The Best LimeSurvey Hosting: Who’s The Best For Your Site? [Updated: 2018]
Compare LimeSurvey Hosting
What is LimeSurvey?
LimeSurvey (formerly PHPSurveyor) is a survey-creation tool designed to help users collect information from (and about) respondents.
Available either as a free download or a one-click install, this open-source project is helpful for creating targeted marketing campaigns and evaluating their efficacy.
Why Use an Online Survey?
Effective marketing starts with good information. The cornerstone of successful marketing campaigns is a comprehensive understanding of your potential customers.
Who they are, where they live, and what they like are just a few of the key components to building targeted marketing that engages and converts.
The Internet provides us with numerous options for collecting this raw data including cookies, data mining solutions, and tracking software.
However, at a time when an increasing number of people are becoming aware of online privacy issues, some of these methods may prove unpopular.
What are Some Benefits of Using Online Surveys?
Surveys are a direct method of collecting data – simply ask your customers what they think and need. While a bit more time consuming, this approach also results in more targeted results and less useless raw data.
Since you control the questions (and the question type), you control the context, the target audience and the information doesn’t have to be harvested from the Internet – you go directly to the source, getting specific responses from a specific demographic.
Users also have an incentive to participate in online surveys, as they can help improve services they rely upon or be entered into giveaways and other promotional programs.
What are the Most Popular Online Survey Tools?
When it comes to online surveys, there are a number of different options. The most popular services are web-based and hosted on their own servers.
These popular online survey options include:
- Survey Monkey
Online Survey Software That’s Hosted on Your Server
Others can be hosted on your own server and LimeSurvey falls into this category.
Alternatives that can be installed on your server include:
Some services specialize in mobile surveys. Kinesis Survey Technologies and OnePoint dominate this emerging niche.
Why Choose LimeSurvey Over Other Online Survey Tools?
LimeSurvey owes much of its popularity to the fact that it is free and open source.
LimeSurvey was formerly known as PHPSurveyor and, as the name suggests, it is written in PHP.
It uses MySQL for database management, which means there is an abundance of developers who can work with it.
This fact also helps make LimeSurvey more popular.
How to Install LimeSurvey
In most cases, installation is very simple and only takes a few minutes. Let’s take a look at how it’s done.
The Easiest Way to Install LimeSurvey
Many hosts will give you access to a control panel to manage your web hosting account, most commonly cPanel.
One of the main features that a control panel comes with is usually a script installer, which lets you install a large number of free, popular software with just one click or two. Most include support for LimeSurvey.
It doesn’t matter which script installer, in particular, it is, although Softaculous is one of the most popular and does support LimeSurvey for sure.
If for some reason a LimeSurvey install is not possible through a script installer on your hosting service, you can still install it manually. It takes a bit more work but isn’t too difficult.
Manual Installation of LimeSurvey
At a high level, here’s what manual installation consists of:
- Make sure your website can support LimeSurvey
- Download LimeSurvey (the latest stable version).
- Upload the files to your hosting server (through SSH or a file manager).
- Create a database user for the software.
- Run the installation script.
If you’re interested in this option, I recommend seeing the full detailed installation guide in the LimeSurvey manual.
Features of Surveys Created with LimeSurvey
Once installed, LimeSurvey lets you create surveys through a simple to use WYSIWYG editor (short for What You See Is What You Get) or a more advanced HTML editor.
What Survey Options does LimeSurvey Provide?
You can set each question in one of 28 categories, and built-in question logic modules allow for context-dependent answers (handy for participants to whom not all questions apply).
Surveys can be:
- Anonymous or require registration
- Set to expire automatically
- Set up so that participants can pause their survey and return to finish it later.
LimeSurvey also allows you to create various contextual scenarios, changing the survey depending on input.
Tokens can also be used and email support is integrated as well.
Thanks to CSS support, it is possible to tweak the appearance to match your organization’s design language. In case this is not necessary there are plenty of templates to choose from.
How Much Does LimeSurvey Cost?
While it is free, LimeSurvey is a powerful tool with countless customization options and a range of features that should meet all online survey needs.
What Do I Need to Know About Choosing a Host for LimeSurvey?
Hardware requirements for LimeSurvey are low.
It requires less than 100MB of storage, a fresh version of MySQL or Microsoft SQL Server, as well as PHP 5.x or later, with a few common modules.
LimeSurvey Hosting Cheatsheet
Here are the ideal things to look for in a LimeSurvey web host:
- 180 MB disk space for installation.
- MySQL database support (5.5.3 or later).
- PHP 5.5.9 or later (but PHP 7+ is highly recommended).
- Root access to install any PHP extensions that are missing (or a helpful support team).
Most Hosts Are Capable of Hosting LimeSurvey
Although it is a good idea to check whether your host supports the necessary PHP and MySQL versions, the vast majority of hosts do.
While LimeSurvey is a free download, it may have an effect on system resources depending on the number of scope and surveys you create.
This could incur additional costs in case you are not careful, but this should not be an issue for most users.
Watch Out for Bandwidth & Storage Limits
You can create an unlimited number of surveys, with unlimited questions and an unlimited number of participants, in multiple languages.
In case you go too far, you may exceed your bandwidth, run out of storage or place too much load on your server, but most users won’t have to worry about this potential problem.
Top 3 Hosts for LimeSurvey
LimeSurvey is a powerful open source survey tool with only a few hosting requirements.
If you are looking for a host to support LimeSurvey, I suggest starting with the three below.
Overall, I think SiteGround is one of the best options for LimeSurvey hosting you could choose.
Even the shared hosting packages can comfortably support tens of thousands of monthly visitors without a problem.
Each plan comes with a fully stocked cPanel control panel, which will let you install LimeSurvey in just a few clicks, as well as other popular software.
You also get a ton of freebies like free SSL (for site security), free daily backups, and a free CDN (for site speed).
If you never plan on having a large site and just want a solid, cheap service that can manage multiple websites, HostPapa is a good LimeSurvey hosting option for you.
They have a limited number of plans, mostly focused on shared hosting at very low cost.
You can host multiple domains on these accounts that offer “unlimited” disk space and bandwidth.
Again, you get a standard cPanel to help install LimeSurvey.
While the plans aren’t anything special for the most part, you can get free SSL and daily backups on certain plans.
Liquid Web is a final option if technical tasks like setting up hosting scare you and you’d like some hands-on support.
Liquid Web is a web host that specializes in web hosting plans with high performance, which means that their plans aren’t cheap, but they can handle a high volume of surveys with ease.
The support team is available 24/7 through live chat or phone, and are all hosting experts (minimum 300 hours of training their first year).
In my experience, they will help you with just about any problem you have with step-by-step instructions.
All plans come with an option of cPanel or Plesk, both of which have a script installer included that supports LimeSurvey.
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