IPower shared hosting review (2019) – Is There a Catch?

IPower shared hosting review (2019) – Is There a Catch?

Welcome to my review of IPower’s shared website hosting service.

Pros:

  • Competitively priced hosting
  • Good website load times
  • Responsive live chat support
  • Refunds on unused subscription months
  • Free domains on the Pro plans
  • 30-day money-back guarantee (verified)

Cons:

  • Inode limit a potential bottleneck if you plan to host multiple websites
  • Lack of full transparency on resource limits (“Unmetered” bandwidth)
  • Only one email account allowed on the Starter Plan
  • No 2-Factor Authentication available for control panel
  • Expensive website backup restorations

1. IPower shared hosting plans & pricing

Even though IPower sells Windows-based shared hosting, my focus will be on their Linux servers because they are far more popular.

1.1 Initial term pricing

Starter PlanPro PlanPro Plus Plan
One month term-$7.95 / mo.$14.99 / mo.
12-month term$3.99 / mo.$4.95 / mo.$13.99 / mo.
24-month term$3.99 / mo.$3.95 / mo.$12.99 / mo.
36-month term-$3.95 / mo.$11.99 / mo.
Domains allowed1UnlimitedUnlimited
Databases allowed12525
Storage limit5 GBUnmeteredUnmetered
Bandwidth limit250 GB / mo.UnmeteredUnmetered

While the Pro and Pro Plus plans can be bought for one, 12, 24, and 36 months, the Starter Plan is only available for 12 and 24.

In the case of the Pro Plan, the cost of the 36-month term is not discounted relative to the 24-month term, so there’s no financial benefit in going for the Pro Plan. This is unusual, as most hosts try to steer their customers towards their longest terms by offering the biggest discounts on them.

The Pro Plus plan costs almost twice as much as the Pro Plan, without offering much more in terms of useful features – both plans have unmetered storage and bandwidth and allow you to host unlimited domains and 25 databases.

As such, you’ll most likely want to avoid Pro Plus.

Overall, IPowers first-term pricing is competitive by hosting-industry standards.

1.2 Renewals pricing

Starter PlanPro PlanPro Plus Plan
One month term-$12.95-
12-month term$8.99 / mo.$12.95-
24-month term$8.99 / mo.$11.95-
36-month term-$10.95-

Renewals cost around double what you’ll pay for your first term, which is standard compared to most shared hosts, including SiteGround and HostWinds.

The lack of renewal pricing for the Pro Plus Plan in the table above is not an oversight – IPower will only disclose the renewal price on this plan when you decide to renew it.

I would normally consider this a significant inconvenience, but considering there’s no compelling reason to choose the Pro Plus Plan over the Pro Plan anyway, this isn’t something that will make a practical difference to most users.

1.3 Does IPower offer public discount promo codes?

I asked a chat support representative if there was a special discount promo code I could enter while checking out up to receive further discounts, but apparently, no codes are available at this time.

1.4 Does IPower offer student discounts on their shared hosting plans?

Some shared hosting providers, such as SiteGround, offer significant discounts to students with access to an email account in a .edu (educational) domain.

Unfortunately, IPower doesn’t offer any student discounts as of 2019. This isn’t unusual – discounted student prices are typically only offered by the largest hosts.

1.5 What payment methods does IPower accept?

While buying my hosting package for the purposes of this review, I was able to pay using:

  • Credit/debit cards
  • PayPal

Some hosts allow you to pay via ACH or a mailed check if the value of your purchase exceeds a certain minimum. I asked IPower via live chat if this was possible and unfortunately it isn’t at this time.

1.6 Does IPower sell custom shared plans?

Unfortunately, they don’t. If you need more resources than what’s offered with the standard plans – for example, if you need to host more than 25 MySQL databases – you’ll need to go for their VPS solution.

2. IPower’s shared hosting resources and restrictions

2.1 What bandwidth is available on IPower’s shared servers?

Starter PlanPro PlanPro Plus Plan
Bandwidth limit (monthly)250 GBUnmeteredUnmetered

The Starter Plan comes with a 250 GB data transfer limit which – considering you can only host one domain on this plan – will be more than enough for the vast majority of amateur blogs, and for most professional websites as well. To learn more, see my guide on estimating how much bandwidth a website might use.

The Pro and Pro Plus plans come with unmetered bandwidth.

Make sure to read The Hidden Pitfalls of "Unlimited" Bandwidth and Storage for more.

2.2 What are IPower’s monthly visitor limits?

Officially, there’s no limit to the number of visitors your websites can receive.

However, there’s a catch.

I spoke with a support operator and told him I was planning to host a few websites which, combined, receive 3,000 daily visitors.

I then asked if their server will be able to handle this much traffic without issues. This was the operator’s response:

“In this case, I recommend you choose VPS hosting instead of shared hosting to avoid website performance issues.”

So apparently, 3,000 visitors per day for all hosted websites combined is too much if you want to maintain good website performance and load times.

I then asked if 1,500 daily users would be more appropriate, and she said: “probably not an issue.”

I would say this is fairly standard. I’ve asked many shared hosting companies this same question, and in most cases, their answers implied that 1,000-2,000 daily users are the maximum you can expect to serve without stressing your website’s performance.

2.3 How much storage space does IPower offer?

Starter PlanPro PlanPro Plus Plan
Storage5 GBUnmeteredUnmetered

The 5 GB limit on the Starter plan is reasonable and will suit the vast majority of new webmasters planning to host a personal website or blog.

The unmetered storage on the two Pro Plans comes with the usual caveat: it’s unmetered as long as you only use your hosting server to store files related to the functioning of your website. You cannot use it to keep copies of personal files.

Please see my article on how much server storage does a WordPress website need for more.

One important note: IPower prohibits users from storing backups of their websites on their servers.

If you plan to create backups, you’ll need to store them on an external server or download them locally to your hard drive.

2.4 What is IPower’s Inode limit on their shared hosting plans?

Broadly speaking, an Inode limit determines the number of files and folders you can have on your server – this limit is in addition to any standard storage limits that may apply to your hosting.

Check out my guide on how many Inodes a new website needs.

Currently, IPower has a 200,000 Inode limit on its shared hosting plans.

This is definitely generous on the Starter Plan, where you can only host one domain – it’s highly unlikely that a single website will ever use up more than 50,000 Inodes, let alone 200,000.

However, this limit is low if you’re on one of the Pro plans, which are supposed to allow up to 25 domains.

Overall, the Inode limit is the resource bottleneck for users planning to host multiple websites. If you are planning to move a bunch of sites from an old host over to IPower, make sure the Inode limit won’t be an issue.

If you need more Inodes, consider SiteGround (450,000 Inodes on their largest plan) or WPX (no Inode limit).

2.5 Is there a limit on the number or size of MySQL databases?

Starter PlanPro PlanPro Plus Plan
Count limit12525
Size limit2 GB2 GB2 GB

You can have one database on the Starter Plan and 25 databases on each of the remaining plans.

The 2 GB size limit per database is generous; for instance, SiteGround limits database size to 500 MB on their basic plan and to 1 GB on their highest plan.

Two GB is generally a lot for both beginners and advanced users. Please read our guide on how big a WordPress database can get to learn more.

2.6 How many domains can you host with IPower?

You can host one domain with the cheapest plan and unlimited domains on the Professional plans.

This is fair considering the pricing. Just remember that you won’t actually be able to host “unlimited” websites even if you are allowed to host unlimited domains – the Inode and MySQL database limits will make that impossible.

2.7 Does IPower limit your email sending?

Starter PlanPro PlanPro Plus Plan
Email accounts12,500Unlimited
Hourly email limit500500500
Daily email limit5,0005,0005,000

The main difference between the Pro Plan and Pro Plus plan is that the latter allows you to host unlimited email accounts, compared to “only” 2,500 accounts on the former. Not exactly sure why anyone would ever need more than 2,500 email accounts, but there you go.

As for sending limits (put in place mostly to combat spam and server overload), you can dispatch 500 per hour and 5,000 per day, per email account.

So if you create 1,000 email accounts, you can theoretically send 500,000 emails per hour and 5,000,000 emails per day.

3. IPower’s user interface and usability

3.1 Does IPower’s shared hosting come with cPanel?

IPower offers cPanel only with their VPS packages. Shared hosting users get access to the more user-friendly control panel, vDeck:

Ipower shared hosting vdeck control panel

Here you can manage your files, create FTP accounts, create and manage MySQL databases, and use the WordPress one-click installer – which pretty much covers 99% of what a typical webmaster will need to run a website.

For more advanced features, such as .htaccess editing, server stats, caching control, email autoresponders, and more, the Additional Tools section of vDeck will come in handy:

IPower shared hosting vdeck - additional tools

Disk usage and bandwidth usage statistics, as well as your nameservers and POP/SMTP server information, are displayed in the admin panel as well.

Overall, a simple yet effective control panel.

3.2 How easy is it to install WordPress?

Almost every hosting company nowadays offers one-click WordPress installation, which allows you to install WP in less than a minute with just two or three clicks (not just one click, as advertised).

IPower offers this feature, but it didn’t work at the time I was writing this review:

Interestingly, I experienced this exact problem while reviewing Verio hosting last week. The two companies are resellers of the same parent hosting company, iPage, which would explain this.

I contacted Live Chat about the issue and requested that they install WordPress manually for me and to email me the Admin login credentials when they were done. Around five minutes later, I received a confirmation email:

Manual wordpress installation confirmation

Good: tech support installed WordPress manually, quickly and without hassle
Bad: the one-click installer should have worked; I shouldn’t need to contact tech support for help with this in the first place

Hopefully, they’ll resolve the one-click installer error soon.

3.3 How can you manage your website files at IPower?

To manage your website files on your server, you can:

  • Create an FTP account from the control panel, then use FileZilla (or another free FTP tool) to connect to your server
  • Access the File Manager built into the IPower control panel, directly from your browser

Here’s the File Manager interface:

IPower File Manager interface

SSH (Secure Shell) connections are not available on the shared hosting plan, which is expected.

Overall, these are standard file management options – you’ll find them at almost all hosts.

4. How quickly do websites hosted with IPower load?

Following my standard procedure, I created a test website on my IPower server.

Next, I set up a GTMetrix website monitor which checked the test website’s load speed once an hour for an entire day.

Here’s a chart of the website load speed results:

IPower shared hosting website load speed tests chart

The fastest load time recorded was 1 second (around 5 AM), while the slowest load time was 2 seconds (around 6 PM).

The average for the day was around 1.35 seconds. 

Overall, these are solid load times for a shared server. The lack of significant (>3 seconds) load time spikes throughout the day is a good indicator of a well-managed server.

5. IPower safety and security

5.1 Does IPower offer free website backups on its shared plans?

They do take free daily backups of website files (stored for 14 days) and databases (stored for three days only). This is a similar policy to the one employed by Verio hosting.

I would have definitely preferred that they stored the backups for longer. For example, SiteGround stores all backups for 30 days.

Additionally, if you choose to restore your website from a free backup, you’ll pay a hefty $100 fee.

To avoid paying the restoration fee, you’ll need to either install a WordPress backup plugin to manage your own website backups or purchase IPower’s premium backup service for $1.25 / month.

5.2 Does IPower offer automatic malware detection and removal?

IPower’s anti-malware practice is similar to what you’ll find at most shared hosts:

  • They do regular free antivirus scans using ClamAV
  • If their scans detect an infection, they’ll email you a list of the infected files
  • You’ll need to take care of the infections yourself by replacing the damaged files with “fresh” ones

You can also buy the premium SiteLock service at $1.66 per month to receive automated malware detection and removal. If you are using WordPress, you can also install one of the multiple free anti-malware plugins available for WP.

Overall, standard industry practice all around.

5.3 Is 2-Factor login authentication (2FA) available?

Currently, IPower does not offer two-factor login authentication. This means that you need to set a very strong password when signing up with them because if a hacker manages to brute force it, they’ll gain instant access to all your websites.

If you’re looking for stronger account security, try SiteGround, DreamHost, GoDaddy, or BlueHost – all of them offer 2FA.

6. Additional services and freebies

6.1 Does IPower offer free SSL certificates?

Yes, they do – like the vast majority of shared hosting providers.

You’ll get one free Let’s Encrypt SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate for each website you host with IPower.

6.2 Do you get a free domain with IPower?

Starter PlanPro PlanPro Plus Plan
Free domainsNone13

There are no free domains with the Starter Plan, but you get one free domain with Pro and three domains with Pro Plus. All free domains are for one year only.

Many budget hosts don’t offer free domains at all, so this is a nice addition.

If you decide to purchase new domains or renew existing ones, IPower will charge the following (examples based on the most popular domain extensions):

TLDAnnual price (first year)Annual price (renewals)
.com$10.99$16.99
.net$11.99$11.59
.org$11.59$11.59

Their first-year pricing on .com and .net domains are better than what many hosts offer. However, their renewal prices are somewhat high even by industry standards.

If you’re planning on hosting multiple domains, you definitely don’t want to register them with IPower – you’ll save a lot of money in the long run by using a dedicated registrar instead, such as Namecheap.com.

6.3 Does IPower offer free website migrations?

You typically don’t expect cheap hosts to offer free migrations, and IPower is no exception.

They do offer a paid migration service, however – at $150.

I asked if this covered migrating only one website, and the operator told that it depended on the complexity of the site, but that you can generally expect their technician to move multiple sites as part of that one fee.

7. How safe is it to buy from IPower?

7.1 Does IPower offer a money-back trial period?

IPower offers the industry-standard 30-day money-back guarantee to new customers.

Keep in mind that for each free domain credit you use while signing up, IPower will deduct a $15 fee in case you request a refund.

For example, if you buy the 24-month Pro Plan package ($94.8) and claim the free domain, then cancel your hosting plan and ask for a refund, you’ll receive $94.8 – $15 = $79.80 back. You’ll get to keep the domain, of course.

7.2 Testing their money-back guarantee

When I was finished writing this IPower review, I canceled my hosting package (about three days after signing up) to test their money-back procedure.

I prefer canceling via Live Chat than through the control panel because it guarantees that my request was properly received:

IPower Live Chat cancel request

After answering my security question to verify my identity, I was put on hold:

IPower refund request - part two

Even before the operator got back to me, I logged into my PayPal account and saw that the refund was already credited:

IPower PayPal refund confirmed

Less than five minutes from start to finish, and no unnecessary questions to answer or hoops to jump through.

Overall, it seems that you can trust IPower with your money.

7.3 Does IPower offer refunds on unused subscription months?

Yes – just like Verio hosting and a few other providers, IPower will refund any unused subscription months.

For example, if you buy a 24-month package and decide to cancel after 12 months, IPower will refund you for the remaining 12 months.

Just make sure to contact customer support via Live Chat before you cancel and tell them you’re interested in a pro-rated refund.

8. Live chat customer support quality

Live chat support is available 24/7.

Support quality is pretty much what you expect to get from a small shared host who outsources their live chat operations:

  1. Operators are friendly and with good command of the English language
  2. Queue times are practically non-existent – each time I was connected to a customer support operator in less than 10 seconds
  3. They answered questions mostly to my satisfaction, although in a few cases they provided obviously incorrect answers – but were quick to correct their mistakes when I pressed the issue.

Overall, Live Chat definitely gets the job done – as long as you don’t have particularly demanding queries.

If you’re looking for a more capable tech team that can help out even with the most unusual situations, IPower is probably not the place to be. Instead, try WPX or SiteGround.

9. What problems did I face while using IPower?

The only problem had to do with the one-click WordPress installer – see above for an explanation. Beyond that, the few days I spent with IPower while writing this review were positively uneventful.

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