iPage Review: Web Hosting & Tools Designed for New Bloggers
iPage is known for bargain-priced hosting that’s easy to use. And they put an emphasis on WordPress features and services. But are they a good pick for your online project or business?
I’ve been running a WordPress site on iPage since 2017 for testing purposes. In that time I’ve learned how their customer service operates. I’ve also discovered that they offer some appealing services that benefit WordPress users, but these services aren’t even listed on their corporate site. You’ll find them in your control panel after you sign up.
I’ll tell you everything you need to know about this in this review.
Established in Boston, Massachusetts, iPage has been in business since 1998. iPage is owned by the Endurance International Group (EIG), which is the parent company behind other hosting providers like Bluehost and HostGator.
Though iPage offers some premium hosting options, the company caters primarily to bloggers and small business owners who want an affordable hosting company as they start to establish their online presence.
iPage Hosting Plans
iPage offers a variety of hosting plans based on these hosting types:
- WordPress-specific hosting
- Shared hosting
The hosting needs of most site owners will fall into the first three categories.
This hosting is stated to offer:
- Speed and security optimized for WordPress including security protection (including a firewall) from SiteLock, a well-known security firm
- Unlimited storage
- Unlimited bandwidth
- 24/7 customer service by live chat or phone
iPages states that this hosting provides you with a version of WordPress that they’ve prepared and has:
- Hand-selected themes for you to choose from
- Some key pre-installed plugins
- A control panel designed for WordPress
Choose from Two WordPress Hosting Plans
iPage offers two WordPress plans: WP Starter and WP Essential.
What Do I Get with WP Starter?
This plan comes with:
- Free domain name (for one year)
- Free search engine credits
- Scalable bandwidth for handling surges in web traffic
Introductory price: $3.85/month
30-day money-back guarantee? Yes.
What Do I Get With WP Essential?
The WP Essential plan includes the above features and comes with:
- Enhanced security that includes daily malware scans and built-in firewall
- Superior speed
- WordPress expert support.
Introductory price: $6.95/month
30-day money-back guarantee? Yes.
Get WordPress Help
It’s one thing to get help with your hosting. It’s another to get help with your WordPress blog.
In your hosting control panel, you’ll find an enticing option called WP Live.
What is WP Live?
Get WordPress pros to customize and improve your blog.
WP Live provides you with a full suite of WordPress website services including:
- Growing traffic to your blog
- Adding an online store to your blog
- Altering an aspect of your blog, like a slider or the homepage
- Integrating with social media
- Getting a WordPress blog set up
- Accessing WordPress services via live chat, email or phone
You pay a monthly fee depending on the options that you want. And you can cancel at any time. Note: If you sign up for the 6-month or 12-month option you’ll pay a cancellation fee.
This is an attractive option and can be a real time-saver. It does not appear that the iPage website advertises WP Live as one of its services. That’s why I wanted to make sure you know about it.
WP Live is offered through something called the Mojo Marketplace, which you’ll have access to via iPage.
Realize though that you don’t have to sign up with iPage in order to use WP Live or the Mojo Marketplace. iPage simply gives you a convenient link in your control panel. Anyone can use the Mojo Marketplace.
You can get your WordPress blog questions answered quickly and technical tasks done for you with WP Live.
If you are considering transferring your blog from an existing WordPress-specific plan offered by another host that iPage’s plans are light compared to others’.
For example, iPage makes no mention of offering development or staging sites (helpful for testing changes before pushing them live) to its users, and you still have to install the WordPress core onto your environment — it does not come pre-installed.
If you are in need of budget-friendly hosting for a project that you are just getting off the ground, consider iPage’s shared hosting option.
Unlike other hosts that offer you a variety of shared hosting plans from which you can choose, iPage offers one plan that comes with everything you need to get started.
The shared hosting plan offered by iPage includes:
- Unlimited websites
- Unlimited disk space
- Unlimited email addresses
- Unlimited MySQL databases
- Free domain name
In addition, you will be able to get a free domain name during the signup process, as well as the ability to use the company’s website builder. This way, you can create your website using a simple drag-and-drop interface instead of needing to know how to code.
You will also find that you get enhanced security tools and 24/7 uptime monitoring.
Easy Installation of WordPress and Other CMSs
Expand your blog with apps from Mojo Marketplace.
Finally, you can easily install WordPress with one-click or take advantage of other installable scripts (which are basically small sets of code that can be used to implement a specific functionality) that include Joomla, Drupal, PrestaShop, OpenCart, and many others.
These options are available in Mojo Marketplace, accessible via your iPage control panel.
The Marketplace provides you with the CMS (content management system) for your blog (such as WordPress) or apps to add functionality.
You can add games, discussion forums, an online store, event calendars . . . anything you can imagine.
Video: Get an overview of what you can do with the Mojo Marketplace.
Grow Your Blog With Marketing Resources
Do you need help driving traffic to your website? Each customer that signs up for the shared plan has access to marketing features which include online marketing guides, and free advertising credits.
Google Ads Credits
One perk we wanted to draw attention to in particular is that $100 Google Ads credit offered to new hosting customers. (Google AdWords is now known as Google Ads.)
With Google as the search engine of choice, Google Ads is a great place to start when it comes to advertising your blog. As an Ads customer, your ad can be displayed whenever prospective readers search for terms related to your blog.
(If you are interested in working with other search engine providers, iPage offers advertising credits to those who spring for their professional marketing services — we discuss this a bit more later in this article.)
VPS Hosting: Blog Hosting With Speed
VPS is a good choice for new bloggers.
If your blog is starting to see some serious growth, you might want to consider the virtual private server (VPS) hosting plans offered by iPage.
VPS plans are a great step-up from shared hosting when your traffic levels grow, or your site now features a large number of resources, such as high-resolution images and video files.
A Good Choice For New Bloggers Too
However, even if you are just getting started with your blog, you might go straight to a VPS plan. You’ll get much better performance, and you will have room to grow.
Choose from 3 VPS Plans
There are 3 VPS plans: Basic, Business, and Optimum. Each has a different limitation on traffic, storage space, and RAM.
You can choose from a number of available resources depending on the needs of your website.
Each plan allows you to take advantage of benefits such as:
- Free domain name
- Migration services
- High-speed storage
- Round the clock support
Pay Only For What You Use
As with VPS plans offered by other hosting companies, you pay only for the resources you use, and you can quickly adjust the available resources to accommodate your needs.
Dedicated Hosting: For High-Traffic Blogs
For blogs that are very large and/or receive tens of thousands of daily visitors, iPage offers 3 dedicated hosting plans.
With a dedicated host, you get your own fully managed server with no additional cost for exceeding your resource limits.
Benefits such as free a domain name, free marketing credits, and 24/7 support are available on each of the dedicated hosting plans.
Why Bloggers Should Consider iPage
Aside from low introductory prices, one-click WordPress install, and hosting plans tailored for WordPress, iPage offers a few other features that make it seem an attractive choice for both beginner and more experienced bloggers.
iPage comes with an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop website builder that is similar to the options offered by Weebly and Wix.
iPage’s Website Builder vs. WordPress
The website builder an excellent alternative if you’re just starting out and find WordPress too complicated.
Whereas using WordPress requires you to learn the ins-and-outs of a content management system, iPage’s website builder offer a WYSIWYG editor that you can use to build your site up, one element at a time.
Can’t decide? If we were in your shoes, I would opt for iPage if I wanted the easiest option. I would opt for WordPress if I wanted a powerful platform that can scale easily in the future.
Building Your Site
You can use hundreds of pre-made templates and themes to create your blog. The builder uses a drag-and-drop interface so there is no coding involved and each template can be customized with your preferred colors and fonts.
The templates are mobile friendly and include a set of SEO tools that allow you to enter page or post titles, descriptions, and otherwise optimize your content for search engines.
The builder also includes social media integration so you can link your social media profiles and embed share icons.
iPage’s website builder is included for free with the shared hosting plan, but it’s also available as a standalone option that includes the ability to use videos on your blog and connect your Google Analytics account, as well as e-commerce features such as payment gateway integrations, built-in coupon tools, and inventory management.
You can add an online store to your blog.
Blogging and e-commerce go hand-in-hand. For example, food bloggers might want to sell cookbooks, while artists might want to sell their work directly to their customers. You could even do things like self-publish content you have created.
If you want to sell digital products or courses, iPage includes several e-commerce platforms that can be installed on any of its plans.
Supported platforms include AgoraShop, ZenCart, PrestaShop, OSCommerce, and TomatoCart. You can find installers for all of these options in the included Mojo Marketplace.
Accept Online Payments
You can accept credit card payments thanks to PayPal integration, as well as purchase SSL and Extended SSL certificates to make sure your checkout pages are secure and encrypted.
However, the integrations that we have mentioned in the paragraphs immediately above aren’t the only options available to you when it comes time to set up your online store — there are certainly other options available.
You Can Blog and Sell
For example, you can integrate an online store with your WordPress blog. You can also take advantage of iPage’s partnership with Ecwid, an all-in-one e-commerce platform that includes a website builder, support for responsive websites, and more.
Ecwid E-Commerce Plans
If you opt to work with iPage’s e-commerce partner, Ecwid, you can choose between three different plans, depending on the number of features you need.
The first plan allows you to sell a limited number of products on your website and offer sales and promotional prices and provide your customer with real-time shipping quotes.
Sell on Social Networks
The next plan integrates your store with your website, and your Facebook page includes the features mentioned above and comes with an SSL certificate. The third plan comes with the ability to sell unlimited products and eBay and Yahoo! integration.
Keep in mind that if you decide to use Ecwid as your e-commerce solution, you will incur an additional charge on top of your regular iPage hosting bill.
Video: This walkthrough shows how easy it is to use the Ecwid plugin to add a store to your WordPress blog.
For WordPress Users Only: WooCommerce
WooCommerce is the most popular e-commerce plugin for WordPress.
If you are a WordPress user, you have one powerful option when it comes to e-commerce: WooCommerce.
WooCommerce is the number one e-commerce plugin for WordPress, and while the base option is very minimal, its power comes from the options available to you. Add as much (or as little) as you want to your e-commerce platform so that the final product is exactly what you need.
For example, let’s say that you are a drop shipper. (If you are unfamiliar with drop shipping, it is the practice of not keeping products on hand and purchasing them from a third party only when you make a sale. The third party then ships the product directly to the customer.)
To implement drop shipping functionality on your website, you can add the necessary plugins to help you automatically send notifications to your partners whenever you make a sale, and so on.
Video: Installing WooCommerce is easy.
Customer Service and Technical Support
iPage offers a whole slew of options here. Support is available 24/7/365 and can be reached via live chat, email, phone, and the company’s Twitter account.
You’ll also find an extensive knowledge base, user guides, a blog with tips and advice to help you promote your site, and a ticket system.
Prices and Billing
iPage accepts all major credit cards and PayPal as payment methods. Billing cycles are available on a monthly or yearly basis and renew at the standard rate after the introductory period is over.
What You Need to Know About Introductory Pricing
It’s worth mentioning that all of the plans offered by iPage and described above come with an introductory price, as well as a 30-day money back guarantee (less any fees paid for your domain name registration).
When your hosting plan renews, it will do so at the regular rate.
We have mentioned a bit about iPage performance in the sections above, but how does this host actually fare when used in production environments? To find out, we have been using and monitoring iPage.
Here is what we discovered:
- During this year, we did not see uptime drop below 99.86%
- During the same period, we saw that the response time was no slower than 3,878 milliseconds. Note that this performance is quite problematic — you generally want to get this number below 500 milliseconds
- In the past couple of months, the response time sped up from 2000-3000 milliseconds on average to about 500 milliseconds. We also see 100% uptime, so it looks like iPage’s performance is improving
Alternatives to iPage
As a company targeting the entry-level hosting market, you have many options available to you if iPage’s options aren’t quite what you are looking for. Here are some alternatives that you might want to consider.
Bluehost is almost synonymous with WordPress hosting. The company offers a wide variety of hosting options, including budget-friendly plans that fully support blogs build using WordPress. If you have a blog built on another CMS platform, you will still find solid hosting options. All in all, Bluehost offers reasonably performant options at prices that won’t break the bank.
Not all shared hosting services are created equal, and if you want the best of the best, you can’t go wrong with SiteGround. SiteGround is known for its highly performant hosting, top notch customer service, and excellent pricing.
A2 Hosting brands itself as a developer-friendly option that supports pretty much any technology you could need for your website. As such, A2’s options aren’t the easiest ones to use, but if you are feeling a bit daring and want to push the edges of what you can do with your blog (at least with regards to technology), you should take a close look at A2 Hosting.
Comparison Table: iPage vs. Bluehost and Other Competitors
In this table we’ve compared:
- The lowest starting price for each host
- The lowest regular price
- Whether the host provides free SSL
- Whether the host uses SSDs (solid-state drives) at the entry-level price points. (SSDs contribute to speed.)
|Lowest starter price||$3.75||$2.95||$3.92||$3.95|
|Regular lowest price||$7.99||$7.99||$7.99||$11.98|
Remember: web hosts that offer special “introductory” prices typically will raise your price to the “regular” rate when it’s time for your plan to renew.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does iPage offer digital marketing services?
Yes. Shared hosting plans get basic assistance with marketing, including Google AdWords credits. However, if you need more, you can purchase premium marketing professional services from iPage. These services are website design, pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO). In sum, iPage can build a website for you and drive traffic to your site.
Does iPage offer domain names?
Yes. iPage offers domain name-related services, including registration, renewal, and sales of domain privacy so that people cannot look up your personal information using domain registration records.
Should You Choose iPage?
iPage is a good choice for anyone launching their first blog, as well as anyone who wants the ability to have customer support available at all times.
It’s also a decent option for those who have been blogging for a while and want to monetize their blogs with digital products or courses.
The fact that the shared hosting plan comes with one-click WordPress install as well as its WordPress hosting plan with better security are the main reasons why iPage is worth your consideration.
Pair that with several e-commerce platforms, which are perfect for those who are considering selling physical products; and a variety of plans that can adapt to the needs of a growing site and it’s easy to see why iPage is a favorite of many bloggers and small business owners.
Keep in mind that some of the extras discussed here are available at an additional cost, so if your budget is tight, you might want to consider a different company.
Contributing editor: Sherrie Gossett