2019 October 2nd
iPage stands out with its cheap web hosting services for beginner users or small businesses. Offering unmetered disk space and bandwidth, as well as a simple web builder, iPage can be an option for those wanting to quickly set up their webpages.
But let's have a look at how iPage stacks up against the competition with its pricing, speed, and other features. Is it living up to the promises, and most importantly, is it a good hosting provider for your website?
What is iPage?
The company has been one of the first ones to offer a professional website builder, making great websites available for everyone. As the years went by, iPage turned into a giant hosting provider. However, its main focus stayed on individual clients looking for the easiest way to get online.
Currently, iPage provides domains and several options for hosting: shared, VPS, dedicated and reseller.
Although this is quite a usual list of services to choose from, some of them are very difficult to find on the host's website.
For example, dedicated and VPS hosting is only visible in the page footer, and Reseller hosting can only be found by conducting a web search.
That brings the assumption, that iPage focuses only on domain names and shared web hosting. While most of the other services are only there to keep their current business clients satisfied.
So, let's test the main product of iPage - its shared hosting, and see whether it's a product worth using.
iPage has only one shared hosting plan - it costs $1.99 per month, and it's one of the cheapest options available on the market. In addition to that, you'll also get a free domain for the first 12 months as an added bonus.
However, these promoted prices are only available when choosing the longest possible plan. What may also be inconvenient, instead of doing monthly payments, you are charged for the entire period upfront.
Here's how the prices will look once you'll be paying in the shopping cart:
|Payment Period||1 month||3 month||6 month||12 month||24 month||36 month|
|Web Hosting||Not available||Not available||Not available||$35.88||$59.88||$71.64|
*Prices don't include VAT
As you can see, the shortest payment plan available for purchase is 12 months. Even then, you have to pay $2.99 instead of $1.99. To take advantage of the lowest price, you need to purchase iPage services for a period of 36 months.
It is also important to note the renewal prices. After the introductory package runs out, the fee will increase. Again, instead of paying to iPage every month, you get services for the same period you picked earlier. And price follows the rule of "longer period = lower monthly cost".
|12 months||$119.88 for 12 months|
|24 months||$215.76 for 24 months|
|36 months||$287.64 for 36 months|
Just like that, the $1.99 price tag is a distant memory. iPage is cheap to start but expensive to carry on with.
Now about my personal experience. While testing iPage hosting, I went with a plan for 12 months. Unfortunately, I faced difficulties from the very beginning: my purchase was suspended for no reason. In an email, they requested to fill quite a simple form, but they didn't accept the copy of my ID to complete the verification process. Later I was explained that the card was blocked from cardholder's side, although that wasn't true.
Eventually, everything cleared up, and I was able to go set up my page. Perhaps this trouble was a rare accident, but it sure didn't look good.
For iPage, Simple Is Better
iPage's plan is very straightforward and easy to understand. There are no set limits on any key things such as disk space, bandwidth, websites or databases.
However, only one plan being present can be considered as a downside because people don't want to pay for the features they'll never use. On the other hand, the plan is cheap enough and goes head to head with the most expensive plans of some other providers. So there's not much to complain about.
In order to have a clearer look at what this plan really offers, check out the table below:
|Web Hosting Plan|
|SSL||Supported, not included in the plan|
|Customer Support||24/7 live chat, phone|
|Free Automated Backups||Yes|
More advanced users may find the lack of cPanel, SSL package or SSD storage disappointing. However, you can sense that this package was made with regular customers in mind.
And iPage offers some other attractive features, such as unlimited domains, free email address, and free ad credits.
Easy to use website builder
Something worth mentioning is the iPage drag-and-drop website builder.
An advanced in-house builder offers over 100 professional templates. They are diverse and divided into many different categories. Even with no experience, you won't have a problem creating a website that is pretty and efficient in both desktop and mobile versions.
But I must add, despite being included in the package free of charge, it also has two more paid plans.
Those include extra features such as unlimited pages, embedded HD videos, and revision history. Surely, they don't come cheap. When picking a monthly plan, you will pay up to $24.99/mo. So if you wish to use this feature to its full extent, prepare to pay a lot.
Free website protection
SiteLock is a premium name in malware protection. Many providers will offer you to pay extra to use its services. Not iPage - free SiteLock protection is included in its web hosting plan. That gives you an extra edge if you're planning to do eCommerce.
And the SiteLock protection offers more than enough security for a regular user.
iPage provides its users with vDeck. This panel is very easy to the eye but unfortunately does not perform too well.
Plenty of things, such as subdomains, are difficult to reach and require a lot of guesswork to locate. Also, you may get irritated by popups with promotional offers that happen from time to time.
To get the best view of what iPage is really made of, it's time to test the performance.
To test the best possible speed results, I uploaded a simple HTML site, consisting of an image, a few lines of text and simple animation. And here's response times for that low server load.
It would be ideal if the response time would never be below 200ms. Clearly, out of all locations, only Singapore was slightly lacking behind. But for most of the part, iPage holds up just about fine. Knowing that the host's servers are in the US, it is no surprise to see the American results doing so well.
Moving higher up, I tested speed with a website, that was created with host's own website builder. It was very simple but had high-quality images and media data added.
As you see, the performance results were very similar. Slightly lower in most of the locations but doing very well nonetheless. So it is safe to say that with iPage website builder you can build optimized websites and have them running fairly smoothly.
Talking about the server's overall availability, iPage shows reasonable performance in the long run.
It has not been entirely stable, but also there were no huge failures. Some downtimes occurred, but they've been minor, lasting only a bit more than a minute. For most of the part, iPage is doing quite alright but there are certain dips in performance you should be wary of.
The speeds are hovering around the 600ms mark, which is by no means bad, but not exactly fast either. On the high note, uptime has been incredibly solid, with 100% stability for 3 months!
Looking at all that, it's safe to say iPage did stand the performance tests rather well.
iPage Customer Service
iPage is ready to provide you with 24/7 support whenever you need it.
Of course, the host has a user guide and an extensive knowledge base. But if you prefer talking to a real person instead, you have options for phone and live chat.
Trying out the phone services, I was quite disappointed. First, it took me more than 11 minutes to get connected. And surely, during the entire waiting process, I was subject to constant upsell attempts.
Then, the agent herself had troubles understanding my requests. What was also annoying - she refused to answer any questions before knowing my name and whether I was an existing client.
Luckily, both her and other agents I called to later, managed to deal with the simple requests just fine.
All still, I say that I'd avoid phone service if I had the chance. It is great to have it available but its current performance lacks behind many competitors.
To test the chat services, I've conducted about 10 chats to see the average performance of a customer service representative. Overall, I must say that I am impressed with the wait times - took me less than a minute to get connected.
Sadly, it took a while for them to provide the full information I needed. But staying persistent paid off, and the answers provided were clear and straight to the point.
There are certainly some improvements that iPage could do, as far as the knowledge of their agents is concerned. But it could be a lot worse.
iPage Review: The Verdict
iPage has been slightly frustrating. Customer service is not ideal, with both live chat and phone in need of some improvements. The panel is uncomfortable and iPage decision to use vDeck instead of cPanel feels unjustified.
However, there are plenty of things they do well - such as easy to use website builder or unmetered space. Plus their pricing is very difficult to beat and you get a lot for your buck. Although even that is imperfect as the price adds up quickly with those additional features.
All in all, I can say that for amateur users, iPage may be a good place to start. But this provider definitely needs to step its game up.
- Unmetered bandwidth and disk space.
- Free SiteLock protection included.
- Only $1.99/month starting price.
- No SSL certificate included.
- Lackluster customer support.
- No 1, 3 or 6 month period plans.
- Security measures questionable at best.