Article by Jerry Low
Geek dad, SEO data junkie, investor, and founder of Web Hosting Secret Revealed. Jerry has been building Internet assets and making money online since 2004. He loves mindless doodling and trying new food.
A little Background Story On Previous iPage Review
A few years back I acquired a hosting account at iPage and wrote an in-depth review on it. Although I do update my iPage review from time to time; there was nothing major being re-reviewed or modified once I have fully tested the web host. My previous iPage account was left dormant and eventually expired some time ago.
Thanks to some active readers who sent me emails and Twitter messages, I picked up my lazy bones and signup myself again with a brand new iPage account*.
Yes, I spent $50 on web hosting plus the new domain fees and did a total re-check on iPage hosting (actually no, I spent about $200 on new web hosting accounts including IX Web Hosting and A2 Hosting; but that’s story for some other day).
Well, in general things are still all good at iPage. I do, however, have a few points (both plus and minus) to add on top of my old review. Here are a few extra good things I see in iPage during the recent signup.
iPage Is Now Serving Simple Scripts
iPage is no more using the old Install Central system. Instead, Simple Scripts (created by Matt Heaton and Ben Merrill) is served and users now get to install more than 100 of popular web applications (WordPress, Joomla, MODx, QuickBooks, etc) conveniently.
Instant Account Activation With iPage Is For Real
When iPage talks about its instant account activation, it is *really* instant. I got my new account login details right after my payment; I was already done with the WordPress installation and working on the new site content within the next 10 minutes.
When you are working with 10 other different web hosts in the same time, you’ll appreciate such level of efficiency. Believe me, not many hosting companies offer such rapid service when it comes to account activation. I used to wait for days for a phone call activation even though I was paying with cash in my PayPal account.
iPage Hosting Is Extremely Cheap
Yes, I knew I have mentioned this in my old review but seriously, this is worth mentioning again and again. At $3.50/mo**, you get to host unlimited domain in one hosting account. Remember that the year is 2012, not 2008. While every other hosting companies I knew have raised their price in the past few years, iPage has reduced its price by 25% the least.
If you are looking for a budget host, look no further, iPage is the answer.
iPage now comes with ultra clear usage policy
Remember my post about unlimited hosting some years ago? Well, I am glad to see some hosting companies, including iPage, are no longer hiding behind such dodgy marketing tricks anymore.
The company now states clearly (a link to the policy is visible at the homepage) that it will give 48 hours of warning period (and suspend after the warning period) to the users who have exceed “normal bandwidth and disk space utilization”.
While this does not affect much of the user experience practically, I do see the company’s attitude of being honest as a positive sign (that it’s going to take good care of its customers).
Okay, enough with the trumpet blowing. Now let’s talk about some of the problems with iPage. Just like any other web hosts, iPage has its own pros and cons – hey, iPage is just another hosting company in business to make money, right? As a smart consumer, you should always know the story on both sides. My job here is to lay down all the facts about hosting at iPage – both good and bad – so you can make an informed choice.
There are a few questionable practices at iPage that you should pay attention to.
Be Careful Of iPage’s Internal Selling
Frankly I do not know what to call this, I guess Internal Selling or (Inbound Marketing?) is the right phrase to use. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong. Anyway, here’s what I am trying to describe:
When you first signup with iPage, you will be “lured” into various free trials. There is a wide list of so-call Marketing Services in iPage control panel including Constant Contact, EmailBrain Small Business, Free Toll-Free Phone Number, Free YP.com Listing, Google Webmaster Tools, Y! Sponsored Search Credits, and so on. Please be aware that many of these services are only free for the trial period – you will need to pay if once the trial period has ended. Careless users who accidentally activated the trials (or forgot to cancel the services within the trial period) are forced to pay for useless services.
Expensive Renewal Fees
When you first sign up with iPage, the price is $3.50/mo. This is actually the special offers made possible with my special partnership with the company. Upon renewal, you will be requested to pay at the regular rate (which is relative higher, but reasonable) for your iPage account.
The regular price structures are as below.
|36-month term||24-month term||12-month terms|
|United States Dollar ($)||$6.99/mo||$7.99/mo||$8.99/mo|
|Canadian Dollar (CA$)||CA$ 6.99/mo||CA $7.99/mo||CA $ 8.99/mo|
|Australian Dollar (AU$)||AU$ 6.99/mo||AU $7.99/mo||AU $ 8.99/mo|
|United Kingdom (GBP – £)||£ 4.35/mo||£ 4.99/mo||£ 4.9/mo|
You should also be aware that iPage actually stated this clearly in its billing policy and you may always check BillingCentral (inside iPage Control Panel) to get an up-to-date statement of the current amount being billed for services.
Before I end this updates on iPage, I would like to include this iPage review by Saskia Davis of Symptoms Of Inner Peace. It is a bit long, our discussion took about two weeks to conclude, and it is a very useful piece.
On June 24th, 2012, Saskia Davis wrote:
I have appreciated your website. This is feedback for you and a request for your input, as well.
I have spent a few days with your host reviews and recommendations. Made some calls. Since on the basis of your reviews and my calls, I had narrowed the field to 3, when I discovered Ipage and Fat Cow had merged, I went with Ipage. So far, that is. I signed up, yesterday, without first having read their terms of service. (I never thought of it until I was creating the on-line account this morning.) Now am rethinking it.
1. Promises made by the salesman are not born out by techs. Techs are not prepared, as promised, to help me upload from IWeb. Nor was the supervisor helpful in that regard. However, I had the presence of mind to call the Sales Department, again. Spoke with a different salesman from the one from whom I bought the program. He offered and
followed through with a website tutorial on how to do the upload. He m-a-y have redeemed the company. The jury is still out.
2. Terms of service: Their Terms of Service are very iPage-centric. If I had gotten off to a better start with the tech department, I might not be worrying so much about the Terms of Service. But customer has to agree to pay costs of any dispute, apparently whether or not the dispute is settled in favor of the customer. See below:
3. Customer must agree to auto-billing and/or charging of credit card. When talking with the supervisor, I said I wanted to opt for the billing, not the charging of the card. He said they were the same thing. I had not read the terms of service before signing up.(Lesson learned) In fact, it was hard to read them because there is no scroll mechanism; so most of the terms are below the bottom level of the screen. I had to copy and paste them onto a document on my computer in order to read what I would be agreeing to.
4. After receiving the unbelievable news from the supervisor that “billing” and “credit card charging” “mean the same thing”, I called the Billing Department. When I explained that I had signed up for 3 years and that I would want the opportunity to consider my needs and the costs before my credit card was charged for the next term, she did have an alternative. However, her alternative is not mentioned in the Terms of Service, so I will have to decide how much I trust the company to honor what one of their employees has told me.
5. My next move will be to contact the BBB to find out if they have had complaints.
Jerry, any perspective that you can provide will be welcome at this point.
On July 5th, 2012, Saskia Davis wrote:
I worry that this feedback would be overly long for a review, but I still would consider it if you were to give me the opportunity to approve any edits.
After writing to you, the last time, I went to the Better Business Bureau site (BBB). Although resolution had been effective, still I found far too many complaints had been filed with reviews that supported my concerns about the company not keeping its promises. So, I decided to pay more money and go with my other choice, Web Hosting Hub, which you also had reviewed.
Their terms also included credit card auto-draft, but the BBB customer reviews, on the whole, had been positive with very few complaints and their original salesperson’s approach had sounded more tutorial and less like a sales pitch. I decided to trust that I could work with them. In fact, I was able to make other billing arrangements with them.
At this point it is important to say that my host search was driven by Apple’s impending end of MobileMe services. The salespeople of both hosts said that their techs could provide the information I would need to transfer my iWeb site to their service. However the iPage tech team did not agree. Before deciding to cancel, I tried to call the salesman back who had made that promise. Fortunately for me, he wasn’t there. A colleague took the call. This is the positive thing that came out of my experience with iPage. He provided me with the URL for a free AP with which to make the transfer. When I commented that it was a surprise to find that the salesman knew more than the techs, he replied that he had been around a long time. I might have let the help he had given me outweigh my concerns, but the BBB complaints and customer reviews tipped the balance.
The switch to WebHostingHub (WHH) would not have been smooth, might not even have been possible, without the AP to which I had been introduced by the iPage sales colleague. The WHH tech sourced a set of instructions for another iWeb version and I did not have the technical understanding to reinterpret them for my version. Neither did he. He seemed utterly at a loss. The little w2w AP saved the day! At my request, the tech stayed with me while I read the instructions. I needed him to interpret some of the techy terms.
Once I understood it, it was VERY simple.
When I returned the requested WHH tech evaluation, I included the URL for the AP. They were not interested, replying that they could not recommend a 3rd party AP. So, knowing that, at least for iWeb site owners, I probably can’t recommend WHH, either… that is: unless site owners find and use the AP without the recommendation of WHH. Here is the link. Once past the transfer challenge, so far, smooth sailing. I am anticipating a positive experience.
Best, Saskia Davis
Well as I said, my job here is to lay out all the facts and you’ll have to make your own decision (whether iPage is right for you or not). In my personal opinion, iPage is indeed a great choice for those who wants a balance between quality and price. $3.50/mo can merely buy you a Starbucks coffee but with that price iPage is offering you the capacity to host unlimited addon domain with 24/7 support. For those who are searching for a budget web host, iPage has all that you need. But hey, then again, that’s me – If you think you can get a better deal elsewhere, feel free to do so.
For further details, visit http://www.ipage.com.
Remark *: For your reference, here’s my test site on the new iPage account. **: The price $3.50/mo is based on the price with my special promotion link. Prices may be different if you order iPage independently or via other independently.