Very basic template editor –
drag-and-drop customization is a mess
Overpriced website builder plans –
and no free plan or free trial
24/7 phone support and live chat –
but not enough site-building help
Powering(all Web.com services)
3 million customers
“At first glance, Web.com’s website builder looks like a good choice for building a simple website without having to write any code. But it’s not. Here we’ll explain why.”
Web.com’s drag-and-drop template editor has all you need for a quick, easy website build – or so you’d think.
You get industry-specific templates, stock photos, and even a custom domain name. All for $1.95. Not even the outstanding Wix gives you a custom domain for that little cash.
So… what’s the catch?
How long have you got?
Web.com’s website builder will drive you nuts. If you’re hoping for a stunning, interactive website, you’ll have a hard time getting it with this tool.
And unlike most website builders, Web.com doesn’t have a free plan or trial. Even that cheap deal is a sneaky trick. After a month, you’re switched to the full price – which is more than 10 times higher!
So why are we even bothering to review Web.com?
Well, we’re here to help you discover the best tools for getting online. We want to warn you about website builders to avoid, as well as recommending the good guys.
In our Web.com review, we’ll reveal which website builders you should use instead – whatever features matter most to you.
Read on to find out more about Web.com’s templates, customization tools, ease of use and value for money, and to discover the best alternatives for each, of check out our snapshot view below:
|TOP 3 WEB.COM PROS|
|#1||Cheap intro offer|
Yes, there are pros! Web.com’s website builder has a major selling point: its $1.95 offer, which includes a custom domain name.
That’s good value, even if you don’t use the website builder.
But the offer only lasts a month. Unless you remember to cancel your Web.com account before the month is up, you’ll be switched to $22.95/mo.
|#2||Publish a site almost instantly|
Web.com gives you an industry-specific template with free photos, headings, menus and other content. That potentially saves a lot of time and hassle.
No need to find your own pics – just use Web.com’s.
Find out more in the section on ease of use.
|#3||24/7 phone support|
Web.com’s live chat is more annoying than helpful, and the knowledgebase articles about its website builder are lame.
But we did like Web.com’s 24/7 phone support.
It’s reassuring to know someone can answer your questions, whatever time zone you’re in.
Find out more in the section on support
|TOP 3 WEB.COM CONS|
The full price of the cheapest Web.com website builder is $22.95 per month – more than twice the price of a Wix plan that has more (and better) features.
Web.com doesn’t have a free plan or free trial. You can’t even see Web.com’s website builder until you hand over your credit card details.
There is a 30-day money-back guarantee. But we’ve read grim reports from users who’ve struggled to reach the refunds team.
|#2||Messy customization tools|
Very basic tweaks are easy in Web.com. But you want to get more creative, right? Good luck with that!
Web.com’s drag-and-drop controls have a mind of their own. It’s like juggling peanut butter, only less fun.
We’ll have more on Web.com’s shonky customization tools here.
|#3||Where are the templates?|
You don’t get to browse templates before building your site in Web.com. Instead, you have to say what business you’re in, then choose from three matching layouts.
Compare that with Wix, which lets you loose on more than 510 exciting, inspiring templates – all designed to fire your website-building enthusiasm.
“Web.com’s cheap intro offer may be good enough to attract busy entrepreneurs, but its website builder isn’t good enough to keep them.”
Web.com’s target user: small business
Web.com wants to appeal to freelancers and small biz users who want a quick website and aren’t fussed about ‘wow factor’ design.
If that sounds like you, all is not lost. Check out Web.com’s free business articles. They span online marketing tips, business setup and more – and they’re pretty good.
Users’ feedback on the Web.com Reviews page isn’t bad, either.
But they’re not gonna publish the bad reviews, are they?
Our Web.com review doesn’t agree with the user reviews (sorry). Fact is, if you’re an ambitious entrepreneur, you won’t want to build your website using this platform.
Web.com’s website builder can’t deliver stunning pages, innovative tools, a scalable site or even a decent range of templates.
And they’re the things that matter when you want to build a site for your business. Or build a website for any reason at all!
Why Web.com isn’t for bargain hunters
Briefly, we thought Web.com might be good for anyone who loves a bargain, thanks to that cheap introductory offer. But don’t be fooled. After your first month, your bill gets more than 10 times higher.
Does that mean Web.com isn’t worth anyone’s time or money? Yeah, pretty much.
Let’s try to find a positive here. The offer may suit you if you need a super-simple web page and domain for a few weeks only.
For example, you might want to advertise your upcoming party, or post an online appeal for your lost dog. In both cases, a memorable domain name might be really useful.
But you must remember to cancel before the month is up.
To find out just how pricey Web.com’s three website builder plans are, stay tuned for our pricing section. You’ll spit your coffee out.
“Web.com’s template editor uses WYSIWYG (‘what you see is what you get’) and drag-and-drop to help you. But the controls are haphazard – making it hard to create the site you want.”
Getting started: takes too long
Web.com’s setup process has more false starts than a rusty truck in December.
First you have to choose a domain name. Then you have to hope the Get My Free Domain button leads somewhere. (On our first visit, it kept reloading the page. Hope you have better luck.)
Then you have to create a Web.com account before you can see any prices. Then you have to choose a plan (and pay for it!). Then you have to say what business you’re in before you can see any templates.
Feeling tired yet?
It’s so frustrating that Web.com makes you commit to a plan and an industry before showing you any designs. It seriously limits your flexibility.
Let’s compare it with shopping for a new car. Sure, you don’t want the showroom guy to confuse you with a ton of detail about every motor’s engine – but you do want to be allowed to browse, and even take a few test drives.
Basic template tweaks: OK
Web.com’s template editor is classic WYSIWYG (‘what you see is what you get’). What you see in the editor is what your visitors see on your website.
That makes it easy to visualize your site if you’ve never done this before.
Basic customizations are pretty simple, too. You can change text with a quick click, and swap out Web.com’s dummy photos for your own. There’s also a big library of stock images and videos, all free to use.
But that’s where Web.com’s ease of use ends, sadly.
Drag-and-drop customization: messy and confusing
When you’re building a website or even a simple page, text is the very least of what you’ll edit. You’re also gonna want to move things around the page.
And in Web.com, that’s when the trouble starts.
The website editor does use drag and drop, but it simply doesn’t work properly.
Boxes, headings, menus and photos don’t go where you want them to. They seem to ‘snap’ to invisible guidelines, and that seriously limits what you can do with your design.
Web.com’s unpredictable drag and drop will make it very hard to create the site you want, whether that’s a simple page or a pro web presence.
It’s just not worth the bother. So let’s offer alternatives.
For the best drag-and-drop customization tools, use Wix. For the easiest drag-and-drop tools, use Weebly. For the coolest-looking site on the block, use Squarespace.
Your first experience of Web.com’s editor may not be too bad, but you’ll soon get frustrated – and then angry. You’ll end up wasting your time (and money!) on a platform that feels seriously amateur compared with other website builders.
“Web.com offers you only three templates to match your industry. They’re very similar, and look cheap and old-fashioned.”
Template numbers: “hundreds”, but where?
Web.com says it offers “hundreds” of website templates. But you’re only offered a tiny handful, and there’s hardly any difference between them.
What’s more, they’re not really industry-specific. Here are the three templates I was offered for a private tutoring business. Spot the difference!
Template quality: low
A few templates is fine if they’re good. But Web.com’s templates are not good.
As you can see from the screenshot above, they look cheap and dated. That’s not the kind of image you want to project to the world.
The only way to see alternative designs is to go back and choose another industry. There’s no point, though. The designs are almost identical – and identically boring.
The templates are all mobile-responsive, but not in the intelligent way that Squarespace’s gorgeous templates are. For example your text isn’t rearranged to look good on small screens (see screenshot below).
Web.com’s mobile preview mode is good – it even lets you check your pages in landscape mode. But your mobile site looks amateurish compared with what you get from other website builders.
Extra website features: limited
Web.com also offers free extra features to add to your site. They’re easy to add, come in a small choice of layouts, and even have a few editing options.
But you don’t have much freedom to rearrange them. extra features (‘sections’) have to come one after the other, like a list. You can’t drag a couple of features to sit side by side, for example.
That limits your freedom to make your site look the way you want.
So, what sections can you add? Not many. Testimonials, videos and an interactive contact form with a map… but that’s about it.
There’s no option to add a blog, restaurant menu, donations tool, or music player. And unless you’re on the most expensive of Web.com’s three website builder plans, you don’t get any ecommerce features either.
“Web.com’s 24/7 phone support is included with all plans, and seems to work well. But the knowledgebase is seriously lacking.”
One-on-one help: phone is best
Web.com offers a few ways to get in touch if you get stuck. But the only one we’d recommend using is the 24/7 phone line (1-866-655-7679, free with all plans).
We tried the live chat tool as well, but found the answers to be vague and unhelpful.
We also tried to raise a support ticket, but hit a brick wall when the system asked us to log in with a ‘Secret Word’.
Social media: focused on hosting and domains
Web.com’s Facebook and Twitter pages are popular and responsive, but they don’t have much to say about the website builder. They may be worth using if you struggle to reach the team in other ways.
- Web.com on Facebook (163k likes): use Messenger to contact support
- Web.com on Twitter (13.9k followers): tweet the team at @webdotcom
- Web.com on Google+: includes a ‘Report an issue’ link
- Web.com on YouTube (around 100 videos): ‘Do-It-Yourself Website Builder from Web.com’ is the highest-rated video, but scores a miserable 4/10!
Help articles: poor
Web.com’s knowledgebase is horribly designed, and offers barely any site-building help.
The section on Website Builders contains very little about Web.com’s own website builder. It’s mostly about connecting WordPress sites to Web.com’s hosting packages.
Online business articles: surprisingly good
Every cloud has a silver lining, and Web.com’s Small Business Website Forum is its hint of silver.
It’s not a forum in the usual sense of users sharing ideas and problems. Instead, it’s an archive of decent online business articles. Bookmark them for tips while you’re setting up your small business site… using another website builder.
“Web.com’s three Website plans are brilliant value for money for the first month, and terrible value after that. Buyer beware!”
Web.com plans: all overpriced
Web.com offers three ‘Website’ (website builder) plans. All three come with massive one-month discounts, before shooting up in price.
Unlike most other website builders, Web.com doesn’t let you save money by paying for a year up front. It automatically bills you per month.
Here’s how much you pay to join, followed by the full price:
|Web.com plan||Offer ($/1st mo)||Full price ($/mo)||Increase (%)|
|Website and Online Marketing||$2.95||$29.95||1,000%|
|Website, Marketing and Store||$3.95||$39.95||1,000%|
At this point, we’d normally give you a link to the pricing page to show you what you get for your cash. With Web.com we can’t, because it makes you log in before seeing prices.
So here’s a screenshot:
All three plans include…
- Drag-and-drop website builder
- Free domain name for a year
- Library of stock photos and videos
- Hosting (web space to publish your site)
- 99% uptime guarantee
You have to be on a higher plan, or pay separately, for…
- SSL certification to encrypt your visitors’ data (from $24.99)
- Site submission to Google and other search engines (2nd-tier plan+)
- Option to sell online (3rd-tier plan only)
- Domain name renewal after a year (from $37)
Those premium features come free with many other website builders.
You can’t sell through your Web.com site, unless you upgrade to the highest Website plan – which costs 40 bucks a month and limits you to 500 products.
Compare that with Wix eCommerce, which lets you sell unlimited products in a sophisticated online store for just $17/month.
Even the high-end ecommerce specialist Shopify only charges $26/mo (paid annually) to sell unlimited products in a powerful, scalable online store.
For more on online store builders, check out our ecommerce comparison chart.
None of Web.com’s three website builder plans offers good value for money. They’re cheap for a month, but after that they offer too few tools for too much cash. Save your money and use another website builder instead.
“Web.com’s website builder is not worth your time or your money. Even the intro deal isn’t worth the hassle of having to cancel.”
For our Web.com review, we spent days testing (and paying for) this website builder so you don’t have to.
Like you, we wanted to build a good-looking site without having to code it or hire a designer. At first, we thought Web.com might fit the bill – especially with the cheap domain name thrown in.
But don’t be fooled. Within minutes of opening up Web.com’s ‘Do It Yourself’ website builder page, you’ll realize this platform fails to deliver on every level.
Its templates look dated. Its customization tools are hard to control. There are very few extra site features. Online support is lousy.
And the intro deal just seems like a trick to trap you into much higher full prices.
Your site won’t look good enough to impress people, or have enough features to engage them. If you’re a small business, that could badly damage your brand.
At best, your Web.com site could work as a temporary holding page while you’re working on a proper site using Wix, Weebly or Squarespace. Then you could cancel your Web.com account and transfer your custom domain name.
But that’s a hassle, and we don’t think it’s worth it.
We can’t in all conscience recommend using Web.com when there are so many better platforms out there, all working hard to help you build a stunning website. So let’s end with a quick round-up.
Website builders to use instead
- Best for gorgeous templates, features and customizations: Wix
- Best for easy drag-and-drop customization: Weebly
- Best for designer templates: Squarespace
- Best advanced online store builder: Shopify
- Best value-for-money ecommerce plan: Wix eCommerce plan
- Best value-for-money premium plan: Weebly Starter plan
- Good for ready-made business websites: 1&1 MyWebsite
- Good for photo portfolios: SmugMug
- Good for easy customization without drag and drop: Site123