2016 WebStarts review: Everything you need to know
Overview: WebStarts caters to beginners and novices looking to start a new website.
Free: $0.00/mo for shared hosting.
Pro: $4.89/mo for shared hosting.
Pro Plus: $7.16/mo for shared hosting.
Ideal Customer: Anyone looking for easy to use web design tools to get started making their web presence.
Free Website: Free websites might be a relic of the past since Yahoo shut down Geocities some years ago, but WebStarts is one of the very few hosting companies still offering it. Of course, there are limitations. You can’t have a custom domain name and the number of web pages you can create is limited to 5. And there are dreadful ads shown on all pages. But the reason it’s still a good deal is because it’s free and it gives you a good chance to experiment with WebStarts’ support and their website builder. Their free templates are very attractive and follow all modern trends and design practices. If you’re looking for a simple portfolio or personal website, WebStarts’ free plan would be perfectly reasonable. Support is limited for free websites however. Only paid versions are able to use phone support. Users of the free option are limited to email and help documents.
Rich Website Builder: WebStarts’ website builder has more features than typical website builders. They’ve teamed up with WePay to let you accept credit card payments right away. You can create custom forms and integrate your website with Twitter, Pinterest, or other social media sites. You can create a “members only” part of your website. You can make one page designs with anchor links, which is not a very common feature of a drag-and-drop website builder. Their image editing features are fairly sophisticated, with the ability to set image opacity. You can completely customize their existing templates with different images and text, so you don’t end up having the same boring website design as everyone else using the same template.
Designer Platform: You can easily become WebStarts’ partner through their designer platform, with your own web design without knowing code. Designer Platform allows you to create and sell websites without writing a line of code. You can save your designs as templates to save time and streamline your process. You can brand your designs with your own logo. This is an interesting platform for budding designers. It’s similar to selling your own WordPress themes, except you don’t have to know how to build complicated themes yourself. There is no mention of how big this platform is and how many people are involved, but if anything, it’s a good platform to test your skills and improve your designs.
We looked at online review sites to find out what Webstarts customers were saying. We found that many users were happy with its ease of use.
One happy customer states: “I’ve tried a number of website builders and found webstarts to be the best. They’ve got good customer service and I like the drag and drop editor.”
Another reviewer agrees saying: “It helped almost immediately, and it was really easy to create! Their easy to use interface and video tutorials made it easy to make an entire working website in less than a week. Thanks Webstarts.com!”
We also found several negative reviews as well. These users are unhappy with customer support and billing hassles.
One frustrated reviewer writes: “After attempting to cancel my account with webstarts .com , They have not stopped billing my submitted credit card for membership, and they do not reply to any inquiries that I make to them!”
Another customer warns that: “They are not easy to get ahold of, and once you get a real person, they are often rude and usually not helpful; the billing function continues w/o your notification and exact knowledge of what it is for, and its very difficult to resolve billing mistakes.”
We also checked Twitter to see what people were saying about Webstarts. This user is happy with their mobile feature:
@webstarts Your mobile editor is very good it works rather well
— Luke Barger (@BargerLuke) April 16, 2015
Another user is also frustrated with billing and refund issues:
— Alx (@EceeGaming) June 10, 2015
- Low Prices: Besides the obvious free plan, WebStarts offers plans with low introductory prices, at 50% off of regular prices.
- Attractive Templates: WebStarts has attractive templates used for both free and paid plans. They are 100% customizable and modern. With higher plans (Pro Plus and Business), the templates can also be optimized for mobile devices.
- Free Flash: Although Flash is not in vogue anymore, some people still use it and you have access to free Flash animations.
- Good Knowledgebase: WebStarts’ knowledgebase is fairly extensive with answers to many questions regarding account management, apps, website builder functions, analytics, widgets, and much more.
- Cancel Anytime: There are no cancellation fees for closing your account early.
- Limited Support: There seems to be limited support through a simple form email. There is no ticket system. Phone support is only available for Pro Plus and higher accounts. On the contact page, it mentions “Chat With Us” but there is no chat button.
- No Uptime Guarantee: WebStarts has no published uptime guarantee.
- No Money-Back Guarantee: WebStarts doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee. The flipside is that you don’t pay any cancellation fees if you do decide to close your account early. But since the company charges by the year, you wouldn’t get the remaining portion of your money back. The way to mitigate this is to try the free website with no strings attached.
WebStarts offers the dying breed called a free website, even though it comes with ads and is limited to only 5 pages. Their regular plans have reasonable introductory prices at 50% off. While there is limited support except for higher-tiered accounts, their knowledgebase is pretty solid and should answer most questions. WebStarts obviously aims more toward beginners, with a powerful website builder that has many rich features.
Takeaway: WebStarts offers shared hosting plans only and aren’t for sophisticated users who want more control. If you’re completely design-illiterate and don’t require a fancy website, WebStarts is definitely worthwhile, especially considering they have a free website for you to try out.