Formed in 1998, WestHost is a global hosting provider, with leading WordPress hosting and eCommerce solutions. WestHost has some very good hosting plans and features for those that are new to website hosting, including the V8 website builder and WestHost Store Builder.
There is a growing number of website hosts offering marketing and SEO services to complement their hosting plans and WestHost is no different. They have developed a feature called SEO Guru, which is a search engine optimization (SEO) solution that even novices can quickly master.
What Makes WestHost Unique?
With US-based technical support and some very powerful one-click applications, WestHost offers a selection of hosting plans suitable for those who are new to website hosting. They are also one of the few companies that offer the V8 Website builder, which is one of the most powerful and simple to use drag-and-drop website builders you will find.
WestHost has also developed an original SEO solution that will help your website grow. Overall, I like WestHost, as they have good hosting solutions that are ideal for both novices and experienced website owners.
WestHost Online Reputation
WestHost has a mixed online reputation. Customers seem to either love or hate their experiences with WestHost. You will mostly find either 1-star or 5-star reviews for customer support and service.
When it comes to features, nearly all WestHost customers have nothing except praise. This company offers powerful website hosting solutions at decent prices, with a divided response for customer support.
WordPress Hosting (From $2.50/mo.)
With fast and reliable shared hosting deployed across a global network of services, you can expect fast page loading and even quicker response times. All shared plans come with access to 24/7 US-based customer support.
The Starter hosting plan offers very little in the way of value, though the Primary and Pro plans deliver. The Business plan for their typical hosting package (not shown below) includes a free SSL certificate and dedicated IP address, giving you over $30 a year in savings, but I would still opt for WordPress optimized hosting. I always use WordPress because there are so many resources available for it, and many advantages to this website in terms of search engine optimization.
I'd rather pay a bit extra for SSL and have a faster site due to the optimized hosting for WP.
All three hosting plans offer good page load times, with cPanel making the hosting accounts easy to navigate. The shared hosting is worth the price, but the website builder and WordPress hosting provide the better value and more flexibility.
- Starter Hosting ($2.50/mo.) 5 GB Storage, 10,000 monthly visits, 1 Free Domain (for yearly membership)
- Primary Hosting ($5.00/mo.) 10 GB Storage, 25,000 monthly visits, 1 Free Domain (for yearly membership)
- Pro Hosting ($6.50/mo.) 20 GB Storage, 100,000 monthly visits, 1 Free Domain (for yearly membership)
*prices above are for yearly discounts. Totals for monthly payments are $5, $10, $13 respectively
**all packages include free setup, 30 day guarantee, malware removal, regular backups, and Cloudfare CDN (makes your website run faster)
The servers are fast, responsive, and have been optimized for WordPress. Many of the features you will find are premium features that you normally find on more expensive premium hosting plans, including automated updates, malware protection, and access to premium WordPress themes.
The WordPress hosting is designed to help get your first website online quickly. You can use a drag-and-drop interface that is backed by 24/7 US-based technical support.
Website SEO Guru (From $7.48/mo.)
Building your website is just the first step. Once you have your website live, there is the never-ending job of marketing and promoting your website. The WestHost SEO Guru claims do most of that work for you. Whether it can do that or not is just a guess. My guess is not.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is what gets your website seen on search engines like Google. If a website does not have good SEO, it will always struggle to attract visitors. However, “automating” SEO is a bit of a dubious proposition, because they don't go into detail as to what that means. I can optimize the images on this page to get found in Google and to target my keyword of “WestHost Review”. Considering they are not creating content for you, what exactly does their SEO package do?
- Business ($7.48/mo.) Search Engine Submission, 500 Daily Page Scans, 2 Competitor Analysis, 15 keyword Reports, Action Plan, Alerts, Site Performance Report
- Business Plus ($11.48/mo.) Search Engine Submission, 1,000 Daily Page Scans, 4 Competitor Analysis, 25 keyword Reports, Action Plan, Alerts, Site Performance Report
Things like “search engine submissions” are kind of a joke because if your website is published, it's automatically found by search engines. If you're implementing traffic report and anallyzation from Google tools like Search Console or Analytics, then you don't need to do anything beyond that to get your website found. Half of the batter of getting high rankings is simply writing good content, not submitting it to some kind of “SEO machine”. Avoid this package and learn basic SEO for yourself.
V8 Website Builder (From $2.48/mo.)
Many hosting companies include a website builder. The quality of these builders varies, but the V8 website builder from WestHost is just one more of those. Personally, I always avoid proprietary website builders because they cannot be moved to another host. If you try to get your V8 website from WestHost to A2 hosting for example, you'll run into some serious problems trying to convert your site to another format. If your business is already making money from your site, it may cost you big bucks to have it converted, or to have your site down while you figure things out for yourself.
The website builder plan also includes a free domain name and shared hosting for your website, but freebies only go so far. Long term, if you're running this business for decades, saving $15 on a domain name isn't worth it.
Online Store Builder (From $3.48/mo.)
If you want to open an eCommerce store within minutes, The WestHost Online Store Builder is a powerful solution that even a complete novice can use. The simple drag-and-drop interface makes opening your website store a quick and straightforward process. All plans also come with a free domain name and hosting.
The WestHost store builder is very similar to the GoDaddy store builder. The best feature is the ability to go beyond just having a website store. You can quickly add more web pages and blog posts to support your growing online store.
- Store Builder 10 ($3.48/mo.) 10 Products, Accept PayPal and Credit Cards
- Store Builder 50 ($5.98/mo.) 50 Products, Accept PayPal and Credit Cards, Sell Variations, Tag Products, Allow Delivery Rates
- Unlimited ($8.98/mo.) Unlimited Products, Accept PayPal and Credit Cards, Sell Variations, Tag Products, Allow Delivery Rates, Set Tax Rates
Again though, if you want to build an ecommerce site, I'd recommend making one through WordPress, which is very versatile, or at least through an ecommerce specific company like Shopify. It'll cost more, but it'll run better.
WestHost Cancellation Policy
WestHost offers a full 30-day money back guarantee that can be initiated at any time using the control panel. The money back guarantee is for hosting only.
If you want to cancel your hosting and move to another provider you can do so at any time. I have not found any reports of problems from customers that migrated away from WestHost. The site migration process looks simple and straightforward.
WestHost Customer Service Review
WestHost customer service gets a mixed response from customers. The support is slow for telephone or live chat, but the support ticket system appears to be effective. While the process is not the quickest, all questions and problems will eventually get resolved.
Who is the Ideal Customer for WestHost?
If you are looking for low-cost shared hosting, WestHost is good, but I think you can find better. There aren't a lot of defining features for this hosting company other than the cheap WordPress optimized hosting platform, but that's pretty common these days. If you want excellent hosting, then there are plenty of much better companies to choose from. In terms of other things they offer like the ecommerce store builder or SEO packages, I personally would never use those, so can't recommend that you do either.