Choosing the right web host can make all the difference – just ask someone who’s made a bad decision in the past. While many individual needs may vary, it’s safe to assume we all want a reliable, fast and supportive host that makes the often drawn-out process of being a webmaster easy.
This week, I’m taking a look at Web Hosting Hub and their $5.99 per month service, which includes free domain name registration, unlimited disk space and bandwidth and a whole lot of other features you can read about here. Web Hosting Hub is one of the many recommended web hosts listed on our Best Web Hosting Services page. We’re going to be giving away 10 accounts that include year’s worth of free web hosting plus domain name (valued at $720), so if you could use the webspace be sure to enter at the end of this article for a chance to win!
Web Hosting Hub
I am usually a little concerned by hosts that offer unlimited flat-rate shared hosting and bandwidth, as my past experience taking the “cheap and cheerful” route hasn’t been so smooth. Luckily, I have had no such issues with Web Hosting Hub as of yet, even the setup process is painless and straight-forward. Web Hosting Hub charges $5.99 a month for a 12-month plan, but the price drops to $4.99 if you sign up for a 24-month plan, and $3.99 if you can commit to a 36-month plan.
Once my order had been processed I only had to click a link in my email to set a password before I was able login. As previously mentioned, there’s no limit placed on bandwidth, space or the number of websites you can host with Web Hosting Hub. They even provide support for an unlimited number of MySQL databases, something a lot of “unlimited” hosts tend to charge for. If you’re bringing a existing domain with you then transfer is free, and there’s a 90-day money back guarantee if you’re not happy.
This package also comes with an unlimited number of email addresses that support POP3 and IMAP as well as SMTP for outgoing mail using Web Hosting Hub’s servers. In addition to the mandatory spam protection, McAfee Email Protection is offered as an optional upgrade on a server level too. There are three separate webmail clients included, though I’d personally just use Gmail or a desktop client (but that’s me). If you already have enough email addresses and shudder at the thought of more, then you can just use email forwarding to route messages to one of your current addresses.
On top of this, there are an incredible number of extras such as unlimited FTP accounts and sub-domains, as well as one-click installers for popular software. The server runs on CentOS with PHP 5, MySQL 5, Perl 5, Python, PHPMyAdmin and has support for CGI requests and server-side includes. It’s a very convincing package, for just $5.99 a month.
As someone who finds himself increasingly enjoying cooking (almost as much as eating) I decided it was time to write down a few recipes I’ve assembled over the years with a simple WordPress blog.
After setting my password and logging in, I was presented with the Account Management Panel (AMP) which is the business end of things. This area lets you quickly access your site’s control panel, domain management as well as account and billing information. As you can, see Web Hosting Hub also throws you a bone in terms of freebies, with a few coupons for advertising with Google, Twitter, Yahoo and so on.
The Quick Links area is a very quick way of getting your site up and running. Through answering a few questions you can decide to quickly install a blog, CMS or e-commerce solution like WordPress or Zen Cart. These questions don’t really say much about which solution is the best for you, so I’d recommend researching this first (or installing several and figuring out which is best).
After inputting a few credentials for a WordPress setup, I clicked Install and expected to wait about five minutes, as is my experience with such systems. Not so here, as my WordPress website and database was set up in about 15 seconds, and I could then log in and start building my site.
What really mattered here to me was that the latest version of WordPress was installed, and it was. I also tested permissions by uploading an image, and sure enough the one-click installer had worked its CHMOD magic. Stupidly simple WordPress install? Check!
In addition to WordPress, I also wanted an email account for my domain, fast. So I headed to the Cpanel, then the Email Accounts area. This screen gives you the option of upgrading to McAfee Email Protection, but as a security-conscious Mac user I’m not bothered about that. You can specify an email quota or leave it unmetered, and there’s a password strength gauge along with a secure password generator which I used.
This screen also allows you to manage and configure email clients at a glance using the list at the bottom of the page.
IMAP setup with the Mac OS X Mail client was a cinch, and it was working immediately.
Speed & Support
I decided to test the page load time on my newly installed (blank) WordPress blog. This isn’t a particularly strenuous excercise for your browser or connection as a blank blog doesn’t have an awful lot of content to load. That said, the response according to Pingdom’s free speed test tool ranked it faster than 85% of all tested websites. From my location in Melbourne, Australia, the US-hosted website loads a lot faster for me than my UK-based current hosting plan that also comprises of a mostly empty WordPress installation.
Web Hosting Hub also offer a rather useful support centre which includes tutorials for new users and a knowledge base in the form of the Support Centre. There is also a community-based questions database, email support, phone support (for both the US and international customers), support-tickets and a live web chat.
I honestly didn’t encounter an issue I needed resolving while setting up my website, so I had to play dumb in order to test support via live chat. I had to wait a few minutes before the live chat operator was available, and then I decided to ask where I could find FTP information. After a reassuring security check, the operator found my own personal login information, which I was impressed by. Live support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and you can review, print and email each chat so you have a personal record.
I’m used to being told to “go here, click that, do this” but I was instead given the exact info I asked about. Colour me impressed.
Overall I’d rate Web Hosting Hub highly in terms of support, speed and sheer value for money. They offer serious bang for your buck, user-friendly installers and a robust support system. You can do a lot worse for a higher monthly cost, put it that way. Click here to sign up, or enter our giveaway below.
How do I win a a Web Hosting Hub plan?
We have a new giveaway procedure in place, which will hopefully make participating much easier. You may enter using your Facebook credentials (which will require you to sign into Facebook) or by submitting your name and email address. You’ll receive one entry simply by doing so.
After that, you’ll also be offered various methods to earn additional entries. They range from sharing a link to this giveaway on social networks; to commenting or visiting a specific page. The more you participate, the higher your chances of winning!
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This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, June 14th. The winners will be selected at random and informed via email.