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Feedback after 2 years of professional use. Given up on webflow hosting and I'm honestly sceptical about webflows hosting model & sustainability


#1

Dear Webflow,

I've been using webflow for over two years across multiple accounts. With success in both my previous employment and now in a two man company. I've literally taken joy in training employees, introducing it to my now business partner and watching the product grow into a fantastic tool. We started our two man company 3 months ago we utilise 1 team account and 1 pro account.

Two months ago we decided to move away from webflow hosting to a static AWS reseller. And it's pretty clear that other webflow users may wake up to these alternatives soon.

We get it, webflow needs to make money for further development & investors*. But this is dangerous. Static hosting with great deployment tools are trending. The run of the mill endurance group provider + wordpress conversion is not the only alternative anymore.

Let's say webflow begins looking at their product as a tool for designers and agencies. Shifts to bandwidth based hosting rates. Dumps pay walled features, enables full whitelabeling, removes editor limits, includes all standard features, site proection and delivers full CMS export. Here is how I imagine the pricing model would work.

Trial Account - 7 Days Use

Starter Account - $19 Per Month
Is just getting into webflow

  • Includes 20GB Bandwidth
  • All Webflow features
  • Unlimited Asset Storage
  • Unlimited Form Deliveries
  • Advanced Dashboard- Unavailable

Freelancer Account - $79 Per Month
Works alone most of the time and desires an easy workflow both during and after projects. Works mainly with smaller local companies and occasionally hits big.

  • Includes 250GB Bandwidth +Upgradeable
  • All Webflow features
  • Unlimited Asset Storage
  • Unlimited Form Deliveries
  • Advanced Dashboard - Monitor Usage, In depth Usage Analysis, Report Generation

Agency Account -$150 Per Month (+$50 Per Additional User)
The lead designer runs the agency account. They add additional users as they grow. Their client-base is medium to larger businesses.

  • Account holder - Administrator Panel & Team Panel
  • Includes 1TB Bandwidth +Upgradeable
  • Unlimited Asset Storage
  • Unlimited Form Deliveries
  • Advanced Dashboard- Monitor Usage, In depth Usage Analysis, Report Generation

The result:
A fully functional freelance / agency tool which offers analytics and traffic analysis that works in synergy with a hosted site with webflow. A great incentive to continue hosting with webflow once the included bandwidth is exceeded. The subscription literally grows with the success of the freelancer / agency. The additional benefit for the user that they don't waste features, bandwidth, collections on the pay per site hosting model we have today.

We're all aware that Webflow doesn't quite know how to price themselves anymore. Something like could really shake up the designer industry.

My two cents.

The example prices above. I would pay even more if it were this.


#2

Sorry - $79 a month as the least expensive option? Please, no.


#3

? Did you read the post.

That would include hosting space for multiple sites and a full dashboard for follow up work and services.

In my previous account we had 38 active hosting accounts on old tier pricing. Almost all CMS. Today that adds up to about $760 dollars per month + the plan.


#4

I did, but I didn't get that. Sorry, not everyone one hear speaks the same language. There are some smaller, not uber technical users here...
And while I'd agree that Webflow probably shouldn't be for people who are using editors like Wix, that doesn't meant that they people with smaller usage needs should be written off...


#5

I see, didn't mean to point it out like that. It's been a long 2 years of "But why?" with webflow. I love the tool very much and I'm just baffled at their unstable direction. I understand that there are people with smaller usage. which may suite a "lite" plan like what they have now. Added it to the post.


#6

No worries
Thank you for remembering the little guys :slight_smile:


#7

Thanks for your feedback - we're currently working on bulk hosting packages for our most loyal customers. We'll keep you in the loop when we have our bulk hosting programs in place to help agencies like yourself. But in the meantime...

If you aren't happy with the benefits of hosting on Webflow, you can always export to host your site elsewhere. Our hosting prices definitely fall in line (and in often cases much cheaper) than other managed hosting services elsewhere, like flywheel, WPEngine, wordpress.com, all of which cost at least +$30/month.

If you'd like unlimited [assets/forms/features], hosting on your own AWS servers, and building your own backend is definitely the way to go. But as a reminder, you're not getting a simple static file hosting when you're subscribing to Webflow's hosting. You're getting SSL (which is definitely not trivial nor cheap to build and scale as I go into details in that post), responsive images, CDN for all your site's assets (which becomes extremely costly if you have a media-heavy site), and a CMS that won't fall over when it gets heavily trafficked like Wordpress does. And you don't have to worry about applying security updates.

We definitely appreciate your concern, but our goals are to build the best hosting available to professionals like yourselves, at a price point that is fair and sustainable for our business. But I understand when certain clients don't need all the benefits of our hosting stack, nor understand the price point when comparing to AWS static file hosting. For them, I'd recommend explaining the benefits of Webflow hosting, and showing them the Editor which they can easily use to edit their site.

Hope this helps provide some perspective! And thanks for being supporters of Webflow :heart:


#8

@abysmal given that you have a specific suggestion for pricing, I'd urge you to support my suggestion for a webinar on pricing: https://forum.webflow.com/t/suggestion-for-a-webinar-on-improving-webflows-pricing-model-pricing-page-ui/38869


#9

The designer package is reasonable for rapid prototyping with the export project option. I'd like to think a competent design firm is going to understand the complexity of running a full stack web service in a hosting plan for their clients and spending labor hours maintaining that, or paying a monthly premium to have it automated.

I like the idea of your "all in one" solution and seeing what bulk pricing options or scaling you come up with.


#10

I couldn't say that better. I'm a lone designer and don't want to go back to incorporation and having to do a lot of administrative tasks. I totally understand that agencies want to do this and get the margin made on those tasks, but I don't and I'm quite benefiting from the actual model.


#11

If clients can't quite justify our hosting premium, we just need to send them a screen shot of CPanel and ask them if that looks like something they have time for.


#12

I understand what you mean, that's a good way to do it :smiley: However I don't know what Cpanel looks likE. Next time you show them a screenshot, show it to me too :slight_smile:


#13

Oh btw Vincent, you have some great tutorials. I used a few to get me up to speed!


#14

Awesome to read, glad it helps :slight_smile:


#15

@NewInBoston Man, 1998 is on the phone and wants its UI design back. Let's agree never to go back to that! Can't believe they still sell this crap...


#16

Yeah it is pretty bad! They did roll out the new UI theme 'paper lantern' this month. It looks pretty good!

Here's zoomed out so Vincent can get the full effect :slight_smile:


#17

I've never been so happy to be using Plesk on my VPS. Ever! :joy:


#18

So do you use the designer to build and then export the code and upload to your Plesk hosting? Still figuring out how I will incorporate Webflow. Debating weather to go all in with the hosting or use it design/deploy


#19

I use the designer for prototyping, helping on here and experiments, but I have never bought in on any of the plans... I'm 100% Wordpress, for now. Webflow still has several things to figure out, so I'm hanging out to see what happens with that. I don't want to miss anything! :grinning:

I have a 1 & 1 Internet, unmanaged VPS that I only pay $13/month for and can have unlimited sites. I can scale it as server traffic grows, but the cost to sites hosted ratio is not even a concern because I charge hosting clients $75/year. Webflow hosting prices can't touch it. I fail to see how any Webflow hosting customers are making money using it. The only thing I don't like about 1 & 1 is that they bill me monthly, not annually.

Exporting code would be idea for this setup, but I'm using the Genesis framework with Design Palette Pro, so it's easy enough to build in native WP with that. I'm also looking at Divi 3.0 and Elementor now too, for none WooCommerce, lead gen only sites since they are bit wonky when used with Woo.

Hope this helps.

~B.


#20

I think you guys better see my comparison. It's both relevant to agencies and smaller business. I still host site with dynamic data with webflow as a small number of my clients do require an editor account. But my future prospects are all static.

Now before I do a comparison I'll offer a client specification with average stats.

  • Small business / sole trader working locally.
  • 5000 views per month
  • 50 forms per month
  • Average bandwidth per page 2MB

Webflow Static Hosting

  • $15 per site / $300 total per month
  • 25,000 Views (Site Size Not Relevant)
  • SSL
  • CDN

Cost Per Example Client = $15
Cost to host 100 sites based on example client = $1500 per month

Alternative Static Bulk Hosting - my current package.

  • $100 Per Month (Unlimited Sites)
  • 1TB Bandwidth Capacity
  • Based On 2mb per view = 500,000 views.
  • Unlimited Storage.
  • SSL
  • Global CDN

Cost Per Example Client = $1
Cost to host 100 sites based on example client = $100 per month

So on static sites. I'm paying webflow $14 more dollars to click publish rather than export. And it takes me from the start 5 minutes to take a static site from webflow and host it elsewhere without any wordpress tinkering at all. If I intend to edit the site I can simply do it in webflow and export (2 minutes to update).

Now the real drawback is that I am unable to provide a CMS for my clients. So I've decided to turn it into a plus. I'm hosting for next to nothing so now a $20 per month client pays gives me $18-19. I charge for large updates and give the smaller ones away for free to keep them happy. So I'm earning more and paying less and my clients stay in touch. They even feed me referrals as I've been able to reinforce a strong work ethic frequently through the following year.

Please keep these numbers in mind when you guys go about working out a bulk hosting scheme. I'm actually rather sad that it's logical to move away from webflow static hosting when I love both the tool and the company.