The 123-Reg website builder offers a very easy to use, drag and drop system that allows even the most novice of customers to build their own website. If you’re looking to build an online business presence, or an online store, 123-Reg has excellent and powerful eCommerce. This site builder comes in four forms: Website Builder, InstantSite, eCommerce, and WebWorx24.
Go ahead and give any of these options a test drive with the 123-Reg 14-day trial period
123 Reg isn’t a dedicated website builder. Rather, it’s a massive, all-inclusive website through which you can do all manner of things, such as buying domain names, hosting email accounts, hosting your website, and much more. The website builder is only a part of this; one of their many features.
So, how does the 123 Reg website builder compare to its dedicated competitors? Find out, in my 123 Reg review!
(Note: this review is entirely based on my own experiences of using 123 Reg)
123 Reg doesn’t simply let you try out its website builder for free; it actually doesn’t even require you to enter any details to do so. Whilst browsing the ‘Website Builder’ section of their site, you can simply pick a theme you like, and click on ‘Start Now For Free’. A sample website will automatically be created for you, which you can then edit to your heart’s content, before you even need to sign up. That creates a pretty amazing first impression.
That good impression is continued when you start to use the website builder itself. 123 Reg talk, on their own website, about wanting to make their website builder as easy to use as possible. Well, they certainly did that. This is one of the most intuitive website builders I’ve ever used. Wherever you click, everything appears exactly how and where it should be. The editing tools are easy to understand immediately, despite being fairly powerful, and the drag-and-drop functionality is flawless.
In terms of usability, the 123 Reg website builder is simply exceptional.
There are so many themes available with 123 Reg that it’s almost daunting. There are over 100 123 Reg templates in total. They range from seriously impressive to merely passable, but that’s a great amount of choice to have regardless.
It’s worth noting, however, that whilst you can try 123 Reg’s themes for free, you will need to upgrade to a paid package to actually publish your website. Additionally, if you want to edit the code of your theme directly, you’ll need to upgrade to the ‘Business +’ package.
All of the 123 Reg templates are responsive, which means that they scale automatically to fit mobile, tablet or desktop screen.
When it comes to mobile-friendliness, another great bonus is the ability to change not only the preview of your website between the three different screen sizes, but to actually directly edit your site for each device. If you want your website to acquire a specific look on a mobile phone, you can achieve that easily.
In order to sell on your website, you’d need to upgrade to one of the 123 Reg e commerce packages, of which there are three. Some features – such as the number of products – scale depending on how much money you spend (£14.99, £24.99 or £49.99 per month). Regardless, all of the packages include features like flexible shipping rates, an order management system and automatic tax calculators.
There is a whole separate ‘Blog’ section on the main menu of the 123 Reg website builder, showing just how seriously they take this feature. You can either import an existing blog from elsewhere (a very nice, time-saving bonus), or start a new one. With the latter option adding new pages to your blog and customizing them is just as easy as you’d expect from the intuitive 123 Reg service. All of the options you’d expect are readily available, including creating tags and custom URLs for each post.
There is no SSL security included with either the basic website builder or ecommerce packages. Instead, you’re forced to shell out if you want SSL from 123 Reg. Prices start at £29.99/year for a basic SSL certificate, which might not break the bank, but still stings a little considering this is a feature which is widely available on the other best website builders for free.
If you’re hoping to target your website at users around the world, 123 Reg caters well for your needs. You can easily change the default main language of your site or add different versions for different languages.
Whilst there’s no kind of app store which gives you access to hundreds of third-party tools, you still get a decent range of integrations with the 123 Reg website builder. Their social media offerings are particularly impressive, including integrations with TripAdvisor, Reddit and Vimeo alongside the usual suspects (Twitter, Facebook, and so on).
To assess the typical performance of websites made using 123 Reg, I ran five of them through Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
The desktop versions of the sites scored an average of 89/100, which is exceptional for a template-based website builder. The mobile versions averaged 75/100, which – even though Google ranks it as ‘Needs Work’ – is still very good.
The 123 Reg offers all the basic SEO tools that you could reasonably hope for. You can change the titles and descriptions of each page individually, add in meta tags, and generate a custom sitemap (which can then be directly uploaded to Google). Google Analytics is also already integrated into the 123 Reg website builder, alongside its own analytics tools.
As I mentioned earlier, there is no free package for 123 Reg if you actually want to take your site live. That being said, the 123 Reg pricing does begin very reasonably, with the initial package – ‘Business’ – costing only £4.99/month, including a free domain for the first year. Upgrading to ‘Business+’, which costs £9.99/month, grants access to the developer mode, which allows you to directly edit the code.
Ecommerce packages are separated from standard website packages. For more information on those, see the ‘Features’ section of this 123 Reg review.
Here, we have another of the stronger points in my 123 Reg website builder review. In fact, you couldn’t really ask for anything more. Experts are available by phone 24/7, and the support center – through which you submit tickets – is also always manned. Live chat support is also available between 9am-7pm on weekdays, and 9am-4.30pm at weekends. Whenever you have an issue, help isn’t far away!
123 Reg state that they aim to answer all enquiries within 60 minutes during their working hours. The trial query I sent for the purposes of this review was indeed answered within that time, and the representative was friendly and helpful.
I have to admit that, even though I’ve reached the end of my 123 Reg review, I’m still slightly torn.
That’s because, on the one hand, there’s a huge amount to like here. It’s genuinely one of the most intuitive website builders I’ve used, with the drag-and-drop functionality being outstanding. Creating a website that looks exactly how you want it to is quick and easy.
The biggest problem, however, is the pricing. 123 Reg make you pay for things you’d expect for free elsewhere, particularly SSL security. It’s also disappointing that there are no ecommerce features on the cheapest plans; you have to upgrade to a specific, more expensive ecommerce plan to use them.
At the end of the day, 123 Reg might not be the most generous or budget-friendly website builder on the market. It is, however, a powerful offering, and one which is extremely easy to pick up and start using, making it an attractive proposition to inexperienced and veteran website creators alike.