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If you’re a business owner, a writer, or a hobbyist, sooner or later you’re going to want a website. To have a website, you’ll need a web hosting service. There are hundreds of web hosting companies available to host your site, but which one do you choose? And, how do you know what to look for?
The first step in choosing a web host is figuring out how much you want to spend per month in hosting costs. While some web hosts are nearly free when you sign up, there is often some fine print involved. Many web hosting companies will lure you in with cheap pricing at the outset, but then will raise the monthly subscription cost when you renew at the end of a month or a year.
iPage is known as one of the cheapest hosts when it comes to monthly subscription fees. At $1.99 per month, you'll get a great deal if your monthly spend is your biggest criteria for choosing a web host. However, you do get what you pay for with cheap hosting. Many reviewers panned iPage customer support and refunds are almost impossible to obtain in spite of the iPage money-back guarantee.
As noted, prices are low for iPage plans. At least in the first 12 months. Then, like other EIG-owned companies, they renew at a much higher regular rate and canceling your free domain results in a $15 cancellation fee. Here's the breakdown:
Essential (non-WordPress) gets you unlimited everything and a free domain for 1 year. It is
$1.99 per month for 3 years renewing at $10.95 per month for 3 years
$2.49 per month for 2 years renewing at $11.95 per month for 2 years
$2.99 per month for 1 year renewing at $12.95 per month for 1 year
WP Starter and WP Essential both start at $3.75 and 6.95 per month for 24- and 36-month terms (respectively) and renew at between $8.49 and $12.49 for 12-, 24-, and 36-month terms.
Besides price, one of the biggest draws to iPage has been its page builder tool, Weebly. It allows non-technical, non-programmer, non-designer site owners to quickly get a nice design up and running. The designs can look a little "stock" in their finish, but are serviceable to a majority of casual website owners and small businesses. If you're looking for a design that is more well-customized to your particular
brand and is more "open" for specialized configuration and eCommerce tools, then iPage Weebly is not your best bet.
Another problem with iPage Weebly, and other drag-and-drop builders in general, is that they tend to slow down page speed. Page speed has become a big deal recently in the world of search engine optimization in that Google, especially, is penalizing sites that have slow page load times. If you're trying to improve your Google search ranking, steer clear of drag-and-drop page builders and go for a custom-designed site,
or a WordPress site instead.
iPage uptime is well below average at 99.77% in a 12 month period, which equates to about a full, 24 hour day of downtime when other hosts only experience about 8 hours of downtime maximum.
Page load times with iPage average over 1 second. That's slow when compared to other hosts coming in at under 1 second.
Customers with iPage complain of tech support not having good coverage on weekends, support staff being from non-U.S. countries, and customer service not honoring money-back guarantees. Other problems ranged from being promised follow-up and not receiving it to very slow websites, or sites that don't work at all.
Some web hosting companies will offer you a lower overall cost if you choose to pay up front for multiple years. While some web hosts will seem really expensive compared to other, that's because they're usually offering more value for your dollar in more advanced or innovative features their cheaper competitors aren't covering. Whether you choose a more expensive host will depend on whether those features improve convenience or lead to a better return on investment (ROI).
That leads us to the next decision to make: features. You'll want to decide which features you genuinely need versus which ones you don't really need at all. Aside from the core service of hosting the actual website will be offerings such as web design, do-it-yourself site theme implementation, domain registration, email, eCommerce tools and setup, online advertising to promote your website, website development tools, and search engine optimization (SEO) help. Some of these will be important to you and others will not be necessary.
Security and performance are considerations that often get overlooked in the drive to find the cheapest web hosting available. Cheaper cost to you means the web host is cutting corners somewhere in how they host your site. Often that means "shared hosting", which means your site is put on the same web server as hundreds of others. There are security and site speed implications to this that often are not in your best interests.
Reputation can also be a key factor - web hosts with bad reputations or "fly by night" business practices can hurt your business or position in search results.
Finally, you want to know how reliable and supportive each web host is from the perspective of its customers. How many people are complaining about hacked sites, slow page load times, poor support, and price hikes over time? There will be many, many complaints across all web hosting options, so you'll want to narrow the list of things that are important to you and focus primarily on those as you evaluate options.
Once you have an idea of which web host you want to subscribe to, shopping online will make it easier than ever to find it. To summarize, as you decide which web host should get your business, keep in mind these criteria:
Features. Which features does the web host offer and do you need all the features or just some of them?
Cost. How are the hosting costs structured? Will there be monthly subscription cost hikes after a certain period of time?
Reputation. What are people saying about the web host online? Is the web host going to shut down or change names soon, and are they engaging in shady practices that can hurt your brand?
Security. How many security incidents has the web hosting company experienced? Are there widespread complaints of site outages? If so, how quickly and to what extent were those issues addressed?
Performance. Are websites generally faster or slower on one web hosting service compared to its competitors? Does the web host offer plans that handle increasing numbers of visitors or sudden traffic spikes with more ease?
Customer Service. If you experience problems with your website, what are the contact options for getting support, and how responsive are they? Are support representatives courteous and helpful, or are they rude and condescending? How long does it take to fix problems?
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best web hosting companies available today. We hope these reviews will help you find the right web host to make your website appealing, secure, and affordable!
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