First arriving back on the scene almost three decades ago, 1&1 IONOS’s longevity is no doubt a testament to their ability to consistently adapt to an ever-evolving web, meeting increasingly complex customer needs which are a world away from the ones they were faced with way back in the late 1980s.
Today, the German-based company boasts a reputation as Europe’s leading provider of website hosting, domain, and email services, and with over 15 million customers across the globe, certainly, earn their place among the world’s best.
Yet despite having both experience and an enviable reputation on their side, this writer has to admit that the company somehow slipped under the radar for most of my career in website management, and only really came to my attention since I started work here at Web Design DIY.
Intrigued, I took the plunge and signed up to give 1&1 IONOS a trial run with a couple of projects I had in the works.
It’s been a good couple of months since then, and in that time I’ve found that as much as there is to like about 1&1 IONOS’s shared hosting plans, there’s plenty that the brand could be doing better.
If you’re thinking of signing up but are still weighing up your options, here’s my take on the pros and cons of 1&1 IONOS hosting, based on my own experience of using the company’s Basic Unlimited plan.
I’ve used a good number of different hosting companies over the years, but in all that time, I don’t recall ever getting as better a deal -at least in terms of price- than I do with 1&1 IONOS.
As part of my package, I have unlimited bandwidth and storage allowance, a .com domain name and the capacity to launch multiple websites under one package.
For all that, I’m paying only £1.19 per month, whilst an additional domain name that I registered currently only costs me £1.32 per month. That’s definitely the lowest cost plan I’ve ever used, at least for unlimited hosting.
As I’ll get to later on, I didn’t -and still don’t- find 1&1 IONOS to be the most user-friendly provider on the planet, and I’ll admit that carrying out some tasks weren’t as simple as I hoped they’d be.
As such, I had to get in touch with the company’s customer support team and was very happy with the service they provided.
I used both phone and live chat, and found that the response times were far quicker than some other leading companies. I also particularly liked that the telephone support was provided via a free phone number, again, something I don’t always see with other companies that I’ve used in the past.
The support team were friendly, helpful, and patient, and as one of the most important aspects of any good business, it’s nice to see 1&1 IONOS getting customer support absolutely spot on.
Free 2GB email accounts
Though not particularly outstanding -most unlimited shared hosting plans come with free email after all- the inclusion of free email accounts tied to registered domain names is a nice touch, and means it’s possible to create a truly professional online presence at a low cost.
Slow back-end performance
I’ve got my 1&1 IONOS Basic account open as I write this piece, and in going through it, I’m immediately reminded of one of my biggest bugbears with this particular company; navigating your way around the control panel and account features can take forever.
Hopefully, it’s just a temporary issue, but I’ve found that there’s been a number of occasions when control panel options take a while to load, and in some extreme cases, even stall to the point of requiring a complete refresh.
Given how crucial fast performance is to the success of a website, this did make me second-guess hosting any important website projects with the company, but in a trial run, I discovered that actually hosted websites did perform well and that it’s only when you go ‘behind-the-scenes’ that problems start to arise.
Ease of use
Many of today’s top hosting companies use a visual-based interface such as cPanel or vDeck to help users navigate their way around and make use of all the tools and features at their disposal.
1&1 IONOS are the rare exception, instead employing a somewhat cluttered, text-based control panel that really takes some getting used to, even for those of us with a fair amount of experience in managing and building websites.
As I said earlier, some tasks were more complicated than they are with other companies, which makes this writer unlikely to recommend them for those with limited web hosting experience.
Anyone who’s used a hosting company before will be familiar with the tactic used by most providers in selling additional products, service, or upgrades once you’ve signed up.
It’s a pretty standard business practice, but one that 1&1 IONOS take to the extreme, with more ads for other products and temptations to upgrade present on every page than you get elsewhere.
On the whole then, it seems that getting such low-cost hosting means sacrificing something in the usability department.
If you’ve been around the world of web hosting for some time, this might not be too much of a problem, but if you’re just starting out and want the simplest way possible to launch your site, I may recommend paying a little more for the benefit of a hosting plan that’s easier to use than 1&1 IONOS Basic.