My personal review of this interesting NEW-SCHOOL take on an OLD-SCHOOL style webhosting.
They gave me a free account like a hundred years ago. I looked at their site and was like….yeah, whatever. And then time passed and since they really persisted (and had a different vibe in their emails then most companies), I decided to give them a shot.
They service seemed cheesy at first glance, but then I actually grew to like them. Here’s why…
1st thoughts of HostArmada
Their website design feels like a modern generic version between Cloudways and Kinsta.
It’s the modern generic design…of blue-purple-pink pastel colors with the retro illustrations of people standing around servers and circuit boards. Hahaha…I guess nobody wants anymore of the old school real photos of people smiling around computers and heavy corporate “trust” colors, like blue and gold (sometimes, red and green).
Old-school shared hosting vibe…(in terms of pricing & branding)
- Everything’s on sale – everything costs only $1.99. Of course…not literally that cheap…but you know what I mean!
- They do domain registrations! – lol, can’t remember the last time I saw a host doing that.
- Tons of hosting products – you can see the site for yourself. Managed, Shared, Cloud, Reseller, Dedicated, etc.
It’s really REALLY easy to get turned off by this. Seeing stuff like this feels like another coupon flyer in my mailbox. You’re just sick of it and don’t see the point of yet another low-cost low-value low-expectation hosting service.
WHYYYYYYYY…build another non-innovative company? Who the heck gets up in the morning for this?
BUTTTTT…their setup isn’t totally old school. (It’s shared hosting using fast VPS, not slow dedi’s.)
When looking at their map of available datacenters …I realized they weren’t my grandpa’s shared hosting type of company. They’ve got a new school twist! Instead of only a few low-grade datacenters with low-end bare metal dedicated servers, they’re using high-performance VPS cloud servers (and over a dozen locations around the world).
Let’s go over that again…
Instead of old school super cheap bare metal on slow ass hard drives, they’re using high performance VPS instances to run their shared hosting. And if I had to guess, they’re using Linode infrastructure. Since I recognize all those datacenter locations. But how the heck are their prices so low???
Which puts us in a very interesting place. If I had to guess…they’re using Linode instances (which are very high quality but quite costly for shared hosting) with huge block storage volumes mounted onto them. The block storage is still quite (relatively fast for shared hosting) but makes things so much cheaper!
How else are they able to give away 15GB of space for just $2.99? Either way, I appreciate their hustle to provide a quality service at a great price!
Old school style backends…cluttered WHMCS & cPanel.
To be clear, a super-skinned WHMCS (almost seizure-inducing) and a thankfully un-skinned cPanel. I’m quite familiar with both and like them. Reliable, works well, loads fast, and just about every client/end-user has seen them before.
If I had one wish, it’s that they make the WHMCS color scheme less aggressive. For those who don’t know what WHMCS is…it’s the billing area software that many hosting companies use.
cPanel is cluttered. Can be good or bad.
It’s bad if you’re a new-school dev who knows what he’s doing, and wants a clean minimal interface with fewer things to distract from your work.
It’s good if you’re a newbie client and love having 50 new toys to click on in your hosting panel. The HA cPanel is truly loaded to the max. They got all the usual cPanel stuff AND (non-WordPress) script installers AND WordPress theme installers AND a proprietary site-cacher (it’s actually Memcache object cache).
LiteSpeed web server & .htaccess
LiteSpeed server is awesome and high performance. HTaccess feature is useful (and even necessary) for certain plugins. These things are nice to have and depending on your level of skill and type of us, can be really useful. LiteSpeed web server allows the use of LiteSpeed Cache plugin (my favorite cache plugin), so I’m super happy about that as well.
Email hosting & File Manager
If you’ve always been on shared hosting ( SiteGround, GoDaddy, 1and1, Bluehost), these things are nothing new to you. If you’re from the cool-kids club of using cloud panel hosts (Cloudways, RunCloud, GridPane), these things can be a serious luxury. Either way…they’ve got it and it’s a nice feature to have!
“Inode limit” (technical term for how many files you can have)
Ahhh…found the first gotcha! The inode limit sets a big limit on how many files you can have. So while my super cheap plan comes with 40GB of high-speed storage, I actually won’t get to use up most of it with typical WordPress files. The space is more useable for large backup files.
- For those wondering, my inode limit was 500,000 files for a 40GB storage plan.
- And my 200MB site (using only 0.5% of the space limit) already took up 13,000 inodes (2.5% of the inode limit).
- So basically…I’ll only be able to use like 8GB of that space for typical WordPress stuff. The extra space only benefits if I have larger files, like images or backups.
But despite this limit…they are still cheaper than big name low-budget webhosts like SiteGround or A2.
Basically…the stuff that aren’t special to me but it’s nice to know that they have.
- Backups – nice to have. So you can have a fallback when you jack up your site like a newb.
- Free SSL – duh!
- Malware scan & removal – they will scan and clean your site when it gets hacked (because you didn’t know how to maintain it). This is actually really nice service.
- WAF & IP Firewall – nice to have. Actually benefits both the provider and the client…since servers will run faster due to fewer DDOS interruptions.
Developer features (SSH, WP-CLI, Git)
This is all really good stuff to have! I love the modernized WP-CLI and Git access. Super useful for busy coders and especially if they wanted to use this cheap hosting as a sandbox environment.
LiteSpeed servers…do I gotta say more? (It was fast.)
The HA (LiteSpeed) servers were fast. Sites up came up quick. Everything snappy. Was it the fastest thing on earth? No, of course not. But definitely faster than the typical bottom-tier hosting companies like GoDaddy, 1and1, Bluehost.
Was it as fast or faster than the better shared hosting giants like SiteGround and A2? Honestly, I felt like it was. Now maybe I had a new server or my server was lucky to have quiet tenants. I doubt that they rigged my review setup as I used it months after they gave me the account.
Hosting backend performance was responsive as well.
I would also like to report that navigating around the control panel and billing area backends were also pretty responsive. I remember other companies like Cloudways and GoDaddy being unbearably slow to get around. Each settings page click was like a 5-second wait. SiteGround can be a little slow too…2-3 seconds sometimes.
Skilled, friendly support…and available 24/7.
I felt absolutely ridiculous the whole time I tested this. I purposely broke the site in 2 places, and then jumped onto chat support pretending to play dumb like I didn’t know how my site broke.
The chat support was surprisingly efficient. Wednesday night at 10PM USA Eastern time, I was the next person in queue and an agent answered within 2 minutes. He “spoke” [typed] perfect natural English…without any of the “Yes, sir. How can I help you, sir. What is your name and email, sir.” type of bullcrap from usual Asian support staff.
He took a look and fixed the problem within 60 seconds. Then told me how he fixed it. He was friendly, professional, efficient, and most of all…had obvious programming skills. Making him a high-level support engineer IMO. (A real “tech support”, not “customer support”.)
I thanked him for his time and moved on in absolute shame. Lol…I feel so bad since I’ve been Mr. Tech Support numerous times in my life. Oh and PS: I feel a little extra stupid because I thought I was clever in how I broke the site. And if I’m being honest, he certainly fixed it at least 10 minutes faster than I would have! 😂😂
Should you host with HostArmada?
Yes, they’re definitely worth a shot.
I actually liked them. The prices are super cheap, performance and service was good, support was good. And the cost is so low, it’s almost free compared to usual prices nowadays.
Just on pure notion alone that they’re doing something kinda new in the industry is worth a shot. And also that I had a pleasant experience when using the service validated my feelings.
The service is only 3 years old (started in 2019) and trying to grow aggressively. I think by the 6-year mark…they’ll either go down in performance or up in price. We’ll have to see how it turns out but as of today, it’s a great deal.
Who are the best customers for HostArmada?
HostArmada is a great fit for the typical shared hosting client:
- You’re new to webhosting – and just want something cheap.
- You’re on low end shared-hosting (GoDaddy, 1&1, BlueHost) – and want something faster, more reliable, and better support.
- You’re on higher end shared-hosting ( SiteGround or A2) – and want something cheaper. HA prices are like $3-5/month instead of $15-30/month.
- You want to be a reseller – (selling hosting to your clients).
- You want cheap email hosting – to go with your cheap hosting and/or don’t want to pay for expensive email hosting like G-Suite.
You got small sites with low traffic and just starting out. Or your sites are so lean and well-cached that you don’t need a big fancy VPS. Good performance + Low cost = High value.
Curious to try HostArmada?