1&1 is one of the largest brands in the Internet services industry, and I get a lot of reader questions about what their hosting product is like. I’ve worked with 1&1 web hosting several times for clients, and recently bought a hosting package for a separate project I’m running. Here’s my first 1&1 web hosting review in a series that looks at their hosting product overall & in comparison with other top hosts.
1&1 offers a wide range of products from domain names to hosting to website packages. 1&1 is actually one of the oldest web hosting companies – founded in 1988. And they are also one of the more aggressive advertisers with full-page ads in magazines and TV spots. Anecdotally, I think only GoDaddy rivals them in terms of mass-market advertising and brand awareness.
But big brand doesn’t always mean a good product – and that’s one thing I wanted to look into with a full 1&1 web hosting review.
2 quick asides before diving in. First, my approach to reviews (detailed here) is that there is no such thing as a “best” or “top” anything. There’s only better fits for different people depending on your goals. If you are just looking for 1&1 promotions for super-cheap hosting, you can find them here.
Second, when I talk about “hosting” – I’m specifically referring to Linux shared web hosting setups. Unless you have a specific reason to use a Windows-powered server, you should be using a Linux powered server. It’s the industry standard and gives you much more flexibility than a Windows server. I’m also specifically looking at shared web hosting, since unless you know of a specific reason (like having a consistent 10,000 visits/day) to not have shared hosting – then it’s the probably the best fit for you (it’s also the most affordable).
Pros of 1&1 Web Hosting
Last aside – the tl;dr is that 1&1 does not have any strong “pros” in my opinion. The really just have areas where they are just sort of fine. Their main pro is their brand and the name they have built up over 26 years. That said, for the purposes of a 1&1 web hosting review, here are the pros of their hosting service (or skip to the conclusion & recommendations here).
1&1 Hosting is on the more affordable end of web hosting. They typically offer a very cheap 12 month introductory offer (view their plans here), and then increase the price after a year, which even then are on the more affordable end.
Overall, they are right in line with most of their competitors after the 12 month intro deal. Their Basic plan is limited to 1 website, 20 databases, and 100 subdomains and is a dollar cheaper per month than GoDaddy’s Economy plan, but 30 cents more expensive than HostGator’s comparable plan.
The Unlimited plan is slightly more expensive than other comparable web hosts, but overall you’ll be counting dimes between 1&1 and other choices. Pricing isn’t a strength except for the fact that they include a Starter plan for $2.99/mo.
On first glance, the Starter plan looks pretty worthless. With just 10GB of webspace, you’d be better off just using DropBox or Google Drive. However, it does include 1 database (what stores your website’s info, and allows you to run website software like WordPress), which is key. The plan is not a great value overall, and would not allow you to do much – but it is a price point that is not offered by any other major web host.
As far as pricing goes, 1&1 gets points for being an option for anyone on a super-tight budget, and for having plans that are competitive enough for to look at other factors when making a decision.
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