iPage Review – Does the Super Cheap Pricing Come with a Catch?
Shared hosting is all about the pricing. It’s the cheapest type of hosting you can go for, but if you’re wise with the hosting provider you go with, it can work out incredibly well for you.
The right type of shared hosting providers offer an incredible balance between performance and affordability, meaning that customers don’t have to compromise on the performance just because they are on a budget with their online endeavors.
However, things often get a little tricky when you go cheaper than cheap – which is probably the case with iPage. While there’s little doubt that some of the other hosting companies that EIG (Endurance International Group) owns offer a great service, potential customers tend to be a bit more concerned when it comes to its cheapest hosting service, iPage.
And there’s a reason for that. iPage indeed seems to be the cheapest of the lot, especially when we consider the most reputed hosting companies on the market. So, is there a catch? Well, let’s find out in our extremely detailed iPage review below.
Understanding Shared Hosting
Well, before we get to our iPage review, it makes sense to understand everything there is to know about shared hosting. This will help you ensure that shared hosting would actually serve you well, and not something you’re going with just to save a few bucks.
With that said, you probably already know that shared hosting is as cheap as any type of hosting can get. However, the good thing is that if you go with the right shared hosting service, the affordability is often coupled with enough resources for your website.
So unless your site is really huge and is getting millions of hits (visitors) a month, it may not have a problem functioning the way it should on a cheap shared hosting plan.
But things aren’t as simple with shared hosting. This is primarily due to the issue of bad neighborhood, which can negatively affect ALL sites hosted on a server, in the rare case when one of the sites end up getting hit by a DDoS or hacking attack.
Similarly, if one of the sites on the server is exploiting the server’s resources and consuming a lot more resources than it should, it may lead to throttling the performance for all the sites based on the server.
That said, this issue is far from common when you’re using a shared hosting plan from one of the better hosting providers out there, with iPage often included in them. However, even in case your site does end up encountering such an issue, reputed hosting providers are often quick to fix it and get your site back up and running (as it often goes down when the server is attacked in any way).
Well, now that you’re aware of the advantages and drawbacks of shared hosting, you will be in a much better position to decide if it’s the right type of hosting for your site. So we can now get to our iPage review that you’re here for.
There are a few factors that must be considered when deciding on a shared hosting service. These factors often determine your overall hosting experience with the company, and whether or not your website will be properly served by their hosting plan.
So without further ado, let’s walk you through them below.
This is the most basic yet the most important factor. This is because the uptime determines for how long your website stays up and running.
If you’re not familiar with this factor, you may be wondering how can it be this way. Isn’t my website supposed to stay up and running all of the time? You may ask.
Well, you’re right, but it’s not something practically possible, especially with shared hosting. The other, more expensive types of hosting may offer an uptime of 100% consistently over a period of time, but it’s beyond rare when it comes to shared hosting.
However, an uptime lower than 100% doesn’t mean your site will stay down for a long time. It shouldn’t be less than 99% at the least, though, as that would mean quite a bit of downtime for your website on an average.
Such a level of downtime can lead to a poor user experience as your potential visitors and customers may not be able to access your site. Similarly, your site may also fail to perform well in the search engine rankings for its keywords, as uptime is a crucial factor the search engines take into consideration when determining the rankings of your site.
So now that you know enough about what uptime really stands for, let us reveal that iPage’s uptime is pretty impressive at an average of 99.97%. This is something that has been found by performing extensive tests over a long period of time.
Now, for a shared hosting service charging a paltry $1.99 per month, this is more than what you can ask for. In fact, there are only a few shared hosting providers that fare better than iPage.com on this front.
There have been a few months where i Page managed to put up an uptime of 100%, although in some other months it slipped down to 99.87%. Even in the past year when EIG’s iPage apparently hadn’t upgraded their service, the uptime still turned out to be 99.91% on an average for the year.
It isn’t something stunning by any means, but it’s certainly not half bad for the cheapest shared hosting service. However, it looks like iPgae still managed to step up their service after that, and significantly increased their uptime to 99.97%,
So with everything being considered, iPage certainly offers a pretty high uptime which is easily comparable to some of the more high-end shared hosting providers that charge significantly more than it.
The speed is simply the time it takes for your website to fully load up for your visitors. Now, while it’s not as important as the uptime, it’s certainly a crucial factor too.
This is because just like uptime, the speed of your site, too, can have a considerable impact on your site’s rankings in the search engines. Not to mention, your visitors and potential customers wouldn’t be pleased if they have to wait for more than a few seconds just for your site to load up.
It would also make browsing your site much harder, as every page will take a long time to load. This can be a major concern for content sites that have hundreds of pages. After all, the more pages you have on your site, the slower your site’s speed tends to get.
That all said, the page loading speed of iPage isn’t the best you can get even when it comes to shared hosting companies. This is because the tests made to find out the page loading speed of iPage revealed that it turns out to be just under a second.
Now, while this isn’t exactly bad, it could be if your site is large and has a lot of content and media. That said, it may certainly not turn out to be much of a problem if you’re a business and hosting a site with only a few pages and not a huge amount of content or images.
You would manage to get a decent speed for your website this way, while getting a fairly good quality of shared hosting service for a very cheap price.
If you’re not sure, something you can consider doing is buying one of their shared hosting plans, and then being with them for a couple weeks to get a good idea of what kind of page loading speed you’re getting. If it turns out to be higher than a second or something you’re not satisfied with, you can simply cancel your purchase and hosting account and claim a refund for what you paid for the plan.
This is because iapge has a 30-day refund policy that allows its new customers to get a full refund if they choose to cancel their account within 30 days of purchase.
While not many take the quality of customer support into consideration as a very important factor when choosing a hosting provider, we definitely think that’s a mistake. There are tens of things you may need help with when hosting your site over a long period, and if the customer support is not good enough, you may have a hard time resolving issues or doing what you want to do to make your site work the way you want it to.
And guess what? The customer support is usually horrible with the cheapest shared hosting services. However, i page.com somehow manages to stand out.
While it doesn’t offer the best customer support among all shared hosting companies, what it offers is certainly impressive for such a cheap shared hosting service.
One of the issues with its customer support is that it may take a while to get in touch with one of their representatives that would help you with your issues. However, once you’re connected, they may assist you in a very helpful manner with all your problems.
While live chat usually turns out to be the best way to get in touch with iPage’s customer support, you can also choose to use their email support when you don’t need help with something urgent.
Overall, we count that as a win in our books for a web host that offers its most basic plan for as low as $1.99 per month.
Well, now that we have discussed some of the key features of iPage’s hosting service in detail, let us get to what does iPage has to offer in terms of its pros.
Super Cheap Pricing
As we have already mentioned more than once in this detailed iPage review, ipages com is probably as cheap a webhosting service as it gets without risking the security and performance of your site. While most of the other shared hosting services we have reviewed on our blog aren’t exactly expensive too, they are nowhere near as cheap as iPage.
Now, let us tell you for a fact that there’s actually no shortage of cheap shared hosting services out there. In fact, you can even find ones that price their plans as ridiculously low as something like $1 per month.
However, they aren’t even the type of companies we would like to consider as true shared hosting companies, as you never know when they maydisappear overnight (yes, it does happen!). While many also stay around for a long time, the kind of uptime and speed they offer are bad enough to not make us recommend their service even for free, let alone something like $1 per month.
The reason we shared all these things with you is that while iPage prices its services extremely cheap, it’s a far better option than most other cheap hosting services in its price range. So much so that we wouldn’t hesitate crowning it as the best cheapest shared hosting services on the market.
It offers a surprisingly good uptime of over 99.9%, which is as good as it gets in its price range. While its speed can be a bit of a hit or miss, especially when compared to some of the more expensive services we have reviewed here on our blog, it may certainly not turn out to be a problem for someone that isn’t going to upload hundreds of pages or have tens of thousands of visitors flooding their site on a weekly basis.
As for the plans, there’s only one shared hosting plan iPage currently offers, which is the iPage essential hosting plan, priced at $1.99 per month. However, in order to get this price, you have to buy the plan for a period of 36 months.
If you choose to buy it for 24 months, the price would get bumped up to $2.49 per month for you. Similarly, those that only want to use iPage’s shared hosting service for a year would have to pay $2.99 per month.
Despite the variable pricing and having to buy for 3 years to get the best price, iPage’s service still offers a great value for money. Finally, with its 30-day refund policy, you likely have nothing to lose if you decide to test out the service.
Allows Hosting Unlimited Domains
Well, we think it’s hard to define how much value iPage manages to offer for a mere $1.99 per month. While most shared hosting services that we have reviewed – including even the ones priced at $3 per month and above – allow hosting only one domain on their most basic or cheapest plan, with only some of them allowing up to 2 or 3 domains.
However, i page web hosting really surprised us on this front by allowing to host as many domains as we want to on its only shared hosting plan costing $1.99 per month. Now, this is definitely the cheapest it can get when going with a large shared hosting company owned by the well-known Endurance International Group.
While this is certainly something site owners with multiple sites would be glad about, there is a bit of a downside to it. You see, the more sites that iPage allows hosting on each server it owns, the slower the speed may get. This is clearly evident in iPage’s page loading time, which isn’t very impressive at under a second while many of the other shared hosts we reviewed offering a page loading time between just 300 ms to 800 ms.
All things considered, it may still work pretty well for you if you’re a new site owner with many sites but a very tight budget. If you aren’t uploading hundreds of pages to your sites or getting hundreds of thousands of visitors every month, you may still be just fine.
iPage is certainly all about affordability. If its price of $1.99 per month and allowing unlimited domains on the plan weren’t enough, it also offers a FREE domain with its plan. Yes, you also get a domain that may otherwise cost you $10 for absolutely free with iPage’s essential plan costing $1.99 per month. What’s more, you would get a free domain no matter the time period you choose to buy the hosting for, which can even be just 12 months.
We think you probably can’t get your site(s) up and running any cheaper than with iPage.
Ideal for Beginners
Just because you’re getting a great deal, doesn’t mean you will have to deal with complex user interface or an advanced setup process. iPage is as easy to use as it’s cheap, thanks to its free drag and drop site builder.
Even someone new to hosting and setting up websites may able to build their site and get it running within an hour or two at the most. This is because the easy site builder has everything they may need their website to have, but without having to deal with the complex issues usually associated with setting up a new website for the first time.
However, one downside here is that it doesn’t come with cPanel, but its alternative vDeck, which may not sit well with some beginners. We will get to this when discussing the drawbacks.
Just when you think it can’t get any cheaper than it already is, iPage proves you wrong by offering even more great features for absolutely free with its $1.99 per month plan.
Now, SiteLock is a feature that even some of the much more expensive shared hosting providers charge you for. However, to your surprise, even this feature is free with iPage’s shared hosting service.
SiteLock actually means a bunch of great security features that have become more important to have for your website than ever before, due to the rising hacking and other forms of attacks. It’s also a feature that helps remove any kind of malware infection that may have managed to make its way to your site.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly for many, you also get FREE backups with this feature. This means that IF something does go wrong with your site and you end up losing all the data, you would be able to restore it for free and get your site back online surprisingly quickly. Most shared hosting services also have this feature as a separate paid feature, meaning that you often have to pay for both SiteLock and backups with them.
TONS of Extras
Yes, while the free domain and free SiteLock are great extras for the kind of pricing iPage offers, there’s a lot more to it. Regardless of the time period you buy its plan for, you get a lot of extras, primarily including:
- Google AdWords offer worth $100
- Bing ad credits worth $100
- Free WordPress building tools, which make life easier for beginners
- Free email addresses – you can create as many as you want
Great for eCommerce Sites on a Budget
If you’re building a new eCommerce site but are on a shoestring budget, iPage may make it possible for you. It offers an excellent eCommerce functionality, allowing you to easily integrate PayPal, Google Apps and other features for free.
These are all essential features for an eCommerce site, and hard to come by when you’re going with a shared hosting service, let alone one of the cheapest shared hosting services out there.
You can obviously put the free Google AdWords and Bing ad credits to good use when building an eCommerce site with iPage’s shared hosting plan, meaning that you may be able to get the ball rolling for your eCommerce site in terms of sales without having to invest much on marketing from your own pocket.
24/7 Customer Support
While 24/7 customer support isn’t something very rare among shared hosting services – especially when talking about the best ones that we have reviewed on our blog – it certainly isn’t common when it comes to the super cheap price range.
However, iPage easily stands out on this front, thanks to offering a 24/7 customer support through all support channels – chat, email and phone. This means that your email tickets won’t take days to be answered, which is usually the case with most other hosting services priced in this range.
Of course, as you would expect at this price point, the quality of customer support isn’t spectacular, but it isn’t something bad either.
30-Day Refund Policy
While most reputed shared hosting providers do have some kind of refund policy in place, they often have a long list of terms and conditioners that may make it difficult for you to get a refund if you actually want to.
That said, iPage is kind of an exception here. It does make its refund policy complicated in a way that allows it to make it difficult for anyone wanting a refund.
It offers a 30-day refund policy, and allows all new customers not satisfied with its service to get their money back with no questions asked. However, there’s a bit of a catch here.
While you’re eligible to get 100% of your hosting cost back if you decide to cancel your account within 30 days of your purchase, you will be charged for the free domain name that you got when buying the hosting plan.
And the price that will be deducted from the hosting cost would be $15, although you can get a domain name for $10 or less at most domain registrars. You may be able to get around this if you’re willing to get the domain registration canceled, but that may not be something many would want to do if they have already started their website using the domain.
So finally, while the refund policy is good, you may not be able to get 100% of your money back if you do decide to use it to get a refund.
Downsides of Going with iPage’s Shared Hosting
Well, everything can’t be perfect with a hosting service offering so much for $1.99 per month. So let’s find out what’s not good with iPage, and whether it’s serious enough to make you want to consider going for some of the other more expensive shared hosting services on the market.
Renewals are Surprisingly Expensive
While there’s little doubt that iPage offers a lot of value for a surprisingly low price of $1.99 per month, it’s also just as surprising that it charges way more in renewal costs. While you get to buy its shared hosting plan for the highly discounted price of $1.99 per month if you pay for a period of 36 months together, it would automatically renew at a much higher $7.99 per month.
Similarly, if you buy it for a period of 24 or 12 months at a price of $2.49 or $2.99 per month respectively, the 24 months plan would renew at $8.99 per month, and the 12 months plan at $9.99 per month.
This can be a bit of a deal breaker for those that are only looking to buy for a period of 12 months and would renew only if things work out well for them.
So is there a way out? Well, the only way to get around this seems to be to buy the plan for a period of 36 months if you’re sure about sticking to your plans for a long period of time. However, even if you don’t, it probably makes sense to still go with the 36 months plan.
As even if you end up abandoning your online project, you may still not lose as much as you would in renewal costs if you only opt for a period of 12 months.
Finally, you always also have the option to move to another shared hosting service where you will be treated as a new customer, which means you will again be getting great discounted prices. Shared hosting services like SiteGround and Bluehost are fairly reliable and offer free migrations, and their plans aren’t too expensive as well (especially when compared to iPage’s renewal prices).
This can again be a bit of a concern, especially for beginners. Pretty much every webhosting service offers cPanel as their website management system, and it does work well for most users.
After all, cPanel is very user-friendly and takes a lot of challenge out of managing a website, which can be very relieving for first-time site owners. On the other hand, the cPanel alternative, vDeck isn’t as user-friendly and is better-suited for professional or sophisticated users.
That’s not to say that beginners can’t get used to it if they are willing to make a bit of an effort, but it may certainly be an important factor to consider for many beginners out there.
Unlimited Hosting Comes with Some Restrictions
While iPage doesn’t limit your use of its server’s resources to anything specific, it does have some restrictions in place that may mean that it’s not unlimited in the true sense.
This is because it seems to have some specific limits for each hosting account, and requires the sites to not use more of the server’s resources than the limits allow them to. Doing so may lead to a warning and, if you don’t take the appropriate measures to sort it out in time, suspension of your account.
In fact, their User Agreement also goes on to say that they reserve the right to terminate a user’s account with or without notice.
That said, we don’t think you should let these things scare you into going with another service simply because of these reasons. We say this because these limits are usually something most users wouldn’t be hitting anyway, as they are only related to the number of files and MySQL/PostgreSQL tables on your hosting account.
The limits say that the number of files and MySQL/PostgreSQL tables shouldn’t exceed 200,000 inodes and 1000, respectively. For most average users, this may not be something to be worried about.
Too Many Upsells
Upsells are extremely common when it comes to the hosting industry. However, some of the hosting providers are way too aggressive with them than the others.
While upsells can actually help you discover new services you may need, it’s only when they are limited to the useful ones and don’t lead to any kind of confusion for you. However, some hosting providers like GoDaddy are notorious for pushing upsells to their customers in a way that can sometimes make it seem a bit too much, and iPage seems to be one of them.
This is especially given that right from the start when you’re registering the hosting account, you have to deal with iPage’s sneaky tactics of making you buy their upsells. For example, when you get to the order page after choosing your free domain, as many as three upsells are automatically added to your cart. Now, that can get both confusing and annoying.
Similarly, they push more upsells to you during the registration process, and you have to be careful to avoid mistakenly end up clicking on them. The same goes for when setting up the WordPress.
However, they seem to go a bit too far with it when they put ads right into your WordPress interface as well, although that’s something you can probably get rid of after the initial setup. But the point is that it may affect your overall user experience in a negative way, especially with some of the features they try to sell you as an upsell not even being truly useful.
Average Performance for Large Websites
As we have hinted above, while iPage offers more than what it asks for, it’s not the best option if you’re looking to host a website that will have a large number of pages or a huge amount of traffic coming in every month.
This is because it seems that when a site demands a lot of resources of the server, iPage starts throttling the resources allocated to the account associated with it to some extent. While this may obviously not be a problem for small websites with a small amount of traffic, it can get worrying for large websites.
If you’re looking for a shared hosting solution that can handle a huge amount of traffic and not throttle the performance in any way even when your site has a large number of pages, InMotion and SiteGround may both turn out to be much better options.
For small websites, though, iPage may serve you well while charging you much lower than the said options.
A great way of finding the best shared host for your website is to not only consider all the features, pros and cons of different hosting providers, but also compare the similar ones against one another. This helps you get a clear overview of how they stack up against one another, making it considerably easier to pick the one that’s a better fit for your site than the other options.
So with that said, here are some important comparisons of iPage with other similar shared hosting providers.
iPage vs GoDaddy
The reason this is an important comparison is that both these hosting providers price their services in pretty much the same cheap price range. However, GoDaddy’s pricing is actually quite broad, and only its first two plans can be compared with iPage as far as the pricing is concerned.
But even the first two basic plans at GoDaddy don’t offer much of a pricing advantage compared to iPage’s super cheap $1.99 per month plan. On the performance side, however, GoDaddy is far more limited than iPage.
The latter also has many more features to offer than the former, with the overall performance being better, too. While some absolute beginners to the online marketing world may still prefer to go with GoDaddy just for their brand image and the slightly better ease of use they offer, iPage should turn out to be a much better option for the rest.
iPage vs HostGator
They both actually belong to the same parent company. That isn’t saying there’s not a big difference in their performance, though.
If you solely consider the overall performance, especially the page loading speed, HostGator has a clear edge over its smaller brother. However, HostGator also charges significantly higher prices than iPage, which means you may have to evaluate whether the better performance is worth the price difference for you.
We would say it may not be worth it for small businesses or small websites with a fairly limited amount of traffic, but probably for site owners with a large, established site, it may be definitely turn out to be a much better option overall.
Summary of the Pros and Cons
Here’s a quick summary of some of the major pros and cons of iPage.
- Very strong uptime for a shared hosting service charging only $1.99 per month
- 24/7 customer support through all its support channels – chat, email and phone
- Great security features being included in the super cheap plan for absolutely free
- Quite a few different third-party applications that you can use, including PayPal integration
- The above feature also makes it one of the better options for new eCommerce sites that are on a very tight budget
- 30-day refund policy
- The page loading speed being much slower than most premium shared hosting solutions
- The renewal costs are way too expensive for such a cheap shared hosting service
- If you do end up claiming a refund under 30 days of purchasing the service, they may deduct $15 for the free domain that they let you register when purchasing the hosting
- No cPanel – you’re forced to use its alternative platform vDeck
Should You Buy iPage’s Shared Hosting Plan?
Honestly, there is no clear answer to this question. We would rather say that it depends.
If the budget isn’t much of a problem for you, and you want superior performance that can handle the demands of a large site with a lot of traffic, you may want to look elsewhere as iPage may disappoint you a bit for what you may be expecting.
However, if the cheapest pricing is what you’re after without compromising a lot on the performance front, iPage may definitely be your best bet. In fact, for small sites or low-traffic sites, iPage should be a pretty good option overall.
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