iPage General Overview

iPage claims to serve more than a million websites and manages over 1.5 million domains. It employs over 800 workers at 6 international locations, and serves customers in 150 countries with over 25 brands across the world. Aside from the employees—a figure that has not always been listed—this information is the same as it was last August. But the service provided in the key plan is different and the website is different.

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Website Organization and Navigation

iPage’s website is poorly organized, with different categories and names making it complicated to discover the range of their offerings. Upgrades are not mentioned on the features page, let alone linked to it, so you cannot see at any point what the full available offerings are.

There are three different navigation schemes: top menus, side menus (which do not appear on every page) and bottom navigation. The side menus and bottom navigation both change depending on where you are in the site, and it is hard to figure out how to get back to places you’ve been before as you move from section to section, as the sections are not represented in the top menu, and not all of them are clearly identified in the bottom navigation. The top menus have no drop-downs to show their parts.

More confusing yet, the hierarchy of the top, side, and bottom listings is confused. “Why iPage” is one of the top menu items. So is one of its child pages (Do Your Homework). So is the child page of one of the bottom navigation main pages, but listed by a different name.

Website Naming

The naming of items makes it difficult to tell how they relate. What you see when you look at the section called “Marketing Services” is entirely different than what you see in “My Marketing Services,” which is completely different than the “Marketing Suite.”

The odd use of standard terms also makes it difficult to determine the extent and type of service offered. For example, “website management” is used to refer to everything related to the site, included initial site design, not the usual use of the term.

There is no site search, so finding particular parts of the site can be a challenge. The home page makes no reference to affiliates, referrals, or resellers, nor do they appear as terms in the side menus on many of the site pages, so although iPage has all three programs, finding out about them is a challenge. On the iPage homepage, the bottom navigation includes a header “Why iPage” with the subheads:

  • “Do Your Homework!”
  • About Us
  • Green
  • Partnership Programs
  • Community Directory
  • Contact Us

On the 404 error page, the subheads are:

  • “Do Your Homework!”
  • About Us
  • Green
  • Affiliates
  • Referrals
  • Community Directory
  • Contact Us

Neither specifically mentions resellers.

The easiest way to search the website is to use the Google search and type in  term:ipage.com  (The information for affiliates, referrals, and resellers can all be reached from this page: http://www.ipage.com/referral/programs.bml which is the URL reached by clicking on “Partnership Programs” in the bottom navigation or “Promote iPage” in the top menus -  though not everyone will look in either of those places.

Does iPage Charge for What Other Hosts Provide for Free? 

Depending on where on the site you look, it seems that many products and services that come free with other shared hosting plans are only available for an ongoing monthly charge through iPage, which may explain why they are hidden: if you do not know that you’re going to pay for them, you may assume they are included. After you have your site set-up and realize, for example, that you are limited to 9 pages using the CM4all tool and have to pay a monthly fee for using the tool for more than one site, you have the awkward choice of either paying or moving your site.

Contradictory Information

Contradictory information adds to the confusion.

• Here http://www.ipage.com/hosting-features it says that you get unlimited MySQL databases as a “core feature” of your essentials hosting plan. Here http://www.ipage.com/product/mysqldatabase.bml it says you have to pay $2.50/month for them.

• Here http://www.ipage.com/hosting-features it says that you get unlimited POP3 email addresses at YourDomain. Here https://secure.ipage.com/product/mailboxes.bml it says you have to pay for extra Business (aka POP) email accounts.

• Here http://www.ipage.com/hosting-features it says that you get website backup software as part of your account. Here https://secure.ipage.com/product/site-backups/index.bml it suggests that you have to pay for the service.

• Here http://www.ipage.com/ipage/index.html the iPage logo reads “iPage Hosting since 1998” while here http://www.ipage.com/compare-hosting it says, “Our team has been providing shared hosting since 1995.”

• Here http://www.ipage.com/hosting-features iPage claims that your data is safe because they have a diesel back up generator, while here http://www.ipage.com/ipage/index.html they claim to be “powered by 100% wind energy.”

• Here http://www.ipage.com/ipage/index.html it says that the regular price for iPage Essential web hosting is $7.95. Here http://www.ipage.com/knowledgebase/beta/article.bml?ArticleID=1761 it says that by the year, the US price for hosting is $8.95.

404 and 503 Site Errors

In using the site intermittently for several hours, I received at least four 404 or 503 errors with four individual site pages temporarily unavailable. This may, perhaps, diminish one’s trust in iPage’s ability to serve webpages reliably.

Hosting Company Comparison

iPage’s pdf hosting company comparison available here http://www.ipage.com/compare-hosting is simply silly. iPage is compared to three other unidentified web hosts that offer none of the basic shared hosting services that iPage does. In fact, almost every top site includes such features as online store and selling tools through shopping carts (or offers Shopsite, as iPage does),  a free domain, and unlimited domain hosting, and credits worth hundreds of dollars. This is misleading advertising.

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