I’ve been wanting to do a full review of my experience with HostWithLove hosting company for a long time. However, I wanted to spend at least one full year as their customer to get a real feel of the company, their service and more importantly their support.
In 2007 when I first started my online marketing venture I bought a hosting package from HostGator. I’ve been with them for 7 years (as I am a very loyal customer) but things started to go sour. If you want more details feel free to read my Hostgator break-up letter. As my hosting renewal date was in November of 2014, I started looking for a new host a month in advance. I narrowed down my choice to only a few companies and Host With Love (HWL) was one of them. Feel free to check out my adventures of switching web hosts here.
Although HostWithLove is a relatively small company, they are steadily growing and expanding their server locations around the world to better accommodate their customers. At the moment of writing this they have servers in Texas, Michigan, California, Orlando, Sao Paulo – Brazil, Amsterdam in the Netherlands, London in UK, New Delhi in India and Singapore in South East Asia.
HostWithLove Sales Experience
The very first thing that got me excited about this company was their sales team. I know this sounds unusual, who the heck gets excited about being sold to, right? Well Cody from HWL addressed all of my concerns on a public forum where I was looking for advice on hosting companies. The responses were very timely, very detailed, easy to understand and I never felt like I was pushed into the sale.
It’s also very important to note that Cody worked out a custom plan for me since I wanted very specific things from my hosting provider. For the very first time I have moved to a reseller plan, meaning all of my websites will have their own cpanels and will be separate from other sites. This is important for me and it should be to you, more on that later in this detailed HostWithLove review.
HWL is offering very competitive pricing. If you are anything like me than you are looking for not just a good experience but also a great deal, which often means good price. You can start from just under $3 per month for a shared hosting plan, or you can pay up to $40 per month for a Master Reseller hosting. I am currently on a reseller plan for under $10 per month (I paid just as much with a shared hostgator plan) but more on that later.
Note: I reached out to HWL sales support and managed to get an additional unadvertised 25% discount for HostWithLove for my blog readers, this is valid for all of their hosting plans. Simply enter coupon code 25OFF at the check-out and you’re set! This promo is also recurring so when you renew your plan, you’ll always be getting that 25% discount. Feel free to use my affiliate link here: HostWithLove Hosting.
HostWithLove Service (Uptime)
If you read my other blog posts, uptime is one of the most important metrics when it comes to hosting. If you aren’t familiar with this term, uptime is a measure of time that a server has been running. Uptime is the opposite of downtime. If a server experiences downtime – chances are your website is down and people can’t visit it. One of the major reason why I left hostgator was the increasing amount of downtime. There were lots of short downtime periods (1-10 minutes) however there were also several instances when my websites were unavailable for 2-6-12 hours and even more. This is totally unacceptable.
When your website is down you are missing on visitors. You are missing on email subscribers. You are missing on sales. If someone clicked a link and landed on your “dead” site, chances are they won’t come back because your site doesn’t seem serious and trustworthy (or even visit-worthy).
What scares me the most is the fact that Google takes your server uptime and loading time into consideration as SEO factors. Simply put, if your website loads slowly or is often unavailable, Google will give more points to competing sites when ranking in the search results.
HostWithLove guarantees a MINIMUM of 99.9% uptime. I actually signed up to a service that monitors we websites uptime. So far my websites have 100% uptime and I can’t be happier about it. I know that once HWL moved all of my sites to a new server, however they managed to do it without any downtime so props to them!
HostWithLove Customer Support
One thing that I was worried about when signing up with Host With Love was their customer support. Unlike Hostgator they do not offer live chat. Most companies do not offer phone support (including HWL) so it wasn’t a big deal for me. We live in the age of “online” so I prefer to communicate by email and chat anyway.
HostWithLove only offer email support and they are using a ticket system. The very first time I tried their support was BEFORE I signed with them. So I logged in a ticket with some questions and I got a very detailed answer within minutes! This surprised me because whenever I had to call in for support with other companies, 10-45 minute wait wasn’t uncommon. Same goes to chat, HostGator usually made me wait 30 minutes in the queue for “live chat”.
HWL explains the fact of offering only the email support as the best way to keep track of issues and of what has been said by the customer and the techs. Personally I think the money is also of the issue here. Live support (such as phone and chat) could be very expensive and these expenses will be reflected on the price for the service. If a company offers phone support, they would usually have to charge you more for whatever product or service you are buying from them. Imagine that you pay $6 per month for hosting and you make a 1 hour support call once per month. The company has to pay at least $10 per hour to their support agent, so they are always losing money on you. Anyway, I did contact their support 7 times over the year (3 of these tickets were unrelated to service) and they always got me a response within minutes. Incredibly fast, knowledgeable and nice staff.
Out of 7 support tickets that I opened, 4 needed to be solved. I’d like to talk about these issues in detail so you get a better idea of what happened and how HWL team solved my issues.
First ticket: not able to upload images to my website. For some reason, randomly, I was no longer able to upload images to my WordPress installation. HWL technicians looked at some things and asked me to disable a newly installed plug-in, Smush It. This free wordpress plug-in resizes the pictures on the site so they take less space.
This problem was in-fact caused by the plugin. Since this is a free service, whenever you upload images to your WP site, they first get resized through the Smush It server. When the server is taking long to respond (too many people using it at the same time) then the your site might time-out before uploading the image. Totally unrelated to HWL but they did find all the information and explained it to me.
Ticket # 2. Yes, another WordPress plugin issue. The plugin was suppose to create a pop-up if a call-to-action button was pressed, yet it didn’t work for me. HWL support came to the rescue once again. They instantly figured out what was happening. Apparently the plugin and the LiteSpeed server (that HWL uses) work on different security settings.
The plugin (especially this PAID plugin) suppose to adapt to the site’s server security but this one didn’t. In the end HWL techs went into server settings and adjusted a few things to accommodate this specific plugin. Problem solved within an hour.
Ticket # 3. E-mail not working. After HostWithLove moved my sites to a better, faster server, I stopped receiving emails. I contacted them about the issue and they pointed out the fact that since they moved me to another server, the address that needed to be used for the email has also changed and I needed to update it in my settings.
They also pointed out that before the move they sent out 2 emails tagged IMPORTANT which explained the whole move and explained how to adjust the email setting. Needless to say that I felt like an idiot for ignoring those emails. HWL never sent me promotional email or spam of any sort, so I should have opened every email from them. Lesson learned.
Ticket # 4. Sites not loading for me. At some point I couldn’t load my sites… I asked a few friends to check from their homes and everything worked well for everyone BUT me. Once again I got in touch with HWL support and after a few minutes they notified me that my I.P. address was blocked from accessing the site. Wait, What?
So their system logged my i.p. for suspicious activity and automatically blocked access as a prevention. Hackers use similar methods to break into sites so this is a good thing. Support unblocked my I.P. and explained that there was probably a service or script of some sort running on my computer that was causing this issue. They also offered diagnose it for me and find out which exactly script caused it. I politely declined since it only happened once and I didn’t want to waste their time. They also explain that I can login to my HWL client panel and block or unblock IPs from accessing my sites. In the end of the day I learned something new. By the way, that issue never re-occurred.
HostWithLove Reseller Hosting (and more support).
A little earlier I mentioned that I was on a shared plan with Hostgator but upgraded to reseller when I moved to Host With Love… which actually costs me less.
Shared plan means that you can (most of the time) add as many website as you wish into your main hosting account and they will all be considered as add-on domains. All of these websites will be accessible through the main cPanel. The main problem with this issue is, if someone enters (hacks) into one of your websites hosting than they can easily access all the other websites on the same account. Boom! Your little website empire entirely hacked.
Now when you use a reseller account, each and every one of your sites has its own cPanel. This is a much more secure way to manage several sites. Besides, if you have clients who pay you for hosting or if you host websites for your friends and family – with a reseller plan you can let them enter their own hosting accounts and not see all of the other sites that you own. They can mess up their own site installation but they won’t be able to touch any other sites.
A reseller account means that you can sell hosting to other people but you don’t have to. You can simply use it like I do, to separate all of your website from one another.
Moving from Shared to Reseller (the technical challenge).
When I exported all of my websites from Hostgator, it created one large zip files with everything in it. When I opened it just to see what it looked like my jaw dropped! I couldn’t make much sense out of it all. The bigger issue was that most hosting companies that offered reseller hosting said they would help me with moving the site, although I’d have to pay extra for every separate cPanel I wanted to set up. They explained how each site comes with its own database and they would have to go through my backup and separate all these databases, modify them, etc. It takes time and quite a bit of money.
However, HostWithLove offered to do it completely free! They spent several hours (if not the full day) separating my single website account into over 20 different accounts. They created 20+ cPanel accounts, moved all the databases, installation, files and everything else in-there. I am still amazed by the load of work they’ve done, free of charge. The only thing that I had to do was set-up my email accounts as new. For some reason those cannot be transferred (which was the least of my worries).
To be honest the promise of moving my sites free of charge was the final trigger for me. I was very excited, almost running around the house screaming “Take my money!”.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this HostWithLove review, I contacted their sales team and asked for a discount for the Extra Paycheck Blog readers. HWL offered a 25% discount on all of their hosting plans! This is an unadvertised promo so you won’t find this coupon posted on their website. Here is how you claim it:
- Go to HostWithLove Hosting
- Select ANY hosting plan you want (shared, reseller, master reseller)
- Once you get to check out, use coupon 25OFF.
Example before applying the coupon:
and after applying the 25OFF coupon code:
Final Thoughts on HostWithLove Hosting
If you are looking for your first website hosting company or if you want to transfer your sites to a new place – I highly recommend HostWithLove. They are working incredibly hard to earn their customers’ loyalty. They seriously go above and beyond which is rare in this industry. The prices are great, the service is bulletproof and their support is top-notch!