IONOS Hosting Review 2023: Is it Right for You?
Best for Site Speed and Uptime
Our independent research projects and impartial reviews are funded in part by affiliate commissions, at no extra cost to our readers. Learn more
Site Speed & Uptime
IONOS might not beat the top hosting providers in the market, but it is the best choice for site speed and uptime. Every website owner should be at ease knowing their hosting provider is reliable and stable, and in this department, IONOS has your back.
Beyond its standout performance, IONOS is also a strong option for dedicated and VPS hosting. In total, IONOS offers four different types of website hosting:
To rank and compare IONOS fairly, our in-house research team tested the top hosting providers to pull together an accurate list of recommendations. We analyzed price, performance, features, help and support, and market analysis. Of the 13 hosting providers we tested, IONOS came seventh, scoring 4 out of 5 overall, despite sitting in the middle of the pack.
We recommend this hosting provider for small white-collar businesses, largely because of its all-around packages, extremely cheap pricing, and focus on speed and reliability.
But, is IONOS the right fit for you?
Let’s dig a little deeper to find out if IONOS’ strengths outweigh its weaknesses…
What Are the Pros and Cons of 1&1 IONOS?
- Reliable site speed and uptime
- One of the cheapest hosting providers on the market
- Every customer receives a dedicated support assistant
- Dated and unintuitive backend control panel
- Some hidden/unexpected costs
- More costly for Windows users
- Help and support often falls short
- Best Web Hosting Providers: Are you after the best of the best? Check out our review where we compare the top providers on the market.
Reliability and Performance
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.
IONOS by 1&1 has great uptime scores. On its website, it claims to have a guaranteed uptime of 99.9%, and when we tested it ourselves, IONOS aced it, scoring 5 out of 5 for 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 longer than five seconds to load on mobile, 74% of US mobile users will simply abandon the page!
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. IONOS’ performance varies depending on the type of hosting you choose. For best performance, choose its WordPress hosting plans – IONOS scores an impressive 4.9 out of 5 for performance, making it the fastest web host out of all of the ones we tested.
IONOS has 10 data centers across five countries – 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 also vary depending on which of the 10 data centers is being used.
Ultimately, IONOS can’t be beat when it comes to performance – your website will load quickly and run without a hitch with IONOS. Its uptime and site speed are lightyears ahead of other hosting providers, including the top dogs Bluehost and HostGator.
- Best Web Hosting for Small Business: Reliability and performance are especially important for businesses. Read our review to see a breakdown of the top small business hosts.
When it comes to features, IONOS is a mixed bag; its shared hosting and dedicated hosting plans are fairly strong, while its VPS and WordPress hosting plans offer little in the way of features. But across all hosting types, IONOS score averages out to 4.5 out of 5 for features, ranking in joint first with GreenGeeks.
Below you can see some of the main features – including storage – for the shared, VPS, dedicated, and WordPress hosting plans:
|Linux or Windows||Linux||Linux / Windows||Linux||Linux|
|SSL||SSL Wildcard Certificate||SSL Wildcard Certificate||SSL Wildcard Certificate||SSL Wildcard Certificate|
|Storage||50-500GB||10-240GB||2TB HDD / 800GB SSD||25-200GB|
|Traffic||Unlimited traffic||Unlimited traffic||Unlimited traffic||Unlimited traffic|
|Email Accounts||1 email account||Unlimited mailboxes||10,000 email accounts||1-10 email accounts|
|Domain||1 free domain for 1 year||Optional add-on||1 free domain||1 free domain for 1 year|
Shared Hosting Features Breakdown
In our testing of shared hosting providers, IONOS scores 4.6 out of 5 for features, and it’s not hard to see why.
All plans come equipped with daily backups, a free SSL certificate, unlimited traffic, 24/7 support, a professional email, and a free domain.
Of the three shared hosting plans, the Essential plan – designed for one website – is a little limited, only allowing one website and 10GB of storage. But once you upgrade to the Business and Expert plans, IONOS includes unlimited websites, storage, and databases, too. For the cheap price of IONOS’ shared hosting plans, the features included are pretty impressive.
However, IONOS doesn’t have the industry standard cPanel dashboard, using its own clunky alternative instead. Since many people start out with shared hosting, this can make 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.
Overall, IONOS’ shared hosting plans are cheap and a good starting point for websites. Storage, traffic allowances, and power (CPU cores) are pretty impressive (especially for the price), but you’ll need to opt for the Business plan or above to enjoy the features fully.
VPS Hosting Features Breakdown
Our main takeaway from the VPS hosting plans is that they’re just a bit… weak. In our testing, IONOS scores a poor 2.5 out of 5 for VPS hosting features.
It has, 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. For example, Bluehost’s cheapest VPS plan comes with 2 cores, 2GB of RAM, and 30GB of storage. A lot, right? In comparison, IONOS’ cheapest VPS plan offers 1 core, 512MB of RAM, and 10GB of storage.
Again, IONOS advertises cheap plans, but, in this case, that’s the tradeoff. For strong VPS hosting features, we recommend you take a look at HostGator or InMotion instead.
Dedicated Hosting Features Breakdown
Thankfully, the offering of features picks up again with IONOS’ dedicated hosting plans. IONOS is our second best provider for dedicated hosting, scoring 4.7 out of 5 overall, and an equally strong rating of 4.3 out of 5 for its features.
There’s plenty of power on offer; if your website is getting serious traffic, it’s in very safe hands. There are four HDD (hard disk drive) and four SSD (solid state drive) plans to choose from, with the cheapest offering a whopping 8GB of RAM, 8 cores, and 240GB of storage.
Of course, greater power means a bigger dent in your budget, but IONOS’ plans remain fairly reasonable. Dedicated hosting is the priciest hosting type of all, no matter which hosting provider you choose.
WordPress Hosting Features Breakdown
Unfortunately, the features on IONOS’ WordPress hosting plans are pretty poor, only scoring 2.7 out of 5 in our testing – one of the lowest feature ratings out of all the providers.
All plans come optimized for WordPress, with daily backups, 100% SSD storage, unlimited traffic, a free domain, and customizable updates. But this isn’t that impressive since most WordPress hosting providers offer these basic features. You’ll need to upgrade to the highest plan, Boost, to enjoy more power, including 75GB of storage, 20GB of RAM, and 10 email addresses.
With IONOS being the king of site speed, the majority of its marketing highlights the stability and fast-loading times of its hosting plans, so your WordPress site can run effectively. Plus, there’s a website migration tool in the works to make things as easy as possible!
Realistically though, if you’re looking at WordPress hosting, we’d recommend a hosting provider that’s actually recommended by WordPress itself, like Bluehost.
- Web Hosting Comparison Chart: Compare the best hosting providers and their key features in our comparison chart.
Ease of Use
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 does IONOS step up to make its 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.
From the control panel, 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 access it!
Most hosting providers, such as HostGator and Bluehost, use cPanel, which is a popular and reliable control panel. IONOS, on the other hand, breaks this trend by using its own custom setup.
It’s all very well being different, but the truth is, IONOS could do with updating its control panel. It’s pretty dated, isn’t the most intuitive interface out there, and it can be confusing so it might take some time getting used to it.
Considering IONOS is targeting 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 IONOS. Instead, opt for an easier-to-use provider, like Bluehost.
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.
Sadly, IONOS is incredibly let down in this area, scoring a low 1 out of 5 overall for its help and support. Yikes! Let’s dig into why IONOS ranked so poorly.
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. Additionally, once you’ve signed up to a plan, IONOS provides you with one-on-one support from your own personal consultant, free of charge.
There’s also a live chat option, but rarely an agent available, which is a real shame if you’re looking for help quickly.
To put it simply, these services are fine, but they can be rather hit and miss, and the majority of hosting providers offer reliable 24/7 support. With IONOS, your problem may not always be solved as quickly or efficiently as you’d like.
IONOS has clearly put a lot of customer resource in place, and it even scores an okay 3.8 out of 5 for support in our dedicated hosting research, but does this translate into a good service overall? Not always. And it’s not just a question of response speed…
As we mentioned above, 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 or ignored. 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 of the different prices for hosting plans, set up fees, and email add-ons.
IONOS is one of the cheapest builders out there, and we found it to be the best value for money, scoring 4.8 out of 5 overall. It performed consistently well across all hosting types, and even came top of the table for price in our VPS hosting research with a score of 3.9 out of 5.
IONOS definitely has some prices to turn your head (in a good way)!
Here’s a breakdown of the different hosting price plans offered by IONOS. Most of the plans have long-term promotions running, and offer cheaper prices if you commit for a lengthy period of time. However, we’ll be focusing on the pricing for 12-month subscriptions in this article (unless otherwise stated):
- Essential: $4 per month
- Business: $1 per month
- Expert: $8 per month
- VPS S: $2 per month (1 month)
- VPS M: $4 per month (for 1st 6 months, then $7/month)
- VPS L: $8 per month (for 1st 6 months, then $15/month)
- VPS XL: $2 per month (for 1st 6 months, then $25/month)
- VPS XXL: $18 per month (for 1st 6 months, then $35/month)
- A8i SSD: $45 per month (for 1st 6 months, then $65/month)
- L-16 SSD: $70 per month (for 1st 3 months, then $90/month)
- XL-32 SSD: $110 per month (for 1st 3 months, then $130/month)
- XL-64 SSD: $140 per month (for 1st 3 months, then $160/month)
- L4i HDD: $47 per month (1 month)
- L-16 HDD: $60 per month (for 1st 3 months, then $80/month)
- XL-32 HDD: $90 per month (for 1st 3 months, then $110/month)
- XL-64 HDD: $120 per month (for 1st 3 months, then $140/month)
- Start: $2 per month
- Grow: $1 per month
- Boost: $6 per month
These are extremely attractive deals. With IONOS, you can get started from just $1 per month! Just remember, when the promotion is over, you’ll start paying the regular price, so make sure you know how much you’ll be charged further down the line.
For example, the $1/per month deal on the shared hosting Business plan will renew at $10/per month, which is quite the leap!
Best Value for Money
For most people, shared hosting is the place to start. In this case, the $1 per month Business plan offers the best value for money for regular websites.
Its introductory offer beats out the cheapest Essential plan, and you get unlimited websites, storage, and databases.
The Business plan is suitable for the majority of websites. But, if you’re running a serious enterprise and need more than that, the $8 per month Expert plan gives you real bang for your buck too. This plan includes 19GB of RAM, maximum performance, and 100 mailing lists – you even unlock SiteLock malware protection to keep any nasty threats at bay.
Alternatively, if you need more power, you can upgrade to a VPS or dedicated hosting plan.
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 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 – it involves switching off your auto-renewal, and sometimes even a phone call to confirm the termination!
There is a $50 set up fee on the dedicated hosting plans. And if you want to use the IONOS MyWebsite website builder or email marketing software, you’ll need to sign up to a plan and pay extra per month.
This is the slight downside of 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.
IONOS also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for all plans, so if you’re not happy with its service, you don’t lose a cent.
Overall, 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.
- Best Cheap Web Hosting Providers: Didn’t find the prices you were looking for? Read our article to find quality services at affordable prices.
IONOS vs Its Competitors
Anyone looking for a hosting provider knows there are tons of companies out there, all jostling for position and attention. IONOS has been around long enough to earn a place in the pack – but just where does it sit?
In our research, we found IONOS sits in 7th place out of the 13 hosting providers we tested – an improvement since our last round of testing where it ranked ninth overall!
Of course, IONOS could still 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. It’s also the best of the bunch when it comes to site speed and uptime.
The fact it provides a lot more than just hosting really makes IONOS stand out from the crowd.
When considering its rivals, IONOS could learn a few things from HostGator about customer support, which scored 5 out of 5 overall, in comparison to IONOS’ 1 out of 5. And though IONOS is an excellent choice for dedicated hosting, Bluehost still came out on top with an score of 4.9 out of 5, just ahead of IONOS’ 4.7 out of 5.
Ultimately, the decision is yours! IONOS is the best of the bunch when it comes to site speed and uptime, but the number one spot overall lies with the feature-rich and cost-effective Bluehost. It’s a well-established hosting provider, and is even recommended by WordPress itself, so it’s not surprising it scored a mighty 4.8 out of 5 overall in our research. IONOS, to compare, ended up with a fair 4 out of 5.
- Web Hosting Comparison Chart: For a side-by-side look at each hosting provider.
- HostGator Review: Want to find out more about HostGator? Learn why we recommend it so highly.
- Bluehost Review: Interested in Bluehost? Check out our in-depth review and see if it’s the perfect hosting choice for you.
- Best WordPress Hosting Provider: Do you have a WordPress site? Read our review and discover your best option today.
IONOS Hosting Review: Summary
IONOS ticks a lot of boxes. Firstly, you can sit back knowing your website will load quickly and run smoothly thanks to its brilliant performance in our site speed and uptime testing. Let’s not forget that IONOS scored a perfect 5 out of 5 overall for up time performance!
IONOS also caters to a variety of hosting types, and has an array of plans and extra software to choose from, such as email marketing, domain registration and its website builder platform.
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, 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 dedicated and VPS hosting plans, but anyone after shared or WordPress hosting should look elsewhere.
IONOS has enough features and plans to really scale a business, has the best site speed and uptime of any hosting provider on the market, and offers competitive prices which are great for those starting out on a budget.
Found our IONOS review helpful?
Did this guide help you decide whether to use IONOS, then help to get you started hosting your website? If so (or if not!) leave a comment below.
Do you know anyone who can benefit from this article? Click the share buttons below to send them this page.
You’ll be helping them, and helping us out by spreading the word about our website!
Website Builder Expert aims to provide you with honest data. That’s why we conduct our own research and obtain direct, personal insight. Analyses and graphics in this article are based on authentic sources cross-validated by our in-house experts.
We take great care to ensure the information we publish is reliable and accurate. However, WBE takes no responsibility for any inaccuracy in information supplied to us by users, research participants, or other entities.
Please note the insight contained within this article is for general information purposes only. We’re glad to answer any questions you may have about this article and its supporting research. For further information, please contact Website Builder Expert directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.