1&1 is an established host with massive datacenter capacity. We’re always impressed with the variety of services on offer, and the accessible pricing for small businesses.
It would be great to see more plans offer a choice of datacenter locations to take advantage of its global presence, but despite that, 1&1 is a good choice if you want a host for long-term usage, and you don’t anticipate moving your data or mailboxes to another host anytime soon.
1&1 is a huge hosting group with offices in Europe, North America, and South America. It aims to provide a one-stop-shop for small businesses that need to get a website online as efficiently as possible. The company was founded in Germany in 1998 by Ralph Dommermuth, the chairman of parent company United Internet. The 1&1 brand launched in the United States five years later.
1&1’s headquarters are in Montabaur, Germany. Robert Hoffmann was appointed CEO in 2014, and continues to head the company.
The company’s focus is on providing comprehensive business hosting at a low price. In addition, it sells services like Office 365, automated business listings, email hosting, and domain names.
Core hosting packages at 1&1 all into five main categories.
1&1’s site builder is called MyWebsite, and is designed to help small businesses create a website without technical help. It includes a domain name and a treasure trove of resources, including themes, images, and text templates. Customers can drag and drop various types of content into place, and support is included in the price.
There’s a separate e-commerce site builder plan aimed at business that need to sell online. This site builder includes convenient export to major online marketplaces, plus email marketing and social media tools. One domain and an email address is also included.
1&1 sells both Linux and Windows shared hosting. At first glance, the pricing looks similar, but the specifics of each vary considerably. For example, the cheapest Linux plan offers unlimited storage, websites, databases, and email accounts. On the Windows equivalent, only websites and storage are advertised as unlimited.
If you dig into the Terms and Conditions document, you will find that the ‘unlimited’ figures have hidden limits. You can read about these later on in this review.
WordPress hosting is available over 3 plans. Each includes a set amount of SSD storage, unlimited visitors, and one domain. On all Windows plans, WordPress is fully managed. But the plans do not include email service, so if you want email at your domain, you’ll need to budget for this separately.
Managed Cloud Hosting
1&1’s managed cloud hosting includes dedicated resources that are billed in minutes, rather than by capacity. You can design your own plan by choosing the software and resources you need, and 1&1’s technical support team will take care of the software updates.
1&1 sells cloud servers, dedicated servers, and another service called virtual server cloud:
- Cloud servers can be ordered with Linux or Windows, and with a choice of datacenter: United States, Germany, or Spain. You can choose a managed option, or a cloud server with root access.
- Dedicated servers include unlimited traffic. Various configurations are available, including Dell Business Line hardware.
- Virtual server cloud hosting is 1&1’s version of a VPS hosting package. All plans include Plesk ONYX, SSD storage, and all the benefits of a cloud hosting infrastructure.
1&1 Network Infrastructure
In 2008, 1&1 opened its first datacenter in Lenexa, Kansas in the United States. It now uses additional datacenters in cities across North America and Europe, including:
- Kansas City, Kansas, United States
- Chicago, IL, United States
- New York, NY, United States
- Washington, DC, United States
- London, United Kingdom
- Paris, France
- Karlsruhe, Germany
- Frankfurt, Germany
- Munich, Germany
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
The company currently has around 70,000 servers and has multiple redundant connections linking its datacenters. 1&1 doesn’t offer any specific information about the security or credentials in its individual datacenters, and we don’t know if they are privately owned or colocated.
Despite 1&1’s impressive global reach, options for customers are limited. Only its cloud server packages allow customers to select the datacenter that their site is hosted in, so if you have a different package, you should definitely use a CDN to speed up content delivery to customers.
1&1 does not prominently advertise its uptime guarantee on its shared hosting pages, but in its general Terms of Service, you’ll find a promise of 99.99% across all plans.
This is actually a very good uptime promise, since customers could claim compensation if there was more than four minutes and 24 seconds of downtime in a single month. That’s a way better promise than many hosts offer.
There is one exception. The uptime guarantee on the VPS hosting page is advertised at 99.9%. If uptime is important to you, it would be wise to query this before you sign up.
If you do experience downtime beyond the permitted amount, you can claim a service credit for 1&1. 1&1 says the credit will be proportional to the downtime that you experienced, but it doesn’t specify exactly what that would be. Credits are not automatic, so it’s up to you to contact them in the event that you are eligible to claim.
There is also no cash alternative to a downtime credit.
1&1’s Acceptable Use Policies
Many of 1&1’s packages are advertised with ‘unlimited’ resources. When you examine the Terms and Conditions, you’ll find that there are some soft limits in place:
- Unlimited storage means an “initial” allowance of 50 GB on your chosen plan. Your usage will be automatically checked once daily, and your allowance will be increased incrementally in units of 20 GB per day if the system detects that you are close to your limit.
- Users may have up to 250,000 inodes per account on Linux, or 500,000 files and/or folders on Windows.
- Email mailboxes are set up with 50 GB storage. There’s a 5 GB incremental increase when the mailbox reaches its limit, but this will take place no more than once per day. Email storage extensions must be requested by the user; it won’t happen automatically.
In all cases, incremental updates are permitted no more than once per day.
1&1’s fine print also says that it may move users to a “more suitable” higher capacity plan without prior notice. So if your usage is heavy, expect to be asked to pay more as your website grows.
Control Panel Software
The control panel that you are assigned depends on the plan you select. 1&1 has its own custom control panel, and that’s the only option on shared hosting. Cloud servers come with the 1&1 cloud panel in addition.
Dedicated servers and VPS accounts have the 1&1 control panel, in addition to Plesk ONYX for server management.
CPanel is not provided on any plans.
What About Support?
1&1 brings all of its support resources together in an online portal that’s clear and well-organized. There are help articles and guides to resolve common hosting questions, and you can contact customer care by phone using the number provided. Live chat is available, but you need to go through a help wizard before you can access it.
There does not appear to be a ticketing system, or any way to contact support via email, but telephone support is available 24/7.
1&1 aims to provide everything a growing business needs in one place, and the breadth of services demonstrates this. Whether you need an e-commerce store site builder or a dedicated server, there are plans that will serve your company well.
1&1 does lack features that make other hosts compelling, though. For example, it lacks any free migration tools, so switching data from another host could be challenging, and would likely involve some manual work. When you consider that most plans only come with a custom control panel, this makes it potentially challenging to move all of your data by yourself. If you have cPanel now, and you want to switch, you might need specialist help.
If you’re in it for the long haul, and you don’t intend to move, you’ll enjoy 1&1’s pricing and room for growth. Its uptime promise is impressive, and its service catalog is huge.