Netfirms Review: 7 Pros & 5 Cons, Is It a Good Option For You?

“Netfirms” is a name that might sound out of date in the modern climate, but don’t let that fool you.

Netfirms was founded way back in 1998, making it one of the oldest hosting companies around.

And because Netfirms has been around since 1998, it’s clear that it’s got something special to have lasted so long.

Not to mention, Netfirms can claim to power over 1.2 MILLION sites, which puts it in the same tier as other famous hosting companies.

So, does this mean Netfirms is a good option for you? Or is it an outdated relic that’s somehow managed to survive?

I’ll be answering those questions, and more, in this article.

Let’s start with the high points of using Netfirms:

Pros of using Netfirms

Pro #1: Good performance

I wouldn’t say Netfirms has TOP-tier performance, even among shared web hosts. But, it does have overall pretty good performance nonetheless.

Netfirms actually guarantees 99.9% uptime on all hosting plans, which is pretty common among hosts. In real life, though, 99.9% uptime isn’t that great:

netfirms uptime

Because in real life, that’s about 43 minutes of downtime over the course of a month.

Luckily for us, the 99.9% is just a guarantee—and Netfirms typically doesn’t even go that low.

Uptime with Netfirms is still on the higher side of average, and keeps the solid performance up consistently over time.

Additionally, while response times are pretty fast overall.

So the ultimate result is, if not the best performance ever, performance that is still pretty good.

Pro #2: Both web hosting and website builder plans

Netfirms has web hosting plans:

netfirms hosting

And Netfirms has website builder plans:

netfirms site builder

Although these are of course separate products, there is some overlap:

The website builder plans come with hosting included.

However, as the website builder is so affordable (more on that later), it provides a viable alternative to the web hosting package for some people.

Pro #3: Web hosting plans have decent prices

Let me be clear: OVERALL, the prices for Netfirms web hosting plans are pretty standard.

They’re not really on the lower-end, or on the higher end, but very much the median.

So why did I say they’re decent?

The thing I like more about the prices are that they’re good at even a one-year time commitment:

netfirms web hosting prices

If you look closely, you’ll see that the difference between one and two years of services is not so huge when broken down per-month.

Of course, you CAN get a much lower price (proportionately speaking) by committing to three years. So there’s still a discount as a “reward” for commitment.

But many hosting companies have single-year prices that are noticeably higher than for two years.

The result is that many people are attracted by the low prices advertised by a hosting company, but are disappointed when they find out that they’d have to commit too long.

So keeping the price low on that first year is great for businesses that don’t want to cough up too much up-front, and who are unsure about using Netfirms for a longer period of time.

Though, it’s worth noting that these plans will still renew at a higher cost after the first term expires.

Pro #4: Web hosting plans have good features

Of course, we can’t fully evaluate the pricing by the numbers alone. So let’s dive into the features.

The first thing to note is that, overall there isn’t too much of a difference between the features in the three tiers:

netfirms- web hosting features

As you can see, the main difference relevant to most users is in the number of sites allowed. But even then, the second tier also allows unlimited sites.

The other major differences are in the number of databases and FTP (file transfer protocol) logins permitted.

On a more minor note, the third tier alone has premium support.

But that’s about as far as the differences between the tiers go.

Additionally, all the web hosting plans have these features:

netfirms web hosting features2

There’s some overlap with what I already showed you, but the key points here are the marketing tools and ecommerce solutions.

Note that the website builder is not actually included for free—it’s an error on the website.

Pro #5: Site builder prices are VERY good

The web hosting prices were good for having low prices on the first year, but are otherwise normal.

Meanwhile, the prices for the website builder are much more impressive:

netfirms site builder prices

As you can see, there are no discounts for longer time commitments.

Some will find this frustrating, but the truth is, the prices are so low to begin with that I’d find it hard to complain.

Anyway, the price range here for these plans is very low compared to other website builder plans.

For example: Wix is one of the most popular website builders around, and it starts at $13 a month. Ecommerce features on Wix start at $23 a month.

Meanwhile, Squarespace starts at $12 a month with ecommerce starting at $18 a month. Weebly starts at $6 a month.

So as you can see, Netfirms is significantly cheaper than its biggest competitors.

That, of course, leads us to the next question: are the features actually decent for those prices? Surely they’d be lacking, for the costs to be so low?

Well…

Pro #6: Site builder features are solid, especially considering price

For an overview, let’s take a look at the basic features allotted to the three website builder plans:

netfirms site builder features

As you’d expect, the first tier is a bit limited, but the second tier offers unlimited pages and a few other useful tools. The third tier is the most fully featured, obviously.

But it’s worth noting that ALL tiers, including the first one, have these features:

netfirms site builder features2

This is more impressive, particularly in the marketing department:

Integrations with Facebook and social media, plus contact management and lead capture forms, are great for all tiers, but make the first couple tiers especially good for their price.

Plus, the ability to customize layouts—not just colors and fonts—is great to have available at the entry level, which may typically be more limited in what it can do.

Perhaps most importantly, the ecommerce features add-up.

This is essential because competing site builders typically have multiple e-commerce enabled plans. Meaning the features and capabilities scale up too.

Netfirms only has ONE ecommerce-enabled plan, so the more features it can include, the better it can keep up.

So here are those ecommerce features:

netfirms site builder features3

Most of these are basic.

By this I mean, the first tier of just about any ecommerce website builder (on Wix, Shopify, BigCommerce, etc) would allow digital product sales, inventory and tax management.

The same goes for accepting most cards and payment processors (like PayPal or Stripe).

However, allowing coupons and discounts is more unique. Some platforms reserve one or even both of these features to their second tiers.

Shipping integrations are also a feature necessary to keep up with the site builder platforms that focus on ecommerce.

And when you factor into all this the fact that every tier also gets marketing features, I’d say that the third tier is indeed pretty robust.

I wouldn’t say that it’s a replacement for the high-end store builders, but more on that later.

Pro #7: Customer support is overall good

As you can see from the live chat, customer support representatives respond quickly and effectively:

netfirms chat

Representatives can also be contacted by phone, but you get the idea:

As far as talking to actual customer support agents goes, things are solid.

There are some issues I have with the knowledge base, but I’ll get to them later.

For now though, suffice it to say that flaws aside, the knowledge base still has useful information and is a viable resource.

So with that combined with representatives, Netfirms overall has pretty good customer support, even if it’s nothing to write home about.

Cons of using Netfirms

Con #1: Hosting aside from regular web hosting is limited

Basically, Netfirms only offers shared web hosting packages.

If you just care about web hosting, then great! Netfirms’ shared web hosting packages are pretty solid, as I talked about.

But if you want a more advanced form of hosting, like cloud, VPS (virtual private server), or dedicated hosting, you’re out of luck with Netfirms.

Con #2: Knowledge base can be clunky, and website info is wrong

While the knowledge base is not terrible, it does have some flaws that affect its usability.

It’s mainly because of how the topics are categorized. Take a look again at these support categories:

netfirms knowledge base1

Seems normal, right?

And when you click on a category, you’ll usually find that it’s pretty normal, with a list of support articles and additional sub-categories:

netfirms knowledge base

But the reason I say you’ll “usually” find it’s normal, is sometimes the categories don’t work.

If you click the second category, “Advanced hosting,” for example:

netfirms knowledge base

Most of them work, however.

Also, some people may not like the formatting of the topic articles: it’s like a cross between a search result and a typical knowledge base with browsing.

Sometimes less immediately relevant articles feature most prominently, and seem to conflict with the general hierarchy of a topic category. So it’s sometimes not so great for browsing.

With that being said, the knowledge base is still overall useful.

As for the website…I don’t think there’s much I need to say.

Take a look at this simple live chat interaction one more time:

netfirms chat

Listing the website builder as free and included with hosting plans is a MAJOR mistake.

People may choose to buy hosting plans because of this: it’s a powerful incentive to get a hosting package, especially when the company at hand specializes in website builders enough to offer them as separate products.

Con #3: First website builder plan lacks analytics

I understand that it may sound nitpicky—after all, it’s just one feature, and I already said that the first tier overall still has good features.

That’s generally, true, but here’s why I’m pointing out analytics in particular:

Typically, you can get at least basic website analytics on the first tier of just about any platform.

A lot of companies offer it in their entry-level web hosting packages, and just about all website builder companies offer it in their first tiers.

To be fair, second or third tiers of hosting or website builder plans will usually offer MORE ADVANCED analytics than a first tier.

And so it’s understandable that Netfirms’ analytics is “comprehensive” and starts at the second tier.

But there should still be something more basic for the first tier, AT LEAST—especially because the other great features are made less valuable without a basic ability to understand your traffic.

Con #4: Not as well-equipped for those with advanced business needs

I stand by my earlier take on Netfirms’ ecommerce plan: it’s overall pretty good and can keep up with the plans of larger competitors.

However, I’d like to emphasize here that it’s very good for the PRICE specifically. And it can keep up with competitors, but more so on rival entry-level ecommerce plans.

But businesses with more complex ecommerce needs should still look outside of Netfirms.

Some competitors offer more advanced shipping integrations and features, including special discounts.

Dropshipping in particular is better suited for an online store builder like Shopify or BigCommerce.

Additionally, some rival platforms offer better built-in marketing features, or have a wide collection of integrations available for boosting features via third parties.

While it’s true that Netfirms’ marketing tools are great for the price, they’re not advanced enough for more advanced needs.

Con #5: Default security measures are unclear

About the best you can find from Netfirms’ site is a few things about how sites are protected with SSL (which is good, but basic and nearly universal).

You can also click on their “privacy” section, which directs you to the privacy page of the company that owns Netfirms—Endurance International Group (EIG).

Thankfully, EIG outlines the security practices it enforces for its data centers, and it looks solid:

netfirms security

And there’s some elaboration on how EIG makes sure its subsidiary companies (like Netfirms, Bluehost, HostGator, etc) are up to industry standards:

netfirms-security1

So that all seems okay.

But to be honest, I’d like to hear more on Netfirms specifically. Where are the data centers that Netfirms operates with? What’s the security like there?

What digital infrastructure does Netfirms have set up to protect its customers specifically?

But aside from the lack of details, one last concern is that Netfirms could be more vulnerable because it’s owned by a conglomerate.

EIG has been known to consolidate its subsidiaries not just on paper, but literally: cramming multiple hosts into big data centers.

This became most apparent as a problem in 2013, when a major outage took down millions of sites across four major hosting companies—because of ONE problem in ONE EIG data center.

The good news is that the outages that made EIG infamous among some observers appear to have mostly gone away.

The bulk of them happened in 2013-2014, and with nothing notable happening in the last 6 years, it would appear EIG (and by extension, its subsidiaries) is largely more trustworthy now than before.

Do we recommend Netfirms?

So, the big question: with all the pros and cons above taken into account, does Netfirms get our recommendation?

I’d say yes, but it’s a very specific yes:

If you want more hosting options, or imagine eventually scaling up into VPS or cloud hosting, then Netfirms isn’t for you.

And if you have a more complex site or online business in general, Netfirms’ shared hosting plans and website builder plans likely won’t give you the full power you need.

BUT:

If you are looking for web hosting that provides good value for the price, Netfirms is solid. And if you want a website builder for a smaller site/business, Netfirms provides even better value.

Or in short: if you’re looking for smaller and more affordable web solutions, Netfirms has you covered.

Submit review

Submit a short but detailed review and get FREE link to your website.

Review Title

Ratings

Uptime

Performance

Value for money

Customer Service

 

 

Overall Rating

Upload image (Optional)