1&1 MyWebsite Review Highlights
Build a professional site in minutes using this easy drag-and-drop tool from a trusted internet brand
Find the perfect business template – it’s even pre-filled with content you can keep
Get all the tech support you need including daily site backups and 24/7 Remote Support
Powering (1&1 worldwide)
15 million users
Beneath the ‘techie’ exterior of 1&1’s homepage lies a drag-and-drop website builder aimed at normal, busy web users like you and me. It could be the perfect tool for getting your small business online, fast.
In fact, it promises it can deliver your professional web presence in five minutes – no coding required.
And to keep up with the competition, 1&1 regularly adds clever new features such as the Online Business Card tool and a Remote Support assistant.
So, what’s the catch?
For starters, there’s no free plan – not even a free trial. But there is a 30-day money-back guarantee, no questions asked. And with price plans (‘packages’) starting at just $1 per month, MyWebsite offers good value for money compared with the competition.
Then there’s the wow factor, or lack of it. None of 1&1’s designs can match Squarespace for pizzazz. And it’s fair to say 1&1 lacks the warmth and friendliness of Wix.
So if you want the coolest site on the block and loads of luscious design inspiration, 1&1 MyWebsite may not be for you.
However, if you want a no-nonsense tool that gets your site up and running fast – stay tuned. And because 1&1 fills its templates with industry-specific content, it’s especially good for busy freelancers and small businesses.
But is it right for your business? Let’s find out.
For this in-depth review, I handed over one (a whole one!) of my hard-earned bucks for 1&1’s MyWebsite Basic plan. Then I dug deep to test MyWebsite’s templates, mobile-friendliness, customization tools, and more.
Read on for the full lowdown.
1&1 MyWebsite review contents
Click to jump to a section…
- 1&1 MyWebsite review in brief – what are the top 3 pros and cons?
- How quick and easy is it to build a website using 1&1 MyWebsite?
- How good are 1&1’s templates?
- How customizable are 1&1’s templates?
- Will your 1&1 site look great on mobile screens?
- What SEO (search engine optimization) tools does 1&1 offer?
- How good is 1&1’s help and support?
- 1&1 pricing – is a 1&1 MyWebsite plan worth the investment?
- 1&1 review summary – is 1&1 MyWebsite the right website builder for you?
11&1 MYWEBSITE REVIEW IN BRIEF – WHAT ARE THE TOP 3 PROS AND CONS?
|TOP 3 1&1 MYWEBSITE PROS|
|#1||A ready-made site that fits your business
1&1’s templates cover hundreds of trades that normal people work in. From accountancy to zoology via plumbing, teaching, finance and many more.
You don’t just get a template with ‘Accountant’ written on it, either. 1&1’s templates are pre-loaded with logos, menus and photos, carefully chosen for your needs.
This content is yours to keep, too. If you’re on the Basic plan or higher, you can use up to five of 1&1’s stock images on your published site – and even tweak them using the excellent built-in photo editor.
|#2||Brilliant built-in SEO tools for winning at Google
1&1 MyWebsite simplifies SEO (search engine optimization) in ways most other website builders don’t. It helps you give Google all the info it needs to get people clicking your site.
For an extra Google boost, 1&1 lets you set a unique web address for each page of your site. Wix lets you do this too, but most website builders don’t.
1&1 now even lets you create ‘nested’ page addresses. We’ll explain what this means – and why it’ll boost your visitor numbers – here.
|#3||Advanced web tools for your growing site
You can build a professional-looking website using 1&1 MyWebsite in minutes, with no tech skills whatsoever.
But what if you need more advanced features? You’re in good hands, because 1&1 offers just about every internet service under the sun.
From advanced site features such as automated widgets and HTML support, to ecommerce and business tools, 1&1’s got it covered.
You may not want these services now, but you will when your business grows. And it’s great to know you can find them all under one roof.
|TOP 3 1&1 MYWEBSITE CONS|
|#1||Some templates lack style
1&1’s aesthetics can’t match the wow factor of Squarespace. Wix, too, can deliver a stunning site without you having to do very much.
Don’t get me wrong – many of 1&1’s newer templates look fabulous. They boast up-to-the-minute features such as mobile responsiveness and parallax scrolling (find out more here).
But the older templates look a little, well, “templatey”. You may not give a hooey about that, but bear it in mind if design is a priority.
|#2||No free plan – and confusing prices
Most of 1&1 MyWebsite’s rivals offer a free plan or free trial, as you can see from our website builders comparison chart. But 1&1 doesn’t.
The MyWebsite Basic package is great value at just $1 per month for your first year, and all MyWebsite packages come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. But you may prefer a website builder that doesn’t ask for cash up front.
You may also be put off by the fees scattered all over the 1&1 website. Most of these are for services separate from 1&1 MyWebsite, so you don’t have to worry about them right now (or ever). But it can get confusing.
For more on pricing, click here.
|#3||Intimidating first impressions
1&1’s homepage is covered in tech acronyms such as SSL, PHP, MySQL and CPanel. You don’t need to know what they mean. But 1&1 makes you feel that you do – and that can be off-putting.
As we’ll see in this review, 1&1 MyWebsite is actually very easy to use. But first impressions count for a lot, and 1&1’s jargon may scare away beginners.
2HOW EASY IS IT TO CREATE A SITE USING 1&1 MYWEBSITE?
“You don’t need to know a line of code to build and publish your 1&1 website. You can go from sign-up to publish in your lunchbreak. You don’t even have to supply all your own content.”
1&1 is being modest when it promises to get you online in five minutes. If you use the new Online Business Card feature, you can establish a professional web presence in seconds.
The Online Business Card is a personalized ‘under construction’ page. You can use your own photo, logo and text – or you can just go with the content 1&1 provides. It’s automatically tailored for your industry.
That’s about as easy as site-building gets.
Here’s my Online Business Card in the making. Sadly, this is not a photo of me! It was supplied by 1&1 – who’ll let me use it for free:
These speedy, easy principles carry over to MyWebsite’s main template editor.
Again, you’re offered a ton of free industry-specific text, menus and headings, and up to five professional stock photos from 1&1’s massive image library.
This pre-loaded content is best used as inspiration and guidance. You’ll probably want to replace it with your own text and photos before publishing, not least so you stand out from the crowd and rank well on Google.
But the point is you don’t have to replace the content. If you need to get a site published as fast as possible, then 1&1 MyWebsite is hard to beat.
If you do get stuck, there’s help at every turn. The editor and its menus are full of little question marks that open related Help articles:
Wix has similar Help boxes, but 1&1’s have a bonus feature: an ‘Open in a new page’ link.
This means you can keep the article open in a separate window while you’re working, then bookmark it to come back to later. Much easier than searching through the Help Center.
How easy is 1&1 MyWebsite’s domain name setup?
1&1 doesn’t give you a branded domain name automatically, like Wix and Weebly do. You get a domain name with all packages from Basic on up, but you have to go through the process of choosing it, registering it, and then linking it with your site.
And that actually takes more time and effort than getting your first site online!
You can skip the domain registration process if you want. But if you do that, 1&1 will lumber you with an ugly default URL that looks like the kind of password your bank wishes you’d use.
(Here’s mine: ‘https://s706624758.1and1.websitebuilder.online’. Catchy, eh?)
So you don’t have much choice but to choose, register and link a domain name if you want your 1&1 site to look professional.
3HOW GOOD ARE 1&1’S TEMPLATES?
“1&1 MyWebsite gives you a superb choice of industry-specific templates. Some of the older designs look a little old-fashioned, but the newer ones are modern and dynamic.”
Do you want a business website that works straight out of the box and fits your sector – whether that’s plumbing, personal finance or pet-sitting? Then 1&1’s templates are ideal.
Head over to 1&1’s templates library and check out the 360-plus designs. Every 1&1 template is mobile-friendly. You even get a mobile preview right up front in the templates library, along with nice big thumbnanils:
Dozens of 1&1’s newest templates include innovative features such as parallax scrolling. That’s the 3D animated effect where the background moves as you scroll. It’s become a must-have for modern websites.
But design effects are not 1&1’s priority. These are templates to be used, not to be gazed at in awe.
And they’re designed to be used right away.
Here are a few examples, straight off the shelf. The pre-filled content reflects not only the template’s trade type, but it also automatically incorporates certain info you’ve given. For example the map shows your location.
As you can see, 1&1 is doing a lot of your work for you here.
The pre-filled content is a huge point in 1&1’s favor. All these headings, menus and site sections are yours to keep or edit.
You can also use up to five photos from 1&1’s image library – which has more than 20 million pics to choose from.
Compare that with Squarespace, whose ‘demo content’ magically turns into a ‘404 error’ page if you try to use it on your published site!
1&1’s pre-filled templates can save you a ton of time, effort and money. They’re perfect for busy small businesses or tradespeople who need to establish an online presence fast. The design and details can be tinkered with later.
4HOW CUSTOMIZABLE ARE 1&1’S TEMPLATES?
“1&1 MyWebsite is brilliant for quickly publishing a site, and it also lets you code from scratch. But in between those extremes, it’s less good. It can’t match the versatile drag-and-drop of Wix and Weebly.”
Quiz time. Would you like to…
- Publish a pre-filled template instantly?
- Customize the template using powerful drag-and-drop controls?
- Build a site from scratch using HTML and CSS?
You picked number 2, right? Of course – that’s why you’re reading this! The bad news is that 1&1 MyWebsite excels at numbers 1 and 3.
That’s not to say it’s hopeless at customizations. It’s more versatile than Squarespace, in fact. Let’s run through what it’s good at and what it’s not so good at.
Quick initial customization: good
Unlike Squarespace, MyWebsite lets you drag the edges of your template’s content blocks, and you can also drag the blocks around – within reason.
You can also crop and reposition photos and other content inside the blocks. There’s even a fantastic built-in photo editor, which saves you having to use other software to make your photos look great and fit the template.
Drag-and-drop freedom: limited
Squarespace can get away with inflexible content blocks, because its templates are stunning. And indeed, if you love 1&1’s templates, then you won’t need powerful customization tools.
But if you want to transform your template into something special, you may struggle to achieve your vision with 1&1 MyWebsite.
That’s partly because 1&1’s content blocks ‘snap’ to fixed points when you move them around. It feels like trying to park a heavy old truck. By comparison, Wix feels like maneuvering rollerskates. Haphazard at first, but almost limitless.
You may also hit a few roadblocks when trying to customize text. In principle, it’s easy to edit its font, size and style using a pop-up text toolbar (see screenshot below). But it didn’t always work for me in practice.
Adding site features: very good
While its drag-and-drop controls are only OK, we do really like 1&1’s optional site features. They’re not as good as Wix’s, but they’re easier to add, and much easier to browse (Wix offers too many!)
For example you can add interactive contact forms, a translation tool, a feed of Facebook comments, image sliders, and even HTML blocks that you can code yourself.
You can also add a blog with one click, and even import all your posts from an existing blog. Job done.
To get 1&1’s very best site features, you’ll need to be on the MyWebsite Plus package ($10/month) or higher.
MyWebsite Plus includes a neat selection of ‘Personalization rules’. These ‘rules’ are apps that automate actions on your site. Special promotions, for instance. Or a notification bar for specific users, or an intro video for first-time visitors.
The Plus package also lets you transform your entire template using HTML, CSS and other code. We’ll have more about the MyWebsite packages in the pricing section.)
So even though 1&1’s drag-and-drop customizations aren’t quite Weebly or Wix standard, MyWebsite is more than just an off-the-shelf site service. It’s also got a decent range of features for growing your site – and growing your business.
1&1 MyWebsite is ideal if you want a site you can publish fast. Customization is pretty easy, too, thanks to drag-and-drop content blocks and built-in tools, including a photo editor. But if you’re after 100% drag-and-drop flexibility, Wix may be a better choice.
5WILL YOUR 1&1 WEBSITE LOOK GREAT ON PHONE AND TABLET SCREENS?
“1&1 doesn’t just give you a ready-made site, it gives you a ready-made site that looks great and works perfectly on any device. And its mobile Preview Mode is one of the best we’ve seen.”
More people browse the web on their smartphones now than on their computers, according to tech analysts comScore. Pretty soon, no-one will even have a desktop computer at home.
So it really matters that your website is mobile-friendly. If you’re running a small business, it’s absolutely vital.
And 1&1 has a few ways to give you a head start.
Mobile responsive templates – automatically fit any screen
Dozens of 1&1’s newer templates are ‘responsive’. That means they adapt automatically to fit any screen, from huge 4K desktop monitors to the tiniest mobile phones.
Responsiveness takes away the need to create a separate mobile site. It saves time, effort and frustration.
But there are downsides. When you choose a responsive template, you can’t edit a separate mobile version. That means you don’t get complete control over how your site looks and behaves on mobile.
You can get a pretty good idea, from 1&1’s fantastic, interactive Preview Mode. This tool didn’t just reassure me, it delighted me! I was excited to see how my site would look on my visitors’ smartphones and iPads. And it hadn’t required any extra work from me.
How does that compare with the competition? Squarespace and SmugMug only offer responsive templates. Squarespace has a mobile preview mode, but it’s not as interactive as 1&1’s preview. SmugMug doesn’t offer any preview at all.
Wix, on the other hand… well, keep reading.
Adaptive templates – edit a separate mobile version
What if you want to build a separate mobile site? Then stick around, because 1&1 MyWebsite lets you do that too.
All of 1&1’s older templates are ‘adaptive’. 1&1 MyWebsite automatically creates a mobile version that you can then customize separately from the desktop version, using a built-in mobile editor.
The downside is that these older templates tend to be less stylish than the newer ones. Many also lack design features such as parallax scrolling.
If you want to edit a mobile version without sacrificing style, then Wix may be a better choice of website builder for you. Wix’s templates aren’t automatically responsive, but they can all be customized to an amazing degree in separate desktop and mobile editors.
It’s essential to get a preview when you’re building a responsive site. You need to check how your site will look on different screens. 1&1 MyWebsite’s Preview Mode is accurate, reassuring – and even fun.
6WHAT SEO (SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION) TOOLS DOES 1&1 MYWEBSITE OFFER?
“1&1 MyWebsite is packed with ways to help you win the Google game and get visitors beating a path to your website. It helps you tell Google what your content is and where to find it.”
1&1 MyWebsite is brilliant at demystifying SEO (‘search engine optimization’ – or, in plain English, getting to the top of Google).
Every page of your site has its own SEO settings box, where 1&1 invites you to fill out as much or as little information about your content as you want.
1&1’s SEO settings boxes don’t just invite you to fill out info, they help you understand why it matters.
The more relevant info you can offer, the more Google will know about your site. The more Google knows, the better your rank will be – and the more visitors you’ll get.
Give each page a Google-winning web address
1&1 MyWebsite lets you customize the URL (web address) of each page individually.
Unique page addresses give Google a much better idea of what that page is about – and that pushes you up the search rankings.
Page URLs also give your visitors a chance to share and remember the address for specific pages of your site. They can make a note of your bookings page, for example. And that’s very good for business.
Say you’re building a website about dogs, and you have a page about training. To improve the page’s Google ranking, edit its address to be: ‘www.example.com/dog-training’.
1&1 also now lets you create ‘nested’ page addresses by adding slashes. For example, you could embed a page about training German Shepherds and edit the URL to be: ‘www.example.com/dog-training/german-shepherds’.
The option to customize and nest page addresses is a big plus point for 1&1 over its competitors. Wix does let you set page URLs, but most other website builders don’t. Instead, they lumber you with fixed, unmemorable addresses for every page.
Note that if you’re on the MyWebsite Plus package or higher ($10/month), you get an extra ‘SEO-Tutorial’ guide. That may be of interest if you’re aiming for serious traffic.
If you really care about being visible on Google and driving people to your site, 1&1 could be an excellent choice of website builder. It takes care of collecting relevant info from you – then makes sure Google gets the message.
7HOW GOOD IS 1&1 HELP AND SUPPORT?
“1&1 offers many ways to get help when you’re stuck. There’s a knowledgebase of articles, plus phone and Live Chat, plus a new Remote Support tool for one-on-one assistance.”
There’s help all over the 1&1 website, and most of it is free to access, whether or not you have a MyWebsite account. That’s great – it means you can really get a flavor of 1&1 and what it can offer you, before you sign up.
But with so much advice on offer, where should you start?
Read all about it: 1&1 Help Center and Digital Guides
1&1’s Help Center is a searchable treasure trove of articles and how-to videos. There’s a whole section devoted to MyWebsite, with guides to everything from connecting domains to adding new pages. It’s definitely the best place to start.
The Help Center articles are ideal for getting step-by-step help on specific tasks. They don’t blind you with science or bore you with too many words, but instead offer clear instructions, brought to life in videos and screenshots.
For longer “sit back and read” articles, check out 1&1’s free Digital Guides. They’re like online magazines. The Website Creation Digital Guide has How to create a forum, 5 tips to choosing the right domain, and hundreds more.
One-on-one help: 1&1 Customer Support and Live Chat
When you get stuck or hit tech trouble, it’s time to turn to a real person for help.
In the past, we’ve seen reports of unhelpful 1&1 support staff. However this seems to be a problem that 1&1 has worked hard to fix. Take a look at the 1&1 Support Twitter feed. It’s full of satisfied customers – and it’s a surprisingly effective way to get one-on-one help.
If you’re not the tweeting type, you can call 1&1 Customer Support 24/7, all year round, toll-free (1-866-991-2631). There’s no specific number for 1&1 MyWebsite, but the Customer Support team will connect you to the relevant expert when you call.
You will need your 1&1 customer ID to get help by phone. So if you don’t yet have a 1&1 account, use Live Chat instead. It’s completely free.
1&1’s Live Chat is a brilliant way get topic-specific help with one click. When I clicked the Live Chat button on the ‘Website Builder & Hosting’ page, I was linked instantly to a web hosting specialist. It’s smart, fast, and saves you a lot of searching.
My questions were answered quickly and politely, but not in great detail. There was no “can I help you with anything else?” sign-off, which was disappointing. It felt a little rushed.
On the upside, Live Chat is visual – just like website building! You can upload screenshots to explain your problem, or paste jargon into the chat window to have it explained. 1&1 even lets you download a PDF of the whole chat for free, with one click.
Hands-on help: 1&1 Remote Support
1&1’s new Remote Support service lets a 1&1 expert view your screen while you talk through the problem and solution on the phone. It’s the closest you’ll get to having the support team in your room.
You don’t have install any software – all the tech stuff is handled by 1&1. All data passing between you and 1&1 is encrypted using 128-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) technology. This means it’s completely scrambled, so it can’t be deciphered by hackers or snoopers.
1&1’s Remote Support service is free, but it’s only available to 1&1 customers.
Yet more online help from 1&1
- 1&1 on YouTube – join 2,100 subscribers to watch 1&1 MyWebsite how-tos, inspirational website stories, and hundreds more videos from the 1&1 team. Well worth bookmarking for tips.
- 1&1 Status Page – free tool that reveals any interruptions to 1&1’s service.
- 1&1 Cloud Community – this is such a missed opportunity! 1&1’s forum is a thriving community, but it’s very ‘techie’ – far too intimidating for normal folk.
81&1 PRICING – IS A 1&1 MYWEBSITE PACKAGE WORTH THE INVESTMENT?
“1&1 MyWebsite may not have a free plan or even a free trial, but you do get good value for money – and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, whatever package you buy.”
There are prices and ‘packages’ all over 1&1’s website. And there’s no central pricing page, so it can get confusing.
But you can ignore all those separate prices. If you want to build a website, have it hosted and choose a domain name, you get it all included with a 1&1 MyWebsite package.
The bad news is you need to pay it upfront. There’s no free trial, officially. But there is a way to try out MyWebsite completely free for a month. Find out how, later in this section.
How much does 1&1 MyWebsite cost?
1&1 currently has some amazing special offers on all four of its MyWebsite packages. If you act fast and sign up for a year, you can save up to 90% on the normal monthly price.
All website builders charge you a bit less if you sign up for a year and pay for the full year up front. But 1&1’s savings really are impressive.
Here’s how much you save if you grab one of the special offer prices:
|1&1 MyWebsite package||Pay monthly ($/mo)||Pay annually ($/mo)||You save ($/yr)||You save (%)|
Your subscription fee will go up after your first year (for example from $1 to $10/month for MyWebsite Basic). But that doesn’t mean 1&1 is out to trap you. The prices you pay after a year are still reasonable.
So even after your bill goes up, 1&1’s MyWebsite packages still compare very well with other website builders.
For example when MyWebsite Basic goes up to $10/month (assuming you pay annually again), it becomes the same price as Wix’s $10 Combo plan.
Here’s how much the price goes up after your first year:
|1&1 MyWebsite package||First year ($/month)||Subsequent years ($/month)|
Which 1&1 MyWebsite package should you choose?
Here’s a quick overview of what the four MyWebsite packages give you for your cash. For more detail, click the screenshot then click ‘Show more features’ under the table.
All 1&1 MyWebsite packages include daily backups of all your site content; unlimited pages and web space (so you can upload as much content as you want); and five free professional stock photos from a choice of over 20 million.
1&1 provides security certificates to ensure your data and your visitors’ data is safe from hackers and snoopers, whatever MyWebsite package you choose. You also get unlimited bandwidth and a 99.9% ‘uptime guarantee’. That’s more than you get with Wix’s $10 Combo plan.
All MyWebsite packages from Basic ($1/month) and upwards come with a unique domain name.
But if I had to recommend just one package, it’d be 1&1 MyWebsite Plus ($10/month for the first year, then $20/month). It includes 1&1’s best site-building features, such as automation widgets (‘Personalization rules’) and the option the completely customize your template using HTML.
Why the lowest plan isn’t worth the money
You can safely ignore the lowest package, MyWebsite Personal. Unlike MyWebsite Basic, MyWebsite Personal doesn’t include a domain name or email address. You’d have to buy a domain separately, at a cost of several bucks.
And when you’ve paid for a domain name, you can’t get your money back if you change your mind. With a MyWebsite package, you can get your money back. More on that in a moment.
Get an online store with MyWebsite Premium
Even the priciest MyWebsite Premium package ($20/month, then $30 after your first year) is good value compared with 1&1’s rivals. Wix’s $25/month VIP plan is the closest equivalent. Weebly’s similar plan costs $38.
There’s no ecommerce plan as such among the MyWebsite packages. MyWebsite Premium includes an integrated online store, and it’d be a fine choice for setting up your first web shop.
But if you’re planning a more advanced and scalable store, you should check out the 1&1 Online Store Builder packages instead. These specialist ecommerce packages are entirely separate from MyWebsite. (See, I said it got confusing.)
We’ll take a closer look at the Online Store Builder packages in a separate article.
Try for free: 1&1’s 30-day money-back guarantee
Whatever package you choose, you have to sign up and pay up before you can use 1&1 MyWebsite. Unlike Wix and Weebly, 1&1 doesn’t offer free plans. And unlike Squarespace, it doesn’t give you a free 14-day test drive.
That means you have to hand over your payment details up front. There’s no way around that. But you can get all your money back if you decide not to stick around.
All 1&1’s MyWebsite packages come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. No questions asked.
So you don’t have to commit your cash with no chance of seeing it again. The money-back guarantee is effectively a free one-month trial.
Be aware that domain names are exempt from the 30-day money-back guarantee. Another reason to ignore the Personal package, which makes you buy your domain name separately!
What about upgrading and downgrading? You can switch between 1&1 MyWebsite packages if you want, but the Help Center is pretty unclear on what happens to the cash you’ve already paid. So we contacted 1&1 for clarification.
“If customers want to downgrade their tariff, they can do so in the customer shop,” 1&1 told us. “The prepaid amount of money from their previous tariff will then be offset with the new contract.” So you won’t lose out if you’ve already paid for a year.
The MyWebsite Basic package costs so little for your first year, it might as well be free. If you don’t like it, you haven’t lost much. You can even get your money back. But if you do like it, and your site starts to take off, you can then upgrade to the Plus package – which offers much more customizing power.