HostKey is one of the “not so liberal” yet anonymous offshore hosting companies out there. It also isn’t for absolute beginner’s as it’s limited on the “types” of servers it offers as well.
When it comes to professionalism though it can’t be beaten and boasts of Microsoft, Cisco, Amsix, Dell and other such globe-dominating companies as its partners.
Throughout this Hostkey review, we will discuss the following in an extremely transparent manner:
- Server Locations
- Various Speed Tests
- Acceptable Use Policy
- Pricing Plans and Payment Methods
Let’s get on with this Hostkey review then?
Here’s an overview of what the company offers which should help you better understand its potential in a nutshell:
- Primary URL: https://www.hostkey.com/
- Servers in: Netherlands, USA, Russia.
- Payment methods: Bitcoin, Fiats
- Cheapest Plan: EUR 10.00/month
- Servers: VPS, VDS, Dedicated
- DMCA Ignored: No
- Content not allowed: Listed in the AUP section.
Hostkey offers servers not from just one, but three countries which are USA, Netherlands and Russia.
This lets you choose a location where you believe most of your audience would be from, and hence offer them better and faster performance.
Note that while with most other anonymous offshore hosting companies the locations effect the AUP, it’s not so with Hostkey.
Meaning, regardless of which servers you go with, users have to comply to local as well as global laws.
You can upload content which may be illegal in your country but is legal in the server-country. However if your country serves a legal notice the company does take action.
As for the company, Hostkey is based out of Netherlands hence it still is comparatively a lot more liberal and less-conservative as compared to most other countries.
The company isn’t big on anonymity. For starters, the information provided during registration must be true. No documents are required during registrations, but may be asked for at a later time.
The payment-trail however can be erased as the company supports Cryptocurrencies along with Fiat payments.
Payments is accepted Via:
- Credit/Debit Cards
- Union Pay
Bitcoin being anonymous to quite an extent makes things easier for privacy-concerned users, while others can enjoy the benefit of its wide variety of fiat-accepting methods.
Acceptable Use Policy
I consider this to be one of the most important aspects when searching for an anonymous offshore hosting company.
If the site doesn’t let you host the type and kind of content you want, there’s no point in it being anonymous or private, is there?
This is where Hostkey is a major disappointment.
It’s extremely legal and allows the hosting of only legal content. As stated earlier, regardless of the server’s location, all local and global laws are applicable.
Although a list of some of the content not allowed includes:
- Child porn
- Carding botnet/doorway
- Russian Porn
- Russian warez/movies/mp3, etc
- Any Russian copyright-protected content
- Trackers for Russia or any sites for Russia
- Tor outbound connections.
- VPN proxies etc.
Although note that whenever there’s a content-conflict; meaning when an individual, govt. organization or agency is trying to get your content removed or has a problem with it, the company notifies the users. (This isn’t common with a number of similar established companies).
It also doesn’t ignore DMCA takedown requests and may take action against content which has been flagged as copyrighted content.
Speed Tests (With Proof)
If your website is slow, users will leave; plain and simple. The server plays a major role in determining how fast or slow any website will be, regardless of the optimizations.
To get a complete picture of Hostkey’s performance, we will conduct the following tests:
- Download Speed.
- Page Load-Time
- Server Response Time. (SRT)
- SRT test with spiked traffic.
We begin the speed-tests using the official speed-test page provided by Hostkey (check here). This will be used to determine how fast users can download content off your webpage when it’s hosted on Hostkey.
The Moscow server got me a 2.3 Mbps (max) download speed for its 10 mb .bin file. The Netherlands server went upto a maximum of 3.7Mbps. And finally the USA server went upto 2.7Mbps.
Note that my highest normal download speed is around 3-4Mbps. Hence I’d say that the speed isn’t effected much and remains the same as offered by most other sites on my Internet connection.
Page Load-Time Test
This is what most users experience, judge or consider to be the “speed” of the website to be.
Now note that it varies based on Internet speed, location, browser, and even time of day. Hence we’d not do it manually, rather employ the help of Pingdom. A tool which helps us get a more acceptable result.
Out of all the results, the best result came from North America, Washington, with the page-load time of 2.29 seconds. (Verify Results)
In my personal opinion, it’s acceptable even though not impressive. But it’s just one test, let’s combine some others to get a better picture of the server’s performance.
Server Response Time
The SRT is the time required by the server to load the HTML of a site. Without this, the other elements can’t be loaded.
It actually is quite technical, but to make it simpler for you let’s just say that if the server needs too much time to respond, the Page load-time and overall speed of the site is effected.
Google wants a 200ms or lower SRT for best results. Here are the results from Hostkey’s SRT test:
As is evident, the SRT is impressive for most locations; the best being 12ms for Germany! The slowest SRT was found to be 509ms, which is BAD but fortunately it’s just for one location (Singapore). [Verify Results].
What if traffic Spikes?
One of the factors which effect the SRT is “traffic”. When traffic spikes, the server requires more resources which at times may cause an increase in the SRT.
Hence in this test, we will use an advanced tool to send 25 Virtual users to Hostkey. These Virtual users will demand the same resources from the site as normal human beings do, and then we’ll monitor the SRT.
Here are the results:
I accept this is one of the most “hilly” graphs I’ve ever seen for these tests. Which proves that the SRT fluctuates when there’s traffic-load on Hostkey servers.
Note that the highest SRT required was 207ms, while it was 58ms with 24VUs active Both of these ranges are definitely not impressive, but are acceptable. [Verify Results].
The site isn’t big on securities either. As in there’s no automated backup feature. Although it’s available for an additional price but the process may be a bit complicated.
However they recently launched DDoS protection. It’s free for U.S based servers. Netherland servers too have a free DDoS protection plan (Basic); however paid protection plans can be ordered starting from €199/month and going upto €999.00/month.
The Russian servers too offer paid DDoS protection, however the pricing plans aren’t available anywhere on the site and can only be accessed via a support ticket.
Servers and Pricing Plans
As mentioned in the very first paragraph of this Hostkey review, the company is limited on the kinds of servers it offers. Meaning, it doesn’t offer “Shared” servers.
They only offer VPS, VDS and Dedicated servers. The pricing depends on many factors, including the “server-country”. However the cheapest VPS offered from Netherlands goes for €10.00/month, while the highest is priced at €82.00/month.
There are dozens of factors which determine the pricing of Dedicated servers as well; however on an average a basic Dedicated server start from €35.00/month and go upto €500.00 or higher.
Finally a feature which is often underrated or ignored, yet is of supreme importance. The Hostkey support team can be reached via:
- Support Tickets
- Facebook Messenger
The live-support is available 24X7 (I’ve manually verified), is fast, responsive and pretty impressive overall.
So that’s all I had to pour in for this Hostkey review folks. Well I’d say Hostkey isn’t the best anonymous offshore hosting company out there, pertaining to its AUP, or fact-requiring registration procedure.
However, it does stick to the “offshore” bit and you get to choose from the 3 server locations it offers.
If it fits your needs would depend on your requirements, budget, content etc. but there definitely are more anonymous options out there. (Such as CyberBunker).
Anyway, do drop your two cents on this Hostkey review and the company in general. It helps to know if you agree or disagree with what we experienced with this anonymous offshore hosting company.