Wix is undisputed as a champion of website building. Anyone looking for an easy website builder will undoubtedly find Wix in the results.
So what’s the deal with Wix? Founded in 2006, Wix has grown to serve more than 110 million people, with half of that coming from the last four years alone. Wix is especially famous for its free website building plan, easily one of the best free site builders around.
Is it all just hype? Or maybe, people just care about the free website builder and the actual premium services aren’t that good, huh? Or maybe Wix is genuinely popular, but its customers don’t know true quality?
Everyone has reasons to be skeptical of a popular software, particularly one that brands itself as a “free ____” (be it free site builder, free VPN, free anti-virus, and so on).
Well, I’ve been testing Wix formally for a few months and using it on and off for years. I’ve watched it grow and I’ve grown in my expertise at the same time. And now, I would like to give an intimate review of how Wix stands as a website building service in 2018.
I think we should start with the positives…the things that have probably made Wix so popular.
First off: it’s very well-built. It combines features with ease of use, so it will allow users a good deal of control over their site’s design and content without making things too complex. Website builders are supposed to be easy to use, but Wix is in a class of its own.
A second pro: Wix has a free plan. This will matter to people differently, but as far as free website building goes, Wix’s site builder is definitely one of the best free builders—certainly the most well-featured.
In addition, uptime and response times are very good with Wix, at least by my measurements.
It sounds like a short list, but these things are pretty essential. Here’s a one-sentence summary: Wix is very good at what it aims to do.
Well, if Wix is good at what it aims to do…how can there be a cons list?
Because people don’t always understand if they need what Wix is aiming for. Wix is excellent at combining features and customization with usability. However, it’s possible people don’t need as much usability as they assume.
For example, it might not be too difficult for some individuals and small businesses to acquire, on their own: hosting, domains, and then use WordPress to manage their site’s content (keep in mind that WordPress is free, and can offer users high levels of control as well).
The main criticism you’ll hear of Wix isn’t unique to Wix, but something any website builder will entail. This is that you lose a degree of control.
Sure, it’s easy to manage what’s literally on your website, in terms of design and content, but you cede some control of the hosting process to Wix. In fact, you pretty much let Wix manage everything for you except for the building itself—and even that, they now have an AI tool for!
So the loss of some control over the siting process is an ironic drawback.
Related to this is the price. Many people can accomplish their projects by going to a more traditional hosting route. It can be more complicated (though of course, that depends on what you’re doing) but may be cheaper.
Wix used to have a cheaper first tier premium plan that could kind of do the trick—at least for individuals with light site-building needs. They’ve since gotten rid of it and their plans may now be a bit pricey for those who can take care of site-building in other ways.
Of course, for those who just need that easy, one-stop-shop, Wix is excellent.
Aside from that, my other issues with Wix less serious. One of them is the lack of live chat (though customer support is still overall solid).
The other would be a lack of transparency over security. This doesn’t mean Wix isn’t secure, but I would like to know more about their protocols.
In sum, I’ll stand by what I said about Wix being good at its goals: the serious downsides apply if you don’t really need the degree of usability and efficiency that is Wix’s main selling point.
Pricing and Features
Pricing and the features that come with x prices are always important. For Wix, this is especially the case, considering it’s operating on a freemium model.
A freemium model basically means there is a free option among paid options, with the free option presumably supplying a good enough taste of the service and the paid options being significantly better than the free service—in other words, the “full” experience.
Although Wix certainly delivers on quality, there can be little doubt its free version has contributed to its popularity. So, let’s start with that.
The free version is very well-featured. As a matter of fact, it’s probably the most well-featured free website builder out there, with the exception of Weebly. And even then, I would still give Wix the top spot.
While the free version has a ton of stuff—I mean, it’s basically a full suite—it can only be connected to the Wix subdomain and contains Wix ads, in addition to some other storage limitations.
And of course, if you want to truly build a website, you’ll need to invest in premium plans. Wix has two types: Website and Business & eCommerce plans.
A quick note on these: you can try them for 14 days risk-free. It’s not the usual 30 days, but it should be enough time to get a feel for the service.
Anyway: Website plans start at $11 a month with an additional two tiers. As recently as a few months ago, there were 4 plans with the first starting at $5. Though it was more basic, the first tier still allowed you to connect a domain, which is the essential bit.
Now things start with “Combo,” which gives you 2GB of bandwidth, 3GB of storage, the domain, the removal of Wix ads, and a free domain for a year if you don’t already have one, plus 30 minutes of video max.
The next two Website tiers increase storage to 10 and 20GB respectively and grant unlimited bandwidth along with increased video hours. They also add ad vouchers, and a site booster and form builder app. The last tier has some email campaign functionality (limit of 10 a month) and some email support, plus priority customer support status.
There are three Business & eCommerce plans. As you’d expect, the gist is that they take online payments, grant unlimited bandwidth, have higher amounts of storage (20GB to 50GB), have more video hours, and thankfully they are commission-free as well.
The higher tiers include more email campaigns and email support. They also all include Google Analytics and some ad vouchers.
Now, for the actual website builder application itself: it’s well-loaded.
As you can see, it’s essentially a drag and drops editor as most website builders nowadays are. Don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure Wix and Weebly helped popularize this format.
Anyway, you can edit basically anything on your site. Wix has a large selection of templates to choose from, or you can create a site without a template, or you can have Wix auto-generate a site.
Auto-generating a site might be good for hobbyists or anyone who just wants to experiment, but for anyone looking to make a more serious site, you can rest assured that there’s a solid selection and that you can edit them extensively.
As far as the quality of themes goes, it’s, of course, subjective, but to me, they seem fairly substantial. It’s common for free themes to be somewhat similar, and Wix does have its share of similar-looking themes, but there are enough that you’re still left with a great selection.
The builder also has a blog tool that works pretty well.
As you can see, creating a blog post is about as straightforward as anything else. Every time you want to add an element to the page, you’ll be confronted with a ton of choices.
You can also edit code directly by activating a developer mode, view your edit history, edit how you view the builder application, and so on and so on. You can also install applications from Wix’s app store, and you can do it right in the site builder.
You can probably get the idea from here. I can’t list all the things you can do, because it’s too numerous. Rest assured—if you can think of it, you can do it.
That’s not too much of an exaggeration by the way. I first used Wix years ago as a younger man, and over the years I’ve seen the website builder get more and more complicated (not in a bad way).
As a matter of fact, there have been several tools I’ve noticed recently because I remember wishing Wix had them two years ago, or five years ago.
So frankly, you won’t have to worry about features with Wix. The only issue I can see is with resource allocation—similar or lower prices with some popular hosting companies allow for more storage, for example.
The thing to remember here is that while Wix does technically provide hosting, it’s mainly selling you the website building experience. And while hosting companies typically offer website building, they are mainly selling the hosting—so it’s not too unreasonable that Wix’s storage limits might be a little lower than expected.
Besides, the specs are still in the range of popular hosting options. I just wish Wix still had a cheaper first tier—aside from that, it’s clearly a fantastic website builder for pretty solid prices.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is always important, and I think I can confidently say that ease of use sections are typically the most straightforward ones I write in reviews. This is because many companies have by now mastered friendly user interfaces.
Well, Wix is so easy to use that I actually find it a little less straightforward to talk about. Because where can I even start?
Here’s one item: the thing that’s very handy about Wix’s building software is that it centralizes pretty much everything you need. You won’t need to leave the builder application much to do things, as basically everything you’d want to do can be done by clicking a menu on the left or right.
The earlier images are a good example: you can quickly add just about anything, be it a blog post, a piece of media of any kind, or even an app, and all from the menu on the left.
The one on the right deals with sizing, spacing, duplicating and deleting and rotating elements, and related functions. It can be moved as you work.
You can also access your account and website settings within the website builder. This is all so extensive that the application itself feels like a big house that has everything you need to stay in for weeks without leaving.
The only complaint I have is that at times the builder feels a little overburdened with features. If you’re a complete beginner, it’s difficult to know where to start and there are so many symbols and shapes spread across the page it might be a tad overwhelming.
Ultimately, this is just the inevitable byproduct of having a lot of control over your site’s appearance. I can’t really imagine an easier way of giving user control over their site—for now, this is likely the best we’ll get.
Of course, Wix’s ease of use is not limited to the site builder, even if it’s the main attraction.
Wix is very easy to use for the actual creation process. As mentioned, you have the option of letting Wix auto-generate a site for you, though I don’t know how seriously I recommend that.
Other than that, things are still pretty straightforward: you can view all the sites you’ve created from one dashboard, and quick drop-down menus let you access more settings (including those for email hosting and campaigns, billing, and vouchers, etc).
Yes, ease of use is common nowadays, but few companies can beat Wix at it.
Customer support is pretty essential, and if your product is an easy to use tool for creating things online, you’d better believe you’ll need some customer support no matter how easy to use you are.
So what does Wix offer in this regard? Wix has a help center that functions as a knowledge base. It’s not too bad.
It’s not bad. I think Wix is a straightforward enough service that it doesn’t need a huge litany of reading material or documentation. A little more would be nice, but it’s definitely good enough for most things.
The thing that I find unfortunate is Wix only has phone and ticket support. It should be good enough to get your problems solved, but I think a lot of people prefer live chat (myself included), and the fact that you can’t get it even with a top-tier account is a bit sad.
Nonetheless, the phone and ticket support are pretty solid—I’ve never had a truly complicated problem to be honest, but when I’ve interacted with representatives they’ve been helpful and friendly.
One last thing: this isn’t formally part of Wix’s customer support, but it’s worth noting that Wix’s large community of users are a resource in their own right. The community, whether on Wix’s blog and forums or on outside sites, is full of people with a ton of problems and solutions.
Chances are you can find answers from fellow users as easily as you can on Wix’s help center.
So to put it simply, Wix has decent customer support, but it’s nothing phenomenal. Live chat is unfortunately missing and the knowledge base could be a little more in-depth, but Wix still has almost everything you need and a solid community of users to help you out.
Security and Reliability
Here’s the final measure for Wix: is it secure, and is it reliable in its performance?
Let’s take the first point. Because Wix basically handles everything about your website for you, it’s good to have high expectations about their security protocols. Except, there’s one problem.
I can’t really find any official information about them. That’s not to say that Wix doesn’t have security…but the lack of transparency is a little unfortunate and does make me skeptical. Still, there are a couple of things I fished out.
Wix is PCI-compliant, but that’s pretty standard.
Another thing I was able to find after looking around a bit was Wix’s Whois domain privacy option: Wix lets users choose between keeping their domain registration details public or private when either buying a domain from Wix or transferring one, which is good to have.
Aside from those two, Wix has some protocols to make sure that eCommerce is safe, and that your purchase of a Wix plan is safe, and there are apps you can install on Wix’s store to make your store even more secure (and thus appealing) to customers.
Wix also describes the employment of full-time security experts and the use of “advanced security tools,” plus regular internal audits to maintain the ISO/PCI certifications. I believe them, but I wish there was more information, and that it was more accessible—I found this in their support pages.
And then that’s about it. Sorry, folks. How about the performance though?
Here’s the average Uptime:
- May 2019: 99.91%
- April 2019: 99.93%
- March 2019: 99.99%
- February 2019: 100%
- January 2019: 99.96%
- December 2018: 100%
- November 2018: 100%
- October 2018: 99.96%
- September 2018: 100%
- August 2018: 100%
Here’s the average Response Time:
- May 2019: 420 ms
- April 2019: 314 ms
- March 2019: 315 ms
- February 2019: 299 ms
- January 2019: 307 ms
- December 2018: 329 ms
- November 2018: 302 ms
- October 2018: 351 ms
- September 2018: 386 ms
- August 2018: 314 ms
Wix Uptime Score: Last 10 months, detailed data you can see here.
As you can see, Wix has both excellent uptime and good response times. This is very good news, as Wix is first and foremost a site builder, not a hosting company: it means they haven’t neglected the essentials.
Nonetheless, there is a slight disclaimer I’d like to add here. Because Wix basically handles everything in this process, and because of the scripts Wix sites usually run on, they technically respond quickly. However, flashy Wix sites may still take a little longer to load for visitors.
Aside from that slight discrepancy between load time and response time, I’d say I’m pretty impressed by Wix’s performance, even if I’m iffy about their security.
Conclusion: Do I Recommend Wix?
After all that information, let’s take a step back and review where we stand with Wix.
Wix is not cheap, but it’s not too expensive if you really need what Wix is offering. I think the main downsides of Wix apply if you mistakenly go with Wix, and realize you didn’t really need that degree of user-friendliness.
To be sure, Wix is genuinely excellent at what it’s supposed to be: an easy, feature-rich, website builder. It is all those things and more, with great uptime and overall consistent performance, and not-bad customer support.
If you’re sure you need an easy, efficient way of building a website, and you don’t mind spending a little extra, Wix is a good way to go.
If you want an easy site building experience, but you can afford to take some extra steps and don’t mind doing so to reduce the cost, you have viable alternatives in the form of general hosting.
I’ll say that because Wix is successful for its goals, I recommend Wix.
And if you’re still unsure whether you and Wix would be a good fix, you can always try them risk-free for a couple of weeks!