PROS / The comprehensive knowledgebase is easy to use.
CONS / Most security features require an extra cost per month.
VERDICT / For those who are more technologically advanced, iPage gives you control over your website, but it won’t work well for those who are new to website design and management.
The basic plan offered by iPage, one of the top hosting companies in the industry, includes several unlimited options and free extras. Still, there are other limits applied by this web host.
There are the expected core features in iPage’s Essential Plan, like unlimited disk space and bandwidth. In addition, the company offers unlimited subdomains, parked domains and email accounts.
What is limited, as with any shared hosting plan, is the computing and memory usage. iPage doesn’t allow you to view your CPU usage statistics, so there is no way to keep tabs on how much your website taxes the server on which it is hosted. We also discovered that the unlimited disk space actually has a limit of 25GB, according to support staff.
Help & Support
We hit a small roadblock when we first signed up for the shared web hosting plan. Signing up for an account online was an obstacle. Through live chat, we were told we needed to provide a copy of a government issued ID that matched the name on the credit card, which could either be an excellent security measure or a huge inconvenience, depending on your perspective. In the end, we called iPage’s customer service and the agent we spoke with did not require an ID and we were able to make the purchase.
We took an average of our live chat wait times, and that average came out to be 12 minutes for initial contact, followed by an average of three minutes between responses. The corporation that owns iPage outsources its support staff and shares that team between a dozen other web hosts on our lineup.
The web hosting service gives you access to a comprehensive knowledgebase that covers a multitude of topics. Aside from account management, you can learn how to build your website using some of the most popular content management systems, including Joomla and WordPress. You can also learn how to submit your website to Google manually, how to set up your website to accept credit cards for online payments and how to market your website.
Control Panel Options
You have access to WordPress, Weebly and a basic website builder through iPage’s chosen control panel, vDeck. Any option you choose gives you templates from which to work and walks you through the steps to complete your website design. If you use the available website builder CM4all, you can design up to nine pages free. We tested it and found it to be easy to use but a bit slow and dated in its interface design and template styles. Also, the control panel vDeck seem limited and less user-friendly than the industry standard cPanel.
What’s missing from iPage’s basic plan are a couple of make-or-break features for some people, such as secure shell access (SSH), free site backup and site restoration. If site security or anti-spam is important to you, then you have to pay extra for them.
There are many features offered in iPage’s Essential Plan, and the introductory price makes it worth a try for anyone who is new to website design, which is why it remains one of the best web hosting companies out there. You get the help you need through iPage’s extensive knowledgebase, courteous customer service representatives and tutorials. However, you can’t expect to have complete control, security and site backup at the low price that this budget web host offers.