July 15, 2014 Web hosting

midphaseMidPhase is a web hosting provider that boasts cheap hosting. For the most part, the service lives up to its claim. MidPhase provides a range of robust yet easy-to-use hosting features that will appeal to a wide range of users. However, the service isn’t the cheapest in our lineup, and while its monthly pricing is competitive, some of the features other services include in their hosting plans cost extra with MidPhase. Additionally, learning how to use the service may require some extra time and effort if you’re new to web hosting.

MidPhase provides different hosting packages at different price points, each with varying features and levels of service. Most hosting providers offer this but it’s worth noting because it means the service caters to both large and small businesses and can meet a diverse range of hosting needs. MidPhase offers three different plans: starter hosting, unlimited hosting and business class hosting. The starter and unlimited plans are ideal for small to mid-sized businesses, though the unlimited plan provides the most bang for your buck.

Under its unlimited and business-class plans, both Windows and Linux hosting is offered, and the service provides unlimited hosting in terms of bandwidth, disk space and MySQL databases. This is significant because it essentially means there are no limitations on how much information your site can have (i.e., how big it is) and how often you can update your site by uploading new files. And while the provider also offers unlimited domains, it only supports U.S.-based domains.

MidPhase provides the majority of features we were seeking in web hosting services. For starters, the service uses the cPanel control panel to enable streamlined site management. The service also provides unlimited email addresses, along with autoresponders and spam filters.

One noteworthy feature MidPhase offers is a comprehensive site builder tool. Given how much website design and web hosting overlap, being able to manage both aspects of your site under a single, central portal is both convenient and efficient.

Each MidPhase website hosting package conveniently offers unlimited FTP accounts and a web-based file manager. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, which is the standard network protocol by which site files are changed or uploaded to the server. Having unlimited FTP accounts allows multiple authorized users to upload files to the site under their individual FTP accounts. A web-based file manager is convenient because it keeps all your site files organized and readily available; you can log in from any computer with an internet connection.

MidPhase also offers all of the tools necessary to create and host an eCommerce website. For instance, it offers shared SSL certificates to ensure the security of your site and, with the exception of ShopSite, supports all major shopping cart applications including CubeCart, AgoraCart and PayPal.

Overall, MidPhase website hosting scores high marks when it comes to ease of use. The main control panel offers access to each of the included features, which are organized under relevant categories, such as search engine optimization tools and logs. One thing we really liked was each category is collapsible, allowing you to view only the sections you want.

While we had little trouble utilizing the service’s range of design and hosting features, we did find the integrated control panel to be a bit cumbersome to navigate. When you first log in, the main page is jam packed with feature icons, giving the interface an overwhelming and somewhat cluttered appearance. Furthermore, it lacks in-depth organization, which can make locating specific features time-consuming. For instance, it took us a while to find the site builder tool (located under software/services). Subsequently, we feel the ease of use of MidPhase could be greatly enhanced and more on par with our top-ranked hosting services if the layout of the interface was more intuitive.

The technical support options provided by MidPhase are comprehensive and highly useful. Particularly beneficial is the help documentation that can be accessed directly from the control panel. Simply click on the “documentation” link and you’ll be forwarded to the documentation section where you can browse help topics or search for specific information by keyword. There’s also a MidPhase knowledgebase, brimming with informative articles regarding how to properly use the service’s various functionalities.

When it comes to available contact methods, this website hosting service is versatile and accommodating. You can contact the company directly via email, toll-free telephone, an online contact form or live chat on the company’s website. Our only real complaint is response times; we often had to wait several minutes to speak with a service rep on the phone or over chat. Email response time was typically within 24 hours.