In 2015 IdeaHost, joined the ranks of budget hosting providers, offering shared hosting plans that are both suitable for novices and advanced users who only need the hosting capabilities of a shared hosting package.
IdeaHost Company Overview
IdeaHost is a U.S.-based (Houston, Texas) company that provides a low-cost shared hosting plan for individuals and small businesses. As a relative newcomer to the industry, IdeaHost does not enjoy the same popularity as other Endurance International brands of the same category (e.g. eHost or HostClear), however, their hosting package is comparable both in terms of pricing and features to the packages offered by other EIG-owned companies.
IdeaHost Plans & Pricing
At its beginnings, IdeaHost used to offer three shared hosting packages, in different configurations. Today, they only provide a single unmetred shared hosting package that is available for the promotional price of $2.99/month, which renews at the regular rate of €5.98/month if you decide to subscribe for a 3-year term, otherwise the monthly plan costs $13.98, a rate which may be closer to the true value of the package IdeaHost offers.
The prices for hosting plans – and prices for shared hosting plans in particular – have gone down in recent years due to the rising in competition among hosting providers. Hosting companies like IdeaHost attract customers with their amazing introductory prices and several extra features that are meant to make it easier for beginners to handle their hosted services.
IdeaHost Features & Value
IdeaHost offers a so-called unmetered plan (unmetered disk space and bandwidth), which means that they don’t charge you for a certain amount of disk space or traffic you use, instead the plan is created to meet the normal usage needs of a small personal or business website. Therefore, this unmetered plan is capped at a certain storage and bandwidth limit that you are unlikely to exceed unless you start using your hosting plan for storage or sharing of multimedia files, or your website goes through a significant expansion and you start getting significant volumes of traffic.
Some other features that come with your IdeaHost unmetered plan include:
- Free domain name for the life or your hosting plan. You don’t have to worry about renewing your domain, this gets renewed together with your hosting plan;
- Free website builder: the drag and drop website builder allows users to easily build a website with up to 6 pages. A huge selection of thousands of templates allows easy customization and those looking to create a blog can use the blog setup wizard to get started;
- Unlimited domain hosting and unlimited MySQL database hosting;
- Webmail with email forwarding, autoresponders, spam filters and virus checking;
- cPanel licence included for free;
- Site analytics and SEO tools;
- eCommerce capabilities: PayPal integration, choice of shopping carts;
- Marketing features: online marketing guides, $100 worth of Yahoo/Bing marketing credit;
- 24×7 customer support and 30-day money-back guarantee.
From the features it lines up, it’s clear that IdeaHost targets a novice customer base, whose hosting needs are limited to a shared hosting plan that greatly facilitates the launching of a personal or small business website. The simplicity of this plan appeals to newbies, who won’t be overwhelmed by advanced features they don’t understand or won’t be able to use.
Although IdeaHost supports PCI compliance, a shared hosting environment is not recommended for a full-blown eCommerce site.
IdeaHost Customer Support
Live chat, email and phone support are available 24×7 for customers who need assistance with IdeaHost’s services. The company claims that phone calls are answered within 2 minutes. If you want to familiarize yourself with the services of the company and want to learn more about getting started with your plan, IdeaHost’s website has a Knowledge Base section with step by step tutorials, FAQs and other useful articles on solutions to problems you may encounter.
IdeaHost Pros & Cons
The features included with IdeaHost’s plans are nearly identical with the features included at HostClear or eHost and pricing is also comparable. Still, what are IdeaHost’s strengths and wherein lie its weaknesses?
Pros of IdeaHost
- Easy-to-use web hosting: IdeaHost’s shared plan is hosting simplified for beginners and non-technical users. The fact that their hosting package includes a simple website building tool and the latest web-based control panel facilitates the management of hosted services for any customer, skilled or not.
- Reliable uptime: IdeaHost offers a 99.9% percent uptime guarantee. If the uptime guarantee is not being met and your site faces downtime, you may qualify for hosting credit.
- cPanel license: Another important pro of IdeaHost is that they include cPanel for free, which is a user-friendly web-based control panel that allows users to manage all their hosted services including creating backups, create email accounts, email forwarders, add domains, etc.
Cons of IdeaHost
- No option to upgrade: The lack of expandability and the absence of VPS or dedicated plans makes it difficult for users to expand their websites and welcome large volumes of traffic, since IdeaHost doesn’t provide room to grow;
- No free automatic backups: IdeaHost performs weekly automatic backups overwriting each previous backup with the newest version, however, restoring from their backup costs $15.
Although migrating from a cPanel hosting to another cPanel hosting (especially to one that offers free cPanel migration) is not difficult, you may want to avoid having to move from one host to another, especially if you foresee significant growth in the future of your website. In this case, you may want to opt for another hosting provider, where you can choose from a variety of hosting packages.
IdeaHost is a cheap, beginner-oriented hosting company, whose services are suitable for those launching their first website or blog. IdeaHost’s simple, straightforward services are easily understood and manageable even by those without any experience. Whether you’re launching a blog, a small business website or a little eCommerce shop, the site builder tool and the thousands of templates available with it, allows you to customize your site without any design or coding skills. Those who need hosting for large traffic websites, applications or large amounts of data, should find a hosting provider with VPS or dedicated hosting packages.