California-based Arvixe has been providing web hosting for personal and business websites since 2003, and is now owned by Endurance International Group, the company behind tech names like Domain.com, Bluehost, iPage, SiteBuilder.com and more.
Arvixe has a huge number of products, and the website tries to cover them all. That includes personal hosting, business hosting, reseller, VPS, blog hosting, ecommerce, CMS, forums, and just about anything else you might want.
The baseline shared hosting plan, PersonalClass, seems to offer excellent value. $7 a month gets you unlimited disk space, bandwidth, databases, FTP account and email addresses. There's cPanel access, a free SiteBuilder and Softaculous one-click installations. Daily backups come as standard, and the free domain isn't just for year one – Arvixe will pay its renewals for as long as you stay with the company.
- Want to try Arvixe? Check out the website here
The only significant limit we could see is that the plan only supports six domains, but that's hardly unusual. Many starter accounts only allow one. However, upgrade to ‘Personal Class Pro’ for $10 per month and you receive unlimited domains.
One concern we had was a ‘priority support’ add-on for $20 a month. Most hosts claim to offer great support as standard, so the idea that you might find it worth paying $240 a year to get better help isn't exactly reassuring. An SSL certificate will also set you back a further $25 per year.
So, what do you get for this substantial extra outlay? The purchase page told us that priority support gets your tickets answered by more knowledgeable staff, which again makes us wonder who else is dealing with regular queries.
At any rate, we would find out more about Arvixe’s support in our own tests, which we’ll detail later in this review. But if you run into problems yourself, Arvixe's generous 45-day money-back guarantee gives you more time than usual to find and deal with them.
The Arvixe website provides much more detail than many hosts on the low-level specs of its plans. You don't have to wonder whether the company limits the number of subdomains or FTP accounts you can create, for instance, because the details are right there on the list (they're both unlimited).
Tapping the Buy button told us that the headline $7 a month price only applied if we purchased a two-year plan. That's no great surprise – other hosts often try to push you on to a three-year plan – and shorter terms are reasonable. A one-year plan costs $8 a month, or you can pay a monthly $10 with no ‘setup fee’ or other penalty.
The same page has several other forms for entering all the usual signup information: your target domain name (new, or one you own already), along with your contact and payment details (credit cards and PayPal are supported).
Add-ons include $100 Bing and Google AdWords credits for free (US and Canadian customers only), $25 for a one-year AlphaSSL certificate, $149 one-time payment for a ‘Wildcard SSL Certificate and the $20 a month for priority support we mentioned above.
We submitted our order, the website told us it was processing and our order showed an error. However, we did receive a confirmation email explaining our account would be setup shortly and we were still able to access the customer portal. When we logged into the portal, we noticed our account had been logged as ‘Fraud’. After a lengthy online discussion with one of the support agents we eventually managed to have this rectified and our account activated. It did not inspire us with much confidence in the company.
We received an automated email with a link to pay our invoice, which we did and continued on to create a site.
Creating a site
The Arvixe welcome email included logon details for our control panel, a better place to start than the usual marketing-packed customer portal. We clicked the link, entered our details and were happy to see an up-to-date version of cPanel using the appealing Paper Lantern theme. (If you're not a cPanel user, that's a lighter and less cluttered look than the older style.)
Site construction options start with the excellent Softaculous. If you're not sure what sort of functionality you need, this might help you find a suitable application: forum software, blogging, e-commerce, whatever. These are well organised, you're able to read descriptions, look at screenshots, view demos, read user reviews and more.
If you already know what you want to install, there's a good chance you'll find it here. WordPress, Joomla, Magento, MyBB, PrestaShop and many more are all available, and you can have the basics set up in a click or two.
Arvixe has a free SiteBuilder, too. This is relatively easy to use, has a variety of templates and no apparent limits on pages or anything else. But it's distinctly short on documentation and doesn't always work as you'd expect. It's a plus point for Arvixe in general, but we wouldn't trust it with anything more than a relatively simple personal site.
If you've built your site already then the cPanel console provides everything you need to get it uploaded and set up: FTP, File Manager, SSH and more.
There's no way a relatively brief review can tell you how a web host will behave over months and years, but we try to get a feel for how the company performs in different situations, especially when it comes to support.
Arvixe offers no support link directly from cPanel, so we opened our customer portal instead. This is far less cluttered than most of the competition, and there's a Support Centre link available if you need help.
The support link takes you to the regular site, outside your authenticated session. That's a little clumsy as it means you're now facing a login prompt again, and you have to click Back to carry on in the customer portal.
The knowledgebase in general seemed to have some useful articles but the search function did not appear to be very intuitive. When we typed in ‘Import WordPress’, articles relating to ‘WordPress 5.0’ were displayed but none specifically answering our question.
A search for MySQL displayed only a few articles, one of them covering an ancient issue, the other three relating to the Plesk control panel – nothing to help shared Linux users.
Arvixe offers live chat support which seems to be implemented using the same system (and people, possibly) as other Endurance companies. We started a chat, an agent appeared within a couple of minutes and we asked them some basic questions in relation to creating a site.
We decided to send a ticket. We entered details on the question we'd like to ask and were yet again diverted to live chat. During initial setup we had an issue with paying by PayPal and the site asked if we wanted to submit a ticket. When we tried to do this, we were told there was no support for this current query. Despite Arvixe saying it has support tickets, and having links for them, they appear to be just a frontend for the chat system. Maybe this is what you get when you pay for priority support?
As usual, we completed our trials with some performance tests. Our Arvixe server seemed to be located in Texas, and as expected, US connection times were fast from everywhere. Connections from the UK lagged a little, but not enough to be a problem, and overall performance seemed average.
Arvixe gives you plenty of features for very little cash, but it's so poor at even the most basic tasks – taking payment, email verification, simple product support – that it's impossible to recommend.
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