InterServer review: best all-rounder hosting?
In this InterServer review, I’ll take a very detailed look into this web hosting underdog. I’m going to analyze its plans and prices, ease of use, performance, security, and customer support. No stone will be left unturned.
InterServer is not your usual hosting provider. It’s not a big name in the industry, and nobody is really talking about it. It’s more of an underdog, except that no one is getting upset if InterServer wins at something. They’re… Surprised more than anything.
The biggest surprise of all is that even if people don’t really acknowledge InterServer, the provider is 21 years old. So, how did it make it for so long without any notable marketing campaigns?
Was it word of mouth? It must have something up its sleeve, right?
All the InterServer.net reviews I read created a positive image. It seems that InterServer is a really good provider. Or, this is among the most well-kept conspiracies of all time. Its website says that 70% of the customers are migrations, so there has to be a reason for that.
My goal today is to find out what is InterServer hiding under its servers.
Lots of testing and analysis made this post quite long. I know you’re busy, so here’s a chance to skip straight to the verdict.
|Price:||Prices start at $2.50/mo with a special discount|
|Hosting types:||Shared, VPS, ASP.NET, dedicated, collocations|
|Server locations:||Secaucus, NJ and Los Angeles, CA|
|Support:||24/7 ticket system, email, live chat, and phone|
|Current deal:||Get InterServer, now 65% OFF|
Pros and Cons of InterServer
- Affordable month-to-month pricing
- Free SSL, weekly backups, and malware protection
- 99.99% uptime result
- Classic cPanel interface
- Customer support can be hit-and-miss
- Account interface is outdated
InterServer video review
InterServer pricing starts at $5/mo for shared hosting without a discount. However, this company provides every type of hosting in its own operated datacenters. You can choose ASP.NET hosting, cheap VPS, dedicated servers, collocations, or data storage options. Each of the options is priced a little below the industry standard.
|Type of hosting||Best for|
|Shared hosting ($2.50/mo)||Beginners looking for ease of use and low prices. Get InterServer, now 65% OFF|
|ASP.NET hosting ($8/mo)||Hosting using Windows interface.|
|VPS ($6/mo)||An advanced hosting with dedicated server space.|
|Dedicated ($50/mo)||Advanced solutions. The entire server and its management is dedicated to you.|
|Collocations ($99/mo)||Renting datacenter space for your own servers. Ensures security and redundancy.|
It would seem that most of InterServer’s solutions are meant for advanced users. However, shared hosting is by far the most used option as it can support both websites that are just launched and medium-sized businesses.
We are always looking for the best deals possible. Now you can get InterServer for just $2.50/mo for the first purchase. It’s a great deal to see if the provider is right for you.
For a very long time, InterServer had only one shared hosting plan that was unlimited in every sense – domains, emails, storage, and bandwidth.
*Keep in mind that unlimited is very much limited by the server capacity itself.
Anyway, to serve an even bigger pool of people, InterServer now has 3 shared hosting plans. All of them come with the same unlimited domains, storage, bandwidth, and email accounts. However, you get more and more server resources such as CPU and RAM with the more expensive plans because fewer accounts are hosted on those servers.
- Standard – best for small websites such as informational sites, portfolios, or even very small online stores.
- Boost 2 – great for bigger sites. You should easily be able to host a small online store on this one.
- Boost 4 – an option for popular sites and people who need both ease of use and power. It can support larger online stores.
While all this looks just like random numbers in the screenshot, extra stuff provided in every single plan for free is just impressive:
- Global caching.
- SSL certificates.
- Professional website migration.
- InterShield security package.
- Weekly automatic backups.
- Inter-Insurance – a free service that restores your website in case of an attack.
Can you believe that all this comes for just $2.50 a month? No strings attached? Me neither.
So what are the terms to get the best price with InterServer?
Pricing need to know
I’d love to say that InterServer has no pricing increases on different billing terms and on renewals. But that’s not the case (although it was not so long ago). So let’s do a deep analysis on how to get an amazing deal with this provider.
First things first, the seasonal discounts. You can get web hosting for as low as $2.50/mo or even $1 if you manage to catch the provider on sale. But that’s not the case all the time. Plus, such a discount is available for the first purchase only.
With the current deal, it’s best to pick InterServer with 1-year in-advance payment. This way, the total will be just $30 and it will renew at $84 for every year after that.
Other billing terms are available, and InterServer makes it quite attractive to pick shorter subscriptions too. This is how it compares:
|Billing||Initial payment||Renewal payment|
No matter which billing option you choose, it will renew at the same $7/mo rate. So it’s pretty good no matter if you can shell out an in-advance payment or pay monthly.
Nonetheless, higher renewals are not nice. Unfortunately, they are unavoidable. So, how does it compare to other providers if we are looking for similar features (lots of storage, unlimited bandwidth, websites, and emails) for a year?
|Provider||Plan||Monthly initial||Total initial||Monthly renewal||Total renewal|
InterServer is more than 2 times cheaper than all of these hosts initially. Moreso, it’s also cheaper on renewal.
By the way, almost no other provider offers affordable month-to-month hosting. They all increase prices for monthly options even more. That’s not the case with InterServer, making it perfect for tight budgets.
I simply cannot be angry with InterServer for increasing the renewal price. The features and server resources offered are almost too good to be true for such a low price. Can’t blame them for wanting to get better returns on that.
But, let’s say you tried it and didn’t like it. What then?
You can request a full refund within 30 days of your purchase for shared hosting, no questions asked.
All in all, InterServer pricing is good. Almost too good. And it’s a great option for every user – you can choose monthly billing if your budget is tight or pre-pay to enjoy a discount for longer.
Hosting management – is InterServer easy to use?
Using InterServer is as easy as it can possibly be. If you purchase a domain, it’s automatically activated, and the SSL certificates are pre-installed. Plus, installing WordPress is a piece of cake. You just have to use the Softaculous installer located in cPanel. However, some strings are attached.
Right off the bat, you’ll notice that design and user experience are not the focus of this company.
This is the first window you’d see upon the first login. It’s the user management area where you can see what hosting accounts and domains you own.
The top menu bar is not very useful. It lists all the services that you can buy. The 3 buttons you’d actually use from there are Billing, Settings, and Support.
On the other hand, the main area works as navigation for reaching web hosting services and domains that you bought with InterServer.
If you’d click on your domain name that’s listed under Web Hosting, you’d reach the hosting management area.
The web hosting management interface is not much better. Loads of information and details but the one and only thing that interests us is down below. It’s the Login to cPanel button. It’s one of the very few things that you’ll use from this interface.
Talking about cPanel, this is where I start liking InterServer.
What does the InterServer control panel look like?
InterServer uses cPanel, and it is as standard as hosting control panels can get. Unfortunately, fewer and fewer companies are offering it nowadays. Reason? cPanel got so successful that it started increasing pricing by day. Uh-oh. Everyone can be replaced.
Nonetheless, InterServer still has cPanel.
It’s a well-organized interface with all the tools that you’ll need to set up and manage a successful website. That includes adding a domain, webmail account, installing WordPress, or editing files in the File Manager.
cPanel is very beginner-friendly as most of the tools you’ll need come with built-in explanations. Also, the knowledge bases are full of tutorials too. Promise, you won’t get lost.
So apart from the very outdated look, InterServer is nothing but easy to use.
Shall we get into specifics?
How to install WordPress on InterServer?
WordPress installation with InterServer is easy and takes just a couple of minutes. It has 3 steps involved – finding Softaculous in the cPanel, choosing the WordPress app, and filling out the installation form.
Let me quickly show you how everything looks and where to find it.
To find the Softaculous Apps Installer, you’ll need to scroll down cPanel a bit. It will be under the Software tab. Alternatively, you can use WordPress Manager by Softaculous. This way, you’ll save a couple of clicks.
No matter if you chose Softaculous or WordPress Manager, WordPress is the first option available. By the way, this is the place where you can find all the available apps if WP is not your first choice.
The installation window can look intimidating for all the details asked, but it’s actually super simple. All you’ll need to enter or choose is – your domain name, user name, and password. The rest can be left as “default.”
Once you’re done entering the details, simply click one of the blue Install buttons. One is at the top of the window, and one is at the bottom. As simple as that.
How to create a professional email with InterServer?
One of the key things for a successful brand is a professional email, and that is very simple to set up with InterServer. All you’ll have to make sure of is that you have a working domain name.
So to get that nice email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org email address, find the Email tab in the cPanel.
As you can see, there are a lot of tools here for email management. You can customize autoresponders, create mailing lists, and even track the deliverability. However, to create and reach your email account, you’ll need the first one – the Email Accounts module.
In this interface, you can create and reach your mailboxes.
If you’d click on the blue +CREATE button, you’d see how easy it is to set up a professional email account.
All you need to do is pick your domain from the drop-down list, create a username for your mailbox, and set a password.
You can also set the storage space limit or keep it unlimited – whichever floats your boat. Just click on Create once you’re done, and your mailbox will be ready.
One thing to note is that InterServer uses just the most basic email clients like RoundCube. They are good for day-to-day mailing but will not suffice the needs of serious email marketing campaigns.
All in all, InterServer is easy to use, and day-to-day tasks like installations or email management are done in a matter of seconds. While interfaces could be prettier, I have no actual complaints regarding usability and functionality.
Performance – is InterServer fast?
Just like everything in this InterServer review so far, the performance is also very much standard. InterServer shows very reliable 99.99% uptime, average server speed, and quite impressive website loading results when put under pressure.
To see how InterServer performs, I ran it through multiple tests involving reliability monitoring, speed testing, and putting the provider under some stress.
InterServer uptime and response time
Long-term performance monitoring results are both great and average. The uptime stayed at 99.99%, which is amazing. Barely an hour of downtime is expected in a year, and that’s basically the best you can expect from any server.
On the other hand, we have the response time. It averaged at 662ms, which is… Average. In comparison, performance-focused providers, like Hostinger or SiteGround, score below 300ms.
In any case, that’s raw numbers. How about an actual website?
Actually, InterServer’s numbers loading an empty WordPress website are good. When tested from the United States (where my website is hosted), it loaded in 0.9s (see Largest Contentful Paint). Google says that if you manage to fit into 2.5 seconds, you’re good. Well, 0.9 seconds is more than good.
Other locations are below 2.5 seconds too, even though they are much further away from the data center. And the further away the server is from the visitor, the longer it takes to load a website.
This brings me to my next point.
InterServer operates its own data centers. Unfortunately, they are all in the US (one on the East and one on the West coast). This means that it’s best to use this provider if your visitors are located in North America.
Once I set up a website that could actually work for someone’s real website, I ran the same GTMetrix test, but only from the US now. The website loaded in 2.3 seconds.
This is not an exceptional result, but it is fast.
We still fit into the recommended 2.5 seconds, but that’s not all. From the Largest Contentful Paint, there’s no further delay till the website is fully loaded, as seen in speed visualization.
So while InterServer does not exactly compete with such giants like SiteGround or A2 Hosting, the result is still perfectly fine.
Also, think if you do need top-level speed for your website. With InterServer, you get seriously good prices and good performance. For speed-focused providers, you’d pay more than 2 times higher prices. So, if you’re just starting out, isn’t it better to invest in building a good website rather than chasing numbers that will not have a significant effect on your success at first? You can upgrade once you feel the need for speed and have a budget for it.
But we are not finished just yet. Those tests only show performance when just one single soul is on the website. What if I put more people on it?
InterServer stress testing
This is where the fun begins. I sent 50 virtual users using K6 software to my website.
50 visitors is a significant load on the server. For any shared hosting, that’s close to the maximum we would expect to pass the test.
And it failed. Miserably.
You can see those blue (speed), red (failures), and purple (requests) lines jumping all over the place while the grey (virtual users) line does its job. Well, all this traffic did not come through. So I had to find out how much InterServer can handle.
I started decreasing the number of visitors by 5. The first test InterServer has passed was with 35 VUs.
The blue line represents speed, the red one – HTTP failures when the server was having struggles to keep up. Meanwhile, the grey line is our bots.
In an ideal scenario, the blue line would be flat, and the red line would not be there at all. However, InterServer was having some difficulties supporting all this traffic. It did slow down, and there were a couple of failures.
Nonetheless, it still kept our website running and passed the test.
So while InterServer is not capable of handling the ultimate maximum, it still does quite a good job.
Honestly, the cheapest plan will support a small website that’s getting quite big traffic surges occasionally.
So all in all, InterServer’s performance, while not exactly spectacular, is still very good for shared hosting. Your website will remain live more than it is expected, speed is great, and the server can handle quite a lot of traffic.
Security – is InterServer secure?
Regarding security, InterServer doesn’t leave any stone unturned. When you purchase a plan, an SSL certificate is included for free. Backups are performed weekly, and Cloudflare is easy to integrate. Plus, you get free InterShield and Inter-Insurance.
Like any other respectable hosting provider, InterServer offers a suite of standard security features. What I appreciated is that InterServer puts to shame other providers, more popular and expensive ones. How does it manage to do that? By going the extra mile, of course. Here’s a list of standard security features you have access to when purchasing an InterServer plan:
- A free Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate. You and I both know that not all providers offer one for free. So, let’s just take a moment and appreciate this. Okay, okay. Most of them do. But there is a couple of black sheep.
- Weekly backups – according to a customer support agent, the backups are stored on a remote server for added security.
- You can integrate the Cloudflare content delivery network, which comes with DDoS attack protection.
InterServer also has a native security suite called InterShield. It includes 4 tools which are meant to detect and prevent attacks:
- Automatic virus scanner with regular scans
- Machine-learning firewall
- Web attack blocking
- In-house malware database
This sounds really good. Unfortunately, we’ll have to trust that it’s there and it works as everything is done in the backend. No input from you required.
Inter-Insurance is another free package that you get. There’s not much information about it, but it works for those who have their websites infected or hacked. InterServer promises to investigate the issue, restore your website, and try to make sure that the issue would not repeat in the future. All that is for free.
This package can be a lifesaver. I did my fair share of website breaking just to see how customer support reacts. Most of the providers told me to deal with my issues myself as it wasn’t their fault that I got hacked or infected. Well, Inter-Insurance should not leave this option for customer support agents.
What I took from InterServer’s security features is that the provider comes with a wide range of tools so that you can keep your website safe. I appreciate the fact that not just standard features, such as the SSL certificate, are free, but also the more thorough solutions for a highly secure web hosting experience.
Will InterServer customer support help me?
If you ever need customer support, InterServer provides 4 support channels. There’s the 24/7 live chat, phone, email, and… Messenger. Facebook messenger? WhatsApp? Anyone? Please, let me know if you tried it. The provider also offers an extensive knowledge base that is filled with articles, guides, and tutorials.
I have to say this InterServer review was going soooo well until I had to use the live chat option. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen worse, but I was so used to getting good stuff from this provider that the sky kinda fell when I reached the support part.
Wait times are usually very short. Up to 10 minutes and you’re chatting with a real human. Or so you’d like to think.
It all started well, an unnamed agent joined in a couple of minutes and asked my domain name. Regular stuff. But then things went sideways.
The agent simply said that my website works fine now and I should check my browser. But he ain’t foolin’ me.
You see, I know why that downtime and response time peak happened. It was my stress test. And they should be able to see that. Na-ah. The agent simply disappeared. Half an hour has passed, and I was simply thrown away from the chat.
Other chats were more helpful. I was having issues with my SSL certificate.
The agent just went in and activated the SSL. No questions asked.
I was able to see that SSL was working in my cPanel… Or so I thought. It did not work properly.
So I contacted support again. And got straightforward help again too.
The agent just went in and fixed the issue for me. This time, for good.
So… how is the support in the end?
I’d say it’s average. The first experience wasn’t pleasant at all. Other agents were helpful and fast. They did not send me to the knowledge base, just did everything themselves. Which is very efficient and great if you’re a beginner.
I also have contacted ticket support when my payment didn’t go through. The answers came less than an hour later and the issue was fixed.
So overall, apart from the one really bad experience, customer support was helpful and efficient.
Leaving the live chat aside, InterServer has a knowledge base. You’ll find tons of tutorials and guides. The search bar will help you find what you’re looking for.
The knowledge base is a little messy. The tutorials themselves are great, but it’s not easy to distinguish which one should you use – different tutorials are meant for different hosting options and panels, although they are named similarly.
Overall, you will get helped with InterServer. Basic problems are solved on the spot, and there’s a big knowledge base. Nonetheless, not every agent is trained equally well, and you might encounter some bad experiences along the way.
InterServer review – the final verdict
All things of this InterServer review considered, it left a good impression. It may not be a popular choice, and at this point, I don’t understand why. It’s more than capable, and the facts should speak for themselves.
So, here’s the gist of what it means to have your website(s) hosted by InterServer.
|Feature||Great all-round hosting provider|
|Pricing||InterServer equals affordability. It has month-to-month billing available, but you can also get a discount by choosing to pay up-front. It’s great for tight budgets.|
|Ease of Use||InterServer doesn’t have the flashiest user interface. Even cPanel comes with its original skin. But it’s easy to use and has all the necessary modules. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced user, everything will run smoothly.|
|Performance||The provider’s performance is great for the price you pay. It’s as reliable as shared hosting gets while also being able to handle significant levels of traffic with only minor slow-downs.|
|Security||InterServer really shines and takes an A++ score for security. You’ll get not only the basics like SSL but also weekly backups, DDoS protection, malware detection and mitigation, and even assurance that your website will be restored in case anything happens.|
|Support||Customer support was a bittersweet thing to end things up with. I had one really bad experience while both ticket support and 2 other agents were able to help me quite well. Knowledge base tutorials are good, but you might need to spend some time while you locate the correct one.|
So, who do I recommend InterServer to?
InterServer is a good all-rounder and will support all small websites hosted on the Standard plan. That includes hosting small online stores, business sites, blogs, portfolios, you name it. It also has options to upgrade for when your site gets popular.
Alternatives to InterServer
There’s no denying that InterServer is a quality hosting provider. It’s reliable, easy to use, and affordable. Nonetheless, it does have some shortcomings, such as an outdated-looking interface. If you’re not a fan of that or simply need something different, 3 options stand out:
Hostinger is affordable in the long run and very fast. A2 Hosting is entirely performance-focused if you need speed. Bluehost is a modern-looking alternative with nice business features.