Reading Time: 12 min read

Chris Wagner

“We have been a paying customer for 1&1 IONOS since August 2018.

We are monitoring 1&1 IONOS’s shared hosting servers for Uptime and Performance through our website hostingpill-11.website.

This review of 1&1 IONOS hosting is based on actual testing done on their servers.”

This 1&1 IONOS Hosting Review was revised and updated on November 14, 2018.

What is 1&1 IONOS Hosting?

I like to think of 1&1 IONOS as the hidden giant of the hosting world.

This seems to be the case for America, at least—most people who aren’t familiar with hosting, and have taken only a few cursory looks, know more about GoDaddy and Bluehost.

Despite that, 1&1 IONOS is one of the largest hosting providers in the world: they service more than 8 million customers and 12 million domains.

Perhaps it’s because 1&1 IONOS is mainly centered in Europe, but nonetheless it has a massive reach.

Although 1&1 IONOS has been around since 1988—which is incredibly old in internet company terms—it hasn’t stopped growing.

In fact, they just recently changed their brand name to 1&1 IONOS, reflecting a new integration with the cloud.

So, how does this hidden titan perform?

Is it truly outcompeted by the other famous names in hosting, or does it quietly dominate?

In this review, I will speak from my experience and knowledge of the hosting landscape.

By the end of it, we’ll know how well 1&1 IONOS really measures up.

Please note that: 1&1 IONOS sells a ton of products, but for now I’ll be focusing on their hosting products—and of those, their shared web hosting options.

1&1 IONOS Hosting: Cons

You might know that I like to start with the bad news first. Without further ado…

One thing I have disliked with 1&1 IONOS is a recent change they’ve made to their web hosting packages.

The prices are pretty much the same, but they now have significantly features per package than before.

This is not to say they’re poorly stocked products: I find them to be still well featured plans with great pricing.

They just used to be better, which is a little frustrating.

One other word on features: while everything is fine, 1&1 IONOS doesn’t tie its website builder to its web hosting options.

This is unfortunate, because many users would like to have a one stop shop.

You can pay to have the website builder, but if you do that, then the price of hosting increases to the ‘normal’ price of web hosting packages that include builders already.

1&1 IONOS separate website builder plans

Additionally, 1&1 IONOS is not the easiest to use platform.

I don’t think it’s severely difficult, but the layout and user interface can take a little bit of time to get used to.

Finally, their customer service is mediocre.

Their staff are mostly helpful and responsive, but only on the phone. Getting ahold of reps via live chat is very difficult–sometimes I wonder if 1&1 IONOS even has a live chat system.

Additionally, their on-site information is quite lacking.

People won’t be unable to get the answers they need, but it might be more frustrating to get to them.

These flaws are hardly major, but they are nuisances. It will depend on what you, the potential buyer, wants out of 1&1 IONOS.

If you just need cheap hosting and you don’t care much about having the web builder included, then 1&1 IONOS might be a great option.

If not, it’s still not a bad option, but might be less appealing.

1&1 IONOS Hosting: Pros

But hey, those really are not serious issues. 1&1 IONOS has managed to be such a hosting giant because it still brings a lot to the table.

Despite the aforementioned downgrade in features for web hosting packages, they’re still well featured.

The entry-level tier still gets a lot more accommodations than are strictly necessary for smaller sites, and at a great price.

1&1 IONOS pros for price

Just because it used to be better, doesn’t mean it’s bad now—especially relative to other web hosting packages, 1&1 IONOS’s web hosting options are still a great deal.

Additionally, its cloud and dedicated hosting packages offer good deals as well.

They’re not exceptionally inexpensive, but they still are on the medium to lower side with a good amount of resource allocations.

As far as ease of use goes, it’s true it’s not number one.

However, I still doubt you’d be pulling your hair out trying to get anything done—it’s only relatively difficult, but in practice mostly fine.

And while their hosting products are a little more annoying, their website builder is as easy to use as the best of them.

Although the on-site information is lacking, their representatives are very helpful.

Their recent feature of giving everyone an optional personal consultant for free is pretty unique, and useful.

Finally, we’ve had fairly strong uptime scores with them.

Not the best, but still on the upper end. Our response times aren’t the best, but also significantly better than quite a few other major hosting sites we’ve used.

All in all, 1&1 IONOS really is offering a lot.

It’s still very well-featured and for pretty good prices.

They bring good uptime and strong response times without sacrificing affordability, and that’s a major win.

1&1 IONOS Hosting: Pricing

Now that you’ve heard the overall good and bad points, let’s take a look at that first point of concern—the cost.

The meaning of the numbers is obviously affected by everything else about the product, but first things first…

For shared web hosting, 1&1 IONOS offers three packages (which are unusually named).

Business is the first tier, and it goes for $1 a month for the first year and increases to $8 a month the second year.

Pro is $5 for the first year, and then doubles to $10.

Expert is $9 for the first year, and then increases to $14.

1&1 IONOS hosting plans

These prices are easily among the cheapest you can get for shared web hosting, at least for the first term.

Beyond that first year, the price increase is dramatic proportionate to the initial pricing, but only for the first plan, and even then it’s still a standard renewal price.

Aside from that, 1&1 IONOS has cloud hosting, dedicated hosting, VPS hosting, and WordPress hosting.

Cloud hosting starts at $15 a month with Cloud Hosting M. Cloud Hosting L is the second plan and goes for $25 a month. The third tier, Cloud Hosting XL, is $35 a month and the fourth tier is Cloud Hosting XXL at $65 a month.

1&1 IONOS cloud hosting packages

Cloud hosting isn’t exactly cheap but it’s not expensive either—it’s more in the middle as cloud hosting goes. There are cheaper options, but this is still in a pretty normal range.

And as discussed, shared web hosting is certainly on the cheaper side.

Dedicated hosting with 1&1 IONOS has a couple options: HDD (Hard Drive Disk) or SSD (Solid State Drive).

Good to know they’re not out of date, but as you probably can guess, the SSD options are a little pricier.

Dedicated hosting with HDDs starts at $50 a month for the first three months, and then the price increases to $70 a month.

This continues to $60 a month for the second tier, then $90, and finally $120 (all for the first three months, with $20 price jumps afterwards).

1&1 IONOS dedicated hosting packages

Dedicated hosting with SSDs starts with $55 a month, then $70, then $120, and finally $150 (all of these are the tiers’ prices for the first three months, which will then increase $20 after the initial period).

All things considered, 1&1 IONOS makes its SSD options pretty attractive with minimal price increases.

I consider that a strong point, though the latter two dedicated hosting tiers see a more significant increase in price. Overall, dedicated hosting is pretty normally priced.

VPS hosting is exceptionally cheap—there are three plans that go from $5 to $30 for the first 12 months.

1&1 IONOS VPS plans

A fourth option lets you pay $1 a month for the first 6 months. It jumps to $30 a month, because it’s “extra-large,” but that’s still a very affordable VPS hosting plan.

Finally, WordPress hosting starts at $1 a month (before increasing to $9), then goes to $5 a month, and finally the third tier is $9 a month.

1&1 ionos WordPress plans

These are some of the best WordPress hosting prices I’ve ever seen—we’ll get to the features shortly, but this is simply impressive.

So that’s that!

In sum, 1&1 IONOS doesn’t have any products that are overpriced.

They’ve kept things within a low to medium price range (especially for shared web hosting, and WordPress hosting, which are among the most affordable options out there).

1&1 IONOS Hosting: Features

With average to lower prices, it’s easy to be concerned about features.

We would typically expect that a lower price means reduced features, or reduced performance, or something of that nature.

This is especially true for 1&1 IONOS’s web hosting packages, which are cheap even for web hosting standards.

Does 1&1 IONOS manage to offer a competitive package of tools, without sacrificing too much?

Is it just popular for its price, or does 1&1 IONOS give its millions of customers something useful?

Shared web hosting is surprisingly well featured for starting with a dollar a month.

The first tier is best for one site, but it comes with 100GB of storage, 25 databases (1 GB SSD), and 25 email accounts.

There’s a free domain for the first year, and will initially perform at “level 1.”

The “Level” in Level 1 refers to your PHP memory limit and your RAM storage—which allows how many visitors your site can accommodate at a given time.

1&1 ionos features

Level 1 specifically means 512 MB of PHP memory and 2.5 GB of RAM, which together can handle “around 100 visitors per minute.”

That’s fine for the smallest users who are just maintaining personal blogs/sites, but for anyone who expects to perhaps handle more visitors for any reason but doesn’t need a huge increase in features, I’d suggest upgrading to higher levels (you can go up to 5, which should be fine).

As for the other things, a free domain that only lasts a year isn’t unusual, but a little annoying—some other hosting companies include a free domain even after the first year.

25 email accounts is quite a lot—it’s not uncommon to get only 1 or 5 for entry level packages.

Higher tiers of web hosting options allow for significantly more storage (250 GB and 500 GB respectively for the latter two plans), many more databases (100 and 500), email accounts (100 and 500), higher initial performance levels (levels 2 and 3), and are optimized for a greater number of websites (up to 5 and up to 50).

All web hosting packages also get an SSL certificate, which is killer for a $1 a month option but to be expected for everything higher.

SSL with 1&1 ionos

While I think 1&1 IONOS has made its first two web hosting plans pretty well featured, especially proportionate to price, there are a couple issues I have.

The domain is only free for the first year for all three plans, which I think is unfortunate but not unreasonable.

I do think unlimited storage should be available from the second tier upwards, and if not, then at least the third.

The amount of permitted email accounts is fine, but could be higher.

These aren’t unreasonable, by the way: as recently as a couple months ago, 1&1 IONOS’s pricing allowed for 500 email accounts for the first tier.

The second tier upwards would get unlimited storage, unlimited websites, unlimited databases and unlimited email accounts.

From that perspective, 1&1 IONOS’s web hosting has actually undergone a pretty significant downgrade in the features department.

Keep in mind the prices were the same—actually a few cents cheaper.

One last complaint about the web hosting: the website builder is not included.

Most web hosting packages from other companies include site builders, but they’re more expensive.

If you purchase 1&1 IONOS’s cheap hosting and its website builder, then you’ll be paying a price close to a hosting package that includes a builder with other companies.

It’s not a major concern. Some people might just be looking for affordable, decent web hosting—in that case, 1&1 IONOS will still be a fine option.

WordPress hosting’s first tier, which is $1 a month, is admittedly pretty basic (25GB SSD storage, 10 email accounts, etc). But for some people, it’ll be just right, and a fantastic price.

The next two tiers are in the more typical range of WordPress hosting prices but they don’t sacrifice much in the features department, which is pretty impressive.

Anyway, cloud hosting and dedicated hosting are both well featured. The accommodations (in terms of storage, RAM, etc) are pretty reasonable tier by tier, and the prices aren’t bad at all.

Once again, the dedicated hosting’s SSD option is a pretty good deal.

Dedicated 1&1 ionos SSD plans

I would say that cloud hosting and dedicated hosting remain solid solutions feature-wise for 1&1 IONOS. Nothing extraordinary, but just fine.

VPS hosting is definitely on the more affordable side, and while I do think there could be more resources allocated to the higher tiers, the prices make it difficult to complain.

I also don’t think it’s fair to say 1&1 IONOS’s web hosting packages lack features.

Relative to the competition, they’re still pretty good deals: cheap with a lot allocated for surprisingly low prices. It’s just unfortunate they used to be better deals such a short time ago.

So overall, 1&1 IONOS offers a lot of products that are either normally priced or more affordable than the norm, without sacrificing too many features.

It’s hard to find a company that provides so many good deals.

Ease of Use

So we’ve now established that 1&1 IONOS has pretty good pricing and a solid assortment of features and accommodations per hosting package.

Is it easy to use, though?

Is this where 1&1 IONOS has a major flaw?

1&1 IONOS isn’t difficult to use, but it could be easier.

I usually find all hosting companies are about approximately easy to use—most have figured out the gist of making a simple and streamlined dashboard, control panel, website builder, etc.

1&1 IONOS’s dashboard is a bit chaotic. Navigating it is something you can get used to, but I wouldn’t call it intuitive.

1&1 IONOS dashboard

I do think that the control panel gets things pretty much right.

I haven’t talked about 1&1 IONOS’s website builder because it’s separate from its hosting products, but the website builder is an example of 1&1 IONOS providing easy to use, intuitive software.

Hosting isn’t the same as customizing a website, of course, so you’d be mainly dealing with more technical stuff.

I think the problem with 1&1 IONOS here isn’t that it’s difficult to use, because it’s not. It’s not appealing to use at all times, and that is unfortunate.

Nonetheless, I don’t think 1&1 IONOS will present many difficulties to its customers generally speaking.

Customer Support

While 1&1 IONOS’s ease of use isn’t as top notch as the standard in hosting, there’s something else that compounds ease of use in giving you a satisfactory experience.

1&1 IONOS’s customer support is pretty good overall.

Taken by itself, I wouldn’t have much to complain about. Knowing 1&1 IONOS’s immensity as a hosting company does make me wonder if perhaps more could be done in the way of customer support.

First up: the ability to contact representatives directly.

1&1 IONOS offers the same options that are standard in the industry: 24/7 phone support and 24/7 live chat…sort of.

Surprisingly, 1&1 IONOS doesn’t offer a ticketing system, but it’s live chat works like a cross between the two.

This isn’t a huge mark against them.

While I think they could afford a ticketing system and/or to make an accessible live chat, which is fairly standard, it’s not the end of the world.

However, it has given me some frustrations.

Anyway, I’ve found their customer support staff pretty helpful. They’re not the best experiences I’ve ever had, but they’re more often than not helpful, and almost always responsive.

The complaint I have is that they can be sometimes inaccessible.

Technically they have staff available for contact online, but whenever I’ve tried to get to them, I’ve been incessantly directed and redirected to explanatory articles, not contact pages/buttons.

I’m not sure if their website design is just poor, or if they haven’t updated in a while and forgot to say they do not have reps available online.

Either way, reps on phone support work out just fine, but it’s very frustrating trying to get a rep for online chatting.

Secondly: on-site information. 1&1 IONOS has a help center (a knowledge base, as it’s often known).

1&1 ionos help center

I actually find their help center lacking. Every article on there is helpful, but there just aren’t enough.

They also have 1&1  IONOS Community.

It’s basically a forum. There are quite a few forums more robust and alive with other hosting companies. Once again, good material is there, but not enough.

In fact, it seems on par with the help center to me—I almost think they should simply take articles from their Community page and put them into an expanded help center.

While this means 1&1 IONOS’s customer support is so far lackluster, there is a hidden treat: the Personal Consultant feature.

At no cost, any customer can “activate” a 1&1 IONOS Personal Consultant.

In my experience, it’s not tremendously different from having a good live chat, but you can still use the Personal Consultant to speed things up considerably.

I commend them for making a feature like this free.

In all, 1&1 IONOS has okay customer support.

Their staff are helpful and responsive, and the personal consultant feature is nice–but live chat is either nonexistent or very hard to get to.

The online informational resources are helpful, but should be expanded considerably, especially considering 1&1 IONOS’s massive user base.

Security and Reliability

We’ve covered a lot of ground, but now it’s time to take a look at one last very important thing: security and reliability/performance.

1&1 IONOS doesn’t say a lot about its own security, other than to promise that it has some of the best security in the business and the best georedundant data centers.

It’s not a whole lot to go on, but sometimes hosting companies don’t care much to disclose.

Personally I think 1&1 IONOS’s website is a bit chaotic for new visitors, so it might not be surprising if they don’t say much about their security.

We can go forego official company statements, because I can tell you directly about how 1&1 IONOS has performed for me.

1and1 hsosting uptime history

1&1 IONOS hosting Uptime Score: Detailed data you can see here.

As you can see, our uptime with them has been fairly strong.

It’s not the best, but there are certainly no major outages.

A few minutes a month at most—which isn’t much to complain about at the 1&1 IONOS price points.

The response time is likewise not number one, but much better than plenty of other hosting companies that are similarly priced or more expensive.

And from personal experience, I can say that 1&1 IONOS has done its job just fine.

There have been no major issues: no cases of features working incorrectly, or of security breaches, and as mentioned, uptime has been pretty consistent.

Do we recommend 1&1 IONOS?

Now let’s put everything all together!

1&1 IONOS is a complex service, with quite a few flaws but plenty of positives to make up for them.

Its pricing is excellent, first of all.

The most expensive packages 1&1 IONOS offers are on-par with all the rest of its competition, and are usually about as well-featured.

1&1 IONOS offers plenty of features for price points that are lower than comparable products from other companies.

It’s true that its shared web hosting used to be a better deal, but it’s still a very good deal now.

In fact, 1&1 IONOS’s VPS, WordPress, and shared web hosting options are among the best deals I’ve seen.

Aside from that, I do wish their on-site resources could be more comprehensive. 1&1 IONOS isn’t too difficult to learn, but it could be easier, and better customer support would help mitigate that.

Luckily, their customer service representatives are pretty solid (if you can get ahold of them), and the Personal Consultant feature is pretty cool.

Lastly, I’ve had pretty good uptime and response time with them—for the price, it’s pretty impressive.

I would say that flaws aside, 1&1 IONOS offers some of the best deals around and has for a long time.

If you’re unsure, I would suggest looking for what you want by the features and resources first—you’ll probably find 1&1 IONOS has a price for what you want that’s pretty hard to beat.


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