Moscow-based uCoz operates from many offices across the country in Russia. It offers free website hosting built around its own content management system (CMS) that houses more than a million-and-a-half websites. While particularly popular in its own country, this popularity extends around the globe with versions also available in English, Spanish, German, Arabic, Hebrew, and many other languages.
Features and Ease of Use
The main feature of uCoz is its website builder that addresses three different requirements: personal blog, business, and landing page. You can start working on your website immediately thanks to the easy signup process and the drag-and-drop user interface. While you do not need any programming knowledge whatsoever to create your website, you still have full control over the code in case you ever decide to hire a developer to further develop the website.
To build a website for your business using the ‘uKit’ website builder, you just need to tweak one of the readymade templates to suit your needs. If you also want to start selling online, you can use the ‘uShop’ tool that offers a variety of features to put your products online and receive payments from purchasers. The ‘uLanding’ tool is pretty similar but better suited to landing pages. It allows you to launch A/B tests, get traffic, and monitor results easily.
In terms of additional features, you can opt for a higher level of antivirus protection and choose between different backup options on different schedules. All the plans that allow a custom domain also offer an SEO module, which you can use to optimize your website for search engines even if you don’t have any special technical knowledge.
Pricing and Support
uCoz offers a free package for anyone who wants to take them for a test drive. I’m almost as confident as uCoz themselves that once you try… you’ll want to buy. Their website builder is that easy to use!
Five further packages are available, with only the highest three allowing you to use your own custom domain name. You can register the domain for free if you pay for a certain period of time up-front, ranging from 6 months to 12 months. Similarly, only these three packages allow mobile-optimized websites and access to SEO modules. The packages offer adequate storage, but not unlimited, and are priced at what you would pay a good hosting company only for the hosting. So in one sense, you’re getting a powerful CMS for free.
One disappointing aspect of uCoz is their customer support, which can only be accessed via an online contact form. Their Twitter and Facebook feeds are only updated once a month on average, which is always a red flag for me.
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Good for the price, but had invasive ads and a little difficult to use.
uCoz is one of very few web hosting services that allow you to connect your own domain, which is why I used it. It was a little tricky at first, and you have to have at least some coding experience to use it. Once I got the hang of it and made a nice website, I noticed it asked me to allow notifications from my site, then it sent me many spam/scam notifications. In the uCoz support forum, I found out that this is an "advertisement" by uCoz and you have to upgrade to remove it. So now I have a disclaimer telling people not to allow notifications and how to remove them if they did. I guess they have to make money somehow, but they could at least give you a heads up about it. Overall, uCoz is ok for free, but a little shady to give money to.