It is said that 96% of businesses fail within the first 10 years, so what are the secrets to surviving in the web hosting game for 20? We sat down with Matthias Knobloch, Public Relations Manager for 1&1 Internet SE in Karlsruhe, Germany, to try and understand why 1&1 are still going so strong, as well as what their focuses are for the future.
Every story begins somewhere
And with 1&1, we have to go all the way back, 30 years, to 1988. Ralph Dommermuth, now CEO of 1&1's parent company 'United Internet', and his partner started a business with a marketing solution tailored to the needs of software houses and more. In 1996, the brand 1&1 was established as an independent internet provider, catering to the German market. Jump forward again to 1998 and 1&1 entered the hosting business. So, 20 years of hosting. How did they do it?
Our company culture is characterized by an international vibe that is based on teams working together, with members from all over the world. The employees at 1&1 are guided by a strong spirit of entrepreneurship that they adhere to when doing business. When we decide to make a product available to customers, we always make sure that it meets their needs as well as the highest requirements in quality, reliability, and performance at a fair priceMatthias Knobloch
But not only that! 1&1 are currently operating more than 70,000 servers spread over 7 data centres, located in both the US and Europe, guaranteeing almost 100% uptime. This is the making of a great and long-running hosting company: reliability.
The people that make up a company are so very important. Without intuitive, focused workers, a company is not going to survive. It's no surprise, then, to see that 1&1 put a lot of stock into their people.
We are looking for people who are into digital technologies, love what they do, and are always a step ahead of others. 1&1’s employees share a passion for entrepreneurialism and are obsessed with the customer and their needs.
'Passion for entrepreneurialism', despite it being a mouthful to say, it hits the proverbial nail on the head. If you talk to anyone from 1&1 you'll hear a similar theme repeat itself:
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)
As a pure retail registrar, our dedicated focus is on the SMB market.
For fairly simple reasons, too. 1&1 know that small businesses are the ones that most need a strong performing host without breaking the bank to do so. They hope that these small businesses turn into medium-sized ones and that the medium-sized businesses turn into large ones. Exponential growth is good for everyone here. As the business grows, so does its need for better servers, so they will upgrade to 1&1's more powerful systems, like dedicated or perhaps cloud server solutions. As mentioned before, everyone here is a winner.
1&1: By entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs
Now entrepreneurialism often comes at a cost. Frequently, it's the environment that loses out. Not in this case, though. 1&1 place a rather large effort on ensuring environmental protection. Even going as far as to turn a former nuclear power plant into a server centre!
1&1 strives to make a significant contribution to environmental protection. We use renewable solar, wind, and water energy in order to power up our data centers and offices. In addition, 1&1 is mindful of providing its employees with energy-efficient hardware and software in its infrastructure and workplaces. This includes for example extra-efficient power supply devices with reduced heat loss, as well as avoiding the integration of redundant components in our servers.
Environmental protection is a hot topic in the world right now, as climate change affects us all. It's wonderful to see a company that is such a large player in the hosting game put so much focus into it.
Domains can be just as important as hosting!
1&1 is one of the largest domain providers in the world. As a purely retail registrar their dedicated focus, once again, falls on the small and medium-sized business market. They are accredited for all generic top-level domains - TLDs - (.com, .net) and new top-level domains (.io, .review) as well as for the large country code top-level domains (.de, .us). Extensive doesn't even begin to explain just how deeply connected 1&1 are to domains.
1&1 see a continuing trend in new top-level domains, as they offer wonderful branding and marketing opportunities, in particular for companies. Domain extensions such as .restaurant, .shop or .online clearly convey the business’s purpose. New TLDs such as .boston, .miami or .nyc illustrate the local or regional reference of a company. Their conciseness makes them easier to remember and find.
Something also worth mentioning is the way that 1&1 view personal domains:
In addition, we observe that the interest in a domain as a personal branding option within the email address or as a redirection to social media accounts and blogs for private users is increasing. A personal domain offers better control over your online identity and is advantageous for professional communication.
So, what's next for 1&1?
A company that has been around for 30 years could be forgiven for resting on their laurels and taking things easy. 1&1 doesn't like that approach, though. They strive to continue providing fantastic performance at an amazing price, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
In terms of future plans, the goal is to improve the usability of our products and services even more, making it easier for SMBs to leverage the latest digital technologies that support them in finding their way into the digital world.
1&1 are strongly convinced that achieving this is only possible by providing customers with an extensive portfolio of state-of-the-art hosting solutions and a seamless migration of their locally stored data into the cloud. They are hopeful, that this will empower customers to be prepared for the challenges of digitalization and at the same time to concentrate on their core business.
So, what is next for 1&1? Well, whatever they want to be, they will be. The world is their oyster, and with 20 years experience of web hosting under their belt, the chances are they will succeed in whatever they do.