Launched in 1998, West Host is a long-standing hosting provider with over two decades of service in the industry. Its inception was conceptualized by Chris Russell, a man acknowledged for his leading role in web development. In his ten years of service at West Host, he propelled the company to global heights attracting around 80,000 clients from over 130 countries worldwide. Today he is the managing director of Rock & Hammer ventures.
West Host has continuously been featured in leaderboards mainly appearing in recurrent reviews by independent firms such as NetCraft and CNET. It aims at providing a swift all-round technology that comes with it exceptional customer service. Over the years, the company has grown from offering a single shared hosting framework to a diverse hosting infrastructure. Today, it features VPS hosting, dedicated server hosting, web design, domain registration services, merchant account solutions in its reseller package, and other services.
In 2008, the company accepted an acquisition request by UK2 Group falling in its umbrella shortly after. UK2 Group is a well-known web hosting provider with an authoritative yet expanded reach to most clientele bases all over the world. By West Host combining forces with the group, it gained global recognition expanding its services as well as crafting rates that continue to be highly affordable.
Geographically, West Host resides in the business district of Providence city, Cache County, Utah State. Its data center is located in Salt Lake City in Utah holding servers that host over 1 million websites. Also, it borders Utah State University, a factor that has continuously motivated its expansion and growth over the years. It’s not only a home of research but also it offers countless internship opportunities aimed at promoting the students. With its Webucation program for universities and colleges, it is a hosting provider that’s truly determined to uplift the neighboring community.
To help you judge whether West Host is worth it or not, below is our honest review:
As earlier stated, West Host is quite diverse on its hosting packages. Although initially it only offered shared web hosting, today it boasts advanced technologies cutting across various levels of users in the hosting industry. In its shopping bin, it has VPS hosting, dedicated server hosting, shared web hosting, and reseller packages. Also, it provides web design services, ecommerce software, and domain registration services as accompanying products to its hosting business.
Its data center in Salt Lake City is categorized as tier 3 with highly advanced security and disaster response systems. The area is declared disaster-free zone by FEMA’s National Emergency Management Information System. Also, over 50% of its technical team reside in the area providing quick solutions to unforeseen failures and other crises. Inside, it features a cold row cooling technology, 24-hour monitored video surveillance, redundant power system, and VESDA smoke detection unit. Its service pages have more detailed information on these.
On all its packages, West Host promises a 99.9% uptime guarantee with backups scheduled on weekly and monthly basis. Other perks that we found interesting is its free domain name offer. By this we mean that they don’t charge customers renewal fees for domain names registered with them. But there’s a catch…you must be on their Preferred and Business level plans to benefit. (We shall provide more details on the two plans in the course of this West Host review). If you prefer to host your website elsewhere, they’ll charge renewal fees of between $10 and $15 annually.
Irrespective of the package that you settle for, the company offers a free migration service to its servers with a 30-day money back guarantee period just in case you change your mind. Moreover, account activation is instant, a feature that we have noted is commonly absent on even bigger web hosts including InMotion Hosting.
Let’s now explore each West Host’s hosting package in details starting with:
This type of package is designed in a manner that allows clients to share a single server or multiple server resources. It targets small and medium-sized websites usually in their budding and growth phases. On creation of an account on West Host, the company allocates you with a web space that basically allows you to upload your web files. With the setup, you’ll have to share bandwidth for ingoing and outgoing traffic, CPU cores, memory, and storage with other users on the same server. You’re also allowed to host email accounts, set a database, and expose the whole package to your target audience via a domain name/URL.
West Host considers this hosting type its main package mostly because of its popularity as well as the low cost of maintenance. It has multiple plans designed for customers interested in it which we shall provide details for shortly. Luckily, the plans here are the least expensive on their infrastructure albeit serving their largest percentage of customers.
The package comes with a weekly backup provision, slots for multiple websites of various plans, and a no-limit policy for email accounts.
This is cheapest shared hosting plan on West Host and is ideal for anyone who’s just getting started on web hosting. It comes with a slot for a single website that features 50GB of disk space for the web files. The websites enjoy a bandwidth of 1000GB and a single slot for a database. The total space allocated for email accounts in 10GB but you can create any number of them as there’s no limit.
This plan costs $1.99 per month for the first year after which the normal price of $8 per month activates.
Reportedly, this is West Host’s bestselling plan and is ideal for websites with established customer base. It also works best for account owners wishing to host more than a single website with an estimated traffic of 2000 hits a day. The company has no limit for the number of websites that you can host and even gives a bigger storage of 200GB in disk space. The plan also features more bandwidth of 2500GB as well as a lift on the limit of databases, which you can have as many as you want. Moreover, you receive a free domain whose renewal is free for as long you are hosting your websites with West Host.
The plan costs $5.20 per month for annual, biannual, and triannual subscriptions terms after which the cost is $13 per month.
This plan is designed for large websites with complex high-demanding elements on server resources. It works best where the client needs ultimate uptime or high performance. Like Preferred plan, you can host any number of websites you wish since the disk space is unmetered. The bandwidth is also unlimited as well as the space for email accounts. They also offer one dedicated IP which allows your website to remain reachable even where DNS servers fail to resolve your domain name. Moreover, it comes with a single free SSL certificate to encrypt data exchange between your websites and the web browsers.
Business Hosting costs $6.40 per month for an annual subscription after which it goes back to the regular $16 per month.
This package is for clients who feel that their websites have outgrown the resources offered by shared web hosting plans. Its robustness, dedication in resources, and high speed ensures your websites serve all their elements optimally. In use, this setup can have virtual private servers sitting on a single powerful machine. But unlike in shared web hosting, the units have dedicated and known values for the resources. Several CPU cores and memory are dedicated to a single VPS as well as bandwidth in some instances.
Now, West Host goes a notch higher to improve efficiency by having the VPS operating from Solid State Drives. These flexible, high-speed devices can deliver up to five times more access speeds than traditional disks. Also, the hosting provider allows you to scale resources flexibly as traffic to your website increases or decreases. This is an edge especially on instances where cost of hosting is a factor to your business.
The VPS can be optimized to relay data on several locations including US, Europe, and Canada. The accounts also feature an intelligent control panel that facilitates the management of your SSD VPS from a single location. Therefore, you can simply reboot unresponsive servers, backup data, and make changes to other configurations effortlessly. Another benefit is that you can customize your working environment to have an operating system that you’re comfy with. Also, you can integrate content management systems taking advantage of the scalable resources within reach.
Other paid add-ons you can have in your VPS include extra IPv4 addresses to separate various services on your system, cPanel licenses for a single or multiple websites. If you are using Windows OS, there’s an inbuilt function to purchase licenses for various flavors of the platform. In the near future, West Host plans to include server density monitoring system allowing you to view how your web apps are utilizing the resources allotted by your preferred plan.
This plan is great for newcomers or anyone who wants low-cost VPS but with predictable performance. It offers a dedicated 1GB memory, 25GB disk space, 3TB bandwidth, and 4 CPU cores. The server costs $8 per month.
This plan is ideal for users running content management systems like WordPress and Drupal in their operating environment. Also, it works best for websites with forums and ecommerce services but still receiving a traffic of less 5000 hits per day. It costs $16 per month and offers 2GB RAM, 4TB bandwidth, 4 CPU cores, and 50GB disk space.
This plan is for clients with already established websites receiving decent amounts of traffic with community platforms/forums. It offers 4GB RAM, 4 CPU cores, 5TB bandwidth, and 100GB disk space. The cost is $32 per month.
This VPS plan works excellently for websites with complex web apps, having busy subdomains, and online shops with high activity. It offers 8GB RAM, 4 CPU cores, 6TB bandwidth, and 200GB disk space. The cost per month is $64.
This is the best plan for anyone running multiple websites on the VPS all with lots of traffic on a daily basis. It offers 7TB bandwidth, 4 CPU cores, 400GB space, and 16GB RAM. Its cost per month is $128.
This is the overdrive hosting choice for webmasters with extremely large websites receiving significantly high traffic. Also, it is ideal for businesses looking to establish networks and feature their products or services on a large-scale infrastructure. West Host allocates high-end machines as well generous resources for this kind of hosting. In their words, the dedicated hosting machine is solely owned and controlled by the user with West Host only providing the physical infrastructure.
The primary benefit you derive from this package is the dedication of machine resources to your operations. Your allocations of RAM, CPU cores, disk size, and bandwidth are unaffected by other user operations within the network. This way, you can run heavy tasks without being penalized for bad neighbor effects common in other hosting types. Unlike VPS which feature compartmentalized units, this setup usually involves allocation of the whole physical machine which runs independently.
Another thing to love about West Host dedicated servers is the independence on management. You can take full control of the system allowing you to tailor it to handle your exact needs. In other words, you have full privileged/root access over the operating systems that you choose to install on the dedicated server. The catch, however, is that you must have technical knowledge as far as server configuration is concerned. Usually, there’s a high risk of vulnerabilities resulting from misconfigurations so ask help where necessary.
If you need West Host’s customer service to set up the server for you, it will take at least one business day. Sometimes it can take longer especially when you have asked numerous add-ons to be added on your operating environment. In case in future you want to upgrade from your initial plan, they don’t charge any upgrade fees but only the amount the higher plan requires.
Another interesting thing we noted is that although you’re in charge of a physical server, if it fails the maintenance cost is covered by West Host. Also, in cases where the hosting provider needs to upgrade hardware, the process won’t affect your operations. Usually, failover systems are available to take charge when maintenance services are underway. So, your data is completely safe and in compliance with Hardware Guarantee Policies highlighted in West Host’s SLA section.
This is West Host’s bestselling dedicated server hosting plan. The provider recommends it to be used in hosting websites and online business platforms. It can handle HD images, videos, and less demanding gaming software. The plan comes with 10TB bandwidth on a 1Gbps network, 8GB RAM, 2TB disk space, and a single Intel Xeon CPU with 4 cores.
D2 costs $122.87 per month.
This plan is ideal for clients who want to host virtualized units or run resource-demanding web apps. It boasts an Intel Xeon CPU with up to 4 cores, two 3TB SATA disks, 16GB DDR3 RAM, and bandwidth of 10TB.
D3 costs $154 per month.
Currently, this is the highest performing dedicated server plan at West Host. It features 32GB DDR3 RAM, two 4TB SATA disks, 100TB bandwidth, and 2 CPU sockets with 16 cores each. Their operating speed is 2.1 GHz. It is excellent for customers looking to host video streaming software, gaming apps, and other resource-intensive services.
D5 costs $246 per month.
WordPress is increasingly becoming a popular framework for blogging websites, business sites, information platforms, etc. You can virtually design any niche website with it and even add essential features including themes, plugins, etc. from within the framework. West Host supports hosting of this content management system on any package that you prefer. By default, this is on the shared web hosting servers but you can integrate it in VPS and dedicated servers.
What makes hosting WordPress on West Host exciting is the number of features and privileges within your disposal. For a start, the installation procedure is straightforward involving just three simple steps. Then the default storage is on solid state drives which are extremely fast in processing content. You can create up to 50 professional emails allowing your audience to reach you conveniently. The operating environment has an inbuilt malware removal software and backup function for your data. Also, updates are provided automatically for the inbuilt security software as well as WordPress itself. CloudFlare is the default content delivery network allowing tailoring of content for various geographical locations that your website serves.
You can also add free templates in your WordPress site including WooCommerce for quick site building.
This plan is great for newcomers interested in hosting simple websites with basic elements. It offers a single domain name, 5GB in storage, capacity to create 5 email accounts on the 10GB space, and over 50 optimized themes for your website. An account using this plan will have its website handling traffic of up to 10,000 views a month.
The plan costs $2 per month for 24 months after which the cost increases to $4.99 per month.
This is an excellent plan for websites already receiving traffic of up to 25,000 views per month. It offers a single slot for a domain name and has a capacity of up to 25 email accounts. Additionally, users have FTP access included as well 10GB SSD disk for storage.
The plan costs $4 per month for the first year of subscription and $9.99 afterwards.
This plan is ideal for well-established sites attracting a monthly traffic of up to 100,000 visits. It offers 20GB SSD disk space, slot for one domain name, capacity to host 50 email accounts, and free CloudFlare CDN.
The cost per month is $5.20 for the first two years and $12.99 per month afterwards.
This package is ideal for people who want personalized email accounts that match the domain names of their websites. It comes with an inbuilt spam and virus protection system increasing security in communication with your clients. Here are its various plans:
This plan costs $0.50 per month for the first 12 months and $0.99 monthly onwards. It has allocations of 2GB for storage, supports a maximum attachment of 10mb, supports mobile platforms such as Android and iOS, and includes an address book and a calendar.
With this plan, your email accounts will have about 10GB disk space for storage. It supports attachments of up to 25MB as well synchronization of emails across your various online devices. Moreover, it has an inbound spam and virus protection plus a powerful webmail client for non-web based email access. It costs $1 per month.
|Plan Name||Disk Space||Bandwidth||Currency||Admin panel||OS||Websites||Scripting||Email-Transport||Database||SSH||Databackups||Free Domain||1-Click Installer||Websites Builder||Location||Price|
|Business Hosting||-||-||USD||cPanel||1||Perl,Ruby on Rails,PHP||-||MySQL||$ 6.40|
|Preferred Hosting||200GB||2500GB||USD||cPanel||1||Perl,Ruby on Rails,PHP||-||MySQL||$ 5.20|
|Personal Hosting||50GB||1000GB||AF||cPanel||1||Perl,Ruby on Rails,PHP||-||MySQL||؋ 1.99|
On this section, we’ll now explore various features that West Host brings forth in regards to security, performance, speed, customer service, and control options. We’ll also provide details for their money back guarantee policy and what to remember when requesting compensation for imperfections in service delivery. Let’s go:
To be fair, West Host provides quite a generous amount of features improving performance and speed. Even in its cheaper plans, the speeds are very impressive owing to the regular upgrades in infrastructure and hardware. Here are several that stood out in our assessment of this hosting provider:
A content delivery network serves two major functions: It acts as a firewall and enhances speed of content delivery in diverse locations. It can easily filter out malicious data packets aimed at destabilizing the web server through a DDOS attack. Also, it can serve your site’s content via the closest server increasing loading speeds which are essential for high rankings on search engines. CloudFlare is high-end solution for these functions and performs quite well compared to its competitors. Unfortunately, this inclusion is not available to all plans but can always be integrated at a slight additional cost for plans lacking it.
Website SEO Guru
After finding a good hosting provider, the next big consideration is optimizing your content to be relevant and easily reachable to target audience. Now, West Host is dedicated to boosting its customers’ traffic and thus offers a powerful SEO feature at a little cost. According to the provider, the feature is very simple to use and requires no prior SEO knowledge. Your content is made available on top search engines including Bing, Google, and Yahoo via automatic submissions. Also, the provider scans your website daily eliminating functions that slow it down or affecting its rank on the search engines. Furthermore, they provide insightful analytics, web reports, and simple daily improvement guides increase your competitive edge.
SSD Powered Systems
Solid State Drives are excellent upgrades to traditional hard disks in terms of speed and reliability. They also have a high tolerance capacity to factors that damage data. Some packages including VPS and WordPress store data on SSDs meaning the loading speed of your website will be notably faster.
Cisco Powered Network
Besides being secure, Cisco is a very reliable network solution on any infrastructure. West Host’s network infrastructure is powered by devices developed by this firm. Network speeds of up to 200Gbps are guaranteed on most plans with the limiting factor being the total bandwidth allocated.
Other than hosting, West Host also offers web design services where it provides a decent number of design templates. Most of these are optimized to occupy very little storage space, a factor that lifts weight off the web servers which expose your web elements to the internet.
Integrated Email Hosting
Your website and your email accounts sit on the same server, which if fast enough, increases efficiency in operation. In other West Host’s plans you can open an unlimited number of email accounts or even acquire an independent email server for better service speeds.
Dedicated IP addresses
Although not available on all plans, this feature ensures browsers that have previously visited your website access it faster next time. It eliminates the need for DNS resolving which can be limiting when using slow domain name servers.
Inherent Support of Numerous Programming Languages
West Host supports MySQL, Perl, PHP, Python among other languages. With this, you can add lots of software written in the languages allowing your website to be fluid, interactive, and versatile.
West Host security measures are implemented physically as well as on its virtual infrastructure. It has both software and hardware that limits unauthorized intrusion, interruption of service, and overall failure of guaranteed uptime. There’s confidence in the provider guaranteeing a 99.9% uptime. Here are various security measures we observed in our examination of West Host:
Inbuilt Spam and Virus Remover
On the email servers, the company has in place self-updating virus and spam detectors. These block emails that contain suspicious attachments, security threatening links, and social engineering tools. Since the scans are automatic, the user is exposed to little risk even when they’re vulnerable to spamming attacks.
Malware Removal Software
Clients subscribed to SEO services have as an extra benefit a malware removal tool that strips off lines of codes slowing websites. Usually, these are injected to the operating environments by web malwares.
Physical Data Integrity
The Salt Lake City data center resides in qualified disaster safe zone. Inside, the power sources are redundant with backup power systems and multiple network handlers for increased reliability. Also, physical monitoring of the facility is present 24/7 with digital video surveillance systems implemented. The datacenter is SAS 70 compliant meaning it has been audited and qualified as a sufficient facility for data storage.
We’ve mentioned this feature before. On security, the inbuilt CloudFlare CDN acts as a firewall preventing the web server hosting your website from destabilizing attacks.
Strict Forced Advertising Policy
This hosting provider doesn’t throw in advertising elements in your account regardless of your package. This policy guards your web files from malicious elements that could be injected in inbuilt ad inclusions.
By default, West Host provides a demo version of cPanel as its control panel. Its interface is both friendly and easy to maneuver even when you’ve never used it before. It also allows you to control numerous sections of your account as well as view reports of integrated web reporting software. With it you can access your account status, configure various installed software, manage running services, among other functions.
If you want more control of your account, this hosting provider allows you to upgrade to paid versions of cPanel. There are also plans to integrate server density monitoring function on the existing control panel for convenience.
West Host has diverse communication channels which mostly operate 24/7. They have an interactive live chat, several FAQs in various hosting package pages, a ticketing system, email address, and telephone numbers which are all toll free for US residents. To be honest, the self-service sections in form of FAQs and knowledge base are fairly sparse. Nevertheless, where’s there’s documentation the information is of high quality and very helpful. For billing and sales questions, the support team is available from Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm.
Unlike other web hosting providers, customers are required to contact support staff via the member’s section. But then the live chat function is accessible anywhere on West Host’s website. If fact, when you arrive on various pages the “call for assistance” popup shows.
Another interesting customer service function available is the backup feature. The support staff will mirror your data on another location every week. You can, however, import backup apps from other providers just to be safe.
All the plans come with a 30-day money back guarantee period. There are no hidden clauses regarding refunds as long your account complied with the West Host’s terms of service. Some of the conditions outlined in the section include using your account for legal purposes. The websites or applications you host on their servers must not abuse the resources allocated. As such, you should not host malware, viruses, or services likely to negatively affect the provided framework.
You can cancel the hosting contract on any day and request for reimbursement immediately after. The review of your request takes at least a day but when it goes through, they’ll refund via the payment channel you initially used. Usually, the refunds are 100% unless you purchased other add-ons while registering an account.
West Host freely provides a plethora of templates which you can easily use to build beautiful websites. The templates are optimized and designed to work across multiple platforms including mobile phones, computer browsers, and tablets. The builders also allow you to customize an existing template to suit your preferences. Since a drag ‘n drop tool exists, you can quickly import elements in your offsite storage into the web files.
Interestingly, the website templates support integration of social media contacts, SEO tools, SSL certificates, image editors, and API of popular services/apps.
When hosting a website at West Host, you don’t have to purchase or renew domain names elsewhere. These services are offered for all account owners and a free renewal promised to users who register domain names on the website. It has a wide collection of domain extensions that you can use including checking for possible duplicates for a domain name that you pick. You can also secure a domain name to prevent other interested buyers from acquiring it.
Here are the strengths and imperfections which we noted in our assessment of West Host as a hosting provider:
Free migration services
If you have your website sitting on another web host, the company will transfer your files for free to their infrastructure. They’ll then give you a trial period of 30 days within which you can cancel the hosting contract.
Free domain for life
This is one of the few web hosts that doesn’t charge renewal fees for a domain name registered on their platform. They even issue free domain names for clients using Business and Preferred plans on the shared web hosting package.
West Host backs up web files automatically allowing you to focus on other areas of website management. They don’t charge for the automated backups unless you want the frequency altered.
When you register an account at West Host, it takes a very short while to get it ready for hosting. Also, the sign up process is quite straightforward which is impressive for anyone new to web mastering.
Diverse Hosting options
Whether you want a hobby website or a professional one, West Host has a variety of packages to get you started. The plans are plenty with options for large scale and small scale clients. Besides, you can utilize their templates to better the look and feel of your website for more popularity.
Decent Uptime Statistics
West Host promises a 99.9% uptime which in the course of our 6-month assessment, we found consistent. Its average is 99.94% which is slightly above its guaranteed value.
Lower than standard load time
The average load time for websites is 890ms while West Host has 893ms on the shared web hosting servers which we tested. That’s a few milliseconds slower than the industry standard.
Delays in customer service
The ticketing system although working well has lots of enquiry queues slowing down response time for even urgent concerns. Also, sometimes the live chat feature on mobile platforms freezes communications.
Although some of their resources are advertised as unlimited, they have limits which are well detailed under the terms and conditions page. Be cautious not to exceed set quotas which could affect reimbursements when you wish to cancel your hosting contract.
- Can I use West Host outside of Utah?
Yes. West Host is indiscriminate of the geographical locations of people who want to join its platform. You can sign up from anywhere and pick a location from where your website should be served.
- Which package should I consider for a blogging website?
West Host’s WordPress Hosting package has the cheapest and straightforward procedures for WordPress. However, if you wish to use other CMS, you should settle for VPS hosting which has dedicated resources and better performance. The bottom line is; you should consider the amount of traffic you have to pick a package that better suits the blogging website.
- Can I use a separate website builder and import ready web files in my account?
Sure. You can use other website builders other than the one provided by West Host and import the web files without hitches. The builder supports drag and drop functions so the input will be straightforward.
- Is domain registration service free?
No. The domain names have to be paid for initially or secured for future use. However, the renewal service for an existing domain at West Host is totally free.
- How do I pay for an account at West Host?
The methods of payment supported on West Host are credit cards and PayPal. Make sure you use matching names for account sign up to have minimal issues when making transactions.
- Which control panel does West Host offer and can I use an alternative one?
The default control panel on West Host hosting platform is cPanel. Yes, you can use an alternative one if the demo version doesn’t suffice your needs. Also, you can upgrade to a paid version of cPanel to unlock advanced features.
- Which app installers are available for my account?
West Host allows installation of third party apps using Softaculous which has minimal procedures to use. Nevertheless, be cautious when adding other software in your operating environment for safety purposes. West Host has a disclaimer for loss of data from such installations thus you should be careful.