It becomes immediately evident from HostClear’s tagline (“Clear, simple webhosting”) that they strive to deliver a full-featured, yet easy to use hosting service. To this end, they have focused on a specific consumer segment, one which relies on shared hosting services. HostClear provides a single unlimited shared hosting plan that is made complete by several site building, eCommerce and online marketing related features.
HostClear Company Overview
HostClear have been in the business since 2009, and as stated above, they specialize in low-cost, unlimited shared hosting. The U.S.-based company is one of Endurance International Group’s many brands that include other popular names in the hosting landscape such as BlueHost or HostGator. HostClear manages to create a hosting product that is suitable even for non-experienced users who want to launch a website without any fuss.
HostClear Plans & Pricing
HostClear doesn’t offer the whole spectrum of hosting types, instead they have focused their energy on creating a single unlimited shared hosting plan that comprises all the standard tools that one may need to launch and maintain a website. Apart from standard features, the unlimited shared plan also includes several extra features that can help you customize and market your site.
The plan has an introductory price of $2.99/month, which changes to $5.98 per month after the promotional period. This renewal rate applies only if you commit for 3-years with them. If you choose to pay on a monthly basis, the plan costs $13.98.
HostClear Features & Value
For only $2.99/month, HostClear offers an impressive set of features that includes:
- Unlimited hosting: unmetered storage space and bandwidth, hosting for unlimited domains and MySQL databases, unlimited POP3/IMAP email addresses;
- Free domain name;
- Email features: email accounts have webmail access, customizable email addresses (same as your domain), autoresponders, email forwarding, virus checking and customizable spam filters;
- cPanel control panel: as one of the most popular web-based control panels, cPanel allows you to access all your services and features;
- Site builder tool: HostClear’s beginner-oriented hosting package contains a drag and drop site builder tool with access to a blog setup wizard and thousands of templates to help customize your website according to its profile;
- QuickInstall: powered by MOJO Marketplace, the Quickinstall auto-installer allows you to install popular content management systems such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc.;
- eCommerce features: if you want to set up a small online shop, HostClear offers a choice of shopping carts and PayPal integration;
- Marketing features: if you’re looking to promote your site, HostClear’s marketing guides and $100 Credit for Yahoo!/Bing Sponsored Search will assist you in your marketing endeavors;
- Load-balanced servers: HostClear’s high-performance load-balance servers coupled with 24×7 network monitoring guarantee high availability for your website.
- Visitor Statistics/Site Traffic Reporting tool allows you to get an insight into your website’s traffic;
- Free domain transfer: If you’re thinking of switching hosts, HostClear will help you migrate free of charge;
- 9% uptime guarantee: if your website’s uptime falls short of this guarantee, you may qualify for one month hosting credit.
HostClear’s shared hosting package has enough features to help you launch a small personal or professional blog, business website or even an eCommerce site. Although HostClear’s servers are not configured to be PCI compliant by default, their servers do support PCI compliance.
As with any unlimited shared hosting plan, there are some restrictions that apply to HostClear’s shared hosting plan as well. Thus, their Terms of Service clearly states that shared hosting space cannot be used for storage (email, media or other data). Similarly, accounts that use excessive CPU and storage resources in violation of the TOU or Service Agreement can be terminated. The TOU further specify that bandwidth allowance is not limited.
Another important aspect regarding HostClear’s features is automatic backups. The company performs automatic backups on a weekly basis, however, they do so only on accounts under 20 GB and 100,000 inodes. Previous backups are always overwritten, so HostClear urges their customers to perform their own backups, especially that the company charges a $15 fee for restoring from their backup.
HostClear Customer Support
Unlike some hosting providers, HostClear have an in-house customer support team that is available 24/7 via phone, live chat or email. Their website’s support page also features a keyword searchable knowledge base, where you can search for information on how to install scripts, solve errors, do backups, and other aspects related to their hosting services.
If within 30 days from signing up with them, you feel that their services don’t live up to your expectations, you can cancel your account and take advantage of their 30-day money-back guarantee.
HostClear Pros & Cons
Depending on the profile of your website and its future growth, there are some pros and cons of choosing HostClear.
Pros of HostClear:
- Affordable introductory price: although the price of $2.99/month is available only for the duration of the promotional period, you’ll still end up with a good deal on a hosting plan that offers a well-rounded shared hosting package;
- User-friendly site builder tool: launching a website can be a hassle for most unexperienced users. The drag and drop site builder tool and the huge selection of templates can help beginners to quickly launch a website;
- Free extra features: free domain name, cPanel license, and free advertising credit are some of the most significant freebies included with the hosting plan.
Cons of HostClear:
- Shared hosting only: since shared hosting is the only hosting plan available, there is no room for your website to grow. This may be a huge disadvantage for those who are looking to expand their website and get more and more traffic with time. Once the resources of this shared hosting plan are unable to keep the pace with their growing website’s needs, they will be forced to migrate to another host;
- Long lock-in period upon renewal: HostClear requires you to commit for 3-years to benefit from the monthly $5.98 rate, which kicks in once the promotional period ends.
The verdict: HostClear fares well in the realm of user-friendly and low-cost shared hosting, and their rates are comparable to those charged by other cheap shared hosting providers (e.g. eHost, IdeaHost). Newbies and anyone looking for an easy way to launch a website will find that HostClear is a suitable choice. Those who are looking for expandability and advanced features, should sign up with hosting providers that offer other hosting types as well.