BY PATRICIA M. ROBERTS
Cheapest Hosting Plan: (1-year term renewal)*
$4.45 per month
Current Coupon Code:
24×7 Phone Support:
*Price above based on 1-year term before application of coupon code/introductory discount. While you may pay less for the first year of hosting, the price displayed on this page is the 1-year term renewal rate. Star ratings based on a 0.5 minimum to 5 star maximum scale. Publish date of this review is July 9, 2014. This page was last revised on July 9, 2014.
The Bottom Line
We must admit that we were initially impressed with the way that HostMetro’s web site favorably compared their hosting services to a number of popular brands. Featuring U.S.-based 24x7x365 phone support, top-quality name brand equipment, a world-class data center, free weekly backups, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee for only $4.45 per month, HostMetro appeared to be an excellent value.
However, the test results of the Metro Max plan demonstrated something markedly different. HostMetro produced the lowest uptime test result recorded to date — 98.4396%. We could not have been more disappointed.
On balance, HostMetro has earned the NCM Online designation of NOT RECOMMENDED.
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Pricing and Features
How to Install WordPress
The HostMetro website is easy to navigate, plan features are easy to compare, renewal rates are displayed in the shopping cart, and checkout is fast and easy. We do however, take issue with some of the sales jargon used. The homepage slideshow plainly states that the $2.45 monthly rate is a “Special Offer” for “This Week Only.” That is simply not true. We created the thumbnail screenshot of the HostMetro homepage (below right) on January 11, 2014. It shows the same $2.45 offer that is still available as of July 8, 2014.
Further, the homepage slide fails to mark the $2.45 monthly price with an asterisk indicating that price is only available if you prepay for three years of hosting. While nearly all shared hosts highlight a deeply discounted rate for long-term, pre-paid accounts; such pricing is almost universally marked with an asterisk that refers to fine print indicating the associated plan term. Perhaps the asterisk key at HostMetro is broken.
We also take issue with the second home page slide. While it correctly states that unlike HostMetro, the renewal rates for iPage, Hub, and HostGator are higher than the introductory rates; it also claims that those services do not provide refunds. That is simply untrue. HostGator, Hub, and iPage all provide money-back guarantees. In fact, Hub features a 90-day full money-back guarantee — one of the most generous in the industry.
HostMetro offers two low-cost shared hosting plans — Mega Max and Business Max. Both include “maximum” disk space and bandwidth; a 99.9% uptime guarantee; a 30-day money-back guarantee; 24/7/365 U.S.-based phone, chat, and e-mail technical support; unlimited FTP accounts; unlimited MySQL databases; free weekly backups; cPanel control panel; Softaculous “1-click” script installer; Trendy Website Builder; RV SiteBuilder; unlimited hosted, parked and sub domains; and unlimited e-mail accounts.
The higher-priced Business Max plan is intended for ecommerce sites and adds an SSL certificate (dedicated) and the SiteLock security seal. However, it is worth noting that the two features are not free after the first year of hosting. This means that you will be paying more for Business Max hosting even though your plan is essentially the same as the Mega Max plan. We fail to see the logic.
As is our practice, we purchased the cheapest available shared hosting plan (Mega Max) for purposes of testing and reviewing. The “Hosting Account Information” e-mail arrived in our inbox eight minutes after the PayPal receipt. It included the control panel login info; server details; temporary hostname; e-mail settings; nameserver information; and more. This allowed us to upload our test site (ncmtest10.com) within in minutes of completing our purchase.
HostMetro Uptime Test Results Chart. Click to enlarge.
In addition to the cPanel control panel, HostMetro provides the newbie-friendly Softaculous applications installer for quick and easy installation of content management systems like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento, and others.
After uploading our NCM Test Site to the HostMetro server, we set up Dotcom Monitor speed and reliability testing. All web hosting services reviewed by NCM Online are subjected to 10-day uptime and page-load speed testing. Beginning on 6/22/14 and concluding on 7/1/14, our HostMetro-hosted website was checked for uptime and page-load speed every fifteen minutes. Approximately two thousand individual checks spread across thirteen locations worldwide were performed during the 10-day test period.
Screenshot of HostMetro uptime/downtime test results pie chart. Click to enlarge.
Of the 1,072 server uptime checks performed, 998 were successful, while 74(!) failed (see uptime test results screenshot above right). In all, there were five downtime periods ranging from 15 minutes, 11 seconds to 2 hours, 43 minutes, 48 seconds in duration. All 74 failures were TCP 10060 Errors (connection attempt failed because the connected party did not properly respond after a period of time, or established connection failed because connected host failed to respond). Downtime occurred on 6/25/14, 6/26/14, 6/27/14, 6/28/14, and 6/29/14. Unfortunately, these problems lowered HostMetro’s reliability score to lowest we have recorded to date — 98.4396% (see pie chart screenshot above right), and adversely affected their page-load speed test results.
HostMetro Speed Test Results Chart. Click to enlarge.
While HostMetro’s page-load speeds were average or slightly better during uptime periods, they increased markedly when averaged over the entire 10-day test period. Page load speed for our simple 1-page test site averaged a painfully slow 4.7404 seconds across 13 test locations worldwide (see screenshot right). The 7 U.S. test locations recorded an average of 4.0749 seconds for a browser to load our page. HostMetro had produced the slowest average page-load speed as well as the worst reliability percentage we have recorded to date.
Affordably-priced hosting plans
Prominent disclosure of renewal rates
Quick and easy checkout
PayPal payment option
“Hosting Account Information” e-mail contains all the information required to set up your website quickly
Free website transfer
Free weekly website backups
Unlimited e-mail accounts
Unlimited domains hosted
Unlimited MySQL databases
Free domain name with FREEDOMAIN coupon code (first year only)
20% off coupon code: SAVE20
Choice of free site builders
U.S.-based, 24/7/365 phone, chat and e-mail support
30-day money-back guarantee
Major server reliability issues
Slow average page-load speeds
Coupon code for free domain name cannot be used in conjunction with the 20% off coupon code — you must choose between the two.
Despite the low price and a number of excellent hosting features, reliability and average page-load speed issues prevent us from endorsing HostMetro at this time.
HostMetro has earned only 3 stars and is not recommended by NCM Online.
Low-cost HostMetro Web Hosting Plans
Cheap website hosting company price comparisons based on 1-year term list price before coupon/promo codes or limited time/introductory offer discounts. These are the renewal rates for the second year of hosting. To ensure that you receive the most affordable HostMetro pricing possible, please visit our Web Hosting Coupon Codes page for current discounts and special offers before making any purchases.
Full Money Back Guarantee
24/7/365 U.S. Based Support
99.9% Uptime Guarantee
Unlimited FTP Accounts
Unlimited MySQL Databases
cPanel Control Panel
Softaculous 1-Click Script Installer
Trendy Website Builder
Free Domain Name
Web Based Email
POP3 & IMAP Supported
Customizable E-Mail Filters
Advanced Spam Protection
Mobile Devices Supported
SiteLock Security Seal
FREE Shared SSL
$100 Google AdWords Credit
FREE SEO Submission
FREE SEO Consultation
FREE SEO E-book
FREE Business Directory Listing
Google Checkout Supported
Password Protected Directories
SSI (Server Side Includes)
Log Files and Site Analytics Software
Metro Max Guarantee
24/7 In House U.S. Support
Renewal Rate Lock
99.9% uptime guarantee
No Hidden Fees
cPanel Hosting Control Panel
1-Click Script Installer
Easy to use Sitebuilder
Daily Malware Scan
Advanced Spam Blocker
Highly Secure Data Center
Price per Month*
*Prices based on 1-year term before the application of coupon/promo codes and introductory/limited-time offer discounts. While you may pay less for the first year of hosting, the prices displayed on this page are the 1-year term renewal rates.
HostMetro is a customer-oriented business. They strive to offer their clients the most dependable and painless webhosting experience while being simultaneously the friendliest. Individualized attention focused on every customer is their main goal. Keeping websites available around the clock is priority knowing they owe all their successes to their customers and their sites. Customers rate HostMetro as a reliable webhost with their superior service, staff, and support.
The staff behind HostMetro is extremely experienced with more than 50 years in the webhosting industry between them. A few industry veterans are among the ownership and management team. Few others know how to better create a more dependable webhosting experience at great prices. Their support team, having more than five years of experience in most members, knows all aspects of the problems customers can experience and how to best deal with them. This assistance is available around the clock to help with any hosting needs.
HostMetro makes sure that their servers are hosted on the most superior equipment available with no spending limit. The servers they use are brand new, from Supermicro and have Intel Xeon CPUs that have RAID protection and Solid State Drives. The datacenter’s fast connections enable the firm to guarantee 99.9% uptime. A simple Hosting Control Panel called cPanel organizes tools for clients to make their hosting experience even simpler. They also utilize more industry leading technologies such as Cloud Linux. Going a step further, HostMetro automatically backs up all hosting accounts every week to ensure safety of their clients’ sites. The cPanel also has a tool for the customer if they need to back up more than once per week.
The firm wants to make every customer’s experience with webhosting easy and worry-free. Creating and maintaining a website is easy with the quality tools they offer, not to mention the premium support team behind it all. They ensure that the renewal rates will never be raised while a customer hosts with the company. HostMetro offers an exclusive policy called Metro Max Guarantee which avoids the mess of terms of service maintaining customer satisfaction as the top priority. HostMetro promises that any trouble a customer has that is brought to their attention will be addressed with everything that is in their power to correct it. This is all promised with a no-questions-asked money back guarantee valid for 45 days.
415 W Golf Rd
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
How to Install WordPress
This video tutorial demonstrates the installation of WordPress on an HostMetro shared hosting account using the cPanel control panel and the Softaculous applications installer.
Video coming soon!
Projected publication date: 7/21/14
Click to visit the Official HostMetro Website
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