Should You Host Locally or Let a Hosting Provider Do it for You?

Hosting is one of the first things you’ll need to take into consideration when launching a new website. This aspect is so important, in fact, that many webmasters look into potential hosting options even before they register a domain name or decide upon the theme of their website. But how do you host a website? Can you do it yourself or do you have to pay a company to do it for you? Those questions may seem basic to a veteran webmaster but if you’re a novice, the answers aren’t necessarily obvious.

Well, don’t worry because in this guide we’re going to teach you everything you need to know about web hosting and give you some tips and tricks on how to get started on the right foot. The first thing worth noting is that you can indeed host your website locally but most people let a company do it for them. Signing up with a reliable hosting company is almost always a better option, especially if you’re a beginner. We’ll teach you how to self-host a website later on in this guide but let’s start with the traditional option first.

Quick Overview

There are essentially only four steps you’ll need to follow in order to successfully host a website with one of the many providers available on the market right now. We will recommend some of our favorite options in this guide but the choice is ultimately up to you.

Before you start looking into hosting providers, it helps to have a general idea of what sort of website you want to create. Do you want a simple blog, a content-driven website or maybe an eCommerce platform? This is an important aspect to consider because some companies are better than others at hosting certain types of websites.

A couple of other things you’ll need to take into account are your budget and the amount of time you’re willing to invest in building your website. Some companies offer all-in-one platforms that give you everything you need to launch a new website, including a site builder, various tools and apps, a domain name, and of course, the hosting service itself.

Meanwhile, other companies sell these services separately instead of bundling them together. And then there are companies that focus solely on the hosting and trust that their customers can take care of the website building process by themselves. All these different types of companies have their own pros and cons but we’re going to talk about that a bit later on in this guide.

How to Host a Website With a Provider

Now that you know a little bit about what to expect, let’s take a closer look at the four steps you’ll need to follow if you decide to let a company host your website. These are as follows:

  • Research and compare hosting providers.
  • Pick the provider that best matches the type of website you want to build.
  • Pick an appropriate web hosting plan.
  • Register or transfer a domain name.

Step 1: Compare Hosting Providers

While you could simply do a quick Google search and choose a popular hosting provider at random, we recommend looking into multiple options before making a final decision. Comparing hosting providers can be a bit difficult if you’re not sure what to look for, but you’re in luck because an entire section of our website is dedicated specifically to hosting comparisons.

You can check out some of our comparisons if you want to speed up the process or you can compare them yourself by looking at how they stack up against each other in terms of features, prices, performance, customer support, and the types of hosting they offer.

It can also be helpful to remember that most hosting providers fall into one of these three main categories:

  • All-purpose Providers
  • Specialized Providers
  • Website Builders

Instead of randomly comparing the various providers you come across, you can narrow things down and compare popular companies that are part of one of these categories.

All-purpose Providers

These are jack-of-all-trades companies that usually try to offer a little something for everybody. This includes not just multiple types of hosting but also domain registrations, site builders, add-ons, and a variety of other services. All-purpose providers are generally a good pick for most types of websites and they tend to offer pretty solid performance, however, some (but not all) of these companies are not very welcoming to novice webmasters. At least not as welcoming as companies that fall into the third category. Below are a few examples of well-known all-purpose hosting providers, in no particular order.

Specialized Providers

Just as their name indicates, these companies take a more specialized approach to their hosting services. Specialized providers are less versatile than all-purpose providers because they rarely offer more than one type of hosting. However, they usually offer the best tools and features for those interested in their particular niche. Some of these companies target experienced users but others are suitable for novices as well. Below are a few examples of well-known specialized providers, in no particular order.

Website Builders

This last category includes companies that offer all-in-one-packages complete with hosting, domain name, apps, and site builder. As you’ve probably already guessed, the website builder is the main selling point here, with everything else being offered simply as a bonus meant to sweeten the deal. These companies are extremely user-friendly and are the easiest to work with but they often don’t offer as many features as other providers and their performance tends to be unimpressive. Below are a few examples of well-known website builders, in no particular order.

Step 2: Choose the Best Hosting Provider for Your Future Website

We only listed some of the top hosting providers earlier but there are many more where those came from. It’s not uncommon to feel a bit overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choice at your disposal. However, you can make things easier for yourself by learning about some of the key factors every webmaster needs to keep in mind before picking their hosting provider. These can vary depending on your experience level and the type of website you want to build but, generally speaking, you’ll want to look into the following:

Pricing

Needless to say, you don’t want to spend too much money on your web hosting but you may not necessarily want to go with the cheapest option either. Very cheap hosting packages can be a good choice for beginners but they usually come with a lot of drawbacks, such as limited resources or branded ads that can’t be removed. Try to go for one of the mid-tier plans right off the bat if you can afford it because doing so can help your site grow faster.

Most providers list their cheapest prices front and center but often fail to mention that you’ll need to sign up for a multi-year contract in order to take advantage of them. If you’re not ready to make a large upfront investment, you’ll want to look for providers that support monthly billing cycles.

Performance and Reliability

Most providers will guarantee that your website will be online anywhere between 99% and 99.99% of the time. Now, just because a company guarantees that your website will be accessible 99.95% of the time, for example, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll never experience more than 0.5% downtime. What it actually means is that if your uptime dips under the promised value, you will be compensated in some form or another.

There are many factors that dictate the performance of a website, some of which are outside of the hosting provider’s control. That said, you’ll want to make sure that the provider you choose offers plenty of storage and bandwidth and that its servers are at least somewhat fast. Hosting companies are usually pretty vague when they talk about speeds so we recommend checking out some of our hosting reviews if you’re looking for detailed stats about a certain provider.

Backup and Restore

Being able to easily back up your files is crucial because you never know when you may want to revert to a previous version of your website. A lot of the time you can manually back up your files by downloading them on your computer via FTP. However, this method can be a bit complicated for beginners so it’s better to choose a provider that offers an automatic backup & restore tool. Some companies don’t charge for tools like that but in many cases, you’ll need to pay for them separately, especially if you’re on a very cheap hosting plan.

Domain Emails

This isn’t necessarily a must for everyone but it helps to be able to create email addresses that reflect the name of your website. Many hosting providers are very generous when it comes to @domain emails, offering an unlimited number of them even with their cheapest plans. Other companies, however, are a lot stingier and either make you pay for mailboxes or only give you access to a limited number of them. Ideally, you’ll want to pick a provider that lets you create unlimited emails for free.

eCommerce Support

Needless to say, this particular feature is useful only if you’re planning to build an online store. If you do, you can either go with a specialized platform like Shopify or an all-purpose provider that offers eCommerce integration. A lot of website builders can also do a great job at letting you create robust online stores, Weebly arguably being the best of them at this right now. While looking into hosting providers that support eCommerce, make sure to go for a company that offers more than the basic features if you want your store to stand out from the crowd.

WordPress Integration

About 36% of all websites on the internet run on WordPress nowadays and that percentage is likely to grow even more in the future. WordPress itself offers hosting packages but we recommend going with a different provider like SiteGround or DreamHost and then installing the free version of the CMS on top. Doing so can save you some money and you’ll be able to take full advantage of WordPress’ flexibility right off the bat.

If the platform seems a bit intimidating to you, it’s worth noting that a lot of providers offer managed WordPress packages, which cost most than the regular ones, but are great for beginners because they involve less work on your part. With a managed WordPress plan, you can rest easy knowing that your provider does much of the heavy lifting for you and helps you get the site up and running in no time.

Customer Support

It’s almost impossible to know exactly what to expect from a company’s customer support team before you sign up but you can get a pretty good idea by looking up some reviews on a site like Trustpilot. Good providers generally have multiple channels that you can use to get in touch with support agents, including live chat, ticket system, email, and a phone number. Support is less necessary if you’re an advanced user but having someone who can lend you a helping hand is always great, regardless of your experience level.

Location Coverage

This is somewhat related to performance but we wanted to list it separately because it can be very important for some people. Most of the top providers have at least two data centers but a select few of them have a lot more than that. Even more importantly, some companies have data centers located in multiple regions across the world. Choosing a data center that’s as close to you as possible will help your website run faster so don’t overlook the location coverage when picking a hosting provider.

Step 3: Choose a Suitable Hosting Plan for Your Website

Now that you’ve picked the provider that best suits your needs, it’s time to choose a hosting plan. A lot of people start off small with the cheapest package and then work their way up from there. That’s a solid course of action in many cases but, as mentioned earlier, cheap plans come with many downsides so it helps to go with a mid-tier one if you can afford it.

Before you choose a plan you should have at least a rough idea of what sort of website you want to build. You can get away with a cheap or even a free plan if all you want to build is a simple blog. If you’re building a website that you expect to grow very quickly, on the other hand, it’s worth investing a little bit extra into your hosting just so you can secure more resources and useful tools.

Your budget and your expectations for the site will dictate the type of hosting you’re going to need. There are four main types to choose from but keep in mind that not every company will offer all of them. For example, website builders like Wix and Squarespace only offer shared hosting while specialized providers like Kamatera tend to work exclusively with cloud hosting.

Here’s some useful information to keep in mind about each of the main types of hosting:

Shared Hosting

Just as its name suggests, shared hosting means that multiple websites share the same server and, consequently, the same resources. This is usually the cheapest type of hosting you can find but it doesn’t offer the best performance and the scalability is limited. One of the biggest problems with shared hosting is that you generally don’t know how many other users are on your server and how many resources are allocated to each user. Despite that, however, this is the most popular type of hosting thanks to its affordability.

Best For:

Shared hosting plans are primarily targeted at novice webmasters and users who don’t necessarily need the improved performance and advanced features included with some of the other hosting types. If this is your first time launching a website, shared hosting is a good place to start in spite of its drawbacks. You likely won’t need a lot of resources in the beginning anyway and you can transition to a different type of hosting later on if necessary. If you’re launching a blog, portfolio, events website or small business website with lots of static content, shared hosting is perfect for you.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting is becoming increasingly more popular thanks to its (generally) low prices and fantastic scalability. Instead of being hosted on a single server in a data center, your website is hosted by multiple servers in this case. It still sort of acts like shared hosting because you don’t have exclusive access to resources but this system ensures better performance. You also don’t have to worry too much about downtime with this type of hosting because if your current server becomes inactive, a different one will jump in to keep your site online.

Best For:

A lot of the time cloud hosting is aimed at developers because the companies that specialize in this type of hosting often don’t offer a cPanel or any ease-of-use features. But there are exceptions to this and in recent times more and more all-purpose providers have also begun offering cloud hosting plans, complete with certain tools and features that make them suitable for newcomers. Regardless of your experience level, however, this type of hosting is best for those who want to start cheap and be able to scale up their hosting quickly and easily. Cloud hosting is ideal for scalability because many providers have systems that automatically add extra resources to your server only when you need them.

VPS (Virtual Private Server)

This is the first type of hosting that gives you actual exclusive access to resources. However, it doesn’t give you access to an entire server, in spite of what the name might imply. Instead, providers partition physical servers into several so-called virtual servers. Each of these partitions can run separate operating systems and applications, allowing them to perform independently from one another. Even though you don’t get access to an entire server, having a block of resources all to yourself allows your website to run smoother and experience less downtime when compared to sites hosted on a shared plan.

Best For:

This is a great type of hosting for pretty much anyone who values performance and scalability. While virtual private servers can get quite expensive, there are a number of providers that charge reasonable prices. Still, a VPS will set you back more than a shared hosting package so make sure that you can afford the investment. Also, make sure that you actually need the dedicated resources before you decide to purchase a VPS. Virtual private servers are primarily aimed at advanced users but some companies offer managed VPS packages that are suitable for everyone.

Dedicated Servers

The name says it all. If you decide to purchase a dedicated server you are guaranteed exclusive access to the whole thing. In essence, it’s the same deal you get with a VPS but instead of only owning a portion of the server, you own it in its entirety. For as long as your subscription remains active, of course. Having complete control over a server comes with plenty of perks and a significant boost in performance for all sites hosted on it. However, this privilege comes at a price, with dedicated servers being a lot more expensive than all the other types of hosting.

Best For:

Given the high price tag, we can only recommend a dedicated server to business owners or users who own multiple websites, at least some of which are already profitable. Going for a dedicated server right off the bat is definitely not recommended. Instead, you should stick to a VPS for as long as possible and upgrade only once you’re sure you can afford to spend $100+ per month on your hosting. Dedicated servers are even less user-friendly than a VPS and require a bit of technical know-how in order to get the most out of them. Certain dedicated servers do come with cPanel but more often than not, they only include root access.

As I’m sure you’ve already figured out by now, we’ve ordered the four types of hosting from cheapest to most expensive and we recommend starting from the bottom and gradually working your way up the ladder for the best results. That said, there are some exceptions.

If you’re transferring an already-established website from a different provider, you may want to skip shared hosting and go straight for one of the other types. Also, if you’re a developer working on high-end applications, you’ll need at least a cloud or virtual private server as shared hosting simply won’t cut it. If you’re a beginner, however, you definitely won’t miss out on anything by starting off with cheap hosting.

Step 4: Purchase a Domain Name

In many cases, this is actually the first thing you’ll want to take into consideration but there are times when you won’t have to worry about this aspect until after you’ve chosen your hosting plan. That’s because a lot of providers these days include a free domain name with their plans, so registering one separately won’t be necessary. Free domains are usually only available for the first year so it’s a good idea to look into the renewal costs, just so you’ll know what to expect when your first term expires.

Is there a point in buying a domain if you don’t have hosting yet? There are actually a number of situations when you may want to register a domain even if you don’t have a host. Good domain names increase in value over time so it’s not uncommon for people to buy them cheap and sell them for a profit later on. If you’re in the business of buying and selling domain names but don’t want to build any websites, you don’t need to worry about hosting.

A lot of hosting providers also offer domain registration services, however, some of them won’t let you register a domain unless you also buy a hosting plan. While you can register a domain with one company and get you hosting from a different one, it’s usually a good idea to have both of them in the same place for the sake of convenience. It’s also worth noting that domains, unlike hosting plans, can be transferred from one company to another. Some companies will allow you to transfer your domain for free but others will charge you for it.

How to Host a Website Locally

Letting a company host your website for you is a much better option than doing it yourself. If you do want to give it a try, however, we can show you two different methods of achieving that goal – one for Windows and one for Linux. Neither option is suitable for beginners and you have to keep in mind that hosting your website locally means that you have to take care of the maintenance yourself and have a computer that’s running 24/7.

The Windows Method

Step 1: Turn Your PC Into a WAMP Server

WAMP is an acronym that stands for Windows, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. Installing a piece of WAMP software on your computer will allow you to turn it into a server that can host your website. One of the most popular programs that can do that is simply known as WampServer but you can find a few other good ones out there. Regardless of which software you choose, install it on your computer and stick to the default settings, unless you know what you’re doing of course.

Step 2: Upload Your Site Files to Your Server

With your computer now able to act as a server, it’s time to upload your core site files. You’ll have to write these files yourself in HTML and you need to make sure that the files have the .php extension. If you don’t know a lot about coding you can look up the scripts online. Once you have the files at hand, open your WAMP software and upload them to the ‘www directory.’

Step 3: Make Your Website Public

If you only want to host a website for testing purpose you can skip this step, but if you want to bring your website online, you’ll need to do it manually. To get started, go to ‘Apache’ and look for a file labeled ‘httpd.config’. Modify it to read as follows:

Order Allow,Deny

Allow from all

Your new website is now live and ready to be populated with content.

The Linux Method

Step 1: Install LAMP Software

This first step is pretty much identical to the one described earlier for Windows but instead of WAMP software, you’ll need to install a LAMP stack. The acronym stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. Linux works a bit differently than Windows so to begin the installation open the command terminal and type in the following:

sudo apt install apache2 mysql-server php libapache2-mod-php7.0

Step 2: Configure Your Site Files and DNS

LAMP software works similar to WAMP, allowing you to add your own files to the root directory of your website. Once again, you’ll need to write the files yourself and make sure to use the .php extension.

Step 3: Configure Apache

If you want to launch your website on the internet instead of keeping it private you’ll need to set up a new directory and configure Apache to accept visitor requests.

F.A.Q.

Is It Expensive to Host a Website Using a Provider?

That all depends on your hosting plan. Shared hosting packages go for as little as $2-3 per month or you can even opt for a website builder that offers free plans if you don’t mind the drawbacks. On the high end of things, things can indeed get pretty expensive, with solid dedicated servers costing several hundreds of dollars per month.

What’s the Most Popular Hosting Provider?

The list of most popular hosting providers tends to fluctuate from year to year but you’ll almost always find the following on that list: Bluehost, HostGator, SiteGround, GoDaddy, Dreamhost, InMotion Hosting, and Wix.

Is it Worth Hosting a Website Locally?

Generally speaking, no. It can be in very specific scenarios where you have a spare computer that runs around the clock and a website with static content. But even so, the performance will be much worse than if you would let a hosting provider take care of the site. In some cases, you’ll lose more money by hosting locally because you’ll need to spend extra on your electrical bills.

Final Thoughts

Finding the best hosting provider for your website doesn’t have to be a complicated process. If you follow the steps described in this guide you should be able to find an ideal match in no time. We recommend looking into as many companies as possible before you make a decision. Most users stick with the same company they first sign up with for a long time so this process shouldn’t be rushed.

As far as hosting your website locally is concerned, we don’t recommend it because of the many drawbacks involved but it can be a fun experiment that can teach you a little about servers and hosting.  Just make sure not to try it on your main computer because you won’t be able to run any other applications if you want your website to remain stable.

How to Migrate Your WordPress Website to a Different Hosting Provider

WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world at the moment, with the platform estimated to power around 36% of all websites on the internet by the company’s own account. The CMS is very flexible, supports loads of different themes and apps, is suitable for any type of website and, unlike rival site builders such as Wix, won’t cost you a thing. That’s right, WordPress is completely free and open-source to boot, which explains why the platform is so popular with novice and veteran webmasters alike.

But while WordPress is a great CMS for building your next website, you do need to pair it with a good hosting provider in order to achieve the best results. WordPress itself recommends going either with Bluehost, DreamHost or SiteGround but the choice is entirely up to you. Just make sure to pick a reliable hosting provider, otherwise, you’ll probably going to have to migrate your site to a new host sooner or later. Migrating a WordPress website can be a bit of a hassle if you’re not familiar with the process but don’t worry because we’re going to teach you how it works in this step-by-step guide.

Quick Overview

Pretty much all the major web-hosting providers, and even some of the smaller ones, offer WordPress website migration services. Some providers will migrate your website for free while others charge for the service. Each company has its own way of doing doings.

For example, DreamHost charges $99 for site migrations if you’re on a shared hosting plan but the service is free with managed WordPress packages. Meanwhile, A2 Hosting offers free site migrations with all plans and iPage charges $150 for each site you want to migrate. Bluehost has a similar deal but can migrate up to 5 sites for a total of $150.

If you decide to use the site migration service offered by your provider, the company will take care of everything for you. If you decide to do it yourself, however, there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, you shouldn’t try to migrate your WordPress website all at once if you want to do it properly. Instead, you’ll want to migrate your domain name, databases, emails, and your site’s files separately and you’ll need to do these things in a certain order.

This goes without saying but you should sign up with a new hosting provider before you begin the process of transferring your WordPress website from your old host. If you haven’t decided on a new provider just yet, make sure to check out our list of top Bluehost alternatives because most of the companies there are excellent at hosting WordPress sites.

Moving Your Website to the New Hosting Provider

In order for everything to run smoothly, you’re going to need to have access to a file manager or FTP client and a tool for managing databases on both your new and old hosting accounts. Once you’re sure you have access to everything, you can begin the transfer by following the steps down below.

Step 1: Copy Your WordPress Files

Your first order of business is to make a local copy of all files found on your WordPress website. Some providers allow users to make manual copies of their sites and then download them locally, but not all companies offer this feature. If your old provider doesn’t let you download files via the control panel (or charges you for it), you can simply use a file transfer protocol (FTP) client to achieve the same result. If your provider does have a cPanel, follow these steps:

  1. Open the cPanel and find the tool labeled File Manager. There, look for a directory named after the website you want to transfer and open it. If you can’t find a directory like that, look for a directory labeled ‘public_html’. The name of the root directory may vary depending on your provider but you’ll know you found the right one if the files and folders inside have names like ‘wp-admin’, ‘wp-content’, etc.

cPanel Filemanager

  1. Click the Select All option at the top of the list or use your mouse to manually select the files.
  2. Now look to the left-hand side of the window to find an option that allows you to compress all the files you have selected.
  3. Once you select the Compress option you will be greeted by a popup window that asks you to confirm the action. Change the name of the resulting archive if needed and then begin the compression process.
  4. After all your files have been compressed click the Download button to save the archive to your computer.

Note: some web hosting providers (like DreamHost for example) use a custom control panel instead of the regular cPanel. The instructions provided above still apply even when using a custom control panel, however, some of the options (compress, download, etc.) may not be located in the same places as those found in cPanel.

Uploading the Backup

Now that you have a backup of your WordPress website you can upload it directly to your new hosting provider. However, this will only work if your new provider also has a cPanel or some other form of control panel. This is usually the case but you may not have access to a regular control panel at all if you sign up for an unmanaged VPS or dedicated server, so keep that in mind. In order to upload the archive to your new host, follow these steps:

  1. Log into your new hosting account and open cPanel.
  2. Open the File Manager and navigate to the location of your website’s root directory. If this is the first time using the File Manager on this account, the root directly will probably be labeled something like ‘public_html’.
  3. Select the Upload option to begin uploading your site’s archive to the root directory.
  4. Once the upload has finished, select the archive and extract the files to your new host.

If your hosting provider doesn’t have a regular control panel (cPanel or otherwise) or if you’re using an unmanaged hosting plan, you can transfer your WordPress website using an FTP client instead. We recommend using FileZilla but there are a few other good ones out there you could try.

Transferring files via FTP works similar to transferring via File Manager but you’ll have to get used to working with a slightly different interface. Before you can start transferring files, however, you’ll need to create a user with FTP access under your account. Remember the username and password because you’re going to need them to connect to your server.

In order to log into your server using FileZilla, type in the hostname followed by your username and password in the fields located in the upper part of the UI. In this case, the hostname is simply the name of your website but without the ‘www.’ Once you have successfully connected to your server, you’ll be able to download your files following more or less the steps described earlier. If you’re not sure how to create an FTP user, make sure to check your hosting provider’s documentation for details or contact customer support for help.

Step 2: Export Your WordPress Database

Now that you have a copy of your files you’ll also want to make a copy of your database. Most hosting providers allow users to create and manage databases directly from the control panel or via an administration tool known as phpMyAdmin. Your database contains important information about your WordPress website so don’t skip this step if possible. That said, certain hosting providers don’t support databases or don’t include them with all plans. Make sure you sign up with a new host that does support them.

  1. Log into your account and open the control panel.
  2. Find the phpMyAdmin tool and open it.
  3. Look towards the left-hand side of the UI to find a list of all your databases.
  4. Select the database you want to back up and click the Export option from the top menu.
  5. On the next screen select the Quick option (or Custom if you know what you’re doing).
  6. Use the ‘Format’ dropdown menu and pick SQL.
  7. Select ‘Go’ and wait until the exporting process is complete.

You now have a copy of your WordPress database that’s ready to be imported into your new hosting provider’s account. Keep the database near the archive you downloaded earlier so you can have everything in one place, which will make the next steps easier.

Step 3: Create a Database on Your New Account

The next step of the process involves creating a database on your new account. You will use this to import the database you downloaded earlier from your old hosting provider. It’s important that the two databases share the same type. Providers that offer WordPress hosting usually work with MySQL databases so this shouldn’t be much of an issue.

In addition to creating a new database, you’ll also need to create a fresh WordPress database user. Make sure to save the username and password after you create the new user because you’ll need both of them a bit later. In order to create the database, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to the control panel of your new hosting provider and look for a tool labeled ‘MySQL.’ Depending on which hosting you use, the tool may alternatively be known as ‘MySQL databases’ or simply ‘databases’.
  2. Give your new database a name and fill any other mandatory fields, including the hostname if needed.
  3. Create a new database user and make sure to select a secure password. Use a password generator if you want to make it foolproof.
  4. Add the database user to your newly created database and make sure that all privileges are enabled for the user.

Again, not all hosting providers use cPanel but for the most part, these steps should still apply regardless. With that out of the way, let’s proceed to the next step of the process.

Step 4: Edit Your wp-config.php File

If you’ve been using WordPress for a while now, you’re probably already familiar with this file. But just in case you’re not, wp-config.php is a file that contains important information related to the configuration of your WordPress site. Among other things, it contains all the credentials of your site’s database. These credentials are different for every site so this file won’t be the same on your new host as it is on your old one, which is why you’re going to have to edit it.

As for how you can access this file, simply open the File Manager via cPanel or use FTP to connect to your server on the old account first. If you’re using File Manager, you can open and edit wp-config.php directly without leaving the site. If you’re using FTP, you’ll need to download the file, edit it, and then upload it back to your server. If you don’t have an editor that can open the file you can grab Notepad++ for free.

Open the database on your old account and look for the lines of text related to databases, which should include ‘database name’, ‘database username’, and ‘database password.’ Replace all of them with the credentials you created on your new hosting account in the previous step.

If you want to play it safe, which you should, we recommend saving a copy of your old wp-config.php file on your computer just in case something goes wrong. If you happen to change your mind about the transfer, you can use the backup copy to revert to the previous version of the file.

Step 5: Import Your Old Database to Your New Account

If you’ve been following our guide closely so far, you should now have an empty database on your new hosting account and a copy of your old one save locally on your computer. We’re going to use the old database to populate the new one you created during the previous steps.

  1. Log into your new account and open the phpMyAdmin panel.
  2. Open the empty database and look for the option labeled ‘Import’.
  3. Once you click that option you will be greeted by a new window that asks you to select the database you want to import.
  4. Navigate to the location of your old database on your computer and select it once you find it. Make sure that the box labeled ‘Partial Import’ is not checked.
  5. Lastly, click the ‘Go’ button to begin importing your old database.

Step 6: Transfer Your Old WordPress Files to Your New Account

Now that your old database has been imported to your new hosting account, it’s time to do the same to your files. The process is pretty much identical so go ahead and open the File Manager or your FTP client. If this is the first time you’re transferring a website to your new hosting account you’ll want to upload the files to the main root directory. As mentioned earlier, this directory is usually labeled something like ‘public_html’ but the name may differ depending on your hosting provider.

If you already have other websites hosted on the account, you need to move the files to the directory that has the same name as your domain. If such a directory doesn’t already exist, you need to create one yourself. The name of the directory doesn’t necessarily have to be identical to that of the domain but it helps if it is because it allows you to better organize things.

Open the directory and look for the ‘Import’ or ‘Upload’ option. Next, make sure to select the option that lets you import archives (.zip files) rather than individual files or folders. Navigate to the location of the archive on your computer and select it to begin the upload process. This process may take a while depending on the size of the archive and your internet speed so don’t close your browser/FTP client until the upload has been completed.

Step 7: Change Your DNS

Now that you’ve transferred both your files and your database to the new hosting provider, you may also want to consider transferring your domain name. This step isn’t actually mandatory but going through with it is very convenient because you will be able to manage your domain registration and your web hosting from the same account.

Then again, your old provider may charge less for domain renewals than your new one so there are situations when it’s preferable to not transfer your domain. If you want to migrate your site from GoDaddy to HostGator, for example, you may want to keep your domain at GoDaddy because renewals there are much cheaper.

Option 1: Make the Old Name Servers Point to Your New Host

Sticking to the example mentioned earlier, you can continue renewing your domain with GoDaddy but you will need to change its name servers in order to have it work with the hosting provided by HostGator. Different providers offer different means of changing DNS (domain name system) records but the option can usually be found somewhere in the control panel.

Changing DNS records is considered a task for advanced users so you should check the documentation provided by your domain registrar or contact customer support for help if needed. You’ll want to do the same with your new host as well because each host has unique name servers and they can also vary depending on the type of hosting you’re using. For example, VPS and dedicated plans use private name servers while shared hosting plans use generic name servers.

Keep in mind that it can take anywhere between half an hour to a day or more for the changes to take effect and your website is likely to slow down or even become temporarily unavailable during this process. That’s why it’s a good idea to make this change when your site isn’t experiencing a lot of traffic. You may even want to bring your site down for maintenance during the process to avoid providing a negative user experience to your visitors. You should also avoid posting new content or making changes to your website while the process is ongoing, just to be on the safe side.

Option 2: Transfer the Domain to Your New Hosting Provider

While keeping your domain name separate from your hosting provider can have certain advantages, it’s often better to have everything in one place. Transferring a domain name to a different registrar is fairly simple and will usually not cost you anything. But while the transfer itself is free, you will need to pay your new registrar a renewal fee. Also keep in mind that the transfer will only work if your new hosting provider does, in fact, also offer domain registration services. Most providers also act as registrars but there are some exceptions.

In order to initiate the transfer, you will first need to unlock your domain name from your old registrar. First, you need to obtain the EPP code of your domain, which is a randomly generated authorization key that’s unique to each domain name. This code can usually be obtained directly from the control panel, though there may be instances when you’ll need to contact customer support and ask them to give you access to the code.

Once you have this code, disable privacy protection if needed and then unlock the domain name. Some providers have a button that you’ll need to click in order to unlock the domain but others don’t show any additional options. In those cases, all you need is the EPP code and you’re good to go. Once you unlock a domain or initiate the transfer, the registrar will send a confirmation email to the account administrator. Make sure to keep an eye out for that because you may need to confirm the transfer by following the instructions listed in the email.

The final step is to log into your new account and use the EPP code you got earlier to initiate the domain transfer. The process may take anywhere between a few hours and a few days, depending on the registrar. Your site will continue to be live and largely unaffected during this process so there’s no need to take it down for maintenance.

Step 8: Test Your WordPress Website Following the Transfer

Once your WordPress website has been transferred, complete with database and domain name, it’s time to do a bit of testing. In addition to checking your pages and WordPress dashboard to make sure everything looks good, you should also check to see if your domain name has been successfully transferred to your new registrar. You can look up the status of the transfer by using WHOIS.

Go to the WHOIS website and type in the name of your domain. If domain privacy is enabled, the database won’t show any of your personal information, but it will display your domain registrar along with your name servers, among other things. When visiting your website after the transfer it’s a good idea to clear your cache and use a VPN if possible to ensure that everything works properly from any location. Make sure not to cancel your account at your old registrar before you can confirm that your website is working as intended with your new provider and that your domain has been successfully transferred.

Moving Your Email to Your New Provider

Similar to domain names, emails don’t necessarily have to be hosted by the same provider as your website. Once again, though, it’s a lot more convenient to have a single service that takes care of everything. Regardless of where you want to transfer your emails, the process involves the following steps:

Step 1: Create Fresh Mailboxes on Your New Account

Before you choose a new provider to host your emails you should check and see if the company does, in fact, offer this type of service. Most providers tend to display this information on their home page along with other details related to their hosting packages. While you’re researching various hosting options you should also find out if your new host supports the same email protocols as your previous host. Popular protocols include:

Webmail – Just as its name suggests, this protocol allows users to send and receive emails via a web-based interface. With this protocol, you don’t have to worry about downloading your emails and you can usually access your mailboxes directly from the control panel, though some providers have separate portals for webmail.

Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) – IMAP is very similar to webmail in the sense that everything occurs online, however, this protocol is mainly designed for reading email rather than sending it. IMAP allows you to easily read emails from multiple devices, provided you have a compatible client installed on each of them.

Post Office Protocol (POP3) – POP3 downloads your emails to your computer rather than allowing you to view them directly on the server. This protocol is meant for those who don’t generally use more than one computer to read emails.

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) – The internet standard communication protocol for sending and receiving email.

Step 2: Configure Your Email Clients

This step is optional if you’re using webmail but if you plan to check your emails using clients like Outlook or Apple Mail, you’re going to have to configure them for the new service. Different hosting providers use different settings so you’ll need to check the documentation or contact customer support to find out how to configure the settings for incoming and outgoing emails.

Step 3: Transfer Email Folders

If both your old and your new hosting provider uses cPanel this step is a piece of cake. Simply log into your old account and download all your email folders from the control panel. Then, log into your new account and upload them. If using cPanel is not an option, transfer your email folders by following the steps below.

  1. Log into your new account and create mailboxes that have the same names as the ones you have on your old account.
  2. While creating the new mailboxes, make sure to set the same passwords you’ve been using on your old ones. These can be changed later if needed.
  3. Log into your email client and create two accounts that share the same name, address, and password.
  4. The two accounts must support the IMAP protocol but they won’t have the same IMAP settings. Make sure one of the accounts uses your old host’s settings and that the other one is configured to use your new host’s settings.
  5. Now simply open the mailbox that connects to your old host and transfer the emails to your other mailbox. You can select multiple emails at once and use the drag-and-drop method to save time.

Step 4: Change Your Mail Exchanger (MX) Records

MX records are part of your DNS record and are used to tell the mail server where to send email messages. Since you’re moving to a different provider you want the MX records to point to the new location of your domain. You can change these records by accessing the DNS manager on your old account.

MX records contain, among other things, the hostname so make sure to change your old host to the new one in the records. A couple of other things you may want to modify are the priority number and the Time to Live (TTL) number. The priority number indicates the order by which various servers will receive emails. Make sure the primary server has the lowest number to ensure that it’s given the highest priority.

If you also change the TTL number to a lower value, the changes made to the MX records will propagate faster across the internet. However, doing so might also slow down your website so you’ll want to revert back to the original settings once everything has been transferred to the new hosting provider.

Step 5: Test Your Email

Your last order of business is to test your mailboxes once the transfer has been completed to make sure that everything is working as it should. In order to properly test your mailboxes, send test messages from a third-party account such as Gmail or Yahoo! Mail. Then, reply back to these messages from your domain mailbox and check to see if everything looks good. You’ll want to repeat this process for each mailbox you transferred just to be on the safe side.

Final Thoughts

The process of transferring to a new hosting provider may seem a bit complicated to some users, but you shouldn’t run into any issues if you closely follow the steps described in this guide. Before starting the transfer, you may want to read the guide a couple of times until you’re sure you understand how everything works. You’ll also want to check with both your current and the new provider to see if they support things like cPanel, FTP, MySQL databases, webmail, and DNS management.

If you want to switch from your current provider but don’t know which company to pick as your new host, we have plenty of articles that can help you out. Make sure to check out our reviews section for an in-depth analysis of the most popular web hosting providers on the market and then take a look at some of our comparisons to see how different hosts stack up against each other.

Top 10 Cheapest Web Hosting Providers of 2020

It’s no secret that every successful website needs a good hosting provider. A lot of the time people expect good services to be fairly expensive but that’s not always the case when it comes to web hosting. In fact, some of the best hosting services on the market are quite affordable, to the point where many of them will only set you back a few bucks per month. But are cheap web hosting services really trustworthy? The short answer is yes, however, as with all things, some are much better than others so you shouldn’t pick a hosting provider based on price alone.

In order to help you find the best cheap hosting provider, we looked into the most popular options available on the market today and compiled a list of 10 companies that are known not just for their affordable prices, but also for their quality services. Each of these companies offers multiple types of hosting so in the interest of keeping things fair, we’re mainly going to focus on their shared hosting plans. Shared hosting is almost always the cheapest of the bunch and serves as the perfect starting point for webmasters who want to launch a new website without having to speed too much money on it.

Also worth noting is that we’re ranking these services based on their overall bang for the buck. Companies that offer free domain names, website builders or various apps and tools ranked higher because of this. After all, you’re not getting such a great deal if you have to buy a lot of tools separately, regardless of how cheap the hosting itself is. With that out of the way, here’s a quick look at the top cheap web hosting providers of 2020:

  • SiteGround – Excellent performance, plenty of features, and a great bang for your buck
  • Dreamhost – A great second pick that has a lot to offer and is very upfront about its prices.
  • Bluehost – One of the most popular hosting providers on the market, Bluehost is always a solid choice.
  • Namecheap – It’s all in the name. A very cheap option that’s easy to recommend for beginners.
  • Hostwinds – A very well-rounded provider known for cheap shared hosting and cloud solutions.
  • A2 Hosting – The best refund policy on the market makes A2 a virtually risk-free option.
  • iPage – Offers a great all-in-one package that will only set you back a couple of bucks per month.
  • Hostinger – Comes with a few drawbacks but has the cheapest prices of any company on this list.
  • InterServer – Prices a bit above the market average but the first month costs almost nothing.
  • HostGator – Mostly known for domain registrations but also offers cheap shared hosting.

Even though we decided to go with a ranked list, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any of the services featured in this article. We do think our top picks have a bit more to offer in certain areas but your needs may be different than ours, so make sure to check out all these services before you make a final decision.

1. SiteGround

SiteGround is an award-winning hosting provider that can go toe to toe with any other company on this list. Together with Bluehost and Dreamhost, SiteGround completes the trio of hosting providers officially endorsed by WordPress. Needless to say, the shared hosting plans here are top-notch but the company’s other services are not to be overlooked either. Among other things, SiteGround also offers cloud hosting, reseller hosting, and enterprise hosting solutions. It’s worth noting that while the shared and WordPress packages are identical in terms of pricing, they do differ somewhat when it comes to the features.

SiteGround is generally not quite as affordable as many of its competitors but at the moment, it’s definitely one of the best cheap hosting services on the market. That’s because the provider is currently offering an unbeatable deal that will get you 3 months of hosting for only $0.99. This generous offer was put forward to help more people get their sites up and running in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The deal only applies to the StartUp shared hosting/WordPress plan, usually priced at $3.95 per month. The other two packages continued to be priced as usual at $5.95/mo and $11.95/mo, respectively.

Pros and Cons

The list of features included by SiteGround with its hosting plans is quite lengthy. You’ve got unmetered bandwidth, unlimited email accounts, databases, a free CDN account, SSL certificate, automated daily backups, anti-hack protection, and more. You can only host a single website with the starter package but that limitation is removed with the two other plans, which bring to the table a few other extras like on-demand backups, free site transfers, and priority support, to name just a few of the highlights.

The main downside of SiteGround is that the storage is pretty limited regardless of which plan you choose. You only get between 10 and 30 GB of disk space depending on the plan so you’ll need to carefully manage your resources. Another thing you may need to worry about is the fact that you can’t add collaborators with the basic plan. That’s not really an issue if you like managing everything by yourself, but that won’t be the case for everyone.

Even though the StartUp shared hosting plan is missing a couple of key features, it’s still very easy to recommend, as are all the other services you can find at SiteGround. The current promotion makes SiteGround more appealing than ever so if you were thinking about signing up with the provider, now would be the perfect time to do so.

2. Dreamhost

Dreamhost is another fantastic option if you’re in the market for reliable and cheap hosting services. A veteran provider that has been operating since 1997, Dreamhost powers well over 1.5 million websites and offers every type of hosting you can think of. The company specializes in shared hosting and its WordPress plans are recommended by the folks behind the CMS themselves. In addition, Dreamhost is also known for offering fairly priced cloud hosting solutions, VPS, and dedicated servers.

There are only two shared hosting packages to choose from, the cheapest of which will set you back $2.59 per month. Unlike most hosting providers, Dreamhost is very upfront about the fact that you’ll need to sign up for a 3-year plan in order to take advantage of the low prices. For the most part, providers fail to mention this until you’re already in the middle of the checkout process. As always, the price goes up if you pick a short-term plan but the difference isn’t that big. For instance, the basic plan only costs $4.95/mo if you decide to pay monthly, which is a very good price for this type of billing cycle and much less than what other providers charge for similar packages.

Pros and Cons

The reason Dreamhost only offers two types of shared hosting plans is that the company is trying to simplify things as much as possible. The Starter package is great for newcomers as it includes the usual features like a free domain for 1 year, SSL certificate, and unmetered bandwidth, but limits things like storage, databases, and subdomains while also only supporting a single website. True to its name, the $4.95 per month Unlimited plan removes these limitations and throws in unlimited emails for good measure. Aside from that, the plans are identical.

Dreamhost doesn’t have a whole lot of cons but, as always, you will find a couple of drawbacks if you look close enough. For example, the company’s site migration service will set you back $99 per site, which is a bit steep. Domain migrations are a lot cheaper at $9.99, but a lot of providers these days offer that service for free. The issue that stands out the most, however, is the lack of domain emails with the basic shared hosting plan. You can add mailboxes to your package via an optional add-on for $1.99 per month per mailbox. That’s not a terrible price but if you need more than one mailbox you’re better off going with the Unlimited plan instead.

Dreamhost has a very helpful and professional customer support team that can be contacted 24/7 via live chat and a ticketing system. Unfortunately, there’s no phone support at the moment, which can be seen as a pretty big drawback for some. That said, Dreamhost support agents are always very effective at providing assistance using the existing channels.

3. Bluehost

Bluehost is the go-to hosting solution for a lot of people around the world and with good reason. The company currently hosts over 2 million websites and is widely known as one of the most popular options for newcomers and veterans alike. Bluehost is a particularly good choice for hosting WordPress-based websites as it offers specialized plans that can help you get the most out of the CMS. In our Bluehost vs WordPress comparison, we talked at length about why Bluehost plays better with the CMS than most other providers and why WordPress itself recommends it so openly.

While not necessarily the absolute cheapest service on the market, Bluehost is certainly among the most affordable web hosting providers you can find right now. Shared hosting packages start at only $2.95 per month and the best value plans only cost $5.45 per month.  The aforementioned managed WordPress plans range between $19.95 and $49.95 per month, which can be considered a bit pricey but you do get a lot of good value in exchange. That said, you can definitely set up a successful WordPress-based website on a shared plan as well if you don’t mind jumping a couple of extra hoops, that is.

Pros and Cons

Assuming you’re going with the absolute cheapest plan, you can expect to receive a free domain name for 1 year, free SSL certificate, 50 GB of storage, and a free 30-day trial for Microsoft Office 365, which allows you to create professional emails. If you opt for a standard WordPress plan, Bluehost will automatically install the CMS on your website and will ensure that all WordPress updates occur automatically, though you can turn this option off if you want.

The basic package offers pretty good value but only supports a single website so you’ll need to upgrade to one of the next tiers if you plan to host multiple sites. Doing so will also grant you unlimited storage along with access to website analytics, automated backups, domain privacy, a dedicated IP address and more, depending on which package you choose. Bluehost also offers several optional services that can be added to your package, including SEO tools and malware protection.

Bluehost is one of the best cheap hosting services for those who plan to stick with the company for the long haul. If you’re on a tight budget, however, the provider is a bit more difficult to recommend because its shared hosting plans don’t support monthly billing cycles, which means you’ll need to pay upfront for at least one full year of hosting. The company doesn’t offer free site migrations either but if this is your first time looking for a hosting provider, there’s no need to worry about that.

4. Namecheap

Namecheap is primarily known as a domain registrar, however, the company also offers web hosting on the side. Here, you can find not just shared hosting but also managed WordPress hosting, VPS, dedicated servers, and even reseller hosting. The only thing missing is cloud hosting, though some of the plans do include cloud storage. As far as the costs are concerned, the company offers extremely low prices for all types of hosting on offer. The dedicated servers and VPS plans, in particular, are some of the best on the market right now.

This is some of the cheapest shared hosting you can find, with prices starting at just $1.44 per month on a 1-year contract. Meanwhile, the month-by-month price sits at just $2.88, which is also very good. Buying a dedicated server from Namecheap will only set you back $48.88 month while a VPS costs a little under $12/mo. The specs of these servers aren’t anything groundbreaking but they are definitely good enough given the low prices. In addition to all of that, Namecheap also offers managed WordPress plans that start at $3.88 per month, however, you’ll only have to pay $1 for your first month. A very good deal indeed.

Pros and Cons

So how much do you get in exchange for the low price of $1.44 per month? Well, not a whole lot but enough to be able to sustain a simple website. Namely, the basic shared hosting package comes with unmetered bandwidth, 20 GB of SSD storage, a domain name complete with privacy protection, free SSL certificate, bi-weekly backups, and support for up to 3 domains. Considering that most hosting providers support a single domain with their starter packages, Namecheap’s offer is not too shabby all things considered. That said, you will need to upgrade to the next tier ($2.44/mo) to get access to unmetered storage, automatic backups, and unlimited email accounts.

Namecheap has a lot going on for itself but it should come as to surprise that its low prices hide certain drawbacks. For instance, you’ll need to pay an extra $1 per month if you choose the UK-based datacenter (recommended for European users). Also, SSL certificates are free only for the first year. Certificates then renew at 50% off for the second year and starting with the third year, you’ll have to pay the standard fee moving forward. The vast majority of providers offer free SSL certificates for life so this paid model is pretty unheard of.

The last and possibly most important thing worth noting is that Namecheap doesn’t offer free ‘.com’ domains with any of its plans. Instead, you can choose from a variety of other extensions like .site, .host, .online or .store. If you want a ‘.com’ domain you’ll need to buy one separately, but at least the good news is that they are quite cheap.

5. Hostwinds

Even though it was established 10 years ago, Hostwinds can be considered a fairly young provider when compared to most of its competitors. While it may look like a jack-of-all-trades at first glance, Hostwinds specializes in cloud hosting solutions while also offering other types of hosting on the side. The company’s shared hosting packages are a bit more expensive than the market average, but they include a number of tools and services that need to be purchased separately at other providers. As far as the cloud hosting plans are concerned, you’ll be hard-pressed to find better ones out there, which is why Hostwinds ranked very high on our list of top DigitalOcean alternatives.

Shared hosting plans start at $3.29 per month, a bit more expensive than, say, Bluehost or Dreamhost but you get more value in exchange. Hostwinds clearly took scalability into consideration when designing the plans because the two other shared packages only cost $4.23 and $5.17 per month, respectively. That means that upgrading to the next tier will set you back just an extra dollar or so per month every time. Cloud hosting starts at only $0.006931/hr, so again, a very good offer, especially when you consider that instances are customizable, feature dedicated resources and can be scaled instantly based on your resource needs.

Pros and Cons

All shared hosting plans come with unlimited SSD storage and bandwidth, free SSL certificate, free domain name, unlimited databases, and email accounts, website monitoring tool, and more. That’s already pretty good value but it gets even better. Hostwinds also throws in a free dedicated IP and free website transfers to sweeten the deal. Companies that sell dedicated IPs separately usually don’t charge a lot for them, but most providers do charge a pretty penny for website transfers. We’re talking anywhere between $50 and $150 per transfer.

Pretty much the only difference between the three shared hosting plans on offer is the number of domains they support. The basic plan only supports one domain, the second plan supports four domains, and the third one supports unlimited domains. While this simplifies things for many users, there’s no real incentive to upgrade to a higher tier if you don’t want to set up more than one website. If you’re looking for extra tools or features you’re going to have to switch to a different type of hosting.

Possibly the main drawback of Hostwinds is that the company only offers a 14-day money-back guarantee. The industry standard is 30 days and there are a handful of companies like Dreamhost and A2 Hosting that go well beyond that in order to attract more customers, and it usually works. Money-back guarantees are one of those things that you may never have to use, but if you do, you better make sure to act fast if you sign up with Hostwinds.

6. A2 Hosting

A2 Hosting is one of the best cheap hosting solutions for users who value performance and quality features. The company is renowned for its reseller hosting solution, which allows users to set up their own little hosting business for very cheap. But you don’t have to be an entrepreneur to sign up with A2 because the company also offers shared hosting, managed WordPress plans, VPS, and dedicated servers. The prices are quite reasonable regardless of which type you choose but the shared hosting plans definitely stand out from the crowd.

A basic hosting package at A2 will set you back $2.96 per month on a three-year contract but you can also choose to pay monthly if you don’t mind spending a little extra. Upgrading to the next tier ($3.70/mo) is very affordable but jumping to the third one will cost you quite a bit more ($7.03/mo). If you’re looking to set up a WordPress website, you can get a managed plan for anywhere between $11.99 and $36.98 per month. The managed WordPress plans are somewhat more expensive when compared to other providers but they include in-house technologies like Turbo mode and various optimizations that will speed up your website by a significant margin.

Pros and Cons

If you’re looking to start with the $2.96/mo plan you can expect unlimited SSD storage and bandwidth, a free SSL certificate, 25 email addresses, 5 MySQL databases, custom site builder, and four server locations to choose from, among other things. Most hosting providers only have one or two data centers so having four options is a big advantage, especially for users outside the US. Another big advantage is the fact that A2 Hosting offers free website transfers with all plans, a feature that other providers usually charge for. Upgrading to the second tier will remove most limitations found in the basic plan and upgrading to the third one will unlock the aforementioned Turbo mode.

Signing up with A2 Hosting comes with a lot of perks but there are also a couple of important drawbacks. Firstly, the company doesn’t include a free custom domain name with any of its shared plans so you’ll need to purchase that separately. You do get a branded subdomain with the extension ‘a2hosted.com’ but that’s not exactly ideal. The second issue is that A2 doesn’t include a backup & restore tool with the starter plan. You can back up your files for free with the other two packages but if you’re going for the basic one, you’ll need to pay separately for that privilege.

One of A2 Hosting’s most well-known features is its ‘anytime’ money-back guarantee. This policy is just what it says on the tin and ensures that you can ask for a refund at any time after signing up for the service. Full refunds are only issued within 30 days of signing up but you can get a prorated refund at any point after that. This refund policy is quite unique and allows the company to advertise itself as a risk-free hosting solution.

7. iPage

iPage is another budget-friendly option that we wholeheartedly recommended for beginners in our review. Even though the company has been doing business for longer than most of its rivals, iPage remains somewhat of an underdog in the world of web hosting. But just because it’s not quite as popular as some of the other companies on this list, that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked. iPage is one of the best cheap hosting solutions on the market and its customer support is very solid.

The first thing you’ll probably notice about iPage is that the company doesn’t offer multiple shared hosting plans, opting instead for a one-size-fits-all solution. The only shared plan on offer will set you back $1.99 per month on a 3-year contract. In addition, you can also get managed WordPress hosting packages starting at only $3.75 per month or $6.95 per month for the improved version. The other types of hosting are harder to recommend because there are much better dedicated and VPS plans out there.

Pros and Cons

iPage takes pride in its ability to offer a lot of features with its sole shared hosting plan, however, there are also quite a few tools that need to be purchased separately. As far as the freebies are concerned, you can look forward to a domain name for 1 year, SSL certificate, unlimited storage and bandwidth, unlimited databases, a @domain mailbox, support for unlimited websites, and eCommerce functionality, to name just the highlights. That’s pretty impressive given the low price tag but there are other essential features that are not included for free.

One of the main drawbacks of iPage is that the company forces you to purchase separately things like domain privacy, malware protection, access to additional mailboxes, and even a backup & restore tool. That last one is quite disappointing because iPage doesn’t have a built-in backup system so you’ll either have to buy the add-on or risk your files being gone forever in case they get deleted. The add-on, along with all the other ones, isn’t that expensive but you can’t pay for them on a monthly basis so the upfront investment is quite high.

Speaking of which, the shared hosting plan itself doesn’t support monthly billing cycles either. That’s not really an issue if you plan to stick with iPage for at least 1 year but, again, it does mean that you’ll need to fork out a good chunk of change when you first sign up. Interestingly enough, the WordPress plans do support monthly billing cycles but the renewal costs are quite high so you’re better off going for a yearly or multi-annual plan in this case as well.

8. Hostinger

Hostinger is a remarkably cheap web hosting solution that almost seems too good to be true. Not only is the service very affordable but it also shines in the performance department and the customer support isn’t too shabby either. So what’s the catch? Well, the basic plan comes with a lot of limitations, though admittedly that can be said about a lot of other services. If you’re willing to upgrade to one of the higher tiers, which are pretty cheap themselves, you’ll find that Hostinger is one of the best cheap hosting providers on the market right now.

The basic package only costs $0.99 per month as part of a 4-year contract, which amounts to a little over $56 after taxes and fees for the entire period. There are various optional add-ons that can bump up the price but you’re still looking at a great bargain regardless. The basic plan comes with limited bandwidth (100 GB), one mailbox and support for a single website so you’ll want to scale up sooner or later. Once you’re ready to take things to the next level, there are two other shared hosting plans priced at $2.89 and $3.99 per month along with cloud hosting solutions and virtual private servers.

Pros and Cons

The basic shared plan comes with a nearly unbeatable price tag but we recommend going with the Business package ($3.99) if possible because it offers much better value. Everything is unlimited with this plan and you get access to additional features like free SSL certificate, daily backups, Cloudflare protection and more. The extra tools are available with basic plans as well, however, you’ll need to purchase them separately. Some of the other providers on this list include all of those extras for free even with their basic packages but, needless to say, those plans don’t cost only $0.99.

If you can’t or don’t want to pay for four years in advance for your hosting, it’s worth noting that all plans also support monthly billing cycles, including the cheapest one. However, paying on a monthly basis will cost you a lot more and there is a $4.99 setup fee as well, which is fairly unusual. The month-by-month cost of the basic plan is $9.99 per month, which is way too high when considering what you’re getting in return. We recommend going at least with a 1-year contract in order to get the best bang for your buck.

While the basic shared hosting plan can be very appealing for new users, there is one other important drawback worth noting. The free domain included with these packages automatically comes with the ‘.xyz’ extension. The other plans have other extensions to choose from, including ‘.com’, ‘.net’, and ‘.info’ but there are no country-specific extensions.

9. InterServer

InterServer is a company that flew under our radar for a long time but we’re glad we eventually took a closer look at it because there are some pretty interesting offers here. Despite not being as well-known as some of the other providers on this list, InterServer has been operating for the past two decades so this is definitely not a rookie company. InterServer seems to focus primarily on cloud VPS and dedicated servers but its shared hosting offer is certainly not to be overlooked either.

Similar to iPage, InterServer only offers a single shared hosting package that’s meant to act as a perfect one-size-fits-all solution for the regular user. The price is $4 per month, so a bit above average, however, the company doesn’t charge extra for renewals, which is always nice to see. What’s even nicer is that your first month of hosting at InterServer will only cost you $0.1 if you use the coupon code displayed on the company’s homepage. You can essentially look at this like a free trial, a practice that’s very uncommon among web hosting providers these days.

Pros and Cons

While not the cheapest hosting service on this list by a long shot, InterServer does a good job of justifying the above-average price of hosting by throwing in plenty of nice features. Some of the highlights include unlimited bandwidth and SSD storage, unlimited email accounts, a custom site builder, weekly backups, and over 450 1-click installers for a variety of useful apps. In addition, users can also benefit from a free website migration and a full security suite complete with a firewall to protect sites from malware and DDoS attacks.

The main thing we didn’t like about InterServer’s hosting package is that it doesn’t come with a free domain name. Granted, registering a new domain or transferring an existing one will only cost you $1.99 for the first year and $11 upon renewal. That’s not too bad but it does raise the initial investment somewhat. On the other hand, there’s not much to complain about when it comes to the other types of hosting. The offer designed for WordPress users, in particular, looks very appealing as it includes dedicated resources and the servers are fully customizable.

InterServer is a very reliable service with plenty of pros and only a few cons. Customer support can be a bit hit or miss at times but that can be said about most hosting providers in our experience. At least the company supports multiple channels for contacting agents, including email, live chat, and several phone numbers.

10. HostGator

HostGator is a veteran hosting provider and domain registrar that powers over 10 million websites as of 2020. The company has been around for nearly two decades at this point and continues to be one of the cheapest web-hosting providers on the market. Often criticized for not bringing enough innovation to the table, in recent times HostGator has made efforts to stay up to date with current trends and even launched its own website builder a while back. HostGator is a very versatile provider that offers every type of hosting you can think of, including shared, cloud, dedicated, and VPS.

The entry point here is $2.75 per month for a basic shared hosting plan, with additional packages being available at $3.95 and $5.95, respectively. HostGator stands out thanks to the fact that even its most expensive shared hosting plan is very affordable for the average user. The company also offers fairly cheap cloud hosting solutions, with plans ranging in price between $4.95 and $9.95 per month. As far as the site builder is concerned, it’s not the best out there but it will only set you back $3.84 per month, complete with web hosting, domain name, and more. If you want to learn more about HostGator’s website builder make sure to check out our list of top 10 Wix alternatives.

Pros and Cons

A basic shared hosting plan comes with a free domain name for 1 year, free SSL certificate, unmetered bandwidth and storage, access to a backup & restore tool, unlimited MySQL databases, and more. Similar to Bluehost and a few other companies on this list, HostGator only supports a single website with its basic plan. You can upgrade to one of the next tiers if you’re looking to host multiple websites and in the process get access to a number of other features and tools, including anonymous FTP, dedicated IP, private SSL, and the ability to park subdomains, among other things.

While definitely not the best option for eCommerce, HostGator does allow you to set up a simple online store with any of its hosting plans. The company has very good uptimes so expect your site to be accessible pretty much 24/7. However, don’t expect it to run smoothly as butter at all times because HostGator doesn’t have the best page loading speeds based on our testing. Another drawback worth noting is that HostGator sells a number of important tools separately unless you sign up for the most expansive plan of course. Doing so will grant you access to pretty much everything the company has to offer.

HostGator offers a free SEO consultation to all users who sing up for a hosting plan. A lot of new webmasters aren’t very familiar with SEO so this is a pretty nice feature, especially since company representatives will help you with everything from keyword research to page optimization. If you want to optimize your site even further, you can purchase an SEO add-on for $2.95 per month (available for free for Business users).

A Few Things You Should Know Before You Sign Up with a Cheap Hosting Provider

Most of the big providers offer hosting plans that could generally be considered affordable even by those who are working on a very tight budget. All the companies we featured on our list only charge between $1 and $4 per month for a basic shared hosting package, which I think we can all agree is a reasonable price. Especially when considering that most of them include things like free domain names, emails, backup tools, and more. That said, that are certain drawbacks you’ll need to keep in mind when signing up with a company that only charges a couple of bucks per month for hosting.

We already mentioned this a few times throughout the articles but it’s important to reiterate that many providers don’t support monthly billing cycles. At least not for their cheapest hosting packages. In those cases, you’ll have to pay at least 1 year in advance for your hosting. If you want to take advantage of the absolute cheapest price, however, you’ll usually have to pay for 3 years upfront. In other words, a hosting plan that only costs $2.5 per month, for example, will actually set you back $90 right off the bat. You won’t need to worry about your hosting for a long time if you go with a multi-year contract but if you’re working with a tight budget, you might not be able to afford the initial investment.

Another thing you need to know about cheap hosting providers is that they almost always advertise their lowest prices on their home page. As mentioned, these are usually the prices charged for 3-year contracts. There are some exceptions to this where companies are upfront about the prices charged for all available types of contracts but these are few and far between. Before choosing your future provider, make sure to look into the actual costs for the time period you’re planning to subscribe to. If the provider doesn’t mention them anywhere on the site, you’ll be able to see them during the checkout process.

While you’re at it, you should also look into the optional tools and services the company is selling separately. A lot of the time providers don’t bundle things like backup & restore tools, emails or even domain names together with their cheapest plans, though they often do include them with their more expensive ones. Ideally, you’ll want to go with a provider that includes all the essential features you’re going to need in a hosting plan that costs very little. That doesn’t happen often but there are companies out there that do it, including some of the ones featured on our list.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a web hosting provider based on the price alone can be very tempting but it’s usually not a very good idea. A company that doesn’t include enough useful features with its packages or that doesn’t provide adequate performance or customer support isn’t a good choice, regardless of how cheap its prices are. Going with a provider that strikes a good balance between price and everything else is key. Your website will suffer if you make the wrong choice so take your time and do some research before you make your final decision.

If you’re just starting off and want to take the easy way out, so to speak, you can also check out all-in-one website builders like Wix, Weebly or Squarespace. These types of platforms are a bit more expensive when compared to traditional hosting providers like these ones found on our list, but they can make life a lot easier for you, especially if you’re a beginner.

Squarespace vs. Shopify – Choosing the Right Platform for Your Store

Setting up an online business can be a daunting task if you want to take the traditional route and build everything from scratch. The website alone can take weeks or even months to design if you plan on taking care of the coding yourself. Hiring someone else to do it can be very expensive, which is not ideal if you’re operating on a tight budget. So is there a better and more affordable solution? Absolutely. Quite a few, in fact. Platforms like Squarespace and Shopify offer hassle-free solutions for building websites with eCommerce functionality in no time and with relatively little effort.

Choosing between the two companies mostly boils down to the type and size of the business you want to launch. Are you looking to build a huge eCommerce platform that sells tons of products or do you just need a small but very stylish online store? Shopify is definitely the best choice for the first scenario while Squarespace would be a better pick for the second one.

Then again, things tend to more nuanced for a lot of users. But don’t worry if you can’t decide right off the bat because we’re here to help. We recently took a closer at both platforms and put together an in-depth comparison that will answer any question you may have about Squarespace and Spotify. By the end of this article, you should have a very good understanding of what these two companies are all about and, therefore, be able to make an informed decision on which platform to use. With that out of the way, let’s kick things off with a little overview of our competitors.

Overview

Squarespace

Squarespace is essentially an all-in-one platform that gives you everything you need to design and launch a new website. Whether you’re looking to create a small blog, a fancy-looking website used to display your work portfolio or a fully-functional online store is entirely up to you. Squarespace simply gives you the tools and lets you build whatever you want with them while also offering some helpful guidance along the way.

The Squarespace site editor sits somewhere between Wix and WordPress in terms of complexity and user-friendliness, making the platform a solid choice for veteran webmasters and newcomers alike. While you won’t be able to build an online store with the entry package, upgrading to one of the higher tiers will gradually unlock a variety of useful eCommerce tools. These tools aren’t quite as advanced as those offered by Shopify but they can certainly get the job done. Squarespace is overall not as powerful as Shopify when it comes to eCommerce but it’s cheaper and more versatile, which makes it a worthwhile option to consider.

Shopify

Shopify is widely considered to be the best eCommerce website builder on the market right now, and with good reason. The platform was designed from the ground up with serious sellers in mind and contains all the tools and features you need to build and manage a professional online store. Unlike Squarespace, Shopify never tried to branch out into different areas and instead decided to keep focusing on what it does best – helping sellers create the perfect store for their business.

Shopify is a bit more difficult to work with when compared to other platforms, which makes it less suitable for beginners. At the same time, the relatively high prices make Shopify hard to recommend for small stores. If you’re willing to put in the time needed to surpass the learning curve and can afford the costs, you’ll quickly find that Shopify is an extremely powerful platform that can support even the largest eCommerce operations. Shopify isn’t for everybody but if you’re part of its target audience, you’ll definitely be satisfied with what the platform has to offer.

Navigation and Ease of Use

Building a website for your online business can be remarkably easy with the right platform. While Wix and a couple of other builders could be considered more user-friendly options, Squarespace and Shopify also try their best to make things as simple and intuitive as possible. The two platforms offer fairly similar-looking interfaces, with the left side of the screen comprised of various menus while the right side features tools and options used to edit content, and elements, and so on.

Squarespace Ease of Use

Squarespace is often seen as one of the most challenging non-eCommerce-specific builders out there. However, that doesn’t necessarily say much given that these types of all-purpose website builders are actually very easy to work with when compared to the alternatives. The main reason why Squarespace may seem a bit too complex at first glance is because the platform comes with a wide variety of powerful creative tools. Getting used to all these tools takes some time and effort but you don’t really have to worry about wrapping your head around the most complex ones unless you’re going for a very specific type of website.

If, on the other hand, you’re looking to build a fairly simple website, you won’t have any issues using the editor because it comes with very intuitive drag-and-drop functionality. The site editor is block-based so you won’t be able to drag elements anywhere on the page. Some people might find this system somewhat restrictive while others will probably see it as a helpful feature because it provides some level of guidance for new users who don’t know where to start. If you’re looking for a drag-and-drop editor that’s completely free-form we recommend checking out Wix.

Squarespace follows the WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) process of editing. In case you’re not familiar with that term, it simply means that you’re editing on the frontend and that any changes you make while editing will look identical on the live version of the site. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like fiddling around with things too much, you’ll be happy to know that Squarespace offers dozens of beautiful pre-configured templates that require very little editing. And if you’re struggling to find the most suitable template for your site, you can let Squarespace’s artificial intelligence system choose one for you.

Shopify Ease of Use

eCommerce-specific builders tend to be more difficult to use when compared to all-purpose builders, however, Shopify is somewhat of an exception to that rule. The learning curve can be a bit steep for beginners but the editor is almost as easy to navigate as Squarespace. Shopify’s site editor was designed with functionality in mind rather than style so you can expect it to look less elegant and feel less intuitive than Squarespace. But just like with Squarespace, the complexity mainly comes from the wide range of tools and features available.

Shopify has a simple dashboard with multiple categories for the various tools and settings along with a section dedicated to page editing. The editor is pretty minimalistic and resembles the one used by WordPress. There’s also some drag-and-drop functionality to make things even easier, though the system isn’t quite as slick as that used by Squarespace. On the bright side, Shopify’s editor is very fast and responsive whereas Squarespace can feel somewhat sluggish at times, particularly if you’re using an older computer.

Although Shopify has a lot going on for it, you can easily build an online store on the platform without knowing too much about it. That’s because Shopify offers a pre-configured storefront that you can use instead of building a new one from scratch. Granted, you’ll probably want to modify some of the sections and add some new elements in order to give it a more unique look. For the most part, though, the pre-configured online store is fully functional out of the box and many of the essential eCommerce features are integrated right off the bat.

Ease of Use – Both platforms are pretty easy to work with but Squarespace feels just a bit more intuitive when compared to Shopify. Squarespace also has a more user-friendly and visually appealing UI, though Shopify’s minimalistic approach isn’t all that bad either.

Templates and Custom Editing

Even though both Squarespace and Shopify allow you to easily create a website for your online business, that doesn’t necessarily mean that any website you make will be a successful and good-looking one. A solid website needs to stand out from the crowd in terms of design while also providing useful features for potential customers. This means that you’ll need to choose a good template and customize it yourself instead of relying on the generic designs recommended by these companies. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad idea to start with a generic structure, but if you really want to attract a lot of customers to your business, you’re going to need something special.

Squarespace

One of the things that stands out the most about Squarespace is the quality of its templates. All the templates offered by the company were carefully crafted by professional designers to look as sleek and as modern as possible. Although there are several dozen templates to choose from, only around 10 of them seem specifically designed for eCommerce. Most templates are more suitable for content-driven websites that use a lot of high-res images.

You can technically add eCommerce functionality to any of the available templates but keep in mind that some of them will be more difficult to optimize than others. Stick to one of the recommended eCommerce templates if you want to play it safe.

If you know your way around CSS, you can make custom edits to your websites by adding bits of code. You also have the option of using code blocks to inject HTML into your pages or to add certain JavaScript elements. Custom edits are only available with the Business plan or higher so you won’t be able to use any code at all with the entry package. It’s also worth noting that Squarespace isn’t the best when it comes to providing support for heavily customized websites. If you want even more control over your website, I suggest using the developer version of Squarespace instead because it opens up a lot more options.

Shopify

Shopify doesn’t sort its themes based on their purpose, mainly because there’s no need for that. All the themes offered by the company were designed for eCommerce so all you need to worry about is the look. Unlike Squarespace, Shopify splits its themes into two categories – free and premium. Users get access to a very limited selection of free themes, though most of them do come in two or three different styles. If you want a store that truly stands out, however, you’ll either have to buy a premium theme or heavily customize a free one.

If you’re familiar with WordPress, you’ll know what to expect here. The premium themes are miles ahead of the free ones in terms of both looks and functionality. There are over 60 premium themes to choose from and buying one will set you back anywhere between $140 and $180. That’s definitely not cheap, especially when you consider that many of the templates offered by Squarespace look just as good, if not better than most of these premium themes.

As far as custom edits are concerned, Shopify is more flexible when compared to Squarespace. You can freely add, remove and edit the HTML and CSS code of your website as you see fit. But, just like Squarespace, Shopify doesn’t include this feature with its cheapest package.

Templates and Custom Editing – Not only does Squarespace have better-looking templates, it also offers a wider selection than Shopify and all of them are available for free. Granted, there aren’t many eCommerce-specific templates to choose from, however, you can technically add eCommerce functionality to all templates, even those that aren’t necessarily optimized for it.

Plans and Pricing

Opening an online stone can be a very profitable venture but you’ll first need to invest some money in order to set everything up. Shopify is quite a bit more expensive than Squarespace, however, the platform offers a larger variety of features and apps. This makes the platform a good choice for large eCommerce operations but isn’t necessarily ideal for smaller online stores. Basically, you’ll need to take into consideration the size and complexity of your store before deciding which of the two platforms to choose.

There’s no doubt that Shopify is in a different class than Squarespace in terms of eCommerce functionality. The platform is the largest of its kind and a direct competitor to other eCommerce juggernauts like Magento, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce. Meanwhile, Squarespace’s main competitors are other all-purpose site builders like Wix, Weebly, and WordPress. Squarespace is a fantastic choice for multi-purpose websites and small stores run by individuals while Shopify is better suited for large stores run by companies.

Squarespace

Squarespace has four plans to choose from, the cheapest of which will only cost you $12 per month. Included in that price are a free domain name for 1 year, unlimited storage, SSL certificate, basic SEO tools, and a few other useful tools and features. While the Personal plan is great for blogs and content-driven websites, you’ll want to go at least with the Business package ($18/mo) in order to unlock eCommerce functionality. You don’t get a lot of special features with the Business plan but basic things like inventory management, shipping tools and the ability to sell unlimited products are all there. Squarespace takes a cut from Business users but the transaction fee is only 3%.

Squarespace’s final two plans are designed specifically for eCommerce and will set you back $26 and $40 per month, respectively. These two plans pack a good amount of advanced features and you won’t have to worry about transaction fees with either of them. If you’re willing to invest in the most expensive plan, you’ll be able to sell subscriptions and gift cards to your customers, add a secure checkout page to your domain, allow customers to create accounts on your platform, and more. You won’t have access to nearly as many advanced features as Shopify offers but you won’t have to invest extra money to buy themes, apps or anything else. Everything Squarespace offers is included in the listed price.

Shopify

Shopify offers a total of five different plans but the cheapest one won’t actually let you build an online store. Instead, the $9/mo Shopify Lite plan is essentially an add-on that lets you turn an existing website or blog into an online store. The integration isn’t always seamless depending on the site but Shopify Lite can also be used on Facebook pages, which can be very useful if you own a business that has a sizeable presence on the social media platform. On the other side of the spectrum is the Shopify Plus plan, which is an enterprise-grade solution designed for very large stores. The price of this plan depends on the requirements of each client but just to give you an idea of what to expect, fees start at $2,000.

As far as the standard plans are concerned, the cheapest one will set you back $29 per month, which is similar to Squarespace’s Basic eCommerce package. Shopify’s cheapest standard plan includes many of the features offered by Squarespace Basic along with a few extra ones like discount codes and abandoned cart recovery. However, there’s no free custom domain here so you’ll need to purchase one separately.

If you need more features and tools, you can upgrade to either the $79/mo or the $299/mo packages. Needless to say, the most expensive plan comes with the most advanced features, as well as other benefits like better shipping discounts and smaller transaction fees for credit card payments. If you’re using Shopify’s own gateway, you won’t have to worry about transaction fees. If you’re using any of the other available payment methods (of which there are many), you can expect Shopify to take a fee of up to 2% per transaction.

Plans and Pricing – Although you do get a lot in exchange for your money, the fact remains that Shopify is quite expensive and difficult to recommend to novice merchants. The cheapest plan offers good value but only if you don’t mind working with one of the free themes. Otherwise, you should probably just stick with Squarespace instead because the platform offers many of the same features and you can build a better-looking store with it at no extra cost. If you’re an experienced seller looking to build a large store, on the other hand, Shopify is the obvious choice here.

Additional Tools and Features

Domain Registration

Purchasing any of Squarespace’s four plans will grant you a free custom domain for 1 year. If you want to register a domain without purchasing a plan or if you want to renew an existing domain, it will cost you $20 per year. While somewhat expensive compared to other companies, the domains offered by Squarespace include WHOIS privacy by default and also come with an SSL certificate.

Shopify doesn’t offer free domains with any of its plans but you can purchase one separately. Domain names start at $14 per year and can be renewed for the same price. Only some of the domains sold by Shopify come with WHOIS privacy, particularly the .com ones. Shopify provides free ‘myshopify.com’ domain names to all users so you don’t necessarily have to register a new one, though having a custom domain name for your store does tend to help quite a bit.

Sales

Both Squarespace and Shopify allow you to sell physical and digital products along with various types of services. Shopify is primarily optimized for selling physical goods so you’ll need to install an app like Digital Downloads if you want to sell digital products and services. Squarespace, on the other hand, includes everything you need to sell any type of product or service right off the bat so there’s no need to install any apps or add-ons.

When it comes to payment options, Shopify is by far the most flexible option in this comparison. The platform supports over 100 types of payment gateways, including PayPal, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, and even certain cryptocurrencies. As mentioned earlier, you’ll need to use the company’s own gateway, Shopify Payments, if you want to avoid transaction fees. By comparison, Squarespace only supports payments via Stripe and PayPal so the selection is a lot more limited.

Shopify is also doing quite a bit better in terms of shipping options. The company allows you to ship worldwide via major carriers like UPS, DHL or Express regardless of which plan you choose. You can benefit from major discounts when using these carriers for shipping and there are also a few useful features included for free, like fraud analysis and the ability to print shipping labels. Squarespace is slowly catching up with big platforms like Shopify, however, it is currently still not a very good solution for shipping outside North America. Also worth noting is that you’ll need to purchase Squarespace’s most expensive package in order to unlock advanced shipping.

Marketing

Squarespace isn’t able to integrate with nearly as many third-party apps as Shopify, making it somewhat difficult to effectively market your business and products. You can use the built-in social media integrations to sell products on Facebook or Instagram but that’s about it. Shopify, on the other hand, allows customers to sell directly on no less than 10 social media platforms while also offering a wide selection of useful apps that can help you improve your marketing strategies.

If social media marketing isn’t your thing, you can always try launching email campaigns instead. Squarespace’s email marketing tools aren’t included by default with any of its four packages but you can acquire them with the use of an optional add-on. The add-on costs $5 per month but you can take advantage of the free trial to test out the service without paying anything. Shopify allows users to launch email campaigns directly from the admin panel. You don’t have to pay to use this feature, however, you can make your campaigns more efficient with the use of certain paid apps.

Blogging can be another great tool for marketing when used properly and it’s pretty clear which of the two platforms is better at it. Squarespace is one of the best platforms you can choose if you want to build an eye-catching blog for your business. Shopify isn’t really suitable for blogs or any other types of websites aside from online stores

SEO

Knowing a bit about SEO can help your site rank higher on search engines, which in turn, should help you sell more products and services. Squarespace offers a number of basic SEO tools that allow you to optimize your content to a certain extent. These tools are mainly aimed at improving articles and blog posts so their usefulness for online stores is situational. Shopify’s SEO tools are geared mainly towards eCommerce platforms and the company offers dozens of apps that can help you with everything from image resizing to speed optimization and more.

Apps

Although Squarespace does have a couple of useful add-ons, it doesn’t have anything resembling a full-fledged app market. Shopify, on the other hand, has one of the most comprehensive app stores out there. The store features close to 4,000 different apps, many of which are comparable to the plugins found on WordPress. The apps offered by Shopify can enhance your online store in a wide variety of ways, however, it’s worth noting that more than half of them will cost you. The prices tend to range between $5 and $10 per month but some of them can get quite a bit more expensive. Luckily, most of them seem to offer a free trial so you can at least test them out before buying.

Refund Policy and Free Trials

A 14-day free trial is available to all new customers at both Squarespace and Shopify. As far as refunds policies are concerned, Squarespace offers a 14-day money-back guarantee while Shopify doesn’t offer any sort of refunds at the time of this writing.

Additional Tools and Features – Although there are a few standout features here and there, Squarespace is overall pretty average in this department. As expected, Shopify offers more robust tools for managing eCommerce platforms, thanks in no small part to its very impressive app store.

Performance and Reliability

A pretty website isn’t worth much if it loads slowly and constantly crashes, which is why it’s always important to take into account the overall performance of the platform you want to sign up with. Gauging the speed and uptime of sites hosted on widely used platforms like Squarespace and Shopify can be a bit tricky because some websites will inevitably perform better than others. For instance, an eCommerce platform that sells tons of products is likely to load slower than a simple blog with a few posts and images.

Having said all that, our research concluded that both Squarespace and Shopify are generally very reliable platforms. Shopify stores tend to be pretty fast, with an average page loading speed of around 701 ms. Although there are some fluctuations, you can usually expect the speed to hover around the 700 ms mark most of the time. Squarespace sites fluctuate a bit more as we’ve seen speeds as low as 624 ms but also as high as 1.5 seconds. On average, though, your Squarespace site should almost always load in under 1 second.

As far as the uptime is concerned, there’s again a bit of a difference in favor of Shopify. The platform managed to achieve an average uptime of 99.99% over the past year while Squarespace’s average uptime sat at around 99.96%. Squarespace experienced a few more outages than Shopify but the downtime period was very short every single time.

Performance and Reliability – Shopify is an absolute juggernaut so it should come as no surprise that the company invested a lot of money into its infrastructure. As a result, Shopify stores load very fast and rarely experience any downtime. Although Squarespace is a bit slower, the difference in performance between the two companies is surprisingly small all things considered.

Customer Support

Good customer support is essential for companies that work with a lot of huge eCommerce platforms. Unsurprisingly, Shopify doesn’t disappoint in this department. The company offers 24/7 customer support via email, phone, and live chat. Customers that opt for the Shopify Plus package also get their own dedicated support agent to help them grow their business. And just in case you need help with coding or design, you can hire a Shopify Expert to provide professional technical assistance.

Even though Squarespace is a much smaller company, its customer support team is very solid as well. There’s no phone support but you can contact agents via email, ticket, and live chat. In addition, the company has one of the best help centers we’ve ever seen, complete with loads of helpful articles, video guides, forums, and even webinars. Just in case a support agent takes too long to reply, which doesn’t happen often, you should be able to find the answer to any question you may have in the help center.

Customer Support – Shopify goes above and beyond to provide good support to its many customers and there are a lot of options to choose from whenever you require technical assistance. Squarespace’s customer support isn’t quite as impressive as that of Shopify but it’s as good as you would expect from a company of this size, perhaps even better.

Squarespace vs Shopify – An Unlikely Winner

Even though both Squarespace and Shopify are very solid choices, choosing between them isn’t actually that hard. The purpose of this comparison was to figure out the best platform for most types of online businesses and that platform is Squarespace. While Shopify is a much better choice for large stores, we ultimately went with Squarespace because most online businesses actually start out small and require a cheaper and more flexible platform in the beginning.

That’s not to say that Shopify can’t accommodate small businesses, because it certainly can. However, the costs quickly pile up when you consider that you have to pay for a plan, domain, premium themes, and apps, among other things. All those costs make Shopify a less than ideal choice for small businesses and startups. The platform isn’t as user-friendly as Squarespace either, so you’ll also need some patience and preferably some technical skills in order to make the most out of it.

Squarespace is by far the cheapest option in this comparison. The company offers an all-in-one package that contains everything you need to build and maintain a small or medium-sized online business. More importantly, though, you can set up a new business from scratch in a very short amount of time by simply editing one of the pre-configured templates. And since Squarespace offers some of the most beautiful templates out there, you can bet that your website will stand out from the crowd in a big way. Presentation is everything a lot of the time and in that department, Squarespace wins against Shopify by a fairly large margin.

Overall – Shopify is often considered to be the best eCommerce-specific builder out there and with good reason. The platform is great for large stores and already established businesses. However, we’re ultimately going with Squarespace because this is a relatively cheap solution that can accommodate pretty much any type of online business. The platform is quite intuitive and fun to use once you get used to its block-based editor and Squarespace also features some of the best templates we’ve ever seen, both in terms of looks and functionality.

Weebly vs. Squarespace – Two Site Builders With Plenty to Offer

Building a new website in 2020 has never been easier thanks to platforms like Squarespace and Weebly. These all-purpose website builders can help you set up a site in no time and with very little effort. And we’re not just talking about a simple blog either. Whether you want to build a professional-looking website to display your work portfolio or a full-fledged online store, you can bet that both Squarespace and Weebly can get the job done with no problems.

Having said that, these two builders aren’t exactly identical so choosing the right one for your website can be a bit challenging, especially if you don’t have any previous experience working with these types of platforms. Don’t worry, though, because in this comparison we’re going to weigh the pros and cons of Squarespace and Weebly in order to help you figure out which one of the two builders is more suitable for your needs. But before we delve too deep into the nitty-gritty let’s take a quick look at what these companies are all about, just in case you’re not already familiar with them.

Overview

Squarespace

Squarespace has been around since 2003 but the company mostly flew under the radar until fairly recently. Just a few years back, the company started investing heavily in marketing in an attempt to gain mass appeal. While Squarespace remains less popular than Weebly, its SuperBowl adverts and marketing campaigns starring Keanu Reeves, among other things, have helped the platform achieve a fairly high level of popularity over the years. It’s hard to say how many people are actually using the platform in 2020 but Squarespace itself claims to have “millions of users.”

Squarespace is probably best known for its beautiful designer templates, all of which are available for free if you subscribe to the service. On the flipside, Squarespace is infamous for having some fairly expensive packages, and therefore, a higher barrier of entry. Squarespace is more expensive when compared to direct competitors like Weebly, Wix or WordPress, though most of its users would tell you that the price is well worth it.

Weebly

Weebly was founded in 2007 and although it’s a younger company than Squarespace, it managed to surpass it by a very significant margin in terms of popularity. Unlike Squarespace, Weebly doesn’t shy away from being a bit more transparent when it comes to its user base. Although we don’t have any exact figures for Weebly either, the company states that it powers over 40 million websites as of 2020. By comparison, Squarespace is believed to power only a little over 1 million websites at the moment.

Weebly is clearly the more widely used platform in this comparison, however, it’s worth noting that the company offers a free version of the builder while Squarespace doesn’t. That certainly gives it an edge when it comes to acquiring new users. In addition, Weebly is also known for having a lot of powerful apps, which Squarespace doesn’t. However, Weebly has a lot fewer themes than Squarespace and many of them aren’t quite as interesting as the templates offered by its rival.

Navigation and Ease of Use

One of the most appealing things about website builders like Squarespace and Weebly is how easy they are to use. And not just in terms of actually creating a website, mind you. Web hosting, free domains and a few other useful tools and features are also included in the price of most plans. Thanks to the fact that both platforms offer intuitive drag-and-drop editors, you don’t have to worry about coding either because that’s entirely optional.

Squarespace

Squarespace’s builder looks clean and fairly minimalistic but hides a lot of complexity underneath the surface. Most of the available menus and buttons tend to lead to additional options so it can take a little while to learn your way around the platform. The learning curve here is a bit steeper when compared to other builders, including Weebly, but it’s ultimately not that hard to figure out where everything is and the learning process can be a lot of fun for some users. There are some helpful tooltips here and there but, for the most part, you’ll have to figure things out on your own.

The editing process is fairly straightforward thanks to the drag-and-drop functionality, though you will need to keep in mind that Squarespace uses a block-based system. This makes the builder feel a little more limiting compared to Weebly, however, you still have the option of dragging elements almost anywhere on a page. One area where Squarespace clearly outshines Weebly is in the creativity department. The builder is famous for offering users a wide range of creative tools that anyone can use to make their site look like it was designed by a professional.

Weebly

At first glance, it may seem like Weebly has more buttons and menus to worry about but that’s actually not the case. Unlike Squarespace, Weebly gives you a more complete overview of the available tools right off the bat. You don’t need to worry about fumbling around the editor to find anything because there are few hidden buttons and icons. Overall, there aren’t as many options to work with at first, however, you can add a lot more complexity and functionality by grabbing some of the tools found in the app store.

The drag-and-drop editor is a bit more flexible in this case but you’ll still need to work within the limitations imposed by the template you’re using. Weebly’s user interface looks less flashy when compared to that of Squarespace but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Weebly was designed to be practical above all else so expect the builder to be fast and responsive at all times. Don’t worry if it seems like Weebly doesn’t feature as many individual elements as other builders because you can easily compensate for this by adding some apps.

Ease of Use – Most users shouldn’t struggle with either of these builders because both Squarespace and Weebly are very intuitive and easy to use. However, Squarespace does have a bit of a steeper learning curve and figuring out how everything works can take some time. Weebly doesn’t struggle with that at all as the builder is remarkably simple to work with right off the bat and regardless of your level of experience.

Templates and Design Flexibility

Just because a website builder is easy to use that doesn’t necessarily make it a great pick, regardless of whether you’re a beginner or a veteran webmaster. One of the other important things you need to take into consideration is the amount and quality of templates at your disposal. Just as important, perhaps even more so in certain situations, is the level of customization afforded by the builder. After all, it doesn’t make much sense to create a website that looks identical to dozens of other sites. While creating something truly unique is difficult with any builder, the platform you choose should allow you to make a website that stands out from the crowd, at least to a certain extent.

Squarespace

Squarespace easily outshines Weebly and most other builders when it comes to templates. While it doesn’t have nearly the same level of variety as Wix or WordPress, all of Squarespace’s templates are very pretty and extremely well made. The company brings to the table around 90 templates hand-crafted by professional designers who put a lot of love and passion into their work. Squarespace could have easily split its templates into free and premium like some of its rivals but instead, the company decided to make all of them available for free to its users, which is always nice to see.

All of the templates are very flexible, with users being able to customize pretty much any element ranging from headers and text blocks to icons and navigation spacing. This allows skilled users to create truly impressive websites, however, there is a downside to the customization as well. Templates are beautifully designed by default and feature lots of high-res images. Replacing the images with ones of lower quality or messing around too much with the original design has the potential to ruin the template’s overall style. This is especially true for beginners who are still experimenting with the platform.

The good news is that you can freely modify or switch between templates without losing any of the content. Unless you purposely delete it of course. So even though it’s possible to ruin the original templates while you’re trying to customize them, new users can freely experiment without having to worry about permanently breaking anything. Veterans, on the other hand, can go all out with the customization because Squarespace supports CSS code injection and features special blocks that allow you to add HTML code. However, these options are not available with the basic package.

Weebly

Weebly can’t really hold a candle to Squarespace when it comes to templates but the company does make an effort to compete. The platform offers around 40 templates and even though they’re not quite as impressive as those offered by its rival, they are of very good quality nevertheless. Just like Squarespace, Weebly sorts its templates by categories such as Business, Portfolio, Blog or Online Store. This makes it very easy to find a template that’s suitable for the type of website you want to build. Strangely enough, though, there’s no search function while browsing templates and you can’t preview how templates look on mobile/tablet screens here, so those are two areas where Weebly could certainly make some improvements.

Weebly is a bit behind Squarespace when it comes to editing flexibility. While you can edit various elements, there aren’t nearly as many options to work with and some elements are a lot more customizable than others. On one hand, this makes it more difficult to create a site that truly stands out because you’re working with the same limited set of options as everyone else. But on the other hand, it also makes it more difficult to mess things up too badly because the editing process is more rigid.

As far as custom editing is concerned, Weebly offers the same opportunities as Squarespace. Namely, you can inject your own CSS or HTML code in order to enhance your site and add very specific features that may not be available by default. The only difference is that Weebly allows all users to edit code regardless of which plan they’re using.

Templates and Design Flexibility – Squarespace is the undisputed king of good looking templates so it should come as no surprise that the company wins this round hands down. That’s not to say that Weebly’s templates are bad (far from it) but Squarespace’s are simply better and you have a lot more of them to work with.

Plans and Pricing

A lot of people want to build their own website or blog but many don’t go through with it because they think it’s too expensive. That can certainly be the case if you decide to hire a professional designer. If you try to do it yourself, however, you’ll find that creating and managing a website can actually be pretty cheap. Using a website builder like Squarespace or Weebly is very affordable, especially if you opt for the entry packages. Granted, you need to do all the heavy lifting yourself but, as mentioned in the previous sections, the building process isn’t too complicated.

If you’re aiming for the cheapest possible way of building a new website look no further than Weebly. The platform is overall a lot cheaper than Squarespace and even offers a free plan. Needless to say, the free plan comes with a lot of restrictions but it’s still a viable option for those who need a simple website or blog. Squarespace, on the other hand, is pretty pricey but you get very good quality in exchange for your money.

Squarespace

Squarespace offers four packages, ranging in price from $12 per month to $40 per month. The entry price is quite higher compared to Weebly and other website builders but you do get nice features in return like free domain, unlimited storage, SSL certificate, and more. The first package is good for small websites and blogs but if you’re aiming for something a bit bigger, you’ll want to go for the Business plan. This plan unlocks a lot of useful tools and features, including custom editing, premium blocks, marketing tools, and eCommerce functionality.

Those looking to open a sizeable online store will want to set their attention towards the final two plans. The last one, in particular, comes with a lot of features that make it excellent for medium-sized eCommerce platforms. Squarespace doesn’t come close to platforms like Shopify when it comes to eCommerce but the company does offer reasonably good support for online stores. And even though $40/mo may seem expensive, the price is actually almost identical to Weebly’s highest tier package.

Weebly

In addition to the free tier, Weebly also offers four premium plans that range in price from $5 per month to $38 per month. Right off the bat, it’s clear that Weebly is the cheapest option in this comparison, however, it’s worth noting that the entry plan features non-removable ads and only comes with 500 MB of storage. In other words, this package isn’t really suitable for users who want to build a serious website. The first paid plan allows you to connect a custom domain but aside from that, it’s nearly identical to the free plan.

If you want to build a website that can be taken seriously you’ll want to aim at least for the Pro tier. Coincidentally, this costs the same as Squarespace’s entry package and comes with most of the same features and tools, including free domain, SSL certificate, and unlimited storage. Just like Squarespace and most other builders, Weebly’s final two plans come with advanced eCommerce functionality. Weebly isn’t really the perfect choice for hosting an online store either but, just like Squarespace, it can get the job done pretty well.

Plans and Pricing – Squarespace offers very good value for money but the entry price is nevertheless too high for a lot of people. Weebly is a much safer choice by comparison because the company not only offers a very cheap entry package but also has a free plan that’s perfect for new users who want to build their first website without spending a penny.

Key Features and Tools

There’s a pretty big difference between Squarespace and Weebly in this department. At first glance, it may seem like you get a similar set of features and tools regardless of which company you choose, and that’s certainly true if you look strictly at what’s included in the various packages. However, Weebly has a pretty significant edge here thanks to its app store, which contains many features and tools that are not available at Squarespace. Ultimately, though, this is a classic battle of quality vs quantity.

Domain Registration

Having a catchy domain name is very important for any brand that hopes to stand out from the crowd. With Squarespace, you can register such a domain for $20 and then pay another $20 per year every time you want to renew it. If you don’t want to register a domain separately you can simply sign up for any of Squarespace’s four plans to receive one for free. The domain will remain free for 1 year and includes WHOIS privacy protection so there’s no need to pay extra for that.

Weebly is a bit cheaper but not by much. Namely, you can register a domain with the company for $19.95 per year. Just like Squarespace, Weebly doesn’t charge extra for domain renewals. One drawback of Weebly is that the company doesn’t offer a free domain with its first paid package, though this plan does allow you to connect a domain you already own. All plans starting with the $12/mo one come with a free domain for 1 year. The free plan does include a free domain but the caveat is that it will have the .weebly extension attached to it, which isn’t a very good look for serious brands.

Backups

Backing up your Squarespace website can be a huge hassle. The company doesn’t have an option that allows users to manually back up their websites from the admin panel so you’ll have to rely on the company’s automatic system instead. Either that or you can create a manual backup using an XML file but doing so will only allow you to save the content, not the layout of your site. Also worth noting is that Squarespace only keeps the automatic backups it makes for up to a month so restoring an older version of a site is next to impossible.

Weebly is a lot better than Squarespace when it comes to backups. Users can create a manual backup of their site by visiting the Settings tab in the control panel. Once there, simply go to the ‘Archive’ section and type in your email address. A backup of your entire site will be sent to your mailbox as a.zip file that you can download and save to your computer. Restoring your backups is a bit trickier because Weebly doesn’t have an actual ‘Restore’ option at the moment. However, you can manually re-upload content from the downloaded archive back to your site at any time.

Professional Emails

Squarespace users who subscribe to the Business tier or above benefit from a free G Suite account for 1 year. The deal is only available for new G Suite accounts that have been set up through Squarespace. If your domain was linked to G Suite in the past you won’t be able to redeem the offer, but you can pay a monthly or yearly fee to continue to use your business mailbox in conjugation with Squarespace. This sort of integration is possible with Weebly as well and it’s pretty much the only way of securing a business mailbox since the company doesn’t include one with any of its plans.

eCommerce

As mentioned earlier, both Squarespace and Weebly have dedicated eCommerce plans, so you can build an online store with either of these two platforms. Moreover, you get roughly the same features for roughly the same price regardless of which service you choose. Some of the key features offered by Squarespace and Weebly include abandoned cart recovery, no transaction fees, discount creation, multiple payment options, and shipping management.

Squarespace does get a slight edge over Weebly when it comes to multi-channel integration. The main benefit of this feature is the ability to sell products on Instagram. Aside from that, our two competitors are fairly evenly matched in the eCommerce department. That may change in the near future, though, as Weebly’s recent acquisition by payment processor Square seems to indicate that the site builder will put more emphasis on eCommerce moving forward. If you’re looking for a dedicated eCommerce platform in the meantime, we recommend checking out Shopify.

Blogging and Social Media Integration

The situation here is similar to the one we’ve seen in the eCommerce department. Namely, Squarespace and Weebly are very evenly matched, with neither company being able to offer something interesting that would allow it to outshine the other. In terms of blogging, you’ve got basic features like archiving, RSS feed, social bookmarking, category display, support for user comments, and a search function. As far as social media integration is concerned, both platforms allow you to display feeds from your social media pages on your website. You can also embed buttons from over a dozen social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more.

Apps

Our two competitors have been mostly neck-in-neck so far when it comes to key features but in this area, Weebly easily takes the lead. Unlike Squarespace, Weebly has a dedicated app center where you can find over 350 apps that can help you improve your SEO, boost your social media presence, optimize your content, and more. Most of these apps come from third-party developers but there are also about a dozen or so that were created by Weebly themselves. That said, all the apps made by Weebly have average reviews so maybe stick with the third-party ones if possible.

The apps are sorted by category and there’s a search function that allows you to quickly find what you’re looking for. Although you can find some free apps in the store, it’s worth noting that most of them come with a price tag. The prices are overall fairly standard but there are some paid apps that should have been available for free if you ask me. One good example is the app that allows users to sell subscriptions to customers, a feature that comes for free with Squarespace’s advanced eCommerce package.

But whether we agree with some of the prices or not, there’s no denying that Weebly has a very impressive selection of apps. Squarespace, on the other hand, doesn’t have much to offer here. The platform has its own marketplace but it only offers a handful of extensions, most of which are aimed at online stores. Aside from that, tech-savvy users can take advantage of certain built-in tools to add widgets to their site via code injection but that’s about it.

SEO

Good SEO practices can make a big difference when you’re trying to make sure that your site ranks higher than the competition in search engines. For the most part, webmasters need to learn how to take care of the SEO on their own, however, there are certain tools that can help with that process. The SEO tools offered by Squarespace and Weebly are pretty basic but they can get the job done nevertheless. We found that the two companies are pretty much identical in this department, at least as far as the built-in tools are concerned.

Either of two platforms will allow you to edit meta titles, meta descriptions, image alt text, and URL slugs. Nothing to write home about here since every site builder lets you manage those things. That said, Weebly does have an advantage over Squarespace thanks to its app center. The company offers several apps that come with advanced SEO tools but not all of them are free so you may need to fork out a few bucks if you need help properly optimizing your content.

Refund Policy and Free Trials

Weebly doesn’t have a free trial but that’s not all that surprising given that the company offers a free plan with no time limits. Meanwhile, Squarespace does offer a trial that lets you use the platform for up to 14 days for free. As far as refund policies are concerned, Weebly offers a 30-day money-back guarantee while Squarespace isn’t quite as generous and only offers a 14-day money-back guarantee.

Key Features and Tools – Squarespace and Weebly are surprisingly evenly matched in many departments, including eCommerce, domain registration, blogging, and social media integration. Weebly has a better system for backups but loses when it comes to professional emails. Overall, though, Weebly still manages to come out on top thanks to its dedicated app center. Although the handful of extensions offered by Squarespace can be useful, Weebly’s app store allows users to enhance their sites in many more ways.

Performance and Reliability

It goes without saying that a fast-loading website makes a better first impression than a slow one. Although there is a slight difference between Squarespace and Weebly when it comes to loading speeds, both our competitors are known to perform pretty well. In the case of Squarespace, you can expect average loading speeds of around 624 ms, with some fluctuations every now and again. Meanwhile, Weebly sites have a loading speed of only 560 ms on average. Weebly sites are a bit faster in general, but not but much.

The situation is very similar when we look at the average uptime of our two competitors. Namely, Weebly’s uptime sits at 99.97% while Squarespace has an average uptime of 99.96%. We learned from previous comparisons that builders like Wix and Shopify have uptimes of around 99.99% so there’s clearly some room for improvement. However, anything above 99% is generally considered good you can definitely rely on both Weebly and Squarespace, though Weebly does perform slightly better overall.

Performance and Reliability – There is a very small difference between the two platforms when it comes to average loading speeds and uptimes. But if you’re a stickler for these kinds of things, you should probably go with Weebly because sites hosted on the platform do seem to perform a bit better.

Customer Support

Customer support is yet another category where Squarespace and Weebly are very evenly matched. You can reach out to Squarespace’s agents 24/7 via email or Monday through Friday via live chat. Weebly also offers phone support in addition to email and live chat, however, none of the channels are available 24/7. In short, users have the choice between a company that doesn’t have phone support and a company that doesn’t have 24/7 support.

As far as self-help options are concerned, Squarespace takes the lead. The company has one of the most comprehensive and intuitive help centers we’ve seen in a long time. The help center features not just articles but also many video guides and even a few webinars. In addition, you can also get in touch with members of the Squarespace community and ask for help via the forums. Weebly has a handful of useful guides and articles but its help center can’t really hold a candle to the one offered by Squarespace. Then again, the platform is easier to use so you probably won’t have to visit the help center all that often anyway.

Customer Support – Even though Weebly has phone support, we have to give this one to Squarespace just because its help center is so much better than the one offered by its rival. If you value phone support more than a good help center, however, Weebly is clearly the better choice here.

Weebly vs Squarespace – Down to the Wire

Weebly vs Squarespace is one of the closest races we’ve seen in a long time. Deciding between these two platforms can be very challenging because of how similar they are. Ultimately, though, I think Weebly is the best choice for most users. At the end of the day, Squarespace targets a fairly specific audience, mainly composed of artists, photographers and other creative types. Weebly, on the other hand, is a good fit for pretty much everyone.

We do have to give props to Squarespace for its extremely well-made templates and customization potential. There’s no doubt that you can create a very good looking website with Squarespace but in order to truly stand out from the crowd, you’ll need to invest time and effort in order to surpass its rather steep learning curve. The other major drawback here is the price, which is way above average when compared to other site builders. You do get good value in exchange but most people who want to build a new website don’t want to spend too much on it, which is understandable.

The fact that Weebly offers a free tier along with a very cheap plan gives it a major advantage in this competition. The platform also gets extra points for its ease of use, larger variety of features, and slightly better performance. The thing that really pushes it over the edge, however, is the app store. Even though some of the apps are pretty expensive, you can also find a lot of free ones that will help you greatly improve the functionality of your website. Squarespace may have better designs, but Weebly is slightly superior in almost every other department.

Overall – Weebly is a fantastic jack-of-all-trades that can be used reliably to build any type of website ranging from blogs to online stores and everything in between. Weebly is one of the easiest to use site builders out there and you don’t even necessarily have to pay for it, so what’s not to love? To top it all off, the platform performs better than many of its competitors and offers a comprehensive app store. Squarespace is definitely not a bad pick either, particularly for creative users, but we think Weebly is overall the better choice here.

Wix vs. Shopify – Deciding The Most Robust eCommerce Website Builder Available

Do you have a great idea for a new business venture but aren’t sure how to get it off the ground? Or maybe you already have an established business and plan to expand into the digital world. In either case, one of your primary goals will be to set up an online store. There are plenty of good platforms on the market that you can use to build a digital storefront but very few of them are as popular as Wix and Shopify. But which one of these two site builders is the right choice for eCommerce if you’re an average user? In order to give a proper, well-informed answer to that question we decided to thoroughly test both platforms and see how well they stack up against each other.

Even though both Wix and Shopify are good choices for those looking to set up an online store, the two platforms don’t target the exact same audience. Wix is an all-purpose site builder that’s just as easy to recommend for blogs and personal projects as it is for small businesses. Meanwhile, Shopify is a much more specialized platform that’s aimed exclusively at eCommerce enthusiasts. There are also significant differences between the two when it comes to pricing, features, and use of ease, among other things. With that little introduction out of the way, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of our Wix vs Shopify comparison.

Overview

Wix

Wix has been around for 14 years at this point and is estimated to power over 100 million websites. While that very impressive figure isn’t quite enough to dethrone WordPress, it is more than enough to place Wix ahead of rivals like Weebly, Squarespace, and Shopify in terms of popularity. Naturally, popularity isn’t everything but given that Wix has over 160 million users in 2020, it’s pretty safe to assume that people are flocking to the platform for a good reason.

Some may argue that part of the reason has to do with Wix’s very successful marketing campaigns. As we discussed in our Wix vs. Weebly comparison, the company is infamous at this point for its SuperBowl ads, as well as a cringe-worthy and poorly received commercial starring American supermodel Karlie Kloss. These types of marketing stunts may have helped the company reach new audiences but they are certainly not the only reason why Wix is used by so many people.

Wix is significantly easier to use than most other similar platforms. In addition to the site builder, users also get web hosting, a free domain name, access to a very impressive app marketplace, and more. In short, Wix is an all-in-one package that includes everything you need to build and manage a website. While it’s not necessarily the best choice for building a large eCommerce platform, Wix is more than capable of handling small and certain medium-sized online stores. Couple that with the remarkable ease of use and the low prices and it’s pretty easy to see why many prefer Wix over competitors like WordPress, Weebly or even Shopify.

Shopify

Whereas Wix tries to appeal to a very broad audience, Shopify has a more selective approach, choosing to only target users with an interest for eCommerce. Many would argue that Shopify is the best eCommerce-specific platform on the market right now and we can’t really disagree with them. Shopify is somewhat similar to Wix in the sense that it offers packages that come with free web hosting, domain, site builder, and more. However, in this case, the platform is only suitable for building online stores.

You can technically build other types of websites with Shopify but doing so is not recommended because this isn’t a very budget-friendly site builder. Shopify’s prices are quite high but the platform comes with all the tools needed to recoup your investment and make a profit off of your online stores. While Shopify can be a decent choice for small businesses, it is a much better option for growing or already established ones.

As of 2020, Shopify powers over 1 million websites worldwide, which may not seem that impressive when compared to Wix, however, many of these are very successful businesses. According to the company’s economic impact report, businesses created with Shopify have generated a total of $183 billion to date. The report also mentions that back in 2016 there were less than 400.000 businesses on Shopify, so it looks like the company’s impact on eCommerce is growing at an exponential rate.

Navigation and Ease of Use

There’s a pretty big difference between Wix and Shopify when it comes to ease of use. Wix is known as being one of the most user-friendly and straightforward website builders on the market, which makes it a perfect choice for beginners. Shopify, on the other hand, is a bit more difficult to get into due to its specialized nature. That said, Shopify isn’t nearly as intimidating as other eCommerce-specific builders and the platform does try to make its learning curve as smooth as possible.

Wix

Getting started with Wix is incredibly easy thanks to the fact that the company offers a free plan. That means you can simply go to the official website, click the “Get Started” button, create a new account or log in with Facebook/Google and that’s it. You’re ready to start building your new website. Once you reach this point, you have two options at your disposal – build the website yourself or let Wix’s artificial design intelligence (ADI) build one for you.

If you’ve never built a website before you may be tempted to go with the second option but we recommend doing it yourself because the site editor is fun and easy to work with. Wix uses a Pixel Perfect editor with drag-and-drop functionality that makes building pages an absolute breeze. The Wix editor is somewhat different from that of most other builders, including Shopify, because it allows you to drag elements wherever you want on a page. Granted, this does give you more opportunities to mess things up if you’re not careful. If you know what you’re doing, however, you’ll be able to build very unique pages thanks to the free-form editor. And if you’re a developer, you can switch over to the “Dev Mode” to add extra functionality to your site without having to use any apps.

Even though you can get better results with the DIY method, letting the ADI build your website for you is not a bad idea either. Unlike Squarespace’s artificial intelligence, for example, the system doesn’t simply recommend a template based on a few keywords you type in. Wix’s system is actually pretty complex and attempts to build an original website by mixing together elements from various templates. You can also tell the ADI to add certain features and tools to your website in order to achieve even better results.

Shopify

Shopify can take a bit of time to get used to, especially if you’re switching over from all-purpose builders like Wix or Squarespace. There’s no free plan here so it’s a good idea to carefully consider your options before you sign up for the service. That said, Shopify does offer a free 14-day trial so you can test the waters at least for a little while before you commit to a purchase. There’s nothing quite like Wix’s ADI here but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to start entirely from scratch.

In order to make things easier for newcomers, Shopify made sure that all of its themes feature the basic building blocks necessary to start selling online. Users gain access to a simple pre-configured storefront as soon as they sign up and are free to customize it using the plethora of built-in tools and options. The platform has a number of tutorials that guide you through the process of adding products, managing inventory, and customizing your store. Shopify also has drag-and-drop functionality but the editor is block-based rather than free-form. This limits its flexibility but gives the user more structure in return.

While Wix’s editor allows you to work on the frontend, with Shopify you can only make changes to your store on the backend. That means you’ll have to preview your site in order to see your changes and then publish/update your site for the changes to take effect. This system can be somewhat annoying but it’s not as big of a hassle as you may think. If you’re familiar with WordPress, you shouldn’t have any issues adjusting to Shopify’s site editor.

Ease of Use – While Shopify isn’t as difficult to use as some might think, its learning curve is certainly steeper than that of Wix. Few other website builders can compare to Wix when it comes to ease of use, however, don’t expect to be able to create complex online stores with it. If you’re looking for pure simplicity, Wix is the best choice but you’ll need Shopify if you want to build an advance online store.

Scalability

At first glance, it may seem like you can’t really go wrong with Wix in terms of scalability given that you can start off for free and then slowly work your way up to the more expensive tiers. However, there is a catch. None of Wix’s plans come with unlimited resources so you will eventually reach a point where it’s impossible to scale further. That’s unlikely to happen for most users but it is a possibility for large eCommerce platforms. While you can get unlimited bandwidth with many of the high tier packages, you’re restricted to a maximum of 50 GB of storage. At the lower tiers, the bandwidth is also limited and most plans don’t allow you to upload more than a few hours of video content.

Shopify, on the other hand, doesn’t impose any sort of limits on the resources you can use. All plans come with unlimited bandwidth and you don’t have to worry about the storage either. The downside is that Shopify makes it more difficult to upgrade to the upper tiers due to their high price tags. Most small and medium-sized businesses can comfortably sit on the entry plan and never have to upgrade because the resources are not an issue. However, if your business grows to a point where the store needs to be handled by several people, you will have to get a more expensive plan. That’s because each plan comes with a limited amount of staff accounts. You only get 2 accounts with the starter package while the other two plans come with 5 and 15, respectively.

Scalability – The fact that Wix doesn’t offer any plans that come with unlimited storage means that it can’t realistically sustain large online stores. That’s not a problem you have to worry about if you sign up with Shopify. In fact, the platform is known for hosting some of the biggest online stores in the world. The limited number of staff accounts can be an issue in some cases but it’s an issue that’s pretty easy to workaround. Shopify wins this round hands down.

Design and Customization

A good website needs to be able to capture the attention of visitors within the first couple of seconds. This is important for any type of website but it’s especially crucial for online stores. If users don’t like the look of your site they are less likely to buy your products and you lose potential customers as a result. So should you go with Wix or Shopify when trying to build the best looking digital storefront? You can’t go wrong with either of them so we’ll present you with their pros and cons and let you decide for yourself.

Wix

If you’re looking for sheer variety, Wix has got you covered thanks to its 500+ templates. That’s a lot more than what Shopify offers, or any other website builder for that matter. Aside from WordPress of course. But while WordPress and other similar platforms require you to pay extra for the best looking templates, that’s not the case at Wix. You get free access to Wix’s entire library of templates, however, there is a little caveat. Some of the templates are designed exclusively for online stores and aren’t available if you sign up for the basic plans. But since this comparison is aimed at those who want to set up an online store, we’ll assume that anyone reading this would probably choose one of the eCommerce packages anyway.

If you go to Wix’s template library you will notice that all the designs are neatly sorted by category. There are templates for pretty much any niche you can think of and if you have a specific type of design in mind, you can quickly find it by typing a few keywords into the search bar. One of the categories is dedicated entirely to stores so you can start from there if you’re looking for inspiration. If you don’t like any of the designs, you can choose a blank template and start building your storefront from scratch. This option isn’t really meant for beginners but if you’re an advanced user, we definitely recommend going with a blank template because it will give you a lot more control over your site.

But while Wix has a lot going on for itself, there are also a few drawbacks worth keeping in mind. For starters, the platform doesn’t let you switch templates once your site is live so make sure you think carefully before publishing your store because it will be a huge hassle to change its design afterward. We also found it annoying that Wix has separate editors for desktop and mobile. That means you’ll need to configure things twice, which involves a lot of extra work in many cases.

Shopify

If you’re switching from Wix to Shopify you may be disappointed by the latter’s lack of template variety. Don’t get me wrong, Shopify offers over 70 different designs, which is similar to what you get from Squarespace and Weebly, but that’s not quite as impressive as Wix’s selection. But are the templates at least good? Yes, very much so in fact. All templates were created by professional designers and many of them feature multiple styles. The bad news is that most of the best themes need to be purchased.

Unlike Wix, Shopify offers premium themes alongside free ones. And, unfortunately, the selection of free themes is very limited when compared to the selection of premium ones. As of this writing, there are only 8 free themes to choose from and 64 paid ones. The premium themes range in price between $120 and $180 so they’re not exactly cheap. These themes all feature three or four styles and are much more versatile (and not to mention better designed) than their free counterparts. If you’re looking to build a store that stands out from the crowd, it’s pretty much mandatory to go with a premium theme, which isn’t ideal if you’re working with a tight budget.

On the bright side, Shopify’s themes are fully mobile-responsive and you can freely switch between them without losing any of your changes or content. In addition, the changes you make to the desktop version will automatically translate to the mobile version as well. Another big difference between Shopify and Wix is that Shopify allows you to make custom edits to your site without having to switch to a different mode. As mentioned earlier, Wix makes you switch to the “Dev Mode” before it lets make custom edits. You can modify all the CSS and HTML code of your Shopify template, however, this option isn’t available with the company’s entry package.

Design and Customization – Shopify may have a few advantages over Wix when it comes to customization but the platform can’t hold a candle to its rival in terms of sheer variety. Wix offers one of the most impressive selections of templates on the market and doesn’t charge you extra for any of them. There’s no disputing the quality of Shopify’s themes but the fact that you have to pay a premium for most of them is quite disappointing.

Plans and Pricing

Pricing is often the deciding factor when users choose one product over another and that certainly applies to site builders like Wix and Shopify as well. The price difference between these two platforms is quite significant but there’s a good reason why you have to pay more for Shopify. At the same time, though, if you don’t need a lot of advanced features, Wix can be a decent option and you won’t have to pay an arm and a leg for it. But let’s take a closer look at the plans and pricing so you can get a better idea of what you’d be working with.

Wix

Wix offers a total of seven paid plans, the cheapest of which starts at only $4.50 per month. That’s quite a steal. In fact, while conducting some research for our Wix alternatives article, we only found a couple of other builders that were as affordable. As you might expect, though, you don’t get too much in exchange for that low price tag. The basic plan doesn’t come with eCommerce functionality and only gives you 1 GB of bandwidth and 500 MB of storage to work with. You’re also forced to display branded ads and you don’t get a free domain name, though you can connect an existing one.

The next three plans will set you back anywhere between $8.50 and $24.50 per month depending on which one you choose. These packages won’t allow you to set up an online store either but you do get other benefits, including a free domain name and additional resources. You also don’t have to worry about ads if you subscribe to one of these plans. The final two tiers come with some nice freebies in the form of site booster and visitor analytics apps. Meanwhile, the most expensive plan includes VIP support, priority support, and a professional logo. All in all, I’d say the third package priced at $12.50/mo offers the best value for money here.

In addition to the four standard plans, Shopify also offers three packages aimed at eCommerce. These plans range in price from $17 per month to $35 per month and allow you to set up a digital storefront, as well as accept online payments. You also get more resources than with the other plans but not much else to write home about aside from that. In essence, the eCommerce plans are almost identical to the standard ones, with the main difference being that these packages let you accept online payments while the standard ones don’t.

The Free Option

As far as the free plan is concerned, we highly recommend it to anyone who wants to set up a simple blog but that’s about it. The free plan gives you a very limited amount of resources and forces you to use a domain name with the “wixsite.com” extension. You can’t connect a custom domain like you can with the premium plans and you also have to display non-removable Wix-branded ads on your site. On the bright side, though, there’s no time limit so you can use this plan to host your site for free for as long as you want.

Shopify

Shopify offers three standard packages along with two other, let’s say, specialized plans. The entry point here is $29 per month, which is quite expensive, but again, the platform is aimed at those who plan to make their money back via their online stores. In addition to supporting eCommerce functionality, all of the plans also give you the option of setting up a blog, which is a nice feature that can come in handy.

Regardless of which plan you choose, you will be able to sell an unlimited number of products on your online store, create manual orders, benefit from discount codes, and gain access to a tool that lets you print shipping labels. Other core features include abandoned cart recovery, a free SSL certificate, fraud analysis, and access to POS apps, including one developed by Shopify itself. It’s easy to see that Shopify offers a lot more eCommerce tools than Wix, and we haven’t even talked about the higher tier plans yet.

Upgrading to the next plan will set you back $79 per month and unlocks gift cards, professional reports, and USPS priority mail pricing. Among other things, you also get better shipping discounts and online credit card rates than with the basic standard plan. Going all the way up to the third tier will cost you a whopping $299 per month and will unlock the remaining features and tools, including third-party calculated shipping rates, an advanced report builder, and the ability to set up a total of 8 store locations. Naturally, this plan also gets you the best shipping discounts and credit card rates.

The Specialized Options

In addition to the standard plans, you can also buy two other plans that are a bit more situational. The first one is Shopify Lite, an add-on that allows you to transform any website or blog into an online store. This is basically a shopping cart extension that you can add to your site for only $9 per month. The nice thing about Shopify Lite is that it can also be integrated with Facebook pages. The downside is that you won’t be able to set up a storefront with just this add-on so make sure you already have a website hosted elsewhere if you’re thinking about buying Shopify Lite.

The second specialized plan is known as Shopify Plus. This plan is marketed as the ultimate enterprise-grade eCommerce solution and is aimed strictly at big businesses. Technically speaking, anybody can purchase a Shopify Plus package but given its prohibitively high price tag, most average users can never hope to afford it. The price for this plan starts at $2,000 per month and only goes up from there. Quite expensive but this special package is generally aimed at companies that make at least $1 million per year.

Plans and Pricing – It’s pretty difficult to call out a winner in this situation since our two contenders target very different audiences. If you’re looking for the most budget-friendly option, Wix is the natural choice here. After all, it doesn’t get any cheaper than free. However, Shopify definitely offers the best value for money thanks to its plethora of great eCommerce-specific features. All in all, we recommend going with Shopify only if you can afford it (remember that most of its themes will also cost you). Otherwise, Wix is a good choice for novice merchants.

Additional Tools and Features

Domain Registration

Wix offers a free domain name for 1 year with six out of its seven paid hosting plans. The basic $4.50 is the only exception and, of course, you won’t get a domain with the free plan either. If you need to purchase a domain separately, it will cost you $14.95 per year, which is also the renewal fee after your first year of free hosting is up. If you also want to add privacy protection to your domain, it will cost you an extra $9.90 per year, so the total cost will be around $25. That’s quite expensive when compared to main rivals like Weebly and Squarespace, and also more expensive than Shopify.

Shopify doesn’t offer free custom domain names with its plans, so that’s an extra expense you’ll need to take into consideration. Luckily, registering a domain with Shopify will only set you back $14 per year and most of them automatically come with WHOIS domain privacy. I say most because Shopify also sells domains without privacy, though these are generally not .com domains. If you don’t want to buy a domain name, you can settle for the branded domains offered by Shopify with all hosting plans. These domains come with the “myshopify.com”, which might make your store look a bit unprofessional.

Sales Features

It should come as no surprise that Shopify dominates in this category but you shouldn’t rule Wix out either because the site builder has a good share of useful features. First off, it’s worth noting that you can sell physical and digital goods as well as various services regardless of which platform you choose. You can also add multiple products with both services but Wix’s inventory management is more limited. Wix relies on apps to provide you with things like visitor analytics and revenue reports. Meanwhile, Shopify comes with many built-in tools that will allow you to sell your products more efficiently.

Shopify is a market leader in terms of payment options, offering more than 100 payment gateways to choose from. The company supports all the popular payment services but imposes fees for transactions processed via all gateways except Shopify Payments. The fees can range anywhere between 0.5% to 2% depending on your plan. Surprisingly, Wix doesn’t impose any fees regardless of which gateway you use, which gives it an edge over Shopify. However, the company doesn’t support nearly as many payment services. At the moment, Wix users can only accept payments via PayPal, Stripe, and Square.

As far as shipping options are concerned, Shopify is once again doing a lot better than Wix. Shopify users can ship their products worldwide thanks to the company’s partnership with major carriers like DHL, UPS, and Express. As mentioned earlier, you benefit from some pretty nice discounts when shipping via these carriers and you can also easily print shipping labels regardless of which plan you’re using. Shipping worldwide with Wix is possible but you’ll need some apps in order to accept payments from certain countries. The company doesn’t give you the ability to print shipping labels but at least it does allow you to set tax rules for products and track orders.

Marketing

While Shopify is a more solid choice than Wix for sales, the two platforms are fairly evenly matched when it comes to marketing. Wix gets some bonus points in this category thanks to Ascend, an all-in-one marketing solution that includes a lot of useful tools. The only downside is that Ascend is available as a separate service that requires an additional monthly fee.

Shopify relies quite a bit on apps for marketing, but the company does offer fantastic built-in social media integration. Users can sell products not just on platforms like Facebook and Instagram but also other marketplaces like eBay and Amazon. By comparison, Wix doesn’t support any multi-channel integration by default.

Both platforms allow you to launch email marketing campaigns but Wix limits you to only three per month. If you need more than that, you’ll need to subscribe to the aforementioned Ascend service. Among other things, the service also lets you create invoices, forms, social posts, reminders, and more. Shopify doesn’t limit the number of email marketing campaigns you can launch each month but you can unlock more features by integrating certain apps.

If you’d rather rely on blogging to promote your products and services, you’re better off siding with Wix. While far from perfect, blogs created with Wix do come with most of the basic features you would expect. Shopify is a very poor choice for blogging because it’s missing a lot of important features, including social bookmarking and even a proper search function. If you need a solid blog, we recommend going with something like WordPress. Wix will also get the job done but it definitely can’t hold a candle to WordPress.

SEO

Wix is a great choice if you’re worried about search engine optimization, primarily thanks to its SEO Wiz. This helpful tool is built into the editor and guides you through the process of optimizing your content. Needless to say, this tool is particularly great for beginners and users who don’t have any sort of experience with SEO. Aside from that, Wix can also recommend popular keywords you may want to use and includes all the other standard SEO features you would expect. Shopify doesn’t come with many built-in SEO tools but you can change that by installing certain apps. That said, you can do things like edit meta descriptions, customize URL slugs and add alt text to images even without any apps.

Apps

Speaking of apps, you can integrate many useful ones into your site regardless of which platform you choose, though Shopify certainly offers a lot more variety. The company is second only to WordPress when it comes to apps (plugins), offering almost 4,000 of them. By comparison, Wix only has about 200 apps at the moment. Both builders offer many premium apps alongside a decent selection of free ones. As you might expect, Shopify has a lot more apps designed specifically for eCommerce. Wix also has a good number of eCommerce apps but most of them are meant to help your website in other areas.

Refund Policy

Our two competitors are evenly matched in this department. Regardless of whether you choose Wix or Shopify, you’ll benefit from a 14-day money-back guarantee with all plans. It’s worth noting, however, that refund policies may not extend to other services like domain registrations or third-party apps.

Additional Tools and Features – Shopify wins hands down in this category. While Wix does have an edge over its competitor in certain areas, Shopify is overall the better choice if you’re in the market for the best eCommerce tools and features. Granted, you will need to grab a few apps from the marketplace because the platform doesn’t come with everything you need right off the bat, however, the same can be said about Wix. The difference is that Wix gives you a lot fewer apps to choose from.

Performance and Reliability

A fast website is essential for keeping users engaged and that goes double in the case of online stores. While comparing the average loading speeds of sites created with both Wix and Shopify we stumbled upon some interesting results. On average, Wix websites tend to load in just a little over 600 ms while Shopify sites are a bit slower, with an average speed of around 700 ms. We expected Shopify to be the faster platform but the difference is overall pretty small all things considered.

While Shopify is usually a little bit slower than Wix, the eCommerce platform is more reliable. Shopify is able to maintain uptimes of 99.99% percent even over long stretches over time, which is very impressive even when compared to hosting providers that offer dedicated servers. Meanwhile, Wix’s average uptime sits at around 99.95%, which is considered pretty standard.

Performance and Reliability – Wix is faster but Shopify is more reliable so we’re tempted to call this a draw. However, we feel like uptime is more important than loading speeds in the case of online stores so we’re ultimately going to have to give this one to Shopify.

Customer Support

Shopify has very good customer support, offering 24/7 assistance via live chat, phone, and email. There’s also a help center where you can find dozens upon dozens of useful articles, tutorials, and videos. Or, if you want to skip the middleman, you can go straight to Shopify’s YouTube channel for all the latest video guides. Unlike other companies, Shopify treats all its users the same and doesn’t offer priority support to those who buy one of the more expensive packages. However, users who go for the Shopify Plus package do get their own dedicated support agent.

Wix support agents can be contacted via phone or ticket but unfortunately, there’s no live chat system here. If you’re looking for priority support, you’re going to need to sign up for one of the VIP plans. Just like Shopify, Wix has a very well put designed help center where you can find articles on a plethora of useful topics, including how to edit your site on mobile, how to optimize your content for Google, how to customize your Members Area, and much more. Wix also has a fantastic support tool that’s built directly into the site editor. Thanks to this tool, you can look up tutorials and guides while working on the site without having to switch tabs.

Custom Support – Shopify offers more support channels but we have to give this one to Wix because its on-page support tool is just fantastic. That said, if you find live chat to be absolutely mandatory, Shopify is the only option between these two.

Wix vs Shopify – An Obvious Choice

Wix is undoubtedly a more versatile platform than Shopify and its prices are very affordable compared to other all-purpose site builders. However, it should come as no surprise that Wix isn’t the best choice for eCommerce. At least not in this comparison. We wholeheartedly recommend Wix to anyone who wants to build a blog or website quickly and painlessly. If you want to build a digital storefront, on the other hand, Shopify is by far the best choice here. While Wix can handle small online stores, it doesn’t scale well with sizeable businesses.

Shopify’s only real downside is its price. The actual plans are fairly priced in our opinion but we didn’t really like the fact that you need to pay for things like custom domain names and most of the themes. At the end of the day, though, Shopify is a premium platform that works with plenty of big businesses, so it can afford to charge more than other companies for its services. If it is within your budget, we definitely recommend checking out Shopify because it’s hands-down the best website builder for eCommerce on the market right now in our opinion.

Overall – Wix is a cheap and reliable builder that can accommodate pretty much any type of website, including small online stores. But while Wix might be a good choice for novice users, we can’t recommend it to those looking to build a robust digital storefront. For that, you’re going to need a specialized platform like Shopify because it offers a lot more eCommerce-oriented tools and features, more app variety, and better scalability. The prices are higher but you definitely get what you pay for.

Squarespace vs. Wix – Close Match but There Can Be Only One Winner

If you’re in the market for a highly customizable website builder with lots of features you have two very solid choices at your disposal – Wix and Squarespace. Although there are other good builders out there, very few are as easy to use and intuitive as these two. That makes either of them a good choice for users who want to build a new professional-looking website with little effort. But which one is the overall best?

In this comparison, we take a close look at what Squarespace and Wix have to offer in order to answer that very question. Right off the bat, it’s pretty clear that Squarespace puts more emphasis on looks and follows the tried-and-true quality over quantity mentality. Meanwhile, Wix’s primary focus seems to be on functionality as the company offers more tools and customization options to work with.

Drawing a direct comparison between these two companies is pretty easy given how similar they are. However, keep in mind that it will ultimately be up to you to decide which of these builders is better suited to your needs because they were designed to target slightly different audiences. But if you’re curious about our personal favorite, make sure to check out our full Squarespace vs Wix breakdown and comparison down below.

Navigation and Ease of Use

One of the primary reasons for choosing Squarespace or Wix instead of more complex site builders like WordPress, for example, is because these two platforms are a lot easier to use. Each company offers a very effective drag-and-drop editor that greatly simplifies the process of building a website. Just as its name indicates, this type of editor allows you to drag elements like images or text boxes and drop them anywhere you want on your site’s pages. Well, for the most part.

Squarespace Ease of Use

Squarespace’s editor is section-based, which means that you won’t be able to reposition elements quite as freely as you might expect. Every page is split into multiple sections, each of which can contain things like image grids, buttons, text blocks, maps, bits of code, and various other elements. There’s a large variety of elements to choose from, however, they are all sorted by category so you shouldn’t have issues finding the one you need. In addition, there’s also a search bar that you can use to simplify the process even further.

Although Squarespace’s editor is very impressive from a technical standpoint, it can be just a bit overwhelming for new users. The editor feels like a puzzle at times and you’ll need to experiment with many of the pieces in order to see what they do and where they fit. Depending on how much patience you have, this learning process can be either very fun or very frustrating. Luckily, Squarespace offers beautifully designed templates for pretty much any type of website you can imagine so there’s really no need to build a new one from the ground up. Unless, of course, you’re very specific about how your site should look.

To make things a bit easier for new users, Squarespace implemented an artificial intelligence system that does some of the heavy lifting for you. All you need to do is type in the goal or niche of the website you want to create and the AI will display a selection of recommended templates based on your keywords. You can then select your favorite template and start editing it if needed. Calling this system an AI is a bit of an exaggeration since it simply selects from pre-defined templates rather than building a new one from scratch. However, the system does work as intended and makes the first steps of site building very easy so the name itself isn’t that important at the end of the day.

Wix Ease of Use

Wix’s drag-and-drop editor is entirely free-form. There are no sections or blocks to worry about here, which is great news if you’re looking for a builder that allows you to drag elementals literally anywhere you want on a page. Wix offers even more elements to choose from than Squarespace and, once again, they are all sorted by category to help users find what they need faster. The interface isn’t exactly minimalistic so you’ll need to sift through some of the clutter as you learn your way around the editor. However, upon opening the editor you will be greeted by a video tutorial that explains the basics of working with Wix.

Although the sheer amount of elements and customization options offered by Wix are truly impressive, they can definitely feel a bit overwhelming for new users. Some elements are a lot more fleshed-out than others, which can be a bit disappointing at times. On the bright side, Wix is great at handling complex websites thanks to its built-in ‘Dev Mode’ that gives you full control over the look and functionality of your website. Wix also allows you to build websites without having to use any of its pre-defined templates. I wouldn’t really recommend taking that route if you’re a new user but experienced website designers will definitely find this feature very useful.

Similar to Squarespace, Wix has its own artificial design intelligence (ADI) that can do most of the hard work for you. If you choose to use the ADI, you’ll first be required to answer a couple of questions about the site you want to create. The system then recommends certain features (that you can choose to add or ignore) that would work well with your site along with themes, fonts, and homepage designs. After selecting all the options you like, ADI will create a personalized site based on your specifications. Unlike Squarespace, Wix’s system doesn’t simply choose from pre-existing templates, though the resulting site will be pretty basic. It’s up to you to take it from there and edit it to your liking.

Ease of Use – Even though both platforms are very easy to use, Wix’s editor features a lot more options and its free-form drag-and-drop editor gives you a higher degree of control over your website. Squarespace takes a bit longer to get used to and its section-based editor is more limiting, though still a very good option once you get the hang of it.

Scalability

Scalability is just as important for veteran webmasters as it is for newcomers because no one wants to pay more than they have to for a site builder. If you’re just now thinking about building your first website it’s usually a good idea to start with a cheap plan and then upgrade later once you need more features or resources. If you’re transferring an already established site, on the other hand, it wouldn’t hurt to go directly for a pricier plan so you won’t miss out on anything. If you value scalability you shouldn’t have any issues choosing between Squarespace and Wix because one of these companies is quite a bit more flexible than the other.

Squarespace only has four plans to choose from, the first of which is quite expensive all things considered. The price difference between the various tiers is fairly significant as well so you’ll need to think carefully about when you want to upgrade to the next level. On the bright side, you get unlimited resources with any of the four plans so there’s no need to scale up unless you want to access some of the more advanced features.

In the case of Wix, there are seven paid plans to choose from along with an additional free tier. As you might expect, the free tier comes with a lot of limitations (including non-removable ads) so it’s hard to recommend for anything more than simple blogs or other small personal projects. As far as the paid plans are concerned, the first one is quite cheap but features ads as well, which is why I recommend going straight for the second tier because it’s only a few bucks more expensive. From there, things start to get pricier pretty fast, especially if you’re looking to upgrade to one of the Business & eCommerce plans.

Unlike Squarespace, Wix doesn’t offer unlimited storage with its plans so you are essentially forced to upgrade in order to unlock more resources. That’s definitely not ideal if you ask me but at least most of the plans do include unmetered bandwidth. So if you plan on building something that takes up a lot of storage space and you don’t like Squarespace then you might want to look into some of the Wix alternatives.

Scalability – Both companies have their pros and cons but we think Wix scales just a little bit better. In spite of the drawbacks, having a free tier and a very cheap paid tier is extremely helpful for users who are on a budget. Once you do need to scale up, you can rest assured knowing that there are plenty of options available in the higher tiers.

Pricing

We already mentioned in the previous section that Wix is the cheaper option for beginners but now let’s take a look at the actual prices and some of the things you get in exchange for your money. After all, cheaper isn’t always better.

Assuming you’re not particularly interested in the free tier, which is understandable, the cheapest package you can buy from Wix will cost you $4.50 per month. If you’re not a big fan of ads, however, you’ll want to go for the $8.50/mo plan or even the $12.50/mo plan if you want to unlock unlimited bandwidth along with a few other perks. From there, you’ll probably want to start looking into the Business & eCommerce plans. These packages are priced between $17 and $35 per month so not exactly cheap, though they’re actually a bit more affordable compared to what Squarespace offers.

Speaking of Squarespace, the company’s entry point is somewhat more expensive at $12 per month, though you don’t need to worry about ads or limited resources here. However, the basic plan only supports two contributors and you’ll need to go at least for the $18/mo tier in order to get rid of that limitation. Just like Wix, Squarespace has its own eCommerce plans, which in this case are priced at $26 and $40 per month, respectively. That’s, again, more expensive compared to Wix’s offerings but you do get good value in return.

Basic Features Included with Wix Plans

Wix is an all-in-one site builder so you won’t have to worry about things like hosting and the ability to connect a custom domain because they are both included with all paid plans. A few other things you can expect regardless of which package you choose are an SSL certificate, Google Analytics integration, and a customizable favicon for your website. The first two plans don’t really include any other interesting features but things start to get better and better once you reach the third package.

Starting with the $12.50/mo plan, you can get expect unlimited bandwidth and access to a couple of very useful apps – Site Booster and Visitor Analytics. Meanwhile, things like professional logos and the ability to accept online payments will become available only once you reach the Business & eCommerce plans. Unsurprisingly, the final tier comes with the most amount of features, including priority response, VIP support, a lot more storage, and the ability to upload an unlimited amount of videos. But in all honesty, if you plan on building an eCommerce site you might want to look into Shopify, we have compared the two here.

It may seem like Wix charges a bit too much for some of its features but there’s a very good reason for that. The company has a free tier that you can use for an unlimited amount of time and offers over 500 templates, all of which are completely free. Now, I’m not a big fan of companies that charge a premium for important features but in this case, I think it’s necessary given Wix’s current business model. And as we stated in our Wix vs. Weebly comparison, going for the more expensive plans is not necessary if you’re just starting out.

Basic Features Included with Squarespace Plans

Just like Wix, Squarespace includes web hosting, a free domain, and an SSL certificate with every package. You also get website metrics tools, a selection of third-party extensions that can be integrated with your Squarespace website, and unlimited storage and bandwidth. Even more, integrations can be found at the $18 tier along with professional emails, promotional banners, and the ability to customize your site with CSS and JavaScript. Wix offers this last option with every plan so the fact that Squarespace locks it until the second tier is a bit odd.

If you decide to go for one of the eCommerce plans you can expect access to a wide variety of tools that will help you manage your online store. A few of the highlights include customer accounts, abandoned cart recovery, gift cards, the option to sell subscriptions to your customers, and more. Although most of the best features are reserved for the final tier, the basic eCommerce plan is quite solid and will work just fine for most types of online stores.

The list of advertised features is a lot more extensive compared to that of Wix, however, when you take a look at the backend you’ll find that both companies actually offer most of the same features and tools. It’s just that Wix doesn’t really make a big deal about many of them. Just like Wix, Squarespace doesn’t separate its templates into standard and premium so you’ll be able to use any of them regardless of which plan you pick. Squarespace’s templates are generally considered some of the best on the market but you only get 60 to choose from so the selection is a lot more limited compared to that of Wix.

Pricing – You can expect to get a very similar set of basic features for roughly the same price regardless of which of these two companies you choose. Therefore, the two rivals are pretty evenly matched in this department, however, there’s no denying that Wix’s offerings are a lot more appealing for newcomers. And the fact that the company offers a more customizable and open platform also makes it a better choice for developers and experienced users.

SEO

Although WordPress is generally seen as the best site builder for search engine optimization thanks to its wide variety of SEO plugins, Wix and Squarespace aren’t doing too shabby in this department either. Because these aren’t open-source platforms you won’t be able to integrate third-party plugins like Yoast into your website, however, the two companies offer their own SEO tools.

Wix has a couple of very useful tools in the form of the Site Booster and Visitor Analytics apps. The first will help your site rank higher on search engines while the later can be used to better understand the behavior of your users and cater your content to match the interests of your audience. The only downside of these tools is that they are not available with the first two paid plans so you won’t have access to them unless you buy one of the more expensive packages. However, the company has an additional tool known as Wix SEO Wiz that’s available to everyone and acts as a user-friendly step-by-step guide for improving the SEO of your websites.

Squarespace has its own SEO tools but they are not quite as advanced as those offered by Wix. The tools are built-in with every plan so you won’t have to pay extra for them, which is a bonus. That said, the tools only give you basic recommendations on how to improve the SEO of your site. In other words, these tools are only useful for beginners. If you want to look into advanced SEO practices, you can hit Squarespace’s help center for guides and articles that will give you a much better understanding of what search engine optimization is all about.

SEO – While both companies offer SEO tools, the ones you can find at Wix are far superior. The SEO Wix is very helpful for beginners while the Site Booster and Visitor Analytics apps are great for advanced users.

Additional Tools and Features

Domain Registration

Signing up for most of Wix’s plans will get you a free custom domain for your first year. The only exception to this is the free plan, which does include a free domain but it won’t have one of the popular extensions you’re used to, such as .com or .net for example. If you want to register a domain without buying a plan, it will cost you $14.95 per year. Most companies charge extra for renewals but that’s not the case here as Wix continues to charge $14.95 per year even after your first term expires.

Squarespace has a very similar system in place, however, the prices are a bit more expensive. If you choose to register a domain without purchasing a plan you’ll have to pay $20 per year. Just like Wix, Squarespace doesn’t charge extra for renewals so the price will remain the same even after your first term expires. Purchasing any of the company’s four plans will grant you a free custom domain for the first year. However, this offer is only available to users who select the yearly billing cycle during checkout, which is also the case with Wix.

App Integration

We already mentioned two of the main apps – Site Booster and Visitor Analytics – you get with most plans at Wix but those are merely the icing on the cake. The company has an App Market featuring a wide variety of applications that can be integrated with your website. There are over 200 apps to choose from, including quite a few third-party ones like Soundcloud, Instagram, Facebook and many more. A lot of these apps are available for free while others need to be purchased or have both free and premium versions.

Squarespace doesn’t have a similar marketplace but it does have plenty of app integrations already built into the system. For example, you can integrate over 20 social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube or Twitter right off the bat. Among other things, doing so will allow you to display feeds from your social media pages directly on your website. Squarespace also integrates well with cloud storage platforms like Dropbox, allowing you to import content from them to your website with ease.

Backups

Neither of the two companies is particularly adept at giving users an easy way of manually backing up their website. The best you can do at Wix is create a duplicate of your site and switch over to it in case something happens to the live version. In addition, there’s also a Site History feature that automatically creates revisions every time you save or publish a piece of content. Using this feature, you can revert to a previous revision of your website at any time.

Just like Wix, Squarespace also allows you to create duplicates of your website but doesn’t have anything resembling the Site History feature. The company does create automatic backups of every website but only keeps them on its servers for about a month before deleting them. Tech-savvy users can create manual backups of their site using an XML file but the process is a bit of a hassle and not really recommended for beginners because of its complexity.

Professional Emails

Both Wix and Squarespace offer users the opportunity of adding professional emails to their accounts via Google’s G Suite. Squarespace offers a better deal in this case as all users who purchase a Business plan ($18/mo) or higher benefit from free professional emails for the first year. Once that term expires, users are required to pay a monthly fee if they want to continue using their business mailbox. Wix doesn’t offer professional emails with any of its plans but they are available to purchase as an optional service.

Databases

MySQL databases allow users to manage their content more efficiently and are usually included for free by traditional hosting companies, such as Bluehost or Dreamhost. Most website builders don’t include MySQL databases with their plans but Wix does use something similar called Database Collections. These work similar to the MySQL version but the two types are not compatible, meaning you won’t be able to import external databases to your Wix website. Despite this limitation, Database Collections are still a very useful feature. Unfortunately, Squarespace doesn’t offer any sort of databases, MySQL or otherwise.

Money-back Guarantee

Both companies offer a 14-day money-back guarantee with all plans.

Additional Tools and Features – Although Squarespace does have a better deal on professional emails, Wix wins hands down in this category thanks to its many other useful features and tools.

Performance and Reliability

Squarespace and Wix are surprisingly evenly matched in terms of reliability. Although the two companies struggle a bit to compete against open-source platforms like WordPress, their uptime is overall quite decent. Namely, the uptime of both Squarespace and Wix sits at about 99.95% on average according to our research. It’s worth noting that Wix has an uptime guarantee of 99.99% so the platform falls just a little bit below expectations, though these stats tend to vary from website to website. Meanwhile, Squarespace doesn’t make any guarantees regarding its uptime but it’s clear that the company doesn’t fall short in this department.

As far as the page loading speed is concerned, the difference between the two is quite significant. A Squarespace website loads on average in around 627 ms while Wix’s pages are a bit more sluggish, with an average loading speed of around 1.13 ms. Similar to the uptime, page loading speeds can differ from one site to the next but it does seem like overall Squarespace is the fastest builder. Wix’s speeds are a bit slower than the average for modern websites but experienced webmasters can easily compensate for that with proper optimization. If it is speed that you need and you don’t want to go with Squarespace then you might want to have a look at some of its alternatives, you’ll surely find something that fits your needs.

Performance and Reliability – The two platforms are generally evenly matched in terms of uptime but Squarespace definitely comes out on top when it comes to page loading speeds.

Customer Support

Wix has most of the support channels you would expect, including email, phone, and a ticket system. The only thing missing here is live chat, which might be a deal-breaker for some people. However, the company does compensate for the lack of live chat with a very impressive help center that contains hundreds of articles and guides on pretty much any topic you can think of. A very nice feature of Wix is a support system that’s built directly into the site editor. Whenever you get stuck or want to learn more about certain features or tools, you can click the adjacent question mark or simply use the search bar to look for articles about them.

Squarespace also offers ticket and email support along with live chat, however, you won’t find phone support here. Once again, a possible deal-breaker depending on what type of support channels you’re most comfortable with. Just like Wix, Squarespace offers a vast selection of useful articles and guides along with plenty of video tutorials and even a few webinars. There is no editor help function that can compare to that of Wix but you can find the answer to pretty much any question related to the platform by visiting the support center.

Customer Support – Squarespace and Wix both offer a good amount of support channels, though one is missing live chat while the other is missing phone support so there’s definitely room for improvement. Wix has a slight edge thanks to its built-in editor help system but Squarespace’s customer support is very solid as well.

Squarespace vs. Wix – A Pretty Close Call

I think most people would have a pretty difficult time picking between these two companies, especially those who aren’t very familiar with site builders in general. Squarespace and Wix are remarkably in a number of areas, which means you’ll have to look closely at what each of them has to offer in order to figure out the best choice for you. As far as we’re concerned, however, the choice is pretty clear and it all boils down to the fact that Wix surpassed Squarespace in almost every category we’ve looked at.

Even though Squarespace sites tend to perform a little better, we think Wix ultimately has a lot more going on. First off, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Wix has a much cheaper entry point along with a tier that’s completely free. We also appreciated the fact that Wix is a more open and flexible platform both in terms of its editor and its integrations with third-party apps. Not to mention the fact that Wix provides useful tools and features for both newcomers and veteran webmasters. While not necessarily a top choice for developers, skilled coders can use Wix to create very complex websites if needed.

But even though we recommend Wix, you definitely shouldn’t dismiss Squarespace either, especially if you’re in the market for a premium website builder. The platform also offers a good amount of useful tools and its editor can be a joy to work with once you get used to its block-based structure. In addition, Squarespace’s templates are some of the best out there both in terms of design and functionality. At the end of the day, though, Squarespace is primarily meant for blogs, small online stores, and artists or businesses that want to showcase their portfolios. Wix, on the other hand, is a good fit for pretty much everyone, which is why it gets our personal recommendation.

Overall – You can’t go wrong with either of these companies but if you’d have to pick just one, we recommend going with Wix. Even though Squarespace has its advantages, Wix is overall a more flexible and easier to use platform that offers useful tools and features for all types of users. The fact that it’s also a lot cheaper only makes it an even more appealing option.

iPage Review – Good for Beginners, Hard to Recommend for Advanced Users

iPage is one of those hosting providers that has been around forever but never quite managed to make it all the way to the very top. This is despite the fact that the company has been operating for longer than most of its competitors. Initially established way back in 1998, iPage’s rise to popularity was a slow one, marked by plenty of ups and downs along the way. In 2020 iPage is estimated to host over 1 million websites, which isn’t bad but isn’t great either given the company’s 20+ years in the business. By now you might be wondering, why is iPage overlooked by so many webmasters? That’s exactly what we were wondering as well, which is why we decide to take a closer look at the company and see if we can give an informed answer to that question.

At first glance, iPage seems like a very appealing option for novice webmasters thanks to its incredibly low entry price, simple hosting plan structure, and straightforward control panel. First impressions are definitely good but there are some downsides here as well. The renewal costs of hosting plans are very high, the performance is pretty average, and the company can be quite aggressive when trying to sell you extra services and add-ons. So do the pros outweigh the cons in the case of iPage? Take a look at our in-depth iPage review down below to find out what we think about the company and whether or not it gets our recommendation.

Navigation and Ease of Use

iPage’s website looks remarkably minimalistic. The company advertises its cheapest product, the shared hosting plan, front and center and you can find some information related to the features if you scroll down a bit. Additional products like WordPress plans and domain registrations are listed at the top of the home page but, strangely enough, you need to check the footer to find out that the company also offers VPS packages and dedicated servers. Most providers make it clear right away that they are offering more than two types of hosting so the choice to hide some of the products at the bottom of the page is a very odd one. And not to mention, bad for business.

At least signing up for a shared hosting plan is pretty straightforward. Once you click the “Get Started” button you are redirected to a different page where you can register a new domain name or transfer an existing one. Next, it’s time to choose the billing cycle and this is where you’ll start to notice a major issue. iPage only works with yearly and multi-annual billing cycles so it’s impossible to pay for your hosting on a month-by-month basis. So even though the hosting is cheap, it’s not the best choice for those on a budget because iPage demands a rather large upfront investment. While companies like InMotion also work with a similar system, most hosting providers, including big names like DreamHost, HostGator, and A2 Hosting, tend to accept monthly payments.

The next step of the checkout process gives you the opportunity of customizing your package and there are quite a few options to choose from. While having choices is rarely a bad thing, in this case, it is a bit of a problem because all the optional tools and services are paid and some of them are automatically added to your cart. It’s probably a good idea to pay close attention during the checkout process because the total value of these add-ons is close to $70. That’s not exactly pocket change, especially if you’re on a budget.

Account Management

Managing your iPage account works a bit differently than you might expect. While most hosting providers let you manage things using cPanel, iPage has a custom control panel known as vDeck. The vDeck is essentially a simplified version of cPanel that’s easier to navigate but doesn’t come with nearly as many features and options. The interface looks very outdated but it can definitely get the job done. Still, you’ll probably find the lack of advanced features a bit disappointing if you’re an advanced user. vDeck is one of the most unimpressive custom control panels we’ve seen in a while. If you’re looking for a provider that uses a good custom control panel, make sure to check out DreamHost.

iPage mentions that it includes a site builder with every hosting package but it turns out that it’s just the free version of Weebly. Don’t get me wrong, Weebly is a very good site builder, but the free version has many limitations and we wouldn’t recommend it for anything more than a simple blog. The free version of Weebly comes with ads, limited resources, and doesn’t let you build websites that have more than 6 pages, to name just a few of the drawbacks.

Luckily, iPage also provides a 1-click installer for WordPress, which is a much more flexible builder. There are also 1-click installers for other content management platforms like Joomla and Drupal along with installers for forums, photo galleries, shopping carts, and more. The only problem is that all these apps are handled by Mojo Marketplace, which tries its best to convince you to buy some products while you’re there. But the good news is that once you install the apps you want there’s no need to visit the marketplace anymore.

Plans and Pricing

iPage only offers one shared hosting plan, which is meant to be a one-size-fits-all solution for your hosting needs. The plan will only cost you $1.99 per month on a 3-year contract, which is one of the best prices on the market right now. Just to give you an idea of what the competition charges, a basic shared hosting plan from Bluehost or HostGator will set you back $2.75 per month while DreamHost is a bit cheaper at $2.59 per month. Meanwhile, most providers charge closer to $4 per month, including SiteGround ($3.95/mo), InMotion Hosting ($3.99/mo), and A2 Hosting ($3.92/mo).

The hosting package offered by iPage is very appealing thanks to the low price tag, however, there is a catch. The company charges quite a bit more than others for renewals. The $1.99/mo price only applies during your first term, after which you can expect to pay $7.99 per month moving forward. That said, this is still a good deal considering that we’re specifically talking about prices for a 3-year contract. Once those 3 years are up, however, iPage all of a sudden becomes a much less budget-friendly option.

But while the renewal costs are extremely high in our opinion, there’s not much to complain about when it comes to the core features included with the plan. iPage offers unlimited storage and MySQL databases, a free SSL certificate, free domain name for 1 year, free email account, eCommerce functionality, and more. We appreciate that iPage makes it clear that it offers scalable bandwidth instead of unlimited bandwidth, which is a term most other providers use and is a bit misleading when taken at face value.

Even though iPage doesn’t offer as many features and tools as some of its rivals, we think it offers enough to justify the $1.99 or even $2.99 (with a 1-year contract) price tag of the plan. However, recommending the plan past the first term is a lot more difficult.

WordPress Hosting

iPage also likes to keep things simple when it comes to its WordPress packages and only offers two of them to choose from. The prices are pretty good but these aren’t managed plans and the features are a bit underwhelming. The WP Starter package only costs $3.75/mo ($7.39/mo on renewal) and comes with a free domain name for 1 year, unlimited storage, and a few pre-installed themes and plugins. Interestingly enough, in this case iPage mentions that the bandwidth is unlimited, even though it shows the same description you can see if you look at the shared hosting plan’s scalable bandwidth.

The WP Essential package will set you back $6.95 per month ($10.39 upon renewal) and includes all of the above along with expert WordPress support, automatic malware removal, and SiteLock professional security. You can get those last two features with the Starter package as well if you buy an optional add-on that costs $1.99 per month. That would bring the total price to $5.75 per month, which is cheaper than the price of the Essential plan. Presumably, the price difference comes from the fact that the more expensive plan also includes expert WordPress support. If you don’t need the support, however, we recommend buying the cheaper plan and getting the add-on because it would cost you less.

Unlike the shared hosting plans, WordPress packages have the same introductory prices regardless of which billing cycle you choose. Whether you sign up for 1 year or 3 years, you’re still going to pay $3.75 per month for the Starter plan. And, iPage even supports monthly billing cycles for these plans as well. Normally, you would expect these to be more expensive than the yearly plans but that’s not the case here. Monthly Starter plans only cost $3.75 as well and renew at $9.49 per month. Yearly plans also renew at the exact same rate, which is fairly unusual.

VPS Hosting

If you’re in the market for a VPS (virtual private server) you have three different packages at your disposal. Prices here range between $16.99 and $67.99 per month on a 2-year contract but you can also pay on a yearly or monthly basis. The cheapest package is pretty standard and comes with a single-core CPU, 1 GB of RAM, 1 TB of bandwidth, 40 GB of storage, and 1 dedicated IP address. You won’t get any extra features by upgrading to one of the more expensive plans but you can expect them to include better resources and an additional dedicated IP.

The core features found in the VPS plans include a free domain name for 1 year, free email address, SSL certificate, support for an unlimited number of websites, and access to the site builder. The plans come with cPanel by default but users can be granted full root access upon request. iPage’s virtual private servers run on a cloud-based environment and support instant provisioning along with easy scalability. However, you only get ‘semi-private’ access to the resources, which means you may have to share them with other users on occasion.

Dedicated Servers

If you got the gist of how virtual private servers work you’ll know exactly what to expect here. There are once again three plans to choose from, this time around with prices ranging between $119.99 and $191.99 per month. The prices here are a bit higher than the market average when you take into account the amount of resources you get in exchange. Namely, the starter package comes with a dual-core CPU, 4 GB of RAM, 500 GB of storage, 5 TB of bandwidth, and 3 dedicated IP addresses.

That’s not terrible but you can get a dedicated server from HostGator with double the amount of resources for an almost identical price. Meanwhile, other rivals like DreamHost, inMotion, and A2 Hosting also offer servers with more resources at similar or even cheaper prices.

The core features included with dedicated servers are the same found in the VPS plans so we’re not going to mention them again. The only real difference between iPage’s dedicated servers and virtual private servers is that the former come with dedicated resources. These servers also run on a cloud-based environment but in this case, resources are never shared between users.

Key Tools and Features

The hosting plans offered by iPage don’t come with as many tools and features as we would have liked but you do get the essentials. If you’re willing to spend a little bit extra, you can also buy a few optional services that unlock additional functionality. We don’t particularly like this type of business model but it does allow iPage to offer hosting plans that are pretty cheap, at least during the first term.

Domain Registration

While you can get a domain for free by simply buying a hosting plan, this offer only applies if you opt for a yearly or multi-annual billing cycle. If you decide to pay on a month-by-month basis instead (for the plans that support this option), you’re going to have to purchase a domain name for $10.99 per year, which renews for $17.99/year. Not that bad of a price, but iPage sells domain privacy protection separately for $9.99 per year so the total cost goes up to well over $20/year.

While registering a new domain with iPage you’ll need to be very careful because the company has a habit of automatically adding extra services to your cart. The fact that privacy protection is added automatically is understandable, however, you may also end up with SiteLock and a backup tool in your cart. Not great.

As far as transfers are concerned, it won’t cost you anything to transfer a domain to iPage but entire websites are a different story altogether. The company charges no less than $150 for each site you want to migrate. That’s quite a lot. Usually hosting providers will either charge much less for site migrations or they will migrate multiple sites for a similar price.

Databases

iPage allows users to create and manage an unlimited number of databases. The company only supports MySQL databases and doesn’t provide an easy way of managing them directly from the vDeck control panel. Instead, you’ll have to work with a phpMyAdmin interface. Working with the interface isn’t necessarily complicated but it can be a bit annoying, especially since most other providers let you manage databases from the cPanel.

Backup and Restore

Backing up your website at regular intervals is very important so it’s a bit unfortunate to see that iPage doesn’t have a built-in backup & restore system in place. Instead, you’re going to have to buy an optional add-on in order to unlock that functionality. The add-on only costs $1 per month and provides daily automatic backups, which doesn’t sound like a bad deal all things considered. However, there is a pretty big caveat you should be aware of.

The site backup & restore add-on only supports yearly and multi-annual billing cycles so you’ll actually need to pay between $14.99 and $35.98 upfront if you want to buy it. By extension, that means that the add-on isn’t available to users who want to pay for their hosting plan on a monthly basis. That’s a pretty big problem because you’re essentially forced into investing a lot of money upfront if you want to be able to back up your files, which you definitely want to. Also, the add-on only works for a single website so if you want to back up multiple sites, you’ll need to pay even more.

It’s worth noting that iPage does perform its own backups but it only holds onto the files for up to 14 days. Generally speaking, providers store such backups for at least 30 days. Another thing that didn’t sit well with us is the fact that iPage charges no less than $100 for restoring your site from one of its backups. That’s a ridiculously high price as far as we’re concerned and the only alternative is to buy the aforementioned add-on. Not exactly customer-friendly.

Domain Emails

iPage is a bit stingy when it comes to emails but at least you do get an @yourdomain mailbox for free. The company only gives out a single address per domain so if you want more than that, you’re going to have to buy them. Conveniently, iPage gives users the option of adding a professional G Suite account to their plan. For an extra fee of course. Adding a G Suite account will set you back $6 per month, per user. G Suite lets you create as many domain emails as you want and includes a whole bunch of other useful features but the add-on is certainly not cheap.

eCommerce

It’s pretty difficult to recommend iPage for eCommerce enthusiasts seeing as how the company offers very few tools and features designed specifically for online stores. You do get 1-click installs for a variety of third-party eCommerce platforms and shopping carts along with PayPal integration, but there’s not much else beyond that.

If you want to build a full-fledged online store you’ll need to either use Weebly and upgrade it to the professional version or install WordPress and pair it with a plugin like WooCommerce. Doing so will allow you to take advantage of the advanced functionality offered by those third-party platforms while still being hosted at iPage. Alternatively, you could go directly with something like Shopify if you’re looking for a more robust eCommerce solution.

SEO

By this point we expected iPage to offer a paid third-party SEO add-on but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The company doesn’t have any in-house tools either so you’ll need to take care of the search engine optimization on your own. If you choose to design your website using the included site builder (Weebly) you will be able to take advantage of some of the SEO tools included there. Keep in mind, though, that this is the free version of Weebly, which is a lot more limited than the paid one. A better choice would be to just go with WordPress and install an SEO plugin like Yoast on top.

Location Coverage

iPage’s location coverage is pretty underwhelming. The provider only has two data centers and it doesn’t let you choose between them when you sign up for a hosting plan. On the other hand, it probably wouldn’t have mattered if you could because both data centers are located in Boston, which is pretty unusual. Most hosting companies build their data centers in multiple locations, and preferably on multiple continents, in order to provide better coverage. SiteGround, Bluehost and A2 Hosting are just a few examples of hosting providers with data centers found on multiple continents.

Performance and Reliability

If you’re an experienced webmaster you’re likely well aware of how important it is to have a fast website. Not just because it greatly improves the user experience but also because it improves the site’s chances of ranking higher on search engines. There are plenty of ways to optimize a website so that it runs faster but at the end of the day, your hosting provider has the final say in the matter. With that in mind, we tested iPage’s servers to see how much they help (or hinder) a website’s performance and reliability.

Page Loading Speed

iPage didn’t make a great impression during our first round of tests. For this test, we set up a simple WordPress website hosted on a shared plan and performed speed checks over several weeks. The site used the default WordPress theme and didn’t feature a lot of content so we expected the page loading speeds to be pretty decent. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Our site took around 2.5 seconds to load on average, which was way below our expectations.

Most of the hosting providers we have tested in the past using this method yielded much better results, usually hovering around the 1-second mark. Our sites hosted with InMotion Hosting, A2 Hosting, and HostGator were all able to load in either around or just a little over 1 second. Meanwhile, SiteGround and DreamHost sites took less than 1 second to load. All in all, iPage was one of the slowest providers we’ve tested recently. You’re likely to get significantly better results with a VPS or dedicated server but as far as shared hosting is concerned, don’t expect great speeds here.

Server Response Times

Even though our website was very simple and we didn’t have a lot of traffic, we couldn’t ignore the possibility that maybe the slow speeds were the result of something we were doing wrong on our end. In order to rule out that possibility, we decided to use Bitcatcha to test iPage’s servers in a more direct way. Bitcatcha is a tool that tests server response times from various locations around the world. As expected, we got much better results when testing from the US (where both data centers are located) compared to any other region.

On average, the server response times hovered around the 60 ms mark when tested from the US. That’s quite good and similar to most of the other providers we’ve tested. The response times continued to be decent when testing from Europe (150 ms), South America (240 ms), and Singapore (330 ms) but started to slow down significantly by the time we got to Australia (nearly 600 ms). When testing from Japan, iPage’s servers took a whopping 3.5 seconds to respond. If you’re planning to build a website that primarily targets users located in Japan, you’ll definitely want to look for a different provider.

Uptime

Unlike most other hosting providers, iPage doesn’t make any guarantees when it comes to the uptime of its servers. Some users may find this a little suspicious but there’s nothing to worry about for the most part. While not fantastic, iPage’s uptime was overall pretty good during our testing. By the end of the testing period, the average uptime of our site was at 99.96%, which is slightly above the industry standard. Most providers aim for 99.99%, and a handful of them even succeed, but anything over 99.95% is generally considered good.

Customer Support

iPage has pretty solid customer support, with live chat, phone, and a ticket system being available 24/7. The company only has a US phone number so that can be a problem for some users. On the other hand, iPage primarily targets US customers so we can’t be too hard on them for not providing an international number. The live chat comes with a very useful share screen feature, which is something more providers should think about implementing.

If you don’t feel like chatting to an agent you can try fixing the problem yourself by consulting the knowledge base. There you can find many useful articles neatly sorted by category and there’s even a search function to help you find what you’re looking for faster. iPage doesn’t have as many guides as other providers and many of them are not very detailed but they can still be helpful on occasion. The company doesn’t have a YouTube and the only social media platform where it remains active is Twitter. If you can’t get in touch with support agents via the usual channels, we recommend reaching out to them on Twitter.

F.A.Q.

Is iPage a Good Choice for WordPress?

Yes and no. The company’s specialized WordPress plans are cheaper than those of its competitors so iPage is definitely a good option if you’re on a budget and want to build your first WordPress website. Otherwise, we recommend looking at other alternatives because iPage doesn’t offer a lot of features that benefit WordPress sites in any meaningful way.

Does iPage Have Its Own Site Builder?

iPage includes the free version of Weebly with many of its hosting plans but the company also has its own site builder. The site builder comes with drag-and-drop functionality and is just as easy to use as Wix, Squarespace or any of the other popular builders. iPage’s website builder is available as an additional service that costs $10.99 per month (billed annually at $131.88).

Does iPage Offer Any Other Paid Add-ons?

There are a total of six paid add-ons available, some of which we’ve already mentioned in the main portion of the review. In addition to domain privacy, G Suite, website builder, and a backup & restore tool, iPage also offers an all-in-one WordPress optimization bundle and a website security suite. These two add-ons are priced at $3 and $1.99 per month, respectively.

Does iPage Offer Any Additional Types of Hosting?

iPage doesn’t mention this on its website but the company also offers reseller hosting thanks to a partnership with the WholesalePlus Reseller Program.

What is iPage’s Refund Policy?

The company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee with all hosting plans. The refund policy doesn’t cover any other services like domain registration and optional paid add-ons. If you obtain a free domain name by signing up for a yearly hosting plan, you can keep the domain even if you cancel your hosting but only if you pay a fee of $15.

Final Thoughts

iPage is a very easy hosting provider to recommend for users who are on a budget. Its shared hosting plans are some of the cheapest on the market right now and while they don’t include many advanced features, you do get the basics like free domain name, unlimited storage, email, SSL certificate, site builder, eCommerce functionality, and more. iPage is also a good option for newcomers thanks to its minimalistic control panel and solid customer support.

If you’re an experienced webmaster, on the other hand, you may want to look elsewhere for hosting. The company isn’t a good fit for developers, online stores or any sort of website that relies heavily on speed and performance. In addition, poor location coverage makes iPage unsuitable for hosting websites that attract users from all over the world.

At the end of the day, you could do worse than iPage but you could also do a lot better. Pricing aside, the company gets average scores in most other areas and even the prices aren’t that great past the first term. While we can’t give iPage our full recommendation, we do think they are worth checking out if you’re looking for cheap shared hosting and don’t mind switching to a different provider once your first term expires.

A2 Hosting Review – Impressive List of Features and Generous Refund Policy

A2 Hosting is a respected name in the industry, having been around for almost two decades at this point. Initially established back in 2001 as ‘Inquinet’, the company went on to change its name to A2 Hosting just a couple of years later and became a household brand ever since. Even though A2 is a fairly popular choice for webmasters these days, the provider still tends to take a back seat to hosting juggernauts like BlueHost and HostGator. Do these other companies have better marketing campaigns or does A2 simply not have what it takes to compete with the big dogs? That’s what we wanted to find out when we decided to put together this review.

At first glance, A2 may seem like the perfect hosting provider. They have reasonable prices, plenty of hosting plans to choose from, a good selection of features, and an unbeatable money-back guarantee. At the same time, though, the provider is known to struggle in the performance department at times, they don’t make it clear right away that certain tools need to be purchased separately, and their checkout process can be a bit confusing. Just like any other hosting provider, A2 has its fair share of pros and cons, so let’s not waste any more time and take a closer look at everything the company has to offer.

Navigation and Ease of Use

Getting started with A2 Hosting is pretty straightforward. The company’s website is fairly well designed and you can expect to find most of the information you might be interested in on the home page. The company uses a lot of buzzwords to advertise its products, particularly in the “Solutions” section, some of which may or may not be a bit misleading. Aside from that, though, the company is pretty upfront about what it’s offering and why you may want to choose A2 instead of other hosting providers.

Once you select a hosting plan, you will be asked to register a new domain or transfer an existing one. Domain transfers and site migrations are free in most cases so switching over from a different provider is a piece of cake. Like most hosting providers, A2 will automatically select a long-term plan for you during checkout so you may want to pay attention and switch to a different billing cycle if needed. Luckily, there’s no need to worry about being charged extra for additional tools because these aren’t added automatically to your package.

The problem with A2 Hosting’s checkout process is that the company doesn’t do a good job at properly explaining all the terms you’re going to come across, such as Railgun, CloudFlare or Turbo Boost. If you’re an experienced webmaster you’ll likely not find this problematic. However, it can become an issue if you’re a novice because those are all paid services and you don’t know if you’re going to need them. If this is your first time purchasing a hosting plan, it’s probably best to stick with the basics and avoid getting any optional tools until you know what they do and if you actually need them.

Account Management

A2 Hosting gives users two options for managing their accounts. Shared hosting plans come bundled with cPanel while some of the other packages include both cPanel and the WHM interface. Unlike DreamHost, which has a custom control panel, A2 decided to go with a traditional account management interface. This is great not just for users who are already familiar with cPanel and WHM but also for newcomers because these control panels are very intuitive and easy to use.

It’s worth noting that A2 Hosting offers both Linux and Windows-based servers. This is a very nice feature but it comes with a couple of caveats. The first one being that Windows-based servers are more expensive. Unless you’re certain that you want a Windows-based server, make sure to pick Linux instead because it will save you a lot of money in the long run. The other main difference between the two is that Windows-based plans use Plesk instead of cPanel or WHM. Plesk works similar to those two but the UI is quite different and may take some getting used to if you’re switching from cPanel.

Plans and Pricing

A2 Hosting is a middle-of-the-pack provider when it comes to pricing. The cheapest hosting plan (Lite) will set you back $3.92 per month with a three-year contract. That’s just a little bit cheaper compared to rivals like SiteGround ($3.95/mo) and InMotion Hosting ($3.99/mo) but quite a bit more expensive than DreamHost ($2.59/mo), Bluehost ($2.75/mo) or HostGator ($2.75/mo).

The basic plan only supports a single website and a limited amount of email addresses and databases. However, you do get unlimited bandwidth and SSD storage along with a plethora of features and tools. The full list is quite extensive so we’re only going to mention some of the highlights. These include free SSL certificate, free Cloudflare CDN, website staging environment, free site migration, DDoS protection, 1-click install for WordPress and other content management systems, domain and subdomain parking, spam protection, and more.

Upgrading to the Swift plan ($4.90/mo) will cost you less than $1 dollar extra and gives you support for unlimited websites, unlimited databases, and unlimited email addresses. In addition, the hardware is also a little bit better and you get access to free automatic backups. Meanwhile, the Turbo ($9.31/mo) package is quite a bit more expensive but includes a bunch of extra features, most of which are designed to improve the performance of your website. A few examples of performance-focused features include the proprietary A2 Site Accelerator and Turbo Mode, as well as the professional version of Cloudflare.

WordPress Hosting

While you can host a WordPress site on a shared hosting plan, A2 also offers managed WordPress plans that make working with the CMS a lot easier. The main difference between these two types of hosting is that the managed version comes with certain features that will allow you to take a more hands-off approach to hosting. Simply put, A2’s team takes care of much of the heavy lifting for you so you won’t have to worry about things like security, updates, patches, performance tweaking or even installing WordPress itself. Because of this, managed WordPress packages cost a bit more than your regular shared hosting plan.

Namely, the basic package costs $11.99 per month and can only support a single website. This option is primarily aimed at beginners who want to try their hand at managed hosting. With the basic plan, you only get access to 10 GB of storage but you benefit from unmetered bandwidth, a free SSL certificate, 1-click WordPress staging environment, automated backups, and a free Cloudflare account. Among other things, sites hosted on a managed plan also come with Jetpack Personal pre-installed, DDoS protection, free webmail, Turbo mode, and a Plesk control panel for managing your account.

Once you reach the $18.99 per month tier, you’ll be able to host up to 3 websites on the same account, you get one additional GB of RAM, and the available storage goes up to 25 GB. There are no other noteworthy extra features aside from that so if you’re not looking to host more than 1 website, you’re generally better off sticking with the basic plan. The situation is fairly similar when it comes to the final tier. For $36.98 per month, you’ll get some more resources and support for an unlimited number of websites, but that’s about it.

Reseller Hosting

A2 is quite famous for offering some of the most appealing reseller hosting packages on the market. The company’s plans are reasonably priced and come with all the features you need to start your own small web hosting company. Needless to say, this is a very niche type of hosting that most average users are likely to overlook. But if you own a business and want to start selling hosting services to your clients, you’ll find that A2 is more than capable of facilitating that sort of venture.

Buying a reseller hosting plan from A2 will set you back anywhere between $9.80 and $30.38 per month. All plans come with almost identical features and tools, but varying amounts of resources. As you may have already guessed, the more you are willing to pay the more resources you will have at your disposal. Similarly, each type of plan can only support a certain number of client accounts – between 40 and 100 depending on the plan.

Many of the tools and features included here can also be found in the shared and WordPress hosting packages so we’re not going to mention them again. There are, however, a couple that are unique to the reseller hosting plans, such as a free eNom reseller account and free WHMCS. In case you’re not familiar with those name, WHMCS is a popular web hosting billing and automation platform while eNom is a hosting company that also sells a lot of products related to domain names.

A2 provides an alternative to WHMCS in the form of Blesta, which is a similar, albeit a lot more expensive, management and billing platform for hosting providers. You can choose either WHMCS or Blesta with any of A2’s reseller hosting plans except for the cheapest one, which comes with Blesta by default.

VPS Hosting

If you’re in the market for a VPS hosting solution, A2 may have exactly what you’re looking for. Things could get confusing for some people because the company offers no less than three different types of virtual private servers (VPS). But don’t worry because we’re going to break things down for you.

The first type is unmanaged VPS hosting, which is somewhat similar to the cloud hosting plans offered by companies like DigitalOcean. This is the cheapest type of VPS, with prices ranging between $5 and $15 per month. The standard plans don’t feature a whole lot of resources but that’s not necessarily an issue because they can be customized to your liking. Unmanaged VPS plans give you the option of choosing whichever operating system you like and come with administrative level root access, but there’s no cPanel. Unmanaged VPS hosting is mainly aimed at developers, however, they can be made more user-friendly by adding an optional cPanel license to your package for $19.95 per month. That would bring the total cost to at least $24.95 per month.

If you want to make things easier on yourself, you could simply pay $25 per month and get a managed VPS hosting package instead. You lose root access by doing so but you would gain a lot more resources in exchange along with some extra features like free site transfer, SSL certificate, and automatic updates. Not to mention the fact that A2 takes partial care of the security and optimization of your server. Unlike the unmanaged version, however, these plans can’t be customized and there are only three to choose from so you are a bit more limited in that regard.

As far as the third type of VPS is concerned, this is essentially a combination of the first two. Namely, it’s managed VPS hosting but with root access. The prices and resources are identical to the standard managed VPS plans and there are again only three (non-customizable) packages to choose from. At first glance, this would seem like the best type of VPS hosting offered by A2 since it combines the best of both worlds, however, there are a few drawbacks. In exchange for getting root access, users lose out on some pretty helpful features like Cloudflare CDN and automatic server backups.

Dedicated Servers

A2’s dedicated servers are pretty cheap compared to those offered by other providers and the company doesn’t seem to skimp out on the resources either. For $99.59 per month, you can get a starter unmanaged dedicated server that runs on a dual-core CPU and features 8 GB of RAM, 1 TB of storage, and 10 TB of data transfer. There are a couple of other, more expensive, options that have much better specs but, surprisingly, none of them come with SSD storage.

As if things weren’t already confusing enough with the VPS plans, the situation is even worse here. There are four different types of dedicated servers to choose from, including the unmanaged ones we just discussed. The managed servers come in two varieties – standard and root access. This is the same scenario we’ve seen earlier, where one type of server comes with full root access and but is missing some features. Otherwise, the two are identical in terms of specs and pricing. In both cases, prices range between $141.09 and $290.49 per month.

Last but not least, you can also buy a third type of managed server, this one featuring SSD storage. Interestingly enough, you can only get 256 GB of SSD storage regardless of which plan you purchase. The specs are otherwise identical to the ones you’ll find in any of the other plans and the same also goes for the features and tools. Prices here range between $129.30 and $249.90 per month.

Key Tools and Features

If you take a close look at any of A2’s hosting plans you’ll notice that the come accompanied by a massive list of features and tools. The list is so long, in fact, that it can seem overwhelming for new users who don’t really know much about hosting. With that in mind, we decided to condense things a bit in order to make the information more accessible to newcomers. Down below you can find a summary of the tools and features offered by A2 Hosting that we consider absolutely essential.

Domain Registration

If you want to purchase a domain name without buying a hosting plan it will cost you $14.95 per year. Unlike other companies, A2 Hosting doesn’t charge extra for domain renewals or transfers so you can expect to pay the same amount for any action involving domains. A2 includes two optional services in the form of DNS management and email forwarding, both of which you can add to your cart for free during check out. Unfortunately, you’ll need to spend an extra $9.95 per year if you want to also add domain privacy so the total cost for registering a domain with the company is actually closer to $25 per year.

A2 Hosting is one of the few providers on the market that doesn’t offer free domains with their hosting plans. That’s not exactly ideal because you’ll need to fork out an extra $14.95 per year when you sign up, and that’s without domain privacy, which is a must these days. The company does offer free site migrations so you won’t have to worry about those extra costs if you’re transferring from a different provider. If you’re starting fresh, however, A2 Hosting starts to look like a less budget-friendly option than we originally thought. You can host your site on a free subdomain (example.a2hosted.com), but it’s pretty safe to say that no serious webmaster would want to use an extension like that.

Databases

A2 Hosting supports both MySQL and MSSQL databases. Databases can be managed straight from the cPanel and can also be imported along with your website if you’re transferring to A2 Hosting from a different provider. You can create as many databases as you want if you sign up for a hosting plan that supports them (not all of them do), but there is one exception. The starter shared hosting plan only allows you to create and manage 5 databases so you’ll need to upgrade to a higher tier if you need more than that.

Backup and Restore

The ability to create backups of your site and databases is definitely one of the most important features you should look out for before signing up with a hosting provider. In the case of A2 Hosting, you can have access to both automatic and manual backups, though not with all plans. Once again, the basic shared hosting package is the most limited one and doesn’t support automatic backups. You can manually back up files and store them offsite, but it will cost you $2 per month for 5 GB of storage. If you have particularly large backups you can buy additional storage for an extra monthly fee.

Upgrading to one of the other plans unlocks a tool that automatically backs up your files on a regular basis and allows you to easily restore them when needed. A similar tool is available with managed the WordPress plans but, in this case, the backups are enabled by the Jetpack Personal plugin. All the other types of managed hosting (VPS, dedicated) also come with automatic backups. Unmanaged hosting plans don’t include such a tool but users can still back up their files via FTP.

Domain Emails

A2 Hosting makes a pretty big deal about the fact that it offers free emails, and rightly so since many other providers charge for them. You can only create up to 25 @domain email addresses with the basic shared hosting plan but that limitation disappears once you upgrade to any of the other packages. All mailboxes support POP3, IMAP, and SMTP and come with an advanced spam filtering system. You can also access your mailbox directly via the control panel as A2 also supports webmail clients like Horde and Round Cube.

eCommerce

A2 Hosting is not really a great option if you’re looking to build an online store. The company does include a couple of eCommerce-related features like PayPal support and instant merchant account IDs, but that’s about it. You’ll need to get most of the features needed to open a fully-functioning online store via third-party platforms like OpenCart, Magento or PrestaShop. A2 does offer 1-click installs for these platforms so at least there’s that. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly company with good eCommerce functionality we recommend checking out Weebly. If you’re not concerned about the price, however, Shopify is probably the best option available right now.

SEO

Certain hosting providers include SEO tools with their plans but, unfortunately, A2 is not one of them. The company does have a proprietary website builder that comes with SEO tools and is available for free with most plans. However, the free version of the builder is pretty basic and the paid versions are too expensive for what they offer. You’re better off building your website with WordPress instead and installing a free SEO plugin like Yoast.

Additional Supported Technologies

If you’re an advanced user you’ll be happy to know that A2 integrates many useful technologies that add a lot of value to most of their hosting plans. A few examples include support for HTTP/2, Anycast DNS, two-factor authentication, automatic Kernel updates, command line WordPress interface (WP-CLI), SSH access, SPDY, and more. A2 also supports multiple versions of PHP, Python, and other scripting languages along with Apache, Node.js, PostgreSQL, Git, Subversion and Mercurial, among other things.

Location Coverage

A2 Hosting has average location coverage when compared to other well-known hosting providers. Namely, there are four data centers to choose from, two of which are located in the US while the other two can be found in Europe and Singapore. The company uses a redundant network and power supply to ensure that downtime is kept to a minimum in case of an outage and its data centers feature state-of-the-art SSAE16 certified security systems.

Performance and Reliability

There are a lot of factors that contribute towards the performance of a website. While you can take certain steps to optimize your website on your end, you can’t do anything to improve the server the site is hosted on. It’s the job of hosting providers to make sure that their servers run smoothly at all times and some of them are much better at this than others. So which category does A2 fall into? We set up a simple WordPress site on a basic shared hosting plan in an effort to find out.

Page Loading Speed

Our first round of testing didn’t yield particularly encouraging results. Our site routinely took well over 1 second to load despite the fact that we didn’t have much content and there wasn’t much traffic slowing things down. Generally speaking, you want your website to load in much less than 1 second in order to ensure a positive user experience. Anything more than that and you’ll begin to notice a steady decline in user acquisition and retention. Not to mention that having a slow site will directly impact your SEO.

To be fair to A2 Hosting, our site wasn’t hosted on a plan that includes the Turbo mode or many of the other technologies the company uses for optimization. A more expensive hosting plan is likely to yield better results, especially if you go with a VPS or dedicated server. Still, A2 doesn’t make a very good first impression and it can be hard to justify spending extra money on a more expensive package when the most popular plan performs so poorly.

Server Response Times

A2 Hosting doesn’t excel when it comes to page loading speeds, but what about its server response times? After all, it’s possible that A2’s servers are actually great but we got poor speeds because our site was badly optimized. Well, that doesn’t really seem to be the case. During our second round of testing, we went straight to the sources and tested the company’s servers from various locations around the world. That gave us an even better idea of what A2 has to offer in the performance department.

As it’s often the case with hosting providers, testing from the US yielded some very good results, with average response times of only around 60 ms, which is quite good. Unsurprisingly, the response times were much slower when testing from all other regions. We got 300 ms from Europe and South America and around 750 ms on average when testing from India and Japan. These aren’t the worst results we’ve ever seen but there is certainly a lot of room for improvement.

Uptime

A2 seems to struggle with outages more than other providers so we weren’t surprised to find out that the uptime is below industry standards. Not by much, mind you, but enough that it could potentially cause some concerns for certain users. Our average uptime during testing was 99.94% over a relatively long period of time. Ideally, you’ll want site uptime to fall anywhere between 99.95% and 99.99%, which is what most providers offer. Of course, 100% would be even better but achieving that is all but impossible over long periods of time.

To A2’s credit, the company only promises a 99.90% uptime and is fully capable of keeping that promise from what we can tell. However, the company should definitely try to step up its game if it wants to remain competitive in this area. If the uptime should ever fall lower than the promised value, A2 is ready to compensate users by offer service credit equivalent to 5% of their monthly hosting fee for every hour of downtime caused by network issues or equipment failure.

Customer Support

Customer support is arguably one of A2 Hosting’s strongest suits. The company’s “Guru Crew” support team is available 24/7 via phone, live chat, ticket, and email. Support agents are almost always very quick to reply and more than happy to help you with any issues you may have. Depending on which plan you sign up for, you can also benefit from priority support free of charge. As you might expect, priority support is only available with the most expensive hosting package. Namely, managed VPS and dedicated plans.

In addition to the usual support channels, A2 Hosting also has an extensive knowledge base and a blog where it posts regularly. Strangely enough, though, the company doesn’t have community forums. The knowledge base could have been a bit better, but it is relatively easy to navigate and finding the resources you’re looking for doesn’t take long. Many of the articles and guides found there are very easy to follow and come accompanied by screenshots, which is always a nice touch.

F.A.Q.

What are A2 Hosting’s Most Popular Products?

Similar to a lot of other providers, A2’s most popular products are its shared hosting plans. The company is also known as being one of the top providers of reseller hosting on the market right now.

Does A2 Hosting Support Monthly Billing Cycles?

Yes, users can choose between multiple billing cycles regardless of which hosting package they sign up for. In addition to monthly payments, A2 also supports yearly and multi-annual billing cycle. Even though paying on a month-by-month basis is a good option if you’re on a budget, it’s worth noting that you can benefit from significant discounts by paying for 1, 2 or 3 years in advance.

Can I Upgrade My Hosting Package?

Absolutely. It is customary to start off with a cheap hosting plan and then work your way up from there, particularly if you’re a novice webmaster. A2 makes it very easy to upgrade to a higher tier, downgrade to a lower one or even change your hosting type altogether.

Is A2 Hosting a Good Choice for WordPress?

A2 is a pretty good choice if you want to build and host a WordPress-based site but there better options out there. WordPress itself recommends going with either Bluehost, DreamHost or SiteGround.

What is A2 Hosting’s Refund Policy?

A2 has the best refund policy we’ve ever come across. Namely, the company offers a very generous anytime money-back guarantee. There are some stipulations to this policy (and you can read about them here) but for the most part, it’s exactly what it sounds like. The policy only applies to hosting plans. Other services like domain registrations and migration fees are not refundable.

Final Thoughts

A2 Hosting isn’t perfect but it certainly has a lot going on for itself. The company offers a very impressive list of features with all of its plans and focuses on security a lot more than many of its competitors. They also have a very wide selection of hosting plans to choose from, including some of the best reseller hosting packages on the market. The prices aren’t the best we’ve ever seen but they are certainly not unreasonable either. We also have to give A2 big props for its fantastic customer support team.

As far as the negatives are concerned, there is a handful that immediately comes to mind. The company doesn’t offer a free domain with its plans, which is pretty unusual in this day and age. Meanwhile, the performance is slightly below average if you’re running a shared hosting plan and you don’t get free backups or emails with the cheapest package. Some of the more expensive plans are definitely worth looking into but the entry one is a bit difficult to recommend.

At the end of the day, A2 Hosting has more pros than cons and offers the best refund policy on the market. The fact that you can try out the company’s services risk-free is a huge plus in our book. If that sounds like your cup of tea, make sure to give A2 a chance.

Wix vs. WordPress – User-Friendly vs Fully-Featured

There was a time when it seemed like WordPress was the only game in town for building reliable websites with relatively little effort. Sure, the platform wasn’t the easiest to work with but its many templates and plugins simplified the process while coding was entirely optional. Well, times are rapidly changing and building a new website in this day and age can be done literally overnight with the use of a wide range of platforms. WordPress remains a very popular choice even in 2020 but companies like Wix are now giving it a run for its money.

WordPress may have simplified website building but Wix took it one step further by including web hosting, domains, apps, and other useful tools into one package. A very user-friendly and affordable package. Wix didn’t pioneer the concept of all-in-one website builders but it managed to popularize it, arguably more than any other company. Nowadays, Wix is the most widely-used platform of its kind and is generally considered the go-to choice for those looking to build a new website quickly and painlessly.

WordPress remains an absolute juggernaut that powers countless websites across the internet but is it a better option than Wix? There’s no real easy way to answer that question because the two platforms are designed for different types of audiences, though there is indeed some overlap between. Instead of trying to come up with a one-size-fits-all answer, we figured it would be more helpful to take a close look at each platform and see how they stack up against each other in various key areas. So without further ado, let’s just jump straight into it.

Popularity

Even though Wix is used by millions upon millions of users, the builder can’t really compete with WordPress in terms of popularity. Wix is estimated to power anywhere between 100 million and 150 million websites in 2020, a figure that is certain to grow exponentially in the years to come. However, WordPress powers more than 35% off all websites (yes, all), which amounts to about half a billion websites. Naturally, it’s hard to find precise figures when it comes to something like this but suffice it to say that WordPress is used by a lot more people.

However, there is a little caveat to this that I think is very relevant. There are actually two different types of WordPress out there. One of them is WordPress.org, a self-hosted free and open-source CMS (Content Management System) that’s primarily responsible for the popularity of the platform as a whole. The other variant is WordPress.com, a SaaS (Software as a Service) that in many ways works very similar to Wix. Namely, WordPress.com is a paid service that offers packages that come with a site builder, web hosting, domain name, and most of the other things you can also find in Wix plans.

The reason why I wanted to point this out is that even though the WordPress CMS is more popular than Wix, the SaaS isn’t. It was also important to make a clear distinction between the two versions of WordPress because each of them has its own pros and cons when compared to Wix.

Popularity – It’s hard to win a popularity contest against the platform that powers over one-third of all websites on the internet, though Wix does come closer than any other builder. WordPress is undoubtedly the more popular platform in this comparison.

Navigation and Ease of Use

There are some pretty big differences between Wix and WordPress when it comes to ease of use. WordPress has a steeper learning curve and is more difficult to master but offers a lot more flexibility than Wix. Meanwhile, Wix is often touted as being the most accessible website builder for newcomers thanks to its intuitive nature, however, the builder is more limited than WordPress in some areas. To put it another way, Wix is easier to learn but you can do more with WordPress once you learn how it works.

Wix

Wix offers one of the best site editors we’ve ever seen. Not only does the editor come with drag-and-drop functionality but it is also less restrictive than similar builders like Squarespace, Weebly, and even WordPress in a few areas. The editor isn’t block-based or section-based. Instead, it gives you complete freedom to drag anything anywhere on a page. Wix uses a WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) editor that gives you an accurate representation of what your site will look like once you publish or update it. As opposed to WordPress where you usually work in the backend and need to preview the site in order to see what the live version will look like.

Wix’s template selection is very impressive. The platform gives you over 500 designs to choose from, all of which are neatly sorted by category. There’s a template for pretty much any industry or niche you can think of, as well as a few blank templates that only come with the basic building blocks. Working with a pre-configured template is certainly easier for newcomers but choosing a blank one gives you more freedom. Adding or editing elements is very simple but the sheer amount of elements you have at your disposal can feel a bit overwhelming at first.

If you want to take the easy way out, you can use the Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) instead of using a template. All you have to do is answer a series of questions to tell the ADI what sort of features and tools you need and the system will build a new website for you based on your specifications. A lot of builders use a system like this but the one offered by Wix seems more advanced than most as it attempts to create unique websites by mixing together elements from many different templates and the results are often fantastic.

WordPress

WordPress isn’t really known for its ease of use but it’s not as complex as people make it out to be either. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. WordPress also comes with a drag-and-drop editor and even though some may claim otherwise, you don’t actually need any technical skills in order to build a good-looking website with it. Knowing how to code can definitely make things easier but, with enough time and patience, you can achieve good results even if you don’t. The learning curve here is closely related to the theme you’re using.

WordPress offers a lot more themes than Wix and many of them were designed with functionality rather than accessibility in mind. Therefore, some themes are quite complex and difficult to wrap your head around at first. If you also add a bunch of plugins in the mix you can definitely end up with a situation where it’s hard to make heads or tails of things, especially if you’re a novice. That said, some plugins can make life a lot easier for you. For example, a plugin like Visual Composer allows you to build very impressive pages with amazing functionality while working on the front end, just like you would with Wix. The problem, of course, is that such plugins aren’t free, though they do come bundled with certain premium themes.

The WordPress CMS is standalone software, which means that you’ll need to purchase web hosting separately. This can add an additional level of a challenge since you’ll need to spend some time looking for a good hosting provider that offers the features and tools you’re looking for. However, you can circumvent this problem by using WordPress SaaS. Doing so will give you access to a slightly more user-friendly version of WordPress that comes with free web hosting, among other things. However, this version of the platform is also more restrictive so you would have to give up some functionality in exchange for accessibility if you decide to subscribe to the SaaS.

Navigation and Ease of Use – Even though WordPress isn’t quite as complicated as some users might expect, the platform does indeed have a much steeper learning curve than Wix. The builder is renowned for its ability to allow even complete novices to build a website with ease. Not to mention the fact that you can have the Wix ADI essentially build a website for you, which isn’t really possible with WordPress unless you purchase very specific packages offered by only a handful of hosting providers.

Scalability

WordPress has the potential to scale a lot better than Wix but only when paired with a solid hosting provider. WordPress is essentially just a piece of software you can install on a website so the scalability potential ultimately depends on your hosting plan. WordPress recommends using either Bluehost, DreamHost or SiteGround as your hosting provider, which are all great choices. Each of these companies has various pros and cons but all of them offer multiple types of hosting (shared, dedicated, VPS) and very low starting prices. Each of these providers hosts countless websites of all shapes and sizes so there’s plenty of room for growth with either of them and, of course, the platform itself can accommodate any sort of customization you throw at it.

Outgrowing Wix is unlikely for most people but it’s definitely a possibility. Wix is perfect for small and medium-sized websites and even certain eCommerce platforms but that’s usually as far as it goes. The largest amount of storage you can get with the regular plans is 50 GB and most packages will only let you upload up to 10 hours of video content. Limitations like that prevent certain types of websites from growing past a certain limit. To put things into perspective, most websites built with Wix are very stylish and eye-catching, but fairly simple and usually don’t contain more than a handful of pages. By comparison, WordPress accommodates massive platforms built by well-known companies and organizations like The New York Times, Sony Music, TechCrunch, Disney, The Rolling Stones, BBC, and more.

It’s worth noting that most of the big WordPress websites you’re going to come across were built using the CMS combined with enterprise-grade hosting solutions. The WordPress SaaS also allows you built sites that scale pretty well but you’re going to run into the same limitations found at Wix. If you plan on building a website that can grow exponentially over time, the CMS is definitely the way to go.

Scalability – WordPress is in a league of its own when it comes to scalability. When paired with a solid hosting provider, the platform can support websites and online stores of any size. Wix is capable of scaling better than many other site builders but can’t quite compete with the likes of WordPress in this department. However, if you were to compare Wix to the WordPress Saas, the situation changes and the two are pretty evenly matched.

Design and Customization

A lot of people would consider WordPress to be the undisputed king of design flexibility and customization. While that may be a bit subjective, there’s no denying that WordPress allows you to create any website you can think of, provided you’re a somewhat tech-savvy user. Wix has more restrictions in regards to what you can and can’t customize but the builder’s hundreds of templates and apps make it a very versatile platform in its own right.

Wix

While some builders charge a pretty penny for some of their (premium) templates, Wix offers all of them for free. The only caveat to this is that you can’t use some of the specialized templates unless you’re subscribed to a certain plan. This primarily applies to templates that come with eCommerce functionality, which is unlocked by purchasing one of the high-tier packages. You may come across professional designers that sell custom Wix templates, however, the company itself doesn’t charge for any of its designs.

Aside from the blank templates mentioned earlier, you can find over 500 pre-configured designs in the library. Each of these templates comes with a slightly different layout and examples of text, images, and videos, which you can then replace with your own content. Many of these templates also come with built-in features and tools that are relevant to the template’s intended purpose. For example, eCommerce templates tend to include shopping carts and customer service pages right out of the box. Similar to templates, elements are also neatly sorted into main categories like Menus & Pages, Backgrounds or Media, each of which contains a variety of tools and features. For example, tools like Photo Studio and Video Maker along with certain social features can be found under the Media category.

You can modify any template as you see fit using the WYSIWYG editor but you’ll need to access the “Dev Mode” if you’re looking to do some fine-tuning. The “Dev Mode” allows you to work on the backend and gives you access to the template’s code. It goes without saying that you probably shouldn’t mess around with this mode unless you know what you’re doing. Tech-savvy users can enhance their sites in many ways by using the “Dev Mode”, however, it’s worth mentioning that Wix only supports HTML and Javascript. By comparison, WordPress supports four programming languages, including PHP and CSS.

WordPress

WordPress offers a fairly generous selection of free templates (or themes) you can work with along with an equally generous selection of premium ones. Many of the free themes can get the job done pretty well if you’re looking to build a small website or blog. If you want to create a site that stands out from the crowd, however, you’re going to have to buy a premium theme. Some of the premium themes can get a bit expensive but there are plenty of reasonably-priced ones as well. Premium themes are a one-time purchase so you don’t have to worry about having to pay a monthly or yearly subscription for them.

Some themes are a lot more complex than others so it’s very important to do a bit of research before you start building a WordPress site. Luckily, many of the best ones you can find online have video presentations that give you a pretty good idea of what your future site could look like. WordPress themes tend to feature a lot more elements and tools than the templates offered by Wix. Learning how to customize a WordPress theme can be quite challenging due to the sheer amount of options available, though again, this can differ depending on the theme you’re using. Another thing you’ll need to take into consideration is the fact that WordPress itself has plenty of settings and menus even before you install a theme on top.

While you don’t necessarily need to be a developer in order to get the most out of WordPress, it does help to know a bit about coding. You can make a lot of modifications and add tons of features to your site by simply using plugins. However, installing too many plugins will eventually slow down your site and can potentially lead to technical issues that could be difficult to fix. And unless your site is hosted by a provider known for its good customer support, you’ll have to try fixing things on your own, which is never fun. You can often avoid many of these issues by modifying the theme’s code instead of installing a bunch of plugins.

Design and Customization – Wix is more customizable than a lot of other website builders and gives you plenty of great templates to work with. In addition, the “Dev Mode” is a great feature that allows advanced users to tweak their websites even more. Despite all of that, however, WordPress still manages to outshine Wix in terms of design and customization. WordPress offers unrivalled customization opportunities even in its base form. Add a quality premium theme on top of that and the possibilities become endless.

Plans and Pricing

The overall price you’ll need to pay for your site can vary a lot depending on whether you go with Wix or WordPress. You can get away with spending very little with either platform but you can also end up with a monthly bill of several hundreds of dollars or more. But you can build a website without spending anything with both WordPress and Wix as there are free plans available for both platforms

The Free Options

Wix’s free plan is quite generous and gives you access to all templates aside from the ones designed for online sites. The company doesn’t limit the functionality of the site editor either and allows users to take advantage of both the app marketplace and the “Dev Mode” even with the free plan. However, sites built using the free plan are forced to use a “.wixsite.com” extension and display non-removable Wix-branded ads. In addition, the storage and bandwidth are limited to just 500 MB, which isn’t a whole lot all things considered.

WordPress itself is free but you’ll need to purchase web hosting, a domain, and possibly a theme separately. If you want to use WordPress without having to spend anything you’ll actually have to opt for the SaaS instead of the CMS. That’s because WordPress.com offers a free plan that’s quite similar to the one you can find at Wix. The main limitations are pretty much the same only in this case, your site is forced to display WordPress-branded ads and use a “.wordpress.com” URL extension. The main difference between the two free plans is that WordPress only offers a few dozen free themes but gives you more storage to work with. Namely, 3 GB compared to Wix’s 500 MB.

The Paid Options

Wix’s premium plans are split into two categories. The first one consists of four different packages that range in price between $4.50 and $24.50 per month. The entry plan is pretty similar to the free one but allows you to connect a custom domain and gives you more storage, though you’ll still need to deal with the ads. Ads stop becoming an issue starting with the Combo plan but I recommend going for the Unlimited package if you can afford it because that also removes the bandwidth restrictions and gives you access to a couple of premium apps to boot. The second set of plans is aimed at eCommerce platforms and will set you back between $17 and $35 per month. The value you get with these is pretty good but they’re not really worth considering unless you plan to open an online store.

WordPress SaaS uses a similar business model but there are only four premium plans to choose from. The first two packages are priced at $4/mo and $8/mo, respectively, so a bit cheaper than the equivalent plans offered by Wix. However, the best value plan is two times more expensive ($25 vs Wix’s $12.50/mo). In order to truly take advantage of what WordPress has to offer you will need to go for this pricey package because it unlocks the ability to use premium themes and install plugins, among other things. Without these, WordPress is arguably a far less appealing option than pretty much any other builder out there. WordPress’s final plan (eCommerce) offers better value than Wix’s Business VIP package, however, it’s also $10 more expensive.

Most people who opt for WordPress use the CMS instead of the SaaS and for good reason. You don’t have to worry about any restrictions with the CMS but there are various costs you’ll need to consider. The entry point for most hosting providers is around $5 per month give or take but you may have to spend a bit more for a robust package that also comes with a domain name. Aside from that, you’ll also need a premium theme if you want to build a serious website and these can range in price between $30 and $300, though most seem to gravitate around the $50 mark. In addition, you may also need to buy a couple of premium plugins, which tend to cost around $20 – $70 a pop. Plugins and themes are a one-time purchase so there’s a high initial investment but then you’ll mainly only have to worry about the cost of hosting.

Plans and Pricing – Wix will generally be cheaper and easier to manage options in almost every situation. The builder charges a fixed monthly price for its plans and you don’t have to worry about paying extra for hosting or premium themes. A WordPress site can be pretty cheap to maintain but the initial costs are definitely higher and you need to go through extra steps in order to set everything up. As far as the WordPress SaaS is concerned, it’s not really worth it unless you go for the $25/mo plan.

Additional Tools and Features

Domain Registration

Wix offers a free custom domain for 1 year with all its premium packages except for the cheapest one. The basic plan does allow you to connect a custom domain but you’ll need to purchase it separately. Registering a new domain with Wix will only set you back $9.99 per year, provided you don’t want domain privacy. If you do want to add privacy to your domain, which you should, the cost goes up to around $19 per year. Wix charges the exact same amount for domain renewals.

Connecting a domain to a WordPress site may seem a bit tricky but that’s not really the case. All you have to do is sign up with a hosting provider and choose a package that includes a free custom domain. Generally speaking, the domain will only remain free for the first year. After that, you’ll have to manually renew it before it expires, just as you would do with Wix. Domain renewals usually cost anywhere between $15 and $20 per year, depending on which provider you sign up with. Most WordPress SaaS packages include a custom domain name and the company doesn’t sell them separately.

Backups

Wix’s backup system is a bit dodgy but can get the job done for the most part. The main problem with it is that it doesn’t allow users to create manual backups of their sites, at least not in the traditional sense. You can create duplicates of your site but you can’t download or store them externally. Wix also uses a feature known as Site History that allows you to revert your website to a previous state. However, this feature can only be used to restore a relatively recent version of a website.

If you want to back up a WordPress website you’ll have to rely either on your hosting provider or a plugin. Popular hosting providers like Bluehost or SiteGround include backup & restore tools with most of their plans. These tools are often included for free but some providers do charge extra for them. Another method by which you can back up a WordPress website is via a plugin like JetPack or Updraft. Some of these plugins can be used for free but are quite stingy when it comes to their features so it’s generally a good idea to spend a couple of bucks and upgrade to the premium version.

SEO Tools

Wix has all the basic built-in SEO tools you would expect from a website builder, including URL customization, meta description editing, sitemap generation, search console integration, and more. In addition, Wix also offers an SEO Wiz that streamlines things and provides guidance for users who are not familiar with search engine optimization.

WordPress has many of the same SEO features but there’s nothing quite like the Wix SEO Wiz, at least not right out of the box. However, WordPress has a massive selection of plugins designed to help users improve the SEO of their sites. Yoast is by far the most popular of these plugins and can be used for free, though it does have a premium version as well.

Wix has a fairly similar but less impressive SEO app known as Site Booster, which is included for free with most plans but can also be purchased separately.

Apps and Plugins

Apps and plugins are two different names used to describe essentially the same thing – a piece of software that you can use to add extra functionality to your site. Both Wix and WordPress offer many free add-ons along with a selection of premium ones, which can range in price between a couple of bucks to $100 or more. As far as quantity is concerned, there’s no real contest here as WordPress has over 55.000 plugins while Wix only has around 200 apps.

There is an argument to be made that many of WordPress’ plugins are not very reliable since they come from various third-party developers, some more experienced than others. Wix’s apps are generally safer to install but many of the popular ones, especially those developed by Wix themselves, have mediocre user scores, so their overall quality seems to be a bit hit or miss.

Domain Emails

You won’t be able to get free domain emails with any of Wix’s plans but you can attach G Suite to your account for a price. G Suite is fairly expensive (between $6 and $25 per month, per user) but it does come with plenty of nice features. The easiest way to get domain emails for a WordPress site is via a hosting provider. Certain providers like SiteGround and iPage include free domain emails with most of their hosting plans. On the other hand, a lot of other providers either charge for them or don’t offer them at all so, once again, choosing the right hosting provider is essential in the case of WordPress.

Money-Back Guarantee

Wix offers a 14-day money-back guarantee with all its premium plans. WordPress is a free platform so, needless to say, the CMS doesn’t have a refund policy. If you sign up for the SaaS, however, you can expect to benefit from a 30-day money-back guarantee if you ever need to ask for a refund.

Additional Tools and Features – Generally speaking, you can expect better tools and features from WordPress but you’ll often have to jump through a few hoops in order to gain access to them. WordPress users need to know exactly what they want and what hosting provider to sign up with in order to get the most out of the platform. Wix doesn’t have quite as much to offer in this department but there are no strings attached for what you can get, which makes it a better choice for some users.

Performance and Reliability

The performance of a WordPress website can range from amazing to absolutely terrible. WordPress users need to take into account many factors if they want to maintain good page loading speeds and often have to optimize many things by themselves. If you know what you’re doing, you can definitely build a WordPress website that performs better than a Wix one. However, even the most skilled users need to have their sites hosted by a very reliable provider in order to achieve solid uptimes.

According to our data, Wix sites have average loading speeds of around 600 ms and uptimes of around 99.95%. These figures can fluctuate on occasion but because Wix is a closed ecosystem, you generally know what to expect. Measuring the performance and reliability of WordPress websites across the board is all but impossible. The ones we did measure, however, had slightly better stats – 554 ms speed and 99.99% uptime on average. The difference between the two platforms isn’t that significant but with WordPress, you do have to know what you’re doing in order to achieve good stats.

Performance and Reliability – WordPress’s innate flexibility allows users to tweak countless things on the platform in an attempt to improve the performance. On the other hand, there are also plenty of opportunities to mess up and slow down or crash your website, particularly if you’re an inexperienced user. There’s less room for error with Wix websites and fewer opportunities to mess things up. That makes Wix the more reliable choice here even though WordPress has the potential to perform a lot better in the hands of an experienced user.

Customer Support

As one might expect, WordPress doesn’t offer any customer support so if something goes wrong with your website, you’re pretty much on your own. That said, you can ask for assistance from your hosting provider but they may not be able to help you with theme customization, plugin installation or anything else that’s not actually related to the services offered by the company. Subscribing to the WordPress SaaS gives you access to customer support via live chat or email. There’s also a learning center but it looks pretty outdated and difficult to navigate. That’s a problem for any company but it’s especially bad in the case of WordPress since there are thousands of things that can go wrong while building a site.

Wix’s support is a lot better than what the WordPress SaaS offers but there is still a bit of room for improvement. The company offers support via phone and email but there is no live chat option. On the bright side, Wix’s help center is absolutely fantastic and there’s an additional self-help system built directly into the site editor. The system allows users to learn more about various components of the editor by simply clicking the little question mark attached to each element. Doing so will bring up helpful tutorials, tips, and video guides that will teach you how to use the platform effectively. The latest version of WordPress’ editor features something similar but it’s nowhere near as impressive or helpful as the system used by Wix.

Customer Support – The only way of getting direct support from WordPress is by signing up for the SaaS, though that would mean using a more restrictive version of the platform. But even so, none of the support channels and systems offered by WordPress come close to those offered by Wix, especially the self-help system built directly into the site editor.

Wix vs. WordPress: Our Pick

Comparing Wix and WordPress is a bit like comparing apples and oranges. Both platforms serve a similar purpose but there are just as many differences between them as there are similarities. There’s no real definitive answer here and choosing between the two mostly boils down to personal preference.

WordPress is a perfect choice for skilled users who can create complex and unique websites by taking advantage of the platform’s flexibility and endless customization potential. At the same time, though, WordPress has a much steeper learning curve and designing a good looking website on the platform comes with a lot of challenges.

Wix, on the other hand, is a lot easier to use and gives you plenty of opportunities without requiring any technical skills in return. Sure, developers can use the platform to create fancy looking sites but at the end of the day, Wix is primarily aimed at regular users who may or may not have any previous experience with website builders.

Overall – Even though we love working with WordPress, we think Wix is ultimately the better choice for the average user. The platform is perfect for newcomers while also offering plenty of possibilities for advanced users thanks to features like the “Dev Mode”. WordPress certainly has a lot to offer but you’ll need to invest more time, effort and money in order to take full advantage of the platform.

DreamHost Review – Great for Newcomers and Veterans Alike

Established back in 1997, DreamHost can be considered a household name among veteran webmasters. While perhaps not as popular as Bluehost or SiteGround, the provider is definitely no underdog as evidenced by the fact that it powers well over 1.5 million websites as of 2020. DreamHost offers pretty much every type of hosting you can imagine but is perhaps best known for its shared and WordPress hosting packages. Given that WordPress itself recommends the provider, it should come as no surprise that DreamHost is becoming increasingly more popular among fans of the CMS.

WordPress plans aside, DreamHost is also known for offering affordable cloud hosting, powerful dedicated servers, many useful features with its shared hosting plans, and a nearly unbeatable money-back guarantee. Just like any other provider, DreamHost has a few drawbacks as well. Customer support and server uptime, for example, are two of the areas that could use some improvements.

But simply listing a few of the pros and cons doesn’t tell you an awful lot about the company, does it? To that end, we took a closer look at everything DreamHost has to offer and decided to put together a comprehensive review that will help you decide if this is the right hosting provider for you. With that out of the way, let’s just jump straight into it.

Navigation and Ease of Use

The first thing you’ll probably notice about DreamHost is that its website is very sleek and modern and, more importantly, very practical. All the main products are listed nicely on the homepage complete with pricing, and you can use the top menu to quickly find information regarding all the additional products and services offered by the company. You can also find a brief explanation for each type of hosting on the homepage along with a comparison table that gives you an idea of how they stack up against each other.

If you’re new to hosting, you may want to click the “learn more” button for each of the available options to make sure that you’re picking the right type of hosting for your future website. Newcomers should generally go with a shared hosting package or a specialized WordPress plan but the choice is entirely up to you. DreamHost went out of its way to include as much information as possible for each of its products. If you’re the type of person who likes thoroughly researching a product before buying it, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to do just that at DreamHost.

DreamHost is a very upfront company that lets you know beforehand how much you’re expected to pay for your hosting depending on the length of your contract. Each product page lists prices for monthly, yearly, and multi-yearly contracts when applicable. Of all the providers we reviewed over the years, only DreamHost, InMotion and a couple of others were so upfront about their prices. Most other companies list their absolute lowest prices but fail to mention the costs of monthly plans; you’ll only be able to learn about those during the checkout process.

Account Management

While most hosting providers allow you to manage your account using the cPanel, DreamHost decided to create its own custom dashboard, which is a double-edged sword. On one hand, the custom dashboard is more user-friendly and visually appealing than the cPanel. On the other hand, it can be a hassle to transfer a site from a cPanel host because you won’t be able to import your previous settings directly into DreamHost, which is possible with other hosting providers. Needless to say, that won’t be an issue if you’re a new user.

The dashboard is very intuitive and lets you manage everything from domains and databases to site backups, payment settings, account privileges, and more. Email addresses can also be managed from the dashboard but you’ll need to open a separate portal in order to access your mailbox. Among other things, you’ve also got a web-based file manager, quick access to productivity apps, and even a built-in WordPress login screen. Naturally, this last option only works if you have a WordPress-based website.

Plans and Pricing

If you’re looking for a cheap hosting provider you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option than DreamHost. Signing up for a shared hosting plan will only set you back $2.59 per month with a 3-year contract or $4.95 if you decide to pay on a month-by-month basis. Just to give you a quick look at the competition, Bluehost charges $2.75 per month while InMotion Hosting charges $3.99 per month for similar packages. Meanwhile, signing up with rivals like GoDaddy or SiteGround will set you back $5.99 per month and $3.95 per month, respectively.

The basic shared hosting plan only comes with 50 GB of SSD storage and support for a single website but includes unmetered bandwidth, a free SSL certificate, a free domain name complete with domain privacy, automated daily backups, website builder, and more. You can also park up to 5 subdomains and get access to 6 MySQL databases and 6 FTP user accounts. Quite a few things are limited with the basic package but it’s hard to complain about the features given the low price.

If you want to remove some of the limitations, as well as access a few additional features, you’re going to have to upgrade to the $4.95 per month plan. With this package, you get unlimited SSD storage, MYSQL databases, subdomains, and domain emails. The plan also unlocks support for an unlimited number of websites. DreamHost only offers two shared hosting plans so this is the best you can get, unless you decide to switch to a different type of hosting of course.

WordPress Hosting

DreamHost’s standard WordPress hosting plans are pretty much identical to the shared hosting plans we talked about earlier. However, the company also offers another set of WordPress packages and these are fully managed. So what does this mean? Well, the basic gist is that managed hosting plans come with better support and more quality-of-life features. But while you’ll need to spend less time managing things, you’ll need to pay significantly more for one of these packages.

Namely, the basic managed WordPress plan costs $16.95 per month and comes with some interesting features like a 1-click staging environment, built-in caching, a pre-installed SSL certificate, pre-installed JetPack plugin, and on-demand backups (alongside daily automated ones). Needless to say, WordPress itself also comes pre-installed on a website hosted with this plan and you don’t have to worry about WordPress updates because they are installed automatically. In addition to all of that, you also get the main features included in the standard WordPress/shared hosting plans.

Upgrading to one of the other two managed plans comes with a number of benefits, including CDN accounts, JetPack Professional, phone support callbacks, priority support, and additional SSD storage. The third tier is a very tough sell considering that you’re not getting a lot of extra features in return when compared to the other two tiers and that it costs a whopping $71.95 per month. Meanwhile, the $29.95/mo tier strikes a good balance between price and features, which makes it make easier to recommend.

Regardless of which tier you choose, it’s worth noting that all these plans come with dedicated resources (as opposed to shared ones) and run on a cloud-based server environment. Users also get access to specialized WordPress support, which is a nice touch. What’s less nice is that all managed plans can only support a single website and none of them come with unlimited storage.

Cloud Hosting

DreamHost offers a cloud computing service known as DreamCompute along with a cloud object storage system called DreamObjects. DreamCompute is mainly aimed at developers but you can also use the service as an average user, provided you don’t mind the fact that this type of hosting is less-user friendly than some of the others. You’ll need to learn how to create SSH keys, launch a server, and connect to your instance using said keys. It probably sounds a bit complicated if you’re not familiar with SSH keys but luckily, DreamHost has several tutorials that will help you get started with DreamCompute.

As far as the pricing is concerned, it’s quite similar to what you can find at cloud hosting providers like DigitalOcean, albeit with fewer plans to choose from. There are multiple types of servers – ranging from 512 MB all the way to 16 GB – and prices start at $0/0075/hour for the cheapest type. In short, the monthly price varies depending on your usage but the company only charges you for a maximum of 600 hours (25 days) each month. In practical terms, that means you can expect to pay no more than $4.50/mo for a 512 MB server, $12/mo for a 2 GB RAM server, $48/mo for an 8 GB RAM server, and so on. The more expensive servers don’t just include more memory but also more CPU cores, so you can expect better performance from them.

As far as DreamObjects is concerned, this is essentially an open-source platform that allows you to store data on the cloud. This data can include anything from music and videos to backups, archives, and more. DreamObjects is infinitely scalable and starts off at only $0.95/mo for a block of 40 GB. The more you are willing to pay, the more storage you can use and the effective price per GB goes down if you choose one of the larger blocks. DreamObjects is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a good cloud storage solution, especially since the service is free for the first 30 days.

VPS Hosting

VPS Hosting starts at only $10 per month, which is quite a steal compared to other providers. However, the basic package only gives you 1 GB of RAM and 30 GB of SSD storage to work with. That’s fine for small websites but if you’re receiving a lot of hits you’ll need better resources. At most, you can get a VPS package that comes with 8 GB of RAM and 240 GB of SSD storage for $80 per month. That’s fairly expensive but you do get unmetered bandwidth, support for unlimited websites, unlimited domain emails, and a free SSL certificate for that price. All in all, not a terrible deal.

DreamHost’s VPS plans are very easy to manage and work great in conjunction with WordPress. The company doesn’t support auto-scaling for VPS packages but it does allow you to manually add extra resources on the fly. Upgrading your server with more RAM or storage can be done from the control panel and the entire process usually takes less than 10 seconds.

Dedicated Servers

Dedicated servers are the ultimate hosting solution for big businesses and webmasters who require a lot of resources to sustain their sites. A VPS is usually enough for most users but if you need something even more powerful, you won’t be disappointed by what DreamHost has to offer. There are no less than 9 dedicated packages to choose from, with prices ranging anywhere between $149 and $379 per month. Needless to say, dedicated servers are quite expensive but definitely worth the money for those who can afford one.

All dedicated servers come with unmetered bandwidth, Raid 1 SSD or HDD storage (depending on the plan), full root access, local MySQL databases, DDoS protection, dedicated IPs, and many other useful features. However, there is also a little drawback here. DreamHost only offers Linux-based servers so if you’re looking for a Windows-based version, you’re better off trying your luck with a different provider.

Key Tools and Features

Inexperienced users often make the mistake of focusing on the price above all else. Naturally, you don’t want to spend too much on your web hosting if you can help it, but you’ll need to make sure that your provider offers all the tools and features you need to set up a solid website. But what if you don’t know what sort of tools and features you need? Well, we went ahead and summarized the most important ones so you’ll know exactly what to expect if you sign up with DreamHost.

Domain Registration

Like most providers, DreamHost offers a free domain name to everyone who signs up for certain hosting plans. The domain you choose will be available for free for the first year and you can take advantage of the offer when you purchase a shared, WordPress or VPS hosting package. If you’re looking to buy a dedicated server, you’ll need to purchase the domain separately. Also worth noting is that free domain names are only available with yearly and multi-annual hosting plans.

If you need to purchase a domain name separately you can do so for $7.99 per year. Once your first term expires, you can renew your domain for $15.99 per year. That’s already a very good offer but it gets even better because DreamHost includes free privacy protection with every domain registration. Many other providers charge an extra yearly fee for domain privacy and it can get quite expensive in some cases. For example, InMotion Hosting, SiteGround, and HostGator all charge close to $30 per year for registrations + privacy.

Databases

DreamHost only supports MySQL databases but lets you create and manage an unlimited number of them if you sign up for a Shared Unlimited or VPS hosting plan. The managed WordPress plans don’t come with database access but you probably wouldn’t want to bother with that anyway since DreamHost manages them for you in this case. Speaking of databases, the company emphasizes the fact that its dedicated servers host MySQL databases locally instead of on a different machine, which helps to improve query speeds and overall performance.

Backup and Restore

Users benefit from automated daily backups even with the cheapest hosting plans. This is a very useful feature that other providers tend to charge for. DreamHost keeps automated daily backups on its servers for about a month or so, which is a pretty common practice. It’s fairly uncommon to want to restore a version of your website that’s older than 30 days but if you do find yourself in that situation, there is an additional tool that can help you out.

DreamHost offers an on-demand backup system that comes with a few advantages over the automated system. For starters, you can back up your account more than once per day with this tool. Another advantage is that you can download the resulting archives containing your files and store them locally or on a third-party platform. Only the managed plans include the option that allows you to quickly restore backups with a single click. Shared plans let you create on-demand backups but there’s no quick restore option so you’ll need to do it manually via the File Manager.

Domain Emails

Any respectable business needs email addresses that properly represent the brand and with DreamHost, you can get access to such emails for free. Well, for the most part. Unlimited domain emails are available for free with all hosting plans except for the Shared Starter package. If you decide to sign up for this plan, you’ll need to pay an extra $1.99 per month (or $19.99 per year) to get access to an @domain mailbox. That price is for each individual mailbox so if you need multiple addresses, it makes more sense to go for one of the other plans instead.

You can also get professional mailboxes courtesy of Google’s G Suite. These mailboxes include Google Drive cloud storage, calendars, and many other features. Adding a G Suite mailbox to your package will cost you $6 per month per each individual user. That’s pretty expensive but you can try out the service for free for up to 30 days and decide afterward if it’s worth the investment.

eCommerce

DreamHost isn’t really the best choice for those looking to open an online store because it doesn’t technically offer any eCommerce features. However, the company does have three managed WordPress packages optimized to work hand-in-hand with the WooCommerce plugin. These plans are pretty much identical to the regular managed plans we covered earlier but come with the latest version of WooCommerce pre-installed and specialized support for the plugin.

This is essentially the same system used by Bluehost but with more features and a higher price tag. While WooCommerce is a good plugin, we recommend going with Shopify or one of its alternatives if you want to open a solid online store. Meanwhile, Weebly is a very good option for those who want to set up a store as quickly and as painlessly as possible.

SEO

DreamHost only offers SEO tools via its website builder, which is available for free with shared and managed WordPress plans. Similar to Wix or Squarespace, DreamHost’s website builder uses simple drag-and-drop functionality and gives you a wide selection of designs to choose from. Over 200 mobile-responsive and fully-customizable themes are available for free and the builder even comes with a quick-start wizard. The builder also includes a neat tool that gives you SEO recommendations in real-time. The tool is overall fairly simple so if you’re looking for something a bit more complex, you can skip the website builder and use the regular version of WordPress and pair it with the Yoast SEO plugin.

Migration Service

If you’re looking to transfer an existing domain to DreamHost you’re going to have to pay a one-time fee of $9.99 and then the regular renewal fee of $15.99 per year. Migrating an entire website is a lot more expensive than that, though the service is available for free with certain plans. The Pro migration service costs $99 for shared hosting users but DreamHost’s team can migrate your site within 48 hours with no downtime, which is pretty impressive. However, DreamHost can only help you transfer WordPress websites. The Pro migration service is free with any of the managed WordPress hosting plans.

Additional Supported Technologies

Tech-savvy DreamHost customers can make use of a lot of useful technologies provided by the company. A few examples include the ability to create FTP/SFTP or Shell users, Cloudflare CDN accounts, and free SSL/TLS certificates. The provider also supports PHP7, Perl, Python, and other scripting languages, offers SSH and Crontab access and allows users to password-protect directories using .htaccess. A few other supported technologies include Apache, Nginx, Node.js, OPcache, Phusion Passenger, IPv4/IPv6 dedicated IPs, Ruby Version Manager, and more.

Location Coverage

DreamHost only has two data centers at the moment. One of them is located in Ashburn, Virginia while the other one can be found in Hillsboro, Oregon. The fact that there are only two data centers to choose from can be a problem for some users, especially those located outside the US, however, this seems to be standard practice among jack-of-all-trades hosting providers. For instance, InMotion and HostGator also have two data centers while SiteGround and Bluehost are a bit more versatile with five and seven data centers, respectively. If you’re concerned about the location of your server make sure to check out our list of cheap cloud hosting providers because some of the companies there have over a dozen data centers.

Performance and Reliability

DreamHost wasn’t always the most reliable hosting provider in the past but that situation has changed dramatically in recent times. Nowadays, the company’s performance seems to be very solid and its uptimes are similar to some, though not all, of its competitors. To get a better idea of what DreamHost has to offer in this department we set up a simple WordPress site on a shared plan and conducted a series of tests over a period of several weeks. You can find a breakdown of our results down below.

Page Loading Speed

Our first order of business was to test the page loading speed of our website. Most users won’t give you a hard time if your site takes a while to load every now and then, but if your site is consistently slow, you’ll start losing some of your audience sooner or later. Not just that but search engines take into account page loading speeds, so expect to rank lower than your competitors on Google if your site is slow.

Based on our tests, DreamHost websites only take about 450 ms to load, which is a very good result all things considered. Certainly much better than the results we got in the past, that’s for sure. However, it’s worth noting that this time around we used a very simple website with a free theme and not much content. If your site has a lot of text, scripts, and images, it will almost certainly take quite a bit longer to load. For what it’s worth, though, we were pleasantly surprised by our latest results.

If you’re worried about performance you should consider upgrading to a different type of hosting. DreamHost’s VPS packages strike a good balance between price and performance. You’ll get even better speeds with a dedicated server, however, they are prohibitively expensive for most average users.

Server Response Times

While you can optimize your site to improve its loading speed, there’s not much you can do if your provider’s servers are slow. That’s why we decided to go straight to the source for our second round of testing and see how DreamHost’s servers perform. That way, we were able to avoid any potential issues found on our end and make sure that the results weren’t affected by other users found on our shared server.

We primarily used a tool called Bitcatcha for our second round of tests and, once again, the results we got were very surprising. Not because they were bad, mind you. Quite the contrary. DreamHost servers performed very well, with an average response time of around 45 ms when tested from the US. We got similar results in the past with other US-based providers but most of them performed much worse when tested from other locations. That wasn’t the case here.

We got a little less than 100 ms when testing from Europe and around 130 ms when testing from South America. Most surprising was the fact that we saw server response times of anywhere between 170 and 230 ms when testing from Japan, Singapore, and Australia. Many of the other providers we tested performed significantly worse when testing from these regions. In the case of DreamHost, however, the differences were overall small when testing from the US compared to all other regions.

Uptime

The last time we looked at DreamHost’s uptime we weren’t very impressed by the results. The situation has improved tremendously since because during our last round of testing our site achieved 100% uptime over a short period of time. Over longer periods we did notice occasional outages and the overall uptime eventually dropped to around 99.99% percent.

DreamHost mentions in its Terms & Conditions page that it can guarantee 100% uptime, which is obviously not the case. That said, this guarantee doesn’t technically mean that you will never experience downtime but that you will be compensated in the event that you do. Namely, customers are entitled to one day of free service for every one hour of total downtime they experienced over a certain period.

Customer Support

DreamHost falls a bit behind many of its competitors in this department because the company doesn’t offer phone support. You can request callbacks and there is a phone number you can reach them at if you’re on a managed hosting package, but there’s no way to call support if you’re using any of the other plans. In other words, most users will only be able to get in touch with a support agent either via ticket or live chat. To the company’s credit, though, its support agents are usually very fast at replying to tickets and their replies are always very helpful. That said, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to also have a phone option that’s available to everyone.

If you don’t feel like chatting to an agent you can always hit up the forums or look for answers to any problems you may have in the DreamHost knowledge base. There, you will find a plethora of useful articles and step-by-step guides, sometimes accompanied by videos. DreamHost clearly knows what the average user wants to hear because most of its articles are written in a succinct and direct manner without any lengthy introductions.

F.A.Q.

What Hosting Package Should I Choose if I’m on a Budget?

The Shared Starter package would be the obvious choice, however, due to its limitations, we recommend going with Shared Unlimited instead. DreamHost supports monthly billing cycles for both types of plans so you can get away with paying very little for your hosting without committing to a long-term contract.

Can I Host Multiple Websites on One Account?

Yes, but only with certain plans. Namely, Shared Unlimited, VPS, dedicated, and cloud hosting plans allow you to host an unlimited number of websites. Meanwhile, Shared Starter and the managed WordPress plans only support a single website.

Can I Use DreamHost for Free?

Unlike Wix, Weebly or WordPress (.com), DreamHost doesn’t offer a free tier. However, the company does offer shared hosting to non-profit organizations free of charge. In addition, nonprofits also benefit from discounts on VPS hosting packages.

Can I Upgrade/Downgrade my Hosting Plan?

Most users start off with a shared hosting plan but you’ll need something better if your site is getting a lot of traffic or if you simply need more resources. Luckily, DreamHost allows users to upgrade (or downgrade) their plan whenever they see fit and with no hassles. Moreover, the company even put together a comprehensive article that tells you everything you need to know about switching hosting plans.

What is DreamHost’s Refund Policy?

DreamHost offers a very generous 97-day money-back guarantee on all shared hosting plans. Unfortunately, there are no refunds on VPS plans, dedicated servers or managed WordPress packages. Similarly, the company does not offer any refunds on domain registrations.

Final Thoughts

DreamHost has come a very long way since its inception over two decades ago. The company had plenty of ups and downs over the years but it eventually reached a point where it is now very easy to recommend to both newcomers and veterans alike. The Shared Unlimited package, in particular, is a fantastic choice for users who are looking to build their very first website. There is plenty of room to upgrade from there, but we recommend not going past the VPS stage because there are better options out there when it comes to dedicated servers.

DreamHost sometimes gets a bad rap because its performance wasn’t always the best in the past but that’s certainly no longer the case these days. DreamHost consistently ranks high in terms of performance in 2020 and we hope to see it improve even further in the years to come.

The two biggest issues with DreamHost right now are the lack of phone support and free emails with its basic shared hosting plan. While we don’t see those problems as deal-breakers, we do think they should be addressed. Overall, though, DreamHost is a very solid hosting provider and we feel confident in recommending it to most users.

InMotion Hosting Review – Plenty of Great Features and Above Average Price

We all sometimes like to root for the new kid on the block but when it comes to web hosting, it’s usually better to hedge your bets on the more experienced companies. If you value experience above all else, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better company than InMotion hosting. The provider has been around since 2001 and has built a very respectable customer base over the years. Quite clearly, InMotion is an established and reputable hosting provider, but is it the right choice for you? That’s what we’re trying to find out.

We’ve written about InMotion Hosting on numerous occasions in the past but it’s been a while since we did an in-depth review of the company and its services. InMotion is known for its innovative features, great scalability and, a few years ago, the company even launched its own website builder. Needless to say, there are quite a few things we need to discuss so let’s jump straight into our InMotion Hosting review, shall we?

Navigation and Ease of Use

Signing up with a hosting provider can seem a bit intimidating if you’re not familiar with how these companies work. If you want to take the easy way out, you can go with an all-in-one platform like Wix, Weebly or Squarespace and save yourself some headaches. If you want better performance and more features, however, a hosting provider like InMotion is definitely the way to go.

The company does a better job than most of its competitors at letting you know exactly what you’re getting into. Upon visiting InMotion’s homepage you’ll be immediately be presented with four different types of hosting, complete with pricing and standout features. The company offers a few other products and services but let’s focus on the basics for now.

Upon clicking on any of the four types of hosting, you’ll be redirected to a different page where you can find an in-depth list that shows you all the features and tools included with each plan. Even better, you can click on any item to receive an explanation of what it does, and there are a few other resources that will help you figure out if that is the right type of hosting for you.

Another nice touch is a toggle button for the pricing, which lets you know exactly how much you’ll need to pay depending on the length of your contract. This may sound like a feature that should be present on the website of every hosting provider, but it’s not. In fact, very few of them are so straightforward upon their pricing schemes. For instance, HostGator and Bluehost only share that information with once you’re already in the middle of the check out process.

Account Management

InMotion Hosting lets you manage everything from domains and emails to databases and applications via a simple to use cPanel. If you’re not familiar with cPanel there’s no need to worry because InMotion offers a demo on its website and the best part is that you can check it out even if you’re not a registered user. cPanel is essentially an all-in-one account management console and while it may seem a bit intimidating at first, it’s worth noting that you can ignore most of the tools and options if you’re a new user.

But if you’re not really comfortable with the cPanel, you can manage things using the Account Management Panel (AMP) instead. AMP is fairly similar to cPanel but comes with a more simplified and user-friendly interface. Personally, I recommend trying to familiarize yourself with the cPanel if you’re a newcomer because this type of control panel is used not just by InMotion but also by many other providers. And if you ever switch to a different company, you’ll usually be able to import the cPanel settings from your previous provider, which isn’t possible with AMP.

Plans and Pricing

InMotion’s prices are above the market average, but not by much. A shared hosting plan will set you back $3.99 per month if you go with the basic package. Just to give you some context, rivals like HostGator and SiteGround charge $2.75 and $3.95 per month, respectively, for similar packages. The entry price isn’t too bad all things considered, however, there is a pretty huge drawback. InMotion doesn’t support monthly billing cycles for basic shared hosting plans so you’ll need to pay for 1 or 2 years upfront when you sign up.

The initial investment is quite hefty but the company does its best to make it worth your while. You get unlimited storage, bandwidth and email accounts along with an SSL certificate, free website builder, a free domain name for 1 year, backup & restore tool, free site transfer, SSD storage, spam protection, malware protection, access to over 400 applications complete with 1-click installers, and more. And that’s just with the basic plan.

Upgrading to the $5.99 per month package unlocks a few more goodies, including eCommerce functionality. You also get support for up to 6 websites (the basic package only supports 2), the ability to create more databases and park more domains. The differences between the first two plans aren’t too significant so if you’re not interested in setting up an online store or more than 2 websites you can skip this tier entirely.

You’ll need to pay at least $13.99 per month in order to upgrade to the next and final tier but in this case, you don’t have to commit to a 1-year contract. The Pro plan supports monthly payments, however, choosing this option is quite a bit more expensive ($17.99) when compared to the yearly billing cycle. As far as the extra features are concerned, they aren’t all that impressive. The main selling points are the Pro level customer support and the ability to create an unlimited number of websites. Aside from that, you can also create unlimited databases and park an unlimited number of domains but that’s about it.

All the shared hosting plans also come with a fairly unique – and somewhat costly – feature. Namely, for a one-time payment of $99 per month, you can have InMotion build you a custom and fully-functional WordPress website. It will only take 2 days for the company to deliver your new website but the big caveat is that the site will only have one page. Granted, that’s enough for some users but $99 seems a bit expensive for a single-page website if you ask me.

WordPress Hosting

Even though the company behind the popular CMS recommends using either Bluehost, DreamHost or SiteGround for hosting your WordPress website, there’s nothing wrong with choosing to go with InMotion instead. The company has three WordPress plans to choose from, the cheapest of which will set you back $4.99 per month. The provider doesn’t support monthly billing cycles for WordPress plans either so, once again, you’re looking at a sizeable upfront investment because you’ll need to sign up at least for a 1-year contract right off the bat.

The basic plan only comes with 40 GB of SSD storage and support for a single website but you do get unlimited bandwidth along with a good selection of nice features. Some of the highlights include free domain name for 1 year, unlimited email accounts, SSL certificate, free website transfer, anti-spam tool, hack & malware protection, advanced server caching, Cloudflare CDN integration, and more.

Unlike HostGator, for example, InMotion doesn’t skimp on the WordPress-specific features either. You get over 200 free themes to play with, a WordPress staging environment, automatic updates, safe application roll-back, automated social media posting, WordPress optimized stack, and easy Google Apps integration, among other things. Naturally, there’s also a 1-click installer for WordPress and you can expect your site to even include the JetPack plugin right off the bat.

If you’re willing to spend $7.99 per month you can upgrade to the next tier and receive the premium version of JetPack along with support for up to 2 websites, more SSD storage, and access to automatic offsite backups. Beyond that, there’s an additional tier priced at $10.99 per month, which gives you even more storage, supports up to 3 websites, and improves their performance significantly.

VPS

Once your website outgrows even the most expensive shared hosting plan, which doesn’t take long if you receive a lot of traffic, it’s time to look into upgrading to a virtual private server (VPS). This type of hosting is quite a bit more expensive but you get dedicated resources in exchange along with a number of special features like root access, dedicated IPs, command-line tools, resource monitoring dashboard, DDoS protection, and more.

The basic plan will set you back $22.99 per month and includes 4GB of RAM, 75GB of storage and 4 TB of bandwidth. Even though VPS hosting is aimed primarily at tech-savvy users, InMotion’s version is actually great for beginners as well because it includes cPanel & VHM access. There are also a few other useful tools for beginners like the free launch assistant, which gives you 2 hours of dedicated time with a veteran T3 system administrator. The tech expert will be at your disposal during this time and can help you with absolutely everything from configuring hardware and scheduling CRON jobs to installing applications, migrating websites, performing server security, and more.

In addition to managed VPS hosting, InMotion also offers cloud VPS hosting plans. The cloud VPS prices are very competitive, rivaling even those of specialized providers like DigitalOcean and Vultr. Namely, you can get a plan for as low as $5 per month, however, you’ll need to spend a bit more than that if you need a good amount of resources to work with. The cloud hosting plans are unmanaged so don’t expect a lot of ease-of-use features here. For example, there’s no cPanel or 1-click installers so you’ll need to take a more hands-on approach to your server.

Dedicated Servers

If you’re worried about scalability look no further than InMotion because the company is excellent at this. InMotion offers a generous selection of managed dedicated servers to choose from, with prices start at $115.69 per month. That said, the company is currently running a promotion so the prices might be a bit higher depending on when you’re reading this. The basic package is quite impressive as it features 8 GB of DDR 3 RAM, 500 GB of SSD storage, an Intel Xenon E3 CPU clocked at 3.50 Ghz Turbo, and 6 TB of data transfer. Needless to say, things get even better as you progress towards the higher tiers and get dedicated access to increasingly more powerful servers. Tech-savvy users can also opt for unmanaged dedicated servers, which start at only $75.69 per month and have the same specs as the managed ones.

If you’re not entirely sold by the company’s pre-configured servers, you can choose to create a custom one instead. InMotion allows you to fine-tune your future server and add the exact amount of resources you want. Well, for the most part. Every machine comes equipped with the same type of CPU so that’s something you can’t change. Aside from that, though, you can select the memory, add up to three drives (including SSD for the primary and secondary ones), add a firewall, remote KVM, and even make special requests, which may or may not be fulfilled depending on how reasonable they are.

Website Builder

Signing up for any shared or WordPress hosting plan will also give you access to a website builder known as BoldGrid. This is InMotion’s proprietary product and is meant to serve as an alternative to popular builders like Wix and Weebly. Just like those builders, BoldGrid features a user-friendly interface and drag-and-drop functionality. There are 20 free designs to choose from along with thousands of others that need to be purchased from the marketplace. All the designs are mobile-friendly and easy to customize, though there aren’t as many options as you might expect.

BoldGrid makes it easier for beginners to get started with WordPress, which can seem a bit complicated at times in its base form. Each template comes with a host of placeholder content that you can choose to keep or modify to your liking. If you want to build a website as quickly as possible, simply import a design you like, make a few changes, and you’re all done.

If you already own a premium WordPress theme or plan to buy one in the near future you probably won’t get much use out of BoldGrid because the builder isn’t all that powerful. If you’re just now purchasing a hosting plan and don’t want to make any other investments, on the other hand, we definitely recommend trying out BoldGrid instead of working with a free theme.

Key Tools and Features

It should be pretty clear by this point that there are plenty of pros and cons to signing up with InMotion Hosting. On one hand, the company offers many types of hosting and each plan comes with a good amount of features. On the other hand, though, the prices are above average and a lot of the plans don’t support monthly billing cycles. With that little summary out of the way, let’s take a closer look at some of the key tools and features offered by InMotion and try to figure out if they’re robust enough to justify the high prices.

Domain Registration

Registering a new domain with InMotion will cost you $15.99 per year, and that’s without domain privacy. If you also want to add privacy, you’re going to have to fork out an additional $12.99 per year, so that’s about $29 per year in total. For reference, that’s similar to what SiteGround and HostGator charge but quite a bit more expensive compared to other rivals like iPage and GoDaddy.

You can get a free domain by signing up for a shared, WordPress or VPS hosting plan. These domains are free only for the first year, though, and don’t come with privacy so you’ll still need to purchase that separately. Free domains are not available with dedicated hosting plans, which is a bit odd since they are by far the most expensive ones. Domain transfers are not free either with these plans and you’ll need to pay a one-time fee of $11.99 if you’re transferring a domain from a different hosting provider.

Databases

InMotion supports both MySQL and PostgreSQL databases but you can only get access to the second type if you sign up for a shared hosting plan. Unlimited databases are only available with VPS plans and with the Pro shared hosting package. As far as the WordPress hosting plans are concerned, the number of databases you can create and manage is quite limited. Namely, you only get support for 2 of them with the cheapest plan, 8 with the second tier, and 13 with the most expensive package. The good news is that while the number of available databases is limited, their size is not.

Backup and Restore

InMotion Hosting offers a very good backup & restore tool known simply as Backup Manager. This tool allows users to schedule automatic backups at specific times and restore full, partial or individual file backups with 1 click. These backups can be downloaded and stored locally or on a third-party platform. Unfortunately, this tool isn’t included for free with all plans.

If you’re looking to buy a shared hosting plan be aware that you’ll need to purchase the Backup Manager separately for $2 per month. But since the tool doesn’t support monthly billing cycles, you’ll need to pay upfront for (at least) a year so that’s $24 right off the bat. Automatic offsite backups aren’t free with the basic WordPress hosting plan either but they are included in the two other packages. Meanwhile, VPS plans and dedicated servers come with a different tool that allows users to make daily backups of their sites.

Domain Emails

You can create an unlimited number of @domain email accounts for free with most of InMotion’s hosting plans. The only exception being dedicated servers, which only support up to 15 free addresses. Mailboxes come with real-time spam filtering and unlimited storage for your emails, though InMotion may impose certain restrictions on you if you’re using a shared hosting plan and you’re receiving so many emails that it starts to affect other users on your server. Email accounts can be managed with InMotion’s webmail interface or third-party clients, including Gmail.

eCommerce

While we usually recommend Shopify for all your eCommerce hosting needs, InMotion is a decent alternative if you’re looking to open an online store without breaking the bank. The provider offers no less than six eCommerce hosting plans, three of which are shared. The other three are essentially VPS packages that come with eCommerce functionality, among other things. Prices start at only $3.99 for the shared plans and $34.19 for the VPS packages.

All these plans come with a shopping cart, support for eCommerce apps like PrestaShop, Magento or WooCommerce, the ability to sell physical and digital products, a free site builder, and all the other basic features and tools you might expect. InMotion doesn’t give you too much to work with so you’ll need to get the more advanced features directly from your eCommerce app. Depending on which app you choose, you will be able to accept payments from PayPal, Google Wallet, credit cards, and a few other sources.

SEO

Unlike a lot of other hosting providers out there, InMotion doesn’t offer built-in SEO tools with any of its plans. However, the company’s site builder does come with some basic SEO support, such as keyword and page title management. If you’re looking for more advanced tools, your best bet is to sign up for a WordPress plan and install an SEO plugin like Yoast. It won’t cost you anything to install the plugin on your WordPress site but you will need to pay a yearly fee if you want to get access to all of its features.

Additional Supported Technologies

The full list of technologies supported by InMotion Hosting is quite lengthy so in the interest in keeping things brief, we’ll only highlight some of the most important ones in this section. InMotion supports a variety of scripting languages, including Ruby, Perl, PHP, and Python along with SSH, FTP, SFTP, WP-CLI, and IMAP. If you’re going with a VPS, you can also expect a lot of performance-focused technologies like advanced server caching, Brotli compression, Apache, Redis, and NGINX. If you’re not familiar with some of those terms make sure to check the features list on InMotion’s website because it explains what everything does.

Location Coverage

InMotion has pretty mediocre location coverage, with only two data centers to choose from. Both data centers are located in the US – Los Angeles and Virginia. Unlike HostGator, for example, InMotion allows you to choose which data center you want to host your server, so there’s that. However, that’s small consolation for users who are located outside the US. Based on the specifications listed on InMotion’s website, the Los Angeles data center seems to be a bit more advanced so, unless you’re located on the east coast, I recommend picking that one during the checkout process.

Performance and Reliability

InMotion Hosting doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to the performance of its servers. In the past, we’ve seen the provider outperform DreamHost by a hair’s length and get slightly outclassed by HostGator. However, it’s been a while since we’ve made those comparisons and now we wanted to see how InMotion performs from the perspective of an average user. To that end, we tested a WordPress website hosted on a shared plan and the results we got were quite interesting.

Page Loading Speed

Good page loading speeds are essential for ensuring a positive user experience and improving your SEO rankings. Many novice webmasters probably don’t know this, but search engines like Google put a lot of emphasis on the speed of websites. There are certain things you can do to improve your speeds but your hosting provider has just as much say in the matter.

Based on the tests we conducted, it’s safe to say that InMotion isn’t the slowest provider out there but it’s definitely not one of the fastest ones either. To be more specific, our site loaded in around 1 second on average, which is pretty mediocre all things considered. Users nowadays expect loading times of well under 1 second and consistent speeds. It’s worth noting that there were times when the site loaded in as little as 300 ms, but other times it took as much as 3-4 seconds, so the results can vary by quite a bit.

If you’re running a VPS or dedicated server, it’s likely that you’re going to get much better results than we did with a shared hosting plan. Because of that, we can’t be too hard on InMotion but we can’t really recommend the company either based solely on these results because there are much faster providers out there.

Server Response Times

In order to offer you an even better idea of what InMotion has to offer in terms of performance we also looked at the response times of its servers. So what’s the difference between this test and our previous one? Well, this time around we went straight for the source. Instead of simply testing a website, we tested InMotion’s servers using a tool called Bitcatcha, which records server response times from various locations around the world.

InMotion did very well when tested from locations around the US (around 50 ms), which isn’t very surprising considering that’s where its servers are located. What is pretty surprising, however, is that we also got good results from locations like the UK, India, and even Singapore. It only took between 200 and 300 ms to get a response from these locations. Meanwhile, testing from Brazil, Australia and Japan resulted in response times of around 600 to 750 ms. That’s obviously a lot slower but these results are actually better than what we’ve seen from other US-based providers like SiteGround.

Uptime

Users may be willing to put up with a site that takes a long time to load but they’re unlikely to tolerate one that’s constantly unavailable. InMotion offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee but does the company really deliver on that promise? Not quite based on our research. After testing the service for an extensive period of time we only got an average uptime of around 99.93%. That’s not terrible, mind you, but it is worse than we expected and there are other companies out there that offer slightly better uptimes.

Customer Support

InMotion Hosting offers 24/7 customer support via phone, tickets, and live chat. You can use the sales chat even if you’re not an existing customer and company representatives are also available for Skype calls. Most providers don’t offer this last option so that was a very nice touch by InMotion. In addition to all of that, you can also reach out to agents on social media. However, you’re usually better off trying one of the other channels as you’re likely to receive a reply much faster.

If you have an issue that doesn’t require immediate attention, you can hit up the support center instead. While it may seem a bit outdated from a visual standpoint, the support center is a great resource that features over 5,000 articles and guides. InMotion also has its own forums and even a YouTube channel where you can find plenty of helpful tutorials, tips, and even sketches. Yes, I said sketches, and they’re just as cringe-worthy as you might expect. But hey, at least they’re trying something different. Nothing wrong with that.

F.A.Q.

What’s Business Hosting?

If you’ve been browsing InMotion’s website you may have noticed something called ‘Business hosting.’ That’s just another name the company uses to refer to shared hosting. That may sound a bit confusing but, needless to say, you can buy one of these hosting packages even if you’re not a business owner.

Does InMotion Offer Any Other Hosting Solutions?

We didn’t cover this in the main part of the review but InMotion also offers reseller hosting. Prices start at $15.39 per month for the regular plans or $46.64 per month for the reseller VPS packages.

Does InMotion Hosting Support Monthly Billing Cycles?

Yes, but only with certain hosting plans. Namely, you can pay on a month-by-month basis for a VPS, dedicated server or if you choose the Pro shared hosting package. The other two shared hosting plans don’t have this option and neither do any of the WordPress hosting plans.

Does InMotion Offer Any Optional Paid Tools and Services?

Yes, but only a handful. The Backup Manager can be added to your hosting package for $24 per year, though you can get it for free with certain plans. Aside from that, you can pay $48 per year for a dedicated IP and there’s also the QuicksStarer service, which will give you access to a custom-made single-page website for a one-time payment of $99.

What is InMotion’s Refund Policy?

InMotion has one of the most generous refund policies out there, allowing users to ask for a full refund within 90 days after purchasing a hosting package. The policy only applies to yearly and multi-annual plans. The company also offers partial refunds for dedicated IPs but none for SSL services and domain privacy.

Final Thoughts

InMotion Hosting has plenty of pros but also a decent amount of cons. We weren’t blown away by the performance of its servers and we really didn’t like that not every hosting plan supports monthly billing cycles. That makes InMotion very hard to recommend for users who are on a budget. This is arguably the company’s biggest drawback and can discourage potential new customers from signing up. If you’re not bothered by the idea of signing up for a long-term contract, the prices aren’t all that bad compared to other providers. There are certainly cheaper options out there but many of those don’t offer quite as many good features and tools as InMotion.

At InMotion you can find pretty much any type of hosting you can think of and you don’t have to worry about things like domain names, SSL certificates or email accounts because all of that, among many other things, are included for free. The company also has its own website builder and works well with platforms like WordPress and WooCommerce.

InMotion might not be perfect but the company is very honest about what it offers and doesn’t try to trick customers into buying additional products and services. We really appreciate that. Besides, it’s clear that InMotion has improved a lot over the years and we’re certain it will continue to do so in the years to come. That’s why we wholeheartedly recommend checking them out if you’re looking for a reliable and upfront hosting provider.

Top 10 Wix Alternatives

Wix is often touted as being the best website builder for novices, as well as a very solid option for experienced webmasters. The platform is extremely intuitive and easy to understand while still being flexible enough to allow skilled users to create unique looking websites. At first glance, Wix seems like the perfect site builder but appearances can be deceiving.

Even though Wix is a very good site builder – and one of our personal favorites -, it’s certainly not perfect. Wix is essentially a closed ecosystem that offers many benefits but also comes with a fair number of limitations. In addition, the builder doesn’t include certain features and tools that some users may consider absolutely essential. With that in mind, we decided to take a look at some of the other website builders out there in order to find good Wix alternatives for users who might be looking for something a bit different.

Before we begin, it’s worth noting that some of the platforms on this list are more similar to Wix than others. We took into account the fact that certain users may want to build specialized websites so we wanted to compile a list that contains a little something for everyone. Here’s a quick look of what we believe to be the best Wix alternatives in 2020:

  • Weebly – The Best Wix alternative for the average user. Better eCommerce functionality and more apps.
  • WordPress – The most popular CMS in the world. Extremely flexible but not the most user-friendly.
  • Squarespace – A bit expensive but offers some of the best-looking templates on the market.
  • Shopify – Hands down the best Wix alternative for users interested in creating online stores.
  • Site123 – Extremely easy to use and offers a lot of guidance for inexperienced users.
  • GoDaddy – Great for businesses. No free plan, but you can use it for free for up to 1 month.
  • Webnode – Not recommended for blogs or online stores but otherwise a good alternative.
  • Strikingly – The best free plan out there. Excellent for building single-page sites quickly.
  • Gator – Essentially, a cheaper and more toned-down version of Wix.
  • Bluehost – Solid hosting provider that offers easy integrations with WordPress and Weebly

If you’re a novice with little to no experience when it comes to site building, we recommend considering all-purpose builders (like Wix) because they will make your life a lot easier. We’ll go over some of the main reasons why Wix may not be the perfect choice for you later on, so make sure to read until the end. Without further ado, let’s take an in-depth look at our top Wix alternatives of 2020.

1. Weebly

Weebly is a fantastic choice for users looking for a site builder that functions very similar to Wix but does a few things differently. In our recent Wix vs Weebly comparison, we found the two platforms to be extremely evenly matched and even though Wix did take the cake overall, we found Weebly to actually be a better option for some people.

While Wix’s free-form site editor allows for more flexibility, Weebly’s structured editor provides more guidance and fewer opportunities to mess things up, which is very important for inexperienced users. The builder also has a better backup & restore system that allows you to download and store the contents of your website externally. Weebly doesn’t have quite as many templates to choose from compared to Wix but it does allow you to upload custom templates from third-party sources. Weebly performed better than Wix both in terms of speed and uptime during our testing, however, don’t expect massive differences between the two in this department.

Similar to Wix, Weebly offers a free plan along with several premium packages. The free plan comes with all the restrictions you would expect, including limited storage, branded ads, and the inability to link a custom domain. It’s certainly nice to be able to build a website for free in spite of the limitations but we recommend going for one of the premium plans if possible. The premium packages start at $5 per month, which is just a bit more expensive than Wix’s entry point of $4.5 per month. Both platforms offer more or less the same features and tools at every tier. That said, Weebly gets extra points because it includes unlimited storage with most plans while Wix doesn’t.

Best All-Purpose Builder for Online Stores

Weebly is arguably the best Wix alternative for users in need of an all-purpose site builder that comes with solid eCommerce functionality. One of Weebly’s biggest selling points is the fact that most of its plans include a shopping cart, a feature that most other site builders lock away until the final tier. Weebly doesn’t take a cut of your transactions if you upgrade to the Business plan (or better) and offers plenty of useful features like abandoned cart recovery, shipping labels, inventory management, automatic tax calculator, and more.

Weebly has a number of shortcomings in its base form but many of them can be easily fixed by installing a few apps. The Weebly app center contains over 350 apps ranging from small ones like cookie notices and rating widgets to more complex ones like chatbots and form builders. Users can take advantage of these apps to enhance their websites with additional functionality and attract new visitors or customers in the process. Just like Wix, Weebly offers a combination of free and premium apps.

2. WordPress

If you have a very specific vision in mind for your website, WordPress is generally the way to go. This is one of the best Wix alternatives out there regardless of whether you want to build a very complex website or just a simple blog. WordPress has a steeper learning curve than Wix but it offers a much higher degree of flexibility in return.

WordPress is estimated to power around 35% of all websites on the internet, making it by far the most popular CMS (Content Management System) on the market. The platform achieved this very impressive level of popularity thanks in no small part to the fact that it is completely free. With site builders like Wix, you can expect a lot of limitations by opting for the free plan but that’s not the case here at all. You do, however, need to purchase a hosting plan and domain name separately.

Some users might be annoyed by that notion but the reality is that it doesn’t take more than a few minutes to buy a hosting package that comes complete with a domain name and install a basic version of WordPress. Major hosting providers like Bluehost, SiteGround or DreamHost offer special packages designed specifically for WordPress sites. These packages come with easy 1-click installs and other useful features that are not available at Wix, such as database access, free domain emails, manual backup systems, and more. To top it all off, these plans are very affordable, with prices usually starting at less than $5 per month.

The King of Customization

As mentioned in our Wix vs WordPress comparison, the open-source platform offers unrivaled customization opportunities. The editor itself is very powerful right out of the box and supports four scripting languages, which makes it an excellent option for coders. If you’re not a very tech-savvy user, you can still enhance your website in countless ways by simply using plugins instead. Installing too many plugins can slow your site or cause compatibility issues so you do need to pay attention to what you’re doing. Wix’s selection of 200+ apps is pretty impressive for a website builder but it absolutely pales in comparison to WordPress’ 55.000+ plugins.

If you don’t know your way around scripting languages and don’t feel comfortable messing around with plugins, there’s a third option that will allow you to build and customize a WordPress site with ease. I’m talking of course about themes. Premium themes, to be more specific. Many modern WordPress themes come with pre-configured demos that work much like the templates offered by Wix. You simply import the demo you like the most, make a few adjustments to it if you want your site to stand out from the crowd and you’re all done. Premium themes can get fairly expensive but they’re a one-time purchase and generally worth the asking price.

3. Squarespace

Squarespace is a site builder that needs very little introduction at this point. The platform launched several years before Wix and has a very dedicated fan base. Squarespace is known for its stylish templates that lend themselves perfectly to artists, musicians, photographers, and other creatives. The prices are a bit higher compared to Wix but you definitely get what you pay for.

The builder comes with an intuitive drag-and-drop editor and loads of interesting customization options. Squarespace can take some getting used to if you’re just starting out because there are many hidden options and buttons that are easy to miss when using the editor for the first time. Once you do get a sense of where everything is and how the editor works, you’ll find that building a website with Squarespace can be extremely fun.

Unlike Wix, Squarespace is a bit more specialized and doesn’t play well with just any type of website. The platform excels at creating beautiful blogs, portfolios, and online stores. The eCommerce features aren’t quite as impressive as what you can find at Shopify but they are far superior to those of Wix. Meanwhile, the blogging tools are almost as solid at those offered by WordPress, albeit with less emphasis on SEO.

As far as the pricing is concerned, Squarespace will set you back at least $12 per month and there is no free plan. Unlike Wix, Squarespace includes unlimited bandwidth and storage with all plans. eCommerce functionality is unlocked starting with the $18/mo tier. Meanwhile, Wix allows you to accept online payments starting with the $17/mo tier. In other words, Squarespace is a perfect Wix alternative for building better online stores at a very similar price. If you want to build other types of websites, you may want to check out our top 10 best Squarespace alternatives article for more options.

Amazing Templates

We discussed in our Squarespace review about how the platform is perfect for fans of specialized templates. That’s because Squarespace is better than most companies at creating templates that come with relevant features for the specific type of website you’re looking to build. As long as you pick one of the recommended templates for your website’s niche (a fashion blog, for example), you can expect it to include all the features and tools needed to get started on the right foot. In our Wix vs Squarespace comparison, we talked about how Wix outshines Squarespace in terms of template variety. When it comes to overall quality, however, Squarespace wins hands down.

Another major selling point of Squarespace is that you can use its pre-configured templates without having to customize them to any significant degree. The platform features a useful system that finds the perfect template for your future site based on your exact specifications. Once you find a good template, you can simply replace the placeholder images and text blocks with your own content and you’re pretty much good to go. Naturally, you can also jump in for some additional fine-tuning if you want your site to look more unique. And if you’re a tech-savvy user, you can go one step further and completely customize any template using CSS or JavaScript.

4. Shopify

Shopify follows many of the same basic principles as Wix in the sense that it’s an all-in-one package that comes with a site builder, domain name, various templates, and web hosting, among other things. But while Wix can be used to build almost any type of website, Shopify specializes exclusively in the creation of online stores.

Shopify is a lot easier to use than most other eCommerce-specific platforms and even some all-purpose site builders. Signing up with Shopify will give you access to a limited selection of free templates along with a basic storefront structure that you can customize as you see fit. The free templates are fairly decent and feature different styles, but we recommend going with one of the premium templates if you want more functionality and a better design for your website.

The platform features a similar level of customization as Wix and a simple drag-and-drop editor that lets you add, modify or remove elements with ease. Custom editing is also available either by adding HTML blocks or by injecting CSS code directly into the template. Shopify’s premium themes are quite expensive so learning how to modify code in order to customize a free one could save you a lot of money.

Shopify is definitely not the cheapest Wix alternative out there but that’s not really surprising given that this is a very specialized platform that helps users generate money via their online stores. Therefore, it makes sense that you need to spend some money in order to use it. Namely, prices range anywhere between $29 and $299 per month, depending on which package you choose. There’s also a $9/mo Lite plan available but you won’t be able to use it to build a new online store. Instead, Lite is an add-on that can be used to enhance an existing website with eCommerce functionality.

The Best Choice for eCommerce

Shopify is not just better than Wix at eCommerce, it’s better than pretty much any other platform on the market. This is thanks in part to its ease of use but, and more importantly, to its very impressive arsenal of tools and features. You can sell unlimited products with any of Shopify’s plans and the platform supports both physical and digital goods and services. Shopify is miles ahead of Wix when it comes to worldwide shipping and gives users access to over 100 different payment gateways. Granted, you’ll want to stick to the company’s own gateway whenever possible because Shopify takes a cut of up to 2% from transactions made using third-party gateways.

In addition to making it easier to sell products and services, Shopify also provides more opportunities for promoting online stores. Shopify sites can integrate with big marketplace like Amazon and eBay as well as various social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Shopify also provides good email marketing tools along with a broad selection of apps that can help you reach more customers and sell more products. These apps aren’t free but, as it’s often the case, you need to spend money to make money.

5. Site123

Site123 is an often overlooked Wix alternative because it doesn’t look as flashy, nor is it as popular, as most of the other high-profile site builders on the market. That shouldn’t dissuade you from checking it out, though, because Site123 is a very competent and easy to use builder. Besides, you can use it for free so what’s not to love?

Site123 offers around 200 fully-customizable templates that work just as good on mobile devices as they do on desktop. Moreover, switching between the two versions is an absolute breeze. The backend user interface looks a bit more outdated compared to the one used by Wix but the websites you can create with the builder look quite nice.

The app variety is a bit lacking – only 75 to choose from – but you still get most of the app types you might expect, such as analytics tools, marketing tools, social media integrations, and more. In spite of its simplicity, Site123 offers surprisingly powerful eCommerce tools that allow users to build very robust online stores. Among other things, these tools allow you to sell unlimited products in 80 different currencies and accept payments via PayPal and a handful of other similar services.

Site123’s pricing model is very similar to the one used by Wix. Namely, there’s a free plan that you can use for an unlimited amount of time if you don’t mind the restrictions along with several premium packages. The cheapest premium plan will only set you back $5.45 per month while the most expensive one costs just $16.45 if you go with a long-term contract, that is. The price difference between plans is very small, which makes it easy to upgrade to the next tier whenever you need more resources or additional features.

Remarkable Ease of Use and Support

Wix is famous for its ease of use but we think the builder has some stiff competition in this department from Site123. Signing up for a free account with Site123 is very straightforward and doesn’t require a credit card or any other sensitive information. You simply click the “Start Here” button and then select the type of website you want to build. Once your site has been set up, the platform guides you through a step-by-step tutorial that explains what each component of the UI does. Every section of the tutorial is accompanied by a short video that provides even more in-depth explanations of what you’re looking at.

If you’re still struggling to understand certain aspects of the site-building process, you can click the big “Need Help?” button at any time for technical assistance. Unlike other builders that simply direct you to a knowledge base in situations like these, Site123 puts you in touch with a support agent that guides you through the process via live chat. This feature isn’t available with the free plan but that’s not very surprising. Wix has a very helpful on-page support system of its own, however, the company doesn’t offer live chat like Site123.

6. GoDaddy

Most people know GoDaddy as a domain registrar and hosting provider, but the company offers quite a few other products and services as well, including a site builder. While some of GoDaddy’s hosting plans leave a lot to be desired, the site builder developed by the company is surprisingly robust and a very good Wix alternative.

GoDaddy designed its website builder with mobile devices in mind. Not only are all available templates mobile-responsive but the builder also includes a great mobile editor. Building a website using just the mobile editor can be a bit tricky so it’s probably best to do most of the work from a desktop computer and make changes on the go when needed. That said, the choice is entirely up to you.

GoDaddy’s template selection is smaller compared to Wix but the templates look very modern and are easy to customize. Most templates seem to be aimed at businesses but you’ll also find designs that work well for bloggers, artists, and online stores. GoDaddy certainly isn’t the best option for eCommerce but the builder does allow you to create a basic store where you can manage discounts and promotions, set up shipping options, edit product lists, and more.

Unlike Wix, GoDaddy doesn’t offer a free plan but you can check out the builder for free for up to 1 month. Once the trial expires, you’ll need to choose one of the four available packages in order to continue using the services. Plans range in price between $10 and $25 per month, so the entry point is higher compared to Wix but the eCommerce tier is a lot cheaper.

Online Appointments and SEO Tracking

GoDaddy’s website builder comes with a number of interesting features, many of which are not available at Wix. For example, you can add a booking form to your website that clients can use to schedule online appointments for meetings or events. This feature is particularly useful for companies but can also come in handy if you’re an artist or a musician. The booking form can be configured to accept online payments and includes a few other useful features, such as the ability to send SMS or email alerts to your clients or charge cancellation fees.

SEO tracking is one of the other features we really liked. Just as its name suggests, this feature is primarily used to monitor user engagement and website rankings. In addition, the tool also gives you hints and recommendations on how to improve the SEO of your website. Wix has its own set of SEO tools but they are very basic compared to what you can find at GoDaddy. The only caveat is that SEO tracking isn’t available with the basic plan so you’ll need to upgrade to the $15/mo package or better in order to take advantage of the feature.

7. Webnode

In spite of its relatively young age, Webnode managed to gain a lot of traction over the years thanks to the company’s willingness to continuously improve the platform. The current iteration of Webnode still has a few issues here and there but it’s a lot better than previous versions and a very good alternative to Wix.

Webnode offers a simple drag-and-drop builder complete with hosting and a domain name, all in one package. There are only around 100 templates to choose from so not the most varied selection, but still pretty good. You’re bound to find at least a couple of nice designs regardless of your niche. Webnode doesn’t have any premium templates so you don’t have to worry about paying extra for any of the designs.  The builder isn’t ideal for blogging or online stores due to a number of missing features but the platform is great for small businesses, musicians, and artists.

Signing up with Webnode will set you back between $3.95 and $19.95 per month, depending on which plan you choose. The basic package doesn’t include a domain name but it does allow you to connect an existing domain, just like Wix. eCommerce functionality is unlocked starting with the $11.95/mo tier while the final tier gives you unlimited bandwidth along with some other useful features. Webnode also offers a free plan that can be used to build simple websites but lacks many of the essential features found in the premium packages.

Some Good and Some Bad

Webnode can be hit or miss for some people because of its lacking features. For example, you can’t add a comments section to your Webnode blog and the platform doesn’t come with any social media widgets. Meanwhile, the eCommerce features are very basic and there’s no marketplace for apps at the moment, so there’s clearly some room for improvement here. Having said that, Webnode does have a lot of good features as well, some of which you won’t be able to find at Wix.

For starters, the platform has a proper backup & restore system and offers domain emails with most of its plans. Just like GoDaddy, Webnode offers a mobile editor that allows you to manage your sites from your smartphone. Another important feature to note is the great support for multilingual websites. Wix has a similar feature but we think Webnode’s system works a little better. Also worth mentioning is that Webnode is excellent for SEO and offers multiple tools that can help your site get better visibility on search engines.

8. Strikingly

Strikingly has only been around for a few years so this is still a pretty young builder. The platform was primarily aimed at bloggers when it initially hit the market but nowadays it can easily accommodate almost all types of websites. Strikingly is just as easy to use as Wix and its prices aren’t too shabby either.

Strikingly is a minimalistic site builder that you can use to create good looking websites in just a few minutes. You have around 60 different templates at your disposal and a simple editor with WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) functionality. Strikingly’s focus on beginners is obvious right off the bat as the platform features a useful tutorial tour that guides you through all the different sections of the editor and gives you a brief explanation of what everything does. The tutorial isn’t as in-depth as the on-page help system offered by Wix but it doesn’t have to be because there aren’t as many tools and options to worry about here.

Similar to many of the other website builders on this list, Strikingly can be used for free for as long as you want. However, you’ll want to upgrade to one of the three premium plans if you want to get the most out of the platform. The entry point is $8 per month, which is a bit high compared to Wix, however, the basic plan comes with (limited) eCommerce functionality. The best value package will set you back $16 per month while the final tier costs $49 per month. The VIP package isn’t particularly appealing given the high price but the second tier is certainly worth looking into.

Quite a Few Limitations

Strikingly has a lot to offer but also comes with some limitations that make it unsuitable for complex websites. For instance, the basic plan only allows you to build single-page websites. The Pro plan lets you build multipage sites but you’re limited to only 20 pages. There is no plan that allows you to publish as many websites as you want or list as many products as you want in your store, albeit you can list up to 500. The site editor is quite limited as well and doesn’t give you many customization options to work with. That’s actually not a bad thing for users who want to build a simple website, but it significantly limits creative freedom nonetheless.

Even though Strikingly has its downsides, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better builder out there that offers such a generous free plan. Strikingly has 24/7 support for free plan users and gives them the opportunity of setting up a simple online store. You can only sell 1 product on a free store but the fact that this feature is available at all is very impressive. Not just that but you also get 10 GB of monthly bandwidth to work with. By comparison, Wix’s free plan only comes with 500 MB of bandwidth, no support, and you’ll need to pay at least $17/mo in order to set up an online store.

9. HostGator

Just like GoDaddy, HostGator is primarily known for its hosting services but also offers other products and services on the side, including a website builder. The Gator builder is less impressive than Wix in some respects but it makes up for its shortcomings thanks to its better performance and a very robust set of features.

From a purely visual standpoint, Gator’s editor looks remarkably similar to Wix so you should have no trouble getting used to the builder if you’re thinking about switching over. The template variety is pretty good, with over 200 designs to choose from, all of which are mobile-friendly. Some of the templates offered by Gator aren’t as good looking as what you would find at Wix but they can be made to look better with a bit of customization. Gator doesn’t have the best support for blogs and online stores so we can’t really recommend it for those types of websites.

The main selling point for a lot of people will be the performance this provider offers. Since HostGator is primarily a hosting provider, you can expect the company’s servers to be able to handle large amounts of traffic with relative ease. That’s likely why Gator is able to include unlimited storage and bandwidth with all plans while Wix isn’t. Wix doesn’t offer unlimited storage with any of its plans and unlimited bandwidth is only available starting with the $12.50/mo tier.

A Cheaper Wix

There’s no doubt that HostGator took a lot of inspiration from Wix when developing its website builder. Not only do the two platforms look similar but they also include many of the same features. One of the most obvious examples is the Site History feature, which allows users to easily revert back to previous versions of their websites. In terms of functionality, Wix is undoubtedly more robust but Gator performs better and is overall cheaper, with prices starting at only $3.84 per month for a basic plan.

Gator also offers more customer support options than Wix. You can reach agents either via email, live chat or phone and there’s even a toll-free number you can use if you’re located within the US. It’s also worth noting that you only have to pay $9.22 per month to set up an online store with Gator. The eCommerce functionality is indeed pretty limited but this is a much cheaper option than Wix, which charges $17 or more for its eCommerce packages.

10. Bluehost

Last but least we have Bluehost, a somewhat odd choice perhaps but one that shouldn’t be overlooked. Bluehost is a hosting provider that doesn’t have its own site builder but offers excellent integration with Weebly and WordPress, our top two Wix alternatives. Hence, we wanted to mention it because it has a lot of advantages over Wix, especially when paired with WordPress.

Setting up a website with the help of Bluehost requires a few extra steps since this isn’t an all-in-one platform. Generally speaking, you’ll first need to buy a domain name, sign up for a hosting plan, and then decide whether you want to use WordPress, Weebly or a different platform to start building the actual website. One advantage of Bluehost over Wix is that you can use any builder you want.

If you’re looking to avoid most of the hassle, we recommend signing up for a WordPress hosting plan, which comes with a free domain for 1 year, automatic installation of the CMS, and of course web hosting. That way, you don’t have to worry about purchasing everything separately and you also get some useful features like a WordPress staging environment and automatic WordPress updates. Moreover, there’s a fully managed version of this plan that makes it even easier to create and manage a website using the CMS.

Bluehost has some of the most affordable prices on the market, with plans starting at just $2.75 per month. The managed WordPress packages are quite a bit more expensive at $19.95 per month but you get absolutely amazing value in return. If you’re looking to build an online store, on the other hand, you can find special WooCommerce-based packages priced between $6.95 and $12.95 per month. Much cheaper when compared to Wix.

Great Features and Scalability

Bluehost offers many features that you won’t be able to find at Wix or most other all-purpose site builders for that matter. Just a few examples include malware detection and removal, daily scheduled backups, a proper backup & restore system, unlimited SSD storage, 24/7 customer support via live chat (and other channels), spam protection, domain emails, and so much more. Bluehost is also far superior to Wix when it comes to performance thanks to the use of technologies like multi-layer caching and CDN, which serve to greatly improve page loading speeds.

As we discussed in our Bluehost vs Wix comparison, the site builder can’t hold a candle to the hosting provider when it comes to scalability. Not only does Bluehost offer a very cheap entry point, but you also get plenty of good options for when you need to upgrade. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money right off the bat you can start with a shared hosting plan and then gradually upgrade to a VPS or even a dedicated server if needed. As previously mentioned, you can also choose between managed or unmanaged shared hosting and Bluehost even offers eCommerce-based plans. In other words, there’s something for everybody at Bluehost.

A Few Reasons for Looking Into Wix Alternatives

Wix may seem pretty cheap but you’ll need to pay at least $8.50 per month if you want to build a serious website because the basic package comes with many limitations. If the price is your main concern, we recommend looking into Webnode, Gator or even Bluehost. Alternatively, if you’re not afraid of the steeper learning curve, WordPress is an amazing Wix alternative that you can use for free.

One of the most annoying things about Wix is the fact that you can’t change the template of your site without losing all the content. You’ll either have to start again from scratch if you decide to switch the template or create a duplicate of your current site and then manually copy the content to the new version. This basically dissuades you from experimenting with different designs, which is a bit odd considering that one of Wix’s main selling points is its massive selection of templates.

Another aspect you may want to consider before signing up with Wix is eCommerce. While the builder does allow you to set up an online store, the eCommerce features on offer are quite unimpressive. You can get away with building a small online store with Wix, but if you plan on selling a lot of products worldwide, we recommend looking into a more specialized platform like Shopify instead.

This won’t be a major drawback for everybody but it’s worth remembering that Wix doesn’t have a live chat system. Agents are usually pretty quick to reply to emails and can also be contacted via phone, however, a lot of users view live chat as their preferred method of contacting support. The fact that Wix doesn’t offer this channel is a serious oversight as far as we’re concerned.

The last and possibly most important reason for looking into Wix alternatives is related to the features. Don’t get me wrong, Wix does have some pretty good features but there is still plenty of room for improvement in this department. For instance, there’s no proper backup system that lets you download the contents of your site and store them locally or on a third-party platform. There are also no free domain emails or database access and the storage is limited even with the most expensive plan.

Moreover, the changes you make to the desktop version of your site don’t translate to the mobile version. Add to that the fact that you can’t easily switch between templates and it’s easy to see how modifying a Wix website can take a lot of unnecessary busywork.

Final Thoughts

Wix is one of our favorite site builders but we’ll be the first to admit that while it gets a lot of things right, it also has certain drawbacks that you can avoid by switching to one of its competitors. Each of the platforms on this list can serve as good Wix alternatives and most of them offer free plans or trial so there’s no reason not to test them out. Just in case you want to see what else is out there.

If you’re looking for a builder that’s similar to Wix you can’t go wrong with Weebly or even Gator, provided you’re okay with losing some functionality in exchange for a cheaper price point. Webnode and GoDaddy are still works in progress but they can already offer good value for your money and are certain to get better and better as time progresses. Meanwhile, Site123 is a very well-rounded Wix alternative while Strikingly is by far the best option if you need a builder that offers a very solid free plan.

If you’re in the market for more specialized options, on the other hand, there are quite a few to choose from. Squarespace is an excellent choice for creatives who want to get their hands on some of the best looking templates on the market. Shopify is the natural choice for users who want to access incredibly powerful eCommerce features and WordPress is an absolute powerhouse that can easily accommodate any type of website. It does require a bit of technical know-how but you can sign up for one of Bluehost’s WordPress plans to make things easier for yourself.

Winner – You can’t go wrong with any of the platforms on this list but it’s clear that some are more specialized than others. That’s why we have to go with Weebly as the best all-purpose alternative to Wix. The builder is similar in terms of price but offers better eCommerce features and a more extensive app marketplace. The fact that the site editor is structured as opposed to free-form can also be seen as an advantage because it offers more guidance for newcomers.

Squarespace Review – Possibly the Best Website Builder on the Market

Squarespace has become a household name in recent years thanks to some very clever advertising campaigns. How many times have you clicked on a YouTube video only to have it start with ‘this video is brought to you by Squarespace’? That’s not to say that the service isn’t good but the company’s marketing team definitely helped it become more popular than it otherwise would have. Since we’re big fans of separating fact from fiction around here, we decided to personally look into Squarespace in order to see if its huge popularity is warranted.

The first thing we realized after extensively testing the service is that Squarespace isn’t for everyone. The company targets a very specific audience; an audience comprised of users who are looking for an all-in-one solution that will allow them to design, manage, and host a website with very little effort. While veteran webmasters who like to build everything from scratch may not find this sort of service particularly appealing, any newcomer would surely appreciate the level of convenience offered by a company like Squarespace.

However, user-friendliness does come at a cost. And I’m not just talking about money, though that’s certainly an important factor to consider as well. The hands-off approach means that you won’t have direct control over every single component of your website. If that sort of thing doesn’t bother you, Squarespace might be exactly your cup of tea. Why? Well, check out our in-depth SquareSpace review down below to find out.

Overview

With a lot of the companies we like to talk about on this site you pay for the hosting and get a website builder as an added bonus. Here, it’s pretty much the exact opposite. SquareSpace’s entire business revolves around its state-of-the-art website builder, with things like hosting, domain name and various useful tools being included for free with all plans.

The service allows virtually anyone to create a professional-looking website in a matter of hours or even minutes if you know what you’re doing. Squarespace doesn’t require users to have any previous knowledge of coding or site building, which is why it’s such a great option for beginners. While main rivals like Wix or Weebly can be considered even easier for newcomers, working with SquareSpace shouldn’t pose a major challenge regardless of your experience level.

Squarespace is perfect for websites that rely heavily on images and flashy visual design elements. This makes it perfect for photographers and artists with extensive portfolios or businesses in need of a website that instantly catches the eye. Bloggers can also make good use of the service, but if you’re looking to build a site with a lot more text than images, Squarespace won’t be a great fit and you should go for something like WordPress instead.

One of the nicest things about Squarespace is that the company offers a free 14-day trial to all new users. That gives you plenty of time to test out the service for yourself and get a taste of what the website builder has to offer.

Navigation and Ease of Use

Getting started with Squarespace is incredibly easy. Simply visit the company’s website, click the ‘Get Started’ button and select a design. You can quickly pick a template from one of the recommended categories or let SquareSpace’s Artificial Intelligence build a new website for you. All you have to do is type the purpose of your website in the search bar and the AI will do the rest. You can then start editing and customizing the resulting site to your liking.

Once you’ve found the perfect template for your new website, you’ll be asked to log in or create an account if you don’t already have one. If you don’t want to create a new account from scratch, you can easily log in with Facebook, Twitter or Google instead.

Squarespace features a very modern and minimalistic interface with little to no clutter to worry about. The builder comes with drag-and-drop functionality, which makes everything feel very intuitive once you get the hang of it. There is a bit of learning curve when using the builder for the first time but don’t be afraid to experiment and check out all the available options because there’s a lot to work with here.

If you’re already familiar with Wix or other similar builders there will be an additional hurdle to surpass because Squarespace’s builder is block-based. This means that you won’t be able to drag elements just anywhere on the screen. Each page is split into multiple sections of various sizes that can hold text, images, and other elements. That may seem a bit limiting at first, however, you have a wide variety of block types and layouts at your disposal that you can use to customize everything to your liking.

Creating a website with Squarespace takes a bit of time and patience but it will all start making sense once you figure out how everything works. Advanced users can inject their own CSS rules into the site if they want to add certain design elements that are not available by default. All the changes you make while customizing pages will be accurately translated to the live version of the site. There is no ‘preview’ button here or anything like that because what you’re seeing on the dashboard screen is exactly what your visitors see when they access your website.

Best For

Much like other website builders like Wix, WordPress or Weebly, SquareSpace offers certain features that make it particularly useful for certain use cases. While you can design pretty much any type of website with this builder, we think SquareSpace should primarily be used by the following categories of users:

Bloggers

Squarespace isn’t ideal for all types of blogs but it’s certainly a good fit for some. Bloggers who use a lot of images in their posts will get a lot out of this service as SquareSpace can make even a simple page look professional and stylish. The builder features several templates specifically designed with blogging in mind along with a few useful features like quick social media sharing and support for multiple contributors. There’s also a Blog App that lets you manage everything on the go.

Businesses

Big businesses usually tend to create their websites from scratch but there are more than a few small companies that use Squarespace these days. Growing businesses can make use of things like SEO tools and built-in analytics to improve their online presence while established ones can take advantage of integrations with PayPal and other tools to help sell their products and services. And since Squarespace grants you almost unlimited customization, you won’t have any issues designing a unique and professional-looking website for your company.

eCommerce Platforms

While Shopify might be a better alternative for eCommerce platforms, SquareSpace isn’t a bad choice either for users who are thinking about opening an online store. The company offers a good amount of features, including inventory management, abandoned cart recovery, advanced shipping, gift card support, and more. Squarespace wouldn’t be my first choice for building an eCommerce platform but it can certainly get the job done just fine.

Personal Projects

Blogging can also fit into this category but we mainly wanted to highlight photography, art, and design. If you have any sort of creative portfolio that you want to share with the world, Squarespace would make a great place to host it on. If you have high-resolution images of your work, even better because Squarespace has tons of customization options that will allow you to highlight them and make everything look really nice. As far as templates are concerned, you’ll be able to find specialized ones for pretty much anything ranging from photography to music and everything in between.

Fans of Specialized Templates

Squarespace has a little over 60 templates, which may not seem like much compared to other builders like Wix that offer more than 500 of them. However, each and every template you can find at Squarespace was created by professional designers to be as stylish and easy to work with as possible. In other words, Squarespace goes for quality over quantity. Every template comes with some very impressive sets of features and tools that will allow you to craft the website of your dreams. Despite the relatively low number of templates on offer, SquareSpace manages to cover all major industries so don’t worry because you’ll definitely find what you’re looking for here.

Anyone Who Doesn’t Want to Worry About Scalability

If you go with a traditional hosting provider like Bluehost or GoDaddy you’re going to have to think about scalability before choosing a hosting plan. Generally speaking, you’ll want to start off small and gradually upgrade to the higher tiers once you need more resources. But what if you don’t want to bother with that? Well, with Squarespace you don’t really have to because all plans come with unlimited storage and bandwidth right off the bat. The only reason why you may want to upgrade your Squarespace package is to gain access to additional features and tools. That said, the basic plan comes with a good amount of both so you won’t have to think about upgrading for quite a while.

Plans and Pricing

If you’re looking for a cheap website builder I’d probably go with something like Weebly over SquareSpace because the prices here are quite high. You do get a lot in exchange for your money, mind you, but the fact remains that Squarespace is a pretty expensive website builder, particularly if you want to use it to create an eCommerce platform. But let’s start with the standard plans first so we don’t get ahead of ourselves.

Standard Builder Plans

The absolute cheapest plan you can get at Squarespace is called Personal and will cost you a hefty $12 per month. Although fairly expensive, this package includes everything you need to set up and launch a great-looking website. There’s no need to pay separately for the hosting because it is included for free and you also get a free domain name if you go with the yearly billing cycle. You don’t have to worry about storage and bandwidth because both of them are unmetered and you also get a few useful tools and features, including website metrics, mobile optimization, and an SSL certificate.

If you’re willing to spend $18 per month for your website builder, I recommend going straight for the next tier called Business because you’ll get a lot more benefits than with the Personal plan. For example, the Business plan gives users access to premium integrations, advanced website analytics, promotional banners, and a free professional Gmail and G Suite account for 1 year. In addition, Business plan users also benefit from limited eCommerce integration. It doesn’t really come close to what you can get with the dedicated eCommerce plans but it does allow you to sell unlimited products with a 3% transaction fee and accept donations via your site.

Dedicated eCommerce Plans

The Basic eCommerce package will set you back $26 per month and comes with all the features and tools found in the Business plan, plus a few nice extras. You don’t need to worry about transaction fees with this plan and your platforms will gain the ability to support customer accounts. In addition, you will be able to set up a secure checkout page for your customers, monitor your store’s performance with advanced eCommerce analytics, and use the merchandising tools to display Related Products or create Product Waitlists.

The Advanced eCommerce plan is priced at $40 per month so I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re thinking about opening a sizeable online store. This plan is designed for major eCommerce platforms and packs even more useful features and tools. Some of the highlights include abandoned cart recovery, advanced shipping, advanced discounts, and limited availability labels. Users also gain the ability to sell digital gift cards and subscriptions to products and services along with full access to various eCommerce APIs that will allow you to create custom integrations with third-party systems.

No Free Plan

While some services like Weebly give users limited access to their builders for free, Squarespace doesn’t offer any sort of free plan. The good news is that the company supports monthly billing cycles so you don’t have to commit to a long-term investment right from the get-go. If you’re still on the fence about Squarespace I recommend first checking out the 14-day free trial and decide afterward if you want to subscribe to the service.

Additional Tools and Features

The basic gist of Squarespace is that the service gives you access to all the tools and features you need to run a successful website with one single package. However, the truth is that this all-in-one deal only works for certain types of users and SquareSpace clearly shines in some areas more than in others. Let’s take a look at some concrete examples to show you what I mean.

Domain Registration

Before you can launch a website with Squarespace (or any other hosting service for that matter) you’re going to have to register a new domain name. Buying any of the four plans mentioned in the previous section will grant you a free domain name for 1 year. However, you can only take advantage of this offer if you decide to go for the annual billing cycle. If you want to pay for the service on a month-by-month basis, you’re going to have to purchase your domain separately for the price of $20 per year. That’s quite a bit more expensive compared to other hosting providers, though the company does include domain privacy and an SSL certificate in that price.

Social Media Integration

This is an area where Squarespace definitely doesn’t disappoint as the service can seamlessly integrate with over 20 social platforms. A few notable examples include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. Linking your social media pages to your Squarespace account will allow you to display social feeds directly on your website. In addition, you can also import content like pictures and videos from your Dropbox and social media platforms to your website.

Backups

Backing up your Squarespace website can be a real hassle if you don’t know your way around FTP and XML files. That’s because the company doesn’t have a system that allows users to manually create backups of their site from inside the dashboard, which means you’ll need to resort to third-party tools. You can partially export your website and then import it into a different platform like WordPress but there’s no reliable way of saving your site’s layout. Squarespace does keep backups of all sites but it only hangs onto them for about a month so if you want to restore an older version of your website you’re pretty much on your own.

SEO Tools

SEO is essential for increasing your site’s visibility and rankings with search engines like Google. Learning good SEO practices takes time but you won’t have to learn everything by yourself if you sign up with Squarespace because the service will guide you through the basics of how the process works. The company also has a wide variety of in-depth guides related to SEO that you check out at any time. Squarespace mentions that it is only able to provide generalized SEO tips and can’t give specific advice to users who want to improve the SEO of their websites.

Professional Emails

As any successful business owner can tell you, a custom domain email address is very important for increasing your credibility when interacting with clients. After all, most people won’t take your business seriously if you’re using a regular Gmail or Yahoo email. Although Squarespace users do have the option of creating professional email addresses for their domains, there are a couple of caveats. The first is that only users who subscribe to the Business plan or higher will be able to benefit from this feature. Secondly, Squarespace gives users access to G Suite’s Basic plan but they can only use it for free for up to 1 year. After that, you’ll need to pay $6 per month ($72 per year) to continue using your domain email.

Security

SquareSpace’s security systems are pretty basic but they can get the job done pretty well if push comes to shove. As mentioned earlier, every domain registered or transferred to Squarespace benefits from a free SSL certificate, which helps encrypt information flowing through your website, including personal data entered by your users/customers. In addition, the company also has built-in protection against malware and DDoS attacks.

Performance and Reliability

Squarespace can’t really hold a candle to open-source website builders like WordPress when it comes to performance. However, the service is overall pretty reliable and does have the infrastructure necessary to support websites that receive large amounts of traffic on a monthly basis. Unlike most companies that offer web hosting, Squarespace doesn’t make any guarantees related to uptime. That may seem a bit concerning but there’s actually nothing to worry about. According to our research, SquareSpace sites had an average uptime of 99.95% in 2019, which is pretty decent.

Squarespace isn’t doing too shabby when it comes to page loading speeds either. On average, you can expect a SquareSpace page to load in around 627 ms. Just to give you a bit of context, we mentioned in our Bluehost vs SquareSpace comparison that Bluehost’s loading speeds sit at 406 ms on average. On the other hand, our Bluehost vs Wix comparison revealed that Wix, one of Squarespace’s main rivals, takes over 1 second on average to load a page. While Squarespace isn’t quite as fast as popular hosting providers like Bluehost, it definitely performs better than Wix and other website builders.

Customer Support

Squarespace is a very user-friendly company so I wasn’t surprised to see that the company has a good customer support system in place. In case of an emergency, you can contact the support staff via live chat Monday through Friday. You can also the ticket system to ask for assistance 24/7 or try getting in touch with a support agent via Twitter. Unfortunately, there is no phone support and the fact that you can’t use the live chat during the weekend is a bit disappointing. On the bright side, Squarespace is usually quick to reply to tickets and its agents are very friendly and knowledgeable.

In addition to that, Squarespace also has a very extensive selection of guides and tutorials about pretty much everything you may want to know about the platform. Simply go to the official website and access the Support page to find not just guides but also videos and full-on webinars on topics like launching your first online store, growing your audience, good SEO practices, and more. And if that doesn’t do the trick, you can always hit up the official forums and try asking for help from other members of the Squarespace community.

F.A.Q.

Does Squarespace Offer a Free Trial?

Any new user can test out the service without paying anything by signing up for the 14-day free trial offered by Squarespace. Keep in mind that the trial does come with certain limitations so it may not provide a completely accurate representation of what the paid plans have to offer. However, it will give you a good idea of what to expect.

What Do I Get in Exchange for Subscribing to Squarespace?

While that may vary depending on which plan you’re buying, the basic gist is that you will get everything you need to create, launch, and manage a website. Namely, you get a free domain name for 1 year, free hosting, access to one of the most advanced website builders around, 24/7 customer support, website analytics, and basic SEO tools, among other things. All of that is included even with the basic package. eCommerce and marketing tools are also available with the most expensive plans.

Which Template Should I Use?

Having so many choices can be a bit overwhelming but Squarespace has a nice sorting system in place that can help you pick the perfect template for your website. Simply choose the category that would fit best with the niche of your website and then select one of the recommended templates. If you still don’t know which template to pick, you can let SquareSpace’s AI build a custom website for you based on your specifications, which you can then edit to your liking.

Can I Move My Website From a Different Platform to Squarespace?

Squarespace allows users to transfer domains from other platforms in exchange for a fee. This fee simply represents the standard price charged by the company for registering a new domain name. When it comes to transferring content, things get a bit tricky. If your old site was built using WordPress, Blogger or Tumblr you will be able to import its contents to Squarespace, though you’ll need to recreate its layout from scratch. If your old site wasn’t built using those platforms, you will not be able to directly import any of its content to Squarespace.

What is SquareSpace’s Refund Policy?

Squarespace is somewhat stingy when it comes to issuing refunds for its services. The company offers a 14-day money-back guarantee, however, it is only available for annual plans. Partial refunds are not supported so if you purchase an annual plan and decide after more than 14 days that you don’t like the service, you won’t be able to get any of your money back. In addition, there are no refunds at all for monthly plans or renewal payments.

Final Thoughts

As mentioned near the start of this article, Squarespace is an ideal choice for a very specific type of user. After reading our review, I think you may have a pretty good idea of why that is. The service was primarily designed to simplify the process of site-building and to allow virtually anyone to create a professional and stylish website. The fact that you don’t have to worry about things like hosting and domain registration only helps to make things even easier. Having said that, this platform isn’t meant for developers or users who need an open-source platform or advanced tools for building their website.

If you’re someone who needs an all-in-one website builder, then Squarespace is definitely a very solid pick. In fact, it might be the best pick thanks to its unique features and quality templates. The only thing that might make it an unappealing choice for some is the price. Don’t get me wrong, you do get very good value for your money but there’s no denying that $12 per month is pretty steep for a basic plan when compared to similar site builders. At the end of the day, though, if you’re looking for a premium builder with nice features and good support we wholeheartedly recommend checking out Squarespace.

Wix Review – A Very Flexible Site Builder With Plenty of Great Features

Building a website on your own used to be considered difficult not too long ago. First, you had to try out various hosting services until you found a solid option that didn’t charge you an arm and a leg. Then, you had to take care of the building process itself, which wasn’t exactly a walk in the park for people who didn’t know how to code. Luckily, those struggles are a thing of the past thanks to the advent of website builders like WordPress, Squarespace, and of course, Wix.

Unlike some of its director competitors, Wix was designed from the get-go to be accessible to all types of users. The builder can be used to create anything from small blogs and work portfolios with lots of images to highly complex websites focused on functionality. Wix can even handle online stores and sites that require integrations with many third-party apps. In short, it’s pretty easy to recommend Wix to everyone, regardless of previous experience with site builders.

But just because Wix is a good site builder that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the perfect choice for you. The builder does have a few shortcomings that make it less than ideal for certain users. With that in mind, we put together a comprehensive review that covers both the good and the bad of this popular site builder. By the end of this article, you should have a very good idea of what Wix has to offer and whether you should check it out or try a different site builder instead.

Overview

Wix launched back in 2006 and quickly managed to establish itself as one of the most reliable and easy to use all-purpose website builders on the market. You don’t need any coding skills in order to build a website with Wix and you don’t even have to pay for it, though you may want to. The company offers a free plan that comes with many drawbacks so paying for one of the premium packages is highly recommended in most cases.

Wix powers more than 100 million websites, making it one of the most popular site builders out there. In addition to offering a very intuitive drag-and-drop site editor, Wix includes web hosting and a free domain name with most of its plans. Users also get access to a marketplace that features loads of useful apps, many of which are available for free. Finding the apps you’re looking for is extremely simple and installing them can be done with just a few clicks.

The builder seems to be used primarily by small businesses but there are also many artists, designers, and bloggers who prefer Wix over similar platforms. There are hundreds of templates to choose from, all of which can be customized to a high degree. Experienced users can take it one step further by using the “Dev Mode” to inject custom code whenever they want to make very specific modifications to their websites.

Navigation and Ease of Use

Creating a new website with Wix can be done in literally just a few minutes, and that includes the process of signing up for the service. Your first order of business is to visit the official website and click the “Get Started” button. You’ll then be asked to create a new account or log in with either Facebook or Google. Once that’s done, you can simply go to your dashboard and click “Create New Site” to start the actual building process.

Wix does a very good job of guiding newcomers through the first steps of creating a new website. The platform asks you to select a category that would fit your future site (Business, Blog, Online Store, etc.) and then choose how you want to create it. A lot of website builders give you a selection of templates to play with and don’t offer any further guidance after that. Wix does things a bit differently by giving you two options – take the traditional route and build the site using the editor or let Wix build one for you.

The first option is the one you may already be familiar with and it involves picking a template design and then using the drag-and-drop editor to customize it to your liking. There are over 500 free templates along with a handful of blank ones that feature very minimalistic layouts. The blank templates are perfect for users who want to build a site from scratch but still need some basic building blocks to help them get started. If you’re a novice, however, I recommend going for one of the pre-made templates instead because there are a lot of very beautiful designs to choose from. All of them are neatly sorted by category and the templates library also comes with a search function so it doesn’t take long to find a design that’s perfect for any website.

The editor itself is very intuitive and quite a bit more flexible than you might expect. Most website builders prevent you from dragging elements anywhere on a page, instead of forcing you to work within the confines of blocks or sections. That’s not the case here at all. Wix gives you complete freedom to move whatever you want wherever you want. There are no hidden menus or buttons to worry about and the builder is extremely responsive. Wix works with a WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) editor, meaning that you don’t have to deal with the backend. Unless you turn on the Dev Mode that is. But with the regular editor, you’re working on the frontend and any changes you make will be accurately translated to the live version of the site once you update it.

Even though using the editor is very simple, Wix also offers an additional method of building a website that will take even less of your time. The company set up an artificial intelligence system known as Wix ADI, which can quickly build a website based on your exact specifications. The system doesn’t simply recommend templates you should use but rather meshes together various elements and features into a fully-functioning website. You can then customize the site further or just use it as is. Needless to say, the sites created by the ADI are pretty basic compared to what a skilled webmaster can build, but they are a good place to start for users who want to set up a website quickly and painlessly.

Best For

As mentioned previously, Wix’s ease of use and versatility make it suitable for building almost any type of website. However, certain categories of users will certainly get more out of the site builder than others. After spending some time testing the platform we came to the conclusion that Wix would be the perfect choice for the following categories:

Businesses

Wix is an excellent builder for businesses of all sizes, particularly small and medium-sized ones. A large percentage of the available templates were created specifically with businesses in mind and you can find designs for pretty much any industry ranging from consulting and real estate to advertising, finance, automotive, and more. There are also quite a few business-oriented features you can take advantage of, including email marketing, appointment bookings, and the ability to sell subscriptions to your customers. In addition, the built-in visitor analytics and SEO tools combined with solid social media integrations can help you expand your online presence and reach new audiences. And, of course, you can also browse the marketplace for apps that add extra functionality to your business website.

Personal Projects

This is a rather broad category but one that definitely needs mentioning. While rivals like Squarespace might be better suited for creatives like photographers or musicians, Wix is probably the best choice for showcasing online resumes, promoting special events, and displaying work portfolios that are more technical in nature. Wix offers great templates for a wide variety of professions, including journalists, actors, scientists, models, and professors, among others. Programmers, developers, and tech-savvy freelancers can impress potential clients with a truly unique website that takes full advantage of Wix’s flexible editor and “Dev Mode.”

Online Stores

Wix offers several packages that unlock eCommerce functionality. Thanks to the Wix ADI, you can build a fully-featured online store and fill it with your products in less than an hour. The platform allows you to sell both digital and physical products along with services and you can list an unlimited number of them with any of the eligible packages. A few other features that might come in handy include inventory tracking and the ability to create promotional codes and discounts. Users have the option of managing their online stores entirely via a mobile app and, unlike other platforms, Wix doesn’t charge any commissions. Wix is a good choice for hosting small and medium-sized online stores but if you’re looking to build a large eCommerce platform, it might be better to go for a more specialized builder like Shopify.

Bloggers

While not necessarily the best choice for blogging, Wix can nevertheless be used to create very good looking blogs. Wix blogs can support multiple contributors, social bookmarking, archiving, and allow you to add a comments section to your pages. Posts can be separated into multiple categories and you can even include a search bar to make it easier for users to find specific posts on your blog. If you don’t want to create a full-fledged blog, you also have the option of adding a blogging section to a different type of website. For example, a business website with services that require in-depth descriptions. If you need an even better solution for blogging, we recommend checking out Weebly or WordPress instead.

Novice Developers

I think it’s pretty safe to say that most experienced developers would want to use an open-source platform instead of a builder like Wix for creating a new website. However, Wix can be very helpful for users who know the basics of coding but don’t have quite enough knowledge yet to be able to build a new site from scratch. Wix’s “Dev Mode” allows users to add custom snippets of code and integrate with third-party APIs. Developers can use both internal and external tools while customizing their website and there’s even a built-in portal that links to API references and useful documentation, just in case you get stuck and need a helping hand. Even though Wix isn’t the best platform for building professional applications, it’s definitely a good place for honing your skills.

Users Who Don’t Want to Worry About Scalability

Scalability can be a major concern for a lot of users, especially those who want to start small and gradually build a very large audience or customer base over time. Unless you’re looking to build a huge marketplace or a website that receives millions upon millions of visitors each month, you won’t have to worry about Wix’s ability to scale according to your needs. Wix’s major drawback in this department is that the company doesn’t offer any plans that come with unlimited storage. At most you can get up to 50 GB of storage, which should be more than enough for most users, however, certain types of websites may end up needing more than that. Aside from that, though, Wix is a great choice for anyone looking for a builder that can accommodate growing websites.

Plans and Pricing

There are very few builders on the market that can compete with Wix when it comes to pricing. First off, you can use the builder without spending a penny thanks to the free plan, so that’s already a big advantage over competitors like Squarespace. Secondly, the premium plans are very reasonably priced and there are seven of them to choose from, which means there’s a package for pretty much any budget here.

Basic Premium Plans

If you’re thinking of starting off small and don’t mind the restrictions, you can subscribe to the cheapest plan by paying just $4.50 per month. Websites built using this plan display non-removable Wix-branded ads and come by default with a “.wixsite.com” extension, though you can connect a custom domain if you want. The basic plan only comes with 500 MB of storage and its bandwidth usage is capped at 1 GB. If you want to get rid of some of those limitations you’ll have to subscribe to the $8.50/mo Combo plan. This package doesn’t force you to display ads anymore and includes a free domain name for 1 year. You also get more storage to work with but the bandwidth is still capped.

Starting with the $12.50/mo plan, the bandwidth becomes unlimited and the available storage goes up to 10 GB. This plan also unlocks a couple of very useful apps known as Site Booster and Visitor Analytics. Wix claims each of these apps has a value of $60 but that seems to be a bit of an exaggeration since you can get them a lot cheaper from the marketplace. Still, the apps combined with the unlimited bandwidth and increased storage do give you good value overall. If you want to take it one step further, you can go for the $24.50/mo package for even more storage along with a few other features like priority response, VIP support, and a professional logo.

Business & eCommerce Premium Plans

The cheapest plan that unlocks eCommerce functionality will set you back $17 per month. In addition to allowing you to accept online payments, this plan also comes with Google Analytics integration. The other two plans cost $25/mo and $35/mo, respectively, and include a couple more features but nothing that we haven’t talked about already. In essence, the three Business & eCommerce packages are more or less the same as the three most expensive basic packages. You’re mainly paying extra for the additional storage and eCommerce functionality. That said, there are certain templates and apps that require you have an eCommerce plan so subscribing to one can be pretty useful.

Users who want to take things to the next level can upgrade even further to the Wix Enterprise plan. This plan isn’t listed on the main pricing page but you can find it regardless if you know where to look. Enterprise costs a whopping $500 per month and aims to be the ultimate all-in-one business solution. Among other things, this package includes access to professional services reserved for select Wix customers. Enterprise members can request assistance from Wix specialists in improving key areas of their websites like design, marketing, SEO, and more. The plan also comes with dedicated customer support, maintenance and infrastructure tools, advanced security features, VIP business integration, and more.

Free Plan

Wix’s free plan gives the company a significant edge over many of its competitors and is responsible in no small part for the popularity of the builder. The free plan gives users access to most of the available templates and doesn’t restrict the functionality of the site editor in any significant way. In addition, free plan users can download apps from the marketplace and even use the “Dev Mode.” But despite being so accessible, the free plan comes with certain limitations that make it less than ideal for serious websites. Just like the cheapest basic package, the free plan displays non-removable ads and includes a “.wixsite.com” URL address. You can’t connect a custom domain with this plan and the storage and bandwidth are both capped at 500 MB.

Additional Tools and Features

A lot of users come to Wix for its ease of use and low prices but end up staying for the many tools and features offered by the builder. Even without taking into account all the apps you can find in the marketplace, Wix offers so many built-in tools and features that it would take forever to talk about all of them so we’ll have to settle for listing the most important ones.

Domain Registration

You don’t actually have to worry too much about this one as a new user because Wix offers a free custom domain name for 1 year with every plan except the first premium one. However, once that initial term expires you’re going to have to pay a yearly fee in order to maintain ownership of your domain. The company charges $9.99 per year for domain renewals, which is pretty cheap compared to rivals like Squarespace. However, you have to purchase domain privacy separately. You can also buy domains without subscribing to a plan for the exact same price.

Social Media Integration

Wix has all the social media features you would expect from a website builder. You can link with all the popular social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more. Feeds, likes, shares, and follower counts can be incorporated directly into your website with ease. There is, however, a fairly important feature that Wix doesn’t offer at the moment and that’s multi-channel selling. This would allow you to sell products directly on social media, similar to how you can do it with Shopify or, to a lesser extent, Squarespace (only Instagram).

Backups

Wix’s backup system isn’t the best out there but it’s certainly better than what other website builders are offering. The platform allows you to create duplicates of your site, which sort of act like manual backups in principle. However, the caveat is that you can’t store these backups externally. As an additional safety measure, Wix offers a feature known as Site History that automatically backs up your site whenever you make edits or publish new content. You can use this feature to restore your site to a previous version.

SEO Tools

Wix offers some very good built-in SEO tools that allow you to easily optimize your website for search engines. You have access to all the SEO options you might expect, including the ability to customize URLs, change header code, manage 301 redirects, and edit meta descriptions. If you don’t have much experience with search engine optimization you can simply use the Wix SEO Wiz for a step-by-step guide on how this whole thing works. Then, when you’re ready to take things to the next level, you can grab more advanced SEO tools from the app marketplace.

Professional Emails

Unfortunately, Wix doesn’t offer free emails with any of its plans, not even with the Business & eCommerce packages. You can add G Suite to your account in order to benefit not just from domain emails but also calendars, sheets, storage, and more. However, G Suite is available exclusively as a paid service and a costly one at that, with prices ranging between $6 and $25 per month, per user. Site builders like Wix don’t typically include professional mailboxes with their packages but you can get free emails by signing up with a hosting provider like SiteGround or iPage.

App Market

Wix may not be perfect for everyone right out of the box but it certainly can be when enhanced with the right apps. The Wix App Market contains over 200 applications that provide integrations with third-party services like AdSense, PayPal, Google Maps, and more. Some of the apps allow you to add extra functionality to your site, such as a countdown clock, hit counter, forums, chatbots, testimonials, and much more. All the apps come with 1-click installs and you can use most of them even with a free plan. Many of the apps you’ll find in the Wix market are completely free but there are also quite a few that require a monthly subscription, though even paid apps sometimes come with a free trial. Wix’s app market is one of the most impressive out there, possibly second only to the one offered by Weebly.

Security

All websites hosted on Wix come by default with an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate encrypts all data passing through your website and is a great way to show your visitors that your site is trustworthy and secure. Wix also encrypts databases that contain sensitive user information and has multiple layers of security to help prevent malware and DDoS attacks. Interestingly enough, domain privacy is not included right off the bat and must be purchased separately, which seems a bit unusual to be honest.

Performance and Reliability

Wix doesn’t offer unlimited storage and unlimited bandwidth is only available with certain plans, so the performance tends to differ quite a lot from website to website. Similarly, websites that use apps like Site Booster will see better speeds compared to those that don’t use any performance apps at all. That said, the overall average page loading speeds of Wix websites sit at a very solid 600 ms according to our data. We’ve seen much worse results in the past but the situation seems to be steadily improving as of 2020.

Wix is fairly decent when it comes to uptime as well, though there is certainly room for improvement. On average, Wix websites have an uptime of around 99.95%. The company promises uptimes of 99.99% but isn’t quite able to deliver on that promise just yet. 99.95% uptime is definitely not bad, especially when compared to similar site builders, but you can expect much better results from an open-source platform like WordPress provided you know how to optimize it.

Customer Support

Wix agents can be contacted directly via email or phone. There is no live chat system and phone support is only available Monday through Thursday from 6 AM to 5 PM EST. Customers who subscribe to one of the two VIP plans benefit from priority support while Enterprise plan members get access to a dedicated agent who can provide specialized technical assistance. Agents are usually helpful and fast when replying to tickets but we would have liked to see a live chat option and 24/7 phone support.

Even though Wix lacks in the direct support department, it more than makes up for that drawback with self-help options. The platform has a very comprehensive and easy to navigate help center where you should be able to find answers to pretty much any question you may have. In addition, Wix has a support system that’s built into the site editor itself, which is something you don’t see too often. Almost every little component of the editor has a small question mark button that can be clicked to reveal useful information about that specific element. In many cases, you will find step-by-step written and video guides on how to use the various tools. The best part about this system is that everything is embedded directly into the editor.

F.A.Q.

Is Wix Really Free?

Yes, Wix offers a plan that you can use for as long as you want without spending a penny. However, this plan forces you to display Wix-branded ads on your site and comes with a series of other limitations, including the inability to connect a custom domain name.

Can I Transfer a Domain I Already Own to Wix?

Domains that have been registered with a different company can be transferred and used in conjunction with Wix. Domain transfers are free and can be performed manually by the user from the admin menu.

Does Wix Charge a Separate Fee For Hosting?

No, the cost of web hosting is included in the monthly fee of each Wix plan. Users don’t have to pay for hosting when using the free plan either. There are, however, certain additional costs that are not included in the monthly fee, such as those charged by premium apps of optional services like G Suite.

Does Wix Support Multilingual Websites?

The platform is one of the best when it comes to building multilingual websites thanks to a recently released tool known simply as Wix Multilingual. The tool allows users to build a website in their native tongue and then create different versions of the site in a variety of other languages.

Does Wix Support Multiple Contributors?

Yes, multiple users can manage a Wix website at the same time. The site administrator can assign certain roles to each user (e.g. “editor”) and set special privileges for every available role.

What is Wix’s Refund Policy?

Wix offers a 14-day money-back guarantee with all premium plans. The refund policy does not extend to domain registrations or premium apps purchased from the marketplace.

Final Thoughts

Wix is a truly amazing platform that manages to successfully streamline the process of building a website and makes it accessible to everybody. And I do mean everybody, including those who have never tried to build a website before. First-time users can try their hand at site building without spending a penny thanks to the free tier, provided they don’t mind the ads. Meanwhile, experienced webmasters can take advantage of the app marketplace and innate flexibility of Wix to build a unique website with loads of great features.

Naturally, Wix isn’t perfect and there are certain drawbacks that might dissuade some users from checking it out. The performance isn’t always the best, there’s no live chat, and no unlimited storage either, to name just a few obvious examples. However, this is a classic scenario where the pros far outweigh the cons and we wholeheartedly recommend giving Wix a try if you’re looking for a reliable and easy to use site builder. We think you won’t be disappointed.

HostGator Review – Still Plenty of Room for Improvement

Launched back in 2002 as an ambitious one-man project, HostGator is one of the oldest and most popular web hosting providers on the market. The company is also known as being one of the largest domain registrars around and has recently launched a website builder that can go head to head even with the likes of Weebly and Wix. With multiple types of hosting to choose from and low starting prices, HostGator is a great provider for newcomers and veterans alike. But is it the best choice for you? That’s what we’re going to try to find out in this review.

At first glance, HostGator may seem like a near-perfect service but upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that this provider does have a few chinks in its armor. For one, some of its plans are a bit overpriced and performance isn’t always the best. In addition, customer support can be a bit hit or miss for some users and the company fails to mention upfront that some of its most useful tools need to be purchased separately. Despite all of that, however, HostGator is definitely worth checking out so let’s take a closer look at what the provider has to offer.

Navigation and Ease of Use

HostGator combines the functionality of a traditional hosting provider with the accessibility of an all-in-one website builder, making it a very good choice for beginners. In an attempt to compete with platforms like Wix, the company designed its own website builder known as Gator. Although it’s still a work in progress, the builder already comes with a good amount of features and over 200 templates to choose from. The templates aren’t quite as stylish as those offered by other popular site builders like Squarespace but they can certainly get the job done.

It’s hard to recommend Gator for complex websites but you can definitely use it to build simple sites, blogs or even online stores. The builder comes with drag-and-drop functionality and is very easy to customize but doesn’t come with as many options as we would have liked. Still, we do consider Gator to be a solid choice for starter websites, especially since the builder comes with some very nice freebies.

If you’re not into the company’s site builder, you can always pair HostGator with a different platform like WordPress, Joomla or Magento. Regardless of which content management platform you choose, managing your sites from HostGator’s dashboard is a breeze. The company uses a standard cPanel so if you’ve ever used one in the past, you’ll know exactly what to expect here. If you didn’t, all you really need to know about the cPanel is that it allows you to manage email addresses, databases, sub-domains, monitor bandwidth usage, and change your profile settings, among other things, using a single interface.

Instant Everything

HostGator offers an impressive number of 1-click installs for blogs, portals, forums, and more. The company allows you to easily set up guest books, URL redirects, and hit counters on your website with just a click of a button. Moreover, you also get access to a web-based file manager that lets you upload files directly from the control panel.

Creating and managing a new website with HostGator is pretty easy, but what about migrating a site you already own? As it turns out, that’s even easier because the company offers free site migration services with many of its hosting plans. The service only works with WordPress sites and the transfer needs to be initiated within 30 days of signing up. The basic hosting plans only allow you to transfer a single website while the more expensive ones let you migrate two or three.

Plans and Pricing

HostGator can be a very affordable provider, especially if you go for one of its shared hosting plans. These packages start at only $2.75 per month, rivaling even popular cheap options like Bluehost in terms of price. Like most hosting providers, however, HostGator isn’t really upfront about the fact that only users who subscribe to a multi-year plan can take advantage of these low prices. If you plan on paying on a month-by-month basis, expect the prices to be quite a bit higher.

If you go to HostGator’s shared hosting comparison page you’ll notice that the plans come with an absolute truckload of tools and features. We’re not going to talk about most of them since they’re nothing to write home about but we do want to mention a couple. For starters, all plans come with unmetered storage and bandwidth, free SSL certificate, free domain, emails, and basic eCommerce functionality. All packages also benefit from 100$ worth of credits (Adwords and Bing), subdomains, FTP access, instant setup, and 24/7 customer support.

The differences between the $2.75/mo Hatchling plan and the $3.95/mo Baby plan aren’t very significant. The only one that really stands out is the fact that the Baby plan supports an unlimited number of websites while the Hatching plan only supports one. Since the difference in price between the two packages is so small you might as well go for the Baby plan. You never know when you may want to build an additional website.

The third and final shared hosting plan goes by the name of Business and will set you back $5.95 per month. Unsurprisingly, this plan comes with the most amount of features, though there aren’t as many extras as you might expect. The Business plan includes a free dedicated IP and a better SSL certificate, both of which you can also get with the other plans for an extra monthly fee. Aside from that, this plan allows you to use anonymous FTP and private SSL, and that’s about it.

Website Builder

It’s worth pointing out right off the bat that buying one of the other HostGator plans gives you free access to the site builder. However, you can also purchase a standalone plan for Gator, which comes with slightly different tools and features that are more akin to what you would get from Wix, Weebly or Squarespace. Unlike those other builders, however, Gator doesn’t limit the storage and bandwidth you get or the number of pages your site can have, regardless of which plan you choose.

Since Gator tries to simplify things as much as possible, you no longer get access to some of the more advanced features included with the regular plans. However, you still get a free domain name for 1 year, SSL certificate, password protection, and a Site History feature that’s identical to that of Wix, among other things. Unlike most other website builders, Gator doesn’t force you to display branded ads even if you subscribe to the absolute cheapest plan.

Speaking of which, a Starter Gator plan will cost you $3.84 per month, which is cheaper than all other builders mentioned earlier, especially Squarespace. The other plans are a bit difficult to recommend since they don’t really bring anything noteworthy to the table. The $5.99/mo Premium package only adds priority support while the $9.22/mo eCommerce plan unlocks, you guessed it, eCommerce functionality. The problem is that Gator’s eCommerce features are very unimpressive so if you’re looking to open an online store, we recommend Shopify or even just WordPress paired with the WooCommerce plugin.

WordPress Hosting

If you’re looking to build a WordPress website there are plenty of good options out there. The company behind the platform recommends going either with Bluehost, DreamHost or SiteGround as your hosting provider. While many of those are very good options, HostGator’s WordPress hosting plans are not to be overlooked either. The packages are fairly cheap considering we’re talking about managed hosting and are said to perform up to 2.5 times better than the shared plans.

Prices here start at $5.95 per month but the basic package can only support a single website. You can get support for additional websites if you upgrade to one of the higher tiers but at most, you’ll only be able to set up a total of 3 websites even with the more expensive plan, which isn’t great. That said, these plans do include dedicated resources so while they aren’t able to support many websites, the servers should generally be faster and more reliable.

In terms of features, you can expect many of the same ones you would get with other types of hosting, including free site migrations, unmetered storage, SSL certificate, malware removal, and more. The company also throws in a few other freebies like CodeGuard and SiteLock, two tools that need to be purchased separately with some of the other plans.

HostGator’s WordPress hosting plans are fairly mediocre compared to those of other companies. There’s no mention of 1-click installs, free plugins, staging environments or any other WordPress-specific features you might expect. Still, the plans are overall pretty cheap and come with dedicated resources so they can provide some decent values.

VPS

Similar to the WordPress plans, HostGator’s VPS packages are not very easy to recommend to most users. This time around, it’s not because of the lack of interesting features but rather because of the price. HostGator’s cheapest VPS package goes for $29.95 per month and gives you 2 GB of RAM, 2 CPU cores, 120 GB of disk space, and 1.5 GB of bandwidth to work with. By comparison, Dreamhost and Bluehost offer fairly similar VPS plans for just $20 and $19 per month, respectively. Meanwhile, DigitalOcean, a company that specializes in VPS and cloud hosting, offers plans that start at only $5 per month.

Granted, HostGator does tend to offer more storage space than its competitors, however, the company doesn’t use SSD storage, which is pretty unusual in this day and age. Upgrading to the $39.95/mo or $49.95/mo plans won’t give you access to additional features or tools but you will get extra resources. Strangely enough, though, none of the plans come with unmetered bandwidth, a feature that Dreamhost and other rivals include even with their cheapest plans.

Dedicated Servers

Dedicated servers are always expensive regardless of which provider you choose but HostGator, once again, seems to charge a bit more than the market average. Prices here start at $119 per month for a machine that comes with 8 GB of RAM, a quad-core CPU, and 1 TB of storage. In this case, HostGator does include unmetered bandwidth and if you upgrade to the $139/mo or $149 per month plans you also benefit from SSD storage, so at least the company does its best to provide good value for the money.

HostGator offers both managed and semi-managed dedicated servers. The difference between the two types is that customers who opt for a managed plan can expect more support from HostGator with things like site migrations, data backups, server optimization, server monitoring, and more. In addition, managed customers have access to cPanel or Plesk while semi-managed users have full root access and a choice between several operating systems, including CentOS, Ubuntu, Debian, and Windows. As far as the price difference is concerned, managed plans are $10 more expensive regardless of which of the dedicated plans or billing cycles you choose.

Key Tools and Features

HostGator does its best to convince potential customers that its plans come with a wide range of features but the truth is that you’re not actually getting more than the standard stuff. But while there’s not much to write home about, at least the company does a decent job at including features and tools we would consider essential. Well, for the most part. Let’s take a closer look at what HostGator has to offer in terms of key tools and features.

Domain Registration

Most hosting providers offer free domains with their plans and HostGator is no exception. You can get a free domain for 1 year by signing up for any HostGator shared, WordPress or cloud hosting plan. The only caveat is that you’ll need to subscribe to a yearly (or higher) plan in order to be eligible for a free domain. Once that first year is up, you’ll need to pay the standard annual fee if you want to keep using the domain.

Renewing a HostGator domain or registering a new one will set you back $12.95 per year. At first glance, that may seem like a steal, however, there is a catch. HostGator doesn’t include domain privacy so you’ll need to purchase that separately for an additional $14.95 per year. That brings the total up to $27.90, which is no longer that cheap when compared to other registrars. For example, iPage charges $21 for a new domain while GoDaddy only charges about $18, both with privacy included.

Databases

HostGator supports MySQL databases and allows you to create and manage an unlimited number of them with any of its shared hosting plans. If you go for one of the WordPress packages, you also benefit from automated daily database backups and restores. There’s technically no limit to how many databases can be backed up using the system, however, the total size is limited to 1 GB with the starter plan. If you upgrade to one of the more expensive packages, the size limit increases to 2 GB and 3 GB, respectively.

Backup and Restore

HostGator includes a free tool that allows users to manually back up their entire accounts at any time from the cPanel. The backups can be downloaded locally and stored on third-party platforms or restored to the HostGator servers with ease. In addition, the company also uses an automated system powered by CodeGuard that backs up your files and databases on a daily basis. Unfortunately, this tool isn’t free for everybody.

If you’re buying a shared hosting plan, you’ll be able to purchase CodeGuard separately during check out for an additional $2 per month. That doesn’t sound too expensive, however, CodeGuard can only be billed annually so you’ll actually need to fork out around $24 upfront if you want to add it to your package. Luckily, you can get CodeGuard for free if you sign up for a WordPress hosting plan.

It’s worth noting that CodeGuard comes in three different variants – Basic, Professional, and Premium. The version you get for free with WordPress plans or for $2/mo with shared plans is the Basic one. If you want to take advantage of the features offered by the higher tiers you’ll need to upgrade the tool or purchase CodeGuard Professional or Premium directly from HostGator.

Domain Emails

HostGator is pretty generous when it comes to emails. All users are able to create an unlimited number of @domain emails and use web-based mail clients like Squirrel, Horde or Round Cube. You also get useful features like mail forwarding, spam assassin, IMAP support, the ability to create mailing lists or autoresponders and more.

If you’re looking to add a fully-featured professional mailbox to your account, you can purchase a Microsoft Office 365 license from HostGator for $5 per month. Unlike CodeGuard, Office 365 can be billed monthly. HostGator can also be integrated with G Suite and you can buy a license for it for $6 per month.

eCommerce

HostGator isn’t a particularly good choice for eCommerce but it can get the job done. All plans come with free ZenCart and osCommerce shopping carts along with the ability to sell and ship products, process payments, and manage inventory. If you buy a website builder plan you’ll get access to a couple more features like coupons and a shipping & tax calculator. Since you won’t get a lot of eCommerce features with any of HostGator’s plans, we recommend going with something like Shopify if you want to build a serious online store.

SEO

HostGator seems to know the value of search engine optimization because the company offers a free SEO consultation review for all customers. The provider will even assign a representative to help you with things like keyword research, content creation, page optimization, and more. In addition, the company also sells custom-built SEO tools for $2.95 per month. This optional tool is billed annually so you’ll need to pay around $35 upfront to add it to your account. Users who opt for the Business shared hosting plan get these SEO tools for free.

Additional Supported Technologies

HostGator supports all the web hosting technologies you would expect, including several scripting languages like Python, Ruby on Rails, and PHP 5. The company also enables users to use SSH and anonymous FTP along with dedicated IPs in exchange for a monthly fee, though certain plans do come with free dedicated IPs. A few other technologies worth mentioning include CGI and Fast CGI, Cron, Image Magick, GD 2, and Perl.

Location Coverage

HostGator doesn’t have great location coverage, primarily because the company focuses on US customers. At the moment, the company only has two data centers – one in Utah and the other one in Texas. Users can’t choose which data center houses their server so you’re most likely going to be assigned one at random. If you don’t live in the US or are targeting non-US users, we recommend activating Cloudflare if you sign up with HostGator because it will route your content through close to two dozen additional data centers around the world, thus improving your site’s performance.

Performance and Reliability

While you can easily look at the price and features offered by a hosting provider before you sign up with it, finding information related to the performance of its servers is a bit more challenging. That’s because the performance can vary greatly from user to user depending on a number of factors, such as the hosting plan you’re using, the amount of content on your website, how many plugins or add-ons you have installed, and more. With that in mind, we did some tests on a fairly standard WordPress website hosted on a shared plan to give you a general idea of what the average user can expect from HostGator in terms of performance and reliability.

Page Loading Speed

Nobody likes a slow website and I’m not just talking about users. Search engines like Google often rank slow sites lower than fast ones, and with good reason. A webmaster who cares about SEO should always pick a hosting provider that has a good track record in the speed department. Does HostGator fit that bill? Not quite I’m afraid.

The page loading speeds we experienced with our site hovered around the 910ms on average, which isn’t great. Generally speaking, anything under 1 second is still considered good but many users expect sites to load a bit faster in this day and age. It’s worth noting that the last time we looked at HostGator we got average speeds of over 1.3 seconds, so the situation has been improving, at least in our case. Based on some of the results shared by other users, however, HostGator’s speeds seem to be getting worse lately.

While some of those results may seem discouraging it’s worth noting that we only tested the company’s shared hosting. According to HostGator, sites hosted on a WordPress plan load up to 2.5X faster thanks to the integrated cloud technology and, of course, you’ll definitely see even better performance if you’re using a VPS or dedicated server. As far as the shared plans are concerned, though, the speeds are not particularly great.

Server Response Times

While the loading speeds of individual pages or websites aren’t always great, we were surprised to find that HostGator’s server response times aren’t actually all that bad. We ran some tests using a tool called Bitcatcha and found that the response times in the US are generally only around 30-40 ms. As expected, though, the response times dropped significantly when tested from other regions.

The tool we used tests server response times from various countries around the world. Based on the tests, we learned that you’ll need to wait around 400 ms for a server response if you’re located in Europe or Australia and around 700 ms if you’re located in Japan. Interestingly enough, HostGator servers take longer to respond in Europe and Australia when compared to rivals like SiteGround but the results are actually pretty good by the time you reach Japan. 700 ms may not seem like a great result but SiteGround’s servers, for example, took over 2 seconds to respond when pinged from Japan.

Uptime

Having a fast website is nice but often it’s even more important to have a website that can be accessed at any time. In other words, a website with good uptime. Ideally, you would want your website to be up 24/7, 365/year but that’s very unlikely to happen because every provider experiences outages on occasion. That’s why most providers only guarantee an uptime of 99.9% or lower.

HostGator is definitely in this category as the company boldly claims on its homepage that all hosting plans come with a 99.9% uptime guarantee. But does that claim actually hold up? From our experience, we can confirm that it does indeed hold up. The overall uptime of our site was 99.98% at the end of our testing period so the results were very good.

But what happens if HostGator won’t be able to fulfill its promise in the future? Well, the company’s guarantee isn’t just an empty promise as the company is prepared to compensate users with a month of free hosting if their uptime is lower than 99.9% over an extended period of time. But it’s worth keeping in mind that according to the company’s policy, scheduled maintenance and things that fall outside of the company’s control do not count as downtime.

Customer Support

HostGator is known for having very good customer support, at least for the most part. Some agents are better than others at providing assistance but that can be said about any company. Here, at least you can contact support via a variety of channels, including phone, ticket, and live chat. There’s a toll-free number you can reach them at and each HostGator account is said to be fully guaranteed by CEO Adam Farrar, meaning you can request that your ticket be assigned to him if support agents can’t fix your problem. We didn’t run into such a problem so we can’t say for sure if this claim is actually true.

If you have a problem that’s not urgent and want to try fixing it yourself, you can always try looking for a solution in the help center. There you can find hundreds of articles and video tutorials on everything from working with cPanel and creating emails to DNS, domains, design tools, databases, and more. All the articles are sorted by category and there’s a search bar to help you find what you’re looking for faster.

F.A.Q.

Does HostGator Offer Any Additional Types of Hosting?

Yes, there are a couple of types of hosting that we didn’t mention in our review, including cloud hosting and reseller hosting. Cloud hosting starts at $4.95 per month and is similar to WordPress hosting while reseller hosting starts at $19.95 per month and is aimed at users who want to start a small hosting company of their own.

Does HostGator Offer Free SSL Certificates with All Plans?

All users who sign up for one of the shared, cloud, or WordPress hosting plans get a free SSL certificate. Free certificates are also included with website builder plans but they are not available with VPS and dedicated packages. Even though HostGator offers free certificates with most plans, the company also sells Positive SSL certificates as an optional service that costs $3.33 per month (billed annually).

Does HostGator Offer Free Domain Names with Any of Its Plans?

Yes, but only with shared, cloud, and WordPress hosting packages. If you want to sign up for any other type of hosting plan you’re going to have to purchase a new domain separately or transfer an already existing one.

Is HostGator a Good Option for eCommerce?

No, not really. While you can set up an online store with HostGator, the eCommerce features offered by the company are pretty unimpressive. You’re much better off going with Shopify, Weebly or pairing WordPress with a plugin like WooCommerce.

What is HostGator’s Refund Policy?

HostGator offers a 45-day money-back guarantee for all shared, reseller and VPS hosting plans. The company doesn’t offer refunds for dedicated servers, cloud hosting plans or domain registrations.

Final Thoughts

Now that we’re rapidly approaching the end of this review let’s try to answer the question posed near the beginning. Is HostGator the best choice for you? If you’re looking for a user-friendly hosting provider with affordable prices for shared hosting, good uptimes, and helpful customer support, then the answer is yes. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for stellar page loading speeds, good eCommerce functionality and lots of innovative features, you won’t find any of those here I’m afraid. In short, it depends.

Personally, we like some of what HostGator has to offer but we think there’s still a lot of room for improvement. The shared hosting packages are easy to recommend for beginners while the WordPress plans are a good fit for most people interested in working with the CMS, though there are definitely better options out there. We have mixed feelings about HostGator, however, we can see that the company has been trying to improve its products in recent times and even launch new ones like the site builder. For now, we can only give a lukewarm recommendation but that may very well change in the near future if the company keeps improving.

SiteGround Review – It Gets a Lot of Things Right and Only a Few Wrong

I think it’s pretty safe to say that SiteGround is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to hosting. While the company is perhaps best known for its very appealing shared hosting packages, it also offers cloud hosting, reseller hosting, and even specialized plans for enterprises and eCommerce enthusiasts. In addition, SiteGround is widely known as being one of the best providers of WordPress hosting on the market, with the company behind the popular CMS even recommending it as one of its top choices.

A recommendation from WordPress would be enough to boost the popularity of any hosting provider but SiteGround could easily be a top choice even without it. Unlike other providers, SiteGround offers plenty of great features even with its cheapest plans. The company’s hosting plans are slightly more expensive compared to other providers because of this but there’s no denying that you get great value in exchange for your money.

Now that you know a little bit about what to expect from this provider, let’s take a closer look at what it has to offer because there’s more to SiteGround than meets the eye.

Navigation and Ease of Use

Is SiteGround a good option for you if you’re a newcomer who doesn’t have any previous experience with hosting providers? The short answer is yes, even though there are simpler platforms out there. While many novices prefer to go with a platform like Wix when building their first website, opting for SiteGround will give you a lot more flexibility and, of course, you’ll have more types of hosting to choose from.

Getting started with SiteGround is fairly straightforward. Pick a hosting plan that’s suitable to your future website, register a new domain or connect an existing one, and fill a form that asks for some personal information and payment details. Once that’s over with, your SiteGround account will become active within a few seconds and you can jump straight into the dashboard.

The dashboard has a bit of unnecessary clutter here and there but it doesn’t look too bad for the most part. All the important tools and services like the site setup wizard and profile management are clearly visible and there’s also a cPanel that allows you to manage your websites with ease.

SiteGround offers a number of 1-click installers for popular applications like WordPress, Magento, Joomla, and more. There’s quite a heavy emphasis on WordPress here so expect to find a few more tools designed specifically for working with the CMS. If you’re not a big fan of WordPress, it’s worth noting that SiteGround accounts can also be integrated with Weebly. Choosing Weebly over WordPress has some advantages but may end up costing you more in the long run.

The SiteGround user area also features a collection of tools designed for advanced users. Among other things, you can use the dashboard to create emails and databases, manage DNS zones, park domains, upload files, and more. In addition to all of that, the dashboard also lets you manage your domains and gives you a quick way of accessing the webmail portal.

Plans and Pricing

As it’s often the case with companies like this, SiteGround’s biggest sellers are its shared hosting plans. The entry point of $3.95 per month seems pretty reasonable considering what you get in return. Sure, you can find cheaper hosting at Bluehost and a couple of other providers but you’ll be hard-pressed to find another company that packs in as many useful features as SiteGround. This can be clearly observed in our Bluehost vs. SiteGround comparison, which will show you that price isn’t all that matters.

The starter plan comes with a free SSL certificate, free email accounts, automatic daily backups, unlimited databases, and a Cloudflare CDN account. And that’s only listing the highlights. You also get access to a free site builder of your choice – WordPress or Weebly – along with unmetered traffic, anti-hack protection, and even basic eCommerce functionality. Having said all that, the cheapest plan can only support a single website and comes with just 10 GB of storage, so there are some drawbacks as well.

You can get rid of the first drawback by upgrading to the $5.95 per month plan, which also doubles the available storage. In addition, with this plan, you can also add sub-users to your account and benefit from a free site transfer. A few other noteworthy features include on-demand backups, WordPress staging environment, and SuperCacher, an optimization solution developed by SiteGround that can boost website performance.

SiteGround only has three shared hosting plans to choose from, the most expensive of which will set you back $11.95 per month. That’s quite a bit more expensive when compared to the previous tier and, unfortunately, this plan doesn’t come with unlimited storage either. Instead, you have 30 GB at your disposal, which isn’t an awful lot when considering the price. Aside from that, there are a couple of interesting features here such as white label site management and one-click Git Repo creation. Users who opt for this plan also get the maximum amount of server resources available.

WordPress Hosting

Given that SiteGround is officially endorsed by WordPress, it should come as no surprise that the provider has some very attractive packages designed to work hand-in-hand with the content management platform. The best part is that the prices of these plans are identical to the shared hosting packages. In other words, if you’re planning to build a WordPress website this is definitely the best place to start.

Most of the features included here are the same ones you get with the shared hosting plans so I’m not going to list them again. Instead, let’s talk about the special ones. First off, users get access to a 1-click automated installer and the WordPress Starter tool. This tool works more or less similar to Wix’s artificial design intelligence in the sense that it creates a new website for you based on your specifications.

WordPress Starter lets you choose between a variety of features and professional designs, all of which are installed automatically on your new website. A lot of people think that creating a WordPress website is a bit of a hassle but nothing can be further from the truth if you’re using this tool.

In addition to that, you can also expect automatic updates not just for your instance of WordPress but also any plugins you may have installed. SiteGround even partially takes care of the security by assigning custom firewall rules to patch common exploits and vulnerabilities. The WordPress hosting plans come with a couple of useful plugins created by the SiteGround developers. One of these plugins lets you migrate a WordPress site regardless of which hosting plan you’re using (unlike the standard shared plans) while the other is an all-in-one site optimizer.

Cloud Hosting

SiteGround’s cloud hosting packages are quite expensive compared to the market average. With an entry point of $80 per month, it’s no wonder the company didn’t make our list of cheap cloud hosting providers. But while the company does charge quite a bit for its packages, it also gives you more than enough resources to work with. For $80/mo you get 4 GB of RAM, 2 CPU cores, 40 GB of SSD storage, and 5 TB of data transfer.

Those resources should be enough for most average users but if you want to take it one step further, there are three additional plans to choose from. On the higher end of things, you can pay $240 per month for 8 CPU cores, 10 GB of RAM, 120 GB of SSD storage, and 5 TB of data transfer. And because this is cloud hosting, you get exclusive access to all of these resources and won’t have to share them with other users.

If you’re running multiple big websites and need even more resources, you can ignore the standard plans in favor of a custom one. SiteGround allows you to pick the exact amount of resources you want, up to 32 CPU cores, 128 GB of RAM, and 1 TB of SSD space. A maxed-out custom plan will cost you over two grand a month but you’re unlikely to have to worry about server resources ever again.

In order to justify the above-average prices, SiteGround threw in a couple of useful features like auto-scaling and the ability to create standalone sub-accounts under your main cloud account. You can also manually add extra resources on the fly and the service is fully managed, which means you can rely on SiteGround to ensure that everything runs smoothly as butter.

Key Tools and Features

SiteGround offers quite a few tools and features but in this section, we’re going to focus on the most important ones to keep in mind before you decide to sign up with the company. Some of them have already been briefly mentioned in the previous section but we’re going to take a closer look at them here while also listing some additional ones that we haven’t covered before.

Domain Registration

Before you can start building your website you’ll need to register a domain for it. While rival companies like Bluehost, DreamHost, and InMotion all offer free domain names for the first year, SiteGround doesn’t. SiteGround only charges $15.95 for domain registrations, which is a bit cheaper when compared to other providers, however, there are two caveats here.

First off, you can’t purchase a domain separately so you’ll also have to grab a hosting plan while you’re at it. The other problem is that SiteGround doesn’t include free domain privacy like many of its competitors. Instead, you’ll need to pay an additional $12 per year to get it. Since domain privacy is always a must, you’ll need to pay at least $30 (including hosting) when registering a new domain with SiteGround.

Databases

SiteGround allows users to create and manage an unlimited number of MySQL and PostgreSQL databases regardless of which hosting plan they choose. But while the number of databases you can have is unlimited, their size isn’t. If you’re using the starter plan you can’t have databases larger than 500 MB and table size of 250 MB. Meanwhile, database queries can’t take up more than 10% off your server’s resources. These values will increase should you upgrade to a more expensive plan.

Backup and Restore

SiteGround provides automatic daily backups and allows you to restore not just the website itself but also emails, databases, and individual files. Automatic backups are free for all users but SiteGround only holds onto them for up to 30 days so restoring an older version of your website with this system is not an option. Luckily, there’s an additional system that lets you create manual backups on demand. Up to 5 on-demand backups can be created at a time and the service is free for GrowBig and GoGeek users. StartUp users can also take advantage of it but they need to pay for each on-demand backup.

Advanced users can take advantage of the SSH and SFTP access to create manual backups of their site via an FTP client like FileZilla. This method can be time-consuming depending on the size of your website but it allows you to have full control over your files and store them wherever you want, be it locally or on a third-party platform.

Domain Emails

All SiteGround users benefit from an unlimited number of free domain emails. You can access and manage your mailbox on the go using either RoundCube or Horde, two of the most popular web-based mail clients around. Similar to the database situation, there are some limitations to these free mailboxes depending on your hosting plan. For instance, the basic plan mailbox can hold up to 2 GB worth of emails while the GoGeek mailbox has a size of 6 GB.

eCommerce

While we think a specialized platform like Shopify would be more suitable for eCommerce, you can definitely build a good online store with SiteGround as well. The provider offers three specialized hosting plans for eCommerce, all of which are very similar to the aforementioned WordPress hosting plans in terms of features. The only major difference is that these plans come with a simple installer that allows you to set up a fully-functioning storefront in just a few minutes. The resulting online store runs on WordPress and includes the popular WooCommerce plugin along with a professional theme.

That said, you don’t have to stick to WordPress in order to build an online store with SiteGround. The company offers a free shopping cart install with all hosting plans. The shopping cart works well with a wide variety of platforms, including Magento, PrestaShop, osCommerce, and more. If you’re looking for a cheap and very easy to use platform for eCommerce, we recommend checking out Weebly.

SEO

Unfortunately, SiteGround doesn’t offer any SEO tools of its own, which puts it at a disadvantage when compared to companies that do offer them, such as iPage or HostGator for example. If you’re not very familiar with search engine optimization you may want to try Wix as the platform has a great SEO Wiz that does most of the work for you. If, on the other hand, you do know what you’re doing, you can use SiteGround to build a WordPress site and then install the Yoast plugin on top. Doing so will give you access to some of the best and most helpful SEO tools out there.

Additional Supported Technologies

SiteGround is a great choice for tech-savvy users thanks to the large number of technologies it supports. We already mentioned a few of them earlier in this review but those were just the cherry on top. Among other things, SiteGround supports HTTP/2, .htaccess, Mod_rewrite, and multiple versions of PHP (the default one is 7.1). In addition, you can also use a wide variety of PHP encoders, libraries, and image galleries.

Location Coverage

SiteGround’s location coverage is not very impressive compared to some of the other big providers out there. Especially those that deal primarily in cloud hosting like Vultr or Cloudways. SiteGround has servers on three continents but there are only five data centers to choose from. Two of them are located in the US, two in Europe and one is in Singapore.

The data centers themselves are state-of-the-art and feature high levels of redundancy to offset any potential issues. SiteGround works closely with Google to ensure that its network is always up to par with modern standards. The two companies also have a partnership that allows SiteGround to run green-friendly data centers by matching 100% of the energy consumed with renewable energy.

Performance and Reliability

If you’re worried about the price, there are plenty of platforms that let you build a site for free or for very little money. Wix and Weebly are two good examples. If you’re worried about the performance, however, it’s a good idea not to be stingy and sign up with a provider that has a good track record. Can SiteGround be considered a reliable provider? The short answer is yes but let’s take a closer look at some of the stats.

Speed

Not only does a fast website ensure a good user experience but it also helps improve your SEO. Slow sites have been routinely shown to have fewer page views and lower conversion rates when compared to their faster competitors. If you’re running a small blog this might not matter too much, but it’s definitely important for businesses since losing potential customers means losing money.

We tested a WordPress website hosted on SiteGround to see what sort of speeds we’d get and we were not disappointed by the results. On average, the page loading speed hovered at around 645 ms, which is very good. Not the faster website we’ve ever had, mind you, but very good regardless.

We did notice that the site slowed down during peak traffic hours but that’s not very surprising given that we were using a shared hosting plan. With this type of hosting, you’re sharing server resources with other users so it’s always better to go for a plan that gives you dedicated resources if you can afford it.

Server Response Times

Testing individual pages can give you a good idea of a site’s overall speed but it’s not always the most accurate testing method. That’s because some pages may inadvertently load slower than others depending on how much content there is on the page. For instance, a page with lots of high-resolution images will always load slower than a simple page with no images found on the same site. That’s why we decided to also test the response times of the server itself in order to get an even better idea of how SiteGround performs.

During our testing, we were able to get response times as low as 40 ms for US servers (where the site is located). We used a tool that measures response times from different locations and found that things slow down to around 300 ms when measured from Europe. Meanwhile, users from Japan would have to wait 2 seconds or more in order to get a response, which isn’t great.

These results are pretty good and show why it’s important to pick a server location that’s as close as possible to that of your target audience. As mentioned before, SiteGround doesn’t have many locations to choose from so that can be a bit of a problem for some people. However, if you’re targeting users from the US or Europe there’s generally nothing to worry about because SiteGround performs great in these regions.

Uptime

Unlike many other providers, SiteGround doesn’t make a big deal about the uptime of its servers or brag about it in big bold letters on its home page. Does that mean the uptimes aren’t very good? No, quite the contrary. During our testing, we haven’t noticed any significant outages and it seems downtime isn’t an issue at SiteGround, in general, based on all the other reviews we’ve read online. No company has 100% uptime all-year-round but SiteGround comes as close as you can get.

While the company doesn’t mention anything about the uptime on the home page, you can find some information about it by reading the SiteGround Terms of Service. Since most people don’t bother with that, we’ll give you a quick summary of what it says.

SiteGround guarantees network uptime of 99.9% on an annual base. If your actual uptime falls below the promised value by even less than 1% you are entitled to a month of free hosting. You also get an additional month of free hosting for every 1% of uptime lost below 99%. That’s quite generous but there is a caveat here. Scheduled maintenance and downtime caused by sources outside of SiteGround’s control (such as DDoS attacks) will not be counted when calculating your total uptime.

Customer Support

A lot of people don’t need to contact customer support all that often but if you do happen to need assistance, you’re in good hands here. In fact, SiteGround’s customer support can easily be considered one of the company’s main selling points. The provider offers 24/7 support via tickets, live chat and phone, with a toll-free number available in certain regions.

You can expect a fast reply regardless of which channel you choose. We were particularly impressed by the speed at which agents reply to tickets since this channel is usually the slowest. That’s not really the case here as tickets are answered in 10 minutes or faster. Meanwhile, live chat and phone responses are pretty much instant most of the time. The only problem with SiteGround’s customer support is that you need to jump through several hoops in order to use the live chat. Aside from that, though, the support is very solid.

In addition to the aforementioned channels, SiteGround also has an extensive knowledge base with hundreds of useful articles. All articles are sorted by category and sub-category and there’s also a search bar, so you shouldn’t have any issues finding what you’re looking for. It’s usually better to try getting in touch with an agent if you’re a newcomer but if you’re already an experienced webmaster, you can definitely fix a lot of problems yourself by simply consulting the knowledge base.

F.A.Q.

Does SiteGround Offer VPS Hosting?

SiteGround offers cloud hosting plans, which come with dedicated resources just like VPS packages, but are not quite the same thing. Buying a VPS plan will give you dedicated access to a single machine whereas with cloud hosting you get access to resources that are spread amongst a number of different machines. Cloud hosting is often considered a better option but VPS is a lot cheaper.

Does SiteGround Offer Dedicated Servers?

SiteGround did use to offer dedicated servers until fairly recently but the company eventually switched entirely to cloud hosting (in addition to shared hosting). A dedicated hosting plan is essentially a more powerful version of a VPS. It’s also a lot more expensive. Price-wise, SiteGround’s cloud hosting plans are somewhere between a VPS and a dedicated server. If you’re looking for a company that offers VPS and dedicated packages, as well as cloud hosting, we recommend checking out DreamHost.

Is SiteGround a Good Choice For Beginners?

Absolutely. Not only does the company offer a cPanel but there’s also a separate panel with very useful site tools designed by the folks over at SiteGround themselves. Having said that, we do recommend going for a WordPress package if this is your first time building a site because it will make things a lot easier.

Is it Better to Use Weebly or WordPress to Build a Site Hosted on SiteGround?

WordPress is definitely the better option in most cases because SiteGround offers special packages that work great with the CMS. Weebly might be easier to work with but SiteGround only includes the free version of the builder, which comes with a lot of limitations. You can pay for a premium Weebly plan but in that case you’re better off skipping SiteGround and signing up with Weebly directly since the builder comes with free hosting.

What is SiteGround’s Refund Policy?

According to SiteGround’s refund policy, the company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for all shared hosting plans and a 15-day money-back guarantee for cloud hosting packages. The policy does not cover domain registrations or renewals.

Final Thoughts

SiteGround is a very solid choice for all types of users, though it’s particularly good for hosting WordPress websites. The company’s prices are a bit higher than the market average but you definitely get your money’s worth here. Even the cheapest packages come with tools and features that other providers force you to buy separately. Then again, most providers offer free domains with their hosting plans while SiteGround doesn’t, so there are clearly some drawbacks as well.

While there’s not quite as much variety as we would have liked when it comes to the types of hosting on offer, SiteGround does cover its bases by offering both shared and cloud hosting. There are specialized packages for WordPress and online stores but those, too, are ultimately shared hosting plans with extra features. Still, we do appreciate that the company is trying to make things easier for users who are looking for a quick way of setting up a WordPress site or eCommerce platform.

As far as the performance is concerned, our experience has been very positive and this seems to be the case for most people based on our research. The same can also be said about the customer support, though if we were to nitpick, we would recommend improving the live chat system just a little bit. Aside from that, though, we don’t have any major complaints and we wholeheartedly recommend checking out SiteGround because this is overall one of the best hosting providers on the market right now.

Weebly Review – A Well-Rounded Website Builder With Plenty to Offer

Even in 2020 a lot of people still think that building a website is no simple feat. While it’s true that the process can require a lot of time and effort in some cases, for the most part, now pretty much anyone can create a new website with relative ease. That’s because these days you don’t have to build the whole thing from scratch any more thanks to platforms like WordPress, Wix or Squarespace. Any of those platforms can be a fine choice for your future website, but in this article, we’re going to take a look at a builder you may have overlooked until now – Weebly.

Weebly is in a bit of an awkward spot right now because of its competitors. Generally speaking, there are four main options to consider when you’re building a new website and choosing between them is very easy if you know exactly what you’re trying to build. Namely, you want WordPress for functionality, Squarespace for looks, Shopify for eCommerce, and Wix for ease of use. So when should you use Weebly then? Well, Weebly is a great choice if you’re looking for a jack-of-all-trades builder that can do a little bit of everything.

Now, Weebly isn’t the only platform that can accommodate any type of website, but it is one of the best. And in this article, we’re going to help you find out if Weebly is the right choice for your future website or if you should consider other options instead. In order to give you a good idea of what Weebly is all about, we’re going to take a closer look at important aspects such as price, features, tools, and customer support and see what sort of conclusions we can draw after weighing all the pros and cons of this builder. But before we delve into the technical stuff, let’s start with a quick overview.

Overview

Weebly is well over a decade old at this point, having launched back in 2007. The platform struggled to find a niche at the beginning but managed to gradually attract a pretty solid user base in the years to come. As of 2020, Weebly powers more than 50 million websites, a very respectable figure even compared to juggernauts like Wix. Weebly was acquired by payment processor Square in 2018, a move that proved beneficial for both companies. Unsurprisingly, Weebly started focusing more and more on eCommerce following the acquisition in an effort to expand its business and attract new users.

The platform is intuitive and very accessible, allowing even inexperienced users to create professional-looking websites with relative ease. While you don’t need to be a coder to build a site with Weebly, knowing your way around scripting languages like CSS and HTML does allow you to customize pages to a much higher degree. One of the advantages of Weebly is that the platform has a built-in coding editor, which is much easier to work with compared to builders like Wix where you to have to switch to the “Dev Mode” in order to inject code.

Weebly tends to focus on functionality rather than looks so the UI can feel a bit outdated at times. On the bright side, the platform comes with some very helpful built-in features, like the aforementioned coding editor. On top of that, you have a very wide selection of apps at your disposal and a decent amount of themes to choose from.

Navigation and Ease of Use

Weebly does a pretty good job of guiding you through the process of building a new website. Upon visiting Weebly’s homepage you are immediately greeted with a big blue button that reads “Create Your Website.” All you need to do is click it, sign up for a new account and you’re off to the races. Weebly can be used for free so you don’t need to worry about giving out credit card details or any other sensitive information during the registration process. In fact, you don’t need to give out any information because you can simply sign in with Google or Facebook if you want to.

Once that’s out of the way, you will be redirected to your dashboard where you can start building your new website. There are a few useful articles embedded in the dashboard that can help you get started, along with a link to Weebly’s “Inspiration Center,” which contains even more useful information about working with the builder. You can spend a bit of time reading the documentation but I suggest jumping straight into the building process because you’ll easily be able to figure out how everything works with a bit of practice.

The site editor layout is pretty simplistic. You’ve got all available elements and apps located on the left and you can switch pages, themes, and access various settings by using the top menu. There’s a toggle button that can be used to show or hide some of the elements. Aside from that, though, there aren’t any other hidden buttons or menus so you have a good overview of all the available tools right off the bat.

Not the Best Layout but Decent Enough

It is slightly annoying that the various elements can’t be sorted by category and that there’s no search function to help you find certain things faster. Then again, Weebly doesn’t feature nearly as many elements as some of the other popular editors out there. At least, not in its base form. You can add a bunch of apps to unlock elements that aren’t available at first, such as mosaic galleries, tables or text animations.

On one hand, it’s nice that Weebly makes certain elements optional instead of overwhelming you with hundreds of them from the get-go. On the other hand, it would have been better to just implement a sorting system and search function instead. That way, you can have as many elements as you want and still be able to find anything you need quickly. As it stands, you need to scroll through a list every time you want to add new elements to your page. And the more apps you have installed, the more you’ll need to keep scrolling because the Apps are located beneath the Individual Elements in the list and there doesn’t seem to be a way to re-arrange the various icons. While this system doesn’t make the building process more difficult per se, it does make it more inefficient and time-consuming than it has to be.

If you can overlook that little hassle, the rest of the building process is actually pretty fun. Weebly features drag-and-drop functionality so you can grab any element you want and simply drop it on the page. This is a structured builder so you are a bit limited in regards to where you can place elements. All the sections that can accommodate the elements you want to add are highlighted, which is a nice touch. Another nice feature worth noting is the fact that all the changes you make to the desktop version automatically translate to the mobile one, so you don’t have to edit the two versions separately.

Themes

Weebly offers around 50 themes, which is a fairly modest selection compared to other site builders. Themes are split into a handful of different categories such as Business, Portfolio, Event or Blog. Some themes come with elements and apps that are relevant to their respective category. For example, one theme may have a mosaic gallery while a different one may feature a team card. Interestingly enough, none of the themes seem to be specifically designed for online stores, despite’s Weebly recent focus on eCommerce. That said, you can add a shopping cart and other eCommerce-specific features to any of the available themes.

Even though Weebly’s selection of themes is pretty limited, you can unlock more themes by downloading them from third-party sources like Webfire Themes and then importing them to your account. If you’re familiar with WordPress you should have a pretty good idea of what to expect here. Most of the themes you’ll find on third-party sites cost around $40-50 but you can find a few free ones as well. Regardless of whether you’re buying them from third-party sources or not, all the themes used by Weebly are mobile-responsive and easy to customize.

One of the most useful features offered by Weebly is the ability to switch themes on the fly without losing any of your content. This is a major advantage over rivals like Wix because it lets you completely change the look of your website as often as you want.

Best For

Similar to most other site builders, Weebly can technically be used to create any type of website. Realistically speaking, though, the builder will struggle with certain types more than others. That’s why we think you should only use Weebly for the following types of websites:

Blogs

Weebly is a very good option for bloggers and includes several themes that are specifically designed for this very purpose. You can expect to find all the basic features, including tags, categories, post scheduling, and social media integration, as well as add comments sections to your pages. Weebly is also very SEO-friendly, which is always a big advantage for blogs. The only drawback is that you can’t set up a blog with multiple contributors. So overall, Weebly is a great choice for people looking to start their first blog, even among other big competitors, as seen in our GoDaddy comparison.

Small Business

A large portion of Weebly’s user base is comprised of small business owners so if you’re running a small coffee shop or restaurant, this could be the perfect builder for you. One of the main reasons is because Weebly is great for creating simple websites in a short amount of time. It also helps that you can afford to build a Weebly website even if you’re running on a shoestring budget. You don’t need to hire a professional designer since you can do it all by yourself. The builder is more than capable of displaying contact information, addresses, or maps and you can also add a contact form to your site.

Portfolios

Squarespace is usually a better choice when it comes to portfolios but Weebly can also do a decent job at it. You can easily create websites meant to showcase images, and adding galleries, about me or contact pages is a piece of cake. Weebly templates aren’t as flashy as those offered by other builders but you don’t always have to opt for style over substance. Besides, you can create a Weebly portfolio without spending any money, which is always a big plus.

Online Stores

Although we tend to recommend Shopify as the best builder for eCommerce, there’s no denying that Weebly has become a very appealing option for online stores as of late. Setting up an online store with Weebly is relatively cheap and gets you quite a few useful features. Weebly doesn’t charge commissions from Business and Business Pro users and allows them to sell an unlimited number of physical or digital products and services. In addition, the builder offers tons of useful features like automatic tax calculator, inventory management, item badges, shipping labels, abandoned cart recovery, coupons, discounts, and many more.

Plans and Pricing

Weebly is one of the cheapest builders on the market, possibly second only to Wix when it comes to raw bang for the buck. You can use the platform for free if you don’t mind the restrictions and upgrade later or go directly for a paid plan in order to unlock a bunch of extra tools and features.

Free Plan

Opting for the free plan is a good idea if you want to build a small website or blog. You can use the free plan for as long as you want but you only get 500 MB of storage to work with and you won’t be able to connect a custom domain to your site. You will be assigned a Weebly-branded domain and you’ll also have to display non-removable ads on your site. Quite a few limitations but it’s not all bad. Free plan users benefit from customer support, an SSL certificate, and access to the community forums. In addition, they can also take advantage of SEO tools, contact forms, and a couple of other features.

Premium Plans

If you’re looking to build a serious site it’s essential that you go for one of the premium plans. Prices start at only $5 per month, however, the basic package is a bit difficult to recommend because it doesn’t offer anything special aside from the ability to connect a custom domain name to your site. Otherwise, the basic plan is identical to the free one. The cheapest package would be a lot easier to recommend if it also removed the ads but as it stands, we suggest either sticking with the free plan or upgrading directly to the Pro tier.

The Pro tier will set you back $12 per month but removes all branded ads and includes a free domain name for 1 year. This plan also unlocks basic eCommerce functionality so the value is already pretty good. Weebly sweetens the deal further by also adding a few additional features along with phone support, which isn’t available with the previous tiers. Pro is Weebly’s best value tier in our opinion and it’s not really worth upgrading further unless you plan to build an online store. If eCommerce is what you’re after, you have two options to choose from.

Upgrading to the Business plan will cost you $25 per month and grants you a veritable slew of eCommerce and marketing tools. Starting with this plan, you can use badges to let your customers know when certain items are on sale, running low or sold out. The plan also unlocks most of the other essential eCommerce features like inventory management, item reviews, and gift cards. In addition, Pro gives you access to advanced statistics regarding sales trends and allows you to use pop-up notifications on your website.

Going one step further and upgrading to the $38/mo Business Plan grants a couple more perks but this package doesn’t offer as much value for the price compared to the previous one. For the extra $13/mo needed to upgrade you only get two extra features in the form of abandoned cart recovery and a real-time shipping calculator. The plan also lets you launch email marketing campaigns but that’s about it. Granted, the extra features can come in handy in certain situations but we think most users would be just fine sticking with the regular Business package and using some free eCommerce apps to add more functionality to their stores.

Additional Tools and Features

We already discussed some of the standout tools and features offered by Weebly but there are a few more that we think are worth mentioning. Some of these are more useful than others but all of them are important in their own right and add extra value to an already well-rounded site builder.

Domain Registration

You already know that most of Weebly’s plans include a free domain name for 1 year but what if you wanted to purchase a domain separately? You can register a new domain or renew an existing one for $19.95 per year. This is a bit more expensive compared to other builders, however, domains registered with Weebly include domain privacy by default. Some builders (like Wix) give you the option of buying domains without privacy for cheaper but you should generally avoid doing that as privacy is very important.

Social Tools

Weebly integrates with over a dozen social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. You can also add RSS feeds, RSVP forms, surveys and newsletters to your site. The builder also allows you to embed YouTube videos and display likes, shares or follower counts. The built-in social tools are pretty solid from the get-go but you can add even more by visiting the app center. There, you can find apps for social media marketing, comments, testimonials, social sharing, Instagram feeds, and more.

Backup and Restore

Many builders don’t give users a reliable way of backing up and restoring their website and that’s partially the case with Weebly as well. Now, Weebly does allow you to back up your site and download its contents as a .zip file, which can be stored locally or on a third-party platform. So far so good. However, there’s no proper way of restoring that .zip back onto Weebly after you’ve downloaded it. You can unpack the archive and upload the content manually afterward but things like template layouts will be lost. This system certainly isn’t the best we’ve ever seen but it’s at least somewhat useful so we have to give Weebly some credit for implementing it.

SEO Tools

If you want to learn about search engine optimization but don’t know where to start, we recommend checking out Weebly’s Ultimate SEO Guide because it’s one of the most detailed ones out there. If you don’t feel like reading massive amounts of documentation you can, of course, skip that and experiment with the built-in SEO tools instead. You have all the basic ones you might expect, such as URL editing, meta title editing, the ability to add descriptions, tags, alt text to images, and more. Weebly also integrates with Google analytics and offers an in-depth website statistics dashboard to help you keep track of your audience.

App Marketplace

Weebly has a very solid app marketplace with over 350 add-ons to choose from. Apps can be easily added to any site with the click of a button and, as mentioned before, appear separately than other elements in the site editor. The marketplace could have featured more categories for the various apps but there is a search function so finding the add-on you need isn’t too difficult. Many of the apps found in the marketplace can be used for free, however, the selection of premium apps is a lot more impressive. Most premium apps will only cost you a couple of bucks per month but some of them can get a lot more expensive, with prices surpassing $50 per month in many cases.

Members Area

This is a very useful feature that allows webmasters to restrict access to certain pages. Or rather, to allow only a select group of people to view said pages. You can set up private pages while constructing your site and then use the dashboard to give certain members exclusive access to them. If you don’t want to bother with individual members, you can create groups instead and set specific permissions to each of them.

Performance and Reliability

All-purpose site builders are usually not as fast as specialized platforms, but Weebly is actually doing pretty good in the speed department. We found that websites build using Weebly load in around 560 ms on average, which is a pretty solid result and slightly faster than its main rivals. In our Wix vs. Weebly comparison, we mentioned how Wix’s loading speeds are above 600 ms on average. And based on the data we collected for our Squarespace review, it seems that 600+ ms is usually the norm for site builders.

As far as the uptime is concerned, you can expect a Weebly website to maintain an average uptime of around 99.97%. Once again, this is slightly above average when compared to other site builders. For instance, both Wix and Squarespace had an average uptime of 99.95% during our testing. Even though there is always room for improvement, Weebly is definitely not a bad pick if you’re looking for a builder that offers good performance and reliability.

Customer Support

Weebly is very easy to work with so you probably won’t need to contact support very often. If you do happen to need a helping hand, though, the company’s agents are at your disposal. Weebly offers customer support via three channels – phone, tickets, and live chat. Out of the three, only the ticket system is available 24/7. You can reach out to agents via live chat and phone from 6 AM to 6 PM PST. Phone support is reserved for users who opt for the Pro plan or better while the other two channels are available to everyone, including free plan users.

In addition to the direct channels, Weebly also offers a comprehensive Support Center where you can find plenty of useful articles and guides about working with the platform. To top it all off, Weebly has a blog where it posts informative articles fairly regularly along with community forums, which can be accessed by all users regardless of which plan they use. There’s also an on-page support system that you can access while using the site editor but it’s a bit basic compared to what builders like Wix are offering.

F.A.Q.

Can I Upgrade my Free Weebly Account to a Premium One?

Yes, users can upgrade their free plans at any time in order to gain access to the extra tools and features provided by the premium packages. Not just that, but you can also upgrade from a cheaper premium plan to a more expensive one. In that case, you’ll only need to pay the difference, not the full amount.

Does Weebly Offer Free Professional Emails?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Weebly does offer email addresses via G Suite but not for free, though you can take advantage of the trial to test out the service for up to 15 days. After that, you’ll need to pay $49 per year (per user) in order to keep using the mailbox.

Does Weebly Have a Mobile Editor?

The platform does indeed offer an app that you can use to edit and manage your website on the go. The app allows you to add content to your site, share articles, check statistics, manage comments, and more. While you can use the app to create a website from scratch, doing so from a mobile device can be a somewhat challenging process. Still, the option is there.

Can I Use Weebly in Conjunction with a Hosting Provider?

Yes, Bluehost, HostGator, and a few other providers offer integration with Weebly. Using the website builder this way comes with a few perks, including unlimited resources, email accounts, database access, and more, all of which are included with most plans offered by these companies. On the flip side, you won’t be able to contact Weebly’s support agents and you may have to wait longer for updates.

Does Weebly Have Multiple Data Centers Around the World?

No, not at this time. The company hosts all its websites in a single location, which can be found in San Francisco, California. That’s where the company’s main headquarters is located as well.

What is Weebly’s Refund Policy?

Weebly offers a 30-day money-back guarantee with all paid plans. The only caveat to this is that only users who subscribe to a yearly plan are eligible for the refund. This is something to keep in mind when trying to decide between yearly and month-to-month payments.

Final Thoughts

Weebly is a well-rounded builder that allows users to create websites quickly and painlessly. Even if you’re a complete novice when it comes to site building, you shouldn’t have any issues figuring out how to make good use of this platform. Weebly is a pretty option for veteran webmasters as well thanks to its built-in coding editor. However, Weebly is not as flexible as other platforms so if you want to create a very complex website, you’re better off going with something like WordPress instead.

Weebly ranked at number 1 in our best Wix alternatives list and is number 2 on our list of best alternatives to Squarespace. Needless to say, we really enjoy using the builder and we wholeheartedly recommend it to most users. Weebly does have certain drawbacks that make it a less appealing option in certain cases. Some of the most obvious cons include the limited selection of templates, slightly outdated user interface, and the lack of free emails, among other things. Despite that, however, we think most users will be satisfied with that Weebly has to offer. Besides, the builder can be used for free so you’re not risking anything by giving it a shot.

Wix vs. Weebly

If you’re trying to find the best builder for your next website, you probably already know that there are only a handful of reliable options out there. Most of the famous builders on the market were designed with a specific audience in mind, so choosing between them is easy if you already know what type of website you want to build. If you want to create an online store, for example, your best bet is Shopify, while Squarespace would be the perfect choice to display your work portfolio. Meanwhile, WordPress should generally be the number one pick for tech-savvy users.

If you’re looking for an all-purpose website builder, on the other hand, we recommend going with either Wix or Weebly. These two builders are very similar in many ways, so it can be somewhat difficult to pick between them. At first glance, Wix seems like the safer choice, but because we don’t take things at face value around here, we decided to do some testing in order to find out if that is indeed the case. In this article, we’re going to share our findings and help you decide between the two. Without further ado, let’s jump straight into our Wix vs. Weebly comparison.

Overview

Wix

Wix was founded in 2006 to create a platform that would allow anybody to build a professional-looking website regardless of their experience level. The idea quickly caught on, and it only took three years for the platform to be adopted by over 1 million users. That figure jumped to 50 million by 2014 and continued to grow steadily ever since. The company employed numerous marketing strategies over the years in an attempt to attract new users, including some very successful SuperBowl ads and an infamous commercial starring Karlie Kloss. As of 2020, Wix has over 160 million users and is estimated to power around 100 million websites.

Even though Wix’s marketing campaigns helped increase its popularity over the years, the main reason why people continue to flock to the website builder is because of its ease of use. Wix offers a very appealing all-in-one package that includes not just a site builder but also web hosting, a custom domain, access to various apps, and more. The site editor uses a very intuitive drag-and-drop system combined with a WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) interface that allows users to see changes in real-time without the need to preview or update their site.

Wix can be used to build pretty much any type of website but is particularly suitable for small businesses, simple online stores, and personal projects like blogs or work portfolios. In our Wix review, we discovered that the platform also has a lot to offer to novice developers and coders thanks to its built-in “Dev Mode.” Meanwhile, users who want to build a new website without any hassles can take advantage of the Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence), a very innovative system that can do most of the work for you.

Weebly

Weebly launched one year after Wix and fought an uphill battle in order to catch up to its main rival. Despite being late to the party, however, many people found Weebly’s builder to be more appealing, and the platform managed to acquire a very respectable user base over the years. According to the company, Weebly now powers over 50 million websites around the world. Following Weebly’s acquisition by Square in 2018, the company started focusing on expanding its eCommerce potential, a move that helped the builder differentiate itself from long-time competitors like Wix.

Weebly’s mission statement reads very similar to that of Wix. Namely, the company’s goal is to empower users and provide them with all the tools needed to create and manage a website with ease. The builder is generally considered a bit more difficult to use than Wix, but it’s still more accessible than an open-source platform like WordPress. Weebly uses the same drag-and-drop functionality you can get from most builders nowadays, along with the WYSIWYG system mentioned earlier.

One of the criticisms you’ll often hear about Weebly is that the platform feels a bit outdated by today’s standards. Indeed, many of the UI elements look like they haven’t been updated in nearly a decade, and the editor can seem too rigid at times. Having said that, Weebly has certain built-in features that you can’t find at Wix, and its eCommerce tools are much stronger. In addition, Weebly has a very impressive marketplace with plenty of useful apps that can make up for some of the builder’s shortcomings.

Navigation and Ease of Use

Wix and Weebly are both renowned for their ease of use, and getting started with either platform takes less than two minutes. Wix has a more modern look and is generally considered to be a bit more user-friendly than its competitor. Weebly, on the other hand, has a more structured editor that may be more appealing for certain users even though the interface can be an eyesore at times.

Wix

The site editor is by far one of Wix’s main selling points. Unlike many other builders out there, Wix uses a free-form (often referred to as Pixel Perfect) builder that gives users complete freedom to customize everything as they see fit. When you combine this with the drag-and-drop functionality, it results in a system that allows you to move elements absolutely anywhere you want on a page. This system is beneficial for fine-tuning and playing around with small elements that would typically be difficult to work with when using a regular block-based editor like Weebly.

Another essential aspect that many users will surely appreciate is the editor’s non-obtrusive nature. You’ve got the options for adding various elements to the left of the UI, the settings and tools at the top, and customization options to the right. The menus occupy a tiny portion of the screen and don’t shift your attention away from the center of the page, where the editing itself takes place. The interface is incredibly responsive, so you can expect the process of adding, removing, or customizing various elements to occur pretty much instantly.

Compared to Weebly, Wix’s editor seems more comfortable to manage. You don’t get bombarded by tons of options as soon as you open the editor, and there’s no need to scroll down in order to find additional menus or buttons because everything is clearly visible at a glance. The only thing that makes Wix more difficult to work with compared to other builders is the fact that you’ll need to edit the desktop and mobile versions of your site separately. The changes you make while working on one version won’t automatically translate to the other. This can be seen as a drawback by some users, but, on the other hand, it does allow you more freedom to optimize your site for different types of devices.

Weebly

Weebly uses a more traditional section-based editor similar to the ones you’ll find at Squarespace or WordPress. This type of editor doesn’t give you quite as much freedom as the one used by Wix, but it does have its benefits. A lot of first-time users prefer this system because it gives you a clear structure and shows you exactly where each piece of the puzzle is supposed to fit. That said, experienced webmasters will likely find this system somewhat limiting as it makes it harder to create a unique looking website.

Weebly’s editor layout is similar to the one used by Wix, but there are a couple of interesting differences, the most important being that there are far fewer elements and customization options. You can still find all the available elements on the left-hand side of the screen, but many of them will be hidden at first. That wouldn’t be a massive problem since Wix also forces you to click specific icons in order to see more elements. However, Wix sorts its elements by category and keeps them hidden from view until you click one of the icons. Weebly doesn’t use a sorting system and decided to stack all items on top of each other instead, which is a far less elegant solution.

While seeing all available elements with just one click can be helpful, it’s often a bit of a hassle because you have to scroll down every time you want to add certain elements. You do get used to this system after a while, but it feels very inefficient compared to the one used by Wix, especially since there’s no separate menu for the apps either. Weebly can feel very sluggish at times compared to Wix, so having to scroll a bunch to find what you’re looking for only makes things even more frustrating. On the bright side, you don’t have to worry about customizing your site multiple times for various devices because all the changes you make on the desktop will be reflected on mobile.

Navigation and Ease of Use – Even though the section-based editor can be seen as an advantage in certain situations, Weebly tends to feel clunky and unresponsive a lot of the time. Wix is a lot faster and uses a sorting system that makes it easier to find various options and elements.

Templates and Design Flexibility

There is a pretty big difference between Wix and Weebly when it comes to the number of templates on offer. Wix offers over 500 templates to choose from while Weebly only has around 50. In terms of quality, you can’t really go wrong with either of them, and both builders allow you to play with the code of each template. This isn’t necessarily relevant for users who aren’t very tech-savvy, but developers will surely enjoy this useful feature.

Wix

Having more than 500 templates at your disposal can seem a bit overwhelming if you’re not sure what sort of website you want to build. If you already have a plan, however, things get much more straightforward because Wix sorts all its templates into categories and sub-categories. There are at least a handful of templates for every industry or niche you can think of. Some of the templates have been around for a while and look a bit outdated, but most of them are very modern and stylish. All 500+ templates offered by Wix are technically available for free. However, you won’t be able to use some of them unless you sign up for an eCommerce plan.

If you don’t like any of the designs or simply want to build a website from scratch, you can use a blank template instead. Blank templates come in multiple variants, most of which feature some sort of basic elements to help you get started, such as a gallery, portfolio, or header. Blank templates give seasoned designers the opportunity to create something unique, while the aforementioned “Dev Mode” can be used to add functionality that’s not available with the pre-configured templates. The drawback is that users need to switch between the “Dev Mode” and the regular mode in order to inject code. Weebly, on the other hand, lets you do this without switching.

Another drawback of Wix is that the builder doesn’t let you change templates once your site is live. This can cause quite a few problems for people who like to change the design of their website often, we’ve gone into details about these problems in our Bluehost vs. Wix article. Combine this with the fact that coding is not built directly into the editor and that changes made on the desktop version don’t translate to the mobile version, and it quickly becomes apparent that making significant changes to a Wix website can cause some headaches.

Weebly

Weebly is more similar to Squarespace than Wix when it comes to its selection of templates. The company only uses templates created by professional designers, so the quality is there, but there’s not that much variety, especially when compared to Wix. Then again, less is more in some situations because many people tend to feel overwhelmed when presented with too much choice. Weebly also sorts its templates by category, but because the selection is so limited, there are only a handful of categories to choose from.

Weebly themselves don’t offer any premium templates. However, you can still purchase them from third-party sources like Webfire Themes. Most of the premium templates cost around $40, but there are also a few that you can download for free. So why does Weebly support third-party templates while Wix doesn’t? Well, it all boils down to the fact that Weebly has a feature that allows users to upload custom templates to the builder, similar to how WordPress works. Wix doesn’t have such a feature; however, you can buy professional pre-built sites from places like Wix Pro Themes. Sites like that cost around $150, which isn’t exactly a small investment for the average user.

Unlike Wix, Weebly allows you to change the template of a live site and lets you inject code directly into a template without having to switch to a different editing mode. Another advantage is that you don’t have to worry about customizing your website for different devices. The changes you make to the desktop version will automatically translate to the mobile version. This makes things easier to manage, but there’s also a drawback to the system – you can’t directly customize the mobile version of the theme.

Templates and Design Flexibility – Wix is a very flexible builder that gives you a choice between starting from scratch and going with a pre-configured template. Weebly doesn’t give you the option of starting from the ground up, and its selection of templates is a lot more limited compared to that of Wix. We have to give this one to Wix because of its impressive variety of designs. However, it’s a really close call because not being able to switch templates on live sites can be a real hassle.

Plans and Pricing

It’s finally time to get to the good stuff. Ease of use and customization are clearly paramount, but at the end of the day, a large percentage of users look at the price before taking anything else into consideration. In essence, you can’t go wrong with either of these builders since Wix and Weebly are both very affordable. Having said that, one of our competitors does offer a slightly better bang for the buck than the other.

The Free Plans

Before we delve into the premium packages, it’s worth noting that you can use either of these builders for an unlimited time without spending a penny. Sounds too good to be true? Well, there is, of course, a catch to all of this. The two companies do indeed offer free plans, but they come with a number of restrictions that make them unsuitable for building serious websites, though they are a decent option for small blogs. The free plans (in both cases) force you to display branded ads and prevent you from connecting a custom domain. They also come with minimal amounts of storage and bandwidth, so don’t expect much scalability with a free plan.

The Paid Plans

Wix offers a total of seven premium plans, the cheapest of which will only set you back $4.50 per month. The basic plan is almost identical to the free one in terms of its limitations but does allow you to connect a custom domain if you happen to have one, that is. All plans starting with the second one (Combo) remove Wix-branded ads and come with a free domain for one year. Wix’s final three packages all feature eCommerce functionality and include a few other perks like Google Analytics integration, $75 worth of ad vouchers, and a couple of premium apps.

Weebly’s basic premium plan goes for $5 per month, so just a bit more expensive compared to its rival. The company offers three additional premium plans, with prices ranging between $12 and $38 per month. All three plans include a shopping cart, so it’s possible to create an online store with Weebly for as little as $12 per month. Meanwhile, Wix requires you to pay at least $17 per month in order to unlock eCommerce functionality. Another important difference to note is that Weebly offers unlimited storage with all premium plans aside from the cheapest one. Wix doesn’t offer unlimited storage with any of its packages.

Wix includes surprisingly few interesting features with its plans and offers little incentive for upgrading past the $12.50/mo Unlimited tier. The only reason to go beyond that is so you can unlock eCommerce functionality. Aside from that and a couple of other features, Unlimited is almost identical to the more expensive plans. We see a very similar situation in the case of Weebly as well, with the $12 per month plan being by far the most appealing for the average user. In this case, however, you do get access to a lot more eCommerce features by upgrading to one of the other plans. If you’re not really interested in building an online store, however, it’s probably best to just stick to the Pro plan.

Plans and Pricing – Another very close call, but this round goes to Weebly. The builder has fewer plans to choose from, but the fact that most of them come with unlimited storage and a shopping cart is a big advantage, in our opinion. Weebly also offers more eCommerce features, and its best value ($12/mo Pro) plan is just a little bit cheaper than Wix’s equivalent ($12.50/mo Unlimited) package.

Additional Features and Tools

Domain Registration

You can get a free domain name for one year with any premium Wix package except for the basic one. If you already own a custom domain, you can easily connect it to any of the plans, including the cheapest one. Alternatively, you can purchase a domain separately from Wix for only $9.99 per year and connect that one to the basic plan. Domain privacy is not included by default, but you can add it during the checkout process for an additional $8.99 per year.

Weebly uses an identical system where the cheapest premium plan can be connected to an already owned or newly registered domain, while the other packages include one for free. Renewing a domain or purchasing a new one will set you back $19.95 per year. All domains offered by Weebly automatically come with domain privacy, so you won’t have to purchase that separately in this case. Weebly charges more than Wix for domain registrations but not by much – $19.95 vs. $18.98 (with privacy).

Backup and Restore

Both Wix and Weebly offer backup systems that are far inferior compared to the ones you get with traditional hosting providers like Bluehost or SiteGround. Wix includes a Site History feature that lets you restore your website to a previous version whenever you want. While this is a great feature to have, it only creates a limited amount of restore points, so if you save often, you won’t be able to switch back an old version of your site because it will eventually be overwritten by a newer one.

Wix also lets you create duplicates of your site, which seems to be a more useful feature as there’s seemingly no limit to how many versions you can save. That said, the fact that you can’t use any of these features to back up your site externally is a major drawback.

Unlike Wix, Weebly does allow users to store backups of their sites externally. Backups are sent to your mailbox as .zip files that you can download locally and then upload to a different platform. The problem here is that the builder doesn’t have a restore feature to go with it. You can still manually upload your content back to your Weebly site, but there’s no practical way of directly restoring things like layouts.

In addition to this system, Weebly also has a neat feature that you can use to undo changes made to your site quickly. However, this only works as long as you don’t publish your site. Once the site is live, or if you exit the editor, you won’t be able to undo the changes anymore.

eCommerce

As previously mentioned, Weebly started focusing more and more on eCommerce ever since Square acquired it back in 2018. The builder isn’t nearly as powerful as a specialized platform like Shopify, but it does offer a lot more features and tools than direct competitors like Wix. The platform allows you to sell both digital and physical goods, as well as a wide variety of services.

You also have access to features like inventory management, abandoned cart recovery, shipping calculator, automatic tax calculator, gift cards, coupons, shipping labels, and more. Weebly charges a 3% fee on every transaction, but this only affects Pro plan users. Those who upgrade to the Business or Business Pro packages benefit from 0% commission on all sales, along with many other benefits.

While Wix can also be used to build online stores, the eCommerce features on offer aren’t quite as impressive as some of its alternatives. But you do have the basics like a secure checkout, inventory tracking, order management, coupons, discount codes, and the ability to sell both digital and physical goods. Wix doesn’t take a cut of your transactions either and allows multiple payment options, including PayPal. Aside from that, though, there’s nothing to write home about here. Wix is fully capable of providing great eCommerce support, but it relies on apps to do it much more than Weebly.

Marketing

Wix Shoutout is a free tool that allows users to take their email marketing strategies to the next level. The tool offers a hassle-free way of creating marketing campaigns and includes quality-of-life features like scheduling, click rate tracking, customizable templates, and more. Weebly has a very similar tool known as Promote, which is also specifically designed for email marketing. The tool can be integrated directly into a Weebly website and, among other things, allows you to quickly build a list of emails by importing contacts from services like Yahoo, Gmail or MailChimp.

App Marketplace

Whether you’re looking to increase your social media presence, improve the SEO of your content, or add unique functionality to your site, apps are generally the way to go. Both Wix and Weebly offer plenty of quality apps, but Weebly features quite a bit more diversity. Namely, Weebly’s marketplace has around 350 apps, while Wix only offers around 200 of them. You’ll be able to choose between free and premium apps regardless of which builder you pick.

Even though Weebly offers more apps, Wix has a much better sorting system. You can use the system to look for apps in specific categories like Analytics, Business Tools, or Social or find them directly by using the search function. Weebly’s marketplace comes with a search bar as well, but the sorting system is far less helpful. This can make browsing the app center a bit time-consuming on occasion, but it’s by no means a deal-breaker. Overall, both Wix and Weebly have excellent app markets, so you can’t really go wrong with either of them.

SEO

Weebly has a couple of strange limitations (especially when it comes to headings) that make it less than ideal for SEO. However, the builder does come with a few useful built-in SEO tools and Weebly’s comprehensive Ultimate SEO Guide certainly has its uses. If you’re willing to install a couple of apps that can fix some of its innate issues, Weebly can be a decent option for those worried about SEO. Alternatively, you could simply go for Wix instead because the builder comes with more SEO tools and an SEO Wiz that acts as a step-by-step guide for optimizing your site. The best part is that the Wiz is built directly into the editor, so there’s no need to go looking for guides someplace else. If you do need some additional help, however, you can find plenty of useful articles related to SEO in the knowledge base.

Refund Policies

The fact that both builders offer free plans makes it less likely that users will ask for a refund because they already know what to expect when upgrading to a paid plan. Despite this, the two companies still offer money-back guarantees regardless. Wix allows you to ask for a refund within 14 days of making a purchase, while Weebly is a bit more generous and gives you 30 days to do the same.

Additional Features and Tools – To summarize a little bit, Weebly has a slightly better backup & restore system, superior eCommerce functionality, a more extensive selection of apps, and more generous refund policy. Meanwhile, Wix offers cheaper domain registrations, slightly better marketing tools, and absolutely takes the cake when it comes to SEO tools. All in all, Weebly wins this round but just by a hair. The builder has a lot more to offer for eCommerce aficionados, but aside from that, Weebly and Wix are very evenly matched in most of the other departments.

Performance and Reliability

The page loading speeds you get with either Wix or Weebly can vary a lot depending on the type of plan you’re using. For example, sites hosted on free and basic plans will generally be slower because these plans come with limited resources. As far as sites hosted on the other plans are concerned, they tend to be relatively fast. On average, Weebly sites tend to load in about 560 ms, while Wix sites have an average speed of a little over 600 ms. Weebly is usually faster, but the difference is tiny in the grand scheme of things.

The average uptimes tell a similar story. Weebly sites have an average uptime of 99.97%, while Wix’s average sits at around 99.95%. In practical terms, this means that Wix users have to deal with more downtime than Weebly users, but once again, the difference is very small. Regardless of which of these two builders you choose, you won’t have to worry too much about the overall performance of your site.

Performance and Reliability – Weebly sites have marginally better speeds and uptimes than those built on Wix. However, the differences are so small that we wouldn’t advise picking one over the other based on these stats alone.

Customer Support

Inadequate customer support can be a deal-breaker for many users, but there’s no need to worry about that here because Wix and Weebly excel in this department. That said, the two companies don’t offer the exact same support options. Wix works via email and phone but doesn’t have a live chat option. Weebly also has email and phone along with live chat. However, you’ll need to subscribe at least to the Pro plan in order to benefit from phone support at Weebly, which isn’t the case with Wix. Both companies also offer priority support to users who sign up for one of their more expensive plans like Business Plus (Weebly) or Business VIP (Wix).

If you’re looking for self-help options, you can’t go wrong with either of these two because Wix and Weebly have some of the best help centers out there. The help centers are neatly organized and easy to navigate, which makes finding the answer to any question you may have a breeze. Having said that, Wix has an ace up its sleeve in the form of an on-page support system that assists you while you’re editing. This system is handy and makes it so that you’ll pretty much never have to click away from the editor to look for answers.

Customer Support – Even though Weebly features a live chat option, we have to give this one to Wix because its on-page support system is very innovative and incredibly helpful. One could argue that Wix created this system because its platform is more complex, but that doesn’t take away from its ingenuity.

Wix vs. Weebly: Our Pick

Wix and Weebly have been racing neck and neck at every corner, but in the end, there can be only one winner and our personal recommendation goes to Wix. The builder has a well-earned reputation for being extremely user-friendly and very accessible to everybody. We were impressed by the fact that even though Wix is more complex than Weebly, the builder feels very welcoming to newcomers and does a very good job of holding your hand throughout the process of creating and editing your first website.

We definitely don’t want to take away any credit from Weebly here because the platform does have a lot to offer. Thanks to its wide range of eCommerce features, Weebly is a better choice for building online stores, while its app marketplace is one of the best we’ve ever seen. It’s also easy to see how some users may prefer Weebly’s structured editor, especially those transitioning from WordPress, Squarespace, or other platforms that use a similar system. Ultimately, though, the platform feels outdated in certain areas and needs to be modernized if it wants to catch up with Wix.

Overall – You can’t go wrong with either of these two builders, but if you’re looking for the most modern, flexible and easiest to use, we wholeheartedly recommend checking out Wix. The platform has hundreds of templates to choose from and comes with many innovative features that make it ideal for newcomers and veterans alike. Some of the highlights include the Wix ADI, Wix SEO Wiz, “Dev Mode,” on-page support system, and Pixel Perfect editor, to name just a few examples.

MCProHosting Review – Pricey Yet a Worthy Investment

Are you thinking about hosting a Minecraft server but don’t know how to get started? Well, you can either try doing it the hard way or the efficient way. The hard way would be to host the server on your own computer. You wouldn’t have to spend any money by picking this option but you would need to learn how to configure and manage everything by yourself. In addition, you would ideally also need a pretty good PC that can run 24/7 in order to ensure a smooth experience for all players. Needless to say, there are quite a few caveats to hosting a server on your own so why not take the second option and rent one instead?

Renting a server costs a bit of money but you wouldn’t have to worry about all the other stuff because your hosting provider takes care of everything for you. The main drawback here is finding a good provider but don’t worry because that’s where we come in. We recently scoured the internet for the best Minecraft providers around and found one that we think is perfect for veterans and newcomers alike. The provider in question is MCProHosting, a very popular choice for players who are looking for an easy to use service that offers many great features. We read a lot of positive user reviews about the company over the past few months so we decided to finally test the service for ourselves and see what all the fuss is about. Take a look at what we learned in our MCProHosting review down below.

Navigation and Ease of Use

Making a good first impression is essential if you want to attract new customers, a fact that MCProHosting seems to be well aware of. Upon first visiting the company’s website I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of clutter and unnecessary elements. I wouldn’t call the site minimalistic per se, but it was definitely designed with simplicity in mind. The homepage contains most of the important information you might expect, including the main features, location coverage and how the company compares to other Minecraft server hosting providers.

MCProHosting Homepage
MCProHosting Homepage

Renting a server is pretty straightforward. Simply visit the ‘Order’ page and pick the game you’re interested in. MCProHosting offers plans for both the Java and Bedrock editions of Minecraft along with a few other games like CS: GO, Ark, and Garry’s Mod. In addition, you can also get regular dedicated web hosting at pretty reasonable prices. After selecting the game you want, you can choose your plan, server location, and pick a few other customization options before proceeding to checkout. MCProHosting doesn’t support logins with Facebook or Twitter so you’ll need to create a new account (if you don’t already have one) when you purchase a plan.

Intuitive Custom Control Panel

Once everything has been set up, you can go back to the homepage and access the control panel from there. The provider offers a custom control panel that comes with a good amount of advanced features, some of which are exclusive to MCProHosting. The control panel is fairly intuitive but if you’re not a big fan of it, you can manage your server from the mobile app instead. If you’re the type of person that likes to fiddle around with game files, you’ll be happy to know that MCProHosting also offers full FTP access via local clients or the company’s web-based FTP client.

When it comes to mods and plugins support, the company isn’t quite as user-friendly. MCProHosting allows you to install any plugin or modpack on your server but doesn’t offer 1-click installs, so you’ll need to take care of things manually. You can also upload any JAR file you want via FTP. If you’re not particularly tech-savvy, you can pay to add a server management pack to your plan. Among other things, this will give you access to mod and plugin setup services, which basically means that MCProHosting’s team will install plugins for you and will also create curated modpacks for your server on demand.

Plans and Pricing

The prices at MCProHosting are quite a bit above average, at least as far as the Java edition is concerned. The entry point here is $8 per month and there are a few other packages priced between $10 and $50 per month. The basic plan doesn’t include anything special but some of the higher tier ones come with a number of benefits, including unlimited resources and server management packs.

Meanwhile, prices for the Bedrock edition of Minecraft are a lot cheaper than I expected. A basic package will only set you back $1.50 per month while the most expensive one costs just $15 per month. Server management packs are not available for the Bedrock edition but you can spend a few bucks to enhance your package with a couple of optional add-ons.

MCProHosting Hosting Plans
MCProHosting Plans and Starting Prices

Speaking of server management packs, there are only two to choose from – Premium and Ultimate. The Premium pack costs $8 per month and includes a plugin setup service that supports up to 25 plugins and the Create-A-Modpack service that supports up to 25 mods. The Ultimate pack costs $10 per month and is fairly similar but can support up to 50 mods and also unlocks the ability to invite an unlimited number of players to your server. These packages need to be purchased separately if you go with one of the first three hosting plans. If you buy one of the other ones, either the Premium or Ultimate packs will be included for free.

Minecraft Bedrock Edition

The Bedrock edition plans are a lot more straightforward as you don’t have to worry about having to spend money on too many optional add-ons or services. In fact, the only things you can buy are a dedicated IP for $3 per month (which is also available with Java edition plans) and backup upgrades for $2/mo per every additional GB of storage.

MCProHosting supports monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and yearly billing cycles. Customers can benefit from discounts of up to 15% off by subscribing for several months in advance. The company also offers a 7-day money-back guarantee so there’s little risk in checking out the service.

Specs and Slots

MCProHosting uses Linux-based servers with dual Intel E5-2600 series CPUs and enterprise-grade SSD storage. The hardware isn’t necessarily the best we’ve ever seen but it’s certainly good enough to get the job done. The fact that the company uses a 1 GB/s network connection helps smoothen things out even more. You don’t really have to worry about the storage because you get an unlimited amount of it with both the Java and Bedrock editions, regardless of which plan you pick.

Available RAMNumber of SlotsPrice
Steve Plan1GB25 Slots$7.99
Villager Plan2GB35 Slots$9.99
Witch Plan4GB70 Slots$19.99
Enderman Plan6GB100 Slots$29.99
Wither Plan8GBUnlimited Slots$39.99
Herobrine PlanUnlimitedUnlimited Slots$49.99

If you go with the basic Java edition package, you’ll have 1 GB of RAM and 25 slots to work with, which is not bad for the price. As you work your way up to the higher tiers, you can expect to get a lot more slots and memory. Starting with the $40 tier, plans come with unlimited slots and once you reach the final tier ($50) you also get unlimited RAM. In other words, the last plan has unlimited everything. If you’re willing to shell out 2 bucks a month you can get unlimited slots with any of the other plans as well.

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Available from $2.5 / month
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The amount of resources you get with the Bedrock plans is a lot more limited when compared to the Java ones, which isn’t too surprising given the huge price difference. With the basic package, you only get 256 MB of RAM and support for up to 10 players. That’s not a whole lot but given that it only costs $1.5 per month, it’s definitely not a bad deal for those who want to rent their first Minecraft server. At most, you can get up to 3 GB of RAM and support for unlimited players with the most expensive plan. That’s definitely a good offer and very easy to recommend.

Additional Features and Tools

MCProHosting offers a wide variety of interesting features, some of which are quite easy to miss because they’re pretty situational. For example, the company offers military discounts so if you’re a member of the army you can rent a Minecraft server for cheaper than usual. Meanwhile, if you’re a Minecraft content creator or streamer you can take advantage of MCProHosting’s referral program to make a bit of money on the side. Another nice feature is instant cancellation, which lets you cancel the service at any time without having to get in touch with a support agent first.

In terms of traditional features, there are no big surprises in this department as MCProHosting does a good job of covering all its bases. All users benefit from instant setup, DDoS protection, a free MySQL database, free subdomain, and free automatic off-site backups. The company keeps all backups found on its servers for up to 1 year. Once that period expires, the backups will be deleted. While a dedicated IP will cost you $3 per month, you can get an IP with a port for free by signing up for any of the Java edition packages.

MCProHosting Features
Comparing MCProHosting Features

All that aside, I found the server management packs to be one of the most interesting features offered by MCProHosting. Even though they are a bit expensive, adding one of these packs to your hosting plan would make life a lot easier for you, especially if you’re a newcomer. Veterans shouldn’t have any problems installing modpacks and plugins by themselves but if you’re new to this, you’ll need a bit of help until you wrap your head around how this works. I wouldn’t necessarily call server management packs a must-buy but they’re definitely a nice addition to the company’s already impressive list of features and tools.

Performance and Reliability

When it comes to performance, MCProHosting doesn’t get on the same level as some of the top competitors, like Shockbyte or Scalacube. You can expect servers to run smoothly most of the time but you might experience some lag on occasion. Then again, the same can be said about most game hosting companies so I don’t feel like the minor technical issues are a deal-breaker. Many of the problems are related to the fact that the company doesn’t offer 1-click installs for modpacks so you’ll need to take care of that yourself unless you buy a server management pack of course. If you don’t know your way around installing mods and plugins or if you try to install too many at once, you’ll probably run into some issues.

In addition to adding more support for mod and plugin installs, it wouldn’t hurt if MCProHosting would also upgrade its hardware a bit. The company uses Intel’s E5-2600 series of processors, which are by now means bad, however, in recent times many of its competitors have switched to the superior AMD Ryzen CPUs so it feels like MCProHosting is falling a bit behind here. The servers are pretty solid even with the current hardware but there’s certainly room for improvement.

Excellent Uptime

One thing you won’t have to worry about if you sign up with MCProHosting is the uptime. The company’s servers are known for being highly reliable, with crashes or disconnects being very rare. MCProHosting offers a 99.99% uptime guarantee, and unlike other companies, has an SLA (service level agreement) that essentially forces it to stick to that promise to the best of its abilities. If the company isn’t able to fulfill its uptime guarantee, affected users can request client service credits as compensation.

These credits entitle users anywhere between 7 and 28 days of free service depending on the amount of downtime they experienced. If the server uptime falls below 95% during the course of a single month, you’ll essentially receive almost an entirely free month of hosting as compensation. Naturally, nobody wants to experience downtime, but in case it does happen, it’s nice to know that you’ll receive some sort of compensation in return.

Location Coverage

The location coverage is one of the areas where MCProHosting truly shines. While most Minecraft hosting providers give you 4 or maybe 5 locations to choose from, here you get to pick between a total of 19. The proximity of your server has a direct impact on the amount of latency you will experience. That’s why you always want to go with the absolute closest server whenever possible.

MCProHosting Location Coverage
Servers Location Coverage

The only exception to this rule is if you want to host a server for players located in an entirely different region. In that case, it might be better to rent a server found in the same region as your players to ensure a smooth experience for them, even though that might hurt your own.

Out of the 19 available locations 11 of them are found in the US, spread pretty evenly between the east and the west coast. Another 4 server hubs can be found across Europe in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK. The remaining 4 datacenters can be found in Brazil, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia. Although the distribution isn’t exactly even around the world, MCProHosting’s location coverage remains one of the best out there.

Customer Support

Finding a Minecraft hosting provider with a good customer support team is, unfortunately, pretty rare. Most companies that host game servers are pretty small and don’t employ a lot of staff. As a result, you’ll often have to wait a long time to get a reply from the support team. For the most part, that won’t be the case at MCProHosting. The company’s support agents are generally very fast and very friendly when interacting with clients in need of assistance. Not just that but they also know their stuff so you can expect any problem you may have to be resolved quickly.

MCProHosting Knowledgebase
Knowledgebase Page

Support agents can be contacted 24/7 via the ticket system and you can also reach out to them via live chat in case of an urgent problem. The live chat isn’t available 24/7 but you can get in touch with a support agent anytime between 9 AM to 1 AM EST from Monday through Sunday. Users can also gain access to premium support by purchasing one of the server management packs or one of the high-tier hosting plans. Users that have access to premium support can contact agents to help them with everything from uploading worlds to transferring files via FTP. As long as the request is reasonable, the agents will try their best to help with whatever you need.

If you run into a problem that seems relatively easy to fix, you can try looking for a solution in the knowledge base instead of contacting support. The knowledgebase contains around 200 articles and guides, many of which are very useful. If you’re not that much into reading, you can also find a lot of the articles in video format on MCProHosting’s YouTube channel.

F.A.Q.

What Happens if I Forget to Pay for My Server?

There’s no need to worry right away if you forget to pay for your hosting because MCProHosting grants users a 5-day grace period before switching off their service. The service will remain suspended for an additional 9 days after that point if the user fails to make the payment. Once those 9 days have elapsed, all files will automatically be deleted. However, MCProHosting keeps backups of all servers for up to a year so if you ever decide to reactive your subscription during that period, you should be able to recover your files.

Can I Upgrade or Downgrade My Hosting Plan?

Upgrading or downgrading a package is indeed possible and can be done at any time. Moreover, the process can be initiated manually by the user from the Billing Area so there’s no need to contact customer support.

Can I Upload Custom Maps to My Server?

Users can upload any number of maps they wish via WebFTP or a local FTP client like FileZilla. If you need help with the process, make sure to check out the knowledgebase for a step-by-step guide on how to do it using both types of FTP clients.

Can I Change The Location of My Server?

Changing the location of your server is possible but you won’t be able to do it manually. Instead, you’ll need to submit a ticket to customer support and request a transfer. Make sure you really want the transfer before submitting the ticket because changing the server location will also change your IP address.

What’s MCProHosting’s Refund Policy?

MCProHosting offers a 7-day money-back guarantee. However, services purchased using a promotional code are not eligible for refunds while dedicated servers are subject to a 30% restocking fee, so no full refunds in that case.

Final Thoughts

MCProHosting isn’t without its flaws but in this case, the pros outweigh the cons by a pretty significant margin. The main drawback here for most people would have to be the price. While the Bedrock edition plans are quite cheap, the Java edition ones can get pretty expensive, particularly if you also want to add a server management pack. Aside from that, you may occasionally encounter a bit of lag or some technical issues but these occurrences tend to be few and far between.

As far as the positives are concerned, there are quite a few worth mentioning. First off, MCProHosting justifies its high Java prices by including many useful features and a good amount of resources with every package. You can also get great premium support and unlimited everything if you’re willing to invest enough into the service. Another big advantage is the location coverage, which is truly one of the best on the market right now.

Luminati Review – Probably the Most Reliable Proxy Network

If you’re looking to engage in web scraping, SEO research or simply want to remain anonymous while browsing the internet, it helps to have access to a good proxy service. These types of services are a dime a dozen nowadays but there is one that stands out from the crowd in a big way thanks to its ethical business practices and the impressive size of its network. That service is, of course, Luminati. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Luminati is the most popular provider of proxy services in the world right now, but is there actually a good reason for that? Well, that’s exactly what we wanted to find out.

We figured that the best way of evaluating the quality of the company’s services is to test them ourselves, so that’s exactly what we did. To that end, we recently took a close look at what Luminati has to offer and we’re now prepared to share our findings with you. You may already be familiar with some of the stuff we’re going to talk about in this article but stick around until the end because some of the things we learned about Luminati might surprise you. Plus, we have some great exclusive discounts lined up for you so keep reading.

Navigation and Ease of Use

The first thing you’ll probably notice about Luminati is how well put together its website is. Some people might not be interested in that aspect but I think first impressions are important and it helps to have a site that looks good while still being intuitive and easy to navigate. I especially appreciate that Luminati has an entire section dedicated to use cases that explains how and when its various services can come in handy. This is very useful because a lot of people who look into these services don’t know much about them so instead of going to Wikipedia to find information about proxies, you can simply use Luminati’s website instead.

Luminati Homepage Preview
Luminati Homepage

Website aside, the service itself is very user-friendly so you shouldn’t have any problems learning it works, even if you don’t have any previous experience with proxies. A big reason for that is the Luminati Proxy Manager, an advanced open-source piece of software that comes with a lot of useful features. The manager comes with a built-in data collection tool, the ability to create rules for automated rotation of IPs, limit requests, and filter specific URLs in order to reduce traffic. You also gain access to real-time metrics and the ability to increase the cost-effectiveness of your proxies by using waterfall routing.

Luminati Chrome Extension
Luminati Chrome Extension in the Dashboard

Another nice that will make your life easier is Luminati’s Chrome browser extension. The extension can be used to target specific geo-locations and edit your settings on the fly. In some ways, the extension works like a more streamlined version of the proxy manager. Although a bit more limited in its capabilities, the extension can be installed on multiple machines, which is great for situations when you want to distribute the workload or make it more difficult for potential snoopers to track your location. Another nice feature is the addition of an incognito mode that can be used to avoid data collection by malicious entities.

Plans and Pricing

Although best known for its residential proxy network, Luminati offers a handful of other services, including dedicated, mobile, and datacenter proxies. Regardless of which type of package you choose, there’s no denying the fact that Luminati charges a premium for its services. Thanks to its very impressive network and ethical business practices, Luminati earned a good reputation in the industry, which allowed it to work with many Fortune 500 companies over the years. Seeing as how its services are primarily aimed at big businesses, it’s not really surprising to see that Luminati charges a bit more than your average provider. That said, you definitely get what you’re paying for here and there are a couple of services that are cheaper than you might expect.

If you’re looking to purchase a package of residential proxies, the absolute minimum commitment is $500 per month. In return, you get access to Luminati’s huge network of residential IPs and 40 GB of traffic usage to work with. All in all, you’re looking at a price of $12.50 per GB of usage. You can get a better deal that will only have you paying between $3 and $10 per GB with some of the other packages, but the minimum monthly commitment will be higher, so that’s more money upfront. If you’re looking for the best deal on residential proxies, you can use our coupon code to benefit from 50% off during your first month. Simply use the code and make a deposit of $250 to receive another $250 on the house.

Luminati Residential Proxies Pricing
Pricing Page for Residential Proxies

In addition to regular (rotating) residential proxies, Luminati also offers static residential proxies, otherwise known as dedicated proxies. These types of proxies feature a ‘pay as you go’ system with no monthly commitment that’s perfect for small-scale projects and users who are looking for a cheaper alternative. This option doesn’t come with any bandwidth limitations and allows you to choose between two types of proxies – shared and exclusive. The exclusive ones are a bit more expensive but the good news is that you won’t have to share them with other users when targeting a specific domain. That said, shared proxy plans have their own advantages because you can choose to pay either per IP or per GB of usage when buying one.

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While the ‘pay as you go’ plan is great for a lot of people, there are situations when you may want to go with a monthly commitment package instead. These plans are ideal for large-scale projects that require a lot of IPs and bandwidth. The basic package includes 1000 IP addresses and has a better price per IP and GB when compared to the ‘pay as you go’ plan. Price-wise, it will cost you $500 per month, just like the regular rotating proxies. The 50% discount I mentioned earlier can be applied here as well so if you use our coupon code and make a deposit of $250, you can expect to get another $250 free for your first month.

Datacenter and Mobile Proxies Also on the Table

If you don’t need residential proxies, you’ll be happy to know that Luminati also offers datacenter and mobile proxies. In the case of datacenter proxies, you can once again take advantage of the ‘pay as you go’ system. Similar to the static residential proxies, you have two options when buying shared datacenter proxies – pay per IP (with unlimited bandwidth) or per GB of usage. Exclusive IPs are available here as well and you can use them to gain exclusive access to any domain you want to target.

Luminati Datacenter Proxies Pricing
Pricing Page for Datacenter Proxies

If you would rather go with a monthly commitment package instead, the basic plan will set comes with 900 IPs and will set you back $500 per month, so the price per IP is a bit higher here. However, you’re still getting a better price per IP and GB when compared to the ‘pay as you go’ plan. If you’re looking to purchase IPs in bulk, datacenter proxies are probably your best bet because the other plans include anywhere between 2,000 and a whopping 100,000 address. Regardless of which package you’re eyeing, you can get a $5 bonus on your first purchase by using our coupon code.

Additional Features and Tools

We already talked about some of the interesting features offered by Luminati, such as the proxy manager and Chrome extension, but there are a few more that are worth covering. For example, the company offers a very useful automated unblocking software that can be used to great effect for price comparison and web data extraction. Just as its name suggests, the tool is used to bypass block requests that can sometimes occur when trying to access a website via a proxy network. The great thing about this tool is that it only requires you to send a single unblock request to the target website and Luminati’s team of proxy experts will take care of the rest for you.

Luminati Features
Some of the Features Luminati Offers

Given that there are multiple services to choose from, you can expect each one to come with its own unique set of features, in addition to the features that are common throughout all networks. This includes unlimited bandwidth and limitless IP rotation (when applicable), access to unlimited geo locations with all plans, the ability to send unlimited concurrent requests, and more. Luminati also has a handy affiliate link tester that allows users to track the path of affiliate links from anywhere in the world.

In terms of features that are more specific to each type of network, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that datacenter proxies come with a cooling period for each IP, which is a guaranteed amount the time the IP in question was not used to target the website you want to access. Meanwhile, with rotating residential and mobile packages, users can choose whether they want to work with shared or exclusive IPs. The static residential network has this feature as well while also offering users the ability to use IPs that are entirely exclusive or just exclusive for certain domains.

Luminati Plans and Individual Features
Luminati’s Offering and the Perks That Come With It

Overall, I found Luminati to not be lacking in the features department. If you’re not new to proxy networks, you probably noticed that some of the features I covered are not exclusive to Luminati. However, there are a few that are quite unique to the company. I found the automated unblocking software to be particularly useful and, of course, it never hurts to be able to use unlimited concurrent sessions or to access as many geo-locations as you want.

Performance and Reliability

Luminati is widely known for having the fastest network of proxies currently on the market, but is this really the case? After all, every company out there claims that it is the best at what it does. Well, when it comes to Luminati that might indeed be the case, at least as far as its residential network is concerned. On average, you can expect ping response times on the residential network to be around 76 ms. That’s quite impressive given that residential proxies generally tend to be pretty slow, however, that doesn’t seem to be the case here at all. In fact, 76 ms is surprisingly close to the speeds you can expect from datacenter proxies, which are considered to be the fastest types of proxies.

As far as the uptime is concerned, we have not encountered any situation where the network was not working so Luminati’s 99.99% uptime guarantee seems accurate based on our assessment. In terms of success rate, you may run into some mixed results depending on your use case and the websites you’re targeting. For example, if you’re planning to scrap data you can expect your success rate to be around 95% or more on most websites. However, the rate will drop to a little over 80% if you’re targeting Google or YouTube while Instagram sits at around 90%.

Interestingly enough, even though Luminati doesn’t offer dedicated sneaker proxies, the network performs remarkably well on certain shoe sites like Nike. That said, coping sneakers is a bit of a gray area so it might be best to avoid engaging in that practice while using Luminati due to the company’s strong stance on ethical business practices. You can, however, confidently use the network for data scraping, as well as ad verification, website testing, SEO research, and more.

Network and Location Coverage

In addition to being fast, Luminati’s residential network is also extremely large. In fact, it’s often touted as the biggest network in the world, and with good reason. The residential network alone consists of well over 35 million rotating IP addresses. On top of that, Luminati also has over 7.5 million mobile IPs, 400K datacenter IPs, and 35K dedicated residential IPs.

The company offers truly global coverage as you can get IPs in pretty much every country and major city across the globe. Many of the IPs can be found in key markets like the US, UK, Canada, India, Germany, France, and Australia, though there’s no shortage of addresses in smaller countries as well. In total, residential and mobile networks cover 195 countries. While still impressive, the datacenter network only includes about 85 countries while the dedicated residential network only covers 25 countries.

Luminati Location Coverage
Location Coverage for Luminati’s Proxies

So where does Luminati get all its IPs? In the case of datacenter and dedicated residential IPs, the answer is pretty obvious as these addresses come either from datacenters or internet service providers. As far as the other networks are concerned, the IPs come from the Luminati SDK. The software was designed to act as an alternative for users who are tired of having to deal with video advertisement while their playing games and using apps. In order to avoid those annoyances, users can simply opt-in to the Luminati network in exchange for an ad-free experience.

Only certain apps integrate with the Luminati SDK but that number is constantly growing as Luminati pays application vendors a monthly fee for each user that opts-in. This is a win-win situation for everybody, including the users because Luminati uses their devices as proxy nodes only when they have enough battery power and a stable internet connection, preferably via Wi-Fi.

Customer Support

Luminati has an incredible amount of customer support channels you can reach them at. While most companies settle for one or two channels, Luminati has four or five, along with a number of social media pages. The main channels are the phone, email, and live chat but you can also reach out to a representative via Skype, WhatsApp, and WebQQ. The company’s contact page features multiple phone numbers and email addresses you can use depending on the exact nature of your problem or inquiry.

Luminati's FAQ Section
F.A.Q. Section of Luminati’s Website

As far as self-help options are concerned, there’s an entire section of Luminati’s website dedicated to useful resources, including webinars, case studies, testimonials, and of course, and F.A.Q. section. Among other things, you can also find a learning hub and a blog on the official website. In addition, the company also has a YouTube channel where it frequently posts videos related to its services. There aren’t as many tutorials as I expected on the channel but you can definitely find a few useful videos nevertheless.

Luminati Learning Hub
Luminati’s Learning Hub

All in all, there is clearly no shortage of options for users in need of technical assistance or information about Luminati and its network. The support agents themselves are always friendly and happy to help, however, I recommend not contacting them via email. As far as I can tell, email support is not a priority at Luminati so it may take a while for them to reply if you send them a message. Instead, try reaching them directly via phone or live chat if you need help with an urgent problem.

KYC Necessary for Every User

Since we’re talking about customer support, I do need to mention that Luminati uses a system that some might find annoying. However, this system is essential for keeping the network clean. The system in question requires every registered user to fill out a KYC (Know Your Customer) form before using the network. The form needs to be filled out with a lot of personal information and must be accompanied by a photo of a valid government-issued ID.

Although it’s a bit of a hassle, this system discourages users from engaging in illegal activities while using the network. If you plan on using any of the coupon codes I mentioned earlier, make sure to first fill out the KYC form and then get in touch with Luminati because each individual account must be approved manually by a company representative.

F.A.Q.

Is There a Way of Knowing How Many IPs are Available per Country?

Luminati readily displays the number of IPs available in every country on its official website. If you want to look up this information simply go to the ‘Locations’ section of the website and select the country you’re interested in.

What’s the Difference Between Residential and Datacenter Proxies?

Residential proxies are IP addresses of real end-users that are very hard to track due to their rotating nature. Meanwhile, datacenter proxies are sequential IPs that come from datacenters owned by various organizations, as opposed to residential IPs which are owned by internet service providers or mobile carries and are assigned to regular consumers.

What’s the Difference Between Shared and Exclusive IPs?

Just as their name suggests, shared IPs can be used by multiple customers. Exclusive IPs, on the other hand, are only assigned to a single user. Exclusive IPs are more reliable but they also tend to cost a bit more depending on which of the four networks you’re using.

Can I Refresh My IPs?

Residential and mobile proxies will refresh your IPs at regular intervals so you don’t have to worry about doing it yourself. If you’re using datacenter proxies, however, you will need to refresh your IPs manually and there’s a cost associated with doing so, which varies depending on whether you’re using dedicated or shared IPs.

What is Luminati’s Refund Policy?

At the time of this writing, Luminati does not offer any sort of refund. However, the company does offer a 7-day free trial for the residential proxy network that allows users to test the service before signing up.

Final Thoughts

Luminati is without a doubt one of the most reliable providers of proxy services out there. The company doesn’t disappoint in any department as it offers excellent performance, lots of useful features, and a very impressive network that spans across the entire globe. There’s not a whole lot to complain about the customer support either.

Although the email support could be a bit faster, there are plenty of other channels to choose from along with a good variety of self-help resources. Personally, I never felt the need to contact support because the service is solid and easy to use but if you do need to get in touch with an agent, make sure to do it over the phone or live chat.

Top 10 Best Rotating Proxies Providers of 2019

Using a proxy service to mask your IP is a great idea when you want to scrap data, verify ads or simply hide your online identity while browsing the internet. While dedicated proxies tend to be better in terms of performance, rotating proxies are a much better choice if you want to prevent others from tracking your real location, or your data. That’s because rotating proxy services can assign you a new IP every few minutes, which makes it very difficult for third-party entities to discover your real identity.

Rotating proxies tend to be available in two variants – mobile and residential. Both types work in a similar way and use IPs that come from real users, however, the source of these addresses differs. We won’t go into the technical details right now but suffice it to say that either of them can be used to fulfill the same purpose. Provided, of course, the IP addresses come from a reliable provider of rotating proxies, which are sometimes also referred to as backconnect proxies.

The Best Rotating Proxy Services

A quick Google search for rotating proxies will reveal dozens upon dozens of results, so finding a good provider can be a bit of a hassle if you’re not already familiar with these types of companies. But don’t worry because we already took it upon ourselves to test the most popular rotating proxy services on the market so you won’t have to. In order to make things even easier for you, we put together a comprehensive list based on our findings.

Here’s a quick summary of our top backconnect rotating proxies picks:

  • Luminati – The absolute best provider of rotating proxies on the market right now. Tons of great features, easy to use, and has the largest network.
  • Oxylabs – A pretty good alternative to Luminati with a smaller network but some interesting optional tools and services.
  • Smartproxy – Perfect for newcomers thanks to its low prices and many ease-of-use features.
  • Geosurf – Much smaller network compared to the other premium providers but its prices are a bit more accessible.
  • Storm Proxies – Limited network but very fast, cheap, and offers three methods of rotating IPs.
  • NetNut – Relies on DiviNetworks instead of a regular P2P network and offers a 7-day free trial.
  • Microleaves – Large network and plenty of packages to choose from, some of which are surprisingly cheap.
  • Proxyrack – A cheaper alternative to Luminati that comes with a few drawbacks but can still get the job done.
  • Blazing Proxies – Very fast and cheap proxies but the network is extremely limited.
  • RotatingProxies – A decent option if you’re looking primarily for US-based proxies.

1. Luminati

Luminati is by far the largest and most popular provider of rotating proxies right. The company has well over 40 million backconnect proxies at its disposal, split between its residential (35 million) and mobile (7 million) networks. In addition, Luminati also offers a steadily growing network of datacenter proxies to boot. In other words, you can find every type of proxy here and the service is extremely easy to use thanks to the intuitive Luminati Proxy Manager and Chrome browser extension.

Luminati Homepage Preview
Luminati Homepage

Luminati is considered a premium proxy provider so expect the prices to be fairly high, though not unreasonable considering what you get in return. If you’re looking for residential rotating proxies, you can get a basic package for $500 a month, which includes 40 GB of traffic usage. Other providers force you to pay per IP but paying for traffic is a much better option in this case because it gives you access to Luminati’s entire network that spans close to 200 countries. If you feel like the entry price is outside your budget, don’t hesitate to use our coupon code to get 50% off your first month. Simply deposit $250 for a package of rotating residential proxies and you’ll receive the remaining $250 for free after you get in touch with someone at Luminati.

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You will be redirected to Luminati website and a 50% discount will be applied at after contacting the account manager.

If you’re looking for mobile rotating proxies, on the other hand, the price is identical but expect to get less traffic in return. That’s likely because mobile proxies are harder to come by, though that may change in the near future as their popularity increases. The mobile proxies Starter plan also comes with a minimum monthly commitment of $500 and includes 17 GB of traffic usage. If you decide to purchase the Starter package make sure to use our coupon code to get a $100 bonus for your first month. In addition, registered companies can also take advantage of a free 7-day trial on both mobile and residential rotating proxies.

The Most Ethical Proxy Provider

Luminati has a reputation for having some of the best ethical business practices in the industry. The company goes as far as to assign compliance offices to individually vet every new user. This process is meant to prevent users from abusing the network while also giving Luminati representatives a chance to familiarize themselves with new clients. The process itself isn’t complicated as it only involves having a brief conversation with a representative via Skype or another communication channel and sending in a valid form of identification. Pretty standard stuff.

If you plan on using the coupon codes mentioned earlier, make sure to get in touch with a representative and tell them we sent you. Speaking of coupon codes, we also have one for the static residential network that will grant you 50% off during your first month. Meanwhile, you can use one of our other coupon codes to get a $5 bonus when you first purchase a package of datacenter proxies.

2. Oxylabs

Oxylabs is another well-known provider that boasts an impressive worldwide network of rotating residential proxies. The network includes well over 30 million IP addresses and although a large portion of them are located in the US and Europe, you can easily find proxies for pretty much every country in the world. Oxylabs also has a fairly large network of datacenter proxies and offers a handful of other services, including static residential proxies, premium Socks5 proxies, and more.

Oxylabs Homepage Preview
Oxylabs Homepage

Oxylabs promises that its backconnect proxies can achieve a success rate of up to 90% and that IP bans are nearly inexistent here. Additionally, the company guarantees that customers won’t have to deal with captchas and that you will be able to benefit from unlimited concurrent sessions regardless of which package you pick. All plans also come with session control, city-level targeting, and access to an intuitive all-in-one residential proxy dashboard that allows clients to create sub-users, see detailed proxy usage statistics, whitelist IPs, and more.

Top Rotating Proxies
Available from $5 / month
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Oxylabs

A basic package of rotating residential proxies comes with a minimum monthly commitment of $600 and includes 50 GB of traffic. Similar to Luminati, Oxylabs gives you access to its entire network of proxies. The company’s prices are fairly high, however, the advantage of using Oxylabs is that its network includes both residential and mobile rotating IPs. If you’re part of a big company that’s looking to purchase IPs in bulk, you’ll be happy to know that Oxylabs offers special prices on corporate packages.

Web Scraper and Real-Time Crawler

Although Oxylabs can be used for a variety of purposes, the service truly shines when it comes to web scraping. Most people who engage in data extraction tend to use their own tools, which can sometimes be difficult to set up and configure. With that in mind, Oxylabs has developed its own web scraper that can be purchased separately. The company’s data extraction solution doesn’t require you to know how to code or manage proxies. All you need to do is enter the URL of the site you want to scrape and the tool will take care of everything for you.

Another useful tool offered by Oxylabs is a real-time crawler. The crawler can be used to capture data from any search engine and is just as easy to use as the web scraper. Furthermore, the tool is highly customizable and Oxylabs claims that it has a 100% success rate. Using this tool will only cost you $0.30 for every 1.000 pages crawled, however, the product comes with a $150 per month commitment so it’s not really suitable for small projects.

3. Smartproxy

Smartproxy is a great option for beginners thanks to its relatively low prices and ease-of-use features. While its network isn’t quite as big as some of the other entries on this list, the company maintains a very respectable pool of over 10 million rotating proxies. Smartproxy is one of the only major players on the market that offers backconnect proxies specifically designed for coping sneakers. Naturally, the proxies have many other uses like affiliate testing, travel fare aggregation, data extraction, and more.

Smartproxy Homepage Preview
Smartproxy Homepage

Smartproxy guarantees an uptime of 99.99% and average response times of around 3.1 seconds for its rotating proxies. The company stresses the fact that its proxies don’t share a subnetwork, which makes them immune to blanket bans. Similar to the companies we’ve covered previously, Smartproxy uses a pricing model based on bandwidth usage so there are no limits to how many sessions you can run at the same time or how many countries you can target.

Rotating Proxies
Available from $75 / month
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Smartproxy

Plans for All Budgets

If you’re looking for a provider with a relatively cheap entry point, Smartproxy might be right up your alley. The company charges $75 per month for its basic package, which comes with 5 GB of traffic included. There are three other plans to choose from with prices ranging between $200 and $600 per month. While not the cheapest option on our list, it’s clear than Smartproxy is trying to cater to a larger audience instead of focusing primarily on big businesses like some of its competitors.

However, if $75/mo is a bit outside your price range, we recommend using our coupon code to get 15% off your first package of residential proxies. The coupon can also be used to get a discount on datacenter proxies but keep in mind that you can only take advantage of the offer once per account, so you’ll need to choose between one or the other. Regardless of which type of plan you choose, signing up with Smartproxy is virtually risk-free for a limited time because the company offers a 3-day money-back guarantee.

4. GeoSurf

GeoSurf is a premium provider of rotating residential proxies that offer a pool of over 2 million IPs spread across 130 countries. While the network may be a bit smaller compared to other companies on this list, GeoSurf is just as reliable and its proxies can be used for everything from ad verification and sales intelligence to Instagram and sneaker sites. The company also has a good amount of proxies in countries that other services struggle with, such as China and Iran.

GeoSurf Homepage Preview
GeoSurf Homepage

GeoSurf has a user-friendly dashboard that displays detailed statistics about your account and an API that’s easy to use even by those who are not particularly tech-savvy. On the other hand, if you are a developer you’ll certainly enjoy the advanced features, speed, and security offered by the API. The service supports both IP whitelisting and username/password authentication along with unrestricted access to its entire pool of IPs. Similarly, you will also be able to use an unlimited number of connections and threads.

GeoSurf’s entry point sits at $450 per month, which is a bit cheaper than some of its competitors but still fairly pricey all things considered. In return, you get 38 GB of traffic usage and the ability to add more traffic to your plan for a fixed fee of $12/mo per additional GB. Alternatively, you could go for the $900/mo or $2,000/mo packages to get more traffic right off the bat or you can contact GeoSurf to get an estimate for the special enterprise-grade plan.

Additional Products

In addition to backconnect proxies, the company also offers a couple of other products and a few applications. GeoSurf has both mobile and desktop VPNs along with Firefox and Chrome browser extensions that you can use to become part of the P2P network. The company even has its own proxy toolbar that comes with some pretty interesting features. Among other things, it allows you to set the IP rotation time, emulate various mobile devices, clear cookies, and cache from your browser with one click, and quickly switch between residential and static IPs.

5. Storm Proxies

Storm Proxies is one of the smallest companies on our list and also one of the cheapest. The company’s low prices can likely be attributed to the fact that its network consists of only around 70.000 rotating IPs. However, you can expect very good performance from this company, two types of rotating proxies to choose from, and a number of interesting features you can rarely find somewhere else. On the other hand, all the proxies are located in Europe and the US so this isn’t the best option if you’re looking for a provider with an extensive worldwide network.

Storm Proxies Homepage Preview
Storm Proxies Homepage

One of the most unique things you may notice about Storm Proxies is that the company offers both residential and dedicated rotating IPs. Generally speaking, data center IPs are static and aren’t really a good fit for activities that require rotating proxies. However, that’s not the case here as these reverse backconnect rotating proxies work just like the regular ones and have been optimized for all the common use cases you might expect, including data extraction, brand protection, web crawling, and more.

At Storm Proxies, you can also find traditional rotating residential proxies, though the IP pool is somewhat smaller and only includes around 40.000 addresses. Still, these proxies are highly anonymous and you get unlimited bandwidth because, unlike some of the other providers on this list, Storm Proxies charges per IP and connections. One drawback worth noting that you only get 1 access IP with these proxies so you won’t be able to use the service from multiple devices. In the case of data center rotating proxies, you get between 1 and 3 access IPs depending on which plan you choose.

Nearly Unbeatable Prices

The cheapest package of reverse backconnect (data center) proxies will only set you back $39 per month. You are limited to a maximum of 40 threads with the starter plan but you can unlock more by upgrading to one of the higher tiers. These proxies come with three types of rotating IPs – fresh IP with every new HTTP request, 3-minute proxies, and 15-minute proxies. Although data center proxies are limited in certain ways, the fact that you can choose the frequency of the rotations makes them very flexible.

As far as the residential rotating proxies are concerned, these will set you back $50 per month for the basic package. A bit more expensive but still a lot cheaper compared to other providers. You don’t have to worry about the threads here because they are not limited, however, you’ll only have a certain amount of ports at your disposal. Namely, you get 5 ports with the entry plan, 10 with the next tier, and so on. The proxy rotation time here is 5 minutes and can’t be changed.

6. NetNut

NetNut is a reputable provider that puts a lot of emphasis on performance and ease of use. The company hasn’t been around for as long as many of its competitors but don’t let its age fool you because the people behind NetNut definitely know what they’re doing. Instead of trying their hand at various types of services like other companies, NetNut specializes exclusively in residential proxies and has a fairly unique network backing up the whole operation.

NetNut Homepage Preview
NetNut Homepage

Instead of using P2P (peer-to-peer) networks like so many other proxy providers, NetNut relies on DiviNetworks, a company that works closely with hundreds of internet service provers around the world. This puts NetNut in the rather unique position of being able to use proxies that come directly from ISPs. In addition to making the proxies more reliable, they also seem to perform better at certain tasks. According to the company, you can achieve a failure rate of less than 1% with its proxies, provided you also have the right architecture on your side.

NetNut’s prices are more or less standard, with a starter package of rotating IPs coming in at $300 per month. The entry plan comes with 20 GB of bandwidth so the price per GB is higher compared to companies like Luminati even though the entry point is lower. That said, you can get much lower prices per GB by going with one of the other packages, particularly the last one. If you need more than 1 TB of bandwidth per month, you’ll need to get in touch with the company and ask for an estimate.

Static and Rotating IPs in the Same Package

One of the most interesting features offered by NetNut is the ability to switch between static and rotating IPs almost on the fly. Static IPs are much more likely to get blocked than rotating ones so keep that in mind if you plan to use this feature. Another thing that makes NetNut special is the fact that the company offers a free trial, which is not very common among proxy providers these days. The trial allows you to check out the service for free for up to 7 days so don’t hesitate to check it out.

7. Microleaves

Microleaves is a company that strikes a good balance between price and performance. The provider has a very impressive network composed of over 26 million residential backconnect proxies. You can also find other services here like cheap dedicated and shared HTTP proxies, however, these services only include IPs based in the US. If you want access to a worldwide network with proxies in every country, you’ll definitely want to check out the residential network.

Microleaves Homepage Preview
Microleaves Homepage

Microleaves’ proxies are compatible with any type of software that supports the HTTP/s or Socks 4/5 protocols. That means you can use them for everything ranging from search engines and social media to ticketing and sneaker sites. The proxies are even compatible with certain games, such as Pokemon Go for example. Backconnect proxies are easy to manage thanks to the advanced control panel and the IPs come from various sources, including DSL, digital cable, broadband, and more.

Over a Dozen Packages to Choose From

You’ll need to pay $125 per month for a starter package of rotating proxies or choose from among more than a dozen other plans. Microleaves doesn’t charge per bandwidth so the difference between all these plans is the number of proxy ports you get in return. With the starter package, you only get access to 10 but you can get as many as 10,000 if you can afford it so there’s clearly a plan for everyone here.

If you want to use your proxies for very specific purposes like sneaker coping, you may want to look into the special backconnect proxies packages. These plans are more expensive (starting at $250/mo) but the proxies can literally be used for anything. Regardless of which type you choose, the proxies are highly anonymous, rotate every 5 minutes, and allow you to geo-target cities as well as countries.

8. Proxyrack

If you’re looking for a company that does many things similar to Luminati but charges less for its services you may want to give Proxyrack a shot. The provider’s network isn’t nearly as large, however, you do get access to around 2 million IP addresses in 140 geo-locations, which is pretty good. Just like Luminati, Proxyrack primarily targets businesses and has strict compliance rules in place to prevent users from abusing its IPs.

Proxyrack Homepage Preview
Proxyrack Homepage

Proxyrack supports HTTP, HTTPs, and Socks protocols as well as the username/password and IP whitelisting methods of authentication. The company doesn’t include any public proxies with its packages so you can expect all the IPs to be private. Proxyrack is powered by a P2P network that requires residential peers to opt-in and allow their IP address to be used as a proxy. In other words, all the IP addresses come from actual users. However, that only applies if you pick a residential plan because the company also offers datacenter proxies.

Rotating IPs and Sticky Sessions

When you access the Proxyrack dashboard one of the first things you’ll likely notice is that there are two types of proxy ports available. The first type will allow you to get a random new IP every time you initiate a new connection and is a great option for users who want their IPs to rotate constantly. In addition, you can also go with a sticky IP, which lets you hang onto the same address for longer periods of time. You can set the interval yourself but keep in mind that it should fall somewhere between 3 and 30 minutes.

As far as the pricing is concerned, Proxyrack offers some very appealing plans. You can get a package of residential rotating proxies for only $80 per month or go for the $120/mo plan if you need high-performance USA-only proxies. The company doesn’t charge per bandwidth, so you can use as much of it as you want, however, you will only have a limited amount of threads at your disposal. Alternatively, if you subscribe to the premium service you can choose to pay per GB of usage instead.

9. Blazing Proxies

Blazing Proxies is a service offered by BlazingSEO, a company that started out as a one-man project but gradually expanded into a popular and reliable proxy provider. BlazingSEO has one of the smallest networks on this list but what the company lacks in size, it more than makes up for in speed. Just as its name indicates, you can expect to find blazing fast rotating proxies here and, as an added bonus, the prices are extremely low.

Blazing Proxies Homepage Preview
Blazing Proxies Homepage

Blazing Proxies offers instant delivery and works with multiple subnets to prevent blanket bans. You can expect support for all three protocols – HTTP, HTTPS and Socks – and the proxies are guaranteed to work for sensitive tasks, such as sneaker coping. IP whitelisting and username/password authentication are both available and the bandwidth speeds go up to 1 GB/s. Most of the backconnect proxies come from the US but you can also find IP addresses from a few other countries like Germany, Japan, India, Canada, and the UK.

Unlimited Everything

As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, most proxy providers impose limits on either the bandwidth or the number of threads you can use. That’s not realty the case here as Blazing Proxies offers unlimited access to everything. The downside is that the network only includes around 8,000 proxies, which is a much smaller pool compared to other companies on this list. That’s why I wouldn’t recommend Blazing Proxies for large projects that require a lot of IPs.

However, if you’re a developer looking to do some fast data scraping the service might be worth your time. The cheapest package of rotating proxies will only set you back $11 per month and you can get discounts of up to 20% off by subscribing for several months in advance. The starter plan only includes 5 proxies but you can add more at a rate of a little over $2 per proxy. The company also offers a 2-day trial so you can test the service risk-free before you need to invest anything.

10. RotatingProxies

Yes, there is a company out there with a name as obvious as RotatingProxies. Despite the name, however, RotatingProxies also offers dedicated proxies, ticketing proxies, and a few other products and services. The company primarily targets American users so you can expect the vast majority of the proxies to be located in the US. However, you can also get backconnect proxies from other Tier 1 countries like Germany, France, Canada or the UK upon request.

RotatingProxies Homepage Preview
RotatingProxies Homepage

Although RotatingProxies is a fairly small company, it does offer a good amount of useful features. For example, you get unmetered bandwidth with all plans and you can expect the pool of IPs to be refreshed at least once per day in order to weed out the bad proxies and maintain the quality of the network. The IPs are set to rotate every 5 minutes at scheduled times and can be used for web scraping, social media research, ad verification, ticketing, sneaker sites, and more. One drawback is that RotatingProxies doesn’t support Socks protocols so you’ll have to work exclusively with HTTP and HTTPS.

Reasonable Prices

While RotatingProxies allows you to use as much bandwidth as you want, you will only get a limited amount of proxies with each package. The starter plan comes with 10 proxies and will cost you $39 per month, or $3.9/mo per proxy. Not a bad price but you can get that ratio to as low as $1.93 per proxy if you’re willing to spend big and get the $969/mo package, which comes with 500 rotating proxies. In addition to the standard prices, the company also sells bulk proxies in packages that include anywhere from 1,000 to a whopping 10,000 proxies.

How Do Rotating Proxies Work?

Whenever you connect to the internet without a proxy or any other specialized service (like a VPN for example), there’s nothing stopping the website you’re accessing from collecting your personal data. Of course, not all websites are interested in your data but there’s a growing number of companies and entities that most certainly do want to collect it and use it for their own purposes. This personal data can be anything from your real name and credit card details to your geolocation and IP address.

A proxy service simply reroutes your connection through an external server and assigns you a new IP in the process. Unless the website you’re targeting uses very specialized tools, it won’t be able to see your real IP or track your location as long as you are using a proxy. That said, using a single proxy doesn’t guarantee that you will remain anonymous for long, particularly when trying to access websites that have good security measures in place. That’s where rotating proxies come in.

Just as their name indicates, these types of proxies rotate between all available IPs found throughout the network and assign you a new one at regular intervals. Depending on the service, you can get a new IP every few minutes or every time you initiate a new session. Generally speaking, the IPs you get with every rotation are completely random, however, certain services can be configured to only assign IP addresses from specific countries, or even cities in some cases.

The Proper Way to do It

The best services offer a combination of both methods or allow you to configure how often you want your IP to rotate. It also helps to have a very large pool of IPs in order to make sure that you’ll never get the same address twice even if you rotate constantly. Among other things, we decided to put Luminati and some of the other big companies at the top of our list because their extensive networks provide users with a huge advantage.

Residential Rotating Proxies vs Datacenter Rotating Proxies

For the most part, rotating proxies tend to come from residential sources but that’s not always the case. In fact, we mentioned a few companies that offer datacenter rotating proxies earlier in our list. So what’s the difference? Well, the name actually says it all. Residential proxies are IP addresses used by real users, which are assigned to them by internet service providers or mobile carriers. Meanwhile, datacenter proxies come from data centers, which are usually owned by big companies.

Datacenter rotating proxies are considered less secure because they generally share the same subnetwork. That makes them very susceptive to blanket bans, much more so than residential proxies. The advantage is that datacenters use hardware that’s a lot more advanced than what you would find on your regular consumer-grade computer, so you can expect excellent performance from these proxies. And because there’s a higher risk associated with them, they also tend to be cheaper.

Completely Protected

Residential rotating proxies, on the other hand, are pretty much the opposite. Thanks to the fact that you’ve got a large pool of IPs from all over the world at your disposal, the chance of them being blacklisted en masse by websites is significantly lower. Even if one of your proxies does get banned, the rotation system ensures that you get a fresh new one in no time. Depending on which service you’re working with, the residential proxies you get can be a lot slower when compared to datacenter proxies and they will almost always be a bit more expensive.

F.A.Q.

What is Proxy Scraping?

Web scraping is a technique used to extract large amounts of data from websites. This sort of data is highly sought-after by big companies that want to improve their products or get an advantage over the competition. Proxy scraping is pretty much the same thing only instead of using your own computer when extracting the data, you use proxy servers. As you might imagine, a lot of companies aren’t happy with people extracting important data from their websites, so using proxies to do it is always a good idea.

What is a Proxy Pool?

A proxy pool represents the total amount of proxies found in a particular network. For example, Luminati is known to have a total proxy pool of over 40 million IP addresses. Meanwhile, its residential proxy pool consists of about 35 million IPs.

What Are Backconnect Proxies?

Backconnect proxies fulfill the same purpose as regular proxies but work in a slightly different way. With a regular proxy, your connection gets rerouted through a very limited amount of servers (often just one) before reaching the target website. If the proxy you’re using happens to get banned, you’ll need to start over and establish a new connection using a different proxy. Backconnect proxies, on the other hand, reroute your connection through a series of IPs, which are part of a much larger network. In this case, if your proxy gets banned or blacklisted, the backconnect proxy service will automatically assign you a new one. Backconnect proxy services also rotate IPs on a regular basis to lower the chances of them getting banned, which is why they’re also often referred to as rotating proxies.

What is a Residential Proxy?

A residential proxy is a proxy server that uses IPs assigned by internet service providers or mobile carriers. In other words, it’s the same type of IP address used by regular consumers like you and me. As opposed to dedicated proxies, which are usually found in datacenters owned by big companies.

Final Thoughts

Rotating proxies constitute a very effective method of protecting your real identity while browsing the internet. But while many people use them simply for the sake of anonymity, rotating proxies have a wide variety of other use cases. Some of the most common ones include web scraping, travel fare aggregation, ad verification, SEO and social media research, price comparison, and many more. These proxies can also be used on ticketing and sneaker sites in some situations, however, you may want to go with a more specialized service that offers dedicated proxies if those are your preferred use cases.

Best Free Minecraft Server Hosting Services of 2020

Released back in November 2011, Minecraft is almost 8-years-old at this point and still as popular as ever. The game sold over 176 million copies as of 2019, which makes it the best-selling title of all time. Thanks to its blocky graphics and simple yet engaging gameplay, Minecraft holds up remarkably well to this day and will likely continue to age like a fine wine for the foreseeable future. If you still haven’t had a chance to play this highly-acclaimed sandbox game, you’ve been missing out, but don’t worry because it’s not too late to give it a shot.

The Best Place to Host Your Minecraft Server

Although fun as a single-player experience, Minecraft truly shines when played with friends. Now, you could always try a public server but if you want to avoid potential hackers and griefers, I would recommend going with a private server instead. That way, you will be able to enjoy the game without having to worry about other players spoiling your experience. But should you go with a premium service or a free Minecraft server hosting provider?

There are definitely pros and cons to both options and we’re going to discuss them in detail a bit later in this article. Before we do that, however, let’s take a look at some of the most popular companies that offer Minecraft hosting services. In order to better exemplify why one option might be better for you than the other, we’re first going to cover a well-known paid option before moving on to some of the free services.

Shockbyte

Shockbyte is a veteran Minecraft hosting provider that was established just a couple of years after the release of the game. The company offers servers for a few other popular online games like Ark: Survival Evolved and Rust but Minecraft is definitely its bread and butter. Shockbyte puts most of its competitors to shame when it comes to features, performance, and customer support. Even more impressively, however, is the fact that the company’s excellent services are available at incredibly cheap prices.

Features

One of the main reasons why you would want to go with a paid option instead of a free one is so that you can take advantage of all the premium features they offer. In the case of Shockbyte, you can expect full FTP access, DDoS protection, a free MySQL database, unlimited storage and bandwidth, snapshot support, and more. In addition, Shockbyte also includes instant setup, support for all the most popular Minecraft mod packs, task scheduling, Java version switcher, and a very intuitive Multicraft control panel, among other things.

Shockbyte Homepage
Shockbyte Homepage

Minecraft servers offered by most other hosting providers come with a limited number of slots, however, that’s not the case here. All the packages available at Shockbyte can support an unlimited number of players, which is a very nice feature to have indeed. What’s more, all servers come with a 100% uptime guarantee and a free subdomain. There are four server locations to choose from so make sure to pick the one that’s closest to you in order to avoid latency issues.

Specs and Price

Shockbyte is one of the cheapest Minecraft server hosting providers out there. For only $2.50 per month, you can buy a server that comes with 1 GB of RAM and can easily support more than 20 players. Again, all packages come with unlimited slots but it’s good to go for a plan with extra resources if you want to bring more than the recommended number of players to your server. Luckily, Shockbyte has excellent scalability and offers about a dozen or so plans to choose from.

Shockbyte Hosting Plans
Shockbyte Minecraft Hosting Plans Preview

Each subsequent plan comes with an additional GB of RAM and is $2.50 more expensive than the previous one. For example, the $5 package comes with 2 GB of RAM, the $.7.50 package comes with 3 GB of RAM and so on. That makes it very easy to figure out how much you’ll need to pay for the specific amount of resources you need. To make things even easier, just remember that you pay $2.50 for every GB of RAM and each GB can support around 20 players without any issues.

Support

Shockbyte has a very professional and knowledgeable customer support team that can assist you 24/7. The company’s support agents can be contacted via live chat or a ticket system. You can also try learning how to fix possible server problems yourself by consulting the extensive knowledge base and FAQ sections found on the official website. A nice thing about Shockbyte is that the company has a very active YouTube channel where it posts helpful guides and tutorials all the time, so don’t hesitate to check it out.

Shockbyte Breakdown

PROS
  • Premium features included with every package
  • Unlimited slots with all plans
  • Free subdomain
  • Intuitive control panel
  • Very affordable
CONS
  • Aimed mostly at users from the US or EU
  • 24-hour money-back guarantee

Discounts

Shockbyte’s prices are already very affordable but you can get an even better deal on your Minecraft server by using one of two methods. The first is by using our coupon code: MAMBOSERVER, this will grant you a 25% discount on your first purchase. The second is by taking advantage of the 50% discount offered by Shockbyte themselves. You will need to subscribe to the company’s newsletter and then confirm your email in order to receive the discount.

Best Minecraft Hosting
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Shockbyte

It’s worth noting that this is a limited-time offer so make sure to use our coupon code if the 50% off deal is no longer available by the time you’re reading this. The coupon can only be applied once but works on any purchase so it’s a good idea to go for one of the long-term plans, such as quarterly or yearly if you want to make the most out of the discount.

Top 3 Free Minecraft Server Hosting Services

1. Server.pro

Server.pro is one of the most well-known providers of Minecraft hosting, both free and paid. Although the company does incentivize players to purchase its premium services, you can stick to the free plan for as long as you want. As you might imagine, the free plan does come with a number of limitations, however, it is a good place to start for those who want to play Minecraft on a private server with a small group of friends. Make sure you also check out our Server.pro review if you want to learn all about the company and the services they provide.

Server.pro Homepage
Homepage of Server.pro Website

Features

The free plan includes 5 GB of SSD storage, standard DDoS protection, full FTP access, and a one-click plugin installer. Interestingly enough, the free servers feature the exact same specs as the premium ones so performance should not be an issue here. Server.pro supports both the Java and Bedrock editions of Minecraft, along with a handful of popular variants like CraftBukkit, Spigot, PocketMine, BlueLight, Tessaract, and more. There are a few additional variants available but those are reserved for the paid plans. As far as the coverage is concerned, free plan users can only pick between two locations – France and Canada.

Specs and Price

Server.pro’s free plan comes with a dual-core CPU and 1 GB of RAM. Many other free services only offer 512 MB of RAM so 1 gig of memory is actually pretty good. However, the free version can only support up to 10 players and will not allow you to install more than 10 plugins. By comparison, the paid plans come with an unlimited number of slots and support for unlimited plugins. In case you decide to upgrade further down the road, the paid packages start at $5 per month and will grant you 2 GB of RAM to work with along with a number of advanced features.

Support

The company only provides two support channels – email and ticket. You can’t reach support agents via phone or live chat, which is a bit of a bummer. However, the company does have an FAQ section on its official website and plenty of video guides on its YouTube channel.

Server.pro Breakdown

PROS
  • DDoS protection
  • Good performance
  • Decent amount of memory
CONS
  • Only two server locations
  • No instant setup
  • Advertisements

2. Aternos

Aternos is a company that exists for the sole purpose of providing free Minecraft server hosting services for everybody. Most companies that offer free servers also have a paid option but that’s not the case here. In fact, you couldn’t pay for anything even if you wanted to. This has made Aternos a very popular choice to the point where it currently hosts over 400.000 players every day, according to the company.

Aternos Homepage
Aternos Homepage

Features

The number of features available here is pretty impressive considering that Aternos is a 100% free service. The company offers a fully adjustable control panel, DDoS protection, an automatic server backup system, support for custom worlds, and more. You can also expect to be able to add a wide variety of mods and plugins to your server. It’s interesting to note that Aternos collaborated with many partners in order to establish this free service, including Glowstone, Spiget, Songoda, and CSC Bonn.

Specs

In this section, we usually go over the server specs but in this case, there’s not much information to go on. Aternos uses a very simplistic website and doesn’t disclose any important details regarding the specs. What we do know is that the company uses dual-core processors to power its machines and that the recommended number of players is between 8 and 20. Based on that info, it’s safe to assume that you would have 512 MB to 1 GB of memory to work with here, which is pretty standard for free Minecraft servers.

Support

Despite working with a very small team, Aternos has a very solid customer support system. You can contact agents via ticket or email, as well as various social media channels and messaging apps. A few of the additional options include Discord, Twitter, Telegram, and Teamspeak. Aternos also has its own forums and a very helpful knowledge base on its official website.

Aternos Breakdown

PROS
  • 100% free
  • DDoS protection
  • Automatic backups
  • Great support
CONS
  • No info regarding the specs
  • No info regarding location coverage
  • Support agents can sometimes take a while to reply
  • Advertisements

3. OMGServ

OMGServ is another very solid option for anyone who is looking for a free Minecraft server hosting service. Similar to Server.pro, OMGServ is primarily a paid service that also happens to offer a free version. That said, the free plan is pretty solid and comes with a decent number of basic features that will allow you to run your own Minecraft server without any issues.

OMGServ Homepage
OMGServ Homepage

Features

Most of the advanced features offered by OMGServ are reserved for the paid plans. If you’re going with the free version, you’ll be missing out on things like scheduled backups, MySQL databases, mods, and even technical support. Quite a few restrictions indeed. However, you can expect DDoS protection, FTP access, a simple to use control panel, and the ability to create unlimited worlds, among other things. OMGServ also includes access to a live console and offers 1-click installs for over 160 versions of Minecraft, including quite a few Snapshot variants. There are only two server locations to choose from – North America and France.

Specs and Price

The free plan only gives you 512 MB of RAM to work with, which is a bit low. Then again, OMGServ only allows up to 4 players on its free servers so the memory shouldn’t be a major concern. Although the number of slots is very restrictive, you can at least expect to have an unlimited amount of SSD storage at your disposal. If you decide to switch to one of the paid plans at some point, you can upgrade to the starter package for just $1.67 per month or go for the premium plan, which will set you back $4.17 per month.

Support

OMGServ has a pretty reliable support team but, unfortunately, the company doesn’t offer technical assistance to those who use the free plan. You could check out the forums but most threads seem to be in French so you’re out of luck if you’re an English speaker. Instead, I would recommend visiting the FAQ and Tutorials section on the official website for help.

OMGServ Breakdown

PROS
  • Unlimited SSD storage
  • DDoS protection
  • 1-click installs
CONS
  • Only supports 4 players
  • Only two server locations
  • Low memory
  • No technical support

Paid vs. Free

It’s pretty easy to see that there are clear advantages and disadvantages to both paid and free Minecraft server hosting services. Before you decide to sign up with any of the providers we’ve covered today it’s important to carefully consider the pros and cons of each option. In this section, we’re going to talk a bit about paid vs free hosting services just so you have a better idea of what to expect.

When it comes to paid services, there’s only one real disadvantage you need to worry about and that’s, of course, the financial investment. Subscribing to one of these services comes with a price tag, which you can generally pay either once per month or several months in the advance. Luckily, certain hosting providers like Shockbyte will only charge you a couple of bucks per month for a basic package, so the financial investment you will need to make is quite small. What’s more, you can apply coupon codes or purchase a long-term plan in order to get an even better deal on your hosting package.

One thing that’s important to mention is that you may come across companies that offer multiple types of paid hosting. Companies like OMGServ, for example, will offer very cheap starter packages along with premium plans that cost quite a bit more. In addition to including more resources, premium plans also come with a lot more features, some of which I would consider absolutely essential. If you’re going with Shockbyte, there’s no need to worry about that because the company doesn’t hide any features behind a paywall. However, some providers do engage in that practice so make sure to carefully look into the package you’re planning to buy in order to make sure that it includes all the features you need.

The Downside of Free Services

Free services are always more appealing than paid ones, and it’s easy to see why. After all, if you can get something without paying, why not do it? Well, there are quite a few reasons why you may not want to choose a free service, some of which you’ve probably guessed already. The companies we decided to include on our list are some of the most popular and robust providers of free Minecraft server hosting on the market right now. Despite that, however, they don’t offer many key features and services to their users. Not because they don’t want to, but because they can’t.

Offering free hosting isn’t really viable unless you can get some sort of benefit in return. That’s why these types of companies force ads on their users in order to recoup the money they invest in their servers. Developing and maintaining advanced systems and features isn’t free either, which is why companies either don’t bother with them at all or only offer them to users who can pay for them.

In short, if you’re going with a free service you can expect to see plenty of ads as well as miss out on a pretty large number of important features. A few cons of free services we’ve already mentioned earlier include a low amount of resources, support for only a handful of players, and no instant setup, to name just a few. More often than not, there’s no technical support either for free users or if there is, paying customers will always have priority over everyone else.

The Best Choice for You

Now that you know more about the differences between paid and free Minecraft server hosting services, there’s one big question you may be asking yourself – which is the best choice for me? That depends on a number of factors, including, of course, your budget and willingness to pay for such a service. If you can’t afford to spend money on a Minecraft server or simply don’t want to, the choice is pretty simple. A free server can get the job done pretty well if all you want to do is play with a few buddies and aren’t bothered by the lack of features or poor technical support.

If, on the other hand, you’re a serious Minecraft player who wants to play the game for a living, it’s pretty much mandatory to go with a paid option. Nowadays, there are plenty of ways of earning money by playing video games but if you want to build a community around your server and attract a following, you better make sure that everything runs smooth as butter. Minecraft content is still successful on Twitch, YouTube and other platforms but no one wants to watch someone play on a server that runs poorly or is littered with ads. And certainly, no one wants to join such a server.

But even if you don’t plan on earning a living by playing Minecraft, spending a couple of bucks each month for a stable private server is still a worthwhile investment. Not only will you benefit from more resources and advanced features but you can also expect to have an easier time setting up your server with a paid service. And if you can’t manage it on your own, you can always ask for assistance from customer support agents, who are naturally always willing to give a helping hand to paying customers.

F.A.Q.

We’ve also taken our time to answer some of the most common questions when it comes to free Minecraft server hosting.

How Many People Can Play on a Free Server?

The exact number depends on the service but free servers generally support anywhere between 4 and 10 players. You can definitely bring some friends along if you’re playing on a free server, but just make sure that you don’t bring too many.

How Can Companies Afford to Offer Free Hosting Services?

There’s always a catch with free services. In the case of Minecraft servers, companies will almost always display advertisements in an effort to generate some revenue. It’s also not uncommon for companies to offer subpar free services only to later incentivize players to switch to a paid package.

Is Performance an Issue on Free Servers?

Not always but it definitely can be. Since companies only include a very limited amount of resources with their free services, you can expect performance issues to arise every now and again, especially when there are more than a couple of people playing at the same time. It’s also worth noting that free services don’t have good location coverage, which can cause major latency problems for players located in certain states or countries.

Is it Worth Going for a Paid Service Instead?

If you can afford it, yes, it’s always better to go with a paid service. Doing so will give you access to a more stable server and plenty of features and tools to work with. And since paid services are very cheap nowadays, you don’t have to break the bank in order to buy a Minecraft hosting plan.

Final Thoughts

It’s truly remarkable how Minecraft continues to be so popular almost 8 years after its release. And thanks to the fact that the game is constantly receiving new updates and improvements, we can expect the blocky sandbox to be around for many more years to come. Whether you’re a casual gamer or someone who wants to make a living by playing video games, Minecraft is definitely still a great title to pick up, especially since it’s so cheap.

Top 5 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Hosting Providers in 2019

The original Counter-Strike came out almost two decades ago and changed the face of online gaming forever. I think it’s pretty safe to say that CS as a whole is one of the most influential FPS series of all time and helped shape eSports as we know it today. The most recent installment, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, continues that proud legacy even now, almost two decades since the series’ humble beginnings as a mod for Half-Life.

CS: GO is more popular than ever in 2019, thanks in no small part to Valve’s decision to make it a free-to-play game late last year. The move resulted in a flood of new players eager to put their shooting skills to the test. However, it also caused a few problems.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a very difficult game by its very nature and has become more competitive than ever after going free-to-play. The change in the business model also opened the gates to a new wave of trolls and hackers who feel right at home in CS: GO’s already fairly toxic community. Because of these reasons, CS: GO has become pretty brutal for new players who are just now trying to learn the game and see what the fuss is all about.

The good news is that you can easily avoid all the headaches I just described by simply hosting or renting your own CS: GO server. This will allow you to enjoy the game alongside friendly people and avoid the toxic ones in the process. If you decide to make the server public and allow anybody in, you can also just kick the people who are causing trouble. In other words, you would have full control over what’s happening on your server.

Renting a CS:GO Server vs. Hosting Your Own

Having your own CS: GO server clearly comes with a lot of benefits, especially if you’re new to the game. But is it better to host the server on your computer or rent one from a game hosting provider? That’s a very important question to consider because there are pros and cons to both options.

On one hand, hosting the server on your PC is free but requires you to allocate resources to it and spend the time needed to set it up. Meanwhile, renting a server will cost you a bit of money but you can just sit back and let your hosting provider take care of all the hard work.

If you’ve never hosted a game server before, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive might not be the best place to start. The setup process is fairly complicated for people who aren’t very tech-savvy so you’ll probably need to look up some good tutorials if you want to learn how to pull it off. As far as the resource allocation is concerned, CS: GO isn’t an extremely demanding title but you’ll still need to set aside a decent amount of memory in order to ensure smooth gameplay for everybody on the server.

Mandatory Reliable Internet Connection

Another potential problem with hosting your own server is the internet connection. Since this is an online game, you’ll need a connection that’s not only fast but also reliable. If the host loses connectivity, all other players will get kicked out of the game.

If you’re looking to avoid issues like that, I recommend simply renting a server instead. CS: GO servers are pretty cheap these days and there are plenty of reliable companies out there that can offer a great bang for your buck.

 A Few Things to Note About Hosting Providers

There’s certainly no shortage of hosting providers that specialize in video games these days. You only need to do a quick Google search to find dozens of different companies that would be more than happy to host your Counter-Strike: Global Offensive server. Before you decide to sign up with any of these companies, make sure you know exactly what you’re looking for.

If the price is your main concern there’s no need to worry because there are plenty of providers that charge very little for their services. However, it’s always risky to go with the cheapest possible option. Many of the top-rated providers are usually a bit expensive but that’s only because they offer quality services. Although the price is definitely an important factor to consider, I would recommend focusing more on the features.

Important Features to Look For

So what sort of features should you be looking for? Well, if you’re planning on playing with mods you’ll want to look for a provider that offers good mod support, ideally with one-click installs and Steam Workshop integration. DDoS protection and free debranding are two other features you should keep an eye on, though most providers include them by default nowadays. In some cases, you’ll find that certain providers offer special features like free voice servers or generous discounts for paying in advance. Always keep an eye out for these types of special features.

The size and location of your server are just as important as everything else. If you don’t want to make your server public and don’t have a lot of friends to play with, it makes little sense to rent a high-capacity server. As far as the location is concerned, you’ll want to rent a server that’s as close to you as possible so you won’t have to worry about high latency.

Top 5 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Server Providers

If you don’t feel like spending a whole day browsing through the websites of various companies trying to find one that’s just perfect for you, I suggest checking out some of my recommendations down below. I handpicked five highly-rated companies that will do a great job at hosting your CS: GO server.

I put together a ranked list but I suggest carefully reading my notes about all of these companies instead of automatically going with my first or second pick. All the providers I covered below have something interesting to offer so take some time to learn about them before you make a decision.

1. PingPerfect

PingPerfect is an experienced company that has been providing game servers since 2012. There are plenty of nice features to look forward to here and the prices are pretty standard so you really can’t go wrong with these guys.

Features

Some of the standout features of PingPerfect include free web hosting, game switching, and a mobile control panel. The company has a solid server backup system but you’ll need to take care of backups manually. PingPerfect also includes full FTP access, a TCAdmin control panel, free debranding, DDoS protection, and decent mod support. Money-back guarantee is available but only for 24 hours, which is not a whole lot. The location coverage is very good, as PingPerfect has data centers on almost every continent. The company also offers extreme performance servers for an extra fee.

Pricing

Prices at PingPerfect range anywhere between $5.10 per month for 10-slot servers and $32.64 per month for 64-slot servers. The company has a pretty good server customization system that allows you to tweak a number of options, including the CPU priority, storage type, tickrate, and more. For the most part, all these options are fairly priced, however, I found the $19.23 Platinum customer support options to be a bit too expensive for my taste. PingPerfect has a flexible payment system and accepts monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, and yearly payments. The company doesn’t do a great job at communication this, but you can benefit from discounts of up to 15% by paying in advance.

Support

PingPerfect offers 24/7 customer support and uses pretty much all the channels you can think of. This includes email, tickets, live chat, and phone. The company also has its own forums and you can even reach them via phone.

Pros:

  • Free web hosting
  • Customizable servers
  • Flexible payment system + discounts
  • Great support
  • Great location coverage

Cons:

  • No automatic backups
  • Paid priority support

2. Low.ms

Low.ms has only been around for about three years or so but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming one of the most popular game hosting providers out there. That’s not all that surprising, though, considering that the company offers very good services and reasonable prices.

Features

Low.ms invests heavily in hardware so you won’t have to worry about performance with these guys. You also get most of the essential features, including DDoS protection, free debranding, location switching, TCAdmin control panel, and full FTP access. Automatic game updates and server backups are included as well, along with good mod support complete with Steam Workshop integration and 1-click installs. There’s also a nice feature called game switching that lets you switch your Counter-Strike: Global Offensive server with that of another game hosted by Low.ms. As far as the location coverage is concerned, you have 11 data centers to choose from spread across four continents.

Pricing

Prices at Low.ms start at $4.90 per month for a 10-slot server and reach up to $31.36 for a 64-slot server. The company also offers 128 tickrate servers with prices ranging between $7.30 and $46.72 per month. These servers don’t come with free debranding but it only costs $1.83 per month to remove the branding so that’s not too bad. Low.ms offers a few server customization options but I found them to be a bit expensive for the most part. Another potential drawback for some people is that Low.ms only works with monthly payments.

Support

Low.ms offers 24/7 customer support via tickets or email. There is no live chat at the time of this writing but the company says there will be at some point in the future. In the meanwhile, you can also reach them via Discord or get some quick help by checking out the knowledge base on the official website.

Pros:

  • Game switching
  • Good location coverage
  • Good prices
  • Good performance

Cons:

  • Expensive server customization
  • Only accepts monthly payments

3. Streamline Servers

Streamline has plenty of experience under its belt and has a generally good reputation among gamers. Its services aren’t the cheapest out there but you do get what you pay for, especially since the company tends to include nice freebies with all of its packages.

Features

Streamline offers free DDoS protection and debranding along with full FTP access and a TCAdmin control panel. The mod support is really good so you can expect advanced features like 1-click installs and a mod manager GUI. Daily automatic backups are available but you’ll need to unlock access to them by paying an extra $3.75 per month. On the bright side, you do get free game server migration, a free FastDL server, and even a free month of Tebex, which is a payment system specifically designed with gaming communities in mind. Streamline has very good location coverage, with 22 data centers to choose from across almost a dozen countries.

Pricing

Renting a CS: GO server from Streamline will set you back anywhere between $7.50 per month (10 slots) and $48 per month (64 slots). The prices are a bit above average, however, Streamline offers reasonably priced server customization that allows you to tweak things like the tickrate, CPU speed, and CPU priority. Streamline works with monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, and yearly billing cycles. Paying in advance will net you some nice discounts that can reach up to 20% off for yearly purchases.

Support

Streamline offers 24/7 customer support but only via its ticket system. You can also try reaching out to support agents via live chat but you won’t always find one available. If all else fails, I would recommend checking out the knowledge base on the official website because you can find a lot of useful tutorials there.

Pros:

  • Free game server migration
  • Great location coverage
  • Flexible payment system + discounts
  • Customizable servers

Cons:

  • Paid automatic backups
  • Prices slightly above average

4. GameServers

GameServers is a name you’ll probably recognize right away because this hosting provider has been around for a very long time. The company is very reliable and offers great services, though its prices are a bit on the expensive side.

Features

GameServers’ packages come with free debranding, location switching, DDoS protection, and mod support. You can access the server with the help of a custom control panel or via FTP if you want to play around with the game files. The company includes server migration services free of charge and a 5-day money-back guarantee but doesn’t offer automatic game updates or server backups so you’ll need to take care of those things manually. As far as the location coverage is concerned, you’re very likely to find a server that’s relatively close to you as GameServers has data centers in over a dozen countries ranging from the US and Canada to Japan and Australia.

Pricing

Prices for private servers start at $9.55 per month for 12 slots and can reach up to $25.55 per month for 32 slots. The company also offers public servers with prices ranging between $11.95 and $31.95 per month depending on how many slots you want. For a few extra bucks per month, you can add a voice server of your choice (Mumble, Ventrilo, TeamSpeak) to your package for 50% off the regular price. GameServers works with monthly, quarterly, semi-annually and yearly billing cycles. You can benefit from some pretty nice discounts of up to a maximum of 15% off for paying in advance.

Support

GameServers offers 24/7 customer support via email or through its ticket system. Strangely enough, the company doesn’t have a knowledge base or an FAQ section on its official website so you’ll need to rely entirely on the primary support channels if you need help with your server.

Pros:

  • Great location coverage
  • Flexible payment system + discounts
  • Free server migration
  • 50% off voice servers
  • Offers both private and public servers

Cons:

  • Fairly expensive
  • No automatic backups

5. Host Havoc

Host Havoc is a very reliable provider that gets consistently great reviews from gamers. Although the company doesn’t necessarily do anything special, its services are very solid and the prices are always fair.

Features

All Counter-Strike: Global Offensive packages come with free DDoS protection, debranding, full FTP access, and a TCAdmin control panel. The mod support is pretty good and includes one-click installs. The company doesn’t offer automatic server backups but you do get automatic game updates and restarts. Host Havoc also offers free server migration, which is a very nice feature to have if you’re switching from a different provider. The location coverage is pretty decent, with nine data centers to choose from scattered around the US, Europe, and Australia.

Pricing

Host Havoc offers affordable servers that start at $10 per month for 20 slots and can reach up to $50 per month for 100 slots. The minimum number of slots you can rent is a bit high but it’s hard to argue with the price per slot, which comes in at just $0.5. If you have a bit of money to spare, you can increase your CPU priority for just $4 per month. Host Havoc only accepts monthly and quarterly payments for CS: GO servers so there’s not a lot of flexibility compared to other providers. However, you do get 5% off if you go with the quarterly plan.

Support

Host Havoc offers 24/7 customer support and can be contacted via email, live chat or a ticket system. If you’re just looking for some information, you can also hit up the FAQ section or the knowledge base on the official website to find tutorials and other helpful articles.

Pros:

  • Free server migration
  • Good prices
  • Good support

Cons:

  • No automatic backups
  • High minimum slots

Final Thoughts

If you’re thinking about jumping into Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for the first time I would strongly recommend first playing on a private server. CS: GO can be a very fun game but only if you play it with the right people. Otherwise, you might be in for a bad time because the CS: GO community can be pretty toxic at times.

Although you can avoid that by hosting your own server, I suggest renting one in order to avoid any headaches. As you see from my list, you can get away with renting a server for just a few bucks a month and you can expect a wide variety of benefits in return. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive itself is free so there are no additional investments to worry about.

So which provider should you go for? That, of course, depends entirely on your specific needs. Price-wise, you can expect to pay anywhere between $0.50 and $1 per slot regardless of which company you go with, which is pretty reasonable. Therefore, the features and location coverage should be the deciding factors for most people. Make sure you know exactly what you’re looking for because chances are at least one of the five providers I covered in this article can offer a hosting package that’s right up your alley.

Top 10 Free Proxy Servers of 2019

Online privacy is becoming an increasingly bigger concern for internet users and it’s easy to see why. Most major companies go out of their way to collect personal data so they can serve users personalized ads or sell it to third-parties. On top of that, there are plenty of entities and individuals that use the data for all sorts of malicious purposes ranging from ransomware and phishing to credit card fraud and everything in between. The bottom line is that users are at risk while browsing the internet unless they use special tools and services to protect their data.

Some of the best tools you can use to enhance your online security are free proxy servers. These act as a middleman between you and the internet and allow you to browse anonymously. When using a proxy server, your real IP is hidden and you are assigned a different address that acts as a temporary substitute. There are plenty of proxy services out there that you can get for free while others have paid, often subscription-based, variants that come with certain benefits. We’re going to cover both types in this article to give a varied sample group to choose from.

The Best Free Proxy Servers

Below you can find a quick summary of the providers we handpicked for you along with the main reasons they were chosen to be featured on this list. If you’re looking for a more detailed analysis of these companies, keep reading for our full breakdown of each provider.

  • Hide.me – A reliable company that takes the privacy of its users seriously.
  • HideMyAss – Very popular and user-friendly provider of free proxy servers.
  • Hidester – Good free proxy servers that get even better if you decide to go premium.
  • ProxySite – Straightforward service that gives you a lot of server locations to choose from.
  • 4everproxy – Completely free with multiple websites in case the main one goes down.
  • KProxy – Minimalistic website that makes things easy for inexperienced users.
  • MegaProxy – Veteran free service provider that also offers very cheap paid proxy servers.
  • VPN Book – Offers to free open-source VPN clients in addition to free proxy servers.
  • Tor – A very popular service that can easily act as a replacement for your current browser.
  • Whoer- Free version comes with many limitations but can still get the job done pretty well.

1. Hide.me

Hide.me takes the privacy of its users very seriously as evidenced by the fact that the company doesn’t store any data that could be traced back to you, such as browsing history logs. You don’t have to register on the site or enter any sort of information before using the service, so anonymity is the name of the game here. Another nice thing about Hide.me is that the service automatically blocks ads and pop-ups on the website so you’re accessing. The company doesn’t have any ads on its own website either so you can expect a completely ad-free experience here.

Hide.me Homepage
Hide.me Homepage

The free proxy service allows you to choose between three different servers – US, Germany, and Netherlands – and includes all the useful options you might expect, such as the ability to encrypt URLs, remove scripts, disallow cookies, and more. The service can be accessed either directly via the official website or through a Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox extension. Hide.me has quite a few systems in place to prevent IP leaks, including firewalls and a special feature known as Kill Switch, which is meant to keep your data safe in case your connection drops unexpectedly.

Free VPN Solution

Similar to other companies on this list, Hide.me offers a few other tools and services in addition to free proxy servers. One of these tools is a VPN service that you can use for free if you don’t mind registering an account. You can download the VPN without registering but you would only be able to use it for free for a limited time. If you’re looking for a more advanced solution, Hide.me offers a premium VPN service priced at $5.41/mo that comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Unsurprisingly, the premium version has a lot more to offer than the free one, including access to 1400 servers, unlimited data transfer, 10 simultaneous connections, and more.

2. HideMyAss

HideMyAss (HMA) is arguably the most well-known provider of free proxy servers on the market, thanks in no small part to its memorable name. An interesting thing about HMA is that has an IP detection tool built into its website. Whenever you visit the home page, the site will immediately show you your public IP address, location, and even your service provider. Don’t worry, though, because only you can see that information. The purpose of this tool is to show you how easy it is for websites to learn and potentially disclose this type of information.

HideMyAss Homepage
HMA Homepage

HMA has a very user-friendly interface and its free proxy service is very straightforward. Simply open the tool, type in the URL you want to visit and pick a server. There are six locations to choose from and you can choose to encrypt the URL, disable cookies or remove the scripts of the website you’re visiting. Unlike many other providers, HMA actually explains what these options do and why they’re useful. Their purpose may seem obvious to you and me but inexperienced users might not be familiar with those terms so it’s nice to see them explained. The only real problem with HideMyAss is that it stores your IP address for an undisclosed period of time, which isn’t exactly ideal.

A Truckload of Features

Since a free proxy server will only get you so far, HMA also offers a VPN service that packs a lot of great features. A few of the highlights include split-tunneling, IP shuffle, leak protection, DDoS protection, smart Kill Switch, automatic connection rules, fully encrypted servers, and more. There are also a lot more locations to choose from and the connections are lightning-fast. The premium service costs $11.99 per month, which is a bit pricey but definitely worth the investment if you need to use a VPN often. Or, you could go for the free trial, however, this will only last for 7 days and you’ll need to register an account in order to benefit from it.

3. Hidester

Hidester is a very popular provider of services related to online privacy. While primarily known for its VPN service, Hidester also offers proxy servers that are not only secure but also extremely simple to use. One of the main reasons users pick Hidester instead of other similar services is because you don’t need to install anything here. You also don’t need to create an account or provide any type of information in order to use the service, which saves up a lot of time.

Hidester Homepage
Hidester Homepage

You can use Hidester from any browser and it works equally well on both desktop and mobile devices. If you plan on using the service often, you can install a Chrome extension so you don’t have to visit the company’s website every time you want to hide your IP. Regardless of where you plan on accessing Hidester from, you can pick between two types of servers – US and Europe – and play around with a few useful options before starting your browsing sessions. For example, you can encrypt the URL you want to visit, block cookies or remove scripts and objects from the target site.

A Huge List of Proxies to Choose From

Although the free proxy servers are very solid, you can get a lot more value from the premium version of the service. If you go premium, you can choose between more than 1600 proxies from a wide variety of countries around the globe. The service gives you access not just to public proxies but also SOCKS 4/5, SSL, HTTP, and Google proxies. You also get three levels of anonymity to work with along with a few other useful features. Hidester only supports semi-annual subscription plans for its paid service but you can get full access for just $24.90 for the 6-month period. In addition, the company also offers a very powerful VPN service, a password generator and a couple of other tools that will help you enhance your online security.

4. ProxySite

A pretty self-explanatory service that does exactly what it says. Most of these services are very easy to use but ProxySite takes things to the next level by adding the URL bar on the front page. You don’t need to click anywhere else on the website thanks to this convenient feature. ProxySite is very generous with the number of servers you can choose from, giving you access to more than two dozen locations across the US and EU. A sour point for some users might be that ProxySite has a lot of ads on its website, but since you’re planning to use a proxy server, you’re probably not above using an ad blocker as well.

ProxySite Homepage
ProxySite Homepage

Since I’ve already mentioned convenience earlier, there is another nice feature available on the site that will make things easier and faster. Just above the URL bar you can find a series of buttons that will take you straight to proxy versions of popular websites such as Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and more. That’s great for situations when you don’t want to type in or copy a URL because you can simply visit the target website first and then proceed from there. ProxySite also has a Settings section where you can see and delete all the cookies stored by your computer while visiting websites via the service.

Decent Premium Offering

If you want to take your online security to the next level, ProxySite recommends using its premium VPN services. The service also includes a premium web proxy so this is one of those 2-in-1 type deals. The premium service costs $9.99 per month and comes with most of the features you would expect, such as access to dedicated servers, end-to-end encryption, geo-targeting, and full compatibility with restricted websites, among other things. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot that stands out here, particularly given the fairly high monthly subscription. The premium service is a bit hit-or-miss but the free offering is definitely very solid.

5. 4everproxy

While other companies on this list try to stay diversified by offering multiple tools and services, 4everproxy is more single-minded in its approach. The provider works exclusively with proxy servers and doesn’t charge anything for its service. You will see more than a couple of ads on the company’s website because of it but that’s a small price to pay for anonymous browsing without any restrictions. Not offering a premium version may seem counter-productive, however, the company has been around since 2008 so the business model it uses seems to be working out just fine.

4EverProxy Homepage
4EverProxy Homepage

4everproxy is pretty unique in that it allows users to choose not only the location of the server but also the IP they want to use to connect to the targeted website. This gives you a lot of flexibility, especially given that you can choose between nine server locations and over a dozen IP locations. Another nice feature of 4everproxy is the ability to change both your server and IP location on the fly, which is a must for certain activities such as ad verification, for example. Aside from that, you’ve got many of the customization options you would expect, including the ability to remove scripts and page titles, allow or disallow cookies, page encryption, and more.

A Solid Backup Plan

As mentioned, 4everproxy itself doesn’t offer any other service or even a premium version. However, the same people who own 4everproxy run a wide variety of other websites you might be interested in. Most of these websites are a bit more specialized than 4everproxy and were designed to work specifically with YouTube, Chrome, or torrent sites like The Pirate Bay. Many of these additional websites were put in place as a backup plan, so just in case 4everproxy gets taken down at some point in the future, know that there are plenty of replacements you can use.

6. KProxy

KProxy is another popular proxy service that will allow you to browse anonymously for free. The website has a minimalistic design with very little clutter or unnecessary elements. If you don’t like the website, don’t worry because you can just install the KProxy Chrome or Firefox browser extensions instead. Another option would be to install the KProxy browser. The browser is exactly what you would expect and makes using the proxy servers a breeze, however, it does feature ads so maybe stick with the extensions or the regular websites if you’re not into that kind of thing.

KProxy Homepage
KProxy Homepage

A nice feature of Kproxy is that it allows you to switch between HTTP and HTTPS with a simple switch of a button. Although you can access most sites with either of the two protocols nowadays, there are some instances when the URL will not work unless you’re using a certain version, so having this option is really helpful. KProxy allows you to choose between 10 different public servers, which is quite a bit more compared to other providers. The bad news is that the company doesn’t say where these servers are located so you wouldn’t be able to make it seem like you’re browsing from a specific country or region.

Ad-Free Experience, For a Price

Despite all the advantages offered by KProxy, the service does contain some ads and makes you wait for 30 minutes after using the service for longer periods of time. If you want to get rid of those annoyances you’ll need to go with the premium version, which costs $10 per month. If you’re thinking long-term, I recommend opting for the semi-annual plan as that would only set you back $30 for the entire 6-month period. In return, you can expect an ad-free experience, unlimited downloads, access to premium servers, a 30-day money-back guarantee, and a few other benefits to boot.

7. MegaProxy

MegaProxy has been around for a pretty long time so you may find its site to be a bit dated compared to some of the other services on our list. If you don’t mind the minimalistic interface, however, there’s actually a lot to like about the service. For one, the URL bar is conveniently placed on the front page so you can quickly type the URL you want to visit and click the “Surf” button to begin your anonymous browsing session.

MegaProxy Homepage
MegaProxy Homepage

Once you’ve accessed the website, you can find a menu bar at the top of the screen that gives you a number of options you can use to customize your browsing experience. Among other things, you can shield OS and browser agents, hide HTTP referrer information, block internet cookies, remove ads from webpages, and limit animated images. On the flip side, MegaProxy doesn’t let you pick between different server locations and the free version of the service comes with a lot of other limitations. Still, MegaProxy is known for being fast and secure so this remains a good choice in spite of the limitations.

Dirt-Cheap Premium Service

MegaProxy’s premium proxy service is one of the cheapest ones out there. The company only charges $9.95 for a 90-day subscription and offers even better prices for educational and non-profit organizations looking to purchase licenses in bulk. Going for the premium proxy servers will remove the many limitations found in the free version. For example, free users can’t download files larger than 200 kilobytes, visit more than 60 pages over a five-hour period, encrypt more than 20 cookies at a time, and more. Needless to say, the premium service is a lot more advanced. The only problem with it is that MegaProxy doesn’t support monthly billing cycles, so you would have to commit to a 90-day plan right off the bat.

8. VPN Book

In spite of what its name might suggest, this is more than just another VPN service. Upon visiting the homepage, you may notice that the company also offers a free web proxy. The proxy service is pretty similar to the other ones we’ve covered so far and just as easy to use. The thing that stood to me is that once you visit the target website, you don’t have to worry about anything obscuring your viewing experience, such as ads or the top toolbar used by so many other proxy services. In other words, the website you visit via proxy will look pretty much exactly like the original, which isn’t the case with all proxies.

VPNBook Homepage
VPNBook Homepage

There are ads on the VPN Book website itself but that’s not a big problem since you probably won’t spend a lot of time browsing around there. As far as the servers are concerned, you get four regions to choose from – US, UK, Canada, and France. Alternatively, you can just pick random and the service will automatically select a server for you. VPN Book’s proxy service features solid 256-bit SSL encryption and doesn’t require you to register an account or download anything. The main drawback is that the service doesn’t feature any advanced options so you won’t be able to block cookies and scripts like you can with some of the other entries on this list.

Open-Source VPN

If you’re looking for a more robust tool to mask your online identity, you may want to take a look at what VPN Book has to offer in this department. The company offers access to two open-source VPN tools (OpenVPN and PPTP VPN) entirely for free and without having to register an account. However, similar to a lot of other open-source software, these tools are not as stable as commercial VPN clients and they’re a bit more difficult to set up. VPN Book does have a guide on its website that will help you with the setup process but it’s still difficult to recommend the tools to anyone who isn’t tech-savvy.

9. Tor

Tor is different compared to all the other entries on our list but we still wanted to talk about it because it works on a similar principle as web proxy servers. Namely, its purpose is to hide your real IP address and allow you to browse the internet anonymously. Unlike the other service on this list, though, Tor is a full-fledged web browser and a pretty robust one at that. The Tor Project is a non-profit organization so you can expect everything to be completely free, though the company does accept donations from users who wish to support the initiative.

Tor Homepage
Tor Homepage

Because Tor is a browser you will need to download and install the software on your computer. This is an extra step you don’t have to take when using other proxy servers so that’s a bit of a drawback. If you do decide to install it, you can expect Tor to work just like any other browser you’ve used in the past. The browser uses a multi-layered encryption system and automatically blocks cookies and deletes browsing history once you close it so the security features are pretty solid. The disadvantage is that Tor tends to be a lot slower than other proxy services because it reroutes your connection through multiple servers around the world.

A Viable Replacement for Your Current Browser

Tor was designed to resemble traditional browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, complete with many of the features and options users have come to expect. For example, you have the ability to bookmark websites, change the language or font, open as many tabs as you want, set permissions, choose how the browser interacts with other applications, and so much more. In addition, you can also set a new online identity on the fly or change the Tor circuit for a specific site, including the one you’re currently visiting.

10. Whoer

Whoer is probably best known for its VPN service, however, the company also offers web proxy servers that you can use for free. The service is fast and overall pretty solid but you need to jump through a couple of hoops in order to use it. Unlike most other companies on this list, you can’t access the proxy service directly when visiting Whoer’s website. Instead, you are required to install an extension for Chrome, Firefox, Opera or Yandex, depending on which browser you use.

Whoer Homepage
Whoer Homepage

The extension gets the job done pretty well but, unfortunately, there’s only one server location to choose from and not a lot of useful options to improve your browsing experience. Whoer does offer a lot more locations and quite a few extra features but only to paid users. There’s no premium version of the web proxy service per se, so you would need to subscribe to the VPN service in order to take advantage of the advanced features. The VPN costs $9.90 per month but you can get discounts of up to 60% by signing up for a yearly plan.

Additional Tools

Even if you don’t plan on using the proxy servers or the VPN, I still recommend visiting Whoer’s website because the company has a few other helpful tools to offer. Namely, you can check the speed of your internet connection, find out important details about a certain domain or IP address by using the Whois tool or check the response time of a website by using the ping test checker. The ping tester is particularly useful as it shows you results from over a dozen countries around the world.

How Proxy Servers Protect Your Identity

I touched on this a bit at the beginning of the article but let’s take a more in-depth look at how a proxy protects your identity and why you should consider using one. When you’re accessing a website without using a privacy tool, the site’s owner or anybody with administrator privileges can see your IP address, location, and internet service provider bright as day. Needless to say, that’s a problem because you can never know what people who collect this information plan to do it with it.

A proxy simply reroutes your connection through one or multiple servers, which can be located in different parts of the world. The proxy service assigns you a different IP address, thus making it seem like you’re just another ordinary user. This is very important to note because suspicious IPs can be blacklisted or blocked from accessing websites. If you’re using a good proxy service, that’s unlikely to happen. In short, a proxy server protects your personal information and allows you to browse the internet anonymously.

Use Cases for Proxy Services

Accessing Geo-locked Content: This is arguably the main reason why people use proxy servers. I’m sure you’ve already come across an article or video at one point that you can’t access because “the content is not available in your country”. Under normal circumstances, there’s not much you can do to access that content. However, a good proxy service will allow you to reroute your connection via a server found in a different country where the content isn’t blocked.

Bypass Government Blocks: This is similar to the previous use case but works the other way around. Some governments impose strict laws regarding what parts of the internet you can access like in the case of the infamous Great Firewall of China. People who live under strict governments often don’t even have access to popular websites we take for granted, such as Facebook, Reddit or YouTube. Although bypassing government blocks can be risky depending on where you live, it can be easily done by using a proxy server.

Control Internet Usage of Employees and Children: If you’re a business owner, you’re probably not a big fan of employees slacking on the job because they’re too busy browsing Facebook or YouTube from their workstations. A good solution to this problem is to set up and configure a proxy server on the company network that blocks access to specific websites. Similarly, parents can use proxies to prevent their children from accessing websites that feature mature or graphic content.

Privacy and Anonymity: This one is pretty self-explanatory. Whether you’re worried about hackers trying to snoop in on you to steal your data or you’re the one snooping on an ex’s Instagram pics, there are plenty of situations when being able to hide your online identity comes in handy.

Features to Keep an Eye on Before Using Free Proxy Services

A Good Variety of Servers to Choose From:  A lot of people won’t get much value from a proxy service that gives them access to just one or two server locations. Most providers greatly limit the number of locations available to free users but some do give you a good number of options to work with.

Server Information: If the service you’re checking out doesn’t reveal any information about its servers you may want to consider a different option. At the very least, you should know the country or region the servers are located in. If you can also get some info regarding the speed and uptime of the servers, even better.

Privacy Options: It’s good to go with a service that provides a few extra options you can use to tighten your privacy. Some of the most common options you’ll find are URL encryption, script blocking and the ability to disable cookies. You may not always need to use these options but having access to them regardless is definitely an advantage.

Data Retention: Some proxy providers store your IP address or browsing history in order to improve their own services. These companies usually don’t intend to use the data for any malicious purposes but if you’re worried about that sort of thing, you may want to go with a provider that automatically clears all logs once you’re done using its service.

F.A.Q.

What’s the Difference Between a Proxy Server and a VPN?

There are a few differences between the two but the main one you should keep in mind is that proxy servers only encrypt data coming from your browser. Meanwhile, VPNs encrypt all traffic coming from your computer and any applications you might be using while the service is running.

Do I Need to Download Anything in Order to Use a Proxy Server?

Unlike VPNs, proxy services usually don’t require you to download and install anything. These services often have optional browser plugins that you do have to install but it’s up to you whether you want to use them or not.

Do I Have to Register an Account?

For the most part, no. There are a couple of exceptions to this rule but, for the most part, companies that offer free proxy servers won’t ask you to register an account. If you want to upgrade to the paid version, however, you will need to create one.

Are Free Proxy Servers Safe?

If you’re using a reputable service, you won’t need to worry about your privacy being compromised while using a free proxy. That said, proxies do have their limits so there is a possibility that you might get caught if you intend to use them for something illegal.

Final Thoughts

Free proxy servers provide users with a fast and efficient way of masking their online identity while browsing the internet. In spite of their simplicity, these services work remarkably well and can be used for a wide range of purposes, from viewing geo-blocked content to thwarting potential cybercriminals and so much more. Proxies are not quite as safe as VPNs but they don’t require you to download anything or register an account and, of course, they tend to be free.

Having said that, there are limits to what the free version of these services can do. If you need to use proxies often, it’s definitely not a bad idea to upgrade to the paid version, especially since these services are pretty cheap. In case you need a more well-rounded privacy solution, a good VPN is the way to go. Good VPNs are rarely free, however, you do get great value in return for your money. It’s not a coincidence that most of the companies we covered in this article offer both web proxies and VPNs so make sure to choose the solution that’s best suited for your particular needs.

GGServers Review – A Decent Hosting Option for Beginners

GGservers is a well-known hosting provider that was established back in 2013. A Canadian-based company, GGServers specializes exclusively on Minecraft servers for the time being. However, that is expected to change in the near future as the provider is currently building the infrastructure and systems needed to support Ark: Survival Evolved, Rust, Garry’s Mod, and a wide variety of other popular games. According to the company’s mission statement, the end goal of GGServers is to provide high-quality game servers at an affordable price and make the process of setting up a server as easy as possible for all users.

So how close is the company to reaching this goal? That’s just one of the many questions we’re going to attempt to answer in this article. Opinions regarding GGServers can be pretty mixed depending on where you look, which makes it hard for interested users to decide whether or not to purchase a hosting package from this company. We want to make that choice a bit easier by providing you with an in-depth review that covers everything from specs and price to performance and customer support.

Before We Begin: A Better Alternative

Now, before we jump straight into the review we want to mention that our hands-on experience with GGServers has been overall positive. However, while conducting our research we found that there are a few other providers out there that are quite a bit better than GGServers at game hosting. If by the end of this review you decide that GGServers is not for you, we strongly recommend looking into Shockbyte instead.

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Shockbyte

Shockbyte is another very popular provider that offers better prices and includes more features with its packages. They currently have a huge 25% discount on all their plans with other offers being released quite often, so try to keep an eye out on them.

GGServers Review: Ease of Use

GGServers is a straightforward service that can be considered beginner-friendly. The way the service works is pretty much exactly as you would expect – you visit the website, you select the game, and then you select the package you want to purchase. You may notice that it’s possible to choose between many games, however, most of them are actually labeled as “coming soon”, with Minecraft being the only supported title as of this writing.

GGServers Homepage
Homepage of GGServer’s Website

The setup process itself is fairly intuitive and you can expect to be able to access your Minecraft server very quickly after making the purchase as GGServers offers instant activations. If you’re looking for specialized servers, you’ll be happy to know that you can find 1-click installs for many of the most popular Minecraft mod packs and plugins. A few notable examples include Spigot, PaperMC, CraftBukkit, Pixelmon, Void’s Wrath, and BungeeCord. You can also expect support for both Java and Bedrock versions of Minecraft.

Custom Control Panel for Managing Servers

When it comes to managing your server, you will be using a customized version of the popular Multicraft control panel. The panel will allow you to not only manage the server but also add or remove players, view chat and server logs, create new worlds, and more. You also have access to a remote console that you can use to check on everything that’s happening on your server without having to actually be in the game.

GGServers Multicraft
Custom Version of Multicraft

Overall, I found GGServers to be very user-friendly and easy to work with. If you’re new to Minecraft server hosting, you don’t need to worry about most of the technical stuff because GGServers does a lot of the heavy lifting for you. At the same time, there is a good amount of advanced options that experienced users can work with.

Plans and Pricing

GGServers isn’t the cheapest option out there but its prices are certainly not unreasonable. When compared to some of the other popular game hosting providers on the market, such as the aforementioned Shockbyte, the service is only a little above average in terms of pricing. Namely, plans start at $3 per month and can reach up to $36 per month for a Standard package. If you want to take things to the next level, you can also go for one of the Premium packages, each of which costs double the amount you would pay for its Standard counterpart, so anywhere between $6 and $72 per month.

GGServers Minecraft Hosting Plans
Some of the Minecraft Hosting Plans

There are quite a few differences between the Standard and Premium packages, some of which I’m going to describe in more detail later on in this article. Suffice it to say that Premium users get a number of benefits in exchange for paying extra. For instance, Standard servers run on less powerful machines and come with fewer features than the Premium ones.

Discounts for Longer-Term Subscriptions

GGServers works with a variety of billing cycles, including monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, and annually. If you decide to pay for several months in advance you will be able to benefit from discounts, which get better and better the more you are willing to pay upfront. For example, the quarterly plan shaves 5% of the price while the annual plan will grant you 15% off.

Additional Features

GGServers doesn’t offer a lot of notable features but it does have all the basic ones you might expect. You get full FTP access and DDoS protection with all plans along with a free subdomain and several server locations to choose from. If you go with one of the Premium packages, you can also expect MySQL database access and unlimited player slots.

GGServers Minecraft Hosting Features
Available Features for Minecraft Servers

You can still benefit from these two features even if you purchase a Standard plan and there are two ways of acquiring them. The first is to simply outright purchase them, as GGServers offers unlimited slots and MySQL database access via add-ons that cost $2 a piece. Alternatively, you can get them for free just like Premium members by subscribing to the service for at least three months in advance. If you need these features, it’s cheaper to go with the quarterly subscription as the basic plan would only cost you $8.55 for a 3-month period. Meanwhile, the same package with the add-ons would cost you $7/mo for the first month and $5 for each subsequent one if you stick with the monthly billing cycle.

Extra Features for Extra Costs

GGServers does a pretty good job of letting potential customers know what they’re getting for their money, however, there are a few interesting features that aren’t actually advertised on the home page. Instead, you’ll learn about them during the checkout process. For example, you can add a dedicated IP to your server for $3 and unlock a few extra add-ons, such as a free month of Buycraft Premium or 45 days of Enjin Premium. For an extra fee, you can have GGServers’ technical team install various plugins and mod packs to your server. Namely, those that don’t already have 1-click installs. These additional services also include technical support in case you ever need it but are somewhat expensive, ranging in price from $5 to $15.

Specs and Slots

The cheapest Standard plan ($3/mo) comes with 1 GB of RAM and support for up to 12 players. GGServers’ pricing system is very straightforward so all you need to remember is that each GB of RAM supports 12 slots and costs $3/mo. Hence, if you want to have 24 players on your server, for example, you’re going to need 2 GB of RAM, which will cost you $6 per month. Pretty simple.

Price of Hosting PlanAvailable RAMNumber of Slots
$3 per month1024 MB12 Player Slots
$6 per month2048 MB24 Player Slots
$9 per month3072 MB36 Player Slots
$12 per month4096 MB48 Player Slots
$15 per month5120 MB60 Player Slots
$18 per month6144 MB72 Player Slots
$24 per month8192 MB96 Player Slots
$36 per month12288 MB144 Player Slots

You can also buy an add-on for a one-time fee of $2 if you want to unlock unlimited slots for your server. Alternatively, you could just go with a Premium plan instead and have unlimited slots without having to pay anything extra. As far as the storage is concerned, you get an unlimited amount of it with any package, regardless of whether you’re a Standard or Premium user.

Premium vs. Standard Servers

The specs of the servers themselves differ depending on the type of plan you choose. Standard servers come equipped with an Intel i7-6700k CPU, DDR4 2133 MHz RAM, and Soft RAID 1 SSD storage. As you might expect, Premium servers have slightly better specs, though the difference is honestly not too significant. A Premium plan will give you access to a server that features an overclocked Intel i7-7000K processor, DDR4 2400 MHz memory, and NVMe SSD storage.

Both types of servers come with very solid specs, however, you should notice a bit of a speed difference if you go with the Premium version as the NVMe drives are quite a bit faster than the Soft RAID 1 counterparts.

Performance

GGServers is very proud of the performance of its servers and is very upfront about what potential customers can expect in terms of speed and uptime. You can find detailed information regarding the performance by visiting the “Server Status” section of the company’s website. If you enjoy looking at statistics, you’re going to get a kick out of this page because it tells you everything you might want to know about each individual server, including its status, location, uptime, response time, and more.

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Based on this data, it would appear that GGServers has an overall uptime of 99.9895%, which is very impressive. It’s also interesting to note that some of the Premium servers have been running 24/7 without any interruptions (100% uptime) for the past several weeks or even months in certain cases. On the rare occasion when a server does malfunction, the downtime seems to last anywhere between 3 and 80 minutes. Waiting for more than an hour for your server to be back online is a bit much, however, this doesn’t happen very often.

Higher Response Times for Premium Servers

As far as the response times are concerned, these will differ based on your location. The closer you are to a server, the better the response time. On average, the response times we got range between 40 and 150 ms. I did find it a bit strange that the Premium servers actually have higher response times than the Standard ones. Given that Premium servers are quite a bit more expensive, I expected them to have lower response times but apparently that’s not the case.

There’s no doubt that GGServers does a pretty decent job when it comes to speed and uptime. That said, there are even better options out there for those who value performance. Based on the data we’ve collected, you can expect to run into some hiccups every now and then with GGServers. If you’re looking for a more reliable alternative that can keep your server running smooth as butter 24/7 we recommend checking out Shockbyte instead.

Location Coverage

The location coverage at GGServers is fairly decent as the company’s network spans across four different continents. The provider has a total of 9 global locations to choose from, 3 of which are found in North America – 2 in the US (Oregon and Virginia) and one in Canada (Montreal). There are also four locations in Europe – London (UK), Frankfurt (Germany), Roubaix (France), and Helsinki (Finland) – one in Singapore, and one in Sydney (Australia).

GGServers Location Coverage
Servers Locations

When you purchase a Minecraft hosting plan you are able to choose the location of your server, however, there is a little caveat. If you go for a Standard plan, you can only pick between two locations – Montreal and Roubaix. If you want to choose between all the available locations, you’re going to have to purchase a Premium package. Although the location coverage is pretty solid, I found this system to be unfair and a bit strange. There are no Standard locations in the US so the company is shooting itself in the foot here by being so restrictive to American users.

Customer Support

Users have a good amount of channels at their disposal for reaching out to GGServers’ customer support team. The company offers 24/7 ticket and live chat support along with a Discord channel. In addition, you can also ask for assistance on the discussion forums or hit up the knowledge base found on the official website for useful articles and tutorials. The only important thing missing here is phone support, however, that’s not very unusual for video game hosting companies.

GGServers Customer Support
Customer Support Page

GGServers has many positive reviews on TrustPilot but many users on other websites and forums seem to have mixed feelings towards the company. I mentioned the mixed reviews earlier but I want to touch upon it again in this section as they are, for the most part, related to the company’s customer support team. The general consensus is that GGServers’ support team is a bit hit or miss and it’s actually pretty easy to see why that might be the case.

Heavily Understaffed

According to GGServers themselves, they have deployed over 500.000 game servers and successfully served more than 400.000 clients since their inception. Pretty good figures, however, there’s a problem with them. The company also mentions that it only has a little over 20 staff members on its team. As you might expect, such a small team would find it difficult to provide proper support for so many clients. So although the staff might be knowledgeable and helpful, you may have to wait quite a while before one of the agents is able to help you in case of a problem.

Support Doesn’t Come for Free

A lot of users are also pretty upset about the fact that GGServers charges for services that other providers offer for free. For example, you’ll need to pay the company $10 if you need help configuring BungeeCord and $15 if you need them to help you install plugins or set up permissions on your server. Even more baffling is the fact that you have to pay for these services even if you purchase a Premium hosting package.

F.A.Q.

Does GGServers Allow Me to Upgrade or Downgrade my Server?

The company does allow that and even makes it easy for users to upgrade/downgrade their servers. In order to do so, you will need to access the client area and pay the difference in case you want to upgrade. If you’re downgrading, you won’t be able to get the price difference back, so make sure to wait until the start of the next billing cycle if possible.

Can I Change to a Different Type of Server?

Users are able to switch from one type of server to another at any time. If you want to change your server from Spigot to Pixelmon, for example, simply go to the control panel and make the switch whenever you want.

Can I Add Subusers to My Server?

GGServers allows customers to add subusers to their accounts via the control panel. You can also set permissions to your subusers, however, if you don’t know how to do it yourself, you’ll need to pay GGServers $15 to help you out.

Is it Possible to Upload a Custom World?

You can indeed upload a previously created world to your server. All you need to do is upload the files to the server and the new world should automatically show up in the control panel.

Does GGServers Have a Money-Back Guarantee?

Yes, but the refund policy is less than impressive. You can only request a full refund from GGServers within the first 24 hours of making a purchase. Once the 24 hours are up, there is no guarantee that you will be able to get your money back.

Final Thoughts

There’s a very good reason why GGServers is one of the most popular providers of Minecraft servers on the market right now. The company shines in the performance department and its prices are overall pretty reasonable. There’s also not too much to complain about when it comes to the features as the company manages to cover most of the basic ones.

Having said all that, it’s a bit hard to recommend the company’s Premium plans given their high price tags, especially since you’re not getting much extra in terms of performance. If you decide to go with a Standard package, on the other hand, you would be missing out on a couple of important features like MySQL database access and unlimited slots. You can buy these things separately, however, I feel like they should be included in the base package.

The Big Downside

This brings us to one of GGServers’ main drawbacks – the need to pay extra for many features and services. While adding unlimited slots to your package will only cost you a couple of bucks, asking for help with installing certain plugins or configuring certain tools will set you back up to $15. That’s a bit too much for a service that many other providers offer for free. This ties into the overall subpar customer support, which is another big con in my book.

ScalaCube Review – A Solid Provider for Minecraft Server Hosting

New multiplayer games are coming out pretty much on a weekly basis nowadays so it’s easy to see why a lot of gamers don’t spend much time playing older titles anymore. Well, Minecraft is a bit of an exception. In spite of the fact that the game is turning 8-years-old this month, Minecraft’s player base remains strong to this day and I don’t think that will change anytime soon. If you’re planning to return to the sandbox title or maybe experience it for the first time, don’t worry because you’ll have plenty of people to play it with.

As with any online game, however, Minecraft’s community can get a bit toxic at times so if you’re a new player it might be better to stay away from established servers and create one of your own instead. Naturally, the first step is to find a good hosting provider and that’s where we come in. In this article, we’re going to take an in-depth look at ScalaCube, a fairly popular hosting provider that specializes in Minecraft servers. The company does host servers for other games like Rust and Ark: Survival Evolved but Minecraft is definitely what ScalaCube is best known for.

Scalacube Homepage
Homepage of ScalaCube Website

In order to give you an idea of what this provider is all about, we’re going to delve deep into what ScalaCube has to offer in terms of hosting plans, pricing, features, customer support, and more. By the end of this review, you will learn everything there is to learn about ScalaCube and why we included them in our best Minecraft hosting list. You’ll then be able to decide for yourself whether the company is worth signing up with or not. Of course, we will also give you our own thoughts on the company, just in case you’re still on the fence. But let’s not waste any more time and jump straight into our ScalaCuble review, shall we?

Navigation and Ease of Use

One of the first things users notice about a company is how well its website is put together. Make it too simple and users might find it uninteresting, make it too flashy and users might find it complicated. Luckily, ScalaCube strikes a good balance between the two as the company’s website looks good while still being easy to navigate. Upon accessing the website, the first thing you’ll notice is that Minecraft is the star of the show, with Rust and Ark taking a back seat.

Once you click on the game you’re interested in, you’ll be presented with all relevant information right away, such as the price, server locations, and features. This may seem obvious but a lot of companies hide certain bits of important information until the user is already in the middle of the checkout process. ScalaCube inspires confidence by being so upfront about everything.

Scalacube
Scalacube’s Minecraft Hosting Page

Custom Control Panel for All Servers

Once you purchase your server, you will be able to manage everything via a custom control panel. At first glance, the panel may seem a bit confusing, especially if you’re new to hosting. However, upon closer inspection, you’ll notice that there are actually tooltips and explanations for all the options found in the control panel. ScalaCube also offers users access to their own websites and forums for free. If you don’t have any experience with website building don’t worry because the site is pre-configured, so all you have to do is take care of the content.

Instant Setup With Only One Click

If you like experimenting and trying out new things, you’ll be happy to know that ScalaCube has one-click installs and instant setup for many types of Minecraft servers. In addition to Standard and Pocket Edition, you will also find installers for Spigot, PaperMC, BungeeCord, Void’s Wrath, and more. If you don’t know your way around these types of servers, I recommend checking out ScalaCube’s video tutorials on how to install Minecraft plugins and mods because they’re very good at explaining everything you need to know about the setup process.

Plans and Pricing

ScalaCube offers 9 different hosting plans for Minecraft, ranging in price from $2.5 to $96 per month, so there’s something for all pockets here. The entry price of $2.5/mo is pretty standard among providers of Minecraft hosting, however, there is a little caveat to note. All users receive 50% off their first month so once the discount is up, you’re actually going to pay $5 per month for the basic package. One of the reasons why ScalaCube is a bit more expensive than other providers is because the company only offers VPS (Virtual Private Server) Minecraft packages so you can expect to have the server all to yourself.

Scalacube Minecraft Hosting Plans
Hosting Plans for Minecraft Servers

The provider doesn’t have any premium plans or anything like that so expect to have access to all available features regardless of which package you choose. Also worth noting is that there’s no price difference between the PC and Mobile (Pocket Edition) versions of the game. Although each package comes with a lot of features, there are a few optional things you can pay for. For example, you can get a custom domain for your server’s website for $25 per year or a dedicated IP for a one-time fee of $10. For another 10 bucks, you can also add automated backups to your server.

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Unbeatable Prices for Rust Servers

If you’re shopping for Rust servers, prepare to pay between $4 and $20 per month for your hosting. Rust hosting is very cheap at ScalaCube compared to other providers and there is a truckload of plans to choose from. As far as Ark: Survival Evolved is concerned, prices here range between $7.5 and $24 per month. Once again, a very good deal. That said, the 50% discount I mentioned before applies to Rust and Ark servers as well. After the first month, expect to pay a price that’s similar to what other hosting providers are charging for these games.

Scalacube Rust Hosting Plans
Hosting Plans for Rust Servers

A little detail that might be seen as either a good or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it, is that ScalaCube only works with monthly billing cycles. I think people who don’t want to invest too much money right off the bat will appreciate this because you can sign up for a month and then easily cancel your subscription if the service is not for you. On the other hand, some people might want to pay a big chunk of money up front and not have to worry about their hosting for a while. Personally, I don’t mind ScalaCube’s system but I do think that having more billing cycles would be nice.

Additional Features and Tools

ScalaCube offers some very interesting features that I think a lot of people will really appreciate. First off, you have unlimited slots with every plan, which is always a very useful feature to have. Just in case you’re not familiar with the terminology, what this means is that ScalaCube doesn’t impose a limit on how many people can play on your server at any one time. However, each type of plan comes with a set amount of resources so you do have to keep in mind that the server will start slowing down if you bring in too many players. Especially if you also have a bunch of mods and plugins installed on your server.

Get Your Own Customizable Launcher

You also get the ability to set up multiple servers via the same account. Your servers do share the resources that come with your hosting package, though, so you’ll want to go with one of the more expensive plans if you want to create more than one server. Another nice feature that really stood out to me is the ability to create your own Minecraft launcher through the control panel. The launcher is fully customizable so you can have it automatically open up a specific server type or list of mods. Moreover, you can even have other players join your servers via your custom launcher.

Scalacube Minecraft Hosting Features
List of Features Available for Minecraft Servers

A few other features worth noting include DDoS protection, full SSH and FTP access, MySQL database, support for custom JARs, and a free subdomain. If you don’t feel like paying for a dedicated IP (without port), know that you can get one with a port for free. Aside from that, you get the usual slew of features you might expect, such as support for Bukkit, Snapshot, and Twitch, along with 13 mini-games, including SkyWars, BuildBattle, PaintBall, HungerGames, and more.

Extra Set of Features for Rust and Ark

Rust and Ark servers come with their own sets of features, many of which are also available with the Minecraft plans so I won’t mention them again. Probably the most important thing to note about the Rust servers is that they come with Oxide support, so you can mod the game to your heart’s content. Meanwhile, Ark servers feature support for both official and Steam Workshop mods. Ark plans also give users the ability to set up custom launch parameters and play on any of the DLC maps, including Extinction, Ragnarok, Scorched Earth, and Aberration.

Specs and Slots

The entry Minecraft package ($2.5) will give you 768 MB of RAM and 10 GB of SSD storage to work with. The server runs on a machine that comes with a 3.4 GHz CPU and supports a recommended number of 10 players. As mentioned, there’s technically no limit to how many players you can invite but it’s highly advised you pay close attention to ScalaCube’s recommendations if you want to ensure a smooth gameplay experience for everybody.

Price of Hosting PlanAvailable RAMNumber of Slots
$2.5 per month768 MB10 Players
$5.0 per month1.5 GB20 Players
$10 per month3 GB40 Players
$13 per month4.5 GB70 Players
$18 per month6 GB100 Players
$24 per month8 GB150 Players
$36 per month12 GB225 Players
$48 per month16 GB300 Players
$96 per month32 GB600 Players

At $0.50 per slot (after the first month), ScalaCube may seem a bit expensive compared to other hosts but the price is well worth it, especially if you plan on purchasing one of the higher-tier plans. Unlike other providers, ScalaCube doesn’t just increase the amount of RAM and storage, it also gives high-end users more CPU power. For example, the most expensive package includes 32 GB of RAM, 320 GB of SSD storage, and an octa-core @ 3.4 GHz CPU. This plan can easily accommodate up to 600 players or even more depending on the size of the world and the number of mods installed.

A Different System for Rust and Ark

In the case of Rust and Ark: Survival Evolved, things work a little bit differently from what I can tell. Regardless of whether you want to buy the cheapest or the most expensive package, you will get the same amount of resources. Namely, 32 GB of RAM, 320 GB of SSD storage, and an octa-core @ 3.4 GHz CPU. Instead of paying for resources as you would with Minecraft, here you will need to pay for a specific number of slots. You can choose anywhere between 10 and 120 slots for your Ark server and between 50 and 250 for your Rust server.

Performance and Reliability

ScalaCube is known for having very fast and reliable servers, which is one of the reasons why their prices are a bit above the market average. Although here you need to pay more than you would at other providers, you can expect to run into very few performance issues. I was surprised to find that ScalaCube doesn’t make any guarantees when it comes to the uptime of its servers, which is a common practice in the industry. Despite that, I have not encountered any downtime during my time testing the service. Judging by what other users are saying on forums and social media, downtime seems to be a very rare occurrence at ScalaCube.

Excellent Performance

To tell you the truth, I wasn’t really surprised to learn that ScalaCube excels in the performance department given that the company only uses high-end hardware to power its servers. The fact that SSD storage is included with every package regardless of price helps keep things running smoothly even on servers with lots of players. When it comes to Rust and Ark servers you definitely don’t have to worry about performance because, as mentioned, the hardware is always solid regardless of which package you purchase. In the case of Minecraft, the situation might be a bit different depending on a couple of factors.

Unlimited Slots on All Servers

Some users might want to take advantage of the fact that ScalaCube offers unlimited slots for Minecraft packages to invite more than the recommended number of players to their server. You shouldn’t run into any issues if, let’s say, you invite 12 people to a server that has a recommended number of 10 slots. However, if you push it, you will see your server slowing down to a crawl sooner or later. In other words, you can control to a certain extent how well your Minecraft server performs, so make sure to always follow ScalaCube’s recommendations.

Location Coverage

This ties in somewhat to performance but I wanted to talk about it in a separate section to emphasis just how important it is. Location coverage is a key factor that not everybody considers before signing up with a hosting company. If you’re located far away from the server you’re renting, you’re going to run into latency issues. It’s as simple as that. The same goes for anyone else who wants to join your server. Before you buy a hosting package, make sure to keep that in mind because you’ll want to choose a server that’s located as close to you as possible.

ScalaCube Location Coverage
Server Locations Test

ScalaCube has pretty good location coverage compared to a lot of other hosting companies that deal with in-game servers. The company is based in Estonia (north-eastern Europe) so it should come as no surprise that it has very good coverage across Europe and the United Kingdom. In addition, ScalaCube also has Minecraft servers across North America, Asia, and Australia.

If you’re looking for more detailed information regarding the servers, it’s worth noting that the NA ones are found in Montreal while the EU ones are located in France. Meanwhile, ScalaCube chose Sydney as the location for the Australian servers and Singapore for the Asian ones. The company doesn’t mention anything specific about the UK servers but it’s a bit less relevant in that case since this region is significantly smaller than all the others. You probably won’t have to worry about latency in the UK regardless of where the servers are located.

Reduced Coverage for Rust and Ark

Unfortunately for Rust and Ark: Survival Evolved fans, ScalaCube’s location coverage for these games is a bit less impressive. If you’re looking to buy a hosting package for Rust or Ark, you may be disappointed to find out that the company’s servers only cover North America, Europe, and the UK. Naturally, there’s nothing preventing you from renting a server if you’re located in a different part of the world, however, the performance may not be as good as you might expect.

Customer Support

Before deciding to check out ScalaCube I looked up a few user reviews just to see what people were saying about the company. To my surprise, a lot of users were giving high praises to the customer support, which can be hit or miss a lot of the time when you’re dealing with hosting companies. Based on my experience, the praises weren’t exaggerated as ScalaCube does indeed have a good customer support team. Even more important than that, though, the support agents are quick to respond and very friendly.

Scalacube Customer Support
Creating a Support Ticket

You can contact ScalaCube’s customer support 24/7 via email and live chat, though there’s a little caveat to note. The company stresses the fact that it only processes ticket requests sent directly from the control panel. On one hand, this system is not very good for business because it only allows registered users to contact support. On the other hand, I think the reason ScalaCube’s agents are so quick to reply to tickets has everything to do with the fact that they only have to work with clients, which frees up a lot of time.

Easy to Use Support Section

If you’re looking for self-help resources, you can find a number of useful articles and tutorials in the Support section of the official website. Many of the guides are available both in written and video format so you can always pick the option that’s most helpful for your situation. And if you ever feel like you still need help, you can also check out our Minecraft server setup guide.

F.A.Q.

Can I Upload a Custom Minecraft World?

ScalaCube does allow users to upload their own custom Minecraft worlds and even has a tutorial on how to do so, just in case you’re not familiar with how it works. The process is a bit technical and involves working with an FTP client but you shouldn’t have any problems with it if you follow the tutorial.

Can I Cancel My ScalaCube Subscription?

The advantage of working exclusively with monthly billing cycles is that you can cancel your subscription at any time without losing a ton of money. You can cancel your subscription manually via the control panel so you don’t even have to contact customer support to do it.

Does ScalaCube Support Foreign Currencies?

ScalaCube is one of the few games hosting companies that support close to a dozen currencies, including EUR, GBP, AUD, and RUB. Make sure to select the currency before buying a hosting plan to see how much it costs your country’s currency.

What’s ScalaCube’s Refund Policy?

At the time of this writing, ScalaCube offers no money-back guarantees.

Final Thoughts

ScalaCube is a company that often flies under the radar because it’s not quite as well-known as other game hosting providers. At least, as far as western audiences are concerned. However, I recommend giving these guys a shot despite that because you won’t be disappointed by what they have to offer. The quality of their services is top-notch and they offer a few interesting features that you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. Plus, the customer support is very fast, which is always very important, particularly if you’re new to hosting.

Server.pro Review – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

If you’re looking for a provider that can host your website you probably won’t have any issues finding one because these types of companies are a dime a dozen these days. If you’re looking for a company that can host your game server, on the other hand, your choices are a bit more limited. Although there are a decent amount of game hosts out there, most of them are either unreliable or too expensive for what they offer. However, after doing a bit of research we came across a provider that might be worth your time and money. That provider goes by the name of Server.pro.

Server.pro is a Swedish hosting company that specializes in affordable and feature-rich Minecraft servers. The company supports both the standard and Bedrock editions of the game while also offering servers for another popular sandbox title, Terraria. In order to give you an idea of what Server.pro is all about we tested its services ourselves and put together an in-depth review that highlights the pros and cons of working with this company. We’re going to give you our honest opinion about the company further down below, but first, let’s go over some of the basics.

Navigation and Ease of Use

The first thing you’ll likely notice upon accessing Server.pro’s website is just how simple everything looks. This could be considered either a good or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it. Personally, I don’t mind the design but I wish the company would expand things a little bit because as it stands, there’s very little information available on the site.

That said, if you don’t like clicking through tons of pages to find the info you’re looking for you’ll be happy to learn that almost everything you need to know about Server.pro can be found on the homepage. There are a couple of other pages in addition to that but there’s very little of interest on them. The ‘About’ page, in particular, is very underwhelming as it doesn’t say anything interesting aside from a short mission statement and the company’s address.

Server.pro Homepage
Homepage of Server.pro Website

Keeping in line with the simplistic design of the website, the service itself is also very easy to use. You can sign up with Facebook if you don’t want to create a new account from scratch and then you simply need to select a hosting plan and the location of your server. In terms of configuration, you only have a few options to worry about. After selecting the game you’re interested in, you’ll need to pick the game type and version followed by the server hostname and address.

Complete Control Through a User-Friendly Interface

Once you create your new server, you’ll be able to manage everything using a fairly standard multi-admin control panel. True to its name, the control panel allows multiple administrators to manage the same server. Since we’re talking about ease of use, I also have to mention that Server.pro provides one-click installers for a variety of Spigot and Bukkit plugins. In addition, the company also offers a range of auto installable modpacks. If you’re going with Terraria or the Bedrock Edition of Minecraft, your choice of plugins and modpacks will be a lot more limited, though.

Plans and Pricing

First impressions of Server.pro aren’t fantastic but it’s easy to look past some of the company’s shortcomings after you take a look at the prices. Unlike most of its competitors, Server.pro offers users the opportunity of using its services for free. That’s right, you can have your own Minecraft server without spending a penny, albeit there are some drawbacks. The free plan can be used indefinitely but you would be missing out on most features and you would have to put up with some annoying ads in the process.

Server.pro Hosting Plans
Minecraft Hosting Plans Offered by Server.pro

If you don’t mind spending a bit of money on your hosting, you have two paid tiers to choose from. Namely, you can choose the Premium tier which includes two packages priced at $5 and $10 per month. Alternatively, you can go Pro and pick between two other plans, which cost $20 and $40 per month, respectively. So what’s the difference between the free and paid plans? Well, aside from getting more resources to work with, you will also benefit from a number of advanced features by going with either of the paid plans. The Pro plans include significantly more resources than the Premium ones, along with a couple of exclusive features.

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Regardless of whether you choose Terraria or either version of Minecraft, you can expect to pay the same amount for your hosting. The base features will be identical in every case but the game-specific features will differ depending on which title you pick. A lot of game hosting companies make their pricing schemes too complicated so seeing this very straightforward payment system is definitely a breath of fresh air.

Specs and Slots

If you decide to stick to the free plan, you will get access to 1 GB of memory, SSD storage, and a dual-core CPU. Pretty basic stuff but not bad considering that you’re not paying anything for these resources. The storage is NVMe while the CPU is an Intel Xenon E3 @ 2.4 GHz. Interestingly enough, the Premium tier gives you access to servers that feature an identical CPU, though the memory is bumped up to 2 or 4 GB depending on the plan. Meanwhile, the Pro servers are considerably more advanced as they come with Intel i7 overclocked CPUs @ 4.7 Ghz and NVMe @ Ultra SSD storage. The memory is also a lot better – 6 GB with the $20/mo plan and 12 GB with the $40/mo one.

Server.pro Hosting Features
Minecraft Servers Features

One drawback of Server.pro is that the company doesn’t offer unlimited storage with any of its packages. Instead, you can expect 5 GB of storage with the free plan, 20 GB with the Premium one and either 40 or 80 GB with the Pro tier, depending on which of the two packages you choose. Compared to other game hosting companies, the specs offered with the paid plans are nothing to write home about. The amount of memory is not too bad but the storage is quite underwhelming.

Unlimited Capacity for Paid Servers

On the bright side, Server.pro does include unlimited slots with its plans, which somewhat makes up for the unimpressive specs. Naturally, this only applies to the paid plans. If you’re going for the free option, don’t expect to be able to create a large community around your server because you’ll only have room for up to 10 players. The good news is that the free plan runs on servers that could support around 20 players if there were no restrictions, so at least you won’t have to worry too much about the performance.

Additional Features and Tools

As I’m sure you already noticed by now, Server.pro uses a very traditional tiered system for pretty much everything. That’s certainly also the case when it comes to the features. I’ve mentioned this before but you would be missing out on most features by going with the free plan. In fact, all free users get is basic DDoS protection and file access via FTP or Server.pro’s custom-built file manager. You can install plugins with the free plan but you can only have a maximum of 10 at any one time. That’s not a lot to go on but I wasn’t exactly surprised by the lack of features in the free plan either.

Server.pro Game Features
In-Game Features for Minecraft Servers

Moving on to the Premium tier, you can expect instant setup, daily backups, the aforementioned multi-admin control panel, and an ad-free experience. Some of the extra features differ depending on whether you go with the standard or Bedrock edition of Minecraft. For example, Bedrock users can upload custom PHAR files while Bedrock users gain mudpack support and the ability to upload custom JAR files. There is no limit on how many plugins you can install regardless of which version you use. The same goes for Terraria players.

A Bigger Package for Paying Users

Unsurprisingly, Pro users get a few extra goodies with their packages. For starters, the DDoS protection is upgraded to the advanced version and Server.pro also throws in a dedicated IP along with a MySQL server complete with root access. There are no extra version-specific features to mention, however, the company does include firewall protection for Pro users, regardless of whether they’re using the Bedrock or standard edition of the game.

No Extras for Terraria Users

Unfortunately, there are no special features available for those who purchase a Terraria hosting plan. I find this discrepancy a bit odd given that, as mentioned, the cost of a Terraria plan is identical to that of a Minecraft plan. Basically, if want to rent a Terraria server you’re going to pay the same amount without getting anything special in return, which hardly seems fair if you ask me.

Location Coverage

Given that Server.pro is not as high-profile as many of its competitors, some might assume that the company wouldn’t have a lot of data centers. After all, smaller companies usually only support a couple of server locations. Surprisingly, that’s not really the case here. Server.pro has a total of nine locations to choose from and is able to support most of the big markets. There are three locations in North America, four across Europe, one in Singapore, and one in Australia. Although not the best location coverage I’ve ever seen, it’s still better than what many other providers have to offer.

Server.Pro Location Coverage
Available Locations for Minecraft Servers

Having said all that, there is a little bit of a catch here. Users who go with the free or Premium plans can only pick between two locations – Canada and France. Needless to say, picking these plans considerably limits your choices and because server location directly affects latency, you may run into some issues if you don’t live in or close to these countries. Having to be a Pro member to select other locations is definitely a bit of a bummer, particularly if you’re a new user who doesn’t want to speed too much on hosting right off the bat. Granted, you can try out the other plans for a month and then upgrade to Pro afterward if you run into any problems, but that’s not really a great solution.

Performance and Reliability

Given the low prices (for the Premium plans at least), I figured there must be an area where Server.pro isn’t doing particularly well because when something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that is indeed the case. While the company has problems in a couple of departments, I found the performance to be the main drawback here. The low amount of memory will probably be the first red flag for a lot of people but the thing I found most concerning is actually the uptime. In the table below we’ve compared Server.pro to Shockbyte which is one of the most popular Minecraft hosting providers.

Server.proShockbyte
Starting Price$5$2.5
ProcessorIntel Xeon E5-2630v3 - 2.4 GHz / 3.2 GHzIntel Xeon E5-1650v4 @ 4.00GHz CPU
StorageNVMe SSDNVMe SSD in RAID 1
UptimeNo Guarantee100%
Anti DDoSStandard (L3/L4)Standard (L3/L4)
File AccessFTPFTP
Instant SetupYesYes
Daily BackupsYesYes
MySQLNoYes
Mod PacksYesYes
Custom JARYesYes
ScalableNoYes

Bad In-Game Experience

Unlike most of its competitors, Server.pro doesn’t make any guarantees in regards to the uptime of its servers. If you decide to test out the service for yourself, you’re likely to find out why that is. Lag is not uncommon at Server.pro while random server disconnects seem to happen a bit more than with other hosting companies. The lag can be attributed to a variety of factors, such as overcrowded servers or bad internet connectivity on the part of the user. When it comes to the disconnects, however, this is a problem that’s plaguing a lot of users and seems to be related to the company’s subpar infrastructure. The disconnects don’t happen exceedingly often, mind you, but they do occur often enough to ruin the experience in some cases and this is the reason why we choose not to include Server.pro in our best Minecraft server hosting list.

Compensating With Speed

That said, while the servers may not be the most reliable, they are pretty fast. We got response times as low as 12 ms during our testing on nearby servers and 100 to 200 ms on servers located on other continents. These results are actually quite good as most people will only begin to notice the latency once the response time surpasses 200 ms. Of course, the speed will vary from person to person so, if you can, always rent a server that’s close to you because that really makes a big difference.

Customer Support

The customer support is another area where Server.pro could do better. The company is faster to respond that some of the other providers we’ve tested over the years, so there’s that. However, the only way to get in touch with an agent is via email. If you visit the company’s support page you’ll notice that there’s no phone support of live chat available. The only other way of getting in touch with a company representative is via Twitter, which isn’t exactly ideal if you ask me.

Server.pro Contact Page
Server.pro’s Contact Page

As far as self-help options are concerned, the selection is once again pretty limited. The knowledgebase section is very lackluster as it doesn’t contain any sort of articles or tutorials. On the bright side, Server.pro does have a very active YouTube channel where it posts helpful guides at least a couple of times per week. While that doesn’t make up for the lack of proper support channels, at least the videos are well put together and can genuinely come in handy if you run into issues with your server or simply need help installing certain plugins or mods.

F.A.Q.

Can I Play on Server.pro With a Cracked Version of Minecraft?

Although we don’t encourage piracy, this type of question comes up a lot so it’s worth going over. According to Server.pro themselves, you can indeed use their service even if you have a cracked version of the game. The company notes that you will need to turn off online mode in order to connect, though.

Where Exactly Are the Servers Located?

I mentioned a couple of times how important it is to be close to the server you’re renting but I forgot to talk about the exact location of some of the servers, so let’s do it here. In North America, you have Canada along with two US locations in Oregon and Virginia. Meanwhile, the European servers can be found in France, Germany, Poland, and the UK. Finally, the last two are found in Australia and Singapore.

Does Server.pro Support Yearly Billing Cycles?

Although most hosting companies work with multiple billing cycles, Server.pro only supports monthly payments, for the time being at least.

Will My Game Worlds Be Deleted After My Subscription Expires?

The short answer is yes, however, that won’t happen immediately. Server.pro will keep everything intact for up to a year, just in case you decide to come back at some point and pick up where you left off. That only applies to the paid plans, though. If your free server becomes inactive, expect Server.pro to delete all your data after one month.

What’s Server.pro’s Refund Policy?

If you become dissatisfied with the company’s services for any reason, you can request a full refund within 72 hours of making the purchase.

Final Thoughts

Server.pro can be a fairly decent provider if you’re willing to look past some of its flaws. The first thing that immediately stands out here is the free plan. In spite of the obligatory ads and other limitations, I would still recommend this plan because it’s overall pretty good. As far as the other packages are concerned, you can get pretty good value from them because they’re definitely not lacking in the features department. However, I’m not a fan of locking most server locations behind a paywall so the Pro tier is a bit of a hard sell for me.

Shockbyte Review – Quality Minecraft Hosting at an Unbeatable Price

Shockbyte is one of the most popular providers of game servers on the market right now. The company started off in Australia back in 2013 and gradually made a name for itself over the years thanks to its quality services. Initially, Shockbyte focused exclusively on offering Minecraft hosting and that remains a big part of its business to this day. However, over time the company branched out into other areas and is currently also providing servers for Rust and Ark: Survival Evolved, with Arma 3 and Hytale labeled as “coming soon”. Shockbyte’s goal as a business is pretty straightforward – provide the highest quality services at the lowest possible price.

Have the folks over at Shockbyte already reached their goal in 2019 or are they not quite there yet? We were very curious to find out so we took it upon ourselves to look into the current state of the company’s services and see what they have to offer to users. If you’re not sure whether you should sign up with Shockbyte or not you came to the right place because this review will give you an in-depth look at the provider and help you make an informed decision. With that in mind, let’s just jump straight into it, shall we?

Plans and Pricing

Shockbyte has some of the cheapest prices out there when it comes to Minecraft servers hosting. A basic package will only cost you $2.5 per month and there are about a dozen other plans to choose from. The pricing system is very straightforward, with each package costing $2.5 more than the previous one. At most, you can expect to pay $40 per month for your server hosting, though most players would do just fine with one of the cheapest options. If the price is your primary concern, it’s worth noting that you can get an even better offer on your hosting by using our coupon code, which grants you a 25% discount on your first month of hosting.

Shockbyte Minecraft Hosting Plans
Minecraft Hosting Plans

A great thing about Shockbyte is that it doesn’t separate its hosting plans into standard and premium-like other providers do. Instead, you will receive access to all the available features regardless of which package you choose. The only noticeable difference between the various plans is that the more expensive ones include more resources than the cheaper variants. This system applies not just to Minecraft but also to Rust and Ark: Survival Evolved servers.

Different Prices for Other Games

The prices for these other games are a bit higher but that’s not surprising given that Ark and Rust are a lot more resource-intensive than Minecraft. Prices for Rust servers start at $10 per month and can reach up to $25 per month. Meanwhile, the prices for Ark: Survival Evolved servers range between $15 and $50 per month depending on which package you choose. All Rust plan comes with support for Oxide while the Ark: Survival Evolved ones feature auto mod installs.

In addition to monthly billing cycles, Shockbyte also supports quarterly, semi-annual, and yearly payments. Unfortunately, there is no discount for paying in advance for your hosting so you’re stuck with the full price. That is, of course, unless you decide to use the coupon code I mentioned earlier, which will give you 25% off your first month not just for Minecraft servers but also for Rust and Ark: Survival Evolved.

Ease of Use

I don’t know about you but I’m very apprehensive about signing up with a company that makes things too complicated for its users. Luckily, that’s not really an issue in the case of Shockbyte. The company is very user-friendly and its services are easy to understand. It helps a lot that the provider’s website is well put together and simple to navigate. The first thing you’ll notice when accessing the website is that Minecraft is heavily advertised, however, if you’re interested in renting a server for a different title, you can simply use the dropdown menu labeled “game server” in order to see all the available options.

Once you complete a purchase, you can expect your new server to be up and running pretty much instantly. Shockbyte works with Multicraft CP, a popular control panel that allows users to easily manage all aspects of their Minecraft servers with just a few clicks. If you’re new to server hosting, learning your way around Multicraft may take you a couple of days but once you get the hang of it, you’ll absolutely love what it has to offer. I know I do. The control panels for Rust and Ark: Survival Evolved servers are a bit different but they are based on Multicraft so you shouldn’t have any problems learning how to navigate them.

Installs Made Extremely Easy

Since we’re talking about ease of use, it’s also worth noting that Shockbyte offers 1-click installs for a wide variety of server types and mod installs. If you have a very specific plugin or mod that doesn’t have a 1-click install, you can find tutorials on Shockbyte’s website that will teach you how to install it as a custom JAR. Another thing I liked about the company is that it allows you to upgrade or downgrade your server at any time whenever you want. Shockbyte uses an automated system for this so you can do it from the control panel without having to contact customer support, which saves you a lot of valuable time.

Additional Features and Tools

Shockbyte offers a large variety of features and tools with all its hosting packages. The features differ a bit depending on whether you’re looking at Minecraft, Rust or Ark: Survival Evolved packages. Among other things, hosting plans come with support for plugins and mods that are specific to each of the three games. For example, Minecraft servers come with support for BungeeCord while Rust servers come with support for Oxide. And, of course, both the Java and Bedrock versions of Minecraft are supported.

Shockbyte Server Features
List of Features Available on Shockbyte Servers

Given that Minecraft is Shockbyte’s main focus, it should come as no surprise that the company went all out with the features for the blocky sandbox adventure game. Purchasing any of the available Minecraft packages will grant you full FTP access, a free subdomain, a free MySQL database, automatic backups, and unlimited bandwidth. The servers are also MCPC & MCPE compatible, come with a Java version switcher, custom JAR support, task scheduling, DDoS protection, and more. The features included with the Rust and Ark: Survival Evolved packages are fairly similar, with a few additions that are specific to these games, such as server console and custom maps support.

Freebies Included with All Hosting Plans

In addition to all of that, you can also expect some other nice freebies by buying a Minecraft hosting plan. First off, you get a free 45-day trial to Enjin, a popular platform that comes with a site builder, forums, mobile apps and more, all designed to help you advertise and grow your Minecraft community. Then, you also get a 30-day trial to Buycraft, a webstore solution for Minecraft that can be used to monetize your server. Finally, every hosting plan includes a 30-day trial to Minetrends Lite, a special analytics tool that gives you detailed insights and statistics regarding your Minecraft server and its player base.

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A couple of other features worth noting are free server migration and free dedicated IP.  At the time of this writing, these are only included with Ark: Survival Evolved packages. You can get a dedicated IP for your Minecraft server, however, it would cost you an extra $5 per month in addition to the regular hosting price. There is no server migration for Minecraft plans but there is a server management service that costs $15 per month. Definitely a bit pricey but likely worth it for users who are not very tech-savvy. Subscribing to this service means that you won’t have to deal with configuring mod packs, plugins or custom JARs because Shockbyte’s tech team would take care of everything for you.

Specs and Slots

The cheapest Minecraft package supports a recommended number of 20 slots and will give you 1 GB of RAM to work with. For every $2.5 you pay, you will get 1 GB of RAM and the recommended number of slots will increase by 20. So, for example, the $7.50/mo package comes with 3 GB of RAM and 60 slots, the $10/mo one comes with 4 GB of RAM and 80 slots, and so on. I mentioned the “recommended” number of slots because technically all plans support an unlimited number of players.

Unlimited Slots for All Servers

Shockbyte recommends a certain number of slots for each package based on how many resources it contains, but you can actually bring as many people as you want to your server, albeit the performance will begin to drop if you don’t pay attention to the recommendations. In addition to unlimited slots, you also get unlimited SSD storage with all plans. $2.5/mo for unlimited slots and storage is an absolute steal and don’t forget that you can shave 25% off that already cheap price by using our exclusive coupon code.

Rust Servers

The entry point for Rust server hosting is $10 and includes support for up to 40 player slots. With the other two tiers, you get 60 and 125 slots, respectively. You can’t get unlimited slots here but the price per slot only sits at $0.4, which is pretty good. If you’re looking to build a particularly large community around your server, I suggest going for Shockbyte’s customizable Rust plan. This plan will let you pick anywhere between 125 and a whopping 300 slots for your server. The only drawback is that the price per slot here is $0.5, so a bit more expensive than the regular packages.

Shockbyte Rust Hosting Plans
Rust Hosting Plans

Ark Survival Servers

As far as Ark Survival Evolved is concerned, the entry package comes with 30 slots while the most expensive one can support up to 125. Both Ark and Rust packages come with a special feature that allows you to ramp up the CPU priority from normal to high or real-time in order to improve performance. Doing so will set you back an extra $4 to $10 per month depending on how much you want to ramp it up. This, coupled with the fact that the price per slot for Ark packages sits at $2, means that you might end up paying quite a bit if you’re looking to build a large community around your server. Shockbyte’s prices for Ark servers are overall above average compared to other providers so make sure to use our coupon code to get 25% off your first month if you don’t want to invest too much right off the bat.

Shockbyte Ark Survival Hosting Plans
Ark Survival Hosting Plans

Performance and Reliability

Performance-wise, Shockbyte is pretty solid but your mileage with the service might vary depending on a couple of factors, the first of which is your proximity to its servers. The further you are from the server, the more lag you are likely to experience and unfortunately, Shockbyte only has a handful of server locations to choose from. Most users in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific shouldn’t run into any issues but if you’re located somewhere else, a bit of lag is to be expected.

Another thing that will likely impact the performance of your server is the number of people playing at any one time. This seems pretty obvious but it’s worth mentioning anyway because Shockbyte offers unlimited slots with all Minecraft packages. Thanks to this feature, it may seem smart to buy a cheap plan and invite as many people as you can to your server because there is no limit. However, that would be a mistake. Realistically, each GB of RAM you have at your disposal will only support about 20 players. Going over that limit will slow things down for everyone so make sure to take that into account before purchasing a server if you want to avoid any potential issues.

Available RAMNumber of Slots
Dirt Plan1GB20+ Slots
Sand Plan2GB40+ Slots
Cobblestone Plan3GB60+ Slots
Iron Plan4GB80+ Slots
Gold Plan5GB100+ Slots
Redstone Plan6GB120+ Slots
Diamond Plan7GB140+ Slots
Emerald Plan8GB160+ Slots
Obsidian Plan9GB180+ Slots
Spartan Plan10GB200+ Slots
Zeus Plan12GB240+ Slots
Titan Plan16GB300+ Slots

Impressive Uptime Guarantee

Shockbyte offers a 100% uptime guarantee so you can expect your server to run 24/7 without any interruptions. Well, for the most part. The company is known for frequently upgrading its hardware and that means the servers will occasionally need to be restarted. When that happens, the maintenance period usually only lasts between 15 minutes to an hour, though the downtime can be a bit longer on occasion. Shockbyte does a pretty good job of letting users know about scheduled maintenance so they can prepare beforehand for server restarts.

Location Coverage

I would consider Shockbyte’s coverage to be fairly average. The company has four locations to choose from, which isn’t great but isn’t too bad either. The available servers are located in North America, Europe, Singapore, and Australia. It would have been nice to have multiple locations to choose from in these regions but unfortunately, that’s not the case. Shockbyte allows you to choose the location of your server regardless of whether you’re buying a Minecraft, Rust or Ark: Survival package. Make sure to choose carefully, however, because some locations are more expensive than others.

If you pick NA or EU, there are no extra costs but if you go with one of the Asia Pacific locations you’re going to have to pay an additional $5 per month for your hosting. I found it particularly strange that Shockbyte charges more for servers in Australia given than this is an Australian company but there you have it. If you do have to go with one of the more expensive locations, make sure to use our coupon code to get 25% off your first month on any package.

Customer Support

If you read other Shockbyte reviews before coming here you may have noticed that one of the main things users take issues with its customer support. The overall consensus is that Shockbyte’s support team is solid but sometimes takes a long time to reply. That’s a fairly accurate assessment of the situation and there’s a good reason for that. Shockbyte serves a large number of clients each month but has a relatively small team, so its support agents are spread thin. The good news is that once you do get in contact with a support agent, you can usually expect your problem to be resolved swiftly and professionally.

Shockbyte Customer Support
Customer Support Page

Shockbyte can primarily be contacted via live chat and ticket (if you’re already a client). The company is also fairly active on Discord and all the usual social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter. If you can’t get ahold of a support agent through the usual channels your best bet is to hit them up on Discord because the company has a sizeable community of users that might be able to help you fix any problem you may have.

A Vast Knowledgebase Available

If you’d rather try to fix things yourself rather than ask for assistance, don’t forget to check out the knowledgebase found on the official website because you can find a lot of helpful tutorials and guides there. The vast majority of them are about Minecraft, though. I would also suggest visiting the Shockbyte YouTube channel because the company frequently uploads videos that you may find more useful than the articles found on the website.

F.A.Q.

Does Shockbyte Really Offer Unlimited Storage?

The short answer yes but only as long as you comply with the company’s fair use policy. You can’t use the company’s servers to store things that are not related to its services, such as music or movies for example.

Where Exactly are Shockbyte’s Servers Located?

The NA one can be found in Montreal, Canada while the EU and Australia ones are located in Gravelines, France and Sydney, respectively.

Can Users Change the Location of Their Servers?

Changing the location of your server is possible but there is no way of making the change yourself. Instead, you’ll need to contact Shockbyte’s customer support team and ask an agent to make the transfer for you.

Can Users Change the Number of Slots?

You can upgrade or downgrade to a plan that comes with a different amount of player slots whenever you like. Although the slots for Minecraft servers are unlimited, it is recommended to upgrade to one of the higher tier plans if you want to invite a large number of people to your server.

What is Shockbyte’s Refund Policy?

The company only offers a 24-hour money-back guarantee so make sure to contact support fast if you change your mind about the plan you purchased.

Final Thoughts

Shockbyte is overall a very solid hosting provider that I would recommend to anyone who is looking to rent servers for Minecraft, Rust or Ark: Survival Evolved. The prices are some of the best out there and the company offers a truly impressive array of features with all of its packages. The service is also very user-friendly, which makes it a great choice even for those who don’t have any previous experience with hosting their own servers.

Top 10 Sneaker Proxies Providers of 2019

Back in the day, limited-edition sneakers manufactured by big-name brands like Nike or Adidas used to only be available in select stores. That meant that relatively few people had access to them and the stores that kept them in stock were often overrun by customers eager to get their hands on the hot new shoes. That may have been good for business but it also caused a lot of chaos, which is why in recent years more and more companies have opted to sell them online instead.

This opened up new business opportunities for entrepreneurs with the means to buy the sneakers online in bulk in order to resell them later for a profit. But when lots of people have the same idea you usually get to a point where it becomes nearly impossible to buy large amounts of a product because of all the competition. That’s where sneaker bots and sneaker proxies come in. These two tools are an absolute must if you want to automate the process of purchasing sneakers.

The Best Sneaker Proxy Services

Websites that sell sneakers tend to IP ban users that engage in suspicious activity, such as trying to buy large amounts of a product in a short amount of time. While bots can automate the process in order to ensure that you can purchase what you want ahead of the competition, proxies are essential for preventing you from getting banned. So before you even attempt to buy all those hot new shoes you wanted, it’s a good idea to start looking into some good sneaker proxy services. As it happens, we’ve already looked into the matter and prepared a comprehensive list of companies that offer reliable proxy services at reasonable prices.

Below you can find a quick summary of all the providers on our list along with a few bits of important information to keep in mind. Keep reading to check out the detailed list further down.

  • Smartproxy – A very reliable service with a large worldwide network of residential proxies.
  • MyPrivateProxy – Decently priced dedicated sneaker proxy packages with lots of features.
  • Storm Proxies – Rotating residential proxies and packages designed to target specific sneaker sites.
  • Luminati – The largest network of residential proxies in the world. Very reliable but quite expensive.
  • SSLPrivateProxy – Datacenter proxies with a high rate of success but pretty expensive.
  • GeoSurf – A good alternative to Luminati with fantastic location coverage.
  • IPLease – Fast dedicated sneaker proxies at remarkably low prices.
  • Mexela – A simple and straightforward service that specializes almost exclusively in sneaker proxies.
  • IcedOutProxies – A fairly small operation that offers residential sneaker proxies at incredibly low prices.
  • BuyProxies – Very few standout features but its proxies are reliable and fairly priced.

1. Smartproxy

Smartproxy is among only a handful of providers that specifically mention you can use their proxies to target shoe sites. The company has a network of over 10 million IPs at its disposal, consisting of both residential and datacenter addresses. Although the datacenter packages are very solid, you’ll want to use the residential proxies on sneaker sites. Smartproxy’s residential proxies work with all major sneaker bots, including Supreme Bot, Nike Slayer, AIO Bots, EasyCop Bot, and Another Nike Bot, among many others.

The company offers very good prices on sneaker proxies, which makes it a great option for those who plan to resell the shoes they purchase using the service. You can expect to see even better profits by using our special coupon code that will give you a 15% discount on your first purchase of any package of sneaker proxies.

Smartproxy Sneaker Proxies
Smartproxy Sneaker Proxies Page

Smartproxy allows users to geo-target close to 200 locations around the world and offers two forms of IP sessions – rotating and sticky. With the rotating version, you get a new IP on every request while the sticky type lets you keep the same IP for a longer period of time. All proxy plans come with unlimited threads and connections, which is very helpful because you can attempt multiple sneaker purchases with the same package. Smartproxy’s residential proxies don’t share a sub-network so it’s extremely unlikely that anyone can mass ban the company’s IPs.

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You will be redirected to Smartproxy website and a 15% discount will be applied at check-out.

Start Small and Easily Scale Up Over Time

There are three residential proxy packages to choose from, the cheapest of which costs $75 per month and comes with 5 GB of traffic included. You can easily scale up from there and go for the $200/mo plan or even one of the more expensive packages. You won’t get advanced features with the higher tiers or anything like that, but you will get a lot more traffic to work with and a much better price per GB the more you are willing to invest upfront in the service. So if you’re ready to start, you can click here in order to take advantage of the 15% discount. If you happen to change your mind afterward, don’t worry because Smartproxy offers a 3-day money-back guarantee to all customers.

2. MyPrivateProxy

MyPrivateProxy or simply MPP Group is a veteran provider with many years of experience under its belt. The company is very reliable and has a sizeable network that spans across most of Europe and the United States. MPP Group offers a variety of different services, including private proxies and shared proxies, however, you’ll mainly want to keep an eye on its dedicated proxy plans. That’s because the company has a number of packages specifically designed for sneaker sites.

MPP Sneaker Proxies
MPP Sneaker Proxies Page

The nice thing about MPP Group’s sneaker proxies is that they can be configured to target a specific website. Some of the currently available options include Adidas, Nike, Eastbay, Footlocker, Yeezysupply, and many more. The company also gives you access to multiple locations and subnets to choose from. Customers can also expect unlimited bandwidth, highly anonymous IPs, up to 100 threads per proxy, a fully automated control panel, and fresh new IP replacements once per month on request.

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MPP Group

10% More Proxies for a Limited Time

As far as the prices are concerned, you can get a basic package of sneaker proxies for $65 per month. The entry plan includes 22 proxies, so you’re looking at a price per proxy of $2.95. The cheapest package normally only comes with 20 proxies but MPP Group is running a promotion at the moment that grants customers 10% more proxies for a limited time. This applies to all the other sneaker proxy plans, including the high tier $520/mo package, which now comes with 250 proxies (usually just 225).

3. Storm Proxies

Stormproxies is one of the best players in the game when it comes to backconnect rotating proxies. This makes them an ideal choice for a number of activities, including copping sneaker sites. Although you can use Stormproxy’s standard rotating residential proxies for this purpose, the company recommends going for one of the packages that were specifically designed for sneaker sites. These plans are more expensive but they are guaranteed to work with shoe sites like Yeezy, Nike, Adidas, Supreme, Eastbay, Footlocker, and many others.

Stormproxies Sneaker Proxies
Stormproxies Sneaker Proxies Page

The company offers unlimited bandwidth with all packages and access to a pool of over 40.000 residential IPs. The proxies rotate every 5 minutes and you can choose between US or EU based IP addresses. All packages are limited to 1 access IP so you can only use the service from a single computer. Aside from that, you can expect instant delivery, highly anonymous IPs, and a very fast network optimized for performance and multi-threaded tools.

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Storm Proxies

Unimpressive Refund Policy but Otherwise Solid Prices

The cheapest package of residential sneaker proxies will set you back $160 per month and includes access to 20 ports. There’s a less expensive package with 10 ports that goes for just $90/mo but that plan is not available at the time of this writing. Check back later, though. On the more expensive side of things, you can get packages with 200 or even 500 ports for $900 and $1600 per month, respectively. Stormproxy only offers a 2-hour money-back guarantee with its special sneaker proxies.

4. Luminati

Luminati has the largest network of residential proxies available on the market right now. You have over 35 million rotating IPs from around the world to work with. Unlike most of its competitors, Luminati has an actual extensive worldwide network, with locations spanning from the US and UK to Japan and Australia and everywhere in between. The company is also known for its excellent uptime, low ban rates, and great customer support team.

Luminati is not the cheapest option but the company does offer access to one of the most trustworthy networks of residential proxies on the market. If you’re put off by the high entry price, it’s worth noting that you can $250 free at Luminati once per account by using our special coupon code. That’s basically 50% off the $500 Starter package of residential proxies. Simply sign up to the service and deposit $250 or more in order to receive an additional $250 on the house. If you’re a registered company, you can also take advantage of Luminati’s 7-day free trial.

Luminati Sneaker Proxies
Luminati Residential Proxies Page

Although Luminati doesn’t list sneaker copping under the use cases section of its website, the massive 35+ million pool of IPs is perfect for this exact purpose. Luminati uses a P2P network so you can be certain that these are real household IPs that are not part of the same subnet, which makes them very difficult to track. The company offers both shared and private IPs. Private IPs are great for exclusively targeting specific domains, however, it’s probably better to go with the shared version in this case because the private ones don’t rotate.

Pretty Expensive but You do Get What You Pay For

Luminati is quite a bit more expensive than most of the other companies on this list but that’s only because its primary customers tend to be big businesses. The starter package comes with 40 GB of traffic included and has a monthly commitment of $500. That translates to $12.50 per GB, which is actually pretty reasonable, however, the minimum monthly commitment makes Luminati a premium option. Definitely well worth it if you can afford it, though. If that’s a bit too pricey for you, it’s still possible to get a taste of what the company has to offer because Luminati is currently offering a very generous 7-day free trial for residential proxy packages.

5. SSLPrivateProxy

Just as its name suggests, this company is all about providing private proxies for a variety of activities. Here you can find proxies for Instagram, LinkedIn, ticketing sites, PokemonGo, classified ads, and of course, sneaker sites. SSLPrivateProxy has around 40 server locations, most of which are found in the United States. The prices are a bit higher than average, however, you can expect great performance from these guys and their proxies are guaranteed to work pretty much everywhere.

SSLPrivateProxy Sneaker Proxies
SSLPrivateProxy Sneaker Proxies Page

SSLPrivateProxy offers exclusive, highly anonymous proxies, IP and username/password authentication, monthly randomization, and support for both HTTP and HTTPS connections. It’s worth noting that these are data center proxies so the risk of becoming blacklisted is a bit higher than with residential IPs. However, the company offers virgin proxies with its packages, which means the IPs were never used before. Hence, the proxies shouldn’t raise any suspicious unless the user abuses them. SSLPrivateProxy offers a generous 7-day money-back guarantee.

High Entry Point Meant for Bulk Purchases

There are only two packages to choose from here and they’re both fairly expensive. The cheapest one comes in at $650 per month and includes 250 private proxies. Meanwhile, the more expensive one comes with 500 proxies and costs $1.250 per month. You’re getting a slightly better price per proxy with the more expensive package, as well as the ability to pick multiple cities and subnets. Both packages will allow you to target specific sneaker sites like Nike, Adidas, Footlocker, EastBay, and many others.

6. GeoSurf

GeoSurf is another very reliable provider that some of you may already know about. The company has been around for a number of years and managed to amass a pretty impressive network of residential proxies during all this time. GeoSurf’s network is composed of over 2.5 million IP addresses spread across over 2.000 locations around the world. The location coverage here is truly fantastic. Unlike most other providers that only cover the US and maybe Europe, GeoSurf has coverage over pretty much every continent, including Africa, South America, and the Middle East.

GeoSurf Sneaker Proxies
GeoSurf Sneaker Proxies Page

GeoSurf seems to be a big fan of using residential proxies for copping sneakers as the company has several articles and tutorials on its website about this very topic. The provider even put together a comprehensive release calendar meant to help users stay up to date with all the latest sneaker releases. GeoSurf’s proxies are known to work with all the popular sneaker bots, such as AIO, NikeSlayer, SupremeBot, NikeShoeBot, RCO, and more. You can pick between standard rotating proxies and sticky sessions while also being able to benefit from unlimited connections, threads, and countries.

A Bit Cheaper Than the Competition

Similar to Luminati, GeoSurf charges per GB of traffic and its packages are pretty expensive, though this is a premium service and a very good one at that. The entry package will set you back $450 per month and comes with 38 GB of traffic included. That translates to around $12 per GB, so a bit cheaper than the competition. Having said that, GeoSurf doesn’t seem to offer a free trial right now and there’s no money-back guarantee.

7. IPLease

IPLease is another solid provider that offers a wide range of services. The company mainly focuses on private proxies but you can also find shared plans at very affordable prices. That said, IPLease’s bread and butter are its dedicated proxy packages for restricted websites like Craigslist or AutoTrader. Among other things, here you’ll be able to find ticketing proxies, gaming proxies, social media proxies, shopping proxies, and classified ads proxies. And of, course, IPLease also offers some very good proxies packages for sneaker websites.

IPLease Sneaker Proxies
IPLease Homepage

One of the standout features of IPLease is that the company offers virgin proxies, which is always nice to see. This makes the service great for copping particularly sensitive sneaker sites. The proxies are compatible with AIO bot and have been confirmed to work on sites like Supreme, Footlocker, Nike, YeezySupply, Adidas, and more. These are dedicated proxies so you don’t have to worry about sharing them with other users and you can choose whether you want to access one or multiple subnets.

Very Good Prices for Virgin IPs

IPLease has very good prices for sneaker proxies. The cheapest package costs $12.75 per month and includes 5 proxies. Although there are cheaper alternatives out there, it’s worth keeping in mind that these are dedicated proxies with virgin IPs. You can get a better price per IP by purchasing one of the more expensive packages and you can benefit from even more discounts by subscribing for several months in advance.

8. Mexela

Mexela is a very straightforward company that focuses on a handful of proxy packages. Although there isn’t a whole lot of variety here, you can find packages specifically designed to work with sneaker sites, which is always a plus in our book. Mexela is a bit secretive, which can be considered either a good or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. The company doesn’t disclose the exact location of its servers but mentions that it can provide coverage for both Europe and the US along with multiple subnets in these regions.

Mexela Sneaker Proxies
Mexela Sneaker Proxies Page

Mexela’s sneaker proxies are known to work with bots like AIO and popular shoe sites like Adidas, Supreme, and more. You can expect unlimited bandwidth, HTTPS support, highly anonymous IPs, and fresh new proxies once per month upon request. In addition to sneaker proxies, you can also get regular shared and private proxy packages here. You will only need to share the proxies with two other users if you go with the first version and the prices are much cheaper. However, we recommend going with the specialized plans if you can afford it in order to maximize your chances of success.

Limited Amount of Options

There are only two sneaker proxy packages to choose from here. The cheapest one costs $150 per month and comes with 50 dedicated proxies while the more expensive one goes for $300/mo and includes 100 proxies. In short, you’re looking at a price of $3 per proxy. Mexela’s prices aren’t too bad but they’re not the cheapest option we’ve seen either. Also worth mentioning is that Mexela offers a 24-hour money-back guarantee. Not the best refund policy out there but still better than nothing.

9. IcedOutProxies

IcedOut may not be the most well-known company on this list but its proxies are very solid nevertheless. The company has a network of over 100.000 IPs and works almost exclusively with data center proxies. However, IcedOut also has a few residential packages designed specifically for sneaker sites. The company seems to periodically rotate its proxies based on popular new releases. For example, its current packages target Supreme US while a couple of months back they targeted Yeezy UK.

IcedOutProxies Sneaker Proxies
IcedOutProxies Homepage

As you can imagine, this system has some limitations but the good news is that the proxies are guaranteed to work on the targeted sites and likely to work on all the other ones. You can expect speeds of up to 1GB/s along with HTTP support and IP authentication. The company is still fairly new and there are quite a few features that are not yet available. But while IcedOutProxies doesn’t impress in terms of features, it certainly shines in the price department.

Residential Proxies Rarely Get Cheaper Than This

The company has a very cheap entry point and some of the best prices for residential sneaker proxies we’ve seen so far. The basic package only costs $10 per month and comes with 10 proxies. In other words, you’re only paying $1 per proxy, which is an excellent bargain. If you’re looking for bulk purchase, you can go for the 100 or 300-proxy packages instead. You can save 10% off your purchase with the higher tier packages.

10. BuyProxies

A very straightforward company with a very straightforward name. Buy Proxies is a bit of a niche provider that primarily focuses on sneaker sites and ticketing proxies. You can also find dedicated and shared proxy plans here, however, the sneaker packages are by far the most reliable. The company has its own servers so you don’t have to worry about resold proxies here. There’s not a whole lot of info regarding Buy Proxies’ network, but we do know the company has good coverage over the United States and parts of Europe.

BuyProxies Sneaker Proxies
BuyProxies Homepage

As far as the features are concerned, you can expect all the common ones to be available. Specifically, unlimited bandwidth, API access, HTTP/HTTPS support, IP and username/password authentication, and multiple cities/subnets to choose from. Buy Proxies also offers fresh new proxies during every new monthly billing cycle and includes a 24-hour money-back-guarantee. There aren’t really any standout features here but Buy Proxies covers all the bases so there’s not much to complain about either, except maybe for the underwhelming refund policy.

Guaranteed to Work with All Major Sneaker Sites

There are three sneaker proxy packages to choose from here, with prices comparable to some of the other companies on this list. The cheapest plan costs $150 per month and includes 50 dedicated shoe proxies. The other two plans come with 100 and 200 proxies, respectively. Regardless of which package you choose, the price per proxy will remain the same at $3. Buy Proxies guarantees that its proxies will work on popular sneaker sites like Supreme, Nike, Adidas, Finishline, and more.

What Are Sneaker Proxies?

Sneaker websites are some of the most restrictive sites around and won’t hesitate to swiftly block your IP if they notice any suspicious activity. Naturally, you can shop for shoes using your PC without getting into trouble. If you’re trying to buy them in bulk, however, you’ll quickly realize that most big-brand sneaker websites don’t like that one bit. One of the main reasons why limited edition shoes are so expensive is because manufacturers produce them in small batches.

If someone is trying to buy a sizeable portion of the limited supply it tends to raise a few red flags. Particularly since those types of sneakers are usually expensive, which means that regular customers don’t usually buy more than one or two pairs. As mentioned before, sneaker proxies can allow you to circumvent that by hiding your IP, thus allowing you to mask the identity of your actual address. Proxy services give you multiple IPs to work with so even if some of them do get banned, you still have others that you can use.

Why You Should Use Sneaker Proxies Instead of Dedicated Proxies

Given that sneaker proxies tend to be fairly expensive, a lot of people might be inclined to use dedicated proxies instead. Although you can get away with using general dedicated proxies on some sites, you can expect a much higher degree of success with dedicated sneaker proxies. These packages usually come with virgin IPs, which means that the proxies are clean and were never used before on sneaker websites, or any websites at all in some cases.

It’s important to remember than sneaker manufacturers have a lot at stake here. Most people who make bulk purchases plan to resell the shoes for profit, which is bad for business if you’re the company that made the shoes. That’s why these companies actively target suspicious activity and don’t mind banning even entire subnets if it means stopping resellers. If you’re someone who wants to get their hands on those hot limited edition sneakers at all costs, you’ll need to be equally determined in order to maximize your chances of success. That means using the best sneaker bots and the best sneaker proxy services.

Residential Proxies vs Datacenter Proxies for Copping Sneakers

As you may have noticed already, our list primarily covered providers that offer residential proxy services. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part, residential proxies are considered better for targeting proxy sites. That’s because these types of proxies use IP addresses of actual users and that makes them less suspicious than datacenter proxies.

In addition, residential proxy services usually rotate IPs so even if one of them does get banned, you can try your luck with a different one. The drawback of residential proxies is that you’re dipping into a pool of IPs that contains both clean and already blacklisted addresses. Some companies do a good job of removing the bad IPs from the pool, but not all of them. You can find a list of the top residential proxy services on our website along with indications on how to properly use them.

Cheaper and Faster but not as Effective

Datacenter proxies, on the other hand, have their own pros and cons. On one hand, these proxies are a lot faster and usually cheaper so you’re potentially looking at a higher return on your investment. On the other hand, datacenter proxies are much easier to block. Also, you’re working with a bunch of IPs that are part of only one or a couple of subnets and, as mentioned, sneaker sites have no problems blocking entire subnets. In other words, you risk losing all your IPs in one fell swoop.

That said, you can still successfully use datacenter proxies on some sneaker sites as long as you have virgin IPs to work with, though you’ll still need to be careful not to abuse them. SSLPrivateProxy and a handful of other companies have been offering excellent datacenter sneaker proxies for many years so this is definitely a viable option, assuming you’re getting your proxies from a reliable provider. We have a top of the best datacenter proxies which can definitely help you find the right provider for you if you choose to go with this type of proxies.

Features to Keep An Eye on When Buying Sneaker Proxies

Location Targeting: Having the option to target specific locations is extremely helpful. Services that let you target certain cities in addition to countries or states are therefore extremely valuable. To make the best use of this feature, do a bit of research to find out where the sneaker site’s servers are located. If your proxy service can target the same city, you’ll be in a better position to get the sneakers you want.

Protocol Support: Most proxy services support HTTP and HTTPS protocols, however, a select few also include support for SOCKS. You’ll want to make sure that the proxies you plan to buy match the protocols supported by your sneaker bot.

Multiple Subnets: Some proxy services allow you to choose between multiple subnets, which again, is a very useful feature. Remember that sneaker websites can ban entire subnets so it helps to have options if you’re faced with a worst-case scenario. Naturally, this only applies to datacenter proxies. If you’re going for residential sneaker proxies, there’s no need to worry about this.

Unlimited Connections: This is another pretty obvious one but make sure the proxy service you aim to buy supports unlimited connections if possible. This feature is mainly associated with residential proxies where you have a massive pool of IPs to work with and you want to be able to have access to the entire network. If you’re going for a dedicated service where you pay per IP as opposed to GB of traffic, this feature will likely not be available. That said, dedicated proxies outshine the later ones in terms of performance and that allows you to get away with a limited number of connections.

Free Monthly IP Randomization: This is a nice quality of life feature but I wouldn’t call it mandatory. If everything goes smoothly, you shouldn’t need to change your IPs all that often. However, this feature is welcome if one of your IPs does get blocked, in which case you can ask for a free replacement. This is another feature you’ll need to keep an eye on if you want to buy dedicated proxies. Residential proxies tend to rotate every few minutes so there’s no need for monthly randomization on top of that.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Buy Limited Edition Sneakers Without a Proxy?

Yes, but it can be very difficult to do so depending on the shoes you’re trying to purchase. Nowadays, a lot of people use sneaker bots in conjunction with proxies in order to beat the competition. It’s not impossible, of course, but you would have to be pretty fast to beat an automated tool, especially when it comes to buying extremely rare and sought after sneakers. If we’re talking about bulk purchases, however, proxies are pretty much mandatory.

How to Use Sneaker Proxies?

There are a few simple things to keep in mind when using sneaker proxies. First, having a large number of proxies to work with will increase your chances of success. Secondly, speed is essential. The faster you can get in and complete your purchase, the lower the chances that the sneaker site you’re targeting will be able to detect any suspicious activity. Finally, get a good sneaker bot and make sure to add all your proxies to it before you attempt the purchase.

What’s a Sneaker Bot?

Sneaker bots work like any other type of bots in the sense that they allow you to automate a specific process and perform it much faster than a human. A good sneaker bot should be able to access a website, add products to the cart, and proceed to checkout in less than a second. Needless to say, that’s much faster compared to a manual purchase. But in order for the bot to do its job properly, it needs to mask your real location using very fast proxies. So again, speed is essential.

What’s the Best Sneaker Bot?

Unfortunately, this question doesn’t have a straightforward answer. Sneaker bots are designed to target specific websites and come equipped with specialized tools and features that allow them to fulfill their purpose. In other words, you won’t be able to find a bot that works equally well on all sneaker websites. That’s why you should purchase a bot designed specifically for the website you’re trying to target and make sure that your proxies are compatible with that bot.

What’s Sneaker Copping?

Sneaker copping (sometimes known as sneaker cooking) is the process of purchasing shoes from apparel websites using specialized tools. Namely, you’re going to need a sneaker bot and sneaker proxies in order to successfully cop sneakers. The proxies are meant to protect your online identity and real location while the bot is used to automate the purchasing process.

Final Thoughts

Everybody wants the latest hot shoes but very few people are able to get their hands on them. After reading this article you should have a better idea of why that is. A large portion of limited edition sneakers are purchased using specialized tools like proxies and sneaker bots, which give those who use them a decisive advantage over regular customers. Given that so many people are using these tools nowadays, you’ll need to use them too if you hope to compete.

Top 10 Datacenter Proxies Providers of 2019

If you’re familiar with web data extraction or website performance testing you already know how important it is to have a good proxy service while conducting these types of activities. However, you don’t actually have to work in the online space in order to use a proxy service. A lot of people use proxies to hide their identity while browsing the internet or to watch videos that are normally blocked in their country. Those are just a few obvious examples but there are plenty of other uses for proxies.

Proxies act as a gateway between the user and the internet. While browsing with a proxy service active, your location and IP address are hidden from prying eyes. In most cases, you can make it seem like you are accessing the internet from a different country located on the other side of the world if you wanted.

The Best Datacenter Proxy Services

It goes without saying that a tool like this can be very useful, however, not all proxy services were created equally and some are clearly better than others. With that in mind, we took the time to put together a list of reliable data center services that you can count on in 2019. This should make it easier to choose the ideal provider for your specific needs. A quick summary of our picks can be found below but make sure to keep reading for more detailed information on all these companies.

The following is our top of the best 10 datacenter proxies providers along with a review of each of them:

  • Luminati – Arguably the best and most popular provider of datacenter proxies currently on the market.
  • Smartproxy – Excellent shared datacenter proxies that support both IP rotation and sticky sessions.
  • Oxylabs – The largest network of dedicated datacenter proxies. Particularly good for web scraping.
  • Stormproxies – A very reliable US-based service that offers three methods of rotating IPs and a low entry point for dedicated proxies.
  • MyPrivateProxy – MPP Group is a veteran provider that offers great prices for bulk purchases.
  • SSLPrivateProxy – Versatile provider with 7+ years of experience and many specialized services.
  • Proxy-n-VPN – Small pool of IPs but otherwise solid and works exclusively with datacenter proxies.
  • High Proxies – Good for scraping, SEO, and social media. Low entry point.
  • Squid Proxies – Fast servers and great coverage but only sells shared proxies in bulk.
  • Blazing Proxies – Small network but offers good performance and very cheap prices.

1. Luminati

Luminati is an absolute juggernaut when it comes to pretty much any type of proxy service. The company has a very impressive network consisting of more than 40 million proxies at its disposal, about 500.000 of which are located in state-of-the-art data centers. Luminati has more than 1500 subnets at its disposal and offers proxy locations in 85 countries around the world. The provider has an excellent reputation thanks to its ethical business practices, which has allowed it to gain favor with a lot of Fortune 500 enterprises over the years. If you’re not sure which proxy provider to pick, Luminati is always a safe bet.

The company charges a pretty penny for its services but you won’t be disappointed by what it offers, especially since you can use our special coupon code to get a $5 bonus when purchasing your first package of datacenter proxies.

Luminati Datacenter Proxies
Luminati Datacenter Proxies Page

Luminati offers both shared and dedicated IPs with unlimited bandwidth and an infinite amount of concurrent requests. The company also offers a ‘cooling period’, which is a guaranteed amount of time a certain IP address has not been used to access a specific site. Managing all your IPs is extremely easy here as Luminati offers not just a proxy manager interface but also a Google Chrome extension. In addition to great performance and ease of use, Luminati also takes pride in its very professional and knowledgeable customer support team, which is one of the best in the business.

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Very Appealing ‘Pay as You Go’ System

As far as the price is concerned, Luminati is not a cheap option. The company’s services are mainly targeted at big businesses so you can expect some pretty high prices here. However, that only applies to its standard packages, the cheapest of which includes 900 IPs and comes with a $500 per month commitment. Luckily, Luminati also has a ‘pay as you go’ system for datacenter proxies that will only set you back $0.10 per IP or $0.60 per GB of data and has no monthly commitment. Needless to say, that’s quite a bargain. If you’re still not sure about Luminati, though, you can always check out the company’s free trial and test out its services for yourself.

2. Smartproxy

Smartproxy is another reliable provider that offers both datacenter and residential proxies, as well as a number of other, more specialized services, such as Instagram proxies, sneaker proxies, and Craiglist proxies, among others. The company has been around for a long time and owns one of the largest networks around, which consists of well over 10 million proxies. Similar to Luminati, most of those IPs are reserved for residential proxy services, with only around 40.000 of those address being located in data centers. That number may not seem that impressive compared to its residential proxies, but 40K addresses definitely give you plenty to work with.

Smartproxy has some of the best prices out there for datacenter proxy packages, however, some people might still find the entry point to be a bit too high for their taste. If you’re one of those people, don’t worry because you can use our exclusive coupon code to shave 15% off your first purchase of datacenter proxies.

Smartproxy Datacenter Proxies
Smartproxy Datacenter Proxies Page

Smartproxy has servers all over Europe and the United States and works exclusively with shared datacenter proxies. The company offers both rotating datacenter IPs and sticky sessions, which allow you to hold onto your address for up to 30 minutes. Smartproxy supports HTTP and HTTPS connections guarantee 99.99% uptime and include unlimited threads with all packages. The company also mentions that it has over 100 subnets and that its service is compatible with all the popular scripts and bots.

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Smartproxy

Get Access to Smartproxy’s Entire Network for a Fixed Monthly Fee

Unlike many other companies that offer datacenter proxies, Smartproxy charges per traffic usage, as opposed to charging per IP. This means that you can access the company’s entire network for a fixed monthly fee. The entry package costs $50 per month and includes up to 100 GB of traffic, so that’s $0.5 per GB. The basic plan only supports 1 sub-user but you can support between 3 and 10 by going with one of the other packages. It’s also worth noting that you can buy additional traffic at a rate of $1 per GB with the basic plan or between $0.80 and $0.40 per GB with the other packages. Smartproxy offers a 3-day money-back guarantee to all customers.

3. Oxylabs

Oxylabs has one of the largest networks of dedicated proxies on the market right now, exceeding even that of Luminati. The company has over 2 million dedicated proxies in its pool, as well as another 32 million residential ones. Oxylabs has more than 80 data centers and offers proxies in 100+ locations around the globe in countries like the US, UK, India, Russia, Germany, and more. The location coverage here is really good and the company’s proxies are well known for their excellent speed and performance.

Oxylabs Datacenter Proxies
Oxylabs Datacenter Proxies Page

The company offers dedicated datacenter proxies with unlimited bandwidth and an unlimited number of concurrent sessions. You can also expect a 99% uptime guarantee, a quick and easy setup process, username/password authentication, and a very slick user interface. Oxylabs claims that its proxies are particularly good for web scraping, with the company going as far as to help users find clean proxies for the sites they want to scrape. A few other common use cases for the company’s proxies include brand protection, market research, ad verification, and travel fare aggregation.

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Oxylabs

Very Generous Free Trial to Test Out the Service

Similar to most other companies in this space, Oxylabs charges per IP. The prices here are a bit above average but that is to be expected from a premium provider. The cheapest package will set you back $180 per month and includes 100 IP addresses, so that’s $1.8 per IP. You can get a better deal per IP with some of the other plans (as low as $1.20/IP), however, all the other packages are a lot more expensive. Companies that are looking to purchase significantly large amounts of IPs (25K+) can contact Oxylabs directly for a price estimate. A downside for some users is that Oxylabs’ non-US IPs are a lot more expensive than its US ones. On the bright side, the company offers a 7-day free trial, which is very generous compared to most of its competitors.

4. Stormproxies

Stormproxies is one of the youngest providers on our list and initially made a name for itself by offering solid backconnect rotating proxies. Nowadays, the company offers a pretty wide range of services, including dedicated proxies for Instagram, Facebook, ticketing sites, and more. Here you can find both residential and datacenter IPs. The IP pool for datacenter proxies consists of over 70.000 addresses located mainly in the US and Europe. Stormproxies offers both shared (rotating) and dedicated datacenter proxies.

Stormproxies Datacenter Proxies
Stormproxies Datacenter Proxies Page

The shared proxies are quite popular as they come with three methods of rotating IPs – rotate at every HTTP request, rotate every 3 minutes, and rotate every 15 minutes. This gives users a lot of options to work with and makes the proxies suitable for a wide variety of online activities. Meanwhile, the dedicated proxies are highly anonymous and optimized for maximum performance. These proxies are meant for general use and are not recommended for very specific activities. As mentioned, Stormproxies has other packages for things like accessing sneakers or ticketing sites.

Very Low Entry Point for Datacenter Proxies

A basic package of shared datacenter proxies will set you back $39 per month and will give you access to the entire network, so no pay per IP system here. However, this package along with the other shared plans comes with other limitations. For instance, the basic package only supports up to 40 simultaneous connections and the service can only be used on a single device. If you’re looking for dedicated proxies, the cheapest plan here goes for $10 per month and includes 5 private proxies, so that’s about $2 per proxy. The plans are limited at 100 threads and only cover US locations.

5. MyPrivateProxy

My Private Proxy or MPP Group is a well-known provider that has been around for many years. The company’s services are very reliable and include both shared and private proxies. In addition, the provider also offers dedicated proxies for sneaker sites, ticketing sites, and PokemonGo. MPP Group has a pretty impressive network of over 230.000 datacenter proxies, with dozens of subnets to choose from. A large portion of the data centers are located inside major cities across the US, however, the network also extends into various parts of Europe.

MPP Datacenter Proxies
MPP Datacenter Proxies Page

MPP Group includes similar features with both its shared and private proxy packages. Some of the highlights include instant activation, IP and username/password authentication, up to 100 simultaneous connections, highly anonymous IPs, a fully automated control panel, and more. The company also offers a 99% uptime guarantee, unlimited bandwidth, non-sequential IPs, and free monthly replacements (for private proxies) of IPs that no longer work as intended. Customers also benefit from a 3-day money-back guarantee.

Massive Discounts for Bulk Purchases

As far as the pricing is concerned, MPP Group’s services are pretty affordable all things considered. Shared proxies plans start at $50 per month and include 50 proxies, so that’s $1 per proxy. You can get the price down to as little as $0.62 per proxy by going for one of the higher tier packages. The more expensive plans will also give you access to more locations and subnets. As far as the private proxies are concerned, prices here start at $2.49/mo per proxy. That’s a bit expensive, however, you can buy a single proxy here, which will be a major selling point for some people. If you’re looking for a bulk purchase, you’ll be able to get that price down to as little as $1.13 per IP with the high tier packages.

6. SSLPrivateProxy

SSL Private Proxy is another veteran provider that offers a wide variety of proxy and VPN related services. The company has been around for more than 7 years at this point and offers not just private and shared proxies but also specialized packages for things like sneaker sites, video games, social media platforms like Instagram or Snapchat, and more. SSL Private Proxy has a network consisting of over 120.000 dedicated IPs, with data centers located in 40 cities across North America and Europe.

SSLPrivateProxy Datacenter Proxies
SSLPrivateProxy Datacenter Proxies Page

SSL Private Proxy supports both HTTP and HTTPS connections, offers highly anonymous proxies, and a monthly randomization feature. Other highlights include IP whitelisting and username/password authentication, non-sequential IPs, unlimited bandwidth and an advanced control panel. You can access multiple cities and subnets regardless of whether you choose a shared or private datacenter proxies package. In addition to the regular advantages you get from private proxies, here they are also optimized for SEO, search engine scraping, YouTube, and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Get a Great Deal by Paying for Multiple Months in Advance

The prices at SSL Private Proxy are pretty competitive, with basic shared hosting packages going for $11.10 per month. The entry plan includes 10 proxies, so that’s $1.1/mo per proxy. Meanwhile, private proxies are a bit more expensive and start at $15 per month for the basic package, which comes with 5 proxies. Similar to most of its competitors, SSL Private Proxy will give you a better price per proxy if you buy one of the more expensive packages. In addition, the company also offers pretty substantial discounts if you pay for several months in advance. In other words, you can look forward to some really good prices if you decide to stick with this provider for the long haul.

7. Proxy-n-VPN

Proxy-n-VPN is a very solid provider that works exclusively with datacenter proxies. The company puts a lot of emphasis on privacy and security so you can expect a high degree of anonymity with these proxies. The company’s network consists of around 10.000 dedicated IP addresses, so the pool is a bit smaller compared to other companies. However, the IPs are stored in state-of-the-art data centers and the company owns 100% of its inventory so you can look forward to good performance and reliability. Proxy-n-VPN offers both shared and private datacenter proxies.

Proxy-n-VPN Datacenter Proxies
Proxy-n-VPN Datacenter Proxies Page

Some of the features you can expect here include unlimited bandwidth, non-sequential IPs, 99.99% uptime guarantee, and speeds of up to 1GB/s. All the proxies are highly anonymous and you can easily manage everything by using the intuitive control panel. The company has good location coverage, with servers placed all across North America and parts of Europe. If you’re unsatisfied with the service for any reason, you can take advantage of the 3-day money-back guarantee refund policy offered by the company.

You Can Purchase Anywhere Between 1 and 1000 Proxies

Proxy-n-VPN’s prices are on par with many of the other companies on this list. Namely, a starter package of shared datacenter proxies costs $11 per month and includes 10 proxies. That’s a little over $1 per proxy but you can get a much better deal by opting for one of the larger packages that come with 500 or 1000 proxies. Meanwhile, a private datacenter proxy will set you back $2.35 per month if you go with the basic plan. Similar to MPP Group, Proxy-n-VPN gives users the option of buying a single proxy but you can expect significant discounts for bulk purchase, especially if you order one of the large packages.

8. High Proxies

High Proxies offers reliable services at competitive prices and operates across most of the United States and Europe, among other regions. The company has a network of around 25.000 IPs spread across a few dozen different locations. High Proxies has a number of useful services, including shared and private proxies, VPNs, and special dedicated proxy packages for social media and ticketing sites. High Proxies is considered a premium provider but its prices are actually similar to many of the other companies on this list.

High Proxies Datacenter Proxies
High Proxies Datacenter Proxies Page

The service isn’t really recommended for sneaker sites but you can use the proxies for pretty much everything else. SEO, scraping, and social media are some of the most common use cases here. All proxy packages come with unlimited bandwidth, monthly randomization, IP whitelisting, and a 99% uptime guarantee. Most plans also allow users to choose between multiple cities and subnets. The only exception to this is the basic private proxy plan.

The Cheapest Price for Single-Proxy Packages

Like many of the companies on this list, High Proxies allows users to purchase single private proxies, which explains the limitations I mentioned earlier. A private proxy costs $2.30 here but you can also buy them in bulk and take advantage of some pretty nice discounts in the process. As far as the shared proxies are conc