I’ve been studying InMotion Hosting for a while as a part of my ongoing search for the best website hosting company. I want to improve the world of hosting as a whole through honest, unbiased reviews and to-the-point feedback.
For that reason, I purchased an InMotion shared hosting plan and set up a default WordPress installation. Then I measured its performance to see the basic response time and the behavior under load of the InMotion servers.
I also talked a few times with the support team, went through the terms of service, checked the pricing structure of this independent hosting provider to deliver an honest and detailed web hosting review.
Read through it and see whether InMotion Hosting is the best possible hosting provider for your site.
Who Is InMotion Hosting?
InMotion Hosting is one of the biggest independent web hosting providers.
Independent in the world of web hosting means that the company is not owned by either GoDaddy or EIG. It is generally a good thing.
That’s not the only thing InMotion has going for it, though. Since its founding back in 2001, the host has exhibited an aura of true nerdiness and a strong focus on technical perfection – very admirable qualities in the business of hosting sites. Apparently, many thousand people think the same, given that InMotion hosts some 350,000 domains in its two data centers.
As a result, InMotion Hosting is an appealing choice for technically-savvy users, but my careful examination of the backend and the control panel showed very intuitive and easy to use interface.
Additionally, the company touts its own horn big time, claiming to have the best technical support out there.
Here’s a bit of foreshadowing for you: the claim is not totally unfounded.
But the support is not everything. One might argue that if you have excellent infrastructure, the support might not even come into play.
Does InMotion deliver where it matters the most?
Does it have the speed and reliability it advertises so heavily?
I will let the numbers speak.
The Essentials – InMotion Uptime, Speed, Support
Uptime, speed and reliable support team are the foundations of seamless online presence.
1. Reasonable Uptime – 99.90%
Without a sliver of doubt, uptime is the deciding factor when it comes to web hosting. That’s the very essence of the service you pay for: to have your website online.
InMotion Hosting promises 99.999% uptime across the board and backs up the promise with free hosting for Business plan users. I was very curious to test whether the Business plan is really as reliable as advertised, which is why I produced my credit card and purchased it.
Normally, for these unbiased in-depth reviews I go for the medium plan offered as I feel it is more relevant to the majority of people searching for a new host but made an exception here.
After a few weeks of monitoring (which is a short period of time, indeed), I noticed that my site had not been online the promised time.
Just like over at HostGator, the only valid proof of a site being down are the server logs and not any third-party monitoring tools, like the StatusCake reporting I am using to craft my objective website hosting reviews.
Unlike HostGator, though, InMotion doesn’t provide a way to check for yourself the uptime of your site and must contact support instead. Which is what I duly did.
The uptime seems to be getting even lower, which places InMotion Hosting in the bottom three of the hosts reviewed here.
Average Uptime 2018:
- August – 99.91%
- September – 99.92%
- October – 99.95%
Verdict: Uptime is reasonable but not what is promised.
2. Average Speed
- Decent Response Time – 0.95s
- Fully Loaded Time – 1.44s
- Under Load – 1.19s
Note: If you run speed tests on my domain, results might fluctuate a bit. Even from the same testing platform, two consecutive tests normally display slightly different results. My InMotion site is hosted in Los Angeles, so I tested it from US locations. All plugins and server-side caching were disabled.
Speed is the second most important characteristic of the best web hosting providers (or the worst, for that matter).
The longer it takes for a page to load, the worse its ranking with search engines becomes mostly because end users would be leaving it very quickly. Nobody likes slow pages. Nobody.
The speeds my benchmark tests clocked don’t look particularly impressive, but they are not bad at all. The fully loaded time falls right in the middle of the pack.
InMotion has a proprietary product called Max Speed Zones™, which is supposed to deliver the same loading speed across the globe.
I took my time and tested my site from Mumbai, Syndey, Stockholm and, sadly, the Max Speed Zones simply didn’t deliver.
The further away from LA my tests were, the more the loading time grew.
The area the InMotion server excelled was performance under stress. When I sent 50 virtual users, the hosting machine handled their abuse (50 users tend to create multiple simultaneous connections) with impressive resource distribution.
This alone shows that InMotion has a solid backend that can serve content to a growing number of visitors without breaking a sweat. I have seen other hosts that clock in impressive response times, but under load the struggle quickly becomes very real.
All in all, it seems that if you are looking for a reliable US web hosting company, InMotion Hosting would be among the top choices, especially if your site drives a lot of traffic.
Average response time 2018:
- August – 0.82s
- September – 0.72s
- October – 1.31s
Fully loaded page 2018:
- August – 1.44s
- September – 1.29s
- October – 1.60s
Response under load 2018:
- August – 1.28s
- September – 1.10s
- October – 1.20s
Verdict: Excellent under load, good loading times for US users.
3. Excellent Support and The Best Support Knowledge Base
Still, InMotion has something no other host offers: free Skype calls.
How awesome is that?
Do you remember the expensive package I purchased for this detailed hosting review? I ordered it for the sole purpose to test the SLA stated in the InMotion terms of service.
With uptime for August 99.88%, I didn’t have to wait long.
I chatted with a tech support agent who took his time to check whether my site had really been down for as long as I was claiming. He wasn’t overly familiar with the ToS (I guess he doesn’t have a site) but was willing to help. He checked with a system administrator before transferring me over the billing team.
For some reason, the billing agent wasn’t quite sure what was going but figured it out rather quickly, and I ended up with a month of free hosting.
I talked also with a sales rep to clarify some of the plan details (more below) and received help promptly.
Overall, the support interactions were pleasant and useful, albeit a bit slow. In all fairness, the long waiting time was communicated well in advance, which is all you can ask for when the support lines are swarmed.
However good the support might be, it pales in comparison with the stunning self-help center of InMotion. It is so good and comprehensive, full or text and video tutorials that I was resorting to it many times when I was troubleshooting as a senior support agent at another company a few years ago.
The InMotion knowledge base is an international treasure!
Verdict: Very good support with multiple channels of communication and absolutely superb knowledge base.
The Pros of InMotion Hosting
InMotion Hosting has a stable market presence and continues to improve its infrastructure. It is a company that tries to develop quality hosting solutions.
1. Generous Plans
All shared hosting plans come with unlimited bandwidth, storage, and email accounts. The terms of service indicate that excessive use could cause a warning and eventual action from the system administrators, but doesn’t go into specifics.
That’s why I contacted the sales team and asked what constitutes excessive usage. The answer wasn’t very clear, but I was assured I can use as much space as needed.
While disk size is not limited but the number of files is. No shared hosting account can have more than 50,000 files. Truth be told, this is not all that many files for the Pro (the biggest) plan, which allows for unlimited sites to be hosted. In reality, with 50,000 file cap, you cannot have too many sites. To put things in perspective, the default WordPress installation comes with well over 2,000 files.
The unlimited bandwidth, on the other hand, is unlimited but I checked how many visitors the shared plans can serve without suffering performance issues.
Turns out, the InMotion shared hosting setup can handle between 500-800 page views per hour. That’s about 400,000 page views per month (going for the lower estimate) which is not bad. Page views don’t equate to unique visitors, but the number is quite solid.
Overall, the plans are generous, even though the file limitations could be felt.
2. Powerful Site Builder
InMotion Hosting is the developer of BoldGrid, which is one of the most powerful website builders at the moment. It works atop WordPress and can create practically any type of site.
It is not without its drawbacks, but that can be said about absolutely every site building platform there is. The main issue with site builders is the extra code needed to make them work. Bloated coding can impact the site speed and performance.
BoldGrid is relatively lean in this regard, largely thanks to the splendid templates it provides.
If you are looking for a site building tool in a self-hosted environment, BoldGrid is among the best choices.
BoldGrid is included in all shared hosting plans.
3. Excellent WordPress Host
InMotion Hosting lagged behind other top hosting providers in creating dedicated WordPress hosting packages, but even the shared hosting solutions of the company deliver quality.
The server setup is well-optimized to work with WordPress. Small wonder there, as InMotion developed its own site builder that works on top of WordPress.
Consequently, the support team are WordPress experts and can help way beyond basic configuration issues. They’d better be, as all shared plans come with WordPress automatically installed, with some useful basic plugins like Jetpack and Akismet.
I told you that initially InMotion was after technically savvy users and the presence of WP-CLI (CLI stands for command line interface) under all three shared plans confirms that.
If you plan on using WordPress, opting for a shared hosting plan to get you going makes a lot of sense financially and technically. Once your site grows sufficiently, you can consider switching to a dedicated WordPress package. InMotion started offering those as well, and they seem very solid but cost more than regular shared hosting.
4. 90-day Money Back Guarantee
InMotion Hosting exhibits confidence typical of the best hosting companies and then some. The industry standard money back guarantee is 30 days, with the occasional hosting provider that ups the ante to 45 days.
InMotion goes bravely where no other host has ever gone before, offering the unseen 90-day money back guarantee.
You might think that this is a marketing overkill but that’s not the case. 30 days, especially the first 30 days, are not much at all in the life of a new website. A month is a very short period of time to generate any meaningful traffic and to test your site properly.
With proper outreach efforts, content strategy and good SEO practices, in 90 days you can start seeing some meaningful traffic coming in. This is when the true value of the hosting company shows, as even a personal computer can serve a site with meaningful speed to one or two users.
5. Stellar Infrastructure
InMotion Hosting runs two data centers, one on the East and one on the West Coast of the USA. They are highly secured facilities with reserve power supplies, cool cooling and all that jazz. The best part is that they are connected directly to Tier 1 network providers that guarantee excellent bandwidth and strong DDoS protection.
Actually, I might have spoken too quickly. There is another best part.
Equipped with SSDs across the board, the InMotion data centers rely on RAID-6 configuration for unprecedented redundancy. Without delving into the RAID technicalities, suffice to say that RAID-6 setup can sustain complete disk failure TWICE.
Mind, disk failure, and data redundancy is not the same thing as backups, so you should always keep a recent copy of your website about.
Because, you know, InMotion Hosting keeps one for you.
6. Free Backups
All shared hosting plans include free backups. They might not be daily, as is the case with SiteGround, but 36 hours is a reasonable frequency. Your site should be 10GB or smaller for this feature to work.
Besides the automatic backups, InMotion hosting puts in your hands the fully-functional backup tool native to cPanel. Most other respectable hosts have it enabled as well, but InMotion goes the extra step to encourage you to use it through a simple but informative tutorial.
As the saying goes, backup the user data once, he’ll have an instance of it; teach a user how to back his own data, he’ll never lose a file again.
7. 400 Apps and Freebies
Get all the apps!
You won’t see many hosting providers, even the best ones reviewed here, offering such a functional opulence. Mostly all other hosting companies I have reviewed come with the standard Softaculous 1-click installations packages of 80-100 applications.
InMotion, with its geek-oriented approach, goes for the whopping 400 installs across all plans.
To accommodate some more complex applications, the hosting provider includes PostgreSQL databases, besides the standard MySQL.
All InMotion plans can use a free SSL. Helpful addition for those who wish to run an ecommerce gig.
Another helpful freebie is the $150 worth of ad credits all shared plans can benefit from. To put it in context, $150 can buy you hosting for two years!
Speaking of buying things, you get a free domain name too.
You can bring up to three cPanel sites for free to InMotion. Or rather, the InMotion Hosting support team can bring them over for you, free of charge.
Free migrations are very useful because the receiving server often is set up in a slightly different fashion than the originating one. Different enough to cause glitches, malfunctioning pages, and whatnot. Skillful inbound migration team should know how to avoid any downtime and any unwanted website behavior.
The InMotion support team promises just that.
9. Fast Backend
The control panel or AMP, as it is dubbed over at InMotion Hosting, is nothing special, but the layout is functional enough. Its most impressive characteristic is the very fast response time, which translates to very fast cPanel and WordPress admin area as well.
Everything loads lightning fast in all three areas, making all aspects of the site management a much more pleasant experience.
The Cons of InMotion Hosting
Occasionally, InMotion makes you stop and think twice.
I touched on several of the issues I encountered while testing and probing the InMotion services for this detailed hosting review. The company is not perfect, and while none of the downsides is a serious offender you should know where the service lacks so that you can make an informed decision whether this is the best website hosting option for you.
1. Misleading Marketing
InMotion Hosting is very open about the shared packages it provides and even offers a table of comparison with other popular website hosts. It all looks nice and dandy if you are unfamiliar with any other host.
The thing is that you don’t need to have a site for unbiased hosting reviews to spot inconsistencies and outright inaccuracies. You can simply visit the sites of the competition and check for yourself.
For instance, the comparison table states that SiteGround doesn’t have SSD servers. That’s a blatant error, if it is an error indeed, as the home page of SiteGround.com states the opposite.
2. 50,000 File Limit
I mentioned that the 50.000 files cap is not a serious hurdle for the smallest and even the medium plan, in the majority of cases. However, carrying over the restriction to the Pro plan is a bit too much. People normally purchase bigger hosting plans to have more space and to accommodate larger sites. This limit makes little sense.
3. Potentially Slow Account Activation
Often, the InMotion security team checks new customers by calling them and asking for verification, especially if the new client resides outside the US. They are polite and don’t ask anything unreasonable (passport would do), but it is something to have in mind.
There is a good chance that your account will not be active right after the payment is cleared. The company does well to communicate this so it doesn’t come as an unwanted surprise.
InMotion Hosting Plans at a Glance
InMotion has three shared – or business, as they are dubbed – hosting plans:
- Launch – Able to host two domains, this is a solid starting package that comes with all the perks mentioned in the review so far; it starts at $6.39/mo when prepaid.
- Power – For $8.49/mo (prepaid) you can host up to six sites that will enjoy more CPU and RAM and much more robust security suite.
- Pro – Suitable for developers and growing businesses, the Pro plan costs $14.71/mo when prepaid and adds even more computing power; the users also can benefit from priority support and the 99.9% uptime SLA.
Bandwidth: Unmetered across the board.
Storage: Unmetered across the board.
Email: Unlimited across the board.
Database: MySQL and PostgreSQL, included in all plans.
Domain names: Free domain registration is included in all plans
Control panel: cPanel, fast and responsive.
Software installation: Softaculous 1-click installer. Massive app repository.
Migration: Up to three inbound migrations from cPanel hosts.
Payment options: Credit cards.
Account setup: Rather slow process as InMotion have extended security checks.
Upsells: A few extra products are promoted in the AMP but nothing too annoying. In fact, the pricing policy is much fairer than you see with most other reputable hosting companies. The introductory prices are slightly lower and the renewal prices are listed prominently.
Do We Recommend InMotion?
Yes, InMotion is a very solid choice for US-based sites with moderate to high traffic demands.
The response times my benchmark tests report are not that great, but they are not bad either. The company has a very adept support team and superb knowledgebase.
InMotion is an excellent place to grow your online presence, as the host boasts splendid reputation when it comes to virtual and dedicated servers.
Indeed, on average, its products are slightly more expensive, but you get what you pay for,
InMotion Review In a Nutshell
- Good speed and response times
- Excellent support
- Spectacular knowledge base
- Secure hosting
- Advanced hosting features
- Over 400 free apps
- Very useful customer portal
- Free backups
- Good ecommerce solutions
- Scalable plans
- Inbound site and email migration
- 90-day money back guarantee
- Average uptime
- Starting fees not that low
- Cap of 50,000 files on all shared plans
INMOTION HOSTING AT A GLANCE
- Support – InMotion Hosting boasts one of the best support teams in the industry. Quick response times, knowledgeable and friendly. Their biggest plan includes Pro Level Support with special uptime SLA.
- Knowledgebase – Probably the best knowledge base there is. It provides a ton of information about hosting in general.
- Shared hosting plans – 3 hosting plan + 3 WordPress optimized plans.
- Control panel – cPanel, integrated fully into the InMotion Hosting customer area.
- Number of hosted domains – 2, 6 or unlimited, according to the plan size.
- Number of databases – 2, 50 or unlimited, according to the plan size.
- Email – Unlimited accounts and storage across the board.
- Backups and restoration – Backups included for free in every plan for sites under 10GB. Restoration is free once every 4 months.
- Storage – Unlimited across the board.
- Bandwidth – Unlimited across the board.
- Technology – Dell servers with SSD across the board, which support Perl, Python, Ruby, PHP 7.
- Security – SSH access.
- Domain name registration – Free registration, free transfer.
- Site migration – Free for 3 or fewer sites and/or databases. $10 for each additional item.
- Website builder – Free in all plans.
- Ecommerce – Included in the two bigger plans. Optimized for PrestaShop.
- Specialized hosting – WordPress hosting with 3 different plans. Hosted on WP optimized servers with specialized support.
- Windows hosting – No.
- Data centers – East Coast and West Coast data centers, 20 gigabits flowing through a carrier-grade network, multiple layers of redundancy.
- Uptime – 99.9%, 99.91-99.95% on average delivered on annual basis.
- Speed – InMotion Hosting delivers reliable and a rather high average loading speed. Max Speed Zones are meant to boost the speed.
- Pricing – More toward the expensive side of shared hosting plans.
- Pricing structure – The monthly price goes down only for 2-year plans.
- Guarantees – 90-day money back guarantee.
- Pro-rated refunds for early cancellation – Possible but not guaranteed.
- Freebies – $250 worth of advertising credits in all plans.
- Company website – Informative, easy to use.
- Company culture – Green data centers, planting more than 5,000 trees each year, organizing awesome workshops; InMotion Hosting definitely projects itself as a very likable and responsible company.