Homestead Site-Builder Review: The Godfather of Websites

Homestead’s website claims a whopping 12 million users, making Endurance one of the biggest website hosts out there. The platform has also received numerous positive press reactions since since its launch in 1996. This alone is enough to make us want to try their product.

A closer look revealed one feature in particular that we didn’t expect: Homestead works as both an online and offline website builder. But you can’t actually do anything unless you’re connected to the internet, which cancels out any advantages to this two-tiered approach. We’ll readily admit that we’re not a big fan of installing software too.

Homestead’s web-based tool, Site Builder Light, unfortunately only features a fraction of the tool’s functionality.

See it in action here

Homestead in Detail

Criterion Rating Comment
Ease of use
Web-based editor is very simple but offers only the most basic of features. Locally installed version is a lot more complicated and less intuitive. Does not look like a convincing concept to us.
Choice and flexibility of design (templates)
Templates on offer do look ok - we've seen worse. But template customization is very limited and if you decide to change your template, you lose all your content. (Not a problem we've seen with other site builders we've tested).
Advertisement-free yes Only paid subscriptions available. Find more on Homesteads pricing options here.
Text editor supports any western European language, but interface available in English only.
Your own domain name (e.g. .com or .net) yes Re-direct or transfer your existing domain; you can also register a domain via Homestead. Help section will show you how this works.
Depth of navigation
There's only the main navigation level, as the templates don't have any sub navigation. This will be a major problem if your website grows larger.
Widgets (small tools to add extra functionality)
Video tool, photo gallery and many other widgets such as a Facebook "like" button included. Also a large image gallery with free photos.
Monetization yes With Google AdSense inserted via a HTML widget, or other banner ads.
Add a simple Paypal button or upgrade to SimpleStore or Storefront for an additional charge.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Meta tags, meta descriptions and page titles can all be edited. URL is generated from the name of the menu item. W3C Validator finds a high number of HTML errors in the source code though, which is unnecessary.
Can be added via the blog manager module, which is quite a pain to work with.
Visitor statistics
Use Homestead's built-in RealTracker, or add Google Analytics to each site individually.
Contact form yes Offers quite a few field options.
Password protection not tested
Newsletter tool yes There is a mailing list feature. Not tested.
Add HTML code yes Allows you to add other widgets and tools.
Storage space 25 MB+ The Starter plan offers 25 MB only. The Business plan looks better with 5 GB.
Backups & Restore yes There is a backup feature.
Support yes Email and phone. Support has been responsive.
Fun Factor
To be honest, working with Homestead was not our idea of fun.
Overall Rating
This website builder is in desperate need of a complete overhaul to better reflect the era we live in.


When describing Homestead’s site builder, it’s easier to tell you what it isn’t: neither free nor cheap. In fact, it is very expensive compared to its competitors. The USD $4.99 package gets you only 5 single pages with storage up to 25 MB (that’s right, not GB). To be able to use it in a remotely realistic fashion, you’d have to opt for their hugely overpriced Business package at USD $19.99.

The problem is not that Homestead is missing a lot of features. Instead, the underpinning system should probably have been replaced long ago because it seems like more and more features have just been added on top of an old core. Homestead is the dinosaur of website builders and is doomed for extinction, unless it quickly learns to adapt to its new environment.

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Last updated: 17 Jan 2017 | Robert Brandl

Your questions:

We love to hear from you! This is the place to ask questions about the product we reviewed. Please note that we reserve the right to delete comments that are disrespectful, use inappropriate language or are solely promotional.
  • walter white

    i have used it for two years now, im not a very technical web designer but a pain in the ass it iss, fortunately my keyboard was still working after smashing it while getting upset by this ‘dinosaur’ ripoff bullshit product with a fully automated service which sends you to a forum where you will find only other people with more problems so you are left, upset with more questions than answers.

  • Enin McDow

    I have not used it yet to any degree, but I did look at the backend on the web version of a friends website. All I can say is WOW! I’m so sticking with Drupal.

  • Pam

    so true what Walter said. They take your money quick enough, but when it isn’t working, you cannot talk to a human being. I could have done most of this work myself and saved a bunch of money. I went to Intuit, and their SEO services to assist me with website and SEO. I was better off by myself (and had more money in my pocket!).

  • Jimmy

    Our business has used Intuit for over a year now. Support is excellent (if you call and talk to a live person) but I agree that it needs revamping. In the SimpleStore, you can’t even bold or italicize text in your product descriptions. It’s like a Facebook post. The biggest problem we’ve had has been with the Facebook like button not working on certain browsers. We average about 1 like every 2-3 months…something’s definitely not right. More than one tech support person has admitted to an issue, but months later it is not fixed.

  • Ana Garcia

    You can no longer Meta tags to websites created online. They will be phasing out the desktop version in a few months

  • fanny

    Since Intuit (homestead) has sent all their service operations to India, the service now is awful. The new interface they created to get into your account is just plain annoying because you have to click everything twice. No longer user-friendly.

  • Losing Customers

    We’ve been on a blacklist for days because one of Homestead’s accounts was hacked. Problem not fixed–day 4 and counting not being able to send emails. Hacks over there.

  • Unhappy Homsteader

    I started using Homestead in 2005. At that time I was very happy with it. But after they sold out to Intuit things went bad. You can no longer call and speak to support, everything is done on a community help board. And not too long ago they were hacked and everyone’s email was blacklisted. It has been a nightmare to fix it. Many people have complained that they lost a lot of business deals due to email not working. And the worst part is that Homestead didn’t seem to be too bothered to get it fixed. Problems continue. I am happy with how my website looks and switching to someone else is a pain, but they are a disaster.

  • Missy

    I’ve used Homestead for at least ten years. They have gotten worse and worse. Now my SEO is shot and I have discovered their editor is doing some weird things with any and all text I add. I am probably going to have to move the entire site elsewhere….big job.

  • want better

    I’m using intuit for my webpage but want to find something better, because, besides paying $20/month, the SEO is is very poor. What’s the point if no one can find me if they google my business or service? Also, my page won’t come up on iphones (Safari)…. so using the mobile webpage is a must.

  • Sergio

    H O R R I B L E experience!

    it’s simple. if you are checking some reviews about homestead service, you got it, the worst technical support, design department is like it doesn’t exist….. and yeah… you have to pay them upfront…. just go away from these people, find something better for your life and business.

  • DONOTUSEIntuit-Homestead

    DO NOT USE THIS COMPANY!!! Their company is falling apart. They don’t help you, you cant find any support, you can only find support from other users that have been through the nightmare. They are all out yachting with your money they stole and laughing about how they suckered everyone to buy their product. The site they suckered me into was offline 12 hours today and with no support there is nothing that I can do about it. The CEO needs to be fired immediately. Let’s band together and get their stock value to fall to zero!!!

  • Charlie

    I have used homsead for the past 7 years…

    the website features get worse or disappear, the offline wbsite builder is very unstable and take forever to do a simple task and even then it might crash without saving any thing.

    The customer service is the worst i know..

    For the amount it cost you would think that they could cover the basics, But on the bright side my website did stay at A on Google map and on the first page for at least 5 years so i just put up with it.

    Oh i forgot to say dispite all of the downside they always remember to take payments on time without fail.

    Hope this helps a bit???

  • Sophie

    I’ve use Homestead for 3 years now, I like it. It was fun and easy to create a website. Every time I have an issue trying to design something they are very helpful. It used to be by the phone, but one is by chat. I personally don’t see any problem with that. I think they can improve by having the option of calendar, the reducing the cost of “simpler store” … At least for small businesses.

    • Hi Sophie,
      Thank you for sharing your experience with our readers. We agree with you. The total costs with the store addon could be cheaper. If you need a calendar then check out Tockify. You can add this calendar feature to any website.

  • sam

    last year 2013 it http://www.homestead did not work 2-3 times and i did not complain, this year today
    it has not been working for 1 day and 9 hours already. do not ever in your life use this website.

    they are highly, highly, highly unreliable and they have never said sorry for it.

    i am thinking of changing my 2 websites.

    • Hi Sam! We’re sorry to hear about that problem. In the past we ran a test (that we’re currently updating). Here you find more reliable solutions in our server availability test.

  • matt

    it has been roughly 1 week my 2 websites are not working at all.
    the e-mail with them is also not working. and you call this company good.

    • Hi Matt,
      It looks like that you are not the only one with that problem. I’d recommend you to leave a comment in their homestead forum. Where have you read that we called this company good? We’d gladly change that due to the fact that the Homestead sitebuilder comes in last place on our Top 10 comparison.

  • Carlos Fernandez

    A very accurate and real review. We have used Homestead (H) since 2009. It was not a quick-and-easy-to-use SW, but we eventually got it. It is not intuitive or “smart.” Many, many aspects to take hold (changing font color, posting of links, and other simple changes), it does not support outside links to files you post (like commonly used PDF format!). I could go on, but real web masters repeat that this was LONG OVERDUE for major overhaul. I guess the haul of $$$ they get is too good right now.

    As a single business manager I can’t seem to find the time to create a new site with a new company, so I wrestle. My wife keeps asking me to stop cussing when I work on H, i can’t get her convinced it’s not me. Maybe I should let her make the changes, well, actually she went with another company when I sent the link to H. So I guess she is the smarter….

    Anyway, steer clear and try to get out if you can!

    • Hi Calos! Thank you for your honest feedback. If you you want to switch, you find some good alternatives in our overview. Most of them have a free plan like Weebly or Jimdo.

  • Moruti

    Presently Homestead SiteBuilder has a major disaster – impossible to login. The problem is already several days old. Very dishonest help chat fooling customers and hiding the real problem. Very unprofessional treatment of customers – even those very loyal to them for a very long time.

    • Josep Garcia

      Hi Maruti, I am so sorry to hear about your problems with Homestead SiteBuilder. I hope they get fixed soon. If you’d like to change you can have a look at our overview page. Most website builders have free accounts to try them out before purchasing any plan.

  • Frustrated

    RUN AWAY!!!! I have been with Homestead for over 10 years. I have over 200 websites with Homestead. Each year it gets worse and worse. This morning I encountered text magically appearing on my websites. Yesteday I spent over 7 hours repairing just ONE website. I’ve got hundreds of hours of work to do to fix these problems, and all at super slow Homestead speeds since their servers are being “updated” for the past month. I’ve been on the phone with tech support for 15 hours over the past 3 weeks, enduring lies, false promises, and frustration. I think Homestead is doomed to oblivion if they don’t get these problems fixed very very soon. Many people can’t even log into their accounts. I wish there was a rating I could give under 1 star!

    • Phil

      Hi There i to have been using Homestead for over 10 years and have dozens of sites on there. I am tired of spending hours fixing what Homestead continuously break. The frustration is beyond belief and its been going on for years. The whole thing is a dinosaur of epic proportions and like yourself i’m stuck unless i want to rebuild the sites elsewhere which will take forever. Their customer service has deteriotated since being sold to intuit, that was the death sentence for what started as a great tool. The online sitebuilder is a joke compared to the original downloaded sitebuilder. I would say to anyone who is considering homestead don’t, do not get caught up like the rest of the long time existing customers, steer well clear

    • Josep Garcia

      Hi guys, I am sorry to hear you are having issues with this builder 🙁 If you are considering alternatives, you could have a look to our comparison here:

  • Guest

    I was with Homestead for a several years and in the beginning when they were tied to Intuit, things were working great, but over the past year things have slowed down greatly since they parted ways. Homestead keeps saying that it is a migration issue, then it is a server issue, then it is this, then it is that, and the list goes on. I don’t frankly think they know what the problem is or how to fix it. Once I started losing customers of my own because of their ineptness, I pulled the plug and went to Weebly and got all the domains through

  • Peter Morrison

    I was with Homestead for several years and built many websites for several clients during that time. Homestead was not a bad place when they were partnered with Intuit. However, those ties got severed about a year ago and things have gone down hill since. Homestead has blamed their issues on server issues, network problems, source code problems, software problems, this problem, that problem, and this list goes on. It is one miserable failed attempt after another to keep people calm while they claim to be fixing things while they claim to be migrating their servers and network. Bologna. It does not take three months to move a network and servers, it takes a weekend at most if the company knows what they are doing as Homestead has proven they have no clue. Countless client websites are up and then down and all they can say is they are sorry for the inconvenience. People are losing hundreds and sometimes thousands in sales per day and the worse part is that this all took place during Christmas time. Not smart on the part of Homestead. After losing two of my own clients and not wanting to lose more, I too jumped ship and took my domains to NameSilo Domains and took the websites to Weebly and built them all from scratch. While it took some time to get this all done, it is not anything I would want to go through again. I have also learned that they are sistered with Entourage Technologies and their ratings are even lower than Homestead’s. They also have less then 10 employees if what I read is correct. In further research it says that Homestead has 116 employees as of June 2014. I find that hard to believe. If they did, then maybe things would be fixed by now. But who knows, maybe a lot of them have been released or have left by now because of everything going on. When you try to reach them by Chat or by Phone there is nobody there online or on there 800 number, but I did find a local number for the first time. I will be sharing that at a later time in their forum and see where that gets them.

    • Hi Peter! Thank you for sharing this information. Just in case you have a problem with Weebly, let us know. We’re happy to help you. Here you find more information about Weebly.

      • Peter Morrison

        I have managed to get all my clients up and running. There were a few glitches at first, but that comes with anything new when you switch over to somebody new. Many of my clients are actually much happier with Weebly and many things work the same as Homestead, but there are other features that work way better.

    • Annett Construction, LLC

      Peter this is definitely some true information. I have been trying to get the Homestead to fix my site. They told me that it would be formatted for google when they finished building mysite. It never was formatted because when I get in google console there is numerous issues. Now today fighting with Homestead over simple updates that I was trying to make on the website builder. It is strange. Its acts like when you click on something on the page the curser will not let go of the different area’s of the website It starts boucing all around with in the platform. I called them and they say it’s me causing the platform to act like this. Basically my homepage is all messed up and they say there is nothing they could do. I shut the computer off and the program is still acting the same way. Every time you click on a part of the website the curser refuses to let go of the different parts that make up the website. It had never done this to me. I’ve make updates on numerous occasions with no problem. Curious if you have any insite to why this is happening to me. It’s sad I paid for custom site and all I’ve got out of it is lots of issues. Besides the fact that in google console it says there are numerous issues with the website. Heck I can’t even be found on good in the organic search. Any help with these issues would be well appreciated. Thank You!

      • Josep Garcia

        Thanks Annett for the message. I am afraid we can’t offer any solution for your Homestead issues. You can always change providers and start from scratch if Homestead is too painful. These providers will let you test their system for free.

      • Annett Construction, LLC

        Some good news. Homestead came through and has fixed all of my issues on my site. There customer service was great. Two days in a row they answered the phone quickly and fix the problems with no hesitation. I believe Homestead is getting better. I just hope they get the server and network issues straighted out.

        • That’s great to hear! 🙂

      • Peter Morrison

        I switched to Weebly several months ago and since that change, many websites I work with have also migrated over to them as well. They wanted to see how I did at first with them. I am paying far less for far more.

  • disgruntled

    Homestead has worked fine for years, but over the past months they have been “moving” to new servers and are using other excuses for why the site is dysfunctional. I can no longer update my site (that I am paying good money for), and have had to build a temporary site on a silly blog just so I can keep customers updated. All phone lines are busy at Homestead.

    • Hey! Unfortunately, you’re not the only one. Peter, from the comment before, had more or less the same problems and he finally switched to Weebly. If things aren’t getting better, I’d recommend you to give it a try. There’s a free plan also.

  • hamishdad

    I’ve been a Homestead customer for over 10 years, but they banned me from their Community Forum for mentioning that there are free e-commerce solutions that work with their Sitebuilder program. Apparently, the only e-commerce solution they want you to know about is their SimpleStore, which costs an additional $14.99 month!

    • We haven’t tested their SimpleStore product so we can only hope that it is better than their standard editor. Fortnuately, there are many great solutions available. Our eCommerce overview provides more details.

      • hamishdad

        That’s awesome, thank you!

  • Michelle Parrotta Esposito

    I’m on the website all but 3-4 times a year for updating. I was in this website a month ago to add something, and updated my login information. Today, it seems after 2 attempts (idk why) i was locked out for “several” attempts for 15 min?? I do not have the patience nor do I have the time!!!!

    • Hi Michelle! We encourage you to contact the Homestead-Support. Let’s hope this will solve this issue.

  • Gary Boisseau

    Why don’t you update this story? I have been a Homestead customer since 1998, and they have only gotten better.

    • Hi Gary,
      We also think that homestead has improved, but reviewing website builders (and keeping those reviews up-to-date!) is seriously a lot of work. The thing is that there are hundreds of website builders in the market.

      That being said we might take another look at it in the future if there is enough demand coming from our readers.

      • Trudy W. Schuett

        They’ve rolled out a new, improved website builder. I was on the verge of taking down my websites and going to a different provider, but I’ve been a Homestead customer since 2001 so it’s much cheaper to stay, if in fact the improvements are significant. I would like to see a review because I’d like an expert’s take on this before I move and spend a lot more money somewhere else! THX!

        • Hi Trudy,
          You don’t have to spend a lot more money to find out if some other website builder is even better than homestead. You can simply create a free account (e.g. Wix, Weebly, etc.) and test all the features. In case you like it, you can decide to make a switch.

  • Lisa Thomas

    how about security?

    • Generally, website builders are secure. Updates are done by the provider, so you don’t have to care about patching a security issue like in WordPress.

  • Chaunda VanTassel

    I’m working with Homestead SiteBuilder for the first time with an old site that has been on it for a long time. I’m trying to open the site using the downloaded editor. It is asking me if I want to delete local copies of every single file that is in the file manager online. There is no option to keep them all so I have been sitting here clicking “don’t delete” for 20 minutes and I’m probably 10% done. Not acceptable!

    I appreciate your review. Based on this, other’s I’ve read today, and looking at the functionality I will only be using it to minimally update the site I’m working on. I will be using a different editor to rebuild the site, no question. I’ve just been learning to use Wix and so far, it’s my favorite.

    • Good to hear that you like Wix. We also have some articles (design, SEO, etc. )about this website builder.

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