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Homestead Site Builder – Desktop Version vs Plus – Update

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It’s been over a year since my first post regarding the SiteBuilder program from Homestead so time for an update.

A little history:

Homestead began in 1996 and although a bit ragged around the edges, it quickly outdistanced it’s then competitor GeoCities and became a vital resource for people who wanted to build their own websites and for designers looking for a good platform on which to build and design sites for clients. The program continued its advance into the web site building world gaining many thousands of customers.

Enter Intuit. In 2007 Homestead was purchased by Intuit and thus began the slide down the slippery slope. Customer Service became a joke, outsourced to the Philippines; they stopped making upgrades to the desktop version and threw up a web-based editor that was buggy and worthless. No disclosure was ever made to existing customers about what their intent was in regards to eliminating the Desktop version – no straight answers could be wrung out of Tech Support and the program (both versions) started becoming unstable. Plus no doubt because it was some pieced together program they tossed out and Desktop because they had basically stopped supporting it except for a minor update now and then. Homestead and Intuit were never a good fit.

Which brings us to 2013. Intuit sold the Homestead web site builder to Endurance International.  What? You didn’t get the memo about the sale or what EI’s intent was/is in regards to Desktop SB? Neither did anyone else to my knowledge. Granted, they are in the transition stage, but still, it would have been nice to get a little note explaining that the program thousands use to promote their businesses, hobbies, etc. was under new management and maybe an inkling as to the direction new management intended to go with the program.

Once again I’m back to asking questions and not getting many answers. The only thing I was told with any degree of certainty was that Homestead (yes, we’re back to being just Homestead with no Intuit stuck on – YAY!!) is going to move Tech Support back to the states!  Three cheers on that one.

What are they going to do with Desktop? Dunno folks. I’ve asked for input from Homestead and to date have not heard anything.

Here’s a portion of a comment made by a Sr. Supportability Specialist (say what? Tech Support by any other name ….)

As I stated to Sandy, we have not made any decisions concerning Sitebuilder Desktop, yet. We hear you. We know we have customers that prefer desktop to browser based Sitebuilder. We also have customers that prefer Sitebuilder Plus.

With that said, we don’t have the resources to make improvements to the desktop version right now. We haven’t made improvements for some time but we are evaluating whether or not we need to prioritize that type of work. I don’t have an answer on when we will get to those types of improvements. We’re still working on moving away from Intuit.

You can read the full thread on this topic –  Here

There are a couple of statements in there that made my teeth hurt. The first being that they have customers who prefer SB Plus – ohhhhhhhhhh, I so don’t think so. The only people who prefer Plus are the ones who have no clue that there is a better version. And the second really got my fillings pinging – we don’t have the resources to make improvements to the desktop version right now – EXCUSE ME! There are 1000s of users out there who have been loyal customers for many years who signed up for and are paying for that very version!

The only way we are going to save Desktop from extinction is to be the squeaky wheel – cast your vote Here, comment to this post, post on the thread given above and keep the pressure on.

Thus, a year and a half down the road we’re still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

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38 responses »

  1. As a Charter Member the Desktop program must stay to keep me using Homestead..

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Move Over SiteBuilder Here comes Plus | Designing With Homestead

  3. I am also a charter member and this Site Builder Plus is not what I signed up for. I recently spoke to a person at Homestead who was named Mike Pesoresey or something like that, he tells me that the reason that site builder is not being continued is that Microsoft doesn’t like the old coding and the new Site builder Plus is more supported by Microsoft. You have got to be kidding! Is this what Homestead or whoever own the company now has come to.

    Today I had to go back to Site Builder Desktop to fix a problem that I could not correct with Site Builder Plus.
    I would like to know if anyone has moved on to another company for their web design and hosting and are happy with them. I think the days of Homestead, Intuit, or Endurance International are very short.

    Reply
  4. Having used both programs, Site Builder Plus does NOT have the capabilities to edit much of the options in the Site Builder Desktop.

    As a charter member of Homestead, I was extremely satisfied with the Site Builder Desktop program compared to anything that was out there at the time.

    I hope they will see the value in providing a platform for their new and existing customers, to build and maintain websites, that is easily understood.

    Reply
  5. Has anyone looked at Web Studio 5.0? It has a one-time sign up of $160 but another $120p.a. for uploading and publishing.

    Reply
  6. I ma really unhappy with SB+, I am running around in circles having to exit and reload all the time and I am losing so much time, if you go out for only a few minutes, then paste something in and try to do a save, the spinner just keeps on spinning,,,,and spinning… and spinning….
    Can I really insist they put me back into regular SB desktop? I find a major loss in flexibility with SB+, and there is no spellcheck now? Ugh!

    Reply
    • Barrie try phoning support at 1-800-710-1998 – if you get someone in the Philippines and don’t have any luck ask to speak to someone in the states.

      Or you can try going the chat route by logging into homestead.com, click on Help in the upper right and then choose the chat option. Again you may get someone in the Philippines

      Reply
  7. I feel much better now – spoke on livechat with a guy in Denver, he was very courteous and listened to my problems with SB+ and said he will assist in putting me back onto desktop.
    He asked what my concerns were – no hit counter and no spellcheck were mentioned but my main ones were the constant log on if I went out to copy and past something from another application, and I liked the tabs for selecting a regular used page rather than the new drop down box etc etc etc.
    He said “most people find it (SB+) much easier to use” – I challenged that if the HS Forum comments were anything to go by, he responded saying “most people only post if they are unhappy” and I then said I have often made posts about what I liked about HS desktop, he felt I was “rare”.
    Anyway, I am busy at the moment but will be back on to HS and have them reload my desktop and remove HS+.
    When that is done, I will post another update for you.

    Reply
  8. Is it time to start looking for a replacement platform, and if so, any ideas?

    Reply
  9. I have several website with Homestead. When viewed on a browser, the view going left to right shows a wider view of my web pages than I have created. For instance, the width is about 1 1/2 times the width of the template I have used, so there is wasted viewing space on the right. When I contacted Homestead Live Chat, I was told the only option is to get Sitebuilder Plus, which I am resisting. Any ideas?

    Reply
    • Larry Plus is not your only option – phone support 1-800-710-1998. Ask if you are speaking to tech support in the U.S. (if it isn’t obvious!) and if you’ve got someone in the Philippines ask to be transferred to someone in the U.S. You might have to try this a couple times as the tech support in the Philippines will often drop the call, but sometimes they transfer and sometimes you get someone stateside when you first call.

      That said, can you post your web site address please – I might be able to help if I can see what is going on.

      Thanks!
      Susan

      Reply
  10. What is the Page Width setting? Page Properties, Basics.

    Reply
  11. Larry it needs to be checked. You will find your page width setting on the Properties Editor – Page Properties – Basics Tab It is the setting right under where you enter the Page Title.

    Reply
  12. I just need any program web or desktop that works with 8.1 on a Surface or Mac to do my editing, this has now become a decision weather to change to another provider or wait. This is a very big inconvenience and a huge waste of time, spent hours doing what the tech emailed to get the 8.1 to work and it doesn’t, cannot find an email to get the Mac set up with plus. Also Duda is linked so it means that that would be lost too and have to be done by someone else. It was such an easy way to do my website before.
    Someone needs to find a working solution, and quick. What ever happened to the days of VPS and frontpage, so simple.
    What is the point of a hosting service if you can’t keep your site updated because there is no software to access it, need to change the meta data so the search engines can access it and cannot?
    The point of hosting is to keep it simple and easy.

    Reply
  13. PLEASE let us keep the desktop version of Homestead SiteBuilder. I have several websites with them! Love it, and cannot STAND the online version.

    Reply
  14. Hi, love my destop version, too. Still working good for me. Use and create websites a lot.

    But, now I am having an issue with the Site Mover tool online that I have to use in order to transfer files of an entire site to another I have created in the same homestead account.

    It’s hanging at that point when it never used to.

    Just stays on “connecting” and “waiting for Homestead”.

    Tried to get service but HELP stopped at the point of my presenting a picture of when the site mover is stopping…

    Anybody having the same problem, or can you test it on your computer to see if your site mover works to completion without hanging?

    Here’s URL of my Troubleshooting ticket:

    https://community.homestead.com/homestead/topics/site_mover_troubleshooting?utm_content=reply_link&utm_medium=email&utm_source=reply_notification#reply_13823130

    Thank you,

    Pauline

    Reply
  15. Hello Pauline, we used to have a “move” option but this has been removed. You now have to get Homestead to do the move for you, not sure why because it was quite straightforward before.
    Also, I told them it is a “copy” not a “move”, in Microsoft Office a “move” removes the original file, and I was scared first time I used it in Homestead because I wanted a clone of my original website, not to delete it. What a relief when I found the original was still there.

    Reply
  16. Hi I am still using the desk top version and moved (copied) two of my websites about two weeks ago by moving them myself using the website move function. Seems odd that some customers need Homestead to move them for them.

    Reply
  17. I used to love Homestead. Now it’s a crappy piece of software not worthed half of what I pay for. I am converting all of my sites to anothyer provider

    Reply
  18. I moved everything back to desktop a year ago, but there are hardly any templates to choose from. that’s the ‘punishment”. What alternatives should I explore? Don’t want 1999 web sites.

    BTW all the positive testimonials and reviews on the HS web site are about 10 years old.

    Reply
    • There are choices. Lots of website builder programs out there, but my experience has been that they are not nearly as user friendly or intuitive as desktop. If you have a photo editing program you can always build your own site within Homestead.

      Reply
  19. I have been with Homestead long enough to have a grandfathered account. Now I can’t close down and transfer my sites fast enough. It does not work with Windows 10, there are no plans to provide responsive designs, and competitive alternatives are less expensive. Homestead died with its sale to Intuit.

    Reply
    • Wow, does this mean not to upgrade to Windows 10 if you want to keep on using desktop sitebuilder? I use the desktop and am still awestruck as to how user-friendly, and so much more versatile, it is compared to anything else out there. I have yet to hear from anyone what other website builder is comparable. Please give me a name. Thanks.

      Reply
      • If Homestead phases out down the road, I’ll be in a real pickle. I so totally rely upon them. ….not good.

      • Hi Pauline,
        There is a simple tweak to get desktop working in Win 10 so not-to-worry. 🙂 If there is a comparable builder I haven’t come across it and the SiteBuilder Plus just doesn’t stack up to good ol desktop.

      • Oh, that is so good to hear. There are always glitches in any program, even the good ones. With Homestead desktop sitebuilder I have been able to work with or around them and, hardly ever (never since the beginning of the year) had any significant issues that I couldn’t figure out what to do about it. All-in-all, at this time, Homestead is working well for me, with no significant problems. I am, however, not using the Storefront element of Homestead, so can’t testify to that.

      • Pauline when it comes time for you to download Win 10 and you run into issues either post here or over on the Community to get the fix.
        I’ve never used their Storefront – well I tried once, but it was sooooooooo confusing I decided to save my nerves and gave up. Are you familiar with the SiteBuilder Plus?

      • Yes, I’m familiar with the SiteBuilder Plus and have used it several times in the past, but now I only use the desktop sitebuilder which is good for my current purposes. Don’t know that I’d ever be needing to use the Storefront, but you never know! 🙂

      • Just wanted to be sure you knew about it in case the worst happens and they drop desktop.
        I’ve used their Simple Store and it’s a pretty straight-forward program and integrates right into the existing site. It has limitations of course, but for a smaller business it works well.

        Best,
        Sue

      • oh, if they dropped desktop sitebuilder, I would still be in a pickle … it does NOT work nearly as well as desktop sitebuilder (for me, at least) and I would lose the major part of being able to develop new sites the way I want to. I hope they never do drop it. Thanks for the info, though.

  20. correction: I mean Sitebuilder Plus does not work as well as desktop sitebuilder, (at least for me)

    Reply
    • lol I knew what you meant. No it’s not near the program that desktop is, but at least there’s something to fall back – I shudder to even think about it.

      Reply
  21. I’m with you on that one, and you’re right, at least it’s not all lost if it were to happen that desktop went out…. but, to those who might be responsible for the exisence of Homestead, PLEASE NOT! 🙂

    Reply

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