JustHost Review – Not the Worse Choice But There are Certainly Better Options
JustHost isn’t exactly a household name but the company isn’t new to the scene either. Established back in 2008, JustHost managed to carve a niche for itself over the years and is currently powering over a million websites. At first glance, the company seems to have a lot to offer and ticks most of the boxes when it comes to features while also offering multiple types of hosting to choose from. The prices of shared hosting plans are slightly above the market average but we would still consider them to be reasonable, especially during the first term.
If you’re familiar with companies like HostGator, iPage or Bluehost you should already have a pretty good idea of what to expect from JustHost. All these companies fall under the EIG umbrella and share plenty of similarities with each other. That’s not to say they are identical, though. For example, iPage is known for its one-size-fits-all approach to hosting while HostGator is known to offer very good domain registration services. Meanwhile, Bluehost is one of the best companies for hosting WordPress-based websites.
So what about JustHost? Does this company stand out from the crowd in any significant way? We’ve heard conflicting reports about JustHost over the years, with some users swearing by the quality of its services while others claiming they were not very impressed. With that in mind, we decided to test JustHost for ourselves in order to see what the company is all about. Our testing yielded some interesting results, which we’re now ready to share with you in our JustHost review.
Navigation and Ease of Use
Upon visiting JustHost’s website for the first time we were taken aback by how familiar it looked. We knew we had seen a very similar site somewhere before and, sure enough, we visited other sites of EIG companies and found the source of inspiration – iPage. While they’re not completely identical, it’s pretty obvious that JustHost and iPage use the same template for their websites. We can’t give JustHost points for originality but we can’t fault them for using this particular design either because it looks sleek and there’s not much clutter to worry about. Even more importantly, the site is very responsive and lets you know immediately what to expect from JustHost in terms of pricing and features.
There’s no need to worry about wasting any time when creating an account either because the signup process is very straightforward. Upon selecting your hosting package, you will be redirected to a new page where you can either register a new domain name or let JustHost know that you already own one. The next step is where you’ll need to fill out some important personal information and choose a billing cycle for your hosting plan. You can also choose the payment method here – credit card or PayPal. If you want to speed up the account creation process, you can sign in to your Google account to autocomplete some of the required information.
JustHost employs similar business practices to the ones we’ve seen before at iPage, HostMonster, and other sister companies. Namely, the provider automatically selects the maximum possible term for your contract and adds a number of optional services to your cart for good measure. The end result is that a basic hosting package that only costs a few bucks per month will actually set you back close to $400 if you don’t change any of the default settings. Needless to say, that’s quite a pretty big difference and it’s easy to see why this would be considered a predatory business practice by a lot of people. JustHost is certainly not the only company that does this, but that still doesn’t make it right if you ask us.
JustHost doesn’t offer any managed WordPress plans but the service does seem well optimized for the CMS. After you finish creating an account and you log into the dashboard, JustHost will recommend that you create a new website using either WordPress or an alternative website builder. If you don’t want to create a new website just yet, you can skip this part for now and go to the control panel instead. JustHost uses a slightly customized version of cPanel, a very popular control panel that acts as your main hub for managing websites, domains, email accounts, databases, various tools, and more.
Once you’re ready to create a website, you can fire up the one-click WordPress installer, choose a theme, and wait until the service sets everything up for you. If you don’t like working with WordPress for some reason, you can create websites using Weebly instead. Weebly is a very good website builder that comes with a lot of themes and many ease-of-use features. However, JustHost only includes the free version of Weebly, which is a lot less flexible than WordPress. That said, you can upgrade it to premium if you don’t mind spending a few extra bucks.
Plans and Pricing
Signing up for a basic shared hosting plan will set you back $3.95 per month on a 3-year contract. Not too shabby but we’ve definitely seen better prices out there. Almost all other EIG-owned hosting providers, including Bluehost and HostGator, charge less than that, though there are also a handful that charge more, such as HostMonster. Meanwhile, other main rivals have very similar prices for basic shared hosting plans. A few notable examples include DreamHost, SiteGround, InMotion Hosting, and A2 Hosting. However, none of these companies charge as much for renewals as JustHost. Namely, $9.49 per month.
Unlike some of the other companies mentioned earlier, JustHost supports monthly billing cycles with all hosting plans, which is always a big plus in our book. Other important features you can expect when signing up for a shared hosting plan include a free domain name for 1 year (not available if you pay on a monthly basis), unmetered bandwidth, free SSL certificate, 5 email accounts, and 50 GB of storage. JustHost claims on its homepage that the introductory package also includes free marketing tools but, as it turns out, these are only available with the other plans.
Speaking of the other plans, there are three more to choose from, two of which have the exact same price. We’ve seen this type of pricing system with companies like Bluehost and HostMonster and the system works the same at JustHost, too. The packages even have the same names – Plus and Choice Plus. The two plans both cost $6.95 per month during the first term but they don’t renew at the same rate. You’ll have to fork out a bit more for Choice Plus past the first term but the plan does come with some additional features like domain protection and daily backups, so the higher price tag does make sense.
If you’re looking to get even more out of your shared hosting you can upgrade to the Pro package for $14.95 per month. Just like the previous two plans, Pro allows you to create an unlimited number of websites, doesn’t limit your storage, and includes an anti-spam tool along with $200 worth of advertising credits. In addition, you also get a dedicated IP and access to a server that’s said to perform faster than the regular ones. Given the high price, though, we can’t really recommend this particular plan as you’re much better off paying a bit more for a virtual private server.
JustHost is mainly about shared hosting, which is probably why the company doesn’t do a particularly good job at promoting its other types of hosting. While not necessarily obvious at first glance, JustHost also offers VPS plans. Don’t expect to find any information regarding them on the front page, though. In order to learn more about the VPS packages, you need to scroll all the way down and check the footer. The problem is that much of the footer is hidden behind a cookie banner the first time you access the website, so it’s very easy to miss the link that leads to the VPS page. That’s probably why a lot of other reviews claim that JustHost doesn’t work with virtual private servers.
If you do manage to stumble upon the VPS page, you’ll notice that JustHost offers some fairly appealing packages. A standard VPS plan will only set you back $19.99 per month, which may seem a bit steep compared to other companies, but you get a good amount of resources for that price. Namely, a dual-core CPU, 2 GB of RAM, 30 GB of storage, and 1 TB/mo of traffic. Not too shabby, especially when you consider that JustHost also throws in a free domain name and a free dedicated IP. One small problem we’ve noticed is that there are no Windows-based servers, so you’ll have to settle for Linux instead.
The rest of the VPS plans will set you back anywhere between $29.99 and $59.99 per month, so again, not too bad. The prices are overall more or less identical to what you can find at sister companies like Bluehost and HostGator. The same goes for the main features, which include instant provisioning, multi-account management, enhanced cPanel, and root access. JustHost’s VPS servers are based on cloud technology and the company guarantees that you will always have access to the chunk of resources you’re buying, even in case of a data center outage.
Once again, JustHost does a very poor job at advertising the fact that it offers additional types of hosting. In this case, dedicated servers. This is a very counterintuitive business decision in our opinion that does nothing to earn the company more clients. Quite the contrary. We’re looking as the same situation as before where you need to scroll down to the footer to find out that JustHost offers dedicated servers. You’ll first need to get past the aforementioned banner of course.
Just like the VPS plans, the dedicated servers aren’t too expensive for what they offer. For $79.99 per month, you get a server that features a quad-core processor, 4 GB of RAM, 500 GB of storage, and 5 TB/mo of data. You also get a free domain name and 3 dedicated IPs to sweeten the deal. JustHost doesn’t have any Windows-based dedicated servers either so Linux is again the only option. This can be seen as a drawback by some people but unless you’re working on something that specifically requires a Windows-based server, this shouldn’t be a major issue.
In terms of features, you can expect instant provisioning, enhanced caching, root access, enhanced cPanel, and dedicated customer support. JustHost uses Raid 1 drives, which protect account information and data by creating a mirrored version of them on multiple disks. If one of the disks malfunctions, you can rest assured knowing that a backup will be available. Speaking of disks, JustHost uses HDD storage instead of the faster SSD, which explains why the prices of dedicated servers here are lower when compared to those of other hosting providers.
Key Tools and Features
As you can probably tell by now, JustHost is a company that doesn’t stand out from the crowd in any significant way. Its hosting plans and prices are overall pretty standard, which makes sense considering they’re very similar to what other EIG-owned companies are offering. That said, there are a few tools and features we haven’t talked about just yet. Some of these can sway undecided users who are still on the fence, so let’s take a closer look at them.
Registering a new domain name with JustHost won’t cost you anything but there are a couple of caveats you need to keep in mind. First off, the company offers free domain names for 1 year with every hosting plan but only if you choose a yearly or multi-annual billing cycle. If you want to go with the monthly billing cycle, you’ll need to pay an introductory fee of $11.99 when registering your domain during checkout. However, this only applies to the shared hosting plans. You can get a free domain with VPS and dedicated packages even if you pay for your hosting on a month-by-month basis.
Registering a domain without buying a hosting plan is not possible at JustHost. Once you sign up for the service, however, you can register as many additional domains as you want. The price of registering a standard .com domain is $14.99 for the first term and then $17.99 upon renewal. That’s already a bit expensive but you also have to factor in the fact that JustHost charges extra for domain privacy, which is a must these days. Privacy is sold separately as an optional add-on that costs $14.88 per year.
If you ever decide to cancel your JustHost account, you will be required to pay a one-time fee of $15. This ensures that you will be able to keep your domain and transfer it to a different hosting provider if needed. Do note, however, that domains can’t be transferred during the first 60 days after they have been registered with JustHost.
For the most part, you won’t have to worry about databases when signing up with JustHost. The company supports both MySQL and PostgreSQL variants. Databases can be created and managed directly from the cPanel and can be transferred from and to a different provider that also supports this type of control panel. There doesn’t seem to be a limit to how many databases users can create but there is a size limit, with databases being unable to occupy more than 3 GB of storage space.
Backup and Restore
If you’re planning to choose any other hosting plan except Choice Plus and Pro be aware that you’re going to have a difficult time backing up your website. Well, unless you’re willing to fork out a bit of money, that is. That’s because JustHost doesn’t offer free automated backups with most hosting packages. The company claims to offer complementary backups that occur “at our discretion” according to the terms of service. In other words, there’s no guarantee that JustHost will ever back up your files, and if this does, it may perform the backups daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly. Not exactly a reliable and trustworthy system.
To make matters worse, the company allows users to perform manual backups from the cPanel but offers no guarantees that this system will actually work. If you use the manual system and run into an issue, you’re pretty much on your own. Granted, you do have direct access to your files so you can back them via FTP using a client like FileZilla. But this isn’t exactly a user-friendly method, particularly if you’re not tech-savvy. There is an easier and more efficient way of performing backups, but it will cost you $2.99 per month, billed to the end of your hosting term.
JustHost offers two different tools that can achieve the same result, in the form of Site Backup Pro and Codeguard Basic. Both tools let you schedule daily, weekly and monthly backups while also giving you the option of downloading files individually or in bulk and restoring them with one click. Basically, they’re almost identical but you can purchase both of them at the same time, for some reason. Conveniently, both tools are added by default to your cart during the sign up process and need to be removed manually if you don't want them. Even more convenient is the fact that, as of this writing, clicking the “more information” button for Codeguard leads to a 404 page, so you’ll need to do a bit of research to find out what the tool actually is.
It’s always helpful to have an email address (or several) that reflects the name of your brand or business. Even small bloggers benefit from having an @domain emails because it’s a known fact that they inspire more confidence in potential partners and collaborators than a generic email address. JustHost users can create an unlimited number of mailboxes with all hosting plans except for shared basic. The introductory package only includes 5 email accounts and email storage is limited to 100 MB per account. That’s not great but there are more than a few companies that don’t offer any free emails with their basic plans so we can’t complain too much here.
In addition to the regular domain emails offered for free, JustHost also has a paid add-on that gives you access to the Microsoft Office 365 Email Essentials suite. The add-on costs $2.99 per month per user and comes with tons of useful features like video conferencing, 1 TB worth of OneDrive cloud storage, and the ability to create hubs for team projects, to name just a few. Users also gain access to web versions of various Office apps like Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more.
The eCommerce features offered by JustHost are very basic and pretty much identical to the ones you can find at HostMonster and other sister companies. Namely, there are a couple of security features like password protected directories and SSL secure server along with access to a handful of shopping carts like Agora, Zen Cart, Cube Cart, and OS Commerce. If you’re looking for more robust features, you’re not going to find them here. You can, of course, set up a WordPress website and pair it with a plugin like WooCommerce. That way, you won’t have to rely on your hosting provider for eCommerce tools.
JustHost has an add-on for pretty much everything and SEO is no exception. For $1.99 per month (billed annually at $23.88/year) you can unlock the SEO Tools Start add-on. Based on the description page attached to the add-on, the SEO package found here seems to be pretty basic. The tool can analyze up to 50 pages and performs weekly scans of your website in order to provide you with suggestions on how to improve your rankings. However, you only get 10 keyword ranking reports, which isn’t nearly enough for many types of websites along with 2 reports on your competitors. The tool also claims that it can submit your website to search engines but that process tends to occur automatically in most cases.
Website Migration Service
If you’re unhappy with your current hosting provider and want to transfer your website to JustHost there are two options at your disposal. Users who don’t want to do all the heavy lifting themselves can take advantage of JustHost’s website transfer service for $150. For that price the company will migrate for you up to 5 websites and 20 email accounts. However, all of those websites and email accounts have to be registered on a single account at your old hosting provider. Considering the number of companies that don’t charge for site transfers, we can’t help but feel that JustHost's version of the service is a bit too expensive.
If you don’t feel like paying $150 for a site transfer, and we can’t really blame you, there’s always the option of migrating files, databases, and emails manually. This method requires a bit of technical know-how but luckily JustHost happens to have a short tutorial on how to pull it off successfully. If you need additional help, we recommend checking out our detailed guide on how to migrate a WordPress website in 8 easy steps.
Location coverage isn’t a strong suit for many EIG-owned companies and JustHost is no exception. The hosting provider has a single datacenter located in Provo, Utah, which it shares to several other companies. These include Bluehost, HostGator, HostMonster, and more. The Provo facility uses solid network infrastructure and security systems but the fact remains that a single data center can’t provide reliable connections for users located all across the globe. If you’re located outside the US or are targeting non-US users, JustHost is very difficult to recommend based on this reason.
Performance and Reliability
We expected JustHost’s performance to be disappointing given that the company only has one data center but as it turns out, that wasn’t really the case. The service is by no means the best of the best in terms of speed but we’ve definitely seen a lot worse. The uptime, on the other hand, seems to be consistently below average. So while your website might not take an awfully long time to load, it could become inaccessible more often than you may like.
Page Loading Speed
There are many factors involved in the speed of a website, which is why hosting providers don’t usually make any specific claims in regards to it. We can’t say for certain how your site is going to perform either but we can tell you how our JustHost website has been doing over the past year or so. On average, the page loading speed in our case was around 730 ms, which is quite a bit better than we expected. That speed isn’t stellar, mind you, but it’s actually better than other, more popular hosting providers we’ve tested recently.
Just to give you a quick look at the competition, HostGator and HostMonster both scored a little over 900 ms while sister company iPage did much worse at over 2 seconds. Meanwhile, A2 Hosting and InMotion Hosting hovered either around or slightly above the 1-second mark. Some of the best examples of good performance come from SiteGround and DreamHost who, during our testing, delivered speeds of 645 ms and 450 ms, respectively. JustHost is definitely slower than our best performers and its speeds aren’t as consistent, but we feel like the company is doing pretty well in the speed department all things considered.
The uptime at JustHost isn’t that great, even when compared to companies that are known to experience outages often. On average, the uptime we got with our site came in at just 99.88%. Your site is likely to be up over 99% of the time so that figure may not seem that terrible, however, it’s worth noting that the industry standard is around 99.95%. Anything lower than that and you’ll start to see fewer visitors to your site. While that’s not necessarily a major issue for passion projects, it can be very detrimental for people who earn a living off their websites. Fewer visitors generally means less revenue.
While reading over JustHost’s terms of service we were surprised to learn that the company doesn’t offer an uptime guarantee. JustHost is by no means unique in this regard but it is the exception rather than the rule. Most providers have policies in place that give you some sort of assurance that your site will be accessible for 99.9% or even 99.99% of the time. If the actual uptime falls lower than the promised value, users are eligible for some form of compensation. Unfortunately, that’s not the case here.
JustHost offers 24/7 customer support via live chat, phone, and email. The company has two different phone numbers you can reach them at, including a toll-free number for US customers. Our personal experience with the support team was decent, with agents taking only a few minutes to reply and being generally helpful with their answers. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case for most people. A quick look at various user reviews found online reveals that JustHost’s customer support is hit or miss during the best of times.
JustHost’s help center page is pretty unimpressive to say the least and seems to be using the same template we’ve seen at sister companies like HostMonster. This wouldn’t necessarily be a huge issue under normal circumstances, however, this particular type of help center template is pretty abysmal. As soon as you access the page you are greeted by a small handful of popular articles and some other bits of information underneath. There’s no indication that JustHost has more articles than the ones displayed so you’ll need to type in some keywords in the search bar and hope that you will get some helpful results. A section of the help center shows you the current status of the live chat but it doesn’t tell you the average wait time, which we found a bit disappointing.
Are JustHost and Bluehost the Same Company?
This question comes up all the time and we can’t really blame the people who are asking it. No, JustHost and Bluehost are not the same company but they are owned by the same corporation and use similar designs for their websites, as well as similar hosting packages.
Does JustHost Support Windows-based Servers?
No, the company only works with Linux servers at this time.
Does JustHost Offer Reseller Hosting Plans?
Yes, but not directly. The company stopped accepting new reseller hosting signups back in 2014 when it partnered with ResellerClub. Since then, JustHost has worked exclusively via ResellerClub who is offering reseller hosting plans starting at only $11.39 per month.
Will JustHost Allow Me to Create More Than One Website on My Account?
Yes, but it all depends on the specific hosting plan you’re looking to buy. The basic shared hosting package only supports a single website, however, all the other available plans will allow you to create as many websites as you want.
What is JustHost’s Refund Policy?
You’ve got your run-of-the-mill 30-day money-back guarantee that you can take advantage of regardless of which hosting plan you buy. However, you won’t be able to benefit from this policy if you choose to go with a monthly billing cycle.
JustHost is certainly not an easy company to recommend. At least not to everybody. On one hand, the provider scored pretty well in the speed department and has decent introductory prices. You’ll also be getting access to most of the tools and features you would expect. However, some of the most useful tools are hidden behind a paywall and the uptime is fairly mediocre, as is the customer support.
We would feel comfortable recommending JustHost for beginners but only on a short-term basis. If you’re looking for a hosting provider that you can stick with for the long haul, there are better choices out there. Not to mention much cheaper ones. If you’re still weighing your options, we suggest checking out our reviews section for information on other popular hosting providers. And if you want to find out how these companies stack up against each other, you can check our comparisons section to see them go head-to-head.