Are you in search for a simple and inexpensive hosting solution? Netfirms hosting may be just what you need. With a simple reasonable pricing for their plans and friendly user interface, getting your new site up and running is now easier than ever, with Netfirms.
The company was founded about two decades ago in Ontario, Canada, by Thomas Savundra. Today, it offers shared packages customers of all walks of life – small businesses to advanced webmasters. Netfirms boasts over 1.2 million customers in the world mainly due to the lower pricing of their services. The company has two data centers in Toronto and NY with an experienced team that can help expand your business.
In 2011, the company was bought by EIG (Endurance International Group) which is a popular global conglomerate that owns various hosting companies such as HostGator, HostMonster, Blue host and many others. Netfirms has mainly made customers through offering ideas online to beginners, making them fully understand how technology and online business work and how they can achieve their dreams online. Over the years, it has received many awards for its achievements. They have fewer but feature-packed packages compared to other web hosts which makes them ideal for small businesses with low traffic.
Even though Netfirms is not necessarily the cheapest hosting provider around, its services are generally worth the money. For instance, you get a multitude of domain names if you go for the business plan. Other services you enjoy when purchasing hosting services from this company include domain registration, marketing services, and e-commerce features. However, it’s worth noting that Netfirms does not offer advanced services like cloud hosting, dedicated and reseller hosting. As such, it may not be an ideal option for high-performance sites or business-oriented individuals.
Need to launch your small site without spending a lot? Keep reading our Netfirms hosting review to learn more about its plans, features, FAQs, strengths, and weaknesses.
Netfirms offers affordable hosting packages that most customers find valuable. The host specializes on two main hosting services namely; shared hosting plans for new sites and VPS services for sites that require more bandwidth and control. Despite offering reliable servers and helpful support, they lack dedicated hosting and Windows-powered servers.
Netfirms is determined to offer simple shared hosting to new businesses and sites with low traffic. This makes these plans ideal for beginners looking for easy set-up procedure, web analytics, automated backups, and other tools. The host offers a 30-day money back guarantee on all its plans in case you need to switch to a higher plan or want to stop their services if you find them unsatisfactory. Some of the highlights of shared hosting include unlimited disk space, unlimited sites, 24/7 support, scalable bandwidth, and e-commerce tools. They are also generous to their customers offering other loads of free features in their shared plans, for example, one-click app installer and ready to go websites. Unfortunately, this host does not provide short term billing.
Netfirms Shared Plans are as follows:
- The Plus Plan
If you are looking to set up a site quickly and without having to spend too much on it, then this is the best plan for you. For only $4.45 a month, you will get to enjoy unlimited storage and scalable bandwidth. The package comes with all of the necessary tools to grow your online business such as e-commerce plugins and CMS tools. However, you will be limited to 5 MySQL databases on this plan which is quite inadequate for a fast-growing business.
Luckily, you don’t have to worry if you have no coding experience as this package includes free professionally built websites to choose from. You can then customize them to your liking and equip with the necessary tools to get your business running almost right away.
- The Advantage Plan
Leveraging your brand online is only possible if you adopt the right tools and options. This is precisely what NetFirms includes on its advantage plan. This package allows up to 200 MySQL databases, in addition to the standard shared hosting features. Another plus point is the two free domains included here which will help to offset your charges as you expand your websites. The plan is available for $8.99 a month.
- The Business Plan
In order to keep up with your online growth, a much broader hosting package is required. NetFirms offers the Business Plan as a solution to such needs. The package is equipped with five free domains which are a massive bargain on top of all the features provided in the company’s standard hosting package. Unlimited MySQL databases further enhances this plan. The Business Plan is available for $12.99 a month.
Every business faces its unique set of web hosting needs. Often, these needs cannot be supplemented by a single hosting plan; they require tailored solutions. NetFirms VPS plans are designed to do just that. Every VPS account comes with unrestricted root access so that you can run your own configuration as you see it fit.
NetFirms VPS is Linux based and is offered on the OpenVZ platform. The company properly maintains its systems to keep everything up to date and with the necessary security patches. Currently, the company has three VPS plans:
- 512 Plan
Just as the name suggests, this VPS plan comes equipped with 512 megabytes of RAM – while this might not sound like much, it will be more than capable of running a few crucial programs smoothly. The bandwidth is capped at 1000 gigabytes. The single storage option also includes 20GB hard drive storage. The plan is available for a monthly subscription of $33.
- 1024 Plan
This plan includes all the standard VPS features and a boost on hardware allocation from the previous plan. You will get 1024MB RAM which is more than sufficient for multitasking and 40GB for your data storage needs. In terms of bandwidth, the plan is capped at 1500GB. The 1024 plan costs $66 per month.
- 2048 Plan
For $100, NetFirms offers you 2048MBs of RAM with 60GBs of storage. This plan has its bandwidth cap set at 2000GB which will be more than enough for your data transfer needs.
|Plan Name||Disk Space||Bandwidth||Currency||Admin panel||OS||Websites||Scripting||Email-Transport||Database||SSH||Databackups||Free Domain||1-Click Installer||Websites Builder||Location||Price|
|Business||-||-||USD||Admin panel||Unlimited||Perl,Python,PHP||IMAP, POP3, SMTP||MySQL||$ 10.99|
|Plus||-||-||USD||Admin panel||Unlimited||Perl,Python,PHP||IMAP, POP3, SMTP||MySQL||$ 3.49|
|Advantage||-||-||USD||Admin panel||Unlimited||Perl,Python,PHP||IMAP, POP3, SMTP||MySQL||$ 7.99|
|Plan Name||Disk Space||Bandwidth||Admin panel||OS||Cores||RAM||Core Speed||Backups||Managed||Location||Price|
According to Google’s latest stats on how we interact with the web, a visitor is more likely to convert depending on how fast/responsive your site is. With this in mind, hosting firms have been on an investment spree; millions spent in data center infrastructure as well as content delivery networks. One such company is NetFirms.
This web host has invested a great deal in providing fast data transfer to and from their servers, making them not only instantly available to any visitor but also cutting down on bandwidth wastage.
We take a closer look at some of the features that the company has added to boost the performance and speed of its hosting services.
- Clustered Hosting
At its core, this type of web hosting relies on spreading the hosting load across multiple physical nodes. This feature allows the hosting firm to set dedicated nodes to deal with specific loads, e.g. email and MySQL. The end result of this separation can be seen in the drastic increase in uptime.
Another benefit comes in the form of faster processing which includes increased computing availability as the load is split across the nodes. This means data is processed at a much faster rate. The other benefit is the decreased probability of the services interfering with each other especially when running multiple loads. The load balancing service is used to ensure that no single node gets overwhelmed while the rest are idle. This is key in speeding up the hosting service while improving your website’s performance and reliability.
- Unlimited Disk Space
Websites require new content in order to remain relevant and also increase the site’s ranking. These numerous updates obviously call for more storage space as time goes by.
Luckily for you, NetFirms offers unlimited storage with all its shared hosting plans. You can, therefore, generate and upload quality multimedia content and add more features to your website without fretting about running out of space. However, the company insists that the function is subject to their fair usage policy. This means it can, at its discretion, request you to remove some of your files if your usage starts to affect other sites hosted on the same server as yours.
- Applications on Demand
Netfirms is committed to supporting you along the way as your site grows. For this reason, the company offers you a collection of some of the best applications on demand. These include CMS packages such as WordPress and Joomla, bulletin board packages, phpBB, and Commerce Pro. The hosting platform is also optimized to run these applications resulting in improved performance smoothly. It also maintains a collection of optimization scripts that will see your site record improved loading speeds.
- Multi-Website Hosting
NetFirms supports multi-website hosting by providing all the tools you need to create multiple websites in a single account. The company hopes that new and upcoming entrepreneurs will take this opportunity to develop several sites, each with its unique content in order to build up traffic as well as add new revenue streams.
- Sitelock Security
Netfirms ensures that your site is free of malware and harmful codes through its Sitelock protection feature. In case the tool finds any threat, you are alerted via email or cpanel. The great news for WordPress users is that the Sitelock firewall helps to scan any vulnerabilities to prevent hackers that may be trying to bring down your site. What’s more, you’ll enjoy increased conversions once you display the Sitelock Seal on your site – to most customers, this is a symbol of protection.
- SSL Certificates
SSL certificates offer a powerful and secure way to hide key organizations details. When installed on the web server, the small data files (SSL) activate the https protocol (through port 443) and the padlock to ensure secure connections from the server to browser. As a result, customers feel more secure on sites with SSL certificates (HTTPs). Nowadays, search engines have put more value on SSL certificates and uses them when ranking sites. Besides, browsers like Google Chrome now put the “Not Secure” warning on sites without SSL certificates to discourage customers from transacting on them.
Netfirms offers various SSL certificates for their customers at reasonable pricing. Acquire oneyou’re your business to increases customer confidence and help drive more sales. All the SSL certificates provided by this web host come with a warranty to ensure that the end user does not incur losses in case they’re not satisfied with a particular service.
- Automatic Backups
For a site undergoing continuous changes, back up is crucial in case you need to restore some of the earlier files. Having a ready backup at any time gives you the peace of mind as you know that your most important files are safe. The last thing you want to wake up to is to find all your data lost due to hacks or other attacks.
Netfirms offers a solution for secure backup called Site Backup and Restore. This service comes with a nicely organized interface for easy management of information. Most importantly, you can rest assured that all your crucial information is safe with them.
This hosting company conducts backups every day for all sites and can support database formats such as MySQL, MS SQL, and Oracle among other ODBC –based engines. There are several plans for backup services based on number of website protected, backups per day, and number of protected databases.
Communication is always crucial when transacting online. I can even count the many times I’ve had to contact different support teams for issues related to my site and client’s website over the years. This helps underline the importance of working with a company that takes customer support very seriously.
Netfirms has a 24/7 support team that comprises friendly representatives to solve any queries from users. Here, you can use various options to contact them including a live chat, telephone support, and email ticketing. Like most service providers, there are mixed reactions from users as to whether the support is impressive or not. However, a majority say that you may have to wait for quite some time before getting a response from them. Nonetheless, a big section of reviewers say that the company resolves almost every issue in the end which is a fairly good thing.
This is one area that Netfirms shines - its knowledgebase is packed with a comprehensive database and tutorials for clients to browse through. This section offers helpful information on building websites, email, domains, marketing, scripting, online security, WordPress and Content Management Systems. Should you face common issues, you can find quick answers here which may save you lots of time and even money.
The troubleshooter helps you find the keywords to search for. Apart from the guides and articles availed in this area, you can also get video tutorials which are even more resourceful. However, major technical issues may require help from Netfirms customer support.
NetFirms offers various options for its control panel option. On their shared hosting plans, the company utilizes vDeck control panel. On their Virtual Private Servers (VPS) plans, you can get a cPanel license for $10 a month. These two options offer a lot in terms of versatility as well as third-party software support. They are also equipped with the latest security patches. Let’s take a look at some of the standard features that can be accessed through either of these two control panels:
- Software Installation and Configuration
A one-click applications installer can be located from the control panel applications tab. The same tab can be used to configure each individual application and even uninstall them if a need arises. You can also easily configure Apache and PHP installations right from your control panel and without having to use the command line.
- User account management
Netfirms relies on user-level permissions access. As a result, you can control who can view or adjust specific settings in your site. The same also comes in very handy when you want to configure the FTP, control panel and email access.
- Email Access
You can access your account’s email from the control panel. With this option, you’re able to create mass mailing orders, mailing lists, as well as configure custom filters. This line of communication does help a lot in keeping up to date with your customers to notify them of any ongoing promotions or sales. Besides, you can rely on it when you want to get customer feedback to help improve the underperforming areas of your site.
- Security configuration
NetFirms security options can easily be updated on the control panel. For example, use this tool to add new SSL certificates to further guarantee the safety of your visitors.
Netfirms is confident in the quality of its hosting services – this can be seen in their offer of a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee which seeks to ensure customer satisfaction. Like with most other top hosts, they offer a full refund except for domain fees. As a result, you keep the domain even after you cancel the account. When you need to transfer to another host, Netfirms also makes the process very easy for you.
Please note that the money-back guarantee is only available if you paid via credit card.
Netfirms enables website owners to set up properly looking online shops with all the necessary features like checkouts and shopping carts. With its business hosting as well as ShopSite, you have everything you need to set up a quick and effective online shop.
ShopSite is easy to set up and comes with numerous tips on how you can use it to run an online shop. What’s more, you get demo products that give you a stage to test how the products will appear before you can roll them out on your live site. The software is detailed but easy to use, and you can choose to show both digital and physical products. For better management, ShopSite provides you with other valuable services like customer retention tools including gift certificates, newsletters and much more.
The Business hosting plan is feature-rich with up to 5 free domain names, and over $100 Google PPC Credits to enable your site to acquire some traffic flow. Together with ShopSite, you can easily run a robust ecommerce site for your preferred online business.
Additionally, Netfirms also offers Weebly with a simple drag-and-drop interface that makes it ridiculously easy to add products to the store, upload images and much more. The host accepts payments via PayPal and Google Checkout. As mentioned earlier regarding security, you get automated daily backups, so you don’t have to worry about files or database loss. Better yet, Netfirms offers users with SSL certificates at reasonable price to keep clients’ information safe.
- Free one-click applications
You don’t have to worry about installing most custom and third-party applications, all thanks to the one-click install feature supported by Netfirms. Use this feature to add more functionality to your sites by installing plugins which have been scanned for security threats.
- Unlimited Email Addresses
NetFirms offers unlimited email addresses with every hosting plan. Each email address is limited to 500Mb or at least 10000 emails in order to prevent storage over usage. The email platform supports POP/IMAP accounts and can be configured on any smart device in order to access your mail on the go.
- Drag and Drop Site Builder
If you are looking to start afresh with a new website, NetFirms has the right tools for you. Their drag and drop website builder not only offers intuitive designs but also dramatically simplifies this rather odious task. The builder has a well-documented guide to help you customize your site as much as you like. There is also a vast collection of themes to choose from, most of which are also mobile friendly.
In order to serve your customers more efficiently, you will need to create new databases to save new content and keep track of all your data. While NetFirms offers MySQL for this function, it puts some limitations on the number of databases you can create with each plan.
- Reliable uptime
The company does not give any guarantees on uptime, which is unlike most other hosts. The good part though is that since Endurance International Group took up the company, it has seen remarkable improvements in uptime. Well, this is nothing exceptional, but for the price, it’s pretty solid. The host operates its own data center and uses clustered hosting technology to minimize downtime. Netfirms puts technology at its core and boasts some of the most powerful hosting infrastructures in the market.
- Ease of use
The company puts a huge deal of effort to ensure easy navigation and use of their services. They have even created a proprietary control panel which makes your online experience easy. With it, you control what features you need included such as Google Analytics, SSL, Google Webmaster tools, etc. the platform is easy to navigate even for the customers who are not technological experts. They also offer all the tools you need to create a website with an easy drag-and-drop interface from Weebly as well as one-click installation on all open source applications like Zencart, WordPress, Drupal and more.
- Ready-to-Go Websites
Another hosting add-on that saves bloggers a lot of time is the ability to get a site up and running effortlessly. Netfirms’ ready-to-go websites are ideal for beginners who need a basic site that comes with-pre-populated content. You just need to publish it to get a site up and running. If you are in a rush and don’t have time to create original content, you’ll be glad to use these websites as they practically come ready from the start.
- Helpful Customer Service
Very few companies promise to offer 24/7/365 support for their clients. And most of those that do fail to live up to the promise. Netfirms says that its staff undergoes thorough training before joining the support team. The team is available online 24/7 to solve all your issues. You can reach them via their toll-free number 1 -888-334-3833. Though there should be improvements in response times, your issue will almost always be solved in the end.
Apart from phone support, you can find them through live chat and email tickets. In case you need quick answers for simple issues, the knowledgebase is equipped with helpful guides and tutorials. They also feature a blog which offers important updates and articles.
You can also reach Netfirms via Facebook and Twitter where they’re also quick to give feedbacks. Business level customers enjoy premium support.
- Exceptional Value
Netfirms says that it has the size and leadership to offer affordable pricing to its packages. Their packages are feature-rich to provide immense value to clients. For starters, users get unlimited email accounts with all packages. Some companies entice customer with a single free email account in the first year only to charge exorbitant renewal fees. Luckily for you, Netfirms gives their customers access to multiple accounts of emails to ensure that you have an extra layer of professionalism on your site.
Not only that, you get the free Google credits with all its plans. New clients receive a generous $100 Google AdWords credit which Netfirms regards as a token gift for choosing them over other hosts. On top of that, they provide $50 Facebook Ads Credit, $25 Yahoo, and you might even receive Bing advertisement free facility. The company ensures better pricing for its plans and has added a bunch of helpful apps to make your experience more satisfying.
Additionally, their shared hosting comes with unlimited websites, scalable bandwidth, unlimited disk space, and 24/7 support via multiple options.
Just like any other host, Netfirms has its weaknesses. Based on consumer analysis, we found that some customers are agitated by some of Netfirms services. From the limited number of packages offered here to unsatisfactory customer support, here are the things we didn’t like about Netfirms.
- Shared Hosting Only
You may not realize it at a glance, but Netfirms offers very few hosting packages for its shared and VPS plans. This makes it a good fit for small businesses but not for large and large enterprises that are continuously growing and increasing demands for resources. Sure, it may work if you’re in the startup phase of your business or if you do blogging for kicks and giggles. But if your site can is already recording over 20k visitors a month, you may want to look elsewhere for your hosting services.
- Terrible Load times
For most clients, the biggest problem you’re likely to get into with this company is the subpar loading times of its servers. Today, the speed of your website means everything if you want to claim decent high-quality traffic. Remember, more and more customers are bound to leave your site if it takes more than 2 seconds to load. Unfortunately, Netfirms does not have the speed to host sites with high traffic.
The company may need to implement SSD hosting to ensure that their performance is at par with other high-quality hosts. Luckily for small business owners, the host may be a good place to start. You will get the basic resources to begin before you can think of upgrading to better alternatives. Also, if you operate in the US, you may enjoy better load times as the host’s servers are only located here.
- Fuzzy Refund Policy
A common injustice in the web hosting space is unfulfilled money back guarantees. Most of these policies come with ambiguous terms of service which has led to loss for ignorant customers. It’s until you request a refund that you realize shortages or that the guarantee has been nullified.
Unfortunately, Netfirms doesn’t seem to do it differently. For example, only users that use credit cards when purchasing hosting services the first time are eligible for a money back guarantee. The worst part is that this condition is only indicated in fine print which makes it difficult to know about it.
Are you considering making Netfirms your hosting provider? You may need to consider your needs and determine whether the several plans it offers can meet them. For individuals and small businesses, this a good place to start but large corporations with massive needs are better of trying out other alternatives.
We added a few FAQs about Netfirms, to help you decide whether it’s the right host for you or not.
- Who is Netfirms?
Netfirms comprises of a group of professionals who help users learn how to create their own websites and help maintain their presence on the web. Since 1998, this company has been offering web hosting solutions to business people across the globe. In 2011, it was bought by EIG and currently powers over 1.2 million websites across the world.
- Does Netfirms offer guarantees?
Yes, Netfirms offers a 30-day money back guarantee although it does not make it easily visible. This cancellation policy covers all subscription fees minus fees for the domain name.
- What is Netfirms uptime guarantee?
Netfirms does not offer any uptime guarantees like many hosts. However, customers report reliable uptime with relatively fewer downtimes. The company prides itself in having a robust infrastructure and servers. However, the hosting provider may not be recommended for sites with high performance.
- Do they offer VPS hosting?
Netfirms has partnered with SPRY to make VPS available to its customers. There are three VPS plans which start at $33 to $100 a month. SPRY hosting allows you to configure your account however you feel like.
- Can I create a WordPress site with Netfirms?
Whether you need a small site or large ecommerce site, there’s WordPress hosting solution from Netfirms which allows the creation of instant sites and blogs. On purchasing one of their plans, you get access to numerous open-source applications. The platform offers 1-click installation for most of these apps with single click to enable you customize your site however you want. If you’d like to focus more on your business and not on the technical aspect of your business, consider requesting Netfirms’ managed WordPress hosting.
- Does Netfirms offer a control panel?
Yes, for users of shared hosting, a vDeck control panel is provided. However, users of VPS may have to spend $10 for a standard control panel.
- Do they offer a web builder?
Yes, if you need site building tools for a site, you can find Weebly and WordPress builders. With easy drag-and-drop interfaces, these builders help you easily design and customize themes and plugins. You also get a quick start panel that lets you edit HTML and design pages.
- What is their customer support like?
Netfirms offers a 24/7 support via three main channels. You can reach the team on live chat, phone or email tickets. Additionally, you can look for answers in their knowledgebase which offers easy answers as you only need to input your question in the search box for direct answers.
This web host boasts a friendly support team that is also knowledgeable on common site issues that you may face. In case the representatives you’re dealing with finds your questions complex, you’re transferred to other specialists.
- What is Netfirms Google Web hosting?
Netfirms offers to integrate your domain with the G Suite offered by Google. This ensures online video meetings, storage, calendars and more. You also get the ability to access, share and edit files regardless of your location. This service is ideal for people who know more about Google tools already.
- What is a domain pointer?
A domain pointer helps you move single and multiple domains to a single website. To use a domain pointer, go to Netfirms domains tab where you can set up subdomains in the tab and manage different aspects of the company.
- What are Netfirms alternatives?There are several better alternatives for small businesses looking for a more reliable basic hosting provider. Some of the top options you can consider include iPage which offers better support. Hostmonster is another alternative for its reliable uptime. Finally, GoDaddy offers better packages for small businesses although the price may be a bit higher than that of Netfirms.