InterServer Shared Hosting Review (2020): Best Value Budget Host?

InterServer is one of the few shared hosting companies that manage to deliver on every single front. Fantastic performance and flexibility at a great price.

  • Starting Price $4.00/mo
  • Storage Unlimited
  • Free Domain No
  • Refund guarantee 30 days

Pros

  • Best value for hosting multiple websites
  • Very cheap renewals due to price-lock guarantee
  • Excellent server robustness and stability
  • Unlimited resources
  • Lots of free goodies
  • Knowledgeable and helpful live chat support team

Cons

  • No cons worth mentioning

Disclosure: if you purchase through any links on this web page, I earn referral fees from partners. These fees do not influence my recommendations.

Review summary:

InterServer’s price-lock guarantee and cheap domain renewals make them one of the most affordable providers for long-term hosting.

Their phenomenal server robustness allows both beginner and advanced webmasters to enjoy excellent website stability and speed. See our tests below for more.

The free backups, free malware prevention, two-factor account authentication, and free SSL certificates are all important icing on the cake.

Overall, we strongly recommend InterServer for hosting websites that serve up to 2,000 users per day.

If you own a popular website that serves more daily visitors, consider WPX or A2 Hosting instead.

Plans and Pricing

InterServer differentiates itself from other budget hosts by offering just one hosting plan:

  
Monthly term$5.00
Annual term$4.50 / mo.
3-year term$4.00 / mo.
Websites allowedUnlimited
Disk space (SSD)Unlimited
Data transferUnlimited

The monthly plan is very attractively priced compared to what you’ll find at other popular providers. For example, Hostinger’s monthly plan costs $7.99.

The annual plan is competitively priced as well at $4.50/mo. ($54 total), which puts InterServer on our list of hosts with the cheapest annual plans.

If you have any experience with website hosting, you’re probably aware that the vast majority of hosts charge between two and three times more for renewals than they do for the initial term. For instance, BlueHost’s first-term price starts at $2.75/mo., but their cheapest renewals come in at $8.00/mo.!

This is a problem you won’t experience at InterServer, as their shared hosting plans come with a price-lock guarantee. This guarantee states that whatever monthly fee you end up paying for your first hosting package will remain fixed for as long as you are InterServer’s client.

So if you initially purchase their three-year plan at $4.00/mo., this same monthly rate will apply to all of your future renewals.

This is fantastic news, especially when you account for the fact that InterServer’s hosting plan supports unlimited domains. This basically means that you can set up multiple websites, for as many years as you’d like, at a guaranteed price of $4.00 per month!

This is the reason InterServer made it onto our list of the cheapest hosts with unlimited website support.

Granted, some hosts have cheaper renewals than InterServer’s $4.00/month. For example, you can renew DreamHost’s basic plan for as little as $2.59/mo., and Hostinger’s for $2.15 per month. However, both of these hosting packages are limited to hosting a single website.

Overall, if your goal is to affordably host a website for many years, or to host multiple websites, InterServer is the best choice on the market today.

However, if you plan on hosting just one website, or if you know for a fact that you won’t be needing hosting for more than three years, you’ll get slightly more value out of A2 Hosting or SiteGround, both of which offer cheaper first terms than InterServer (but their renewals are much more expensive).

Does InterServer Offer Student Discounts?

Students can get one year of free InterServer hosting. We were positively surprised by this, as the majority of hosting providers don’t offer special deals to students, and the ones that do usually only offer a 20-30% discount.

No contracts or commitments required, either.

To confirm your status as an active student, you’ll need to contact InterServer’s support team using an email address in an .edu domain.

For a list of the best hosts that offer student discounts, check out our student discount rankings page.

What Payment Methods Does InterServer Accept?

Officially, InterServer accepts payments via credit card and PayPal only.

You can also contact their billing department and request payment via bank transfer or check, although these methods are usually only available for larger transactions ($1,000 or more).

Overall, this is all in line with industry standards.

If you need access to a larger variety of payment options, take a look at A2 Hosting.

Are InterServer’s Prices Negotiable?

Unfortunately no; InterServer’s prices are fixed. However, considering how affordable they are, we don’t think this is a problem.

You may want to take a look at our list of the best hosts with negotiable prices if you’re in the mood for some bargaining.

Does InterServer Offer Discounts for Non-Profits?

They do. In fact, InterServer offers the best discount there is – free hosting for the entire life of your non-profit organization.

To take advantage of this offer, email [email protected] a photocopy of your IRS 501(C)(3) tax identification letter. This is a mandatory requirement.

For more on non-profit hosting, take a look at our non-profit website hosting recommendations.

Features and Server Resources

How Much Data Transfer (Bandwidth) Do You Get?

InterServer’s shared hosting plan comes with unlimited data transfer.

However, this doesn’t mean that your websites can support an endless influx of visitors.

“Unlimited data transfer” means that you don’t need to worry about data transfer until your website exceeds a certain level of popularity.

But how popular is “too” popular?

We asked InterServer’s live chat agent this very question, and she told us that their shared hosting is suitable for websites with up to 1,500 – 2,000 daily visitors.

This is normal; the vast majority of cheap shared hosting providers with unlimited data transfer tell us that around 2,000 daily users is the maximum their servers can handle regularly without taking a performance hit.

Is 1,5000-2,000 per day a lot? This depends. The vast majority of websites (personal blogs, small e-commerce stores, small-business websites) require years of consistent growth to reach a point where they can count on such levels of traffic.

So if you’re planning on launching a new website, it will likely be a few years before your needs outgrow InterServer’s ability to deliver.

However, if your website is already quite popular and regularly receives a few thousand visitors per day, consider a host with dedicated resources, such as WP Engine or WPX.

How Much Disk Storage Space Do You Get?

InterServer offers unlimited storage on their shared hosting plan.

Additionally, all of your files will be stored on lightning-fast solid-state (SSD) drives, which will improve the loading speed of your website(s).

This is great news, as many hosts charge an extra fee for SSD drives, whereas this is the default option at InterServer.

How Many Websites Can You Host?

As we already noted, the great thing about InterServer is that you can host as many domains/websites as you like.

For more quality hosts that allow unlimited domains, see our best hosts with unlimited websites rankings page.

Is There an Inode Limit at InterServer?

An Inode limit determines the maximum number of files you are allowed to store on your server.

InterServer’s Inode limit is 250,000. This is a typical limit for hosting plans in this price bracket. It’s more than enough to support a single WordPress (WP) website, and can even be enough to support 25-40 websites, depending on how complex they are.

Overall, this limit is more than what 99.5% of website owners will ever need.

If you plan on hosting a WordPress website, check out our guide to WordPress Inode requirements for more information.

There are hosts with higher Inode limits out there even at this price point, for example Hostinger (800,000) and A2 Hosting (600,000). Unfortunately, most of them limit the number of websites you can host to just one, which means that you’ll never be in a position to take advantage of the higher Inode limit (there are very few websites in the world that require more than 150,000 Inodes).  A very high Inode limit is usually only a plus if you are planning to host multiple websites.

Check out our list of hosts with the highest Inode limits in the industry if InterServer’s limit is too low for you.

Is There a Limit To The Number and Size of MySQL Databases?

InterServer allows you to create as many MySql databases as you need, and there is no limit on the maximum size of these databases.

We found this refreshing, as many budget hosts limit the number of databases you can create on their cheapest plan; for example, A2 Hosting has a five database limit, while GoDaddy only allows one database.

Email Limits

InterServer lets you create unlimited email accounts, which is great news.

As far as sending limits, you can send up to 200 emails per hour for all email accounts combined. This will be enough for all business and personal communications but probably not enough for any serious marketing campaigns.

InterServer has one of the most conservative email sending limits in the industry. For contrast, Bluehost allows up to 750 emails per email account per hour, while HostGator allows up to 500 emails per hour.

If a high email sending limit is a priority for you, check out our rankings of hosts by email sending limits.

Does InterServer offer dedicated IP addresses (Advanced Webmasters)?

Yes. A dedicated IP costs $3.00 per month:

Interserver Shared Hosting - dedicated IP address

Is There a Concurrent Database Connections Limit (Advanced Webmasters)?

According to InterServer’s tech support team, concurrent database connections are limited to between 40 and 75 per database user.

Further reading: best web hosts with high database connection limits.

Ease of Use and Interface Functionality

Does InterServer’s Shared Hosting Include cPanel?

InterServer includes free access to cPanel with all their shared hosting accounts. Through cPanel, you can perform a range of useful activities, including:

To name a few.

What Does InterServer’s User Dashboard Look Like?

InterServer comes with your average run-of-the-mill user dashboard, which looks like this:

Interserver Shared Hosting - control panel

The interface is quite self-explanatory and offers quick access to the most pertinent features: webmail, cPanel, account subscription details, and default DNS nameservers.

Not the most aesthetically pleasing of interfaces, but it gets the job done.

How Can You Access Your Website’s Files?

We were able to access our files one of two ways:

  1. By creating an FTP account through cPanel, then connecting to that account using the free FileZilla FTP Manager application
  2. Through the cPanel File Manager

Additionally, advanced users cancontact InterServer’s support and ask them to enable access via SSH (Secure Shell).

Website Load Speed Test

We set up a test website on our InterServer hosting account following our standard testing procedure.

We then used a premium tool, called GTMetrix, to automatically check our test website’s load speed once per hour over two consecutive days – that’s a total of 48 speed measurements.

The results:

(Fluctuations like these are normal and expected in a shared hosting environment.)

Ideally, you want your website to always load in three seconds or less for optimal user experience.

Overall, InterServer outperformed just about every host we’ve ever tested – including providers that charge twice as much for their services.

Here’s a chart outlining all the speed tests we conducted for InterServer:

Interserver Shared Hosting - load time test

Website Performance Under Heavy Traffic Test

Hourly website load speed tests like those we described above don’t tell the whole story.

We also want to see how the website performs when it experiences a sudden onslaught of traffic (as can be the case during peak traffic hours, or when a link to your website gets traction on social media).

To test this, we used LoadImpact to simulate the type of activity and server load that a website experiences when 50 users browse it simultaneously.

We wanted to see if the server’s response time (the time it takes to “react” to a user’s request for website content) remained mostly stable as the number of active website users ramped up.

Results:

See this page for detailed technical results, or take a look at the chart below for a summary:

Interserver Shared Hosting - load impact test

This is an excellent result. It suggests that InterServer’s servers are robust and that a website hosted with them should perform consistently well – both during times of very slow activity, as well as when traffic rises unexpectedly. This is very good news for all webmasters.

Many popular shared hosting providers perform very poorly on this test. For example, Bluehost, GoDaddy, and HostGator – three of the largest hosting companies in the world – have difficulty handling 15 simultaneous users, let alone fifty. This causes a lot of stability issues for many of their users.

Overall, InterServer’s hosting remains robust in the face of increased user activity. If you host with them, you won’t need to worry about switching providers the moment your website begins receiving meaningful traffic.

Safety and Security

Does InterServer Backup Your Websites?

Every shared hosting account at InterServer comes with the following:

Important caveat: if the total size of your website exceeds 11 GB, free automated backups will be disabled for your account. When this happens, InterServer will send you an email notification.

Remember that you can manually create a backup of all your websites via cPanel at any time, too.

Finally, if you’d like more control of your backup schedule, or if you don’t want to be restricted by the 11 GB limit, you can purchase InterServer’s premium backup service, which costs between $0.02 and $0.05 per GB of backups, depending on how many Gigabytes you need:

Interserver Shared Hosting - premium backup service

For example, 30 GB of premium backups would set you back $1.50 per month.

Further reading: best hosts with free backups.

Does InterServer Offer Free Malware Scans?

Like the majority of shared hosting providers, InterServer offers free malware detection.

InterServer uses the ClamAV antivirus, as well as its own proprietary malware detection engine dubbed InterShield.

They will scan your website(s) daily and send you an email if they detect an infection. From this point, it will be up to you to deal with the infection – either by employing a professional malware cleaning service such as Sucuri or by manually replacing the infected files with clean versions.

This isn’t ideal, but it’s how things work at pretty much all shared hosting companies.

As far as we know, there are only a handful of budget hosts that offer both free malware prevention and removal – you can find them on this page.

Is 2-Factor Login Authentication (2FA) Available?

InterServer added two-factor authentication in January of 2020.

To activate 2FA, install the Google Authenticator app on your smartphone. Next, log into your InterServer account, select Account Security under Settings in the top menu, then click on the Two Factor Authentication tab. Click the Enable button, then scan the shown barcode using Google Authenticator.

From this point on, you’ll need to generate a one-time code from the application on your phone in order to log into your InterServer admin account – in addition to providing your password, of course.

Free SSL Certificates?

Like all hosting providers worth their salt, InterServer offers a free SSL certificate for each website you host with them.

In this case, it’s a self-issued certificate generated by cPanel. You don’t need to take any special actions to install the certificate; simply add a domain to your account and cPanel will automatically create and sign the certificate for you.

Additional Services and Freebies

Free Domain?

Unfortunately, you won’t get a free domain from InterServer.

However, they offer new customers the opportunity to purchase a single domain for one year at a significantly discounted price of $1.99. Not as good as a free domain, to be sure, but close.

After the first year, you’ll pay InterServer’s regular domain registration fee, which varies from one extension to another. Here are example prices for the most popular domain extensions:

TLDAnnual price
.com$11.00
.net$11.00
.org$11.00

$11 is highly competitive– it’s similar to the price you’ll get at Namecheap.com, one of the cheapest domain registrars in the world.

Most hosting providers with offer a free domain for the first year charge between $14 and $17 per year for domain renewal. So while they won’t charge you $1.99 for the first year, they’ll charge you $3-$6 more per year than InterServer does after the first year. This makes it cheaper to host a domain with InterServer in the long term, despite the $1.99 fee you incur during the first year.

As a result of the above, we consider InterServer’s domain offering ($1.99 for the first year, then $11 per year after that) to be highly competitive overall.

Still, if a free domain with your hosting is a priority for you, take a look at our best affordable hosts with a free domain page.

Free Website Migration?

Like the majority of shared hosting providers, InterServer offers new customers free migration of one cPanel account.

You can initiate the migration process by logging into your InterServer dashboard, clicking the gear-shaped “Settings” button next to your hosting package, and choosing the Migrate Website option from the menu. This will redirect you to the migration request form:

InterServer Shared Hosting - Migration Request Form

The form states that a typical migration takes between 2 and 3 days.

If you’re an experienced webmaster, you can complete the migration process much faster (usually in less than an hour) by performing it yourself. Just log into your old server’s cPanel dashboard, download a backup of your account, then upload the backup file via your InterServer’s cPanel.

Refunds and Cancellations

Does InterServer Offer a Money-Back Trial Period?

InterServer’s shared hosting package is subject to a 30-day money-back guarantee.

To receive a refund, cancel your account through the InterServer dashboard, then send an email to [email protected] with a refund request.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you take advantage of the promotional domain pricing for new customers ($1.99 for your first domain) and request a refund, InterServer will subtract an amount equal to the non-promotional price of the domain (usually $11) from the refund amount.

For example, if you buy their 12-month hosting plan for $54 and purchase a .com domain at the discounted price of $1.99, your total invoice will amount to $54 + $1.99 = $55.99. If you request a full refund, you’ll receive $55.99 – $11 = $44.99 back.

The above is standard practice in the web hosting industry, so no surprises here.

If you’re looking for hosts with longer money-back guarantees, check out our list of hosts with the longest money-back guarantees.

Can You Refund Unused Subscription Months (Pro-Rated Refunds)?

Unfortunately, InterServer doesn’t offer refunds on unused subscription months; check out our list of hosts with pro-rated refunds for providers that do.

Our Money-Back Request, Documented

We put InterServer’s refund policy to the test as soon as we finished reviewing their hosting service.

First, we logged into our InterServer account, navigated to the settings page of our hosting package, and clicked the big Cancel Website button.

This redirected us to the website cancellation form:

Interserver Shared Hosting - cancel websites form

After entering our reason for canceling (“No longer require hosting” in our case), we clicked the continue button.

Somewhat confusingly, this redirected us back to the InterServer dashboard – we did not see a message confirming cancellation.

However, after looking more closely at the dashboard, we noticed the word “canceled” next to the billing status of our account:

Interserver shared hosting - cancellation confirmation image

So far so good.

We then got in touch with InterServer’s live chat support to inquire about our refund:

Interserver shared hosting - cancellation chat

Support agent Sandar told us that we need to request our refund by contacting [email protected]

We feel that this step is an unnecessary inconvenience – refunds should be issued automatically after a user cancels their account – that’s how A2 Hosting handles refunds, for example.

Still, we sent the email as requested. An hour later, we received an email from PayPal:

InterServer Shared Hosting - Paypal refund confirmation

Overall, it took slightly over an hour to receive our money back.

Live Chat Customer Support Quality

InterServer’s live chat is available 24/7, and the typical queue time is 1-2 minutes, which is similar to what you’ll experience at most hosts (except GoDaddy, where live chat queue times can be longer than an hour).

We have a list of around 40 questions – both technical and pre-sale in nature – that we send out to any hosting provider that we review. We do this to get a feel for their responsiveness and competence.

The customer support agent was quick to reply and provided detailed and accurate answers. He was obviously not a native English speaker but had a very good command of the language.

Over the next few days, we contacted multiple other support representatives with follow-up questions, and we were happy with the quality of the support we received.

Overall, the support team at InterServer is dedicated and helpful. Probably not as good as what we experienced at SiteGround, but close.

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