Hello and welcome to my 1and1 internet review. Before I start with the review let me give you a very quick run down of who I am, and why I am writing this review.
My name is Dan Thompson and I have been a website designer since the late 90’s. During those years I have used a number of different web hosts, some good, some not so good! In my spare time I run a popular internet marketing blog and I also write hosting reviews.
As 1&1 run both a UK, and a US website, I will be covering both in this website review. I will be looking at the following features, and then marking each section out of – Price, Reliability, Control Panel, Features, and Support.
If you look over to the left you will see a brief breakdown of this review, I like to add the breakdowns at the top of the page for all my hosting reviews as it saves you reading through loads of text if you are in a rush! With the breakdowns you can quickly jump to a section that interests you rather than reading about things you already know about the web host.
I have also linked to my other reviews at the right of this page, so if you feel that 1&1 isn’t for you, do take a look at my other hosting reviews and I’m sure you will find a host that is right for you.
I will now start writing my 1and1 review!
First of all, let me break down the current 1&1 prices for the linux hosting packages, all prices are correct at the time of writing.
1and1 US Prices:
|Package||Disk Space||Bandwidth||External Hosted Domains||Price (Per month)|
|Beginner||10 GB||300 GB||20||$3.99|
|Home||120 GB||1,200 GB||50||$4.99|
|Business||250 GB||2,500 GB||100||$9.99|
|Developer||300 GB||3,000 GB||200||$19.99|
1and1 UK Prices:
|Package||Disk Space||Bandwidth||External Hosted Domains||Price (Per month)|
|Beginner||250 MB||3 GB||20||£1.99|
|Home||1.5 GB||20 GB||50||£4.99|
|Business||4 GB||40 GB||100||£8.99|
|Business Pro||8 GB||100 GB||200||£14.99|
|Professional||20 GB||200 GB||500||£24.99|
On first inspection the monthly prices look very reasonable, however 1&1 do have a minimum contract length of 6 months on their hosting packages (3 months on the developer/Pro packages), and you will be forced to pay all fee’s upfront before they activate your hosting account.
However this shouldn’t put you off too much, in today’s competitive hosting market the vast majority of hosts do have minimum contract lengths ranging from 3 to 24 months, very few hosts still use the month by month payment options, and if they do, the prices are usually higher than the 1&1 prices. As with all hosts you need to take the disk space and bandwidth limits with a pinch of salt, especially when you compare the space and bandwith between the UK and US sites (see table above). There is a huge difference, the UK 1&1 website has sensible disk space and bandwidth allocations, but the US site offers “out of this world” deals. Just be aware that when you sign up, you are also agreeing to the terms and conditions saying that single users may not use “excessive use of system resources” at any time. So although they are advertising upto 300 GB of space, once you get anywhere close to that number, you will be forced to upgrade to a higher end package to comply with the terms and conditions. You can see a snippet of the T&C’s here:
All in all the 1and1 prices are very reasonable, and for that I will give the pricing 4/5, it would have been a perfect 10 but the fact it makes no mention of the minimum 6 month and 3 month contracts loses a point from me.
1and1 score for pricing: 4/5
Reliability along with good support should , in my opinion, be the two most important things to look for in a web host. 1and1 manages to get one of these right (more on what they didn’t get right later on!), the reliability is generally faultless, they have a good redundant data centre and in my time with 1&1 (I have since moved to a new host) I suffered very little downtime on my Linux hosting package. Any site downtime that did occur was usually sorted out within the hour and was fixed with a simple server reboot.
Unfortunately the 1and1 internet email service wasn’t as reliable as the hosting, back at the start of the year I had a lot of problems receiving email to one of my addresses. Messages would take around 8 hours to get through the system so by the time they arrived in my email inbox, the person that sent me the email ended up waiting over 8 hours for a response. This continued for a couple of days, it hasn’t happened since but as you can imagine, it caused a lot of problems for the 2 days that it went AWOL for!
In my time with 1and1 I had very little hosting downtime, but it did have some, so I feel that I am unable to give it a perfect score. So again, like the price, I would have scored this section with a 4/5. However the email problems that I mentioned above were unacceptable so I will knock half a point off for that.
1and1 score for reliability: 3.5/5
Now this is where things start to go downhill in my 1&1 review. Let me make a bold statement here:
THE 1AND1 CONTROL PANEL IS THE WORST HOSTING CONTROL PANEL I HAVE EVER COME ACROSS!
And that’s saying something considering I’ve also used Godaddy and Yahoo 😉
Let me explain my reasons for this. 1and1 was my first ever web host, so when I first used their control panel I imagined that most hosts used similar systems. It wasn’t until I moved to a host that used the popular “cPanel” control panel that I realised just how bad the 1&1 control panel was.
- Why do frontpage extensions take 30 minutes to activate and deactivate?
- Why do they have “internal” and “external” domains?
- Why does it take 3 hours to create a sub-domain?
- Why is it so difficult to cancel a product?
- Why do they make it so difficult to understand the contracts and orders?
- Why do domains take hours to “update”?
- Why is their internal DNS check bringing back false data?
I could go on and on, there are a lot more annoyances within the 1&1 control panel that I could review but you would probably get fed up of reading!
I will though elaborate on one very important thing that I have come across with the 1&1 control panel on more than 1 occasion.
If you wish to cancel a contract, be VERY careful. The 1and1 system requires you to go to a separate website where you can manage your contracts, change or cancel any features or accounts with them. I have had numerous clients that wished to cancel their 1&1 hosting package, but they wanted to keep their domain name with 1and1 – big mistake!
On more than 1 occasion, the ultra-confusing 1&1 cancellation system has caused a number of my clients to lose domains. Instead of just cancelling the hosting package, 1and1 took it upon themselves to also get rid of the domain name. The domains, although they still had time remaining (meaning they hadn’t yet expired) suddenly had “no registrar”, this meant that for my clients to get their domains back, they needed a new registrar to take over the domain, which would have cost them £80 (about $160) – all because of 1and1’s crazy contract/cancellation system!
As I said before I could go on for ages about the control panel’s failings but I don’t want to bore you, if you want me to give you any more info do feel free to use the “Contact Me” link at the bottom of the page.
So now we come to a score, I don’t like to be ultra-harsh with my scores, but when there is a perfectly good control panel out there (cPanel) I fail to see why companies insist on using their own, sub-standard control panels. Sorry about this 1&1 but I’m going to have to give you:
1and1 score for control panel: 1.5/5 (and that’s being very generous!)
There are a number of different 1and1 hosting packages, I am going to look at the features included in the Linux hosting packages, as that’s what I have used. But do bear in mind that the Windows hosting, VPS and dedicated server features may differ from those I outline below.
If you want to build a professional website in minutes and have no HTML or other programming experience to help you, 1&1 provides more than one tool to get you up and running quickly. In fact, they state, “Everything you need to increase visibility and traffic flow to your website.”
The 1&1 Website Builder allows you to search advertising vouchers, access the traffic-building tools in the 1&1 Marketing Center and improve your search engine compatibility. There’s an online marketing manual, written by Internet entrepreneur James Martell, that you can freely access to help you make the right decisions the first time.
Using Click-n-Build, only available with Linux hosting packages, puts a variety of software applications at your fingertips to help you build and improve your website. These tools can be accessed through your 1&1 Control Panel. One click on the installation button hands the whole process over to 1&1, who manages it for you. When there’s updates available for your web applications, 1&1 notifies you. Click-n-Build includes security patches to keep your website safe and ad-free software.
So if you have no previous website building knowledge and you are looking for a host that provides you with a WYSIWYG site builder, then by all means go for 1and1. However advanced users may become very disillusioned as 1and1 tend to provide more features for the novice web master, rather than helping the experienced clients.
One thing that let’s 1and1 down in the feature parts of things is the number of domains you can host on the 1 Linux hosting account. At the time of writing, there are limits on the number of domains (1and1 call these “external domains”) you can host on a single hosting package, for me this is a huge let-down. Nowadays there is no excuse for putting a limit on the number of domains that you can host, especially as there are some very good web hosts out there that will allow you to host an unlimited number of domains on a single account! (See Hostmonster and D9 Hosting.)
So with that in mind, this is my score for “Features”.
1and1 score for features: 3/5
This is where things will start to get just a little bit ugly. A vital part of any hosting review is how the host handles support requests, as a customer you need requests answered in a timely and efficient manner, you would like to know details of any problems, and how these can be fixed.
If this is what you look for from a hosts support department – avoid 1&1 support!
The email and phone support is VERY limited, almost all of my support tickets were answered with a copy/paste standard reply which 9 times out of 10 would have no bearing on the original question I had asked them! If the problem required someone at 1and1 to actually do something with your account, the ticket would have to be escalated and then you would be placed in a queue before anything happened.
The support people that you deal with on a day to day basis really are the frist line of defence, they can read the “resolutions” from their screen but if you actually need any technical service, you will need to escalate your ticket to a higher level of their support department.
Response time is by no means quick either, the average support time for my tickets was around 10 – 14 hours, which isn’t too bad but with other hosts out there that will answer your tickets and calls in less than 1 hour, 1and1 simply isn’t good enough.
I don’t like to end the reviews on a bad note, so I will say that the 1&1 FAQ library contains some helpful articles showing you how to perform basic tasks, but you really would expect better customer service from such a big company.
1&1 score for support: 1/5 (The FAQ’s stopped it being a big fat 0!)
1and1 Review Conclusion
In closing, I would first of all thank you for reading my review. I hope I have helped you to make an informed decision about your next web host. I personally wouldn’t recommend choosing 1&1 as your next web host unless you are an absolute beginner and only plan on using the website builder packages. Any experienced webmasters will be pulling your hair out as soon as you need to contact their terrible support team. I would recommend that you read some of my other hosting reviews – links at the top right hand side of the page.
Final 1and1 Review Score: 10/25!