HostNine Review

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Pros: The ability to host sites on multiple servers with Reseller Central, complete reseller package

Cons: Support is not truly provided 24 hours a day as claimed, disk space and bandwidth is slightly more expensive than competition

Bottomline: An overall good host backed by good support (when available) and a promising service

HostNine is a young, Jupiter, FL web host offering shared, reseller, and dedicated hosting. It was founded in 2006 by individuals with hosting industry experience. The HostNine.com web site presents them as a good choice for hosting, but it is also valuable to consider personal experience, as presented in this HostNine review.

Features and Pricing

HostNine provides flexible choices offering four different plans for both shared and reseller hosting, and three plans to choose from for dedicated. These plan offerings allow customers to select the option that suits them best, without having to pay for space and bandwidth they don’t need. While many hosts offer large amounts of space and bandwidth that many individuals will never use, HostNine offers a realistic amount that is adequate for most. For example, at the time of writing, the basic shared plan included 5,000 MB of disk space and 100 GB of bandwidth. This is sufficient if the plan is not being utilized for video or volume image hosting – which many hosts that offer large plans block anyway.

Shared

The shared hosting plans offer quite a bit less space and bandwidth than the competition, but again the allocations are suitable for the average user. Although it does seem that they could provide a bit more for the price, what they charge is definitely acceptable for what they offer, as they provide countless features.

Reseller

The reseller plans at HostNine include a unique feature. HostNine allows a customer to choose where they would like a reseller site to be physically hosted. A site may be hosted in one of eight U.S. or three global locations. Therefore, it allows the ability to manage multiple servers from one control panel. This relieves a reseller of the risk that all of their sites will go offline due to one server failure as sites are hosted across multiple servers. This is just one component of Reseller Central, which is HostNine’s proprietary reseller control panel. The reseller plans, like shared, offer slightly less than the competition in terms of disk space and bandwidth.

Dedicated

HostNine also provides hosting to those in need of dedicated servers. They have three different dedicated plans which are very comparable to those of other hosts, and which offer a good deal of features for the cost. The dedicated plans include WebHost Manager, the industry-standard control application for dedicated hosting administration. The dedicated plans are available with three choices of operating system: CentOS, RedHat, and Windows.

If the reason behind using a reseller or dedicated account is to resell hosting, a nice feature of HostNine is the ability to receive a complete reseller solution. They provide customers with ModernBill billing software, as well as a merchant and domain reseller account. Therefore, an individual is ready to effectively resell hosting without having to acquire the ancillary services elsewhere in order to do so.

Terms of Service

To demonstrate their responsibility for customer satisfaction, HostNine provides a 30 day money back guarantee on shared and reseller hosting, but not dedicated. The policy was once for 45 days, but has since been changed – a possible sign that too many customers cancelled between 30 and 45 days of service. When canceling an account, if it is canceled no sooner than 15 days before the next billing cycle a customer does not receive any penalty and they only lose the hosting fees that have already been paid. Therefore, if a customer thinks they may cancel for whatever reason, the monthly billing cycle should be selected as HostNine does not offer any discount for the selection of longer billing cycles. That way the customer would not be losing three, six, or twelve months of hosting that they prepaid for.

HostNine also guarantees industry-standard 99.9% uptime. In general, their terms are commonplace. They do explicitly state server limitations that users may not exceed, yet these are very reasonable. They do impose a “250 email limit per domain per hour” that applies to both shared and reseller hosting. Most individuals will fall well under this limit, yet this may pose a problem if the plan is to use the account to provide a help desk to service customers, or support a community – any situation where large volumes of emails may be sent or received through the server. In that case, it is required to make use of a dedicated plan, as their this email limit is not imposed on their dedicated hosting.

Control Panel

To allow a customer to effectively administrate their hosting account, HostNine provides the user with the industry standard cPanel control panel. cPanel allows for the easy administration of files, email, databases, domains, security, and more of the hosting account. It a commonly used application and provides excellent management features.

Reseller account customers are provided with the aforementioned Reseller Central control panel. This allows resellers the ability to easily manage their clients and control the sites they host.

Dedicated accounts are provided with the sister application of cPanel called WebHost Manager (WHM). WHM makes it just as easy as cPanel to manage an entire server and the hosting accounts that are served by it.

Testing

My tests of HostNine were favorable. My test site opened fast. When uploading a file, FTP responded quickly with the server. In a website speed test by HostPulse the test site ranked 10th among other hosting, with an average ping time of 21ms. On a traceroute test it required eight hops to reach the server, which compared to other hosts is good. During another speed test the speed of a page with a large amount of text yielded a rate of nearly 1,000 KB/s.

Customer Support

HostNine states that their sales, billing, and technical support services are provided 24 hours a day. Their toll free number is prominently displayed across their site. Some hosts force their customers to dial a local phone number, but HostNine does not. Although they claim 24/7 support via phone, live chat, email and instant messaging, I tested it on multiple occasions and found that it is not true 24/7 availability.

On one of my tests, I made a phone call at 9 PM on a Sunday. I was presented with a professional quality recording identifying the company as HostNine. After selecting the support extension, some annoying triumphant music filled my ear. After some time, the song replayed, and I waited, and it replayed yet again. Eight minutes went by before the system disconnected me and I was left without any service. I waited eight minutes only to be hung up on. It didn’t give me an option of any sort, or tell me to check the web site; I was just left staring at my phone! So much, I thought, for the 24/7 support via every possible medium. The instant message support was not available at that time either. So I tried the Live chat at 9:12 PM on that Sunday night. My approximate wait time was 4 seconds – perhaps I would get someone to answer my late night question. I had chatted with a sales representative half an hour earlier. This time I was connected to someone with that same name. Perhaps the support was understaffed that Sunday night? Maybe they just had the one guy at the time (the representative I later contacted could not say how many employees HostNine has on their support team).

After being connected with a representative this time, it took him 11 minutes to respond to my basic question with its obvious answer. He may have never responded if it wasn’t for me asking “Are you there?” after the first five minutes, which seemed to wake him from his late night slumber at the help desk. I do assume the support is in-house – he did have an American name and a good control of the English language.

The phone number, the live chat link, the screen names, and the email are all there, but it doesn’t mean you will get a timely response to any of them. They are available for you to contact 24/7 but it doesn’t mean you will get a response within a reasonable amount of time.

Later that night I tried sending them a support email. I sent the email at 9:28 PM and received a reply a 9:34 PM. That response time is good, but the reply was made by the same representative that managed the chat.

On a later date, I tested the phone support again. This time it was on a Saturday at around 3 PM. I placed a call at 2:57 PM and was connected after only a minute of hold music. The technical support representative I spoke to was clear, polite, and answered my question promptly without placing me on hold. This demonstrated to me that support is good during the day, but should not be relied upon late at night.

The overall support experience was good – though it was not truly provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week as claimed.

Conclusion

HostNine, as a whole, is a good host. They provide a good featuring offering for a competitive price and offer a wide array of services. They are especially a good choice for resellers as they provide a convenient, total solution through their Reseller Central control panel and merchant, domain, and billing services. The support is good, but is not available around the clock as claimed.

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18 comments

  1. John

    I hate to tell you but their service has gone down hill alot lately. Their phones dont work at all. When you call it asks sales, support or billing no matter which one you choose none of them work. They dont want you to use live support either. Most of the time you get a message that they are offline and leave a message and they will get back to you. They never do. I think that company is run by two people. Ben who lies alot and one guy who is the online help. Ben always has an excuse. i have 3 accounts with them and i am moving them all to liquid web. I would’t reccomend that hosting company to anyone. Oh and buy the way don’t you dare try to complain on their forum you will be banned. They don’t accept negative comments.

  2. mark

    HIGHLY NOT RECOMMENDED. Servers are bad and the people are very rude. The server was down for over 3 hours and the tech support said there was nothing they can do but wait. I also agree with the person who wrote a review about them that the company is run by maybe a couple of people I talked to Alex. Alex also does not know anything about their own servers. I decided to move my accounts off this server. They are just very unprofessional and take things really personal. If you ask them why is the server having problems, they will tell you “Can you just be patient? we are working very hard for your server. If you do not like it then you better find another company”. Another time I got another reply “I think it would be best if you looked else where for a host. We can not accomidate what you need on our shared servers.”

  3. Jude

    Sure your testing went well. They do their best to impress you during your first 30 day guaranteed period. It’s after that you need to worry. They suspend with no warning and will not reinstate you, no matter what. One strike you’re out!

  4. Greg

    Well Folks..

    I have had a GREAT experience with Hostnine… Sure, they have had a few growing pains.. but they were very quick to resolve issues 7 days a week… Over all great service for the $$

  5. Hanen

    I worked for hostnine as one of their affiliates and i can tell you greg must be the owner or the 1 jerk who works for him. They rip their affiliates off and i can imagine what they do to their customers. If you go to their forum and leave a complaint because they dont have their phones you will be deleted and get a message that you are not going to ruin their forum. Do yourself a favor and check hosting reviews all over the net their is tons of complaints about that company.

  6. SamEye

    I have been a reseller host for over 5+ years. HostNine (H9) has been the worst company to work with in the last few years that I decided to jump ship.

    People, there are many great hosting companies out there, stay away from HostNine.

    They customers could have been their greatest sales agents, but this is what we have resorted to … letting the world know that HostNine is really not a hosting company and really should not be in the hosting business.

    Email support tickets get closed for no reason, Hostnine forum posts get deleted, websites get suspended without warning and you have no clue as to why it was suspended.

    Try calling in and support will tell you one thing, but actually never do it. Try calling again and you will be on hold forever.

    HostNine should not be in the hosting business!!!

  7. fredo

    Some of these negative reviews I can tell are fake either that or people don’t have a clue.

    H9 is one of the better hosting companies out there, if not one of the best and I’ve been with several. I’ve always and let me repeat ALWAYS have had great service from day one with H9.

    Most problems I see are due to customer “give it to me now” attitude. If you don’t have the patience to host your site with a hosting company then you have no business having web hosting service.

    S*** happens deal with it and that’s exactly what H9 does. They are small but don’t let their size fool you, they know how to make it all work so you don’t have to.

  8. Ugh

    H9 went from Good, to Bad, to Really UGLY within two years that I was with them.

  9. Hostnine Reseller experience is realy disappointed one to me. I expected they will solve the problems basically and continued one and half years to find it is getting worst. I lost my face in front of my clients with their emails servers. But any kind of Hackers have free access to their servers. But they will suspend accounts if any hacker used one domain for any purpose. I am not waiting to finish 2 yrs with them. May god bless them.

    Rajeev

  10. I am still with H9 (G*d Knows Why…) But I agree to them being rude, obnoxious, unprofessional, lazy, unfriendly, non-supportive, unfair, with no common sense or reasoning with the very people that PAY their wages every month…

    There I said it..

    And yes… be warned, your site WILL get suspended. I had one complaint from a customer who was too lazy to email me directly to resolve any problems and my site got suspended faster that you could say “H9″….

    Only reason I use them is because my second REAL hosting company (Hostgator.com) – which by the way is a great company with REAL support… does not support my specific script…. until I can find a replacement for H9.

    Ahh… the beauty of the Internet… let it reveal those can of worms that is H9…

    .. and for any other posters “bigging” up H9… you either work for them, or you haven’t experienced the pain associated with them… oh… don’t fret.. you will… sooner rather than later…

    Peace – spiritlessons.com

  11. Ivan

    I have purchased reseller account 3 month a go, in the beginning did not have any issue. Today my ticket on Login issue, was not answered for 4 hours, i was not able to help my customers, because of that, I was not able to login to my reseller account. I still do not have access to my account. As for now this might cost me my customers. And even more, since I even can not move theyr sites to my own server. The support line is blocking my work, and cellphones, I’m getting message that the number has been disconnected. I have called the support 2 times in 3 month, thay are saing that they do block abusive callers, but by making 2 calls in 3 month to support you can be considered as abusive caller… so do never use them. it can cost you your customers, and maybe more, it might cost you all the work you and your customers done, on the sites when they become unavailable, and you will be block.

  12. I have over 75 websites hosted with Host9. Their service has really gone downhill in the past three months.
    Today, ALL of my sites are down again. This is the fourth time in the past few months. They guarantee 99.99% uptime. I haven’t seen it.
    Phone support is useless.
    I sent in a support ticket over 4 hours ago and still haven’t received a response.
    I tried redirecting some of my websites to another site (with another hosting co)and the redirects don’t work.
    I’m shopping for another provider. Host9 has cost me too much money.

  13. tula

    Been with them a couple of years but about to jump from them. After the dramas last year when the sites were down for a week because of a fire, um, ever heard of redundant servers not in the same center? I think they’re probably on about 80% uptime for me. Rude help desk, slow response. Now they’ve changed something and half my sites are down. All they do is blame others.
    Host nine are amatuers, two guys in a room.

  14. WebServ

    I was quite impressed with their Reseller Central application and the reseller packages they offer so I contacted via live chat. I asked a specific question, which is my issue with my current host, and rather than answering, he pointed me to the terms of service.

    That was a bit of a sting though not enough to thwart my desire to host with them, but enough to prompt a research. From what I have read here and numerous other review sites, I think it wise that I avoid these guys at least til 2012, then I’ll check the reviews again.

  15. Jude

    I love that Fredo thinks all the negatives are fake, and his glowing report is real! LOL *snort* LOL…I still feel the sting of what H9 did to me, and it’s been a year since I found another host!

    For any of you who want to defend them? Well, that was me for the first eight months! Loved them, couldn’t say enough good about them…but THEN the suspension without notice and being told I had to go elsewhere, even though problem could have easily been fixed…and they COULD have told me there was an issue before suspending. Lazy dishonest jerks!! Sure they’re great…until they burn you too!

  16. Mike

    Run from this company!!!! You are giving your credit card to a company that is dishonest. Their 24×7 tech support is anything but. The impression I have had when dealing with them is that there is only one or two people who are able to resolve even simple issues. The rest of their so called tech support specialists (which may be overseas) is either not empowered or not competent enough to do anything for you. If you contact them when they are down expect some snotty response about the scheduled downtime being posted to your account control panel messages. I’ve seen behavior like this in companies before, usually right before they fold.

  17. Mark

    Hi guys,

    I couldn’t agree more, with what alot of you folk said.

    My site has been SUSPENDED for the SECOND TIME within THREE MONTHS OF SIGNING UP!!!… WITHOUT ANY NOTIFICATION!!! as to why??????

    Just when i started a promotion of my company and included my website for information on services discounts etc… WHAM!!!! website SUSPENDED.

    I have sent three tickets so far three or four days ago, had replies stating the’re in a queue waiting / they are looking into it.

    Yes there was someone named Tomica, then Alex, then Brent who replied.

    I am still waiting & waiting & waiting on my site to be UNSUSPENDED.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated about information on getting good/reliable hosting.

  18. Just wanted to chime in and say Hostnine is definitely great. I’ve been a customer for over 7 years now and even with the occasional hiccup they have been great. I have filed a LOT of support tickets over the years and none of them have ever gone unresolved or forgotten. Period. And the fact that they use standard cPanel and not a lot of stupid nonsense custom software is a big plus. They keep it simple and that in and of itself is valuable when you need to move on something quickly. I wrote a longer review at http://bonfx.com/hostnine-review-time-give-guys-credit/ where I detail what 7 years with them has been like. Give it a read.

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