Many website creation and hosting services have a less than sterling reputation, and for good reason.  The industry is notoriously riddled with scams and dishonest rating practices.

In choosing a website creation and hosting service you want one that is easy to use, full-featured, fairly priced, has high availability, provides good service, and doesn’t give you deceptive and bait-and-switch offerings.

Some services work hard at establishing a good reputation by delivering these attributes, while others work hard at building a façade reputation and covering up their lack of delivering these attributes.

In comparing Yola vs. iPage, I felt I was seeing these polar dynamics in action. As our reviewer noted, “complaints persist elsewhere online about the reliability of iPage’s hosting services and responsiveness to requests for refunds or explanations of unexpected charges.”

I went out to see what the general feeling online was towards Yola and iPage. Based on what I found, I would say that Yola’s overall reputation in reviews and customer testimonials exceeds that of iPages’.

Indeed, there are many complaints of iPage’s refund practices. Moreover, I discovered at least two astroturfesque sites that appeared to be plants by iPage to counter all the bad reports by dismissing them, praising their service, and presenting a positive image.

My overall impression was that customers were more satisfied with Yola’s product and support.

Some typical complaints I found against iPage:

  • “Has anyone tried to build a website recently? I have been with ipage, but am very unhappy with what i can only describe as a scam.”
  • “My experience with leads me to believe that it is shady at best and fraudulent at worst…They tack on fees for many of their services, so be careful what you use.”

I found a fairly large number of posts that echoed these sentiments.

Both Yola and iPage seek to win customers by providing low-priced and easy-to-use web creation services. However, the comparison ends there. Users and reviewers find Yola’s drag-and-drop interface to be innovative and leading edge, while many describe iPage’s as dated and more difficult.

The base pricing of iPage is attractive, however users report that key features and capabilities are not included in these plans and that you must pay significantly more to add them. For example, one user related that the iPage’s Basic Service does include the ability to link within pages, which is critical to SEO. You can unlock this capability and others, however, by upgrading to Premium service, for an extra $9.95 per month.

Similarly, this user reported that your web pages will lack H1 tags, also critical for being recognized by search engines, and that you can engage an iPage design team to add them for $500. The user also described the support service you receive for the base price as extremely unknowledgeable, and that for an additional $49 per month you can upgrade to iPage’s superior “concierge” help service.

Another user also described how iPage “doesn’t allow enough pages and the ones you have to use don’t hold much. Then you have to upgrade to premium which is another 9 dollars to get extra pages.”

While I found complaints about Yola’s service, they were nothing of the order of those against iPage’s billing or add-on charges. The complaints were mostly about the depth of certain features or the limited e-mail offering. Overall, customer satisfaction appeared to outweigh dissatisfaction.

For iPage, I found our reviewer’s warning to be accurate: “The company’s offerings are cheap and appealing, but a lack of transparency and continuing negative allegations elsewhere online demand that you proceed with caution, if you decide to proceed at all.”

Bottom Line: Do your homework before you buy. Check out what reviewers and customers are saying about these services. Beware of astroturf sites and fabricated reviews that are put up by vendors. For those who have used Yola and iPage, please share your experience here and let us know what you think.