With over 2 million clients, Hostinger is a provider with a clear mass appeal.
But among those “in the know” (meaning, people who extensively discuss web hosting on Facebook and Reddit groups) Hostinger doesn’t have the best reputation.
What it comes down to is that the company fakes user reviews, support is hit or miss, and you can’t really rely on their VPS and cloud hosting.
So you can say we aren’t exactly off to the best start here.
Having said that, I’m going to make the case in this Hostinger review that the provider is in fact a great provider for very specific use cases. Namely, affiliate marketers who are looking to kick up a great number of smaller websites on the cheap.
Let’s dig in, shall we?
Hostinger is MUCH faster than I anticipated
Truth be told, my hopes for Hostinger being top tier when it comes to speed weren’t that high.
Sure, given that they’re big on technology (they’ve embraced LiteSpeed servers years ago) I didn’t expect them to be slow or anything. But at the same time I couldn’t quite imagine that a budget hosting provider which is going after the masses would be mind-bogglingly fast.
Which is exactly what they turned out to be. Despite reports of Hostinger cramming their servers to the brim with websites, my test website killed it when it came to speed test results (Google PageSpeed, GTMetrix), perceived speed on the frontend, and backend speed.
Hostinger feels snappy across the board.
To give you an idea, have a look at how fast I’m navigating through the WordPress dashboard:
With some hosting providers this would have taken twice as long – at least.
Likewise, check out how fast my test website is loading:
Mind you, caching is turned off here, I’m not using a CDN and I applied ZERO page speed optimizations. So you can imagine how fast things can get after you go to town and tinker for a couple of hours with some speed optimization tools.
Anyway, you’re probably also interested in what the speed tests have to say about the matter.
Here are the Google PageSpeed scores and GTMetrix scores:
Pretty much flawless across the board.
The most interesting metric here to look at is Time to First Byte (TTFB). TTFB is considered a foundational speed metric by Google, so nailing it is critical.
My Hostinger test site clocked in at a ridiculous 123ms – well below the threshold of what Google considers to be acceptable. And again, this was despite this site having no speed optimizations or caching whatsoever. When I turned on LiteSpeed Cache, the TTFB was hovering around 50ms.
Now, just to put things into perspective: Hostinger has server locations around the world and I only tested their Amsterdam servers. So I’m unsure how Hostinger will fare if you’re US-based.
But one thing that I did observe is that the speed of the server I tested did not deteriorate over time – something that is often the case with cheap shared hosting providers.
This is something that acquaintances of mine that run websites on Hostinger are experiencing, too.
(Though, of course, with such a huge providers you’ll also find reports of people claiming otherwise.)
Uptime is not the best, but it isn’t terrible either
Over the course of 5 months I haven’t personally experienced any downtime with Hostinger.
Now, this of course is a tiny sample size and not particularly helpful when it comes to gauging uptime.
Hostinger isn’t without incidents. It’s a hosting juggernaut: with so many clients, things are bound to break at some point – as evidenced by their status page.
Still, the number of incidents is relatively small in relation to the number of clients it serves.
Just manage your expectations if you decide to go with Hostinger. Providers with millions of clients who are selling hosting for less than 10 bucks a month aren’t going to be flawless when it comes to uptime.
Support is available 24/7, but it’s nothing to write home about
I think the term mixed bag is probably what describes Hostinger’s customer most accurately.
The good news is that it’s available day and night and it’s structured very well. Simply log into your dashboard and click on the floating button on the bottom right of your screen.
There, you can type in your issue and you’ll be greeted by multiple knowledge base articles which (in most cases) will help you sort out your query.
In contrast with many other hosting providers, these knowledge base articles are kept up-to-date and are easy to follow thanks to their marked up screencaps.
You can also choose one of the pre-selected topics after which you end up chatting with a “personal assistant.” This personal assistant is an AI-powered chatbot which can do some nifty things like checking the performance and status of your website. It can also guide you to relevant articles in the knowledge base.
In case this chatbot isn’t of much help, you can request to speak to a human.
But I’ve got two gripes with Hostinger’s live chat support:
- Waiting times can take up to 40 minutes – and waiting times between answers can take several minutes. This can mean that solving a simple problem can get stretched out over the course of a couple of hours.
- The quality of their support team is all over the place. Some support staff is really helpful, while others clearly don’t know what they’re talking about.
All of this circles back to what I highlighted in the previous section of this review: you can’t expect a hosting provider for the masses to knock it out of the park in every department.
Super easy-to-use dashboard
I’m a sucker for well-designed hosting dashboards, and Hostinger doesn’t disappoint when it comes to this.
Hostinger offers their bespoke hPanel. It’s an intuitive solution which gives you access to anything from your billing information to your file manager.
What I like most about it is that’s suitable for both complete beginners and advanced users. As a beginner you’re not getting overwhelmed by all the bells and whistles you’d otherwise see in Plesk and cPanel. At first glance, you’ll see just the stuff you’re most likely to need.
At the same time, as an advanced user it isn’t as if you’re managing your hosting with one hand tied behind your back. Hostinger does give you access to most of the advanced functionality you’ll want and need.
Pricing and plans
Hostinger offers shared, VPS and cloud hosting. But at the end of the day, their shared hosting is their bread and butter. It’s what they specialize in and it’s what most of their users come to them for.
I’d pick either their Business or Cloud Startup plan – depending on how much firepower you’re after.
Their cheapest plan (confusingly named Premium) doesn’t offer staging functionality or on-demand backups and uses old SSD hard disks (instead of NVMe). Plus, the price difference between Premium and Business is negligible.
What I find impressive about their Business and Cloud Startup plan is that you can install 100 and 300 websites respectively and get 200 GB storage space. This is considerably more generous than their competition.
They claim that all of their plans offer unlimited bandwidth but you should take this with a grain of salt. Of course, for hosting that costs less than $10 you can’t expect unmetered traffic. Once you reach the realm of 20-100k visitors per month (depending on your plan), you can assume Hostinger will come knocking on your door asking you to upgrade.
Hostinger’s use case for affiliate marketers
I wouldn’t trust my mission critical affiliate websites to Hostinger. Because at the end of the day, Hostinger is like the Amazon of web hosting.
They offer a wide range of services at attractive prices and cater to a vast audience. But just like you wouldn’t necessarily buy specialized, high-end equipment from Amazon, there are times when your specific needs demand a more specialized hosting provider.
Hostinger might be perfect for small to medium-sized websites with moderate traffic, but when it comes to mission-critical affiliate websites where every second of uptime can translate into dollars and you expect true WordPress experts to have your back, you might want to consider more premium, niche-oriented hosting services. Such as Rocket.net.
Anyway, as I mentioned at the very beginning of this review, Hostinger is a great choice for certain affiliate marketers. If your affiliate strategy revolves around launching a great many websites, Hostinger is a solid option. Not only are they super-fast, but their higher plans also offer 200 GB storage space, which means you can park many sites there.
Once a site hits a certain critical threshold of visitors or income, you can always migrate it to a higher-end hosting provider.
Though Hostinger is known for some shady marketing tactics (like writing fake reviews and spamming Facebook groups), the truth is that their hosting has some really attractive things going for it:
- They’re lightning fast
- They offer super generous storage space
Those two things make them ideal for affiliate marketers who are looking to launch a whole bunch of websites.
Sure, their uptime isn’t flawless and neither is their customer support. And as such, I wouldn’t trust any of my mission critical sites to them. But for new, small projects they do the job more than well.