Web.com is a hidden giant in hosting. As far as popular, “household” names go, I don’t know if Web makes the list.
But Web.com has over 3 million subscribers, which automatically puts it in the major leagues, and its revenue in 2017 was over a billion dollars. “Wow” is right.
Aside from simply being huge, it was founded in 1999—so it’s also old, having been around nearly two decades.
Okay—what on earth is Web.com doing to be so quietly popular?
A lot, of course…but also, surprisingly little. I’ve been using Web.com for a little while now and I’ve come to realize a thing or two about it that I’d like to tell you about. Keep reading, and we’ll get into the details!
I’ll kick us off here with some positive aspects of Web.com.
Web.com is simple in its pricing plans—namely because there are only three and they’re all shared hosting. It’s a downside for some (more on that in a second) but a welcome set of choices for others.
Moreover, while these plans aren’t the cheapest, they’re on the more affordable side. In fact, you largely rest assured that a Web.com plan will be on the more affordable side (if you’re a small business).
Web.com also has decent resources allocated to its hosting plans, including the entry-level plan (mainly in terms of disk space and email-boxes). Plus, Web.com is very easy to use and integrates well with WordPress and other Content Management Systems (CMSs).
Finally, Web’s phone support is decent even if the rest of its customer support isn’t noteworthy, and Web has very solid performance (including uptime).
All of that is good, but I’m about to introduce something that will permeate the rest of this review: the negatives. Unfortunately, Web.com has a lot of things that are unfavorable to match its good points.
For those pricing plans I mentioned earlier, you can probably guess the simplicity is also a bit restrictive. Any person or business with more complex hosting needs (such as dedicated hosting, VPS hosting, etc) can pretty much forget about Web.com.
While the pricing is on the lower side, it’s not that cheap. Some other companies offer lower starting prices and similar renewal prices, or lower versions of both, and with more features to boot.
Even though the resource allocation is good, some additional features might make the prices a little more worth it.
For customer support, the live chat is iffy and the knowledge base can be at times shallow. Usually, both of these options will get the job done but could use some improvement because of both lag behind the competition.
And last but not least, Web.com has almost nothing to say about its security protocols. You can pretty much only infer, and that’s not good for something as important as security.
So there you go a healthy set of pros and an unfortunately long list of cons. To get a clearer idea of where Web.com really stands in your situation, you might want a few more details. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!
Pricing and Features
Let’s jump into the stuff that really matters first: the price, and what you get for it.
Web.com reaches both a con and a pro right off the bat, because it only has three hosting plans. The bad news: yeah, you don’t have a ton of options. Specifically, you don’t have a ton of super high quality or premium hosting options: you can get good shared hosting, and that’s it.
The good news: Web.com is pretty affordable. Now, if you’re an individual who’s more interested in having a website for a hobby or personal reasons, or even a very minor freelance site, Web.com’s starting prices are slightly higher than average.
The entry price is a dollar or two higher than normal, for the first year. However, the second and third tiers are much better priced and are in fact lower than typical second and third-tier shared hosting plans.
The unfortunate thing is that while these first-year prices are overall pretty good, the renewal fees are very high. Renewal fees are typically significantly higher than the first year’s prices, so nothing new there, but Web.com’s renewal prices can be 2 to 3 times as expensive.
So that’s a major drawback and isn’t a very good price range for individuals trying to save (or businesses who do not have intensive hosting needs and can afford to save more on hosting).
However, keep in mind that Web.com describes these plans as oriented towards small businesses. For a small business, these renewal fees are not as much of an issue—the bigger issue is whether being limited to shared hosting plans is okay.
Honestly, I think it is. Web.com’s limited selection will definitely get ruled out by a lot of businesses, but a lot of small businesses might just need decent websites and not top-tier dedicated server plans.
If we keep that in mind, Web.com’s features are pretty decent. For example, the entry-level package Essential Hosting comes with 300GB of disk space and 100 multi-user email-boxes.
While it’s true that 25 FTP accounts are not absurdly high for entry-level packages, and that unlimited data transfers or free domains for the first year are also quite common, the disk space is very generous.
Bluehost, for example, starts you with 50GB and GoDaddy starts you with 100GB. Mailboxes vary more, but it’s still very useful. The second tier raises things to 500GB of disk space and 500 email-boxes, and the last tier makes that disk space unlimited and brings the number of permitted email-boxes to an even 1,000.
It’s very easy to get swept away by shared hosting plans’ promises of “unlimited ___” (disk space, storage, bandwidth, etc). You may not be technically capped, but very few people on shared hosting accounts will ever challenge their resource allocation, and if everyone did, shared hosting wouldn’t work (because the resources are…shared!).
So while other providers may make just about everything unlimited from the second tier onwards, you’ll need to keep in mind that this is more of a perk than a serious feature. With Web.com, the “limits” are quite high and reasonable (and yes, I know the third tier says everything is unlimited).
Keep in mind that those are the basic resources allocated. You also get a website builder and WordPress installation, as well as automatic updates for WordPress if you opt-in for it. Web.com is also decent at fast installs for other content management systems or e-commerce solutions.
All the packages can support multimedia, but only the latter two are meant to handle more serious amounts of it, particularly video. The first one can, but you don’t want to overburden it with flashy graphics.
That mostly sums it up. It doesn’t sound like too much, admittedly, but that’s not in and of itself a bad thing. Some prominent hosting providers tend to make a big deal of their features by creating long lists of everything they offer.
When you actually begin using your account with those packages, you might realize you don’t use a lot of your promised features, or that some of them are lightweight tools that need to be paid upgrades to really be of use.
Things vary of course, and it is definitely true that Web.com could be better featured, but the simple fact that Web.com is formally less well-featured doesn’t mean it’s a worse service, or even that it’s less capable.
Having said that, I do think Web.com could include a few more features, at least for higher tiers. For example, any form of regular backup and restore tools would be appreciated, as well as SSL certificates.
A quick note on SSL certificates: it’s pretty basic to include them in hosting plans nowadays, often for the first tier but if not at least for subsequent ones. Not only does Web.com not include SSL certificates with packages, it only sells them separately. Starting at $27.99 a year. It’s not too bad a price, but it is unfortunate.
Now, because Web.com is very capable of integrating with popular CMSs, you might be able to expand your toolkit by installing extensions for them. If you do that, then Web.com’s basic hosting features should be just fine for serving your site.
The problem is that you could do this for just about any other hosting provider as well, and I don’t think Web really stands out enough to warrant you prioritizing them.
My conclusion would be that Web.com isn’t bad for its prices—it’s prices are on the lower side—but it’s also not really exceptional overall or in any particular areas. Web.com would work fine if you chose to use it, but so would a few other providers.
Ease of Use
So maybe Web.com has okay prices and is okay with features. Nothing stand-out so far. At least it’s easy to use, right? As advertised?
That is certainly the case.
Web.com advertises ease of use for everyone: developers can use a variety of languages, those who want to use WordPress will get a “seamless installation,” and people without much experience building sites can use a provided website builder.
All of these promises are pretty much true. Aside from the building sites aspects, just managing the hosting itself is easy. You get the usual cPanel and a decent form of navigation. It’s pretty simple stuff that won’t require much of a learning curve.
The question then becomes: is Web.com significantly easier than any of its competitors? On that point, I’d have to say no. Web.com’s ease of use plateaus along with that of most other major providers, to the point that they’re all fairly easy to use.
However, Web.com’s general simplicity—including in its available plans—makes account-management simpler as well. Dealing with fewer options has its benefits (sometimes).
Therefore, while all-in-all Web.com isn’t notably easy to use, it is up to industry-standards in usability, and that’s what matters.
As Web.com isn’t perfect, it’d be nice to see really solid customer support. Is that what we get?
Eh, not really. I wouldn’t say their customer support is bad—I think the essential functions of customer support are fulfilled reliably—but it’s just not on par with that of other popular hosting providers.
Your two main resources are representative you can contact directly, or on-site information. Let’s start with the former: you can either live chat with a representative, or talk to them on the phone.
The main issue I have with Web’s live chat is that it overuses copy/pastes and/or bots. A good example of this would be the following screenshots (note: this conversation took place before I purchased and began testing Web.com, but even after I had an account the worse chats would look similar):
As you can see, it took nearly 10 minutes for my question to get fully answered. The representative or chatbot responded to my contact information with advertising and then when I had to reiterate my question (apologies, neglected to include it in the screenshot) the response was a request for further clarification.
Frankly, it was pretty clear the first time.
Once I had an account, live chats didn’t include as much self-promotion, but would still sometimes fall to this level of quality. It wasn’t always this bad, but it could be, so let this conversation stand as a warning to a potential bad chat experience.
Phone support is better than the live chat in my opinion, so if you need a question answered immediately, it could be a good option.
One unique thing Web.com can lay claim to is that it has a special set of marketing experts available for consultation. Great as this sounds, most users won’t really be making heavy use of this resource.
Web.com’s marketing experts are also used a lot for the sign-up and onboarding process, but for day-to-day support, not so much.
As far as on-site information goes, you’ll mainly be dealing with Web’s knowledge base.
Something that can be unique about Web.com’s knowledge base is that a few articles contain overlapping answers that cover the Web’s different services/platforms.
This doesn’t hold true for every article, of course, just ones with problems relevant to multiple Web.com services.
Anyway, in totality, the knowledge base isn’t bad. Like the average knowledge base, it will cover most of your basic questions and even a few odd problems here and there. I do think it could be more in-depth, but it’s not the end of the world.
In total, I’d say that Web.com’s customer support is mediocre at best. The live chats aren’t too great, phone support is good, and the on-site informational material will do the job but could be more expansive and in-depth.
Security and Reliability
Let’s be honest. So far, Web.com isn’t exactly hitting every note. Will security and reliability be the saving grace?
Eh…kind of. I’ll start with the good news: Web.com lives up to its promise of 99.9% uptime.
As far as response time goes, it hasn’t been too bad, but as tends to be the case with Web.com, it’s not fantastic either.
When using Web.com day-to-day, things are fairly smooth. Things like cPanel or WordPress run as consistently as you’d expect them to with any decent service, but that doesn’t really scream “fantastic quality!” as much as it whispers “basic hosting standards.”
What about security? Well, have I got news for you, folks: I don’t know.
Web.com’s “about” page has been a dead link for me. Click any links that say “security” on their website, on any pages? They’ll take you to their SSL certificate pricing plans page.
I thought maybe I was missing something. Nope. Check this out: an entire portion of their knowledge base under the category of security says nothing about Web.com’s security protocols.
We can assume Web.com has at least some basic security infrastructure in place because they’ve managed to serve over 3 million customers worldwide, which is gigantic. We can also assume this because they dedicate a lot of energy as a company to selling SSL certificates.
But that’s about it, and it’s not much to go on. Aside from it being annoying to not know much about a company’s security, it reflects a lack of transparency on the part of the company.
So once again, we are left with a bit of good and bad for Web.com: the uptime is good, the response times are decent, the overall performance of the application is decent, but security is largely an unknown.
Conclusion: Do I Recommend Web.com?
This review has been one of my more neutral ones. Every time I find something I like about Web.com, I find something else it lacks or does poorly.
First off, you have a limited selection of hosting options to choose from, all shared. However, at least the prices of these are generally pretty good, and the simplicity of the product line-up has the advantage of transparency.
Web.com’s hosting products aren’t very well-endowed with a lot of features, but they have generous resource provisions and integrate well with popular CMSs. On the other hand, you can find these qualities with other companies for similar or lower prices and sometimes with more features as well.
Web.com is definitely easy to use, but it’s not a groundbreaking user interface. Its customer support is just alright—an at-times iffy live chat, good phone support, and a lukewarm knowledge base.
Security and reliability just re-emphasize the pro and con duality: good performance, but we know very little about Web.com’s security.
In conclusion, I think Web.com is…not bad. Small businesses that need an easy to use and simple hosting service, and who also don’t need premium server configurations, might take onto Web.com.
I don’t know if I’d recommend it though. Web.com isn’t great at standing out in the today’s assortment of hosting companies, and you can find the good things Web.com brings to the table without its downsides by looking at other companies.