In this review, we will check out the WordPress hosting from iPage and put it through the same tests that all of the web hosts endured in our $1000 Web Hosting Case Study. If you are looking to switch providers or find your first host, be sure to see all of the results for yourself.
iPage is another company owned by the EIG umbrella company that also owns HostGator, Bluehost, and tens of other providers. They were started in 1998 and relaunched in 2009 as a web hosting provider. Because they are owned by EIG, we expect to find the same sort of pricing and customer service as the other sibling companies that all promote low-cost monthly hosting which can be great for people who have small websites or are starting their own blog.
So, how did they fair? Let's find out and jump right into their plans.
iPage offers standard shared hosting as well as hosting that is specific to WordPress. In this review, we are going to focus on their WordPress hosting option to give a more apples-to-apples comparisons with the other hosts in our list.
The WordPress hosting is specialized for the WordPress CMS and comes pre-installed with WordPress as well as some basic themes to get you started.
As far as the individual plans, there are only two flavors WP Starter (basic) and WP Essential (advanced). The plan that is right for you is going to depend on your experience, traffic, and amount of support you need. Before we get into the specifics, let's talk about the features that exist in both plans.
If you don't have a website yet, the first year of domain registration fees are covered by iPage when you create your first account. The annual renewal will depend on the TLD that you choose and is usually around $10 - $20 for standard .com/net/org extensions.
Have a lot of pictures that you want to share on your blog? iPage offers unlimited storage so you don't have to worry about filling up all of the space on the server. This doesn't mean that you can use the server as a backup solution for your personal photos though. You still have to follow the ToS and only use the storage for pictures related to your website.
iPage tries to make it as easy as possible to get started on their platform. When you sign up for the WordPress hosting plan, you can choose from their suite of pre-installed themes and plugins to make your website look more professional from the beginning.
All of the iPage plans come with unlimited bandwidth as well. The bandwidth (which is the amount of data that comes in and out of the server) can be capped at some of the competitors and you may experience site outages.
They will monitor yoru bandwidth and in the rare occurrence that you are using more of the server than they expected they will help you come up with a strategy to move to a dedicated server solution.
1st Year $/mo
Make sure you understand the renewal pricing before deciding on your web host based strictly on price. Most of the hosting companies will have a low introductory rate for the first year (or first billing period) and the price will increase after that. To make this easier to compare, we calculated the 3 and 5 year total cost of ownership values taking into account these increases to help give you a better idea of the total cost.
The 3 and 5 year columns represent your total cost after that much time. The 1 year cost is what you will have to pay on day 1.
1 Year Cost
3 Year Cost
5 Year Cost
*WP Starter Plans only has a 2 year upfront option.
1 Year Cost
3 Year Cost
5 Year Cost
This start plan is aimed at people who are starting their first blog or have a small business website. iPage doesn't give any specifics about the hardware that they use, but if it follows the same pattern as the other EIG companies, this will handle a few thousand visitors a month without issue.
The first additional feature you get with the WP Essential plan is a higher level of support. What this really means is that you will be able to get support help for the other two add-ons that come with this plan. All of the support agents will be able to help you with the standard account features or refer you to someone who can help you solve your problem.
Enhanced Security is the second add-on that you get when you upgrade to the WP Essential plan. iPage partners with SiteLock to help alert you if your website is hacked or needs to be upgraded or patched to avoid future issues.
Lastly, iPage offers "Super Speed" as their last upgrade. This means you will get increased caching for your static content that allows it to load faster as well as access to a CDN that will allow your visitors to load your content from servers that are geographically closer to them.
Although they offer a low introductory price to get you in the door, the rates jump quite a bit on the first renewal. This isn't too different from most of the other web hosts, but you should still be prepared and do your homework.
You can check out our support test below, but a lot of existing customers have also mentioned that they have slower support than they would have expected. Unfortunately, this is what happens as companies get bigger and customer service representatives handle multiple requests at a time.
As we found out in our support test, they don't offer support for 3rd party SSL certificates and charge $39.99 a year for a certificate from them. This is quite a bit more expensive than buying one yourself, but it isn't a problem unless you need SSL.
Their site didn't mention anythign about SSL, so we contacted the LiveChat customer support to see if there were any additional fees to add on this behavior. Here is the result of our inquiry.
9:00 PST Tuesday
Time to 1st Contact
Time to Answer Question
4 minutes 30 seconds
The customer support agent took about 3 minutes to read our questions and come up with an answer with a few generic greeting thrown in there. But, at the end we got that answer to our question (even if it wasn't what we expected).