Web.com is a terrific URL, but as a traditional web hosting company it didn’t always live up to its big name. However, by placing more emphasis on its intuitive website building features, Web.com becomes a much more appealing option if you’re looking to quickly create a site or online store. The web hosting portion remains a mixed bag, but the service is counterbalanced by good shared hosting plans, strong phone support, numerous themes, and excellent uptime. Gator and Wix remain our top picks for paid and free website builders, respectively, but Web.com has made great strides since our last review.
Many website builders offer free options, but many others do not. Among our Editors’ Choice picks, only Wix has a free option. Web.com also lacks a free option, so you must pay for the service no matter which tier you pick. Fortunately, the prices are reasonable. Your first month’s fee is heavily discounted, going as low as $1.95 per month, and even normal rates are in line with what we’ve seen elsewhere.
The $10-per-month Starter plan gives you the website builder, plus more than 150 templates and thousands of stock images. For $15 per month, the marketing plan submits your site into business directories and search engines, such as Bing, Google, and Yahoo. To unlock all the online storefront options, you must subscribe to the $20-per-month Ecommerce plan. Every site builder plan gives you five email addresses for your domain name with 2GB of storage each. For more, consider Web.com’s shared hosting plans detailed later in this review.
Those are the standard plans, but Web.com offers other add-ons features, too. Starting at $7.99 per month, the WordPress website building plans let you combine Web.com tools with the popular content management system. Opt for a more expensive plan to gain more storage, more email boxes, and more WordPress sites to manage. Hire web design and SEO experts to build your site for you.
To safeguard your site, Web.com offers spam protection via CatchGuard, as well as email virus protection and removal. You can get a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate starting at $24 per year, which should be considered an essential purchase if you plan to sell products. Note, however, that Gator (HostGator’s website builder) offers a free SSL certificate with some of its plans. For $50 per year, the Cyber Security Solution package includes more benefits, such as 24/7 assistance, device and identity monitoring, and a mobile VPN client.
Web.com makes it easy for anyone to start building a website. During the setup process, you can enter basic information, such as whether your site is personal or for a specialized business, and let Web.com generate the site from there. Or you can choose from dozens of stylish templates as your starting point. The templates include sites for car dealerships, coffee shops, jewelry makers, and repair services. Browsing through the library also shows the available stock art. Once you pick your theme, you’re locked into it, which is a common restriction with website builders. However, starting over with a new site is quick and easy, too, as is undoing minor mistakes.
In your dashboard, you can access and edit all the sites you’ve created, along with any uploaded files associated with those sites. The analytics section displays useful stats, such as page views, unique visitors, popular pages, and what devices visitors use to access your site. Web.com integrates with Google Analytics to deliver deep audience insights.
The site building interface itself is pleasingly straightforward. You can create a single-page site, or opt for multiple pages and nestle them inside each other to make menus for users to navigate. Switch between device layouts at any time to see how your site looks on a laptop versus a phone. The home page for our bakery test website takes users to an About Us section, a Contact page, and, of course, the Store page. Under advanced settings, you enable more specialized types of pages, such as your legal page, various error pages, and a blog. Here you can also integrate your social media accounts for Instagram, Pinterest, and Disqus comments.
The e-commerce tools have their own section within the interface. There, you can enter up to 500 products, including a mix of physical and digital goods. A customer service rep said you can theoretically sell subscriptions, but there’s no way to, say, lock off a portion of your site to paid members the way Wix lets you. You can offer discounts, though. You can also perform organizational tasks like monitoring orders, entering tax information, and making sure shipping between customers and warehouses stays on track. The e-commerce tier includes Facebook marketplace integration.
Once all your content is in place, make them look their best with Web.com’s editing tools. Edit individual style elements like fonts and buttons, or change the entire theme to literally give your site a fresh coat of paint. Click the big Build button to pull up a list of site features to drag and drop directly to the page, from icons and image galleries to share buttons and text forms. Embedding a YouTube video that plays on loop as your site’s background looks especially dynamic. You can even write and embed your own code.
If you don’t want to tinker with features directly, you can also insert Blocks, prefab generic elements you can customize without building from scratch. With Blocks, you can instantly add a team page, a call to action, or testimonials to your site. If you dig through everything Web.com provides, even novice users can set up an attractive site in no time.
Although Web.com offers plenty of stock photography, there isn’t much you can do with those photos or photos you import yourself. Basically, all you can do is resize images and add a colored translucent overlay. Gator has similarly limited photo-editing functionality, but Duda and Wix have more options. Web.com lets you design your own logo with a built-in tool, but that one-time purchase costs $21.76.
When you purchase a Web.com site builder plan, you also receive a free domain and hosting. However, Web.com still sells three tiers of Linux- or Windows-based shared hosting: Essential Hosting, Professional Hosting, and Premium Hosting. Each includes a website builder, unlimited monthly data transfers, access to open-source applications, site backup, and a one-year domain registration. The plans’ feature sets differ in other areas, however.
For example, Essential Hosting (starting at $5.95 per month or $119.52 per year) includes 300GB of storage, 25 FTP accounts, and 100 email addresses. Professional (starting at $7.95 per month or $147.48 per year) ups the specs to 500GB of storage, 50 FTP accounts, and 500 email accounts. Premium Hosting (starting at $9.95 per month or $349.56 per year) stands at the top of the hill with unlimited storage, unlimited FTP accounts, and 1,000 email addresses.
Those are decent shared hosting plans, but they can’t touch the excellent offerings from HostGator. This Editors’ Choice pick for shared hosting has varied and powerful packages that include Linux- or Windows-based servers, as well as unlimited storage, monthly data transfers, and email addresses across all plans.
Sadly, Web.com isn’t the web host to turn to if you wish to sign up for anything more than shared hosting. The service lacks cloud, dedicated, and VPS hosting plans. In fact, a Web.com customer service rep suggested that people should take a gander at Network Solutions, the company’s sister site, for those types of hosting plans. Check out the various linked roundups to view our other recommendations in each category.
Website uptime is one of the most important aspects of a hosting service. While your site is down, clients or customers will be unable to find you or access your products or services—and they might not come back.
To test this, we used a website monitoring tool to track the uptime of our Web.com-hosted test site. Every 15 minutes, the tool pings our website and sends us an email if it is unable to contact the site for longer than one minute. We looked at the data for the most recent 14 days for each site’s review. In our latest tests, Web.com didn’t go down once, a noticeable improvement since our last look a few years ago.
Web.com’s customer service is similarly reliable. We called the 24/7 customer service on a weekday evening for an explainer regarding Web.com’s shared web hosting plan. In just a few seconds, a person transferred us to the relevant department. Soon after that, we chatted with a very helpful representative who gave us a thorough explanation of Web.com’s shared hosting plans. That same person stated that we should visit Network Solutions for higher-tier plans.
We also fired up the web chat to get details on Web.com’s security features. The helpful customer service representative explained several available features in an easy-to-understand manner. They also told us that customers can get a full refund within three days of purchase, which is stringent compared to Duda’s 30-day window and Gator’s 45-day window.
As a traditional web hosting service, Web.com left a lot to be desired. But as a website builder with hosting plans, Web.com is an attractive offering. Certain editing options could be stronger, but we easily recommend Web.com to anyone looking for accessible intuitive tools to quickly build a website. If you want an even more robust toolkit, consider Gator (the Editors’ Choice pick for paid website builders) and Wix (the Editors’ Choice pick for free website builders).
For more on website building, check out 10 Easy But Powerful SEO Tips to Boost Traffic to Your Website and How to Create a Website.
When he isn’t staring at a monitor (or two) and churning out Web hosting, music, utilities, and video game copy, Jeffrey mentors, practices Jeet Kune Do, blogs, podcasts, and speaks at the occasional con. He also collects vinyl and greatly enjoys a craft brew.
You can a find Jeffrey online at jeffreylwilson.net, or send him a tweet at @jeffreylwilson
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