What is iPage?
iPage is a website hosting company. It offers shared hosting, WordPress hosting, VPS hosting and dedicated hosting. The company’s shared hosting plans are among one of the cheapest in the world.
It is okay for starter sites with no significant traffic, and also those that are more focused on content and less on rich media and online stores.
iPage grabs some attention with its low pricing and dozens of freebies. This may be really attractive to many people, but the truth is that when a company offers dozens of freebies, something is definitely wrong.
The reason is simple! When you start advertising the free stuff instead of your strengths, it simply indicates that you are not very confident about your capabilities. The same applies to web hosting companies too!
When you visit iPage’s homepage, you will notice that they are boldly advertising that they include stuff worth over $500 free of cost.
This is what I mean:
If you notice carefully, the only thing that actually looks important is 99.9% uptime. I will come to this later.
But you get my point, don’t you? It is appalling to see how the company is not really advertising what matters the most!
I have always been critical of companies owned by Endurance International (barring Bluehost), and the approach that iPage takes makes me question their capabilities right away!
Usually at this point I would steer clear of any service provider, but since this is a review, I decided to go ahead with it.
Here are my observations…
I am not talking about freebies here. I am talking about their hosting plans and their domain registration services.
Yes, iPage is also a domain registrar and you can purchase a domain directly from them. If you intend to buy both domain and hosting from iPage, you will get to control everything from a single place. However, I will never recommend doing that because if you lose the credentials to your iPage account, you will lose everything.
So, I will always suggest that if you are planning on purchasing hosting from iPage, you better purchase your domain from somewhere else.
Registering a domain with iPage will cost you $9.99 for a .com domain for the first year. When you renew the domain, the cost will be $17.99! That’s a lot! DOMAIN PURCHASE NOT RECOMMENDED!
iPage is popular for their shared hosting services. Their first-term prices are very attractive. As a matter of fact, they offer one of the lowest prices I have seen so far. If you are purchasing a shared hosting plan from iPage, you can get a price as low as $1.99 a month. However, when you renew, the prices will skyrocket to $8.99 a month.
I will get into pricing shortly. However, you need to know that when you are purchasing a shared hosting, the resources (RAM, CPU, Storage, etc.) are all shared by all the websites hosted on a single server. So, don’t expect dedicated resources for your website. If you want that, you can look into their VPS or dedicated hosting plans.
If you want to go for their VPS plans, the prices will start at $25 a month. That’s pretty high. If you are not aware of what a VPS plan is, it simply means a shared hosting with isolated environments and dedicated resources and a limited number of websites on server.
Each website is provided with dedicated resources, the sum total of which is the same as the total resources available on that physical server.
VPS hosting is good if your website is growing fast and you are receiving a lot of traffic. Alternately, a VPS plan is also suitable for you if you are interested in using an uncommon programming language that is not allowed on a shared hosting plan.
If you think that their VPS hosting plans are not powerful enough for your needs, you can always look into their dedicated hosting plans where an entire server and all its resources are made available only to you. No other website sits on that server. This also means that iPage will have outrageous charges for a dedicated server.
The pricing for a dedicated hosting starts at $140 a month! That’s a lot of money that you need to spend to get a dedicated hosting. Also, this hosting type is far more suitable for large enterprises.
iPage Shared Hosting Plans and Pricing
Unlike other shared hosting providers that offer different levels of shared hosting plan, iPage has only one – Go Plan.
That’s all! If you were thinking that iPage would have different tiers of shared hosting plan, you aren’t wrong in your thought! That’s what I thought, too!
However, the Go Plan is available as a 3-year subscription, a 2-year subscription and a 1-year subscription.
The pricing goes in this fashion:
- $1.99 a month – if you purchase the plan for 3 years [Renewal: $8.35 a month].
- $2.49 a month – if you purchase the plan for 2 years [Renewal: $8.99 a month].
- $2.99 a month – if you purchase the plan for 1 year [Renewal: $8.99 a month].
The industry standard trick applies here. If you purchase the plan for the longest duration, you will get the lowest price. Also, the renewal prices are always higher.
Whatever duration you choose, you have to pay for the entire duration at once.
Because there is only one plan, the features available are same irrelevant of the hosting duration. Here is a quick list of the features that you will get with iPage shared hosting plan:
- Websites allowed: Unlimited
- Domains allowed: Unlimited
- Max inode (nearly same as number of files): 200,000
- Storage: Unlimited
- Database: Unlimited
- Backup: Pay for it separately
- Support: 24×7 [phone, chat, email]
- Free SSL
- Free domain
Okay, now that you know the features, here are a few things that you need to know:
Unlimited Storage: That’s not really true. There are conditions! They say that you will get unlimited storage if you use the storage for normal operation of a website hosted with iPage and you are compliant with the terms of service.
Unlimited Databases: You can have unlimited databases as long as you ensure that none of the database you create exceeds the size of 3 GB or doesn’t have more than 10,000 tables.
Max Inode Count: It is very similar to the number of files you are allowed to store. The maximum Inode count is 200,000. Typically, a small website will find this to be enough, but over time, you will find that limit to be a severely crippling restriction.
Backup: Usually, shared hosting providers offer backup through cPanel without additional charges. That’s not the case with iPage. You have to pay extra if you want to backup the database and files of your website.
Okay, now that you have learned about the key features of iPage, it is about time to figure out its performance.
I have repeated this many times earlier and I will repeat it again – speed matters. Your website needs to load fast on both mobile devices and on desktop devices. While it is easy to achieve good load speeds on desktops, achieving the same on mobile devices is pretty difficult, especially if you are using WordPress and several plugins.
Despite the fact that WordPress isn’t the fastest CMS on Earth (in fact, it is one of the slowest), it powers 30% of the web. So, it is normal to assume that you will be using WordPress (the assumption may be wrong, though) and that is going to make things difficult for you.
As with every other shared hosting service that I have tested, I tested iPage using a WordPress site. In fact, I didn’t really build the website. It belongs to one of my clients who runs an event management company in India. His website is hosted on iPage. I simply ran tests on that site.
The test results are appalling. Here is what you need to see:
Test results with Google PageSpeed Insights
That’s a terrible performance. I never recommend any web hosting company that cannot achieve a score of 85+ on mobile devices. If that desired score is achieved, the performance can be further boosted using a solution like Cloudflare. However, with a performance score of 66, even Cloudflare cannot achieve a performance score over 90.
This website that I tested is built on WordPress and uses Elementor page builder and 5 more plugins. Since it is not running advertisements, the performance is really disappointing. Ads are known to significantly slow down websites.
Okay, mobile results were bad. What about the desktop results? Here is what I found:
That’s not acceptable! Adding Cloudflare will help, but the setup without Cloudflare CDN is pretty awful.
It is not really necessary to test your website with any other tool if you are using Google PageSpeed Insights (which is free). Still, as a slave of my old habits, I tested the same test with GTmetrix.
Test results with GTmetrix
A performance grade of D is something worrisome, don’t you think so? Well, GTmetrix has changed the method in which they used to test website speed. Now they have integrated Lighthouse, which is becoming the de facto tool for testing webpage speed.
That’s why I keep saying that you don’t need to use any other tool apart from Google PageSpeed Insights. Anyway, the test results of GTmetrix tell the same story! A website hosted on iPage shared hosting is slow!
Things Bad About iPage
There are many things bad about iPage. Here is what I found:
No SSD Storage:
iPage doesn’t offer SSD storage. Well, that’s one of the many reasons why the websites hosted with iPage have slow load times. However, do note that most of the shared hosting providers will not offer SSD storage. Only a handful of them do.
Very Aggressive Upsells:
iPage engages in very aggressive upsells. They will try to sell a lot of things to you, and trust me, you will not need most of those. They will present it in a way that your website will be at risk if you are not using their expensive add-ons. Honestly, there are free alternatives that perform just as good as what they are trying to sell.
Pay for Backups:
This is seriously terrible. Every other shared hosting company will provide free backup features through cPanel. In case of iPage, you have to pay for backups and restores. If you choose not to pay for backups, you run into the risk of losing your website for myriads of reasons like server failure, hacks, malware injections, etc.
iPage websites have poor performance. They are terribly slow. They don’t offer SSD and they don’t have server-side caching. They don’t have HTTP/2 either. All these things negatively impact the overall website speed.
They have only two server locations to offer. They are in Boston and Waltham. You will not get any other choices! That’s terribly sad.
iPage is a shared hosting provider. This means that you should select it only when you have very low traffic (my best guess – 5000 visitors a month). If you start getting more traffic, you will be asked to switched to a VPS plan. They never say how much traffic is too much off traffic for their shared servers.
Most shared hosting companies will allow one-click installation for many web applications. In the case of iPage, you will get one-click installation for WordPress only. If you are using anything else such as Joomla or Drupal, you have to install them by yourself.
The good news is that you can get professional emails (firstname.lastname@example.org sort of) for free. You are allowed to create as many email accounts as you want. However, each email account can hold up to 10,000 emails or 500 MB storage (whichever comes first). That sucks!
Ease of Use
First thing first, registering with iPage doesn’t give you a pleasant experience. You will find too may upsells hitting you. They will, like every other shared hosting platform, try to sell you the longest period package (three years).
They don’t offer cPanel. Their custom panel is different from cPanel. Though it looks modern, it is not so easy to work with.
In the opening paragraphs of this review I said that iPage guarantees 99.9% uptime. However, they don’t have any service level agreement (SLA) for that. This is weird. If they are guaranteeing something, they should be able to provide SLA. They don’t have 99.9% uptime. My client reported 3 outages in a single month with each downtime lasting over 4 minutes. That’s more outage than what you would expect from a hosting company that promises 99.9% uptime.
Buy or Transfer Domain
What sucks about iPage is that when you purchase a hosting plan with them, you have to either buy a new domain from them or you have to transfer an existing domain to them. That’s totally ridiculous. I mean, why on Earth can’t I keep my domain with another registrar?
It is better not to speak of it. Their knowledge base is too rudimentary and the support team isn’t particularly helpful when it comes to serious issues. Yes, they can handle the simple things without any problem. When you hit their chat support, they seem to be ill-qualified. They will almost always put the blame on you for any problem.
Thousands of customers continuously blast iPage for their horrible tech support and their horrible refund policies. They will even auto renew the services even if you don’t have autorenewal activated.
Conclusion and Verdict
You should be avoiding this company at all costs. They were good at one point in time but today, they are a pain in the arse! In fact, most of the companies owned by Endurance International are bad with Bluehost being an exception. But there are options that are far better than Bluehost.
If you ask me, I will always suggest that you opt for GreenGeeks or SiteGround. In my opinion, both GreenGeeks and SiteGround are at par when it comes to excellent performance and amazing customer support.