InMotion Hosting Review – Plenty of Great Features and Above Average Price
We all sometimes like to root for the new kid on the block but when it comes to web hosting, it’s usually better to hedge your bets on the more experienced companies. If you value experience above all else, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better company than InMotion hosting. The provider has been around since 2001 and has built a very respectable customer base over the years. Quite clearly, InMotion is an established and reputable hosting provider, but is it the right choice for you? That’s what we’re trying to find out.
We’ve written about InMotion Hosting on numerous occasions in the past but it’s been a while since we did an in-depth review of the company and its services. InMotion is known for its innovative features, great scalability and, a few years ago, the company even launched its own website builder. Needless to say, there are quite a few things we need to discuss so let’s jump straight into our InMotion Hosting review, shall we?
Navigation and Ease of Use
Signing up with a hosting provider can seem a bit intimidating if you’re not familiar with how these companies work. If you want to take the easy way out, you can go with an all-in-one platform like Wix, Weebly or Squarespace and save yourself some headaches. If you want better performance and more features, however, a hosting provider like InMotion is definitely the way to go.
The company does a better job than most of its competitors at letting you know exactly what you’re getting into. Upon visiting InMotion’s homepage you’ll be immediately be presented with four different types of hosting, complete with pricing and standout features. The company offers a few other products and services but let’s focus on the basics for now.
Upon clicking on any of the four types of hosting, you’ll be redirected to a different page where you can find an in-depth list that shows you all the features and tools included with each plan. Even better, you can click on any item to receive an explanation of what it does, and there are a few other resources that will help you figure out if that is the right type of hosting for you.
Another nice touch is a toggle button for the pricing, which lets you know exactly how much you’ll need to pay depending on the length of your contract. This may sound like a feature that should be present on the website of every hosting provider, but it’s not. In fact, very few of them are so straightforward upon their pricing schemes. For instance, HostGator and Bluehost only share that information with once you’re already in the middle of the check out process.
InMotion Hosting lets you manage everything from domains and emails to databases and applications via a simple to use cPanel. If you’re not familiar with cPanel there’s no need to worry because InMotion offers a demo on its website and the best part is that you can check it out even if you’re not a registered user. cPanel is essentially an all-in-one account management console and while it may seem a bit intimidating at first, it’s worth noting that you can ignore most of the tools and options if you’re a new user.
But if you’re not really comfortable with the cPanel, you can manage things using the Account Management Panel (AMP) instead. AMP is fairly similar to cPanel but comes with a more simplified and user-friendly interface. Personally, I recommend trying to familiarize yourself with the cPanel if you’re a newcomer because this type of control panel is used not just by InMotion but also by many other providers. And if you ever switch to a different company, you’ll usually be able to import the cPanel settings from your previous provider, which isn’t possible with AMP.
Plans and Pricing
InMotion’s prices are above the market average, but not by much. A shared hosting plan will set you back $3.99 per month if you go with the basic package. Just to give you some context, rivals like HostGator and SiteGround charge $2.75 and $3.95 per month, respectively, for similar packages. The entry price isn’t too bad all things considered, however, there is a pretty huge drawback. InMotion doesn’t support monthly billing cycles for basic shared hosting plans so you’ll need to pay for 1 or 2 years upfront when you sign up.
The initial investment is quite hefty but the company does its best to make it worth your while. You get unlimited storage, bandwidth and email accounts along with an SSL certificate, free website builder, a free domain name for 1 year, backup & restore tool, free site transfer, SSD storage, spam protection, malware protection, access to over 400 applications complete with 1-click installers, and more. And that’s just with the basic plan.
Upgrading to the $5.99 per month package unlocks a few more goodies, including eCommerce functionality. You also get support for up to 6 websites (the basic package only supports 2), the ability to create more databases and park more domains. The differences between the first two plans aren’t too significant so if you’re not interested in setting up an online store or more than 2 websites you can skip this tier entirely.
You’ll need to pay at least $13.99 per month in order to upgrade to the next and final tier but in this case, you don’t have to commit to a 1-year contract. The Pro plan supports monthly payments, however, choosing this option is quite a bit more expensive ($17.99) when compared to the yearly billing cycle. As far as the extra features are concerned, they aren’t all that impressive. The main selling points are the Pro level customer support and the ability to create an unlimited number of websites. Aside from that, you can also create unlimited databases and park an unlimited number of domains but that’s about it.
All the shared hosting plans also come with a fairly unique – and somewhat costly – feature. Namely, for a one-time payment of $99 per month, you can have InMotion build you a custom and fully-functional WordPress website. It will only take 2 days for the company to deliver your new website but the big caveat is that the site will only have one page. Granted, that’s enough for some users but $99 seems a bit expensive for a single-page website if you ask me.
Even though the company behind the popular CMS recommends using either Bluehost, DreamHost or SiteGround for hosting your WordPress website, there’s nothing wrong with choosing to go with InMotion instead. The company has three WordPress plans to choose from, the cheapest of which will set you back $4.99 per month. The provider doesn’t support monthly billing cycles for WordPress plans either so, once again, you’re looking at a sizeable upfront investment because you’ll need to sign up at least for a 1-year contract right off the bat.
The basic plan only comes with 40 GB of SSD storage and support for a single website but you do get unlimited bandwidth along with a good selection of nice features. Some of the highlights include free domain name for 1 year, unlimited email accounts, SSL certificate, free website transfer, anti-spam tool, hack & malware protection, advanced server caching, Cloudflare CDN integration, and more.
Unlike HostGator, for example, InMotion doesn’t skimp on the WordPress-specific features either. You get over 200 free themes to play with, a WordPress staging environment, automatic updates, safe application roll-back, automated social media posting, WordPress optimized stack, and easy Google Apps integration, among other things. Naturally, there’s also a 1-click installer for WordPress and you can expect your site to even include the JetPack plugin right off the bat.
If you’re willing to spend $7.99 per month you can upgrade to the next tier and receive the premium version of JetPack along with support for up to 2 websites, more SSD storage, and access to automatic offsite backups. Beyond that, there’s an additional tier priced at $10.99 per month, which gives you even more storage, supports up to 3 websites, and improves their performance significantly.
Once your website outgrows even the most expensive shared hosting plan, which doesn’t take long if you receive a lot of traffic, it’s time to look into upgrading to a virtual private server (VPS). This type of hosting is quite a bit more expensive but you get dedicated resources in exchange along with a number of special features like root access, dedicated IPs, command-line tools, resource monitoring dashboard, DDoS protection, and more.
The basic plan will set you back $22.99 per month and includes 4GB of RAM, 75GB of storage and 4 TB of bandwidth. Even though VPS hosting is aimed primarily at tech-savvy users, InMotion’s version is actually great for beginners as well because it includes cPanel & VHM access. There are also a few other useful tools for beginners like the free launch assistant, which gives you 2 hours of dedicated time with a veteran T3 system administrator. The tech expert will be at your disposal during this time and can help you with absolutely everything from configuring hardware and scheduling CRON jobs to installing applications, migrating websites, performing server security, and more.
In addition to managed VPS hosting, InMotion also offers cloud VPS hosting plans. The cloud VPS prices are very competitive, rivaling even those of specialized providers like DigitalOcean and Vultr. Namely, you can get a plan for as low as $5 per month, however, you’ll need to spend a bit more than that if you need a good amount of resources to work with. The cloud hosting plans are unmanaged so don’t expect a lot of ease-of-use features here. For example, there’s no cPanel or 1-click installers so you’ll need to take a more hands-on approach to your server.
If you’re worried about scalability look no further than InMotion because the company is excellent at this. InMotion offers a generous selection of managed dedicated servers to choose from, with prices start at $115.69 per month. That said, the company is currently running a promotion so the prices might be a bit higher depending on when you’re reading this. The basic package is quite impressive as it features 8 GB of DDR 3 RAM, 500 GB of SSD storage, an Intel Xenon E3 CPU clocked at 3.50 Ghz Turbo, and 6 TB of data transfer. Needless to say, things get even better as you progress towards the higher tiers and get dedicated access to increasingly more powerful servers. Tech-savvy users can also opt for unmanaged dedicated servers, which start at only $75.69 per month and have the same specs as the managed ones.
If you’re not entirely sold by the company’s pre-configured servers, you can choose to create a custom one instead. InMotion allows you to fine-tune your future server and add the exact amount of resources you want. Well, for the most part. Every machine comes equipped with the same type of CPU so that’s something you can’t change. Aside from that, though, you can select the memory, add up to three drives (including SSD for the primary and secondary ones), add a firewall, remote KVM, and even make special requests, which may or may not be fulfilled depending on how reasonable they are.
Signing up for any shared or WordPress hosting plan will also give you access to a website builder known as BoldGrid. This is InMotion’s proprietary product and is meant to serve as an alternative to popular builders like Wix and Weebly. Just like those builders, BoldGrid features a user-friendly interface and drag-and-drop functionality. There are 20 free designs to choose from along with thousands of others that need to be purchased from the marketplace. All the designs are mobile-friendly and easy to customize, though there aren’t as many options as you might expect.
BoldGrid makes it easier for beginners to get started with WordPress, which can seem a bit complicated at times in its base form. Each template comes with a host of placeholder content that you can choose to keep or modify to your liking. If you want to build a website as quickly as possible, simply import a design you like, make a few changes, and you’re all done.
If you already own a premium WordPress theme or plan to buy one in the near future you probably won’t get much use out of BoldGrid because the builder isn’t all that powerful. If you’re just now purchasing a hosting plan and don’t want to make any other investments, on the other hand, we definitely recommend trying out BoldGrid instead of working with a free theme.
Key Tools and Features
It should be pretty clear by this point that there are plenty of pros and cons to signing up with InMotion Hosting. On one hand, the company offers many types of hosting and each plan comes with a good amount of features. On the other hand, though, the prices are above average and a lot of the plans don’t support monthly billing cycles. With that little summary out of the way, let’s take a closer look at some of the key tools and features offered by InMotion and try to figure out if they’re robust enough to justify the high prices.
Registering a new domain with InMotion will cost you $15.99 per year, and that’s without domain privacy. If you also want to add privacy, you’re going to have to fork out an additional $12.99 per year, so that’s about $29 per year in total. For reference, that’s similar to what SiteGround and HostGator charge but quite a bit more expensive compared to other rivals like iPage and GoDaddy.
You can get a free domain by signing up for a shared, WordPress or VPS hosting plan. These domains are free only for the first year, though, and don’t come with privacy so you’ll still need to purchase that separately. Free domains are not available with dedicated hosting plans, which is a bit odd since they are by far the most expensive ones. Domain transfers are not free either with these plans and you’ll need to pay a one-time fee of $11.99 if you’re transferring a domain from a different hosting provider.
InMotion supports both MySQL and PostgreSQL databases but you can only get access to the second type if you sign up for a shared hosting plan. Unlimited databases are only available with VPS plans and with the Pro shared hosting package. As far as the WordPress hosting plans are concerned, the number of databases you can create and manage is quite limited. Namely, you only get support for 2 of them with the cheapest plan, 8 with the second tier, and 13 with the most expensive package. The good news is that while the number of available databases is limited, their size is not.
Backup and Restore
InMotion Hosting offers a very good backup & restore tool known simply as Backup Manager. This tool allows users to schedule automatic backups at specific times and restore full, partial or individual file backups with 1 click. These backups can be downloaded and stored locally or on a third-party platform. Unfortunately, this tool isn’t included for free with all plans.
If you’re looking to buy a shared hosting plan be aware that you’ll need to purchase the Backup Manager separately for $2 per month. But since the tool doesn’t support monthly billing cycles, you’ll need to pay upfront for (at least) a year so that’s $24 right off the bat. Automatic offsite backups aren’t free with the basic WordPress hosting plan either but they are included in the two other packages. Meanwhile, VPS plans and dedicated servers come with a different tool that allows users to make daily backups of their sites.
You can create an unlimited number of @domain email accounts for free with most of InMotion’s hosting plans. The only exception being dedicated servers, which only support up to 15 free addresses. Mailboxes come with real-time spam filtering and unlimited storage for your emails, though InMotion may impose certain restrictions on you if you’re using a shared hosting plan and you’re receiving so many emails that it starts to affect other users on your server. Email accounts can be managed with InMotion’s webmail interface or third-party clients, including Gmail.
While we usually recommend Shopify for all your eCommerce hosting needs, InMotion is a decent alternative if you’re looking to open an online store without breaking the bank. The provider offers no less than six eCommerce hosting plans, three of which are shared. The other three are essentially VPS packages that come with eCommerce functionality, among other things. Prices start at only $3.99 for the shared plans and $34.19 for the VPS packages.
All these plans come with a shopping cart, support for eCommerce apps like PrestaShop, Magento or WooCommerce, the ability to sell physical and digital products, a free site builder, and all the other basic features and tools you might expect. InMotion doesn’t give you too much to work with so you’ll need to get the more advanced features directly from your eCommerce app. Depending on which app you choose, you will be able to accept payments from PayPal, Google Wallet, credit cards, and a few other sources.
Unlike a lot of other hosting providers out there, InMotion doesn’t offer built-in SEO tools with any of its plans. However, the company’s site builder does come with some basic SEO support, such as keyword and page title management. If you’re looking for more advanced tools, your best bet is to sign up for a WordPress plan and install an SEO plugin like Yoast. It won’t cost you anything to install the plugin on your WordPress site but you will need to pay a yearly fee if you want to get access to all of its features.
Additional Supported Technologies
The full list of technologies supported by InMotion Hosting is quite lengthy so in the interest in keeping things brief, we’ll only highlight some of the most important ones in this section. InMotion supports a variety of scripting languages, including Ruby, Perl, PHP, and Python along with SSH, FTP, SFTP, WP-CLI, and IMAP. If you’re going with a VPS, you can also expect a lot of performance-focused technologies like advanced server caching, Brotli compression, Apache, Redis, and NGINX. If you’re not familiar with some of those terms make sure to check the features list on InMotion’s website because it explains what everything does.
InMotion has pretty mediocre location coverage, with only two data centers to choose from. Both data centers are located in the US – Los Angeles and Virginia. Unlike HostGator, for example, InMotion allows you to choose which data center you want to host your server, so there’s that. However, that’s small consolation for users who are located outside the US. Based on the specifications listed on InMotion’s website, the Los Angeles data center seems to be a bit more advanced so, unless you’re located on the east coast, I recommend picking that one during the checkout process.
Performance and Reliability
InMotion Hosting doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to the performance of its servers. In the past, we’ve seen the provider outperform DreamHost by a hair’s length and get slightly outclassed by HostGator. However, it’s been a while since we’ve made those comparisons and now we wanted to see how InMotion performs from the perspective of an average user. To that end, we tested a WordPress website hosted on a shared plan and the results we got were quite interesting.
Page Loading Speed
Good page loading speeds are essential for ensuring a positive user experience and improving your SEO rankings. Many novice webmasters probably don’t know this, but search engines like Google put a lot of emphasis on the speed of websites. There are certain things you can do to improve your speeds but your hosting provider has just as much say in the matter.
Based on the tests we conducted, it’s safe to say that InMotion isn’t the slowest provider out there but it’s definitely not one of the fastest ones either. To be more specific, our site loaded in around 1 second on average, which is pretty mediocre all things considered. Users nowadays expect loading times of well under 1 second and consistent speeds. It’s worth noting that there were times when the site loaded in as little as 300 ms, but other times it took as much as 3-4 seconds, so the results can vary by quite a bit.
If you’re running a VPS or dedicated server, it’s likely that you’re going to get much better results than we did with a shared hosting plan. Because of that, we can’t be too hard on InMotion but we can’t really recommend the company either based solely on these results because there are much faster providers out there.
Server Response Times
In order to offer you an even better idea of what InMotion has to offer in terms of performance we also looked at the response times of its servers. So what’s the difference between this test and our previous one? Well, this time around we went straight for the source. Instead of simply testing a website, we tested InMotion’s servers using a tool called Bitcatcha, which records server response times from various locations around the world.
InMotion did very well when tested from locations around the US (around 50 ms), which isn’t very surprising considering that’s where its servers are located. What is pretty surprising, however, is that we also got good results from locations like the UK, India, and even Singapore. It only took between 200 and 300 ms to get a response from these locations. Meanwhile, testing from Brazil, Australia and Japan resulted in response times of around 600 to 750 ms. That’s obviously a lot slower but these results are actually better than what we’ve seen from other US-based providers like SiteGround.
Users may be willing to put up with a site that takes a long time to load but they’re unlikely to tolerate one that’s constantly unavailable. InMotion offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee but does the company really deliver on that promise? Not quite based on our research. After testing the service for an extensive period of time we only got an average uptime of around 99.93%. That’s not terrible, mind you, but it is worse than we expected and there are other companies out there that offer slightly better uptimes.
InMotion Hosting offers 24/7 customer support via phone, tickets, and live chat. You can use the sales chat even if you’re not an existing customer and company representatives are also available for Skype calls. Most providers don’t offer this last option so that was a very nice touch by InMotion. In addition to all of that, you can also reach out to agents on social media. However, you’re usually better off trying one of the other channels as you’re likely to receive a reply much faster.
If you have an issue that doesn’t require immediate attention, you can hit up the support center instead. While it may seem a bit outdated from a visual standpoint, the support center is a great resource that features over 5,000 articles and guides. InMotion also has its own forums and even a YouTube channel where you can find plenty of helpful tutorials, tips, and even sketches. Yes, I said sketches, and they’re just as cringe-worthy as you might expect. But hey, at least they’re trying something different. Nothing wrong with that.
What’s Business Hosting?
If you’ve been browsing InMotion’s website you may have noticed something called ‘Business hosting.’ That’s just another name the company uses to refer to shared hosting. That may sound a bit confusing but, needless to say, you can buy one of these hosting packages even if you’re not a business owner.
Does InMotion Offer Any Other Hosting Solutions?
We didn’t cover this in the main part of the review but InMotion also offers reseller hosting. Prices start at $15.39 per month for the regular plans or $46.64 per month for the reseller VPS packages.
Does InMotion Hosting Support Monthly Billing Cycles?
Yes, but only with certain hosting plans. Namely, you can pay on a month-by-month basis for a VPS, dedicated server or if you choose the Pro shared hosting package. The other two shared hosting plans don’t have this option and neither do any of the WordPress hosting plans.
Does InMotion Offer Any Optional Paid Tools and Services?
Yes, but only a handful. The Backup Manager can be added to your hosting package for $24 per year, though you can get it for free with certain plans. Aside from that, you can pay $48 per year for a dedicated IP and there’s also the QuicksStarer service, which will give you access to a custom-made single-page website for a one-time payment of $99.
What is InMotion’s Refund Policy?
InMotion has one of the most generous refund policies out there, allowing users to ask for a full refund within 90 days after purchasing a hosting package. The policy only applies to yearly and multi-annual plans. The company also offers partial refunds for dedicated IPs but none for SSL services and domain privacy.
InMotion Hosting has plenty of pros but also a decent amount of cons. We weren’t blown away by the performance of its servers and we really didn’t like that not every hosting plan supports monthly billing cycles. That makes InMotion very hard to recommend for users who are on a budget. This is arguably the company’s biggest drawback and can discourage potential new customers from signing up. If you’re not bothered by the idea of signing up for a long-term contract, the prices aren’t all that bad compared to other providers. There are certainly cheaper options out there but many of those don’t offer quite as many good features and tools as InMotion.
At InMotion you can find pretty much any type of hosting you can think of and you don’t have to worry about things like domain names, SSL certificates or email accounts because all of that, among many other things, are included for free. The company also has its own website builder and works well with platforms like WordPress and WooCommerce.
InMotion might not be perfect but the company is very honest about what it offers and doesn’t try to trick customers into buying additional products and services. We really appreciate that. Besides, it’s clear that InMotion has improved a lot over the years and we’re certain it will continue to do so in the years to come. That’s why we wholeheartedly recommend checking them out if you’re looking for a reliable and upfront hosting provider.