With a decade of experience, a datacenter, U.S. call center and affordable hosting solutions, IX Web Hosting stands strong among hosting companies.
Features and Pricing
As is the case with many hosts, IX Web Hosting quotes the absolute lowest price on their hosting plans page. In order to determine the actual price, one must proceed through the sign up process. The lowest price is provided with a 24 month billing cycle.
The shortest billing cycle is $4 more than the 24 month price, and comes with a hefty $30 setup fee. There is an even greater difference on the most expensive of their three plans with a $6 a month price hike. Therefore the unlimited nature of their $3.95/month plan may look great at first, but if you’re not interested in making a long-term commitment this price can be $7.95. Yet, this is still on par with, and in some cases slightly less than the competition.
IX Web Hosting also provides free domain registration with their hosting. If you ever leave IX Web Hosting, you retain ownership of the domain name.
IX provides some advantages that set them apart. These include their “own data center,” being in business since 1999, and a U.S.-based call center.
One’s own data center can be both good and bad for the same reason: it provides them with complete control. This control can be assumed to be good as it allows the company to maintain their servers and architecture directly, but this is also an extended responsibility that they must manage well. With as much experience as IX Web Hosting appears to have, they should possess a pretty good handle on this.
Ten years of hosting experience conveys some fiscal stability, so it doesn’t look like IX Web Hosting is going anywhere soon. It also shows that they have remained competitive with the myriad of hosting companies in the industry.
A call center located in the United States is also no doubt a great advantage as technology companies are infamous for having outsourced support. It is worth noting that although domestic support representatives are a substantial benefit, it is not exclusive to IX Web Hosting as other web hosts maintain in-house support channels.
IX Web Hosting also provides dedicated SSL certificates for $50 when purchased with web hosting, which is a good deal compared to other hosts. Like other hosts, a shared SSL certificate is provided for free with their hosting.
If design services are required, IX provides solutions that deliver results that are largely professional looking. This is convenient if one is interested in finding hosting and design services with the same company.
As is the trend with many hosts, IX provides free ad coupons, with up to $75 in Google AdWords credits for instance. These can be useful if maintaining a commercial website where the main purpose of the site is to advertise or sell a product or service. There is also a Merchant Service that is available on a quoted basis.
Terms of Service
IX Web Hosting’s terms of service are comprehensive and are composed of 25 different sections. If there is a question of technicality, one is sure to find the answer in these terms as nothing is left ambiguous.
Like many good hosts, IX provides a 30 day money-back guarantee in which they will refund all payments made. Yet they go far beyond this to offer a money-back guarantee at any time if one is not satisfied with their services. In this case they will refund the current month’s fees along with any fees already paid for future months. They only ask that a customer provides a brief explanation to help them understand why the cancellation is being made, but this isn’t required and there is no hassle.
They also provide for a 99.9% Uptime Guarantee where if uptime is not maintained to that level in a 12-month period the customer may request a service credit. A 12-month period is unusual for the web hosting industry and further shows that IX favors longer subscription periods.
Some individuals may be saddened to find that IX does not use the industry-standard cPanel control panel for Linux web hosting, but rather a version of Psoft’s H-Sphere platform (now owned by Parallels). The control panel appears to utilize a theme that is years old with tacky clipart-based icons. Yet the essential functionality is present throughout.
MySQL databases, unlike with many hosts, are disabled by default. Therefore they must be enabled in the control panel before any databases can be created. This is as simple as clicking a link to enable it, yet it seems like an unnecessary task given the nature of the service.
The control panel provides a collection of “EasyApps,” which are applications that can be easily installed in a “one click” fashion.
Upon first signing up I received a welcome email. In this, it informed me there was an issue with the automatic creation of my account and there would be a delay. Fortunately it was only nine minutes later before I received a confirmation that my account was created.
The service provides a customer with a randomly assigned username. This is used to log into FTP and is used to preface the names of databases.
IX requires customers to use their email as their username and a password to login to the account administration panel. Yet when I initially attempted to do so, using the FTP password provided for the account, I could not. I did not receive any other record of a password so I was forced to reset my password before I could start using the account.
I also tested out their EasyApps solution in the control panel. I was able to install a WordPress blog within seconds. I was only required to enter some information specific to WordPress such as an admin username, password, email, and blog title and description and it was instantly setup. This is a very convenient feature if one is looking to setup their site quickly without much knowledge in regards to uploading files and configuring databases.
I connected to their web-based live chat system on a Monday at 2:45 PM. IX Web Hosting utilizes the popular Live Person chat system. I was promptly connected to a representative within thirty seconds and they quickly responded to my question about using their one-click application installation system.
Their response was straightforward and satisfactory, yet some of their grammar seemed slightly-off and their name caused me to question their physical location. They responded that their live chat operations are based in the Ukraine.
IX Web Hosting is being truthful when they state that their call center is in the U.S., yet they can’t say the same for their live chat. This is no doubt in an attempt to cut costs, but in some instances this could pose a problem. In my case the representative’s ability to communicate in English was at the level that they understood my question and responded clearly, but the possibility remains that not every representative is like this.
At 3:05 PM on that Monday I called their toll-free customer service line, pressed two for the technical support option, and was connected to a representative within thirty seconds who just asked for my domain name. I proceeded to question him about the one-click install applications that are provided and he guided me through finding the location of this in the control panel. I was off the phone within a couple minutes and was very satisfied with my support experience. The phone representative was definitely based in the U.S., as the IX Web Hosting website promises.
They also provide ticket support for issues that may be more technical in nature, or require more information to be provided on the part of the customer. In this case the customer is guided through a process of identifying their issue and providing the appropriate information.
Overall support is quick to respond and very helpful. IX Web Hosting seems to have compromised when it comes to live chat by outsourcing this support channel, yet they have understood the advantage of maintaining domestic phone representatives.
Doing this review convinced me that IX Web Hosting is overall a very good host leveraging many years of experience and responsive support. If for any reason a customer is unsatisfied they are able to cancel at anytime without any sort of termination fee. This conveys a commitment to good service and a solid hosting solution.