iClan Websites Review
iClan Websites places a decade’s worth of experience in the gaming website builder industry at your service. This is a jampacked system, boasting of communication tools like voice server integration and feature-rich forums; social networking options; tournament management, ranking, and automation support; and more. The lack of mobile apps can be restrictive if you or your members check in a lot on the go, but other than that, iClan Websites has all the ingredients for a perfect gaming clan or guild website.
- Social features, numerous communication systems (including voice server support), tournament modules, and social media integration encourage member activity.
- Management is easy with automations, infraction and censorship systems, activity and server monitors, and more, all through an uncluttered central control panel.
- Support for donations and shopping carts give you additional revenue options.
- Speedy customer support responses ensure peace of mind for you and your community.
- No dedicated mobile apps.
- Top-tier plan costs more than competing packages from other sites.
About the Company
iClan Websites has been helping gamers build successful clan or guild sites since 2008. The iClan system has come to support hundreds of games, from Minecraft and Clash of Clans to Call of Duty and even Super Mario. The company’s long list of supported games, growing roster of users, and regular feature updates are all testaments to the responsiveness and adaptability that have pushed iClan Websites to the top of the gaming website builder industry.
iClan Website offers a wide range of feature sets to fit any budget, though advanced features like tournament management and HD video streaming are limited to upper-tier plans.
There are four plans to choose from here, three of which are paid. Overall, iClan Websites offers a good spread of features, though as with many website builder services, you’ll need to get a paid subscription for access to premium features.
iClan Websites already packs quite a punch at the free tier, with a content management system, drag-and-drop theme editor, game server monitors, and more. In keeping with the shift towards more interactive online spaces, you get social features like user profiles and activity feeds, plus added exposure through Twitch stream support and Facebook and Twitter integrations. Customization extends from domain names to webpages and menus, and you’ll get donation systems and player rankings for added engagement. Communication options like forums and chat are available, but you’ll need paid tiers to unlock features like voice server integration.
iClan’s cheapest offer comes in at a lower price than many competitors, but it doesn’t scrimp on the functionality. On top of the Free Plan’s features, you get file hosting and support for HTML/CSS customization, plus the elimination of ads on your website. You’ll get expanded resources (more ranks, higher priority support, etc.) plus advanced management features like 15 each of action automations, page panels, recruitment forms and custom pages. You can also keep match reports for your group and your members.
This is iClan’s mid-range plan, and true to its name, it adds quite a bit to the Premium package. You’ll gain access to all of iClan’s premium themes, plus an unlimited amount of automations, ranks, custom pages, and recruitment forms. File storage also gets bumped up to 25 GB. Best of all, you’ll get full-scale management systems for infractions, tournaments, and even your website’s branding.
iClan Websites’ top tier, Elite includes all of the Premium+ plan’s features. Storage ramps up to 50 GB, though, and you get more exposure through featured listings throughout iClan Websites. Most importantly, you get a 50 slot voice server, with 10% discounts on slot upgrades.
Signing up for iClan Websites takes all of three steps:
- Input your username (this doubles as your site’s default subdomain), email, and password.
- Prove you’re human by filling out a captcha.
- Click through the confirmation email.
It’s a very quick and straightforward process, so you’ll have no problems diving right into website creation once you decide to register with iClan Websites.
Handy modules like the Tournament Manager give iClan Websites an edge over competing services, but quibbles like the lack of mobile apps might turn off some users.
Covering the Basics
iClan Websites delivers a good mix of features at every tier, ticking many of the boxes you’ll need for any kind of gaming website.
Most group- or community-oriented websites are incorporating more social features these days, and iClan Websites don’t fall far behind. Members of your clan or guild can create their own user profiles and activity feeds, which serve as added spaces for people to interact. Users will be free to share and interact outside the bounds of your website too, thanks to ready integrations with social networking staples like Facebook and Twitter.
iClan Websites also gives you private messaging systems for direct exchanges between members, as well as chat systems for larger groups and forums for public discussions. There’s also built-in support for Teamspeak 3, Mumble, or Ventrilo, though you’ll need one of the premium paid accounts to set up a sync.
iClan Websites has an ever-growing list of functions and readily available features that you can expect to get for your website. Character syncing, member rankings, match records, and guild or clan stats all come standard, alongside useful extensions like user point tracking (for stores that work on donation basis or with virtual currency).
It’s worth noting, though, that iClan Websites tends to focus more on the gaming-related aspects of website functionality. Modules for overall site and community management, like support ticket systems for your own website, seem to be secondary considerations.
As with most gaming website builders, iClan Websites provides a selection of pre-built themes and templates that you can deploy to your site with one click. The default themes themselves are nice to look at, and you can certainly have a decent-looking site even if you don’t tweak your chosen template at all.
However, the ability to reconfigure those themes and templates is one of iClan Websites’ strengths. You get quite a bit of control over your website’s visual design, even on lower-tier plans. At the Free level, you’ll get an intuitive drag-and-drop editor that gives you remarkable control over your theme’s layout and elements, even if you don’t have coding skills or experience. And for digging into your site’s underlying code, you won’t have to spend much: the cheapest paid plan already gives you license to play around with your site’s HTML and CSS.
For those who’d like to leave the work to the pre-built theme, you can stand out from the crowd by springing for one of the premium themes. The premium gallery packs more varied designs and layouts, so you can quickly distinguish yourself from the many other user sites out there that limit themselves to the standard theme options. The best news? While the premium theme gallery comes free at the Premium+ level or higher, you can also get access to it for a one-time, separate fee if you’d rather not bump up your monthly expenses altogether.
You’ll get a lot of automations to streamline the process of managing your website. The catch, though, is that you’ll need a paid account; Free plan users will have to do everything by hand. In any case, iClan Websites does start you off with a good number of automations even on the lowest paid tier: 15, which quickly jumps to unlimited if you upgrade your account by just one tier.
The Best of iClan Websites
iClan Websites does an excellent job with the basics, but its standout features go beyond the typical gaming website options.
First up, you’ve got the Tournament Manager. This whole module streamlines tournament supervision for you, so you can run anything from a small, internal tussle to a massive promo tourney with participants from tons of different groups.
The module has options for handling all aspects of a tournament:
- Bracket Generation: You can quickly create brackets for both single-elimination and double-elimination competitions, which is a tremendous time-saver in itself. All you have to do is input the teams or competitors, select your tournament type, and wait for the module to give you the complete set of match-ups.
- Results Tracking: Of course, generating brackets is only the beginning; any tournament organizer has to keep track of everything that’s happening. With iClan Websites’ module, the system will automatically record the results of each tournament match, updating brackets and changing each competitor’s status accordingly.
- Match Reports: You can send comprehensive reports of each match to the participants, as well as keep a public record of wins, losses, and so on, if you choose. Like the results tracker, this easily cuts down on a lot of the tedium that unfortunately comes with managing a tournament. This feature isn’t exclusive to the Tournament Manager module, either, so you can have automatic reports sent to your guild or clan members after their in-game matches.
iClan Websites is designed to save you time and effort through the automation of many key processes for your website and community. These automations are limited to the paid plans, though. If you’re handling a sizable website or member population, we recommend getting a paid account if only for this feature alone, unless you’ve got the capacity to do everything manually.
- General Management: You can have the system handle many repetitive but necessary day-to-day website processes such as awarding points for member participation, updating clan or guild stats, and so on. All you need to do is specify the custom triggers and corresponding actions.
- Infractions: If there’s certain behavior or content that’s absolutely disallowed from your site, you can also save yourself and your moderators some time by setting up automatic warnings or even bans for members who break those rules.
- Recruitment: iClan Websites doesn’t just give you recruitment forms; you can automate the process so that the system forces applicants to fill out the forms, flags incompatible applications, and so on. With these pre-screened lists of applicants, plus the ability to even leave feedback on applicants’ entries, finding the right additions for your clan or guild will be that much easier.
iClan Websites supports three different voice chat services: Teamspeak 3, Mumble, and Ventrilo. You’ll need a paid account to set up syncs with any of these. At the highest default level, you’ll get a 50 slot server, though you can purchase additional slots for a small fee.
Even the Free Plan has provisions for streaming through popular services like Twitch, so you can easily set up a feed for your group’s games. It’s worth noting, though, that HD video only becomes available when you get the mid-level Premium+ account or higher.
Ease of Use
iClan Websites’ systems are flexible enough to provide a great experience for new users and old hands alike.
As you might guess from the clutter-free user dashboard and mostly drag-and-drop editing interfaces, iClan Website is designed for use by users from any point of the expertise and experience spectrum. Most features are accessible and deployable through a few simple clicks from your account dashboard, and as mentioned before, theme and layout customization can accommodate newbies and experts both.
iClan Websites’ interface itself is designed not to overwhelm: the wealth of options at your fingertips are well-organized, so you won’t have to wade through a sea of different settings just to get at the controls for the specific feature or element you want to change.
Hosting and Domains
iClan Websites provides ready hosting for your gaming website, though you retain the freedom to use your own domain if you want.
All iClan Websites creations come with ready hosting so you can go live immediately after building your website. That said, your own custom domain goes a long way towards projecting a more professional and credible impression, and luckily, iClan Websites lets you easily use a custom domain. All you need to do is change the settings from your account dashboard.
Recruitment and Promotion
iClan Websites provides robust recruitment tools and active recruitment boards, while social media integration makes for wider promotion.
iClan Websites gives you global recruitment boards to post calls for recruits. However, paid accounts get priority listing, especially if they’re under the Elite tier. If you’ve got one of the lower-end tiers, or worse, the free plan, then your listing is likely to get lost in the shuffle. Luckily, iClan Websites also has ready integrations with Facebook and Twitter, so you can take to different social circles to cast a wider net for your recruitment.
As mentioned earlier, tools like different kinds of recruitment forms plus event creation and management are readily available. You can easily launch promos or events to draw in potential players, and the ready-made recruitment system makes it easy to sort through applications.
You’ll get relatively fast responses from iClan Websites’ helpful support team, though there aren’t many resources you can use for DIY troubleshooting.
iClan Websites registers some of the swiftest support responses in the industry, handily beating top competitors’ Enjin’s and Gamerlaunch’s average times. Expect a thorough response within a few hours of posting a query. However, you don’t get real-time support channels; instead, there’s just the support ticket system or the site’s more general feedback form.
That can leave you in a bit of a pinch if you’re dealing with urgent matters. iClan Websites has an active community forum where you can consult fellow users for advice on your specific problem, but that’s not always a guaranteed solution. Unfortunately, iClan Websites has a somewhat rudimentary FAQ/Help section with little categorization of issues or questions, so you’ll have a bit of difficulty if you choose to go the DIY troubleshooting route.
You’ve got two main alternatives to consider if you’re going to build a gaming website: Enjin and Gamerlaunch.
Why Pick iClan Websites?
iClan Websites is by far one of the most powerful gaming website builders out there, and it packs a lot of that power into even its free plan. Speedy customer support means you’ll have a reliable resource at the ready in case of website trouble. As for the website itself, iClan emphasizes features that are more directly related to different aspects of gaming — from the guild or clan site syncing to the full-featured tournament manager — so you can be sure that your iClan-powered website will greatly enhance your members’ overall game experience. The addition of a mid-level plan, for a total of three paid plan types, gives you a bit more flexibility when it comes to your monthly fee options.
However, iClan Websites’ top offering — the Elite plan — costs more than Enjin’s and Gamerlaunch’s most expensive accounts, with little beyond the voice server integration to justify the cost. That said, even the Premium or Premium+ accounts score some points over iClan’s competitors: Enjin, for example, doesn’t offer a tournament management module at all, nor does it let you buy premium theme access outside of its pre-built account packages.
Against Gamerlaunch, meanwhile, iClan Websites wins out thanks mostly to its online store and shopping cart options. While it doesn’t focus on these as much as Enjin, the availability of these features is still enough to give iClan Websites an advantage over Gamerlaunch, which doesn’t offer shopping carts at all.
Why Pick Enjin or Gamerlaunch?
Enjin offers the convenience of mobile apps, plus better monetization options through its more developed DonationCraft and online store modules. Gamerlaunch, meanwhile, offers better site design options and more storage for lower prices.
Enjin offers an array of mobile apps developed specifically for iOS and Android, so you’ll have easy-to-use control modules if you ever need to manage your website on the go. Its DonationCraft and online store systems are more robust and extensive than iClan Websites’ options, with support for multiple payment systems and full integration with your website’s virtual currency if needed.
As for Gamerlaunch, it offers much better-looking default themes and design customizations out of the box. Its drag-and-drop editing interface comes with live previews, and ready access to HTML/CSS editing grants more freedom over layouts and widgets even on a free plan. It also offers more storage overall, with its top plan’s 60 GB beating out iClan Websites’ 50 GB Elite package for a cheaper price.
iClan Websites Review – Conclusion
iClan Websites is no doubt one of the most powerful gaming website builders you can find on the web right now. It’s a fantastic choice for guild or clan leaders, or other gamers who are set on directly enhancing their community members’ gaming experience. The company’s free plan comes with some extra capabilities like Twitch streaming support that set it apart from competing packages, and the ability to buy access to premium content like themes for a one-time fee makes for cost-effective alternatives for users who don’t want to shoulder larger monthly expenses overall. Best of all, it delivers quick, useful technical support, so you never feel lost when troubleshooting a problem with your website.
A few issues keep iClan Websites from getting a perfect score: there are no mobile apps for users who want to manage their websites away from their desktops, for example, and some competitors offer their best features at lower monthly prices. Still, iClan Websites is a joy to use, and its wide range of robust features is well worth a look.