This InMotion Hosting Review was originally posted on October 6, 2013. It has been revised and updated on January 2, 2017.
InMotion Hosting is one of the largest independent web hosting companies in the world. They’ve been around since 2001, and have tried to develop a brand around being the “nerd’s choice” that businesses also love.
They’ve also positioned themselves as the one of the few large, stable hosting companies that is not owned by Endurance International – a holding corporation for many well-known hosting brands (including a few that I use for sites like HostGator, Bluehost and eHost).
There are a lot of InMotion Hosting reviews online – usually with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different approach with pros and cons. Since 2013, I’ve done several side-projects on InMotion in addition to consulting for clients who run projects on competitors. In August 2015, I actually moved ShivarWeb.com to an InMotion VPS server, though several projects remain with other hosting companies such as HostGator and InMotion’s sister brand Web Hosting Hub – both of which have more “unlimited” plans and a support focus on beginner / small sites.
Here’s what I’ve found to be the pros and cons & full InMotion Hosting review based on my experience there and at other providers as a customer & consultant.
Disclosure – I receive referral fees from any companies mentioned in this post. All my opinions and data are from my own experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of InMotion Hosting
No hosting company is perfect. And I’ve always maintained that there is no such thing as a “best” hosting company – it all depends on your goals and preferences.
Aside – In fact, I created a hosting quiz to help match goals/needs with the right hosting company here.
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.
And the tricky thing about all customer service is that it’s hard to judge it as a whole, because you never know when you just had a bad rep or when it’s indicative of a company’s culture.
For example back in 2013, my first chat with an InMotion rep were not encouraging…
That particular chat session ended up with a 9 minute wait – and my problem was taken care of quite quickly. Not great, but also not out of the norm.
I’ve also had readers write in with not so pleasant customer service experiences with InMotion Hosting.
That said, all my customer service experiences since then with my side-project and with setting up my VPS server have been outstanding – enough to make it the main reason that I switched to InMotion for my VPS server (which has more technical problems than running a shared server, which is what most companies need).
Their service thus far has a had a few key strengths –
First, the reps that I’ve talked to seem to actually know what they are talking about, and aren’t just following a trouble-shooting script. That’s allowed me to skip the “yes, I’ve already tried all the basic troubleshooting steps” to discussing the root cause problem.
Second, InMotion has a ton of resources in their knowledgebase and in their comments. A knowledgebase isn’t uncommon, but what I’ve found useful is how a knowledgebase article kicks off a conversation so that users post their related problems to that thread, and InMotion reps respond on their. It makes self-directed troubleshooting a lot easier.
Third, all the channels are equally responsive. For some companies, you basically have to call because email isn’t quick. Or chat will be down so you have to email, etc. InMotion’s support channels (again, that I personally have experienced) all function well and serve the right purpose. I’ve sent in email support tickets that have been solved very fast; and had phone calls returned quickly.
Lastly, InMotion has great “onboarding” – which is jargon for the process that new users go through to get up and running. Their email sequence is useful; they customize support articles based on how to plan on using your account (ie, WordPress users get WordPress related emails). The onboarding process proactively solves a lot of would-be support problems.
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. InMotion has never had a major melt-down the way a few Endurance International brands had in August 2013.
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’ve been running these test for years on all the hosts that I review. InMotion almost always trends in front of other hosts. Here’s the most recent test for shared hosting –
And here’s the test for their VPS service –
Again, for shared hosting accounts this number will bounce around some, but InMotion is definitely on the faster end of all shared hosts I’ve worked with. Some of this performance is due to the fact that they use SSD drives for all their servers, instead of the spinning-tape hard drives, which is a bonus for shared/business hosting companies.
According to their sales material, they also don’t overbook their shared servers with websites like many shared hosting companies do. In other words, some hosting companies will fill servers with websites at more than 100% capacity, and just hope that none of them have a traffic spike at the same time. InMotion says that they don’t do that, so even shared servers with some caching will be able to handle traffic spikes if necessary.
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 best solution is to use cPanel as a backend and Softaculous with one-click install. 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 traditional cPanel backend looks like…
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.
The one thing that InMotion does differently though – and this is a recent change – is that they put cPanel access directly on your account management dashboard. This means that you don’t have a separate login for billing/domains and your cPanel. They also place the one-click installer within your account dashboard.
You have a single login on InMotionHosting.com where you can just click over for cPanel.
And another issue that comes with the single Account Management Panel 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.
Guarantees & Freebies
InMotion Hosting has a 90 day money-back guarantee. Industry standard is 30 or maybe 45 day money back guarantee. The guarantee is especially re-assuring if you are pre-paying for an entire year to get better pricing.
And either way, you get plenty of freebies with your account (e.g., Google Ads, Free Site Transfer, Google Apps Integration, etc)
Free Data Backups
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 does backups, like most all hosting companies.
Where they do better though is that those backups are free if you ever need it. For example, in comparison, HostGator does automated backups for free every week, but charges $19 to retrieve the backup.
Many hosting companies also put low limits on data backups. If you have an image-heavy website, you may quickly find yourself with no emergency backup. InMotion has generous backup limits to give your data and extra safety net.
Aside – you should be doing your own backups, and should never solely rely on your hosting company for backups. But certainly look for them to have an emergency backup.
I think that what a company does with their sponsorship money can say a lot about their internal culture. For example, I’ve mentioned separately about how GoDaddy’s advertising is problematic. But it’s also true on the flip-side – a company that supports excellent industry and community initiatives can indicate a positive internal culture.
InMotion is a large sponsor of WordCamps and open-source software core development. They also do environmental initiatives. Both of which is a pro.
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 plans (see them here), but they have limitations which I’ll cover in the “Limitations” section. For unlimited plans comparable to other shared hosting providers, their price point is a bit higher than other shared hosting providers.
They are still a good deal overall, and are very affordable. However, they are more expensive based on an equal comparison of account features than competitors to call their pricing out as a con. In fact, they have a separate brand called Web Hosting Hub (review) that focuses on “unlimited plans” at a slightly cheaper rate.
Side note – to get 53% off discount, click through to this InMotion plans page to bring the price point down a bit.
The other note/con about pricing is that you have to sign up for a full year. Again, they do a money-back guarantee, but if you’re not sure about how long your project will be in place, InMotion can be a bit pricey for websites just starting out.
Additionally, beyond the 90-day money-back guarantee, there is no pro-rated refund. Pre-paying for a full year is not a bad thing or out of the norm. But if you are unsure about your project length, monthly plans such as those offered by HostGator can be worthwhile.
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 understand why they do this. It provides better network performance. It filters the people who want to think “unlimited” means “unlimited even beyond what the shared server can handle” rather than “no caps on your account on your shared server.”
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.
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).
The trouble mainly comes with hard caps on a number of items rather than on resource usage. For example, my 6 sandbox/dev sites could technically use nearly zero resources rather than someone’s 1 image and script heavy site. On InMotion, I wouldn’t be able to have those 6 dev sites without a Pro plan. Meanwhile, the person with 1 site and heavy resource usage would still get frustrated when he got dinged for using too many resources even though he’s still under the cap.
Either way, this con is a consideration for how you plan on using your server and what your needs/priorities are.
Aside – it’s also another reason they run Web Hosting Hub as a separate brand. They do offer “unlimited / unmetered” plans via Web Hosting Hub.
Upsells & Supporting Services
This con is 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.
For some customers, it’s a solid pro to have those options. For me, I think it’s odd on at best and conflict of interest at worst. It’s the same issue that I brought up in my Volusion review.
As a customer, I prefer less “lock-in” and more freedom. I want my providers to focus on their core service rather than maximizing complementary services. But again – it’s not a huge con, but something to consider.
That’s the extent of my InMotion Hosting review. They are a solid, well-respected web hosting company. I’ve switched to them for this specific website and love it.
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.
If InMotion doesn’t seem like a good fit for your goals, check out my hosting quiz here with will factor in your goals and preferences and provide a company that best fits.