Writing a review of a hosting provider really is like opening a box of chocolates. You could get something amazing, like coffee, or you could get something terrible, like orange. However, my tastes may not be identical to yours. You may prefer orange to coffee. And in the same way, you may like a host I don't, or vice-versa. Enough with the chocolate analogies. Let's get started on the Arvixe review.
*Note: This review is based on the 'Personal Class - Linux Servers' plan*
Arvixe was created in 2003, in California, as many of these things often are. One of the first taglines you'll see on the Arvixe website is 'Arvixe Advantage, the advantage of working with the best'. We'll see if that's true, shall we?
Arvixe Hosting Services
- Shared Web Hosting
- VPS Hosting
- Dedicated Server Hosting
- Cloud Hosting
Web hosting seems to be the most important thing on Arvixe's mind, as it's the first offers you will see after landing on their homepage.
As you can see above, there are many options here, but as I mentioned, the focus for Arvixe is quite clearly shared web hosting.
Regarding the homepage, the word that comes to mind right away is 'outdated'.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. Sadly not, it would appear.
I mentioned that the company started back in 2003, and unfortunately it's website seems to be stuck there. Somebody call Marty McFly.
Let's Look At Arvixe's Packages
The trend of poor design continues after the homepage, as you can see from the packages panel.
You have two options when it comes to shared web hosting plans. Personal Class, and Personal Class Pro. The non-pro version costing $7.00 per month, and the pro version $10.00 per month.
Or is it? Well, let's see what happens after clicking the 'order now' button on the Personal Class plan:
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 tricks are present with the Personal Class Pro plan. Below, you’ll see the prices you’d have to pay in the basket:
|Payment Period / Plan||Personal Class||Personal 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 plans:
|Personal Class||Personal Class Pro|
|Free Domain Name?||Yes||Yes|
As you see, the differences between the plans are minimal and as far as I can tell the only difference between the two, other than the price, is that you have unmetered domains on the Pro plan, and are limited to 6 on the standard.
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.
Let's take a look at that word in a little more detail, though.
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines the word unmetered as: "an unmetered internet service is one that you can use as much as you want for a fixed amount of money each month".
"As much as you want". Sounds a lot like unlimited, doesn't it? Well, it isn't. We have come across this from other hosting providers, too. It's a pretty common use of the phrase since it's ambiguous by nature.
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:
"We do not charge you on the amount of diskspace of bandwidth used in the normal operation of a personal or small business website. 'Unmetered' does not mean infinite, so we do require all customers to be fully compliant with our Terms of Service and utilize disk space and bandwidth in a manner consistent with the normal operation of a website"
Not only is this horribly written, it also contradicts the dictionary definition of the word 'unmetered'. 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!
25GB limit on both bandwidth & disk space. This applies to both plans and is a monthly limit.
It's nice to finally get that information, but sadly it's not really fair to advertise 'unmetered' amounts of bandwidth and disk space, and really only offer 25GB for each, on both plans too. 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!
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 recognise 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.
Evaluating The Performance
There are pros and cons to every hosting provider, and sometimes, as with our 1&1 review 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.
See, can't get more simple than that. 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 terrible, actually. Not good by any stretch, but we've seen worse. We are using the BitCatcha tool, as always, since it provides pretty consistently accurate results. 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
This will no doubt be more challenging for Arvixe's servers. Using their built-in website builder, I created this beauty.
Ouch. Aside from some tiny decreases to the Bangalore and Sydney servers, everything else has shot up in response time. (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! A 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, who 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.
Anti-Theft Protection Evaluation
The test was conducted in a couple parts. Initially, I logged out of my account and simulated a brute-force break-in. I tried entering my password incorrectly for 30 times as quickly as I could. That should’ve made the system think I was guessing the password. On the 30th attempt, I was directed to send an email password reset link.
Looking good so far, as this prevented me from attempting to log in, no matter how many times I refreshed the page. However, simply opening a new tab in the same browser, on the same IP address, allowed me to start guessing again.
So it seems the Arvixe aren't taking security particularly seriously here.
The second test was taking a look at how Arvixe handles sensitive user information. I changed up my name, switched my IP and went to the chats, attempting to gather my own password without any proof. This is how it went:
Not ideal, particularly. Asking for the last four digits of my card number seems like a good idea. But imagine that I've been hacked, somebody logged into my Spotify account for example. From there they could easily see the last four digits the card I paid with, and chances are it would be the same one used for my hosting, right?
That's why it's not secure. Following up with a question about a postcode again doesn't fill me with confidence, to be perfectly honest.
Overall, it's not the securest of systems, but it's not terrible either.
Arvixe Review - Conclusion
When opening a box of chocolates, you never know what you will get. Unless it's a box of the same chocolates, of course. 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 the customer support.
However, the cons far outway the pros. Performance is dismal, features are half-baked and there is a general lack of cohesive and well thought out ideas.
All in all, I would never recommend Arvixe as a hosting provider, unless they seriously step it up in the future.
- Good customer support
- Logo is nice
- Expensive for the performance
- Very clunky dashboard
- Outdated software