PROS / The personal shared hosting plan provides unlimited email accounts.
CONS / The site builder is incredibly basic.
VERDICT / Providing no-frills hosting, Netfirms is best suited for personal and small professional sites.
Netfirms is a web hosting service solely for small business users. Its domain hosting packages are scaled down in comparison to the other web hosts we reviewed, but the service possesses a handful of standout qualities that make it worth a look.
Netfirms’ small business web hosting packages are sparse, but the capabilities included are notable. For instance, unlimited disk space and monthly bandwidth comes standard in all of its hosting plans. They also include unlimited email addresses. What the service lacks in its hosting plans is unlimited domains and MySQL databases.
When it comes to features, Netfirms is very much a mixed bag, offering many useful ones but confusingly lacking others that come standard with other hosting providers. A web-based control panel allows you to manage your site from any connection, and an integrated site builder allows you to design a site from scratch. Be aware, though, that the builder is drag-and-drop, and its total functionality is limited. Other features the web hosting service includes are advertising credits to help promote your website and one-click app installs.
Netfirms also provides decent email capabilities and advanced features. In addition to unlimited mailboxes, the web hosting service provides spam filters to keep junk mail out of your inbox. A cron job editor allows you to tailor cron jobs – or specific server tasks, like downloading email – to occur automatically. The web hosting provider surprisingly does not provide an SSL certificate except on its highest priced plan nor does it include a stats application. Access to site statistics is useful because it provides insight on how your site is performing once it’s live online.
If you do run into any issues, Netfirms provides decent help and support in the form of online resources. The company’s help center also provides access to a knowledgebase that you can search by keyword and a user guide with tips for using your account. The web hosting service has a few text tutorials but would benefit from more, specifically video tutorials.
The phone and live chat support staff leave much to be desired. Over the course of several attempts, the live chat button wouldn't work, and when it did, the average wait time was slightly over 10 minutes. Its support staff is clearly outsourced.
Netfirms has a good record for providing simple, quality web hosting plans at a reasonable cost. The web hosting service lacks some functionality and a decent support team, and these two faults keep this web host from ranking in the top 10.