Webnode is one of the original website builders that burst onto the market with the Web 2.0 boom, founded as it was in Switzerland back in 2008. It’s grown substantially since, recently releasing a new website builder and set of themes for its user base of 30 million.
We tried Webnode out and compared it against the best website builders. While conversion to the latest builder and set of themes isn’t complete for every area of the site, Webnode poses a bright future with an intuitive editor and low prices, to boot.
Over the course of this review, we’ll hit on the highs and lows on this website builder and who it’s best suited for. For a hands-on approach, you can sign up for a free account and try out the builder yourself, but make sure to read through the end before upgrading.
Alternatives for Webnode
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Easy to use
- HTML editor
- Ecommerce across all plans
- Form builder
- Backup & recovery
- Dated knowledgebase
- Clunky ecommerce interface
Plans at Webnode are packed full of features, even at the free level. All users have access to forms, blogs, ecommerce, an HTML editor and more, without flipping a single bill. Sites come with support for unlimited pages as well, something that HostGator (read our HostGator review) charges extra for.
All plans come free with a blog, perhaps the most basic feature of any website builder. It’s not anything special, limited to a single page full of posts. You can create posts directly within the editor with a few basic formatting options. However, if you’re looking to blog intensively, it’s probably best to go with WordPress (read our best web hosting for WordPress to get a few recommendations).
While most users will stick to the few sections Webnode provides, there is an HTML editor. This allows you to write code directly on your site so you can create custom sections. It’s a small inclusion, but one that providers such as Strikingly (read our Strikingly review) charge for.
Once you upgrade, there are a few miscellaneous features for your site. You have options like video background across any area, backups, Google Analytics integration and membership registration. Even so, Webnode is lacking in a few areas.
You’re restricted to the sections that Webnode provides. There is no app center for expanding the number of options you have which can feel quite limiting in some cases. The HTML section, in this case, is a lifesaver. You can still embed widgets, video and audio on your site by using HTML, but those that don’t know how to do so will be lost.
Additionally, normal plans do not come with an SSL certificate. This piece of kit protects any personal information a user would enter on your site. Some browsers will even display a warning message if your site isn’t secure, deterring some of your traffic. The only plan that comes with one is the most expensive ecommerce plan, a $39.95 per month premium on what should be included with all plans.
Even so, an SSL certificate isn’t essential if you don’t plan on gathering data. However, with access to a membership area and form builder, it makes sense to have one even if you’re not an ecommerce outlet.
Despite a few negatives, there are a lot of features at Webnode. Access to forms, blogs and pages across all plans is something few website builders can boast. The HTML section alleviates the pain of not having an app store, but the lack of an SSL certificate across paid plans is still disappointing.
Webnode Features Overview
|Vector Art Gallary|
|Drag and Drop interface|
Webnode has some of the best pricing out of any website builder we’ve tested. It’s not only inexpensive, but set up in a way so all plans provide significant value. Webnode doesn’t skimp where it counts and only charges for features that are worth the extra cost.
- Single domain connection Webnode ads
- Email account Form builder Premium support
- No Webnode ads Limited backup and recovery
- Unlimited site membership Unlimited backup and recovery
- Unlimited GB
A free plan showcases that perfectly. This surprisingly unrestricted plan grants you full access to the builder, fit with an unlimited page count and blog support. Your site can be anything from a personal portfolio to an ecommerce outlet on the free plan, something that most website builders can’t contend with.
Like all other website builders, though, a free plan comes with the restriction of using a Webnode subdomain. To connect your own domain, you’ll have to upgrade to a Limited plan. It’s inexpensive enough, but really doesn’t provide much outside of connecting your domain. For a couple bucks more, it makes sense to upgrade to a Mini plan.
This is where the true pricing begins, providing a free domain, form builder, email account and premium support. You can also add a video as the background of your site and view all your website statistics. The plan still displays a small Webnode ad in the footer, but it’s half the cost of a similar plan at Wix (read our Wix review), which is difficult to argue with.
For the full Webnode experience, it’s best to upgrade to a Standard plan. This is a middle ground plan where most users will end up. It cuts all Webnode branding and adds membership registration up to 100 members and 20 email accounts at your domain. It’s the same price as a similar plan at Weebly (read our Weebly review) but provides up to five backups with full recovery, something Weebly does not.
At the top end are Profi plans. It’s basically a souped-up Standard plan, supporting up to 100 email addresses, unlimited backups, unlimited membership registration and translation of your site into any language. At twice the price, it won’t pertain to all users. However, if you need a large number of members and email addresses, then the extra cost is certainly worth it.
Webnode Ecommerce Plans
There is a range of ecommerce plans as well. These start off at $7.95 per month with support for up to 100 products. Outside of that, the difference in price is made up for by an SSL certificate, XML import and export as well as credit card payments. As with the normal website builder, you can start an online store for free with a subdomain, but are restricted to only 10MB of storage space.
Webnode lines up with the typical website builder pricing model. You can find plans in each $5 or so increment as you would anywhere else. However, the cost of entry for features like video backgrounds and membership registration is far lower. We’d suggest skipping over the Limited plan as it doesn’t make much sense in practice. For any other, though, it’s certainly worth an upgrade.
Design & Tools
Webnode has quite a simple editor, but one that’s nonetheless very powerful. You start with a fully functional template and tweak your site from there using different pieces of content. Simply mouse over the area you want to edit to add, delete or rearrange sections to shape your site in the way you want.
You shouldn’t have to do much, though. Webnode’s templates are quite good, providing a baseline look for your site out of the gate. There isn’t a massive selection, but the limited supply all look great, giving you a few pages and dummy content as a roadmap.
It should be noted, though, that once you choose your theme, you cannot change it. All themes have the exact same features so it’s not too much of an issue, just something you should keep in mind.
The editor itself is fairly simple. It’s a bit like PowerPoint on a webpage, showing you all the different content that you can snap around. The surrounding areas will automatically adjust to fit the new area, and you can even use standard macros like CTRL+Z to speed up your workflow.
Around the edge of each piece of content, you’ll notice a plus icon. Clicking here will bring up the “add content” window, the main tool you’ll use for building a site. There are only twelve options, a far lower number than most other website builders. Even so, the limited selection poses a lot of possibility. You can add buttons, create contact forms, embed HTML or combine any of the existing options to create a completely new area of your site.
If you want to add a whole other section, you can do that too. A black plus sign will appear between sections which you can open to extend the page. There are far more options here, including basic tools like columns and headings. However, there are some more unique sections such as testimonials and reservations as well.
That’s all the builder offers, which is really a testament to how efficient the design is. You can edit your page hierarchy from the “pages” tab in the top menu, and tweak settings like SEO in the “settings” tab, but the builder itself is restricted to these limited, but powerful, options.
However, this isn’t the only builder that Webnode offers. Any normal website will use this one, but a far outdated builder is used for ecommerce sites. It’s the old Webnode builder that looks more like Microsoft Word than it does a design tool. We reached out to Webnode to see if the builder is in the conversion process, which they confirmed. As it stands now, though, it’s a dated design that simply can’t contend with other website builders.
Normal sites will appreciate the simplicity and power of Webnode’s builder. There isn’t a toolbar full of different options, lending to a clean design interface without sacrificing any power. Ecommerce outlets, on the other hand, are currently stuck with a bygone builder, one that still has a lot of power, but is clunky to get through.
Ease of Use
The builder you’re likely to land on is extremely easy to use. As mentioned above, Webnode has very little nonsense inside the editor, making for a fluid design experience. However, if you’re looking to build an ecommerce site, the archaic look of the second builder will have you clunking your way to completion.
The normal builder, though, is a fairly typical drag-and-drop interface. You can interact with the content directly on your screen, moving and resizing until everything fits like a puzzle. Content can be anything from image and text to custom HTML code, all with linking and sizing options.
On a broader scale, sections are used to contain all of this content. You find it in the same way, mousing over until you see the plus sign. However, these breaks are a bit tricky to find, often riding on a thin margin between sections. It’s not a major con, just a small detail we noticed during testing.
However, the ease of use really shines through with the form builder. You can insert a form either as content or as an entire section depending on how much space you want to take up. Like editing content, you can mess about with the entries on the form by dragging and dropping. It’s a far cry from any sort of form builder in WordPress, instead allowing you to easily create entries directly on the webpage.
Pages are as simple as the rest of the service. The tab in the upper menu brings up your hierarchy of which you can add, delete or rearrange your pages. There are quite a few different options including a blog, membership area and photo gallery. You can choose if the page shows in navigation or restrict access to members, as well as manage SEO.
All other aspects of your site are taken care of in the settings menu. You can handle things like email addresses, Google Analytics integration and collaborators within a few clicks. Most options simply require you switch them on, allowing even the most tech deficient to craft a website.
Webnode will eventually update it’s ecommerce builder, making ease of use a slam dunk. The editor is completely intuitive, allowing direct interaction with the webpage and no extraneous features. Even complex options like membership registration and search engine indexing are handled with a tick of a switch, meaning your website can be up and running in very little time.
Support is one weak point of Webnode. While the quality of support is quite high, the number of options isn’t. As with many website builders, you’re restricted to a knowledgebase for any question and, unfortunately, Webnode’s is a bit out of date.
As with a few other areas of Webnode’s site, the knowledgebase sports an archaic design. It’s not offensive or difficult to use, but it certainly doesn’t match the rest of the service. Webnode divvies up the articles into 12 different categories with a range of two to 20 articles for any given topic.
While the knowledgebase itself is out of date, the articles contain up to date information. Webnode gives you step-by-step instruction for every topic, fit with screenshots. There’s no real writing, which is a huge plus in this case. You simply get a list of instructions, making for a swift support process.
If the instructions weren’t easy enough, Webnode also includes a list of 11 video tutorials. These only cover the basics of the service such as inviting others to work on your site and adding Google Search Console. The videos are fairly recent and are all under 10 minutes as well.
However, everything in the knowledgebase is simply a tutorial. There are no guides for troubleshooting your site whatsoever, a trend that most website builders follow. In fact, one of the only website builders we’ve encountered that actually has a troubleshooting section is Strikingly. If you have an issue, you’ll need to contact Webnode.
The only way to get a hold of Webnode is via email. Support is available five days a week, but there are no established hours of operation. Webnode tries to respond to inquiries within 24 hours and, when we reached out, we received a response in a little over 12.
This was, however, with a free plan. Mini plans and above receive premium support. You’re still restricted to email during weekdays, but your message is given priority over other inquiries. It’s not a huge deal or anything, but you’re not really paying extra for it either.
Webnode is one of the best choices for a website builder today. There are a ton of features condensed into a palletable interface, making for a fluid start up and design process. Add on top of that a range of plans that come with a reasonable price tag, and Webnode is a website builder that most can get along with.
However, not all can. If you plan on running any sort of ecommerce outlet, then it’s best to look elsewhere. The lack of an SSL certificate and general ugly design interface is a poor representation of this service and should be avoided in its current state.
If you’d rather go with a CMS like WordPress, make sure to check out our list of the best web hosting providers. It takes a bit more leg work to get your site up and running, but grants the flexibility of creating exactly what you want.
What do you think of Webnode? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.