Arvixe Web Hosting
Every business, even if it only has a single employee, needs a website. Seriously. A company without a online presence is leaving serious money on the table, because an attractive and informative site can draw a slew of potential clients or customers. That means choosing a Web hosting service and setting up your website.
Fortunately, the process is relatively simple and reasonably affordable. The first step is to find a Web hosting service, the company that will store your files on its servers. The tricky part? Web hosts are all different, offering varying amounts of monthly data transfers, storage capacity, email, and other features. Even how you pay (month-to-month payments vs. annual payments) can be radically different, too.
Web hosting services also offer different types of hosting, including shared hosting plans, virtual private server (VPS) hosting plans, dedicated hosting plans, and managed WordPress hosting plans. The chart above focuses on the Web hosting services that deliver the best all-around package. Many Web hosts offer limited features for the starter packages, and then expand the offerings (sometimes tremendously) for higher-tier plans. Read the small type to make sure the plan you are selecting offers what you need. If you need a site builder application to design your Website, make sure that the low-cost Web host you are picking actually comes with a site builder. Many of them require you to pay for the builder as a separate add-on.
You also want a Web host with 24/7 customer support—if not by phone, then at least by chat. Forums, knowledge bases, and help tickets are all well and good, but sometimes you just need that human to talk to (or chat with).
Some Web hosting services offer a choice of Linux or Windows hosting. If you have specific applications that require Windows, such as SQL Server or a custom application written in .NET, then you need to make sure your Web host has Windows hosting. But don’t let the idea of a Linux host intimidate you. Most Web hosts nowadays offer a graphical interface or a control panel to simplify server administrator and website management. Instead of typing at the command line, you’ll click easily identifiable icons.
One thing we learned in reviewing the services listed here (and many more!) is that even though the packages are very similar, they are not identical. Some are more security-minded than most, offering antispam and antimalware tools. Others offer a variety of email marketing tools. While most of the hosts have built-in e-commerce, you may want to consider using a robust e-commerce application like Shopify$29.00 at Shopify instead.
Some Web hosts give you plenty of room to grow even within the tier, and others require you to upgrade to a more expensive plan. Consider how much you expect to grow your website and how soon before you commit to anything longer than a one-year plan.
If you’re ready to select a great Web hosting service, click the links below to read our in-depth reviews of the biggest and best names in the space.
1. Arvixe Web Hosting
Creating a website isn’t easy, and neither is picking a good Web hosting service. Fortunately, Arvixe£2.56 at Arvixe UKdistances itself from the crowded pack with a number of consumer- and business-friendly Web hosting plans that let you create multiple domains on a single server, quickly set up e-commerce, and enjoy unlimited mailboxes, databases, and monthly data transfers. Arvixe could use a bit of telephone tech support improvement, but it’s an accessible and flexible Web hosting service that wins PCMag Editors’ Choice awards for novice-friendly Web hosting. It’s the real deal.
Editors’ Note: Since this review was published on 7/7/2015, we have heard from many readers complaining about performance and customer service issues at Arvixe. We reached out to the company for comment, and Gregg Hawkins, Director of Marketing, said the following:
“Recently, we undertook a migration where a subset of customers experienced degraded performance of their websites. Our technology team quickly identified and isolated the issue and since that time, we have taken steps to upgrade our hardware to improve overall performance for those customers. We’ve heard the feedback and are working judiciously to address any ongoing customer questions and concerns. We are confident that the remaining migrations will proceed smoothly.”
We will retest the service and update this review as applicable. Please continue to let us know about your Arvixe experiences—positive or negative—in the comment section below.
Arvixe has a solid 60-day money-back guarantee that bests many Web hosts’ 30-day money-back guarantees, but it isn’t as lengthy as Dreamhost’s‘s£3.81 at Dreamhost UK generous 97-day money-back guarantee.
Shared Web Hosting Packages
Arvixe’s shared plans give you the option of hosting your website on a Linux- or Windows-based server, so you have plenty of flexibility for laying your site’s foundation. Like HostGator£2.54 at HostGator UK (the Editors’ Choice for shared Web hosting services), Arvixe offers a standard monthly Web hosting charge, but kicks savings your way if you commit to a multi-month or annual package. Unlike GoDaddy$3.99 at GoDaddy – Shared, Arvixe lets you choose a one-month plan with any package tier; GoDaddy requires you to sign up for its pricier Deluxe or Ultimate plans (starting at $8.99 and $14.99, respectively) to receive a one-month option. If you’re looking to pay for Web hosting on a month-to-month basis, Arvixe is an attractive solution.
Arvixe’s PersonalClass shared Web package plan includes a free domain name you can keep as long as you use Arvixe, a free domain transfer, unlimited monthly data transfers, unlimited storage, unlimited email, and the ability to host six domains. If you opt for PersonalClass Pro ($7 per month), you can host as many domains as you like.
Arvixe also offers BusinessClass hosting (starting at $30 per month, or $22 per month with a two-year commitment) that increases your website’s reliability and uptime by decreasing the number of sites with which you share your server. It also gives you a dedicated IP address, a free SSL certificate, unlimited storage and bandwidth, and the ability to host six domains. BusinessClass Pro (starting at $42 per month, or $35 per month with a two-year commitment) adds unlimited domain hosting.
These are excellent shared hosting plans, but HostGator just beats Arvixe to reign as the Editors’ Choice for shared Web hosting. Although both services offer the choice of Linux- or Windows-based hosting, and unlimited domains, email, storage, and monthly data transfers, HostGator tosses in a free toll-free phone number and a private secure socket layer (SSL certificate).
If you decide to go the dedicated server route, prepare to spend some heavy coin. Arvixe’s dedicated servers start at a pricey $429 per month—the majority of Web hosts that we’ve reviewed have dedicated hosting packages starting at under $200 per month. That said, Arvixe’s dedicated servers are more wallet friendly thanMedia Temple‘s$20.00 at Media Temple – Shared dedicated servers, which start at a whopping $2,000.
You can configure an Arvixe dedicated server with up to 96GB of RAM (Media Temple one-ups it with servers featuring 128GB of RAM), 2TB of storage, and a relatively low 10TB of data transfers per month. In fact, of the Web hosts we’ve tested, only Siteground offered less in the way of monthly data transfers (5TB). Dreamhost, on the other hand, doesn’t cap data.
Arvixe has an impressive RAM capacity, but in terms of bang for the buck, we prefer HostGator, the PCMag Editors’ Choice for dedicated Web hosting. HostGator users can customize dedicated servers (starting at a far more-affordable $139 per month) with up to 1TB of storage, 16GB of RAM, and an impressive 25GB of monthly data transfers for nearly $300 less per month. Plus, HostGator’s monthly data transfers—arguably the most-important aspect of Web hosting—top the offerings from Arvixe (10TB), InMotion Hosting$3.49 at InMotion – Shared(15TB), GoDaddy (20TB), and many other Web hosts.
If you’re in need of a Web hosting setup that’s more powerful than shared Web hosting, but far less expensive than dedicated Web hosting, Arvixe has excellentVPS packages starting at $20 per month. Regardless of the tier you select—there are six in total—you’ll enjoy unlimited email, domains, and monthly data transfers. That freedom is important if you envision your company greatly growing over time. Arvixe’s Linux VPS selections top out at 3GB of RAM and 100GB of storage, while the Windows VPS plans max out 4GB of RAM and 100GB of storage.
That said, Hostwinds$4.50 at Hostwinds – Shared edges out Arvixe to take the crown as the PCMag Editors’ Choice for VPS by offering up to 28.5GB of RAM, 600GB of disk space, unlimited monthly data transfers, unlimited email, and a Windows server option. If you plan to build (or migrate) a site built on an ASP.NET framework, you’ll appreciate Arvixe’s Windows-based VPS packages.
Building a Site With Arvixe
RVSiteBuilder, a website builder included with Arvixe’s hosting packages, is what I used to build a test site: superfuntechax.com. RVSiteBuilder prompted me to key in my site’s name, an optional slogan, and essential page categories (such as About Us, Contact, Home, and so on). After saving my selections, I clicked the Edit icon to begin shaping my site.
RVSitebuilder offers far more site-construction options than 1&1’s WebsiteBuilder, but it isn’t overwhelming; I found it easy to drag-and-drop text, add images, and change the template and color scheme. Unlike 1&1’s WebsiteBuilder, RVSiteBuilder lets you add your own code to the prefabricated elements, which opens the door to a more custom look. In fact, 1&1 requires you to subscribe to WebsiteBuilder Plus ($9.99 per month) to add code. Arvixe’s built-in site-builder is the one area where the Web host has an edge over Dreamhost, which lacks a site-building tool.
Still, I prefer GoDaddy’s flexible Website Builder ($1 per month). This tool’s creation process makes it super-simple to add forms, social media links, Google Maps, slideshows, and other items by dragging them around the template. It contains the most-attractive site elements, too.
Arvixe’s Softaculous library has dozens of apps that can be used to improve your website, including ClipBucket, Podcast Generator, and WordPress. Arvixe also offers WordPress hosting (starting at $7 per month, or $4 per month with a two-year commitment) that’s “finely tuned” for WordPress installations. Arvixe keeps the WordPress software up to date, and it has security measures in place to ward off hackers and malware.
Setting Up a WordPress Blog
There are two ways to get WordPress up and running on an Arvixe server: You can install WordPress on a standard Linux- or Windows-based server or sign up formanaged WordPress hosting (starting at $7.99 per month, or $4 per month with a two-year agreement). The latter option gives your WordPress-powered site the white-glove treatment by providing WordPress-specific security, automatically updating plug-ins, and performing daily backups.
Like other managed WordPress hosts, Arvixe’s managed hosting environment is specifically designed for installing WordPress and associated plug-ins. In fact, you don’t have to install the CMS at all as it comes preinstalled. Once you’re logged into WordPress, you can create posts, pages, and galleries as you would with any other self-hosted WordPress site.
Unlike WP Engine$29.00 at WP Engine, Arvixe offers managed WordPress hosting that comes with unlimited storage and monthly data transfers, so you don’t have to worry about hitting a cap. That said, Arvixe has a limitation of its own—you can only host six managed WordPress domains. InMotion Hosting, the PCMag Editors’ Choice for managed WordPress hosting, lets you host an unlimited number of domains.
Arvixe knows that email is an essential part of business and, thankfully, doesn’t try to nickel-and-dime its customers for their communications. You get unlimited email accounts even with the most basic Arvixe Web hosting plan. 1&1$0.99 at 1&1 – WordPress, on the other hand, has three different email tiers, each with different limitations depending on the Web hosting package you selected.
Arvixe prompts you to set up an email account during the Web hosting signup process, but you can create an unlimited number at a later time by dipping into cPanel (the control panel that gives you access several site functions), clicking Email Accounts, and creating a username and password.
E-Marketing and E-Commerce
Arvixe’s aforementioned Softaculous software library also has email marketing tools, such as OpenNewsletter, an app that lets you send email-based newsletters to a subscribers list. Softaculous also contains Magneto (an e-commerce app), which let me create an attractive store in just a few minutes by dragging and dropping website elements.
Magneto has more flexibility than 1&1’s Online Store in terms of colors and design options, but with that flexibility comes an extra layer of creation complexity that will demand more of your time.
All Arvixe Web hosting packages come with a slew of security features. Even with the most basic Arvixe plan, you can rest easy knowing that nightly security updates, brute force detection, firewalls, and anti-DDoS tools are in place.
Arvixe also offers SSL, a secure connection between your e-commerce page and a visitor’s Web browser, for $25 per year (you must also pay $2 per month for a required dedicated IP address). BusinessClass, VPSClass, and DedicatedClass packages come with one free SSL certificate (and a dedicated IP address).
Customer Service Chops
Unlike 1&1, Arvixe has both 24/7 telephone support and an online Web chat—I tested both help methods. I fired up the Web chat at 8:15 a.m. on a weekday to ask a representative about how to import my WordPress.com setup into Arvixe. Before I spoke with a customer service representative, Arvixe presented me with a search box to comb its help database. I didn’t find an answer, so I opted to wait for a customer service rep. An Arvixe rep came to my aid just 3 minutes later and pasted links into the chat that detailed how to install WordPress, depending on if I were making a fresh install or working from a backup. The links were quite helpful.
I tested the service’s phone support at 2:25 p.m. on a weekday. My goal was to discover the difference between regular Arvixe Web hosting and Arvixe WordPress Web hosting. I waited just under five minutes before someone took my call. The rep stated that there’s no difference between regular hosting and WordPress hosting, and that Arvixe comes with the CMS pre-installed. Unfortunately, the rep mentioned nothing about the automatic WordPress updates. I experienced no language or accent issues during my call.
A Recommended Web Hosting Service
Despite the minor telephone customer support annoyances, Arvixe is a PCMag Editors’ Choice for novice-friendly Web hosting. The company’s combination of pricing, tools, and other features put it above competitors such as GoDaddy and HostGator. Dreamhost, an Editors’ Choice Web host that caters to highly skilled webmasters, is no slouch, either; check it out if you really want to dig deep and don’t mind its lack of hand-holding.