For today’s web host review, I have chosen InMotion Hosting.
This is not your typical cheap and affordable service provider. Although their prices are not that high, in comparison to other companies such as BlueHost, In Motion is a bit on the expensive side.
I have a WordPress site in the Health niche which I chose to host it with IMH. I still have that account and to be honest, I am satisfied. You get what you pay for is even truer in web hosting industry.
But, of course, that doesn’t mean this one is the perfect provider. Like any other provider, it has its drawbacks and flaws. I’ll get to that later, but first, let me tell you a little about the company itself.
This company has an interesting business model in that it is wholly employee-owned, just like WebHostingHub, a sister company. The business was incepted in 2001 and they run one data center in Los Angeles and another one at Virginia Beach, VA (the Los Angeles.
The second facility has a reputation of being labeled a ‘green’ data center (incidentally the first one the world has ever seen, as told by a blog post on their official blog).
The two locations mean that customers have a choice in deciding which data center to host their websites, so this is a new novelty in the industry.
In term of services, InMotion Hosting classifies them into shared hosting plans (3 different types), VPS and dedicated hosting. The business motto is to bring quality service to the mass market with its knowledgeable staff. They are not into the practice of overselling server space and they don’t cut corners on support.
Their target customers are business and corporate users. They reckon these customers appreciate better the need for good response speed, and thus willing to spend a bit more than average market rate just to ensure that reliability and support.
10-Year CNET Certified
One proud record that the company holds is that it has consistently been chosen as the top-rated Hosting Company by CNET, for 10 straight years. This is no mean feat, thanks to their amazing service, secure website transactions, and best business practices.
Better Business Bureau A+ Rating
InMotion Hosting also enjoys A+ rating from the BBB. This is the best possible rating. Better Business Bureau itself is, of course, the consumer advocacy group that sets out to scrutinize the integrity and performance of businesses in North America.
Hosting Plans Offered by InMotion
InMotion Hosting has only Linux servers at their data centers. However, the services under their umbrella offering are comprehensive enough to satisfy the most discerning customers.
In this post, I will try to give a detailed review of their web hosting services, with the two dominant plans being Value Class and Business Class.
Value Class is the stripped down version and there is a very little attempt to promote this on their website. Naturally this basic plan comes with its inherent limitations and restrictions. Anyway, most of their customers opt for that Business Class, being the one that is a better fit for their businesses.
Broadly, the Business Class plans can be broken into 3 categories: Launch, Power, and Pro. The Pro plan stands out as it is the only one that offers unlimited domain hosting for multiple sites.
Across all plans, the company promises unlimited FTP; unlimited disk space and bandwidth. Their price is not exactly that steep in relation to those from the competitions, but it is worthwhile to note they are not necessarily hosting service at a budget.
For VPS and dedicated plans, InMotion opts for higher-end specifications on its services. They also provision a good range of support information to new signups; these include help on installing Django (at no charge). If reselling is what you have in mind, VPS package could be more appropriate.
As mentioned, Linux CentOS is used exclusively at InMotion Hosting, covering all plans. As I prepared for this review, they have yet to have any cloud hosting offering.
Here is a breakdown of all their packages and the difference between them:
Guaranteed on uptime here is 99.9% (but my test shows something different. More on that later). At the data center, all these high-performance network capabilities are monitored 24/7 by staff and a unique Proactive System Management tool.
Consistent with the industry practice, IMH does not present any stats to substantiate their guaranteed 99.9% uptime.
The two data centers provide flexibility to VPS and Business Class customers in choosing which data center they would prefer to do the hosting, from one that is set up on the US east coast and another one west.
As a form of testing, the company allows customers to download dummy files from their respective sites. That is really helpful in gauging whatever site that offers more favorable or faster speed.
Depending on location, some may enjoy super fast speeds. They describe this as Max Speed Zones, optimized for fast response times.
In term of the power supply, this web host is equipped with N+2 or N+1 battery and diesel power backups. Protection on hardware failures is provisioned through a BG4P network. Frequency on servers back up is every 36 hours.
How Is the Support?
In all honestly, InMotion really does work hard to ensure accessibility to support. You can find thousands of knowledge base articles and tutorials embedded into their support portal.
For technical support, there are a number of means for access, including email, live chat, and telephone. Best at all, they don’t charge users for accessing any of these support options.
These support channels are manned by technical staff who are US based.
They also actively sponsor staff’s involvement in social media activities so users can find them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and their own company blog. Still, I would recommend any complaint to be directed through official channels.
If you are into the Business Class package (either one or two year plan), InMotion Hosting provides and helps you to set up your Cpanel 11 at no cost.
Cpanel is widely popular as it has almost everything, including webmail, email settings, FTP login information, DNS configuration, logs and addon domains, and it’s relatively easy to set up Google Apps and Gmail for your domain.
Cpanel also comes with the VPS package, but customers on VPS are also given WHM, which makes it extremely easy for multiple entities or clients management.
For dedicated hosting, they give away a complimentary license on both Cpanel and WHM respectively.
For your billing purpose, the Account Management Panel offers an extra layer of management. But users can get on to this only via a different login screen.
In addition, this also includes tools to manage their domains, access billing information and change their hosting plans all via one single account login.
Upon sign on, customers are rewarded with $100 in Google Adwords credits, and if you are US based, you get another $75 in credit on Bing and Yahoo! Search – this would open more doors for your business, so use it especially if you never used either before.
Additionally, all shared hosting customers are entitled to domain name free for one year.
As mentioned earlier, customers on dedicated hosting plans get a free ongoing license for Cpanel and WHM respectively without any charge at all.
Fantastico is provided here as with most other providers. Users can easily install and experiment with a wide range of scripts and applications.
The process is easy as it often involves no more than a couple of clicks. What you would find available are WordPress, GeekLog, Joomla, Drupal and more.
If Magento is a must for your website, your option would be restricted to either a dedicated or VPS plan.
Need to create your own website on the fly?…
Then an InMotion Hosting’s website builder could be ideal. This is a web-based tool that allows the creation of rich content and interactive features in a hurry.
The possibilities here are basic sites, Flash animations, blogs, forums, galleries, e-commerce functionality and more than 500 templates and themes.
InMotion does not offer any free trial. But if you get disgruntled on their services, there are two guarantee tiers to recover your investment.
The first one is a 90-day money back guarantee. It is applicable for Business Class hosting customers (who committed to either 1 or 2-year plan) and Virtual Dedicated customers (6 or 12 months).
If you sign on for dedicated packages or Value Class packages (both require 6 months or 12 months commitments), then a shorter guarantee period of 30 days would apply.
As money back guarantee does not cover domain name fee, take note that this would not be refunded. The company would minus off this fee from your refund, and by the way, there is also a small admin fee imposed.
For heavy traffic website (>500mb of bandwidth used), they may (and will as I heard from other webmasters) ask for a surcharge as well.
A cancellation can only be effected if you fill in the right form (accessible from their website). Your request for cancellation via a normal support channel, like phone support, would not get entertained. Anyway, their support pages provide adequate advice on how to cancel.
Pros and Cons of InMotion Hosting
I spent some time reading reviews of InMotion on various forums and blogs such as Cnet and WhoIsHostingThis to get a better sense of the service this company is offering and how it delivers.
As expected, there were both positive and negatives reviews. But overall you can break down almost every review I read into the following pros and cons:
- The full 90-day money back guarantee that is only applicable if you are on a hosting plan that lasts for at least a year.
- You can decide anytime you want out and still get a prorated refund.
- The offering is extensive; there bound to be something that has to be right for your requirements.
- Great variety of hosting plans, you have no worry whether you are planning to scale up or down.
- The ubiquitous cPanel, no more learning of another proprietary control panel.
- The industry strength script installer, Softaculous, the best and fastest one can find.
- Multi-channel support: U.S.-based phone, email, and chat support.
- They are acknowledged to excel in phone support and it is manned by extremely friendly and knowledgeable staff on 24/7.
- Extremely unprofessional organization of the billing interface and navigation is tough also. Need some element of luck to find my way around.
- The most basic shared hosting plan only covers two domains – come on, who can live with just 2 domains?
- If you want to add unlimited domains to your shared hosting plan, the charge is $14 a month – think nobody else charges this much.
- Their chat support deteriorates during the evening time. I find the average wait time acceptable during the daytime, but night comes, you have to wait 10 minutes per question , that is ridiculous– even companies like DownTownHost and MDDHosting could handle your support tickets in less time than their supposedly “instant chat”.
- I monitored the performance over 60 days and my observation is an uptime of 99.68%. This does not match the 99.9% they trumpeted on their website.
It was pointed out early that the focus of the company is not on Value Class package. IMH has little interest in targeting the budget market and they seem to position themselves to attract business users.
If you compare price across companies, it also does not demonstrate it can be competitive. I just take a package from InMotion and compare to similar offerings from the competitions. To my horror, the price difference is ridiculous. Even a pricier proposition like HostGator (Have you read my recent HostGator review yet?) offers similar capability at half the price.
Granted, premium quality demands premium pricing. But the truth is I probably need to pay a quarter of the demanded fee of IMH and still get to enjoy the same (if not better) quality hosting from its competitions.
But if money is no object, their service could be a good proposition especially if you have had a bad experience before with shared hosting, or you are motivated to find the best support in town.
In a similar sense, if speed is your things, then InMotion Hosting are not an option you can afford to overlook – it could work particularly well if your location is inside one of their Max Speed Zones.