Angelfire Review

If you had been on the Internet in the 1990s, you had probably heard of Angelfire, one of the earliest free hosting websites to ever hit the Web. The name probably faded into your memory along with Netscape Navigator, Geocities, and CompuServe. In wistful bouts of nostalgia, you may even wonder whatever happened to that plucky little free website server and all the early builds that once had an address at angelfire.com. Well, there is no more need to wonder. Not only are they still in the business of hosting free websites, they are now part of another blast from the past company, Lycos, and have what can honestly be said to be among the easiest to use, most intuitive web page builders in existence.

EASE OF USE

This is the draw of this builder, and the sheer simplicity with which you can make a website is a draw for those with little or no experience in actually making one. That being said, there isn’t nearly enough access for experienced Web developers who will want to have a more hands-on ability to make alterations that are best done with quick coding rather than clicking, dragging, and related actions. Put simply, it’s too simple for most experienced people, but if you’re new and want to get a website up and running, it’s perfect.

BUILDING

The building process starts with the click of a button. There aren’t any “templates,” per se, but there are 204 themes that are slightly different but essentially have the same layout with alternate graphics. It’s not a bad layout, though, and the alternative “Styles” add a bit of creativity. That being said, it’s a drag and drop interface, so changing almost anything on the page is very simple. Unlike a lot of drag and drop builders, there is very little you can’t do or place wherever you choose. Editing is a breeze and very intuitive, as is saving and coming back later.

About the only problem is that several of their add-ons require you to upgrade to a paid account. Fortunately, they aren’t necessary for the most part, and it seems like a fair requirement considering they are pretty much bonuses. While SiteLock or Constant Contact are nice to have, they aren’t strictly necessary.

HOSTING

Hosting on Angelfire remains free for a single website and up to 25 MB of storage, just like it was over a decade ago, but now they are offering two paid plans that give you a few additional benefits.

The Basic plan gets rid of the ads that the free plan will put on your website, which is nice. It also gives you FTP and Web Shell access so you’ll have a bit more control over your files. More than anything, it upgrades your space to 100 MB, with the option to buy more space for what amounts to roughly a dollar per month per gig.

THE Plan — all capitals — starts with 5 gigs of space and the same option to buy more, but also gives you a free domain name to host your site at rather than a subdomain, email-storage, email forwarding addresses, a shopping cart, and the ability to buy more add-ons. This seems to be the only plan that gives you full stats on Web traffic.

MARKETING

This is not Angelfire’s strong suit. They don’t appear to give you any marketing abilities whatsoever, either from the place of SEO or listing services. About the only marketing-related benefit is that you can purchase a mass emailing service in addition to a paid plan. They do give you a coupon code for $100 of Google Adwords credit when you spend $25, but that can be found all over the web. None of this is terrible or outside of the norm for a free service like this, but you should be aware of it.

CUSTOMER SUPPORT

Customer support for Angelfire is not horrible, but also nothing special. For the most part, they want you to look at their “Knowledge Base” to find the answers to the questions you might have, and the search function makes this fairly easy. If you still need help, it’s easy to open a ticket, and they’ll get back to you in a few hours, generally. Upgraded accounts have phone access to support techs during standard business hours EST.

PRICING

There is a free plan that allows you all the basic functions of a website builder and the ability to easily publish under a subdomain. Beyond that, there are two upgraded plans.

Basic: This plan is $2.95 a month or $32.45 a year, which is only about $3 savings to go with the annual price. It’s not bad for a personal website, but not nearly enough for a business.

THE Plan: This one costs $9.95 a month or $109.45 a year. Again, not much savings, only this one is too much for a personal website and still not enough for a business one.

THE GOOD

It’s one of the easiest, most intuitive builders around

THE BAD

The paid plans are cheap, but don’t really offer much worth paying for

AND THE UGLY

There is no point in buying THE Plan, which is too powerful for a personal website and not powerful enough for a business

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