2016 Netfirms review: Everything you need to know
Overview: Netfirms caters specifically to small businesses that are looking for a basic site with low to mid-levels of traffic.
Plus: $4.95/mo for shared hosting.
Advantage: $9.99/mo for shared hosting.
Business: $14.99/mo for shared hosting.
Ideal Customer: Small business owners and small blogs will love the options they’ll find with Netfirms.
Ready-to-go Websites: Hosting companies that market to beginners and the less technically savvy, typically use site building programs to help their users build websites on their own. Netfirms takes this concept further with their Ready-to-go Websites service. Unlike a site that you have to build out from scratch (with the help of a template), these sites already have everything set up, including content that may be similar to what you want to have on your site. The words and pictures on the page are there to get your mind moving in the right direction, helping you avoid writer’s block while constructing your content. The ready to go sites are optimized for performance and SEO purposes to help search engines (like Google) rank them faster. This is a great option for someone who wants an easy solution to get online quickly.
Shopsite: Setting up a digital store online means having different needs than just normal hosting. Netfirms has catered to ecommerce store owners in a variety of ways in their Shopsite program. Starting at $12.99/mo you’ll get business hosting and Shopsite together which is everything you need to start selling over the internet. The whole software is easy to setup and prepopulates store information to help you get an idea of how to start, including demo products, to see how your products will look after you get it all setup. There are several customer status modes to only show prices to who you want (unrestricted, must register to see, etc.). Shopsite has unlimited category depth and you can have both physical and digital products available for sale. Your items will be easily viewable in a variety of ways that you choose for better customer navigation. There are also several customer retention tools like newsletters, gift certificates, and order status emails to keep buyers happy.
Netfirms Marketing: Marketing your website is necessary for any business owner. Ranking organically in search engines can take months if your not experienced and you’ll need traffic faster than that. Netfirms Marketing has several features to help you get traffic. First, there are several services you can add to your hosting plan that will help you get on Google’s radar fast to get natural organic traffic flowing to your site. Some of the services include SubmitNet (which helps you by submitting your site to search engines and other places), SEO help from marketing professionals who can help your site be more search friendly, and PPC credits to help you get some traffic to your site. Credits you receive for joining Netfirms total $100 along with a free listing in YP.com (yellow pages).
We searched through several online review sites looking for honest opinions about Netfirms. We found that its customers were pleased with their affordability and small business specialization.
One happy customer wrote: “I would highly recommend Netfirms to anyone that is looking for a Hosting Company that is inexpensive and has the tools a small to medium business needs to ensure a relevant presence on the internet.”
Another reviewer delighted with the host said: “The few times I called on their support I was actually surprised at how conscientious their response was– they really do seem to be focused on serving small business as their niche.”
Not all reviews were positive however. We found that some Netfirms customers had issues with WordPress hosting and security policies.
This frustrated user warns: “Since moving to a WordPress site and upgrading to their version of WordPress hosting, I have had nothing but problems, crashes and a website that has been more offline than online.”
Another reviewer complains about having to pay to have their site reinstated: “I find it egregious that Netfirms launches a partnership with a security provider and then forces you to subscribe to it.”
We also checked Twitter to see what Netfirms customers were saying about them. This user is delighted at the support team:
Have to give a nod to @netfirms support, who made me LOL in surprised delight at how good they were.
— Steven Fisher (@tewha) June 29, 2015
Another user however is frustrated with the lack of ticket response:
— Distinct SEO (@distinctseo) December 11, 2015
- Money Back Guarantee: NetFirms offers a 30 day money back guarantee, however it is only available if you paid by credit card. No other payment methods will be refunded.
- Multiple Support Options: NetFirms offers 24/7 customer support through email, chat, and by phone. For their Business level customers they offer “Premium” support.
- Green Hosting: All energy used at their offices and data centers are offset 100% by wind energy and they offer “green” badges to certify your site as eco-friendly.
- Easy Options: With only three options you won’t get overwhelmed. They are laid out in a nice comparison chart on their website so it’s easy to see the differences.
- Fast Start: NetFirms helps you to get going fast with Ready-to-Go websites, one click applications and their drag and drop builder.
- Subdomains Extra: While all plans do offer at least one free domain, on all options subdomains cost extra and are little pricey.
- Dedicated SSL: A certificate is only available on their Business plan, which is also their most expensive hosting plan.
- Confusing Adwords Credit: On their website each plan offers a $100 Google adwords bonus. However when you click on it you see that you have to spend $25 to get the $100 bonus credit.
- Renewal Prices: Netfirms does not extend any discounted hosting or domain pricing to renewals so once your initial period is up expect to pay double what you paid initially.
Netfirms wants to work with small businesses. Their hosting plans are perfect to keep your corporate site up and running at very reasonable prices. The options are business friendly and crafted for business owners who don’t understand much about hosting.
If you are looking for versatile options for developers and agencies there may be better options.
Takeaway: Netfirms is almost exclusively targeting small business owners. If that’s you this is a great option.