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InMotion Hosting review

Feature-packed web hosting from a professional provider

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(Image: © InMotion)

Our Verdict

Feature-packed products and great support from an honest and professional web hosting operation.

For

  • Excellent tech support
  • Well specified plans
  • Feature-packed WordPress hosting
  • 90-day money-back guarantee

Against

  • Low introductory discount
  • AMP web dashboard can be awkward to use
  • Below-par results in shared hosting performance tests

InMotion is a popular US-based web hosting provider with a plan for just about everyone: shared hosting, a WordPress and BoldGrid-based graphical Website Creator, managed WordPress, managed and cloud VPS, reseller plans, managed and bare metal dedicated servers, high-end enterprise products, and the list goes on.

The low-end shared hosting plans have some significant limits, particularly with disk space, email accounts and databases. For example, the Lite plan offers unlimited bandwidth, a free domain, free SSL, cPanel site management and easy WordPress installation via Softaculous. But you're restricted to 10GB storage, two databases and a single email account with only a 100MB inbox, all for $2.49 a month over three years, $7.49 on renewal.

The higher Launch, Power and Pro plans are mostly about lifting the limits (databases, websites supported, subdomains), improving performance, adding additional e-commerce support and (for the top-of-the-range Pro plan) a 99.9% SLA. Designed for small businesses, the 50 website, 100GB storage, 50 email accounts Power plan costs from $4.99 a month on the initial term ($13.99 on renewal), and the Pro plan (100 websites, 200GB storage, unlimited email accounts) is priced from $12.99 a month on the three-year plan, and renews at $22.99.

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If you're looking purely at the limits and headline features, there may be better deals elsewhere. HostGator's Baby plan supports unlimited domains and email addresses, with unmetered storage and bandwidth, and is priced from $3.95 a month over three years, renewing at $9.95.

InMotion has more performance-boosting features than many of the shared hosting competition, though, including NGINX caching, PHP-FM support and a choice of two data centers; one on the east coast of the US, one on the west. If speed is a priority and you can live with InMotion's limits, maybe these tip the balance in its favor.

If you're still a little uncertain, InMotion's exceptional 90-day money-back guarantee gives you plenty of time to confirm the company lives up to its promises. As usual with hosting, there are some complications (dedicated servers and monthly-billed hosting plans have a 30-day guarantee only, domain registrations aren't covered at all), but nothing you wouldn't expect, and overall InMotion's guarantee looks far more generous than most.

Import

InMotion can import your existing site for free (Image credit: InMotion)

WordPress hosting

Some hosts' WordPress hosting plans are, well, basic, little more than a regular shared hosting plan with WordPress pre-installed.

InMotion's WordPress range goes much further, with some very capable features that you won't always find elsewhere. 

There's free migration of existing WordPress sites; automatic WordPress and plugin updates, CDN integration and WordPress-specific performance optimizations.

If you're not a WordPress expert, BoldGrid gets you a template-based website builder with drag-and-drop editing.

A staging environment enables creating and working on a copy of your site, allowing you to change themes, switch plugins or carry out other major tasks without affecting your production site. 

Staging is an advanced feature that some host's WordPress plans don't include it (HostGator), others reserve it for a more expensive Premium plan (Bluehost.)

InMotion, though, includes everything we've described here in its most basic plan, priced from $6.99 over two years, renewing at $8.99, covering a basic site with 50GB storage and support for 20,000 visitors a month.

The company says its WPS-2000S plan offers the best value, with support for two websites, 100GB storage and up to 50,000 visitors a month, plus JetPack Personal (includes themes, CDN, social media integration, spam filtering, daily backups) for $9.99 a month over two years, renewing at $12.99.

Comparison Table

There are detailed comparison tables everywhere (Image credit: InMotion)

Servers

InMotion's VPS hosting plans and dedicated servers look a little more expensive than some of the competition, but they're well specified, and very good value for the functionality you get.

Managed VPS plans include free server migrations, cPanel and WHM control panels and automatic server backups, while InMotion handles low-level server management and security updates. Prices start at $29.99 a month over two years ($44.99 on renewal) for 4GB RAM, 75GB storage and 4TB RAM, while the most powerful setup comes with 8GB RAM, 260GB storage and 6TB bandwidth for $83.99 a month over two years, $129.99 on renewal.

If you know what you're doing and can manage the server yourself, Cloud VPS unmanaged plans get you full root access to your server. Plans start at $5 a month over three years for a 1GB RAM, 1 core, 25GB storage and 1TB bandwidth setup, or $20 for 4GB RAM, 2 cores, 80GB storage and 4TB bandwidth.

There are some unusual options and features, too. VPS plans include a choice of PHP or WordPress speed optimizations, allowing you to get the best possible performance for your preferred technology. 

Managed plans also include 'Launch Assist', an InMotion feature which gives you two hours dedicated time with a system administrator to help with any task (site migration, app installation, email and security software setup, and more.)

InMotion's dedicated server range also gives you plenty of choice, with managed and unmanaged plans, a good range of base servers with several configuration options, and prices starting at $99.99 a month on the annual plan.

As with shared hosting, InMotion isn't the cheapest provider, and there are occasional omissions from the range (no Windows hosting.) You get a lot for your money, though, and the plans offer decent value overall.

Features

InMotion's plans have lots of features as standard (Image credit: InMotion)

Signing up

InMotion has plenty of hosting products on offer, but the website does a better-than-average job of presenting them to potential customers, and making it clear exactly what you'll get.

For example, the Business Shared Hosting page doesn't just have a basic feature summary and a simple headline price. Scroll down and you'll find an in-depth comparison table for the range, explanations of key features, comparisons with competing hosts, and details of the starting monthly prices and subscription lengths. (If you're tired of hosts who'll tell you a plan is '$5.99 a month' but not the length of the contract, you'll appreciate InMotion's extra transparency.)

We chose a plan, entered your details, handed over your cash (card, PayPal, US purchase order or check are supported) and our account was activated within a few minutes.

InMotion next sent us a Welcome email with details on the service. This took a more beginner-friendly approach than we usually see, with no scary technical details like nameservers or FTP credentials. Instead, you get a basic link and login information for your account control panel, along with a couple of introductory PDFs titled 'Starting a New Website' and 'Transferring your Website.'

These guides also do their best to keep things simple, explaining the basics of what to do next, and with links to more resources.

If you have an existing website, for instance, the 'Transferring' PDF has some paragraphs on moving your site via cPanel or FTP, setting up email, updating your nameservers and testing the results. It's all very straightforward, and links point you to helpful support documents with more in-depth guidance.

Control Panel

Manage your website from InMotion's custom control panel (Image credit: InMotion)

Account Management Panel

InMotion's Account Management Panel (AMP) is a good-looking web console with everything you need to manage your hosting account and web space.

Colorful icons point you to panels for updating payment details, changing your passwords, managing domains, submitting support tickets and more.

Website-related icons include options to edit DNS records, automatically install WordPress and other apps, manage SSL and more.

Alternatively, if you know what you're doing, you can simply launch cPanel and take control using all its standard tools (File Manager, phpMyAdmin, FTP setup, SSH access and more.)

This isn't quite as well-designed as it looks. Most icons open a new website page, for instance, slowing down operations and ensuring you can't easily see related information together. To see notifications related to your account, for example, you must click an Account Notifications icon, then click a link to display a popup, then close the popup and go back to the previous page. It would be simpler to display notifications and popups direct from the main page.

Once you learn how AMP works, though, this isn't a big deal. And if you bookmark cPanel and launch it direct, you can avoid AMP entirely.

Softaculous

Easily install WordPress and other top apps with Softaculous (Image credit: InMotion)

Creating a site

Looking to use WordPress? Good news - InMotion gives you more ways than most to get it up and running.

You can choose to preinstall it from the signup form, for instance. InMotion's Account Management Panel (AMP) has an Install Popular Software feature with options to install WordPress or BoldGrid (a WordPress-based website builder.) Both AMP and cPanel provide access to Softaculous, a powerful platform which automates the installation of WordPress, Magento, PrestaShop, Drupal and hundreds of other web apps.

cPanel

Manage your website with all of the usual cPanel tools (Image credit: InMotion)

InMotion's cPanel setup includes all the regular tools you need to upload an existing website: FTP, SSH, a browser-based file manager, domain management tools, MySQL, phpMyAdmin and more.

If you'd like some help, though, InMotion can transfer an existing site for you. This should be free for simple sites, but is more likely to be chargeable for more complex projects. InMotion's AMP has a Website Transfer Request form where you can give more information about your current website, enabling the company to give you a quote.

Support

The support site is stuffed with content and resources (Image credit: InMotion)

Support

If your hosting plan isn't working as you'd expect, the first place to look for help is InMotion's Support Center, where you'll find, well, a host of content: FAQs, product guides, tutorials, 'educational channels', a YouTube channel, web forums, and assorted web-based tools and other resources.

Drill down to an individual product area and you'll find just as much depth. For example, the WordPress Hosting section has links to more than 50 articles, covering everything from installing WordPress and logging in to the WordPress dashboard to geek-level options like creating your own WordPress plugin.

A search box enables finding content by keyword. We tried various keywords and phrases, and found the engine did a good job of identifying the most relevant results and sorting them into a sensible order.

Individual articles are packed with usual information. For example, 'Getting Started With Email' points you to advice on creating and accessing accounts, includes the settings you need, has setup instructions for multiple email clients and links to related topics, such as spam protection.

If the website can't help, 24/7/365 support is available via email, phone and live chat. 

We tried a test question and found the agent was quick, helpful, took responsibility rather than pointing us elsewhere (“go away and look at this link") and resolved our issue without difficulty.  We were left feeling we were talking to someone with significant technical knowledge who would be able to help us troubleshoot more complex issues, a huge improvement on the basic outsourced support teams you'll often find elsewhere.

Performance

We used UpTime.com and Bitcatcha's server speed test to measure InMotion Hosting's performance (Image credit: Uptime.com)

Performance

Benchmarking web host performance is tricky as there are so many factors involved, but we ran a couple of tests anyway to get a feel for InMotion Hosting's abilities.

We began using UpTime.com to monitor a simple template site every five minutes from multiple locations, for a week, checking uptime and recording response times.

The results were mixed. Uptime was 100%, as we'd expect over a relatively short test period. Uptime.com recorded two very high response times, the highest at 1.48 seconds. But that's only two samples out of more than 2,000, and the rest were much better, giving an average response time of 290ms. Our most recent tests see basic shared hosting products manage average response times of 200-400ms, putting InMotion Hosting comfortably in the middle of the pack.

While these figures look a little ordinary, it's important to put them in perspective: they are the results of a short-term test on a single server handling InMotion's cheapest shared hosting plan. It's possible that they're not representative of long-term performance, and they say nothing about the speeds you'll see with VPS or shared plans.

To complete our tests, we also checked site performance via Bitcatcha's server speed test. This kind of one-off benchmark can't compete with UpTime.com's constant monitoring, but it was interesting to see our server deliver much better results, scoring Bitcatcha's highest possible A+ speed rating.

Final verdict

We like the features, the support, the 90-day money-back guarantee, but the best part of InMotion is it seems to be a reliable, professional, honest web hosting company, which isn't trying to rip you off.