Apart from those standard shared plans, there are also WordPress-optimized plans, which means that the platform is ready to run WooCommerce as well. So, is iPage the right choice for you and your next ecommerce store? Let’s find out in this review.
This iPage ecommerce hosting review is updated for 2016. We talk about the most important features currently available with iPage, and *if* and *how* they can be used for ecommerce. We discuss the plans available, their pros and cons, and everything else that relates to ecommerce in one way or the other.
What makes a good ecommerce hosting platform
It’s one thing to list a hosting platform as an ecommerce-friendly one, but it’s another to actually provide some ecommerce-optimized features. Here’s what we’re going to look for with iPage:
- PCI compliance. Necessary for processing credit card data of your customers. You cannot do this without a PCI-compliant server.
- Dedicated IP and an SSL certificate. Those two authenticate your store on the web. Having an SSL certificate ensures your customers that they’re in a safe place.
- Uptime. You don’t want your online store to go down and thus cost you money due to lost sales. Your web host should guarantee good uptime.
- Good server specs. Web server’s performance depends on the hardware that’s in the server. What you want is good and fast RAM, and fast and optimized hard drives.
- Data center location. You want a server that’s near your audience’s geographical location.
- Good security mechanisms and policies. Security is crucially important for an online store. The more security mechanisms your ecommerce web host offers, the better.
iPage ecommerce web hosting review: in a nutshell
The hosting plans at iPage are certainly very affordable and seem to offer good-enough parameters, but that depends on the specific plan you select. Here are the options:
- Standard shared hosting. This hosting package is the cheapest on the market right now – at $1.99 /month. For that price, it doesn’t limit the disk space you get to use, or the bandwidth your online store is allowed to consume. You also get to hook up unlimited domains and launch unlimited MySQL databases. When it comes to the ecommerce aspect, iPage gives you built-in PayPal integration (for online payments), and the possibility to build your store on either ShopSite, osCommerce, or AgoraCart.
- WordPress hosting. This package might be interesting to you if you intend to run your online store on top of WooCommerce. There are two sub-plans available here: WP Starter and WP Essential. The latter, although just slightly more expensive ($6.95 / month), gives you a server environment optimized for speed (SSD hard drives), and enhanced security features, plus expert support.
- VPS servers. Probably the best choice for ecommerce stores, due to the possibility to adjust your server resources as your operation expands and your traffic grows over time. VPS also offers better performance right out the gate than standard shared hosting setups. The only downside is that VPS ecommerce hosting is a bit more expensive than the standard plans. Those VPS hosting options start at $19.99 / month.
Features in iPage ecommerce web hosting
Here’s what you get with iPage hosting for ecommerce:
- One dedicated IP address included with VPS-Basic, and two with VPS-Business and VPS-Optimium. Not available for shared hosting.
- 40-120GB of disk space on VPS plans, plus 1-8GB of RAM.
- VPS servers run on 1-core CPUs for VPS-Basic, and up to 4-core CPUs on VPS-Optimum.
- 24×7 phone, chat and email support on all plans.
- Two data centers available in the US, located on AT&T’s, global crossing and cable & wireless’ OC48 / OC192 global IP backbones.
- Enhanced Security Suite included. UPS power backup, plus a backup generator.
Who’s iPage ecommerce hosting best suited for?
Although iPage offers really affordable plans in their shared hosting department, I wouldn’t actually advise you to use them for any ecommerce purposes.
For that, you’re way better off with their VPS plans. Albeit more expensive, they give you better security and better performance overall.
iPage says that their hosting plans are ready to work with ecommerce platforms such as ShopSite, osCommerce, or AgoraCart, so if any of them sound appealing to you, you might consider working with iPage.
Alternatively, if you want to use WooCommerce as the base of your online store, you can sign up for one of the more affordable WordPress hosting plans (at $6.95 / month), and begin to run your store there. Just keep in mind that you might reach a ceiling at some point once your store begins expanding more rapidly and your requirements grow.
In the end, I’d recommend iPage hosting for ecommerce only to store owners who are just starting out and have in the range of $20-$50 to spend on hosting per month.
For that range, two of iPage’s VPS hosting plans are available – VPS-Basic and VPS-Business.
iPage ecommerce hosting review: pricing
As I mentioned earlier, there’s a handful of hosting plans available with iPage. The main ones that are worth mentioning:
|Shared hosting||WordPress hosting||VPS-Basic||VPS-Business||VPS-Optimum|
|Hosting Plan Type||shared||shared||VPS||VPS||VPS|
|RAM||not listed||not listed||1GB||4GB||8GB|
|Processor||not listed||not listed||1-Core CPU||2-Core CPU||4-Core CPU|
|Dedicated IPs||not available||not available||1||2||2|
|PRICE||$1.99 / month||$3.75 / month||$19.99 / month||$47.99 / month||$79.99 / month|
|$6.95 / month|
Also, what’s particularly important here, especially for ecommerce stores, is that you don’t get any private SSL certificate as part of these plans. You need to get that separately. The prices start at $31.99 / year for a basic certificate, but the one recommended for ecommerce is $269.99 / year, so not exactly cheap. (Getting the SSL also gives you PCI compliance.)
At the end of the day, if you want to think about running a serious ecommerce online store on iPage hosting, you’ll need to select at least the VPS-Basic plan. The shared hosting plans, although tempting, aren’t going to be able to provide you with all the security and performance that your online store requires.
If you’re looking for something a bit more budget-friendly, check out our review for SiteGround ecommerce hosting.
How to set up iPage ecommerce hosting
The iPage hosting solutions surely deliver a range of interesting tools to make the setup process of your site easier.
Right out the gate, you get 1-click installers for blogs (WordPress + WooCommerce), and other software (including the aforementioned ecommerce platforms). You also get marketing tools and advertising credits ($100 for both Google AdWords and Bing Ads).
On top of that, the support is available 24×7, so you can reach out with whatever setup-related issue you might have, plus there’s a knowledge base available online (everything documented with screenshots and in-depth instructions).
Is iPage ecommerce hosting the right host for your ecommerce store?
Pros of iPage ecommerce web hosting
- The cheapest shared hosting plan on the market.
- 24×7 phone, chat and email support on all plans.
- Up to 4-core CPUs on VPS plans, plus up to 8GB of RAM.
- Dedicated IPs included with the VPS plans.
- SSD drives for the higher-tier WordPress hosting.
Cons of iPage ecommerce hosting
- Expensive SSL certificates that are not included out the gate.
- Data centers only in the US.
- No explicit ecommerce-specific features