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InMotion Hosting review

Feature-packed web hosting from a professional provider

InMotion Hosting

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 company that's provided a wide range of web hosting services for more than 15 years.

We really do mean 'wide', too. There's 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 shared hosting range is well specified, even at the low-end of the range. The starter Launch product offers unlimited bandwidth, storage and email accounts, cPanel site management, easy install of WordPress and hundreds of other apps, a free domain and SSL certificate, and even allows you to create and manage two websites. 

This isn't quite as good as it seems - in particular, you're limited to two MySQL databases - but it outperforms many competitors. 

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The headline price is higher than some at $6.39, but you only have to sign up for two years to get that (the annual plan is $7.46). It renews at $7.99.

The higher 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. The Pro plan is priced from $14.71 a month on the two-year plan, and renews at just $15.99.

While we love the specs, InMotion's small 20% introductory discount makes it look expensive, at least initially. Its basic Launch plan costs $153.36 for the first two years, for instance. HostGator's Hatchling shared hosting plan only supports one domain, but it gives you unmetered storage and bandwidth, costs just $99 for the first three years, and is $1.04 a month cheaper at renewal time.

Whatever your preferred hosting plan, 24/7/365 US-based phone, live chat and email support is on hand to keep it running smoothly.

And 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 seems far more generous than most.

(The only concern we have about that, is it's a little hard to tell, as InMotion's terms of service are a jaw-dropping 32,000 words long.)

WordPress hosting

InMotion's WordPress hosting allows you to migrate your existing WordPress sites 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 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, easy BoldGrid setup 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. (That only covers a basic site with 40GB storage and support for 20,000 visitors a month, but a capable mid-range plan is a still-reasonable $12.99 a month over two years, renewing at $16.99.)

Servers

InMotion offers both dedicated servers and Virtual Private Servers (Image credit: InMotion)

Servers

InMotion's VPS and dedicated server plans looks 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 $29.19 a month over two years, $41.64 a month.

If you know what you're doing and can manage the server yourself, Cloud VPS plans get you full root access to your server from $21.04 a month over two years, $31.34 billed monthly.

There are some unusual options and features, too. VPS plans include a choice of PHP or WordPress-optimized configurations, while dedicated servers include the ability to load your own operating system. 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.)

Although you'll find much lower headlines with some providers, look at the included features and it's often a very different story. 

Hostwinds' unmanaged Linux hosting starts as $4.49 a month, for instance, but that only gets you 1GB RAM and 1TB bandwidth. 

Meanwhile, InMotion plans offer at least 4GB RAM and 4TB bandwidth, and to begin to get close to that (4GB RAM, 2TB bandwidth) you'd have to pay $17.09. Beginners and bargain hunters might want to start with a budget VPS provider, like IONOS, but if you need serious website power, InMotion could be a good choice.

Account Setup

InMotion offers a wide variety of web hosting services to its customers (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 Shared Business 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 do have one issue with the length of InMotion's contracts: there's not always very choice. Shared hosting plans are only available with one or two-year subscriptions, giving customers perhaps the worst of all worlds; they don't get the convenience of short-term plans, and they can't enjoy the extra discount you might expect from a three-year product.

We opted for a one-year plan, anyway, and noticed the InMotion cart bumped up the cost by automatically adding its Backup Manager, a $2 a month automatic backup service. It's a reasonable product, and this is clearly visible in the cart and the total you're paying, but we would still prefer hosts not to add extras themselves.

After choosing a plan, the site prompted us to choose our free domain, or use a domain we owned already. There's also an unusual but convenient option to decide later. If you're not sure which domain you're going to use, yet, InMotion gives you a temporary URL, something like 406f1719ea2269324.temporary.link, you can use until you decide.

Softaculous

With Softaculous you can install hundreds of popular apps including WordPress, Drupal, PrestaShop, Joomla and more (Image credit: InMotion)

In a further bonus, the signup form gave us options to preinstall our account with WordPress, PrestaShop and more. InMotion offers the excellent Softaculous, allowing you to manually install these and hundreds of other popular apps, but it's still much easier to get them set up with a single click on your order form.

Finally, we handed over our cash, and the website explained that an email would arrive just as soon as our account was activated. This took longer than usual (110 minutes), but we've also seen worse, and you'll only have to wait once.

InMotion also has a 'New Account Specialist' contact you by phone to 'confirm your order and ensure you have everything you need to get started.' Is that too intrusive, or really great customer service? We're not quite sure, but it only happens once, and if there's something you're unsure about, it could give you a convenient way to ask relevant questions.

Welcome email

After activating our account, InMotion 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.'

Even the PDFs are very simple, just single page documents with a very basic description of what to do next, and links to more resources.

While we like the idea of walking new users through their first steps, InMotion spoiled the effect immediately when we clicked a link on how to assign name servers, and InMotion's website opened with an 'Oops, that page can't be found' error. Not entirely beginner-friendly, then.

We checked out the second PDF, hoping to find instructions on how to migrate an existing WordPress site to InMotion. A link promised to show us just that, but instead revealed a guide on 'How to make basic changes to MediaWiki skins.' Well, thanks for that.

InMotion isn't quite as helpful as it seems, then, but there's good news too: most of the email, PDF and site links work just fine, there are clear instructions on setting up your password, and we were logged into InMotion's control panel in just a few seconds.

You'll find everything you need to manage your hosting account and web space in InMotion's Account Management Panel

You'll find everything you need to manage your hosting account and web space in InMotion's Account Management 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 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.

You can use InMotion's Account Management Panel to install WordPress or even have it preinstalled for you after signing up

You can use InMotion's Account Management Panel to install WordPress or even have it preinstalled for you after signing up (Image credit: InMotion)

Using WordPress

InMotion's shared hosting plans provide multiple options for automatically installing WordPress.

One click on the signup form and InMotion preinstalls WordPress for you, leaving it ready for immediate use.

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.

All these options deliver on the basics, typically installing WordPress within a minute or two. Softaculous can install a few common plugins for you, too (Jetpack, BoldGrid, WooCommerce, more.)

Some hosts offer a more polished and capable WordPress setup. Bluehost's install wizard makes it easy for even total web novices to get started, for example, even offering a choice of site themes.

InMotion has more than enough tools to get you started, though, and its specialist managed WordPress plans could make the company a smart hosting choice.

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.

We used UpTime.com and Bitcatcha's server speed test to measure InMotion Hosting's 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 disappointing. Five very brief outages saw uptime of only 99.35% (most providers have 100% uptime in such short tests), and response times ranged from 230ms to 4.15s, averaging 680ms. As we write, our top performer, Hostwinds, has response times from 118ms to 2.2s and an average of 151ms.

InMotion's response time charts saw huge variations, too, with regular peaks of more than a second. We can't say why for sure, but it seems likely that other sites on our shared server were competing for system resources.

While these figures have to be a concern, 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 speed, the support, 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.