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Homestead Review 1 0

Shows its age with outdated themes and poor features.

1.0

By Steve BenjaminsLast Updated Sep 6 2016

Homestead Review Updates

We update all our reviews within 9 months.

  • Feb 18 2016 — New review published.
  • Sep 6 2016 — Checked for inaccuracies.

User Experience Info

Homestead is a blank canvas editor— which means you can drag and drop elements anywhere on a page. This sounds good in theory but it usually introduces headaches.

Website Editor

Right: Website Editor

One of the headaches from a blank canvas editor is dealing with footers. Footers are supposed to be global elements (appearing on every page) but it’s really impossible to create them on Homestead because longer pages will just overlap the footer.

Content overlapping the footer.

Right: Content overlapping the footer.

Another problem with Homestead’s blank canvas editor is that it offers no grid or snap-to-grid. You’ll spend time inches from your screen trying to align elements! I don’t recommend blank canvas editors in general but I especially don’t recommend Homestead’s. There are better blank canvas options (Wix being the best).

Aligning elements

Right: Aligning elements

Overall Homestead just feels unpolished and outdated. For example, two small changes could improve this page editor: making moving pages draggable and adding a character count for titles— especially if you’re going to limit users with it.

Page editor

Right: Page editor

Here’s another example of a lack of polish. You can’t copy and paste without pasting in this separate lightwindow. I’ve never seen this a problem in any website builder except Homestead. Weird and annoying.

Strange pasting error

Right: Strange pasting error

One problem that gets really annoying is that there is no way to set global styles— so you have to style each text box individually! This gets really annoying (especially when the default text style always stays the same).

Styles are set for each element individually.

Right: Styles are set for each element individually.

Features Info

  • Blog

    Only the more expensive tiers can have a blog (very website builders do that). There are some very basic style customizations with the blog but mostly you’re stuck with a very basic view. There are just enough features, such as drafts and commenting, for me to say that they Homestead has a blog editor but it’s very clunky and I really wouldn’t recommend you use it for a blog. Furthermore I noticed major style differences between the website preview and the actual websites. That’s inexcusable!  Show Screenshot

  • Ecommerce

    Ecommerce is a $14.99 addition to your store (which is expensive if you’re already on the $20 / month business plan). Unfortunately ecommerce is so skimpy and poorly executed that it’s hard to imagine anyone could build a successful online store using it. You certainly couldn’t setup a store outside of the US (they only allow regional taxes for American states). The product editor is incredibly skimpy, product variations are limited to two, you can’t change weight or shipping based on product variations and there's no way to edit email receipts. I wouldn’t recommend building a store on Homestead. Show Screenshot

  • Form Builder

    There is an ugly contact form lightbox that allows no customization.  Show Screenshot

  • iOS & Android Apps

    No. 

  • Retina Ready

    No.  

  • Newsletter

    No.  

  • Membership System

    No.  

  • Design from Scratch

    Homestead is a blank canvas editor— which means you can delete everything and build your website from scratch if you’d like. Unfortunately there’s no support for global elements (example: making sure your logo appears on every page) and I couldn’t figure out how to design my footer. If you want to design your website from scratch there are much better website builders for this (Wix being a good choice).  

  • Multi-lingual

    No.  

  • Restaurant Menu

    No.  

  • Donations

    You can add a donation form if you upgrade to ecommerce— which is a $14.99 addition to your store (which is expensive if you’re already on the $20.00 / month business plan). But it’s so bad, I can’t imagine anyone would use it build anything. Plus there’s no way to customize email receipts.  Show Screenshot

  • Audio Player

    There is an audio player but it looks like it was created in 1998. Seriously take a look at the screenshot.  Show Screenshot

  • Podcasts

    No.  

Themes Info

Homestead themes are outdated. They look like they were designed 10 years ago. In fact I would be surprised if Homestead has designed any new themes in the last 5 years.

Theme Example

Right: Theme Example

Because Homestead is a blank canvas editor, changing themes means your existing website will be deleted— so make sure you choose the right one!

Theme Example

Right: Theme Example

None of Homestead’s themes are responsive. Homestead does offer a mobile site that you can add to your website but you have to add a domain name to your account in order to get it. What a joke!

Mobile Site

Right: Mobile Site

Probably the most frustrating aspect of Homestead’s themes is that instead of having a central customization editor you have apply styles to each individual element. This gets really annoying quickly!

Customizing styles

Right: Customizing styles

Not Ideal Billing Practices


I was able to pay and cancel my Homestead account using their web interface. The not ideal part? They require a credit card for signing up for the “free” trial.


Examples Real, live example sites

Pricing


Monthly Plans Annual Plans
Plan Term Domain Name Total info
    • Homestead does not offer annual plans.
    • Starter $5.99 / month Domain names must be purchased seperately. Expect to pay an additional $14.95 annually. $5.99 per month Total: $215.64
    • Business $20.99 / month Domain names must be purchased seperately. Expect to pay an additional $14.95 annually. $20.99 per month Total: $755.64
    • Business Plus $60.99 / month Domain names must be purchased seperately. Expect to pay an additional $14.95 annually. $60.99 per month Total: $2,195.64

Comments


Steve Benjamins I founded Site Builder Report in 2012 in order to help people choose the right website builder. I also make music (you should check it out!). You can also follow me on Twitter here.