iPage is a web hosting company that specialises in shared hosting plans. They offer a range of freebies and bonuses on signup, and an unusual ‘Anytime’ money-back guarantee. Both of these seem to be their specialist area, along with shared web hosting.
The company have been providing website hosting since 1998, and they currently have one and a half million domains on their books with more than a million websites hosted on their servers. They’re US-based but have customers in 150 countries and have six offices worldwide (although they’re not very clear on where these offices are located).
Originally founded by Thomas Gorny, iPage is now owned by the Endurance International Group: the same company that own FatCow, BlueHost and other well-known web hosting providers. They mention on their site that they purchase Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to offset their carbon emissions.
iPage Hosting Plans
The web hosting services offered by iPage are fairly straightforward. It’s not easy to find information though.
The cheapest plan is Website Hosting, and it seems as though the service is geared towards non-techies. For a flat monthly fee, iPage’s Website Hosting plan offers unlimited MySQL databases and domains, plus “loads” of disk space and bandwidth. The company don’t specify how much but state on their website that the vast majority of their customers fall within normal limits, and anyone who doesn’t is probably using their web hosting space for something they shouldn’t be doing (such as file sharing). The ToS states that “normal operation” of a website will be problem-free, but if you need guarantees on space, iPage may not be the best option.
In order to dig deep into the technical detail, you’ll need to click the ‘Features for Geeks’ links on the Hosting Features page. This still doesn’t reveal much. From the specifications, we’d guess they offer Linux hosting, but the actual word ‘Linux’ doesn’t appear anywhere on the page or even in their knowledge base.
Note that the prices they display are introductory rates; the renewal rates are higher.
The iPage website claims that the company also offers shared Windows Hosting on Windows 2003 servers. When I followed the link, I got a 404 page, so it’s probably safe to assume this has been discontinued. Likewise, their VPS hosting link took me to a 404 page, so again, it looks like they don’t offer VPS hosting any more.
Websites created by iPage customers are hosted in two data centres in Boston, MA. Across the two facilities, they have 800 Dell servers. Each data centre offers round-the-clock security, N+1 AC and DC power and both have identical infrastructure. Customer data is mirrored across clustered servers to protect against downtime, and they also run UPS backup and have diesel generators too.
There are no details about uptime, and they don’t claim to have an uptime guarantee. Their servers are backed up daily using NetApp Snapshot.
Unlike most other hosting companies, iPage is very clear about the location of their support team. All staff are located in North America. They boast that calls are answered within approximately one minute, 24/7.
Although support is free, users can upgrade to Premium support for a hefty fee. This speeds up resolution time, but the expense is worth balancing against other hosts.
The support centre, although fairly sparse, is accessible by all customers and non-customers, with a range of knowledge base articles and tutorials. I found these to be on the basic side, although some of the video tutorials for applications such as their file manager, Joomla and WordPress (a CMS/ blog application) are enough to get you started if you’re a beginner. Web hosting clients can also use free live chat or submit tickets through an online system.
iPage in the News
It seems iPage have dodged controversy in the last decade, and I didn’t find any negative news reports about them. There’s anecdotal evidence of problems such as occasional hacks, but that’s to be expected with any web host. There doesn’t appear to be any headline stories to confirm this.
iPage Control Panel
The control panel on iPage is a custom-built application utilising a combination of scripts and tools to present information. Access to phpMyAdmin is available, but you’ll have to use iPage’s own control panel to get there.
The help information about the control panel in the knowledge base is basic at best (for example, a search for ‘control panel’ brings up a few articles about which browsers to use and how to find your way to the admin area - nothing more). There’s no working demo on the site, so it’s hard to say how much control users actually have over things like PHP resources.
New iPage customers are treated to a host of incentives, although some of these are arguably a standard feature of web hosting services anyway.
● There’s a free Security Suite which includes a “highly secure data centre” and daily spam and malware scans. This is fairly standard, although iPage values it at $100.
● There’s also a Marketing Suite package which includes $100 in Google Adwords credit, $25 in Yahoo!/Bing ad credit, $50 in Facebook ad credit, a free listing on YellowPages.com, analytics software and an authentication seal. iPage values this at $300.
● The third package is the Support Suite, which includes 24/7 phone, chat and email support, tutorials and help. This is valued at $50, rather dubiously, since help is part and parcel of a hosting plan.
● Finally, the Design Suite is valued at $50 and basically covers the installation of scripts and software (blogs, galleries, ecommerce stores and website builders) plus Google Webmaster Tools. Again, these are normally provided free with other hosts.
In addition, anyone signing up for two or three years receives access to a free mobile site builder application, SiteDelux, complete with templates.
iPage Money Back Guarantee / Cancellation Policy
An unlimited, unrestricted money-back guarantee is certainly a rarity, but that’s just what iPage offers. If you’re unhappy, just contact them to cancel your account and you’ll get a refund for the remaining term on your contract via their billing system.
The refund policy is quite standard. A non-refundable domain fee of $15 will be deducted from any refunds if you obtained a domain through the host. The guarantee only applies to web hosting services, not additional bolt-ons.
iPage prides itself on being flexible and easy to use. However, the information on the website is slimmed down to such an extent that finding any solid facts was actually quite difficult.
If you want guaranteed North American technical support, iPage offer this (and they’re proud of it). With no dedicated or VPS plans - and readily-available explanations of basic terms such as webmail - it seems the company is focused mainly on personal, nonprofit and small business sites run by people with low-to-medium resource requirements. Pricing is fairly competitive.
The front page of the site certainly markets iPage to people with no prior experience, so iPage could be a good choice if you want solid support and a guarantee without the technical jargon. Remember that Premium support is pretty expensive.
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