- One of the cheapest hosting providers on the market
- Every customer receives a dedicated support assistant
- Dated and unintuitive backend control panel
- Not very beginner friendly
- Some hidden/unexpected costs
- Online reviews suggest help and support often falls short
1&1 has been trading since 1988. It became 1&1 IONOS in 2018, moving forward with its mission of empowering businesses through powerful technology.
It offers five different types of website hosting:
- Shared (web hosting)
With such a broad range of hosting on offer, it comes as no surprise that 1&1 IONOS manages 12 million domains and holds 8 million customer contracts worldwide.
That’s a lot of people. But 1&1 IONOS isn’t right for everybody. So is it right for you?
We recommend this hosting provider for small white-collar businesses. This is because of its all-around packages, relatively cheap pricing, and strong focus on security and reliability.
That said, 1&1 IONOS’ online reviews are a mixed bag. Plenty of people sing its praises, but a worrying number complain of poor customer service, sneaky add-ons, and hard-to-cancel direct debits.
Let’s dig a little deeper to find out if 1&1 IONOS’ weaknesses outweigh its strengths, and whether another provider may suit you better:
You don’t want a car that’s constantly breaking down – especially if you have to use it every day to get to and from work. The same goes for your hosting provider. You need a reliable service that keeps your website running smoothly.
This is where uptime and downtime come in. Uptime shows how much of the time a website is live and running, and downtime is how often sites go “down” and are inaccessible to visitors.
The first thing to say is, there’s no such thing as 100% uptime. Updates and fixes mean there will always be instances when downtime is unavoidable. But you want your provider’s uptime to be as close as possible to that perfect score.
1&1 IONOS has great uptime scores. On its website, it claims to have “almost 100% uptime”, and when we tested it ourselves, this proved right: 1&1 IONOS came out with 99.98% uptime.
So it’s got the stability, but what about the speed? In today’s world, website speed is massively important – especially on mobile. If your site takes between just one and three seconds to load on mobile, there’s a 32% chance of that visitor giving up!
Visitors are impatient, and page load times can make or break your website. There’s just no point having amazing content if nobody hangs around long enough to see it. 1&1 IONOS isn’t the fastest hosting provider in the west, but it doesn’t do too badly either.
1&1 IONOS has 15 data centers – you’re usually given the one located nearest to you, unless you’re on a plan where you can choose your data center. Performance will vary depending on which of the 15 data centers is being used.
Overall, 1&1 IONOS doesn’t have the go faster stripes of a rival like HostGator. But it’s not left totally in the dust. Your website should load fairly quickly, and not leave visitors tapping their feet and reaching for the back button.
- Reliability and performance are especially important for businesses: read our review of the Best Web Hosting for Small Business to see a breakdown of the top three small business hosts
When it comes to features, 1&1 IONOS is a mixed bag; its cloud hosting and dedicated hosting plans are fairly strong, while its shared hosting and VPS hosting are both pretty poor. In our research, 1&1 IONOS scored 3/5 for features, ranking 11th out of 12 providers we analysed in detail.
Below you can see some of the main features – including storage – for the Shared, Cloud and VPS hosting plans:
|Linux or Windows||Linux hosting||Linux hosting||Linux hosting, Windows hosting optional|
|SSL||SSL Wildcard Certificate||SSL Wildcard Certificate||SSL Wildcard Certificate|
|Storage||100GB to 500GB webspace||50GB to 160GB SSD storage||50GB to 160GB SSD storage|
|Traffic||Unlimited traffic||Unlimited traffic||Unlimited traffic|
|Email Accounts||25 to 500 email accounts||10,000 email accounts||250 email accounts|
|Domain||1 free domain for 12 months||1 free domain for 12 months||-|
Shared Hosting Features Breakdown
When it comes to shared hosting features, 1&1 IONOS basically bombs. For starters, it doesn’t have the industry standard cPanel dashboard, using its own clunky alternative instead. Since many people start out with shared hosting, this makes the whole experience harder for those who need it to be the easiest. We’ve covered this in more detail in the ease of use section.
1&1 IONOS’ shared hosting plans are cheap, but you get what you pay for. Storage, traffic allowances, and power (CPU cores) are a mixture of sort of okay and pretty disappointing. Its low price may appeal, but honestly, for the $3.99 extra per month, it’s more than worth springing for an InMotion plan (our top shared hosting provider).
VPS Hosting Features Breakdown
Our main takeaway from the VPS hosting plans is that they’re just a bit… weak. They have, on average, fewer CPU cores (power) and less RAM (memory) than competitors, so you may find your site to be slower than if it were hosted with a different provider. Again, they’re cheap plans, and that’s the tradeoff. For strong VPS hosting, we recommend you take a look at InMotion instead, or Bluehost if you have a WordPress site.
Cloud Hosting Features Breakdown
Cloud hosting is something 1&1 IONOS does really well. Its strength lies in its scalability; with eight different plans available, it’s super easy to upgrade as and when you need to. Start small with the Cloud M plan for just $10/month, then ease up to the Cloud Flex plan ($350/month) as traffic picks up.
Dedicated Hosting Features Breakdown
It’s a similar story with 1&1 IONOS’ dedicated hosting plan. There’s plenty of power on offer; if your website is getting serious traffic, it’s in very safe hands. 1&1 IONOS has 15 data centers available across the globe – more than double the number of the closest competitor. Being able to choose a data center that’s close to your audience is vital for keeping your site as fast as possible.
- Compare the best hosting providers and their key features in our Web Hosting Comparison Chart
Hosting can be a daunting thing to approach, especially if you’re new to it. The good news is, it really doesn’t need to be! A good hosting provider will make your life as easy as possible. So how do 1&1 IONOS step up to make their customers feel at home?
One of the key things to consider is the customer interface. The control panel is where you manage your site and your account, and the interface is how the control panel is laid out and how you interact with it.
The control panel is where you can track analytics, set up marketing campaigns, or manage your email accounts. But how easy is it to navigate? After all, it’s really important the interface isn’t going to give you a migraine every time you open up the control panel.
Most hosting providers, such as HostGator and Bluehost, use cPanel, which is a popular and reliable control panel. 1&1 IONOS breaks this trend by using its own custom setup.
It’s all very well being different, but the truth is, 1&1 IONOS could do with updating its control panel. It’s pretty dated, and not the most intuitive interface out there. It can be confusing and take some getting used to.
Considering 1&1 IONOS is aiming at small business owners and everyone from beginners to techies, it could do a lot more to make its service more user-friendly. For first-timers or nervous starters, we don’t recommend 1&1 IONOS.
Great customer support can make all the difference, and it’s especially important for hosting companies. If something goes wrong with your website, you want it back online as fast as possible.
1&1 IONOS offers 24/7 phone support 365 days a year, as well as a clear knowledge base where you can find frequently asked questions and how-to guides. There’s a live chat option, but not always an agent available. Some plans, such as dedicated and VPS hosting, also offer free email support.
These services are fine, but they can be rather hit and miss. Your problem may not always be solved as quickly or efficiently as you’d like, which is when users find 1&1 IONOS most frustrating.
Luckily, since the company became 1&1 IONOS, there’s now an extra support feature. You now receive one-on-one support from your own personal consultant, free of charge.
1&1 IONOS has clearly put a lot of customer resource in place, but does this translate into a good service? Not always. And it’s not just a question of response speed…
As we mentioned above, 1&1 IONOS has plenty of great reviews – and, let’s not forget, millions of presumably satisfied customers who have never left a review. However, there are a few recurring themes in the negative reviews that we found a little concerning.
First, there are several mentions of rude customer service assistants, and customers being hung up on. Don’t get us wrong – many of us have worked in customer service, and we know all too well that the customer isn’t always right. But still, it’s a worrying trend.
Much of this frustration for both consumers and assistants seems to come from some slightly sketchy Terms and Conditions around cancelling your contract, which we’ve covered in the section below.
Money makes the world go round. It also makes your head go round and round when you’re trying to compare all the different prices of shared hosting, Pro packages, and email add-ons.
1&1 IONOS is one of the cheaper builders out there. Admittedly it’s not the cheapest – on average, its shared hosting plan costs 36% more than HostGator – but it definitely has some prices to turn your head (in a good way).
Pricing Plans Broken Down
Here’s a breakdown of the different hosting price plans offered by 1&1 IONOS. Most of the plans except Cloud hosting have long-term promotions running, which we’ve included below.
- Essential: $4 per month
- Business: $8 per month (Promo: $1 for the first month)
- Expert: $14 per month
- VPS S: $2 per month
- VPS M: $10 per month
- VPS L: $20 per month (Promo: $2 per month for 6 months)
- VPS XL: $30 per month
- VPS XXL: $40 per month
- A8i SSD: $75 per month (Promo: $55 per month for 3 months)
- L-16 SSD: $90 per month (Promo: $70 per month for 3 months)
- XL-32 NVMe: $140 per month (Promo: $120 per month for 3 months)
- XL-64 NVMe: $170 per month (Promo: $150 per month for 3 months)
- A8i HDD: $70 per month (Promo: $50 per month for 3 months)
- L-16 HDD: $80 per month (Promo: $60 per month for 3 months)
- XL-32 HDD: $110 per month (Promo: $90 per month for 3 months)
- XL-64 HDD: $140 per month (Promo: $120 per month for 3 months)
- Essential: $9 per month (Promo: $1 per month for 12 months)
- Business: $11 per month (Promo: $5 per month for 12 months)
- Pro: $15 per month (Promo: $9 per month for 12 months)
- Cloud Hosting M: $15 per month
- Cloud Hosting L: $25 per month
- Cloud Hosting XL: $35 per month
- Cloud Hosting XXL: $65 per month
These are extremely attractive deals. With 1&1 IONOS, you can get started for just $1 per month! Just remember when the promotion is over, you will start paying the regular price, so make sure you know how much you’ll be charged further down the line.
Best Value for Money
For most people, shared hosting is the place to start. In this case, the $8 per month Business plan offers the best value for money for regular websites.
For just $4 a month extra per month compared to the Essential plan, you get an extra 90GB storage, and 15 more databases and email accounts. On this plan your site can handle around 100 visitors per minute.
The Business plan is suitable for up to five websites. If you’re running a serious enterprise and need more than that, the $14 per month Expert plan gives you real bang for your buck too. This plan includes 500GB storage, 500 databases, and 500 email accounts – you even unlock SiteLock malware protection to keep any nasty threats at bay.
While the Business plan is only suitable for around 100 visitors per minute, the Expert plan can handle around 300. That’s not bad for an extra $6 per month!
1&1 IONOS is upfront with its pricing. As long as you pay attention when you’re choosing your plan, you shouldn’t get caught out by any sneaky costs.
At least, in theory. We found several reviews online complaining of unexplained charges. Having scoured 1&1 IONOS’ Terms and Conditions, we have to assume this is down to error, rather than anything underhand. That said, cancelling your contract is quite tricky – we’ll look at that shortly.
There is a $50 set up fee on the Dedicated hosting plan. If you want to use the 1&1 IONOS MyWebsite website builder or email marketing software, you will need to sign up to a plan and pay extra per month. Some plans also charge a small amount for backups.
This is the slight downside of 1&1 IONOS offering so many different services under one roof. The great part is that they’re all easy to integrate and work seamlessly together. The drawback is people expect everything to be included in one price package, and all of this is not as cheap as you first expect.
1&1 IONOS also offers a no risk policy on it shared and VPS plans that lets you cancel at any time, so if you’re not happy with its service, you don’t lose a cent.
Overall, 1&1 IONOS won’t break your bank account. It’s one of the cheapest hosting providers on the market, and its promotions are consistent and offer decent value. There are add-ons which you can purchase, but they’re not forced on you. Just don’t be surprised when renewal time comes around and prices revert back to the regular rates.
Cancelling Your Contract
As we hinted at in the sections above, cancelling your contract isn’t always an easy process with 1&1 IONOS. Here’s a direct quote from the company’s Terms and Conditions:
“4.2 You may cancel your contract with Us either by telephone, through Your Control Panel, by letter and email. Once We accept Your cancellation request, You will be provided with written confirmation of cancellation. Cancellation requests by letter and email need to be received at least three working days prior to your renewal date. Cancellation requests will not be deemed to have been received and accepted until We have issued Our written confirmation to You.”
‘Written confirmation’? No problem. ‘At least three working days prior to your renewal date’? Fair enough. ‘Cancellation requests will not be deemed to have been received and accepted until We have issued Our written confirmation to You’?
Hold up – so I don’t get to cancel my contract until you decide to approve my request? And there’s no time frame provided for this? That seems a little off, right?
According to these terms and conditions, a cancellation request email could hypothetically sit unanswered – either in error or by choice – and the customer would have zero official power to enforce it.
Enes from Rancho Cordova, CA wrote:
“I request a cancellation for service on February. I see that they are still charged me on March and April. I contacted them and they said, “Yes you requested cancellation but it is not cancelled.” Then, they cancelled my account but did not refund the March and April invoices.”
In practice, most cancellation requests are probably handled in a professional and timely manner – let’s not forget this is a company with several million customers. But 1&1 IONOS has certainly left a lot of room to cover its back in these situations, and it doesn’t fill us with a ton of confidence.
- Didn’t find the prices you were looking for? Read our article on the Best Cheap Web Hosting Providers to find quality services at affordable prices
Anyone looking for a hosting provider knows there are tons of companies out there, all jostling for position and attention. 1&1 IONOS has been around long enough to earn a place in the pack – but just where does it sit?
In our research, we found 1&1 IONOS sits in 9th place out of the 12 hosting providers we tested. It could do better when it comes to ease of use and customer service, but it offers a great range of hosting types, as well as good value for money.
The fact it provides a lot more than just hosting really makes 1&1 IONOS stand out from the crowd.
When considering its rivals, 1&1 IONOS could learn a few things from HostGator about customer support. We’d also recommend Bluehost for any WordPress users.
HostGator scored full marks for help and support in our research, coming second overall in our ratings. Bluehost is recommended by WordPress itself as a hosting provider because of its top-notch WordPress hosting. Bluehost came out the top overall provider in our research, and is a well established hosting provider.
- For a side by side look at each hosting provider, check out our Web Hosting Comparison Chart
- Want to find out more about HostGator? Read our full review to find out why we recommend it so highly
- Interested in Bluehost? Check out our in-depth Bluehost Review and see if it’s the perfect hosting choice for you
- Do you have a WordPress site? Read our review of the Best WordPress Hosting Provider and discover your best option today
With its array of plans and extra software, such as email marketing, domain registration and website builder platform, 1&1 IONOS is ticking a lot of boxes.
It still has things to work on – its interface is outdated and confusing, while its customer support is hit and miss (especially compared to other providers, like HostGator.) However, 1&1 IONOS has shown it’s taking big steps in the right direction since its rebrand in 2018.
We recommend this provider for small businesses and individuals, but not for total beginners. It has good cloud hosting and dedicated hosting plans, but anyone after shared or VPS hosting should look elsewhere.
1&1 IONOS has enough features and plans to really scale a business, and offers competitive prices which are great for those starting out on a budget. However, it’s unsuitable for beginners because of its challenging interface.
Could 1&1 IONOS be the one that you want? Try it today, or take a look at our comparison chart for more leading providers.
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