Its feature offerings are fairly standard, but are clearly explained in plain language. Its prices, too, are average.
Where HostArmada stands out is the actual experience of being a HostArmada customer. Your sites load faster, the customer support is better, and the user dashboard just makes sense. If you’re looking for an inclusive, customer-centric place for your blog, personal website, portfolio or small business site, HostArmada’s shared hosting plans are for you.
Over a period of one month, we thoroughly tested HostArmada’s entry-level Start Dock plan using a WordPress site setup. Keep reading to learn how HostArmada’s features, ease-of-use, performance, support, and pricing stack up against the competition.
HostArmada does not compromise on offering speed and security features, some of which rival other top hosts.
We signed up for Start Dock, the entry-level shared/WordPress hosting plan, which includes support for one website, 15GB of storage, free domain name and SSL certificate, and unlimited email. Start Dock has resources that are perfect for a wide range of small-to-medium web projects, from personal portfolios to an online store.
HostArmada is refreshingly transparent about the features included in the Start Dock plan. Bandwidth, for example, is set at an acceptable usage range (3GB – 30GB), encouraging customers to level up their plan when they see fit as opposed to imposing hard limits. This transparency carries over to other HostArmada features, which are explained in clear, plain language on their website, creating a sense of trust and reliability.
Free SSL and Multi-Level Security Solutions
Unlike some other hosts, HostArmada includes the same security features with all of its hosting plans. This creates the sense that every customer is important, regardless of the size or breadth of their web project. We all deserve good web security!
All HostArmada plans come with free SSL certificates, which gives your website the ‘s’ in https, and is essential for establishing a user’s trust when they visit. SSL installation is included with all plans, and all SSL certificates are renewed automatically.
HostArmada also offers PHP hardening, a process that removes potential vulnerabilities from your website configuration. And it supports a surprising range of PHP versions, so your older website (hello, PHP 5.6!) can live on safely.
Other security features are bundled under the Imunify360 suite, a third-party service that offers spam and bot blocking, upload scanning, and database patching. Imunify360 is a “set-it-and-forget-it” service, and is a great value-add for all HostArmada plans.
Our test HostArmada website performed well above average in terms of site speed (more on our speed tests below), thanks to NGINX web server and a proprietary service it calls Cache Commander.
Cache Commander is set up by default on all hosting plans, and allows control over the static and dynamic site cache. You can clear the cache right from cPanel, or disable it during development.
HostArmada also provides Cloudflare CDN support for edge caching of your website assets on servers closer to your international visitors. It isn’t built into any of the standard plans – you’ll need to sign up for your own (free) account on the Cloudflare website. However, customer support was helpful in guiding us through the setup process.
For the extra-speedy LiteSpeed web server, you’ll need to upgrade to the highest-tier ‘Speed Reaper’ plan. It wasn’t worth it for our single test site, but if you’re managing multiple large websites this plan is a good option, and doesn’t come at a huge additional cost.
Reasonable Storage Limits
One potential concern with HostArmada is the storage included with each plan. For our single WordPress site, however, the 15GB included with Start Dock was more than plenty.
Take stock of your website and how you want it to grow – blogs, portfolios or magazine-style sites can, over time, amass thousands of images and assets, which take up space. Want to host video content or allow users to download large files? You’ll likely need a plan with more resources.
Nothing is truly unlimited when it comes to web storage, and hosts that offer “unlimited everything” often have a hidden cap. We liked HostArmada’s transparency here, even if it means you might need to upgrade your plan sooner rather than later.
HostArmada Features at a Glance
Free domain name?
99.9%, compensation provided for downtime
Managed hosting features?
4 in North America, 2 in Europe, 2 in Asia, 1 in Australia
EASE OF USE
The Dashboard Makes Everything Easy, No Experience Required
HostArmada’s management dashboard is clean and simple, allowing experienced hosts and newbies alike to take care of simple site management tasks quickly. If you get stuck, help is there when you need it (see the Support section below).
Better yet, once you’ve registered, HostArmada doesn’t constantly upsell its plans or push add-ons via the dashboard. Either their sales team is really chill, or they just respect that customers will upgrade when the need arises.
Creating a New Account With HostArmada
Once we chose our shared hosting plan, the next step was to create an account. This process was user-friendly and flowed well from step to step. Watch out for the auto-selected Privacy Protection add-on – this prevents the contact information connected with your domain name registration from being visible online, but if you don’t need it you could end up paying for it anyway.
Billing is done only through credit card or PayPal, but is easy and secure. Once registration was complete, our verification email went to spam (oops!), but all email filters are different and yours may land in your inbox without issue.
Connecting a Domain and Installing WordPress
In less time than it takes to make a cup of coffee, we were verified and able to log in to the HostArmada dashboard. Having just registered our domain, we had to wait for DNS propagation (essentially telling the internet where to find our site).
Users who are unfamiliar with this process might be confused at the PENDING warning in their account – expect that DNS propagation can take as little as a few hours and as long as three days. This delay is not unique to HostArmada, but their messaging surrounding it could have been better.
Setting up WordPress was a breeze with the one-click Softaculous installer in cPanel. As with any WordPress install, be sure to use a strong password.
Another heads-up, you’ll need to clear the cache via Cache Commander in order to actually see your site at your domain. HostArmada didn’t warn us of this quirk, but luckily Cache Commander was easy to find, and the Clear Cache button is unmissable.
Managing Your Website via cPanel is Simple and Reliable
Our website was finally live! This can be the end of your journey with the HostArmada dashboard, or just the beginning.
cPanel makes it easy to set up things like email or FTP accounts, and we highly recommend using the cPanel search feature to find what you need instead of scrolling through rows and rows of app icons.
Account and Usage Details Are Clear and Accessible
The HostArmada dashboard is sparse, in a good way. When you don’t know where to click, the fewer options, the better.
Besides cPanel, the only other dashboard feature of note is the Product Details area. Here you can check your disk space and bandwidth usage, check your billing cycle, and purchase add-ons. Again, there isn’t a sales and marketing vibe to the dashboard, and we never felt pressured to purchase additional stuff. There are also some cPanel shortcuts in this space, though it would be great if users could configure these themselves.
A Speedy and Reliable Shared Hosting Plan? Yes, Please!
Yes, HostArmada’s features are pretty good, and the setup was easy, but the main benefit is really the server speed. With shared hosting there is always a worry that using the same resources as other clients will slow things down, but that did not appear to be the case with HostArmada.
We chose the Chicago data-center, so users on the other side of the globe would likely experience longer load times. That being said, we’re still confident that HostArmada is one of the fastest shared hosting providers around.
HostArmada overdelivered on its shared hosting promises with consistently fast loading times – under 1.5s, and typically 1.1s – along with 99.98% uptime over a month.
Quick loading time is extremely important to catch the ever-elusive attention span of the modern web user. If your site takes more than two seconds to load, or users see a flash of unstyled content, they will go elsewhere.
GTMetrix allows us to measure site loading speeds across a period of time, and we tested our HostArmada site for a full month before compiling the results. The verdict? The results in all areas – time to first byte, time to fully-loaded, and general performance score – scored ‘A’s across the board.
Sucuri Load Time Tester
Results outside of the US varied, but were generally slower, as we had chosen a US data center during setup. The Singapore test site took well over two seconds to load, although these times could be improved with a CDN.
Cloudflare CDN is not preinstalled with any HostArmada shared hosting plans, but it’s easy to integrate. Customer support was really helpful here – when we asked about our slow international loading times they let us know that they could integrate the CDN free of charge – all we had to do was sign up for a Cloudflare account.
As you can see, uptime was not an issue for our test site. It scored 99.98% uptime over a period of one month, with only one outage recorded. These results are great, and are in keeping with HostArmada’s 99.9% uptime guarantee.
Digging deeper, we found that exceptions to uptime are made for scheduled or unscheduled maintenance, and that compensation for downtime is issued in credits, not cash. Still, most users shouldn’t have to worry about getting compensated, since HostArmada’s uptime is pretty darn consistent.
Prompt and Concise Customer Support
Hosting companies need to stand out amongst the many options available, and HostArmada’s support services do just that. Chat, ticketing, and phone are available 24/7, and the host boasts a 99% issue resolution rate.
We communicated mainly through the chat interface, and found the responses to be fast – we were connected with a real human in under one minute every time – and friendly. We even got the same agent a few times, a good sign that the support team services HostArmada exclusively, and not a slew of hosting companies.
When asked about increasing website speed, an agent suggested Cloudflare CDN and provided instructions and a blog article to guide us through the setup process. A second agent, when asked specifically about WordPress optimization, recommended several plugins to try and also linked a blog article. Neither time were we upsold or told to increase our storage or bandwidth.
There isn’t a huge backlist of how-to articles to pull from, unfortunately. For anything not covered we recommend opening a ticket, which you can do easily from your account dashboard.
Average Budget Pricing for Higher-Than-Average Service
HostArmada seems to have taken a page from every other hosting provider’s book and made its introductory pricing very, very competitive. Ultimately, rates for each tier of shared hosting are so similar that you could easily upgrade for one or two dollars more per month.
The rate you see on the website won’t be your rate forever, though. Make sure you read the renewal prices before you buy as they are significantly higher than the promotional prices.
For a single WordPress website, the entry-level plan provided more than adequate value for the price. If you’re looking to host multiple sites, check out the Web Warp plan. And if you have multiple asset-heavy sites, the LiteSpeed-powered Speed Reaper is probably better for you.
HostArmada now has a 45 Days- day money-back guarantee!
Get a discounted annual plan without taking any risks.
HostArmada also offers VPS and dedicated hosting, alongside reseller plans that might be useful if you’re a web development agency looking to host your clients’ sites. One thing to note about the reseller plans: they are all powered by LiteSpeed web server software.
You can pay by credit card or PayPal only (i.e. no crypto), but there is a 45-day money-back guarantee with all shared hosting plans. Beware of the aforementioned auto-selected privacy add-on when you check out – otherwise the process is straightforward and painless.
Do other people have access to my files on a shared hosting plan?
Most hosting providers that offer shared hosting implement account isolation, shielding your files from other users on your shared server. HostArmada offers account isolation with all its plans. The only downside is that you are still sharing the server’s resources, so a lot of traffic to another customer’s site may affect the loading speed of your site.
Do I need a CDN?
A CDN, or content delivery network, offers many benefits, including faster site loading speeds in areas of the world further away from your chosen data center. A CDN can also offer better traffic management and better Google rankings. CloudFlare CDN is free, and HostArmada will help you integrate it after you sign up for a plan.
Which hosting plans are best for WordPress?
WordPress sites come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s better to evaluate your website based on your specific needs. Remember that sites with more pages have more information, and thus have larger databases. Images, videos, or large downloadable files take up space on your server, and sites with thousands of daily visitors need more bandwidth.
Does it matter which data centre I choose?
A data center close to your site visitors will deliver your website more quickly, so it’s important to choose a data centre that is near to your primary audience. If your audience is international, a CDN can help to load your site quickly anywhere in the world. However, top-quality web server configuration is of the utmost importance no matter where your site visitors come from.