1&1 IONOS Hosting Review: Oldest in the game still good?

1&1 is one of the biggest and best-known brands operating in the internet services industry. Offering everything from domain registration to dedicated hosting, they certainly seem like a worthy candidate on paper. Do they live up to this reputation, though?

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1&1 IONOS—formerly just 1&1—is a hosting company that was founded in 1988, making it one of the oldest hosting companies still going strong today. Not only is it one of the oldest, but it is easily one of the largest, too.

Naturally, you would expect good things from a company of this size and history. This is what we will explore today with our comprehensive review of 1&1 hosting, the flagship 1&1 IONOS service. As we will see later, web hosting is not all 1&1 has to offer—it is a multi-service company and while this sounds good, it is not always executed well.

What We Love About 1&1

All web hosts have their strengths and weaknesses. While carrying out our review of the service, we were very impressed. This is what stood out the most.

1&1 Falls on the “Affordable” End of the Pricing Spectrum

1&1 IONOS WordPress Hosting Pricing
1&1 IONOS WordPress Hosting Pricing

If you are an entry-level webmaster and are looking to get your first website up without breaking the bank, 1&1 is a great option.

Known for their cheap 12-month introductory offer, you can get an entire years’ worth of web hosting for $36 including a free domain! (Approximately $2 a month – considering an average domain costs around $10)

Even after your first year is up and you need to renew, the pricing is still at some of the most budget-friendly levels you will see anywhere on the market. In fact, 1&1 is often in line with their major market competitors such as SiteGround and Bluehost.

1&1’s shared hosting pricing can seem a little confusing at first, so we have broken it down for you.

  • ESSENTIAL – Their “Essential” plan is $4 per month – $48/year including a free domain.
  • BUSINESS–Their “Business” plan is $8 per month. On a 12-month contract, you will be charged $1 per month for the first month, then $8 per month for the 11 months after that if you decide to keep your plan.
  • EXPERT–Their “Expert” plan is $14 per month which comes out to $168 at the end of the year.

To take advantage of the promotional pricing, you must pay for the 12 months up front. As you can see in the image above, 1&1 is honest about the pricing gives you a thorough breakdown during the checkout process.

It’s not unheard of for some web hosting companies to keep quiet about their billing practices and surprise their new customers by billing them for the entire subscription period when they were expecting to be billed monthly.

If you are looking for WordPress hosting instead of general web hosting, the pricing is as follows:

  • ESSENTIAL–Their “Essential” plan is $3 per month including a free domain. This comes to a total of $36 for the entire year.
  • BUSINESS–Their “Business” plan is $1 for the first month, then $7 per month for the 11 months after that if you decide to keep your plan.
  • UNLIMITED–Their “Unlimited” plan is $18/month. This comes to a total of $216 for the entire year.

As a starting point, we recommend their WordPress Hosting Essential plan at $3 per month as it offers the best value for money in terms of what you get:

  • 25GB in SSD storage
  • A 640 MB PHP memory limit
  • 10 email accounts and 2GB in databases
  • One free domain name

This is enough to run your website with up to 300 visitors per minute. As you can see, this provides ample room for scaling up and growth.

1&1 Helps Your Business Grow

Pricing and web hosting plans aside, we want to mention that 1&1 is far more than simply a hosting provider.

In fact, they offer every type of digital service that you could think of—from domain registration to digital marketing—and they are all integrated with one another.

This makes it very easy to buy a domain, launch a website, and help grow it with a range of bespoke services all provided within the 1&1 ecosystem.

1&1 is not exactly unique by doing this—lots of other hosting companies offer a comprehensive range of digital services for their customers—but this lands them a “pro” in our list because there are lots of hosting services that offer that alone, hosting, and nothing else. When everything is available under one roof, it makes managing and growing a website just that little bit easier.

For example, marketing is a bridge you are going to have to cross if you want your business to grow. Marketing, however, can not only be expensive but it can be difficult to find the right agency to do it for you.

As a 1&1 customer, you get access to a full range of digital marketing solutions that can be tied to your current web hosting package for a price that fits you.

1&1’s Shared Hosting is Feature-Rich

Disk Space Limit10GBUnlimitedUnlimited
Bandwidth LimitUnmeteredUnmeteredUnmetered
Domains Allowed1UnlimitedUnlimited
Email Accounts1050100
Free DomainYesYesYes
Free Automated BackupsYesYesYes
Free SSLYesYesYes

If you are brand new to the concept of it, web hosting can be a daunting thing to get started with. However, a good hosting provider will go to great lengths to make the process (and your life) as easy as possible—1&1 ticks this box.

By offering a range of valuable features as standard with all their shared and WordPress hosting packages, it is relatively easy to get going.

There is nothing worse—particularly for new webmasters—than something looking good on the outside but then it transpires that everything was not as you were led to believe. Luckily, 1&1’s hosting plans are packed full of features to help your site hit the ground running.

Included in 1&1’s shared hosting plans are:

  • A domain free for the first year;
  • 24/7 customer support;
  • Wildcard SSL certificates that support all your domains;
  • Daily automated backups;
  • Unlimited traffic; and
  • Anti-spam and anti-phishing technology.

Additional features such as disk space depend on which plan you subscribe to, with 100 GB, 250 GB, and 500 GB being offered on the Business, Pro, and Expert plans respectively. This is a huge amount of disk space and it is unlikely you will ever utilize it all. As a reference point, a single WordPress installation with themes and plugins is less than 500 MB.

1&1 IONOS is Great for WordPress Sites

Given that WordPress powers hundreds of millions of websites, it comes as no surprise that 1&1 offers WordPress hosting and does so very well.

The WordPress hosting packages are a little different to 1&1’s general shared hosting plans; they cost $1 less per month and you get plenty of disk space – a huge 25GB on the basic “Essential” plan that lets you host one managed WordPress website.

1&1 makes setting up WordPress a breeze. In addition to a one-click WordPress installation, you also get a personal consultant who will guide you through the setup process with simple instructions.

Simply tell your assistant what your site’s purpose is and what you want to achieve, and they will return with personally-tailored instructions and advice.

1&1 Offers Excellent Customer Service

As you may expect from a company as large as 1&1, they offer excellent round-the-clock customer service—24 hours a day, 7 days a week—over the phone or through an email ticketing system.

In addition to accessing customer support over the phone or via email, you can consult 1&1’s very extensive (and in-depth) knowledge base. This knowledge base covers everything from frequently asked questions and to providing comprehensive how-to guides.

Additionally, all customers receive a personal 1&1 consultant that they can use as a first port of call for customer support.

There is a live chat option, however, an agent is invariably available. On the three different occasions, we tried to reach their live chat team but the option simply wasn’t available through the 1&1 site. Strange. But their phone does work 24/7.

Things 1&1 IONOS Can Improve On

While 1&1 offers great value for money and a high level of support, there is room for improvement.

No SSDs in Web Hosting Plans

Yes, It is 2021 and 1&1 IONOS doesn’t offer SSD storage in their web hosting plans.

Fortunately enough, they offer it in WordPress/VPS/Dedicated Server plans but – it makes no sense at all to offer HDD when they do it in comparable plans of WordPress Hosting.

Weird but okay.

1&1 Does Not Offer a 24/7 Live Chat

Seriously, it’s 2021! We expect to see live customer support available as standard 24/7.

24/7 customer support should mean 24/7 customer support. While 1&1 does have a live chat option, it is only available between 08:00 AM and 08:00 PM UK time. Even during these hours, it is immensely difficult to get through to a support agent and when we tried to, we were unsuccessful on all three occasions.

Despite this, their phone support service is second-to-none and the personal assistant “concierge” service provided to all new customers was a smooth experience.

1&1 IONOS Does Not Use cPanel

Instead, they use their own custom setup on the backend. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing… However, considering that 1&1’s primary target market is small start-up businesses and websites, we would expect to see cPanel being used. This is because it is a very intuitive and user-friendly backend “operating system” that is perfect for beginners.

1and1 ionos control panel

There’s nothing particularly wrong with 1&1’s own backend setup, though. It just irks us that it has the potential to confuse newbie webmasters who have only ever experienced the basic iteration of cPanel. This may make them overly-reliant on their support service and just creates more work for support representatives.

When push comes to shove, you will rarely use cPanel when your site has been set up and deployed, anyway.

1&1 IONOS Web Hosting in Conclusion

1&1 IONOS is a big-name web hosting company that you have probably heard of before, and for good reason:

  • Pricing is reasonable considering free domain;
  • WordPress hosting plans are feature rich;
  • Plans start with 25 GB of disk space up to Unlimited storage;
  • Railgun CDN is available on higher-tier plans;
  • 24/7 customer support (but live chat is unreliable, unfortunately); and
  • An in-depth knowledge base with plenty of resources and guides.

What’s more, you can try out 1&1 risk-free thanks to their 30-day money-back guarantee that applies to all their plans and subscriptions. If you are dissatisfied with the service you receive—unlikely, might we add—then all you need to do is contact customer support and ask for a refund.

Personally, we recommend that it is bloggers and small businesses that use 1&1. With a full range of features and tools provided as standard, you will have everything you need to get up and running with enough room to scale up when the time comes.