Wix has not only the tools for easy website building but also the features to support more ambitious sites
- Accessible template-based approach
- Lots of customisation options
- Flexible enough to handle different types of site
- Desktop and mobile sites managed separately
- Mobile designs can look dated
Wix was one of the original website-building services, bundling hosting with simple web-design tools that made it possible for just about anyone to build a functional website if they had an hour or so to spare.
Over the past few years, it’s done a great job of extending its functions and features, making it easier to build a wider range of websites covering everything from online stores and hobby sites to media showcase sites and more. It’s also developed a strong “app” ecosystem, so if there’s something you can’t do with the core set of tools, you can probably find another way to do it through an extension.
As a result, Wix has become one of the most versatile and fully featured website builders out there, but has this made it a less appealing tool for novice or more casual users?
Wix review: What do you get for the money?
It’s definitely hard to beat Wix’s entry-level price, as it’s free to design a site and launch it. Wix has a variety of prices and plans (read about them all in our guide to Wix website costs), each at different price points. Paid-for plans start at £4/mth and scale up to £27/mth for the Business VIP plan with unlimited bandwidth and a full suite of eCommerce features. Wix even scales up to handle large enterprise clients with professional support and bespoke plans, so the only real limit is your budget.
The basic £4/mth Connect Domain plan has the same 500MB of storage as the free plan but ups the monthly bandwidth limit from 500MB to 1GB and allows you to connect a custom domain name, although you’ll need to pay for the domain name separately.
Upgrade to the £7.50/mth Combo plan and Wix throws in a free domain name, removes all Wix ads and increases the storage and bandwidth to 2GB and 3GB respectively, while allowing you to upload 30 minutes’ worth of streaming video.
From there, the £11/mth Unlimited and £21/mth VIP plans give you unlimited bandwidth and 10GB and 30GB of storage, plus one hour or five hours of streaming video, along with additional apps and enhanced customer support.
If you need e-commerce features, you need to switch to the Business plans. Business Basic, at £15/mth, gives you a custom domain, free for one year if bought from Wix, along with secure online payments and support for customer accounts. Bandwidth is unlimited but storage and video are capped at 20GB and five hours. With Business Unlimited, at £20/mth, this grows to 35GB and ten hours, plus you’ll be able to offer some products and services through subscription plans. The £27/mth Business VIP plan removes the video cap and increases the storage cap to 50GB, while adding customised reports and priority support.
All the above prices apply when you pay annually up front, and get significantly more expensive if you pay month by month.
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Wix review: How easy is it to set up?
Wix still makes it incredibly simple to get up and running, despite the expansion of features and capabilities. You can sign up for a new Wix account or through an existing Google, Facebook or Apple ID, and get started on putting your first website together within minutes.
Wix primarily takes a wizard-based approach, asking you what kind of website you want to create and what your basic objective is in creating it. From there, you can use the site-builder tool to set something up quickly, based on ready-made designs and themes, or select a specific template to work from and handle the basic construction and editing from scratch.
You can also choose whether to connect your Wix site to an existing domain or simply work within Wix’s free domain structure, with your site existing as part of a subdomain under Wix. This, in concert with Wix’s free plan, lets you set up and run your first site without any monthly outlay, although you are restricted when it comes to how much storage and bandwidth you can use and which features will be available.
Wix will also set you up with a new domain and even suggest relevant URLs that it has found available. Domains are generally free for the first year but only once you take on one of the more expensive paid-for plans; it’s a bit much to expect it with the free or basic £4/mth plan.
Wix review: What’s it like to use?
Wix’s template-based approach makes for a good balance between ease of use and flexibility. Once you have your basic structure and layouts in place, it’s extremely easy to make global changes through site themes that give you different combinations of fonts and colours, or by selecting individual elements and customising them. It also helps that Wix has both a good set of media management tools for uploading and managing images, audio and video, plus a decent selection of clip art and stock photography. You can use the stock stuff while you’re building your site, even if you switch it out for something more distinctive later.
Meanwhile, built-in photo- and image-editing tools give you some features to adjust and edit your content from within the Wix interface itself. On the photo front, we’re talking accessible filters and basic enhancements and adjustments rather than pro-level tools, but that’s really what you need at this level to maintain a consistent look and feel.
Wix’s biggest plus point is its flexibility. Where some other site-builders lock down the design and structure to keep things simple, Wix makes it easy to add sections or pages, galleries, social feeds, interactive features and more. There are more specific tools for blogging or developing feature content, along with widgets and apps for embedded code. Crucially, an extensive app store gives you a wide range of additional features to explore, both from Wix and third parties.
If you need to add bookings for professional services or reservations for a restaurant, there are dedicated apps. Ditto for support forums, comments, social media feeds and donations. Most come with a cost attached, but you can usually install and play with the app before splashing any cash.
Wix scores brownie points by providing step-by-step guides to some of its more complex features and you don’t even need to go looking for them; they’re often introduced when you first use a specific tool or app. These do a good job of covering the tasks and processes involved and can be really helpful for nervous users who might, say, be setting up an online store for the first time.
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Wix review: Is it good for ecommerce?
Wix supports ecommerce through its own Wix Store app and through a range of third-party extensions, which can help you set up your own shop or work through existing stores such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy. Self-published authors and artists will also find integrations for leading print-on-demand services.
For many people, Wix’s own tools will be more than adequate. It’s easy to add products to your catalogue, set up your inventory and integrate online payments via PayPal and/or Wix Payments. There are also tools for marketing via email or social media, along with tools to create prepaid postage labels and keep track of deliveries.
It isn’t perfect – templates for product pages are global, which means you can’t treat different product categories differently – but that’s not a huge issue for, say, artists selling prints or other small businesses that specialise in a handful of product lines. If you’re planning something more ambitious, you might want to look at the third-party apps, or at website builders designed more specifically around ecommerce sites. Here, the likes of Squarespace and Shopify have a definite specialist advantage.
Wix review: What other features does it have?
Wix has useful integrations with Google Analytics, Google Ads and Facebook for visitor info and site marketing purposes, along with comprehensive SEO and site inspection tools, including a Get Found on Google wizard that takes you through the easiest, cost-free steps to improve your site’s search rankings.
You also get tools for developing promotional site videos and logos and for building Facebook and Instagram ads. You don’t necessarily need to worry about this stuff when you’re starting out, especially if you’re just building a basic web presence, but it’s good to have it there to support your site as it grows, especially if it supports your business.
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Wix review: Is there anything it could do better?
This isn’t so much an issue as a deliberate choice on Wix’s part, but where other website builders have moved to responsive design, with one version of your site that adapts to desktop or mobile browsers, Wix takes a different tack. It effectively re-creates your desktop site as a basic mobile site, then expects you to handle the two as separate entities.
After you’ve generated the mobile site, changes to the structure or design made on one version are not mirrored across the other, which could be problematic. However, new sections and content are rolled over, so it’s not as if you have to do absolutely everything twice.
On the one hand, this makes it easier to ensure your website looks good on mobile and won’t be some awful cludge that’s impossible to use. On the other hand, you still need to manage and check across the two versions when you make a change, while the mobile templates look a little like they’re built around the screens and user interfaces of a few years ago rather than the devices and software we’re using now. If you’re looking for cutting-edge mobile website design, this probably isn’t your best option.
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Wix review: Should you sign up?
With just a few caveats, yes. Wix excels in making it easy to build simple websites, but it also provides all the tools and features you need to turn that basic presence into something more sophisticated.
You can start with a free account, while you play around with styles and content, then add more features and move to a paid-for plan as your site evolves. There are areas where other website builders have a stronger set of features or provide clearer guidelines to follow, but Wix’s flexibility means it does just about everything well. It’s a great service for beginners, and there’s no need to move on as your needs and skills grow.