Wix is a cloud-based shared hosting platform with a business model that takes a different approach to on-boarding new customers.
Founded in 2006, the company started out as a flash based website editor and soon moved to HTML5 within the first few years. Fast forward to today and we see that Wix has grown their client-base to OVER 100 million, which is massive considering most other large hosting companies can barely get to the hundreds of thousands and even GoDaddy, a very branded and well known company has only reached (look at me saying ONLY) 17 million customers.
The first thing I noticed was how it was structured and seeing the plans. They seem to only display Premium – wait a minute? They have just a premium plan? It turns out that this is a bit of marketing, “getting you to think that you need a premium plan”. When you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that there is a free hosting option and a paid one (any paid plan is considered premium – go figure).
Packages And Pricing For Wix
Under the free plan, there’s a catch; first, you can’t use a real domain name. It must be something.wix.com and it’s not ad free. In the hosting world, this is known as a “third level domain name”. Similar to other free hosting sites, they monetize their free service if you choose to use it. The good news is that you have FULL access to their great web design software that helps you make stylish websites with pretty much zero previous knowledge of web design.
Here’s all the good stuff you get access to with the free plan:
You'll also like to know that there’s more than one premium plan and this is where it gets interesting. The price starts off at $4.95 which allows you to use your own domain, instead of the third level domain offered in the free plan, but it still has ads. This is a marketing move just to make you pay a higher price and even moreso, Wix makes you pay a minimum of 12 months in advance to get that price locked in. If you choose the monthly payment option, the price goes up to $7.
Prices for all other packages range from $8.50 – $24.50 per month and all seem to offer just a bit more value. We aren’t talking storage and bandwidth because all hosting companies seem to offer too much. What you’ll get with the other plans are things like “Favicon”, which is that little image on the left of a URL that is usually your logo.
See the little “W” on the left hand side. Apparently, this is worth you upgrading to $8.50/month plan. Oh, and it’s ad free. Here’s a little secret; you can do this yourself on any other hosting $4 account and they are ad free. One can only assume that this is a dummy plan made to create the illusion that it’s not much more to upgrade even further to $12.50 per month package that gives you access to the real nice features like the form builder and the Site Booster absolutely FREE, which normally have add-on costs of $108 combined.
Usually, I don’t go through all the plans of a hosting company because they are all pretty much the same as in, you pay more and they give you more resources. In Wix’s case, it’s a bit different.
For the next package up, there is an added feature, which is an ecommerce option that gives you access to build an online store. I like this because it’s a turnkey option for anyone wanting to build an ecommerce presence and begin selling.
Here are the features included with the Online store:
Not bad, I’m impressed. You really don’t have to worry about connecting anything to a payment system and you have a management interface to place your products in. This has always been a barrier to entry for anyone wanting to be an e-preneur.
What’s an online store without the marketing? This is where the highest Wix package comes into play. At $24.95, you have access to two things that outweighs everything else.
- 10 Email Campaigns Per Month
- Professional Site Review
Email campaigns are the hottest thing right now in online marketing. The idea is that people come to your site and by offering them access to information or when they make a purchase, they are required to give you their email address and with this information you are able to create your own sales funnel to send newsletters, special offers or anything else to increase user engagement. Not only this, but because Wix are the experts in their field, they will actually use their time (per your request) to review your site and give you tips on how to make it better.
Is this worth $25.95 to you? Well, to me, if I was starting out and I didn’t want to learn how to design a website, marketing and SEO or outsource these services, this plan would have saved me a whole lot of time by getting me to the next level much quicker.
Devils Advocate and Why You Shouldn’t Use WIX
Now don’t get me wrong, WIX is a great product for those just starting out, but the main problem is, there’s absolutely no upgrade path! Sure, there are multiple premium plans, but beyond $24.95, there is no room for growth. There is a word for this – Vendor Lock-in. It’s a practice that many SaaS providers use to get you into their system and not making it easy to get out.
If you’ve used hosting before, you would know that sometimes, you just want to move providers and all you needed was to transfer your data and your website to a new hosting company. This is not the case with WIX, unfortunately. Sure, you can move your data, but not your website, which means you would have to either re-design your site or hire a designer and possibly a developer to create a new presence somewhere else. This can cost you thousands.
What if you need more? Sometimes you might want to install other software because your business is growing and you need it to run on the same system; chances are, it won’t be compatible with WIX and you’re essentially forced to move platforms and forced to pay more.
Maybe you need to upgrade to a VPS or dedicated server, but there’s no option to upgrade. There are ways you could get around it by purchasing additional hosting somewhere else and linking your WIX site to the second hosting server, but this makes life complicated (you’d still have to develop the second site with the same look and feel of the old – secondhosting.yourdomain.com) and that’s not exactly what you are trying to achieve.
As easy as the ecommerce solution is and the great features that it offers, the problem is even worse because the WIX hosting solution doesn’t exist outside of the company. This means, if you want to move hosting companies, you will need to implement, design and integrate your entire WIX store on another hosting platform with a completely new shopping cart, management system, design, development and still are required to reconnect it to your credit card processor to get things back up and running. For ecommerce, you have to think long term and is it worth it.
In Short, Wix is perfect for the blogger, small business owner and small ecommerce shops. A blogger doesn’t need a whole lot other than maybe storage space (if you intend on using a lot of images). Small business owner/entrepreneur websites are mostly just text about products and services they sell and small ecommerce shops, if you plan on having a small inventory of under 100 products, you’re unlikely to need more and Wix is perfect for your objective. Any other scenarios, you’re better off purchasing services from one of the other hosting providers reviewed here.
Wix Support and Knowledge-base
Normally, for hosting companies of this nature, there would be a toll free number that you could call for support. They do things a bit differently. At WIX, there is a toll free number, but this is only used to schedule a call back and not to reach one of their support staff directly. A different concept, but I guess it works.
For a company of over 100 million customers, I’m quite surprised that they don’t offer 24/7 support. Their hours of operation is between 9AM and 8PM Eastern Standard which is fine for the western hemisphere and not so great if you live in another part of the world (say Australia).
There is only an option to submit a ticket and I couldn’t find any hours of operation for email support, so I’ll have to assume it’s the same hours as they do state they have it, but push you to request a call back. I'm thinking this might be a ploy to upsell you on an upgrade or an addon product.
This feature does not exist at all for the WIX site, however, they do have a live chat with AI technology for your website if you want it as a feature!
Even though support hours falls short of what I would consider an industry standard, I will give them kudos for having quite a thorough and complete knowledge-base for covering most issues that may come up in a support request and this saves you time waiting for a phone call or email response.
What do other people think about WIX?
I’ve taken a look around and had to sift through a number of review sites to find actual feedback about the company and personal thoughts.
The main complaint that I have come across is the fact that you have to pay so much to just NOT have ads on the site. I tend to agree with this as it is a bit much when you could get hosting elsewhere, use WordPress and away you go, automatically saving 50% or more on hosting.
As recently as 3 days ago, I find complaints (numerous – MORE than 10) of people unable to have support return their calls or emails. I do understand that sometimes this happens, especially with the shear size of the company and the number of users, but this is unacceptable. Some of the support complaints ranged from very simple billing enquiries to minor technical support. One person gave a 1 star rating and said they were being generous!
At this point, a light bulb turned on…”wait a sec”….I KNOW someone that is currently using WIX; a long time friend. I decided to ask her what her thoughts were of the service and the conversation went EXACTLY like this:
To make a long story short, I called her a cheapo for going for such a cheap hosting account and she responded by saying “It’s in my blood!” Nevertheless, WIX didn’t charge her ANYTHING for that transfer and she’s covered for hosting until 2021! There had to be a catch and a little digging is where I found out why. WIX, unlike other hosting companies charge for email boxes. To their defence, they are official Google email boxes which actually IS a good service. She ended up spending $50/year for her email boxes and getting 25 GB mail storage.
Why WIX, When There’s WordPress?
That’s a perfectly good question and I think my friend Kristin summed it up. She has a small investment company with maybe a few hundred clients and she really only needs a website to show her clients. Most of them call her or go to her office and rarely email her. She doesn’t know how to web design herself out of a paper bag. This is not to say that if you have no digital talent that you have to go to WIX because I know many people that knew less than her that were perfectly fine with using WordPress.
WIX vs WordPress
- Easy to set up with a variety of templates and a range of products and services that can get you online in no time with no experience needed
- Simple and intuitive with addons that can help you grow your site.
- If you need a website builder, this is the one to take and the company has good support docs to help you learn as you go.
- Hosted on Google Cloud (GCE)
- Recently, WIX has introduced “Artificial Design Intelligence”..what does this mean? It’s supposed to use an algorithm that does the manual work for you. It speeds up the design process. Take a look:
- Hundreds of thousands of templates available
- More flexible with what apps you can use
- Larger community for support, though spread apart a lot.
- Host where you want
- Many more options
The main difference between the two – there’s no doubt that WordPress brings a lot more to the table, but you have to go get the food. With WIX, everything is made available to you and it’s all under one roof. The problem lies in the flexibility when you want to go further with your website.
To be totally honest, WIX is the best solution for at least 50% of the sites hosted in the world today. The rest could stand to use a CMS like WordPress as it is the largest aggregator of users globally and has the community to back it up. WIX is entirely relying on itself as the engine that runs it whereas if something fails within WordPress, someone else will pick up the slack.
For me and my affiliate sites? I have to vote for using WordPress. I can't have my business rely on hosting that can't scale and a website builder with limited customization options, as well as SEO limitations. I build all my affiliate sites with WordPress and will continue to do so. If you decide to use WordPress, you still need to find a host! I have a couple recommendations based on what your needs are. Comment below with what you're looking for in a host and I'll recommend something.
You an also browse my hosting reviews but there are a lot of poor quality hosts mixed in there, as well as some that are targeted towards gamers and other crowds, so it's a lot to look though.
Lets try this again! If you are looking for hosting, you need to look for what matters to you and with Wix you’re pretty much safe unless you have plans on going big or require some sort of website customization that cannot be done within the WIX environment. For example, if you intend on building an ecommerce storefront with 5000 products, I would highly advise you to use a more powerful hosting service and shopping cart tool. Be realistic in what you want to achieve and make a smart choice.