Over the past several months, I have received several emails asking my opinion on InMotion Hosting, and asking if I would do an InMotion Hosting review – especially since they had recently won several awards, and had been getting a good bit of press.
The problem was that in my course of working with clients and with my own websites, I had never actually used InMotion Hosting, so I couldn’t really speak to it.
However, about a couple months ago – I was approached by a business development guy at InMotion offering a free 1 year hosting plan if I’d write an InMotion Hosting review.
Long story short – I had a domain name I wasn’t using, so I took him up on the offer, and have been running a test website powered by WordPress on it for a couple months – enough to get a decent picture of InMotion Hosting and offer up an InMotion Hosting review in the form of 6 pros and 5 cons of using InMotion hosting.
Side note – if you are in a hurry and just want to check their prices - here’s their current hosting plans. Otherwise, let’s dive into the pros and cons & full InMotion Hosting review.
Pros of InMotion Hosting
No hosting company is perfect, and there is no “best” hosting company – it all depends on your goals and preferences. That understood – here’s the 6 pros that I’ve found with InMotion.
InMotion Hosting puts their customer service front and center in their marketing. They boast about US-based tech support via phone, chat, email, or ticket system.
Anyone who has ever run a website understands that customer service and support is something that’s easy to overlook and skimp on upfront…but you will always need support at some point, and when you need it…you really need it.
I’m not one to fake stage a website meltdown just to throw their support staff through the wringer, however I have had a couple times in the past months where I did need help.
The first signs were not encouraging…
But apparently this was InMotion’s very sensible strategy of under-promising and over-delivering. That particular chat session ended up with a 9 minute wait – and my problem was taken care of quite quickly.
And, for their chat support in particular, I got the sense that the support people weren’t multi-tasking. You know when you are on chat support and you get fast responses…but have to repeat yourself because it’s obvious they are responding to multiple people at once? Yeah – that was not the case with InMotion Hosting.
The surprise that really made their service shine though was what happened towards the end of 1 chat session. I had told the operator that everything was cool, said bye, and signed off without officially telling the guy that everything was resolved.
He probably wasn’t 100% sure if my questions had been answered – and it may have appeared that I had dropped off. I went to check my email immediately after, and less than 2 minutes after the chat ended, I got this:
4 Minute Response Time
Pretty awesome response, if you ask me.
And, as a side note, they also have a very extensive self-service customer service & knowledge-base set up. Every general search I typed in had an answer on their site, in addition to very well done video tutorials.
Customer support, though, is not the point of having a web host. A web hosting company’s job is to securely store your website files on a server, and serve up those files as quickly as possible to every single one of your visitors whenever they ask for them.
There’s a lot of ways to measure hosting performance – you really get deep into the weeds with server specs, and jargon that honestly isn’t particularly useful to a small business or someone looking to just put up a website.
I can’t report on personal experience about their uptime (how often they are able to serve up your website when someone goes to it), but everything that I could research bore out that they do a pretty good job with industry-standard uptimes with 99.99% uptime.
One thing I could test was speed. And speed is important. Every second that people wait for your website to load means more people leaving. Large companies spend millions of dollars shaving milliseconds off their load times.
One of the best quick metrics to look at for (cheaper-end) hosting is Time to First Byte – or TTFB – or how long does it take the server to respond after it receives a request from a visitor. I look at this because everything else afterwards is highly influenced by how your particular website is configured.
I ran the tests on a couple different platforms at different times, and got very consistent results – all hovering around this result:
InMotion Speed Test
Again, for shared hosting accounts this number will bounce around some, but InMotion was definitely on the faster end of all shared hosts I’ve worked with.
For hosting companies, there’s a fine line to walk with offering creating a backend that isn’t daunting to first time users while still offering a flexible setup for once your customers have gotten their bearings and want to tweak things a bit.
To me, the bets solution is to use cPanel as a backend. It’s common; it’s open-source (so there are tutorials everywhere), and it’s pretty basic – but in a good way.
Here’s what the cPanel backend looks like…
InMotion Hosting cPanel
Again, very basic – but once you get used to it, cPanel (along with all the languages and apps they have) offers all the flexibility you’ll need. And I consider that a big pro of any InMotion Hosting review.
And another issue related to flexibility is that they have a lot of in-house upgrade options. If your site ever gets big enough that you need a developer oriented solution like Managed Hosting, Virtual Private Server, or even a Dedicated Server – InMotion Hosting has all those options in-house, so you can upgrade fairly seamlessly.
InMotion Hosting has a 90 day money-back guarantee. That pretty much speaks for itself – and if it doesn’t, that’s a really good guarantee for the industry. Very good – major pro of InMotion Hosting.
Free Data Backups
I debate on whether to put data backups as a pro. Let me explain. Frequent data backups are a huge deal for shared hosting providers. Servers go down, you accidentally hit the delete button (speaking from experience there), stuff just inevitably happens – and you need a backup.
InMotion doesn’t mess around with their backups – which is a huge pro.
Where they get extra-special is that those backups are free if you ever need it. For example, the host for this site, HostGator does automated backups for free, but charges $19 to retrieve the backup. This is where is it gets tricky.
The best solution is to make your own backups at your chosen frequency – for me, the fact that HostGator charges $19 to retrieve a backup helps reinforce my habit of backing up my site (the stick/carrot approach as it were).
So the free backups are awesome – really – but be sure to treat them as a safety net…not as your primary safeguard should you go and choose InMotion Hosting.
They have plenty of freebies. I put this farther down this list because you shouldn’t be making decisions on hosting based on how many advertising credits they give you…but just like extra cupholders in your new car – they do make a difference.
I won’t go into all the exact freebies – but InMotion stacks up as well or better than anybody else in the industry. They have all the apps you’d need, plenty of ad credits, and more.
Oh – also they are a presenting sponsor at WordCamp LA (a WordPress event – something I love to see in hosting providers).
Cons of InMotion Hosting
And here’s what I’ve found to be the cons of InMotion Hosting.
If you find a hosting company that fits your goals, I’m not a huge fan of counting pennies – but paying the right price for the features you get is still important, especially if you are just starting out and on a budget.
InMotion Hosting has several very affordable options (see them here), but for what you get, their price point is a bit higher than other shared hosting providers. For comparable features, they are about double the price of HostGator (see HostGator’s pricing here). And although InMotion does do the occasional sale, the don’t do coupons or other promos.
Side note – if InMotion is running any sales, you will see them on their plans page here. And if you want a coupon for HostGator, swampland25 will always get you 25% off your hosting purchase.
But final word on InMotion pricing – they are still a good deal, and are very affordable. However, they are more expensive enough than competitors to call their pricing out as a con.
I did call out InMotion’s use of cPanel in their backend as a pro for its flexibility. However, what I found kind of off was their use of an Account Management Panel before you get to cPanel as a sort of middle backend.
InMotion Hosting AMP
Once I got used to it, it wasn’t too annoying. However, when I first signed up for the hosting, it was very confusing, not very informative, and seemed like just a place to upsell me on their other stuff.
I understand that hosting companies have to have some sort of account dashboard, and that there really is not any perfect way to do it, but I found InMotion’s set up to be not very intuitive for beginners, and outside what an intermediate/advanced user (who just wants server access) would typically expect. So I put down a con here – but not that huge of a deal.
Now this con is my real beef with InMotion, and will define them as in line with your goals or not.
Before I dive into what exactly this con is about – I’ll define a couple terms. As a general rule, a database is what stores the information that powers your website (so 1 install of WordPress runs off 1 database as a general rule). So, the number of databases allowed represents the number of distinct websites you can run on your server.
The number of websites/domains generally refers to the number of domains that can be routed to your server. Websites/domains is different than databases since you can have a lot of different websites on 1 domain. For example, a web designer might have client1.domain.com, client2.domain.com, and domain.com – this would be 1 domain, but would run off 3 different databases.
So, long point short – InMotion really limits the number of websites and databases that you can run on your account – even at their top price point. I totally understand why they do this (better network performance, and it filters the people who want to run crazy stuff on a single account) – but I’m still not a huge fan.
If you know exactly what you are using your account for (such as 2 websites, and nothing else) – and don’t plan on expanding beyond that – then this con is a bit moot.
However, it is a limitation that you should be aware of when comparing providers and pricing – and when thinking about what your plans are for your account (if you are concerned with this – you should also check out my InMotion vs. HostGator post).
Lots of hosting companies (including InMotion) boast about the number of apps available on their hosting accounts. What they really mean to say is that they have quick installers for a wide range of popular applications.
If it’s an open-source bit of software (such as WordPress or Joomla), you can always install the software on your hosting account for free. The problem is that the process of installing it manually can be daunting or frustrating for beginners – so hosting companies provide quick installers or scripts.
InMotion provides plenty of these quick installers, but what I found was that the scripts they used were not super-beginner friendly…which kind of defeats the point of using an installer. Here’s a screenshot of the WordPress installer.
InMotion WP Install Panel
Just my opinion compared to other installers such as QuickInstall and other proprietary installers, but I do consider it to be a con of using InMotion.
I’m cool with companies going beyond their core competency to provide a wider range of services – but I’m always wary of companies who provide too wide of a range, or push their ancillary services too much.
Which is why I’m not a big fan of InMotion offering web design services, and advertising them in the Account Management Panel.
Again, I think offering add-on services can be great and convenient, but I think custom web design services could be enough of a bridge too far to be considered a con.
That’s the extent of my InMotion Hosting review. They are a solid web hosting company, and you won’t go wrong with them.
I think they are the best fit for someone who is only looking to host a couple websites on their account, and is willing to pay a bit of a premium for great support and performance. You can check out InMotion Hosting here.
InMotion Hosting does not do coupons (source), though they do frequent promotions, which will appear on their Plans page here.
If you are on a tighter budget, or want more options, you might be interested in my InMotion Hosting vs. HostGator comparison here.
Great provider if you are only hosting a couple sites, and willing to pay a premium for great support and performance. Otherwise, look for alternatives.
4 / 5 stars
The post InMotion Hosting Review: 6 Pros & 5 Cons of InMotion Hosting appeared first on ShivarWeb.