Weebly Review: We test “free & easy” Weebly
Websites for grown-ups, no technical skills required: that’s Weebly’s promise. It’s one of the most popular website builders worldwide and is credited with the creation of more than 40 million websites. In this review are taking a closer look at Version 4, their latest update.
The well-organized interface makes it easy to see at a glance what Weebly has to offer. A simple drag and drop is all it takes to add text, images or forms to your Weebly website.
Much like the editor, the pricing structure is simple, too: the basic plan is free, and you’ll get an advertising link in the bar at the bottom of the screen.
Since you have to pay for Weebly’s Starter plan, you can completely customize the bar at the bottom of the screen, and you can get rid of the advertising now, too. The Pro plan additionally includes features such as a slideshow at the top of the screen or a search feature for the website. If your goal is to set up a proper e-commerce store there are two good options: the Business plan and the Performance plan.
A domain is included for a year but after this, the domain will cost extra. In any case, you should start by checking out the free plan first.
See it in action here
Ease of use: every single website builder claims that they are the easiest to use. In the case of Weebly, it’s true.
Responsive Themes: Weebly’s themes not only look great but they will also perfectly adapt to mobile devices. If there only were a few more of them!
App Center: you can add additional features to your site with only a few clicks. There’s a good selection of Weebly’s own apps as well as third party ones.
Team Management: if you’re not the only one who works on your website, you can assign other editors and give them access.
Membership Areas: with Weebly you can open certain parts of your website to members only. It’s up to you if the registration is publicly available or not.
Limited Design Flexibility: compared to website builders like Wix you are not quite as free to move site elements around. Some people like the structure Weebly provides, others prefer total freedom. You’ll have to find out what’s your preference.
Multilingual Websites: although they feature a couple of third-party apps, we haven’t found a great way to create a website in multiple languages that is also SEO-friendly. DudaOne would be a better choice in this case.
Weebly in detail
|Ease of use||
||This is exactly how a website builder should be. There's no learning curve with Weebly, so you'll have your website up and running in no time.|
|Choice and flexibility of design (templates)||
||There are plenty of stylish and modern designs. They are all responsive (meaning: optimized for smartphones and tablets). It's possible to add video backgrounds and animate background pictures. The templates can also be edited via the source code.|
|Advertisement-free||yes||All the paid plans (Starter, Pro, and Business) are ad-free. The free plan shows a bar at the bottom of the screen with the Weebly logo.|
||Currently available in English and many other languages. No special feature to create multilingual sites but a workaround exists. Do not use Weebly for non-English character sets like Russian, Chinese or Arabic as they are not fully supported.|
|Your own domain name (e.g. .com or .net)||yes||For your first year, you’ll get a domain name for free, which will cost you $19.95 from the second year onwards. Some of the available domain endings are .com, and .ca. Or you can bring your own domain with you from another provider, and redirect it to Weebly.|
|Depth of navigation||
||Unlimited levels of navigation hierarchy. A drop down menu is automatically added to the navigation area.|
|Widgets (small tools to add extra functionality)||
||Image galleries, video and music players, and other gadgets are all included in the editor. And there are other useful applications, too, such as tables, calendars, and more to be found in the Weebly App Center.|
|Monetization||yes||Using banner ads or Google AdSense for example.|
||Weebly offers a solid and easy-to-use online store with SSL encryption and multiple payment options. Detailed information can be found in our Weebly Online Store review.|
|Search Engine Optimization (SEO)||
||Title, meta and description tags are all customizable at page level, as are your images' ALT text. URL text is always created from the respective menu item. The use of headlines (H1, H2 etc.) is limited.|
||All the important basic features are included, and it's very search engine friendly. Blog entries can be scheduled, and you can integrate alternative commenting systems such as Disqus or Facebook. One drawback, however, is that you can’t run a blog with multiple authors.|
||A simple statistics tool is available in the free plan. More detailed statistics are included in an upgrade. Or you can integrate Google Analytics, if you prefer.|
|Contact form||yes||You can create detailed contact pages, including a contact form and Google Maps integration, with just one click. And adapting it to meet your own needs is very simple.|
|Password protection||yes||Available from the Pro plan. You can either protect the entire site or selected pages. There is now also a membership area that is available that lets you share certain content only with site members. Pro allows you to add up to 100 members, while higher plans have no limit and also give you the option of letting your visitors sign up on a public form.|
|Newsletter tool||yes||Weebly's own newsletter service is called Promote and let's you easily send marketing emails (see pricing). You can also plug in external providers via their App Center. Other email services can be found here.|
|Add HTML code||yes||Allows you to add external widgets and other tools.|
|Storage space||Unlimited||Only the free plan has a limit of 500 MB. Your files cannot exceed 10 MB each on the free plan, or 250 MB each on the Pro plan. But other than that, the sky's the limit! No limits on bandwidth either.|
|Backups & Restore||yes||It is possible to download backups of your site, but this is a manual process and you won't be able to restore them.|
|Support||yes||Email, knowledge base and live chat (look in the Help Center, to us it seems they are hardly available). Email support usually responded competently and quickly to our questions. Pro plan and higher also provide telephone support.|
||Weebly listens to their users and continuously improves the product. We also like their non-aggressive sales style.|
|One of the best website builders on the market. They should provide a better way to purchase email accounts; but other than that, Weebly hits the spot. Try it for free.|
We’ve been following Weebly’s progress for many years now. In the beginning, it was just another website builder. That has completely changed: Weebly has evolved into an outstanding tool that we currently see far ahead of its competition. It’s simple, uncluttered and easy to use – which is exactly what people with limited technical skills need when it comes to creating their own internet presence.
The Designs are one of Weebly’s biggest advantages. They automatically look great on every device, and they can be adapted to match your own personal needs, using the templates as a base.
Another highlight is the app store: There you’ll find plenty of additional features (e.g. a forum or a live chat) that you can add to your website with just a few clicks.
And by using the iPad or Android app, you can edit your entire website on the go.
The only thing they could improve is a better way to get business email accounts. Weebly recommends Google Apps, which is a bit pricey at $5 per user. Nevertheless, there are different ways to tackle this issue (see our FAQ’s).
Enough with theory: Try it out for yourself and see how you like it!
Is Weebly the right choice for you?
Weebly Example Sites
User Opinions about Weebly
Alternatives to Weebly
FAQ about Weebly
Should I purchase my domain name from Weebly? Or is it better to use a service like GoDaddy?
Domain names are free the first year. Afterwards Weebly will charge $19.95 per year. With Go Daddy, for example, you can purchase a domain name for around $10-15 per year and it already includes one email account. Their Deluxe Email Package is around $50 per year and provides 5 email accounts. See here how to set up a GoDaddy domain name for your Weebly website.
If you want to connect or transfer a Namecheap or a 1&1 domain name to Weebly, please learn how with this tool.
Which browser should I use for Weebly?
Generally, any of the major browsers will work. In our experience, it’s best to use either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.
I saw that I can also get Weebly through Bluehost or HostGator. Should I sign up with Weebly directly?
The advantage of signing up for Weebly through Bluehost or HostGator is that they provide a domain name and email accounts. But Bluehost’s offering is more expensive than signing up with Weebly directly. What’s important is that it may take longer to receive new feature updates and you won’t be able to use Weebly’s support. If you still want to give it a try, you can do so here.
What can I do with the iOS & Android App?
Weebly offers the possibility to edit and manage your site on the go with the iPhone and Android App for Smartphones; you will be able to create blog posts, add text, photos, videos, share your articles, check your site’s statistics and manage your site’s comments. With the iPad and the Tablet App you will even be able to create a site from scratch.
Check out these screenshots of the Apps:
Does Weebly provide email accounts?
They offer email accounts through Google Apps. This is a professional solution but it will set you back $45 per user (yearly). For many this won’t be ideal as it’s a bit pricey. A better approach would be to purchase your domain name through an external registrar (e.g. Namecheap or GoDaddy), point it to Weebly and set up email there. Another alternative could be Jimdo or Webnode where a free email account is already part of the paid plans.
If I choose the Weebly Pro package now, can I later change to the Business plan?
Yes, that’s possible. All previous payments will be credited so won’t loose any money.
Is there a free trial for Weebly Starter, Pro or Business?
No, unfortunately not. We’d recommend an exhaustive test of the Weebly Free version. There is, however, a 30-day money back guarantee.
Can I really use the free version of Weebly and connect my existing domain name for free?
No, not anymore. You need at least a Starter plan to do that.
What you can see here is the “uptime” of our Weebly demo site for the last 30 days. Every outage means that the website is not accessible. An uptime of 100% would be ideal. Anything less than 99.90% is considered relatively poor. “Outages” shows how many times it went blank and “Downtime” gives you the total amount of time it was down within the last month.
Weebly Response Time
What you can see here is the number of milliseconds it takes for Weebly’s servers to respond. A value in between 200-500ms is relatively good: more than 800ms can feel slow to your visitors. Weebly’s servers are based in the US, which means that loading times are fastest there. The graph is updated in real-time.
Weebly Page Speed
Loading speed is an important ranking factor for Google. That’s why we selected three random Weebly templates and tested them for their page speed using Google PageSpeed Insights. Anything below 70 is relatively poor, a rating of above 80 is considered as good. The maximum is 100 points.
17 Jan 2017 – Backup & Restore section added.
12 Jan 2017 – Added Weebly Page Speed Test
11 Jan 2017 – Weebly’s uptime and response time added.
15 Nov 2016 – Pros and cons section added.
29 Sep 2016– New video review added.
23 Sep 2016 – Weebly 4 update. New plan available with new features.
09 Mar 2016 – Weebly doesn’t let free websites be indexed by search engines any longer. For paid plans there is no change. Update: fortunately this change has been reversed, free websites can be indexed by Google and other search engines again.
01 Mar 2016 – Weebly Promote added
03 Feb 2016 – New use case section added
19 Nov 2015 – Review update (Weebly Carbon)
06 Nov 2015– New domains available
07 Aug 2014 – Price increase
12 Mar 2014 – Weebly has introduced a new Android app
26 Nov 2014– Updates for the blog und new membership feature added
17 Feb 2014– Google Apps integration for email accounts (see FAQ)
11 Feb 2014 – Addition to Languages (limited support of foreign character sets)
04 Jan 2014– Weebly finally doesn’t take a 50% cut on Google AdSense ads anymore.
29 Nov 2013 –Added Weebly Online Store Review
28 Oct 2013– Weebly Support offers now live chat.
09 Oct 2013 – Existing domain names cannot be connected to free Weebly sites anymore.
21 Jun 2013 – New video review of the updated editor
02 May 2013 – New editor design and a price increase: Starter is now $4 (before $3.29) and Pro $8 (before $6.63)
13 Mar 2013 – We’ve added information about password protection.
08 Feb 2013 – New pricing plans: Starter and Pro plan.
17 Dec 2012 – New features: site search, header slideshows, custom footer and more. Our review.
03 May 2012 – Quite a few additions: an iPhone app, the Button Element and more template flexibility
17 Jan 2012 – Video review and video page added
22 Nov 2011 – We checked Weebly’s server performance and it has done pretty well.
20 Jul 2011 – Review of Weebly’s mobile website
17 Mar 2011 – General update
12 Jan 2010 – General update – support not reviewed at this time.
Last updated: 17 Jan 2017 | Armin Pinggera