1&1 IONOS Review
2019 November 29th
1&1 IONOS hosting provider focuses mostly on beginner and intermediate users. Like many providers, 1&1 IONOS has shared, WordPress, and eCommerce hosting. The host also offers dedicated and virtual private servers for more advanced users.
But that's not all.
1&1 IONOS is a total expert in providing domain names. The host is a full-fledged domain reseller, not relying on any other companies.
All that is impressive, but will it be the right provider for you?
With nearly 20 million domain names under its belt and three decades of hosting experience, is 1&1 IONOS hosting the best there is? We will see while we evaluate its services in this 1and1 review.
What is 1&1 IONOS?
1&1 IONOS is one of the hosting old-timers providing a number of professional hosting services. The list includes shared, WordPress, ASP.NET, VPS, Cloud, and dedicated hosting, as well as custom business server solutions and domain names.
1and1 hosting provides top-level services for users from beginners to web professionals. And there's no surprise to that.
1&1 hosting is made by people who know the Internet inside out. After all, United Internet, a corporation which owns this provider, has been around since 1988. It wasn't only doing hosting. One of their other products is Mail.com, one of the biggest email services on the planet.
And in late 2018, we were greeted with the blockbuster news. 1&1 bought and merged with Profitbricks, an enterprise cloud solution. This is how 1&1 IONOS was born: even bigger and more powerful than ever before.
After the merger with Profitbricks, now there are also plenty of genuine enterprise cloud solutions (which is always welcomed!)
Considering all that, my expectations were simple - I fully expected 1&1 IONOS to blow me away. After all, one doesn't get to stay in the business for 30 years (and even expand!) without being brilliant at it. With all that in my mind, it was time to put this provider to the test.
1&1 IONOS Pricing
1&1 IONOS has three shared hosting plans, the cheapest of which costs $4/month. Business plan for larger websites costs $8/month, but you get 1st month for $1. The expert plan will cost you $14/month.
All of the plans include a free domain and Wildcard SSL. But what differs?
- With Essential plan for $4/month you get 1 website hosting, 10GB storage, 10 databases, and 10 email accounts.
- Business plan for $8/month will get you hosting for 5 websites, 100GB storage, 25 databases, and 25 email accounts.
- The expert plan for $14/month is best for large projects. It can host up to 50 websites and includes 500GB storages, 500 databases, and 500 email accounts. Content Delivery Network and SiteLock malware protection are also included.
But how real are these prices?
In these reviews, I always like to do a little "reality check". By that, I mean busting the myth of "monthly" introductory prices.
If you ever saw an ad for hosting (you did, just a good minute ago) you probably noticed that most of the time, the prices are being described as monthly. In reality, you are usually paying for the entire period in advance, at once, in checkout.
But I'm pleasantly surprised writing this in 1and1 review - I am not required to pay the whole price at once. Choosing a Business plan, I will only pay $1 for the first month. And I even get a domain registration with the privacy protection included.
So, if you liked 1&1 IONOS pricing the way I did, you can compare the plans in the table below and choose the right one for you.
|Disk space limit||10GB||100GB||500GB|
|Customer Support||24/7 phone, tickets, email, Twitter||24/7 phone, tickets, email, Twitter||24/7 phone, tickets, email, Twitter|
|Free Automated Backups||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Another trick many hosts do is increasing the price after renewal. So that is worth checking too.
And the only plan that actually has any kind of renewal price is the Business plan. As we already discussed, you get the 1st month for $1 and then the price increases to $8/month.
Other prices remain the same.
Overall, other hosts can learn a lot from 1&1 IONOS - its pricing is clear and simple. Not to mention affordable.
1&1 IONOS Features
1&1 IONOS includes several premium features for the price of an affordable host.
Let's take a look.
1&1 IONOS user interface
Immediately after making a purchase I ran into some problems. I wasn't able to login to the control panel. And while usually these kinds of problems are solved promptly in a live chat, it wasn't available at the moment.
Luckily, a phone call has solved it through. Soon after, I was still able to login to my account and see the dashboard as well as the panel.
1&1 does not use cPanel. Therefore, its dashboard is a custom control panel.
I must say that it is highly unintuitive and I was unable to complete a majority of the tasks without the help of Google. There is no such thing as a 'File Manager', instead there is a web-based FTP client, named "WebSpace Explorer".
It took a while to do as simple a task as creating a subdomain and uploading an HTML website to it.
In moments like this, I wish more providers stuck to a simple control panel. In a market where cPanel or Plesk are seen as industry standards, anything else massively different creates more problems than it solves.
I am sure that after some getting used to, 1and1 panel can be as intuitive as anyone. But if you can transition from Hostinger to A2 Hosting to BlueHost with little to no problem, why would you bother with 1and1?
1&1 IONOS scalable performance
Sometimes, your website requires more performance than it has. 1&1 knows that, and offer Scalable Performance, which allows you to easily increase the performance of your server with just a few clicks.
1&1 IONOS also follows the HTTP/2 network protocol.
The HTTP/2 network protocol helps to optimize the Web. It reduces load times and makes pages easier to display on nearly every available modern browser.
HTTP/2 is a protocol from the future, with only around 15% of the web pages currently using it. However, that is about to change very soon, as the number is steadily increasing. With 1and1 hosting, you can get ahead of the competition. In addition to that, the host also provides every one of its clients with a free SSL certificate which adds extra security. 1and1 hosting is both secure and modern.
1&1 IONOS Service Performance
In this part of 1and1 review, we will be testing its performance, support, and anti-theft protection.
So let's get straight into it.
1&1 IONOS performance
It is worth dealing with the confusing panel and the customer service which doesn't like you if the host's performance is impeccable. This is precisely what I'll be looking into in this part of the 1&1 review.
It is also worth noting, that despite 1and1 having worldwide datacenters, in shared hosting you are not given an option to choose the one you want. You get a server allocated - the one you receive is the one closest to your billing address. Closest one to us was the server in Kansas, USA. Therefore, this was the server tested. Results from different data centers may differ.
Host Speed During Low Upkeep
In order to see the best possible results, I set up the simplest website possible - an HTML one. The website you see below contains less than 30 lines of code and only includes a background picture, link, and simple animation.
The results are fairly stable - the US times average at 60ms, which is well below the average of 553ms.
Bangalore, often a neglected server in these reviews, goes from 300 to 500ms, which is not bad.
The biggest problem is Singapore, its response times go from 700ms to 3 or even more seconds! There are clear problems 1and1 hosting needs to address here, as other hosts tested at exactly the same time had no noticeable issues with that server.
Host Speed With 1&1 Website Builder
Before we start, I have to tell an extra word about the website builder. It is not included with hosting and you have to purchase separately, for $4.99 a month. If you are looking for a cheap website builder solution, 1&1 is not going to be the ideal one. In addition to that, the builder followed the footsteps of the panel. By that, I mean that it was confusing to use.
Overall, it is not a builder I strongly recommend - but if it's quick, it may be worth it. Let's check how it does:
Just like in the HTML website, the Singapore server is lacking behind. However, the US times are still pretty low - even below Google's recommended response time of 200ms.
1&1 IONOS Server Overall Uptime and Response Time
In this test, I set up a WordPress website which was monitored once every minute. This is going to show the host's overall availability - response times show how quick it is and uptime percentages show how often it is down.
1&1 IONOS kept the stable 276ms response times, which is impressive. It beats the average industry response time of 553ms by large.
Overall, very good performance. In addition to good response times, there was also 99.98% uptime. Which is almost perfect.
1&1 may have its quirks but if you're looking for performance issues, I'm afraid you simply won't find them. The German provider is comfortably in the top 10 of the quickest hosts we have tested.
In the 1&1 vs Hostinger comparison article, I have noticed the amazing speeds this host is putting up. 1&1 still isn't the greatest of them all - but it's close.
Of course, it wouldn't be a fair review if we didn't dig deeper and tried finding some genuine issues.
Turns out, 1&1 IONOS hadn't had any major server problems since July 25, 2018. So that's a long time without any issues.
Such as occasion are extremely rate and usually get fixed immediately.
Therefore, it can be concluded that 1and1 is not exempt from problems - but it's fast fixing them, and the overall performance is impressive.
1&1 IONOS support
Like most providers, 1and1 offers a 24/7 customer support service as well as plenty of additional tutorials and articles. The articles are put in multiple categories. There's not many of them provided but most of the simple questions are answered there. For everything else, there's direct support. 1and1 offer three main channels you can use to contact a customer service representative.
- Live Chat
In order to get a fair evaluation, I tested all three of them extensively.
Phone Service Evaluation
It takes around 2 minutes to get connected to an agent. That is one of the better results from all the hosts tested. Sadly, the praise stops here.
The agents lack a lot of general knowledge and after asking simple technical things (i.e. "What are the shared hosting server locations?") I was transferred to a different agent.
Such a thing was nearly a rule, with me speaking to 2 or even 3 agents during one phone call. The transfer times took around a minute or two as well. For simple questions, including billing or plans, 1and1 phone support has been pretty good. Just don't expect to get the answers you failed to find in its Knowledge Base.
Chat Service Evaluation
When testing the chat service, I always look into three things. First one is wait times - the shorter is my wait, the better is my day. Then, I look into the knowledge of the agents. This one is obvious - I hope for the representative to know more about the services than I do. Finally, I evaluate the human factor. The more courteous and familiar the representative is, the better. We all hope for the people working in customer support to be as pleasant to talk to as possible.
This part of the 1and1 review is dedicated solely to chat service: so let's see how it does!
My 1and1 analysis ran into a big problem. This is seriously concerning. The chat service agents appear to have little to none interest in whatever they're doing.
Every single even slightly technical question has been met with either a message to contact someone else or the agent leaving.
Of course, I don't blame the agents themselves - it appears that they are simply not allowed to answer technical inquiries, despite the clients asking them.
This, however, is not the worst of 1and1 problems. It is very rare to catch a chat in when it's available in the first place.
The wait times when you finally succeed are great. Yet when you take all the things in concern, it provides no solace.
The only saving grace in this entire situation came in early 2018. Several months after the initial review I've reattempted to get at least one solid answer from the 1&1 chat support.
And I did!
Despite being told the service was unavailable at first, a few minutes later I was prompted to talk to someone in charge.
It worked out much, much better.
And yet, I still can't recommend this as a great chat service - but it's definitely a step to the right direction. We will see how everything pans out in the future.
Email Service Evaluation
During the live chat, agent Darrell offered me to contact the 1&1 IONOS email support - I've done just that.
It is great to see companies still providing email support and that is helpful if you have some serious technical problems. Often companies choose to provide ticket support but it is commonly available only for the registered clients. In the case of this host, email support is available for everyone. This is how 1and1 email support handles technical questions:
I was slightly disappointed to only receive a link to a support article instead of getting a small tutorial. Other questions have been answered similarly, some responses were more in-depth than others.
Overall, it took from 10 to 20 hours to get an answer, which is a decent result. All in all, email service seems to be the best way to receive technical support. It is available for everyone and is sufficiently quick.
However, I find it discouraging that email is the only reputable way to get technical assistance. It was great some years ago but with live chat services so prominent and genuinely good in most top hosting providers, there's no reason for 1&1 to not follow.
1&1 IONOS anti-theft protection
For the final test, I've attempted to steal my own account.
For the first part, I've attempted a brute-force login. For that, I logged out, changed my IP and incorrectly guessed my password multiple times.
If 1and1 have some sort of a security system implemented, I was supposed to be unable to get into my account even after finally 'guessing' the password.
It took only 10 attempts for 1&1 to clock that something was wrong. I was locked out of many any more attempts and this screen opened.
That means if someone tries to use brute-force software to gain access to your account, they won't be allowed to do it. That is certainly a good thing.
Then, I decided to pick the first offered option and make a phone call - the system immediately connected the dots (presumably, from my previous brute-force attempt) and asked whether I was writing about the hacking problem.
I was connected to John - a real gentleman, I will add. He listened to my acting performance and reassured me that it's going to be okay and I will get my account back.
After multiple questions (I only told them the e-mail) I was guided through the 1and1 website until I made my way to the Account Change Request form. This is what it looks like:
John didn't know how much information is "enough" for me to get into the account - but he told me that each entry is treated manually and the account is not going to be given away easily.
All in all, there are plenty of security mechanisms implemented into 1and1 in order to assure the safety of your account. There is a very low chance that some ill-meaning people are going to get into your account. On the other hand, if you are going to run into serious verification problems, it's going to take a while to get everything back.
1and1 Review - the Verdict
From this 1and1 review, we can see that it offers an exceptional hosting service.
You get really solid and stable performance, a great price, good account safety, HTTP/2, and a free SSL certificate. When you think about it, there is not much more you could ever want.
On the other hand, the control panel is confusing, server response times in Asia are disappointing, and you get the support that is not exactly ideal.
After this evaluation, I can say that I certainly like 1&1 IONOS for what it is trying to do. Decent performance and plenty of tools for a great price are all admirable. Yet perhaps going more simple - implementing cPanel and putting extra emphasis on the live chat - would benefit this host.
- Scalable performance
- Affordable pricing
- Very good performance
- Subpar customer service
- Panel very difficult to use