InterServer web hosting review 2021 – ITProPortal

InterServer offers an appealing set of inexpensive unlimited-everything plans, but its relatively slow speeds and poor customer support take the shine off what used to be a top pick.

Pros

  • Unlimited data and storage
  • Price-lock guarantee
  • Softaculous app installer

Cons

  • Poor customer support
  • Middling performance
  • cPanel costs extra

InterServer is a full-service web hosting provider with four data centers in the US. In our InterServer review, we consider its key features and pricing, and compare it with the best web hosting services we’ve tested.

InterServer review: Snapshot

InterServer offers a complete range of hosting products, from shared hosting to dedicated servers, and it positions its pricing to be consistently cheaper than the majority of its competitors. Throw in its unlimited bandwidth and storage and free Cloudflare CDN, and it looks like a top buy.

However, InterServer’s speed, reliability, and customer support need improvement. SMEs requiring a solid, dependable host with useful technical support may regret choosing InterServer just to save a few dollars a month. Competitors like Hostwinds and HostGator offer a more reliable service with better technical support for a similar price.

Score: 3/5

Read on for the full review.


InterServer’s competitors

How does InterServer compare to its main competitors?
InterServer Hostwinds Bluehost
Score 3/5 4.5/5 3.5/5
Pros – Super pricing – Free site migration – Great performance – Good customer service – 24/7 customer support – Reliable
Cons – Poor uptime results – Terrible customer support – Complicated pricing – No free domain name – Big renewal price hike – Constant upselling
Verdict InterServer’s service is worth its low price, but its reliability is in question. An all-around solid hosting provider, Hostwinds offers good performance at a reasonable price. Though a dependable website host, Bluehost’s prices are relatively high.
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InterServer: Key features

InterServer’s web hosting plans have unlimited storage space and unlimited data. All sites get free Cloudflare CDN, 24/7 support, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee. A Price Lock Guarantee ensures your web hosting won’t skyrocket in price later at the host’s whim, and InterServer offers free migration for your website from other hosts. 

InterServer offers a somewhat dated administration panel for your websites, domains, and DNS settings. You can buy, cancel, lock, and renew domains, make backups, administer mail, and set up SSL certificates all from this single admin panel. Automatic backups of your website, taken every week, can be downloaded here, and you can also order free hosting migration from another provider. 

Many other hosting companies routinely include cPanel, a powerful and popular web hosting control panel tool that complements such in-house admin tools. It administers just about every aspect of your hosting, and offers management of email addresses, files, databases, domains, software, and security, all from one central page.

However, on InterServer, if you choose the cheapest hosting plan, then you’ll need to pay an extra $1 a month for cPanel. cPanel is included on the more expensive IS Boost plans, and is available for $1 a month for other plans. There’s also an alternative, Direct Admin, that you can choose at no extra cost.

InterServer: Key features and highlights

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InterServer's admin panel

The website administration panel can be used to download backups of your website (Image credit: InterServer)

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InterServer's cPanel in use

cPanel includes hundreds of tools for the administration of your webspace (Image credit: InterServer)

Image 3 of 4

InterServer's SitePad website builder's templates

SitePad has over 450 themes, but to access most of them you’ll need to pay for a plan (Image credit: InterServer)

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InterServer's Softaculous app market

Softaculous is a quick way to install your choice of over 450 popular web apps (Image credit: InterServer)

SitePad is the website builder that InterServer includes for free on its hosting plans. It’s a drag-and-drop editor for creating a website, similar to the best website builders available.

Web hosting from InterServer doesn’t include a SitePad license, though, so you can only use the free version of the site builder. This severely limits the usefulness of SitePad, as websites are limited to just three pages, and you can only choose from between 15 themes. 

You can upgrade to a paid SitePad plan for $12 a year to unlock unlimited themes and pages. But at that price, there are many better, easier-to-use website builders on the market. SitePad’s interface is somewhat clunky, and to get best results you’ll need some web design experience, which largely defeats the point of using a website builder for the majority of users.

Rapid deployment of popular web-based software is possible with Softaculous, a program included with InterServer web hosting. Softaculous automates the installation of software, so instead of rummaging around with file managers or secure shell (SSH), you can have a sophisticated website up and running in a matter of minutes.

Softaculous has one-click installers for over 450 apps. If you want to build anything from a customer support website to a social networking site, there’s typically an existing app you can install using Softaculous that will do the job.

InterServer: What’s new?

InterServer became popular in the shared hosting space for its singular, no-nonsense $5 a month plan. But in 2020, InterServer changed to a more traditional web hosting pricing model with multiple service levels. Prices were bumped, too, so the cheapest option is now $7 a month after your introductory term.

This irked some users who preferred the simplicity of InterServer’s previous one-size-fits-all pricing, but InterServer’s new pricing is still very competitive.

InterServer: Pricing

InterServer differentiates its web hosting into 11 plans. Some of these include reseller plans, ASP.NET hosting plans, and managed WordPress hosting. You have the option of paying monthly, every six months, every year, every two years, and sometimes every three years. On the more expensive plans, you’ll get a discount of up to 20% for paying in advance.

InterServer, like many other hosts, has an introductory offer, so you can start out paying $2.50 a month. But you’ll quickly be shuttled to the full price, which starts at $7 a month.

InterServer’s pricing plans
Web Hosting IS Boost 2 Core IS Boost 4 Core
Cost per month* $7 $9.95 $19.95
Cost per year** $84 $107.46 $215.46
Number of cores 1 2 4
Memory 2G 4G 8G
Emails/hour 200 400 800
SQL cores 4 8 16

* When paid monthly, after the introductory offer has expired

** When paid annually, after the introductory offer has expired


Testing InterServer

We tested InterServer by buying an IS Boost 2 Core plan and deploying a WordPress website on it. Then, using Uptime.com, we ran thousands of uptime, response time, and page load time tests from three locations in the US to get an idea of how fast and reliable the service is.

How reliable is InterServer?

Interserver's uptime report

Our InterServer-hosted website was unavailable for over an hour during our testing period (Image credit: Uptime.com)

InterServer guarantees a 99.9% uptime guarantee, but this doesn’t include any downtime caused by scheduled maintenance, hardware failure, or any networks not owned by InterServer, so it’s a rather weak guarantee.

Every five minutes for two weeks, we tested whether our website hosted with InterServer was available from Los Angeles, New York, and Dallas. InterServer was offline four times during this relatively short testing period for periods of up to 42 minutes at a time. This resulted in uptime of 99.61%, which is poor.

It’s possible this was a particularly unlucky time for InterServer, but four outages on different days during such a short testing period reflects poorly on the service, and suggests it’s unreliable. A significant number of online reviews note that they too have had problems with InterServer’s reliability over the past year.

How fast do InterServer websites respond?

Interserver's response times report

InterServer response times are relatively slow (Image credit: Uptime.com)

Response time is a metric that can tell us how quickly a website will begin to load. A slow response time will see visitors clicking away from your website because it seems like it’s not loading at all. 

InterServer averaged 651ms when tested from our three US locations, which is perfectly fine but not outstanding. In comparison, Amazon Lightsail’s response time was 116ms, and InMotion Hosting responded in an average of 163ms.

How quickly do pages hosted on InterServer load?

Interserver's page load speeds

InterServer’s page load speeds are fine, but not outstanding (Image credit: Uptime.com)

Page load speed measures how long a page takes to load in its entirety. To fairly compare how quickly pages load on different website hosts, we use the same WordPress website on all hosts and access them from a single US location. We take multiple readings to make an average.

Despite its mediocre performance in uptime and response time tests, InterServer performed reasonably well in this real-world test. The page loaded completely in an average of 234ms. This relatively good speed is perhaps due to InterServer’s global content caching, which delivers cached versions of your content to users from servers located more closely to them.

In comparison, DreamHost, Amazon Lightsail, WordPress, and InMotion Hosting’s page load speeds were 139ms, 171ms, 473ms, and 739ms, respectively.

Alternatives to InterServer

InterServer’s low pricing and unlimited plans are certainly appealing, but several companies can trump it on many important metrics. 

Since InterServer increased its prices, it no longer stands out in the marketplace as a particularly outstanding buy. You don’t get a free domain, and you have to pay extra for cPanel when you choose InterServer, so most users will end up paying approximately the same price as they would if they were to choose competitors like Hostwinds, Bluehost, or InMotion Hosting.

InterServer also cuts corners on support. Though it’s touted as a 24/7 service, live chat is frequently unavailable, and the outsourced technical support team lacks knowledge on the products. Often, they gave us conflicting or simply incorrect information in what appeared to be an attempt to finish the chat as quickly as possible. Similarly priced hosts like InMotion Hosting and Bluehost offer significantly better technical support.

For SMEs looking for solid, reliable, and fast web hosting, InterServer is a bit of a gamble. HostGator is a competitor that offers better average speeds and uptime at a price in line with InterServer. You get unlimited bandwidth and storage, too, and the  technical support is better than InterServer’s. Hostinger is another hosting company that performed better than InterServer in testing.

InterServer’s features compared to the competition
InterServer Hostwinds Bluehost
Unlimited bandwidth and storage? Yes Yes Yes, on high-end plans
Free domain? No Yes, on high-end plans Yes
Support 24/7 phone, live chat, ticket 24/7 phone, live chat, email 24/7 phone, live chat
Basic plan* $7 a month $8.99 a month $9.99 a month

* Based on the non-introductory price of the cheapest plan when paid annually

InterServer: Final verdict

InterServer is an interesting website host with products that range from shared and VPS to cloud and dedicated hosting. Its low prices, unmetered bandwidth, unlimited storage, 99.9% uptime guarantee, and one-click app installation make for a solid foundation.

But during our testing period, our InterServer website went offline four times, and for multiple hours our website was unavailable. Even when the host was up, the site response times were relatively slow. There’s a possibility that InterServer has just been having a bad few weeks, so further testing would be required, but this shaky performance should be considered in any purchasing decision.

InterServer’s poor customer support can lead to a frustrating experience, too. Tech support is often unavailable, and they are prone to offering incorrect information.

Overall, InterServer is an okay hosting provider choice with a fair pricing plan, but it’s surrounded in the marketplace by many more worthy competitors.

Further reading on web hosting

If you like the look of InterServer’s unlimited services but not the service issues, check out our guide to the best unlimited hosting. If you’re planning on building your website using WordPress, browse through our picks of the best WordPress hosting available today. 

But if you’d prefer to use a website builder, have a look at our guide to the best website builders to find the service that suits you best.

InterServer web hosting review 2021

InterServer offers an appealing set of inexpensive unlimited-everything plans, but its relatively slow speeds and poor customer support take the shine off what used to be a top pick.

Richard Sutherland

Richard brings over 20 years of website development, SEO, and marketing to the table. A graduate in Computer Science, Richard has lectured in Java programming, and has built software for companies including Samsung and ASDA. Now, he writes for TechRadar, Tom’s Guide, PC Gamer, and Creative Bloq.