When it comes to finding the right web host, you could spend all of your time looking at individual services, writing down what features and benefits that they offer, and then compare the details yourself. Or, you could rely on us to make the comparison for you and save some time. We have a never-ending series of reviews that pit the best hosts against each other so that you can see how they stack up side by side. In this installment, we are looking at WP Engine and iPage Hosting.
What’s important to note here is that WP Engine is not a standard web host. Whereas most services provide you with a variety of different kinds of web pages, WP Engine is solely dedicated to WordPress. As such, if you aren’t interested in building a WordPress site or want more options, then you will need to look elsewhere.
Also, because WP Engine is only available for WordPress sites, we are going to compare the two based on similar features. It wouldn’t be fair to list prices and specs from iPage that are related to standard web pages as there is nothing comparable on WP Engine. Thus, our review process will be a little different than it usually is, but the results will be more even that way.
As always, we want to first get the cost out of the way. For many people, pricing can be prohibitive, so we like to make sure that you know what you’re getting before we dive deeper into each site. That being said, once you know the price you want to see what value is provided by each host so that you can figure out if you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Here are the standard prices for both sites.
- Standard Hosting: $29/month
- Professional Hosting: $99/month
- Business Hosting: $249/month
- Premium Hosting: Contact for rates
- WP Starter Hosting: $3.75/month to start, then moves up to $10.49/month
- WP Essential Hosting: $6.95/month to start, then goes to $12.49/month
As you can see, WP Engine is substantially higher than iPage, which means that you might be more inclined to go with the cheaper option. However, as we will get to later on, there is a critical reason for the discrepancy in prices, which again has to do with value. Overall, if you are serious about building a high-quality WordPress site, then WP Engine has a lot more to offer. However, just going on cost alone iPage has the clear advantage.
Money Back Guarantee
Another thing to look at regarding pricing is whether or not a host will offer a full refund if you decide that you don’t like the service. Because building a website takes time and there are so many intricate pieces that have to work together, problems with a service may not be readily apparent, which means that you might find out that you’re missing a crucial detail only after your site is up and running. As such, many hosts offer a money back guarantee that allows you to test the services first to make sure that everything is up to your standards. Both hosts offer such a guarantee, with iPage providing thirty days to change your mind, and WP Engine giving you sixty.
Not only is it better to have more time to play around with the features of the service, but having such a long window also shows that WP Engine is confident that you will like what you get. That is a major bonus when comparing the two hosts.
Winner: WP Engine
As far as value is concerned, while it’s important to judge each host based on the features that they provide, we find that it’s actually better to see how they respond when something goes wrong. No matter how well you build your site something will inevitably happen that forces you to contact customer service, so it’s imperative that they are responsive and helpful each time. That being said, there are four distinct areas in which a host can provide support, so let’s compare them in each regard.
If you need an issue resolved right away, usually the best method is to call someone to help you out. When talking about website building, it’s always better if you can contact someone at all hours of the day, just in case you’re working late at night and run into a problem. With that in mind, both hosts provide 24/7 phone support, and neither one will have you wait too long on hold.
Winner: a Tie
This is another popular option as it allows you to get instant results without having to listen to boring Muzak while you wait. Again, the important thing here is that you can reach a representative day or night so that your issue can get fixed promptly. As with phone support, both hosts provide 24/7 access and fast response times.
Winner: a Tie
If you have a problem that doesn’t need immediate attention, but you still want to get in touch with someone, then opening a ticket and sending an email is a great way to get it resolved. However, you want to be sure that you aren’t waiting days on end for a reply; otherwise, it will make the whole process moot. Both iPage and WP Engine have a ticket system, and you can expect a response usually within the same day or at least within 24 hours, depending on when your ticket was opened.
Winner: a Tie
Finally, for those who like to learn more about fixing problems without relying on a tech support professional, many hosts will provide access to forums where you can find answers to common issues and find out how to fix them as they happen. In this regard, both hosts have extensive articles and tutorials that cover almost all topics that you could imagine, and both of them are well organized so that you aren’t spending half of your time trying to find the right information.
Winner: a Tie
As you can see, when it comes to support, you get a lot of value with both iPage and WP Engine, meaning that no matter which one you choose you won’t be left hanging.
Now it’s time to get into the more technical aspects of the hosts. The first thing that we look at is how fast your site will be once it is live, as this is probably one of the most important things to your audience. Regardless of how well your page is designed or how interactive it is, if it doesn’t load quickly, then you won’t be able to get enough people to spend time on it. As such, it’s imperative that load times are fast, meaning that it only takes a few seconds or less for everything to come up. If your audience has to wait ten or twenty seconds for your page, then they won’t stick around to see what’s on it.
- Best Load Time:69 seconds
- Worst Load Time:94 seconds
- Average: 48 seconds
- Best Load Time: 965 milliseconds
- Worst Load Time: 30 seconds
- Average: 90 seconds
As you can see, iPage has the better average and speed. However, that is based on standard web pages and doesn’t take into account its WordPress sites. Thus, to get a better sense of how well WP Engine performs we have to look at other WordPress only hosts. When doing that, WP Engine is better than most, with some hosts taking as long as 30 seconds to load. Overall, as far as WordPress hosting goes, WP Engine is towards the top.
Winner: Technically iPage, but WP Engine is better when ranked against its peers
The next thing to look at after speed is uptime. This is the percentage rate that your site stays up and doesn’t experience any crashes or downtime. Usually, hosts will offer a guarantee for this rating, meaning that if your uptime falls below a certain percentage, then you are entitled to some form of compensation. WP Engine does offer a guarantee of 99.95%, but iPage does not have one. Here are the average percentages for each.
- WP Engine: 95%
- iPage: 84%
Although you can see that WP Engine is slightly better, because the difference is measured in fractions of a percent we are liable to say that they are practically the same. However, given the fact that WP Engine does offer a guarantee means that they are better overall.
Winner: WP Engine
So, now that we’ve seen how reliable both hosts are, how do they stack up as far as features and benefits? What services do you get for your monthly price? Here is a brief overview of what you can expect from both companies.
- Standard Package: 1 website, 25K visits a month, 10 GB storage, Unlimited Data, Free SSL certificates
- Professional Package: 10 websites, 100K visits a month, 20 GB storage, Unlimited Data, Free SSL certificates
- Business Package: 25 websites, 400K visits a month, 30 GB storage, Unlimited Data, Free SSL certificates
- Premium Package: 150 websites, 1 Million visits a month, 100-300 GB storage, Unlimited Data, Free SSL certificates
- Enterprise Package: 150 websites, 5 Million visits a month, 400GB-1TB storage, Unlimited Data, Free SSL certificates
- WP Starter Package: 1 Free Domain, Unlimited Disk Space, Unlimited Mail Accounts, Customized Control Panel, Pre-Installed Themes and Plug-ins
- WP Essential Package: 1 Free Domain, Unlimited Disk Space, Unlimited Mail Accounts, Millions of visits per month, Expert Support, Enhanced Security
Unfortunately, iPage is somewhat vague about all of the details that you get with your subscription, so we are not able to provide more details that what we put. However, as you can see, they are comparable, with iPage coming out on top with unlimited storage and higher visit counts per month. WP Engine, on the other hand, allows you to create more websites and has unlimited bandwidth, which are both essential components.
In the end, it seems that iPage WordPress hosting is ideal for anyone who is new to the system and doesn’t want to make more than one or two sites. iPage helps you out by giving you tools to build a basic page with plug-ins and templates, so it’s much easier to get started.
However, if you are well versed in WordPress and want to do a lot more than just a single site, then WP Engine is the better way to go. Not only do you get more capacity, but you also get extra features to help you build state-of-the-art websites. Considering that everything else is about equal regarding speed, uptime, and customer service, it would seem that both sites have a lot to offer.
Winner: iPage for beginners, WP Engine for experts
To explore more hosting options see how WP Engine holds up against Squarespace in our Squarespace vs. WP Engine post. Can WP Engine top Bluehost? Find out in our WP Engine vs. Bluehost post.
Last Updated on April 30, 2018 by Jake