Ken Nguyen

Programming Blog

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Wix, a Platform Full of Problems

03 Feb 2019
web-development

Maybe you’ve heard of Wix, it’s a popular drag and drop site builder. I had a client recently who purchased the hosting and domain name from Wix for his nonprofit site. He contacted me to help him design the site. Initially, I was hesitant about the project since it involved Wix. I have not worked extensively with Wix but I’ve heard negative things about the platform. However, I thought to myself that maybe I could learn something new from this project so I took him on the offer.

One Size Does Not Fit All

When I hopped into the site builder, everything was simple enough to understand. On the left side are all the options that I can click or drag to the main interface. It’s nicely presented so even people who are not familiar with web development can create simple sites. There are also templates available so people do not have to build their site from scratch. I played around with the interface and it was straightforward. The problem was that there were very few customizations available.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. If a local business needs a simple site, then the owner can just use Wix to make a decent looking site. Most of the underlying complexities were hidden so the user is not overwhelmed by all the options. But my client wanted his site to also display different types of documents like Word, PDF, and Excel to members who are logged in. Based on what he described, I realized that Wix might not be what he needs.

The Migration Problem

I could add documents to Wix on the page and users can download them. But to actually displaying the contents of the documents are more complicated. There were a couple apps that display documents, PDF Viewer and Google Docs, but neither of them fit his needs. PDF viewer only display PDF files, while Google Docs apps slowed down the site so much that it became almost unusable. After trying out multiple approaches and none of them worked, I had to sit down and explained to him why it might be better if we migrate to a different platform.

Since he and other people will frequently update site, A CMS like WordPress is ideal. It’s not drag and drop like Wix but it’s simple enough to understand. After some consideration he agreed and I recommended a few hosting companies for him to choose. He purchased the plan and gave me the hosting plan information. All I needed to do was changing the nameservers of his Wix domain to that of the new hosting.

But it was not that easy. Wix did not allow me to change the nameservers of the domain. I was confused because pretty much every domain registrar I used allowed this option. Wix was the only one that does not allow this. So I started to dig deeper into the information they provided to find a different way. Apparently the only way to point a Wix domain to another host was to change the DNS records. I suspected that Wix intentionally made this difficult since modifying the DNS records can easily scare away customers from changing host.

During the process, I attempted to contact their customer service but there was no one picking up the call. The recorded voice basically said that I should just go to their website and figure it out for myself instead. That’s another minus in my mind.

Avoid Wix

I’m glad to say that my project ended successfully and I was able to deliver what my client wanted. Yet I still remember the frustration I had dealing with Wix. The platform touted itself as a simple solution for people who are not tech-savvy and I can see why. But that is the only plus they have going for them. Everything else was mediocre. I did not like how they made it difficult for people to migrate somewhere else by setting up unnecessary barriers. If you ever need to make a website in the future, do yourself a favor and avoid Wix.

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