When you decide to create a website or online business, selecting a web hosting service is one of the most important decisions you have to make, after choosing a domain name. The type of site you’re building and the amount of expected traffic are key factors in making this decision. iPower is the middle ground between extremely basic services like JustHost, which are best suited for low-traffic personal websites, and DreamHost, HostGator, and Hostwinds, which are robust services fit to house mission-critical business sites. iPower only has a basic feature set, but it’s a dependable web hosting service that won’t wreck your budget.
Shared Hosting Plans
Like its competitors, iPower offers shared web hosting. This hosting type places your website on a server with other sites, so your online presence literally shares system resources. This set up often results in cheap web hosting, so there’s no large financial risk on your part. The risk you do run is that high traffic or crashes in the other sites that share your server could slow your site—or even bring it down altogether.
iPower’s basic Starter plan (starting at $3.99 per month with a one-year commitment) nets you just 5GB of disk space, 250GB of monthly data transfers, one domain, and a surprisingly meager single email account. This is a bad plan that has the nerve to ask you to sign up for a year. Avoid it. The Pro plan (starting at $7.95 per month, without an annual commitment) offers unlimited disk space, unlimited monthly data transfers, unlimited domains, and 2,500 email accounts. Pro Plus (starting at $14.99 per month, with a three-month commitment) adds three free URLs, and unlimited email accounts. The fact that these plans have different sign-up requirements in terms of commitment length is bewildering.
The aforementioned accounts operate in a Linux-based environment, but if you need Windows to act as your website’s foundation, iPower also offers a Windows Pro plan (starting at $83.40 per year). Signing up for the service nets you a free URL, 25 domains, 1,000 email accounts, unlimited storage, scalable monthly data transfers, and more.
iPower’s shared hosting packages are decent, but they don’t hold a candle to HostGator’s Editors’ Choice award-winning packages. HostGator offers month-to-month plans, as well as unlimited storage, monthly data transfers, databases, and email addresses (as compared to iPower’s single account), at each shared web hosting tier.
VPS Hosting Plans
iPower also offers Linux-based virtual private server (VPS) packages. If you’re not familiar with VPS, here’s the breakdown. It’s like shared hosting, except there are far fewer sites share each server and they have significantly more of their own dedicated resources. You’re much less likely to be affected by the shenanigans of your servers mate with a VPS hosting service. iPower boasts several VPS tiers that are worth a look.
VPS Basic hosting starts at $24.99 per month and includes a free URL, 1GB of RAM, 40GB of storage, 1TB of monthly data transfers, and unlimited email. iPower’s highest-tier VPS hosting plan costs $99.99 per month and includes 8GB of RAM, 120GB of storage, 4TB of monthly data transfers, and unlimited email.
That said, Hostwinds, the Editors’ Choice for VPS hosting, has more flexible and feature-packed plans. Its wallet-friendly, well-rounded VPS offerings start at $9.99 per month for 512MB of RAM, 20GB of disk space, unlimited monthly data transfers, and unlimited email. The plans scale up to $636 per month for 64GB of RAM, 500GB of disk space, unlimited monthly data transfers, and unlimited email, so there’s room to grow.
Dedicated Hosting Plans
If you’re looking for an extremely powerful server that’ll act as your website’s foundation, a dedicated server is the way to go. With a dedicated server, your site leverages every iota of a server’s available power, as each dedicated server houses but a single site. This is the way to go for mission-critical high-traffic sites that have to be absolutely bulletproof. iPower’s dedicated servers are available in a number of configurations. The options start at $149 per month for 4GB of RAM, 500GB of storage, and 5TB of monthly data transfer, and they scale as high as $239 per month for 16GB of RAM, 1000GB of storage, and 15TB of monthly data transfers.
The drawback is that iPower only offers Linux-based dedicated servers. If you want to build a website using a Windows-based dedicated server, I recommend AccuWeb Hosting, the PCMag Editors’ Choice for dedicated web hosting. It not only has Linux and Windows options, but offers impressive 20TB of monthly data transfers, too.
WordPress Hosting Plans
There are two ways to get the WordPress content management system up and running on an iPower server: You can install WordPress on a standard Linux-based server or sign up for WordPress hosting. Using a WordPress-tailored hosting package has its advantages. They typically come with WordPress-specific security, customer service reps who are trained in WordPress tech, and automatic CMS and plug-in updates.
The WP Starter plan (starting at $3.75 per month) offers a free URL, a customized control panel, pre-installed themes and WordPress plug-ins, daily site backups, and unlimited monthly data transfers, storage, and email accounts. The WP Essentials package (starting at $6.95 per month) adds to that by offering a speedy solid-state drive instead of a traditional hard drive, a high-end security package, and specialized customer support.
Like other managed WordPress hosts, iPower’s managed hosting environment is specifically designed for installing WordPress and associated plug-ins. In fact, you don’t have to install the CMS at all, as it comes preinstalled. Once you’re logged into WordPress, you can create posts, pages, and galleries as you would with any other self-hosted WordPress site.
That said, iPower’s WordPress packages fall short of what TMD Hosting, the Editors’ Choice for WordPress hosting, offers. iPower’s WordPress plans are almost exactly the same as its unimpressive shared plans; TMDHosting, on the other hand, boasts unlimited email, storage, and monthly data transfers across the board.
No Cloud or Reseller Hosting
iPower lacks cloud hosting. It also lacks reseller hosting. If you’re interested in those hosting types, I recommend checking out Dreamhost and Hostwinds, the respective Editors’ Choices in those categories.
Building a Website
I chose the Starter shared hosting plan and was prompted to select a domain. There’s also a $10 setup fee. You can add domain privacy ($9.99 per year), which keeps your contact info off the site.
I am a bit irked to that two add-ons—automated daily backup and a security tool—were checked by default on the confirmation page. I unchecked those options and clicked through, only to be offered an SSL certificate ($49.95 per year, regularly $79.95), domain privacy, and the option to buy similar domains. After navigating through those screens, the purchase was finally confirmed. While you’re waiting for your account to be activated, you can watch a helpful video that shows you how to set up email, create a website, and use the control panel.
iPower’s control center is has many advanced options. You can choose from three different website builders: Drag & Drop Site Builder, WordPress, or File Manager (which lets you upload pages that you’ve designed elsewhere and edit HTML). I chose Drag & Drop Site Builder, which was revealed to be the Weebly website builder when I clicked the icon. I easily dragged-and-dropped elements into the website, including an image gallery and a contact form. Adding pages and subpages and choosing different templates for each, was simple, too. I built an attractive website with a modern and professional look in just a few minutes.
E-Commerce and Security Tools
You must install Weebly’s E-commerce Element ($2.99 per month) if you want to sell products or services. It’s billed for 12 months in advance, so you’ll pay $35.88 to set up shop. It uses the same Weebly drag-and-drop builder that I used to create the website, so there’s no additional learning curve.
The first time you add a product, you’re prompted to choose either Google Checkout or Paypal Business/Premier as the method by which you receive payment. If you choose Google (which is recommended by iPower), you need to provide a Merchant ID or sign up for a new account.
iPower offers a handful of security add-ons, including SiteLock Basic ($14.95 per year), which performs daily scans to check for malware and other vulnerabilities. SiteLock Professional ($39.95 per year) automatically removes malware. A Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate ($59.95 per year) provides secure online transactions.
Website uptime is a vital element of the web hosting experience. If your site goes down, clients or customers will be unable to find you or access your products or services. Even a few minutes downtime here or there may encourage a customer who wants to make a purchase right now to go elsewhere—perhaps never to return.
For this testing, I used a website monitoring tool to track the iPower-hosted test site’s uptime over a 30-day period. Every 15 minutes, the tool pings my website and sends me an email if it is unable to contact the site for at least one minute. The data revealed that iPower is a stable web hosting service, as it didn’t go down once.
I called customer service and waited just under 5 minutes before speaking with a representative. It wasn’t a terribly long wait, but I wished that iPower offered hold-time approximations. I then asked the representative about the difference between regular hosting and WordPress hosting and received a very thorough answer.
Later that day, I initiated a web chat to get instructions on how to import an existing WordPress blog. To start a chat, you fill in your name, email, domain, and the answer to your security question. I waited less than a minute before being connected to a customer service representative. Overall, I am pleased with iPower’s customer service team.
iPower offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is standard fare in the web hosting space, but Dreamhost bests it with a lengthy 97-day money-back guarantee.
A Decent Web Host
iPower is a decent mid-level web hosting service, one that works well for shared, VPS, dedicated, and WordPress plans. Plus, it has a quality website builder, and helpful customer service. That said, iPower’s one-email-account entry-level shared hosting plan is to be avoided, and it lacks cloud and reseller hosting, too. Dreamhost, HostGator, and Hostwinds, our overall Editors’ Choices, are superior options all around.