California-based Arvixe has been providing web hosting for personal and business websites since 2003, and is now owned by Endurance International Group, the power behind tech names like Domain.com, Bluehost, iPage, SiteBuilder.com and more.
Arvixe creates a poor first impression, with a dated-looking website and strong indications that the company isn't very interested, any more.
The front page of the site still has a link for Google+, for instance, months after it was discontinued.
Its Facebook link points to a page with an invalid certificate; if the company can't manage its own SSL, why would you trust it with yours? And at the time of writing, its Twitter page has had only two posts since September 2016.
Arvixe does at least have a wide range of products, including shared and application hosting, VPS, dedicated servers, reseller accounts and more.
There's 24/7 support on hand to keep your site up and running, and shared, reseller and VPS products are protected by a generous 45-day money-back guarantee.
- Want to try Arvixe? Check out the website here
Shared hosting is priced from $7 a month over two years, $10 billed monthly. (There's no introductory discount, so you won't get any nasty surprises with price hikes at renewal time.)
The starter plan has some appealing features: unmetered bandwidth, storage, databases and email addresses; support for hosting up to six domains; easy installation of WordPress and 400+ other apps via Softaculous, and free domain registration for a year.
SSL is $25 a year extra, though. There are plenty of similar plans which include SSL, and offer special introductory prices that could save you even more money.
HostGator's Baby plan supports hosting unlimited domains from $3.95 a month over the first three years, for instance, $9.95 on renewal.
Or if price is your top priority, Namecheap provides 20GB storage and support for hosting three domains for $1.44 a month in year one, $2.88 afterwards.
One further Arvixe concern we had was a ‘priority support’ add-on for $20 a month. Most hosts claim to offer great support as standard, so the idea that you might find it worth paying $240 a year to get better help isn't exactly reassuring.
So, what do you get for this substantial extra outlay? The purchase page told us that priority support gets your tickets answered by more knowledgeable staff, which again makes us wonder who else is dealing with regular queries.
At any rate, we would find out more about Arvixe’s support in our own tests, which we’ll detail later in this review.
Arvixe' VPS plans start at what looks like an expensive $43 a month, until we scanned the feature list and realized when we were getting.
Resources were higher than most start plans at 4 cores and 2GB RAM, with unlimited bandwidth and SSL thrown in.
This is a managed plan, too, which means Arvixe will take care of most of the low-level server technicalities (setup, updates and so on.)
There's also a cPanel license, which makes running your VPS almost as straightforward as a shared hosting account.
If you need cPanel and the support, Arvixe is decent value. But if you don't, there are big savings to be made with other providers. For example, Namecheap charges $19.66 a month over a year for a 4 core, 6GB RAM, 120GB storage, 3TB bandwidth VPS.
Arvixe offers both dedicated and cloud servers from around $115. They're fair value, and are available with Linux or Windows, but aren't as configurable as we'd like. (Check out A2 Hosting if you're after serious low-level feature-tweaking.)
The Arvixe website provides much more detail than many hosts on the low-level specs of its plans. You don't have to wonder whether the company restricts the number of subdomains or FTP accounts you can create, for instance, because the details are right there on the list (they're both unlimited).
Choose a plan and you're presented with a range of optional extras: $100 Bing and Google AdWords credits for free (US and Canadian customers only), $25 for a one-year AlphaSSL certificate and $149 for a Wildcard SSL Certificate.
Arvixe' registration form requires even more information than usual: name, physical and email address, phone number, company name if appropriate, and assorted business details. (In the UK, VAT type, VAT business name, VAT business activity, and VAT number.)
Arvixe supports payments via card and PayPal. We took the PayPal route, paid as usual, and within seconds the company confirmed our order and redirected us to its client area.
Some providers force customers to wait while they prepare and activate your account, but not Arvixe; a Welcome email arrived with login links, credentials and other details within two minutes of receiving our PayPal payment confirmation.
Creating a site
Arvixe's web dashboard is powered by WHMCS, the industry-standard platform for web hosting management. It's not our favorite interface, but it's used by most smaller web hosts, and anyone who's used a few providers will probably recognize it right away.
Heading off to cPanel got us access to Softaculous, a powerful but easy-to-use auto-installer. It set up WordPress for us in a couple of minutes and with minimal hassle, but there are hundreds of other apps available, covering everything from web stores and image galleries to wikis, portals and forums.
Arvixe has a free SiteBuilder, too. This is relatively easy to use, has a variety of templates and no apparent limits on pages or anything else. But it's distinctly short on documentation and doesn't always work as you'd expect. It's a plus point for Arvixe in general, but we wouldn't trust it with anything more than a relatively simple personal site.
If you've built your site already then the cPanel console provides everything you need to get it uploaded and set up: FTP, File Manager, SSH and more.
There's no way a relatively brief review can tell you how a web host will behave over months and years, but we try to get a feel for how the company performs in different situations, especially when it comes to support.
Arvixe' cPanel setup includes what look like handy options to search the knowledgebase and open a support ticket, but they're not quite as useful as you might think.
The 'Search' option takes you to what claims to be a Knowledgebase, but it has no categories, and no articles. Whatever keywords you type in the search box, it always displays 'no articles found.'
Open a ticket, maybe? We clicked the link and a prompt told us 'you can submit a ticket by selecting the appropriate department below.' But immediately below, a message warned: 'No support departments found. Please try again later.'
We tried the Knowledgebase link in the customer portal, and this time the site directed us to the Arvixe support site.
The site got off to a poor start when we noticed its large 'Latest Update' panel was almost empty, apart from six slightly depressing words: 'We've got nothing to display here.'
The Knowledgebase has around 350 articles, but it's not easy to find the content you need. Click a category like 'cPanel/WHM/Linux', for instance, and articles are presented in alphabetical order than sorted by relevance, or the number of views.
We tried the search box, but with very disappointing results. For example, entering WordPress returned only five mostly useless articles on the release of WordPress 5.0, troubleshooting the 'blank page' issue, installing apps from Plesk, running backups from Softaculous and how to change the PHP version on your site. If you've the tiniest amount of WordPress experience, you could come up with a better collection of articles in a couple of hours.
The main website has a 'Discussion Board' link; maybe that would help. Oh, okay, no - a URL of 'forum.arvixe.com' suggests there was a web forum there, once, but now it redirects to a service status page.
Live chat is available 24/7, and although the chat window suggested we might have to wait up to five minutes, an agent joined the chat within seconds.
We asked a simple product question about the website builder (did it have any page or website size limits?), and after a brief pause, perhaps to check, the agent said no: the only limit was the storage space provided by our account.
But, the agent went on, 'the builder has been discontinued on newer shared servers.' What, even though it's advertised on the front page of the website? Another black mark for Arvixe.
Arvixe hadn't impressed us so far, but maybe our performance tests would deliver better results.
After setting up a simple static site on a regular shared hosting account, we configured Uptime.com to check its availability and response time at five-minute intervals over a 7-day period.
Uptime was 100%, a welcome plus for the service. It's what we expect for short-term tests, but not everyone achieves it, so Arvixe deserves some credit.
Response times averaged a more ordinary 303ms. That's a little behind the 150-200ms we see with the top providers, and fractionally slower than average, but not by enough that you're likely to notice any difference.
Responses were generally very consistent, although we noticed slowdowns of up to 400-500ms. Some of these occurred around the same time, in particular 12pm, suggesting our site might have been competing with others for server resources at peak times. That's always a potential issue with shared hosting, but the best providers will minimize it by not overloading their servers.
Arvixe's product range is basic, its prices didn't catch our eye, and performance was only average. But the real problem here is the poor website with its broken links and lack of maintenance. If a web host doesn't even have the resources to keep its website updated, what other tasks might it be skipping? Avoid: it's not worth the risk.
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