Webs (web hosting)
|Headquarters||Silver Spring, Maryland, USA|
|Founder(s)||Haroon and Zeki Mokhtarzada|
|Services||Web hosting service|
|Alexa rank||546 (April 2014[update])|
|Type of site||Web hosting|
Webs, formerly Freewebs, is a freemium, primarily static site-only web host founded in 2001. The service offers free and premium website hosting plans, and their own templated website building service. Unusually, Webs does not offer any dynamic content support aside from their own dynamic "apps", despite offering FTP access and allowing HTML uploads.
Webs began in 2001 as Freewebs just after the dot-com bubble. It was a start-up launched by brothers Haroon and Zeki Mokhtarzada during their last year at the University of Maryland, College Park with the help of their younger brother Idris. Their goal was to enable anyone in the world to express themselves through the creation of their own website. Between 2003 and 2007, the company grew 1704%.
By April 2007, the site recorded 18 million unique visitors a month.
On November 14, 2008, Freewebs changed its name to Webs, but users' URLs remained in the freewebs.com domain unless they chose to change over. Now, new websites are given subdomains of webs.com, but the old freewebs.com/sitename format still works, even for new websites. Users can also upgrade to a premium package and receive a custom web address without a Webs subdomain.
On June 4, 2012, Webs released a new version of their Sitebuilder product, called Sitebuilder3. The new version includes a new drag and drop interface, more customizable themes, and simple social media integration.
In early 2013, Webs underwent a redesign of the internal site, which overhauled the user’s building experience. It involved the removal of ads, the modernization of the user interface, and the addition of a step-by-step “successful website” checklist.
On May 3, 2013, Webs introduced a SEO Booster, a search engine optimization tool that helps users identify the best keyword phrases to build into their website in order to improve its position in search engine results.
Webs offers a "drag and drop" interface and professional looking themes for users creating a new website. For pro-level websites, there are additional e-commerce features including unlimited webstore items and Google and Facebook advertising credits. All users can also link their websites to social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
Webs offers its own themes and site builder, as well as a selection of its own dynamic "apps" such as a blog, photo gallery, or webstore.
Free websites are limited in features and also have a Webs banner on the bottom of the screen. The company offers premium plans with more tools and features and also allows customers to buy custom domain names.
Other projects by developers
Webs created a unique culture that spawned innovation both inside and outside the company.
In 2008, Webs spun off a social gaming company called SGN which was incubated inside the company. Shervin Pishevar, then President and COO of Webs left Webs to become full-time chairman and CEO of SGN. SGN raised $15m from Greylock, Founders Fund, and existing Webs investors. Shervin would go on to join Menlo Ventures and lead the Series A round for Uber before launching his own fund named Sherpa Ventures.
Mobwars, one of the most popular early games on the Facebook platform, and a pioneer of in-app purchases was created by Dave Maestri while still at Webs.
Brandon Leonardo, a Webs developer based in the Bay Area went on to cofound Instacart.
Andrew Sutherland, an early Webs employee went on to create Quizlet, a popular online quiz service.
- "Webs.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
- "CEO Haroon Mokhtarzada Interview". Social Networking Watch. April 3, 2009.
- Hart, Kim (April 9, 2007). "Venture Capital Drawn to Freewebs". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-03-05.
- Sandoval, Greg (April 26, 2007). "The free-speech fundamentals of Freewebs". CNET News. Retrieved 2008-03-05.
- "Webs.com (Freewebs) Ranks 119th Fastest Growing Company in North America on Deloitte's 2008 Technology Fast 500". Reuters. November 12, 2008.
- Mitroff, Sarah. "Vistaprint completes $117.5M acquisition of DIY website builder Webs Inc.". VentureBeat. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
- "Announcing the Newest Version of the Webs Sitebuilder". Retrieved 4 June 2012.
- "Introducing Webs SEO Booster". Retrieved 3 May 2013.