Webs.com is one of the oldest and most popular online tools for creating websites. It was established back in 2001, and since then over 55 million websites have been created with Webs. Based on our Webs review, even though some parts of these websites are not active, 55 million is an impressive figure. According to recent statistics, over 20,000 new websites are created every day with Webs. That amounts to over 7.3 million new websites per year.
You can easily say that a service of this magnitude is probably worth your time. Or is it? We went through Webs to review it and compiled this report. Now you’ll see the good and the bad about Webs.
- Ease of Use
Webs is a great tool for people who’ve never created a website before, or don’t know HTML and CSS. The whole idea of the service is to simplify website creation by providing people with an intuitive drag and drop page builder.
There are several different modules (text, video, photos, contact forms, etc) which you can use to create the pages of your website. Even better, there are video tutorials that you can watch to educate yourself (if you’re an advanced user those can be dismissed).
- eCommerce Capability
Even though there are some restrictions to the non-paying users, they can still create eCommerce websites. Of course, Webs has taken care of everything. There’s no need for you to install any external plugins or tools. Webs has an integrated online store platform which is pretty good. Payments are accepted via PayPal.
Webs offers 6 different layouts, and, at the moment of writing this review, there are over 700 different themes to choose from. Even though a good deal of those are premium and only accessible by paying users, there are lots of free themes that you can use for your website.
In practice you can create over 4,000 differently designed websites thanks to the amount of layouts and themes.
- Great Value for Money for Subscribers
If, at any point, you decide to subscribe, you will see that you are getting good value for your money.
Once you subscribe to the Pro package ($22.99/mo), all restrictions fall and you have total freedom. If you subscribe for two years, you get a free domain name, unlimited bandwidth and storage, mobile-optimized websites, premium themes, SEO booster tool, 25 custom email addresses, unlimited web store items, and even $100 for Google Adwords (you can use that credit to put up online ads on Google)
As you can see, you get lots of stuff that will be useful to you. And if you’ve forgotten – you can create unlimited websites. Practically, once you subscribe, Webs is going to be the only tool you will ever need to create websites, regardless of their purpose!
- No (free) SEO Optimization
If you want to edit the title and meta tags of your pages, then you will have to become a paid user. Webs is not offering this service to its free customers. In the next con you will see why this is an even worse problem.
- Inability to Edit Source Code
Many other website builders will allow you to customize the source code of your pages. But with Webs you can’t do that. Your only options are choosing different themes, layouts, and adding modules from the builder.
This is understandable because if people could edit the source code of pages they would easily edit titles and meta tags, which is a paid feature. However, to more advanced users, this might cause some inconvenience. And if Webs releases a new theme or a new widget which has bugs in it – you are restrained to simply not using it.
- No More App Store
In the past, Webs released an app store where developers unrelated to the company could upload their widgets. Those could be free or paid and they offered great flexibility to the users of the service. But the company decided that it should close its app store.
In fact, you can still access the app store, but there are only 10 items in it – all of which have been developed by Webs (two of them are already installed).
- Free User Restrictions
This isn’t exactly a con, it’s more of a reality check. There is no free lunch. Webs is a great tool that you can use for free to create numerous different websites. You are not pushed to become a paid user and you can use the tool for free for as long as you like. This is all great, but you shouldn’t expect too much from Webs.
For instance, free users can only add 5 products to their online stores. It’s common sense that this isn’t enough to run a successful online store. But if you really need to sell more products than that number, then the $20/mo for subscription shouldn’t hurt that much.
Other restrictions include: limited bandwidth and storage space, no premium themes, no mobile version of your website, inability to create password protected pages, you can have only 5 pages per website, and you only get email support.
There are lots of purposes for which you can use Webs – personal website, portfolio, blog, eCommerce website, and so on. The abundance of themes combined with the 6 layouts allows for great personalization of your website.
However, because there are storage and bandwidth restrictions (only Pro package doesn’t have limits) you cannot build a website that is expected to grow fast and have several thousand visitors each day. In this case you have two options – you either subscribe to the Pro plan, or you create your own website on dedicated hosting.
Webs as an Online Store
As you already know, you can use Webs to create your own online store. If you had to code the entire online store by yourself, it would take you weeks and months. If you had to pay a web developer to create it from scratch, then you would probably end up spending thousands of dollars. Webs is a simple, easy, and cheap (possibly free) online eCommerce solution. Thanks to its WYSWIG editor you are able to see the end product without having to actually save changes or refresh browsers every time you change something. UPDATE: as of October 28th the editor has been upgraded to a better, more well designed platform.
However, even though it is easy and cheap to create an online store with Webs, it does have its flaws. If you’re planning on staying a free users, the restrictions stop you from adding more than 5 different products. And for each of those products you are entitled to add only one photo.
But once you decide to upgrade, you have the possibility to add unlimited products, and you can add as much as 5 photos to each product. However, for a large-scale online store the number for photos per product might not be very convenient. There are some products that require more visual content than others. In that case your hands are stranded – you either have to go away from Webs, or include links to the product from external sources (which reflects on your reputation as an online store badly.
Another thing to notice is that it is possible for Webs to display third party ads on your website. That might not look to reputable. Or if the ads are very relevant to the content on your store, they might drive your potential customers away.
Webs as a Personal Website/Blog
If you’re not planning to monetize the website you’ve created with Webs, then the restrictions shouldn’t bother you much. When you start out for the first time you’re not expected to have tons of visitors, or lots of content. If you just want to have your own little blog, or website where you share your thoughts, Webs is one of the best places where you can create that.
However, if you begin having lots of visitors or you begin uploading content that is large in size, then the restrictions will get to you. As a free user, you only have 100 MB worth of bandwidth and around 500 MB of storage space. If you start uploading photos and videos to your website, then the bandwidth is going to end very fast (a single video could drain more than those 100 MB).
But if you plan on to have a website full of articles and content, then you shouldn’t worry about the bandwidth and the storage space until you gain a few thousands daily visitors.
Webs as a Community
There are addons that allow you to create forums on Webs. This is a very useful feature if you’re running an online store or if you have your own blog. But being able to create forums also means that you can start building community websites with Webs.
Creating a forum is just as simple as anything else. You become the moderator and you can also set other people to be moderators as well. You have total control over everything in the forum.
However, (talking about restrictions again) since you cannot control what people are posting, it is very possible that the free account’s restrictions about bandwidth will soon reach their limit. It doesn’t take too many people to fill up 100 MB and if you really want your website to continue existing, you will have to consider upgrading to a premium plan.
You are unable to SEO optimize your website until you upgrade to a paid plan. However, with the restrictions given for the free plan you shouldn’t need any SEO editing (this doesn’t apply for the eCommerce type websites).
The good thing is that once you upgrade, you also gain access to a tool that helps you choose the right keywords for your titles and meta tags and also helps you improve the overall SEO performance of your website. This is really good for those web masters who don’t have thorough knowledge of how SEO works.
However, viewing the visitor statistics is totally free. You can track how many visitors have come to your website each and every day in the settings menu of the dashboard. If you upgrade to a paid plan you get a much more advanced version of the tool. Not needed if you are just starting out – most of the numbers and graphics won’t make much sense.
Hosting and Exporting
The hosting is entirely provided by Webs. They are the owners of their servers and if there’s a problem, they are the ones who are going to fix it. It’s not uncommon for web masters to have problems with their dedicated hosting. If you’re a newbie website creator, then this isn’t something that you will want to be dealing with. Fortunately all of this is on Webs’ side.
The storage space provided with the free package is large enough and is a great start for those people who are trying out the builder before actually building a full-scale website. The 500-something that you get with the free plan are more than enough to add lots of content (unless you are uploading HD videos…).
Once you start creating more advanced websites, you are going to need more storage space. Thankfully the 3 available upgrade plans include more than enough for you to work with. The Pro plan even includes unlimited storage and bandwidth.
Some services similar to Webs offer a feature which allows you to export your website. This is a useful feature for when you want to migrate your website to its own server and if you want to be able to edit the source code (you can’t edit the source code if your website is in Webs). What this means – carefully plan your website as it is growing. If you think that Webs isn’t going to have the ability to scale your website accordingly, then migrate while it’s still early. If you decide that Webs is perfect for what you’re building – go for it.
One thing that might worry people who are using the free plan is that they get only email support. If you have a real-time problem then it will take some time for you to communicate with the support team from Webs. Emails usually get answered pretty fast, but sometimes it might take some time.
Once you upgrade you will get other support features (Phone and Live chat) which are pretty useful and will help you solve your problems quite fast. The support team is full of experts who have been trained to help in different situations. Even the fact that Webs has a phone support tells you how dedicated they are to keeping their customers happy.
As we already mentioned there are about 700-some designs, some of which are only available to subscribed users. And when you multiply those 700 designs, by the 6 different layouts you can display them with – you get over 4,000 possibilities for your websites. This is a very large number and is more than enough to get you started.
The themes are organized by purpose and topic. More popular topics have very large numbers of themes in them (Art, Sales, Beauty & Spa, etc). But even the small and more ‘unpopular’ topics have enough themes in them for you to create a great website.
A cool thing to note is that some of the themes come in different color schemes. There are themes that have as much as 5 different color schemes. And it’s very easy to switch from one color scheme to another – you just go to the options panel and click on the small bubble with the color you want the theme to be in!
If you’re a free user, you probably won’t be interested in the premium themes. That’s why the developers from Webs have enabled you to sort the themes by Premium and Free.
If you’re considering upgrading to a paid plan, then you should know that the premium themes are really worth upgrading for. They are, of course, better quality than the free themes. Much more attention has been paid to the detail and they offer you more possibilities.
However, that doesn’t mean that the free themes aren’t worth looking at at all. Think of it in this way – if the free themes are very good, the premium are excellent.
Upgrading to Premium
If you’re into building a full-scale website, then upgrading to a premium plan is almost necessary. Thankfully Webs provides great value for your money when upgrading. You have three options: month-to-month subscription, 1 year, and a 2 year subscription. As you already guessed, it’s the cheapest to subscribe for 2 years. The payment is one time if you choose 1 or 2 years and you can’t choose to pay each month.
Just some of the features that are included with the premium plans:
- Custom domain name
- More hosting
- Better eCommerce solutions
- $100 Adwords credit
- Premium theme access
- Better customer support
- No third party ads
- Unlimited pages for your website
- SEO booster
At the end of the day it’s a great bargain, and the possibilities that Webs presents in front of you are abundant.
We think that Webs is a fairly easy to use tool, it’s very intuitive, and if there are users who are having problems, they can immediately turn to the video tutorials which explain everything very thoroughly.
It is a free service and for no money you do get free hosting, the amazing drag and drop tool, and your own (sub-) domain. However, there are some basic things, like SEO optimization, which aren’t available for free. This is a bit of a downside because everybody should be able to optimize their website for the search engines. You also can’t create more than 5 pages, even though Webs might display third party ads on your website (the more pages you have the more money they earn, makes sense?)
At times you might feel that you are being pushed to upgrade to a paid plan, but it’s not necessary unless you are planning on building a website which is going to grow very fast, or sell hundreds of physical or digital products every day. The good part of this is that you get great value for your money and lots of content (themes, SEO tools, mobile-optimized website) is unlocked.
The best thing to do is to create an account with Webs and take a look around. Grow an opinion about the service and what you think that you can build with the tool. In the end, if you think that Webs is a reliable partner for your website, go for it, it’s definitely going to help you create a website easily.
If you think that your website is going to gain extreme popularity (perhaps tens of thousands visitors each day) then Webs will not be the perfect partner for you. Even though they offer great support for their paying customers, the platform just doesn’t have that flexibility that allows you to take full control over everything.
Our final say: 3.5/5