In our eternal search for quality web hosting, we arrive at one of the mainstays of the business: 1&1 Web Hosting. What began in 1988 as a marketing department for T-Mobile Germany has now evolved into one of the global leaders of web hosting services. We conducted a 1and1 review to see how
1and1 is now a web hosting giant serving over 13 million customers, mainly in Germany (where they still have a large presence) and the U.S (where their two main data centers are located). Offering a variety of unlimited plans with steep annual discounts, 1and1 is yet another affordable host for anyone looking for entry level hosting solutions.
Let’s take a further look and see if 1and1 Hosting might be the right option for you!
1&1 Plans / Pricing
The way 1and1 advertises itself is not too far off from GoDaddy hosting services (read our GoDaddy review), as a combination package of domain registration and web hosting, they offer the perfect one-stop solution to your web hosting needs.
As with most hosting companies, 1&1 offers different packages for Shared, WordPress and Dedicated hosting. There are three tiers for each hosting type, with the additional Plus and Pro packages simply offering more extensive options for resource-heavy websites.
Most packages offer unlimited disk space and bandwidth, a key feature that separates 1&1 from the plethora of hosting providers who do not provide fully unlimited bandwidth. Signing up for the more expensive “Plus” package will also give a few bonus features to your site, with Sitelock, Railgun CDN, and an SSL certificate all included in the package.
1&1 also offers a separate “Starter” package for $4.99/ month, which should prove to be quite attractive for newcomers to the web hosting scene. The package is advertised towards websites with mostly static HTML pages, a notion reinforced by only offering 100 GB of bandwidth a month.
If you are looking to use applications for your website, 1&1 offers 1-click installing of popular apps such as Drupal, WordPress, and Joomla.
Dedicated and VPS hosting packages are also available for those looking for more control and options over their website. Running on the newest Plesk 12 interface and with numerous customizations available (such as optional SSD), these offers are really quite impressive.
At the time of this review being written, 1&1 is also offering a significant annual discount for new subscribers, meaning their Shared Hosting “Unlimited” package is available for only 99 cents a month for the first year! In our eyes, that is exceptionally good value for an unlimited bandwidth package.
Another feature that impressed us with 1and1 is that they offer a free domain for the life of your subscription, something that surpasses even GoDaddy’s domain and hosting bundle of a free domain for the first year after purchase.
Leasing an apartment can be much like hosting your website with a provider. When something goes wrong with your website, the need to have it serviced quickly and efficiently is critical.
Additionally, when we conduct a review of a hosting provider’s customer service, we don’t necessarily look at availability or response time first and foremost. Having a customer service representative who is well-versed and knowledgeable about the hosting issues you might encounter is just as important, if not the most important aspect of customer service.
1&1 offers telephone and e-mail support, with both a U.S and an international telephone number available if you need to speak with someone right away. Unfortunately, our telephone support experiences were similar to the sign-up process, leaving us feeling quite disappointed. After being on hold for 31 (!) minutes, we were abruptly disconnected without being told why or what was happening to our inquiry, very disappointing.
The e-mail support test was worrying as well, as we were left wanting with the answer we received from one of their customer service specialists. While we received a somewhat quick reply to our open ticket concerning the availability of cPanel and Plesk for their Shared hosting plans, it was largely inadequate and quite vague. Instead of the detailed answer we were seeking, we received a generic out-of-the-book answer that any well-programmed chat bot would be able to give.
Another negative aspect of our experience was the fact that they require a street number for your address when filling out contact information during the registration process. While this issue may sound pretty minimal, it turned a normally quick and painless procedure into a lengthy episode of “Why is this page not accepting my submission?”. While the signup process does not make or break a hosting company’s customer service report card, having simple and user-friendly registration certainly makes it more attractive to potential customers.
Reviews from around the Internet have generally been fairly negative of 1&1 customer’s service, with most people complaining about response times and lacking the same detailed answers that were missing from our experience. After dealing with 1&1 directly, we can definitely agree that the general public opinion is warranted, but we do hope they realize this and change ASAP.
Reliability / Speed
We don’t need to stress the importance of finding a reliable and fast host for your website, as the most critical function of your website’s ability is to attract new visitors and retain existing ones.
We already knew that 1&1 has some of the best uptime and reliability in the business, what we didn’t know is just how good they are! According to VerifyUp (a popular website monitoring tool), they are ranked first out of 10 of the biggest hosts on the Internet, with 100% uptime! Quite an impressive statistic to say the least.
Just to be sure that we weren’t being juked, we checked another uptime monitoring tool, Cloud Spectator, which also ranked 1&1 Hosting at the top of the pile with 100% uptime. Looks like as far as ranking web hosts based on uptime, 1&1 is at the top of the charts.
Page load times also seem to be excellent, hovering around the average mark of 1-2 seconds, with Cloud Spectator ranking 1&1 response times as among the best in the business.
You don’t need to look much further than your current daily newspaper to see the importance of web security. Companies and websites are hacked on an hourly basis, resulting in billions of losses every day.
We have mentioned Sitelock before in previous reviews, 1&1 also provides the service, albeit it is only included with their two most expensive “Unlimited Plus” and “Unlimited Pro” packages. For an extra 0.99 cents a month, you can add the award-winning malware protection of Sitelock to your website, a standard add-on with hosting providers.
1&1 has two data centers located in the U.S, with server data being recorded in parallel at both centers to ensure that data loss is avoided. Their Kansas City facility is a modern IT stronghold, with numerous safeguards against everything from DDOS attacks to power outages. You can get a better understanding and look of their main data center through 1&1’s interactive data center map.
While 1&1’s security does seem pretty satisfactory, after some research we did learn that they experienced a significant DDOS attack in December 2014, which brought down a massive number of their websites for almost an entire day. While not as concerning as some other host’s DDOS track record, it is something to keep in mind when selecting your web host.
Another key aspect of any hosting company is the user-friendliness and accessibility of your files and web site. When examining a hosting platform, we like to look for simple, yet powerful control in a sleek design, features that were, unfortunately missing from our 1&1 experience.
cPanel is the undisputed king and most popular of web control panels, but 1&1 decided to take a different route and develop their own control panel. As a result, the opening page of your 1&1 website control panel will probably look very different. Heavily populated with upsell advertisements and confusing links, it is somewhat difficult to get a grasp of how and what you need to do to access different components of your website.
The e-mail client is confusing as well, as you are required to create a different username and password to manage any and all e-mail accounts you have on your website. Upon logging in, we didn’t particularly like the interface of the webmail client, as it was similarly filled with up sells and an eyesore of design.
1&1 Hosting Review Conclusion
While 1&1 is a great solution for low-budget web hosting, their customer service and interface leave something to be desired. Fortunately, if you are looking for low-budget hosting, you can try out 1&1 and cancel with a 30-day money back guarantee.
We were impressed by the low prices, unlimited bandwidth and disk space, features that are appealing to a lot of people. Unfortunately, if you are a more advanced web developer or are hosting multiple sites with them, the inevitable problems that you run into will cause frustration with their lacking customer service.
Similarly, while 1&1’s custom control panel has the potential to be easy on the eye, it does not trump cPanel or Plesk’s functionality, while also being overloaded on up sells on advertisements. They also do not support integration with the likes of cPanel, so it’s completely up to the customer to install.
Once again, for someone looking for low-cost, unlimited bandwidth hosting, we do recommend 1&1, but be sure to keep an eye on the faults we’ve listed here.