The Site123 team describes its website building product as “by far the easiest free website builder.” Our team of experts has already reviewed a wealth of awesome website builders to help you, our readers, find the right solution for launching your very own website easily and without significant investments. Site123 drew our attention with the promise of changing the way people build websites. This review will be no different from our previous reviews.
Below, you’ll find our in-depth Site123 review that analyzes the main aspects of the builder, including the Site123 website editor, ecommerce functionality, pricing, and much more. To provide you with the most accurate information, we created a couple of test websites on this platform.
Read on to find out what we’ve discovered.
Ease of Use
Upon landing on the Site123 homepage, live chat agents immediately asked me if I needed any help in discovering how the site builder works. This was a strong indicator that the Site123 team pays special attention to customer support.
The website builder’s homepage lists all the cool features and functionalities you can use with Site123. Moreover, the Site123 website builder claims to have simplified the site creation process, reducing it to three simple steps: selecting the type of website you want to build, adding content to it, and launching it live.
However, we had to test the builder ourselves to see if everything about Site123 is as easy as one-two-three.
Upon creating an account on Site123, I was finally able to try and test the website editor. One of the first things I noticed is that the interface is clean. The website editor takes little time to get used to, but overall, it is quite straightforward.
All the tools you need to customize a site to your taste are located on the left side of the screen, including design and general website settings.
Point and Click
This free website builder, unlike many of its competitors, features a point-and-click editor. So whenever you want to edit the content of your site, you need to click on a particular site element, and the editing options will pop up on the left side of the page you’re editing.
When it comes to image editing options, the Image Filter Tool is one of the website builder’s strongest points. This tool allows you to apply 19 different filters to your images. Site123 also features a rich library of royalty-free images from Unsplash and Pixabay.
If one of the crucial aspects of our review of Site123 was how extensive the media library is, we’d give Site123 an A+. However, our focus is on the image editing options, and to what extent you can modify an image.
From this angle, the builder doesn’t meet our expectations. It supports just a few editing options, i.e., applying filters to images and cropping them. The cropping options are not impressive, either. There are no predetermined aspect ratios.
With that in mind, you should set your preferred image size without any guidelines if the image is not cropped automatically.
The excellent content editing experience is one of the features worth highlighting in this Site123 review. The website builder supports basic content editing features, including standard text formatting options.
Additionally, you can add images, videos, links, tables, and lists to your content. Even though there aren’t any special features that accompany the Site123 content editor, we‘re satisfied with its simplicity and ease of use.
Number of Themes
Site123 is a little short of 200 templates. If we compare the builder with its competitors, Site123 has a solid website template offering. GoDaddy website builder has about 300 templates. At the time of writing our Wix review, this website builder offered over 500 templates.
Still, some builders had a lot less to offer in this regard even though they are essentially superb builders. Weebly, for example, is limited to only 60 themes, while Voog’s template collection counts around 30 templates.
Taking this into account, the Site123 team made sure users have a lot to choose from when it comes to site templates. What’s even better is that all these templates are free.
To help you narrow down your choices, Site123 organized its selection of templates into ten categories that range from business and restaurants to photography and online store templates. Plus, at the end of the Templates page, there are dozens of tags (plumber, legal services, etc.) that will give you the template recommendations based on the tag you select.
Switching between templates is only available for paying users, while free plan users can only change a site theme by starting a new website or customizing the existing one to a certain extent.
Moreover, when previewing Site123 templates, the builder lets you see the main site elements a particular template is using. So, for example, a restaurant template uses menu and reservation elements. This feature is quite convenient to help you find the perfect theme for your site.
Site123 websites adapt well to different devices. While building your site, you can see how it will look on different devices, i.e., desktop, mobile, and tablet devices.
Another highlight in our Site123 review is the builder’s built-in blogging functionality. Each template comes with a predetermined set of pages, but you can always add a blog to your site. The builder supports seven different blog outlines. When it comes to customization options, you can add tags along with a short description of your blog post.
Additionally, you can set blog comments to show or hide them from a page, in addition to first selecting a blog commenting system: internal, Facebook, or Disqus.
In the blog settings, you’ll also find the option of displaying related posts and adding social sharing buttons, while the URL of each blog post is a post title.
Site123 is also dedicated to making all of its websites secure. The builder uses an SSL secure protocol, ensuring all sites are protected – for free.
After completing a Site123 upgrade, the builder allows its users to create between two and 10 mailboxes. The option of integrating a Site123 email account with Gmail and Outlook is available too.
The Advanced plan includes, among other features, two mailboxes at $16.80/month when paid annually. Five mailboxes come with the Professional plan at $22.80/month – also with a yearly subscription.
Lastly, users of the Gold plan get 10 mailboxes at the price of $28.80/month. If you want to increase the number of email accounts in your domain, each email account will cost you $5/month with 1GB of storage space.
Free plan users, unfortunately, are not entitled to a free email account with Site123. This feature requires a custom domain, and free plan users can only create a site with a free subdomain.
The form builder is available with the following Site123 packages: Basic, Advanced, Professional, and Gold. In other words, free plan users cannot use the form builder, which is, in contrast, available to paying Site123 users.
If you opt for one of the Premium Site123 plans, you’ll be able to use the builder’s Custom Form Builder. Additionally, you can integrate your site with other form builders such as JotForm, 4Screens, MailMunch, and Site123’s very own form builder app – 123FormBuilder.
The closest thing to a form builder for free plan users is a contact form with the Name, Phone, Email, and Message fields. However, you cannot change any of the fields or add custom ones.
The default menu type for non-paying users is a horizontal menu tucked in the header area of the website. The same menu also appears in the footer area.
Furthermore, free plan users can also add a Category to a horizontal menu and add multiple pages under that category. This way, they can create a drop-down menu within a horizontal menu. The option to add social networks, a shopping cart, and other items to the header menu is available too.
With the premium plans, there are even more menu options. Much like some of the best website builders, Site123 supports the sidebar menu, as well as the option of adding a search box tool to your website navigation.
Site123 allows you to add various marketing and analytics tools, payment gateways, and much more via the App Market. All integrations are divided into different categories, including Pricing, Online Store, Booking, and Webmaster Tools, among others.
There is also the Popular category that lets you check which add-ons and plugins are frequently added to Site123-powered websites.
Unfortunately, free plan users have no access to the App Market and cannot integrate a single app into their website. Based on numerous Site123 reviews we read, this is one of the most common complaints about the builder.
What we really like about Site123 is that it allows its users to launch an online store in no time. This option is available with a free plan, too, but there are some limitations. With the free plan, you can only add offline payment methods such as bank wire transfers, checks, phone payments, etc.
While you can add as many products to your store as you want, you can only have a maximum of 10 orders per month.
The Site123 ecommerce options are much more diverse with the builder’s Professional and Gold plans. Payment-wise, subscribing to one of these premium plans allows you to add e-wallets and credit cards as payment methods.
Different store labels are available as well, including Out of Stock, Add to Cart, Quick View, etc. What’s more, you can assign your products to different categories and add coupons to your online store.
At the time of writing this review, the option of managing your user base isn’t available. However, as soon as we asked the support team about this feature, they said they’d send it as a request for the development team. This tells us they are listening to their users’ feedback and are ready to act on it quickly.
The website builder supports Member Only email signup. So only after entering an email address, your visitors can access your site content. However, this is only an alternative, as there is no dedicated membership system that would allow you to manage your user base traditionally, i.e., set up subscription plans and manage user profiles.
One of the essential parts of this Site123 review is the builder’s page speed, as, if this value is not average or above, it could affect your rankings in search engines. For the speed test, we took the Site123 homepage.
We ran it through GTmetrix and Google’s PageSpeed Insights. The GTmetrix report showed that the builder doesn’t serve scaled images, which put its performance slightly below average.
According to Google’s PageSpeed Insights, on the other hand, Site123’s desktop loading speed was average (89 out of 100), while the results for the mobile version of the site were significantly lower — 42 out of 100.
Additionally, we tested a couple of Site123 examples, i.e., websites that the builder’s users created, and we got pretty much the same results.
It’s essential to keep in mind that the page speed heavily depends on website elements. If you overload your website with videos, images, and other interactive features, the page speed is likely to be below average.
So, as long as you don’t overstuff your website and keep the content light and informative, you don’t have to worry about page speed.
Desktop Loading Speed
Mobile Loading Speed
When it comes to search engine optimization tools available with Site123, the builder allows you to add title, description, and keyword meta tags. You also add meta descriptions for each page on your site individually.
One of the many highlights of this website builder is that it automatically generates a sitemap for your site.
The platform features a myriad of great SEO-related Site123 tutorials, that can, among other things, help you learn how to submit your sitemap to Google Search Console.
As we’ve previously mentioned, the Site123 App Market features plenty of useful plugins and add-ons. The Analytics Tools category offers a lot of handy tools for traffic evaluation, increasing conversion rates, and gathering customer feedback. Some of the integrations from this category include Google Analytics, Lucky Orange, Facebook Pixel, Optimizely, Heap, Mouseflow, etc.
Site123 offers five plans: Free, Basic, Advanced, Professional, and Gold. Here’s a breakdown of what each of these plans offers.
With the Free plan, you can build a website nearly effortlessly. You also get a free subdomain, basic SEO tools, and access to an extensive library of royalty-free images. Additionally, Site123 allows you to sell online for free, and you don’t have to worry about security either, as all websites use an SSL security protocol.
The Basic plan provides you with more storage space (10GB), while the Free plan limits storage space to 500MB. Based on Site123 reviews we came across, many users are not satisfied with the ecommerce features that come with this plan.
The Basic plan, much like the Free plan, limits the number of orders to 10/month, and it includes offline payments only. Still, this plan unlocks some online store features that aren’t available with the Free plan, such as custom product colours and sizes.
The Basic plan allows you to reach out to your subscribers via mailing list messages. The maximum number of email messages you can send to your mailing list is 100 per month.
Next, the Basic plan allows you to connect your domain with Site123, but you can also get a free domain for one year with a yearly subscription.
Lastly, opting for the Basic plan will remove the Site123 floating tag.
This plan includes everything from the Basic plan, with three times more storage space and bandwidth — 30GB and 15GB, respectively. With this plan, you can also have two mailboxes, as well as unlock multilanguage functionality by adding one additional language.
As far as online store options go, the Advanced plan supports 50 orders per month, and, in addition to offline payment methods, you can also use PayPal and Amazon Pay as your store’s payment options.
With the Professional plan, you get everything from the Advanced plan, again, with more bandwidth (450GB), and storage space (90GB). The number of mailboxes increases to five, and you can add three additional languages to your site.
When it comes to online store options, the Professional plan allows 500 orders per month, and apart from the payment methods available with the Advanced plan, you can also add credit cards and Sage-Pay.
The option of selling digital products and creating coupons is only possible with the Professional and Gold plans.
The Site123 gold plan is similar to the Professional plan. The only difference is that you get more of everything: bandwidth (135GB), storage space (270GB), 10 mailboxes, five additional languages, and unlimited store orders per month.
The website builder is transparent when it comes to its premium plans. However, there are some additional expenses you should take into account.
For example, if you want to add an email account, you’ll pay $60/year. Also, not all integrations available with Site123 are free. While you can use some of them for free, you should count in the expenses of switching to a paid version if you decide to use more features.
One of the things we want to emphasize in this review is that the builder offers significant savings with a yearly subscription, as well as with two-year and three-year subscriptions. These subscriptions also include a free domain for a year, which is not the case with a 3-month subscription.
The pricing for the 3-month subscription ranges from $17/month with the Basic plan to $41/month with the Gold plan. The pricing for the yearly subscription for the Basic, Advanced, Professional, and Gold plans are $10.80/month, $16.80/month, $22.80/month, and $28.80/month respectively.
With two-year and three-year subscriptions, the savings are even bigger. The Basic plan is $7.30/month with a two-year subscription and $6.45/month with a three-year subscription. The Advanced plan drops from $13.30/month with a two-year subscription to $11.45/month with a three-year subscription.
At the time of writing this review, the builder offers 40% off the Advanced, Professional, and Gold plans. With this discount and a three-year subscription, you can purchase the Gold plan for $11.67/month.
Luckily, this website building tool employs common online payment methods. If you decide Site123 is the perfect builder for you, you can use PayPal and credit cards to purchase one of the premium plans.
One of the areas where Site123 truly stands out is the builder’s customer support. The support team is available around-the-clock via live chat functionality. The live chat agents are knowledgeable and quick to reply at any given time. You can also search the builder’s knowledgebase or go through video tutorials on the Site123 YouTube channel.
All in all, Site123 is an easy-to-use website builder that offers a lot of features with a free plan. If you are not a fan of point-and-click builders, you can read our Weebly review, as this website builder might be a better fit for you. Weebly is a drag-and-drop builder, and it also offers a lot of options with its free plan.
If you’d like to give Site123 a try, here’s what you should know about it. The builder allows you to create a simple online store for free, and it offers a plethora of modern templates to accommodate everyone’s taste.
It doesn’t support many image editing options, but it has an exhaustive library of free images and icons. The built-in blog functionality and a free SSL encryption protocol are nice additions to the builder’s free plan offering, but it would’ve been nice if the App Market was available to free plan users as well.
From the perspective of paying Site123 customers, this website builder is equally tempting. Premium plans unlock a wealth of features that are not available with the Free plan, such as creating a multilingual website and adding various payment methods to your online store.
Still, one of the things we have to emphasize in this Site123 review is that the builder won’t give you much control over your site’s design options and overall functionality. The features it offers are pretty basic, so if you’re an advanced user, Site123 might not be the best fit for you.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for an easy and quick way to create a website, this website builder is undoubtedly one of the best options out there.