Homestead Site-Builder Review The Godfather of Websites

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Robert Brandl

Robert Brandl

Author

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Homestead’s website claims a whopping 12 million users, making Endurance one of the biggest website hosts out there. The platform has also received numerous positive press reactions since since its launch in 1996. This alone is enough to make us want to try their product.

A closer look revealed one feature in particular that we didn’t expect: Homestead works as both an online and offline website builder. But you can’t actually do anything unless you’re connected to the internet, which cancels out any advantages to this two-tiered approach. We’ll readily admit that we’re not a big fan of installing software too.

Homestead’s web-based tool, Site Builder Light, unfortunately only features a fraction of the tool’s functionality.

Screenshots

Homestead pricing

$9.74

Starter

Very limited: 25 MB of storage and only up to 5 pages.

$24.74

Business

5 GB of storage, up to 3 websites and a maximum of 100 pages. 1 domain name and 5 email accounts.

$64.74

Business Plus

To create unlimited number of sites and pages.

Monthly prices for 1-year contracts. Domain included in selected packages.

Pros and Cons of Homestead

  • Pros
  • Cons

Pros

  • high number of features and templates

Rating Details

Ease of use Info popup

Best alternative: Jimdo

Web-based editor is very simple but offers only the most basic of features. Locally installed version is a lot more complicated and less intuitive. Does not look like a convincing concept to us.

Choice and flexibility of design (templates) Info popup

Best alternative: Wix

Templates on offer do look ok – we’ve seen worse. But template customization is very limited and if you decide to change your template, you lose all your content. (Not a problem we’ve seen with other site builders we’ve tested).

Advertisement-free Info popup

Only paid subscriptions available.

Languages Info popup

Text editor supports any western European language, but interface available in English only.

Your own domain name (e.g. .com or .net) Info popup

Re-direct or transfer your existing domain; you can also register a domain via Homestead. Help section will show you how this works.

Depth of navigation Info popup

There’s only the main navigation level, as the templates don’t have any sub navigation. This will be a major problem if your website grows larger.

Widgets (small tools to add extra functionality) Info popup

Video tool, photo gallery and many other widgets such as a Facebook “like” button included. Also a large image gallery with free photos.

Mobile App Info popup

  • iOS
  • Android

No mobile app available.

E-Commerce Info popup

Add a simple Paypal button or upgrade to SimpleStore or Storefront for an additional charge.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Info popup

Meta tags, meta descriptions and page titles can all be edited. URL is generated from the name of the menu item. W3C Validator finds a high number of HTML errors in the source code though, which is unnecessary.

Blog

Can be added via the blog manager module, which is quite a pain to work with.

Visitor statistics Info popup

Use Homestead’s built-in RealTracker, or add Google Analytics to each site individually.

Contact form

Offers quite a few field options.

Password protection & member areas Info popup

You can password-protect pages.

Newsletter tool Info popup

There is a mailing list feature. Not tested.

Add HTML code Info popup

Allows you to add other widgets and tools.

Storage space

25 MB+

The Starter plan offers 25 MB only. The Business plan looks better with 5 GB.

Backups & Restore Info popup

There is a backup feature.

Support

  • FAQ
  • Chat
  • Email
  • Telephone

Email and phone. Support has been responsive.

Fun Factor Info popup

To be honest, working with Homestead was not our idea of fun.

Overall Rating

2

This website builder is in desperate need of a complete overhaul to better reflect the era we live in.

Conclusion

When describing Homestead’s site builder, it’s easier to tell you what it isn’t: neither free nor cheap. In fact, it is very expensive compared to its competitors. The USD $7.99 package gets you only 5 single pages with storage up to 25 MB (that’s right, not GB). To be able to use it in a remotely realistic fashion, you’d have to opt for their hugely overpriced Business package at USD $22.99.

The problem is not that Homestead is missing a lot of features. Instead, the underpinning system should probably have been replaced long ago because it seems like more and more features have just been added on top of an old core. Homestead is the dinosaur of website builders and is doomed for extinction, unless it quickly learns to adapt to its new environment.

Homestead website builder packages

Example Sites

theirishjewelrycompany

The Irish Jewelry Company

Jewelry Shop

hhicarpetclean

HHI Cleaning

Cleaning Service

brassbouquet

Brass Bouquet

Brass Filigrees

Homestead Alternatives

Are you unsure about what’s your best website builder option? Let our Website Builder Smart Finder help you in 5 questions.

The author

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Robert Brandl

Founder and CEO

Hi, my name is Robert Brandl, and I am the founder of Tooltester. I used to work in a digital marketing agency where I managed website and email marketing projects. To optimize my client's campaigns, I always had to find the optimal web tools. Tooltester (founded in 2010) opens this knowledge to you, hopefully saving you endless hours of research. If you have any questions, please leave a comment. You can also find me on LinkedIn.

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THE BEHIND THE SCENES OF THIS REVIEW

This article has been written and researched following a precise methodology.

Our methodology

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