Weebly is arguably one of the most recognizable web hosting platforms available and is well known for its comprehensive, free website builder. Founded in 2007 and acquired by Square, Inc. in 2018, Weebly’s mission is to make website creation accessible to all, and the platform now hosts over 50 million sites.
In our Weebly Web Hosting review, we test the stand-out features of this popular platform to see how easy it is to create and host a site. Read on to discover if Weebly is the best web hosting platform for your next web project.
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Weebly Web Hosting: Plans and pricing
Weebly’s free plan is actually very good. Although not suitable for commercial use, the plan gives you access to Weebly’s website builder, SSL security, a host of e-commerce features including inventory management, chat and email support, limited marketing features including SEO, and more.
The Personal plan could be suitable for small organizations and costs $6 per month when paid annually, or $9 on a month-to-month basis. You get a custom domain, the ability to sell digital goods for e-commerce sites, plus pop-up marketing notifications to drive sales.
The Professional plan costs $12 per month when billed annually and $16 on a monthly basis. Suitable for small-to-medium-sized businesses, it provides a significant number of extra site features. These include unlimited storage, password protection, ad removal, a free domain, advanced site statistics, and a shipping calculator for e-commerce purposes. You also get access to phone support.
At the top end, Weebly’s Performance plan is targetted to e-commerce sites. The plan costs $26 per month when billed annually or $29 month-to-month and includes advanced integrated e-commerce tools designed to help your e-commerce business grow. E-commerce features include PayPal payment facilities, item reviews, shipping labels, and abandoned cart emails.
As well as having access to the full range of site and marketing features, Performance plan subscribers benefit from priority support—a particularly useful feature if your site is focussed on e-commerce and you have a sales issue.
Weebly’s defining feature is its free to use website builder. Anyone can design and launch a website quickly and easily. It is essentially a drag-and-drop design program where users can select components like photos, videos, or text boxes and effortlessly add them to their site.
You can design your site from scratch or start with one of Weebly’s pre-designed themes. These responsive, customizable designs are incredibly professional and well-categorized, so it is very simple to create a complex site for your brand with minimal effort. You even get a free domain with Weebly’s two highest-priced plans.
All sites include a third-party embed code so you can track performance without the need to code this functionality into your site. The paid plans enable users to add a custom domain, and the Professional and Performance plans include unlimited storage and advanced site statistics.
Weebly’s marketing tools are far from advanced, but they should be sufficient for most sites. All plans include access to SEO tools, lead capture facilities, and an integrated Instagram feed, but you’ll need to pay for pop-up notifications.
The e-commerce focussed Performace plan includes advanced e-commerce insights too.
With Square, Inc—one of the world’s leading e-payment firms—as its parent company, it’s no wonder Weebly has a strong focus on e-commerce. The Performance plan is the most comprehensive, but all Weebly’s plans include a long list of e-commerce features.
These are all integrated with the Weebly website builder and many are powered by Square. For example, Square enables Weebly users to implement secure mobile payments, manage inventory, arrange in-store pick up, and more. Weebly users can even sell and accept Square gift cards.
Interface and in use
Before you start with Weebly, you need to sign up to Square. It’s a quick process and all you need to provide is your email address, name, password, and location. After sign-up, you’re automatically directed to a pop-up that gives you the option to create a regular website or an online store.
We selected the option to build a standard site and were then asked to select a theme. After reviewing the theme to ensure it’s relevant to your product or service, you can select Start Editing, and move forward with the set-up process.
Finally, choose a domain name. This can either be a new domain or an existing one you’d like to migrate over to Weebly. A useful pop-up gives you the option to consult set-up-related FAQs like Add an Element or Styling Your Site, but it’s very easy to navigate the website builder independently.
The drag and drop functionality is incredibly intuitive and within a few clicks, we had edited our title page and added a new header image.
Away from the website builder, the Settings tab gives you instant access to other site features like SEO management, the App store, and general formatting. We liked the fact that all of these key functions were located in one place.
Weebly provides users with a comprehensive support structure, but the level of support you receive does improve the more you pay for your subscription. All users can access Weebly’s dedicated support site, which includes an impressive list of FAQs organized by category and a handy search bar to find what you’re looking for quickly.
If you don’t find an answer to your query in the support site, there is a community page with more specific questions and answers where you can find a resolution to your issue. Failing that, you can always contact Weebly directly.
All users can contact the Weebly team via email or instant chat (only available during business hours—9am to 9pm EST Monday to Friday and 11am to 8pm EST Saturday and Sunday), but you’ll need to commit to the Profesional or Performance plan to access direct phone support. Performance plan users also benefit from priority assistance.
All of Weebly’s plans, paid or otherwise, includes an SSL certificate for your website. This extra layer of security enables users to browse your site over a 128-bit encrypted connection—a small padlock in the address bar of your site shows the certificate is active.
Weebly’s Professional and Performance plans also include password protection. This clever feature keeps certain parts of your website hidden so visitors can’t access them without authority.
Weebly’s biggest competitor is Wix. Both platforms include a website builder but Weebly’s is probably best for new users. However, if you do require more advanced features, like professional SEO tools, Wix has more to offer. In terms of templates, Weebly has around 40 pre-designed themes, while Wix’s options are in the hundreds.
Weebly’s low number of themes may be slightly limiting for users unfamiliar with website building who value a theme-based design process. That said, both Wix and Weebly are equally easy to use and people accustomed to the drag-and-drop approach will find building a site on Weebly very straightforward.
Another rival in the website building arena is Squarespace. It’s website creation tool is more flexible than Weebly’s but again, not as easy to operate. In terms of e-commerce features, both providers are closely matched. However, Weebly edges forward with some useful extras including an automatic tax calculator for US customers and, of course, a direct link to the mobile payment giant Square.
We would highly recommend Weebly to start up e-commerce businesses. With outstanding e-commerce features built into the website creator and a direct connection to the mobile payment giant Square, Weebly is a one-stop-shop for e-commerce companies.
For other users, it depends on what you want. If you need an easy way to create a website and host it online then Weebly is a good option. However, if you are more concerned with finding a web hosting service with advanced features like DDoS protection, then you might be better off looking elsewhere.
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