When considering web hosting providers, it makes sense to do your homework. You wouldn’t move into a new neighborhood or buy office space for a small business without first checking it out and making a list of pros and cons. We’ll be comparing Canadian web hosting company Hawkhost to three of its competitors in this article and have provided our lists of pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.
Your hosting provider needs to be reliable and transparent, with all the costs and what you get for your dollar delineated—no surprise overage fees or “bandwidth exceeded” messages greeting visitors to your domain name. They also need to provide excellent customer support,so you’re not left with unanswered questions or downtime that’s not being addressed right away. So how does Hawkhost compare? Let’s check it out.

What Is Hawkhost?

Hawkhost has been around since 2004 but under a different name. They started out as Devoted Host, then changed names twice, finally settling on Hawkhost in 2008. Nothing shady about that—they had a founding member of the company bow out which usually causes a name change for legal reasons. Though the name change isn’t significant, their length of operation is: not too many web-hosting providers have been around for over fourteen years, which speaks volumes about their experience and their customer service. A history that long means lots of satisfied customers.

What Does Hawkhost Offer?

Hawkhost provides various hosting packages (more on that in a minute) from five data centers around the world: in Washington DC, Los Angeles, Dallas, Singapore, and Amsterdam. Clients can choose which data center they want to use, but ultimately, it shouldn’t much matter. They offer reseller, shared, VPS and semi-dedicated server hosting.

A reseller account is just what it sounds like. With this service, you’re expected to start your own web-hosting company and resell the service Hawkhost provides.

Shared hosting means your website’s domain name would share a web server with potentially many other websites, which isn’t a problem until one of them (hopefully yours) gets very popular. This can cause slowdowns but is usually resolved by the hosting company moving the traffic-heavy domain name to another server.

VPS stands for Virtual Private Server hosting, which requires explanation. With VPS, the operating system you choose is installed on a virtual machine or a software space meant to look and act like a separate server even though it’s sharing the hardware with several other websites. This allows for the VPS-hosted site to be more flexible, as the owner can install any software they wish that’s compatible with the underlying operating system. Semi-dedicated hosting is like shared hosting, but instead of sharing server hardware with many other websites, there will be considerably fewer. Semi-dedicated hosting is more expensive.

They also recently began offering Cloud Hosting, which splits the back-end needed to run a website across different servers, removing some problems of shared hosting and splitting surges in traffic or processing power across multiple hardware platforms. But what does all this cost?

Pricing

Their hosting plans start at around $13 per month and increase from there up to about $50 per month. Every different type of hosting we discuss above comes in different levels of service.  Their plans top out at around $80 per month, but this is only for websites with heavy traffic and a need for robust storage, memory, and processing speed capabilities.

How It Compares

Product Name

Image

Price

Hawkhost

hawkhost

A2 Hosting

a2hosting

HostMonster

HostMonster

FastComet

fastcomet

We looked at the packages that some web-hosting providers in competition with Hawkhost provide to give you an idea of how they rate. Those competitors are:     

  • A2 Hosting
  • HostMonster
  • FastComet


Hawkhost

hawkhost

Price:

With prices from around $13 per month up to around $80 per month for their basic plans, Hawkhost is neither gouging nor offering great deals, but rather standard fare.

Ease of Use: 

You have to be fairly knowledgeable about web hosting and back-end software platforms even to decide what plan you might be interested in. If you’re not familiar with content management systems like WordPress and Joomla, e-commerce platforms like Magneto, and hosting platforms like Litespeed and Apache, this is not the web host for you. Hawkhost is not novice-friendly.

Uptime:

They have 99.9% uptime baked into their SLA (Service Level Agreement). That means it’s guaranteed, and 99.9% (“three nines” as it’s known in the industry) uptime means your website is guaranteed to have less than nine hours of downtime a year.

Features:

This is a tricky one to call because while they provide a good amount of services, they are so opaque to anyone not well-versed in all things internet, they may as well not be there unless you’re fairly expert.

Customer Support:

With servers in various locations across the globe, you would expect robust 24/7 customer support, and you’d be correct in assuming that. Hawkhost provides a dedicated support team that responds to online trouble forms and email requests—usually within the hour.

Pros

  • Reasonable cost for services provided
  • Robust support of content management systems
  • Well-established company

Cons

  • Starting service levels aren’t generous with storage space or bandwidth
  • Requires near-expert level knowledge to understand offerings


A2 Hosting

a2hosting

A2 Hosting takes pride in being “by developers, for developers,” so, like Hawkhost, they expect their users to have a certain level of technical expertise. They also boast about being up to twenty times faster than their competition, which sort of guarantees a certain level of speed, but without reliable benchmarks in place, it’s hard to prove in the real world.

They offer nearly the same hosting packages as Hawkhost, with the main difference being their support for dedicated hosting, where one domain name has their own dedicated, unshared server hardware. Like Hawkhost, they have servers available in the US, Singapore, and Amsterdam—chances are, they’re using the same upstream providers, so that boast about speed might be hot air. We found their website to be subjectively slower during our survey of these hosting providers.

Price:

With hosting packages starting as low as around $4 per month, they undercut Hawkhost, and they top out at around $150 per month—but for a level of service (dedicated hosting) that Hawkhost doesn’t even offer. These plans all go up from there depending on the level of service offered.

Ease of Use: 

Ease of use? Not so much. As with Hawkhost, you need to be a fairly qualified web guru even to understand some of what A2 Hosting is offering. This is not a friendly environment for the uninitiated.

Uptime:

Like Hawkhost, A2 Hosting is committed to 99.9% uptime, though what that commitment means is open to question. This is why they lost half a star compared to Hawkhost’s guaranteed.

Features:

If you run a web hosting company “by developers, for developers,” it stands to reason you expect those developer customers to bring, install, and maintain their own software. As such, it makes sense that A2 Hosting doesn’t provide much in the way of software features to attract a user base.

Customer Support:

This is a home run for A2 Hosting, who offers round-the-clock live chat with their support team, trouble ticket submission, and in a stunning and resounding victory over Hawkhost, 24/7/365 phone support with phone numbers available worldwide. They have an impressively long list of phone numbers for various countries.

Pros

  • Somewhat cheaper than Hawkhost for similar levels of service
  • Robust customer support
  • Offers dedicated server hosting

Cons

  • Requires technical expertise; not layman-friendly
  • Lack of listed features


HostMonster

HostMonster

One of the first things we noticed about HostMonster’s website was the text box listing their hosting features cut off before the text did, obscuring the last line—a problem that persisted even after we changed screen resolution and our text zoom level. Not a great first impression. Or a second, third or fourth—their website has an amateurish feel to it, complete with dead links that go nowhere, stock photo images, and a layout that looks like a not-very-good WordPress template.

Coupled with relatively opaque offerings for their hosting packages, this did not engender any appreciable level of confidence. Though they have better support options than Hawkhost and offer a wide variety of software, their website is rather off-putting.

Price:

This is hard to call as they offer no information other than the general description of hosting for their four levels of service. They offer dedicated server hosting, but we suspect they’re a reseller, as it isn’t prominently featured. Still, with plans starting at around $5 and maxing out at around $15, they purport to be offering web-hosting services on par with some of Hawkhost’s pricier options (but again; we expect that all of their hosting is shared).

Ease of Use: 

There is little documentation on the HostMonster website that would indicate much beyond the names of virtually every content management system, e-commerce, and server-side programming language under the sun. We’ll give them two stars for offering such a robust list, but deny them three stars based on the murky, difficult-to-decipher offerings.

Uptime:

What do you do with a hosting provider that gives absolutely no information about their uptime? You give them one star.

Features:

One would think, with the list of software packages that HostMonster says they support or provide, they would score higher. We give them three out of five stars in good faith but doubt their technical prowess so much that one of us made the joke that the people behind HostMonster may not even be able to explain the services they offer—or that of their competitors.

Customer Support:

Again, this is a good faith awarding of four stars, as they claim to offer 24/7 phone support for domestic US customers, and more time-limited support for international customers. They were present and answered promptly when we called to check their support claims, so one would hope that it’s as robust as they say. We would also imagine, just based on their website, that their technical support folks stay busy. Frankly, we suspect they’re resellers.

Pros

  • They offer similar hosting packages to Hawkhost, but at lower prices
  • 24/7 phone support available

Cons

  • Virtually everything else—we just don’t have faith that HostMonster can provide what they’re promising


FastComet

fastcomet

Unlike HostMonster, FastComet makes a great first impression. Their website is crisp, clean, and looks professionally done. Add to that a clear and concise list of what they offer—including a list of featured software that rivals Hawkhost’s—and we have a contender. Among the impressive features: a “free domain for life” offer which allows domains registered through FastComet to be renewed annually on the company’s dime.

Price:

Right down the middle regarding pricing, FastComet nearly matches the pricing of their competitors while offering cheaper starter packages.

Ease of Use: 

FastComet offers free tutorials on a wide range of their features and seems more friendly to inexperienced customers.

Uptime:

So much for that good first impression! Though we frown on web-hosting providers that don’t appear to make uptime information publicly available, this is probably just an oversight on FastComet’s part, as everything else about their offerings seems professional.

Features:

A rather healthy offering of software combined with cloud VPS servers redeems FastComet here.

Customer Support:

With 24/7 customer support and a response record of solving 93% of 10,000 customer issues within ten minutes, FastComet has superlative customer service. We deduct half a star for lack of international calling options.

Pros

  • Reasonably priced offerings
  • A healthy offering of the most sought-after features
  • The most novice-friendly host reviewed here

Cons

  • No uptime information

Conclusion

Understanding web hosting doesn’t have to be like rocket science, and there are different levels of service for different levels of customers, but it would be wise for most of these hosts to cater a little more to the folks who aren’t in IT. That said, these are solid offerings—except for HostMonster, whose website left us stunned with its sloppy appearance and unprofessional presentation. As for Hawkhost, we’ll give them a solid 3.5 stars out of five, but wish to reiterate the average person might need a semester or four of computer science before hosting with them.

(Visited 30 times, 1 visits today)