InterServer Review

InterServer Review
Plan in review: Shared
Reviewed by:
Rating:
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Review Last Updated: September 19, 2017
Summary
InterServer is less mainstream but it's hard to look past them once you get to know the company. The web host is a great bargain (shared hosting starts at fixed rate $3.88/mo, 3 years subscription), has great options for scalability and growth, and the server performance is superb.

Founded by Mike Lavrik and John Quaglieri, InterServer is a New Jersey-based company that’s been in the game since 1999. Initially launching as a virtual hosting account re-seller, the hosting provider has grown over the past 17 years and now operates two data centers in New Jersey and is in the process of expanding to additional locations, including Los Angeles.

Self-deemed (and widely proven) a budget-friendly provider, InterServer specializes in shared; VPS; and dedicated hosting and colocation solutions. The following review is based on a shared hosting account I’ve got from InterServer Director of Marketing, Stacey Talieres. For those who were looking for information on InterServer VPS or dedicated hosting deals – I tried their VPS hosting service and did a followup interview with Michael Lavrik (co-founder) in 2014; you might want to check that out instead.

Interserver Special Discount ($0.01/mo Hosting)

Special Promo Code: WHSRPENNY  

Apply promo code “WHSRPENNY” when you make your purchase, you’ll  get Interserver shared or VPS hosting at $0.01/mo for the first month.

 

To activate this discount and order, click here now (opens in new window).

InterServer Hosting Plans: What’s in the Box?

InterServer offers a variety of hosting options, including shared, VPS cloud, and dedicated server hosting. Here’s the scoop.

Shared Hosting

The InterServer shared hosting plan is a budget-friendly option, at just $5 per month with discounts available for longer-term contracts (using promo code WHSRPENNY and pre-order 3 years, price drops to $3.88/mo).

The service includes a wealth of handy features, including one-click installs, 24/7 customer support, a free migration service, “unlimited” features (more on that later), and more. InterServer shared hosting features, server specifications and other details are shown in the table on right sidebar.

VPS & Cloud hosting

InterServer offers a variety of VPS and cloud hosting plans to provide the flexibility and scalability its clients are looking for. Linux cloud VPS begins at $6 per month, while Windows cloud VPS starts at $10 per month. Both offer a variety of options, based on your needs for CPU cores, memory, storage, and transfer caps.

More details on InterServer VPS plans

Features Linux
Cloud (1)
Linux
Cloud (2)
Windows
Cloud (1)
Windows
Cloud (2)
CPU Cores 1 2 1 2
Memory 1024 MB 8192 GB 1024 MB 8192 GB
SSD Storage 25 GB 200 GB 25 GB 200 GB
Monthly Data Transfer 1 TB 8 TB 1 TB 8 TB
cPanel Add $10/mo Add $10/mo Add $10/mo Add $10/mo
Fantastico Add $4/mo Add $4/mo Add $4/mo Add $4/mo
Unique IP Add $1/mo Add $1/mo Add $1/mo Add $1/mo
Monthly Cost $6/mo $48/mo $10/mo $80/mo
VPS Locations Secaucus, NJ / Los Angeles, CA / Houston, TX / London, UK / Paris, FR / Hong Kong, CN


Full details, visit https://www.interserver.net/vps/

Dedicated Server

Need your own dedicated resources? InterServer’s dedicated servers start at $59.95 per month (for an atom dedicated server). Other options range from $139 – $310 per month (see table below) and offer a variety of configuration options so that you can customize to your needs.

CPU Memory Hard Drive Cost
Xeon E3-1230 16 GB 250 GB $139/mo
Intel Dual-Core Atom 1 GB 250 GB $59/mo
2 x 6-core E5-2620 8 GB 250 GB $310/mo

The 5 Highpoints: What I Like About InterServer?

I’m not going to beat around the bush – there are plenty of good things to say about InterServer’s hosting services. Below are the main plus points.

1. Impressive hosting performance

I run a dummy site on the InterServer shared hosting platform, and overall, I’ve been impressed with my site’s performance. While most hosting sites shoot for a 99.9% uptime (and many fall short of that), InterServer managed to keep my site up 100% most of the time. The uptime history (tracked since 2015) is published in the next section (under “Uptime Review”).

Uptime Score Samples

InterServer scored 100% in uptime for the past 30 days. In fact, test site has only gone down once this year (on January 21, for only one minute). Result is extremely impressive for a budget hosting plan.

Recent Speed Test Results

I’m also impressed with the hosting response speed. Here’s a recent speed test I did to to check the site’s performance. The test site response rate was beyond my expectations (see image below).

interserver feb 2016 response speed

Why InterServer is doing so well?mike lavrik

I did a little digging to find out how InterServer manages to get such high marks regarding performance. First, the platform is built really well. The company uses an intelligent BGPv4 routing protocol. This allows it to route traffic to the closest backbone provider. That reduces latency while increasing speed. Second, the company doesn’t overload its servers.

Many of the hosting companies out there load their servers to capacity, and that causes some serious latency. InterServer keeps its servers around 50 percent capacity. That means that when you use the servers, you have more resources at your disposal than you get with many of the other shared hosting companies out there. You might think that as this service gets more popular, the company will end up overtaxing its servers, but InterServer only allows 100 new customers a day. That way, it doesn’t grow too quickly so it never overburdens its servers. Michael Lavrik also had some input about his company’s performance.

During our interview, he stated, “I think the difference is experience; we’ve been doing this for 15 years. We’ve made all our mistakes already. We follow a proven model for every aspect of the operation from running an Ethernet cable to installing software.”

InterServer data center and builder’s room

The data center power and cooling system is designed by Michael; all servers were built from scratch by InterServer team in this “Builders” room.
interserver-server-room
One of the server blocks in Interserver’s data center.
Michael and I. Photo taken during my visit to InterServer HQ in August 2016.

2. Highly customizable VPS hosting plan

interserver os choice

I tried InterServer’s VPS plan in 2014 and quickly appreciated how customizable it is. VPS clients can customize just about everything, from their preferred operating system to the software, control panels, and required CPU power (there are 16 sets of pre-configured plans right now where users get to choose the number of needed CPU cores, RAM, as well as storage and data transfer capacity). And if that’s not enough – unlike many other VPS hosting providers that require users to pay for bundled software and apps, InterServer only requires its clients to pay for what they need and use.

VPS Upgrades Additional Cost VPS Upgrades Additional Cost
Additional IP Add $1/mo/IP Fantastico Add $4/mo
cPanel Add $10/mo Softculous Add $2/mo
Direct Admin Add $8/mo Ksplice Add $3.95/mo
* Note: Usually what many other VPS hosting providers do is to include the cost of these features into their VPS plans and claim that they are free. With InterServer, you get the choice to go without these additional software.

3. Uptime guarantees

interserver-office
Interserver office at Secaucus, New Jersey.

You know my rule: don’t work with any provider that doesn’t promise at least a 99% uptime guarantee. InterServer delivers with a 99.5% uptime guarantee that is backed up in their SLA (read below). What’s more, should they fail to meet the guarantee in a given month, they’ll credit clients on a case by case basis. Going beyond the uptime guarantee, Interserver also gives a 100% guarantee of uninterrupted electricity.

InterServer Service Level Agreement – Network Uptime Guarantee

InterServer guarantees that the network will be available 99.9% of the time in a given month, excluding scheduled maintenance. If Network Availability does not meet our 99.9% uptime guarantee, credits will be made available to each client on a case by case basis, not to exceed 50% of their base monthly fee. Network uptime includes all network infrastructure including routers and switches but does not include services or software running on the client’s server. Network downtime exists when a customer is unable to send data to or recieve from a server in our network and such failure is entered into our Trouble Ticket System. This downtime must be confirmed by our own monitoring services.

4. Minimal unpleasant surprises + Price lock guarantee 

In this day and age, it’s hard to beat transparency. InterServer backs its hosting agreements with a clear SLA and ultra-transparent Terms of Service (TOS) that clearly defines pretty much every aspect of its service. The transparency, clarity, and upfrontness is typically a great indicator of an upstanding service. Also, many hosting providers lure in new customers with super low pricing for their initial term of service… and then jack the rate upon renewal. I love that InterServer avoids this practice and instead values loyalty; its price lock guarantee ensures that the price you start with will continue to be your price for as long as you keep your account.

5. Proven and here to stay

entrance-of-interserver-office
Interserver office entrance.

Perhaps one of the less (and yet more) tangible elements that I love about InterServer is its proven longevity. InterServer has been around for the better part of two decades – and in that time, has continued to grow and expand its services (not in a boom, but steadily and reliably). I have every reason to believe this provider will continue to deliver for years and years to come.

 

InterServer Hosting Uptime Review

InterServer Uptime Score (Feb/Mar 2017): 100%

InterServer uptime score in the past 30 days (screen captured on Match 13th, 2017): 99.97%.

InterServer Uptime Score (Jun/Jul 2016): 100%

interserver uptime 072016
InterServer uptime data for the past 30 days (July 2016)

InterServer Uptime Score (Feb 2016): 99.99%

interserver feb 2016 uptime
Test site hosted at InterServer scored 100% uptime in February 2016.

InterServer Uptime Score (Sep 2015): 99.99%

InterServer Uptime for the past 30 days (September 2015): 99.99%
InterServer Uptime for the past 30 days (September 2015): 99.99%

InterServer Server Speed Check (New Test)

Recent server speed tests show that InterServer is one of the fastest budget hosting services around. We ping our test site from 8 different locations using Bitcatcha and compare the server response times with other websites. As you can see in images below, the results were pretty good.

Test Result (Mar 2017): A+, Excellent

Speed test, A+ (Mar 2017).

Test Result (Sep 2016): B, Good

interserver-speed-test-sept-2016

Test Result (Feb 2016): B+, Very Good

interserver feb 2016 response speed

Important to know

Of course, there is no such thing as a flawless provider… even InterServer has a couple of drawbacks.

1. InterServer now limits the number of new customers

interserver daily sales limit
Interserver is now applying daily sales limit.

InterServer has implemented a daily web hosting capacity limit to 100 in June 2016. The reason why this is implemented:

When a new customer joins our service there is an extra load on our support department. Often times, the customer needs a little help during the initial configuration. An overwhelming amount of customers are not happy and have been turning to InterServer for a superior hosting experience. InterServer has always been about quality over quantity. In order to maintain our standard of quality, we have decided to implement a daily sign up limit. This daily limit will reset at midnight Eastern Standard Time.

2. InterServer unlimited hosting is (well?) limited

For starters, although InterServer offers “unlimited” features in its shared hosting environments, the unlimited hosting does come with limits. This will always be the case with any provider, though… and, like with any provider, InterServer users are bound by server usage rules and terms. However, unlike many other hosts, InterServer gives users a clear foray into what those limits are, providing them in the TOS.

No single shared hosting account is permitted to use more that 20% of the server resources at a time. A single account is limited to 250,000 inodes at any given time. Clients on the Unlimited SSD shared hosting platform using more then 1GB of space will be moved to SATA.

3. VPS Hosting – Not for non-techie

The other drawback I found is that setting up VPS hosting (I tested InterServer VPS plan in 2014) is more complicated than I expected. It’s doable, but if you plan to go this route, I recommend allocating a bit of additional time for the learning curve and setup process.

Bottom line: InterServer is a go

InterServer hasn’t hit the mainstream yet, but I doubt it will stay hidden for much longer. It has superior technology and customer support, so it will make it to the mainstream before long. It’s destined for success, in part, because InterServer has superior technology, but it’s also because of Michael and John, the two founders. I spoke to them at length during my visit to their New Jersey office, and it was clear that they’ve very serious about their customers and their business. They have a clear vision of how they’re going to take their business to the next level.

On top of that, the customer service team doesn’t just say they’ll help you. They actually do. For example, during a recent crackdown of another hosting company, InterServer stepped in to help the unhappy customers. It set up a team to help the people migrate their sites over to the InterServer hosting platform, making the transition seamless. You won’t get that type of service with many hosting companies. In other words, the performance is outstanding, but so is the customer service. To put it simply, I strongly recommend this web host.

Visit InterServer Online

To visit or order InterServer: https://www.interserver.net/