Being one of the older hosting companies on the scene, since 2001, they have grown to hundreds of thousands of accounts. The company has been bought (2007) out and now still operating under the iPower business name and sits under the the Endurance International Group's (EIG) umbrella who owns more than 70 hosting companies.
From the looks of it, the business seems stale to me. I am quite sure the current design hasn't been changed in over 10 years which doesn't really give me a whole lot of comfort and to be honest, I think the only thing notable is being an early hosting business that is still standing. Their head office is even still in the same state (Mass) and it does look like that nothing else seems to have changed.
According to their website, they offer services ranging from shared Linux and Windows accounts, Domain Name Registration, VPS and Dedicated Servers with value-add services such as Web Design, Free stuff like Google, Yellowpages and Bing credits and website traffic solutions. There's actually too many options on the homepage to make sense of anything and many of the offerings are redundant, meaning that a service like shared hosting is broken up into about 5 or so different links when they are all pretty much the same service.
Tell Me About The Packages And Plans
Lets start from the top and I'll help you sift through the nonsense (really..lots of nonsense!). You'll find there are these titles in the menu section; Hosting, Domains, Products, Testimonials, Partnerships, Help Center and Control Panel. First, we're going to focus on Hosting and Products under the main menu.
Mouse over Hosting, then mouse over Products. The first link you see is “Web hosting” for BOTH and I opened up both pages and they are exactly the same. Why do this? I've never seen this method done before, but it does make sense. The site is already a bit chaotic, so why should this matter.
Under Web Hosting you are shown 3 plans; Starter, Pro and Pro Plus, similar to standard Gold, Silver and Bronze plans you may see elsewhere. In the below image, you'll be able to see the comparison chart for these packages.
NOTE: You'll see on the homepage that the Pro Plan is on sale, but what they don't tell you is that you need to prepay for 2 years to get that price. Do not commit, even if it is a much cheaper price to any long term contracts with any hosting company unless you already have experience with their service and know what to expect. You can always ask them to upgrade you to get the deal. I've been there and have done that. It's better if you either purchase a much shorter cycle or go month to month until you are comfortable with the service because trying to contact any billing department will always result in delays.
In the Pro and Pro Plus plans the resources are unlimited and there is a link associated with it. That's what we call “the fine print“. Nothing is unlimited in hosting, as it is used to rope people in to buy their service so you need to be very careful before moving forward and making a purchase. If your website, wordpress or not, is a busy one, I would suggest just opting for one of their VPS options instead because you always know what you're getting.
Other Hosting Packages
I'm not 100% sure why they have two web hosting links pointing to the same page of plans, however, I see the same thing for WordPress packages. You will notice that under Hosting there are WordPress plans and under Products there is blog hosting and again those pages are exactly the same. They both point to:
From the looks of it, the WP plan is an extension of the current regular hosting plan. They put it as “Core Hosting Plan” which means all the resources (storage, bandwidth, emails) you see under Starter, Pro and Pro Plus is included, but what they don't seem to show is which core plan they are talking about and trust me, I've looked and can't find the details on that.
What's the different between “Core Plans” and “WP Plans”? Core Plans come with different extras such as:
- Your choice of Shopsite, Agora or OsCommerce shopping carts (WP users most likely will use WooCommerce)
- $100 Google and Bing credits
- Free Yellowpages Listing (which doesn't make a whole lot of sense if you're purchasing this from a foreign country)
- A bunch of Scripts like Guestbook (which is so 1995), phpBB, WORDPRESS and x7 Chat
- Nextiva (only available to US customers)
See what I see? The core packages already have WordPress, so why even bother making separate WordPress packages? This is turning out to be a business with way more questions than answers and it's becoming more suspect by the minute as I go through this site.
Initially, I had thought that the WordPress plans were an offshoot of the core hosting plans and that the these plans had WP specific features that were included because they listed:
Then I realized….if the core plans already have WordPress then of course they would have the curated themes and pre-installed plugins and the customized control panel is what they offer to all customers that purchase their hosting plans.
They even replicate further by adding linking to the same shared packages again and again.
I am more than unimpressed at this point and figured it was the end of the chaos. Low and behold, more confusion arises. I scroll down a bit and click on this banner:
It takes me here. Now scroll to the bottom and the prices are different for the Starter package.
I'm not quite sure what to think? It's almost as if they took 10 web hosting provider sites with the same packages and mashed them into one.
Moving On To Other Services
The only good thing I can see from iPower is that they do offer a wide range of services which means you have the ability to upgrade should your grow out of your shared hosting plan.
Starting with Virtual Private Servers (VPS)
They've left this part pretty simple as there is a scroll bar to choose from 3 different pricing options and are broken up into:
- Basic – $19.95/month
- Business – $47.99/month
- Optimum – $79.99/month
All plans Include:
Again, you have the 3 package method.
- Standard $119.95/month
- Enhanced $151.99/month
- Premium $191.99/month
What is included in the VPS Plans are also included in the Dedicated Server Plans. The one thing you'll notice with the dedicated servers is that they have cloud technology running in the background which gives them better redundancy and less of a failure rate.
What Does Cloud Mean To You?
Previously, all resources for a hosting company were mutually exclusive which meant that if one thing failed, it failed, but didn't affect the rest of the computers around it or the network so it was really only the clients on that particular machine that needed support.
Now, because of cloud technology, everything is what we call distributed. Some resources can be used from point D and storage can be taken from point F. Essentially, all things are shared and acts like a big block of failsafes. If something fails, like storage or RAM/CPU, the cloud just grabs it from somewhere else and keeps humming along. As long as there are free resources available within the architecture, nothing will happen. Lets just hope iPower has these extra resources in place to hold the fort if something does go wrong.
Looking at things from a support standpoint where enablement is not normally addressed within hosting companies, iPower offers some key services that people can really use. Maybe you're new and barely know how to create a website, but WordPress is there to save the day because of its simplicity and easy navigation to help you find what you need in a reasonable period of time. The problem is, what happens when you want to take your site to the next level?
iPower offers a set of marketing services that include management of your Pay Per Click campaigns, website development and SEO services. This would be the most beneficial set of resources that would make all of this confusion worth it!
Their control panel is proprietary and I know iPower created it years ago and is known as vDeck. It is included in all hosting plans, so to me, it's just a marketing ploy to make you think you're buying a different package.
Regarding control panels, they are all basically the same thing, but with a different look and feel, but under the hood, it's all the same. You can see your web stats, install WordPress, add FTP accounts, create email addresses, control your database and typical hosting automation.
What Do Customers Have To Say About iPower?
I wanted to be as open-minded as possible when reviewing a hosting company and don't want to stress my opinion over those that already know the company, so I decided to do a search for iPower reviews in both Bing and Google. The results are as follows:
I gave it the old college try and searched high and low for any good review. What you see above is just the tip of the iceberg. There is not one good thing to say about this company and there isn't even a fake review to put them over the top in anyone's graces.
There is light at the end of the tunnel as iPower does offer 24/7 support in all categories like telephone, live chat and email, plus they have a fairly decent knowledge-base.
One thing that worries me. The links on their support page don't go to their intended page.
The links showing “Sales and Service Inquiries” and “Feedback and Suggestions” both go to the knowledge-base which doesn't have the ability to enquire OR leave feedback. What gives?
I have to say, the rest of the site, outside of shared hosting is easy peasy regarding navigation and understanding of the packages and that's how it should be. The idea is to take the customer to where they need to go in order to convert the sale, but they've confused me and I know hosting very well, so if I'm this lost, how is someone else supposed to find what they want?
Judging by how badly the website was put together, I would hazzard more than just a guess that things aren't so merry within the company or should I say, within Endurance. You'll find all you need to know about EIG here. They are know as the place where webhosts go to die.
With a final note, I will say that if you are looking for a hosting provider, make sure you tally up as many reviews as possible because sample size would give you the best opinion about a company and iPower is, to me and so many others, a hosting company that you just stay away from.