Interserver Review 2021: A Budget-friendly Hosting Solution
Interserver is not as popular if compared to its rivals. Still, many beginners consider the hosting solution arguably because of its cheap shared hosting plan and other services that the company claims to offer promising results.
On the one hand, I know too that many are wary whether Interserver’s affordable web hosting services can provide sufficient support for their sites—which I believe is the very reason why you found my Interserver review.
Having said that, I made an in-depth review about Interserver along with its features, additional perks, as well as its disadvantages to help you weigh whether it is worth a try or not.
What is Interserver?
Located in New Jersey, Interserver is a web hosting company offering a large selection of web and server solutions. It was founded by John Quaglieri and Mike Lavrik—two high school students and tech-enthusiasts who dreamt of providing low-cost data services—way back in 1999.
Two decades later, Interserver, however, did not become a household name neither that popular compared to its competitors. The founders said to have set their focus on developing quality structure and technological expansion over the past twenty years. Such a decision had then left the company unable to market and promote its hosting services, unlike its peers.
But then Interserver eventually reaped what it sowed because despite not being a household name, the company became the talk of the town largely because of its affordable hosting services, particularly its shared hosting.
Fast forward to 2020, Interserver now owns several data centers including those that are located in Los Angeles, California, and Secaucus, New Jersey.
What is for?
Interserver is essentially for folks looking to start a project or a business that involves running a website. Whether it is an online store, a personal website, or a business page, the web hosting solution provides all kinds of tools needed to build and maintain a site.
Its hosting services, for instance, includes standard web hosting, shared hosting, cloud VPS, e-commerce hosting, ASP.net, dedicated servers, and many more. Each plan is then equipped with a suite of features—from advanced security tools to 24/7 customer service—to accommodate the hosting’s requirements to function efficiently.
All plans come with a free site builder tool too that clients can use to create and design webpages. To ensure the results are up to par, Interserver also provides in-house services.
Interserver is a great option for starters with less cash in their pockets since all its hosting plans are relatively cheap.
Interserver’s affordable hosting packages enable folks to own a website for a small starting price of $5 per month. All its plans—shared hosting, for instance—comes with a set of tools too that users will need to develop and maintain webpages. In short, it is cost-effective.
What is the difference?
Many may say that Interserver is just like any other low-cost site hosting providers today. But Interserver has features that other web companies do not offer.
Take its price lock guarantee policy, for example, which means the plan rate a user has signed up for will remain the same until the expiration.
Say, you signed up for a one-year subscription of shared hosting for $54 per month, the amount that you will pay is $54 for each month only. Unlike other site hosting services that offer less than $5 a month but will charge you three to five times higher than the price you signed up for.
But what truly caught my attention is that it offers hosting plans that are customized for Linux and Windows users. If, say, you are a windows user, it is best for you to opt its ASP.net hosting. However, if you are a Linux user, it is hosting to use its standard web hosting.
Interserver enables its clients to resell its services through its reseller hosting. And if you want to earn extra money, the hosting solution has an affiliate program too.
The pros & cons
To have a better perspective of what and how Interserver can support, I listed down below some of its known benefits as well as its limitations.
· Cost-effective hosting solutions
· Intuitive cPanel
· Price lock guarantee policy
· 24/7 customer service
· Free webpage builder
· Unlimited storage & email accounts
· Uptime guarantee of 99.99%
· Excellent page loading speed
· Free security features
· Affordable e-commerce hosting
· No hidden upsells
· 30-day money-back guarantee
· No daily backups (weekly only)
· Confusing price lock guarantee policy
· US-centric data center
· No free domains
Everything about Interserver
Now that you learned a few about Interserver, let us take a closer look at its suite of tools and how it performs as a website hosting provider. In this part of the Interserver review, I will expound more on its features and what makes them worth a try.
1. Interserver’s best features
Interserver comes with a huge selection of tools ranging from basic to advanced. Among these tools, however, I noticed a few that are exceptionally useful compared to others.
Having said that, the following elements are Interserver’s best features:
2. Intuitive cPanel
For beginners, a dashboard’s interface is crucial for a seamless web experience. Some site hosting providers like Hostinger, for instance, have developed their own control panel system for a more targeted approach while others such as FastComet offer cPanel only.
But unlike the mentioned hosting solutions, Interserver offers multiple control panels. These panels are then assigned on different hosting types.
For windows hosting, for example, users will have to use Plesk. Those who are using VPS, Linux, and shared hosting, on the one hand, will have to use Bread Basket and cPanel, respectively. On the flip side, folks using Linux server, VPS, shared, and cloud hosting will have to use cPanel.
Essentially, Interserver’s control panels supply tools that allow users to perform administrative tasks specifically for admins, end-user web owners as well as resellers. Users can install additional applications too straight from the control panel through Softaculous.
Per the website hosting company, its cPanel works best with the following:
· Cloud Linux
· Red Hat Enterprise Linux
Another thing to take note of is that all shared hosting plans are on Linux. But those who are using dedicated server and VPS hosting have an option to choose OS.
3. Free site migration & email accounts
Another handy feature I found in Interserver are its free site migration and email accounts.
It may not be that useful for some but if, say, you want to shift to Interserver, site migration is crucial. Unless you want to start from the ground up again.
But what is good about it is that while other hosting solutions charge you for it, Interserver will not charge you.
When it comes to email accounts, on the flip side, all clients are guaranteed to receive unlimited email accounts for free. No need to sign-up and integrate a third-party email software.
4. SitePad website builder
Another impressive Interserver feature I found is Interserver’s site builder called SitePad. Not only does it help newbies in building the front-end part of their pages but also provides a seamless experience to professionals by turning web designing into something easy.
Essentially, SitePad allows clients to design professional websites without the need to learn how to code or hire a professional web designer. SitePad works best with amateurs as well, specifically those who are not tech-savvy as it offers easy-to-understand tools.
It also lets users perform various web tasks such as writing blog posts, changing themes, uploading any kind of media, and adding pages.
Here are a few more features you can use in SitePad:
· Drag-and-drop editor. As its name suggests, the site builder editor uses a drag-and-drop system that enables users to simply drag any elements they want and release it onto the canvas.
Such type of editor works great for noobs without any technical knowledge on how to build websites using scripts. It cuts users’ operational costs too since they do not need to hire professional front-end developers to do the job.
· Collection of themes and widgets. Not everyone has an idea nor are good at designing websites. If you are among the said category, no need to worry because SitePad contains themes and widgets that you can access and use.
SitePad is equipped with a large collection of more than 350 website themes that users can use as inspiration or as-is. The layouts are optimized for various niches across different industries as well. So, rather than building your site from the ground up, Interserver’s page builder gives you a complete framework that you can use as-is or customize according to your taste.
SitePad has a suite of over forty widgets too that users can alter or use as it is. The collection includes widgets for images, audio, videos, and even Google Maps.
· One-click publish. After creating your preferred layout, you can then publish it immediately. Yes, you read that right. You can instantly deploy and use your theme in just one click, unlike other website builders that require complicated and time-consuming filesystems.
· Optimized for all types of devices. Lastly, SitePad is optimized for all types of devices including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. It means the site builder’s interface is compatible with all screen sizes. So whether you want to make changes using your phone or tablet, you can do it easily and hassle-free.
To top it all, SitePad is capable of full integration with different control panel systems including Plesk, DirectAdmin, and cPanel.
5. Ecommerce-friendly tools
Another feature that made me consider Interserver is its suite of e-commerce-oriented tools.
Aspiring biz owners must be introduced to these types of aspects that, unfortunately, many do not know either how to properly execute particularly starters. So, as a way to help beginners, Interserver integrated eCommerce-friendly tools to its eCommerce sites.
Basically, these tools can be used to boost your digital store in many aspects including SEO. through the use of different software that you can install with one click. To give you an overview, below are some a few reasons to try Interserver’s e-commerce features.
· PCI compliance. PCI stands for Payment Card Industry Security Standard which is a critical aspect for webpages specifically for those that make card transactions. It, however, does not necessarily mean that all Interserver’s hosting plan include PCI compliance.
Its shared hosting plans, for instance, do not have one and users will need to get it through the add-on they are using.
· SEO-oriented. A webpage’s SEO performance is important if you want to reach more customers and make more sales. So as a way to entice potential subscribers, Interserver developed SEO-friendly e-commerce sites.
Basically, it has dedicated SEO options that allow users to modify aspects like the meta description and meta title.
· Unlimited storage. Users will receive unlimited storage as well which enables them to add as many products as they want to the websites.
· Multiple payment methods. Interserver’s eCommerce webpages support diverse payment systems as well to ensure your customers can make the payments using their preferred method. The options include Stripe, Securepay, PayPal, Braintree, Worldplay, and all major debit and credit cards.
Aside from that, Interserver’s e-commerce sites come with an easy-install payment system that enables web owners like you to set things up seamlessly.
On the other hand, do take note that the said features can be found in Interserver’s e-commerce hosting only.
6. Tough security
When it comes to security, Interserver acts tough and provides robust defense against malicious threats and attacks. And as a website owner, I find that the ironclad security tools Interserver offers are worth considering.
Its InterShield Security, for instance, is packed with vital security functions built to defend both the website and the server. The tool was developed by Interserver and can be found in all hosting plan the company offers. In other words, it is free.
Having said that, the tool performs the following tasks:
· Scan possible threats automatically
· Block website attacks
· Offers in-house malware database
· It comes with a machine learning firewall
But not only that.
Interserver also offers free SSL certificates in all its shared hosting plans for an extra layer of security. And just like Interserver’s in-house security feature, an SSL certificate is crucial not only for your page’s protection against data theft but also for the possibility of getting penalized by Google.
Yes, you read that right. Google restricts websites that are unsecured since such pages put web viewers’ or customers’ information at risk of getting stolen and be used for online scams like phishing.
When it comes to speed and site availability, Interserver’s overall performance upholds what it claims to provide. Strategically, it is all because of its data centers located in different parts of the U.S., as well as how its network infrastructure is built.
So, whether it is about server uptime or page loading speed, Interserver offers up to par results and can definitely compete with other web hosting providers.
But to show you some “proof,” I run several site tests and wrote down important information I found.
Here are the results:
Downtime is every webmaster’s enemy. And even if you are a beginner, you must be wary of these situations. In fact, you must avoid it as much as possible.
So, the question is, can Interserver keep your site online all the time? My answer is yes, you can trust Interserver when it comes to it.
Based on the test results I ran using UptimeRobot, the average uptime score it delivered is 99.95%. It is quite a decent score to support a site’s availability, although it is not guaranteed that it would not cause downtime from time to time.
But the real catch here is that it did not uphold the web hosting provider’s claim of a 99.99% uptime guarantee. And given the data that shows it cannot supply nearly 100% uptime, Interserver does not offer a policy that compensates clients every time they experience mild to severe downtime—unlike Liquid Web.
All in all, it performed well despite the fact that it is not among the fastest uptime score for a web hosting solution.
2. Page loading time
Aside from having a decent uptime score, Interserver’s page loading speed shows remarkable numbers as well.
Per the test result I ran using GTmetrix, for example, the Interserver delivered an average loading time of 1.94 seconds. The fastest speed was 1 second while the slowest was 3.4 seconds.
Using Sucuri Load Time tester, on the one hand, Interserver delivered an average of 0.282 seconds for the fastest location (which is in the U.S.) recorded while the slowest loading time was 4.274 seconds and was recorded in Bangalore, India. Furthermore, the average global loading time was 1.513 seconds.
The thing about these numbers is that it is not that surprising given how its network infrastructure is built.
If you are not aware yet, Interserver uses three Tier 1 Network providers namely NTT Communications (a global provider but supplies excellent Asia coverage), Zayo (network focused on the East Coast of U.S.), and Cogent (covers Europe).
It has the fastest loading time in the U.S. too because all its data towers are scattered across the country. And in return, resulted in a poor loading time in Bangalore, India, which is located in Asia.
A reliable and accessible customer support is already a given in any types of business. But for the type of businesses that support other business—web hosting solutions, for instance—an accessible, knowledgeable, and excellent customer service is a must.
Interserver aims to execute the best customer service a web hosting can provide. In fact, its team is available 24/7 through email, live chat, and tickets.
The type of hosting plan and subscription does not affect the level of technical support its users will receive as well. Hence, everyone will get the same support whether the person is subscribed to a premium or a basic plan only.
That being said, I will share my experiences for each method of Interserver offers to help you weigh things better.
1. Live chat
Live chat, as many knew, is the quickest way to reach out to a customer representative. But based on my experience, Interserver’s live chat is quite disappointing.
First, it took me more than a minute to receive a message from Interserver’s representative. The chatbox showed a notification as well saying, “please wait for the next available agent” and during the conversation, it seems like I was talking to a bot.
But to give it the benefit of the doubt, I continued asking questions.
The result? I got even more dismayed.
Here was the scenario: I ask if the site has a tutorial/article on how to run and activate an SSL certificate. But the representative straight away answered me with “log-in >> cPanel >> ssl/tls status>>auto run ssl.” And no further explanation.
2. Emails and tickets
After that disappointing conversation through live chat, I tried sending an email asking for the same problem.
Everyone knows that email support takes time before they get back to customers. Thus, I did not expect anything grand about the speed. But the thing is, surprisingly, it did not take too long for me to get a response (not more than one hour).
The answer I received was helpful enough as well to solve the problem. It seemed like the representative was a professional and knows what I was asking for too.
All in all, my experience using email and tickets was pleasant compared to live chat . Although it is real-time, the answers I received are not that helpful.
3. Knowledgebase. Just like any other web hosting company, Interserver has a knowledge base too where its users can access and sift through its selection of how-to articles. Although the articles are updated, the feature seems unorganized and lacks topics.
All in all, it shows that Interserver does not have the best team of customer support. Still, I think it can provide help that is decent enough to solve your problems. Just remember, however, to opt for emails or ticketing and avoid the live chat.
Interserver offers various pricing plans across its multiple hosting types. Its subscription period ranges from one month, six months, annually, and up to three years. It also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee policy if users are not satisfied with the service.
Below is Interserver’s hosting plans along with their prices.
· Standard web hosting is available for $5 per month.
· ASP.net is available for $8 per month.
· VPS hosting’s basic plan is available for $6 a month.
· WordPress hosting price starts at $6 per month.
· Reseller hosting’s basic plan is available for $19.95 per month.
· Dedicated server is available for $199 a month.
Things to take note of
Interserver is not only about benefits and up to par features. Inevitably, it has a few flaws too that I believe potential customers should know first to further weigh things fairly.
Having said that, I enumerated below some of the web host’s downsides.
1. No daily backups (weekly only)
Unexpected web and server issues require preparation. Fortunately, Interserver knows that issues such as hardware failure or system crash are unavoidable and therefore integrated a feature that enables users to keep data backups of their webpages as a solution.
Interserver uses OpenStack which enables all its plans under shared hosting to have free site backups. It keeps three copies for each data for a period of 60 days to ensure nothing is lost in case another emergency comes up.
Apart from that, restoration is free and can be done using the cPanel and even without a tech support’s help. Interserver also allows manual backups for restoration through cPanel (for Linux users) and Plesk (for Windows users).
As you can see, it is a handy feature to have as a webmaster. But the catch is Interserver provides weekly backups only, unlike almost all its rivals that offers daily backups.
That said, system crash and other web and server issues do not happen regularly nor occasionally. So, for startups, I believe weekly backups are reasonable enough.
2. Renewal fee and confusing price lock guarantee
If you can still remember, I mentioned that Interserver offers a price lock guarantee policy which seals a user’s monthly subscription fee to the amount it signed up for. In other words, Interserver does not lure customers by giving a very low price for the first month and eventually charge them three to ten times higher for the next months.
It is a great policy as it lets users save money. The problem is that once your subscription is over and you want to renew your plan, your monthly pay is slightly higher.
For instance, if you subscribed for a one-month plan of $5, Interserver will charge you $7 for renewal. The same rule goes to other plans as well.
Given that situation, I believe it’s best if you subscribe to higher tiers like annual or two to three years plans. They give a 20% discount for a 6-month plan and above too and lets you save more.
3. US-centric data centers
Although Interserver provides Cloudflare CDN, the number and location of data centers still play a big role in a site’s speed and uptime. And unfortunately, I think Interserver lacks in this area.
Interserver has it in some parts of America only. So, if you have a worldwide audience—particularly if you have a significant following outside the U.S.—then expect fast loading speed and uptime for them.
4. No free domains. Interserver does not offer free domain too, unlike other web hosting services such as Hostinger. And if you want to get a domain name, then you have to pay for it.
The only good thing about it is that the web host gives a discount. Customers can avail one domain name for a price of $15 to $20. You could get it for $7.99 only if you subscribed to a long-term shared hosting plan.
Interserver provides up to par features that web owners, especially beginners, can tap and start with. From its cheap shared hosting plans to its affiliate and reseller program, Interserver understands the importance of earning and saving money.
That being said, I highly recommend Interserver not only to amateur entrepreneurs but also freelancers and other professionals like, say, event speakers, who need a business page but do not want to spend a significant amount of money.
It is also best for those whose target audience are residing in America. Otherwise, it is better to opt another hosting solution.