It’s time to give a healthy dose of credit where it is due! With so many places to buy shared hosting, reseller hosting, and various VPS services, and with wildly-crazy levels of service and value among the myriad choices, I know it’s helpful to read reviews about web hosting companies from trusted sources. BonFX has been around long enough and has been hosted long enough with the same hosting company to offer a very qualified review. To say the least, Hostnine has been a partner for us and I want to tell you a little about them, and I want you to sign up for them if you need a new web host, reseller or shared, or a cloud VPS.
Web hosting history with Hostnine
BonFX has been around in one form or another for 15 years. We’ve had a variety of hosting companies in that time. Some of our favorites went belly up (anyone remember Zeonhost?) and some that we tried, we regretted with great regret (1and1 and GoDaddy, you are both fiends!). After one more exhaustive search, we decided to give Hostnine try. Many years later, 7 to be exact, we are happy customers and want to let you (and Hostnine) know about it.
(Here is a snapshot of my billing history, BTW, so you can see for yourself how long we have been giving them our money)
My criteria was simple. The hosting company had to have:
- Generally good reviews (bad reviews are by serial, impatient complainers the vast majority of the time)
- A good looking, clean, well-maintained website with easy to find customer support information
- Stellare customer service
First, why so enthusiastic for cPanel?
Let’s just get this one out of the way, because while it’s a big part of my decision to go with Hostnine, it’s a separate product by a separate company. So why mention cPanel 3 times? Because cPanel. Let me elaborate.
Most of my favorite hosting companies have used cPanel on their backend. My best experiences have been with cPanel. cPanel makes sense, and hasn’t gone through needless UI refreshes that confuse me when I need the most to be not confused. cPanel puts everything you need access to on one page, and has a killer, super-simple search feature to find what you need in just a few key strokes. Finally, key stats (like disk usage, DB accounts, bandwidth limits, etc.) are visible at glance from that same, single page. It doesn’t get any better. Since there are a billion web hosting companies to choose from, and thousands that use cPanel, I’m going to stick with cPanel. Forever.
What about that bad Hostnine review I read?
Never worry about bad reviews. Every hosting company has bad reviews by vocal complainers. Every one. Hostnine reseller reviews are no different. Some small subset of users have truly bad experiences with even the best of retailers. However, most of the “really bad” reviews I have seen, I have also seen Hostnine follow up on. Most of the time, there was a miscommunication somewhere, and it was clear Hostnine was making attempts to right the wrongs, whether real or self-induced. What else matters? And I was impressed that they were taking their mission out to other review sites. This is very proactive and showed me at that time that Hostnine was dead serious about building their brand and customer service reputation. So the bad reviews that I found had been followed up on by Hostnine staff. Ironically, this is great customer service!
Hostnine’s website and UI design helped you choose them?
Yes. I’m a graphic designer and I know great designs don’t just happen. Everywhere I looked on the Hostnine site, I saw custom, carefully-crafted HTML/CSS, and expertly written and edited copy. I could find every answer to every question I had on their site. This tells me a serious business team is behind the UI, and they understand how important it is in creating and maintaining brand integrity. If the cover of the book is really great, chances are the contents are too, especially in this case.
Another detail that meant a lot to me was the prominent display of “Live Chat” for both sales and support inquries. As far as the website design and UI went, this was the clincher. Any company confident enough to put that up front was deadly serious about obtaining and retaining customers. Only happy customers with easy access to support end up long term clients.
Here is shot of their current homepage. Notice the invitation to chat on the lower right corner? Nice! (click image to visit site):
I read enough about their customer service to gather they were going to be good. Only in retrospect would I know how good.
In seven years of uninterrupted hosting at Hostnine, I have grown to rely completely on their customer support. Creating a ticket is as simple as sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. A ticket is generated, and you get an immediate auto-response. You can also immediately log in and see the status of your ticket, and reply from the UI or just stick with email. I have always stuck with just keeping support threads in email, because their support team is stellar, and apparently perfectly optimized around this workflow.
The other support feature which I simply love is their live chat. Many times, I feel like I don’t want to open a ticket for a quick question. For simple questions that don’t involve anything related to emergencies or anything, the “Live Chat” option available on their homepage is perfect. In all my years using it, my average wait is short to nonexistent. Occasionally there is a wait, but if it goes more than a few minutes, the chat system kicks you over to open a ticket, if you want. This automated feature is great! If they are truly backed up, I don’t need to sit at the computer waiting to hear the tell-tale “bing” to know someone responded in the chat window.
In times of emergency, like for instance the several times WordPress vulnerabilities were preyed on by hackers and my site had issues, Hostnine always knew where to look and direct me. While they don’t offer specific WordPress (or other CMS) help, it’s obvious they know the ropes of where things go wrong, and are happy to point you in the right direction.
I’d have to say in 7 years, uptime has been 99.999999%. Everyone gets hit by DOS attacks from time to time, and these can interrupt service for a time, but in 7 years, I don’t recall any lengthy issues that had any material impact on my site. BonFX is a medium-traffic site, with anywhere from 20k-50k hits a month. We sell a few products from the site that depend on live traffic getting to the site. If downtime was an issue, we’d have moved by now.
Reseller Hosting with Hostnine
When we started with Hostnine, it was as a shared hosting customer. After a brief testing period, we became reseller customers. We are resellers not because we ever sold hosting, but because of the flexibility Hostnine offered for setting up other personal sites we own through the reseller system. It’s a no-brainer to set up a new site. It takes literally a couple minutes, and then a day or so for a new domain to propagate (which of course has nothing to do with Hostnine). Being able to try something on a whim and not have any complicated setup procedures, or procuring of new accounts, has been a major plus. The Hostnine “Reseller Central” makes it easy to see all your accounts, billing, site info, site and cPanel launch links, etc., all very easy to see in one simple, super-clean, well-designed UI.
Cloud VPS with Hostnine
One of our applications for finding domains that have expired is hosted in Hostnine’s VPS Cloud. Provisioning this service only took a few minutes, and we were up and running, and installing our app! Our pricing research indicated that Hostnine was a serious value leader. Since the Cloud VPS account has nothing to do with the Reseller account, we could have gone with anyone, and we had narrowed the field to 3 other companies. In the end, it was apples and oranges as all the competition looked great. But, one thing Hostnine had going for them that the other companies did not was our long 7 year history with them. That was the clincher and we are happy Cloud VPS customers and happy to recommend them.
Putting it all together: Should you give Hostnine your money?
In a word: Yes! I think I’ve been thorough and told my 7 year story with Hostnine in enough detail to assuage any doubts. But if you still have any further doubts, simply do what I did:
- Visit the Hostnine website (and observe the great design and UI!)
- Dig deep and try to find the answers to your remaining questions
- Try “Live Chat” and ask Sales Support any questions you could not find answers too.
A Hostnine Coupon Code for 15% Off your first invoice
The last thing you can do, now that you’ve read this entire lengthy review, is leave us and go visit Hostnine (using my affiliate link of course). Use Coupon Code BONFX15DEAL when you check out.
If you have any questions I might be able to answer, please leave them in the comments section. Thanks for reading!
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