This website is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
ThunderSite Deluxe Review
This product has been dis-continued by Generalia Software.
Technology should make our lives easier
• eCommerce capabilities
• Image library
• Create basic sites easily
• Lacks customization options
• Templates are basic
We like the ecommerce options available with this web design package. In general, ThunderSite Deluxe is not the most comprehensive or exciting web design software available, but it does do what it sets out to do – create websites quickly and easily. This software will suit people who want a website but don’t have much time to create it.
Whether you are content with the ThunderSite features and rather limited design templates, or you are looking for a more comprehensive package, depends on your needs and your plans for your website. ThunderSite is a useful package for creating simple sites but more experienced users may want to look elsewhere for better design capabilities. We looked at ThunderSite’s features to see what it has and what it lacks.
You can download a trial version of the ThunderSite software, which comes with three website templates that have logos attached. When you download the full version you get access to the logo-free templates and all the other features. Download is quick and easy and you’re almost immediately into the process of web design. With one license you can use the software on three computers.
With the ThunderSite Deluxe package you get access to 30 templates, which are grouped in themes (sport, business etc.) The templates are not the best we’ve seen and unfortunately you cannot change the layout of the templates, resulting in rather basic-looking designs. There is some scope for customization – you can add your own text and different images but you cannot change the colours or the placing of the text boxes and the pictures. While this may suit someone who just wants a basic, functioning site we think the software is fairly limited in this respect. More templates are available but you need to pay extra for them.
Design is through a WYSIWYG process, where you drag and drop text into the site and add images straight into the page. You have access to a sample site to see what the finished product can look like.
If you want to create a website without using the pre-designed templates, there is a template creator to make a new one. More advanced users can also import files created outside the program in order to put order forms, or catalogues, on the page. Code view lets you edit the HTML, PHP and ASP directly from the page.
ThunderSite Deluxe offers more in the way of features than it does in terms of customization and templates. By installing a Photo Album plug-in you can create image galleries, and you can add banners and news feeds that scroll on your page. Use the advanced spell checker to proofread your website and add background sounds that play when someone opens the page.
If you want to add your own scripts, you can. You may also want to make use of the image library for free images for your site, although there isn’t a big selection.
Search engine optimisation
ThunderSite lets you add meta tags to your site, helping you get your site noticed by the search engines. You will need to use an external editing program to get these meta tags onto your site.
ThunderSite is particularly good for small businesses as it integrates a lot of ecommerce capability in quite a basic package. With ThunderSite’s ecommerce facilities you can set up your website to accept credit cards through PayPal or 2CheckOut. You can add a location map for your business and driving directions through Map24.com.
Online stores are easy to manage with this software, and you have the capability of adding more features when you use code.
There are no direct publishing opportunities with ThunderSite Deluxe. According to the company, it is easy to publish the website online with your chosen host but it would be better if there was an option that made it even easier for you.
No specific analytics or statistics are linked with this software package.
Ease of use
You’re likely to feel at home with the interface of the ThunderSite software due to its similarities with Microsoft applications. The program is easy to use with its drag and drop function, and the process of creating a website from scratch is clearly explained.
Some parts of the interface look a little cluttered, however, and the amount of icons on the screen may be off-putting for the complete beginner.
Help & support
A limited number of General and Product FAQs take you through some of the most popular queries and there is a page of hints and tips. If you want more help you can get free email support (so long as you have the full version of the software and not the trial version). You must fill out an online form to access the online help. There is no email address, and neither is there a telephone number.
ThunderSite may not be the best or the most interesting web design software package on the market, but it is a good option if you want a website super-fast and you don’t want to spend time designing it.
ThunderSite also scores points for its ecommerce integration, making the package particularly suitable for small businesses or organisations that need to take payments via credit card.
Looking for website design software reviews?