Web Hosting with IPage – Heroes or Zeroes
Normally when writing a topic I will sit down, write out my thoughts, conjure up a rough draft, and have my wife edit my story before posting to StressedOG. However, today I will break the mold to discuss my experience with web hosting with Ipage – Heroes or Zeroes. Before I do, however, here is a little history into my knowledge of web design, domain names, and web hosting.
I designed my first website in 1996 (a very primitive and useless waste of cyberspace) hosted by a Geocities subdomain. Over the years I never lost interest in crafting my design and knowledge of Photoshop integration, html, css, php, and all those other three letter codes that only the inter-webs understand. By 2000 I had been contracted to design my first website, other than my own personal sites, and I had to find a host free of advertisements for a legit business page. I utilized a company, that is no longer in business, that had great rates and very minimal downtime. Over the next few years this company was my “go to” place for webhosting and domain registration. Sadly, by 2010 they had gone out of business. My world on the inter-webs was sent into a tail spin searching for the next company that would not only provide excellent up-time, but great rates, support, and available platforms.
Moving forward in 2012 I chose to try Ipage. The rates were great and in line with what I was paying before. So I stepped out on a new journey with a new web host and domain registrar. I had designed my next four websites utilizing IPage as my host. The service was great, uptime was unbeatable, and when I submitted a support ticket my answers were provided in a timely manner. Nothing could be better, so I thought.
Recently, the StressedOG.com website came up for renewal. When setting up your IPage account hosting your account is automatically set to auto-renew. In most cases this would not be a problem. After all, they were very reasonable at the $35.00 per year, why not auto renew? One morning, while practicing my morning rituals of checking my bank accounts, I noticed a charge of over $200.00 from IPage. I was furious and wanted to know if they auto renewed for over ten years of hosting. So, I sent them an email right away. The response I received was not what I had expected. They informed me that the $35.00 was a one year introductory price and that, due to the increasing costs of business, the rates had increased. For those that are not math wizards that was a one year inflation of over 600%. Imagine yourself walking into Starbucks and the $5.00 cup of coffee you bought last year is now $30.00. Where is the justification?
After a little negotiation we were able to meet at a reasonable price. So, I allowed the renewal and decided to utilize IPage for my newest venture. I signed up for a new hosting and domain registration account January 14th, 2016. The rates were set at the “introductory” rate as my other sites had been as well. The setup went well, I designed and uploaded the website, and setup the new business emails and forwarding instructions. Life was great, all the planets had once again aligned and the inter-webs were running like a fine oiled machine. This morning, March 5th, 2016, I awake to my same morning rituals of checking my bank accounts and find a pending charge for $215.76 from IPage. Keep in mind less than two months have passed since I opened my new account and services are good annually. I was furious looking through all my notes, accounts, billing, and invoices trying to discover why this charge was placed. No leads turned up as to why this had happened.
My next step was to place a call to IPage’s 24 hour 7 day per week support line. After 45 minutes of hold time I was finally greeted by a representative of which was hard to understand due to unforeseeable language barriers. After reviewing each of my current, and closed accounts, their representative could not find any invoice that would have resulted in a $215.76 charge. Keep in mind I am now one hour and fifteen minutes into this phone call. I had advised the representative this charge was on my bank statement as a “pending” charge which seamed to click another facet of her thought process. So, she placed my on hold to reach another department. I want to remind my readers that the account in question was opened January 14, 2016 with a one year subscription before proceeding. Once the representative returned to the phone call I was advised that this was an account hold placed to remind me my web hosting account was up for renewal December 31, 2016. Are you kidding me? Why would any ethical business place a charge to you bank account, much like that of a hotel for reservations, 9 months prior to your renewal and only one and a half months after you opened the account? I was informed that a “trouble ticket” had been issued and they would resolve the billing matter. My phone call had now, finally, ended at one hour and forty five minutes.
Without further rant, let’s review ethical practice of business billing and payment. If I receive an invoice with a due date of 12/31/2016 this means on or before this date I must pay the amount due on said invoice. If I do not pay the invoice my account is rendered unpaid and services are ceased. It is NOT ethical to automatically charge a customer, or place a hold on their bank account, for the invoice amount in question nine months prior to that invoice being due! I am not sure what has happened to IPage in the past months with their billing department. However, I can assure you this is one customer that will not be renewing to discover these answers in the future.