- Website: www.virb.com
- Headquarters: Culver City, CA
- Year Founded: 2008
- Owned: by GoDaddy
- Services: Web Design Cloud Software, Web Hosting
- Free Trial: 10 Days
The Virb original founders attempted to spin it off and have it remain as a stand alone website builder that allows easy theme selection and simple addon functionality like eCommerce, media galleries, blogs and blank slates. Unfortunately, what happened is that Virb was enveloped by GoDaddy instead.
Virb offers cloud hosting and a quick and reliable connection; no third party hosting is required or allowed with Virb. While this can be a definite positive for novices, especially since the pricing is all-inclusive, it may not be to the liking of experienced web developers who prefer greater control over their sites.
Still, the cost to host a Virb site is very inexpensive at just $10 per month, and setting up a site and making changes is quick and efficient. While there is no money back guarantee policy, there is also no contract required, and you pay month-to-month.
On its website, Virb says, “Whether you’re a novice or a pro, a photographer, a band, a small business, or anything in between, Virb is perfect for building your website — quickly and easily.” We can’t argue with that statement, as it does appear to have very user-friendly functionality.
No matter your level of web design experience, you can easily build a nice-looking site with Virb. During its tenure with Media Temple, Virb was marketed to creative types like photographers, designers and artists due to its easy to use portfolio showcases.
Virb does provide unlimited bandwidth, and you can add unlimited pages as well, so it is scalable as your business grows. Virb offers lots of site designs, mobile responsiveness, social media integration, cloud hosting and CDN support, as well as CSS and HTML for use by experienced designers. Customers receive unlimited bandwidth and disk space with a Virb account.
Virb is an excellent platform for those who do not need the absolute latest technology. Artists and other creatives will find it simple to build their portfolios, warehouse them and set up simple eCommerce on a nice-looking website for an incredibly reasonable cost in comparison to many other website builders. For those with advanced needs, you are better off looking elsewhere.
- Wide Variety of Themes
- Built-in Mobile Styling
- Full Access to HTML and CSS
- Site and Page Specific Passwords
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Custom Domain
- SEO Tools and Analytics
- Google Analytics Integration
- Social Integration
- Free File Storage
- Cloud Hosting
- Global Content Delivery Network
Experts on Virb
Industry Experts Verdict on Virb
In 2012, when Virb was acquired by GoDaddy’s parent company, there was a lot of press about the website builder and high hopes for this next stage. Over four years later, Virb has yet to live up to expectations and appears to be dead in the water.
That being said, there is still some positive feedback from experts that is worth mentioning. A lot of it has to do with the backing of GoDaddy. When you create a site through Virb, you will have access to the excellent hosting and security services that go along with a GoDaddy account. These two features are especially important if you plan on turning your website into an online store. Having a secure site is essential to eCommerce.
Overall, it is hard to get a feel for how other people feel about Virb. Most of the reviews are positive, but also very outdated.
Virb Positive Reviews
Positive Consumer Reviews and Testimonials on Virb
If you are overwhelmed by the number of choices on the market and simply looking for a website builder than can do a little bit of everything, you may want to look at Virb. Yes, there are some clear drawbacks, but it is also a relatively cheap option, especially considering the number of features. Users recommend Virb for the following reasons:
- Ease of use. No coding required.
- Beautiful, modern and sophisticated templates.
- Responsive designs.
- Blog feature
- Helpful and informative video tutorials
- Clean and sleek user interface
- Access to both HTML and CSS in addition to Virb’s editing tools
Those who were looking to create a portfolio website that was image heavy were especially pleased with Virb. It lends itself well to more Visual sites.
Negative Consumer Reviews and Complaints on Virb
In all honesty, there isn’t a lot of information on the internet about the website builder Virb. Over the years, Virb has evolved from a failed social media platform to a website building tool before finally being bought out by GoDaddy in 2012. The company and the program has changed hands so many times that many users have left simply because they stopped actually updated the program. It seems that the owners and developers were so focused on acquisitions that they forgot that they were supposed to be working on providing a high quality product that could keep up with the competition. At the moment,Virb seems to be dead in the water and users are moving on to more reliable companies.
Design & Customization
|Templates||Themes determine how a website is laid out, so playing with it until you find one you like is fun and straightforward with Virb. Virb offers 26 different themes for you to choose from, and they make it easy to switch from one to another. Unlike some website builders we have seen, changing your theme does not take you back to square one to start over; your content and images are saved and moved to the new format.
It is easy to add or change a theme to your site – to add the initial one, you click Customize Your Design at the top of your administration panel, to change it, click Change Theme at the bottom of the Customize Panel. From there, you can view the available themes just to click and change it immediately. Don’t like the new one? Click, and change it back.
|Website Builder||The Virb Website Builder Interface is simple to use; once you choose a theme, you can also customize the colors and fonts you would like to use for your pages and different areas of your website. You can also upload your business logo and a custom background image to make your site your own.
All of these functions are simple to find and use on the left side design panel, and you see the results immediately to the right. If you do not like a change you made, you can quickly make a better change until your site looks exactly how you’d like it.
|Page Style Customization`||Page style customization options are available in the Design Panel; amendments to any or all of the colors on pages, fonts and text sizes and colors for the themes are available. Background images can be one large image, or smaller tiled images, depending on your preferences.|
|Site Navigation||Site navigation is done easily with tabs situated in different areas depending upon the chosen theme. One limitation we noted was that there does not appear to be the ability to add pages more than one layer deep; for example, if you wanted to make the main widget page and then sub pages for blue widgets, red widgets, and green widgets.
Virb support did respond to our query about this and suggest that we make an “index” page which we would use a hub for the other pages. This was a plus on two accounts– we were glad that they responded (and quickly!), and there is a workaround for this limitation.
|Content Management||Content Management is relatively straightforward. You can add any content you want to web pages you create. There is a simple editor available across the top of the input box which will allow you to add links, formatting, images, and different styles for each page. There is also a “file storage” link on this page where you can access your files that are stored onsite or in a Dropbox account.|
|Photos and Galleries||Photos and Galleries is one area that Virb excels in. With the themes available, you can build photo pages, galleries, and lists with images. There is a range of display types, from vertical and horizontal galleries to slideshows and even lightbox options which open the images larger and darken the rest of the screen. To add pictures, you click the Photos & Videos button and can upload multiple images from your computer directly. Adding images directly from Flickr, Vimeo and Instagram is available as well.|
|Mobile Site Building||Mobile Site Building is automatic with Virb; there is no additional work to be done to ensure that your website is viewed correctly on mobile devices.|
|Social Sharing Integration||Social Sharing Integration is easy with the widgets that are included for use on Virb. You can easily add a Facebook “Like” box which shows your latest posts, or a set of Social Media Links so that fans can easily follow you. Additionally, there are more customized widgets available like those for Last.fm or Open Table which can be valuable to musicians or restaurants.|
|Custom Design Services||Design Services do not appear to be available directly from the Virb site though you could certainly hire a design pro to tackle your Virb website on your behalf. Honestly, though, we think it is simple enough that novices will have no trouble building and launching a website without any help.|
Features & Tools
|Setup||The setup on Virb is simple. Sign up, choose a theme, tweak it to your liking and fill it with content.|
|Web Design||There are 26 different themes you can choose from with the click of a button or two, and you can change colors and fonts on the same page. Upload background images and textures easily as well.|
|The depth of Navigation||This appears to be a limitation, as we do not see anywhere that the ability is there to add a second layer of navigation. What this means is that no subpages can be built.|
|Widgets and Apps||The site offers lots of widgets, from the Facebook Like Box widget to an RSS feed widget, to social sharing button widgets, Twitter, OpenTable, Last.fm, blog and custom widgets as well.|
|Monetization||There does not seem to be a way to monetize Virb sites beyond affiliate links within the content. We don’t see a way to include advertising spaces, for instance.|
|Visitor Statistics||Adding a Google Analytics account to your site will give you the statistics information that you need.|
|Photos, Videos, and Audio||As noted earlier, these are areas where Virb shines. They are easy to upload and display in different configurations.|
|Blogging||Add a simple blog page to your site and you can upload new content and news anytime you want.|
|Google Maps||You can add a widget with the Google Maps code on it easily. There are lots of map generators available online to create a customized map to your business or anywhere that you want to direct your customers.|
|HTML Editor||For those users with some coding experience, the site does allow some HTML to be used within your content.|
|Social Media Integration||Virb allows some good social media integration; social links for followers to find you, the Facebook like a box, a Twitter widget which shows your last tweets, and the ability to pull images from your Instagram account directly into your site.|
|Storage Space||Up to 500MB of storage space.|
|Newsletter Tool||Virb offers up Wufoo as their preferred tool for newsletters and mailing lists. It is free for up to three forms and scalable beyond that.|
|Forum Support.||We do not see any way to add a forum to a Virb site.|
|E-Commerce / Online Store.||Virb sites offer a simple store solution that you can customize to your liking. It also can pull information directly from Etsy or Big Cartel.|
|Gateway Integration||There are some ways to set up payment gateways for your customers on Virb. Easiest is by integrating Big Cartel or Etsy, which will pull all your listings as well as Gateway functionality. Other available options are Wazala, PayPal or external site links.|
|SEO Friendly.||Virb offers the ability and urges users to add page meta descriptions and keywords to each page that is created.|
|Site Limited Access (Password Protection)||Password protection is available for the entire site, and for individual pages as well.|
|Google® Analytics||Easily integrated into the site with a widget.|
|Website Builder Securit||Virb offers secure cloud hosting for your site.|
|Multiple Languages||Currently, multiple languages are not supported, and Virb’s support information mentions adding Google Translate to compensate for this issue.|
|Mobile Optimization||Websites are automatically mobile-responsive from inception.|
|CDN Technology||Virb supports CDN technology that serves up content like images and CSS.|
|Forms and Surveys||Contact forms are easy to setup, others would need to be done with code or a third-party form generator.|
Plans & Pricing
Pricing is very straightforward and reasonable with Virb. There is a 10-day free trial period with this website builder, and no credit card is used to join for that initial period. After your trial period is over you must pay for your site; the cost is $10 per month per website you want to develop.
You can set up payments via a credit or debit card or PayPal, and it is automatically billed once per month; no annual billing methods and you can cancel at any time. That price includes unlimited pages, built-in mobile styling, site customization, a custom domain, all the pictures, audio and video you care to share, cloud hosting, an integrated blog platform, and lots of beautiful themes to use to make your website stylish.
For those interested in eCommerce, Virb offers store integration, file storage, search engine optimization, and site analytics to help you drive traffic to your site. Customer support is included in your monthly fee as well though there have been complaints online from current users (check out Facebook!) about the length of time it takes to get assistance when there is a problem.
Customer support is provided in a few different ways on the Virb website. There have been rumblings about the lack of support, and we were impressed with the short length of time it took for a response to an emailed question that we had about site navigation.
The website does offer a knowledge base that you can search to get answers to lots of the most frequent questions that you might have about creating or managing a website on Virb. There is also a video tutorial that goes over the basics for new users to get them familiar with the platform.
We did not find any phone or chat support offered on the Virb site. Additionally, it appears there was once a community forum section where people could discuss issues and get help from other users; that seems to be disabled.
As we mentioned, our email to Virb support was answered within just a few hours. Email support is offered from 9 AM to 6 PM, Monday through Friday, EST.
We sent our question early in the morning and had a response by lunchtime. Not bad! Better still, the tone of the email was both friendly and professional and offered good advice on the problem we were dealing with. Overall, that email made us feel as if talk of the demise of Virb was entirely premature.
Ease of Use
Virb is extremely easy to use; just choose a theme and start clicking to add the pages and sections you need your website to have. You can upload background images, logos, and other visuals, as well as audio and video recordings if you like.
One important thing missing from Virb is drag and drop functionality; it is widely known to be the easiest type of system. Even so, this is the kind of website builder that beginners can use to make themselves look totally professional, without any coding skills or programming knowledge.
The interface is straightforward and very simple to understand. The themes look nice, and they are not cookie cutter styles. Each looks different and can be customized to offer the user a unique look while staying within the logical constraints that make it easy to switch themes easily.
Novice users will like the ease with which they can put together a website; experienced users will hate the lack of total control over the process.
Pages are quickly added, as mentioned earlier. Content is added to the pages by an editor that looks much like a Microsoft Word page, so it will be easy for most people to understand how to maneuver around in it. Adding content or changing it is a breeze because of this.
Overall, Virb is a pretty good website builder for a novice user, and even for those who are more experienced, at this time.
Website building platforms need to be continuously developed and updated to stay fresh and relevant; we can see Virb fading away into cyberspace. Already, posts on social media are slim to none, and questions and comments go unanswered.
It is very clear that GoDaddy is willing to continue to reap the rewards from the current users, but they are not looking to market the product or add to the subscriber base. For this reason, we would recommend that potential users think long and hard before committing to this platform.
The criteria for AWA Website Builders Score has been calculated based on the most valuable components required to build and manage a successful website.
- 34% Design & Customization
- 19% Features & Tools
- 16% Plans & Pricing
- 14% Easy Of Use
- 17% Customer Support