Former champion Web hosting service Arvixe has, after several months of problems, finally returned to Editors’ Choice status. The service, which was dogged by uptime and customer service woes, has drastically improved, to the point where it’s once again worthy of consideration. It boasts one of the most complete feature sets in the industry, with worthwhile shared, virtual private server (VPS), and dedicated hosting plans. In fact, Arvixe’s dedicated plans are so good that it’s now the Editors’ Choice in the dedicated hosting sub-category. That said, some lingering customer service issues prevent it from joining DreamHost$4.95 at DreamHost – Shared and HostGator$3.33 at HostGator – Shared as the overall top Web hosts we’ve tested.
Arvixe’s shared Web hosting plans give you the option of hosting your website on a Linux- or Windows-based server, so you have plenty of flexibility for laying your site’s foundation. Like HostGator, the Editors’ Choice for shared Web hosting services, Arvixe offers a standard monthly Web hosting charge, but it kicks savings your way if you commit to a multi-month or annual package.
The Linux-based PersonalClass shared Web package plan ($3.20 per month) includes a free domain name you can keep as long as you use Arvixe, a free domain transfer, unlimited monthly data transfers, unlimited storage, unlimited email, and the ability to host six domains. If you opt for PersonalClass Pro (starting at $7 per month), you can host as many domains as you like. if you opt for a Windows-based plan, PersonalClass ASP and PersonalClass ASP Pro start at $4 per month and $6.40 per month, respectively. The Windows-based versions cost $21.60 per month and $32 per month, respectively.
These are fine shared hosting plans, but HostGator beats Arvixe to continue its reign as the Editors’ Choice for shared Web hosting. Although both services offer the choice of Linux- or Windows-based hosting, and unlimited domains, email, storage, and monthly data transfers, HostGator tosses in a free toll-free phone number and a private secure socket layer (SSL certificate). Arvixe used to offer free SSL certificates, too, but now they’ll cost you $25 per year.
If you’re in need of a Web hosting setup that’s more powerful than shared Web hosting, but far less expensive than dedicated Web hosting, Arvixe has attractive VPS packages starting at $40 per month. Regardless of the tier you select—there are six in total—you enjoy unlimited email, domains, and monthly data transfers. That freedom is important if you envision your company growing over time. Arvixe’s Linux VPS selections top out at 3GB of RAM and 100GB of storage, while the Windows VPS plans max out 4GB of RAM and 100GB of storage. If you plan to build (or migrate) a site built on an ASP.NET framework, you’ll appreciate Arvixe’s Windows-based VPS packages.
That said, Hostwinds$4.50 at Hostwinds – Shared tops Arvixe to take the crown as our Editors’ Choice for VPS by offering up to 28.5GB of RAM and 600GB of disk space.
Arvixe’s excellent dedicated servers start at $108 per month for a cloud-based server, or $128 per month for a traditional server. Arvixe’s options are more wallet-friendly thanMedia Temple‘s$20.00 at Media Temple – Shared dedicated servers, which start at a pricey $2,000 per month.
Arvixe lets you configure Linux- or Windows-based Arvixe’s cloud servers with up to 8GB of RAM, 300GB of storage, and unlimited monthly data transfers. The traditional servers can be outfitted with up to 32GB of RAM, 1TB of storage, and unlimited monthly data transfers.
These specs top HostGator’s dedicated server offerings (starting at $174 per month), which max out at 16GB of RAM, 1TB of storage, and 25GB of monthly data transfers. As a result, Arvixe is the new Editors’ Choice for dedicated Web hosting.
Building a Site
RVSiteBuilder, a website builder included with Arvixe’s hosting packages, is what I used to build an Arvixe test site. RVSiteBuilder prompted me to key in my site’s name, an optional slogan, and essential page categories (such as About Us, Contact, Home, and so on). After saving my selections, I clicked the Edit icon to begin shaping my site.
RVSitebuilder offers far more site-construction options than 1&1‘s$0.99 at 1&1 – SharedWebsiteBuilder, but it isn’t overwhelming; I found it easy to drag-and-drop text, add images, and change the template and color scheme. Unlike 1&1’s tool, RVSiteBuilder lets you add your own code to the prefabricated elements, which opens the door to a more custom look. In fact, 1&1 requires you to subscribe to WebsiteBuilder Plus (for $9.99 per month) to add code. Arvixe’s built-in site-builder is the one area where the Web host has an edge over Dreamhost, which lacks a site-building tool.
Still, I prefer GoDaddy’s flexible Website Builder ($1 per month). This tool’s creation process makes it simple to add forms, social media links, Google Maps, slideshows, and other items by dragging them around the template. It contains the most attractive site elements, too.Arvixe’s Softaculous library has dozens of apps that can be used to improve your website, including ClipBucket and Podcast Generator.
Arvixe also offers WordPress hosting (starting at $7 per month, or $4 per month with a two-year commitment) that’s optimized for WordPress installations. Arvixe keeps the WordPress software up to date, and it has security measures in place to ward off hackers and malware.
There are two ways to get WordPress up and running on an Arvixe server: You can install WordPress on a standard Linux- or Windows-based server or sign up for managed WordPress hosting (starting at $7.99 per month, or $4 per month with a two-year agreement). The latter option gives your WordPress-powered site the white-glove treatment by providing WordPress-specific security, automatically updating plug-ins, and performing daily backups.
Unlike WP Engine$29.00 at WP Engine, Arvixe offers managed WordPress hosting that comes with unlimited storage and monthly data transfers, so you don’t have to worry about hitting a cap. That said, Arvixe has a limitation of its own—you can only use it to host a maximum of six managed WordPress domains. 1&1, the PCMag Editors’ Choice for WordPress hosting, lets you host an unlimited number of domains.
Arvixe knows that email is an essential part of business and, thankfully, doesn’t try to nickel-and-dime its customers for their communications. You get unlimited email accounts even with the most basic Arvixe Web hosting plan. 1&1, on the other hand, has three different email tiers, each with different limitations that depend on the Web hosting package you select.
Arvixe prompts you to set up an email account during the Web hosting signup process, but you can create an unlimited number at a later time by dipping into cPanel (the control panel that gives you access several site functions), clicking Email Accounts, and creating a username and password.
E-Marketing and E-Commerce
Arvixe’s aforementioned Softaculous software library also has email marketing tools, such as OpenNewsletter, an app that lets you send mail-based newsletters to a subscribers list. Softaculous also contains Magento (an online shopping cart app), which let me create an attractive store in just a few minutes by dragging and dropping website elements.
Magento has more flexibility than 1&1’s Online Store in terms of colors and design options, but with that flexibility comes an extra layer of complexity that will demand more of your time.
All Arvixe Web hosting packages come with security features. Even with the most basic Arvixe plan, you can rest easy knowing that nightly security updates, brute force detection, firewalls, and anti-DDoS tools are in place.
Arvixe also offers SSL, a secure connection between your e-commerce page and a visitor’s Web browser, for $25 per year (you must also pay $2 per month for a required dedicated IP address). BusinessClass, VPSClass, and DedicatedClass packages come with one free SSL certificate (and a dedicated IP address).
Website uptime is one of the most important aspects of a hosting service. While your site is down, clients or customers will be unable to find you or access your products or services—and they might not come back. Note that uptime problems were a large part of the reason we revoked Arvixe’s Web hosting overall Editors’ Choice several months ago. We take Web host uptime very seriously.
For this testing, I used a website monitoring tool to track my Arvixe-hosted test site’s uptime. Every 15 minutes, the tool pings my website and sends me an email if it is unable to contact the site for longer than one minute. I look at the data for the most recent 30 days for each site’s review. In my latest tests, Arvixe proved incredibly stable. Of all the Web hosting services I’ve reviewed, Arvixe went down the least during the latest 30 days. As long as it keeps on this course, you can count on it deliver a rock-solid Web hosting experience.
Decent Customer Service
Arvixe offers 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. CST telephone sales support. I’m happy to report that this help line is much improved. In recent past months, you could expect to hold for a very long time. This time out, an Arvixe representative picked up the phone immediately. And the person on the other end was quite knowledgeable about the company’s various hosting plans.
On the other end of the support spectrum is Arvixe’s 24/7 Web chat. I signed into the chat on a weekday morning, and the person I chatted with gave me confusing answers, and that was after I had waited for five minutes. In fact, it took an additional six minutes for the support person to clarify whether or not Arvixe even offered managed WordPress hosting. I left the chat unimpressed.
Arvixe offers a solid 60-day money-back guarantee that bests many Web hosts’ 30-day money-back guarantees, but it isn’t as lengthy as DreamHost’s generous 97-day money-back guarantee.
Back on Top
If you were wary of Arvixe, be assured that the Web host has bounced back from a troubled period to return to excellent form, offering impressive uptime in our testing. Arvixe’s improved, but still inconsistent, customer service prevents it from dethroning our very top choices for Web hosting, Dreamhost and HostGator. Arvixe is well worth considering, especially if you’re looking for a dedicated Web hosting service. It’s our top pick in that category.