Netfirms is a well-known web hosting provider that is popular with small business owners and budget-conscious customers. We've used it to host a couple of basic websites. Despite the lack of high-end features, customer service and performance are top-notch considering the price we paid. Based on our experience, here is an unbiased review of what to expect from Netfirms:
Netfirms offers standard hosting, WordPress hosting, and VPS solutions. From the customer's perspective, these solutions are adequate for new website owners and small businesses who want a reliable host at a reasonable cost. In contrast, if you're someone who has a team of developers or you have a large business, Netfirms lack Windows-based solutions, and dedicated servers.
Standard Hosting Package
There are three basic plans for shared hosting: Plus, Advantage, and Business. The most distinguishing feature is the free SSL certificate that is included in every package. Most hosting providers charge anywhere from $3 to $5 per month for the SSL certificate, but Netfirms customers get it free of cost. SSL is important as Google ranks SSL-enabled websites higher than vulnerable non-SSL websites.
Scaling up to Advantage and Business plans will offer you the opportunity to enjoy unlimited websites, MYSQL database, FTP users, and other perks. Recently, Netfirms has revamped its website, which offers greater price transparency. Transparent pricing clearly displays the monthly and yearly billing charges.
Regarding price transparency, it's a standard practice in the hosting industry to advertise a monthly price based on a yearly charge. The customer only finds about the ploy when their shopping cart reflects a 12-month charge instead of a single month. Considering these shady practices, it's certainly a bold initiative by Netfirms to inform the consumer about different price brackets, upfront.
In 2019, NetFirms started offering its VPS solution in collaboration with Spry. The evolving partnership is yet another positive step taken by NetFirms to establish itself as a world-class service provider. If you can't find the VPS solution on the main website, type Netfirms VPS, which will take you to the appropriate page.
Just like the shared hosting plan, the VPS solution is also divided into three different tiers. These include the Standard, Pro, and Premium levels each with its unique features. The standard VPS packages come with 512MB RAM, 20GB Diskspace, and 1000 GB of Bandwidth. Selecting a higher tier will increase these resources accordingly. The top tier has an impressive 2048 dedicated RAM and 2000 GB of bandwidth.
For customers switching from shared hosting to VPS hosting, it's better to try the Pro version, which is available with CPanel at an additional cost. While CPanel is not mandatory, it's nice for the owners to access the administrative panel even when it is controlled by a developer or an employee.
The cost of the standard VPS package is only $33 per month, which comes with unlimited mailboxes, SQL databases, and domains. The PRO plan costs $66, and the premium plan is $100 per month. There is no setup fee for the VPS, but you need to pay a $10 CPanel licensing fee. NetFimrs doesn't offer CPanel access with a standard VPS package, which can put off new customers looking to try VPS instead of the shared hosting.
Few would doubt that Netfirms offers a very strong set of WordPress features. There are only two hosting plans, WP Starter and WP Essential. Both these plans provide core hosting plans, customized control panel, and pre-installed plugins.
The WP Starter plan costs $3.75 per month compared to $6.95 per month expense of the WP Essential plan. Despite a minor price difference, WP Essential is worth significantly more considering that it offers increased speed, enhanced security, and premium support. A customized control panel designed for easy access to WP tools is another innovative solution.
The value of the WordPress package is evident when you start to compare it with other high-quality WordPress hosts. Most of the WordPress hosts such as WP Engine, Pagely, and Media Temple offer only some of the features at prices between $30 and $100 per month. None of the big-name WordPress websites comes with unlimited mailboxes, free domain, and unlimited disk space.
It's true that you can't easily compare two WordPress hosts because there are so many factors that come into play, but we think big-names are just charging the excess amount to cover marketing expenses. Perhaps, you can say that WordPress hosting is one of the best-kept secrets of NetFirms.
Site Building Tool
Netfirms has an easy drag-and-drop website builder, which integrates nicely with WordPress and the file management system. A quick start panel also offers direct access to the website builder and the accompanying tutorial.
If you have used the various drag-and-drop builders to build a website, you know how easy it is for first-time users to develop a great website. Apart from developing a professional website, you're also in control of your web platform.
The true value of a drag-and-drop website becomes evident when website owners spend thousands of dollars in asking their developers to add simple graphics and features. These do-it-yourself website builders also come handy because they can automatically adjust websites to look good on mobile phones and tablets. Considering the value, the site-building tool at NetFirms is a great initiative to help customers produce an attractive front-end.
The reintroduced security features at Netfirms makes it easier for website owners to get website protection according to their individual requirements. You can get SSL certificates, domain security, and Sitelock. The SSL certificate can start from $3 a month, which comes with a seal of trust and a warranty of nearly $10,000.
Even if you're not looking to take credit cards on your website, it makes sense to use SSL because Google takes SSL sites very seriously by promoting them in SEO rankings. Luckily, the SSL certificate is included in the price of the hosting package but it doesn't come with the warranty.
You also have an option to protect your domain privacy by opting to include privacy features. It will prevent your name and personal information from showing in the public domain; instead, everyone will only see the address of the hosting provider.
Netfirms also offers Sitlock security to protect your websites from malware, hackers, and other vulnerabilities. There are three plans that start from only $1.99 per month without the need to pay a lump sum for 12 months. Daily malware scans, blacklist monitoring, block automated bot attacks, and automatic malware removal are just some of the standard features.
For store owners looking to sell their products, they can buy an eCommerce store for only $2.99 per month giving them the ability to run an e-commerce site. The drag-and-drop free website builder also gives an option to create your own virtual storefront.
Additional benefits to Netfirms customers include the option to automate daily backups, get SSL certificates, and acquire a dedicated IP address.
You should always take uptime seriously because it's useless to create a website if its not available to the customer during busy shopping periods. Our test indicates a very strong uptime, controlled spikes, and a stellar response from the Netfirms server. In the long-run, you can count on Netfirms to provide a steady and reasonable uptime for your websites.
Customer support is another strong suit of Netfirms. There is dedicated phone support and live chat available 24 hours and seven days a week. To evaluate customer response, we asked tech support both easy and hard questions. From the initial evaluation, it seems that Netfirms has a team of professional staff that knows what they're doing.
The response time on the Chat was nearly instantaneous. There was only a single instance where we were put in a queue to wait for 30 seconds. Similarly, someone picked up the phone call in less than a minute. You can also print or email the online chat for your records, which is a great thing when you need to revert back to a previous query.
Pros and Cons
Overall, Netfirms is a reliable company that has revamped its services to accurately match the needs of its clients. We also liked the transparency in price, which is usually hidden by big-name web hosts. Steady performance and a knowledgeable teach-support should make things much easier. Why not test yourself by picking up the phone and calling the customer service to see if Netfirms is for you.