IX Web Hosting has a lot of the necessary ingredients, so to speak, needed in the recipe for an excellent web host. Chat support, a plethora of quality video tutorials, Linux and Windows available for shared hosting accounts, unlimited disk space and bandwidth (although in practice resource use is curtailed within reason), multiple IP's provided at little to no additional charge, and highly competitive pricing (3.95 a month for their cheapest Linux Hosting Plan!).
And all in all, they are a good host. However, as I began combing through their site to checkout various features, I could not help but notice some things that just seem to be missing for no reason. It's like someone started making a wonderful meal but forgot to add a few spices at the end to pull the whole thing together. For example, no dedicated or semi-dedicated servers. Why? What purpose could there be for excluding those features which seem to be big money makers nearly everywhere else?
The answer is a complicated one, but to sum it up: old companies get stagnant. I have seen it over and over again: the oldest web hosting companies, feeling secure in their stable revenue chain and long term customer base, stop adding innovative, cutting edge features and depend on what's always made their customers happy. The problem is, the old customer base slowly dwindles, and without exciting new features new customers stop coming. Eventually, the company drifts into a slow, inexorable evanescence.
But for now IX is alive and kicking, so let's explore what this old dinosaur's still got to offer us!
What Makes IX Web Hosting Unique?
There is literally nothing! Okay, they have pretty good support for developers, especially on Windows. Most hosts have a tendency to treat Windows servers as an afterthought, whereas IX gives them pretty first class support, right on par with their Linux support. That is nice to see. But the fact is, their Windows support is a small notch above the competition. It's not a huge boon, but worth mentioning as probably the only thing that meaningfully distinguishes this company from the pack of otherwise more fully-featured providers.
There is something I should mention here that makes IX extremely unique: they were very recently acquired by Site5. Like, so recent that it was announced while I was in the middle of this article. Rumors had been floating around, and it hardly surprised anyone. This matters a lot to you as a potential customer because everyone is speculating about whether or not IX will be continued as a brand or merely closed and migrated to Site5.
IX Web Hosting's Online Reputation
First things first, we should talk about Yelp. You see, IX Web Hosting is doing really bad on Yelp. Not that IX is doing particularly well on any web hosting rating service, but the situation is especially dire when it comes to Yelp. Out of 34 reviews (quite a few for a service as obscure as IX) they manage to maintain a whopping…one star! That's out of five, mind you. Oh, and lest we forget, one star is the lowest rating available, there is no zero star rating for Yelp reviews. This leaves two questions in the air that need to be addressed. First of all; is Yelp the exception, or does IX have a bad reputation on other web hosting rating services. And second, why all the bad press? What is everyone so mad about? Well, let's take a look and find out!
Before anything else, we have got to look around and see if the online consensus concurs with Yelp regarding IX Web Hosting. A cursory Google search for starred reviews of IX does not bode well.
And if you are thinking to yourself, “Hey, at least they look like they are doing pretty well on hostadvice.com!” then I recommend you take a closer look. All of the more recent reviews of IX on hostadvice.com are harsh, outright cruel even. The nastiness on recent hostadvice reviews of IX exceeds even the already hostile attitude of the IX Hosting customers on Yelp. According to one reviewer, things are so bad at IX that they might actually be shutting down and moving all of their customers to Site5 soon.
Although the rumor cannot be proven at this point, it would hardly be surprising (UPDATE: In the middle of this review, hostadvice.com announced exactly this. They are pushing all new customers to sign up with Site5 instead. So unless you really like sinking ships and the downtime that will inevitably occur when they do move everyone, that's just one more reason not to sign up with this host). Afterall, both IX and Site5 are owned by the same company, Endurance International Group. IX's reputation seems so bad at this point that it is hard to imagine them ever recovering – a move/rebrand to another company under EIG's umbrella might be their only viable option.
Okay, so we've established that the internet unanimously has nothing nice to say about this company. So what are the complaints? I would say they generally fall into three categories:
- Upselling. IX withholds basic features once they've got you locked into a contract, then demands more money to do things they said they'd do for free.
- Service. If you read some of their older reviews, you will actually see some pretty glowing reviews of IX's once high quality customer service. However, in 2017 they elected to outsource their support staff, and according to the subsequent reviews, quality was severely impacted. These days, customers consistently complain about poor support and service from IX.
- Reliability. Customers complain about server transitions, botched backups, email outages, and every other kind of technical issue you could think of.
Honestly, it's kind of sad going through the review history of IX on Yelp and seeing things slowly degrade. At first, the reviews are okay. Slowly they get worse and worse, but IX's staff actually bothers to respond to the negative reviews explaining what went wrong and apologizing to customers who had issues. Eventually things get so bad that the company just doesn't even bother responding to negative reviews anymore.
Types of Hosting Packages Offered
The most popular service from IX is standard shared Linux hosting, for which they offer three plans.
IX's prices are pretty good, but I guess when your public image is as negative as theirs, competitive pricing is kind of a must. And although IX meets that criteria, their prices are basically the same as other competitive hosting providers, such as HostGator and Site5. That's because IX Web Hosting is owned by EIG, which also owns HostGator and Site5. In fact, it seems to be a common pattern that when EIG acquires a web hosting company, quality, prices, and ratings all go way down.
The other set of hosting packages offered by IX are Virtual Private Servers, and two plans are offered: 4 cores and 8 cores. What if you want one core? Two? Sixteen? Nope, they are oddly specific about offering either four or eight. And speaking of artificial limitations, take a look at the operating systems on offer for VPS customers:
On the one hand, they've covered the biggest bases. The overwhelming majority of servers out there are running an OS that is either Red Hat derived (CentOS, Fedora, RHEL, etc), Debian based (Ubuntu, Kali, Debian/Hurd), or are one of the Windows Server versions. Only the BSD family is being left out. But what is the point of this radical minimalism? They can basically have as many OS images on hand as they want to make available to users. It just costs them customers who might want a different OS at no benefit to IX.
Features and Tools Offered
It's a shame IX has so many problems and red flags, because all else considered, they have some pretty decent little tools. For example, look at how easy they make it to get a WordPress install up and running from scratch.
See all that other software they have available for easy install? It's actually pretty impressive. The whole thing makes me sad because the truth is, IX Web Hosting is pretty much irrecoverable. It is sinking and for all intents and purposes might as well be sunk. But they did have some neat features.
Current Pricing Options For IX Web Hosting
This is a bit tricky, since IX Web Hosting advertises shared hosting rates as low as 3.95 dollars per month. But if you don't already have a customer account with IX, they will try pretty hard to encourage you towards signing up for Site5, which is substantially pricier. So most of their current pricing can be thought of as little more than bait. Unless of course you can get them to give you an old IX Web Hosting customer account; which you shouldn't, because the company is so clearly underwater. I would not be surprised if, once everything is migrated to Site5, EIG (the company that owns Site5, IX, and a ton of other major hosting companies) just terminates the brand completely. In fact that seems like the most probable course of action.
In any case, the prices are not bad at all. For a VPS, it is a mere 54.95 a month USD! That's for 50GB storage, 786MB RAM (they will let you go above that, free and automatically, as long as your use is within reason), and 8 cores.
Customer Service Review
As we touched on earlier in this review, their service used to be quite lauded until they off-shored it and things tanked. Of course, now that they are being subsumed by Site5, service will probably improve (but then, why not just host with Site5?). Ironically, on their website IX features a quote from a customer saying, “I decided on IX Web Hosting because they had the highest customer service rating.”
The gall of IX to put this quote on their site! They know full well that they have the lowest customer service ratings on almost every rating site. But we should give them the benefit of the doubt; maybe the quote is very old, dating to a time long ago when their service was decent. If nothing else, we have to appreciate the absurdity of them saying that. Who do they think that is going to fool?
Who Is The Ideal Customer For IX Web Hosting
There is literally no one who should be using this web hosting company. It's that simple. Even if I worked there and they gave me hosting for free I'd probably be making backups and preparing to transition elsewhere.
IX Web Hosting is not long for this world. I strongly recommend against making an account with them. They will bring you only headache and stress. If you are looking for something pretty similar (but better), I'd look into HostGator. After all, they target a similar user base and are owned by the same company anyway.