This is the most extensive and detailed review and guide to the iPage web hosting service that exists today.
When searching online for a reliable web hosting service, there is a good chance that you will come across iPage - a very affordable (starts at $1.99) and quite controversial hosting provider.
Its customers have written hundreds of reviews in the blogosphere and on social media - from positive, by clients who love the hosting customizability, the number of features and affordability to extremely negative, which bash the service completely.
While the positive ones are a majority, a lot of negative reviews have been written because clients found the hosting a bit difficult to manage (it's targeting mostly people beginning their online ventures). That's why, I’ve decided to show you things from my perspective and guide you towards starting your online adventure on iPage hosting so that you too can join the happy majority.
What makes iPage the best (in my opinion) hosting for beginners? Read on to find out...
Table of Contents
1 A Little Bit About iPage Itself
1.1 Speed and Reliability
1.1.1 DNS Speed Test
1.1.2 Website Speed Test
1.2 Customer Support
1.3 What is the Hosting Perfect for?
1.3.1 Blogs, Portfolios and Photo Galleries
1.3.2 Sales Letters, E-Commerce Stores, Sqeeze Pages
1.3.3 Membership Websites
1.4 Is it Suitable for Any Business?
2 iPage Registration
2.1 Registering Your iPage Account
2.2 Setting up Your Account and Forwarding Your Domain
3 Setting Up Your WordPress Website
3.1 The Installation Process
3.2 Choosing a Theme
3.3 Uploading a Commercial Theme
3.3.1 Uploading a New Theme Using WordPress Uploader
3.3.2 Uploading a WordPress Theme Through File Manager
3.3.3 Uploading a File Using FTP File Manager Such as FileZilla
3.4 WordPress Plugins and Getting the Most Out of Your iPage Server
3.4.1 All in One SEO Pack and Yoast SEO
3.4.2 Google XML Sitemap
3.4.3 iThemes Security
3.4.4 W3 Total Cache or Cache Enabler
3.4.5 WP Smush
3.4.7 Remove Query Strings from Static Resources
4 Configuring iPage Email
4.1 Creating a New Email Address
4.2 Setting up Your Email in Mozilla Thunderbird
4.3 Forwarding Your Emails
4.4 Configuring Anti-Spam System
5 Additional Security and Server Enhancement
5.2 Cache Control Tool - Speeding up Your Website
6 Promoting Your Website
6.1 Bing Ad Credits and Google AdWords
6.2 Constant Contact Deal
6.3 Toll-Free Phone Number from Nextiva
6.4 Free Yellow Pages Listing
6.5 Other Bonuses
6.5.1 Free 1GB Cloud Storage Account
6.5.2 Free Domain
6.5.3 WordPress Templates and Themes
7 Website Statistics - Where's it All Coming From?
7.1 What Else Can You Measure?
8 The Online "PR" of iPage
8.1 Comments from Authority Sites and iPage Customers
9 Is iPage Good for Affiliate Websites?
10 My Personal Pros and Cons on iPage
10.1 Pros - What I Like About iPage so Far
10.2 Cons - What Don't I Like About iPage?
A Little Bit About iPage Itself
While the domain iPage.com has been around for quite some time, everything started with its re-launch in 2009. Currently, it is owned by the Endurance International Group which has almost 20 years of experience in the hosting industry.
It serves millions of customers and is the owner of tens of hosting brands, including FatCow, iPage, eHost, Bluehost, Purehost and HostGator. This alone can assure you that there is a professional team behind the brand and that despite its budget-customer orientation, it’s not an amateur project.
What distinguishes iPage besides the low price for the most basic plan, is that it’s hundred percent wind-powered hosting. While for most people it doesn’t really matter, there may be some for whom this fact may be crucial. Similarly for me, it doesn’t necessarily influence my opinion about this host, but I believe it’s worth mentioning.
How does iPage look compared to its more expensive web hosting competitors?
Let’s see how a fresh installation of WordPress behaves on the $1.99 server.
Speed and Reliability
Despite being part of a “budget” hosting family, iPage has quite decent speed and uptime test results. For the sake of testing, I’ve used a clean WordPress installation so that there is no suspicion that I’ve created a unique environment for my site or that I’ve done some speed optimization. You can do that too in a matter of minutes to check it for yourself. All you need is iPage hosting with WordPress installed on it.
Below, there are a few sample performance tests done on a fresh WordPress installation (with the only change being an update to the newest version and a switch of the theme from "Twenty Fourteen” to "Twenty Sixteen”, both of which are standard WordPress themes. No speed-optimizing plugins were installed, and I haven’t done any server-side tweaks.
DNS Speed Test
There is not much to write about here, results speak for themselves - server achieved excellent DNS Speed Test results, with an average score between 13-15ms!
Website Speed Test
While the first impression may not be perfect, keep in mind that this is an out of the box WordPress installation, without any speed-optimization, on a server that costs you two dollars per month. Considering this fact, while the first view achieved an average result here, the results for repeat view are quite decent. Remember, that most sites still take much longer to load. This test was done from Dulles, Virginia using Chrome.
On GTMetrix, the loading time was one second better, and it took 1.9 second for the page to load which is almost 5 seconds better than the average. The website was tested from Vancouver, Canada using Firefox. Of course, there are not many requests, and the size of the page is just around 280KB, but considering low score from Google’s PageSpeed Score and Yahoo’s YSlow, which are mostly determined by the website environment (WordPress) and not the hosting itself, the result is great. With proper optimization, the site can achieve much better speed results, even after a lot of content is added to it.
The third test was run using tools.pingdom.com. Here the site achieved the best loading time – just a bit below 1.4 seconds while testing from Dallas, Texas, USA. And all that with an F performance score, typical for an out of the box WordPress installation. Funny enough, the size of the site measured here is bigger than that at GTMetrix!
I had to look around the Internet to find the statistics for iPage uptime. According to a test recorded using Pingdom, during 31 days (between February 6, 2016, and March 5, 2016) the uptime was 99.977% which is a top notch result.
Although I didn't have any technical difficulties either while writing this review nor with my own sites hosted with iPage, I have contacted their support and asked them to make changes in my invoice.
Actually, I’ve asked them to create a whole new invoice for me with details which I provided them in the email (I needed it for my company’s books). Moreover, I wanted it delivered as a PDF. To my surprise, it took them less than 24 hours to deliver the file exactly how I wanted it, straight to my mailbox.
I couldn’t be more satisfied - if that’s how they cooperate with the customer, I’m confident that should there be any technical problems, they will be taken care of it an as professional a manner as my invoice query.
Of course, you may want to contact them regarding technical support. Can you reach them quickly? What are your options? Below you can check out what kinds of support iPage offers to its customers.
I believe that the most crucial form of contacting support is the possibility to reach them over the phone. In fact, this has always been a dealbreaker for me. Sometimes, waiting for an email answer takes way too long, and you want answers and help now - that is especially the case for business customers.
Luckily, iPage offers support in four different ways, three of which: 24/7 phone support, chat support and email support allow you to contact them personally. The 4th option - online help center and ticketing system give you answers to most common questions straight on their website and allow you to send a ticket regarding a question you haven’t found an answer to.
In fact, I’ve contacted them to get my invoice using the ticketing system, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
What is the hosting perfect for?
Despite its low price, it comes with a lot of great features which will fit both beginners as well as those who already know what they are looking for. Whether you’re a blogger, or you are looking to set up an e-commerce store you will most definitely enjoy all the variety of features available. Before we move to the signup process and setting up your first site, let’s take a look a closer look at all the types of websites and different people who can benefit from hosting with iPage.
Blogs, Portfolios and Photo Galleries
It comes with all the design features any blogger or photographer may need. You can easily install WordPress, using their convenient one-click installer or choose from a few other options, including Weebly Drag and Drop Builder, Impress.ly Website Builder or Website Creator by CM4all if you’re looking for something different from WordPress. Other than that it comes with support for a few other content management systems such as Joomla! or Drupal as well as other blogging platforms and photo galleries.
Sales Letters, E-Commerce Stores, Squeeze Pages
For everyone who is interested in selling products online using e-commerce solutions, iPage offers a variety of one-click installers including AgoraCart, OpenCart, PrestaShop and many others. Easy PayPal integration makes it a perfect choice for everyone beginning the adventure with online commerce. Again, the use of WordPress and Weebly allows you to integrate a lot of plugins that come with those two CMS platforms and collect additional information from your customers and visitors, easily building lists of thousands of subscribers and potential clients.
Thanks to all the integrated e-commerce solutions mentioned above, support for WordPress and other CMS & web design options available, iPage can be used to create and host even paid recurring membership sites. Of course, if your website generates too much traffic, you may have to upgrade your hosting plan, but that would be the case for any web hosting provider who offers shared hosting for beginners.
Is It Suitable for Any Business?
I think the only criteria that would disqualify any business from using iPage is the traffic that you generate. If you start getting daily visits of thousands of users, it may be hard for the company to keep up with the resources that you require, especially since, as the name suggests, you share the server with others. Even though the plan advertises itself as “unlimited” that’s not the case for massive traffic.
But that's the same on any other platform and no other hosting provider comes with so many features at such affordable price. That is why, if you’re a beginner setting up your first website and work on it in your free time, or you’re a small business owner, or you have just established your first start-up - iPage will be a perfect solution for you, offering you a lot without hurting your budget.
To allow you more professional website management, iPage comes with a lot of administrative features on top of what has already been mentioned. These include email forwarding, easy setup of autoresponders (for those who don’t want to outsource this to platforms such as aWeber), customizable email addresses and an easy online file manager that comes with secure FTP access.
For those more advanced, iPage offers a lot of configurable security options, spam filters, PaymentSphere (for US customers only) and easy database management.
All this is available in the $1.99 option, making it, in my opinion, hosting with the most personalisation potential in that price range. I sincerely hope that you are already convinced and would like to give it a try – it’s time to move on to the registration process.
Registering your iPage account
When you go to iPage.com you should see their on-going promo for new registrations, which gives you an 85% discount on hosting purchase. This price makes it probably the most affordable hosting from all available on the market - and considering its quality for the price I can’t really think of a better choice for beginners.
To begin your online venture, click the orange Sign Up Now button - make sure that the page on which you are, looks just like the below one, with the special intro offer active. To make sure that you get it, you can use this link to register.
Before you provide any personal information, you will be asked to choose whether you want to use a domain which you already own, or you want to register a completely new one. Although there is a wide variety of domains available including .com .net .org .biz .info and many others that are offered free with the hosting, you may choose to register your domain with separate domain registrars, as this gives you freedom to change the hosting should you experience any problems.
One of the best domain registrars in the market is NameCheap – example of which will be used in this guide to show you how to point the domain registered with them to your iPage hosting.
In this guide, I am using my domain name registered with Namecheap, but if you decide to register one with iPage you will be taken to a page on which you can look for domain ideas by entering keywords or potential domain names.
Once you type in your domain, you will be asked to fill out your contact information including your name, last name email, phone, and address.
If you are from outside of the United States, you should choose "None (International" in the State/Province field. You don’t pick a login and password now - iPage will send you the details by email once you complete the registration.
Once you fill in your contact information, you will be asked to choose a payment type. You can make a choice between a credit card and PayPal. Make sure that you have enough funds on the selected payment form, as you have to pay for one year upfront (which is $23.88 for 12 months, $1.99x12. If you want to lock in the discounted price for longer you can select 24 or 36 months.
Should you be unsatisfied with the hosting, they give you a 30-day money-back guarantee. Of course, if you’re encountering any technical problems or you find it difficult to set up your website iPage offers excellent technical support.
Once you provide personal details and choose the length of your contract, if you are from the European Union, you will be asked to pay an additional tax (VAT) - the value of which will depend on your country's VAT rate.
If you are a business customer, you can choose to set up a business account. This comes in handy especially for those registered in the European Union who have their VAT registration number, as it can make you exempt from paying the additional tax.
Next, you will be asked to choose paid add-ons, called "Website Essentials." If you’re a beginner, you don’t necessarily need most of them - though you may look closer at WP Essential, offered at $3.00 for 12 months. In this package, you will receive a variety of themes, plugins, advanced security & WordPress-specific support.
Other than that, you don’t really need the rest of the options. If you are planning on setting up an e-commerce store, you may want to invest in an SSL certificate, though those are quite often available at your domain registrar (if you are registering domain with iPage, you may get one here, as customers trust websites with an SSL certificate much more.
Once you select your website essentials, you will be given the total amount which you have to pay (if you choose a 12-months long hosting, all website essentials will be billed for 12 months upfront, so make sure you have enough funds).
When you’re ready, you can click on the “Check Out” button at the bottom of the page.
You will be shortly taken to a page with a few more offers. You don’t have to accept them; all you have to do is click on the “no thanks” button at the bottom. Once you've done that, you will be taken to the final page where you will be given your final order details, as well as information on all the additional products chosen. The process may vary for those who have decided to register a domain with iPage as there will be an extra step to secure your domain which hasn’t been described here.
The whole setup will take just about a minute or two. While you wait, you can check their quick YouTube videos on setting up email, creating your website and using your Control Panel. Or, you can follow this guide as it will show you everything you should do step-by-step.
Congratulations! You've just registered with iPage!
Setting up Your Account and Forwarding Your Domain
Once you finish the registration go to your email which you provided in your contact information. If you have purchased the hosting without the domain, you should see an email just like the below:
Inside, you will find information on how you should re-point your domain to iPage hosting. Simply take the ns1. and ns2. and set them as your domain's DNS using your account admin panel at your registrar’s website.
If you have registered your domain with Namecheap.com, go to your account dashboard, login, and choose the domain which you chose during iPage hosting registration from your domain's list and click on “manage”.
In the management panel, change “Namecheap BasicDNS” to “Custom DNS” in the “Nameservers” option and type in the iPage nameservers. Once you’re done, click on the green button to accept your choice. DNS change can take up to 48h, but for Namecheap, it often takes as little as a few minutes.
Once this is done, go to your email again and open the email with your order confirmation and login info.
You will find your new username and a link to set up your password in it. Click the link.
You will be taken to a page on which you can request a reset email for your Password. Type in your username or domain name assigned to your iPage account and click on “Send Email Link”.
You will be given an hour to check your email and click on the unique link to reset your password. Once the time is up, you will have to repeat the process.
Immediately after you click the link, you should see a message like this in your email account - open it and click on the link inside.
You will be taken to the “Reset Account Password” website - choose your password but make sure that it complies with the given criteria.
You may also be asked to review your domain transfer checklist (simply click on “No, Thanks” option) and to set up your security question and to name your referral. Make sure that the answer to your security question is hard to guess for strangers and differs from your password.
Congratulations! You have just finished your iPage registration. Now you’re ready to set up your first website. This guide will show you how to set up a website using WordPress but feel free to choose any of the content management systems available.
Setting up Your WordPress website
The Installation Process
When you are ready, go to your iPage management panel (click “log in” in the upper right corner of iPage.com). Once you log in, you will be taken to Control Panel. Don’t get overwhelmed by all the options that are available - the below screenshot shows probably one-third of them. As a beginner, you will be most likely interested in the options available in the “Website” category. Let’s start from there – it’s time to set up your first website. In this guide I’ll be setting up a site based on WordPress content management system – so let’s begin by clicking on “WordPress”.
Setting up a WordPress-based website is very easy. In fact, WordPress is famous for its five-minute installation, which in reality takes even less than that. Once you click on the “WordPress” option, you’ll be given choice to install a brand-new website or to import your current installation from another server.
Let’s create a completely fresh website. Click on the “Install” button.
There are just a few steps to install WP, and they are all laid out on one page. First, you will be able to choose which version of WordPress you would like to install (surprisingly iPage doesn’t offer you the newest one, though updating it will take around five seconds once you finish the installation, so it’s nothing to worry about.
You can also choose where you want your WordPress to be installed. For beginners, it is a good idea to leave it as it is - so that your website appears under xxx.com without any additional subfolders. Of course, you may install it in a subfolder, but then your site will appear under xxx.com/subfolder, unless you make additional changes to the installation, not described here.
If you click “Advanced Options,” you will be able to give your site a new name and set up an admin account. You can do that all now or let WordPress generate it for you (it’s good not to use "admin" as this makes your username easy to guess and can make your website vulnerable to hacking). Tick the “Automatically create a new database” option and proceed to "Plugins and Themes."
Once this is ready, you can choose mobile and small business theme which comes with your hosting. I’m not going to select them in this guide as I will show you how to upload any theme of your choice using WordPress uploader, iPage FileManager, and FTP later in this guide.
To finish the installation, tick that you have read the terms and conditions and click “Complete.” Don't worry about the warning that may pop up - there were some files pre-installed in your main folder which will now be erased. Click on "Overwrite Existing Files."
The installation should take less than one minute. After that, you will see your site URL, your login URL (which is WP folder + /wp-admin/ - if you didn't choose any subfolders during installation, the WP folder is just your domain address) as well as username and password.
It’s time to log into your new website. Once you follow the login URL, you should see a form just like in the below picture. Use your WordPress username and password to login to the admin dashboard.
If you’re new to WordPress, the admin dashboard may seem quite overwhelming, just as the control panel of your hosting management account. Don’t worry - to begin you need just a few options.
The first thing which you should do immediately after logging in is updating your WordPress installation. To do so click on the "Please update now" at the top of your dashboard.
Choosing a Theme
Once the update is ready, you will have to log in again. This time, when you log in, click on Appearance and then on Themes. If you installed the newest version of WordPress on your server, you will receive “Twenty Sixteen” and “Twenty Fifteen” themes - apparently, on iPage, you get the older versions (they don't appear automatically after update).
Let’s delete the older ones and install “Twenty Sixteen” instead from the WordPress repository. To do that, click on each of the themes and click delete in the lower right corner of theme details. Keep in mind, that to remove the active theme you will have to download a new one first and activate it.
Once you delete the inactive themes, click on "Add New" next to “Search installed themes”. Here you have the access to the repository with free WordPress themes. For this guide, let's choose "Twenty Sixteen". Hover over it and click on install.
Once installed, click on “Activate”. Once it's active, you can delete the other theme too. While not necessary, it is advised to do so to speed up your website and increase security.
Uploading a Commercial Theme
If you would like to install a commercial theme not available in the free WordPress repository, you can do that by uploading the .zip file using the WordPress uploader, iPage FileManager or by FTP.
I’ll show you all three methods so that you know how to upload files to WordPress using FTP should you need to do that. For example, sometimes you may need to do that when the file exceeds the PHP server limit (while you could simply increase the limit, you shouldn’t increase it by too much as it can make your website more vulnerable to attacks). Similarly, not all files can be easily uploaded using WordPress uploader.
Uploading a New Theme Using WordPress Uploader
This one is very straightforward. Simply go to Themes panel under “Appearance”, click on “Add New”, “Upload” and then click on “Browse…”
Look for the .zip file with the theme on your disk. When you find it, select the file and click on “Open.” If you have chosen the right .zip file, that’s what you should see after successful upload:
Sometimes the uploader won’t recognize a theme file or the .zip file will be missing style.css file. This is most common when you download your themes from unknown online sources, and they have been repacked in a wrong way. Unzip a theme which causes the trouble and repack it, making sure that the style.css file is in the main folder and not in a subfolder.
As you can see, I have chosen a Divi theme from Elegant Themes. When it comes to customization it is one of the more powerful themes, and it can be bought in a package with variety of other cool themes and professional plugins – visit Elegant Themes website and check it out yourself.
Uploading a WordPress Theme Through FileManager
Another very convenient option for uploading files to your website is doing so using a file manager. IPage comes with a very convenient one; you can find it under the “Website” category. To access it, go back to iPage control panel and click on “FileManager”. Once you are there, open “wp-content” folder and then “themes”.
To upload a new theme, click on the blue arrow and then click on "browse". Select the .zip file with the theme of your choice and click "Upload". This time, there will be no auto-install option.
Once the file is uploaded, you will have to unzip it yourself. To do that, go back to iPage control panel and slide down all the way to “Additional Tools” category. Select "Archive Gateway” and look for the file you’ve just uploaded. If the theme is compressed together with a folder, you can leave the “Output Directory” blank.
When you are ready, click on “Extract/Uncompress”. You should now be able to find your new theme under Appearance -> Themes in WordPress dashboard.
Uploading a File Using FTP File Manager Such as FileZilla
FTP file managing software is an excellent choice and comes in very handy when your host's file manager is hard to use (or there is none). That’s not the case for iPage, which comes with both very convenient FileManager option and a file extractor. Nevertheless, let’s take a look at how to do that - should you ever need to use an FTP file manager, you will know how to do that with iPage. You don’t have to setup any additional FTP accounts as you can simply use your Control Panel login details. To access your account, you need to connect to ftp.yourdomain.com (or whatever is your tld). If you are not sure what to choose, go to FTP panel - you can find it under the “Website” category. Should you need any additional FTP account, you can create it there too.
To establish an FTP connection using FileZilla, fill in the “Host” using the details from the FTP dashboard, “Username” and “Password” using your Control Panel login details and click on the “Quickconnect”. Once connected, you will be taken to the main folder of your website. There you can choose to go to wp-content, just like you did in the FileManager.
Please keep in mind that while FileZilla is perfect for uploading separate files and zipped folders, uploading folders with hundreds of files (or deleting them) can take ages as it’s very slow when it comes to processing multiple files at once. Moreover, it cannot unzip the files for you - you'll have to use iPage "Archive Gateway" anyway.
WordPress Plugins. Getting the Most Out of Your IPage Server
To upload plugins, follow the steps mentioned above for themes. You can use all three ways described, the only difference is that you should choose “Plugins” in your WordPress dashboard or wp-content folder instead of themes.
There are thousands of different plugins, which you can install depending on the results you want to achieve. No matter what kind of site you are working on - a blog, a sales letter, or an e-commerce website, there are a few plugins which are a necessity for every beginner. They allow you to secure your site, give you a slight SEO boost and increase your website's speed, positively affecting user-experience.
Especially for you, I've created a short list of plugins for beginners. All of them are free (though there are Premium versions of some of them available), easy to use and work great on iPage.
All in One SEO Pack and Yoast SEO
If you’re planning to gain traffic from search engines, one of the above plugins is a must. Both of them are highly recommended, and it is hard to name the clear winner - you should test both of them and base your choice on your own feelings. Thanks to them, you can easily no-index certain parts of your website, set custom meta titles and descriptions for your posts and give a few other boosts for your site in the eyes of search engines. In fact, some of the options (for example, the mentioned meta titles and descriptions) can be used to customize how the snippet of your website appears on social media.
Google XML Sitemap
For those interested in SEO - this plugin will automatically create sitemaps, allowing you to submit your website to Google, speeding up its indexing process.
This plugin offers you an enormous number of security options from hiding your WordPress admin login page all the way to fixing common security holes and stopping automated attacks. While a complete setup of this plugin may be hard for beginners, it offers a step-by-step check of the most important settings allowing you to protect your site from the most popular types of attacks. It’s recommended even if you choose to buy the iPage security suite as it focuses on the vulnerabilities of WordPress. If you want even more security for your site, there is an iThemes Security Premium version which gives you even more options to protect your site. Click here to check out the details.
W3 Total Cache or Cache Enabler
W3 Total Cache is a must-have plugin that can significantly increase the speed of your website in just a few clicks. Recommended especially if you are working on budget servers such as iPage. If you have at least a slight understanding of WordPress or can follow instructions found online easily, then you can configure W3 Total Cache properly and achieve a great boost in terms of speed. If you are a super beginner, go for Cache Enabler - it requires almost no setup and gives you a performance boost out-of-the-box.
This little plugin is the most powerful free WordPress image smusher. It automatically optimizes all the images you upload to your website, reducing the size and as a result increasing the speed of your site. There is also a premium version, which gives you even more compression without noticeable quality loss, allowing you to smush even bigger images and offers you bulk smushing, perfect for those who have already uploaded a lot of images to their sites.
Sometimes, Cache Enabler doesn’t give you satisfactory results regarding minifying scripts on the site. In this case, you can try Autooptimize, and check which one does the job better.
Remove Query Strings from Static Resources
A must-have plugin removing query strings from CSS and JS files, improving the speed of your site and positively affecting the speed score on Google’s PageSpeed, Yahoo’s YSlow, Pingdom and GTMetrix.
Configuring iPage email
When you have your website up and running, it’s cool to add a personalized email to increase your credibility and start taking care of your site's professional image. Emails set up on your domain are especially useful if you own an e-commerce store, or if you contact your customers or readers using email.
Even if you don’t engage in any forms of email conversations with the visitors of your site, it’s a good idea to at least set up an email like [email protected] It protects your privacy and still allows people to contact you - such as those who have questions regarding your website or even those who would like to offer you a joint venture.
Creating a New Email Address
Setting up a personalized email on iPage is very easy. You can create your first email address using “MailCentral". To access it, go to your iPage control panel and slide down to “Email” category.
Once you open it you will be given three different options to choose from - you can create a whole new email address, forward all emails sent to a specific email address without creating the account itself, or you can merge it with a Gmail account. Unfortunately, the latter option comes at an extra fee of $5 per month.
Creating a new email in the iPage control panel is a very straightforward process – all you have to do is add the first part of your email (the one which goes before the [email protected]) and choose your password. If you have more than one domain added to one iPage account, make sure that you choose the right one from the list to the right. Once you’re done, click “create” to finish.
After you create your email, you will be able to access it using webmail. Unfortunately, unless you forward messages to your everyday email, you will most likely forget to check them regularly because webmail is not something that you access every day. If you don’t want to waste time on logging to webmail every day, and you don’t want to set up any forwarding, you can use Mozilla Thunderbird to handle all your email messages that come to your site.
Setting up Your Email in Mozilla Thunderbird
Adding an email created with iPage to Mozilla is a very quick process which takes just a few steps. To do so, open Thunderbird and go to settings. In settings click on “Account Actions” and then click on “Add Mail Account…”.
In the window that pops up, type in your name (or any name which you want recipients of your emails to see as “Sender”), email address and password (the same which you used on iPage). When you’re ready, click “Continue”.
Thunderbird will automatically configure your new mail account. You will be given a choice between IMAP and POP3 - the choice will depend on whether you want your email to be stored on the server or downloaded to your device. iPage automatically suggests the former option, though you are free to make changes. Once you’re ready, click “Done”.
You may be given a security warning and Mozilla will ask you to add a security exception for the email address – confirm it to finish the process.
Forwarding your emails
What if you don’t want to spend time figuring Thunderbird and all you want is all your emails going to one mailbox which you check every day? In this case, you have two options - you can forward emails from your chosen addresses to your mailbox, or you can ask iPage to send all the messages that go to any email address which ends with @yourdomain.com, regardless of whether it exists or not to your personal email - though as you will find out below, it’s not recommended. To create a simple forwarding rule, go again to “MailCentral” and choose “Forward”. There you can choose which email alias you want to forward and where to.
The second option can be configured in the Catch-All settings. This is where you choose what happens to messages which go to email addresses that do not exist on your domain - you can either bounce them back, save them to a folder, trash them all or forward them to an external email address (though it wouldn’t forward messages from actually existing addresses). When setting Catch-All, it’s best to choose the first option (bounce back) as it is protecting you from unwanted spam - some spammers may target random email aliases created on your domain.
Configuring anti-spam system
The spam protection mentioned above is just part of what iPage allows you to configure. Another thing which you can set up to protect yourself from unwanted messages is a spam filter. In the control panel of your iPage account click on “Manage Spam Filter”. In the page that opens you can enable spam filter and set up handling options of spam messages - the system can either save them, send you a daily digest consisting of spam messages, send each message with a prefix or delete it immediately. Additionally, you can easily whitelist on blacklist any email addresses. If you don’t mind spending $9.95 per year, you can get Premium Spam Filter, which includes greylisting, automatic whitelisting and robust spam reporting tools, further increasing your email security.
Email configuration on iPage is very easy, and even complete beginners shouldn’t have any problems with it. Compared to many other control panels which I’ve seen in the past, you don’t have to set up unnecessary additional accounts to create your email, and you can access it using webmail. Moreover, iPage lets you choose between two different webmail interfaces and, if you don’t want to
login into control panel every day, you can forward your messages to your personal email address or use an external email software.
Additional Security & Server Enhancement
There are two options which can help you secure your website in just a few minutes and require just a few clicks in your control panel. The first one is a security question, which you can use to verify your identity when contacting iPage. While it doesn’t necessarily protects your website directly, it definitely strengthens the security of your iPage account.
The next security option is SiteLock, which provides comprehensive website security for small businesses. Unfortunately, this one comes at a premium price – there are no free plans available. The first one starts at $1.94 per month and offers you website scanning for vulnerabilities and automated bot attacks block, the second one starts at $6.97 per month and adds automatic malware removal. The third one starts at $38.75 per month (a bit pricey!) and gives you a full-blown firewall.
I believe the prices offered for iPage customers differ from the official which are most likely even higher, considering this security solution is targeting business customers, and you can't even check pricing on their website - you may only request a quote.
To further optimize the speed of your website, you can purchase premium DNS from Comodo – this is used to increase website loading speed and as a result, reduce site abandonment. Studies show that people who get to your site quickly, without having to wait for it to load for too long are more likely to stay on it and engage with it.
On the other hand, if you make your visitors wait for just a few seconds too long you may lose them. If you host just one domain with iPage, I believe premium DNS isn`t worth it, as it costs $6.99 per month - It doesn`t matter how many domains you have in your account so if you decide to host more websites on iPage, it may be worth considering.
Cache Control Tool – Speeding up Your Website
Another cool thing which can help you optimize your website and which comes entirely free is “Cache Control Tool” – it allows you to cache HTML & CSS files, scripts, and images. You can choose four different lengths of how long you want to cache different files - 15 minutes, 1 hour, 4 hours and 24 hours. This option is perfect especially if you have returning visitors to your website. If your site is based on WordPress, you may be able to manage additional WordPress Cache options.
Unfortunately, after update to the newest version of WordPress, iPage cache settings for WordPress stopped recognizing it (this doesn’t affect your website in any negative way but you may be unable to set up additional caching options as Control Panel hasn't yet caught up with the latest WordPress update).
Promoting Your Website
Once you have set up your site, created a personalized email on your domain and added some content to it, it’s time to see what iPage gives you to help you promote your website. Keep in mind that this iPage review and guide focuses more on the server side of things, so if you don’t know how to add content to your site, I encourage you to find a WordPress guide, register with iPage and set up your first website to start learning.
The gifts from iPage which you receive once you register are one of the most generous in the industry, and considering the signup price of iPage it may be the best starting package I’ve ever seen. It is quite uncommon to get gifts worth hundreds of dollars for a purchase which costs you less than $25. Let’s take a look at what you get and how you can use it. You can find all the marketing gifts in the “marketing” category of the control panel.
Bing Ad Credits & Google AdWords
Both offers consist of $100 vouchers for new advertisers on each of the platforms. Unfortunately, they are available only to the United States or Canada residents - so even if you can set up AdWords or Bing account in your country, you will not be able to get the vouchers. If you qualify, you can use the extra credits (please note that to get Google AdWords credits, you have to spend $25 first) to promote your website using PPC ads.
They are perfect especially if you need it for driving traffic to affiliate sites, product reviews, business pages or sales pages. Due to a high cost of each click (especially on AdWords), to get the best ROI, your best bet is to create a squeeze page, and start collecting email addresses of your visitors. This way, you can get recurring visitors to your website.
Constant Contact Deal
If you decide to use the above idea of collecting emails either using a squeeze page, pop-ups or post boxes (or any other form through which you can collect emails and which works best for you), you get a great deal thanks to the next bonus - Constant Contact deal. For the first three months, all you pay for a fully functional account is $1 per month instead of $20 - this gives you savings of $60, which you can spend to drive even more traffic to your site while optimizing your email marketing campaign.
I'm not sure whether this is a new bonus or not, as I have checked other iPage reviews and some of them don't mention that.
Toll-Free Phone Number from Nextiva
If you think that the above bonuses are great to kick start your business, the offer from Nextiva will blow your mind. Together with iPage hosting, you get six months of local or toll-free phone number absolutely for free for the first 100 minutes each month. Although at first the bonus may sound useless consider it as a huge credibility booster. If there is something that can increase the credibility of your website and your online business in the eye of a potential customer, it’s definitely a personalized online auto receptionist.
Even if there are not many people who will call this number and use it, the sole fact that it’s visible on your website can skyrocket your conversions - especially if you are an online professional or a local business. An excellent and quite uncommon bonus (as opposed to Google AdWords or Bing vouchers). If you are going to take orders over the phone or provide any kind of customer support, you have to take it. And if you are not, you have to take it anyway because it will skyrocket your credibility (available to US customers only).
Free Yellow Pages Listing
The free Yellow Pages listing is yet another offer that can give you free clients, increase your credibility and kick-start your local business. While it won’t help you if you are an affiliate marketer or your website which you host on iPage is your personal blog, if you are a small or medium business owner this would be a great boost for your online presence. Although the misconception about Yellow Pages is it's old and doesn't convert in the era of social media, video marketing, and sophisticated company websites, according to data given by Yellow Pages, it's still in the game.
Around 170 million U.S Internet users search online for products and services – and 40% of those who visit Yellow Pages while looking for a business make a purchase. The bonus that you get includes a free basic listing for a year and a discount for a featured listing.
While it won’t make you a millionaire, it can increase your credibility and give you a slight SEO boost.
There are a few other bonuses which may not be marketing related (that's why they are quite often omitted in other iPage reviews) but are still worth mentioning, especially since they come even with the most basic iPage hosting option.
Free 1GB cloud storage account
Today people host online much more than just their websites. Of course, you can't just upload private files on your Web server - it would be neither safe nor convenient. That’s why, to fulfil the need of storage space for personal files of its customers, iPage adds a 1 GB cloud storage from JustCloud to each hosting plan. While it’s not much, it's perfect for website backups or storing your personal documents which you have to access on the go using different devices.
The offer of a free domain has already been mentioned at the beginning of this iPage review. With every iPage registration, you get a free .com domain - though it's not always worth taking it. It’s a great bonus for beginners, but if you’re considering regularly renewing the domain name, in the long run, it will cost you more than registering it with a typical domain registrar. On the other hand, it's perfect if you are setting up your first website, which you want to treat as a playground to learn all about creating a site.
WordPress Templates and Themes
When you install WordPress on your iPage account, you can choose to install two new themes - a Mobile one by UppSite Inc. or a SmallBiz Theme by Expand2Web. Both of them are perfect for beginners who are installing WordPress website for the first time, though once you get some experience, it's better to choose a commercial theme that directly suits your needs.
All the iPage bonuses are worth many times more than what you pay for the most basic package. Of course, not all of them are really that great or useful for everyone but if you plan your online business well, they can be a great kick-start and will give your business a significant boost from the very beginning. Let’s now focus on what many other iPage reviews don’t focus on - website statistics and traffic measurement. Are there any convenient web analytics tools available in the iPage control panel?
Website Statistics – Where it’s all coming from?
Once you use your marketing vouchers or you drive traffic to your website in any other way, it’s great to keep an eye on your visitors and regularly check where they are coming from. iPage gives you two options to do that and both are great in my opinion. The first one is a built-in visitor statistics tool. The other one is an easy and convenient way to connect your Control Panel and iPage account to Google platform. You can find “Visitor Statistics” in the “Website” category.
Once you click on it, you can request statistics update - even though they are processed automatically once a day, you can get fresh ones on the spot. Below that, you can choose a tool which will be used to gather your statistics (you can make a choice between Webalizer and AWStats) as well as configure it. The last thing which you can do is set up email reports - you can get them straight to your inbox once a week or once a month. To access the statistics themselves go to (you can find this link in “Visitor Statistics” options menu).
In the configuration menu, you can configure what graphs you want to appear in the statistics menu and what number of top pages, URLs, sites, search strings and users you would like to see in your report. The statistic dashboard itself is very professional - one of the biggest surprises in this $1.99 Control Panel. There are tons of statistics which you can measure, including top entry and exit pages, URLs visited, time spent on site, daily visits, hits, the number of errors, and many, many other values. Considering you get it all for free and it's built into the Control Panel and hosted on the server, reducing a lot of measurement errors, it's one of the best additional features offered by iPage.
If iPage's very own "Visitor Statistics" doesn't appeal to you there's also Google Analytics which you can access right from the control panel. This means that you don’t even have to open a new tab in your browser to stay updated with all the information on your website while using one of the most reliable website analytics tool on the market.
What Else Can You Measure?
There’s not much that you can get data on besides visitor statistics. The only thing left which you can measure is your disk usage - you can find the "Disk Usage" feature in the “Website” category. I dont really see much use in this tool though, because you get unlimited disk space even with the most basic iPage hosting plan.
The Online “PR” of iPage
The measurement part was the last in the section covering iPage features. Obviously, there are a few more options and functions available in your control panel, but they are either minor or so standard that there’s no point in describing them. In this section, I will take a look at what others say about iPage. To do that, I went through iPage reviews and looked for opinions and conversations about iPage and comments from its customers regarding its speed, customer service, and other potential issues brought up by satisfied (or angry) customers.
Comments from Authority sites and iPage customers
To get the most reliable comments and reviews, I've analyzed the top of Google search results. The first three websites rate iPage quite well - the average rating of iPage Reviews is 4.4 and considering that the worst rating score of all three pages is taken from a web page where 325 customers left their reviews (I took it's average to calculate the above number), I believe it clearly shows that the majority of iPage customers are satisfied with the hosting.
The other two pages do not include user reviews in the final rating and were written by website owners. The main advantages which repeat in the iPage reviews found online (not only in the above three sites but overall) are as follows: affordability, money back guarantee, eco-friendliness, great customer support and fantastic bonuses. The prevailing drawbacks are the upsells (which, to be honest, annoyed me as well), slow support (despite so many contact options; support from iPage sparks most controversies as some love it, and some hate it) and the lack of cPanel. In my opinion, the latter is not a disadvantage unless someone finds it really difficult to play with the iPage Control Panel. I believe it is just as convenient as its more popular counterparts, and some of the options - such as setting up email - can be done even quicker, and the process is even more straightforward.
Of course, it all depends on who is writing the review and what are the experiences of that person. Right after opening one of the top search results on Google for iPage I came across this (the below positive review is very long, and I just can’t share it all here):
On the other hand, after skimming through just a few reviews, on the same page I’ve found this:
While negative reviews are a minority, as you can see from the above example most of them come from frustrated inexperienced customers, who are highly annoyed by iPage's aggressive marketing. Luckily, when it comes to reviews and ratings from experienced users, most of them are between four and five stars in all categories. Some of the reviews found online even reveal bonuses, which are not mentioned anywhere on the iPage website, such as $1 per month hosting offers which you can share with your family and friends.
Is iPage good for affiliate websites?
I’ve talked a little bit about how cool iPage is for small businesses, e-commerce stores and professionals, who want to showcase their portfolios. This made me overlook almost completely one of the most important reasons why many people set up their websites today – to start making money with affiliate marketing. Is iPage a good solution for your first affiliate site? I believe it gives you all that you may need to set up your first affiliate website and start making commission promoting products from other companies.
All you have to do is follow this guide and just set up your WordPress site. From then on, create good affiliate content, start collecting email addresses, and you’re ready to start making money. And, considering all the bonuses which you get from iPage when you sign up, you can earn your first commission before you even spend your own money and time promoting your site - and if you reinvest your earnings, you will build a full-blown affiliate website in no time.
My Personal PROS and CONS on iPage
This iPage guide and review focused on helping you build your first website using the most affordable hosting for beginners as well as checking out what others say about this hosting. It’s time I shared my personal list of advantages and disadvantages which are clear to me after using iPage for so long.
PROS – What I like iPage for so far
The advantages for which I value iPage so much aren’t much different from what you may find searching online - despite that, let me list them quickly with a short explanation to each of them:
It is the best option for a budget customer. Coming at the price of $1.99 per month there is no better choice for those who are looking to set up their first website whether it’s a small business site, personal blog, e-commerce store or an affiliate site.
Its support offers many different contact options. I’ve been with hosting companies which offered just one contact option - it was either email, ticketing system or online chat. iPage has them all and tops it with a 24/7 phone support - a super quick way of contacting your hosting company which is extremely important in the online age.
A lot of marketing bonuses. I can't really tell you, how surprised I am by the marketing bonuses offered by such a budget host. Of course, there’s a lot of money behind iPage as its part of Endurance International, but still those gifts exceed the value of the hosting many, many times. While some of them are quite common, like Google AdWords and Bing vouchers, other are superb - such as the toll-free number which is the best way to increase the credibility of your small business or personal site I’ve ever seen.
It has a very convenient control panel for beginners. Before iPage, I always considered hosting which doesn’t come with cPanel as not even worth considering. Now I see that you can create something just as comfortable (if not even more), without asking your customers to pay extra for it.
Choice of website and store builders. If you think for a minute that this host comes in at the price of a can of Coke, it’s unbelievable that it gives you so many options to build a website - as if WordPress was not enough for beginners!
For a budget hosting its speed test results are excellent. I’m quite surprised, to see that an entirely un-optimised website was capable of opening so quickly in all three tests performed. Based on my own experience with this host and data I’ve found online, it manages to stay close to 100% uptime for months.
It's created with beginners in mind. You won’t find here unnecessary gimmicks, which may come in handy for advanced users. I would say, there’s still too much for those who are just starting their adventure with WordPress or creating websites in general. Luckily it’s not easy to get lost as everything is very straightforward and the hosting is very easy to set up and use.
CONS - What don’t I like about iPage?
The thing I don’t like the most is that it’s so controversial. While in my opinion, the majority of negative reviews comes from inexperienced users who give up after one setback and most of the time don't even contact support or are unable to follow received instructions, I find it highly inappropriate that the company hasn't done more to deal with some of the negative feedback spreading online. There's just too many unnecessary negative reviews, which could have been easily avoided.
The bonuses which they promise may differ a little bit from what you get. If you look around the net to find an exact list of iPage bonuses, you may come across a few lists which slightly differ between one another. On the other hand, sometimes what you read is less than you actually get. I just checked, and one page claimed that you get $30 in Bing vouchers whereas I got $100 which is more than triple that. Still, this inconsistency may be harmful to customer satisfaction.
Upsells are very annoying. I can't tell you how distracting and annoying the constant upselling by iPage is. If you ignore it, you get the best budget hosting out there - and for just $1.99. On the other hand, I bet some people break under the pressure or quit the hosting plan because they are so annoyed. While I understand the whole upselling thing during the registration process, seeing the ads all around after that is just a little bit too much. Luckily, they don’t force you to buy anything - each and every purchase is your personal choice. And, some of the things that they offer are very useful and can help you a lot with your online business.
I hope that this iPage review and guide has shown you all the ups and downs of what I believe is the best budget hosting on the market. Although it has some hiccups, such as aggressive marketing and a slight lack of consistency when it comes to offered bonuses, there’s not much I can say I’m disappointed with. All of the technical tests results look excellent, and I really enjoy all its functions and original Control Panel, which is like nothing else you can find on other web hosts.
While it sparks a lot of controversies in the online world, it’s a perfect choice for everyone who is about to create their first website or is just thinking of learning how to do that. For $1.99 you just can't go wrong with it, and it gives you so many options on which you can test and learn that I cannot possibly see any reason why you wouldn't give it a chance, especially since it gives you really great gifts which in reality would cost you what you'll spend on your iPage hosting in the next few years to come.
Over 1 million customers cannot be wrong. A Company of this size will have both its enemies and advocates, though if you search online, you clearly see that there is a lot more of the latter, and most of the people who aren’t satisfied with the hosting are those who simply found it difficult because they were beginners.
If you are a small business owner, a professional about to set up his first website, someone who is looking forward to tapping into affiliate marketing or basically anyone who is thinking about creating their first online presence - don’t hesitate and sign up for iPage now. If you scroll up and read this guide from the beginning, you will find all the information you need to optimize and configure your iPage hosting and get you going. Don't wait - start building your online business now.
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