In this post I’ll provide my experience with HostMantis hosting provider (affiliate link). I’ve tried their “Entry” reseller hosting package. Affiliate links will be used in this post, that is I’ll get a few dollars if you buy something using this website. Will try to give as much as possible data and information, leaving it to the reader to decide whether that is good, medicore, or bad.
- HostMantis hosting company
- How did I come to HostMantis?
- Website migration to HostMantis
- Available resources
4.1. Server locations
- Metrics – tests
- Technical support
- Average page load time (speed)
- Personal impression – subjective
- IP Blacklist stats
- ModSecurity problems
1. HostMantis hosting company
This is a relatively small company, with headquarters in Livonia (USA, Michigan).
As far as I know, they don’t own their servers, but lease them. German data center leases from Hetzner – a good provider of unmanaged dedicated servers and VPS-s). In Canada, USA (east coast), Singapore and United Kingdom they use OVH servers.
Not all the (good) reseller hosting providers offer several server locations to choose from. This is a plus.
2. How did I come to HostMantis?
They’ve been on “my radar” for some time, but I had opted for Veerotech and MDDhosting before HostMantis. Then, looking for some completely different information on LowEndTalk forum, I came across their advert which said “80% discount on all shared and reseller hosting”.
I’ve been looking for a good reseller hosting with a Europe based server for quite some time. I’ve also been looking for cheap reseller hosting for running tests and projects. Went to their website, calculated it – for 20 $ I could get 3 years of reseller hosting with decent resources. Not 20$ per month, 20$ per three years! Phone my partner and he replied: “I paid that much for a pair of sausages today”. 🙂
OK, regular prices are a lot higher, but they are still a lot cheaper than most. One of the reasons I’ve been avoiding them so far is that prices look “too good to be true”, if you know what I mean.
All in all, I decided to give it a try. Each project could get a separate cPanel, so minimal chance of one messing up the others. Even if it turns out not good enough for hosting anything “serious”, it’s still worth it. On top of all that, there’s a 30 day money back guarantee if not satisfied. Even if that wasn’t true, I had wasted 20$ on a lot more stupid things than hosting. 🙂
Expectations were anything but high. I definitely hope the discount doesn’t become regular, since at those prices it’s impossible to provide good quality hosting (my personal opinion).
Update 13th July 2019: because of a sudden cPanel price rise, HostMantis were practically forced to change their prices and resource limits even for the existing long term paid for hosting accounts. This affected my 3-year paid in advance deals. In my opinion, the price change is reasonable and necessary, unless one wants to see them going bankrupt – that is the only other alternative (if keeping the old prices). Some customers were outraged by this.
While reducing the maximum number of cPanel accounts for reseller hosting and changing any recurring discounts to 50 % at renewal (regardless whether they have been 60, 70, or 80%), they increased CPU resources for reseller accounts to 100 % of a vCPU core (from 75 %). Since CPU is the bottleneck with most WordPress websites, I’m happy to see this.
3. Website migration to HostMantis
8th of May 2019: Nothing much to say. I set up a main reseller account (mail, DNS-s, nameservers etc.). Afterwards, test website migration went smoothly. HostMantis provides Cloudflare integration, but no RailGun – so that has to be turned off if (already) using Cloudflare. Update 19th of May: HostMantis have enabled Railgun integration! Nice.
They have a knowledgebase where all the needed instructions/tutorials are provided.
10th may 2019: bikegremlin.com has been moved to HostMantis german server. Migration went smoothly, without a second of downtime. Will be monitoring uptime, average page load time, security…
I got two more accounts on US and UK servers. Will be testing those relatively soon.
13th may 2019, late evening: popular local motorcycling forum (motomanijaci.com) has been migrated to the UK server – with no problems. Importing the large database was not possible using phpMyAdmin and, since there’s no SSH connection allowed, HostMantis technical support did the import for me – quickly and with no problems. This forum has lots of visits, so it will be a good test of the hosting quality. Update 20th of May: HostMantis allows the use of Terminal, through main reseller account’s cPanel when logged in from their website, which allows running mysql for database import and works fine. Didn’t known that could work until recently.
4. Available resources
Total for the whole hosting account:
- Disk space: 25 GB
- cPanels (total reseller accounts): 10 (main +9)
- Bandwidth: “unlimited” – 1 TB per cPanel
Each cPanel, i.e. reseller (sub)account gets:
- CPU: 100 % of one core (virtual, of course)
- RAM: 3 GB
- I/O: 50 Mb/s
- IOPS: 5,024
- Entry Processes: 30
- iNodes: 300,000
- Bandwidth: 1 TB
- SSL / TLS: yes, by Let’s Encrypt
- SPAM filtering: yes, using Spam Assasin
- FTP and E-mail accounts: unlimited
- Domain, subdomains and parked domains: unlimited
- Databases: unlimited
- Backups: yes, daily, using JetBackup. Other cPanel backup tools are disabled, but it is allowed to make one-click backups using JetBackup “snapshot”.
- Cloudflare integration through cPanel, along with Railgun integration.
- SSD storage.
- LiteSpeed server.
- MariaDB database server.
- CloudLinux is installed and resources per cPanel are limited/guaranteed using that “tool”.
Main reseller account, with more advanced packages than the one I took, gets some extra resources (CPU, RAM, I/O, inodes…). This is given only for the main account, which is a potentially useful thing. It would be better and more practical though, if the extra resources could be given to any one sub-account instead. Of course, shared hosting environment is difficult enough to maintain even without such complications, while providing these services is based on large numbers and statistics – so providing this is probably more tricky than it sounds.
Details of what can and can’t be done are clearly defined in TOS. And there it says, what worries me:
“Any account should not use more than 25% CPU consistently for more than 5 minutes. If you are consistently using 25% or more CPU, you will need to upgrade to the next available hosting plan. If you are using the maximum hosting plan and are still using 25% or more CPU consistently, then you have most likely outgrown a shared hosting environment and should therefore obtain a VPS or dedicated server to better suit your needs.”
So I’m looking at resource usage stats regularly. CPU seems to be the bottleneck with this hosting (at least for WordPress sites) – it reaches around 20% usage at times, while other resources don’t go over 10% load. That’s why I placed one of my web sites, with a decent number of visits, on this hosting, to check whether it can serve a “serious” client’s website, without me getting “whacked” for using too much CPU resources.
Update 13th July 2019: I’ve had no problems with resource limits, including the CPU.
For those who need this: HostMantis allows SSH access with shared and reseller hosting accounts.
Cron job limit, for those who rely on this: one cron job per hour, details in HostMantis knowledgebase.
4.1. Server locations
Good thing about not owning your own servers is you can rent them all over the world. So HostMantis offers the following server locations (all hosted by reputable server providers):
Canada, USA (east coast), Singapore, United Kingdom, France and Germany.
5. Metrics – tests
I “tortured” a test site with LoadImpact tool, while simultaneously browsing it with disabled browser cache – like a new visitor. It worked flawlessly, no signs of slowing down.
So I decided to move the Serbocroatian version of my cycling website bikegremlin.com to HostMantis German server and see how it fares – with lots of “real visitors”, not simulated ones. Shown below are GTmetrix test results of a very poorly optimized page:
Compared to English website version, hosted with Veerotech, this is slightly faster when tested from Europe (since server is located there, while Veerotech’s is in USA), while it’s the other way round when tested from the USA. Dotcom Tools tests, that check from 25 different locations from around the world, give average results for the same unoptimized page of around 3 seconds for both websites.
13th may 2019: A forum with lots of visits was moved to the UK server. Old hosting (shared, around 85 $ per year). When I looked at the stats, I saw that I/O is the bottleneck, though CPU got decent load as well. Moving to HostMantis UK server made it run faster, with no errors (for now, will update the text if they arise). Below are the resource usage stats – on the “old hosting” and on the HostMantis server.
Simulation of 50 concurrent website visitors using OctoPerf:
(the simulation is run with Google AdSense blocked, so server performance can be compared)
For comparison, other tested providers results, using the same test and website:
- Veerotech: Avr. resp. time 0.78 s; Latency 1.039 s; Apdex 0.905 s.
- Gnu Host: Avr. resp. time 0.191 s; Latency 0.177 s; Apdex 0.995 s.
6. Technical support
Up to the moment of writing this text, there were no issues, so I don’t know what technical support is like. If I find out, the review will be updated.
Update 12th of May 2019: Sunday. I asked for a change of two reseller account “main” domains. Tagged the support ticket and wrote in the text that it is not urgent. Expecting to have it sorted out within the following working week. In about two hour time I got a reply that it’s been sorted out. Excellent.
Following day evening I had a problem with uploading a large database (around 500 MB), of a relatively popular forum, in order to migrate it. HostMantis doesn’t allow SSH access for shared and reseller hosting accounts, so I asked about alternative ways of importing a large database and got some good advice on WebHostingTalk forum. Since it’s a forum with lots of visits and posts, export/import needed to be done quickly. Tech support offered to do it for me, right after I upload the database export. And it was done within minutes. Very good. I would still prefer SSH access, though, but that’s no fault of tech. support – it’s down to provider’s policy (and clearly written on their website).
For monitoring this I use Hetrix Tools (affiliate link).
|May 2019||100%||5 min. downtime||n/a|
|June||2nd June at 2:00:|
20 min. down
|100 %||99.76 %|
Update 13th July 2019: I cancelled the German server account and upgraded UK server one to “Starter” (from “Entry”). German server worked fine, but with new limits and pricing, 10 cPanel account limit was too low for me, while Starter plan offers 30 cPanel accounts and 50 GB storage.
US server was changed for another one, since the “old” one was having some problems. Will be monitoring the changes in uptime and speed.
|July 2019||one 5 min. downtime||99.92 % on the old server|
100 % on the new one
One 5 min. downtime
8. Average page load time (speed)
I use Google Analytics stats for tracking this.
Note: test website for UK server is generally faster than test sites placed on German and US servers, so its page load time doesn’t mean UK server is necessarily faster. In March and April, on Veerotech hosting, it had an average page load time of 1.6 seconds.
|May 2019||2.07 seconds||1.20||n/a|
Update 13th July 2019: German server account has been cancelled, while the UK one has been upgraded. The “slower, more traffic” website used for testing German server was migrated to the UK server, for more realistic results.
US server was changed for another one, since the “old” one was having some problems. Will be monitoring the changes in uptime and speed.
Note: Google AdSense adds are introduced to websites, so page load times are affected by the ads load times, not representing true server performance. For future reviews I’ll be including Octoperf and TTFB data.
|July 2019||4.78 seconds||old server: 6.79|
new server: 6.46
9. Personal impression – subjective
Comparison with Veerotech is inevitable. Website, user control panel – it all looks just slightly less professional, less “serious”. “It’s called HostMantis, what did you expect?!” 🙂 Not sure it’s just a matter of getting used to – it does seem a bit harder to navigate. It isn’t bad, it’s good, just not excellent.
As far as technical aspect is concerned, it all looks surprisingly good for now – regardless of the price. Fast, stable. To the best of my knowledge, security looks good. I’ll update the review if I find any flaws.
Update 13th July 2019: European servers have performed better and been more stable than the US server I’ve tested. Can’t say whether that’s the case with every HostMantis US based server, but it has been with “mine”. After asking technical support about this, they said it’s a problematic server and they are moving all the customers off of it (network connection problems from what I could understand). So they moved my account as well, on that very day. I’ll see how it performs on the new server now.
Update 4th August 2019: new US server is working very well, while the UK one has remained good.
|Shared hosting packages||$ per month|
|Entry – quite fine for smaller sites||2.3|
|Expert – loads of resources||7.5|
Reseller hosting packages
$ per month
|Entry – 25 GB storage, 10 cPanels||6|
|Starter – 50 GB, 30 cPanels||9|
|Advanced – 75 GB, 50 cPanels||21|
|Expert – 100 GB, 100 cPanels||36|
Enterprise hosting packages
$ per month
|Entry – 1 vCPU, 4 GB RAM, 20 GB storage||15|
|Starter – 2 vCPU, 5 GB RAM, 30 GB storage||20|
|Advanced – 3 vCPU, 6 GB RAM, 40 GB storage||30|
|Expert – 4 vCPU, 8 GB RAM, 50 GB storage||50|
Prices are nicely “graded”, so one can choose a package that fits their resource needs. HostMantis got this right I’d say.
11. IP Blacklist stats
If one of the host’s clients sends spam and gets reported, then the shared IP address of the server (that many clients share) often gets blacklisted as well. Which makes successful sending of e-mail harder, if using provider’s SMTP (and not a separate, paid for e-mail service). That is why good hosting providers have spam filters of outgoing e-mail, plus they suspend accounts of users who are caught spaming. Still, one spamer is often enough to get the IP blacklisted, while removing the IP from a blacklist takes time and effort.
I’m monitoring and checking blacklist reports of HostMantis’s servers with 98 RBL-s (Real time Black List). Current situation (will get updated, good providers work on removing IPs from blacklists and preventing their customers from spaming):
|Server||On how many blacklists the IP is listed|
/ total number of checked blacklists
|Germany||0 / 98|
|UK||0 / 98|
|USA||0 / 98|
12. ModSecurity prolems
Update 4th May 2019: I had started writing a post with a PHP code example within it. Like this, only containing PHP code:
An example of a code sample Nested in code sample
When I tried to save the changes, I got an error: the post can’t be updated/saved.
In an attempt to find the problem cause, I migrated the website to Veerotech (making a small change first, so that I would be certain that DNS propagation has been finished and I am in fact testing the website on Veerotech hosting). It worked fine on Veerotech. Migrated back to HostMantis – problems again.
I contacted the tech support. In an attempt to send the “problematic” PHP code sample within the ticket, I got a 404 error when trying to send the ticket. So within the ticket I included link to wordpress.stackexchange.com where I had posted a question about the problem (along with the code).
I wrote in the ticket about the PHP code posting problem even within a support ticket. And explained how I tested and told them it works on Veerotech hosting. Saying it’s probably their security setup causing the problem.
They replied I could disable ModSecurity for the website (warning me that exposes it to attacks and viruses).
I explained this works on Veerotech without disabling ModSecurity and asked if it can be set up here to work properly, without disabling ModSecurity. They said they will look into it, try to fix it.
And they have. But the “repair” needs to be asked for each cPanel/website separately. Since I don’t put code samples on other websites, for now it remains just on this website. The problem was solved within less than one hour after reporting it.
Of the hosting providers I’ve tested so far: Veerotech and JustHost allow this, while MDDhosting and HostMantis don’t. I suppose it’s a security measure meant to prevent insertion of any unwanted (malicious) code. It is a bit of a hassle the way it is implemented, but apparently can be quickly resolved upon request.
While I’m writing this, the website is hosted with HostMantis. This hosting is cheap and quite good. I would recommend it, especially to those on a budget. I’ll be updating this text in case of any changes, but for now it’s all very good.
If you found this review useful and want to get this hosting, you can do it using my HostMantis affiliate link, hence supporting I/O Gremlin website. Promotion code for a 50% discount is still valid for all I know, so you could try TW50OFF.