Web.com made a name for itself early on for its services. Formerly known as Website Pros, it branched out to provide more than domain name registration and web development services. Now it offers hosting as well as website and online store builders. It doesn’t provide a free plan or even a free trial, but its introductory pricing is so low that you won’t lose much if you pay for a month (or even a full year) just to try it out.
Customization is severely limited for two reasons: to keep it easy for new users and to sell you more services. Keep in mind that Web.com doesn’t give you a way to integrate other apps either (because they want to sell you extra services). That’s fine if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution with help.
Choosing the best website builder for your brand or business can be time-consuming and confusing. We tested and reviewed several of the highest rated, most popular, and biggest names in the industry. Although Web.com has had several changes in recent years, it’s still a big player that’s helped more than 3 million users around the world.
Keep reading to find out more about who Web.com is best for, its pros and cons, and whether there are alternatives to Web.com that might be better for you.
|Web.com Standout Features|
|Best For||New small businesses that want an easy-to-use site builder with built-in hosting|
|Promotion||60% off the first year, if paid annually|
What Are the Pros and Cons of Web.com?
What Web.com excels at is providing a ridiculously easy-to-use website builder and low plan pricing. It isn’t for everyone, though. Although it offers SEO tools, for example, it limits your access to your site’s code, so you can’t optimize your site — you have to pay for someone else to do it for you.
*SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It is a digital marketing strategy that helps websites increase their visibility by ranking high on Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
- Affordable: I haven’t seen a complete website package (with free domain and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate at such a low introductory price. It almost makes up for Web.com not offering a free trial or free plan.
- Free LLC formation: One of the most unique features of this website builder is that it offers free formation of a limited liability company (LLC). This is helpful if you’re just starting a business; it isn’t a common offering from web hosts or website builders.
- Easy to use: I’ve used a lot of website builders and Web.com’s is one of the standouts when it comes to ease of use. The menus are intuitive and none of the options are confusing. The drag-and-drop editor makes modifying one of its 150+ templates simple.
- Professional design services: If even the thought of using a predesigned template sounds intimidating, no worries. Web.com gives you the option of hiring a professional to design a site just the way you want it. It’s a little pricey, starting at $1,499, but if you want a hands-off approach to website design, this is a good solution.
- Online store: I’m glad to see that Web.com has improved its features for online stores. Previously, Web.com didn’t offer abandoned cart recovery, and it has since rectified that. It’s easy to upgrade to an affordable e-commerce plan and all stores include inventory management.
- Mobile responsive themes: Whether you’re using Web.com to build a website or an online store, all of its templates are mobile-responsive. Your website automatically resizes and looks great on phones, tablets, or desktop computers.
- Limited customization: Although it’s easy to build a website and modify the design, you can’t do a lot on the back end. In fact, there’s no easy way to access your code at all, and this is intentional on Web.com’s part.
- Upsells: This is why Web.com limits your access and ability to customize your website — it wants you to purchase SEO and marketing services from its team. You can’t add meta descriptions or code to your site without Web.com’s help, which comes at an added cost.
- Pricing doubles: Speaking of cost, while it’s cheap to get started with Web.com’s website builder, the price doubles after the first year. So, if you opt for the $19.95-per-month plan for the eCommerce Premium option, it jumps to $39.95 per month when it renews.
Web.com may be the best website builder for: New users who don’t want to learn coding or SMBs that want to pay for website design and SEO services.
|Website Essentials||Business Essentials||eCommerce Essentials||eCommerce Premium|
|Best for||Personal website building||Small business website||New e-commerce business||Established e-commerce business|
|Sales & Marketing Support|
You get two options when you first start using Web.com: answer a few questions to have the company create the site for you, or choose a template you like and design it yourself. Creating a website with Web.com’s site builder is as easy as clicking a few buttons and replacing images or text with your own content.
All of Web.com’s templates (178 at the time of this review) are mobile-responsive, so your site should look great on any device. Get a preview of your site by clicking at the top of the site builder on the device you want to test. The templates are clean and simple, which is kind of a themed “blank” canvas for your own website. Although you get plenty of industry-specific template options, they’re all like facsimiles of each other, in my opinion. The designs are traditional and fairly standard.
Unfortunately, if you choose a template and are unhappy with the design halfway through, you’ll have to start over with a new template and add your content again. Other site builders, like Squarespace, offer easier template switching so you don’t lose your content.
As I said earlier, modifying your site is easy. Drag and drop features or blocks using the left-hand menu. Everything is labeled with terms that make sense for almost anyone, though there may be terms you aren’t familiar with if you’ve never designed a site before. I found it incredibly intuitive to edit text blocks — just click where you want to change text and type, or copy and paste your own content. Web.com’s website builder automatically saves as you make changes, so you don’t have to interrupt your flow to save your progress.
It is worth noting that Web.com’s main dashboard could use an update. The UI is somewhat intuitive, but it takes a few clicks to get to the website builder. When I first logged in, the load time for the site builder was more than 10 seconds. Also, I encountered multiple errors when trying to edit my website, but this could’ve been an anomaly.
Stock Photo Library
Many site builders offer free stock photo and video libraries and Web.com is no exception. The stock image partner is Unsplash, so you could find the images using Unsplash’s website, but it’s built into the site editor, saving you a step. You’ll get access to more than 1 million free stock photos.
As convenient as it is to have the photo library in the site builder, it has a few hang-ups. You can browse images by categories, such as nature, business, or restaurant. Or you can type a keyword in the search box to find a specific type of photo. As I was building a restaurant website, my instinct was to click on the restaurant category and then do a search for “lamb.” I was hoping to get results in the realm of, well, lamb dishes. What I got instead were pictures of cute little lambs in fields.
I tried being very specific with my searches to see what results I’d get. A search for “old train” gave me what I expected, for the most part — photos of old trains — but some results included a pay phone, a mobile phone, a telescope, and a man playing the piano. This is more of an issue created by Unsplash’s search function and tags than it is Web.com’s, but it’s good to keep in mind that you might not find what you want or it could take a while to find a specific image.
Free Domain, SSL Certificate, LLC Formation
When you sign up for a website from Web.com, you automatically get a free domain name and free SSL certificate for one year. The domain renews for $38 per year, which is far more expensive than the average range of $15 to $20 per year.
Your Essential SSL certificate is basic security with domain validation, which gives your website the “s” in “HTTPS” at the beginning of your URL. If you plan to build an e-commerce website you’ll need to upgrade your SSL certificate to Premium, which gives you organization validation and protects transaction data. The renewal cost for a basic SSL certificate is $27.96 per year, while an SSL certificate for online stores costs $80.04 annually.
Perhaps one of the most unique features of Web.com is the free offer for LLC formation. Web.com partnered with 1-800Accountant.com to give you this no-cost service. A representative will contact you about starting your business, but there are no other details beyond that. As with any LLC formation service, you’ll have to pay your state filing fees, at least. You can likely assume that 1-800Accountant may try to sell you other services, such as accounting help or tax advice.
Web.com gives you access to its logo builder for free, which is helpful if you’re creating a business or brand from scratch. When you type in your business or brand name, the artificial intelligence-assisted logo maker fills in with shapes, icons, and colors that would make the most sense for your industry. I tested this by typing in “burgers,” “dogs,” and “plumber.” The results were mixed — and sometimes very off — but generally the logos seemed to match the keywords.
If the designs aren’t up to your standards, you can change what you don’t like after you choose one that’s close to what you want. I was able to modify everything in the logo I picked, including the symbol the logo builder chose for me. Although the logo builder doesn’t use a drag-and-drop editor, it works similarly to Web.com’s site builder in that it’s easy to use and everything is editable.
Web.com walks you through SEO. To start, you fill out your business profile with keywords relating to your business or industry and names of competitors, and the Simple SEO tool will track the keywords it’s ranking for. Also, be sure your site is live already because you won’t be able to do much with the Simple SEO tool until you’ve published your site. Afterward, the SEO tool will give you an SEO score and recommendations on how you can improve — but not for all plans.
If you’ve started with the lowest-priced plan from Web.com, you’ll get help with site verification for Google, but little else. The higher tier subscribers will get their business submitted to local directories and SEO health checks with to-do lists to help with increasing on-page and off-page SEO.
Those who are familiar with on-page SEO know how important it is to add relevant titles, meta descriptions, and alt text. Finding where to add these vital details may not be immediately apparent.
When you add an image to your site, you can click on it to change the overlay color or alt text. Under settings (the gear icon), you can add a caption and border. Also, you can include an option to enlarge the photo if someone clicks on it. Alt text makes it much easier for search engines to crawl and index your site, which in turn helps your site rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). One caveat: you can only add alt text for images on your pages — not for images you add to your blog.
One benefit of using Web.com as your site builder is that it includes a blog, making it easier for you to design a content marketing plan. Use keywords related to your industry and business and create content on your blog to nab organic traffic from keyword searches. To optimize that content, you need to have blogs with proper headers, titles, and meta descriptions.
I found it very easy to post a blog to my site, but not all the features are intuitive. Changing a header size, for example, requires you to highlight the header to reveal a menu that only allows H1 (a larger heading) and H2 (a subheading) — there’s no option for H3 or H4. The right-hand menu gives you options to add tags to your post, an author name, and an excerpt about the post. An excerpt is a summary of your blog that should appear on the main page of your blog — it isn’t a meta description. In fact, I couldn’t find an option to add a meta description anywhere, nor was there anything in the help center about it.
Most of the Web.com plans include the same marketing tools. The only exception is the low-tier basic plan. You don’t get a lot of marketing help from Web.com, in my opinion. There’s no email marketing included, so you must send emails to customers manually or use a separate service.
Marketing via Web.com limits you to local directory listings and search engine site submissions. There is a phone number subscribers can call to get online marketing help from Web.com, leading me to believe marketing options are limited because Web.com wants to sell you professional services.
If you’re new to website creation and business marketing, using a professional service can be helpful. However, if you want to do it yourself, either through provided tools or manually, Web.com makes that difficult. There’s no open application programming interface (API) or list of apps you can integrate. Your only option is to use Web.com’s professional services, which come at an added cost.
Web.com only offers appointment scheduling on its two e-commerce plans. Whether you offer online classes, beauty services, or maintenance, appointment setting is important. This feature makes it possible for customers to book appointments with you directly from your website. They can choose a time and date, and those appointments will show on your calendar. If customers agree to receiving texts, they’ll get confirmation with the scheduled time and date with options to accept, cancel, or reschedule their appointment.
E-commerce sellers or service-based businesses can opt for an online store through Web.com. You’ll have fewer templates from which you can choose, but they’re optimized for e-commerce. You can take appointments and payments online, list products, and manage your inventory from the back end.
I didn’t test these features personally because Web.com is primarily a basic site builder and web host, but it’s nice to know there’s an option to upgrade to an online store. You can also use Web.com for marketplace selling if you choose ecommerce Premium, the highest-priced plan, so you can sell on eBay, Amazon, Walmart, and other marketplaces.
Web.com allows you to connect to various shipping carriers, so you can easily print labels and ship products quickly. You can also offer customers real-time shipping rates or stick to flat rates if you prefer.
There’s no need to use separate inventory management software either — Web.com includes stock management that automatically syncs as you add or sell products from your digital or physical warehouse. If you have multiple locations, Web.com supports that, too.
Reporting and Analytics
According to Web.com’s pricing and plans page, every plan should include at least basic website analytics. You should be able to access reports to show how many site visitors you receive, page views, and where your visitors originated. There are two options to view these statistics: use AWStats through Web.com or add Google Analytics code to your website. Both options are free and typically easy to implement on any website.
It’s important to understand that Web.com isn’t a point-of-sale (POS) system. You can connect payment gateways such as Stripe or PayPal, but there’s no built-in payment processing security. Online stores will have basic security through an SSL certificate and Web.com claims it is PCI compliant, so you can safely accept payments through your e-commerce website. I didn’t find much on Web.com’s website regarding security — I had to contact support to get confirmation on its PCI compliance.
Although Web.com advertises 24/7 support, your results may vary. You can contact someone via live chat on the website or from your dashboard any time of the day or night. Other options include contacting sales and support from 7 a.m. to midnight Eastern Standard Time every day or looking up an answer through the help center.
- Chat: Live chat starts with a bot, which puts you in touch with the right person. Response time was quick — about two minutes of wait time — but the agents weren’t able to answer my questions.
- Ticket: I couldn’t find a support ticket option, though it shows up as an option in the help center articles.
- Phone: I spent 38 minutes waiting on hold for an agent to connect. Once I was able to speak with someone, the agent wasn’t able to help with tech issues, but he did confirm a few suspicions I had.
- Help center: There are plenty of articles to help you self-diagnose or troubleshoot any issues you’re having with Web.com tools. However, many of the articles are outdated, so they weren’t helpful.
If you go through the live chat option and an agent isn’t able to solve your issue, you’ll likely have to wait for a phone call or email from another team member. The chat agent said she wasn’t able to help with an SEO question and that a specialized team member would contact me using the phone number on my account. This could be an issue if you’re the account holder but you have someone else working on your site, as the support members only use the phone number on your account.
Abandoned Cart Saver
In our last review of Web.com, we noted that the company was missing a vital feature for any e-commerce seller: abandoned cart recovery. I’m happy to see that Web.com corrected this and added an abandoned cart saver, so you can send an email to customers about products they left in their carts.
Professional Design and SEO Services
There’s no easy way to add meta descriptions to your pages or blog posts. I have to assume this is because Web.com wants to sell you its professional services, and a customer service agent confirmed this. Web.com makes it incredibly difficult for novice users and experts to create a viable website or online store without using its professional services. If you’re simply looking for someone to do it all for you, Web.com starts its design services at $1,499 per website. You’ll have to contact sales for a quote regarding SEO services.
No More Email Marketing
Once upon a time, Web.com offered email marketing services to its customers, but it seems that’s no longer an option, or they aren’t advertising it in any way. To be sure, contact its online marketing line for a quote. In any case, there’s no way to add email marketing tools to do it yourself either.
Compare Web.com Alternatives
Web.com is a good starting point for those new to website building, but it isn’t the only option available. Competitors include Squarespace, Shopify, and Wix. We tested and reviewed all of these options to find the best fit for you, whether you’re looking for a basic website builder or an online store.
Take a look at other website builders the experts at Digital.com recommend:
Frequently Asked Questions About Web.com
What Is the Use of Web.com?
How Reliable and Scalable is Web.com?
How Much is a Web.com Website?
Does Web.com Offer a Free Trial?
Is Web.com Good for E-Commerce?
What Features Does Web.com Have for Small Businesses?
How I Rated Web.com
At Digital.com, we know how important it is to test products thoroughly and compare how they measure against the industry leaders. I spent hours familiarizing myself with Web.com’s dashboard, setup process, website builder, and all of its features. While my definition of “easy to use” may differ from others, I approached this as though I was new to website builders and compared it to my experience with some of the top site builders we’ve also reviewed.
This comprehensive overview of Web.com can quickly answer whether it’s the right website builder for you. We also drilled down to specific features, so you can have a more detailed look at features or services. I gave more weight to some parameters, including features, security, support, pricing, ease of use, and how Web.com has improved since our last review.
Web.com scored decently in most of the areas we focused on. It offers an easy-to-use website builder, so anyone can create a basic website in just a few hours. Its starting price of $4.95, if paid annually, is so low that it’s difficult to not give it a try. However, we keep the renewal price in mind, along with the added services you may need to purchase to make sure your website gets seen. All in all, Web.com is a good starter website builder, but it may not offer enough flexibility or customization for your needs.