6 Reasons to Avoid Using Vistaprint for Your Website

Recently a prospective client came to me asking for a website audit. He had recently updated his website but was interested in a professional opinion. It was clear to me that the website was not built professionally as it blatantly violates design principles and in spite of it being recently updated it looked like it was built in the late 1990s or early 2000. When I scrolled down to the bottom, I saw it — “Website builder provided by Vistaprint.” I was only familiar with Vistaprint for their business card and brochure printing. I had not previously been familiar with Vistaprint as a web host. I thought, oh well, you get what you pay for, thinking Vistaprint provided another free website builder.

Once I started to do some digging on Vistaprint, I found out their “free website” is really not free at all. They offer a one month free trial but afterwards, they start charging anywhere from $4.99 to $24.99. The more I read about their offerings, the more angry I became. This is such a rip off in so many different ways it makes me want to spit!

vistaprint_prices

 

So basically, you are paying $59.88 (which you really are paying for nothing), $179.88, or $299.88 annually for things that you would generally get for free, as long as you are limited to their website builder. If you decide to get an actual webhost and pay $60-$96 a year for a whole lot more features available to you.

Here are the reasons why you should not use Vistaprint now that I have a chance to look under the hood:

1. Vistaprint’s website builder is a primitive tool that makes your site look cheap. Do you want your site to look like it is built by a high school kid back in year 2000? It looks like they probably do not update their tools since they also own webs.com.

2. Vistaprint is not well set up for SEO. By contrast, WordPress is very well optimized for SEO and it is FREE.

3. You are not allowed to embed code in the website, and you are unable to add your own html/css/php code in the website. This absolutely limits your ability to optimize your website, even if you pay for the premium service.

4. Submitting to search engines is a non-service. Search Engine Optimization is more than just submitting to search engines and Vistaprint won’t help you with that.

5. RIP OFF ALERT! When you buy your domain (part of the premium $24.99 a month service) through Vistaprint, you’re going to be paying to get it back! You will need to pay a $20 domain fee if you want to buy your domain back from them and switch services. Your own domain name costs about $10 a year. At least they let you buy back the domain name. I hear that some services (like Yellow Pages Company) actually takes your domain name if you leave them. Whatever you do, make sure you own your own domain name!

6. They do not offer 24/7 support.
I don’t recommend using a host that doesn’t offer 24/7 support, but then again, they are not a real host. They do offer English speaking support, but I would not recommend using a host that isn’t there 24/7.

Don’t just take my word for it, read the numerous consumer complaints and pay attention to the ones about the website builder.

Vistaprint’s web business makes money by taking advantage of small business owners who don’t really know what they need to build a website, or what is needed to build a good website. Their strategy is clearly to get captive customers who use their printing services and milk their ignorance. Most people don’t read the terms of service, but if you do read it then you realize that they will not be a host you will want to deal with.

 

This Post Has 90 Comments

  1. Sharon

    Hi Tech Stylist, I have an aromatherapy business and I would like to be able to sell items on line I am not very tech savvy and I don’t know where to begin. I cannot afford a professional I was thinking about VP but now I don’t know what to do. Please help with any suggestions for help creating a nice webpage people can order my items from. Thanks!

    Sincerely,
    Sharon

  2. techstylish

    Sharon, If you are looking for ecommerce then I definitely do not recommend Vistaprint! You might want to look into platforms such as Shopify or BigCommerce since you are interested in selling online.

  3. Wendy

    Would you recommend GoDaddy for a basic website design? I don’t need the website to be interactive or have a “cart”….

  4. Dale Butler

    I pay 14.99 for the standard services which are considerable and I have used support late in evening and they were very friendly and helpful. I don’t think my site looks cheap.

    I think you need to look at Vistaprint again.

    Cordially,

    Dale

  5. Melanie

    I am an interior decorator and have a vistaprint site. I really like my site! It is very nicely done and I get a lot of views. Better check b/c your info is outdated as Vistaprint is new and improved. You can also sell items from your site, wigdets, you name it.

  6. techstylish

    It looks like they have some new templates due to the acquisition of webs.com, but given the complaints I hear still (and recent ones that are posted on their own site as well as other sites), I won’t be revising my review. I will save what is considered good modern web design for another post.

  7. Aura

    I use Weebly for now but they are asking me to pay in American dollars when i would like to pay in Stirling. Are they worth it please?

  8. Aura

    I tried Word press but it’s not beginner friendly for me anyway.

  9. Sharee

    It would be very helpful, Tech, if you just gave us a couple of reputable, decent site designers or sites that offered the same services but are superior to Vistaprint… I don’t know why you won’t. Some of us have NO idea where to look.

  10. techstylish

    The problem that you are describing depends on the business and what the business needs in a website. In general, I feel that WordPress.com is a good solution, as is something like Weebly for something that is comparable to Vistaprint, but for more customized work, one will need to do more homework. I do not have a solution that would fit everyone, and I provide web consulting services myself, but I am definitely not a service like Vistaprint either. I only wrote about Vistaprint specifically due to my first hand experience with people who have issues with it, and because I have issues with aspects of their business practices. I merely hope to point out some of those issues and hope it saves people some problems in the future.

  11. Rich Seago

    So which web host would you recommend??

  12. Alicia

    Thanks so much for this helpful review! I’m glad I did my homework and found your site!

  13. Helen

    1&1 websites is a great company based in the US. Their basic sites are plenty enough for my consulting business. You will spend approx $20 a month for nice WP website that is super easy to set up with great tech support!

    What do you think about GoDaddy websites? I am curious as I can set one up for this email, but have not yet tried them.

  14. Kimberly Cryer

    I had made this website the other day.. and its free for the first month, and ive order cards and such the cards was great so i tried he website. and i have made acouple pmistakes and it wont let me edit the website how do i get them to let me edit my site? .. Please
    Im a wedding planner and need a free site or VERY cheap site

  15. techstylish

    Definitely do not recommend either GoDaddy or 1&1, but that is based on reputation as well as personal experience. It’s possible that 1&! has improved since I last used them though.

  16. techstylish

    Kimberly, you need to call Vistaprint support.

  17. Lisa

    My VP website has been up and running now for about six weeks. I had to really work hard on the re editing .. the original design was very old school and the photos chosen laughable. But the thing is…..I haven’t had to pay a designer $A2000 and Ive really go the hang of the editing tool. Its a bit clunky at times but I can swing through the functions. Im now also using their blog page which is good. I have read all the concerns re: not owning your domain page. Im an Australian..and yeah I have a dot com domain not a .com.au domain. Just in case I have purchased an australian name if I ever want to transfer across to an australian web developer. Im getting the whole business of search engine optimisation is a bit fraught whether one is using a VistaPrint website or otherwise. I am trying to research re: how to optimise my website rankings…..need to visit library and grab a dummies guide. My name is easily google but not my field of practice. I don’t seem to be popping up when I type in my practice field and town. Other than that…for the time being its cheap (under $400A for initial setup) and the subscription rate is okay. Happy to be corrected…in plain language please.

    Lisa

  18. Christy

    I Have had Vista Print website services/ online store (Ha Ha) for a while now, over a year. I am a small business owner for over ten years now, and have used Vista Print for many, many other things though the years. I am very displeased with the website services, lack of traffic, sales, and the look of my website, and have no idea where to go from here. Not to mention my countless hours of trying to figure this out on my own, and building the site myself. I am almost ready to give up, and close my website all together… This is my dream, and God tells me not to give up! I am keeping my domain name and I am going to move along as God has directed me to do. I feel like I am not the only person out there that is struggling with this problem, and felt that is was very important that I post this message.
    DONT GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS!!!!!!

  19. Charlu

    Thank you so much for this review. I have used Weebly before and was very satisried, but for some unknown reason (grass greener on the other side) thought I would try Vistaprint (still in trial realm) and was undecided although I found the pictures (that I thought would be awesome due to their printing business) didn’t have near the hype I expected. Needless to say back to Weebly I go and saving some money as I get there! Thanks again

  20. Jack

    So I’m in the process of building a website with the vistaprint service and have now read this and want to find a different service.

    Can I still use the same domain/website name if I cancel my service with vistaprint?

    Can anyone recommend another website builder/provider that has the extra features mentioned?

  21. ishen

    Jack, if you purchased your domain name somewhere else other than Vistaprint then no problem. If you purchased your domain name with Vistaprint it will cost you $20 or so to get it back.

  22. Greg Burns

    Good advise given here. I was looking skeptically at Vista Web, no more. Glad I checked for reviews. Best to get positive feedback before you commit to something you know little about. I have been recommended to WordPress by a few trustworthy people. I am going to explore hoow friendly it is. I am advised it is worth learning. Thanks again for the advise here. It was frankly and honestly given.

  23. James

    I’m in the exact same situation – have a client a with VistaPrint site and I want to get it on WordPress + a cheaper host. Most hosting providers can’t migrate VistaPrint sites.

    Only option is to pay to unlock the domains, start a new hosting account, and point domain name servers at the domain. Then install wordpress.

    I noticed a comment that said vistaprint has updated their VU. Yea, that’s LAUGHABLE. If anything they’ve moved from the 90s into the 00s. They’re still a DECADE BEHIND. Avoid VistaPrint at all costs.

  24. ellen feehan

    I had a go daddy account for about 2 months that cost me 340.00 . They were hard to work with as I am not very tech savvy. I was thinking of going to VP, will I have a problem getting my domain back from go daddy? Now seeing this I am not sure I want to go with VP. I need a basic website, I am an artist and haven’t decided whether I want to sell off of the site or just show my work and have people contact me?

  25. jay

    Thank you
    very kind of you to help people with questions I looked up vista print and in less than 5 mins you made it clear and save time Thank you

  26. Bob

    Thanks! You saved me a ton of headaches with your post!
    Much appreciated! I will go to the pros instead.

    Bob

  27. jonny

    i have had a vistaprint website 4 years and great results!

  28. Michelle

    I am so very unhappy with Vista Print website builder! I have spent countless hours trying to get my site up and running. Four months later still paying my monthly premium and I have not even got my site PUBLISHED yet, because every time I fix one thing, another pop-up happens and I have to work with that or fix that. I am getting no where fast and very discouraged, and also have given up. This website is so not user-friendly and I cant handle trying to work with this nonsense any longer. its very frustrating and stupid. I hope someone can help me with knowledge of a better site to help me with my small business, that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Thanks

  29. Maxcene

    I proudly launched my vista print website this week!
    I was impressed with the speed at which I could make changes and republish information, I am still learning about site builder , it meets my requirements and my budget. I believe that there is a place for every type of website provider if you have specific needs then yes, invest the time and money to pay a consultant and build your site. I have taken this route in the past and at the time the type of service was just what I needed.
    Today we have linked in Twitter Facebook and a whole plethora of social media tools you can use to publicise your website and services.
    I’m happy with my choice.

  30. Christopher West

    I find wordpress incredibly difficult and certainly not for people who don’t have a natural aptitude for the work involved- I have used Vistaprint for stationery over many years and even I can use the ‘Noddy’ level technology easily- once when it did go wrong (and I did say to them that it was my own poor judgement re the size of a pic) they replaced correctly and by express post AND SENT MY MONEY BACK! Whether I am speaking to them in Tunisia or anywhere else, their English is better than here in the UK!!! and the call is free anyway. My only complaint is that I can’t ever make much sense about the number of hits and how I can improve.

  31. Jeff Dean

    Vista Print and other “free-ish” websites have other issues not brought up here. The code is very clunky (lots of extra code that allows you to drag and paste etc.). This code slows down your website and Google is all about the user experience so they want fast loading websites. Does Vista Print have gzip compression, minification of javascript, CSS or html? What about parsing of javascript? Are their (or yours) images optimized/ smushed? All of these things effect site speed and hence Google rankings.

  32. Tom Mack

    Awesome info. I was just about to click subscribe on the Vista Print site and thought…”why don’t I see if this is the best option”. I was ordering T-shirts and it was an option to subscribe at checkout. Glad I read this…I am going to seek out other options today. Thank you.

  33. Mr. Williamson

    Given the chronological and significant problems of building a website by or thru..who would you, utilizing your ‘Qualified Expert Opinion’ recomend build my website, with a “[My] success is your success!” state of mind?
    I’m a businesses man, however, my web-tech skills are primitive, however, I need to roll out the carpet without delay (emphasis omitted) Updating the information on the site without unnecessary delay is a prerequisite.
    What’s your objective (based on facts) and subjective (personal) opinion?
    Thanks and Best Regards,
    Mr. Williamson, Sr.

  34. Mylon

    Color me very confused. I am in my 5th year using Vista print as my media partner. Considering we are all human beings, with frailties, I have no appreciable complaints with Vistaprint.

    Vistaprint delivers what it promises. Are there other providers who may offer more robust service? Of course. Is this realty cause for me to start over? NO!

    As at least one other poster has stated, it may be time for the negative critics to become better informed. Vista print remains my media partner!

  35. ishen

    It depends on your requirement and budget.

  36. Aisha

    I was in the process of building a Website with VistaPrint and found it’s limited in fonts and colours which is a big concern for me. As I’m an Esthetician/Make-up Artist and just recently became an Avon Rep.

    VistaPrint for some services such as business cards.

    Thank you so much for your post TechStylish. This will save me money. Sorry no offense to anyone. Some businesses are great with Vistaprint.

    Everyone should be entitled to their opinion without judgement.

    Smile it’s Contagious 🙂

  37. Heather

    I am enraged with Vistaprint. In the last couple of weeks I have had a couple of potential customers contact me via e-mail to say that they had filled out and sent submission forms via my website requesting contact to set up estimate appointments (I have a home renovation and design company).
    I contacted Vistaprint to see what the problem was, and found that they have known about the issue for some time and have not contacted me (and others) to let them know that the submission forms are not getting forwarded through to our webmail – meaning that if we have not been going on to the website and actually checking the “manage forms” section, we would have no idea that forms have been submitted.
    When I learned this, I went to my site and see that since June 1 I have not received any of my form submissions. I have lost many potential customers, and more importantly I have appeared to be non-responsive to these customers. I am very embarrassed, and must now contact all these people and let them know what has happened, and apologize. I am sure by now they have all hired other contractors.
    I have let Vistaprint know how upset I am, and they have only offered to give me a few free months of service. I told them they need to actually refund me for the months that the service wasn’t working, and that I will cancelling their service.
    Had they let those affected know promptly when they learned of the problem, we could have checked our sites for contact submissions daily until the issue was resolved. For them to know about it for months and not notify their customers is so wrong.
    I have been paying $25/month for the website for many years – thousands of dollars. And now to lose thousands of dollars in business due to them is completely unacceptable.

  38. Jack

    Hello..

    Trying to get a website built for an online teaching ministry….would need it to be able upload documents, videos and host web conferences…..tried web.com and didn’t like them…what recommendations do you have?

  39. Pingback: Vistaprint Website Hosting Reviews | affordable

  40. Jeffery

    We have used Vista print for years we have no complaints I go in periodically and update our website add a blog change the theme add pictures photos and more I have never had any problem with working with Vista print. Their local profiles help get up found also, we have a successful business because of vistaprint.

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