Thursday 24th May 2018

InMotion Hosting Review

Overview

Overall rating:

6.8/10

Price:

$5.99

Uptime (Jan 18):

99.56%

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Overview

Overall rating:

6.8/10

Price:

$5.99

Setup:

6 hours

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Overall

We like InMotion – they excel at features others don’t (however they are missing a number of features similarly priced hosts offer) and they have a specific place in the market. When you factor in renewal pricing, they are quite competitively priced.

  • You may notice any uptime guarantee is conspicuously absent from their shared hosting sales page (well, it’s hidden; you have to click on ‘pro level support’ to see it). We reviewed their terms of service and proceeded straight to live chat; after a great deal of cajoling we discovered their 99.9% uptime guarantee is only applicable to their Pro account (ie it’s not applicable to their ‘Power’ or ‘Launch’ accounts). Whoops.
  • They offer ‘unlimited bandwidth’…but there are restrictions set down in their terms of service (read more below).
  • They place restrictions on CPU usage and they’ve set a maximum limit of 50,000 inodes per hosting account (which should be more than enough, however some comparable and cheaper web hosts have a limit of 250,000).
  • Website migrations (moving your website to InMotion’s servers) are free for up to 3 cPanel transfers (this is why we recommend you avoid custom admin panels!). If you need more than 3 websites migrated you’ll be charged an additional $10 per migration.
  • Your hosting account will automatically renew for an equal term after the initial term has expired (according to their terms they may process this charge two weeks before expiration – remember this!).
  • InMotion offers a 90 day money back guarantee, which is the second longest we’ve come across (Dreamhost offers 97 days, however A2 Hosting offers an ‘anytime guarantee’ which is theoretically longer but comes with caveats), however they don’t provide any details on this in their terms of service.
  • They use SSD drives for shared hosting accounts.
  • As far as we can interpret, it appears you may be subject to paying a $50 cancellation fee if you cancel before the end of your term; they may (but ‘are not obligated to’) repay any pre-paid hosting fees (minus any discounts applied). Read more below.
  • If you’ve registered a domain as part of a ‘free domain’ promotion, then the retail price of the domain name ($11.99) and a $5 administration fee will be deducted from any refund provided if you choose to cancel your account.
  • They offer free daily backups but they’ll only restore you website free of charge once within a four calendar month period.
  • They provide a free SSL certificate issued by Comodo (it’s also easy to activate from your admin panel). It costs $124.99 per year to purchase a dedicated SSL certificate (which includes a unique IP address and one-time setup fee of $25)

Features

8/10

service

6/10

Performance

6/10

Cost

7/10

Host overview

Performance: January 2018 (to date)

Response Time:

1138ms

Uptime:

99.56%

Average uptime for all hosts in January 2018 (to date) is 99.80% while average response time for all web hosts in January 2018 (to date) is 1,254ms.

Cost, setup and website migrations

Despite advertising all of their fees as ‘monthly’ you can’t actually pay monthly for InMotion’s ‘launch package’ – you can pay for a term of 12 months or 24 months. This isn’t unusual (a number of web hosts do this), however it is slightly misleading and annoying for customers.

We must have qualified for a discount when we purchased, as the total cost of our 1 year subscription to the ‘launch’ package was $53.88, whereas at the time of review the cheapest price for a 1 year ‘launch’ subscription is $83.88.

You can also opt for the ‘Power’ package for the same introductory rate ($83.88 per year), however we suspect this is just a seasonal rate.

Your ‘launch’ package will automatically renew after your first term and for another 12 months (the total annual renewal cost is $107.88).

To their credit, the difference between the introductory rate and the renewal rate is a lot better than other hosts eg FatCow charges $49 for the first 12 months and $179.40 when it automatically renews after your first term.

You’ll qualify for a free domain name with their launch package however it will renew the following year for another year at a cost of $14.99. Some web hosts charge higher renewals rates than registration rates for domains (iPage and FatCow are the worst for this), however InMotion’s .com registrations are priced at $14.99 and domain privacy is priced at $9.99 (both per year).

Also, after talking about package specifics with a sales operator he offered us a significant discount on the Pro package ($89.88 for over a 12 month term), so if you’re unsure which package you want it may be worth talking to sales in advance to see if you can get a discount.

Website migrations are free for up to 3 cPanel migrations however any additional migrations are charged at $10 per migration. Also, any migrations over 5GB may be subject to additional charges.

They state it will typically take up to 14 days to migrate your website (which is a lot longer than some hosts), however you can purchase a ‘priority website transfer’ for an additional $29 (this means you website will be transferred in 1-4 days)

You can make a request to transfer a website from the Account Management Portal (AMP), which is quite convenient. You’ll have to provide all the requisite login details for your previous host.

As far as setup was concerned it was relatively painless. We always test with an externally registered domain – to see how amenable they are to hosting domain registered somewhere else – and locating their nameservers and updating zone files was simple (they’re both available under the Account Management Panel).

All in all we were setup within 6 hours.

Restrictions

InMotion sets a number of restrictions:

  • I/O (input/output or disk read/write speed) is restricted to 2MB/s. To give you a comparison, HostPapa and A2 Hosting restrict I/O to 1MB/s on their entry-level packages, while GreenGeeks restricts to 4MB/s (GreenGeeks, like InMotion, use SSD drives on shared hosting accounts).
  • InMotion also sets a 50,000 inode restriction. An inode is like meta data (information) for a file; 1 inode broadly equals 1 file. To give you a comparison, JustHost’s restriction is 50,000, HostPapa’s is 150,000, Siteground’s is 150,000 and A2 Hosting’s is 600,000 (all for entry-level packages). It’s unlikely most users would ever need to exceed 50,000 inodes, however it’s worth noting that 1 email equal 1 inode.
  • You’re restricted to hosting 2 websites and creating 2 databases.
  • You’re restricted to 20 entry processes. Entry processes refer to the permissible number of simultaneous script executions (eg loading a WordPress index.php file is a script execution). It only applies to scripts, not static files which don’t change. Once the script executes, the entry process resets and becomes available to use again. To give you a comparison, A2 Hosting limits you to 15 entry processes and GreenGeeks limits you to 100 entry processes.
  • Physical memory is restricted to 1GB however it’s difficult to tell how this affects you when we don’t know how much RAM has been assigned to each cPanel account.

As far as bandwidth is concerned, and according to their terms of service, if you ‘adversely affect server or network performance’ you’ll be asked to upgrade to a virtual or dedicated server. Under ‘Bandwidth Charges’ in their terms of service they state ‘Higher levels of traffic will incur overcharges on a monthly basis.’

They provide no definition on what amounts to ‘higher traffic.’

In their terms of service they also state ‘Customer agrees that such bandwidth and disk usage shall not exceed the amounts set by Company for the Services (the “Agreed Usage”).’

We don’t know what the “Agreed Usage” is, and when we asked live chat operators we’re informed the limit isn’t strict but it depends on overall server usage. This isn’t unusual, however it is slightly confusing when InMotion advertises ‘unlimited’ bandwidth but then sets restrictions on usage in their fine print.

As far as CPU usage is concerned, again there are restrictions. According to their support centre, ‘going over the CPU limits assigned for you level of hosting could result in an email warning, or a temporary account suspension if the usage is severe enough.’

And no, we don’t know what the CPU limits are. There is a CPU metric in your admin panel, and it reads 0/100, however we don’t know what it refers to (ie it could be 0/100 of 1% of CPU resource or 0/100 of 100% of CPU resources) because we don’t know how much CPU is assigned to each cPanel account.

In other words we know these restrictions exist, we know you can’t go over them, but we don’t know what they are (we’ve submitted a ticket asking for more information and we’ll update this review if we receive it).

Backups, guarantees and security

InMotion’s 99.9% uptime guarantee doesn’t apply to all shared accounts, just their ‘Pro’ accounts. We find this quite unusual considering many hosts at or below this price point offer uptime guarantees and some offer quite generous compensation terms of they fail to honour it.

A lack of uptime guarantee is reason enough for to stop short of recommending a host.

We also find it unusual their uptime guarantee isn’t visible on their shared hosting page (but it is mentioned in their terms of service); they’ve concealed it (you have to click on ‘Pro Level Support’ to see it).

It states in their TOS that ‘Pro’ customers ‘not within’ the 99.9% uptime range will be compensated with one month of free hosting (this is similar to Hostgator’s offer, whereas customers of Dreamhost are only compensated up to 10% of their monthly fee).

This credit for Pro accounts is dependent on a check by InMotion customer support (in other words, they don’t accept data from third-party monitoring tools to verify uptime).

They do offer a great money back guarantee of 90 days though. We couldn’t find anything about this in their terms of service, however their FAQ provides more information about it and it seems fairly standard (you won’t be entitled to a refund on any purchased domain name).

Our only concern is the inclusion, in their terms of service, of a $50 cancellation fee.

Their terms of service state ‘This Agreement may be terminated by either party by giving the other party thirty (30) days prior written notice subject to a minimum $50.00 charge as an early cancellation fee payable by Customer’.

If the cancellation fee does apply then it as good as wipes away any money-back guarantee. We would be reassured it doesn’t if there was a single mention of the money back guarantee in their terms of service (they even refer you to the terms of service for more information on their guarantee page) but there isn’t.

The terms of service also state that ‘InMotion may, but are not obligated to, refund some of the pre-paid amount’. It goes on to say you’ll only be refunded for full months ie partial months won’t be refunded and you have to give 30 days notice.

Again, we aren’t sure how all of this aligns to their money-back guarantee – it isn’t mentioned in their terms of service – however if you have concerns it’s worth questioning this with customer service before purchasing any services.

As for ‘free domain’ promotions, if you ask for a refund on your hosting package, and you took up a free domain promotion offer, then any refund given will be minus the retail price for a domain name ($11.99) and a $5 administration fee (after which you’ll retain full ownership of the domain name).

InMotion offers a free daily backup service which facilitates a backup restore if required. However, you’re only allowed on restore every four calendar months and any additional restores will be subject to additional costs.

It’s also worth noting InMotion doesn’t backup websites larger than 10GB.

The admin panel

Sometimes we feel that if you’ve seen one cPanel installation you’ve probably seen them all (well, we felt that way until we laid eyes on Hostinger’s admin panel – it’s great!).

That feeling recurs when we look at InMotion’s admin panel; it’s divided between their Account Management Panel and a cPanel installation and everything you could possibly need is in there, including:

  • Access to PHPMyAdmin
  • Fully configurable zone files
  • Bandwidth and account resource usage monitoring (which is not self-explanatory and links to resources to guide you which themselves do not mention much about the data or metrics you’re looking at)
  • It includes standard security options like hotlink protection (stopping other websites from displaying images hosted through your account) and IP blocking
  • You can schedule cron jobs and use SSH
  • The option to create new databases
  • Email management functionality including creating mailboxes, setting up autoresponders and filtering spam
  • You can install hundreds of applications with ‘1 click’, including WordPress and Joomla

InMotion Hosting Customer Service

  • Live chat support: yes
  • Ticketing support: yes
  • Phone support: yes

InMotion’s live chat support is fairly responsive, however from our experiences with them it can take a great deal of time to get an answer they don’t want to give.

For example, we asked about their uptime guarantee 3 times, and we were passed between two different representatives, before someone just said ‘yes, it only applies to the Pro account.’

They also seem to have phases throughout the day where they are heavily queued – it took 3 minutes to connect our second chat session (we were 7th in the queue) and when an operator got back to us he told us we’d need to wait another 3-6 minutes for him to ‘pull up our account information’.

All in all, we waited 9 minutes before we even began ‘chatting’ – it’s chat, but it’s not particularly ‘live’.

While the chat operators are helpful we can’t help but get the impression they are under resourced relative to other web hosts.

As far as ticketing is concerned…we wouldn’t advise using it. We submitted a ticket on 23rd January, and 15 hours later we’re still waiting for a response (we’ll update this review if we ever receive it). Compare this to Siteground (about 9 minutes ticket response time) or Namecheap (about 40 minutes ticket response time).

Then again, you could compare it to an y EIG host – eg Bluehost, Just Host, Hostgator, iPage etc. – none of which offers ticketing.

Launch - 12 Month Term

Price

$6.99

Bandwidth:

Unlimited

Storage:

Unlimited

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Launch - 24 Month Term

Price

$5.99

Bandwidth:

Unlimited

Storage:

Unlimited

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