Critical Review of Wix:
When (and When Not) to use the King of the Website Builders

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If you’ve just searched Google for ‘Wix review’ (or the like) you probably have an idea of what it is, but are seeking more information as to what Wix really offers, how easy it is to use and, most importantly, whether it’s worth your time and money. 

In this review of Wix websites, I’m going to help with this as well as (strongly) advise when you should and when you shouldn’t use them. No angle, no bias, and no bs.

When I set up my first business nearly seven years ago (about the same time I started learning to code HTML and CSS online), I ended up creating a website with Wix. It wasn’t the best experience to be honest. The Wix editor was a little frustrating and I don’t recall any pre-designed templates worth using.

After learning the basic web development languages (HTML and CSS) I managed to replicate the design almost to the pixel, which gives an indication of how unsophisticated website builders were back then.

Today, this is not the case anymore. After years of heavy investment in their platform and business, coupled with massive global marketing campaigns featuring famous actors and actresses, Wix has come a long way. In fact, they’re regarded by some as the king of the website builders, used by 150 million people from 190 countries and listed on the NASDAQ in the USA.

Whilst Wix comes with a big reputation it’s categorically not the right solution for every do-it-yourself website designer. Please read on to find out why this is so, and more importantly whether you’re one of them.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction To Wix
  2. Wix Market Sentiment
  3. Testing Wix – Features Review
  4. Review Insights – Reading Between Wix’s Lines
  5. Review Recommendations For Wix
  6. Final Thought
  7. Wix Website Examples
  8. Technical FAQs

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1. Introduction to Wix

What is a website builder?

No review of Wix would be complete without explaining the basics. A website builder is an online platform that enables anyone with basic computing skills to create a website. It requires no coding knowledge or technical ability whatsoever and typically has premade designs to choose from. 

There are two types of website builder:

  • traditional template-based platform (most common)
  • Modern Artificial Intelligence (AI) engines

Most website builders let you pick from a library of pre-designed templates and then add your copy, as well as customize the design layout using a drag-and-drop editor (with a mouse). In addition to populating the template with all your own content, the best website builders also allow you to add other useful features and functionality (e.g. email marketing, blog, product sales, bookings and so on).

AI website builders appeared much more recently and work differently. Currently, they ask a series of questions (type of website, design preference for example ) to formulate a brief so to speak and then create a website according to said requirements. It’s possible to tweak the design a little, but is aimed more at those needing a simple website up and running as fast as possible. 

What is Wix?

Wix is a template and an AI website builder all under one digital roof. You can either choose from a vast range of 500 (industry specific) templates and use their drag-and-drop editor, or go for ‘Wix ADI’ and let them design something for you instead!

For the more technically inclined, there is ‘Wix Code’. This allows you to access and edit the HTML code behind a template enabling the deepest level of customisation and design control providing you know what you’re doing.

Who is Wix designed for?

Wix definitely has a wide-ranging cross-hair. It aims its product at individuals, professionals, startups, and small businesses covering most sectors from professional services, hospitality (i.e. restaurants, cafes), trades,  online stores, freelancers (fitness instructors, nutritionists, etc), and artists wishing to promote their work.

To be honest, there is probably a template for pretty much any type of business, something Wix prides itself on and for good reason. No other website builder can match the vast range of template options. Whatsmore, they’re mobile responsive (i.e. look good on tablet or phone screen sizes) and can be powered up with additional functionality where required at the Wix App Market. 

Wix Pricing Plans

More specifically, how much is Wix? 

The good news is anyone can create websites with Wix for free for as long as they want.  However, a free website on Wix does not allow you to use your own domain and the website will contain their adverts. 

This doesn’t matter though. Anyone who is serious about a website will have/ want their own domain anyway, and Wix knows this. The whole point of their free plan is to try before you buy, thereby allowing you to review Wix yourself without any financial commitment.

You can design your site fully on a Wix sub-domain, ensuring you can do what you want and then just upgrade accordingly. It’s risk free which is a massive selling point, especially for start ups or small businesses with limited cash flow.

The unlimited plan at £8.50 (approx. $10.50) per month makes the most sense to me as a pro web designer because it comes with unlimited bandwidth.

Bandwidth measures how much data can be sent over a specific connection in a given amount of time. More bandwidth generally means more data can load per second which should mean faster load times, particularly if your site traffic increases. The last thing you want is a website that sees users leave because it doesn’t load fast enough. 

2. Wix Market Sentiment

Wix is easy to use, fully functional and a great Website Builder. It can be used by anyone, from a kid to a fully fledged Web Developer, it offers great custom support and an amazing community.”

“Actually pretty great. I recommend them.”

If you check Google for reviews on Wix, or use the well known (star) rating sites, you’ll find some really bad experiences. As I said, I won’t bullshit you.

However, you’ll also find lots of positive ones too. If you read the really good reviews there are countless people who are totally baffled by the negative ones. In fact, a number of them even question whether some of the bad reviews are authentic, suggesting competitors of Wix are trying to drag them down. 

So, what the hell are you supposed to think? 

My take on this will be explained a lot more as you read the rest of this review: but, in short, I categorically know many of these bad experiences arise from people trying to make a Wix website something it is not designed for. 

Over the years, I’ve had countless people come to me for website help because they were experiencing difficulties with a website builder. Every single one, bar none (and I really mean none of them), was trying to make Wix, or Weebly, or etc, something it wasn’t meant to be (i.e. too many pages, membership sites, large online shops, complex blogs and so on).

Please read on to learn what Wix is meant for and to ensure you’re one of the good reviews or nothing at all.

3. Testing Wix – Features Review

How easy is Wix to use?

The very first time you use Wix, it might feel a little overwhelming because of the massive choice in templates, features and customization. That said, it is easy to pick up meaning you’ll be dragging and dropping elements and making a website in Wix in no time. In fact, the speed at which it’s possible to create something that’s worth publishing is impressive.

build a wix website

If something doesn’t make sense or is slightly confusing, the FAQ section contains helpful and well-made video instructions about the different functions. 

What’s more, Wix ADI is perfect for a total novice who will benefit from digital hand holding and automatic website configuration. It’s not the most flexible way to create a website with Wix being completely honest, but you can switch to the normal editor anytime you wish.

Are Wix templates good enough?

As a web designer I thought this is where Wix won’t quite have the same pedigree that us professionals can produce. 

Click Here To Browse Template Library

I was wrong. The sheer scale of the template library is one thing, but it’s the polish of them all that is so impressive. Some are a little over-styled for my less-is-more tastes but I’m nit-picking.

One of the biggest wins I found for Wix during this review is that there’s a template for everyone. Whatsmore, they come with a mobile version that can be edited separately. Video backgrounds, custom fonts and total visual control enable the more ambitious to personalise and perfect their web design in every way.

What is the catch when using Wix for free?

There isn’t one as such. You can use Wix for free forever if you choose. However, you can’t use your own domain and there will be Wix adverts on your site (which are impossible to miss). 

Very few people will use Wix for free for a sustained period of time.

However, everyone (unless they’re a returning customer) will try before they buy (i.e. ‘review’ Wix with zero risk) which is exactly what the free offering is for and it works brilliantly.

What else is included with a Wix plan?

In addition to the brilliant drag and drop editor and Wix ADI, every Wix premium plan comes with a free domain name for 1 year. All websites are SSL certified which Google likes, making a Wix website secure enough for most users. It can also be Search Engine Optimized (SEO) to a degree with the help of a guided tutorial (called SEO Wiz).

Wix premium plans come with more storage (for larger websites) and bandwidth (i.e. capacity to handle more traffic), as well as added functionality (online shop, premium apps) to varying degrees depending on which one you choose. 

To be honest, even the free plan has enough storage and bandwidth for small business websites (I’ve built 50+ page websites that use less) let alone personal sites (e.g. Online CV). If you do end up needing more down the line, you can just upgrade.

Every plan has Wix’s automatic restore solution, Site History, included so you never need to worry about taking backups or losing your website.

What about adding a contact form?

Almost all the websites I’ve ever made for startups or small businesses wanted a contact form so that potential customers can get in touch quickly and easily.

Thankfully, Wix recognizes this is an important requirement for many of its customers and has an effective yet simple contact form builder. If that is not enough, there are also more sophisticated tools in the App Market.

How good is a Wix blog?

Wix blogs will never be as sophisticated as other platforms, like WordPress, but it is good enough for light-weight blogging, like a monthly newsletter for customers for example. It has the most important features that 90% of people will need, such as being able to create categories and tags, allowing comments (via Facebook which is good for anyone wishing to increase engagement with their customers) and scheduling posts which can come in handy.

Furthermore, title tags, meta descriptions and image alt text can be edited as expected and required with any blog. You can customise URLs and there are more advanced tools such as being able to deal with 301 redirects. 

The only real negative I’ve uncovered in this part of my review of Wix relates more to SEO than the blog functionality itself (obviously the two are inextricably linked). Image file names are set by Wix and cannot be altered which is not great SEO practice because they play a part in the overall page ranking picture. 

Whilst this isn’t going to floor a page or post’s Google rank single-handedly, it makes me question the validity of a Wix blog. Why does such a simple issue still exist? Whilst blogging with Wix appears to be ‘pro’ (i.e. posting multiple times month in, month out), I just can’t get rid of the sense they don’t really expect this. It all feels a bit superficial. 

Light-weight low-volume blogging on Wix? Yes. But anything else, why risk it? If you’re thinking of starting a blog, it’s WordPress every time.

Is Wix any good for an online shop?

An online store is included in the “Business & eCommerce” premium plans starting at £13 per month (approx. $16 pm). The price of Wix here is very reasonable considering professionally designed online shops can cost more than double that just for the hosting. 

You can sell as many physical and digital products as you like in theory, and all Wix online shops have stock management built in and accept all the usual payment types (credit card, PayPal and money transfer). The newer Facebook and Instagram sales integrations which allow you to sell through those platforms directly (i.e. people tap an image on either one to buy said item in your Wix store) is a real gem of a feature, and definitely worth the monthly fee alone for those focussing on social media as their main sales channel.

Customising Wix online shops is no more complicated than normal template editing, and you can also design the mobile version separately too. Product pages can take video and special offer tags, and the shopping cart icon and page can also be customised to help create a consistent user experience. 

Testing out a Wix online shop is crucial though. Product counts beyond about 30 or so tend to stress the backend a bit which leads to slow down, and you must ensure the Wix features on offer work for your specific needs. If testing on the free plan shows it is suitable, simply upgrade to an appropriate eCommerce plan to start selling. 

Whilst better than I expected, a Wix online shop will never match the power of WooCommerce (WordPress) or Shopify. These can handle much bigger product catalogues and have a vast array of powerful features for bigger online shops. 

Small scale online selling with Wix for a couple of dozen products? Yes, it’s good enough for that, although Weebly is better in my view. Anything more, I wouldn’t risk it (i.e. user frustration & performance issues) and the chances are you’ll outgrow it much sooner than you’d like with no option to migrate your site away from Wix that I know of.

Can I add extra functionality to a Wix website?

When I originally used Wix to create a website for my startup I don’t recall anything about an ‘App Market’. Maybe that’s because I didn’t need any extra functionality. It was launched a year before in 2013 so it’s more likely that whatever Wix originally offered was just getting going.

Today, there is a massive range of unique widgets and applications that can be added to your website. They have clearly tried to think of everything, from music promotion (yep, that’s right, you can display tracks with an integrated music player!), to booking & events engines (Wix Bookings and Wix Events), and all manner of social media feeds to name a few.

Some of the applications on offer don’t have 5 out of 5 stars (so definitely check customer reviews, especially if an app is a third party product), but by and large Wix have got this right. They have clearly thought about this part of their offering, and have developed over 80 apps of their own (many being the stars of the show), meaning they’ll always be supported and well maintained.

Does Google like Wix websites?

Historically, Wix’s SEO capabilities were not up to much at all and got negative press as a result. But they’ve clearly worked on this, now offering a decent stack of inbuilt SEO tools.

You’ll benefit from having some knowledge of what to do though, such as knowing how to best set page titles, meta descriptions and alt tags for example, amongst other things, to get the best SEO on your web page. Tutorials are available which look clear enough, and there is a guided tutorial called SEO Wiz for complete beginners.

By contrast, there are also advanced SEO tools like 301 redirects (maintains page rank after its URL has changed) which Google really likes.

You can integrate Google Analytics to understand and study your site’s traffic, which is vital to doing SEO properly (how else would you know what’s working?). Pretty standard stuff really but proof Wix has caught up, 

However, it’s not all good. For some reason, Wix has decided to hash image file names on upload and they cannot be changed back (as previously mentioned). It’s not a deal breaker by any means, but image file names are part of a page’s ranking factors so this does go against SEO best practice. It’s basic which is why it doesn’t make sense really.

If Wix really wanted to be it’s very best for SEO purposes, this issue would not exist anymore. But, it still does. 

What are the storage and bandwidth limitations with Wix?

This is kind of a moot point to be honest. Unless you’re happy with Wix adverts on your website (i.e. their ‘Domain Connect’ plan) which I can’t imagine you are, there is ample storage offered with any of the other plans you choose, ranging from 3GB – 20GB.

To put this in perspective, the heaviest WordPress blog I’ve built for a customer in the past year (145 pages) uses a lot less than 3GB of storage. 

As for bandwidth, it’s a similar gig. The cheapest ‘Domain Connect’ plan (i.e. with Wix adverts on your site) allows for 1GB of bandwidth which I would say is enough for 1-2,000 visitors per month (possibly more but you’d never risk it). The next plan up, the ‘Combo’ plan, offers 2GB bandwidth which is definitely good for 3-4,000 visitors per month.

In other words, my review found even lower-priced plans have more than enough bandwidth for personal/ small business websites with Wix. If you’re expecting this amount of traffic or more, then Wix (or the like) is not right for your needs, but more on that later.

What is Wix customer service like?

As already mentioned previously, Wix’s documentation is very detailed and clearly explained so it’s possible to teach yourself how to overcome many common hiccups. 

building a website with wix

However, if you do get stuck, there is always the forum which is reasonably active, meaning you should get prompt responses and eventual solutions after the usual back and forth. The community there is welcoming by and large, and of course you could end up being a part of it and helping others out down the line which will be attractive to those who’s endeavours involve lots of time on their own.

Whilst Wix offers phone support I would always see this as a last resort. It’s a customer service center which takes its time but with less real-world solution pedigree than most customers floating around on the forum. 

If you follow my advice (and review recommendations which are coming up) and don’t try to make Wix something it is not intended for, you’ll find their support perfectly fine. Go into it with the attitude you’ll look up your own solutions if need be, and definitely join the forum. This way you’ll seldom need support, but if you do it will be common issues that have well-trodden fixes.

Wix Features Summary:

Pros:

  • Truly impressive range of professional looking templates – something for everyone
  • Highly intuitive and powerful drag and drop builder – lay pages out exactly as you want
  • App Market – Wix’s answer to WordPress plugins are powerful and easy to apply
  • Custom animation styling – not essential but a great differentiator for  your site
  • Automatic site backups – never worry about losing your work or information
  • Wix’s AI assistant works really well for complete technophobes

Cons:

  • Template choice is permanent once live – can only redesign an existing one
  • Loading speed is good enough – could be an issue with higher traffic volume
  • Impossible to migrate away – the true cost of a Wix website could be very expensive one day

4. Review Insights – Reading Between Wix’s Lines

Wix (like all website builders I’ve come across) would have us believe that their all singing, all dancing platform can cater for any website need you have. From a clean static site to a beautiful blog or money spinning online shop, they’ve got you covered. Everything you see is very polished and best of all, it doesn’t cost much which makes Wix even more compelling.

Everybody come in. Make yourself comfortable, it’s all good. Right? 

Your instincts are correct. As a web professional I can tell you, Wix cannot handle any website need effectively. But, they can handle the vast majority of do-it-yourself website customers whose requirements are relatively simplistic. Even the most ambitious amateur blogger, or online shop, will probably not have professional level SEO skills for example.

This means the traffic they’ll generate will not be thousands of visitors per month (let alone tens of thousands). And if it is, they’re an exception. For every one of these more demanding and anomalous customers, there are dozens of others that fit the mould of what Wix is set up for. Clean and simple websites that have low-level visitor counts per month, regardless of functionality (blog, shop, etc).

Sure, they’ll try to cater for the more ambitious with advanced tools and Wix apps, but ultimately they know amateur web designers are not going to generate heavier traffic levels like a professional could.

Any website builder that hosts over 150 million websites that’s continually invested huge amounts of money into every corner of their business, could focus on competing with the likes of WordPress and Shopify, and get set up to deal with higher traffic volumes. Wix doesn’t want to because the vast majority of their customer base doesn’t need this.

To summarise, Wix is:

  • Intensely beginner focussed;
  • Geared for simplistic website requirements (incl blog & online shop);
  • Built for low traffic levels per customer website;
  • Expecting you to ‘set and forget’ your website.

5. Review Recommendations For Wix

First things first, there is nothing wrong with Wix. In fact, being completely honest I’m impressed by the sheer scale of their operation worldwide. 

But, you have to know whether your website needs are a good fit for their platform. As I’ve said already if you try to use the Wix website builder for something it isn’t intended for you risk falling through the cracks. In short, you’ll probably become one of those bad reviewers.

Wix is brilliant for any do-it-yourself website designer with relatively simple requirements that are not going to change dramatically in the foreseeable future. Provided traffic volumes will be low to medium on average (think hundreds per month on average with occasional spikes over a thousand) and you heed my advice you should get on just fine.

Whatever you do, please do not drive serious traffic volumes to a Wix website. 

Over the years of building websites professionally, I’ve had numerous people come to me because their website with a website builder was struggling and not working for them. Every one of them, bar none, was trying to make the website builder do things it’s not designed for (lots of pages, dramatic redesign of template layouts, higher traffic volumes). 

Do NOT use Wix if you:

  • Require a larger website (8+ pages) and/ or need to dramatically alter layout;
  • Intend on using Wix for blogging heavily (with or without SEO);
  • Need to sell more than a couple of dozen products through your website;
  • Are unsure what your website requirements will be within the next 1-2 years;
  • Expect thousands of visitors per month consistently (i.e. active digital marketing).

You should try Wix if you:

  • Require a simple, clean and polished website;
  • Are willing to fit your content to their template by and large;
  • Might want to do very light blogging (think 1-2 posts per month max)
  • Would like to sell a dozen (maybe two) products online;
  • Know your website requirements won’t change dramatically in the next few years;
  • Will generally have lower traffic volumes (i.e. limited digital marketing, if any).

Try Wix for Free

6. Final Thought

If you’re going to take anything from this review, make sure it is this: make a website with Wix only if you fit the criteria above. Please trust me, if you ignore my advice you will not have a good experience with any website builder because they are not designed for serious traffic volumes, or enlarged websites/ high product counts.

If Wix is not for you but you’re still intent on creating your own website, then WordPress is the answer. It powers over a third of the world’s websites for one good reason.

Balance. WordPress can be used to make complex and powerful websites yet is still very user friendly and you don’t need any coding knowledge to succeed.

Check out my two-part series: Learn how to set up WordPress on the best hosting for beginners, then Make a clean and simple WordPress website (with a free, professional template).

For those seriously thinking about a blog beyond Wix’s limits, definitely take a look at What is a blog? And, should you start one? to help your decision making, and then follow How to make money from blogging: start a blog properly! to get off on the right foot.

Still not sure whether Wix is right for your needs? Then there is only one thing to do… take advantage of the free plan and review it yourself.

7. Example Of Wix Websites

8. (Slightly more) Technical FAQs

Can I use my own domain with Wix?

Yes, this is possible on a premium plan. If you have already registered a domain name elsewhere, there is guidance on how  to transfer or point it to Wix. If you know what domain name you want (but have not purchased it as yet), Wix’s premium plans include a free domain name for the first year (provided it is available obviously).

Do I need web hosting to use Wix?

No, Wix is a hosted website builder meaning they provide everything needed for a complete website: the editor, the web space and a domain name (included in their premium plans).

Who owns the content on a Wix website?

Wix does not own your content. Here is what their terms of service say: “Wix does not claim any intellectual property rights over the User Content[…]” (TOS: 15. User Content D.)

What is the up time of Wix’s website servers?

When a website ‘goes down’ it means it is not possible for a web browser to access the website data. In short, it’s bad! Nowadays, web hosting technology is so advanced that there are multiple layers of safety within the server environments so that websites basically very (very) rarely go down. And, if they do, they’re backup and running within minutes. 

Like most companies hosting thousands (or millions) of websites, Wix’s uptime is very good, standing at 99.95%.

What is the server response time of Wix hosting?

This measures the number of milliseconds it takes to get a response from a Wix web server. Google likes response times around 200ms, although this is quite demanding and optimistic for do-it-yourself website owners to be honest. I’ve always thought anything between 200-500ms is not only good enough, but more importantly unnoticeable to any website user. 

Wix’s response times range between 350-850ms, which lands their average within my range of what is good enough. It’s not phenomenal by any means, but for simple websites with low-average traffic volumes, I think it’s fine especially at ‘Wix prices’.

Is it possible to migrate a Wix site somewhere else, say to a WordPress hosting provider?

No. Wix websites are built using their own bespoke platform and thus are not compatible with WordPress or the like. As far as I know, a Wix web site cannot be migrated to another hosting provider.

Is Wix free? 

I’ve also been asked if there is a Wix free plan or a Wix free trial on offer? Nothing worth having is free. The right question is, how much does Wix cost?

Well, it can be free provided you don’t mind their adverts on your Wix site, not to mention using one of their sub-domains (i.e. ‘wix’ will be in your web address). Otherwise, the pricing of Wix varies depending on the plan you choose.

A Wix price plan ranges from £3 to £22 per month.

Where is Wix based?

Wix was founded in Tel Aviv (Israel) by Avishai Abrahami, Nadav Abrahami and Giora Kaplan. Tel Aviv is also where their headquarters are located, with offices all around the world: New York, San Francisco, Berlin, Sao Paulo for example. Wix is a public company and listed on NASDAQ.

Customer websites are hosted on servers in the USA.

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