iPage Web Hosting Review
Web hosting for smaller
We’ve seen many web hosting companies which promise the world, yet only manage to deliver a sliver of it. Today, iPage is on our review board, and from the looks of things, this company too is promising a lot. Can it truly deliver? Well, join Cloudwards.net for our iPage review to find out.
iPage is a web hosting services that boasts cheap prices, but A-grade services. A lot of which it offers up for free during sign-up. A child of the Endurance International Group (EIG), iPage stands among a pantheon of elite web hosting services such as:
Since EIG is the biggest name in web hosting, iPage has some solidly legitimate backing, and is in no danger of shutting down unexpectedly. And, they’ve been in the domain and web-hosting scene for close to 10-years now–comfortably scoring close to 2 million customers. With such a strong heritage and solid numbers—iPage has proven itself to be a definite favorite amongst website owners balling on a budget. Let’s find out if their faith is well placed or not.
Also, iPage runs an almost entirely green operation, using wind-power to spark its servers, so if its important to host your website with an environmental-friendly host, iPage is a pretty straight forward choice in that respect.
iPage’s web page immediately assaults the reader with promises of super cheap hosting, American technical support and extra perks worth over $500. All in all, a very generous offer.
Once past the web page, iPage is actually very well set-up and easy to use. Full marks from us on that end. Of course, the beating heart of the iPage website builder lies in the Control Panel, which reminded us very vividly of how Apple likes to keep things clean and simple. Setting up and getting my test website wasn’t an issue at all, and the panel allowed me to juggle several websites at once as well.
The Control Panel is broken down into the following sections, and runs on a heavily customized version of Vdeck.
- Website Creation
- E-Mail Setup
- Domain Control
- Marketing Services
- Account Information
The whole of iPage is concentrated within the Control Panel, which serves as the company’s website builder as well. iPage definitely has one of the best looking and well-designed set-ups we’ve seen in a long while. The first domain is always free (e-mail included), with a secondary one costing around $15 and privatized protection for a further $10. One more thing, there’s no option to upgrade to a private server, it’s a “share and care” kind of environment over at iPage.
Blogging tools were pretty heavily emphasized towards WordPress, but then again, which web hosting service isn’t these day? No real complaints from me on that end. A photo gallery and online store come bundled in, but video hosting and other goodies are off limits on the basic plan. The panel also comes with a very handy list on the right-side that lists all the background information on a person’s website.
Now, iPage’s biggest selling point is features, lots and lots of them. Free ones mostly. However, the monthly special rate of $1.89 is heavily pushed, so let’s take a gander up that goose before moving onto the plethora of features soon to come. Well, first things first, the offer is only valid for a single year, or two. After the grace period is over, it’s back to $9.99 a month. The cheapest offer we discovered was the 2-year long contract.
Since both the yearly and 2-year offers need to be paid up-front, and the domain name itself costs basically $15—initial investment is a bit heavy. However, iPage does offer a money-back-guarantee, so at least there’s a safety cushion. However, when it comes to iPage vs GoDaddy, registering a domain on GoDaddy works out cheaper than it does on iPage. Next up on the table is the “unlimited everything” feature, which breaks down into:
- Unlimited Hosting
- Unlimited E-Mail
- Unlimited Space
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Unlimited MySQL Databases
None of which are truly unlimited. Why? Because there’s no such thing as “unlimited” and getting a bit too Free Wily with any of the above listed services will result in a politely worded letter to desist from further “over-use” of their “unlimited” services.
Overall, the basic service plan is not a good deal for a busy business or person, however, taking into the reality of what unlimited services really mean—the basic plan is more than sufficient for a personal blog or website. Which is really a fair way to think of iPage, it’s pretty perfect for a personal blog or website, and maybe just sufficient enough for a small business.
iPage’s final ace in the features hole is its free credit system, which gives first-time users $100 of Google AdWords, $50 of either Bing or Yahoo sponsorship and $50 of Facebook ads. There’s also a toll-free phone number thrown into the package, but only for US customers.
But, and this is a big BUT, most extra iPage perks are actually trial offers (off which iPage earns referral money) and will continue to charge if not canceled. This makes using the service a bit difficult, as both useful and non-useful offers are bundled together.
What’s worse, some very useful security options are left as optional purchases, and a non-tech savvy user might simply ignore them assuming its just more salsey spam. Overall, we felt like iPage needs to do a more honest and clearer job of how they sell referral services and packages.
Well, the highly promoted “US support staff” was put to the test, and we have mixed results to show. E-mail responses ranged anywhere from 8-minutes, to half an hour, to a day. Live chat was much more swifter and ended up solving a lot of our purpose made problems quickly enough. Phone support on the other hand, was really a matter of luck, both in terms of how long it took support to pick, and how useful they actually were in solving issues.
But, we’ve experienced far worse support on more expensive website hosting companies, and taking everything into consideration– iPage actually has genuinely responsive customer care agents who do their best to solve issues.
Considering the fact that we’re using a budget oriented company, customer service did a lot better than we expected.
The swiftest route to solving issues was using live-chat. E-mail was also a pretty viable method, and the least well received customer care option was phoning in. In conclusion, while there are a few rotten apples in iPage’s customer care barrel, the majority are generally very helpful.
Well, this is the make-or-break part of our iPage 2014 review. The company boasts a 99% uptime at all times. Our tests revealed this promise to be a solid fact indeed. Actually, our tests revealed anywhere between .98 to .78 above the actual quoted 99% (e.g. 99.78%). But, there have been complains from users that their WordPress sites do take a very long time to load.
And this is true, but comparatively speaking, the number of users who suffer downtime or slow page loads are amongst a few. Considering that iPage has over 2 million users, it’s pretty impossible to serve everyone with perfect uptime. If you do run into any uptime/downtime issues, please double check any additional WP plugins or themes, and customer support will most likely be able to help.
No point in having a website if it’s open to an attack from every Tom, Dick and John (I hate Harry). The good news is, iPage does have Sitelock security, 24/7 scanning for malware and spam (both on-site and inbox) and a secured SSL connection. There’s also 1GB of free cloud storage onboard, for anyone who needs it.
However, there is nothing to prevent a DDOS attack or any other major type of hack. Basically, Sitelock alongside SSL are all that truly protect a customer’s site from nasty hacking trolls. If you need tighter security measures, third-party plugins or a custom script will be required.
Well, to summarize our iPage review for 2015, the company is a perfectly decent host for small to average websites, which offers a lot of value for money, even if there are some unpleasant (but not deal breaking) things which must be put up with.
Ultimately, iPage does a lot of things very well, considering its price range, and also goes above the call of duty in other areas. But, it does off-set some of its good points by mainly trying to sell way too much bloatware off the bat.
So, while it has certainly done it best to stay away from the most common pitfalls of budget web hosting, it cannot escape some more of its baser trappings. But for anyone looking to host a small to medium sized website (or several)–we see no problem recommending iPage—but keep in mind some of the service’s caveats in mind.