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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.