Welcome back. Another day, another Australian web host to look at.
Next up, after a series of terrible web hosting providers, I’m relieved to say that we have one that is merely average. IPage.
For those of you with a short attention span, I’ll get right to the point. IPage are alright, I guess.
Their hosting speeds and uptime are pretty average, their prices are similarly average, and that’s about the best thing I can say about them. If you’re looking for a hosting provider who is as middle of the road as possible, IPage is your best bet.
Of course, no-one wants middle of the road web hosting. Plus, I if IPage were anywhere else in the world, like for instance Papau New guinea, they would suck. It’s just that the other web hosts are even more sucky. See our review of Zuver if you don’t believe me.
IPage aren’t bad, they’re just boring.
They’ve also got a strange unique selling point: they are the oldest web host in Australia, as their front page proudly reports.
The oldest? I’m not sure that’s actually a good thing. Kinda like the tallest dwarf.
I mean, you don’t want your web host to be the newest in Australia, certainly, but I’m not sure a history stretching right back to 1998 is not something that’s going to attract a lot of new customers. Unless you want old-school web hosting, I guess, and your site looks like this.
All that said, let’s look at what IPage actually offer.
Before I do, though, our legal boffins have asked me to say this first: all the opinions in this article are mine, and there are probably people out there who find IPage really exciting.
They probably wear cardigans.
What We’re Looking At
- 1 What We’re Looking At
- 2 Why Should I Trust You Guys, Anyway?
- 3 The Alternatives
- 4 Our Recommendations
- 5 Some Final iThoughts
We love data. Perhaps a little too much.
Because of that, I’m going to base this review on the numbers we’ve collected over the past few years. If you also like numbers, you’re in for a treat. If you don’t, you should.
Here’s why. If you’re web host is anything other than terrible, you’re going to forget who they are, because you should never need to talk to them. Unless the server goes down, you’re not going to need customer service.
And since you hardly ever visit your own website from a normal connection, it’s also almost impossible for you to assess how fast it is. That’s where we come in.
With that in mind, here is what I’ll do in this review:
- Have a look at IPage’s uptime, speed, and reliability. Meh.
- Then more numbers! Yay! But this time, we’ll look at IPage’s pricing, which is also nothing to write home about.
- At the end, I’ll compare IPage to some good web hosts, so you can see the difference between average and good.
But first …
Why Should I Trust You Guys, Anyway?
Good question. We know a lot about web hosting, even if we do say so ourselves.
Being serious for a moment: we’ve got something that no-one else in Australia has, at least to our knowledge. A huge spreadsheet.
We’ve been providing consultation for some of the biggest web sites in the country for over 10 years. A few others have also been doing that, despite our best efforts at putting them out of business.
But we did something different. Every time we got a new client, we hooked up their site to out magic speed-monitoring machine. I’m not entirely sure why, but we did. And the outcome is that we’ve now got reliable numbers on how fast each and every web host in Australia are.
As of last week, we’ve got 467 sites linked up, so trust me when I say that we know what we’re talking about.
For this review, all I had to do was to look at the database. We base all our reviews on this data, so if you want to see some truly shocking stats take a look at the reviews of VentraIP and Digital Pacific. Those guys suck.
Now to the best bit. How does IPage perform in comparison to other web hosts in Australia?
Let’s have a look at their uptime and speed. If you know what that means, feel free to skip ahead. If you don’t, let me take you through it.
“Uptime” is a silly word that basically means “how often your site goes down”. It measures what percentage of the time your site is “up”, and available for people to come and buy your artisan bathtubs or whatever it is you sell.
A good web hosting provider will have an uptime of more than 98%. A bad one will offer less than 97%. When it comes to web hosting, even a .1 difference can create a huge change in the amount of sales you generate through your website.
That’s because people are (a) lazy, and (b) impatient (citation needed). If your website takes more than two shakes of a lamb’s tail to load, your customers will go somewhere else. There’s even research to prove it.
Um … well … what do you think this means? That’s right, how fast a web host is. If they’re slow, your page loads slowly. If they’re fast, fast. Got it?
So, now that everybody is on the same page, how does IPage compare to other web hosts in Australia?
- Uptime – 97.6%
- Average Loadtime – 1,912Ms
- Uptime – 97.9%
- Average Loadtime – 2,012Ms
- Uptime – 97.5% (ouch!)
- Average Loadtime – 2,182Ms
- Uptime – 98.09%
- Average Loadtime – 1,658Ms
These numbers are … OK, I guess.
I was sort of dreading writing this review, because that’s all I can really say. These numbers are not bad, but they’re certainly not good either.
If your website is small, IPage could be a good idea. Kind of. But then why spend money on an average web host when you can get a good one for the same price?
IPage are pretty cheap, and not in a trashy way.
They pull that same trick that a lot of companies in Australia like to do: giving you an automatic opening offer that looks really cheap, and then goes up after a set period.
Here is their standard pricing:
The initial price of $1.50 a month is as cheap as web hosting gets in Australia. It’s even cheaper than the hosts we use, and we know what we’re doing.
There is the slight problem that IPage’s pricing goes up 6 times once your initial period is over, but with an initial period of up to 36 months you just need to remember to cancel it. Put a note in your diary, and this is pretty cheap web hosting.
One thing that is good about IPage is that they are so boring they don’t even worry about offering you different plans. Nope, you just get the basic plan or nothing.
See what I mean:
You click on “get web hosting”, and this is the next screen. See how easy the steps are? Choose your domain, pay for your hosting, and you’re away.
I’d love to say that this no-nonsense approach is IPage’s strategy. In truth, though, I think that they haven’t even thought about it.
They’re the oldest web host in Australia, remember? I guess they’ve had the same system since 1998, when you could add on 4kb of extra storage for $1000.
To my mind, the lack of different plans is actually a bummer. The problem with having just one plan, like IPage, is that you end up paying extra for each and every service you want.
Not that IPage don’t offer a good service as standard. Their standard list of features is here:
And is pretty good, in truth. I mean, they make a big deal out of stuff that is (or should be) completely standard in 2017, like an FTP manager, but overall this is a fairly good package.
The only problem here, and one that I always go on about in these reviews, is SSL. IPage do a pretty good job of hiding how much they charge for SSL, which is clever of them.
Once you get through to the right page, you’re in for something of a shock. Standard SSL costs $31.99 per year.
Prices like that used to enrage me. I mean, it’s 2017, and I don’t think that any company has the right to charge anything for SSL. $30 is a lot, lot, lot, lot less than a lot of other hosting providers, though, so I guess in this area IPage are just … you know … average.
Like in every other respect, including:
IPage are, again, sort of OK when it comes to customer service. I would love to think that they’ve have the same engineers since the dark old days of 1998, and that they’ve been toiling away in some cellar in Darwin for all that time.
But let’s not be mean. When you call IPage, they pick up, and actually listen to your question. This gives them two advantages over quite a lot of the competition.
Ok, so IPage are OK. Does that mean you should use them for your web hosting? No.
The reason is simple enough. Web hosting is not like buying a coffee, when sometimes you have to put up with instant because you can’t be bothered to walk to the cafe.
You can get a new web host anytime you want, and so there is no excuse for poor service. I don’t want to labor the point, but getting a good web host can really improve your sales rate, your profit margin, your happiness, and your sexual potency (citation needed).
It will also give you these things:
- An increase in client’s time spent browsing the site (people like fast websites)
- A better Google ranking (Google also likes fast websites)
- Better Uptime, and
- Faster load times
And even if you’re stuck in a year long contract with a sucky host, you should consider moving your site anyway. Web hosting in Australia has come a long way in recent years, and if you signed up to your web host a few years back, you can probably get a lot more for your money nowadays.
Some people say that the right web host for you is a matter of opinion, but these people are wrong. If you’re looking for the best web host in Australia, look no further than the one we use:
1. Siteground – The Best Overall Hosting For Price / Speed / Uptime / Support. ($3.95 / month)
Average Uptime: 99.95%
Average Load Time: 475Ms
SiteGround is the best.
That’s all I need to say, really, but my editor is going to be annoyed if I don’t explain why.
For those of you interested in the numbers, SiteGround offer the best stats of any web host in the country. They are not that much better than HostGators, but they are close.
SiteGround also offer free SSL, and a whole host of extra features that are useful if you are running an unusual site. They are also really knowledgeable, and spending an hour talking to them about your particular requirements is really worth while.
In short, Siteground costs a third of the price of HostPapa, and is infinitely better.
Some Final iThoughts
There’s no other way of putting it: IPage are just boring. And whilst some people might quite like that, most people won’t.
Their speed and uptime are not great, they don’t really offer anything special, and their prices are also amazingly average. If you go with IPage, you’re not going to be unhappy, but you’re not going to be able to build the best site in Australia.
In short, IPage get a big fat meh.
Just do the intelligent thing, and go with Siteground.