I learned about InMotion hosting earlier, before I’ve setup an account with MediaTemple more than a year back I was willing to try them out. However, back then Managed WordPress hosting was the hot cake, and alike everyone I was also excited to try out my hands on the managed WordPress hosting, whereas InMotion Hosting is optimized for WordPress but “not managed” so that’s how I end up singing up an account with MediaTemple.
Fast forward today, I managed to get an account with InMotion hosting for WordPress. I am all set to put their hosting services on a tougher side, and see how it performs with WordPress. Whether, InMotion hosting stand by all their claims? are their servers really fine tuned for WordPress, will they able to handle sudden traffic spike on your WordPress site? let’s get answers to all your doubts for in this InMotion hosting review.
Why InMotion hosting for WordPress?
Before, we begin the InMotion hosting review, I would like to introduce you a bit about their background. InMotion hosting is into web hosting business since last 15 years. In the year 2001, two guys Todd Robinson and Sunil Saxena, bootstrapped the company in LA, USA with a mere one server, one router, one office, and handful of experience with hosting industry. In the early days, these two founders alone, had handled everything, be it customer support, billing, sales, managing server and everything in between. In an interview at HostingAdvice, the co-founder claims, that they were one of the first providers of the VPS hosting, similarly they were also one of the first to add SSDs, to all their hosting plans.
You might have already noticed that I am repeatedly adding the term for “hosting for WordPress” and what’s so crucial about it. Let me explain, WordPress isn’t same as it used to be, it’s getting feature rich with each update, and requires more resources to perform automated tasks via WP cron etc. I still remember, how irritating it was when you used to receive notices from a typical shared Linux hosting company, which used to temporarily suspend my account for overusing the resources, on the other hand in those days being a novice, I used to have no clue on how to fix the resource usage of my WordPress site.
Well, that was earlier, now with hosting optimized for WordPress, you won’t be facing the similar issues. These kind of hosting environments are specially setup for WordPress based websites, which are optimized for higher resource usage and fine tuned to handle, all sorts of resource intensive WordPress plugins.
The InMotion hosting review for WordPress 2016
InMotion hosting for WordPress, is built up on same WordPress optimized methodology. Let’s take a quick overview of all the features that comes equipped with your hosting account at InMotion for WordPress :-
Preinstalled WordPress – You don’t need to manually install the WordPress once you finish signing up an account with InMotion. It comes with pre-installed and ready to use WordPress installation.
Automatic WordPress updates – Although, updating WordPress was never a fuss even, if we’ve to do it manually though it’s not bad to get your site’s WordPress version gets updated on its own.
SSD drives – SSD drives are fantastic be it our personal computers or servers they always deliver blistering fast performance. InMotion hosting provides compulsory SSD drives for any plan you choose with them.
PHP 7– PHP7 is the latest stable version of PHP, I had personally tested my site performance and yes it makes noticeable difference to your website performance, albeit loads your website nearly 3X faster.
Max Speed zones – InMotion hosting offers you a one time choice to pick the date center near to your audience, they’ve one on the East coast and the other one is situated on the West coast. Besides the faster load times for users, it would also help your to administrate your site faster, if you choose to host the site on the data center near to you.
Truly unlimited bandwidth/storage – I personally prefer to stay away from all “Unlimited” type hosting plans, as in reality they offer far lesser in comparison to limited resources. InMotion hosting claims to offer unmetered bandwidth and storage for your site.
WP CLI Enabled – WP (Command Line interface) is my favorite way to manage WordPress installations, you can perform so much of tasks all with commands, you don’t even need to use the browser.
90 Day money back guarantee – I’ve seen hosting companies offering money back guarantee of up to 45 days. However, 90 day money back guarantee is surely a bold claim, if a company offering you 90 day assurance to take your money back if you don’t like their services, then it’s definitely impressive, at least for me that they are so confident about their services.
Automatic backups – Automatic updates are available to each accounts, InMotion hosting takes a backup of your site every 48 hours.
Free domain – Though free domain has nothing to do with the hosting quality but indeed free domain name registration with all account is surely welcoming.
Not just they are feature rich, InMotion hosting is a great option for the first time WordPress site creators or pro WordPress users, as they are affordable. Here’s a quick comparison chart of all their WordPress hosting plans.
|No of websites||2||6||Unlimited|
Here is the copy of welcome letter, that you’ll receive once you sign up an account with InMotion hosting.
Once you’ve an account with InMotion, you can log into your panel dubbed as AMP (Account Management Panel), this panel allows you to use nearly every thing that you may require to efficiently run your WordPress site.
Under, “Manage my account” all the options are neatly stacked, it contains links to access all the services related to your account, including account notifications, your payment information, purchasing any additional hosting or raising a support ticket.
The second section is provided with links to core features to manage all the technical aspects of your WordPress site. Since, this is a cPanel based hosting hence, there’s a link to access cPanel for your site, and an option to reset the cPanel password, in case if you might have forgotten it.
I really liked this “Account Technical Details,” feature as it lists an entire set of crucial information that you may require to utilize all the feature of your InMotion hosting account such as, access to temp links of your site, webmail, nameservers, DNS Authority key etc. Then comes the option to access your emails, where you can created any number of emails for your primary or add-on domains.
InMotion hosting has integrated their own BoldGrid service, which is actually a drag and drop builder to create your WordPress site. I’m personally not a fan of these Drag and drop builders, as they are notorious to load numerous additional assets to slow down your WordPress site.
Further, a simple script “popular software” which allows you to install popular CMS, there’s also a similar script “Softaculous” that also does the same thing, with a relatively wide set of script options. Further, you can configure SSL, change your primary domain, in case of data loss you can simply put a data restoration request.
That was a brief overview of the AMP panel at InMotion hosting, let’s take a full thorough review of InMotion hosting.
I’ve managed to get a “Power” plan for this review, it starts at $7.99 a month. As usual, I am going to use my spare domain, Likedesk.com for raising a test site. I had pre-configured my domain name with InMotion hosting nameservers.
To configure nameservers for your domain with InMotion hosting, you need to login to your AMP, and click on Account Technical Details link, like I said earlier, this section will provide you with all sorts of details related to your account, you can copy the nameservers and add them to your domain registrar panel.
It took not more than a minute for my domain registrar, BigRock to quickly update the DNS information for my domain name and my domain was fully propagated with InMotion.
Installing WordPress at InMotion hosting
Although, with WordPress hosting at InMotion they provide you pre-installed WordPress once you finish the checkout process. However, in my case since I hadn’t provided my primary domain hence, the WordPress wasn’t pre-installed.
In order to install WordPress manually, you’ve to click on the “Install Popular software” option, and it will automatically redirect you to a WordPress Installation page powered by Softaculous.
Now all you need to do is provide the required details.
- Site protocol: I had chosen plain “http://”, if you are willing to install SSL then go with secure “https://”.
- Choose domain: I had provided my primary domain, Likedesk.com.
- In Directory: I kept it unchanged, if you want to provide specific directory then please provide it
- Site Name: Name of the site
- Site Description: A brief description of your site, ideal limit is not more than a couple of words.
- Enable Multisite: I kept it unchanged, though if you want to use WPMU, then please keep it checked. It’s the benefit of these shared WordPress hosting, as they provide you feature such as WPMU for no additional charge, whereas nearly all managed WordPress hosting provider simply doesn’t support WPMU, or either they charge higher/separately.
- Admin username: Your desired username for the login
- Admin password: Your desired login password
- Admin email: Provide your email for the admin account
- Select language: By default its English, you can choose your native language.
- Limit login attempts: It’s a best practice to limit login attempts by max 3 times, in case of brute force attempts.
- Database name: I kept it unchanged, if you want to change the database name with something different, change it here
- Table prefix: For security reasons, it’s good to change the default table prefix for WordPress database.
- Disable update notifications: I kept the update notifications unchecked, since I want to receive update notifications.
- Auto upgrade: I checked the Auto upgrade WordPress, whenever a new version is released.
- Auto upgrade WordPress plugins: I kept it checked.
- Auto upgrade WordPress themes: It’s better to keep it checked.
Once you’re done with configuring all the options, you can provide the email address where you want all the Email installation details to be sent, and then push the Install button.
It will take not more than two minutes to finish the installation and you’ll be greeted with a message, “Congratulations, the software was installed successfully”
Once I opened my test site on a new tab, WordPress was installed.
When I logged-in the back-end of the site, it came with the latest WordPress 4.7 version and Twenty Seventeen theme. The WordPress on the new site came with no other plugins, other than Loginizer security which, is crafted to block login for specific IP address, once it reaches the maximum number of attempts.
InMotion Hosting cPanel for WordPress
Now before we review the performance of InMotion hosting I want to take a tour of cPanel at InMotion. It’s a regular cPanel with InMotion hosting skin, however I was unable to figure out anything additional, or custom features added especially for WordPress.
It comes with default cPanel features such as administration & preferences, where you can configure everything related to your account and cPanel. Then comes email section, that allows you to manage all the emails associated with your hosting account. A set of file manager tools for your hosting account, followed by various account and website related logs.
Further, if you are willing to add more domains to your hosting account at InMotion then you can use add-on domains feature, and finally phpMyAdmin to manage database for your WordPress sites.
Overall, it was boring, I found nothing exciting inside the cPanel for a WordPress site user, other than an option to configure the PHP version you wish to use with your WordPress site, your hosting at InMotion will allow you to use PHP version up to 7.1, and PHP 5.6 being system default. PHP 7.1 is known to boost your site performance up to 3X.
InMotion Hosting Performance Test for WordPress
Besides features, the most crucial aspect of a WordPress hosting platform is its performance. If a hosting service offers loads of features, and fails to load your WordPress site fast enough then, all those features will considered negligible.
First website load test with stock WordPress, no caching
Theme: Twenty Seventeen
Plugin (s) active: Loginizer security
Initially, I conducted a simple website load test with the stock WordPress version 4.7 and Twenty Seventeen theme with single post and page. The results were satisfactory, with Google page speed score 82, and the site managed to load under 1.80 seconds. Though, my concern was that despite of stock site, it should load a bit faster, at least under 1 seconds.
Second website load test with stock WordPress, no caching
Theme: Twenty Seventeen
Plugin (s) active: Loginizer security
I thought to conduct a second test for the second time, just to see that there must be something wrong with the test and yes I was right, the same site now loaded much faster, under 1 second and 613 milliseconds to be precise.
First website speed test with dummy content
Theme: Twenty Seventeen
Plugin (s) active: Loginizer security, FakerPress
Database size: 2.6 MB
Ain’t nobody would buy a hosting for a blank WordPress site, so to mimic a real content rich site, I had installed the FakerPress plugin, and automatically generated a lot of posts and pages. The total no of posts were 128, while the pages were around 145, and the database size also went up, at 2.6 MB.
And the results of this test were simply outstanding, a fully loaded content rich site managed to load in mere 535 milliseconds, and upped the Google Page speed score of 86.
I thought to repeat the test, with different test server location, and this time the load time of the site was bit increased, at 915 milliseconds. But, overall I would consider it as an amazing performance for a shared WordPress hosting platform.
Second Website speed test with dummy content + plugins + caching on
Theme: Twenty Seventeen
Plugin (s) active: Akismet, Contact Form 7, FakerPress, Hello Dolly, JetPack, Loginizer, WP Super cache, Yoast SEO
Database size: 2.7 MB
Although, the website load test results of my earlier results went really good, however I still want to be sure that what would the performance results of the site with plugins active, as everyone is likely to install 8-10 plugins to add various functionalities to their WordPress sites. I also installed a caching plugin from the WordPress plugin repository and turned the basic caching feature on, without configuring it fully.
Yet again, the InMotion hosting servers behaved pretty exceptional for the price. Despite of extra load of 7 plugins, the my testing site managed to load under 1 second.
I tried to repeat the testing from a different testing server, just to be ensure that the performance should remain similar with repetitive testing and repeatedly site managed to load under 1 second.
All in all, I was very much satisfied with the load time performance of InMotion hosting, despite of the fact that I am yet to fully enable the complete functionalities and no CDN configured.
InMotion WordPress hosting website stress test
Though, shared hosting environment aren’t the right kind of hosting environment for conducting website stress test. However, I couldn’t stop myself from deploying a small stress test for my test site hosted with InMotion hosting.
I created a small 50 VU environment at Load Impact for 5 minutes.
The test result were acceptable for a sudden traffic spike, with 50 virtual users for continuous 5 minutes, and average load time of 1.82 seconds, InMotion hosting passed the stress test without any error.
Though, you might notice that average responsive time was widely varied for the entire test. The load time bar went as high as 2.4 seconds, and stick around 1 second to 1.8 seconds. Indeed, I can’t claim that these results are absolutely accurate, as the real website user scenario is relatively different from the virtual users, but still these test data provides a lot of reliable results.
InMotion Hosting support
I had no previous experience with InMotion hosting so far, it was the first time I was trying my hands-on with InMotion. Usually, if you are good at WordPress and familiar with cPanel etc, then you won’t need a helping hand to assist you, unless in case if your website is generating server-side errors, performing super slow, or may be if you’re facing downtime issues.
However, I’ve an experience with InMotion hosting support to share with you, as I need to know a little information about WP-CLI, I had contact their support agent over chat. In order to assist me, the support agent wanted me to verify the account ownership by providing the AMP password or either the last four digit of credit from which I had purchased the hosting. I’ve chosen to provide my AMP password, I was expecting a typical account login field would pop up, and I will enter my credentials. To my surprise, the agent asked me to type the AMP password right in the chat. It was weird, never in my entire experience with hosting providers, I came across such situation.
I was already logged-in into their AMP panel, however I figured out that they are using third-party chat system, which might be limiting them integrating with their systems. It’s obvious that they already knew about all the details of my hosting account and have all access to the files in my account but, you can’t simply ask an account owner the password of his account, it’s unethical for me.
Here’s the chat transcript, I had replaced my AMP password with * symbol
10:46:09 AM [Jami O]
Hello Pranjal, my name is Jami O Thanks for contacting us today!
10:46:16 AM [Pranjal] Hello Jami
10:46:26 AM [Pranjal] I need some help with my WordPress hosting
10:47:07 AM [Jami O] I am more than happy to assist you with this. Pranjal
10:47:09 AM [Jami O] In order to assist you further, we will need you to verify the account with either the Account Management Panel password or the last four digits of the credit card we have on file.
10:47:37 AM [Pranjal] Will go with AMP password
10:49:15 AM [Pranjal] Are you with me, Jami?
10:52:19 AM [Jami O] Yes
10:52:20 AM [Jami O] I am here
10:52:26 AM [Jami O] Waiting for AMP password.
10:52:40 AM [Pranjal] I’ve to tell you the AMP password right here?
10:53:05 AM [Jami O] Yes
10:53:42 AM [Pranjal] Oh that’s weird, okay so it’s **********
10:54:09 AM [Jami O] Thank you, That information is correct.
Overall, my support experience with InMotion was kind of good, they were informative but, they need to improve the account verification system while providing support over chat.
Other than live chat support system, they have maintained a healthy amount of help articles related to WordPress hosting in their support center.
- Affordable hosting for WordPress
- One click WordPress installer
- Auto WordPress updates
- Blazing fast server performance
- Unlimited email
- WP CLI support
- PHP version manager
- Automatic daily site back up
- Expert WordPress support
- Higher PHP limits
- Absence of WordPress centric features
- No WordPress site staging
- No built-in caching feature
- No HTTP/2 ready server
- Occasional performance compromise
In this InMotion WordPress hosting review, I had tried to cover all of the features, however I might have missed few. In my first impression with InMotion hosting, I would like to add that yes, they have set up WordPress optimized servers, which are equipped with better performing hardware to handle WordPress like a pro. In all my website performance speed test, the load time of the my test site were impressive.
However, in my stress test, the server was struggling to maintain the performance. Though, I had already mentioned in the review that these are shared hosting environments and you can’t expect much out of them, considering the affordable price tag. True to its name, the InMotion hosting is only “WordPress Optimized” hosting, apart of fine tuned servers for better performance out of WordPress, you could barely distinguish between a typical shared hosting plan and InMotion’s WordPress optimized hosting, as they both look same to me.
In my opinion, in order to offer more value to the WordPress hosting, they should definitely considering putting in few advanced features from managed WordPress hosting. They should integrate a server-side caching system, somewhat like SiteGround’s Supercacher. In addition, InMotion should also work on adding modern tools for site owners, such as Site staging, site cloning, true daily backups with one click restore.
Alright, so before I wrap up this InMotion WordPress hosting review, I want to let you know that yes, I would definitely recommend InMotion hosting for WordPress to all those who are looking for a power packed performance for their WordPress sites. At an affordable price tag, InMotion hosting is without a doubt offers value for money service. If you’re already using InMotion hosting for WordPress, don’t forget to add your reviews in the comments below.