Netfirms Review: Is It The Right Host For Your Business In 2019.

Netfirms Introduction

Netfirms is a web hosting company dedicated to small businesses.

It offers a handful of shared hosting options with unlimited disk space and bandwidth. Their plans support WordPress, and you can also register domain names on their website.

Netfirms currently hosts 1.2 million websites. Is Netfirms the best choice for your business website?

Here are some important things you should know.

Netfirms Homepage

About Netfirms

The company was co-founded in 1998 by Canadian tech entrepreneur Thomas Savundra, who served as CEO until the company was bought by Endurance International Group in 2011.

Netfirms offers 24/7 customer support with a 30-day money-back guarantee alongside the brief range of web hosting plans.

Netfirms Pros And Cons

Let’s kick off the Netfirms review with a summary of the good and the ugly. Here are the pros and cons at first sight:

Pros

  • Generous number of free domains
  • A variety of website builder available
  • 24/7 support

Cons

  • No uptime guarantee
  • Details on datacenters, VPS plans, money-back guarantee, and control panels are difficult to find on the website.

Netfirms Hosting Plans

Netfirms offers 3 Linux shared hosting plans and 3 VPS plans. The VPS plans are offered through a partner.

Let’s take a look at their shared hosting plans.

Linux Shared Hosting Plans

The plans differ only in number of databases and FTP accounts and whether an SSL certificate is included.

Netfirms splits its plans into three: Advantage, Plus, and Business.

On the website, the Plus plan is presented in between the other two, but it’s actually the lowest level plan (cheapest), so be aware of this when you’re comparing side by side.

The features on each plan scale up depending on the option you choose. All offer unlimited disk space and bandwidth.

Business and Advantage Plan Perks

The lowest cost Plus plan at $4.45/month offers one free domain name, the Advantage plan (medium plan) offers two and the highest cost plan offers five free domains.

This top-level plan at $12.99/month also provides the customer with their own SSL certificate. Apart from that, the plans are pretty similar.

MySQL databases are restricted to 5 on the cheapest plan, and FTP accounts are restricted to 50, although that would arguable be enough for an average small business site.

Strangely, subdomains are chargeable on all plans, and they don’t seem to be particularly well priced.

Is There An E-Commerce Solution?

Netfirms doesn’t seem to offer a separate e-commerce plan but instead markets the shared Business Plan‘s shopping cart functionalities at $12.99/month.

It isn’t clear which shopping cart is offered with this plan, though listed features include:

  • Multi-language and currency support
  • Customer retention tools
  • Customizable catalog templates
  • E-commerce product manager
  • Shop templates
  • Multiple payment methods (including credit card)

VPS Plans

Netfirms also “offer” VPS plans but these are provided by a different web host called SPRY.

Note: it’s unclear how to find the VPS plan page other than googling “Netfirms VPS.”

The VPS plans range from $33 to $100/month and you’ll be redirected to the SPRY site to find out more.

Domain Services

This is a domain registration service, though operating as a hosting plan.

Netfirms Domain Services

Available domain extensions include .com, .net, .org and .info. Each domain account comes with:

  • One email account
  • 5 MB of storage
  • DNS management
  • Subdomains
  • Domain forwarding

Note: Second year domain renewals are subject to a price increase.

Features And Freebies

Features and freebies are listed among Netfirms’ shared hosting plans, though a few are not named in terms of brand or software type.

Here are the primary features and available software listed with all shared hosting plans:

What Control Panel Does Netfirms Have?

On the Netfirms support portal, there’s plenty of reference to Plesk.

However, I found no evidence that Plesk is still used, as all signs point to vDesk. They certainly don’t make any boasts about the control panel they use, and no references to Plesk appear on their current plans.

As the support information appears to reference a control panel that no longer exists, it was difficult to find information about vDesk on the site.

We can only assume that vDesk is not the same as vDeck, although the site mixes both terms so it’s difficult to make a call.

Datacenters And Security

Netfirms owns and operates its own datacenter, according to the website.

Their Tier 1 facility includes 40,000 servers, and they apply clustering to protect against downtime.

No further details are provided about the technical team or infrastructure.

Does Netfirms Offer An Uptime Guarantee?

In addition, Netfirms’ support center unhelpfully states that “all plans include uptime”.

There are no figures to suggest a promise on the amount of uptime you’ll get, nor is there any information in their Terms of Service. We have to assume there is no uptime guarantee.

Netfirms Support

Netfirms offers 24/7 support to all customers via phone support, email, and support tickets. A public knowledgebase also caters a variety of categories for customers or shoppers alike.

Netfirms Knowledgebase

However, customers on the top tier plan are given priority. The company has a press release section which hasn’t been updated for almost two years.

Social Media Presence

The Facebook page is patchy; positive comments tend to receive replies, but critical comments don’t appear to receive the same attention.

The Twitter feed is regularly updated in response to customer queries. It’s not clear where the support department is based, although they provide a US toll-free number. That doesn’t necessarily mean the team is US-based, though.

Netfirms Money-Back Guarantee and Cancellation Policy

A 30-day money-back guarantee is promised on the Netfirms website, although it’s difficult to find the terms and conditions at first glance.

Again, I had to Google to find a page on the site that explained it.

Customers can claim a refund if they cancel within 30 days, regardless of the length of plan they offer. There’s no information about how refunds should be submitted or whether admin and domain name fees are deducted.

Alternative Hosting Providers

Netfirms can be a difficult company to fall for at first sight.

Here are a few hosting providers to consider with cheap web hosting plans and premium infrastructures:

  • HostGator: simple, reliable hosting with a free SSL certificate, instant backups, and 99.9% uptime. The cheapest plan starts at $2.75/month.
  • Web Hosting Hub: a free SSL certificate and a free domain with unlimited storage and bandwidth for $3.99/month (3-year contract.)
  • GreenGeeks: unlimited resources, regular backups, a free domain and free website builders at $2.95/month.

Netfirms Summary

From the research I did about Netfirms, it seems like the company has been slimmed down considerably over the last two years.

This may explain why content in the help center is out-of-date or inaccurate. Additionally, the pricing pages on the Netfirms website is quite misleading.

The Plus plan is the cheapest and least capable but is laid out in the center of the comparison tables; due to the name and positioning, I assumed it was an upgrade on Advantage, but it’s not.

The general lack of information and conflicting help material didn’t fill me with much confidence, and I feel there are better website hosts in this sector. Having said that, their social media pages are active, their website is professional and the company is obviously still attracting customers.

NetFirms Reviews by Our Community

Overall Rating from 33 Reviews by NetFirms Customers

Support
Quality
Features
Value

Most Helpful Reviews

Denise Messenger avatar
Denise Messenger denisemessengerart.com
Oct 18, 2018

I have been a customer of Netfirms for well over 10+ years. It is really sad to see how degraded their customer service and tech support is. In years past they had the service based in the U.S.

for Any plan. Now you must pay more money for the service if you want it in the U.S. Additionally, there is not anyone you can talk to when your website content disappears at a higher level of management.

Customer service makes promises to get it resolved with tech support and Nothing happens. I am left with content missing from my website due to a software glitch on their end, no one will investigate it and they just want me to upgrade my plan for more money in order to resolve the problem. This is not the way to do business in my opinion. Very disappointing.

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Zsolt Perge avatar
Zsolt Perge wzsn.net
May 30, 2018

I’ve been using Netfirms for many years. All I have is two simple .net websites with no hosting plan. I discovered that even if you just pay for domain registration, they will give you 5MB of free hosting space, which is all I need.

I really wanted to run some simple perl scripts on my site, and they worked for awhile, but then all of a sudden they discontinued that service. I asked them why my perl scripts stopped working, and they said they no longer provide perl scripting with the free domains. That’s too bad.

I am not going to pay $5 a month just to have perl scripting on a 5MB site. You kidding me? LOL

One time I manually renewed my domain, and of course, the bank statement showed that they withdrew the money, so the transaction was successful.

But they forgot to renew my site! So, it looked like my site was gone, yet I already paid for the renewal. I guess, someone sitting in the main control room forgot to push a button or something.

That’s when I realized these people aren’t professional. This is company is a joke. A real hosting company can’t make a mistake like that!!!

Other reviewers had bad experience with customer service. Actually I had very good experience with the customer support team. They provide 24/7 Live support on their website.

You can open a chat window and ask any question anytime, and they answer or get your problem resolved immediately. They were always fast and very courteous. I had no problem with customer support.

But their overall service sucks and they charge an arm and a leg for their basic plan. I am not going to pay $4 or $5 a month just to have my personal 5MB website online. It gets maybe 5 visitors a month.

LOL Give me a break! These folks should have a basic service that costs $5 a year. I would be willing to pay that amount but not $5 a month.

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Gowtham Sen avatar
Gowtham Sen fuzure.com
Jul 23, 2018

Netfirms sucks in terms of their intelligence. I try to use same card for last 5 years on the same account. They just blocked the payment mentioning that "fraudulent detected" and blocked my account.

I am fine my account blocking and even payments blocking. But they also block all my websites launched in their domains. This is so bad.

Anyone with a sense would certainly won’t do that unless a security breach. I am super frustrated with this.

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Most Popular NetFirms Hosting Plans

Netfirms Plus Netfirms Advantage Netfirms Business
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NetFirms Frequently Asked Questions

  • What web hosting plans does NetFirms offer?

    NetFirms offers shared hosting across three tiers. These plans are primarily separated by how many MySQL databases can be maintained, how many domains and FTP accounts can be hosted, and the level of customer service available.

    They also offer VPS hosting via Spry.

  • Can NetFirms help with site migration?

    NetFirms does not have any formalized migration services available. However, they will help you through a transfer via their live chat system.

  • What applications can I use with NetFirms?

    NetFirms offers one-click installs on all major CMS and ecommerce applications via Mojo Marketplace as standard on all their plans.

  • Does NetFirms have a money-back guarantee?

    Yes. NetFirms offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. This guarantee is valid for credit card payments and excludes most added extras. See their Terms of Service for full details.

  • Does NetFirms have an uptime guarantee?

    No they do not. Their terms of service outline that they can not guarantee that the servers are always up and that they are not liable for any problems caused by them going down.

  • How does billing and payment work?

    NetFirms bills annually with a minimum one year commitment. Payment is accepted from major credit card companies and PayPal only. They enroll you for continuing payment so your account will renew automatically.

  • Are there discounts for signing a longer contract?

    Yes. Users get a discount if they sign a two or three year contract with NetFirms. Discounts increase with term length and range from 15% to 24% depending on the plan and contract length.

  • How do I contact NetFirms?

    Support options include 24/7 chat, email, and phone support. They also have a knowledgebase and video tutorials as well as additional setup help. Their top tier option comes with better support.

  • Where are NetFirms’ datacenters located?

    NetFirms’ datacenters are located in Boston, US. The company itself is based in Toronto, Canada.

  • What programming languages are available?

    NetFirms provides all the standard programming languages including PHP, Perl (via cgi-bin), Python (via cgi-bin), and Ruby on Rails.

  • What security options are available?

    Their top tier plan includes a dedicated SSL certificate and all plans include a shared SSL certificate.

    All plans can purchase SiteLocker and dedicated SSL certificates as they see fit. Contact customer service for more information on security add-ons.

  • What backup options are provided?

    Shared plans do not include any backup options other than NetFirms own disaster recovery, which is only for use in the case of a hardware failure and does not guarantee a complete backup.

    However, there are backup options which can be added on for an additional fee.

  • Does NetFirms offer unlimited bandwidth and storage?

    Sort of. They have unmetered storage, but firm restrictions in their Terms of Service that say what you can and can’t use your unlimited storage for (eg, a backup, storing lots of media files, etc). For their bandwidth, they state much the same thing.

    Their limit is so high that 99% of customers never get there. However, if you do end up over-using bandwidth, NetFirms retains the right to throttle your site.

  • Does NetFirms provide a content delivery network (CDN)?

    Yes. NetFirms provides a CDN via SiteLock. It is available for an extra charge. It also provides additional security for your website.

  • What about at renewal? Will my monthly payments jump?

    Probably. NetFirms focuses on offering extremely competitive introductory pricing. Thus, most customers see prices increase when their contract is up for renewal.

    This increase is made up of a combination of services that are included for free for the first year (eg, domain name) and a simple increase in cost per month for your hosting plan.

  • What website building tools does NetFirms provide?

    NetFirms offers a drag and drop website builder. A free version comes with all their shared hosting plans and you have the option to add a per month charge to get access to better versions.

    Enhanced features include more ecommerce functionality, unlimited number of pages per website, and Google Analytics integration.

    They also offer an even easier option called Ready-to-go-Websites, which are designed to get you online extremely quickly.

  • Does NetFirms provide domain and domain registration?

    Yes. All their plans come with at least one free domain for the first year. After that, most domains cost $15 or so annually. They also provide domain registration and domain transfer for a price.

Claire Broadley

About Claire Broadley

Claire has been creating websites for over 20 years and has been using WordPress for over ten. She is an expert in web hosting, design, HTML, and more. She lives with her husband and son in the United Kingdom.

Connect with Claire

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