IX Web Hosting Review 2017
Is IX Web The Right Host For You?
IX Hosting is one of those one stop shops that offers the complete range of hosting solutions that includes Shared Hosting, Virtual Private Servers and Cloud Based Servers. It’s the nature of hosting these days, providers like to have a finger in every pie. Having said that, you should consider IX Web Hosting as a shared hosting solution, because it’s something they do really well. And, for many, something they do extraordinarily cheaply.
With hosting, generally, you get what you pay for, and make no doubt about it, they are very affordable. However, not cheap and nasty. IX Web Hosting could really be one of those exceptions to the rule, and you get a lot of bang for your buck. The only way to find out just how good they are is to read this review. I think you’re going to be pleasantly surprised.
Detailed review of IX Web Hosting
18 years ago, a couple of guys started out in the front room of their house. I’m not kidding. This is literally one of those start up success stories of rags to riches. Now they have their own data center, and support thousands upon thousands of websites from around the world.
They start their hosting with a shared hosting package that starts at just $1 per month. That’s an incredible price. They also offer promotions, such as 7 day free trials and a 30 day money back guarantee. In other words, they really are willing to put their money where their mouth is, and allow their service to be tested. That takes some balls. Something that’s also very important, and often overlooked when comparing other Shared Hosting Providers, is the IP address. A significant advantage when looking at SEO is having a unique IP. This is something that IX Hosting offers. You get your unique IPs to be able to get an advantage over many of your competitors, especially for smaller sites, just starting out.
All in all, when it comes to shared hosting, IX Web Hosting are a really serious option and I'm going to break down why and how they compare to other hosting out there. I’ll walk you through the things that really matter, namely Speed, Reliability and Customer Support, I’ll also do some of my own testing and share the results with you.
Up time of a minimum of 99.5% guaranteed
Customer Service is Exceptional
Easy Signup, especially for novices
Easy to Install CMS and Third Party Integrations
Relatively expensive for Entry Level
Intuitive custom DreamHost CPanel
Access After Payment is Not Instant
When it comes to the performance of the hosting, it really matters where you are in the world. For those US customers who are looking to have a US Audience , it’s really not that bad. It's a touch under 3 seconds at 2.82 seconds. As a very rough rule of thumb, you need to have a page load speed that’s under 3 seconds. Anything higher and you’ll find that 40% of your audience is prone to get bored and click away to another site.
However, data center location matters. The closer the data center is to the web visitor downloading the page, the faster the page load speed. If you happen to be looking to target an audience in Europe or Asia, there are better options. The speed tends to creep up to 3.5 seconds and above for page load speed out of the US. It’s not terrible, but there are much better options.
If you have a small business website, or a smaller information or authority site, these numbers shouldn't really matter to you, it’s fast enough. For those with 20 or more pages, and more than 5000 visitors a month, I’d look elsewhere. My suggestion would be a hosting provider like SiteGround, which is the host I'm using for this site.
Now we are into the areas of hosting where IX really excels. They have their own data center onsite, and it’s fitted with some of the most cutting edge technology, both in terms of hardware and software. Couple this with almost 20 years of experience in hosting, then you have the infrastructure and expertise to be able to deliver amazing reliability.
They boast an uptime of 99.9%. When a host boasts about their uptime, you should take their claims with a big fat pinch of salt. But in this case, they’re not inflating their figures. I’ve run my own testing and I’ve done extensive research online and looked at the experience of others, and it seems to hold true. I’ve also checked their own Server Support blog for downtime warnings and it all holds true. So 5 stars to IX for that.
If reliability is important to you, then you really need to consider IX Web Hosting, because they offer the great price point for such a reliable service. Plus, it’s always nice to work with a company that doesn't seem to make false claims.
Some hosting providers make their profit by trimming the cost on customer support. Not so with IX Web Hosting. It’s really where they stand out, especially compared to other host providers in the category of hosting. I would almost put them on a par with hosting providers, such as SiteGround, which I use on this site, partly because of how good their customer support is.
Phone, email, help desk, tutorials, chat. They offer all forms of customer support which is one of the key reasons that makes their support so good, but it’s only part of the story. They do everything in house. They have customer support with the technical teams, literally onsite at their data centers. When it comes to solving an issue with hosting, it’s normally the inter communication between departments of the hosting provider that takes the most time. Hours, sometimes days. Having those teams working side by side, just cuts that out completely and that’s massive Kudos to IX Hosting.
I am a big believer in using hosting providers that really take support seriously. In the FAQ section below, I’ll explain why I believe it’s the best way to keep the cost of hosting down. If I was looking to host a smaller site, I’d definitely consider XI Web Hosting just on the quality of their support.
First you should probably know what hosting package you want
Before you choose a host, it's good to know what the different packages they offer are. I think their VPS service is top notch, my favourite 3 options are the following:
Key features of the Starter VPS Hosting Package
- 1GB Ram
- 30 GB SSD Storage
- Unlimited Domains
- Unlimited Bandwidth
If you're looking for a hosting service that combines great quality with a really strong price point, then you're in the right place. Especially if you want to work with an award winning hosting provider with an outstanding reputation online.
Key features of the most popular VPS Package
- 2GB RAM
- 60 GB SSD Storage
- Unlimited Domains
- Unlimited Bandwidth
If you are expecting more traffic or your audience is already building up, then you're going to need a little more might and power from your host without costing the earth. This is what their package offers and why it's the most popular.
Key features of the largest VPS Hosting Package
- 8GB RAM
- 120 GB SSD Storage
- Unlimited Domains
- Unlimited Bandwidth
If your website is eCommerce or has a well established audience, then this is the perfect place to start looking. You get the extra performance which you need, but with a company you can trust, and all at a reasonable price that offers value.
What other hosts provide similar services?
Another hosting service worthy of your consideration is WP Engine. When it comes to specifically hosting WordPress websites, they have no equal and also score a full 5 stars. Expect amazing site loading speeds and all the support you need to never have to worry about your WordPress website. Check out our WP Engine review right here.
IX Web Hosting: Other things to know
Average speed, amazing uptime, but noncompetitive pricing...
I've done a cross-comparison analysis of IX Web Hostings performance benchmarks vs the benchmarks of several other hosts in their bracket.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to pick the right host for you?
It’s not easy to pick the right hosting service. There are hundreds if not thousands of hosting companies to sift through, all shouting for your attention with great offers and compelling copy Doesn’t mean they are the right hosting provider for you though.
You need a process, a plan, that’s going to help you navigate through the options and remain focused on what you actually need and we’re going to share ours with you. We’re not only in the business of reviewing hosting providers, we’ve been hosting websites for our own businesses and those of our clients, hosting solutions of all kinds, and we are going to share our experiences with you so you can avoid some of the pitfalls we’ve fallen into in the past.
So let’s get started. The first thing you need to do is have the right focus. You need to completely forget about price. It warps your judgment and it’s something that some hosting providers look to manipulate.
Obviously, the price is important, we all have budgets when looking at a hosting provider, but there is no point in paying less for a host that actually doesn’t give you what you need from it, rather than paying a touch more than does. We assess hosting on other criteria first, then when we have a shortlist, we look at which host fits our budget and make a judgment then.
When you look at each host as a possible provider for your website, the first thing you need to do is have a clear idea what’s important to you. If you have a smaller site, a local business website or personal blog then you’re more likely to be getting a few hundred web visitors a day. At the same time, your website is likely to be simply made, from a technical perspective. A basic WordPress install in most cases.
If this sounds like you, then you should be looking at a shared hosting solution to deliver the best value. You don’t need any extra security, your site is no holding any personal data and a good shared hosting provider will be fast and deal with that level of traffic comfortably.
If you are running an ecommerce store, membership website, forum, something that has a lot more traffic or requires a login and some profile data, there are 2 good reasons for you to look at larger hosting solutions, probably a VPS (virtual private server).
Firstly, the security is better, you’ll be holding people’s data and you’re less likely to be hacked with a VPS, you need to take that responsibility seriously. At the same time, they offer more power. You’ll be able to deal with thousands of visitors a day, which any forum or membership worth its salt is looking to generate.
Finally, if you have a real authority site that attracts a lot of traffic, has thousands and thousands of pages, and you want to the ultimate security and protection, then a dedicated server is what you need, especially a managed dedicated server if you don’t have the necessary technical expertise.
It’s a good idea to have a clear idea what type of hosting is going to suit you best. Personally, we like hosts that specialize, or they offer all types but clearly, they are much better and focus more on one type of hosting than others. With shared hosting, it matters less, but with a VPS or dedicated server, it’s something we’re keen to do.
Make a note on whether you need email accounts, or what other features and benefits you also need. Have a checklist, put pricing at the bottom of the list, make sure you can tick off everything that you need with the price being the final element and you should be in good stead.
The three things you really need to consider when choosing your hosting provider are Performance, reliability and customer support.
Having a host that provides quick page load speeds is essential. It’s not for show, it can affect the success of your website. Numerous research has shown that page load speed that’s slower than 3 seconds can result in a drop-out rate of over 40%. In other words, 40% of your website visitors will get bored or frustrated waiting for the page to load, they’ll click away and visit another site, possibly your competitors.
In our current climate, web users are just that impatient and you have to adjust for it. If 40% of visitors are clicking away, it’s fair to say you’re losing out on possibly 40% of sales for a reason that’s pretty easy to fix.
When it comes to page load speed, you should have minimum criteria you are willing to accept. A benchmark. That minimum should vary depending on the type of hosting service you are planning to use. Shared hosting is for smaller sites and is a more budget solution, you’d expect slower page load speeds compared to a VPS, and equally, a good dedicated server should be faster again than a VPS.
As I’ve just suggested, for a personal blog or local business website, a website with 10-20 pages, for example, you should be looking for a shared host solution. It offers the best value. For page load speed, your benchmark speed is expected to be around 3 seconds. You can comfortably find hosting around the 2-second mark, sometimes a little quicker.
When looking for different VPS solutions, for a forum, membership site or perhaps training course, then you should look to set your page load standard at 2 seconds. Why would you accept anything slower when most shared hosts are able to deliver that kind of performance? 1-2 seconds is where you should set your expectations.
Finally, if you’re looking at dedicated server options, then expect page load speeds that look instantaneous. It loads in less than 1 second and that should be your benchmark. Many come in at the half a second mark which is lightning quick, but when you’re paying more you should expect for performance.
There are many reasons why a page loads quickly. It has a lot to do with the hardware and software the hosting provider uses, the infrastructure of the data center. Some hosting providers will go through what they use for those who have that kind of grounding in servers, but most don’t and it’s really not necessary. The only thing that you really need to keep an eye on is data center locations.
A page will load quicker the closer the person loading the page is to the data center. Most hosting providers have at least 1 datacenter in the US. Many have 2 or more, covering both the east and west coasts. If you are in the US and your potential audience is US based then you really don’t need to worry about it. Located becomes a concern for those customers who have Asian or European audiences. Ideally, you want a hosting provider that has a data center in your area of the world.
So, shared hosting solutions should be delivering page load speeds of 3 seconds or faster, VPS hosting packages should offer a page load speed of 2 seconds or faster, and dedicated servers quicker than 1 second. If your audience is not based in the US check to see if the hosting provider has a data center in your region of the world to ensure quicker page load times.
The next component we need to consider when choosing our host is reliability.
If you run a small business site or personal blog and your traffic is limited, then it’s going to be less important. Simply because as a whole, servers are extremely reliable. They will all boast exceptional uptime of 98% to 99.9%. I wouldn’t take those numbers at face value, I’d also check user experiences with review sites, but even a then, 98% uptime is really pretty good.
But having made that mitigating argument for reliability not being as important for smaller websites, it is exceptionally important for larger sites, especially ecommerce stores, forums etc. 98% uptime translates to your website going down for 30 minutes a day, on average. You’re going to be losing out on sales. If you have a forum or membership site, your users are going to start to become frustrated.
The better hosting companies are fully aware of the importance of uptime, they have business models that allow them to offer near perfect uptime at all times. They guarantee 99.9% uptime. They put in place redundancy solutions which means they have complete systems in place, like a dummy system to take the slack if the network with your server crashes. At the same time, they have their own power supply so they don’t need to rely on local power sources and are protected against fire and natural disasters.
All in all, they are excellent but if your website has a lot of traffic or is monetized, you should demand near perfect uptime from your hosting provider.
Finally, we need to really consider customer support. Again, if you have a simple website, with not a lot of traffic, that possibly isn’t directly monetized it becomes less of an issue. Chiefly because, with a simple site, just pages, and a contact page you’re less likely to need technical support. Once the site is live and running, most of us use WordPress and have a CMS. so we don’t even have to access the site at a server level.
Many hosting companies decide to lower costs with the customer support by outsourcing it, often to Asia. It allows them to offer better prices. So if you have a really simple site you should take advantage of those prices.
However, the opposite stands for those sites that more technically complex sites. Perhaps it’s an ecommerce store, it has a payment gateway, a membership area where people log in to access information etc. If that’s the case, then it’s more likely you’re going to need some technical support and customer support becomes an important factor.
For those hosting providers that look to save money on customer support, expect only a ticketing system and knowledge base in place. They are less likely to have instant chats or direct lines. At the same time, they are less likely to run their support 24/7 but rather during standard opening hours.
Because customer support is most likely outsourced, the biggest factor is the back and forth. It becomes a little like Chinese whispers. You explain the problem, they communicate to the technical team on site at the data center, who come back with questions, across time zones, that takes an infuriatingly long time to get resolved.
On the flip side, hosting providers that deliver great customer support have all channels open for contact. They’ll have instant chat, a phone number, email, ticketing, a knowledge base. The lot. They’ll have in place guarantees too. They guarantee to reply to a support ticket in 15 minutes or 30 minutes, regardless of the time of day (or night) and most importantly, they are often located on site, so they are able to get the problem solved there and then.
Let me give you an example, so you can see how that translates financially, and why it is important
Example 1. A hosting provider that doesn’t invest in customer support. You can expect to get in touch with customer support every 3 months or so. Each time, it takes around 4 hours of your time to get it resolved. It starts with some emails back and forth. They redirect you to the knowledge base, you end up reading and trying to fix the problem yourself because struggling to get it solved until finally, you fix it.
4 hours a time, 4 times a year is only 16 hours a year, which doesn’t sound too made. But, at the same time, if you were to value your time at just $30 an hour, that’s an increased cost on your hosting of $480 over the year. That’s the real cost of using a hosting provider that doesn’t have good customer support if you have a website that might need some technical support from time to time. Something to incorporate when looking at pricing.
Example 2. A hosting provider that invests in customer support, they take it very seriously. You can expect to get the same situations resolved in half the time. For a start, they are instantly contactable, plus they work onsite at the data center so they are able to fix the problem immediately.
I would suggest you can get the same issue resolved in 1 hour or less, but for the sake of this example, let's say in 2 hours. That’s saving $240 a year and saving yourself a lot of frustration. At the end of the day, your time is limited. If you trying to deal with your host there’s something else you’re not doing that could be much more productive for your business.
Make a checklist of what you need and stick to it. Hosting providers will try to sway you with shiny things and great copy. Look at performance, reliability and customer support and determine which hosting providers and which packages fit your needs. Then look to price and find the option that suits your budget. Often great solutions are not the most expensive but at the same time, don’t get wowed by price because there are often hidden costs, like your time in sorting out problems or site migration costs.
Why is speed so important?
Speed has a way of directly effecting sales. If 40% of your audience are likely to click away and check out another site, most likely your competitor's site, then you really need to stop that happening. Studies show that around the second mark you are likely to lose 40% of your audience, that's a hefty number.
For that reason, you should expect your shared hosting provider to be under the 3 second mark for page load speed, your VPS to be under 2 seconds, and your dedicated host to be under 1 second. They are your rule of thumb benchmarks to give you an idea what performance to expect.
What is their Unlimited Policy?
For hosting, they use the term 'unlimited' very loosely. The best way to explain it is, that it doesn't necessarily mean you can use as much as you want at that price, more that it doesn't run out. So you could use as much as you want, but you should expect to pay more and more as your use increases. Saying unlimited is a loop hole hosting providers have to suggest one thing but mean another without actually lying.
What are people saying?
One of the biggest recommendations I can give anyone is to check user reviews yourself. Read my review, if you like what you hear, read reviews on user sites so you can get a sense what others felt as a customer. To help you out, I've done the leg work for you. Most reviews are really positive, there is the odd one or two that complain about customer support but that's to be expected, you can't make everyone happy all the time and some people just have a tendency to complain. It's human nature.
Here's the deal too. They offer hosting for $1. It's likely that from time someone will fall through the cracks and not get the best support, you have to have the right expectations, and with IX Web Hosting, they are excellent at what they offer for the price they offer it.
Do they have a knowledge base and tutorials?
I have a lot of time for the knowledge base IX Web has to offer. It's really nicely laid out and offers a lot of usability and functionality. I run my own case study. I gave myself a pretend problem, something I needed resolving recently with another host, and I went to the knowledge base, did my search, and followed the instructions to resolve the problems and found the whole process simple and beginner friendly. Thumbs up from us.
How could IX Web improve?
It's very difficult to be critical of a hosting provider that offers such reliability and customer support for just $1 a month. They are a long way from perfect, but for their business model they are seriously good.
If I was going to be hyper critical, perhaps I would suggest that a little extra performance wouldn't go amiss. If they could get that speed down to 2 seconds, or if they were to open a datacenter in Europe, that would really be the icing on the cake.
Again, it feels strange because I am more critical of what I would consider "better" hosting providers, but at this value, you have to tailor expectations, and in that sense they punch weigh above their weight.
In a nutshell, it’s average, good, superb. That’s my review of IX Web Hosting. The performance is ok, certainly for the price and the shared hosting packages, the reliability is right up there with the better hosting providers, something I'm seeing more and more of, but the customer service is superb and on a par with the top 3-4 hosting providers available today, and only SiteGround can compete on pricing.
They are a good service, they know it too. They offer a 7 day FREE trial and 30 days money back guarantee. I’ve seen promotion pages that offer the basic shared hosting at just $1 a month. That’s seriously cheap, and from what I can see, they don’t offer a poorer quality of support for the lower cost packages. They're good for SEO too because they offer unique IPs.
They do offer the complete spectrum of hosting packages, which is great, especially if you’re looking to scale your hosting as your website grows and the number of visitors to your website grows, then you are covered. Straight up, it’s this simple. If you have a small business/ company website, it’s a great option for you. If you need something more substantial, then you should look at other options. If you do have a smaller site, 20 pages or less (as a general rule of thumb), you can do a lot worse than IX Web Hosting, especially when it comes to support. Excellent.