iPage may be one of the best web hosts out there for people just getting started with their own website. More advanced users, however, may find a few things to complain about.
iPage has been hosting websites since 1998, with over one million currently up. While it offers advanced plans like VPS and dedicated hosting, its commitment to small businesses and low-traffic sites is apparent with its focus on simplicity.
Power users might not find what they’re looking for, but newbies can find a reliable plan at a good price. iPage is inexpensive and straightforward for those who don’t want to fuss around too much, but those who do want more control won’t find great value here when it comes to cost.
While it isn’t for every user, iPage is a great choice for those just getting started. Read on to see how it compares to our best web hosting providers.
- Easy to use
- Helpful knowledgebase
- SiteLock integration
- Free website builder
- Difficult for advanced users
- No email support
- Slow response time
Some nice incentives are offered by iPage, ranging from features that will help you build your site to advertising credits. While some features, including cPanel, aren’t included on cheaper plans, there is enough to tide you over, especially at the low cost.
Much like Arvixe (read our Arvixe review for more detail), iPage offers $100 credits for both Google AdWords and Bing. $100 will get you slightly further on Bing than it will on AdWords, but it’s not much for either. Still, it’s $200 in advertising credit that you otherwise wouldn’t have.
Included with each plan is a free domain. A registration can run anywhere from $15-30 for a year, so it’s nice to have one included. You will, however, have to pay $15 upon renewal or if you cancel your account and wish to keep your domain.
SiteLock is part of the mix too. Some iteration of the security suite comes with every plan, which is a huge plus. It’s found at almost every web hosting provider out there, but usually reserved for more expensive plans. SiteLock will help against issues like DDoS attacks, spam and malware.
You can use the free website builder with any plan, too. The drag-and-drop interface is similar to Wix and SquareSpace, letting you edit pages like a PowerPoint slide instead of typing lines of code.
The free version allows up to six pages, PayPal integration and basic SEO tools. To get unlimited pages, a custom favicon, Google Analytics and more, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan.
iPage offers a plan with all of the above features and more, and one tailored for ecommerce. The plans will run $6.99 and $15.99 respectively for a three year term.
There are quite a few features at iPage, many specific to the plan you choose. These few show off the strong points of it, though. SiteLock and free ad credits are big winners, while the paid web builder can drive up the cost for those on a budget.
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iPage doesn’t advertise many different plans, so the pricing is pretty straightforward. The top three rates are based on the core “Web Hosting” plan, adding a little more cost for a few more features. For introductory rates, there aren’t many who can beat this price.
The most inexpensive shared plan comes in at a surprisingly low $1.99 per month. A similar plan at GoDaddy will run $4.99, and at Bluehost, $5.95. The advertised rate is for a two-year commitment, but so are the rates at GoDaddy and Bluehost (read our GoDaddy review and BlueHost review for more on these two services’ pricing plans).
For the price, it’s really difficult to beat iPage. You’ll have access to it’s free drag-and-drop site builder, unlimited disk space, one-click WordPress installation, free ad credits and more. The speeds may not be the fastest, but the features are impressive.
More expensive are the two WordPress plans. Both are a few dollars more than the basic web hosting plan, building on the same shared architecture.
Both plans come with WordPress pre-installed, as well as W3 Total Cache and Jetpack. W3 is a caching plugin that should speed up load times for visitors, and Jetpack is a one-stop app shop for site stats, social sharing, advertising and more.
With that being said, both of those plugins are totally free and readily available to any WordPress user, hosting with iPage or not. WP Starter doesn’t offer much outside of that, so the only real selling point is the price tag.
WP Essential is a far greater value, despite being slightly more expensive. This plan offers low-density servers, a free CDN and direct access to it’s WordPress support staff. You’ll also get SiteLock protection against malware which is a huge plus for the money.
The dirt cheap shared hosting plan and slightly higher WP Essential plan offer fantastic value. WP Starter is a good stepping stone between the two, but doesn’t solve any problems that a Google search couldn’t. Still, the rates are very inexpensive and you’d be hard pressed to find a better deal.
VPS and dedicated plans sit in the background. While iPage does offer these forms of hosting, the rates aren’t very good. A dedicated server at Arvixe comes in about $30 cheaper and a VPS at A2 is $25 cheaper (read our A2 review for more on this).
iPage only advertises one form of hosting. Despite having three listed plans, each website is hosted on a shared server, not offering much flexibility to those who want to expand to a wider audience or have maximum reliability. It does offer VPS and dedicated options, but you’ll have to dig around in order to sign-up.
A shared server operates with many different users put together in the same space. The resources the server has are moved to whoever needs them at the time. While there are no hard limits on bandwidth, memory, etc. You’re restricted by what the others on your server need at that time.
Because of that, shared servers aren’t the best for speed and uptime. Generally, shared servers are best suited for sites that can manage some inconsistent response times and occasional downtime.
WordPress plans are the exact same, but with fewer users per server. This will help speeds and uptime, but not by much. To enhance both these metrics, iPage has W3 Total Cache and a free CDN.
While it’s nice to see a caching plugin preinstalled, W3 is readily available to all WordPress users. It saves the time that you would spend installing it, but a simple search for a caching plugin generally returns this one at the top of the list.
To get some concrete numbers, we ran tests at our domain with the Pingdom website speed test tool. Testing from points in the United States, Sweden and Australia, the average response time was 783 ms.
Nothing is on the website we used to test speeds, so don’t be surprised if your load times aren’t that fast with iPage. As a point of reference, our observed speeds with Arvixe weren’t very impressive, despite being lower than iPage’s.
To test how the site would react under load, we used LoadImpact to simulate 50 users going to the site over two minutes. Each user stays on the site for the duration of the test. Speeds were rock solid, which is a good sign for handling moderate amounts of traffic.
iPage also offers dedicated and VPS hosting. VPS stands for virtual private server, meaning your website will be hosted on a virtual machine. Instead of dynamic resource allocation like on shared servers, you get a set amount. It’s like a dedicated server, but cheaper.
A dedicated hosting plan will give you a server to yourself. Plans at iPage start with a dual-core Xeon and 4GB of RAM and go up from there. Prices are more expensive, but iPage justifies them with powerful hardware configurations to support your site.
iPage puts the inexpensive plans to the forefront. Shared hosting and WP Essential show the greatest value while WP Starter stands as an unnecessary stepping stone. VPS and dedicated hosting are offered, but you may want to shop around for better rates.
Despite a clean layout, power users will have difficulty getting around iPage. The site is designed to be simple, almost to a fault. Straightforward plans are advertised through the top bar, while more advanced options are hidden in the footer.
The most confusing part is figuring out exactly what you’re paying for. It’s clear iPage has targeted it’s service at those with little to no web-hosting knowledge and, because of that, finding concrete information is difficult.
An example of this would be with SiteLock. iPage says that it’s included with WP Essential, but also offers paid tiers of protection. There is no indication whether the included version is a neutered one or not which can be frustrating.
For controlling your site, there are two avenues. Both shared and WordPress hosting feature the vDeck control panel. This gives you very basic options for your website, such as using the website builder, accessing the Mojo Marketplace or viewing your files.
VPS and dedicated plans use cPanel instead which is superior in just about every way. cPanel gives you every option you need to control your site in an interface that is simple to navigate.
The issue is that iPage doesn’t integrate cPanel with the inexpensive plans. To my knowledge, most other web hosts that offers cPanel offers it across all plans. For iPage to not do the same doesn’t make much sense. While vDeck isn’t horrible, it’s not nearly as good as cPanel.
As mentioned above, iPage includes SiteLock with the WP Essential plan and above. This suite of security tools will help keep your website protected and ensure there isn’t anything sinister lurking in your code.
However, not every security feature is included with shared or WP Starter hosting. To fully protect your site, you’ll need to upgrade to one of the paid tiers of SiteLock.
The most inexpensive plan works as a detection tool for your website. You’ll get daily malware scans, protection against bots and general vulnerability scans. None of this will fix any issues, though. This plan, just $2 per month, can only inform you if issues arise as well as block bots from accessing your site.
Up a tier is where you can address issues you find. It includes everything mentioned before, but also has automatic malware removal. Once SiteLock finds a piece of malware, it will remove it before you even know it was there.
The most expensive plan is suited to preventing any issues from happening in the first place. In addition to the detection and removal tools, you can take advantage of SiteLock’s web application firewall. This will block most, if not all, of the malware that would otherwise infect your site.
Included with all plans is monitoring for search engine and spam blacklisting. This will automatically check if any search engine has blacklisted your site from indexing or if your site is known to send spam.
iPage doesn’t do a great job of informing you about the security features it includes. It simply tells you SiteLock is there, but not what it’s doing. Paid plans add peace of mind at a price, but a little explanation could go a long way.
iPage has some of the best DIY support out there. There’s well-organized knowledge base and 24/7 phone and live chat support to back it up. However, the lack of email support breaks an otherwise great system.
The knowledgebase is the star of the show. iPage organizes the categories into grids, easing the process of finding what you need. Articles are detailed without getting too wordy, and supplemented by helpful screenshots.
Even with little knowledge of web hosting, you should be able to solve most issues with the knowledge base.
Separate from the knowledge base is the user guide. Instead of throwing everything under one roof, iPage segments basic tutorials and more complex troubleshooting into different places. There isn’t much crosstalk between the two, and it makes finding what you need simpler.
I can, however, envision issues in differentiating between the the knowledge base and user guide. Most things can be found in the former, but make sure you check the latter if you can’t find what you’re looking for.
Phone support and live chat are both very responsive, but not always the most friendly. When I reached out via live chat, the responder was very matter of fact. While it’s not necessarily rude, the support staff didn’t feel as connected as some other providers I’ve contacted.
The only real issue is the lack of email support. You can fill out a form to contact iPage about sales as well as feedback, but there’s no dedicated support email for paying customers. While phone and live chat suffice in most cases, having an email log of an issue can be helpful, as well as the ability to track ticket progress.
The win in support is the DIY options. iPage has clearly taken time to put together a cohesive knowledge base that’s simple to use. Live chat and phone support are good, albeit not to the standard of other web-hosting providers I’ve dealt with. The lack of email support is just disappointing.
It’s clear that iPage’s focus is on those new to web hosting. Pricing and website layout reflect that, with more advanced plans hidden within the site instead of pushed to the forefront.
Those looking to harness the power of a VPS or dedicated server may want to check out our other web hosting reviews for a better option. That said, iPage is a great choice for those who want to put up a site for next to nothing.
What do you think of iPage? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.