Today we have, for your entertainment, a rousing game of Host Versus Host. HostGator and IX Web Hosting will be vying for points to determine which one of them offers the better shared hosting. Well, let’s get right into the game, shall we?
Their features are collectively similar, both of them offering the basics. There are, however, a few differences here and there between the two. Here is a list of differences in their features. As you look through the list, keep in mind that very every difference, there are 2 to 3 similarities between the two. So, even though this list might look long, it’s not actually THAT long. Also, keep in mind that this is only a comparison of each of their respective cheapest offerings, and that the differences tend to get even smaller as their respective prices go up.
IX Web Hosting
|Number of Domains||Unlimited||1|
|Dedicated IP Addresses||2||None|
|International Domain Support||Yes||Unspecified|
|Single Mailbox Max||2GB||Unspecified|
|Total Mailbox Max||2GB||Unspecified|
|Total SQL Database Max||1GB||Unspecified|
|IronPort Spam Filter||Yes||No|
|Spam Assassin Protection||No||Yes|
|UPS Backup Power||Yes||Unspecified|
|Flash and Shockwave Support||Yes||Unspecified|
|MIDI File Support||Yes||Unspecified|
|Real Audio and Video Support||Yes||Unspecified|
|Custom MIME Types||Yes||Unspecified|
|Email Catch Alls||Unspecified||Yes|
|Without a Contract||No||Yes|
|45 Day Money Back Guarantee||No||Yes|
Just a note: unspecified does not necessarily mean that they do not support it, it simply means that they make no claim to support it on their site. It does, however, mean that there is a chance that they do not support it. Furthermore, bolded items are more likely to be important compared to the other items.
As you can see, at least at the base level, IX Web Hosting definitely has a wider breadth of features. However, as our HostGator Review points out, they have all the essentials of a shared web host.
IX Web Hosting earns 1 point for having more features.
To get detailed pricing for IX Web Hosting, you actually have to start the ordering process. This is annoying, but you can always start the order process and quit it once you find the information you need. It’s much easier to see HostGator’s prices, which is good, but doesn’t necessarily make them the best. Let’s see what the prices come out to:
Term of Commitment
IX Web Hosting
It looks like IX Web Hosting wins for any long-term commitment. However, something important to note is that they are currently in a promotional period right now that shaves off $3.00 a month for the longer terms. So, the 3 year plan could increase back to $250.20 at any time, which would make HostGator the cheapest. They don’t provide all of their normal rates right now, so it’s unfortunately not possible to determine how expensive their 12 month option normally is.
Both IX Web Hosting and HostGator earn 1 point for being a better deal… sometimes.
Terms of Service
HostGator’s Terms of Service seems more strict than IX Web Hosting’s does. For example, it includes a fairly long list of topics that their customers aren’t allowed to host on their websites, including a few things that seem relatively harmless like investment sites and even some online games (RPG’s, a.k.a. Role Playing Games, and MUD’s, a.k.a. Multi-User Dungeon games, for example). They also have very strict guidelines about how much of the server’s resources you can use. For example, using more than 25% of a server’s resources for more than 90 seconds at a time can get your account suspended or banned, which is problematic since it’s impossible to actually know how much of the server’s resources you are using.
HostGator loses 1 point for being so strict.
Almost every shared web host uses cPanel as their Control Panel of choice. HostGator is no different, and they use a fairly standard cPanel configuration, complete with Fantastico, which is great for quickly installing a number of things (like WordPress). IX Web Hosting does not use cPanel, though. Our IX Web Hosting Review states that IX Web Hosting uses a variation of H-Sphere, which is old and kinda tacky, but performs all the essential functions in a straightforward manner. But, if you want a familiar Control Panel, IX Web Hosting is likely lacking in that area.
HostGator earns 1 point for being familiar.
Both HostGator and IX Web Hosting have excellent customer support. They both provide support 24 hours a day through multiple avenues, they answer questions clearly and quickly, and there’s not really anything to complain about. However, IX Web Hosting does get a slight 1-up for having a call center in the USA, ensuring that you can understand what is being said when you call them. So, in this area, IX Web Hosting does better… but barely.
IX Web Hosting earns 1 point for having a US-based call center.
The Final Score
IX Web Hosting: 3
It would appear that, as it stands right now, IX Web Hosting is the winner. Lower prices, more features, and their terms of service aren’t quite as strict. However, they may only be a clear winner while their promotion is going. Once that promotion wears off, they won’t have lower prices, and that could make the comparison that much more difficult. For now, though, I can personally recommend IX Web Hosting over HostGator.
–March 2010, Steve Miller