• Editor Rating
  • Rated 1.5 stars
  • 30%

  • Netfirms Hosting & Domain Provider
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: June 23, 2016
  • Company Reputation
    Editor: 30%
  • Customer Service
    Editor: 40%
  • Features
    Editor: 30%
  • Function
    Editor: 20%
  • Value For The Price
    Editor: 20%

Netfirms is web host & domain provider geared for small businesses.

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Introduction

Netfirms is web hosting company that was created to cater specifically to small businesses and they promise to provide value to their customers. They have been around since 1998 and are sister companies with Fatcow web hosting. Unlike Fatcow they serve separately as both a domain registrar and a web hosting service. They offer three separate hosting packages each with their own unique features as well as according to them the “lowest domain price anywhere” (which is false see explanation below).

Company Reputation

Unfortunately, due to many biased reviewers and propaganda out there Netfirm's reputation on the web seems to be fairly positive. This is since those people writing the reviews are just to trying to earn a commission by promoting the website positively thus generating referral sales. Since we are a 100% unbiased and honest resource we are here to give you the real deal on this company. Netfirms being affiliated with Fatcow does not have a positive impact on their reputation. Like Fatcow there are hundreds of complaints online of angry customers who were mistreated by their support or had terrible experience with their services.  If you'd like some examples of these complaints I suggest you check out the links here and here. It is also notable that this company is NOT accredited by the Better Business Bureau. They make outrageous claims on their site such as the “lowest domain price anywhere” or the “country's largest web hosting company” and these statements are absolutely false. The average unknowing consumer might see these statements and think it gives them creditability, but I urge you to take a further look at the facts behind it all.

Customer Service

Netfirms offers phone, chat, and email support. None of these options will get you very far though. Their support staff are often outsourced and know very little about how to deal with any issues that may arise which makes the whole experience a nightmare. They will often make up a generic excuse when you confront them about your website's down time or a slow domain registration time. Their approach to support seems to be to comfort their customer and assure them their issue is being worked on while hoping it will fix itself in the long run. Though I have only dealt with their email/chat support it seems that there are several complaints on the links provided above confirming their phone support is just as awful.

A user by the name of Dawn posted this complaint on May 9th, 2011:

i've been on hold for 1 hour and i'm still holding. i just want to cancel my account (that i never used) and they won't let me. netfirms is horrible.

A look at the Netfirms control panel

A look at the Netfirms control panel

Features

Each individual plan through Netfirms offers a variety of features with three tiers of service. There really isn't all that much difference between each plan besides the amount of free domains that are provided. For example the cheapest “plus” plan comes with 1 free domain, the middle “advantage” plan includes 2 free domains, and the most expensive “business” plan includes 5 free domains. Each plan comes with $100 worth of Adwords credit, $50 of Facebook credit, a free yellowpages.com listing, and a free $25 credit to Yahoo!/Bing search engine. The bandwidth and disk space are both “unlimited”, but keep in mind these are shared hosting plans so this is not technically true. You will get cut off if you go excessively over the limit their server is allowing per shared plan. It is very important to note that in the features list they do not mention the up time guarantee whatsoever. If you visit any of their reputable competitors they will ALWAYS disclose a up-time guarantee. With Netfirms there is nothing mentioned about up-time which gives them free reign to keep your site down as much as they prefer.

Their domain registrar services boast the “lowest domain price anywhere” which is completely false. Netfirms charges an initial $9.99 per domain name. They also charge an additional $5.99 a year for domain privacy. We recently did a review on the excellent domain provider Namesilo, which provides domains with free domain privacy for $8.99 and under for .coms/.nets/.orgs.  This means by choosing Netfirms you'll pay over $6.99 or 89% more for the same domain name you could get for much cheaper at a more reputable domain provider. Do not be fooled by foolish claims, we HIGHLY suggest Namesilo over Netfirms (or any other domain provider for that matter) for any domain needs.

Function

The hosting plan is awful in virtually all aspects. Its control panel is simple, but still glitchy when trying to maneuver throughout. The one click Wordpress  installation is not instantaneous such as HostGator resulting in wait times up to a full day. Website speeds on the hosting plan are extremely sluggish and not up to par with similarly priced competing plans from other hosting providers. The biggest downfall is their uptime which again is not guaranteed. When I tried their hosting the sample website would go down for hours sometimes even days on end with no repair after contacting support. They assured me it was being worked on, but it shouldn't take that long to get your server under control in a situation like that especially when it was happening on a regular basis.

Another issue with choosing Netfirms is they do not use cPanel. This is an issue for the people who decide to give Netfirms a shot then when they become unhappy with the service they want to switch to a new provider. Since Netfirms do not use the industry standard cPanel software, the majority of hosts that you would likely switch to will not be able to transfer your existing site for free as they would if you were with a host that uses cPanel (since cPanel supports simple cPanel to cPanel transfers among hosting providers). Another huge hassle is with their domain registration. We have purchased multiple domains from them in the past and it would take 2-3 sometimes for the domain to show up in our account. With Namesilo, it is all configured and ready for use in a mere seconds.

Final Thoughts

Netfirms talks the talk when it comes to trying to woo their potential customers in their promotions and on their website. Unfortunately, they are unable to walk the walk leaving the vast majority of customers unhappy with their service and choosing to make the switch. In life you get what you pay for and this is a clear example of how saving a couple of bucks a month on web hosting really is not worth the hassle and poor quality service that Netfirms provides. Especially when it's geared towards small business websites, the last thing you want to deal with is your website being down and potentially losing new customers or sales in the process.

Who else should you do business with instead?

For all your domain name needs we suggest NameSilo with hesitation (read our Namesilo review here).

For all your web hosting needs check out HostGator or Bluehost.