You have probably heard of Web.com before—it is a company that often needs very little introduction due to the huge level of brand recognition it has (but we’ll do it anyways).
Web.com has been around for as long as the internet itself. The Web.com Group also owns other brands such as 1ShoppingCart, Register.com, and Network Solutions. It is a very large company based out of the US that specializes in everything web-based, from domain registration to website hosting.
Marketing itself as a one-stop shop for anything related to websites and anything that goes with them, you would think that Web.com provides a very high service level and that any customer would be safe going with them.
It is important not to be complacent, though; just because a company has a good brand identity and looks decent on the surface does not automatically make them a worthy contender.
It is important to do your research before settling on even the best hosting company.
Thankfully, we have done this research for you and laid out our findings in a “pros” and “cons” format. If you are looking for an entry-level hosting solution (unfortunately, Web.com does not offer anything too advanced) then carry on reading to decide for yourself whether they are any good for you.
What’s Unique About Web.com?
Web.com has a huge focus on offline advertising. Unlike most hosting companies that exclusively advertise online, Web.com plows huge sums of money into channels such as television, billboards (Web.com is known for its bus stop ads in Atlanta) and sponsorships such as their sponsorship of the 2nd-tier professional US golf league.
They certainly have the cash to splash… so the company must be doing something right.
What We Love About Web.com
These are the things that we liked.
Fairly Cheap Introductory Offer
Web.com offers a cheap introductory offer. For only $5.95, you can take Web.com’s lowest, basic plan for a spin and it even includes a free, custom domain name.
The catch here, however, is that the offer only lasts for the first billing cycle. Once that billing cycle is up, you are switched to the regular pricing—we are going to explore this in more detail later.
This $5.95 offer is a good way to test the Web.com waters and figure out whether or not the plan is a good fit for your needs.
30-Day Money Back Guarantee Available
Web.com, like most of the hosting industry, offers a standard 30-day money back guarantee on all its plans. This allows you to get a feel for Web.com’s hosting package and decide whether it is right for you.
If it isn’t, you can contact customer support and get a refund… in theory (more on this later). There are some deductions that can be made, too…
- The cost of your “free” domain name (currently $38.00);
- Any applicable setup fees; and
- Any applicable admin fees.
These are standard industry terms.
Also, 30 days is quite low; some hosting companies offer as many as 60 to 90 days on their money back guarantees.
As you may expect from such a large company, Web.com offers support even over the phone. Advisors are available through their telephone line, 1-800-862-8921, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
While it is great that Web.com offers 24/7 phone support, their other support channels (or lack of) leave much to be desired.
At the time of writing, for example, Web.com didn’t even offer a live chat support line. If you prefer over-the-phone support, then it’s a match.
Website Builder Available
Web.com has a basic website builder that can be used on all shared hosting plans. It is a simple and efficient way for small businesses to build a modern, responsive website in as little as a few hours or less.
Its drag-and-drop functionality requires very little skill or effort (and no prior technical knowledge) to use.
Our only criticism would be that your choice of pre-built themes is rather limited. You are forced to choose a “category” for your business and then select a pre-made theme based on that; you cannot freely pick and choose from a big list.
Things We Didn’t Like About Web.com
There were plenty of things that we didn’t like.
Plans Renew at Ridiculously High Prices
This is a classic hosting industry trick—you will be drawn in by and sign up at a low introductory offer. You will pay this price for your first billing cycle—be it 12, 24, 36 or more months—and then at the end of it, your plan will renew.
More often than not, however, the price you pay at renewal will be more expensive than the price you initially paid. Massively more expensive.
That is because the price for your first billing cycle was an “introductory price” and unless you know that your plan is going to renew at a higher price, you will be in for a big shock.
How much more you pay will depend on your host. Some hosts will charge 50% more whereas some will double, triple, or quadruple the price. Some hosts, on the other hand, charge you the same price for life.
This is why it is important to always check the fine print when signing up to a hosting company.
Web.com, unfortunately, utilizes this price trick. Their prices of $5.95, $7.95, and $9.95 for their three plans are introductory prices and these will more than double at renewal.
We will cover this in depth later.
Few Backend Features
If you are wanting to run a basic site through Web.com then that’s fine, you will have no problems. If, however, you want to be able to tweak your site’s niceties and really run something that’s a bit more advanced then you are going to have some trouble.
Web.com’s backend is very limited and features very few things. You can make very basic tweaks, but that’s about it.
Also, while we mentioned their free website builder earlier, the only thing that’s good about it is that it is free and has drag-and-drop functionality. That being said, the drag-and-drop functionality is very buggy and doesn’t really work. Elements move at their own free will, things don’t go where you place them, and you are limited to certain page positions for certain elements.
All in all, it’s just not very good and quite restrictive.
Lots of Annoying Upsells
Seemingly a rite of passage for all bad hosting companies are upsells, and Web.com does not shy away from these.
At every single opportunity, Web.com will bombard you with upsells. Browsing their site? Upsells. Speaking to customer support? Upsells. At the checkout process? Upsells.
There are many different upsells, so many that we are starting to wonder exactly what is included with Web.com’s hosting plans. Not very much, it would seem—SSL certificates, SEO services, security features, mobile responsiveness (yes, they add responsive features as an upsell!) will all cost you extra.
30-Day Money Back Guarantee is Difficult to Get
Although Web.com advertises a money back guarantee, we have read several reports and reviews by customers stating that it is nigh impossible to get due to tricky Terms & Conditions and bad customer support.
4-Week Billing Period
Web.com bills you every four weeks (or 28 days) instead of monthly. This means that the only time you will be getting a full month’s worth of hosting is in the month of February. In months with 31 days, you will be losing 3 days’ worth of hosting and in months with 30 days, you will be losing 2 days’ worth.
That means in a given year, you will be losing out on 29 days’ worth of hosting.
It’s all a bit ridiculous and is just a part of the company’s overarching money-grabbing ploy. Stupid move.
Stupidly Expensive Domain Renewal Pricing
Speaking of stupid…
A .com domain name, on average, costs about $10 give or take. Hosting companies are notorious for charging extra money on top when they sell domain names or provide a “free” one and then charge for it after 12 months.
Most of the time, hosting companies will charge $15-20 for a domain name—that’s a cool $5-10 in pure profit.
Web.com, however, really takes the p*ss with their domain price tag of $38.00. That’s a whole $28 more expensive than the industry average price of $10. There is no way to justify this pure greed.
So that “free” domain name that you got will cost you $38 per year (subject to the price increasing as per Web.com’s T&Cs) after your first year.
Domain Privacy Costs $2 Per Month Extra
If the price of your domain wasn’t enough already, you need to add on an extra $2 per month for domain name privacy, something that should be provided for free at that $38 price tag.
Web.com has three different plans available—Essential Hosting, Professional Hosting, and Premium Hosting.
All these plans are aimed at small businesses (plans are sold under the umbrella of “Small Business Website Hosting”) and come with different features at the different price levels.
Their basic “Essential Hosting” plan is aimed at the smallest of small business owners who are wanting to host basic websites. These are websites that aren’t feature-heavy and don’t have a whole lot of different elements such as videos, HD images, and downloadable resources.
Essential Hosting includes no limits on data transfer, 300 GB in disk space, 25 FTP accounts and 100 email accounts.
Essential Hosting will cost you $5.95 for the first year, renewing at $12.95 thereafter ($155.40 per year). Your only option is to subscribe for 12 months.
This mid-range plan is good for small-to-medium sized small business sites that feature a little more than a few pages and a blog.
Professional Hosting includes no limits on data transfer, 500 GB in disk space, 50 FTP accounts and 500 email accounts.
Professional Hosting will cost $7.95 for the first year, renewing at $18.95 thereafter ($227.40 per year). Your only option is to subscribe for 12 months.
Finally, we have Premium Hosting.
This is the most expensive plan with as many features as you are going to get with Web.com. This plan is targeted towards small-to-medium sized websites that want to run resource-intensive tasks or host multiple websites on one plan.
Premium Hosting includes no limits on data transfer and unlimited resources (disk space, FTP accounts) alongside 1,000 email addresses.
Premium Hosting will cost you $9.95 for the first year, renewing at $36.95 thereafter ($443.4 per year). Your only option is to subscribe for 12 months.
Web.com Final Thoughts
It is safe to say that we don’t recommend Web.com at all.
For what you’re getting, you are being ripped off at their stupidly high prices at renewal. $36.95 per month for their top-level hosting plan with “unlimited” (but not truly unlimited because you are subject to fair usage terms) resources may sound good, but you can get a lot better for a lot less money with other hosts.
Also, that’s not to mention all the other additional costs they throw on top. $2 for domain protection, $38 for the domain name itself if you opt for their “free” domain offer, 4-week billing periods, attempts to nickel and dime you at every turn with their upsells…
Basically, the value simply isn’t there and Web.com seems to make a lot of money from people who don’t know what they’re getting themselves into.