Value is a big consideration when looking at web hosting services, since many of them offer similar features. While you can differentiate products by speeds, response times, and unusual features, it all comes down to value. In other words, how much performance and support can you get at the best price?
That’s a view that iPage takes to heart. iPage offers some of the cheapest introductory pricing around at $2 per month. The price goes up after that initial period, of course, but there’s no question it has one of the lowest costs we’ve seen yet for new users.
But is a low first-time offer enough to make iPage the right web host for you? Let’s take a dive into its various features, guarantees, and web hosting plans to see what iPage offers.
- Very low introductory pricing for shared hosting
- Free domains on numerous web hosting plans
- Post-introductory prices are a little confusing
- The initial VPS plan does not have the same value as competitors
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As a company, iPage has been around for a long time. It was founded in 1998, though the Internet Archive’s records show that by 1999 the iPage.com domain was unused and for sale.
Regardless, iPage began life as a web service provider — essentially a landing page like Yahoo. In 2002, it relaunched as a web hosting provider that is currently owned by the Endurance Group, the same company behind Bluehost and HostGator. In its present form, iPage hosts more than one million websites and has two data centers.
Most web hosting services make grandiose claims about their uptime such as 99.99 percent guarantees, and the like. Not so with iPage. The company doesn’t make any uptime claims on its landing page at all.
Our research found iPage has about a 99.94 percent uptime, which amounts to a little over five hours per year of downtime. That’s not a lot of hours in a calendar year, but keep in mind that competitors like Bluehost and SiteGround have uptime percentages around 99.98. Still, depending on the type of site your running, a 99.94 percent uptime might be well within your margin of error.
There are conflicting results out there, however. Hosting Facts reported an uptime of 99.97 percent of uptime in 2017 for iPage, which adds up to less than three hours of downtime in a year. Perhaps iPage are selling themselves short!
Unlike other web hosting services, iPage offers a “one-size fits all” shared hosting plan. The basics of that plan include unlimited disk space, scalable bandwidth, a free domain, and unlimited domain names. You also get a free website builder that’s limited to six pages, and mobile optimization. Most website hosts use the cPanel Control Panel, but iPage opts for the vDeck control panel.
Take note of the unlimited domain names feature, which is unusual for basic accounts. It’s not clear how patient iPage would be if you went nuts and went live with 10 sites, but if you opt for 2 or 3 it will probably be fine.
The scalable bandwidth feature is also interesting. At face value it’s not all that different from the unlimited bandwidth that other web hosts offer. What is notable is that iPage is willing to put a number on what “unlimited” means. It’s kind of an indirect number, but it still gives you an idea of what to expect.
The company says its scalable bandwidth guarantee is able to support “more than 99.95 percent” of its customers’ bandwidth demands. For those that do run afoul of its policies, iPage says it will work with the website to help them transition to a more appropriate hosting plan.
Some of the other basics iPage covers include one-click install for WordPress, support for Drupal, Joomla, PixelPost, as well as forum platforms like Gbook and phpBB.
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Although iPage doesn’t really advertise this on its landing page, it does offer other services beyond shared hosting. There’s a specialized WordPress hosting that includes a free domain for a year, unlimited storage and bandwidth, and pre-installed themes and plugins. If you pay a little more, you also get WordPress dedicated support, automatic malware removal, and SiteLock security.
Its beginner virtual private server (VPS) package, called Basic, features a single core CPU, 1GB of RAM, 40GB of disk space, 1TB of bandwidth, 1 IP address, and a free domain for a year.
To be blunt that is not a lot of value. A single-core CPU on a VPS is simply not a great option, and usually bottom level VPS packages have a little more bandwidth. But that free domain registration is a nice extra.
If you need a dedicated server where you have control of the hardware iPage offers that too.
Signing up for an iPage account is relatively simple. It starts with a single search box where you find a new domain name or enter one you already own. If you choose to search for a new domain it will not only show whether your preferred .COM is available, but also other top-level domains such as .NET, .CLUB, and .US.
On the next page you choose the length of your term. To get the absolute best price you must sign-up for three years, but there are 1- and 2-year options as well.
Next, iPage asks you to choose a variety of add-ons. Several add-ons are selected by default, but you can cancel them before checking out. The automatically selected add-ons include domain privacy, website security, and site backup and restore.
Other add-ons include WordPress optimization, a package that includes themes and plugins, automatic malware detection and removal, a customize control panel, and a higher level of support. There’s also an SSL certificate option, and G Suite from Google.
Some of these add-ons are worth keeping. Domain privacy, which costs $10 for the first year and $13 per year after that, keeps your personal information private. If you don’t use this option then your name, address, and phone number end up in a public database of site owners called a Whois database. Brace yourself for some cold calls.
Site backup costs $1 per month and is probably worth it (you pre-pay for the entire term of your commitment) so as not to lose any of your site data.
After dealing with the add-ons you move to the payment page, and soon after that your hosting plan is ready to roll.
While iPage doesn’t have varying plans it does have different pricing tiers based on the length of your initial commitment. If you choose a three-year term, for example, you will pay $2 per month. After your initial period is over, you pay $8 per month as the regular price.
If you choose the two-year plan, the price is $2.50 per month, and then $9 per month after the two years are up. The three-year plan is $3 per month, and then you’ll pay as much as $10 per month for the rest of your time with iPage. It’s a strange pricing system designed to encourage you to sign-up for three years to get iPage’s best regular price.
The WordPress hosting packages have two levels. The first is $3.75 per month for the introductory period with a regular price of $7.50 after that. The higher tier WP Essential plan is $7 per month for the initial period with a regular price of $10.50.
For VPS packages, iPage starts at an introductory price of $20 (regular $25) and goes up to $80 per month (regular $100). Dedicated hosting, meanwhile starts at $120 and goes all the way up to $240.
If you’re willing to commit for three years, iPage offers the cheapest initial pricing for shared hosting we’ve seen so far. If you go with two years, it’s still cheaper than many other services at $2.50, and if you opt for the one year price it’s about the same as some of the cheapest services we’ve looked at.
Since it has varying regular prices, only the $8 per month price is competitive with larger web hosting companies. Its dedicated WordPress prices are good and that base level price of $3.75 per month is very low, but the VPS basic plan is not as good as you can find elsewhere.
Regardless of price, the fact that you can use more than one domain on shared hosting without paying extra is a standout option.
If pricing for the first three years is what matters to you, then iPage is an excellent choice. There’s simply no comparison to that $2 per month price point from the web hosts we’ve seen. After that initial offering, the prices are more typical and can actually be higher if you go with a shorter first-time commitment.
Overall, iPage offers great value at its initial price offerings for shared hosting, and is definitely worth a look for those who are just starting out with a new website.
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