IX Web Hosting is a major player in the shared web hosting industry. They offer a fair number of options at good prices. However, while options and low prices are good, the real question is more about their hosting, customers service, user interface, and more, and how good those aspects are. This IX Web Hosting review will dive into all of those aspects.
What Features Do They Have?
Like most web hosts, they are proud to show off a long list of features, many of which you may or may not care about. They definitely have a few good points for anybody looking, though. Unlimited storage space, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited email accounts, and unlimited MySQL databases are all very nice touches. Of course, it’s not truly unlimited. There’s no way it could be, especially considering that there are lots of others using the same host, and they can’t all be using all the resources all of the time. The details of how the unlimited stuff is restricted is usually found in the Terms of Service, which is the next section down.
There are a few features that they offer that other web hosts don’t that might actually be interesting to a lot of people. Such as more than one free domain with their more expensive plans, and multiple dedicated IP addresses (2, to be exact) even on their lowest plan. They also own their own data center, which can lead to faster fixes when things go wrong. So, they do set themselves apart from the pack with a few extra things, but at the same time, for most people, these aren’t things you couldn’t live without.
How’s the Terms of Service?
The first thing in the Terms of Service is the money back guarantees that IX Web Hosting offers. Probably a smart move, especially since their guarantees are pretty nice. There’s a 30-day money back guarantee that states that you can request a full refund, minus the cost of registering those free domain names (this is just to keep people from trying to use them as a free domain registration service). This guarantee is relatively common in the world of shared web hosting, but the next guarantee is not.
They have an “Any-Time Money Back Guarantee” as well, in which you can request the current month’s fee and all future month’s fees be returned to you at ANY TIME that you decide that you are unhappy with your service.
However, overage fees, setup fees, and domain registration fees are not refundable through this guarantee, and violating the Terms of Service eliminates your eligibility for this guarantee. Coincidentally, so does paying through the service known as Alipay due to a restriction imposed by Alipay on all payments done through them. To go along with these guarantees, they also have a 99.9% Uptime Guarantee, which is a nice plus.
As for the “Unlimited” stuff, IX Web Hosting simply states that they reserve the right to limit resources to certain customers as they see fit in order to maintain a certain quality level for all of their customers. They also cap the maximum number of files (100k for Windows servers, 300k for Linux servers). Furthermore, certain particularly resource heavy scripts (IRC, Proxy, Telnet, etc.) are not allowed, and you can’t use the unlimited storage and bandwidth for things like extra storage, so it has to be used specifically for the website.
All in all, a pretty fair and straightforward Terms of Service agreement, with nothing in particular to complain about, and certainly nothing that will significantly hurt this IX Web Hosting review.
The Control Panel is Different
One possible issue with IX Web Hosting is that they don’t offer the all-so-familiar cPanel as a control panel for accessing the server. For some, this won’t matter, as it’s been confirmed that their control panel, based on Psoft’s H-Sphere, still does everything that you want and need in a control panel, though the look of it is rather outdated.
One special point about their control panel, though. MySQL databases are actually disabled by default, and have to be enabled before you try to install anything that uses a MySQL database. It’s only an annoyance, but very few other shared web hosts force you to do this.
Also, instead of the familiar Fantastico, this control panel uses “EasyApps”. For most things, it seems to work just as well as Fantastico. WordPress installs very easily, for example.
Is the Customer Support Adequate?
This is where IX Web Hosting really shines. Their call center is actually located in the US, unlike so many other services, both hosting and otherwise. Speaking to a native English speaker is a much better experience than connecting to someone with a heavy accent, no matter how good their English is otherwise.
There is a catch, though. Their online live chat is not based in the US. That’s ok, though, because accents do not represent a problem when everything is typed out. Still, you’ll likely notice a few grammar or spelling errors here or there while using this service.
In addition to these two services, they also offer a ticketing system. That makes a total of three ways to ask for help, which should accommodate just about anybody’s preferences. From the traditional phone support to the very technical ticketing system, everything seems to be covered.
But how good are their responses? Well, they are quite good. After asking them several questions, they responded back quickly with accurate, straightforward, and satisfying answers. Granted, the questions we were asking weren’t really hard, but they are things that a customer might need to know.
Expensive or Cheap?
As with practically any other shared web hosting service, they proudly show off the lowest price you can get for any one plan. Unfortunately, you only get that price by signing up for a 24 or 36 month commitment, which means paying a significant amount upfront. If you can afford it, their money back guarantees protect you if you find you don’t like the service, but that’s still about $100+ out of your pocket, all in advance. Going for shorter terms, such as 1 or 3 months, will get you a much higher rate (right now, the cheapest plan jumps from $3.95 a month for 24/36 months to $9.95 a month for 1/3 months), and it will include a $30 setup fee. Clearly, they favor those who sign up for longer terms, but then again, so does every other shared web host out there.
At the time of writing this review, their cheapest plan is, as stated above, $3.95 per month if you pay 2 to 3 years in advance. That is a great price, and for what it comes with, it’s really hard to beat it. Keep in mind, though, that their normal price is $6.95 which, while it isn’t bad, is on-par at best with many other good shared web hosting services out there. Also, though you might get 2 to 3 years at $3.95, the renewal price is still $6.95 a month, but this really isn’t uncommon. Most web hosts do the same thing. So, if you can handle the upfront cost, you might as well take advantage of their longer term agreements to save more money, and take advantage of their money back guarantees if they disappoint you.
There really aren’t any true problems with IX Web Hosting. The use of H-Sphere instead of cPanel is a turn-off, but not a deal-breaker. In all other ways, they have proved to be above average (even superb in a couple areas), and they deserve recognition for that much.
Advantages: Cheap hosting, good guarantees, good support
Disadvantages: Unusual choice for a control panel
Results: They’re hard to beat for the current price, especially with their excellent support and feature set
Web Host Review Blog gives IX Web Hosting a Thumbs Up