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uCoz.com Review

The world of website builders is constantly changing. But there are several services which stand out of the time. About one of them we’ll speak today.

Ease of Use: 7/10
Features: 9/10
Design: 7/10
Tech Support: 8/10
Pricing: 9/10
Overall Score: 8.0/10

uCoz website builder is potentially interesting for everyone, including bloggers, businesses, creative users, freelancers, web masters and just newbies, who wish to make their first steps in the web design niche.

uCoz works equally well for non-techies and professional web designers. Do you need a promo website, an online store or a blog? And what about a forum or a landing page? No? Maybe, you need a portal with a bulletin board, newsfeed and posters? Choose what you need. A website builder will adjust to your style. You’ll just need to leave the required feature set only, having selected suitable modules.

One of the reasons people (especially the tech-savvy ones) don’t take online website builders seriously is because most platforms have mediocre feature sets which limit you to creating a website only using their ready, predesigned building blocks. While many are satisfied with that scenario, others need the freedom to go beyond these blocks to be able to design whatever they want.

1. Ease of use

uCoz has been a unique site builder ever since its launch in 2005. Unlike the competition that’s mostly intended for those of us who are HTML-illiterate, uCoz targets both end users and web professionals (designers, developers, and entire agencies), as its feature set includes both the DIY and ‘professional’ editors.

uCoz offers a quite user-friendly control panel. However, compared to Wix and Weebly, it could be simpler. There’s definitely a slight learning curve. uCoz doesn’t offer a pure WYSIWYG/drag-and-drop editing experience, yet this shouldn’t scare you away – millions of users have managed to build their websites using uCoz.

At first glance, it looks complicated, but once you understand its logic, you’ll realize how smart and flexible the platform is.

uCoz Control Panel

Building a site with uCoz starts with creating an account, choosing a web address for your site (first, you choose a subdomain and when your site is ready you can connect a custom domain name).

Create an account

Once you’ve chosen a domain name and clicked ‘Create a website’, your site is immediately available online. But first you need to finish the setup stage. You’ll be redirected to a website creation wizard where you’ll be asked to name your site, choose site language and select a design.

Next step is selecting Modules – the building blocks of your website. You’ll be able to install/uninstall any of them in the future, so just tick whatever seems appropriate at the moment.

uCoz modules

That’s it – you can start customizing your website.

2. Feature set and flexibility

Now we’re getting to the juicy stuff. uCoz opens up some of the technologies that in most site builders are hidden from the user-side of the system. The system provides full control over the HTML and CSS allowing for deeper customization.

On one hand, you get more control over your work, on the other hand you can easily mess up your site.

uCoz HTML Editor

However, just because uCoz opens up the codes doesn’t necessarily mean you have to use this option. The system has enough ready solutions that you can easily modify to a certain extent. Specifically, there are ready-to-use modules that you can enable and turn off anytime.

For example, if you’re looking to build an online store, you need to enable the Online Shop module. If you feel that your shop lacks a blog and/or a forum, nothing stops you from activating additional modules, like Forum, Chat Box, GuestBook, Polls etc. The only paid module is Online Shop, the rest are free. However, some of them, for example the SEO Module, have a free version and a paid PRO version.

You’ll be surprised at how customizable uCoz modules are. While most site builders often provide something more watered-down, uCoz provides you with dozens of options to fine-tune each single module of your website.

The Blog module, for instance, lets you schedule blog posts (and even automatically share them via connected social media), pin particular posts to the top of the page, allow/close comments, change the page switcher placement, and more.

Blog Module - uCoz Website Builder

eCommerce

eCommerce uCoz module is a direct competitor to niche eCommerce CMS in terms of its feature set. It makes sense to describe it separately as a full-featured platform used to create all the available types of online stores, including wholesale web stores, those that sell digital (codes, files) and technically complicated products with a rich set of extra characteristics (options like size, colour, weight), online stores orientated on a foreign or local market as well as dealerships that get commission fees for the sales of products posted by the clients (subagents).

The system copes well with the management of bulky marketplaces offering thousands of products. It allows filling showcase windows by importing products from YML, XLS/Google Docs and just via the online form.

Regardless of the excessive number of eCommerce module settings, it is really convenient to use it as all information is well-structured and subdivided into blocks here.

YML file import support makes it possible to open AliExpress partners’ online stores. This means that it is possible to arrange dropshipping business and sell the products of other companies on one of the most popular trading platforms, getting the retail margin for this.

Generally, uCoz eCommerce module known as uShop is decent and practical. It can be successfully recommended to everyone, who wants to get an effective trading spot. This is exactly what large and complex stores need.

Other features that you will definitely appreciate are the recently released opportunity to install SSL certificates and the SEO Module. SSL will make your website even more secure and trustworthy, and will particularly come in handy if you are building an online store with uCoz.

SEO Module - uCoz Website Builder

SEO

uCoz has an advanced SEO module. Some of its features are unavailable in a free version. The full version, the entire feature set of which will be unblocked after upgrading to the “Optimal” plan, contains the module, the options of which will come up to the requirements of the most demanding users.

Promotion of uCoz websites is based on the same principles as other systems follow. There are no crucial distinctions here: to get to the TOP of the search engine results, you need to consistently fill your website with content and develop it. You need unique texts, properly filled out meta tag fields, friendly URLs, moderate use of keywords, proper image optimization, inner interlinking, external links to your website from niche resources, work in the social networks and YouTube, an opportunity to analyze and use statistic data of Google analytics.

uCoz stands out from the crowd due to its rich and powerful settings, which will make it possible to effectively manage web promotion process. Websites created with uCoz are quickly indexed by Google. This means that there are no obstacles that can prevent your project from being successful here. The efficacy of the web building process depends upon the budget you are ready to invest into your project and proficiency of your actions in terms of website development. uCoz can boast integrated website promotion tools, which are currently the best in the web building niche.

3. Designs

uCoz can offer over 20 template categories, the general number of which reaches up to 400 themes. Business, transport, fashion and beauty, education, real estate, computers and communication – here are some of the samples of thematic sections.

New uCoz Templates

The quality of the system templates varies a lot. There are outdated and not really interesting variants as well as stylish modern templates with responsive design here. It is better to choose between new templates, they are found on the top of the list in each category. You won’t get lost.

uCoz puts great emphasis on the opportunity to edit website design code. For example, it is possible to separately edit the code of a material list page, blog comments, website access form etc. Each installed module provides the list of available blocks and elements, where you can make the edits in the design editor section.

Thus, design customization options are almost unlimited for users, who have coding skills. The use of extra scripts will make it possible to avail functional scalability of websites created with uCoz.

4. uCoz Modules

Previously I mentioned that the system offers a set of ‘modules’ that are responsible for different website functions. These modules work as standalone applications and can be used in different combinations. Each module can be used for various purposes, depending on user’s wishes, and can be installed/uninstalled at any time.

Most of the modules come free of charge, while a few are paid (like Online Shop, for instance), and some have both a free and a paid version (such as SEO Module or Social Media Publisher). Let’s take a look at uCoz Modules in details:

Site Catalog

First, we need to install the module. In the upper left corner of the uCoz admin panel select Site Catalog and choose ‘Install the module’. There are three ways to install it: using a predetermined set of 18 categories; set of 220 categories or without ready categories. Regardless of your choice, you’ll be able to add, delete and edit categories as you need.

Module Catalog - uCoz

For my test Site Catalog I chose the third option and manually added three industry-specific categories: DIY Website Builders, Website Builders for Professional Designers and Downloadable Website Builders.

Now it’s time to add entries. Adding sites to the catalog is as easy as creating and editing a Word document. Each entry is highly customizable: you can add text descriptions, images, Flash files, tables, embed YouTube videos and even insert your own code snippets (see screenshot).

uCoz Site Catalog - Adding Entries

Module Settings

There’s a ton of properties that you can customize in your Site Catalog to make it look and work exactly as planned. Some of these are:

  • Number of columns in the categories menu.
  • Number of entries on the main page.
  • Maximum length of site description.
  • Maximum size of a file uploaded through the site.
  • Show/hide category description under its name in the menu and more.
  • Customize filters for better user experience.

Besides, there are several fine settings, such as ‘always on top’ feature, allow an entry to belong to several categories at a time etc.

Entry Look

Remember, that you can set different permission levels to this Module using user management capabilities of uCoz.

Ad Board

uCoz Ad Board - Entries

Ad Board is probably the most feature-rich uCoz module. It has a ton of customizable features to help you structure and display information in the most effective and eye-pleasing way. This module can exist separately as a full-featured Bulletin Board website or can be used along with any other uCoz module.

The Ad Board module can be activated in two ways: without categories and as a universal ad board. The latter option will be the perfect fit for large-scale portal websites, as it already contains sections and categories for all common themes (Auto, Business, Construction etc.). The former option (without categories) is intended for narrowly specialized websites – in this case you’ll have to configure the ad board (create and name categories, subcategories etc.) manually.

Ad Board - Categories

Now let’s create a test advert and see how it looks when published. Fortunately for me, uCoz offers free, never expiring accounts so I can test drive the system free of charge anytime :). Frankly speaking, I was surprised at how many settings they offer in this absolutely free module. When adding an advert, you can select a category, type and subject; ad a text using a feature-rich editor (you are free to illustrate your copy with literally any possible media: Youtube videos, Flash files, images etc.). Besides, you can upload a screenshot, specify the name of the contact person, email, website, phone and other useful pieces of useful info. Looks very informative!

Ad Board - Adding an Advert

The Ad Board Module has 5 sections to help you fine tune your bulletin board. These are:

  • Entry management to edit and remove entries.
  • Categories management to create, edit and remove categories.
  • Customize filters for filters creation and customization. This feature is optional, but very useful – it helps users find relevant entries easier and faster.
  • Module settings. In this section you can adjust general settings. These include module name, number of entries per page, number of records in RSS, number of comments per page, maximum length of ad text etc.
  • Module design customization. Open this section to edit the template.

The Ad Board module is a very powerful piece of software that can help you create a feature-laden Bulletin board hands down. All you need is to activate the module and adjust settings. Start exploring uCoz today, it’s free :).

FAQ
Entry Management

To be able to add questions and answers we need to activate the FAQ module in the uCoz control panel. When it’s ready, we can leave queries directly through the site (thanks to the Users Module). While questions can be only text-based, answers may contain links, videos, Flash files, tables, images and even your own HTML code snippets. In other words, you can illustrate the answer in any possible way, be it a screenshot or video tutorial. As the site owner, you can edit all FAQ entries.

uCoz - Test FAQ Entry

Categories Management

In order to keep your FAQ easy-to-navigate, you may want to create categories. Enter the Categories Management section and click on the New Category button. Name your new category and add its description, as well as desired URL.

uCoz - New FAQ Category

Module Settings

This section allows you to adjust default settings of the module, specifically:

  • Number of displayed entries per page.
  • Enable “Entry rating” feature.
  • Maximum number of images.
  • Maximum size of an image.
  • User group permissions etc.

Module Design Customization

This section allows you to make edits in the design of your FAQ page. Bear in mind that in order to properly edit templates, you must have a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS.

FAQ - Module Design Customization

All in all, entry management is rather intuitive. However, design customization does require a technical background.

Tests

In the uCoz editor, choose Inactive Modules in the left menu, click on Tests and then install the module. Now that the module is installed, you will see it in the list of Active Modules and will be able to configure its properties.

Each test comes equipped with a Description field that supports HTML. This means you can create a custom test using various scripts, for instance, you can embed music players for audio quizzes. Other customizable properties include (but not limited to):

  • Earned points.
  • Maximum number of answers.
  • Custom result message (Excellent! Great job! etc.).
  • Number of tests per page.
  • Categories management.
  • Email result and more.

uCoz - Website Builders Test

Once you have finished your first test, remember to adjust user group permissions (Tests -> Module Settings -> User Groups Permissions) in order to define who can view and take tests. Besides, you can automatically upgrade users who earn enough points. For example, Silver Users can become Golden Users (user rank names are also customizable).

uCoz - Taking Online Tests

Once you have fine tuned the module, save changes and take the test yourself to see how it works. Information about all the tests taken through your website (time, users, results etc.) will be stored in the relevant section in the admin panel.

E-shop

uCoz - Order Management

Installation

E-shop comes as part of uCoz and is the only paid module in the builder. Therefore, in order to install it, you need to have an account with uCoz and at least $10 in your e-wallet. Once you have installed the module, a new page (/shop) will be automatically added to your site. This page will match the overall style of your website.

In case you want something custom, there’s Module design customization section. With its tools you can create a unique visual experience for your visitors.

Module Design Customization

Great news for those who know a thing or two about coding – custom CSS/HTML can be applied to any template (item appearance, goods catalog, shopping cart, printed order form etc.) No worries if you find your design corrupted after changing its code. You can use the “Restore default template” option to restore it.

Module Settings

Now it’s time to adjust default module settings. You’ll be surprised at how flexible your e-shop is. You can adjust the following settings with just a few mouse clicks:

  • Number of items per catalog page.
  • Remember E-shop search history.
  • Enable “Entry rating” feature.
  • Enable the auto-registration feature.
  • Minimum sum of the order.
  • The minimum amount for each item.
  • Visual effects when adding the item to shopping cart (floating image, without animation, floating border).
  • Redirect to the website of the payment system after clicking “Submit order”.
  • Price format.
  • Weight display format.
  • VAT settings.
  • Dimensions (width/height in pixels) for item icon.
  • Number of download attempts for an electronic item.
  • Profit calculation settings and more.

There are also SEO settings where you can disable specific subpages and set up redirection rules (HTTP 301).

Goods Management

This section allows you to perform various group operations with items, such as find and replace (text), сhange price, move to category and so on. You can also add item options and their values, for instance color (Blue, White, Yellow), size (S, M, L) etc. You may also attach an image to each option for options with multiple values.

Speaking about goods it’s important to mention that you can both import and export items. This feature will come in handy for large retailers. Currently, the system supports XLS and YML import.

Discounts, Special Offers, Extras

As the holiday season approaches, this section gets more important 🙂 . It allows you to enable various discount modes (сumulative discount, discount for a user group, discount for a user) as well as generate one-time and reusable promo codes.

Payment and Delivery Methods, Currencies and Rates

Here you can add currencies and set exchange rates, add payment and delivery methods. You can specify descriptions and add additional options for each payment/delivery method.

Subagent Management

uCoz has a fantastic user management system, so it’s no accident that the E-shop Module uses this functionality at its finest. Specifically, you can add multiple subagents – users who can add their own items and perform other operations reserved for site administrators.

Orders Management

Go to this section to adjust notification settings. For administrators: new order notification; payment notification etc. For users: new order notification; order status notification etc. There are also notifications for subagents. All these notifications can be delivered either over email or SMS.

uCoz eshop

This section also lets you easily track your orders. The default table displays the number of orders, turnover, profit, order status and more. You can also export and print your order list with one click of a button. The table is customizable – you can add and rearrange fields, as well as choose the number of orders per page and shorten column names.

Statistics and Reports

In this section you can monitor incomplete orders, order submission time, e-shop module search data and get other valuable insights.

For more information about the E-Shop Module go to the official uCoz Community.

uCoz devs are still working on fine tuning everything, and will be making many more small changes over the coming months to this module. At the moment, this module costs $9.99/month. When paying for the whole year, you get a free domain name as a bonus. All transactions are fee-free.

Social Media Publisher
uCoz Releases Social Media PublisherAs of today, Social Media Publisher can be synchronized with two modules of uCoz: Site News and Blog. It enables site owners to share their posts automatically – no user intervention required. It just happens – the publisher sends your posts to the chosen social networks. Below is a brief step-by-step guide on how to make the uCoz Publisher work:

1. Enable the Social Media Publisher Module.

2. Connect your social media accounts.

Connect Your Social Accounts

Ready! The entries will be automatically posted once per 20 minutes. In case you can’t wait to share another post, you can always do this manually :).

The new module will definitely give you a leg up in case your uCoz-powered website deals with numerous posts day-to-day. However, it isn’t an option for the users who have enough time to share their posts manually.

Users

Go to the ‘Users’ module in the control panel to see the number of registered users, search for users, add new accounts and manage their profile settings. Within this module you can customize the following properties:

  • User Groups. This option primarily exists to determine access rights. By default, you will get 7 groups: Users, Friends, Administrators, Guests, Moderators etc. All groups are fully customizable: you can change User Group name, upload an icon and adjust other important settings: sign up, comments etc.

uCoz Modules - Users Test

  • Module Settings. Enter this section to change methods of user authorization, fields of the registration form, maximum size for uploaded avatars, email notification about registration, user rank feature, maximum length of user signature and more. You can even regulate the way the link is formed for opening user profiles: either in a new tab or in active window.
  • User ranks. This option allows you to create different user ranks based on user activity on the site. Specifically, you can create your own set of ranks, choose icon type and adjust requirements for each rank (number of forum posts).

Users - User Ranks

  • Mass mail dispatch. Once you’ve switched on ‘email subscription’ feature in the ‘Module Settings’ section, you can send mass mail to your subscribers via the system. Just fill in the form and click the ‘Start mailout’ button. Bear in mind that this option was developed to help you inform your users about updates and other important events, not for spamming. Therefore, mailout is possible only once per 5 hours. You can create up to 20 topics (categories) for your mailing lists: News, Special Offers etc.

Users - Mass Dispatch

  • Mass user transfer/removal. Administrators can move users to different groups according to the set criteria. For example, you can remove all inactive users.
  • Rules of user registration. Enter this section to write user registration rules – these will be displayed to your users during registration.
  • Avatar management. Visit this section to create a custom avatar collection.
  • Module design customization. This section allows you to make pixel-accurate changes in pages related to this module, namely User login page, Access denied page, Private messages etc.

User management is an important function for interactive websites and forums. The Users module is free, so you can check it out risk-free right now. Let your visitors not only enjoy, but also manage your site pages!

Page Editor

This module is responsible for managing website pages that may contain any type of content (compared to Blog or Photo Albums modules where you can add only blog entries or photographs, respectively). Enter this module to add, edit and remove site pages (such as Site Info, About Us, Contact Us etc.).

uCoz - Page Editor

Each page can be edited in Visual or HTML editor. Many configuration settings are similar to the ones used in Word and similar text editors (bold, italic etc). To make changes in the design of these pages, go to the ‘Module Design Customization’ tab. With uCoz you’ll be able to make pixel-accurate changes in any part of the page if you are handy with codes. What’s more, you can add various extensions – click on the ‘Widgets’ icon in the ‘Module Design Customization’ toolbar and select an appropriate widget to get a unique code. Insert this code into the relevant part of the page and save changes. I’ve decided to embed a calculator 🙂 – see the screenshot below. The entire process took me approximately 1 minute.

Page Editor Module Test

All widgets are grouped by category for easier browsing. The ‘Website Functionality’ category for instance contains the following widgets: Scrolling line, Menu with visual effects, Countdown to start of event, On-screen keyboard and more.

This module is active by default, there’s no need to activate it manually (while Forum, Online Chat and other ‘additional’ modules should be switched on by hand. Try it for yourself by creating a free uCoz account.

Forum

With uCoz website builder you can create a separate Forum site, or attach it to your current website simply by activating the Forum module in your control panel. This module is free and remains free until you decide to upgrade your account.

The largest unit in the forum structure is Section. So, I’ve created three sections in my test uCoz forum: Photography Website Builders, eCommerce Website Builders and Forum Website Builders. Each section consists of full-featured Forums (in my test forum these are ‘IM Creator’, ‘Wix’ and ‘MotoCMS’) – see the screenshot.

uCoz - Forum Module

Each forum has a whole pack of properties to set:

  • Forum state: Active, Closed (read-only, archive) etc.
  • Unique forum rules.
  • Unique forum icons (it took me about 30 seconds to add unique icons for each site builder).
  • Password settings (for private forums).
  • User management.

Module Settings

Go to this section to adjust forum-wide properties. These are:

  • Buttons and icons.
  • Number of threads/posts per page.
  • Number of entries in RSS feed.
  • Maximum number of simultaneously uploaded files.
  • Maximum uploaded file size.
  • User group permissions etc.

You may upload your own set of icons and buttons. Remember to edit forum rules.

uCoz - Forum Module Settings

Module Design and Customization

Similar to the Users and Page Editor modules, ‘Module Design and Customization’ section allows site owners to make changes in the website design in a professional manner. uCoz provides users will full code control, so if you’re handy with codes, you can make pixel-accurate changes in your forum and see those live instantly.

uCoz - New Thread

File Catalog

This module will come in handy both for those site owners who have a vibrant community built around their product or service, and those who need to distribute files without having to use file sharing services, in an effective and well organized way. So here’s how you can benefit from using this module.

Adding File Catalog to your site works the same way as adding any other module – on the left side of the control panel click the ‘Inactive’ tab, select ‘File Catalog’ and click the ‘Install’ button. That’s it! Your module is ready to use.

Module settings

Depending on your goals, adjust your catalog’s user group permissions. By default, there are four user groups that can upload files to your website. You can both restrict and extend the number.

Now you can modify the entry form, set the maximum file size, description length, change entry layout as well as enable some ‘fine options’. For example, you can enable the ‘Always on top’ feature or allow an entry to belong to several categories at a time. Additionally, you can customize filters.

Now you can add your first entry. All entries are being added via frontend.

uCoz File Catalog uCoz File Catalog

To make major changes to the module’s look, you need to have at least a basic knowledge of HTML/CSS.

Blog

uCoz Blog Module is a great place to create your own blog. Whether you are starting a blog to promote a business or to share personal musings, join us discovering the full potential of the platform.

Getting Started

Once you have created a free account with uCoz and enabled the Blog module (the whole process takes less than 2 minutes) you can add your first test entry. In uCoz, all blog entries are added directly via the website (not your admin panel), in the What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get mode. If needed, you can switch from visual editing to HTML.

Their editor provides an impressive toolbox to help you format and illustrate your posts. Specifically, you can upload images, Flash files, tables, Youtube videos, code snippets and more.

uCoz Blog Module - Adding an Entry

Category Management and Module Settings

In the Category Management section you can create, edit and remove blog categories. You can also re-organize their order. Now that you have structured your blog, you can configure its main settings. Some of these are:

  • Number of columns in the categories menu.
  • Number of entries on the main page.
  • Number of records in RSS feed.
  • Page switcher placement (bottom, top, bottom and top).
  • Comments (allow/close).
  • Number of comments per page and their position.
  • Entry rating feature.

There are also advanced options, such as ‘Always on top’ for example.

As uCoz has its own user management system, you can change user group permission settings and close certain blog categories from viewing and commenting. Or on the contrary, you can let certain users/user groups contribute their own blog posts as well as moderate comments.

You can also enable the Scheduled Posting option for this module.

Blog Entry Look - uCoz

In case you want to go beyond Coz templates, you can completely rebuild one of them using the system’s HTML/CSS editor. Unfortunately, from a non-tech-savvy user perspective, there’s nothing to customize – you must have a basic knowledge of HTML/CSS to properly edit the chosen template.

While anyone with the proper website builder can start a blog, dedicating yourself to blogging may be harder than you think. Blogging isn’t a one-time task, but an ongoing commitment. Therefore, before starting a blog, make sure it’s something you want to invest time, money and effort into.

Photo Albums

Photo Albums isa highly customizable uCoz module for creating image galleries. The module not only lets you group images by categories and display them in various ways, but also edit images directly in your browser.

uCoz - Photo Configuration

Getting Started

As with any other uCoz module, first you need to add Photo Albums to your website. This can be easily done through the control panel in the Modules section. Once you have installed the module, it’s yours to configure. Specifically, you can:

1. Create and organize categories (specify category description, password-protect certain categories, change the URL as well as set user group permissions).

2. Customize filters to help visitors find entries of interest faster and easier.

3. Set the following properties:

  • Number of photos on the main page.
  • Demo image size.
  • Maximum dimensions of a full-sized image.
  • Size reduction method for the creation of a demo image (cropping/scaling).
  • Custom fields for adding photos.
  • Maximum number of photos in the multi-uploader and so on.

uCoz - Photo Editor

In order to enable comments for this module, go to the Tools section, then open ‘Social Comments’ and activate this feature for the Photo Albums module. In a few instances, your site visitors will be able to add comments using different social media networks as well as the native authorization system of uCoz (uID).

uCoz - Photo Albums Comments

By default, each photograph comes equipped with the following characteristics:

  • Views counter.
  • Rating.
  • Image author (added by).

You can also edit all uploaded images using a basic inbuilt photo editor. It allows you to rotate images, apply the black and white filter, mark people and objects, and also add tags.

GuestBook

Adding Guestbook to your site works the same way as adding any other inactive uCoz module – just click it and tick ‘Install the module’. Once you’ve installed the module, you can preview its page to see how the default version looks and works. Your guestbook is ready to use.

Want to make some customizations? You can easily fine tune the default version of the module through the control panel. For example, by default every new guestbook entry will appear at the very top of the page, pushing older posts further down the page. After your visitors added 15 entries to the page, older posts will be moved off the page to easily accessible archive pages. You can change the number of posts visible, as well as their position (bottom/top) by clicking the Module Settings button in the control panel.

Additionally, you can choose where to display the entry form (on a separate page; on the same page); enable ‘Entry rating’ feature; adjust entry fields; set the maximum message length.

To prevent spam entries from being posted on your website you can restrict access to the form by making changes in the website’s User group permissions. You can set these permissions in such a way that only approved users can leave messages.

Design customization of the module requires a basic knowledge of HTML/CSS. If you know a thing or two about coding, you can completely remodel the look of your guestbook.

Site Search

The benefits of having an internal site search are obvious for both site owners and visitors, so let’s skip long explanations and get down to business. Today we’re going to test Site Search, an easy-to-customize yet very handy uCoz module. Log into your uCoz account to be on the same page.

Module Settings

In order to enable the Site Search module, open the ‘Inactive modules’ tab in your control panel, select the required module and click on the ‘Install the module’ button. A search box will be added to your website in a few seconds.

Now that the module is enabled, you can adjust its main settings. Luckily, uCoz is rather flexible in terms of customization, even when it comes to such seemingly non-customizable features like Search. With uCoz you can adjust the following settings:

  • Number of entries per page.
  • Maximum total number of search results.
  • Modules to search in.
  • Maximum number of characters in results description.

You may also check the ‘supplement search results with tags’ option.

Now it’s time to refresh our test website and see how this module operates (see screenshot).

uCoz - Site Search Module

E-mail Forms

Now that I have shown you that it’s so important to have a contact form, let’s create one using uCoz website builder.

Getting Started

First off, we need to activate the E-mail Forms module in our control panel (there must be two sections in the Modules bar: Active and Inactive). Once we have installed the module (simply by checking the ‘Activate’ checkbox), nothing will happen to our site’s look. In order to make the form visible, we have to insert it manually into the desired page (using the code generated after clicking the ‘Activate’ checkbox).

uCoz - Email Forms

Phew. Though it was hard to explain, it was very easy to do 🙂 . Now we can go ahead and make use of the generated code. First of all, let’s create a separate page and name it Contact Us. Now we can copy and paste the suggested code into the relevant part of our freshly created page. Once we have saved and updated the page, we’ll see a default uCoz e-mail form (see screenshot).

uCoz - Send Message

Chances are, you may like and save it, log out from your control panel and call it a day. But if you want something custom, nothing stops you from rebuilding the default form from the ground up. You can add, remove, move up/down and rename every single field used in the contact form. You may also create ‘required’ fields and change field type (text, checkbox, security code and more).

Similar to any other uCoz module, E-mail Forms can also be completely rebuilt not only in terms of functionality, but also design. If you’re handy with codes, adjusting the form to your needs will be a cakewalk. As opposed to its competitors, uCoz opens up the codes to users and gives them full code control which is crucial even if you have no idea what HTML tag is – if there’s full code control you can hire a pro or ask a tech-savvy friend of yours to bring your ideas to life. E-mail forms don’t necessarily have to be boring, featureless boxes – you can make them even more effective and engaging by adding a dropdown containing popular questions/topics.

Once you have finished brushing up your contact form, you may want to enable ‘Tell a Friend’ Feature. This feature creates special sharing forms allowing visitors to share entries via e-mail in an easy and fast manner – just specify your friend’s e-mail and click the ‘Send’ button.

uCoz - Tell a Friend

Our test would be incomplete without mobile testing. So, I’ve accessed the test website from my smartphone and even sent an e-mail to myself 😛 . Huge, mobile-optimized buttons, easy-to-navigate menu, smart layout – 5 stars out of 5!

Mobile Screenshot - uCoz Email Forms

Coupled with FAQ pages, detail product/service descriptions, accurate contact data and usable interface, E-mail forms will help you create a real gem of a website.

Web Polls

By default, each uCoz website is already equipped with one survey, namely ‘Rate my site’. Suppose I want to know what website type my site visitors want to build. Let’s see what it takes to create such poll using uCoz:

  • Activate the Web Polls module.
  • Open the Polls Management section.
  • Click on the ‘New Poll’ button.
  • Enter the question (What website type are you looking to build?).
  • Specify some likely answers.
  • Adjust settings (button text, poll expiry date, type of poll form etc.) and save changes.

Once you’ve finished these steps, go to your website, refresh it and check the freshly made poll’s look and performance. Below is my test survey.

uCoz Modules - Web Polls

To make changes in the Web Polls’ design and major settings (email notifications, user group permissions, timeout etc.) go to the Module Design Customization and Module Settings sections, respectively.

Hints

Thanks to the platform’s flexibility, you can insert images as answer choices. To do so, simply insert links to the needed images in the required fields (instead of the usual, text variants). Bear in mind that the system does not reduce images automatically, so it is better to change your pics’ size in advance.

Web Polls with Images

To let your visitors select multiple options opt for the ‘Checkbox’ web poll type. If you don’t want to clutter your site space with too many answer choices, consider activating the ‘Select’ web poll type. This poll will present options in the form of a dropdown list.

Poll Results

To see the results of the survey either click on the ‘Poll results’ icon in the control panel or open your website and click on the ‘Results’ link located under the poll. The results will be displayed as an easy-to-read histogram.

5. Customer support

The system has 16 full-fledged language localizations. Support is provided in English, Russian, Portuguese, Romanian, Hungarian, and Ukrainian via a ticketing system and through the Community Forum. There are also many video tutorials and step-by-step guides covering all the stages of website building with uCoz.

6. Pricing policy

Pricing Option Cost Features
Minimal: $2.99/mo ✓ 1 Gb Disk Space;
✓ Unlimited Bandwidth;
✓ Basic Antivirus.
Basic: $5.99/mo ✓ 2 Gb Disk Space;
✓ Unlimited Bandwidth;
✓ 24/7 Support.
Optimal: $7.99/mo ✓ 10 Gb Disk Space;
✓ Premium Antivirus;
✓ PHP scripts.
Maximal: $15.99/mo ✓ 20 Gb Disk Space;
✓ Mobile Template;
✓ Online Shop.
Shop: $9.99/mo ✓ eCommerce;
✓ Products Export;
✓ Discounts & Special Offers.

uCoz has a free version and 4 paid plans ($5.99/mo – $15.99/mo). The free version doesn’t require entering your credit card data and it never expires (in case you update your website on a regular basis).

The free version offers a very rich toolset including the ability to use your own, previously bought domain name.

However, with the free plan you’re forced to display the system copyright and a rather noticeable advertisement. In case you use uCoz to build a non-profit website (a school website or a website for a charity organization) you can remove the ad for free – just contact their support.

If you want to build a blog, a forum, or a business site, the Basic plan ($5.99 a month) will certainly handle it. But in case you’re looking to start a webstore, be ready to pay $9.99/mo. The good news is that all uCoz plans are discounted if you choose to pay for three months/six months/a year in advance.

To learn more pricing details, please visit the official Pricing Page.

7. uCoz FAQ

Question: Who is it for?

Answer: Unlike Wix and Jimdo which are completely visual website builders targeted at a beginner audience, uCoz is mainly intended for web professionals who know a thing or two about website creation. It offers enough ready solutions to help you set up your website, but its main forte is its extensibility and flexibility: you can customize your website on a code level – there are no design or functionality limitations.

Unfortunately, its technical nature makes uCoz ill-suited to newbies. If you expect to get a total WYSIWYG experience, check out uKit.

Question: Is it really free?

Answer: Yes, it is. You can create an account with uCoz free of charge and publish multiple websites using the same profile. All your sites will remain free as long as you update them. You can even attach your own second-level domain (Ex.: mysitename.com) without having to upgrade your account.

As a free user of uCoz you will get access to all its modules (customizable construction blocks), except for the eCommerce features. The E-shop module comes with the Shop plan ($9.99/mo).

So how exactly do these guys make money? – you may wonder. By placing adverts on free sites. Ad-free accounts start at $5.99 per month or less, if you choose to pay in advance for a longer period (3 months/6 months/a year…).

In other words, you can build a professional-looking, ad-free website with a custom domain name and included hosting for about $5/mo. Or you can get the same website, but with adverts, without spending a dime.

Question: Can I get access to my website's source code?

Answer: Yes, you can. Full code control is what makes uCoz stand out among its competitors. This feature isn’t available in most of the top site builders. Full code control lets you make pixel-accurate changes in your site design, as well as add your own scripts. So, if you’re handy with codes, you can create a super functional website with uCoz – the only limit is your imagination 🙂 .

uCoz Code Control

Question: Can I create a responsive site using uCoz?

Answer: Yes, you can. Just make sure you’ve chosen one of the new responsive templates for your website (you can change your current uCoz template easily, if it’s not responsive).

Testing uCoz Templates - HTC View

Question: What kind of website can I build with uCoz?

Answer: uCoz was originally developed as a multifunctional platform based on a system of modules which can be used for creating just any website type: web store, blog, forum, business website, portfolio etc. You can use as many modules as required at the same time: Forum + Photo Albums + Tests + Guestbook + Online Chat and so on. You can play with modules and their settings as you wish until you find the perfect mix of features.

8. Pros and Cons

Everything that can somehow concerns uCoz functionality can be considered a benefit. We have selected only those features, which are not offered by lots of other services. We can also point out the blog module, which overcomes WordPress in terms of ease of use and efficacy and notably overwhelms any blog, created with a WYSIWYG editor.

Pros

  • Free uCoz API access, which allows web design pros to customize the module feature set, create their own applications or new website dashboards for their clients. All documents are easily available here.
  • Full access to code editing.
  • Opportunity to install your own template with individual design.
  • Rich amount of pricing plans with distinct feature set definition.
  • Moderate cost, serious discounts, notable bonuses as well as an opportunity of free use.
  • Module-based structure, which is easy and convenient to use. It allows choosing all the required elements, leaving the excessive options needed for current task completion inactive. This notably simplifies the use.
  • A stunning forum module, which can compete in terms of efficacy with niche CMS.
  • Professional eCommerce module – uShop. It comes with more options than those provided by the majority of similar systems.
  • Advanced system of short codes, the use of which allows simplifying and speeding up the addition of standard elements to website pages.
  • Stunning protection of servers from DDoS attacks.
  • An opportunity to connect SSL certificates to the domain (https protocol). Multiple website access security settings, control over the hits from other IP addresses, login of all user actions that grant access to the dashboard.

Speaking about the demerits, they include the obvious complexity and limitations available on a Free Plan. The first aspect is rather subjective, while the second one can be successfully solved by the plan upgrade. It makes sense to upgrade to the “Optimal” plan for a blog, promo website, forum, newsfeed or portal. Another subscription option is “eCommerce”, the implication of which is obvious. You get the increase of bonuses, disc space, removal of all copyrights, full module options.

Cons

  • Free plan limitations, such as banner, incomplete SEO module, system copyright, small amount of disc space.
  • A number of dashboard options. Newbies can be scared of it, when exploring the system for the first time.
  • A notable part of standard templates, which are the relics of the past already. They are outdated today.

9. Comparison with Competitors

The website building market offers a lot of platforms to choose from. I’ve prepared several comparisons of uCoz versus it’s most popular competitors, such as Wix, Weebly and WordPress.

uCoz is more powerful and feature-rich than Wix and Weebly, while the latter are more user-friendly. WordPress is more flexible than uCoz, but requires more time and skills to build a website. Read the full comparisons for details.

10. uKit and uID.me

uCoz site builder isn’t the only product developed by the uCoz team. The company also owns a one-page profile builder uID.me and a code-free site builder for business uKit.com. Unlike uCoz that offers full HTML and CSS control, uKit follows a completely different approach. The system provides an intuitive drag-and-drop editor that requires no coding at all.

Conclusion

uCoz has many strong points, which make it stand out from the crowd, especially in the comparison with the competitors. This is exactly what can be a decisive criterion, when selecting this website builder.

Modern ergonomic dashboard, a broad set of full-featured modules, a rich assortment of templates including premium designs, high security level, powerful ecosystem, API with open access – these is the generalized list of obvious system benefits.

The cost of the website builder is lower as compared with that of any other competitor (considering the discounts). The “Optimal” plan, which costs $48/year only, makes it possible to launch a blog, a forum, a business website or a newsfeed and effectively manage and promote the selected website in the search engines.

For those users willing to create a decent online store with uCoz, this is the most reasonable solution. There is no other cloud platform, which can offer even a half of the system’s features for $60/year. The use of CMS will cost much more due to the paid plugins, templates and services of a programmer. Online stores created with free CMS (including paid hosting and domain only) lack the features available at uCoz. Their functionality will not reach even the medium level without any extra investments.

 It’s free

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