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Courtesy of Wix.com
Fantastic drag-and-drop website editor
Good variety of “apps” that can be added to sites
Service masks the complexities of web hosting
Easy to add additional functionality by raising service tier
Free service level is extremely limited
E-commerce isn't available outside business tiers
Most service tiers limit video content by run time
No tiers offer unlimited storage
Wix’s Pro Website service is a great place to start if you’re not a techie, but still want a beautiful and functional website
Wix is designed to help you build a website fast without a lot of hassle or prior experience. It's more of a hosted website builder than an actual web host, making it an attractive choice for business owners, professionals, artists, and others who want a decent website without any upfront costs. As a fully-hosted solution, Wix provides both user-friendly website builder tools and web hosting, making it easy to put a beautiful site together and get it online.
As Wix isn't a traditional web hosting environment, it doesn't provide you with the flexibility to install your own software such as WordPress. You don't have a shell or FTP access Wix website builder limiting your options. The trade-off is that it's straightforward to use, even if you have absolutely no prior experience.
There are two main categories of service available from Wix: Websites, and Business & eCommerce. Websites include several tiers of service, as follows:
Free: There is a free plan available, although it limits 500 MB each on storage and bandwidth. The free plan is a good way to get up and running fast and see if Wix is for you, but it also forces you to run Wix ads on your site.
Combo: The next tier ups both storage (3 GB) and bandwidth (2 GB). But more importantly, it allows you to remove Wix's ads on your site, use a custom domain, and add 30 minutes' worth of videos to your site. If you pay for a year upfront, it also includes a free one-year domain name registration.
Unlimited: At this level and above, you have unlimited bandwidth for your site. This tier also adds more storage (10 GB), more video (an hour’s worth), $300 in vouchers to advertise your site, and free access to the Site Booster and Analytics apps (valued at $60 each).
Pro: The Pro level includes the extras of Unlimited and adds access to the Events Calendar, consists of a professional logo, and provides logo files to use on social media. It also further ups your storage (20 GB) and video (two hours worth).
VIP: If you have a mission-critical site, you can get the VIP tier, precisely the same as Pro in terms of specs. But the extra cost gives you Priority Response and VIP Support, meaning if you have an issue, you’ll be on the top of the list to get it resolved.
The main thing absent from the services in the Websites service level category is the ability to sell anything from your site. This requires the Business & eCommerce services, which as you’d expect are quite a bit more expensive.
Bonus goodies like premium apps, vouchers for services, free domain registration are only available if you choose a yearly plan. If you select a monthly plan, you won’t access any of these features or extras.
Unlike traditional web hosting providers, Wix insulates you from multiple technical things happening in the background. While the Wix service indeed runs on some operating system under the hood, you won’t be exposed to it, even if you want to. You have access to the tools Wix provides, and that’s it.
As you may have noticed when perusing the service levels above, storage is one of the primary things you’re paying for with Wix premium services. To get a level of storage that’s comparable to other hosting providers, you need to go all the way up to the Unlimited level. Even then, your storage is relatively limited.
Other hosting providers typically provide an unlimited storage option, which is absent here altogether. The only saving grace is that you don’t need to count software like a content management system against your storage allotment. Since the website builder component is an integral part of the service, it’s not something you need to install yourself.
Wix provides a very slick and well-integrated application that lets you click, drag, and otherwise put content just about anywhere.
As with storage, bandwidth is one of the commodities Wix charges rather steeply. And it's essential to keep in mind that bandwidth can quickly get away from you as a site owner. Imagine you're giving away a free 15 MB ebook on your free Wix site. Each time someone downloads that book, it takes 15 MB out of your allotment.
If that book were to go viral, you would only be able to give away 33 copies before hitting your data cap. At that point, visitors wouldn't be able to visit your site at all. This is because every page, every image, every bit of text counts when you're working on metered bandwidth. So it's best to go for the Unlimited option.
As it’s not a traditional web hosting environment, you don’t have the flexibility to install your own software such as WordPress. The trade-off is that it's extremely easy to use, even if you have absolutely no prior experience.
Fortunately, the upgrade to unlimited bandwidth is pretty modest. The Unlimited tier will provide it, although, as mentioned, this is more expensive than the same level of throughput with a traditional web host.
As Wix has a free service level, the overall registration is split into initial sign-up and upgrade to premium service. Getting up and running on Wix is straightforward, as all that’s required is an email address and password. You can also sign up using your Facebook or Google account.
You’ll then be led through a series of questions in a wizard-style process, although you can select the Skip link to bypass these. They’ll ask some questions about you, like how much website-building experience you have and what you’re looking to do with your site. It will even offer to build a site for you based on some additional information using Wix’s ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) feature. Otherwise, you can elect to start building your site manually by jumping straight into the editor.
Upgrading to a paid tier is also easy. You’ll click through a three-step wizard to select a plan, choose your subscription period, and provide payment information.
Wix doesn't have a traditional control panel because it's more like a hosted website builder than a dedicated web host. Instead, you get a dashboard to access the site builder and make various changes to your account.
The Wix dashboard lacks many of the options you'd get with a traditional hosting environment since you don't need to worry about any of them. Instead, you're able to focus on your sites, which display as big tiles across the My Sites screen.
You're also able to create more sites via the +Create a Site button, take a look at some of the new things the Wix team has added to the service (the Explore > Updates & Releases menu item), find some websites to use for ideas (Explore > Inspiring Websites), get Help, or retrieve items you've deleted (Trash in the overflow menu next to the +Create a Site button).
The account menu, accessible by clicking your name and avatar in the upper-right corner, has well-organized main screens as follows:
Most of the tools that would be considered “advanced” are part of the site, not the account itself. If you click on one of your sites from the My Sites screen, you’ll get a dashboard that will allow you to (among other things):
But Wix hides all the technical complexity of web hosting from you. Aside from the screens needed to connect one of your existing domains to Wix, there’s nothing in the application that could be “advanced” configuration.
As above, many administration options are at the site, rather than account level. A site’s Dashboard’s Settings menu, for example, holds the Roles & Permissions option, which is also available when editing a site in the Settings menu at the top of the page.
This allows you to invite other Wix users to collaborate on your site and specify what they can and cannot do. This also allows you to set the site’s title, configure social sharing options, and set whether your site will be secured with HTTPS or not.
When we say that Wix is more of a hosted site builder than a dedicated web host, that's just a statement of fact, not a value judgment. The truth is that Wix's website builder application is the real key feature of the service and for good reason.
Instead of providing you with some basic building blocks, or a one-click installer for a content management system, the Wix website builder makes it easy to build sites that are both functional and attractive.
The Wix site builder provides a very slick and well-integrated application that lets you click, drag, and otherwise put content just about anywhere. You can start with one of their attractive templates or a simple white home page. There's the chance for plenty of customization as well, from your page's layout to your text's font.
The list of website elements Wix makes available to you is very impressive. You can, of course, add audio and video or galleries. But there are also more functional items like a Members area, editable lists, or even database-driven collections. And apps let you add even more useful widgets just by dragging-and-dropping.
Most of the aspects you'll need to build your site are available by default, but some are locked behind certain subscription levels or available as add-on purchases. The important thing is that they're there if you need them, extending this site builder's functionality beyond most of the competition.
Wix offers 24/7 support, but it's a bit of a journey to access that support. When you click the support link on the Wix site, it takes you to a help center that functions primarily as a knowledge base. You'll find many great troubleshooting information here but no easily accessible phone number or web chat option.
If you expand the list of support documents and scroll to the bottom, you'll find an About Wix section and a Contacting Wix Support link. Click that link, and then clock Contacting Wix Support on the next page to find a Contact Us Now link.
It's great that Wix offers 24/7 phone support, but it shouldn't be that difficult to find. We can imagine a frustrated customer becoming even more frustrated just finding the actual support contact page.
Wix self-reports a respectable server uptime of 99.8%, but we could not locate any writing guarantees. That means Wix does not provide any warranty, in writing, that their servers will be up for any specific amount of time in any given month. There is also no provision to receive a partial refund or other compensation if your site goes down for an extended period.
Wix is more of a hosted site builder than a full-service web host, so comparing Wix to GoDaddy isn't exactly comparing apples to apples. Wix costs more, provides less bandwidth and storage, but has a much better site builder.
Looking at Wix and GoDaddy's most affordable plans side by side, GoDaddy's Economy plan provides 100 GB of storage, unlimited bandwidth, and one free email address. Wix's Combo plan offers just 3 GB of storage, 2 GB of bandwidth, and no email addresses.
Plans at other service levels compare similarly, with GoDaddy offering more resources and options than Wix for less money. Compare Wix to just about any web host, and you'll see a similar pattern.
When you look at Wix's key feature, their website builder, they come out on top. GoDaddy does have a website builder, and they also offer several one-click installs for things like WordPress, but Wix's site builder is easier to use, more flexible, and offers more advanced options.
Even though Wix limits you by not allowing you to install custom software, you still have access to great features like online bookings, and you'll probably be taking your first appointments when others are still trying to figure out how to add such a part to a content management system hosted with GoDaddy. The downside, of course, is that you pay more.
Best for quick sites with minimal learning needed.
If you've never built a website before and want to get online fast, Wix is an excellent option. Wix doesn't provide the same level of service as traditional web hosts, and you'll pay more for bandwidth and storage, but Wix's site builder is tough to beat. The bottom line is that Wix can help you get your personal site, or business site, blog, portfolio, or any other primary site up and running with a minimal learning curve.
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