their customer’s needs, according to the HostMetro website.
If you do exceed data usage, either due to the size of your site, or because you’re receiving very high levels of traffic you can request more space. But, this storage increase will be turned down if more than 15% of your 2GB disk space is being used for multimedia, backup, or email storage. Meaning, they don’t want you to use your account as a storage space, or way to share files.
Below we offer a breakdown of what the two hosting packages include, beyond disk space and storage:
The Mega Max Plan offers you unlimited FTP accounts, unlimited MySQL databases, access to a free site builder, and a free website transfer if your site isn’t larger than 3 GB. This plan also has common hosting features like:
- Unlimited email accounts to set up a domain-specific email address
- E-commerce integration for an added fee
- PayPal, ZenCart, osCommerce, and Google Checkout integration for payment processing
- Advanced firewall protection to help keep your website safe
- Built-in website analytics for traffic monitoring
- WordPress integration for easy site setup
- Forum integration, so you can easily build your own forum
- Support for streaming audio
- Support for streaming video if you have a media-rich site.
The Super Max Plan offers you all of the features highlighted above, but also includes a few add-ons:
- Free domain privacy for the first domain you register with HostMetro
- Free SSL certificate and SiteLock for e-commerce sites
- Free SEO consultation, search engine submissions, and SEO and marketing tools
- Daily malware scans to ensure website security.
The Super Max Plan is a great starting point for those looking to launch an e-commerce store, plus it’s priced very competitively when compared to other hosting plans that offer things like SSL encryption.
Features and Add-Ons
Below we will list a number of features and optional add-ons available through HostMetro. Here is a list containing some of the popular features and add-ons:
- Domain Names
- Content Management System
- Email Services
- Free Website Transfers
- SSL / TLS Transfers
- Cloud Linux
- Customer Service Features
Like we mentioned above, HostMetro’s hosting is cheap. Plus, the lengthier contract you choose the lower your monthly costs are going to be. Finally, it offers free domain registration. So, if you’re starting from scratch you can get a free domain along with your new hosting account.
Like most web hosts cPanel access is included. This will help you access and enable some of the features highlighted below. Beyond basic cPanel access, FTP access is also included, which might not be completely necessary if you’re just getting started online. But, it’s nice to know the option is there.
The cPanel is similar to most other hosting interfaces. It includes developer tools like file manager, email setup, FTP access, subdomain setup, and access to phpMyAdmin. If you went with the Super Max Plan you’ll also find icons for additional SEO tools as well.
For those just getting started, there are multiple built-in tools you can use to create your website. For starters, there’s an easy to use a website builder with dozens of customizable design templates for you to choose from. All you have to do is log in to your cPanel, select the website builder, pick a template and start customizing.
Content Management Systems
If you prefer to use a Content Management System (CMS), then you can use the one-click install to activate a number of popular CMSs, including, WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. The Softaculous app can also help you install other scripts on your site, without any additional coding know-how.
There’s also built-in email for domain-specific email addresses. However, if you want email protection and a more robust option for sending and managing emails, then you’ll need to upgrade (for a fee) to the service called MetroMail.
HostMetro also includes free backups. This is a core feature you’ll want to seek out in a new web host. However, it only includes weekly backups and the backups aren’t guaranteed. So, you may want to utilize a plugin or additional method to back up your site on a regular basis.
Additional HostMetro Plan Features
HostMetro has made a decision to offer hosting at the cheapest cost, while still being reliable and easy to use. The hosting options are great for people looking to host single or multiple domains with the smallest monetary investment.
That being said, there are a few additional features that complement the straightforward hosting options:
- Free website transfers when you first sign up for a hosting account. This can make site migration and setup much easier if you’re coming from another web host.
- With the Super Max package, you have built-in SSL/TLS certificates. This can help you easily build an e-commerce store that your buyers will trust.
- Industry standard hosting environments of CloudLinux and cPanel, at a basement level price.
- HostMetro takes the small business approach to customer service, which makes every customer feel valued, and can be a solid choice of those looking to stay away from larger hosting companies.
HostMetro hosting runs on CloudLinux with Apache, which is enough to support MySQL, Python, PHP, Perl, and Ruby. Plus, it has the foundation required for LAMP web development and has the right specs for CloudFlare CDN configuration. One of the only drawbacks is the older software configuration.
The servers currently run on the Intel Xeon L55020 @ 2.27 GHz, which is a lower quad-core server than most hosts currently utilize. This is balanced out with fast SSD drives and large RAM installs. This older hardware is still optimized for performance and is part of the reason server costs remain so low.
Still, most website users won’t be able to notice the difference in performance, as its servers are optimized for strict resource allocation. Its basic bargain hosting plans are in alignment with what you’ll find at other larger hosting companies.
Ease of Use
To manage your account you’ll have access to the HostMetro Account Management Panel. This control panel is where you’ll take care of your billing, support requests, and is also where you’ll access your cPanel. The customer portal is very straightforward and easy to navigate.
Like its hosting packages, the portal is designed for beginners looking to get their websites online in the easiest manner possible.
All of your support and technical issues are processed through the account management panel mentioned above. To create a support request, open a new ticket and the request will be forwarded to the right department. There’s also 24/7 live phone and chat support if you prefer to deal with your website issues in real time. The support team is quick and helpful across a myriad of technical issues.
You’ll also find a knowledge base filled with articles, FAQs, and setup tutorials, which will walk you through getting your hosting and website setup and help you hurdle any issues that might arise. The knowledgebase is broken down into multiple categories, including, Billing, Domains and DNS, Security, SEO, eCommerce, cPanel help, and more.
Three Reasons to Consider HostMetro
HostMetro is a solid hosting choice for absolute beginners. It’s best suited for website owners who want the cheapest price.
Below we profile the three biggest reasons you’ll want to consider hosting with HostMetro:
Simplicity and Ease of Use
HostMetro shines in its simplicity. It offers two levels of shared hosting with very straightforward and honest pricing. It’s hard to find hosts that are very specific in their service and payment offerings, especially in the niche targeting novices.
Plus, it has super simple cPanel integration, which will help you build out your site and accomplish any technical tasks quickly.
Small Team Support Environment
Since HostMetro is a smaller company you may feel more taken care of when compared to the other large-scale beginner hosting options out there. Its multi-tiered levels of support allow you to work through any issues that might arise quite swiftly.
Sometimes when dealing with things online it can be helpful to feel like an actual human, not just another number.
Price Lock Guarantee
Most hosts lure you in with incredibly cheap starter hosting, then increase that rate once you’re a customer. HostMetro does something incredibly innovative, by offering a price lock guarantee.
The price you start with is the price you’ll pay as long as you maintain your service. The simple and straightforward pricing is perfect for the budget-conscious website owner who doesn’t want to get hit with rising hosting fees.
Three Reasons Not to Host with HostMetro
HostMetro isn’t going to be the best hosting choice for everyone’s needs. In fact, it’s better suited for a very specific website owner. One who is just getting started online, wants the cheapest hosting possible, and doesn’t have a site with high traffic levels.
Below we look at a few reasons you may want to pass on HostMetro:
Slower Site Speed and Performance
Overall, site loading speeds and performance are lower than other bargain level hosts. This could be due to its older server hardware configuration. When you’re using older web servers there will be some performance issues that arise. It seems that highly optimizing older servers can only take you so far. So if you’re looking for a blazing fast web host, then you’ll want to look elsewhere.
However, there is an account credit if its server uptime falls below the reported 99.90% uptime rate.
Account Throttle Limits
Most hosts offer their own version of throttle limits on shared hosting plans, but HostMetro has some of the strictest out there. HostMetro has a policy of 90 seconds over its 10% CPU limit. If your site happens to exceed this limit, your website could be taken offline.
If you’re looking to scale your website and are expecting to receive high, or increasing, levels of traffic then you’ll want to choose a different host. You’d hate to have to deal with your website being taken down, as soon as a post goes viral or your site becomes popular.
Finally, in an effort to keep things simple, shared hosting is the only style of hosting available. This might not be a deal breaker if you want very cheap hosting for a personal website project. But, if you demand high-performance hosting or a host that can scale with your site as it grows, then you’ll want a host that can support that.
If you are planning on growing your website, then you might find that you outgrow the hosting options rather quickly, and will have to go through the tedious process of migrating your site over to a new host.
Payments and Pricing Guarantees
One of the biggest differentiators that HostMetro offers is its price lock guarantee. A lot of hosts lure you in with extremely cheap hosting for the first year, then raise that rate as you become a recurring customer.
HostMetro changes things up by guaranteeing your initial hosting registration rate as long as you remain a customer. Over the long-term, you’ll have a hard time finding a cheaper hosting option. For payment methods, you can use both PayPal and credit card options.
On top of its price lock guarantee, there’s a 30-day money back guarantee. This guarantee is only applicable to new accounts and doesn’t count for service renewals. Still, 30 days should give you enough time to test out the service to see if it’s the right fit for your website.
Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)
Does HostMetro offer support and customer service options?
Yes, thankfully HostMetro offers a variety of ways to get in touch should things go wrong. Their team of technical advisors is available 24-7 and around the clock via telephone, email and the online live chat function. There is also additional help available through the online knowledge base.
Does HostMetro offer a control panel?
Yes, if you sign up as a HostMetro customer then you will be able to control various aspects of your hosting account and website using the cPanel control panel. It includes developer tools like file manager, email setup, FTP access, subdomain setup, and access to phpMyAdmin.
Does HostMetro offer any guarantees to end users?
Yes, HostMetro offers a price-lock guarantee. This means that your hosting price will stay the same year-on-year without the hefty renewal fees sometimes charged by other hosting providers. Meanwhile, there’s also a 30-day money back guarantee for all new customers, in case you decide that HostMetro isn’t the right choice for you.
Is HostMetro Right for Me?
HostMetro is a very straightforward hosting choice for beginners. The pricing plans and hosting options are designed to be as easy to understand as possible. The performance of the host is limited, but this could be made up by the money you save.
There are enough features for beginner-level website owners, however, if you’re expecting your site to grow, then you may only be using HostMetro for a limited time. That being said it provides you with a solid foundation to start your online journey.
If budget is your number one choice, the HostMetro is a host worth exploring. Plus, with its 30-day money back guarantee you can always give it a test drive first.
It isn’t a high-performance host but truly shines in offering a low-cost hosting option, without any confusing technical jargon or pricey add-ons.