WestHost reviews

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% that Recommend 17%
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Good service, but refused to refund prorated fees when I left.

I was with WestHost for around 6 years and was a pretty happy customer. They had their share of problems, but no hosting service is perfect, and they did a decent job of fixing the problems quickly.

Eventually I decided to leave them due to a combination of cost (my plan remained at the same monthly fee while prices across the industry were dropping) and lack of control (I wanted root access to install my own custom-made spam filters because their standard filters weren't protecting me from dozens to hundreds of daily spam messages). But they refused to refund prorated any of the unused 1 year and a few months out of a total of 2 years prepaid, so here I am warning all of you not to do business with them.

Prepaid plans give companies the benefit of having cash in hand early, before providing service. This is already a significant benefit--cash in hand can be used to pay expenses or earn interest. In other words, it is like a loan or a trust account. That should be enough for any company to ask for; they should all be okay with refunding the portion of the payment for services not rendered.

So, do yourself a favor and stay away from Westhost. I ended up losing over $100 by leaving before using up my prepaid term, but I had to leave because the spam was just too overwhelming. I am with AWS now and finally have the root access I need to protect my users from spam.

Biggest Con: No prorated refunds.

WestHost is as bad as GoDaddy

I moved both my websites over to WestHost from GoDaddy and it was the worst experience ever.

I thought GoDaddy was bad, but WestHost is just as bad!

For over 6 weeks, both my websites (which were on different servers) were either down or they were experiencing extremely slow response times.

Every time I would contact WestHost's tech support department during these 6 weeks, they would tell me the same thing...that they were seeing the sites fine and that it must be my internet provider's issue, which was Time Warner. So, they would tell me to contact Time Warner every time.

When I finally started to realize it wasn't a Time Warner issue and that it was a WestHost issue, I decided to move my sites off of WestHost.

When I contacted WestHost's cancellation department, that's when the rep told me that the reason why my sites were slow or were going down was because I was hitting my limits and needed to upgrade my hosting plan.

At no time was I EVER told that from the tech support team! Had I been told that in the first place, I would have upgraded my hosting plan immediately!

I can't tell you how much traffic I lost and lost revenue because of WestHost inability to tell me what was really going on with my websites.

On their site they say "100% Satisfaction Promise"

I paid for a year up front for both websites and was completely dissatisfied with their service and asked for a refund for the unused portion of hosting plans.

They refused to give me a refund...

Biggest Con: Tech Support Doesn't Know What They're Talking About

Not a serious company

I share the experience of the other reviewers. But mine's worse.

In September of 2013 WestHost sent me an email saying they had discovered a breach in a "limited" number of accounts. They were resetting my password, and staffing up their customer support.

Oddly, it appears that they reset nearly everybody's password, and their support line has been so flooded it doesn't even pick up. This has been going on for nearly a week, as of this writing. So their original email seems a bit, huh, optimistic. To be polite. I feel misled. They clearly suffered an epic breach, and did not staff up (or if they did staff up it was not effective).

When I finally got through after hours of delay (I could not access my account for days because they changed the password, yet did not ensure their phone line was being answered), customer support implied I had lost my password.

Then I realized they will email your password in plain text, which means they were not properly protecting it. Since many, many of their accounts were compromised at the same time, it stands to reason their lack of competent security caused the breach. To make matters worse, they don't really seem to care. They're not changing anything, haven't communicated *anything* concrete, and even attempting to deal with the flood of calls they caused.

My only conclusions is the people who run WestHost don't care one whit for their customers or for hosting. They only care about squeezing every penny out of you by running the cheapest, shoddiest service they can.

Biggest Con: They do not take their business seriously.

Solid hosting service

I've used Westhost for years. I was surprised to see two negative reviews so I thought I'd throw in my own experiences. Performance and availability have been fine for me, though my sites have only modest traffic. Support is also good. Every question I've asked, perhaps 25 over the period of five years, have been answered. There are a bunch of apps that can be installed from their back-end, and these have worked generally well for me. However, the most current version is not always there (e.g., they offer a Magento installer, but have 1.5 now when 1.7 was released about a month ago). I can't say for sure how current other apps are.

One piece of advice, though. Check their website for current prices and offers, and if it's appreciably less than you're paying, threaten to leave and they'll probably lower you to that point, as they've done for me. But they won't lower you unless you complain, so you can go on for years paying more than you should. That's pretty ethnically suspect, but probably also the norm for hosting and many other subscription services (for example, threaten to leave your ISP and cable company periodically too).

Biggest Pro: Support
Biggest Con: Complaint-driven price reductions

Worst webhosting I've ever experienced.

We are currently moving away from WestHost after over 5 years of putting up with them. We chose them when we were a start-up ISP, and outgrew them quickly. Not only were we hosting our own site on their servers, but we had a reseller account with them as well. Even when we moved our company site off of the reseller account and purchased the semi-ded service, it wasn't enough. I was put in charge of our accounts shortly after I started, and have been disappointed ever since.

Lets begin with the service itself. While they may be able to keep your site up with decent reliability, the same cannot be said about their management portal. Even as I type this one of their servers is down, preventing me from making changes to a customer's email account. When the servers are up, they're dog-slow. I have been persistent in contacting their support about this issue, and each time they say the same thing: "One of the users on our system has a script which is running out of control and slowing the server down. We have stopped the script and contacted the customer." After this claim, we see no improvement in performance.

Our service is on what was called their WH3.0 system. The main gripe I had with this system is that when configuring email or ftp accounts, there is a maximum limit of 8 characters. We were told that we could optionally upgrade to their WH4.0 system, but that we would have to manually enter all of our users' accounts again (all 1,000+!)

We were given no way to keep the software up to date, and their security policies are a joke. As a result, we had a security incident (presumably an SQL injection) which gave an attacker all of the email addresses on our server. A phishing email was sent out and users' accounts were compromised. Upon contacting WH technical support about this, I got a pre-chewed generic response about "best practices" for security, like choosing good passwords. Ironic, since their system does not allow for secure passwords, anyway. We were denied access to access logs to try and build an incident report, and told once more that we would just need to change users passwords.

Within one week of this security breech, they disabled the SMTP daemon on the server. Upon investigation I found that they had emailed the owner of the company (the email address they had on file) informing him that compromised accounts were being used for SPAM and that we had 48 hours to change all of the users' passwords. The only option they offer for this is their web gui, which is painfully slow. With over 1,000 accounts it was impractical for us to meet their demand. Unfortunately, the owner of the company did not forward the email to the appropriate technicians within the company and we did not find out that we were even supposed to do this until service had already been disabled.

Since we were now being forced to change settings for every single user, we decided to finally change hosting providers. This was a change we had previously determined to be impractical because it would mean that all of our email customers would need to change settings within their clients. We were now being forced into making those changes, and without warning to our customers. For the next two weeks, our support staff put in 80-hour workweeks just taking calls for email. Other important projects got delayed. This was the worst PR event we have ever experienced for our company. Estimated company losses incurred during that two week period exceeded the total expense of our hosting over the 7 year period.

Their technical support is all but technical. Their chat support on the website takes 45+ minutes every time I use it. A typical support question ends in the technician telling me that I can't accomplish what I'm asking for, or listing limitations to what I'm trying. Instead of attempting to help me do what I'm trying, they give me obstacles and tell my why I shouldn't try.

On one such occasion, I had a webmail user who was shut off during our email crisis. He had a number of emails stored in his "saved" folder on webmail. I contacted support to find out how to retrieve those emails and was told that I couldn't. When I asked where those emails were stored, the Tier1 technician said that they were not stored on-disk! When I finally got the path to the stored emails, the technician I was speaking with told me that it was in some proprietary database that formatted the emails differently and that I wouldn't be able to retrieve them. Both technicians ended the conversation telling me that I couldn't do what I was attempting. I got FTP access to the server, cd'd to the directory where the "proprietary database" was stored. I proceeded to download the .eml files I found there and put them into the new server. I don't think the WestHost staff realizes how important email is to people. This particular customer would have had to change the passwords of dozens of accounts if I hadn't retrieved the emails.

The only reason this host is getting a 2 overall rating is because they have managed to keep the website up with reasonable reliability. Their support and service has been a NIGHTMARE! I wouldn't recommend the service to my worst enemy.

Response by Adam, who is an employee of WestHost:

We sincerely apologize for your dissatisfaction with WestHost. I am the Quality Assurance Manager (Adam Croshaw) and you are more than welcome to contact me directly. Please call, email or chat in and ask for me. If I am not immediately available please leave your contact details and I would love the opportunity to speak with you.

WestHost has been in the web hosting industry for 14 years and built our business on reliability and excellent client service. We recognize that we are not perfect and need to continually improve to earn our clients business. We appreciate our clients feedback and when we receive feedback from our clients we try to identify the exact problem and make the appropriate changes so that client and others will have a better experience next time.

WestHost is a PCI compliant web hosting company. We also house our servers in a Tier-3 data center, which offers the level of security you would expect to find with major banking and financial institutions. We take security very seriously.

Again we apologize for any problems you have had and I would love the opportunity to help you if you would like.

Adam Croshaw
Quality Assurance Manager

Posted on January 5th, 2012 at 15:40 EST

Was good for a while / STAY AWAY

I had been hosting with Westhost for over 7 years until last month.

For years the service was adequate considering I was hosting a static website. , and was typically fairly reliable and I rarely needed to engage tech support. Apparently they have gone through an ownership change and it appears that this was not for the better.

Within the last few years i began noticing some oddities such as missing stats. When I first discovered I had no stats available I inquired as to the reason (I had expressly set them up on my account) the tech support people could not explain why. I set them up again, and a couple of months ago discovered, again, that I had no stats available, and again, TS could not explain why.

I had also started noticing that FTP authentication was horribly slow and getting any work done was very difficult.

That was bad enough, but then near the end of October the server went down. Not just for a few minutes or an hour or two, but an ENTIRE 3 DAYS. That was the straw that broke the camels back.

When I closed the account I asked for compensation for my trouble. They were only willing to give me a free month of service if I kept my account. I still had a month to go on prepayment and they would not refund that month either.


Anyhow, my suggestion is to STAY AWAY FROM WESTHOST!

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