iPage vs BlueHost – Which Hosting Provider is Best?

Web hosts are a dime a dozen, and they all offer a myriad of special offers and deals designed to make you want their services. Deliberating with all the different pay plans and customer support lines can be a pain in the neck, but there’s way too much information out there to make an educated decision without getting your hands dirty.

That’s where we come in, we’ve taken a couple of these hosting companies and stacked them up side-by-side to give you an idea on how they compare in terms of functionality and service excellence.

Today, we’ll be taking a look at BlueHost and iPage, two companies offering very comparable services, but which offer differing sets of advantages and disadvantages for their users.

To get started, we’ll take a look at both companies individually, seeing how their pros stack up next to their cons. Without any further ado, let’s take a look at BlueHost.

What Is BlueHost?

BlueHost is a big-name hosting company that has been reliably hosting websites for 15 years, and is one of the top 20 largest web hosts. They host over 2 million domains together with their sister sites. Although they are one of the biggest names in the industry, they have a very well established user base, and a reputation for excellent services and customer satisfaction.

There have been some issues in the past with security breaches or service outages, but this is all part of the growing pains of becoming an established company. Today, BlueHost boasts some of the best performance stats on the market, and with very reasonable prices to go along with them.

In order to get a more in-depth look at what BlueHost has to offer, we can take a look at some of their pros and cons:

Pros of BlueHost

  • Excellent Onboarding Resources. BlueHost has a veritable font of knowledge hosted on its website for learning how to use their interface. They provide excellent learning resources and literature to make sure new users and experienced users alike can get properly acclimated to their platform.
  • Excellent Customer Support. BlueHost offers 24/7 support over the phone, as well as through live chat. Unfortunately, the live chat is not available 24/7, but it is good to have as an option. The phone support is a nice feature, as many websites are unable to provide such a service, and it’s always nice to speak to a real human being when seeking help.
  • Money Back Guarantee. BlueHost offers a 30-day money back guarantee on their hosting services. If you cancel your service within 30 days, you may be eligible for a full refund. This is nice for customers who want to minimize their risk, or who are skeptical about the performance of BlueHost.
  • Big Name Resources. BlueHost is one of the biggest names in the industry, and they have the resources to match. They can pay very close attention to their customers’ needs without having to compromise any integrity to maintain their bottom line. You can expect excellent service and responsive support when working with BlueHost.
  • Brand Reputation. BlueHost has an established reputation for quality and reliability. Maintaining this reputation will be a big part of your experience with them. This reputation also means that there is a large amount of information available to you about how other clients are enjoying BlueHost’s service, as well as a thriving community of users eager to share their help and support.
  • Excellent Service. The wide range of services and reasonable prices available through BlueHost are very competitive compared to what other companies are offering. Their service is highly reviewed, and despite being one of the largest hosts in the industry, BlueHost has very strong customer satisfaction numbers.
  • Discounts and Special Offers. Like any good web host, BlueHost is always offering some kind of deal, discount, or package for their services. Although this is par for the course as far as web hosting services go, it’s always nice to be able to save a buck.
  • Ease-of-use. Along with their excellent customer service and onboarding resources, BlueHost uses the industry-standard cPanel interface. This interface is renowned for its ease-of-use, and the fact that it is industry standard means that learning how to use it will give you skills you can use effectively for future websites. There is also a large amount of third-party documentation relating to cPanel.
  • Flexible Billing. BlueHost offers billing by the month for customers who aren’t ready to commit to a long term contract, as well as annual plans for loyal customers looking to score a discount.

Although the upsides of BlueHost are nice, a lot of them aren’t anything special in and of themselves. The value that you get with BlueHost comes mainly from the consistent quality that their brand guarantees, as well as the onboarding and customer support that has earned them one of the top spots among web hosts.

Cons of BlueHost

No matter how good a company is, there’s always room for it to improve. BlueHost has many areas where it comes out ahead, but now we’re going to go over some of the areas in which it falls short.

There’s nothing on this list that is too bad; it wouldn’t be a fair comparison if there was, but there are some areas we should be aware of if we want to form a well-rounded opinion of this hosting service.

  • Although BlueHost is one of the top web hosting companies, their actual speed stats tend to lag behind some of the higher-end competition. BlueHost is by no means slow, but there are better options out there if speed is your foremost concern.
  • Storage Limitations. Unlike many other companies, BlueHost puts fairly strict limits on storage for most of its plans. This isn’t too much of a big deal if you aren’t going to be needing things like extra parked domains or multiple websites, but it can still be a factor if you plan on running a lot of apps or data through your website.
  • Not Accredited By BBB. Despite being a reputed name in web hosting for over 15 years, BlueHost has not received accreditation by the Better Business Bureau. This may not be a big deal to some people, but it may impact your choice if you like your services to be accredited by organizations like the BBB.
  • Large Company. BlueHost’s size isn’t always a plus. While you have access to greater resources and a larger community of fellow users when you go with BlueHost, some problems can arise from being one of the bigger fishes in the pond. Their support lines can be plagues by long wait times, and their brand recognition can make them a target for cyberattackers.
  • Price Structure. Although BlueHost’s pricing isn’t prohibitively expensive by any means, the structure of its features and plans is a little skewed compared to the competition. Increases in price don’t always get you the same value that they would working with another host. Although BlueHost typically outperforms other companies at lower price points, the more expensive plans will typically be a better value elsewhere.

Like I said, there’s nothing here too major. That being said, some of these factors can be important to understanding what BlueHost has to offer. Remember that there’s not always a concrete front-runner among web hosts; the value of their services will change based on the needs of your website.

What Is iPage?

iPage is a hosting and domain registration company, similar to BlueHost. iPage focuses on offering low-cost shared web hosting packages. They also have features which cater to less tech-savvy clients, such as drag-and-drop site building tools.

They were initially founded in 1009 by Thomas Gorny, as a full web-service provider. In 2009, they were relaunched as a web hosting provider in 2009, and are owned by Endurance International Group.

As a low-cost solution to your web-hosting problems, iPage is perfect for small-time or inexperienced clients looking to build a competent website with low cost. In order to see how their services stack up against BlueHost, we should first take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages that iPage has to offer.

Pros of iPage

iPage’s value lies mainly in its low-cost pricing structure. There may not be as many options to scale up your business, or the available resources of a company like BlueHost, but many of their plans are an excellent value for the price.

  • iPage is one of the leading hosts offering low-cost services. Although many of its plans and performance stats are outpaced by many of the competitor’s, its prices simply can’t be beat. If you take a look at their plans and pricing structure, you’ll probably find something with exactly the functionality you need, for a much lower price than the competition.
  • iPage also offers a very simplified user experience. They include a drag-and-drop website building tool for clients who aren’t so familiar with coding, as well as straightforward pricing structures, so you really know what you’re getting, even if you’re not as technically oriented as some other clients.
  • Customer Support. iPage offers 24/7 customer support over phone, live chat, or email. It can be hard for some customers to receive support from larger companies like BlueHost. iPage offers a very accessible customer support team with a wide variety of channels through which clients can easily receive support.
  • MOJO Marketplace. iPage lets you use tools such as MOJO Marketplace to design your site simply and effectively for low-cost. MOJO Marketplace is a kind of one-stop-shop for plugins and themes that you can use on your website.
  • Specialized WordPress Plans. Although many different companies offer their own specialized plans for WordPress-based sites, iPage is able to offer these same specialized services for a much lower price than most competitors.

As we can see, although many of its features may not be the best, iPage is definitely an attractive option for people looking for low-cost solutions. The power overall customization ability of iPage tends to lag behind most of its competition, but as I said before, its prices simply can’t be beat.

Cons of iPage

As a low-cost alternative for less tech-savvy users, iPage’s disadvantages mainly lie in its lack of higher-end functionality and support. Although iPage does have some pretty glaring flaws when examined up close, many of them won’t be a huge factor for newer web designers and smaller businesses that are going to be using their service.

  • Long-term Pricing. Although iPage has very low prices, and offers great discounts for longer plans, many of these longer plans are very long (3 years), and it can be difficult for some users to commit to such a contract.
  • Aggressive Marketing. iPage has very affordable and easy-to-use plans, but they make a huge point of trying to upsell more features or more expensive plans very aggressively. This isn’t always a huge turnoff, as you are never forced to spend the extra money, but it can be annoying for some clients who aren’t interested in increasing their costs.
  • Less-than-optimal performance. iPage is simply slower and less efficient than the competition. The price range is very affordable, but the actual infrastructure, software, and hardware that they use is lower-end, and can’t perform as well as many other companies.
  • Custom vDeck Backend. While most companies use the industry-standard cPanel for their interface, iPage uses a customized interface designed with vDeck. This interface isn’t that much more complex than cPanel, but it can be a pain learning how to use it, or transferring websites between iPage and a hosting service which uses cPanel.
  • Expensive Renewal Fees. Although their initial prices are very reasonable, the renewal costs on many of iPage’s plans can be prohibitively expensive, especially when compared to the lower-cost plans from competing companies.
  • Frustrating Transfer Between cPanel and vDeck. As I stated before, transferring websites to or from iPage can be a pain, due to their proprietary interface which doesn’t use cPanel. This won’t be a big deal for a lot of newer or less experiences users, but it can make a huge difference for clients who need to migrate their website to or from the service.

Like BlueHost, iPage has some disadvantages, but nothing so major as to make the service useless. Despite its flaws, iPage remains a very attractive option for low-cost clients and people who aren’t interested in learning how to code and manage every aspect of their website.

So now that we’ve taken a look at both of these companies separately, we can put them side by side and see how their various features compare next to each other. This will give us a definitive idea of which one pulls ahead for most clients. Remember, however, that every website is different, and you might find one service attractive for reasons we haven’t considered.

In order to get a focused idea of how these companies compare, we will take a look at three distinct categories which set good web hosting services apart from bad ones; Functionality, Support, and Price.

Functionality

In terms of the actual functions that both websites offer, BlueHost obviously pulls ahead in terms of raw power and capability. No matter how you slice it, BlueHost is faster, offers more options, and has an extensive support system and brand-name resources. iPage, unfortunately, simply can’t offer the same resources that BlueHost has at its disposal.

That being said, there are many features of iPage which allow less knowledgeable users and users looking to save money to effectively create and manage a website. Even if their basic functionality is less powerful than BlueHost, their price range can make the feature set very attractive.

Support

Both companies offer very competent customer support. BlueHost offers 24/7 support over the phone as well as limited support over live chat. Although their actual support avenues are more limited than iPage’s, their actual customer support has a very good track record.

iPage has less of a reputation for good customer support, but their support is more accessible, being offered over phone, email, and live chat 24/7. This category is a bit of a toss-up, since the disadvantages of one company tradeoff for the advantages of the other, but it’s a good factor to be aware of, nonetheless.

Price

Price is the ultimate make-or-break factor for many users. There’s no sense going with the best and the fastest web host around if you can’t afford their services. Both of these companies perform very well in lower price brackets, so that is what we’ll be focusing on here.

BlueHost offers Shared hosting starting at $3.95 per month, VPS hosting starting at $19.99 per month, and Dedicated server Hosting starting at $79.99 per month. Their range of options is a little limited at first glance, but the plans they offer have a lot of versatility, and BlueHost can be used effectively for a wide variety of different websites.

  • For newbies, the shared plans are probably a good idea. They start at $3.95 per month (normally $7.99) for a basic plan with limited SSD storage, subdomains, email storage, and no special offers or features. The plus plan is $5.95 per month (normally $10.99), and offers unlimited websites, SSD storage, subdomains, and email storage. The plus plan also has $200 in marketing offers available. The choice plus package is also $5.95 per month at the moment (normally $14.99), and offers all of the features unlimited with all of the extra packages and offers.

iPage sets themselves apart from the competition by streamlining their plans. They offer a free month with their hosting service, and plans starting from $2.50 per month. The prices increase to between $10.95 and $12.95 per month for plans of varying lengths.

  • iPage only has the one plan, starting at $2.50 and going up to $10.95 per month depending on renewal status and commitment length. After choosing a domain name, you will be brought to a screen to choose your term length.
  • When you decide the length of your commitment, you will get a list of included features, which include a free domain name, email address, SSL certificate, website builder, and unlimited domains.
  • Once you have moved on from selecting your term length, you will be given the option to customize your plan. Here you can add extra functionality such as security and backups to your site for a nominal fee. Many of these features appear pre-selected for your plan, so it’s important to make sure you’re only getting what you need.
  • WordPress optimization costs an extra $36.00 per year.

Conclusion: BlueHost or iPage?

As we can see, both companies have rather limited plans clearly geared more towards newer users and clients looking to save a bit of money. The functionality between both companies is very comparable, but BlueHost clearly wins out with their better hardware and performance stats.

Due to the differences in their customer support capability, it can be hard for some people to truly judge who comes ahead in this category. We think that BlueHost pulls ahead due to its reputation as a reliable host with excellent customer service.

The prices, as we have seen, are very comparable. Still, iPage has BlueHost’s prices and streamlined process beat by a wide margin. Your preference here will really depend on what you expect. Users looking for more functionality will definitely find BlueHost to be the more attractive option, while users looking to avoid a steep learning curve and high costs will want to go with iPage.

Overall, because of the increased functionality at a still very reasonable price, we’re going to go with BlueHost for our choice on this match-up. As always, do your own research; there’s a possibility we’ve missed something that could make or break your web hosting decision.

Have fun and happy hosting!

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