Creating and managing a website with little or no prior knowledge is neither a simple or cost-effective process. For someone just beginning their website management career, free web hosting through a site builder can be an attractive solution. Enter Yola, one of the mainstays of the site building and free hosting industry.
Of course, if you aren’t looking for a site littered with brand advertisements and questionable performance, free hosting is not for you. While free hosting is attractive for beginners and those running mainly static pages with low traffic, it is not the long term solution to your hosting needs.
Still think a free hosting service like Yola might be right for you? Keep reading our Yola review to find out more!
- Only an e-mail needed for signup
- Lots of e-commerce features
- 1 GB of free storage
- Mobile optimization for paid users only
- Three page limit for free users
As we’ve already mentioned, Yola is similar to Wix and Weebly as they are primarily a site-building service that also offers a free tier of hosting. While the site building experience is an important one, we will primarily be focusing on Yola’s hosting service.
Signing up and getting started with Yola is as simple as visiting their site and signing up with your e-mail address. After completion you get to choose from a number of well-designed templates that can be customized according to your tastes. From start to finish, launching your Yola site can be done in a matter of minutes.
Yola’s free tier is similar to Wix and Weebly’s offering, albeit with only one glaring difference. Unlike the unlimited pages Wix and Weebly gives free subscribers, Yola restricts the amount of pages to a measly three. Another drawback, albeit one that that doesn’t come as much of a surprise, is the presence of a small Yola brand advertisement banner towards the bottom of the page.
If you find Yola’s site builder and hosting to your liking, Yola gives you the option to upgrade to one of their paid tiers, which gives you increased site resources and limits, “premium support”, and the ability to connect and use custom domain names.
Unlike Weebly and Wix, Yola requires you to upgrade to a paid package in order for your site to be published as mobile responsive. While this isn’t a huge black mark on Yola, the fact that free users can’t take advantage of the growing mobile market is disappointing.
Yola also offers domain name registration starting at $11.95 a year, although connecting your domain to your Yola site requires at least the Yola Bronze package ($4.16 a month).
Yola Video Review
Let’s reiterate once again that kind of free hosting service is going to lack the performance level and capabilities of a premium host. If you are hoping to run any dynamic content on your site, or even adequately serve any amount of traffic, a free hosting service such as Yola is definitely not the way to go.
To get a better idea of how Yola performs compared to other free hosting providers, we gave our test site a speed test using Pingdom’s Website Speed Test tool. Our basic Yola site right out of the box (597 kb page), gave us excellent speeds no matter which location we tested from. While these speeds were similar to other free hosting providers in Wix and Weebly, keep in mind that building a more resource-intensive site will see a significant drop off in performance.
Yola offers a 99.9% up time guarantee in their SLA, which is usually the standard when it comes to the hosting industry. If you have a paid Yola account and experience any downtime past the 99.9% mark, Yola will reimburse your account accordingly.
Yola has an optional “traffic builder” service that comes included with the Yola Gold plan ($24.95 a month), which gives you SEO optimization and monitoring, along with expert feedback from Yola’s SEO specialists.
Yola Interface & Security
As we’ve already mentioned, Yola focuses on primarily being a drag and drop site builder that gives even the most beginner user the ability to quickly create and edit their own websites.
From start to finish, the entire registration and creation of your site can be done in under 10 minutes, while Yola also makes it easy to add additional features to your site such as galleries, videos, and maps.
Of course one of the major disadvantages to having a free Yola site is that you will not be able to utilize any e-commerce or mobile aspects of your site, as support for these functions is only available with a $8.33 a month Yola Silver plan.
Looking to purchase a domain from Yola? Domain registration includes a free year of private domain registration, protecting the most valuable and important information: your identity.
SSL certificates are unfortunately not compatible with Yola’s hosting platform, but there is CloudFlare integration offered with Yola’s sites, which does give some additional security (mainly in the form of DDOS protection) as well as a noticeable performance boost.
Yola Customer Service
Yola offers “24/7” customer service for free subscribers only through a ticket submission form, which is certainly the norm among free hosting providers. The problem with this is that if you ever need any urgent support, you will have to wait for Yola to reply to your ticket.
Further adding to worries regarding Yola’s customer service is that entry level Yola Bronze customers also do not have access to phone and e-mail support, which is quite disappointing when considering Wix and Weebly do not have a similar restraint.
As always, we took a peak on social media to see what experiences people have had with Yola’s customer service. In what came as little surprise considering the premise, Twitter was full of negative mentions regarding Yola’s services.
Yola does have a 30 day money back guarantee in place for paid customers (obviously), although this understandably excludes any domain registration fees or additional Yola features that have been purchased.
Yola Review Conclusion
- Drag and drop site builder
- 1 GB of free storage
- Site analytics included
I wasn’t so sure about
- Mobile and Facebook publishing requires paid subscription
- Lack of customer service
- No support for SSL certificates
So, can Yola be a good option for those looking to learn or practice the basics of web hosting and site building?
We certainly think they may be a feasible option, although the lack of customer service and additional features are enough reason to hesitate and consider some paid alternatives, which can give you tons of benefits for just a couple of dollars a month.
Have a look at our comparison tool to see some additional hosting options!