Having developed a number of sites for a number of different purposes, including affiliate marketing and showcasing my businesses, I have worked with a large number of different web hosts over the past few years, and my experiences have been mixed to say the least.
||Overall Rating||: A+ * Recommended!|
For my latest venture, I decided to compare the current hosting market and choose a new host to use as the platform for my site. While I have worked on a lot of sites, I am no web design expert, so I needed something that gave me a good site builder that I could use to quickly and effectively customize my site. I was also very keen to work with someone who offered good customer service, as I have been burned in the past when there have been technical issues or server down time affecting sites I owned, and no real way to get in touch with the hosts to find out what was going on!
Other requirements that mattered to me was good email hosting, and scalability – I needed to know that if my site really took off and grew the host would still be able to handle it.
After some comparisons, I decided to try out iPage, and now I have been using them for a while I thought I’d share my findings about this web hosting company.
Who is iPage?
iPage is a web hosting company who has been active in the industry for about fifteen years. At this point in time they serve over a million websites in 150 countries, and have a staff of about 800 people in six global locations.
They operate a “pool” based system for their servers, meaning that the sites they host draw from a large server farm rather than having dedicated space on one machine. This is generally better for most customers, because it means there is more redundancy – your site gets the space and memory it needs from the fastest machines available, and downtime is very rarely an issue. Their data centers are based in Boston.
iPage basic features
iPage offers strong basic features that will meet the needs of just about any user, including:
- Unlimited disk space
- As many email addresses as you want
- A free domain name for the first year
- Unlimited MySQL databases
- 24/7 customer support via a US phone line, email and online chat
- Free website security package
- Free, feature rich site builder
While a lot of web hosts offer their users unlimited disk space and bandwidth, what a lot of people forget to think about is the other things they may need in unlimited numbers – when you first launch a site or business you may think five email addresses will be plenty, but further down the line as your business grows having the option for unlimited email accounts with your host can be a real life saver. The unlimited email accounts you get with iPage can be accessed through the web or configured to go to your devices, and you also get helpful features like autoresponders included.
The security package that comes with iPage has a $100 value, and that will give you a lot of peace of mind, especially if you are running an e-commerce website where security is of top priority!
iPage special features
iPage also offer some very good marketing incentives, which can make a big difference to how effective your site is in that vital period after launch when your SEO efforts may not have had a chance to take effect yet. These free marketing incentives include:
- A $25 free advertising credit on Bing or Yahoo search engines
- A $50 free credit on Facebook social network
- A $100 credit to spend on Google AdWords advertising
This adds up to $175 of free advertising credits, which is one of the most valuable free marketing packages I have seen from a major web host, and the split is good – most businesses or sites will choose to do the majority of their advertising with AdWords and run smaller campaigns on Facebook. The fact you also get some credit to advertise to the growing Bing user community is also pretty cool, and something I might not have thought to invest in had iPage not included this in my package.
You also get a free listing on YellowPages.com and a free toll free phone number if you want them and you’re based in the US. This can all become very helpful in your overall marketing strategy, and really boost the value of the package – if you think about how much these incentives and the advertising credit would cost on their own, it is actually more than the cost of signing up with iPage for a whole year!
iPage has some great provisions for taking online transactions on your site, and they are all included in your package and easy to plug in when you build your site. These include:
- PayPal integration
- A free web based store
- A choice of different built in shopping cart applications
Why I like iPage
The amount of value they stack on to the low monthly fee is outstanding, and it really feels like they have tried to put together a package that gives every user everything they need to make their site a success. I used all the free advertising credits to help get my new site noticed, and was able to make it easy for my customers to buy things and share my offers socially.
The site builder, which is by Weebly, is simply excellent. It has lots of premium features that help you to give your site a professional look, as well as allowing you to instantly set up things like blogs and photo galleries with barely any effort.
The great security features, and the flexibility offered by the unlimited databases and email addresses turned out to be great features I had never even known I needed, and of course, the peace of mind of knowing that there is a US based helpline there 24 hours a day to support you certainly goes a long way!
Check out the following video to see what you can do with iPage.
I’d certainly recommend iPage as a top choice for anybody looking for a reliable host. Their package has everything you need for just about any kind of site. They offer all of the e-commerce and marketing features a business site needs as well as really flexible design features and account management that will prove very valuable for sites like blogs and community websites.
I genuinely believe iPage is offering one of, if not the best value hosting deals on the market, and because of its size, maturity and reputation, dealing with them is easy and free of some of the frustrations associated with tech companies. I certainly won’t be switching to another host any time soon!