iPage Review: Is Their Web Hosting Right For You?
A iPage Review For You
iPage is a web hosting site that competes with rivals GoDaddy and Hostgator to sell you similar products and services. The company offers a low-priced introductory offer that beats the price of most competitors. Good features with iPage include unlimited bandwidth, which is great for companies anticipating traffic surges or high volume to their sites, generous email accounts included in the price, and an almost unheard of in this industry 30-day money back guarantee.
If you’re new to web hosting, the information below will help you understand basics of what you need to purchase to set up your website and why. If you’re already familiar with website hosting and just want the facts about iPage, skip to the Why Choose iPage? Section.
What is Web Hosting?
If you’re new to the world of building websites, the terminology and steps to build a site may seem confusing. Whether you use iPage or one of its competitors like Bluehost, you’ll need to use the same steps to build your site.
- Search and purchase a domain name.A domain name is the URL, the name of your website, and what people type into the browsers to access your site directly. Like a street address, there can’t be two “houses” or websites with the exactly same URL, so reserving the one that you want is subject to availability. Choose one that ends in .com if at all possible for a for-profit company or business, and .org for nonprofits. The .com domain remains the most easily recognized and remembered even if other ones like .net, .biz, or .us are available.You can purchase a domain name directly from companies like GoDaddy, or purchase one through your web hosting service provider. The basic purchase is the same from different providers. The only thing that varies is the cost, so try to find a sale price or low cost domain name and price shop for your desired domain
- Find a web hosting company.To continue our analogy of homes and streets, if your domain name is like your street address, the web hosting company is the parcel of land on which your house is build. They provide the land but it’s up to you to hire a contractor and buy the raw materials to build and decorate your house.Some web hosting companies provide templates and software that make it easy for you to build your website. Others simply provide the space or bandwidth, and it’s up to you to upload files that create your website. For newcomers to the world of website building, a hosting company that provides simple software and templates to build a site is the easiest way to get your site started.
Web hosting costs can be monthly or annually. Most companies offer an option of paying monthly or yearly, and if you pay yearly, you get a slight discount over the monthly payments. IPage is one of the few hosting companies that doesn’t give you a monthly payment option. To offset the fear of locking yourself into a web hosting for a year or more sight unseen, the company provides a generous money-back offer and lets you cancel your contract if it’s within 30 days.
Why Choose iPage?
IPage offers some great features for both newcomers to the world of web hosting and for companies looking to make the switch from their current host. Here’s a rundown of the best features.
Unlimited Space, Bandwidth and Email Accounts
One of the standout features of iPage is the unlimited space, bandwidth and number of email accounts you can set up with your domain name purchase and hosting. That’s huge, because most of their competitors charge more money as you scale up.
Your site’s space is what it takes up online, the size of the files you upload. Bandwidth refers to the amount of traffic and data flowing back and forth as customers access it. A lot of people trying to download your ebook at once, for instance, can flood the bandwidth and cause an error message or a ‘site is temporarily down’ kind of message on many sites. And most hosting platforms ask you to pay an additional monthly fee for your email address, and more every time you add more people to your email list.
If you expect to get a lot of traffic to your website from day one, then iPage is a good value for you. It’s also a good value if you have many employees or mailboxes to set up. You might save a substantial amount of money in email set up fees.
There aren’t as many hosting packages to choose from as with other companies, but iPage offers a low introductory deal that can save you a significant amount of money.
IPage offers dedicated WordPress hosting for bloggers or WordPress-based sites, as well as hosting for custom build sites. As you create your account, the setup wizard prompts you through a series of questions to help you choose the appropriate hosting platform.
The Control Panel is where you will start many processes related to building your website. Unfortunately, the Control Panel is one of iPage’s weakest features. It’s a little confusing to get started with. There are a lot of options for you to choose from, but once you read through the system’s help files you should be able to move through it quickly.
Website Design Tools
iPage works with built-in Weebly web design. If you’re not familiar with Weebly, it’s easy to learn. It’s similar to many site design and graphic design systems available online. You set up a web page, then add text, upload your pictures, and add apps or widgets to build things like social media links, email signup forms, menus and more.
You can choose from among hundreds of Weebly templates available through iPage, or upload your own custom-designed pages. You can use iPage to host an ecommerce site, a business website, a blog or any type of site you can think of.
Strong eCommerce Functionality
One of the strengths built into iPage is its ecommerce functionality. The system seems made for an ecommerce platform, and with the unlimited bandwidth, it can manage your site during the holiday season and more when traffic peaks.
iPage integrates with ShopSite, a third-party management tool. The basic iPage package includes a small starter ecommerece store with ShopSite – 15 product and up to five pages. After that, you’ve got purchase increasing amounts of product space with ShopSite. It is a separate purchase from your web hosting.
Customer Service and Support
The SEO Benefits
The drawback? It’s very expensive. For $99 a month, you don’t get much, and you can probably hire freelancers or work with a professional SEO firm like Marccx rather than pay an unknown group of writers.
IPage offers only yearly hosting plans. A basic website package costs $11.95, but the site runs frequent specials and when this article was written, they were running a special for $1.95 per month for basic hosting. You do have to pay yearly in advance, however, so factor that into your total costs.
WordPress hosting costs slightly more. A WordPress starter site costs $3.75 a month, while the Essential site costs $6.95 a month. The Essential package includes enhanced security features to prevent against hacking, as well as access to “WordPress Experts.”
One thing to note about the prices: all of the prices quoted here are what the site calls “introductory rates.” One of the drawbacks about iPage that’s frequently shared online is that they tend to raise prices dramatically after the introductory period. Web hosting can jump from $1.99 per month during the intro period to $11.99 or more after. It pays to call them and ask what the current rate is when you sign up.
Drawbacks of iPage
iPage offers a lot for the price that you pay, and is among the more generous web hosting offers available. However, as with any service, there are drawbacks as well as benefits.
- The company’s navigation dashboard (control panel) can be confusing for the novice. It may take you a while to learn how to upload files, for example.
- Integration with ShopSite is a good thing, but charging extra for it can be a surprise a new business owner doesn’t expect.
- The site offers so many templates and gadgets that it can quickly feel overwhelming. Choose wisely what you’d like on your site to avoid making a cluttered website.
The Bottom Line: A Lot to Offer
IPage offers quite a lot of features, and many benefits beyond the usual web hosting company. The unlimited space and email accounts is tempting. The low introductory rates can also be quite tempting. For websites expecting a high traffic volume, iPage may be a great choice.