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Hostwinds Review: The Comprehensive Edition Worth Reading

Is Hostwinds VPN service right for you?

Nobody wants to sign up for a VPN service that only offers a laundry list of features without much quality.

Too much of a good thing isn’t exactly “good” to begin with.

But does that saying hold true in the VPN business?

Apparently the Virtual Private Network services industry is filled with providers that offer a huge number of features to their customers.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt their VPN business since they can always mask the new features as “more value for money”.

Hostwinds VPN is an unknown VPN service.

And it might be because it doesn’t buy the “more value for money” mantra.

You might have heard about Hostwinds as a web-hosting company.

And for good reason.

Hostwinds is one of the best web-hosting companies in the world.

Now that same company wants to offer you a VPN service.

Hostwinds VPN claims to be a secure, fast and reliable VPN service.

Apart from that, the official website of Hostwinds VPN doesn’t claim much.

And in reality, doesn’t have to offer much either.

The one thing we should get straight right off the bat is that Hostwinds VPN is a simple VPN service.

A simple VPN service that isn’t easy to use.

If that makes any sense.

In other words, you’re better off looking at some of the other big players in the business.

Players such as,

These are some of the best VPN services out there in the industry.

A Little Background on A VPN Service

The term VPN might seem quite fancy to some.

But if you really think about VPNs, they are used in almost every day-to-day applications.

If you have ever seen an unsecured Wi-Fi network then you have come across an opportunity to use a VPN service.

No, you haven’t?
Not even at Starbucks?
Never mind.

But keep in mind that it is entirely possible that a stranger connects to the same network could monitor everything that you do.

The stranger can also intercept your online traffic and record it.

With a VPN service, you can guard against all that with minimal of effort.

A VPN is basically an anonymizing and security tool.

The most frequent users of VPN services are journalists and political revolutionaries who operate in countries where there are severe internet restrictions.

But that doesn’t mean that other people can’t use a VPN service.

Most of the users though, use VPN services in order to spoof their location.

A VPN service can really make you appear in the exact same place as the VPN server that you’re connected do.

Why Would People Change Their Location?

It’s very simple.


People want to have access to region-locked copyrighted content.

Take for example, online BBC streaming or Netflix?

Perhaps we shouldn’t include Netflix here because they have blocked almost every VPN service that exists on planet earth.

In fact, they have employed dedicated teams to take out VPN servers in their entirety.

Even with that onslaught, there are VPN services that can enable users to access the US version of Netflix from outside the US.

Of course, these VPN services too could one day get blocked.

Hostwinds VPN Price


The first thing you’ll notice about the official Hostwinds VPN website is that it isn’t exactly a dedicated official website.

What we mean to say is that most of the content on the official website is about Hostwinds Web hosting service rather than the VPN service.

So from the start, it seems like Hostwinds is more focused on selling you its web hosting subscriptions rather than VPN ones.

Regardless, the company promises to provide the highest quality of security and anonymity to new users who subscribe to its VPN product.

A one-month subscription package will cost you around $8.

Which is pretty low.

Your bill will be sent to you on a monthly basis.

However, if you muster up enough courage and faith, and then sign up for Hostwinds VPN for a total of six months then things change.

A fix-month package will cost you around $5 a month.

Which is even cheaper.

If you extend that period to twelve months then you can avail Hostwinds VPN services for a meager $3.33 per month.

There are not a lot of VPN service providers who can match that price.

Nope. Not even NordVPN. It does come close though.

So What If Hostwinds VPN is Cheap?

Good question.

VPN services should not be solely compared to how much they charge their customers.

If we compare NordVPN with Hostwinds VPN, we can clearly see that NordVPN is the clear winner.

It offers way more choices in terms of server locations and also has dedicated servers for different purposes.

NordVPN has one kind of server for high-speed streaming and another for downloading.

Hostwinds VPN doesn’t offer any of those features.

NordVPN can also route your internet traffic through the Tor network and hence grant you more anonymity.

Hostwinds VPN doesn’t have that feature either.

We’ll come to the part about the installation process and user interfaces a little bit later.

How Do Other VPN Compare With Hostwinds VPN?


We’ve already mentioned NordVPN.

But there are other VPN service providers which are better than Hostwinds VPN too.

Take for example Private Internet Access.

It doesn’t have a great user interface but offers a ton of features.

Moreover, it also offers thousands of server locations.

It costs around $6.96 per month.

Moving on to another VPN service in the form of Spotflux Premium and it becomes easier to see why Hostwinds VPN doesn’t have a chance to make it in the VPN industry.

Spotflux Premium costs around $4.99 per month.

And comes with bonus features such as ad-blocking along with malware protection and a great user interface.

Hostwinds VPN Features


From that start, you should know that Hostwinds VPN supports multiple devices.

Also, it does not throttle your internet bandwidth.

That gives Hostwinds VPN a pretty good start as a strong contender for a good VPN service provider.

The only problem is that the list of features ends right there.

There isn’t a lot more to Hostwinds VPN.

Which is obviously a disappointment since it has the potential to become one of the top VPN service providers.

Like all other VPN services, Hostwinds VPN encrypts your internet traffic and successfully hides your online IP address.

Again, that’s where the story ends.


See, this is the problem with almost all new up-and-coming VPN service providers.

They offer services that are just good and nor remarkable.

And if you want to compete with VPN services such as IPVanish and StrongVPN, you must be remarkable.

Nevertheless, the official website of Hostwinds VPN isn’t great.

It doesn’t have dedicated areas for different aspects of a VPN service.

Hence it is hard to gauge what exactly is Hostwinds VPN offering.

The Official Website Is  A Mess

We’ve already alluded to the fact that Hostwinds VPN official website is severely lacking.

And unfortunately, having a good website can make all the difference.

Right from the start, this is another feature that Hostwinds VPN lacks.

But here is the even worse part.

The official website of Hostwinds VPN doesn’t even present Hostwinds VPN’s existing feature in an appropriate manner.

For example, Hostwinds VPN offers unlimited device access for just one connection.

You won’t be able to find that fact anywhere on the official website.

That’s right.

For the price of just one subscription package, you can connect as many devices as you like with Hostwinds VPN service.

There is no other VPN service in the market that offers that generous feature.

Most of the top VPN service providers offer up to five and sometimes six licenses for one package.

Similar is the case with the number of simultaneous connection.

Other VPN services such as TorGuard VPN go one step further and offer routers that are pre-configured with a VPN service.

That router essentially protects all your devices in your home.

From your smartphone to your fridge.

Hostwinds VPN Customer Support


If there was one VPN service provider you would like to get in touch with, it would be Hostwinds VPN.

Not because it is any good.

But because its official website doesn’t tell you anything.

You will have to ask their customer support from even the most basic of information regarding Hostwinds VPN.

The information simply isn’t available anywhere online.

For example, there is no mention about the different VPN protocols that Hostwinds offer.

Their customer support staff will tell you that Hostwinds VPN offers OpenVPN and PPTP protocols.


But what was the problem in putting that information up on the official website?
Never mind.

Hostwinds VPN Servers

Hostwinds VPN has a total of thirty servers.

You can increase the number to forty if you sign up for the right package.

All of these VPN servers are housed at the same location.

You can probably guess that location if you know anything about Hostwinds web hosting operations.

That’s right.

All VPN servers are located in Seattle and Dallas.

The staff at Hostwinds VPN will tell you that they are adding more locations to their VPN servers as we speak.

In other words, if you can wait a bit you should.

Who knows in the next twelve months Hostwinds VPN might just bring new VPN servers in Europe and the rest of the world.

Needless to mention here, that some of the top VPN services in the market offer far more choices than Hostwinds VPN.

The likes of IPVanish, ExpressVPN, and StrongVPN offer way more locations.

If you tell this to the staff people at Hostwinds VPN, they would tell you that their company is different.

Different in the sense that Hostwinds VPN offers a powerful infrastructure that is fast and not used by any other VPN service in the market.

Of course, this is an acceptable excuse if you’re concerned about speed.

But this excuse does nothing to alleviate concerns about the lack of options when it comes to server locations.

To put it another way, if you want to sign up for a VPN service because you want to unblock Netflix or Hulu, then Hostwinds VPN is not for you.

And perhaps this is where Hostwinds VPN lose most of its customers.

Users who don’t work as journalists or hackers at their day job want to sign up for a VPN service in order to change their location.

When Hostwinds VPN doesn’t offer that, it basically kills the reason for using a VPN in the first place.

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Hostwinds VPN User Interface And Installation

This is another area where Hostwinds VPN doesn’t do as well as it should.

As of this moment in time, Hostwinds VPN offers a dedicated standalone application for only Windows.

But hang on.

Not everything is going downhill for Hostwinds VPN.


Since Hostwinds VPN uses OpenVPN protocol, you can make Hostwinds VPN work with any device that can run OpenVPN client.

All you need to do is to configure the device to work with Hostwinds VPN.

By the way, that includes mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Of course, you would much rather want dedicated apps for each given device.

But it does go against Hostwinds VPN’s goal of offering simple and transparent VPN experience.

What Does Hostwinds VPN Feel Like When In Use?

Let’s start off with the signup process.

When you subscribe to a particular package with Hostwinds VPN, you get a username and a password.

These details are actually sent to your email in plaintext.

Some other VPN services have also started doing this in order to ensure maximum anonymity.

And more VPN services should start sending credentials to emails because it separates a customer’s personal and payment information from their VPN login.

Of course, it takes more time and hence is annoying at first.

Not to mention, such a procedure is also confusing since not every user is looking for a confirmation email in his/her inbox.

If you want to run Hostwinds VPN on Windows then the installation process should be straightforward.

With that said, you will have to put in a bit of work to find the actual installation file.

Don’t forget the documentation files for the VPN application.

The Actual User Interface

Hostwinds VPN user interface is minimal.

A bit too minimal.

The main screen has some fields for the user’s login information.

Along with that, the screen has two check boxes.

One of them configures the VPN software to automatically log you in for the future.

The other check box enables the auto-start feature on startup.

You can expand the main window in order to view more information.

Information such as your VPN connection.

But the problem is that most of this information would make no sense to an average user.

Let it be known right now that the user interface for Hostwinds VPN is ugly.

It is highly unlikely that you or anybody else will like the app’s design.

Of course, you can always close the window and hence get rid of the user interface.

You’ll have to operate the VPN from the system tray icon in that case.

What Was Hostwinds VPN Thinking?

Some reviewers have mentioned that Hostwinds VPN wanted to create an application that worked on the principle of “set it and forget it”.

And indeed, the app does work like that.

In other words, the VPN app doesn’t both the user.

Once you have configured the app to your liking, then you can safely ignore it in the future.

But that doesn’t make up for the fact that the main window is confusing, to say the least.

It doesn’t use the industry standard Windows template.

What we mean to say is that, the close and expand icons are custom built and might put off some users.

The main window also does a terrible job of displaying the basic features of Hostwinds VPN.

There are no connection buttons or even a disconnect button.

The only way you can avail those feature is through the system tray icon.

Did we mention that no one is going to tell you this (apart from us)?

What makes Hostwinds VPN think that people would want to figure this information out on their own?

And not simply cancel their subscription.

Hostwinds VPN Speed

Let’s get one thing straight.

It doesn’t matter which VPN you choose. Your connection speed will always get affected.

See, a VPN service doesn’t just change your location.

Most VPN services also encrypt your data and then reroute your traffic from its own servers.

This significantly slows down activities such as browsing.

But there are VPN services out there that sometimes speed things up.

Unfortunately, the only one that speeds things up is PureVPN.

If there is another one out there, make sure you mention it in the comment section.

As mentioned earlier as well, Hostwinds staff will tell you straight up that their focus is on speed and reliability.

If you live in the US, these terms mean two things.

It means that the VPN offers high-speed servers which are located in the US.

And it means that the cost of these servers will not be great.

We already know that Hostwinds VPN service is not expensive by any means.

But what about speed?

It’s Difficult to Measure Hostwinds VPN Speed

Because it doesn’t offer any VPN server that is outside the US.

So if you live in the US, you won’t be able to change the location of your machine.

Normally, you would want to change your server location to a place like Australia.

And then move ahead and measure the VPN speed when put under some sort of pressure.

To measure the actual speed, you can go to websites like,

These sites are very useful if you want to compare the speed of Hostwinds VPN with that of your pure internet connection.

Do take note that the internet is inherently an unstable place.

Network conditions vary all the time and hence speed tests are not really reliable services.

But since we have no other choice, we have to go with speed tests.

If we go by Ookla tests, you should expect Hostwinds VPN to increase latency rates by 120 percent.

This number, as you can probably imagine, is on the high side.

Normally, latency rates should not increase by more than 50 percent.

Regardless, normal users won’t be able to perceive the difference in latency rates which are measured in milliseconds.

Hostwinds VPN decreases upload speeds by 6 percent and download speeds by 4 percent according to Ookla.

Both these percentages are very good indeed.

Even the best VPN service providers decreased upload and download speeds by at least p percentage points.

In other words, Hostwinds VPN gains full marks for making sure that internet connection speed does not drop because of the VPN service.

You may also use sites like speedof.me to measure how Hostwinds VPN performs.

Many tests have shown that Hostwinds VPN decreases speeds by a mere five percent on both upload and download side.

Again, both these numbers are impressive.

What Do These Numbers Mean?

These numbers indicate that regardless of Hostwinds VPN many other faults, it offers a speedy user experience.

If you want to load web pages quickly and stream HD videos on YouTube, Hostwinds VPN is right up your alley.

Of course, viewing 4K videos on YouTube or otherwise, will result in a decrease in performance.

So don’t blame Hostwinds VPN servers for that.

One caveat to the above-mentioned figures, though.

If you are outside the US then you should expect more speed drops.

That’s just the way VPN services work.

The farther you are from the location of a VPN server, the more speed drop you should expect.

Hostwinds VPN Conclusion

If you didn’t read the whole review, then it’s okay.

We have this summarized section just for you.

In short, Hostwinds VPN is like a very content monk.

It doesn’t want to be the best in every department.

All it wants to achieve is reliable user experience and fast speeds.

We are happy to report that Hostwinds VPN succeeds on both counts.

It is a VPN service that you can expect to work all the time and protect all of your devices.

Hence you stay anonymous no matter the device.

Moreover, the option of having an unlimited number of devices protected on just one subscription definitely gives Hostwinds VPN an edge over the trailing pack.

All of this should not take us away from the fact that Hostwinds if a web hosting company first and a VPN company second.

And that shows from the overall experience of the company’s VPN product.

In other words, the VPN service from Hostwinds feels more like a side product rather than a dedicated project.

Think of it more like an additional service rather than the main course.

All you need to do is to visit the official website of Hostwinds VPN in order to get the feeling neglect and laziness.

The official website is not well-built and doesn’t have any useful content.

And it’s not like HOstwinds wants to hide something from the users.

Interestingly enough, the official website doesn’t do a good job of presenting Hostwinds in an appropriate manner even in areas where Hostwinds VPN excels.

This Hurts Hostwinds VPN A Lot

The fact that a company’s official website is not doing the job it is supposed to do is a dead giveaway that the company behind that VPN service is not serious about business.

Think about it for a second.

The VPN business is an online only business.

Your only chance of making an impression on potential customers is not through your product but through your official website.

And you screw that basic step, it sends all the wrong signals.

And hence we come to Hostwinds VPN most obvious and glaring drawbacks.

Firstly, it doesn’t have any worldwide coverage.

We wanted to use the phrase “lack of variety in servers” but the fact is that there is absolutely no variety in server location.

Never Mind the lack thereof.

You will not be able to change your location if you live in the US.

And even if you don’t, the only place you will be able to switch to will be the US.

Not great by any means especially if you want to unlock sites like HBO Nordic.

Customers who live far away from Hostwinds VPN servers which are located in the US, will be more disadvantaged than the ones living in the US.

They will experience more drops in their VPN connections and general downloading speeds.

And we haven’t even begun about the company’s awful VPN apps.

The VPN app for Hostwinds VPN is not as awful as it is simple and boring.

The user interface is dull and minimalistic in the worst possible sense.

Normally when you talk about minimalism, you talk about control and you talk about clarity.

Hostwinds VPN app has none of that.

The main interface of the app is confusing and hard to use.



Because it simply does not provide you with the relevant information in an easy-to-access manner.

That wastes a lot of time.

Moreover, the VPN app doesn’t give the user a lot of options, to begin with.

So it becomes even more perplexing as to how Hostwinds VPN managed to screw up their interface even when the company had no intentions of offering sufficient options

What Hostwinds VPN Needs To Do

If Hostwinds VPN wants to be taken seriously, it needs to do a couple of things right.

Firstly, it has to come out clean and explain, in detail, all its shortcomings.

Why there are no VPN servers outside the US?

Why the VPN app is so messed up.

And why the official website looks like it was made by a four-year-old.

Moreover, Hostwinds VPN should make use of social outlets and others to let potential customers know what they are up to.

They should use the power of social media to engage more users.

For this to happen, they will have to open up and inform the people about their upcoming projects or improvements to Hostwinds VPN.

One other way to make sure customers don’t get lost is to have a great documentation section.

Hostwinds VPN should work on that too.

But, chances are that you might be one of those people who is only signing up for Hostwinds VPN service because you’ve already signed up for Hostwinds web hosting services.

If that is the case then all we can say is: bad luck.

You should probably look someplace else.

Because Hostwinds VPN is not a quality VPN service.

If you are serious about getting the best value for money VPN then you should check out IPVanish. They are our top ranked VPN provider. Read the IPVanish Review here

Hostwinds VPN Review
4.6 / 10 Overall Rating by Author
{{ reviewsOverall }} / 10 Users (0 votes)
Help & Support5
Highlighted Pros
  • Exception VPN server speed
  • Unlimited number of devices with just one subscription
Highlighted Cons
  • user interface is confusing
  • No VPN servers outside the US
  • lac of number of servers
  • bad documentation
  • no bonus features
  • ugly and useless official website
Review Summary
Hostwinds VPN service is fast and affordable. But that's all it is. In other words, it doesn't have many features and has a confusing user interface. Add to that the fact that it has literally no server variety. There are no specialty servers as well.
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Zohair A. Zohair is currently a content crafter at Security Gladiators and has been involved in the technology industry for more than a decade. He is an engineer by training and, naturally, likes to help people solve their tech related problems. When he is not writing, he can usually be found practicing his free-kicks in the ground beside his house.
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