Gaming websites are all about building an online home for your community, and Enjin lets you do that with ease. All account types get access to a wealth of site building and community management features geared specifically for gamers: game server syncs, rankings, in-game stores, and voice server integration are just some examples. The lack of a tournament management system is a big minus to Enjin’s tally, but that and a few quibbles are still outweighed by the Enjin system’s overall excellence and responsive support services.
- Enjin has feature-rich forums, voice server support, and social networking for better community-building.
- From support ticket systems to wikis and chat groups, you’ll have one-click modules for every occasion.
- Enjin’s API makes your website data available for use in custom features and integrations.
- Ward off DDoS attacks with Enjin’s built-in DDoS protection system.
- You’ll need to get one of the paid subscriptions to get the most out of Enjin.
About the Company
Started in March 2009, Enjin now has 8 successful years of building gaming websites under its belt. The Enjin website network spans thousands of sites and communities, with around 18 million registered users and counting. With over 4 million unique users reached per month, Enjin has also carved out a top spot in the gaming website industry.
Enjin offers three different plans but advanced features like voice support and multiple Minecraft server syncs are reserved for paid accounts.
The plans form a ladder with increasing levels of access to resources and features. If you want to experience Enjin’s toolkit at its best, you’ll need to get the highest-priced tier, called Ultimate. That said, the free plan itself isn’t half bad, and you can certainly run a basic community on its features alone.
All plans come equipped with Enjin’s custom CMS (content management system), as well as complete use of Enjin’s mobile apps for iOS and Android. Social networking features will also be available to your community members, so they can enjoy profiles and activity walls, direct messaging, and more. You’ll also be able to deploy up to 20 of Enjin’s one-click modules and widgets, as well as create forums for your community. Management tools like automations and warnings come standard, though you’ll have more options with paid tiers.
The Advanced plan builds on these base features by expanding some resource allocations (more automations and available modules) and introducing new features entirely. For starters, you’ll get 5 slot Teamspeak 3 or Mumble voice servers, plus file storage, a forum vote system, and theme editor. Additionally, you’ll get access to Enjin’s API, plus more back-end administration options and site security coverage.
The Ultimate plan is where Enjin goes full throttle, expanding well past the limits found in the Advanced plan (e.g., from 5 to 20 slot voice servers, unlimited module deployment, etc.). Exclusive features like custom emojis, full API access, and enterprise-level DDoS protection are the hallmark of the plan, though. Ultimate is great for large-scale, established communities looking for a boost.
Enjin has a straightforward registration process that requires less than five steps to set up an account:
- Pick the type of website you want to create (e.g., Minecraft server, eSports team, guild, etc.). You can also skip this step if you just want to create an account.
- Input your username, email, and password.
- Click through the confirmation email.
- Sign into your account!
The simplicity of the process makes it easy to get started, and Enjin’s prompted website type selection conveniently leads you to the particular system configuration that works best with the goals of your website.
Enjin packs a lot of powerful features, even for its free plan, but the lack of a tournament management system puts it behind competitors like iClan Websites.
Covering the Basics
There’s a lot you can do with an Enjin account no matter the tier, and you’ll certainly have more than enough to get a new gaming website started.
Social networking features and forum creation tools help foster better communication among your members, plus they give you more avenues to engage with the group as well. Direct messaging systems are great for member-to-member communication, and they come with all plans. Voice servers will need a paid account to sync, though; for those, Enjin lets you choose between Teamspeak 3 or Mumble. If your community wants to chip in for voice server integration costs, you can also use Enjin’s Group Pay feature to manage those efforts. For an alternative — and free — real-time communication solution, meanwhile, you can deploy chat group modules.
Enjin’s modules don’t stop at group chats, though. You can also deploy modules for functions like rankings and point tracking, wikis, support ticket systems, and so on — everything you need to customize and manage your site. Free users will be happy to know that Enjin lets them deploy up to 20 of these modules at a time, which is a respectable number for the price.
Thanks to a gallery of pre-configured themes and templates, you can gussy up your website in one click. Enjin’s themes are pretty standard, so there’s not a lot to distinguish your website visually if you stick to the default theme settings. One of our quibbles with Enjin is that you won’t have much control over site design until you get a paid account: the theme editor only comes into play at the Advanced tier or higher. If you’re not confident in your ability to implement DIY tweaks to your themes, you’ll have to spring for the Ultimate plan to get more unique premium themes.
More often than not, this means Free plan subscribers will end up with a website that looks similar to other free Enjin creations. You can always switch up the modules and features, but visually, you won’t be leaving a striking, memorable impression.
Aside from the custom modules, automations for ranking, warning, and moderating your community reduce the work of community management. Unfortunately, free plans are limited to 1 automation and 1 custom warning/punishment action, which isn’t enough even for the most modest community sizes. In fact, even the Advanced plan’s bump up to 5 automations and custom warnings might feel a bit lacking.
The Enjin Advantage
Enjin’s strengths, however, lie in its robust and unique solutions for e-commerce and donations, mobile use, site security and management, and game-specific features.
DonationCraft and Online Stores
Perhaps Enjin’s flagship feature, DonationCraft lets you set up a points-based “currency” for your website, along with a catalog of products and rewards that can be purchased with those points. DonationCraft is designed to save you the trouble of creating the necessary systems from scratch:
- The Online Store module can take points payments out of the box, so all you’ll need to do is input the custom product categories and each item you want to offer.
- Automations and voting modules can be set up to dispense points for your chosen member-action triggers, so you won’t need to manually grant points every day.
- A Points Display module handles all of the points tracking for each user in your community.
- Enjin’s in-game Server Commands module lets you set up an in-game shop and configure specific commands that can be used to trigger various transactions.
Depending on your account level, DonationCraft also comes with handy support for multiple shops (e.g., if you’re running different shops in several Minecraft servers), sales and discounts (great for promos and events), and more.
Essentially, DonationCraft is an extension of Enjin’s already robust Online Store modules. The latter already support various payment gateways (e.g., PayPal) by default, and DonationCraft extends that to virtual currency as well. Together, both module types give you a great way to stoke player engagement, encourage more community participation, boost your website’s revenue, and deliver added value to each user’s playing experience.
Gaming itself is confined to your computer or console, but a community manager and website owner’s job extends far beyond the bounds of the game itself. For those times when you need to take your work with you, Enjin helpfully offers a solution: mobile apps.
These are available for iOS and Android, and they give you access to most of the features you’ll normally get in the desktop version. The mobile-specific app interface makes it easier to work the controls — definitely a smoother user experience compared to using a mobile version of the site through your device browser.
Users also get mobile apps that grant access to their community profiles, your website’s forums, and so on. This makes it easier for your community members to stay engaged and active, which is great news for your site.
Site Security and Management
Network failures, DDoS attacks, and malicious intrusions are just some of the problems that can plague gamers, especially with today’s many connection-reliant games. The same holds true for any website, but the problem gains more urgency for gaming websites. You don’t want a malfunctioning in-game store when your users are online and puttering around your Minecraft server, for example.
The good news is that Enjin provides comprehensive website and server security. Proactive network and server scanning keeps you and Enjin’s technical staff on top of any possible security breaches. Meanwhile, DDoS protection guards against one of the biggest threats to server and website uptime. The catch is that DDoS security only comes with Advanced accounts and higher, and if you expect large-scale attacks to come your way, your only recourse is to get the Ultimate plan for access to enterprise-grade DDoS security coverage.
Minecraft is one of Enjin’s top supported games, so the site understandably devotes a lot of resources and features to it. However, it’s just one slice of the gaming pie, and Enjin’s game-specific support for other titles certainly doesn’t forget that.
You’ll also find specific features for the following games:
- Final Fantasy XIV
- World of Warcraft
- Arma 3
- ARK: Survival Evolved
- Star Wars: The Old Republic
- World of Tanks
- Battlefield 1
Features include character, ranking, and guild data syncs for games like FF XIV and WoW; raid management tools and Boss Progression tracking, customizable voice servers with Group Pay options, and more.
Ease of Use
Designed to work even with non-coders, Enjin’s system balances simplicity with customizability through its intuitive modules and API options.
Enjin’s themes and modules are built to be used even without coding skills or experience. Most additional modules are 1-click installs for which the most you’ll have to do is input custom settings or information. That’s usually done through drop-down menus, point-and-click options, and so on, so the chances of getting lost in the interface are low.
That said, don’t write off Enjin’s capabilities as basic or limited just yet. It also offers a robust API — complete with extensive documentation — that lets you draw upon your site data and settings to craft your own custom modules and features. If you do have coding experience, this gives you more freedom to make your website exactly how you want it.
Hosting and Domains
Enjin provides fast and reliable hosting for all user websites, and partnerships with known Minecraft server hosts can give you more bang for your buck.
Enjin provides hosting for all of its users’ created websites, though you can use your own domain if you like. Changing your site URL to your desired domain is as easy as typing your desired URL into the appropriate setting panel. All accounts come with a DNS control module, where you can also set different DNS records (CNAME, A, MX, SRV records, etc.) for your subdomains.
If you’re just starting out, you might also want to check out Enjin’s partnerships with various game server hosting services. Most of these are dedicated to Minecraft servers, so if you’re looking to venture into Minecraft, these are easy ways to score reliable server hosting and 45 free days of Enjin’s Advanced subscription, too.
Enjin’s recruitment boards serve as a great starting point for recruiting new community members, but for broader promotions, you won’t find much beyond basic analytics and SEO tools.
So you’ve got your site up and running. Now what? Kickstarting your community’s growth should be one of your top priorities, and luckily, Enjin has facilities to make that job easier. For one thing, the global recruitment boards are a good venue to advertise for possible recruits. One quibble here is that Ultimate subscribers get priority listing, followed by Advanced users; unless you shell out for a paid account, you might find your recruitment calls buried under other communities’ posts.
You can stretch beyond Enjin’s (admittedly vast) player recruitment network with the help of Enjin’s built-in SEO and marketing features. Don’t expect lots of fancy tools, though — unlike the rest of its feature set, Enjin sticks to fairly basic SEO tools here. For the most part, you’ll get Google Analytics to help you track site statistics, as well as options to add meta descriptions, tags, and keywords to your pages.
Enjin offers lots of DIY troubleshooting resources and a responsive support team, but the lack of real-time support channels like live chat is a bit disappointing.
Enjin boasts of an average response rate of 12 hours or less for support requests. That’s for all plans, including Free account subscribers, which is great news if you’re running a site on a tight budget.
There are a lot of resources at your disposal if you opt for DIY troubleshooting for your site: Enjin has an organized and thorough Help Center, complete with video tutorials and step-by-step guides. The API documentation has its own microsite, too, which you can consult for detailed guidance on all aspects of using the Enjin API. For more specific questions, you can try the active Support Forums, where fellow Enjin users and the occasional staff member can chime in with possible solutions for you.
As for direct assistance from Enjin, your only option is to file a support ticket through their site or your account dashboard. Enjin has a good response rate for these tickets, but it still would’ve been great to have a real-time assistance option like live chat for any urgent issues that might crop up.
You’ve got two main alternatives to consider if you’re going to build a gaming website: iClan Websites and Gamerlaunch.
Why Pick Enjin?
Enjin’s vast array of features and robust online store modules give you more options, not least for boosting your website’s revenue. Of all three, it’s the only one that lets you deploy a support ticket module for your website, too.
Enjin vs iClan: Its top plan is a few dollars cheaper than iClan Websites’ corresponding package, with comparable features. Plus, Enjin offers dedicated mobile apps and modules for wikis and raid and DKP tracking, all of which iClan doesn’t have.
Enjin vs Gamerlaunch: Enjin’s edge lies in its powerful online store modules and its forum import options. The latter makes it easy to transfer existing communities to a new Enjin site, while online stores give you monetization options that you won’t get from Gamerlaunch, which doesn’t offer shopping carts.
Why Pick iClan Websites or Gamerlaunch?
Both iClan Websites and Gamerlaunch offer tournament managers, plus support for Ventrilo voice servers. Their mid-range paid account options also offer more budget flexibility than Enjin’s pair of Advanced and Ultimate plans.
iClan vs Enjin: iClan Websites’ option to buy individual premium themes or purchase premium theme access with a separate fee is a more cost-effective alternative to Enjin’s limited-access premium themes. Its default theme designs are also better out of the box than Enjin’s, especially when you compare the themes available for free plans. Finally, iClan Websites’ support team tends to respond faster than Enjin’s, though not by that big a margin.
Gamerlaunch vs Enjin: Gamerlaunch has the best default themes and design customizations out of the box, with live previews and more freedom over layouts and widgets even on a free plan. It also offers more storage overall: its cheapest paid plan’s 10 GB is double Enjin’s 5 GB allocation, and its top plan’s 60 GB edges out Enjin’s 50 GB, all for the same prices.
Enjin Review – Conclusion
There’s a lot to like in Enjin’s gaming website packages, regardless of which plan you’re eyeing.
Granted, there are a few quibbles, especially regarding tournament management or premium feature access; depending on your needs, alternatives like iClan Websites or Gamerlaunch might be a better fit.
Stick with Enjin, though, and you’ll enjoy access to powerful online store and donation modules, rich game-specific integrations and features, and a well-developed site building and management system. Whether you’re looking to build a home for your eSports team or a base for your million-strong guild, Enjin has the tools and the resources to back you up.