iPage Hosting review

Shopping for a web hosting service often means spending some time scrolling long comparison tables, full of technical jargon about custom cron jobs and ModSecurity, and wondering why you should care. iPage is a web hosting service that can become one of the best in the business. It features an unusually generous shared hosting package, as well as rock-solid advanced options for those in need of a more robust hosting foundation. This is our iPage Hosting review.

Getting started

IPage shared hosting is incredibly cheap, so we probably shouldn’t be surprised that the company is trying to increase your costs with various optional extras. Daily automatic backups and SiteLock scanning are checked by default; WordPress optimization and G-Suite hosting are also checked.

We opted for hosting only but found that the Pay button on the application form was disabled. We closed the browser, restarted it without any change; we tried three other browsers with the same result. Eventually, we found out what the apparent cause was. We tried to create the account using a test domain that we already had, but when we tried, the registration form refused to display the correct total, and we couldn’t pay. If we entered a name with a more common TLD, such as ourname.com, the problem disappeared.

iPage Hosting review

Baby carriage purchase processes are rare, but at least they gave us a chance to test support. We opened a chat window, an agent arrived quickly, and we explained our problem. He didn’t seem to care at all about the website’s problem, but maybe that’s because he was handling pre-sales questions, and his main job was to sign us up. Whatever the cause, he set up the account manually from his system using our data, sent us a ‘password reset’ email to create our credentials, and within minutes we were in.

So IPage scored for quickly solving a significant problem, but it’s hard to give the company a lot of credit when that problem should never have existed in the first place. Hopefully, it will solve these problems quickly.

iPage Hosting review: Creating a website

The iPage web dashboard opens with status information about your domain and gives you access to multiple website tools in a sidebar and a separate Hosting tab. For example, a WordPress option allows easy installation of WordPress. This is good news, but there is no general platform like Softaculous or Installatron to help you install other apps.

It includes the possibility to set up unlimited 500MB inboxes. You can add autoresponders and change the email delivery settings (send a copy of incoming emails to one or more other addresses). The Hosting area included a web-based File Manager, an easy way to upload an existing static website or other files. There is also an option to use FTP if you like.

A MySQL Management tool allows you to create and work with databases. Vdeck’s Advanced Tools area contains a handful of other modules: visitor statistics, webmail, archiving, scripting settings, and more. Although this works and covers the basics, it cannot start with the features and functionality you will see with cPanel. That is a problem if you are looking for power because cPanel is not some premium extra; it is available with some of the cheapest hosting packages.

There is a website knowledgebase, but it’s not very useful. The content is often outdated (the Email Setup guides are about Outlook 2003-2013) and is missing some elementary functions. For example, the Search for Install WordPress has not shown any article clearly explaining how to do it, even though it is probably one of the most common questions a new user may have.

These are not critical errors, as you can always open a live chat window for quick guidance. However, it shouldn’t be necessary to do that for such simple questions, and these constant problems and issues left us with a low overall impression of the service.

iPage Hosting review: Performance

You can spend all the money you want to spend on a web host, build a great site with the best possible web technology, but it will mean nothing if your website is always down or if its performance is poor.

We use Uptime.com to check website availability and response times over seven days. Every five minutes, Uptime.com downloads our simple test website’s main page and records the results and how long it takes for the server to respond. The average response time was an excellent 227ms, one of the best we’ve seen. Most hosts have an average of about 200-300ms, so iPage doesn’t give you a huge performance advantage, but it’s still very welcome. Especially since these were the company’s most basic shared hosting results, upgrading could give you even better speeds.

The results were also amazingly consistent, as the graph shows. Apart from a handful of very short slowdowns – which peaked at a not too big 429ms, we can’t even be sure that it was an iPage problem – the responses were generally below 250ms. This kind of reliability suggests that iPage limits the number of websites on each server to a reasonable number, reducing the need to fight for resources, and giving each site the bandwidth it needs.

iPage Hosting review: Pricing and plans

IPage bypasses all that with its one-stop, do anything shared hosting plan. There is no need to compare features or weigh up prices, at least in theory: iPage hopes that its ‘Go Plan – Foundation’ – $1.99 per month initially in 3 years, $7.99 at renewal – will satisfy just about everyone. The company could also have a point. Not only does the plan have unmeasured web space and bandwidth, but it also supports unlimited email addresses. It can host as many websites as you need, a premium feature with almost any other host.

Website building features include 1-click installation of WordPress and other apps, a simple drag-and-drop website builder (limited to 6 pages per site), and a separate builder optimized for mobile sites. Extras include free SiteLock security scans, $200 in Google and Bing advertising credits, and a free domain. There is 24/7 phone and chat support and a 30-day money-back guarantee with no questions asked.

Browse through the fine details, and you’ll find some small potential issues. For example, there is no monthly billing – the shortest plan is a year. The website builder will add a branding link to your pages unless you pay to upgrade. And IPage uses the obscure vDeck control panel instead of the more popular, simple, and capable cPanel.

If you can live with that, iPage looks very valuable, even compared to the big-name competition. HostGator‘s similar Baby plan is almost twice the price for the first three years at $3.95 and is renewed at $9.95.

iPage Hosting review: WordPress hosting

IPage’s WordPress hosting programs – priced from $3.75 per month over three years, $7.49 on renewal – enhance shared hosting by pre-installing WordPress, a collection of themes and plugins, and a custom WordPress control panel. The company says its WordPress platform is “designed to increase load speed up to 2.5 times,” and the premium plan (initially $6.95 per month, $10.49 on renewal) provides specialized WordPress support, SiteLock-based security, and automatic malware removal.

This is a fair value – you can sometimes pay more for standard shared hosting – but the list of features is short. Alternatively, the IONOS’ ‘One’ WordPress plan has fundamental specifications (10GB of storage space and supports only one website). Still, it includes staging, daily cloud backups, smart WordPress plugin updates, and is priced at $18 per month (no long-term contract required).

And if you don’t need these more advanced features, after all, IONOS WordPress Essential plan supports a WordPress site, 25GB of storage, and ten email accounts, and includes a free domain and wildcard SSL certificate, all for just $3 billed per month.

iPage Hosting review: VPS hosting

iPage’s VPS hosting plans are relatively common:

  • There are only three.
  • They are Linux only.
  • Even the starting product (1 core, 1GB of RAM, 40GB of storage, and 1TB of bandwidth) is priced at a mid-range $ 19.99 for the first term, renewing $ 24.99.

These are managed plans (iPage takes care of the VPS’s technical management for you), so the prices are not bad, but you get more options and control elsewhere. Hostwinds has ten main plans, in managed and unmanaged, Windows and Linux flavors, and if you know what you’re doing, you can get an unmanaged two core, 1GB RAM, 30GB storage, and 2TB bandwidth plan of as little as $8.99 per month.

It’s a similar story to iPage’s small series of dedicated servers (only three plans.) They’re a bit undersized – the $119.99 Startup plan ($149.99 at renewal) gives you a two-core CPU, 4GB of RAM, 500GB of disk space, and 5TB of bandwidth – but they don’t stand out in any way. Someone like InterServer has a broader choice of servers, more configuration options, and you can find more powerful setups priced from $80 per month.

iPage Hosting review: Customer support

iPage Hosting review

Just like HostMonster, iPage offers 24/7 telephone support as well as an online webchat – I tested both help methods. I phoned the technical support to ask about the difference between using WP Starter and WP Essential WordPress hosting. The customer service representative gave me a brief overview of the differences. My online webchat experience was quite simple. I waited less than a minute on a weekday afternoon to ask how to import an already existing WordPress blog. He gave me a link to an article in iPage’s knowledge database explaining what I had to do.

Final words

iPage has many problems but can still be worth it for its shared hosting: it has many features, excellent performance, and the ability to host multiple sites. It has a lot to offer, including affordable pricing, robust uptime, and knowledgeable customer service. However, the lack of monthly subscription plans and cloud and Windows-based hosting options take it down a few steps. DreamHost, HostGator, and Hostwinds, our power trinity, maintain their position as the best hosting services.

7 Total Score
Our Verdict

iPage has excellent uptime and customer service, but it lacks a few features that would propel it into the web hosting top echelon.

PROS
  • Strong uptime.
  • Good customer service.
  • Generous money-back guarantee.
CONS
  • No monthly billing on some plans
  • Many underpowered products
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