Hetzner Online GmbH is a German web hosting company that was founded in 1997 under the name Hetzner Online Services and is named after its founder, Martin Hetzner. Aside from web hosting services, they also offer dedicated hosting, virtual private servers, managed servers, domain names, and colocation services, among others. They also have a server auction site where you can get the chance to rent older dedicated servers, instead of renting or colocating.
The company’s data centers are located in Germany (Nuremberg and Falkenstein/Vogtland) and in Finland (Tuusula). Their Nuremberg data center can be seen through a 360 Tour on their website, which lets you visit the colocation center, the data center itself, and even the cafeteria. Hetzner also only uses energy from renewable sources: hydropower in Germany, wind and hydropower in Finland, all with energy-efficient hardware.
Hetzner’s range of features is robust, relatively cheap, and they’re extremely reliable, but still best suited for users who already have their game plan figured out and don’t need much assistance beyond setting up their website, as others might have problems figuring everything out with a lack of comprehensive guides.
Hetzner offers different levels of plans to meet the needs of your website (Image credit: Hetzner Online)Pricing
Hetzner’s most basic Level 1 web hosting plan starts at €1.85 per month, VAT included, but you’ll need to cash out another €9.65 once for setup. This setup price decreases for more expensive plans, and for their biggest Level 19 plan (which is €19.40 per month) isn’t charged at all.
The smallest plan includes no add-on domains at all (all the others do, between five and 20), and only offers 10 GB disk space (others between 50 and 300 GB). However, all plans include daily backups, an SSL certificate, and daily compilations of detailed log files.
Hetzner accepts credit/debit cards and bank payments but offers no refunds or trial periods.
Ease of use
To create an account with Hetzner, you’ll need to give them your name, organization and VAT number (if applicable), address, and phone number. Many of their spaces offer helpful hints while you’re typing, like the format of your phone number or password requirements. You will receive a client number to use when logging in both directly on the next screen and in an email (which is a bit awkwardly translated, so it reads, “Would you please use the password you have created on registration.”)
You can purchase additional products from Hetzner’s konsoleH control panel (Image credit: Hetzner Online)
From their control panel, called konsoleH, you can continue your purchase or find another product (here, all prices are listed without VAT). Other than that, the interface is stark, sterile, and looks slightly dated in white and red. There’s nothing much to look at: if you haven’t completed your purchase, the control panel is jarringly empty, but once you have, you can navigate to your product and start working.
And speaking of working, konsoleH offers a WebFTP feature so you can upload your website if you already have it (or you can just do it using the usual FTP system that’s not browser-based). A WordPress installation is only a click away, but there is no website builder, not even for purchase, let alone included in any plan.
We used GTmetrix to measure the performance of our Hetzner Online site (Image credit: GTmetrix)Speed and experience
In terms of speed, Hetzner’s main website did pretty well on our GTmetrix test: it took 4 seconds to fully load (the average being 8.3 seconds), and only 59 requests (as opposed to the average 89).
When it comes to uptime, Hetzner guarantees a minimum of 99.9% for all their plans, putting its data centers at a Tier III level at the very least. Unfortunately, during our two-week long uptime testing period, Hetzner did not perform particularly well: their main website was unreachable for a total of 2.5 hours, meaning its total uptime was 99.245% — already under their promised threshold.
Hetzner offers a wide variety of different support options (Image credit: Hetzner Online)Support
Hetzner’s support system offers several ways to find the help you need. The first is their wiki, which covers a wide variety of common issues, but the articles themselves are relatively short and many of them end in “if you want to do more, please contact support.” When it comes to contacting support, you can do so through the Administration tab in their control panel, by selecting the category your problem lies in and submitting a ticket. Only their most basic plan does not have free phone support available, while all the others do.
Their online community features both a tutorial area (in which users are encouraged to create tutorials and guides for a reward of up to €50 in credit) and a forum. To access the forum (even to see the posts), you’ll need to create an account separate from your Hetzner user account, but you’ll need to provide your customer number while doing so.
As a fellow European web hosting provider with a long-standing tradition and a lack of in-depth support, Aruba and Hetzner only differ slightly in price, with Aruba being the cheaper option.
Hostgator is significantly better suited to beginners than Hetzner is, but the latter is slightly cheaper and does not have the same price jumps that Hostgator does. However, Hostgator’s data centers are in the US, while Hetzner’s are in the EU.
Arsys is another cheap European provider, but Hetzner is still significantly better translated from its native German than Arsys is from Spanish, as well as slightly cheaper. However, Arsys does not have any setup fees.
Hetzner is definitely cheaper than Bluehost (especially in the long run, where their setup fee evens out, while Bluehost’s price spikes significantly after the first 36 months), but Bluehost offers better features right off the bat. However, their biggest difference is still location, as Bluehost’s data centers are in the US.
Hetzner is an established, reliable hosting provider with a decent range of features. However, their customer support is not as beginner-friendly as newcomers might like – especially since for a similar price, they can get more at Bluehost or Hostgator.