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Some of the cheapest web hosting around
Offers monthly billing (nice feature)
Risk-free, 30-day money-back guarantee
Reliable uptime and speed
Friendly 1&1 customer support agents that actually answer the phone
Unintuitive dashboard, filled with ads, does not use Linux cPanel
Not built for beginners
Limited storage options even with top-tier plans
Too many ads and upsells
Missing a lot of server options
1&1 Ionos is an excellent web hosting option that offers competitive pricing, a nice feature set, and one of the best uptime guarantees we've seen.
1&1 IONOS is a web host with a peculiar name that offers surprisingly affordable hosting packages, impressive uptime, and great customer service. During our testing of this service, we found their packages to be adequate for small, low-impact websites, but larger and more interactive sites may need additional resources.
The biggest downside we encountered with 1&1 was their outdated custom interface, which is littered with ads and upsells. Read on for our full take, including the gritty details about packages and pricing, performance, and more.
1&1 IONOS offers a complete menu of digital services, including various types of web hosting. We evaluated their shared hosting plans, but they also offer WordPress managed hosting, VPS, cloud hosting, and dedicated servers. All of their plans are tiered with three or more options priced according to resources offered.
These are the shared hosting plans you can get from 1&1:
Essential: This is 1&1's most affordable shared hosting plan that provides you with 10 GB of storage, unlimited traffic, and 10 email addresses. This plan costs just $4/mo and is good if you want to build a small website.
Business: The next step up gives you unlimited storage space, 50 email addresses, and more server resources, so it's a good choice if you want to run a large site or multiple smaller sites. This option costs $8/mo.
Expert: The most expensive shared hosting plan from 1&1 provides you with 100 email addresses, additional server resources, unlimited SSL certificates, free malware site scans, and more. This option costs $14/mo.
We feel very comfortable recommending 1&1 IONOS for shared hosting but with a caveat. The lowest tiered plans are only suitable for personal blogs and small business websites because of limitations with storage, bandwidth, databases, and e-mail. For large, interactive sites, we would recommend the cloud or VPS hosting plans.
Unfortunately, 1&1 does not offer unlimited with their more affordable plans. They cap their storage at 10GB for the lowest tier shared hosting and only provided unlimited storage with the highest tier.
Although the platform is a standard Linux server, you would never know it. You don’t have access to the standard cPanel tools, and without things like cron jobs, zone editors, subdomains, ModSecurity, metrics, IP blocking and control over scripts, a typical web developer may feel a bit lost. The backend is admittedly sparse, but this may work well for some novice users who just want to get in and create a simple website.
The best feature of 1&1 IONOS hosting is the quick and easy website builder tools.
The built-in control panel allows you to manage your databases using phpMyAdmin, configure SFTP and SSH, set your PHP version as well as adjust your performance level, although additional fees may apply.
Our biggest disappointment with 1&1 web hosting was their lack of Linux cPanel. Their own dashboard and control panel is clunky, unintuitive, and downright skimpy. It also has ads on every page. No matter what you try to do in the back end, 1&1 tries to sell you something extra.
To put it bluntly, this high-pressure sales approach is not appealing.
One small pet peeve of ours is limited storage. We really love shared hosting plans that include unlimited storage even with the lowest tiers. Unfortunately, 1&1 does not offer unlimited with their more affordable plans. They cap their storage at 10GB for the lowest tier shared hosting and only provided unlimited storage with the highest tier.
Similar limitations exist across the board with all their offerings from VPS and cloud products to WordPress managed hosting.
1&1 does not quantify its bandwidth resources for each plan. However, they do limit the lowest tier to a single website with that limitation being lifted from the more expensive plans. If you want better performance like upgrades for RAM and CPU, there's an additional monthly fee. You may have to test your website first to see how it performs before making your decision on any upgrades.
The registration process for signing up with 1&1 IONOS couldn’t be easier. It’s a good idea to have your domain name in mind so you can register it at the time of registration, but it can be done later if you need to wait.
They offer one free domain at the time of sign-up, and you only need your name, address, and e-mail to secure an account. You can quickly checkout with a credit card or PayPal. The only thing that left us a bit cold was the onslaught of upsells when we tried to checkout.
Simple is good, and the backend options for managing domains and websites on 1&1 IONOS is just that. There are no frills and not a lot of excitement, but you can quickly and easily transfer in a domain, set one of several domains as your primary domain for a website and switch between multiple sites on specific plans that allow multiple sites. You can also install and select SSLs quickly and set up e-mail accounts, all from the simple dashboard.
There is very little in the way of advanced options in the control panel. We were happy to see the SiteLock option for enhanced security though. Other than that, the offerings are pretty basic. There are links to manage and add domains, add and remove websites, set up e-mail, install SSL certificates, and configure other limited hosting settings. The control panel is underwhelming but also slightly tricky to navigate. We found it to be layered and confusing and hard to locate frequently used items.
With 1&1 hosting, you only get a single login account and can't generate additional accounts for site administrators. However, you do have the option of granting access to your account to other 1&1 IONOS account holders. The opportunity to grant access is handy if you have a web developer who uses their hosting services often and is familiar with the system.
The best feature of 1&1 IONOS hosting is the quick and easy website builder tools. They offer a lot of options, including WordPress, Joomla, Magento, Drupal, and TYPO3. They also provide their own integrated website builder tool for a plain website or e-commerce platform (but you have to pay extra to use this feature with some plans). Their system also gives you access to some other popular CMS systems and applications.
The only issue we experienced using the one-click button to install WordPress was that everything went fine except that now our CMS system has branding for 1&1 IONOS embedded in it, and they installed plugins we didn’t want. We have only one request for 1&1: Give us back our Linux cPanel.
Another nice feature was the built-in security using SiteLock that is available with one click to keep your site safe from hackers, malware, and viruses. Additionally, if you aren’t ready to pick your domain yet, 1&1 gives you a system domain so you can start building your website and preview it online.
1&1 provides 24/7 support via a US-based phone number. The number isn't toll-free, so keep that in mind if you have to worry about long-distance charges. If you don't have free long distance, or you just prefer to speak to someone online, they also have an online contact service that's available around the clock.
We trolled many customer service forums, and although some people complained that 1&1 IONOS’ customer support left them wanting more, we found the service reps to be friendly and helpful although not highly skilled technicians.
1&1 doesn't feature their uptime guarantee prominently, so you may miss it if you don't specifically go looking for it. We found it in section 4.6 of their terms and conditions, where they promise that your hosted web pages won't fall below a 99.99% uptime.
This is one of the higher uptime guarantees we've seen, but the compensation isn't the best. If you are able to demonstrate to 1&1 that your website has been up for less than 99.99% of any given month, they promise to credit your account a proportionate amount based on how long your site was down. So if your site is down for seven hours in a 30 day month, you can expect about a one percent credit on your next bill.
The fact is that 1&1 offers some of the most inexpensive web hosting around. They frequently run specials with the first month costing only $1. After that, the price goes up to $4, $8, or $14 per month depending on the plan you choose. However, the low price feels like a carrot to lure us in and the constant upsells around every corner were a big turn off.
1&1 IONOS pits themselves directly against GoDaddy as their best competition in terms of service level, pricing, and constant upsells. They tout lower prices across the board and challenge GoDaddy’s uptime and speeds, but that's only part of the picture.
In our experience with these hosts that spans 15 years, 1&1 does excel over GoDaddy in the areas of uptime and speed. 1&1 also offers a slightly better uptime guarantee, promising 99.99% compared to 99.9%. We've seen GoDaddy experience some significant downtimes that affected large and small websites, while 1&1 IONOS has a reputation for fantastic uptime with almost no outages.
Both services offer one-click installs for many popular CMS systems. However, where GoDaddy excels, is that they now offer the standard Linux cPanel across all their packages, and 1&1 still uses their own custom interface.
The bottom line is that 1&1 IONOS provides better prices and uptime, but GoDaddy is less of a headache to work with if you're used to cPanel.
A fantastic web host with an unfriendly dashboard.
We like 1&1 IONOS web hosting for most purposes due to their excellent pricing structure and reliable servers. They also have great customer service, and their 99.99% uptime guarantee is one of the best we've seen. Our one big issue with this web host is that their custom dashboard isn't very user-friendly, which creates a bit of an unnecessary learning curve.