Site123 Review

Site123 aims to provide its users with a quick way to put up a site. In fact, they provide you with 3 simple steps to do this:

  1. Choose a design for your template.
  2. Add your content.
  3. Publish and go live.

So, now you know why it’s called Site123 in the first place.

Site123 logo

You can create different types of sites with Site123 as they come with a lot of templates. Some of the categories you’ll find are blog, business, music, photography, and online store (just to name a few). And as with most of today’s best website builders, you don’t need any coding knowledge to create a site with Site123.

But how easy is it to use Site123? And what are its features? Also, how much will it cost you to purchase one of their plans? Well, that’s why we’re here today. We’ll answer all of those questions and help you understand this Company better.

We urge you to take your time in choosing a website builder and hosting Company as the success of your website will very much depend on this. There are lots of things to consider like ease of use, SEO and marketing tools, customer support, and of course, the price (it should be worth it, at the very least). So, let’s move on.

Site123 homepage

Domains

Site123 will give you a free domain name on the first year of your subscription. After the first year, you’ll need to renew your domain (every year) for about $13/ year. Their renewal fee is actually quite low compared to other Companies which charge around $20/ year.

If you’re going to get your domain from Site123, know that they have over a hundred domain extensions available on their site. So, aside from the typical .com, .net, .org, etc. you can choose something like .store if you’re creating an online store. It’s also easy to find a domain as they have a built-in domain search tool right there on their site. Of course, it can be quite tricky to find an available domain name – but with some patience, you’ll surely find a suitable domain name for your website.

Now, if you already have a domain name from other Companies, you can also use that with your Site123 premium package. You can either transfer said domain to Site123 or simply point its DNS (Domain Name System) settings to the same. When you choose to do the latter, you’ll need to renew your domain from your original registrant (where you purchased your domain).

Hosting

Site123 is a website builder and hosting provider in one. Therefore, getting a plan from this Company alone will enable you to build your site without getting any other services from other Companies.

You’ll get hosting from Site123 – whether you go for their free plan or their premium plan. They use CDN (Content Delivery Network) to store your site’s content and CDN servers are located all over the world. This is a good thing as it allows servers closest to your users to deliver your site’s content. And that means fast loading of pages and downloads from anywhere in the world.

Ease of Use

Site123 is easy to use, yes, but it could’ve been designed to be easier. As with most website builders, you’ll need to work on the body of your page editor to design your site. In the case of Site123, however, this is done by either stacking elements on top of one another or side by side in a column. In our opinion, this can get pretty confusing (the whole set up can just seem cluttered).

Once you figure out how to use the page editor (or learn to bear with it), however, going on can be quite a breeze. You simply need to edit each element on the page and fill your site with content.

Note that Site123 has very limited editing options. In fact, you can’t even customize the footer as much as you want to. Basically, it only allows you to edit the copyright text and add a few links there. Unlike other website builders, you just can’t add other elements in Site123’s footer area.

As far as creative freedom is concerned, you really don’t get much of it with Site123. Some features like customizing your site’s navigation bar and integrating your social media accounts to your site can even prove to be a little challenging. So, prepare yourself for that when choosing this website builder.

All in all, it’s easy to create a simple website with Site123. However, it can be a little difficult to create more complex sites (especially those with specific requirements).

Site123 step1

Site123 step2

Site123 step3

Templates

You have hundreds of free templates to choose from when you subscribe to Site123’s premium plans. Here are just some of the categories they have at the moment:

  • Business
  • Blog
  • Photography
  • Music
  • Landing page
  • Online store

As their templates come with structured layouts, all you have to do is tweak the design according to your liking.

In our opinion, they have a pretty decent selection of templates. And the good news is that they’re all responsive and will automatically adjust to screen sizes.

Contact Forms

Contact forms are important to a website as you want to give your site visitors the opportunity to send you a message without logging into their email provider. Again, this is one of Site123’s best features as they come with a lot of contact form layouts. These are also customizable – so you can add other fields to the form (as you deem fit).

Languages

If you want a multilingual site, know that this is one of Site 123’s strongest points. You can easily add up to 5 languages by choosing from their menu – and a translation will be automatically generated. Note, however, that this feature is not available on the free plan. You’ll have to subscribe to one of their premium plans if this is important to you.

Social Media

You can link out to most of today’s top social media platforms with Site123 – so that’s not a problem. The problem (if you’ll consider this a problem) is that you can only display icons of social media below your web pages. If you’re not picky about this, then good.

Because of Site123’s limited features on social media, we’re not recommending it to sites where social media plays a really big role (or if you’re dependent on social media). At this point, Site123 doesn’t allow you to embed social feeds on your site – which is a huge minus in today’s standards.

Plugins and Widgets

Site123 support plugins – you can go to the plugin settings if you want to add more features into your site’s design. Here are just some of the third-party plugins that Site123 supports:

  • E-mail marketing tools
  • Analytics tools
  • Google Webmasters tools

Note, however, that widgets are not supported – therefore, you can’t add code snippets on HTML widgets for additional features. The inability to use code snippets will also affect your monetization techniques. As such, you can’t place banners and advertisements that use codes. You can still include links in your text content, though (so your affiliate links can go there).

SEO

You need SEO knowledge and tools to rank your site in Google and other search engines. Fortunately, Site123 has some SEO features (just basic) built into their system such as the following:

  • Editable meta titles and descriptions
  • Customizable URLs
  • Alt text can be added to images
  • Sitemap

Site123 does have SEO guides to help users create an SEO-optimized website. Just don’t expect it to provide you with keywords that will boost your SEO efforts. Neither does it come with SEO apps for said purpose. Therefore, you still need to use your own research (and tools) to further intensify your SEO campaign.

Security

Security is important to your website and your users as well. Don’t worry, Site123 has got you covered with their free SSL certificate. SSL stands for Site Socket Layer – it’s basically an encryption tool and it works by encrypting data between the servers and users.

Your site’s URL will have an extra s in there because of SSL. So, instead of the usual http://, it’s going to show https://. Because of this, your site visitors will feel safe and secure when they leave credit card details on your site.

SSL works 24/7, so that’s really good security.

Domain Privacy

Domain Privacy or Whois Privacy is included for free in all of Site123’s premium packages. This is an important feature as you wouldn’t want your private information exposed to everyone (including hackers). This is an added bonus when you subscribe to any of Site 123’s plans as this feature typically costs around $10 (or more) per year.

Backups and Restorations

Site123 doesn’t really have a backup and restore functionality. What it has is just an autosave feature that allows for automatic saving of your content as you work on it. This feature gives you the option to get the last auto-save version of your content.

We hate that Site123 doesn’t include a backup function as this is really REALLY important. Should your site crash for one reason or another, everything will be lost in an instant.

Advertisements

Your website will carry a Site123 floating banner and footer ad when you subscribe to Site123’s free plan. You only have the option to remove these ads when you purchase their premium plan.

Scalability

Because of its limited features and capabilities, we’re not giving Site123 a high point in scalability. It can sustain small to medium-sized businesses (including e-Commerce), but you’ll need a more powerful Company behind you if you plan on becoming a big player in your chosen niche. So, think about the future when considering Site123 as your website builder and hosting provider.

Money Back Guarantee

All of Site123’s premium plans are covered by 14-day money back guarantees. Therefore, should you decide to cancel your plan within the 14-day grace period, you’ll surely get a full refund from the Company (usually within 7 days).

Cancellation Policy

You can definitely cancel your paid plan with Site123. If it’s beyond the 14-day money back guarantee period, however, you won’t get a refund. Also, expect to get an email from the Company asking you if they can help you with anything (supposedly to try to keep you from canceling). Once confirmed, they’ll immediately process your cancellation.

Site123 login

Site123 for Personal Use

Site123 is great for personal use. If you really have minimal needs, you might even find their free plan to be enough. Still, if you want a professional-looking personal site with options to grow, we suggest getting their premium plan.

You can create a personal site about music, photography, creative arts, and more. You can even use it as an online CV.  Site123’s features are good enough for your basic needs in creating an online presence.

Site123 for Blogging

Site123 has a good blogging platform. First of all, you can choose from their Blog templates right from the start. This will provide your site with a good blogging layout and structure.

Here are some of the built-in blogging functions that you can get from the Company:

  • Social bookmarking
  • Analytics
  • RSS feed
  • Search bar

Here are some basic blogging features that are NOT provided by Site123:

  • Categories
  • Archive
  • Comments

While we believe that having an archive option is not that important, we are somewhat disappointed that there’s no categories section (this is really helpful to site visitors). The Comment section, however, is of utmost importance in a blog as you would want to engage with your readers through discussions. Fortunately, Site123 allows for the integration of the Disqus commenting system – so that will do.

Site123 for Business

Using Site123 will allow you to create a simple, functional business site. It actually has a wide variety of templates for business needs and they all look good. However, we don’t think it’s capable of hosting really big business with a lot of features. So, if you only require a basic website with e-mail marketing capabilities, you can consider Site123 for your business. If you need more, it might be better to look somewhere else.

Site123 for e-Commerce

If you’re going to use Site123 for e-Commerce, know that it comes with around 30 templates for online stores. You also get these:

  • Manage products
  • Categorize products
  • Add images to products
  • Coupon codes
  • Shipping and taxes calculator on checkout
  • Select currency options (for store prices)
  • Payment options via PayPal and wire transfer

You really get a lot of features and functions for a very low price when you use your site for e-Commerce. Still, we find Site123’s hosting power to be quite weak and only suitable for online stores with a few products. It doesn’t even have e-Commerce tools like payment tracking and automatic invoicing (which should be included as basic features in e-Commerce).

Site123 customer support

Help and Support

Pay attention to this particular section as you’ll surely need help and support from Site123 every now and then. Site123 offers the following:

  • 24/7 live chat
  • E-mail support
  • Social media (you can contact them through their social media account)
  • Knowledgebase
  • YouTube channel with video tutorials

As you can see, they have ample ways of helping their customers. You can also choose to help yourself by researching for solutions – they have articles and tutorials on the internet.

We like their 24/7 live chat support the best as nothing beats a quick response when you’re desperately looking for answers. So again, this is one of Site123’s strongest assets.

Site123 pricing

Pricing

Site123’s pricing system is a bit confusing. At first, you might think that they have a very simple pricing structure as going to their pricing page will only show you two plans – Free and Premium. Needless to say, you don’t have to pay for anything with their free plan but their premium plan is priced at $10.80 per month. We’ll discuss both plans in detail below.

Free Plan

Here’s what you’ll get with the Free plan:

  • Price: $0/ month
  • Storage: 500MB
  • Bandwidth: 1GB
  • Site123 Subdomain
  • With ads

Premium Plan

Here’s what you’ll get with their Premium plan:

  • Price: $10.80/ month
  • Storage: 10GB
  • Bandwidth: 5GB
  • Free domain (1 year)
  • Remove ad option
  • Connect domain option
  • e-Commerce

Note: Site123 is showing their Premium plan as their most popular plan. What you don’t know (at this point) is that Site123 has 4 other plans that you can only access when you first purchase their Premium plan. The plans are Basic, Advanced, Professional, and Gold. You can upgrade to any of these plans whenever you want to. We’ll discuss each plan more below.

Basic Plan

These come with the Basic plan:

  • Price: $10.80
  • Storage: 10GB
  • Bandwidth: 5GB
  • Free domain (1 year)
  • Remove ad option
  • Connect domain option
  • 100 mailing list messages

Note: Site123 is advertising this plan for personal use.

Advanced Plan

Upgrade to the Advanced Plan and you’ll get these:

  • Price: $16.80
  • Storage: 30GB
  • Bandwidth: 15GB
  • Free domain (a year)
  • Remove ad option
  • Connect domain option
  • 1,000 mailing list messages
  • e-Commerce
  • 50 orders per month
  • 2 mailboxes
  • 1 additional language

Note: Site123 recommends this plan for small businesses.

Professional Plan

Now, if you get their Professional Plan, it comes with these:

  • Price: $22.80
  • Storage: 90GB
  • Bandwidth: 45GB
  • Free domain (1 year)
  • Remove ad option
  • Connect domain option
  • 2,500 mailing list messages
  • e-Commerce
  • 500 orders per month
  • 5 mailboxes
  • 3 additional languages

Note: Site123’s Professional plan is recommended for large businesses and e-Commerce

Gold Plan

Site123’s Gold Plan has these:

  • Price: $28.80
  • Storage: 270GB
  • Bandwidth: 135GB
  • Free domain (1 year)
  • Remove ad option
  • Connect domain option
  • 10,000 mailing list messages
  • e-Commerce
  • Unlimited orders per month
  • 10 mailboxes
  • 5 additional languages

Note: As Site123’s ultimate (and most expensive plan), the Gold plan carries all the features of lower-priced plans plus a whole lot more (more storage, more bandwidth, more everything, and unlimited orders per month for online stores).

The Hidden Plans

Now you have a complete list of all of Site123’s pricing plans (yes, even the hidden ones). We actually smell something fishy with their pricing schemes, so we’ll expound about this further in this section. Below, we are listing some of our observations with regards to their plans and pricing system.

  1. Premium Plan Vs. Basic Plan – Their Premium plan is the one displayed on their pricing page (and your only option when you first decide to get their paid plan). The Basic plan is their cheapest plan amongst their four hidden plans. Now, if you look at their features closely, you’ll notice that they’re basically the same. In fact, they’re even priced the same. Here’s the (somewhat) fishy part – while their Premium plan lists e-Commerce as one of the features, their basic plan doesn’t carry this feature. Go figure.
  2. Note that all the prices listed above (as provided by Site123) are all monthly prices based on annual payments. This one is not so fishy as most website builders/ hosting companies really do present their prices this way. It’s their way of making it seem that their prices are low (e.g. low monthly payments) when these are just introductory prices based on annual payments. Expect regular prices (about double the introductory prices) when you renew your plan. So yes, you’ll pay a higher renewal fee on your next billing period.
  3. Right now, Site123 doesn’t give its customers the option to pay monthly. Their choices are quarterly (every 3 months), annually (every year), biennially (every 2 years), and triennially (every 3 years). It’s bad enough that you’re not given the monthly option (most Companies have this) – but their quarterly prices are just so high (almost double than if you were to pay annually). This is probably their marketing technique of encouraging their customers to pay annually instead of quarterly.

With the above observations out of the way, we also want you to know these:

  • Keep in mind that you’ll save more money as you pay for longer years. Again, this is a common practice among similar institutions.
  • Site123’s free plan is actually good. You can create as many accounts and websites as you want – as long as their 500MB storage and 1GB bandwidth can handle it.
  • We find Site123’s premium (hidden) plans to be nicely balanced in terms of prices and features. Therefore, you can check them out and choose the plan that will suit your budget and particular needs.
  • If you’re serious about selling, you should consider looking into Site123’s Professional and Gold plans. Lower-priced plans can handle e-Commerce, but you might only be able to sell a few products per month.
  • All of Site123’s paid plans come with 14-day money back guarantees. So, if you want to skip the Free plan (it has very limited features anyway) and go straight to a paid plan – you can do so with some peace of mind. As long as you cancel your plan within 14 days of purchasing it, you’ll be refunded your money.

Pros and Cons of Using Site123

Pros

  • Site123 is multilingual and can, therefore, be translated into other languages.
  • They have a free plan that you can use for as long as you want.
  • Their help and support system includes 24/7 live chat.
  • All templates are responsive (will automatically adjust to different sizes of screens).

Cons

  • Some premium plans are hidden from the main pricing page.
  • There are layout restrictions that can hinder full customization.
  • There are no unlimited storage and bandwidth features.

Site123 FAQs

FAQs

Q: What is Site123?

A: Site123 is a website builder and hosting provider in one. Its name implies that you can put up a site using 3 simple steps – answer some questions, design your template, and go live. It makes site creation not only fast but easy as well.

Q: Does Site123 use drag and drop editor?

A: No. All templates have structures – you simply need to upload your content then publish your site.

Q: Do I need coding skills to use Site123?

A: No. Site123 comes with templates that you can edit without using any codes (what you see is what you get).

Q: Can I use Site123 for free?

A: Yes. However, the free version has a lot of limitations.

Q: Can I use my own domain on the free plan?

A: No. In order for you to use your own domain, you’ll need to get one of their paid plans (any).

Q: Do I have to enter my credit card details when I sign up to Site123?

A: You only need to enter your credit card details if you’re purchasing a premium plan. For the free plan, such information is not required.

Q: How can I upgrade my plan from free to paid?

A: There’s an Upgrade button on your dashboard – just click on that and you’ll be taken to Site123’s premium plan packages.

Q: How can I get discounts on my chosen plan?

A: You’ll automatically get discounted prices when you pay upfront (1 year, 2 years, 3 years). You’ll get the most savings when you pay for a longer time.

Q: Can I change my plan?

A: Yes, you can upgrade or downgrade your plan at any time you want.

Q: Is Site123 SEO-friendly?

A: Yes, it’s built with SEO in mind and comes with a lot of SEO features.

Q: How many websites can I create under one account?

A: You can create as many websites as you want under one username (you’ll manage them all in one account).

Q: Where are Site123 servers located?

A: Site123 uses CDN (Content Delivery Network). As such, their servers are located all over the world. This facilitates fast loading times as the servers nearest the users are used to transfer data.

Q: How can I create a mobile-friendly website with Site123?

A: You really don’t have to do anything to make your website mobile-friendly. Site123 has already done this for you – so, your website will automatically be responsive to all types of devices.

Q: Can I download my website?

A: No. Site123 doesn’t allow this.

Q: Where can I buy a domain?

A: You can buy from Site123 or from other domain name registrants.

Q: Do Site123 packages come with e-mail accounts?

A: Site123’s Advanced, Professional, and Gold plans all come with e-mail accounts.

Q: Does Site123 have good customer service?

A: Yes. They have 24/7 live chat and their response time is known to be quick.

Site123 website

Should You Go for Site 123 and Why

So, is it really simple and easy to create a website with Site123? Yes, it is. As far as speed in putting up a site is concerned, the answer is yes. Site123 comes with a built-in wizard to guide you all the way, from start to finish.

You really can put up a good-looking site with Site123. All their templates are responsive, so you really don’t have to worry about people who’ll be accessing your site from mobile devices. In today’s world, this is very important – for pleasant user experience and SEO as well.

What we don’t like about Site123 is the quality of its features. As you can see in our discussions above, they have a lot of shortcomings, especially in the customization area. Also, they don’t even offer unlimited storage and bandwidth on their most expensive plans.

Needless to say, we also don’t like their hidden plans. For some reason, this looks suspicious as we’ve never encountered anything like this before. Usually, all pricing plans are displayed on their homepages – so this one is really weird for us.

All in all, if simplicity is your priority, you can consider Site123. It can perform well for personal sites and small businesses as well. However, we don’t think their e-Commerce plans are powerful enough for online stores with a lot of products and sales – there are simply better options out there (Shopify quickly comes to mind). Still, if you only have a few products to sell, Site123’s e-Commerce plans can be an option.

Lastly, do keep in mind that you’re trading off customization, control, and functionality over convenience when you choose to go for Site123. In our opinion, these are all important – and giving up total control over these things can greatly affect your site’s overall performance.

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