2019 August 16th
When looking for a good hosting provider, you want unlimited service with reliable performance. Arvixe makes promises just for that.
One of the first taglines you'll see on the Arvixe website is 'Superior Web Hosting'. A company that provides all types of hosting and has all unlimited plans seems like a serious deal.
Well, let's see if this is true in this Arvixe review!
What is Arvixe?
Arvixe is a hosting company created in 2003, in California. By providing the entire spectrum of hosting services, this company targets customers that are just starting off as well as large companies. Take a look at Arvixe offer list:
- Shared web hosting
- VPS hosting
- Dedicated server hosting
- Cloud hosting
- Reseller hosting
As you can see above, there are many options here, but Arvixe seems to be focused Web hosting as it's the first offer you see on its homepage. Surely, web hosting is something that many users choose for affordability.
And this provider offers the hosting for both Linux based and Windows-based servers. So that should be a suitable option for a very large audience of users.
But I can't ignore the Arvixe homepage. The word that comes to mind right away is 'outdated'. Truly, for a company that's entire premise is based on hosting web pages, you would assume that Arvixe would go ahead and actually make an effort designing their own. That's not the case. I mentioned that the company started back in 2003, and unfortunately it's website seems to be stuck there.
But let's go to the services and see if they are suitable for nowadays users needs.
In this Arvixe review, I chose to test out the shared Linux based hosting as it is the most popular option. So let's dig in!
Arvixe has four plans for Linux based shared hosting: two tiers for Personal and two tiers for Business. The cheapest option starts at $7/mo and its most advanced Business plan costs $38/mo.
These prices look pretty decent. But are they actually so?
Well, not really. Unfortunately, those advertised prices are only for the longest possible subscription term.
There it is. The oldest trick in the hosting provider book! That $7.00 per month price tag is only valid when buying a 24-month contract. And yes, that $168.00 has to be paid up-front. It's not surprising to see another hosting provider do this, but it is slightly disappointing.
The same trick goes with all plans. Below, you’ll see the prices you’d have to pay in the basket:
|Payment Period / Plan||Personal Class||Personal Class Pro||Business Class||Business Class Pro|
*Prices may vary depending on your region
As you can see, you only start getting a discount after choosing a plan of 6 months or longer.
And now let's take a detailed look at the Arvixe plans:
|Personal Class||Personal Class Pro||Business Class||Business Class Pro|
|Free Domain Name?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
So the one and only difference the Pro plans offer is the unlimited amount of domains. The rest of the features stay identical.
As for the difference between the Personal and Business plans, you get the SSL certificate and unlimited PostgreSQL Databases with Business plans.
And the SSL certificate is not included with the Personal plans, you have to purchase it as an add-on.
So the differences between the plans are minimal and mostly the price.
And if you are wondering what would be the cost for renewals, there's no way to know that. As the support agent said, it might be the same as signup or it can change. So I guess I just have to hope they don't skyrocket.
Arvixe Disk Space and Bandwidth
When it comes to features, Arvixe seems to follow the idea that bigger is better. While they may have many features on their list, most of them are pretty basic and standard for web hosting providers. However, there are some nice standouts like unmetered disk space as well as bandwidth.
But let's take a closer look at that offer, though.
On the Arvixe website, there is a little question mark bubble next to each feature listed. Hover your mouse over it, and you'll see some text come up. And the bandwidth bubble explains how that 'unmetered' doesn't mean 'infinite' and according to the Terms of Service it should be "consistent with the normal operation of a website".
So, it's not actually unmetered services. Well, let's take a look at these Terms of Service, shall we? I'm sure things will be explained in detail there...
Oh, I guess not, then. 'Exceeds the allocated amount' makes total sense, aside from the fact that there is no information anywhere regarding what that exact amount is. So you could be going through life like usual with your site being hosted on Arvixe, and out of the blue, without you knowing, it could be suspended or you could be forced to pay them extra for going over a limit you don't even know!
This is bad, really, really bad.
I opened up a live chat with Arvixe support and asked them about this. Hopefully, they will provide us with the information we crave!
Well, there we have it. It took a good amount of probing to get the information! But here it is: 25GB limit on both bandwidth & disk space. This applies to all plans and is a monthly limit.
It's not really fair to advertise 'unmetered' amounts of bandwidth and disk space, and really only offer 25GB for each. And you'd think at least the Pro plan would get a bump up to 50GB?
Anyway, in terms of other features, things are fairly standard. You get access to cPanel after you sign into your account, and from there can control the usual things like domains, subdomains, emails, WordPress installation and much more.
Here is the dashboard you'll find after accessing your Arvixe account. Interesting to see those dials for disk and bandwidth usage, huh?
Before you hit that page though, you are greeted by this seemingly cheery and chirpy little pop-up.
This was a welcome surprise! There was no promotional information about an assistant before purchase, which usually would be something hosting providers shout from the rooftops about.
I clicked on 'try it now' and was hoping to see a list of some helpful articles and the like, maybe even a screen overlay showing where things are and how to do things. Let's just say, I was hopeful.
All good so far! Looks like some interesting content. Also, it's nice to see a search box at the top!
However, my excitement very quickly fell away when I selected the first option: 'The Basics'.
Well, errors happen right? Maybe I just need to click ok and try again. So that's what I did. Again. And again. No matter which option I selected, I got this error. I tried from a different page and browser, too. Same result.
I can now see why Arvixe made no attempt to promote this, as it seems to be only half-baked. It's a shame, as it is something that has promise and could help a lot of first-time users navigate their way around!
Arvixe Purchasing Experience
This one is going to be fun.
The experience of purchasing Arvixe's plan was actually really simple. You choose the duration, select any add-ons you want like an SSL certificate (for $25 per year on both plans), pop in your card info and that's it.
Or, it seems that would be it, right? Sadly not. Straight after purchase, I was unable to use the account. Arvixe had the status of the account, and I'm not even joking here, as 'fraud'. Always a good way to reward newly paying customers!
The issue was seemingly verification. The solution? Sending my driver's ID. Through email, not through a secure connection, just a simple email or live chat.
Oh, and I couldn't even attach the image to the live chat since there is no attachment option, so I was forced to upload the image to a 3rd party image host and send them a link. Again, I wish I was joking.
Finally, it was solved! But sadly that isn't the end of the story.
By the next day, I was ready to dive into Arvixe and get reviewing. Sadly, however, I was greeted with this...
When it rains it pours! Well there is a forgot password button there, and even though I know my account information since I have it secured with LastPass, I figured okay, let's just reset the password and see what happens.
30 minutes later, and the 'Password reset email' was still nowhere to be seen. It was time for another chat with Arvixe's live support!
To be honest, I was not exactly blown away by the live chat support provided here. As you can see, it took just under 20 minutes from the start of the chat to the resolution. It really shouldn't be taking 20 minutes to log into your account, especially when you are supposed to have received an email reset link.
Also, it's worth mentioning that for some reason, despite proof of ID already being sent to Arvixe as I mentioned previously, they still required me to confirm my postcode to be able to log in. Not a proof of address, literally just the digits of the postcode in plain text, sent to them via email.
I don't know if this is Arvixe being 'secure' and creating additional steps to be able to access private information, but if it is, they really need to work on it. It takes 30 seconds to go online and find a postcode of someone. This isn't secure, it's just frustrating, once again.
The chat itself was decent really, nothing out of the ordinary. The agent seemed to know what they were doing, it's just a shame about the time it took.
Well luckily for me, once I finally was able to log in, I had another issue!
Despite a big 'PAID' sticker being plastered on my invoice, my account status was stuck as 'pending'. I was unable to access cPanel, which involves domains, WordPress installation, email set-up, etc.
Problems, problems, problems. It was time for another chat. I wasn't too bothered about this, since this was for a review, and it's good to talk to support for reviews. However, if I was a regular user and I would have to go through all these steps just to get into the account I already paid for, I'd be pretty upset.
This time around, things were far more simple and more professional. It took 7 minutes from connecting to the chat to getting a resolution. It's strange how the system didn't automatically recognize that payment had been made, and it's frustrating to know that I had to connect to a chat and wait yet more time before actually using the account.
With that said, and trying to avoid spoiling the outcome; I can say without a doubt that the best thing about Arvixe is their customer support. And it's not even that good.
There are pros and cons to every hosting provider, and sometimes it may be possible to look past the clunky interface and general lack of features that Arvixe offers, but only if their performance is top notch.
Spoilers: it isn't.
Okay, it's not totally awful. But it really isn't even close to what we've come to expect from the best web hosts these days.
Well, let's get on with it. In this part I'll be looking at three things:
- Host’s speed during low upkeep
- Host’s speed with a website created using Arvixe's website builder
- Server’s overall uptime
Host speed during low upkeep
When we say low upkeep, we mean simple. A subdomain was created in the Arvixe cPanel, and a very simple HTML file was uploaded to it. Barely even 15 lines of code. So it should, theoretically, be a really easy task for even a poor server to get good results on.
Well, here are those results:
Not good by any stretch, but we've seen worse. It's also worth noting that since the Arvixe servers are located in the US, it's natural to see the US (W) and (E) response times being much lower than the other servers.
Host speed during high upkeep
Aside from some tiny decreases to the Bangalore and Sydney servers, everything else is just unacceptable (discounting the US again for the reasons mentioned above).
Now look, if you are based in the US and all of your site visitors will be too, then sure, Arvixe is a decent option. It's still nowhere near the levels we expect from the best, but it's decent.
If, on the other hand, you are not based in the US or don't expect solely US-based traffic, then Arvixe is not for you.
Server's overall uptime
Overall uptime is just as important as server response time, if not even more so. That's why we set up the Uptime Robot tool to track a simple WordPress site hosted by Arvixe. With this, we were able to see any fluctuations in server performance, as well as track any downtimes if they occur.
Well, it's a good start! It's only been a few days since we started tracking, but 100% uptime is something that even some of the big hitters in the hosting game can't guarantee, often having mini-breaks in server uptime for 2/3 minutes per day. That's not the case here, and it's good to see.
Sadly, things only get worse from here on out:
I don't know where I should begin with this.
Our current last place hosting provider, Network Solutions averaged around 1800ms response time, and that was terrible. But now, with Arvixe, that speed seems pretty snappy! Response time on average of over 1000ms is considered poor. Anything over 2000ms is considered awful. So with Arvixe hitting 2500ms just takes the cake. And look at some of those spikes in response time!
The one furthest to the right side of the graph clocked in at 27000ms. That's 27 seconds of waiting for a response from the server. When you consider that some providers like Hostinger, which offer plans far cheaper than Arvixe, average around 100ms of response time, it's very, very difficult to see why you should even think about purchasing Arvixe hosting.
Arvixe Review - Conclusion
When I started with this Arvixe review, I didn't expect too much, but I was still underwhelmed. There are some strong points here, namely customer support.
However, the cons outweigh the pros. Performance is dismal, features are half-baked and there is a general lack of cohesive and well thought out ideas. Not to mention hidden information on limited disk space and bandwidth.
All in all, I would never recommend Arvixe as a hosting provider, unless they seriously step it up in the future.
If you want actually usable service, take a look at our best-rated providers. I'm sure you would find much cheaper and much better offers!
- Good customer support
- Hidden limits for disk space and bandwidth
- Expensive for the performance
- Very clunky dashboard