1&1 IONOS is one of the world’s leading web hosting providers. With tons of features, cheap pricing, and a long track record dating back to 1988, it’s easy to see why 1&1 IONOS has exploded, currently servicing over eight million customers around the world.
While the company’s website is in English only, it’s truly an international operation: it has 15 facilities across nine countries and 2,000 employees across 40 countries. If you’re still in any doubt of its status, I can tell you it’s the largest hosting provider in Europe.
1&1 IONOS offers a wide variety of services ranging from shared and WordPress hosting to reseller and dedicated server hosting, as well as other related web services, such as website building tools and online marketing services.
But just because this is one of the biggest hosting providers in the world doesn’t mean it’s the best option for your needs. It doesn’t even mean it’s the best service available on the market. Yes, you heard me, bigger doesn’t always mean better!
Every website owner has a different set of requirements. This review will dig deep into what 1&1 IONOS has to offer, including features, pricing, support, ease of use, and more — and by the end, you’ll be able to determine if this is the best option for you.
1&1 IONOS is a full-service hosting provider. This means it offers basically every feature you could possibly need for your website. I won’t bore you with all the details, but all the basics, such as SSL Wildcard certificates, anti-DDoS attack protection, automatic daily backups, and even a CDN (free-of-charge in the top-tier plan) are included.
1&1 IONOS also offers a website building tool. But buyer beware — you get a rather limited version of the builder for free with all of the plans, but if you want a premium version, you’ll have to purchase it as an add-on subscription.
Keep in mind that 1&1 IONOS doesn’t offer free website migrations, which is odd, considering it’s such a comprehensive host.
But let’s take a deeper look at some of the more interesting features 1&1 IONOS does offer.
WordPress Hosting Plans
In addition to regular shared hosting, 1&1 IONOS offers WordPress-specific plans. This is great for beginners, as you get a “WordPress Assistant.” Before you get excited — no, it’s not a real assistant that comes to your office and makes you coffee. In a nutshell, it’s a tool or a wizard, that’ll guide you through setup and even recommend themes and plugins specific to your industry niche.
Automatic WordPress updates are also included with the plans, so you won’t need to worry about keeping your core installation up-to-date or hiring an expensive developer to do it for you.
Fast loading speeds are extremely important for your search engine rankings, user experience, and conversion rates. While not all of this is in the hands of your hosting provider, it’s great to see that 1&1 IONOS offers a variety of performance-enhancing features and tools. These include the RailGun CDN, SSD storage, and HTTP/2 protocol.
This section will likely send you running for the hills if you’re looking for a beginner-friendly host – which, of course, 1&1 IONOS is. However, if you’re a web developer, 1&1 IONOS has got your back too.
It does a good job of providing you with the tools you’ll need. For instance, there’s SSH, FTP, and SFTP access, as well as Git version control and cron jobs to schedule repetitive tasks.
The 1&1 IONOS platform also supports Perl, Python, Ruby, SSI, and PHP up to version 7.3.
Ease of use
As a beginner-friendly provider, 1&1 IONOS has to balance its heaps of features with an easy-to-use interface. Although the process to connect your domain and set up your CDN is slightly complicated, 1&1 IONOS provides an excellent user experience once you’re settled in.
Creating an Account
It took only a couple of minutes to create an account with 1&1 IONOS. The process was straightforward and could easily be completed by someone brand new to hosting. If you’d like to learn more, you can read my step-by-step guide on how to create an account with 1&1 IONOS.
Connecting a Domain and Installing WordPress
As my hosting plan came with a free domain, I didn’t need to go through any complicated processes to map a domain to 1&1 IONOS. It was surprisingly simple to connect the domain and install WordPress (I’ve read a few negative comments online about the process).
The setup took me less than five minutes and could easily be done without help from support.
For more information about the process, head over to my detailed guide explaining exactly how to connect a domain and install WordPress.
It’s rare to see scalable resources included with shared hosting plans. But with 1&1 IONOS, you can add performance boosts and increase memory, RAM, or parallel processing capabilities whenever you need to.
The additional resources are added instantly for a small monthly fee. This way, even on a shared hosting plan you won’t need to worry about traffic spikes crashing your website, which is clearly a big no-no for most businesses.
Manage Your Admin on the Go
1&1 IONOS offers a smartphone app so you can manage your products, billing, and administrative tasks on the go. For instance, you can easily keep up with invoices from a mobile phone or tablet. I know, it’s not the most glamorous feature, but it makes the admin side of running a website just a little easier.
Website Building Tool
The 1&1 IONOS website builder is a standalone drag-and-drop tool included free in the web hosting packages. It includes easy integrations with popular social media networks, business widgets such as online scheduling tools, and over a hundred fully-responsive templates and a database of a whopping 17,000 stock images.
WIth ten data centers in five countries housing a massive 90,000 servers, I was surprised that I had to dig into the depths of the terms and conditions to find the uptime Service Level Agreement.
This turned out to be a rather underwhelming 99.9% guarantee, but at least 1&1 IONOS does state that its data centers generally have “almost 100% uptime.” Also, according to tests by third-party reviews, the uptime is generally above 99.97%. Overall, the uptime is decent — and perhaps even above average considering the affordability.
1&1 IONOS doesn’t make any promises regarding performance. After reading a few other reviews online, I was a little concerned. As customer sentiment was quite mixed, I wanted to conduct my own performance tests.
I did this using the Sucuri Load Time Tester. Surprisingly enough, 1&1 IONOS scored an A+ grade here despite all the naysayers online. Most major European locations loaded in between 4 and 40ms, which is excellent.
Australia, Tokyo, and certain U.S. locations (Atlanta and San Francisco) performed the worst, although this wasn’t overly surprising as the data centers are primarily located in Europe.
India scored unexpectedly well — typically, non-Indian providers are prone to slow loading speeds, but 1&1 IONOS is clearly an exception here.
In summary, 1&1 IONOS can offer you top-notch performance, but it does greatly depend on where you and your customers are located.
1&1 IONOS’ customer service is quite unusual. First, for pre-sales inquiries, you can only contact the team via telephone — either by calling them directly or requesting a callback. There’s no live chat or any other method to get in touch with the sales team.
Personally, I found this inconvenient, as I’d much rather hop on live chat to quickly get answers to my questions.
Existing customers have more options. You’ll get access to a consultant free of charge with all 1&1 IONOS plans. This consultant is available to you around the clock and can offer advice on a range of topics from email marketing to e-commerce and even Google map integration.
Although the whole experience was underwhelming (I’ll go into more detail below), this is by far one of the best services I’ve seen from a web hosting company. If you’re a beginner, this kind of support is extremely valuable and not usually available without paying for expert help.
Be sure to “activate your personal consultant” after you’ve purchased your hosting plan. Only then will you be able to get support via email, phone, and live chat.
You can ask your personal consultant questions about a broad range of service-related issues, not just those related to hosting — such as how to set up your email, how to write a good email marketing subject line, and so on.
On top of support from your personal consultant, there’s a help desk with articles covering a broad range of topics.
Once I’d activated my personal consultant, the first question I wanted to ask him was where the servers were located. Although it was 10:00 AM in the U.K., the agent was offline. There was a note telling me to try again later, which I did on several occasions (to no avail).
Fortunately, a few hours later, I did manage to get an agent to pick up. I was hoping to find out the exact cities the data centers were located in, but the operator did not know. He could only tell me that the servers were in Europe and the United States. Other companies will provide more specific information. Also, it was frustrating that I had to wait so long to speak with someone.
When I couldn’t reach my consultant via live chat, I decided to try the next best method: email. I sent my message around 10:00 AM on a weekday, asking for confirmation on the best methods to get in touch. It took me two business days to get a reply. This response was polite and answered my question in full, but it’s a shame it was so slow.
Since it took such an infuriatingly long time to get a response, I decided to see if 1&1 IONOS would do any better on Facebook. I sent a message asking whether there was an email address to contact the sales team by, or if I could ask sales questions directly on Facebook.
I received a reply soon after, which said that I’d contacted the U.S. Facebook page and I should ask my question again at the U.K. page.
I did so right away, but although it was mid-afternoon in the U.K., I didn’t get a response. I followed up again the next day, and this time I finally got a reply. I then asked another question and got a reply a couple of hours later.
1&1 IONOS’ hosting plans all come with a generous introductory offer, which reduces your monthly rate significantly for the first six or twelve months (depending on the plan you choose). This is great, but be sure to take into account that after this introductory period, you’ll see a steep increase in your renewal rates.
All plans come with a free domain. The available extensions vary depending on your location, but .com, .org, .biz, .me, .online, .net, and .info seem to be standard.
You’ll also get a free SSL wildcard certificate, Bing Ads credit, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
When you’re ready to make a purchase, you can pay by direct debit, major credit cards, or PayPal.
Cancellations & Refunds
Canceling my account with 1&1 IONOS was simple. You can do it from the dashboard; no need to contact a support agent. Since I was still within the 30-day money-back period, my refund was automatically applied. The whole process took less than three minutes.