Network Solutions Highlights
- Expertly designed templates allow for plenty of personalization
- Photos, files, and specific Web pages can be shared exclusively with friends and family
- Though not the most modern or intuitive builder, you can still use it to create great sites
Network Solutions is an excellent choice for small-business owners looking for a full-featured Web hosting provider that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. The plans are flexible and affordable, and there are good options to consider for businesses at any stage of growth. Network Solutions might not be the best choice for casual users or bloggers, but businesses and organizations will find a lot to like about this versatile platform.
Network Solutions Templates
Something that makes Network Solutions unique among its competitors is the company offers two completely different website-building tools, directed toward distinct audiences. There’s a relatively limited free-website builder, and the more full-featured nsWebsite builder.
I chose to use the nsWebsite package, but I did check out the free builder first. Both platforms offer users a broad selection of Network Solutions website templates, but the nsWebsite builder has a much larger gallery. And though Network Solutions free website templates are an option with both builders, some of the free builder’s templates come with a one-time $9.99 price tag
Network Solutions templates with the nsWebsite builder are organized into 16 different categories, representing a variety of businesses and interests. Each category contains at least five different templates, but some have more than 20 designs to choose from. Colors are easy to customize, and users can preview any of the designs before committing to one in particular. Another option is to select a simple layout with no particular theme, or you can start from a truly blank slate.
Network Solutions Ease of Use
Although I consider myself to be relatively seasoned in the world of website builders, the signup process with this company sent me for a loop, and I actually had to call customer support to figure out how to access the website editor after I signed up for it. (It turned out that in order to use the builder, I needed to log out of my account and then log back in, but this wasn’t written anywhere.)
Once I was finally able to access the drag-and-drop site editor, I found it relatively easy to use, but still not as intuitive as the most modern builders that make it simple to get up and running in under an hour. Still, I was able to edit site elements and insert images, videos, and my own HTML code without too much effort. (The ability to add my own code is a nice touch, as many competing builders charge extra for that freedom.)
Overall, the builder was easy enough to use once I got into it, but I did find quite a few frustrating aspects of the overall account management interface.
Network Solutions Pricing
When it comes to Network Solutions pricing, I found that there’s a lot to like. But there’s also a lot of fine print to read, and a bunch of costly options to deselect prior to checkout. The nsWebsite builder is currently only advertised in two different options, Small and Large. Each of these plans requires an off-putting three-year contract, as Network Solutions does not advertise offers or options for monthly plans.
Network Solutions domain pricing comes with a separate cost, which is less than $10 for the first year, but jumps up to nearly $35 for each subsequent year. Based on my research, this is a far higher rate than many other domain registrars charge. The good news is that Network Solutions offers a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you make a purchase you’re not completely satisfied with.
If you’d rather skip building a site yourself and have Network Solutions do it for you, that service requires a “one-time annual payment” of $1,199.95, with off-contract rates going for $114.95 per month, or $1,494.35 per year.
Network Solutions Mobile Responsiveness
These days, “mobile responsiveness” is a big buzzword in the website builder industry. This term refers to the ability of modern websites to make the most out of how they display on smaller screens. Standard Network Solutions websites aren’t optimized to render well on smartphones or tablets, but if you’d like your online presence to look appealing on smaller screens, there’s still an option for you.
I found creating a Network Solutions mobile website to be a relatively straightforward process. For a cost of $5.99 per month, customers can use the goMobi™ site builder to create a version of their website that looks great on mobile devices. And if, like me, you sometimes worry about missing an important message, you can access your inbox on the go, thanks to Network Solutions mobile email.
Network Solutions E-Commerce
Though all website packages allow users to put PayPal buttons on their sites, the standard plans don’t include true e-commerce options. For full-fledged functionality in the area, I had to sign up for the Network Solutions e-commerce package, which is available for an additional $7.89 per month.
This package gave me the ability to create a catalog of products for my customers to purchase, along with the freedom to set shipping options and accept credit cards. Unfortunately, this process involves yet another site-building tool that’s separate from the desktop and mobile builders, and which I found not nearly as intuitive to use as either of those two.