We’ve been monitoring iPage’s uptime and speed over the period of last 41 months (see the raw data here).
This review relies strongly on data, such as uptime, load time (speed) and customer support experience as well as iPage’s cost, features, and an overall usability.
What is iPage?
EIG has been around for about 20 years. They’re a force to be reckoned with, to say the least.
EIG owns some huge names in the web hosting world, like FatCow, Bluehost, HostMonster, Just Host, PowWeb, EasyCGI, StartLogic, Dot5Hosting, VPSLink, and more.
Originally started in 1998, iPage Hosting now has offices in six worldwide locations serving over one million websites between two data centers in the U.S.
Phew, that was a mouthful.
There’s a slight hesitation that occurs when we find out we’re reviewing yet another EIG-owned company. Our experience with most of them has been… well, not great.
They’re big. Well known. And wildly inconsistent (typically falling somewhere between average and poor).
That being said, we want to be proved wrong. Maybe iPage could deliver stunning performance statistics that we can’t deny or hide.
To find out, we set up a WordPress website on their ‘Essential’ shared hosting plan in June 2015. We’ve been running performance tests ever since monitoring the most important hosting characteristics like uptime and speed which are critical for your site (and business) success.
Pros of iPage Hosting
First, the good news. iPage is perhaps the cheapest hosting option available. Like, cheap x2.
Their support is pretty decent (albeit inconsistent), while their partnership with SiteLock can help you sleep well at night knowing someone else is worrying about the potential security problems or issues.
Here’s a quick rundown of the biggest benefits to iPage:
1. Cheap, Inexpensive Hosting
iPage Hosting comes in at only $1.99 per month (Check out our article on Cheapest & Best Performing Web Hosting), making it one of the cheapest web hosts available in the marketplace.
The great news is that not only does this rate apply to their long-term deals (like 36 months), but also their shorter, minimum one of 12 months too.
That means you won’t necessarily have to get locked into (or pay upfront) a three-year deal (like many other hosts out there required) just to get the best-advertised rate.
2. Enhanced Security Options
All iPage Hosting plans come with a SiteLock security suite, which is like a security frontline for your site.
Apparently, iPage and SiteLock did a user study and found that 12%+ of subscriber sites contained malware at some point in 2014.
SiteLock helps prevent unwanted security breaches by regularly scanning for malware issues. Depending on the plan you choose, this also includes them going in and removing the malicious stuff for you.
In addition, they’ll use a firewall to help prevent any potential security leaks. For example, running a site with outdated plugins makes you an easy target, as updates regularly reveal where holes or breaches exist in past versions.
Best of all – they’ll also include daily backups. So IF something were to happy, you can simply roll back to a prior version ASAP to get things back online.
This is a nice added bonus that many other web hosts will charge additionally, making that super low $1.99 look even better.
3. Third Party Application Support
iPage plays well with others, connecting simply with Google Apps, PayPal, and more. That’s especially helpful for eCommerce websites who need to handle secure payment transactions.
iPage also throws in some bonus credits on new accounts for Google AdWords, Yahoo, and Bing.
4. Upfront, Honest (Cheap) Pricing
Many web hosts appear inexpensive at first. Especially most EIG brands who are frequent perpetrators of this trick.
Things look rosy until you click ‘Checkout’ and discover (to your dismay) that to lock-in that great deal you’ve been told about, you’ll have to fork over three-years worth, all at once.
Fortunately, iPage is different – charging you the same monthly rate no matter which duration you’d prefer (assuming a minimum of 12 months). Honesty and transparency go a long way in our books.
It IS worth noting, that when this low-priced promotional period ends, get ready for a huge rate hike. Without spoiling the punchline, check out Con #2 below.
5. 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
Most web hosts offer some kind of money back guarantee. iPage Hosting is one of them. But there’s something a bit different about this web host’s money back guarantee in comparison to others:
It does not seem that there are any hidden clauses to their refund policies. iPage actually points out, that their 30-day money back guarantee is “no questions asked”. However, there ARE some fees, e.g set-up cost and domain registration fee, which is not refunded. Beware of that!
Some other web hosts, in comparison, won’t give you a refund if you use a certain amount of bandwidth or payment method that their guarantee doesn’t cover.
You’ll have to pay for your domain name though. Skip to Con #3 to read more about expensive domain names.
On the darker side – there are way too many user reviews which claim that they did not get their money back even when they asked within 30 days of the service. In some cases, the company comes up with excuses, e.g using credit accounts, using PayPal (which is supposedly not supported), or something else. In other cases, the refund took 2-3 months or even half a year with a lot of hassle and back-and-forth emails.
6. Strong Uptime of 99.98%
While iPage’s pricing is among the cheapest we’ve seen, their uptime (similarly to HostGator) is among the highest we’ve seen. That’s is really good.
Their average uptime of 99.98% over the past ten months is significantly higher than many of the other web hosts we’ve reviewed to date (and .04% better than the industry average).
Last 10-month average uptime:
- December 2017 average uptime: 100%
- January 2018 average uptime: 99.98%
- February 2018 average uptime: 99.97%
- March 2018 average uptime: 99.98%
- April 2018 average uptime: 100%
- May 2018 average uptime: 100%
- June 2018 average uptime: 99.98%
- July 2018 average uptime: 100%
- August 2018 average uptime: 99.90%
- September 2018 average uptime: 100%
iPage: Page Load Speed and Uptime (Last 10 months, full data can be found here.)
In addition to that, iPage claims to offer 24/7 uptime monitoring. If a site goes down, iPage’s support supposedly begins working to get things back online immediately.
7. iPage is an EPA Green Power Partner
iPage is an EPA Green Power Partner, meaning that the data centers and web servers that support iPage and its users are powered by wind energy.
Because of this, iPage is certified as a green site, and the company purchases enough Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) to offset their energy use by as much as 200%!
This is the same as planting a whopping 244 acres of trees or taking 244 cars off the road. Talk about saving the planet!
RECs prove that, although electricity is purchased from a regular grid, the portion that is being used was created from renewable energy sources.
By hosting with iPage, you’ll be contributing to their commitment to helping the planet.
If you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint or work with socially conscious brands, iPage is a web host you should seriously consider.
8. Good Customer Support
You don’t always expect the lowest cost provider to have good support. iPage bucks that trend, providing decent support through phone, email and live chat.
Despite the twenty-minute connection delay, their rep answered all of our questions directly with additional helpful details along the way. We were very satisfied, especially when compared to other web hosts we’ve reviewed thus far.
(It’s worth mentioning that our background checks revealed mixed reviews – buyer, beware I guess.)
Despite the fact that customer support is really good when you first connect, we have had a dozen really negative reviews. Most of the issues seem to happen when actual customers have concerns with the service (mainly problems with business emails and renewal fees). In those cases, we have much negative feedback, because it appears that in those cases, customer support often becomes vague and distant. Some people claim that their tickets are constantly closed by different people in customer support without being solved and emails are continually ignored.
If you choose to join in with iPage, we recommend you read their ToS very carefully and always ask them directly should you have ANY concerns or questions.
Cons of iPage Hosting
iPage’s pricing is virtually unbeatable. Their customer support is pretty good too!
Unfortunately, their other performance statistics don’t fare as well. Let’s take a look:
1. Loading Time Could be Better
If their uptime wasn’t bad enough, prepare to be amazed.
iPage’s page loading times came in at 820ms, making it only about 8% faster than competition’s average (890ms).
That’s almost absurdly bad, especially when some of the best web hosts we’ve reviewed regularly deliver page loading speeds of under 500ms.
Here’s the other problem.
Site speed isn’t just a vanity metric. Slow page loading times negatively impact SEO, meaning lower rankings and less visibility, which = lower site traffic.
If that’s not bad enough, slow site speed can also tank conversions by causing people to leave your site in droves. For example, if your site fails to load under three seconds, 50% of your visitors will leave!
Typically when a company gets acquired by a large conglomerate, they get access to more resources (read: more $$$) to reinvest.
Unfortunately, based on iPage’s performance so far, we’re not exactly sure where that pocket change went. Perhaps on marketing?
Last 10-month average load time:
- December 2017 average speed: 888ms
- January 2018 average speed: 854ms
- February 2018 average speed: 804ms
- March 2018 average speed: 870ms
- April 2018 average speed: 818ms
- May 2018 average speed: 816ms
- June 2018 average speed: 723ms
- July 2018 average speed: 862ms
- August 2018 average speed: 812ms
- September 2018 average speed: 758ms
2. Expensive Renewal Costs
iPage advertises (and delivers) low ‘promotional pricing’ for plans of 12-36 months. They’re honest and transparent about those rates, which is great!
What happens when that plan period ends? Unfortunately, our investigation revealed that your costs will jump up to $7.99 – $9.99 per month when it’s time to renew, depending on your original plan. This ‘renewal pricing’ applies to ALL of their hosting plans, too.
That’s a minimum jump of over 350%! Ouch! It comes as an especially huge surprise if you haven’t exactly read their fine print when agreeing to their service.
Hence, iPage ends up being MORE expensive than a seriously legit host (not one with loading speed so embarrassing that you wonder how they remain in business).
What’s even worse – based on our numerous customer reviews – they bill you for renewal prices even if you’ve canceled previously! That is a big no-no when it comes to any service out there. In most extreme cases – they even billed the renewed price annually despite the customer having canceled more than half a year beforehand.
To be honest, we don’t care much for that kind of behavior. It shows an inconsiderate, incompetent and inconsistent customer support system. You’d be better off somewhere else – where they actually appreciate you as their client!
3. Expensive Domain Names
Good news. iPage will throw in a new domain name with a 30-day money back guarantee for new account signups.
The only issue?
If you DO ask for your money back during that thirty-day window, they’ll deduct a $15 fee for the domain name (even though those typically cost under $10 in most cases).
So technically, that free domain name and money back guarantee aren’t so great (or free) after all.
4. No cPanel
Almost every single web host will let you use cPanel.
But not iPage. Instead, they go with lesser known cPanel alternative vDeck (Dreamhost is one of the only others not to use cPanel, either).
That isn’t good, as cPanel tends to be more user-friendly and up-to-date than vDeck for more sophisticated users.
5. It’s Not Really “Unlimited”
iPage claims to offer unlimited hosting. When you take a closer look at the company’s User Agreement, you’ll find that it isn’t truly unlimited.
It’s only “unlimited” if you don’t exceed the number of CPU resources that they’re allocating to your account.
In fact, if you exceed a certain level of CPU usage, iPage could even suspend your account.
If your account has a large number of files over 200,000 inodes, they will ask you to reduce the size (or be suspended).
The same thing goes for accounts with an excessive number of MySQL/PostgreSQL tables (over 1,000).
iPage Pricing, Hosting Plans & Quick Facts
Here’s a quick overview of the hosting plans offered by iPage:
Shared Hosting: iPage currently only offers one shared hosting plan called the ‘Essential Plan’. This plan costs $1.99 per month when you first sign up and can cost up to $11.95 per month when it is time to renew your hosting.
Their shared hosting plan comes with unlimited storage, bandwidth, domain names, and MySQL databases. It also comes with several integrations, apps and site builders like Wix.
WordPress Hosting: They have two main WordPress hosting plans:
- WP Starter: This plan costs $3.75 per month. It comes with a customized control panel, important plugins preinstalled and handpicked themes.
- WP Essential: This plan costs $6.95 per month. It comes with all the features of the Starter plan, and it uses SSD-based infrastructure to boost site speed and performance. It has unlimited disk space and malware protection. The company claims that they can handle millions of visitors monthly.
- Free domain? Yes.
- Ease of Signup: Fairly easy sign up process.
- Payment Methods: Credit Card, PayPal.
- Hidden Fees and Clauses: Refunds only issued to Credit Cards, and they charge a $35 fee for early cancellation. Customers cannot use ‘excessive’ amount of CPU resources; although they do not specify what they mean by ‘excessive’.
- Upsells: Lots of upsells.
- Account Activation: Quick activation.
- Control Panel and Dashboard Experience: Easy-to-use vDeck control Panel.
- Installation of Apps and CMSs (WordPress, Joomla, etc.): Easy installation of popular apps and CMSs via their control panel.
Do We Recommend iPage?
Despite their good uptime, strong security and really low prices – we can’t recommend iPage!
Low prices ($1.99/mo for the 3-year plan) and the availability of Live Chat Support make iPage one of the most appealing web hosting services around.
This might be true, but hosting with them can make your site slightly slow and you should be aware of their renewal fees.
But the worst part is their inconsistency in customer support. We’ve had way too many really bad reviews from actual users. Main issues were concerning their high renewal plans, problems with business email accounts, unanswered tickets, and dreadful overall customer support experience.
In today’s industry, the competition is so tough that customer support should be much more caring and considerate if they want to keep their clientele. You’ll be better off with someone who values you as a client.
Any experience with iPage Hosting? Please leave us your iPage review (positive or negative) – as long as it’s transparent and authentic!