Web.com has been providing web hosting since 1999. It’s a one-stop shop for everything website related, from shared hosting to marketing and website building tools. Currently, the company employs about 3,500 staff members and serves over three million customers.
At first glance, Web.com appears to be a solid host. The plans are feature-packed and seemingly fairly-priced. Customer service is supposedly 24/7 and available via telephone, live chat, tickets, or text messages. However, after digging deep into Web.com’s platform and support channels, I’ve definitely come across a few issues.
But don’t let that put you off, as there’s no such thing as a perfect host. Plus, as no two websites are the same, it’s more important to find a host that fits your requirements than to hunt for a unicorn of a hosting provider.
In this article, I’ll cover the pros, cons, and the ups and downs of my time with Web.com. Give me ten minutes of your time and by the end of this review, I’ll have answered all of your questions about Web.com and you’ll be able to tell whether this company is a good fit for you.
Plenty of Features, but Not Always a Premium Offering
Web.com is a full-service host, so you won’t lack for any feature you’ll need to build a website. Everything you’d expect is included. For instance, there’s SSL support, automatic backups, support for PHP, and cPanel access. The CDN isn’t free, however, and there’s no website migration service.
Industry-Standard Uptime Guarantee
Web.com has a 99.9% uptime guarantee. Granted, it’s not going to win any world records, but it’s in line with industry expectations and it’s backed by an actual Service Level Agreement. What’s more, third-party tests show Web.com’s recorded uptime to be above 99.97%, which is far higher than that of many other providers.
Generous Resource Allocations
All three Web.com shared hosting plans come with tons of storage and unlimited data transfer. For instance, the entry-level plan starts you out at 300GB disk space.
Unfortunately, Web.com uses HDD rather than SSD storage, which explains the slower loading speeds (more detail below). This is a shame, since most companies have moved towards SSD. However, this is a no-frills provider, so I’m not too surprised.
Web.com offers a few handy tools for beginners. For instance, there’s a one-click installer for 25 open-source programs (then again, many providers offer 300+, so this isn’t all that impressive). If you don’t have any coding experience and would rather not pay someone to develop your website, you also have access to an easy drag-and-drop builder.
Web.com also offers support for a range of programming languages including Ruby, Python, PHP (sadly, only the rather outdated version 5), and Perl. Customer service couldn’t confirm whether or not SSH access was allowed (I’d assume not), but you can use cron jobs to schedule repetitive tasks. Of course, FTP accounts, MySQL databases, and phpMyAdmin are included.
Ease of use
Make Your Life Easier With Web.com’s One-Stop Shop
Web.com may not offer the latest or the most premium features, but what it lacks in quality, it makes up for in quantity. You can find every web service you could ever need at Web.com, so if you’re happy with the hosting, it’s easy to add on other services such as website development or online marketing services.
Creating an Account
I ran into issues with thde Web.com website when I tried to create an account and buy a hosting plan. Although this meant having to contact customer service, they did an excellent job of resolving my problem. The agent handled the whole process and ensured that the potentially huge issue was a non-event.
Connecting a Domain and Installing WordPress
As Web.com offers a free domain when you purchase hosting, it simplifies the whole process of connecting a domain and installing WordPress. Instead of having to map a domain to Web.com’s servers from a third-party registrar, I could set up my website with just a couple of clicks. The whole process took less than ten minutes.
Automatic Nightly Backups
Web.com automatically creates backups of your website and databases every night. It’s also easy to restore your data from cPanel without contacting customer service. It’s refreshing to see this included, as oftentimes hosts charge for backup restores (and unfairly so, in my opinion).
Web.com gives you access to cPanel with your shared hosting. This is an easy-to-use and beginner-friendly control panel. Since other companies will sometimes offer their own in-house (and rather poorly-designed) control panels, it’s nice to have access to a well-known and widely-trusted interface. It’s from here that you can easily install programs with the one-click installer.
Website Development Options
If you’re looking for help with web design, you’ve got plenty of options. Web.com offers custom website design and development services, which come with a free domain, an SSL certificate, and mobile optimization. It also provides online marketing services and SEO-friendly copywriting — both essential if you’re trying to extend your reach online.
A Potential Deal-Breaker, Depending on Your Customer Locations
If you do a search of Web.com user reviews online, you’ll find that customer sentiment can be quite negative. Unfortunately, a few users have reported excessive downtime and errors with their hosting, while others are unhappy with the slow customer service.
I wasn’t going to take all these anecdotal accounts at face value, however. It’s always a good idea to run your own tests and come to your own conclusion.
So to test how well the company was doing, I ran my Web.com hosted website through the Sucuri Load Time Tester. To be honest, based on all the negative reviews and also my own experience loading my website, I was expecting a poor result.
Unfortunately, I was right. The website scored an overall performance grade D. I’ve tested a range of other providers and generally expect to get a grade of B or above, so this was very disappointing.
At many of the testing locations, it took close to two seconds to load my website. The two-second mark is widely accepted as the point at which you’ll start to lose customers, so this is certainly something to weigh as you make your final decision.
However, if you look at the data a bit more closely, you’ll see it’s not all bad news. As it’s a North American company, it’s not surprising that Montreal, New York, and Toronto have relatively good loading speeds.
Customer service is available 24/7 by phone, ticket, text messages, and live chat. There’s also a help center on the website with a few tutorials. If you’re a beginner, you may find a bit of assistance here; otherwise though, the help center is far too basic for most.
I tested live chat, ticket, and Facebook support to get a feel for how responsive and helpful Web.com’s support was. Overall, I had a really mixed experience, ranging from top-notch (helping me to create an account and purchase a hosting plan) to extremely frustrating (when I tried to cancel). Evidently, pre-sales support is great, but after-sales support is less so.
As I had issues purchasing a plan online, I hopped onto live chat to ask for help. During this process, I was impressed with the support provided. The agent picked up instantly and sorted out my problem in no time at all. In fact, thanks to the operator’s assistance, I didn’t even have to leave the live chat window to pay for my hosting plan.
I sent a couple of messages via Facebook regarding the location of Web.com’s servers. The agent replied straight away but was unable to answer my questions. However, they did politely direct me to the correct place to get an answer.
When I was ready to cancel my account, the live chat operator advised me to do so via a ticket. I received a reply to this ticket on the same business day, but the answer was disappointing. I was told that they couldn’t deal with billing issues via live chat or ticket. What really irked me was that not long before, the live chat agent had happily allowed me to pay by credit card directly via live chat, so it felt contradictory on their end.
Web.com’s prices are higher than I’d anticipated. They’re definitely around the market average, but given that many of the features are either outdated versions (PHP version 5) or less-than-premium offerings (the one-click installer), I expected it to be cheaper.
In addition, there’s a catch to the advertised pricing: the displayed price is only for the first month. You need to click on the fine print to see the pricing terms, which details the actual price from the second month onwards. This is more than double the displayed price, which I already thought was high.
You can pay by any major credit card. However, at the time of writing, there was a bug in the checkout flow and I couldn’t pay via the online payment form.
Cancellations & Refunds
Web.com has a strict no-refund policy. You can cancel at any time, but you won’t get any money back on whatever amount you’ve already paid. Web.com also makes it very difficult to cancel, as you need to call the company between 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM EST on weekdays.