SITE123 lives up to its billing as the easiest website builder through a great set-up process, good theme & page options and a relevant set of features to get a website live quickly.
As a relatively young company, Site123 – founded in 2016 – has managed to compete with industry bigshots Wix, Squarespace and Weebly, without adopting any new web building trends, such as AI web building.
Rather, Site123 sells itself on its simplicity, claiming it's as easy as 1-2-3 to create your site and get it up and running.
Step one: choose your design. Step two: add content. Step three: go live.
At the start of your site building journey, you’ll be asked to provide your name and email address, the name of your site, and the type of website that you want to create.
Site123 will offer you a range of designs based on the type of website you want to create – whether thats a business site, online store or personal blog – and further specialises into different niches.
When you’ve selected the niche that’s most relevant to you, Site123 will provide you with an initial design template, in addition to a theme and modules which are relevant to your industry.
So, whether you’re in hospitality, business, or you’re in the creative industry, Site123 will have a site template that matches your needs. For instance, if you own a restaurant, Site123 provides a booking form, map location widget and menu template, allowing you to start receiving online bookings as soon as your site goes live.
More than this, these widgets are customisable. For example, if you choose to insert a contact form you can choose from a selection of layouts, and you can add and change fields to suit your site’s specific needs.
Once you’ve completed the initial three steps – deciding what type of website you want, naming your website, and providing your name and email – you’re presented with a front-end builder for smaller content changes, with a sidebar menu on the left of the screen, with clearly labelled menus for larger changes.
The design of the web builder is highly intuitive, and presents floating buttons with clear icons to allow you to see which parts of the design can be edited, with pop up menus appearing when you need to make an edit, and minimising when you’ve decided that you’re done. These menus allow you to switch up the site content, including images and text (though Site123 has a built-in set of royalty free images, which you’re able to use) through well-designed, easy-to-use menus.
More than this, the web builder provides video tutorials and ‘hints’ along your web building journey to help you if you ever get stuck.
Site123’s web building sidebar allows you to make more significant changes to your web design, allowing control over the features of your theme and the pages you want on your website. Here you will also be able to find more advanced features and tools, including plugins – for example, the option to add a live chat to your site.
Moreover, you can make functionality edits such as changing your site’s domain name, adding links to your social media and even changing the language of your website, if you want it to be translated into different languages to reach an international audience.
Each change you make is easily discernible through the live front end builder and – even better – you can easily flick between mobile, tablet, and computer view to ensure your site is as mobile-device friendly as possible. As soon as you make an edit, you can check the result in a preview for all these devices.
New pages to your site can be added using hundreds of prebuilt styles and formats, allowing you to choose from a plethora of different page types, whether you want a page for galleries, blogs, contact forms, pricing tables, articles, testimonials and more.
Each page comes equipped with available-to-use royalty free photography, if your focus is on going live, rather than having a totally unique design, so you don’t have to source your site’s images yourself if you don’t want to.
Moreover, each page comes with a set of advanced features which you can use to tailor your site to perfectly fit your needs, including the option to add e-commerce features, embed videos, build graphs and charts, and even insert polls. These are available as externally-built plugins, which you can easily locate through the same simple menu system.
When your site is up and running, Site123 also provides visitor statistics, allowing you to see which aspects of your web content are most popular, as well as basic information about the kind of traffic your site receives.
When you first head to the Site123 website, you’ll be confronted by the words ‘by far the easiest free website builder’ which are plastered across the landing page – and, ultimately, this sums up the biggest plus points of this web builder.
Everyone who signs up to Site123 starts off with a free account, allowing you to try out all their features for as long as you want, before switching to a premium plan.
In addition, it’s incredibly easy to create and customise your site, taking minimal time and effort – in theory, you should be able to get your site live and working in under five minutes
Another of Site123’s greatest achievements is its multifarious support system for its customers. From the ‘hints’ and tutorial videos, to the live chat and excellent customer service, Site123’s support is unbeatable – so, it’s perfect for those who aren’t as well versed in web building, and could use a little extra guidance to help them along the way.
Moreover, compared to other shared hosting sites, the designs are incredibly responsive and quick to load – something crucial to businesses as, if visitors come to a site, they’ll leave within seconds if there’s a problem with functionality or the loading time is too long.
And, for internationally focused businesses, your website can be translated automatically by the site in up to 5 different languages, and the resulting translations can also be edited manually – the translation seemed to be accurate and worked well on our test run.
While Site123’s simplicity is one of its biggest selling points, it’s also one of its most impassable drawbacks. Namely, you can’t add any external HTML code to the site, which limits the customisation possibilities.
In essence, this means you have to rely completely on Site123 to be able to provide the design elements that you want; if it isn’t in the editor, or available as a plugin/widget, there’s no way to add it to your site.
Also, you better make sure that you’re happy with the design template you have before going live, as – once you do – you can’t change the template of your website (though, of course, you can edit and customise the template features whenever you like).
Along the same lines, when it comes to complexity, your site is limited in terms of structure, meaning that you can create a site with a one-page layout; the tabs on your site’s menu can open up a new page, or scroll down to the correct section of the page, but the design is limited to that amount of complexity
Moreover, if you’re thinking about starting a blog through Site123, it’s worth noting that there’s no comment feature, which limits bloggers in terms of being able to communicate with their audience – a key part of being a blogger. So, this might not be the best platform to do it.
Lastly, there’s no backup and restore function to allow you to revert back to an original version of your site. Although, since there’s no site code editing option anyway, this shouldn’t really be a problem as your site, at the very least, will always be responsive, and unable to be disrupted by a misguided coding session.
Site123 has four pricing plans available to choose from, which can be purchased from as little as £10 per month. And, if you decide to opt for a longer contract, you can make massive savings on your chosen plan every month.
More than this, paid plans come with a free domain for the first year. If you already have a domain – however – you can connect it to your Site123-built site.
Offering a 5GB bandwidth each month – which can handle up to about 20k visitors on your site – 10GB of storage, and domain linking, the basic plan, at £10 per month, can cater to your site building and hosting needs, although this plan shows Site123 advertising in the footer of your website.
At £15.62 a month, the advanced plan gives its users 30GB of storage, 15GB of bandwidth – which can handle up to about 60k visitors a month – domain linking, and the additional benefit of having all Site123 adverts removed.
More than this, you’ll be given two domain affiliated mailboxes, which will allow you to receive and send emails from an address with your domain (i.e firstname.lastname@example.org).
The advanced plan is our pick if you don’t require payment functionality on your website, as – in most cases – the storage and bandwidth is suitable for most site uses, though you can always upgrade if you start to receive more traffic in the future.
The professional plan is the first option which comes with payment functionality, providing e-commerce features which allow payment to be taken through the site. At £22.72 per month, you’re afforded 90GB of storage and 45GB of bandwidth – allowing your site to cope with around 180k visitors a month – in addition to five domain affiliated mailboxes, and up to 500 orders per month, as well as 2500 emails to subscribers per month.
For e-commerce sites, our pick is the professional plan – at least to get you started – as you can always upgrade to ‘gold’ in the future if you need the additional features.
At £27.45 per month, Site123’s gold plan is the most expensive plan, offering 270GB of storage and 135GB of bandwidth, allowing your site to comfortably handle 540k visitors a month, as well as providing 10 mailboxes, unlimited orders and advanced e-commerce features such as discount codes and wish lists.
Another thing to keep in mind is that – when you sign up for free, and try out the web builder and its various customisation possibilities – you will likely receive incentives from Site123 in the form of limited time offers, to encourage you to take out the plan, affording you even greater potential for savings.
Site123 lives up to its brand image as an incredibly easy, convenient website builder, which can be used to create almost any type of website. It’s particularly great for those who don’t have a massive well of technical know-how to draw from, but who – nonetheless – need a fully functioning, responsive, aesthetically smart site.
Coming with a strong suite of templates and pages to choose from, and a satisfactory range of plug-ins to enable the insertion of advanced features into your site, Site123 has everything you need to produce a website.
On the other hand, if you want to edit your site, you’re limited to the customiser features available on the web builder. Moreover, the fact that it’s impossible to add external code – or widgets and plug-ins that haven’t been preordained by the site – means that you’re restricted in terms of customisation options, and may end up frustrated if you decide that you want to add some fancier features to your site in the future.
So, if you’re someone who wants to customise your web content until it perfectly matches the vision you have for your website, then this might not be the web builder for you (take a look at our Wix review) However, if you just need a functioning, capable, aesthetically sound site – and you want to get it live as soon as possible – then Site123 might be the web builder you’ve been looking for.
Find out more and try Site123 for free here.