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Reviews and expert opinion 1&1 IONOS Website Builder

Ezequiel Bruni Ezequiel Bruni Website Development Expert

MyWebsite Now from IONOS is a dead-simple site builder with very low prices. If you want to get a website up and running very quickly, it could be just right. It also has a nifty e-commerce feature in case you’re starting an online store.

Just be aware that it is only available in limited countries. If you’re in the right region, it’s worth a glance!

Overview

A Hosting Company (With a Site Builder)

IONOS by 1&1 (or IONOS for short) has a suite of web solutions that include shared and VPS hosting, domains, dedicated servers, and so much more. It also has a site builder.

Well, it actually has two site builders: MyWebsite Now and MyWebsite Creator.

I’ll be focusing on MyWebsite Now, since it’s the most beginner-friendly option. If you want to get a website up and running in minutes and without breaking the bank, MyWebsite Now is probably the version you need.

If you want more advanced design features (or just more templates), I encourage you to look into MyWebsite Creator.

So, does MyWebsite Now hold up against the likes of Wix and SITE123, two of my favorite super-simple site builders? Is it suitable for your work or your business? Will it make you coffee in the morning?

I jumped in headfirst to find out.

Templates

4.0

The Options Are Limited But Good

The good news is that the templates look attractive and work well. They’re clean, modern, mobile-friendly, and won’t embarrass you in front of your friends at the Christmas party. On the other hand, you don’t have many to choose from.

IONOS has a library of hundreds of website templates, but unfortunately, only 18 designs are available on the MyWebsite Now plan (one per industry: ie. Photography, Restaurant, or Fashion). It’s certainly a quality over quantity approach. I’d personally like more options, but this is enough if you want to get a site up and running fast.

ionos'-somewhat-small-template-library
MyWebsite Now’s selection of templates is small but emphasizes quality.

The site editor lets you fit text and photos into a decent layout as quickly as possible. And when I say “quickly,” I mean it. If you have your content written and images prepared, putting a site together could be as fast as a few minutes.

The only downside to speed in execution is that you’re limited in the style changes you can make. But again, this is not a dealbreaker if your needs are basic.

ionos'-mywebsite-now-site-builder
The MyWebsite Now site builder is limited in options but very easy to learn.

MyWebsite Now makes it easy to assemble pages from pre-designed blocks of content. But be aware that you can’t drag and drop anything wherever you’d like.

The content blocks you can use include an about section, article blocks, galleries, a contact form, and various headers.

the-content-block-library
There’s a reasonable selection of content blocks to choose from.

These blocks are reasonably customizable, providing several predefined and sometimes overlapping “zones”, where you can drop your text and images. This feature gives you partial control over your content layout, so not every MyWebsite Now site has to look exactly the same.

You can quickly alter the look of your whole site with options to change the default colors, typefaces, and spacing of elements. Unfortunately, the typeface/font selection is extremely limited. See the options below? Yeah, that’s it.

ionos'-somewhat-small-typeface-selection
There aren’t a lot of typefaces to choose from, sadly.

Other notes: You will lose any content you’ve added to the site if you change templates after the initial setup. The site builder also doesn’t support multi-language sites or right-to-left (RTL) languages like Hebrew or Arabic.

My verdict: While it would be nice to have more templates, RTL language support, and other quality features – IONOS’s MyWebsite Now is easy to use and does what you need it to. And if you want more templates, you can always go for MyWebsite Creator instead.Explore 1&1 IONOS Website Builder Templates

Features

4.5

IONOS Has a Ton Of Features… On Top of the Site Builder

So here’s the trouble with this review: IONOS, as a web hosting company, has features galore, but many aren’t relevant to the site builder. Even so, I went hunting and found three interesting features to showcase.

First up, you should know that all plans come with a free domain for one year, and that’s awesome. Sites built with IONOS are also GDPR compliant, and you get basic security features like SSL.

Seriously, don’t hang around any service that doesn’t provide SSL. That’s just dumb nowadays.

Now, on to the interesting stuff.

There’s an Online Store

Okay, so you have to pay a little extra for the Online Store Starter plan, but it’s one of the cheapest e-commerce-enabled site builder plans I have ever seen. Seriously, the price is that good.

It’s no Shopify, but the online store comes with light inventory management, sizing options, tax and shipping settings, and ways to show related products on your product pages. You also get functions for discounts, coupons, and abandoned cart emails.

Whether you’re selling digital or physical goods, this shop can handle it.

the-ionos-online-store-management-ui
The store management interface is simple but packed with features.

You can also sell your products via Facebook, Instagram, Google Shopping, eBay, and Amazon. Plus, if you’re selling items face to face, it integrates with Square’s point-of-sale system.

You can run the store via a mobile app for iOS and Android and accept payments via PayPal, Square, Stripe, or other local options.

Lastly, you have some control over how your store pages look, and the user interface (UI) integrates nicely with the templates available.

the-online-store-in-the-mywebsite-now-editor
You can customize how your store looks – a little.

Email

Every site comes with free email. That’s “[email protected],” and it works with any domain you purchase from IONOS or connect from elsewhere. Yes, you can use domains bought from a third party.

‘Nuff said.

RankingCoach Integration

RankingCoach is an app designed to help you set up your site’s SEO, rank higher, and learn a bit about SEO in the process. So no, you don’t get an actual coach, but RankingCoach appears to have support for IONOS’ services built into it.

It’s usually advised to get an actual SEO expert to help you out, but these automated tools are becoming better and better. Plus, SEO experts who know what they’re doing are a lot more expensive than this (paid) add-on.

Big Caveat: International Customers Take Note

This is less of a feature and more of a potential inconvenience. IONOS doesn’t simply let you change your language on its site and use whatever language you want for all of its services. Instead, it has several sites with different products and teams, and all of the sites are locked by region.

I’m in Mexico, but I wanted to get my screenshots for this article in English, right? So I couldn’t use the Mexican site; I had to use one of the English-language sites – say, the US version. To sign up, I was asked to provide a US-based address, which… I don’t have.

A colleague of mine had to create the account, which I then used for testing and screenshots. So if you’re an American living and doing business abroad, for example, you may not be able to use the site builder in English.

Supported regions include:

  • Austria
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Mexico
  • Spain
  • United States of America
  • Romania

See full list of features

Ease of use

4.3

I Have No Complaints, But It Won’t WOW You

Okay, the actual MyWebsite Now site builder is very easy to learn. If you’ve ever used a site builder before, the learning curve is downright trivial. I have no problems there.

However, I feel like the IONOS website could be better organized. I had to ask for help to find several things. It’s by no means terrible, but there’s no clear path “forward” for any particular task. And clicking around to find what you want involves even more trial and error than I’m accustomed to.

Still, IONOS provides a few handy quality-of-life features that make managing your site easier.

There’s a Variety of Extra Tools

These tools are all outside the site builder and can be used to help you spruce up your website:

  • Website checker – For performance, optimization, and basic security testing.
  • SEO analysis – It’s not the full RankingCoach app, but it can help you get started with SEO.
  • WHOIS domains lookup – Find out who owns any given domain name… unless they have WHOIS protection.
  • Logo generator – Create and edit simple logos for free. Helpful if you don’t have a logo design budget, though I’d recommend going for a cheap logo on Fiverr if you can.

Of course, the goal of these free tools is to get people to sign up for the service, but they can help you identify problems with your site or take care of some quick and easy tasks.

A Hefty Knowledgebase With Tutorials, Tips, and Tricks

If you like to do your own research before asking for help, look no further than the IONOS knowledgebase, which contains most of the basics you’ll need to know.

Like I said before, I still had to ask about some things, and not everything in the knowledge base is up to date. For example, I found more than one reference to analytics features that I could never find. It turns out they’re not available at the moment.

the-ionos-knowledge-base
You can learn the basics of the site builder from the knowledgebase.

Legal Page Outlines

Dear God, get a lawyer to do your legal stuff. Okay? Okay.

That being said, every MyWebsite Now website comes with some legal policy pages pre-generated. The actual policies are not written for you, but each page has a general outline of what should be included. If you’ve never written a data or privacy policy, for example, this will help you understand what is expected.

a-pre-generated-legal-page-outline
IONOS includes outlines for site policy pages.

See if 1&1 IONOS Website Builder is Right for You

Support

4.5

You Might Want to Use the Phone

So, I had an okay time with support for the most part. Responses were prompt (I managed to reach a person in under 5 minutes every time), service is available 24/7, and the support agents certainly did their best to be helpful. The score for this section is only as high as it is because the agents clearly put in the effort. 

But the agents just didn’t always know what they needed to know. You know?

I genuinely don’t blame the support agents in this case. I just believe that IONOS failed to provide them with all the information they needed. It’s an IONOS problem, not an individual problem.

Live Chat

First up, I asked if there was a way I could use the Mexican IONOS site in English. The American support agent didn’t even know there was a Mexican website until I told them!

The short answer to my question is no, of course. You may recall, I went over that little mess back up in the Features section.

my-first-chat-with-ionos-support
The agent didn’t actually know IONOS had a Mexican site.

Then I asked how to access the analytics feature that I saw mentioned in the marketing. It turns out it’s not available right now, or at least not to me. The agent linked to the SEO checker as an alternative, which was not helpful at all… but it’s the closest alternative to the service.

Like I said: they tried to help.

my-second-chat-with-ionos-support
All in all, this could have gone better.

My last complaint: the text in the live chat windows is TINY. Seriously, view the screenshots above at full size. Last I checked, I had 20/20 vision, and I still got a headache trying to read some of this stuff.

Phone

My experience on the phone was far better. You can call the team directly or request a callback, so you can go and do other things. Since I don’t live in the US, I couldn’t test the callback feature myself.

I asked if MyWebsite Now could handle RTL language and multilingual sites. It cannot.

The support agent had to ask a supervisor for the information I needed. Again, I’m not blaming the agent – she was great and got me an answer. I just think IONOS needs to provide the support agents more information. The info they might need to know.

Pricing

4.9

MyWebsite Now has two plans: Starter and Online Store Starter. Both start at $0.99 USD per month for the first year, then go on to reasonable renewal prices that should be perfectly accessible for most people, especially if your site is making money.

Of course, I could always wish for a better features-to-price ratio. But while the limitations of this platform make it a tough sell (especially the region-locking thing), the prices are more than fair for what is on offer.

Cancellations & Refunds

There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee across the board. You can cancel your product from the dashboard or reach out to support, and that’s it. I can’t complain about this at all.

Comparison

How does 1&1 IONOS Website Builder match up to the competition?

WixCompare4.9Compare
SquarespaceCompare4.8Compare
1&1 IONOS Website BuilderCompare4.5Compare
SimpleSiteCompare2.5Compare

User reviews

Based on 8 reviews in 5 languages
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waheed
Great Britain
June 10, 2019
Very very poor treatment of a loyal customer

Very very poor treatment of a loyal customer, I have been with 1and1 for over 12 years and have had over 50 domain names with them and a have had their most expensive hosting package with them. I have spent thousands of pounds with this hosting company over the years, even though I could have got a better price elsewhere, but I stayed with them. Everything turned sour when their systems made a mess up off everything and 1and1 tried to blame me for it. I had 10 domain names which were coming up for renewal and I did not want them renewed as I no longer had any need for them, the 1and1 control panel wasn’t working at the time so I phoned 1and1 support, after waiting 25 mins to get through to someone, I did I explained to them months before the renewal date that I no longer wish to renew these domain names, but the control panel isn’t working, the person over the phone said that’s no problem sir I can take care of that for you, which domain names would you like to set to expire, I gave him the list of the domain names, he told me that’s all sorted for you sir, there’s nothing else you need to do, and these domain names won’t renew. To my surprise couple of months later I find out I have been billed for these domain names that I clearly said I did not want renewing. I got on the phone to them straight away sent them numerous emails wanting explanation as to why they have charged me for those domain names I did not want renewing and they were not having any of it, they kept on saying the domain name has been renewed and cant be refunded back, you need to make the payment. I refused to pay for those domain names I did not want, I have phone records of my long discussion I have been having with them regarding my domain name. They left me with no option but to refuse to pay for my monthly hosting package, I made my position clear they needed to minus the domain name charges which I have been billed incorrectly for and re invoice me again which has the correct amount I was happy to pay for what I owe, they were not having any of it. I then get letters and phone calls from debt collection agencies after money that I owe, which really got me upset, angry and frustrated. To this day it is still not resolved, they are not admitting their mistake they made, all this over a few domain names, I have spent over £18k with this hosting company over 12 years and this is how they treat a loyal customer. They have locked my account so I can’t access of my details and now deleted all my work I have had with them that I built up over 12 years. I have luckily got back ups of all my work, but lost 3 months worth of valuable data from my site. I have now started migrating my business to inmoitionhosting and I have been with them for 2 month now and I am really impressed with the level of support from the team there, customer service is fantastic, and the hosting package is really fast and it is perfectly suited to run the X-CART shopping cart which I host there, really good price point. If anyone from 1and1 ionos team is reading this message, you should be ashamed of yourselves, I normally don’t do things like this, I was so upset about the whole situation that I had to put thing is writing of my experience with 1and1 Ionos.

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1
Bob
USA
April 30, 2019
1and1 is a terrible company to do business with

The amount of time wasted dealing with incompetent service reps is uncredible! No one should get involved with 1and1 and anyone who is doing business with them should switch before they cause a major failure in services. Reps have minimal training and have problems communicating. Supervisors har difficult to connect with.

avatar
1
USA
November 28, 2018
1&1 Used to be the go to place . . . . No More

1&1 has gone through a recent upheaval and 'everything' has changed. 1&1 has been purchased and whoever purchased it has changed everything that 1&1 stood for. 1&1 used to be awesome, but no more. Entry prices are still decent, however their prices for existing customers has skyrocketed, and customer service is horrible. While you WILL speak to 'someone', that someone will ALWAYS place you on hold to contact the person who will make the decision that needs to be done. NO ONE at 1&1 Stay Away.

1&1 IONOS Website Builder REVIEW: BOTTOM LINE

MyWebsite Now from IONOS is good enough as a dead-simple site builder with very low prices. While its template library is limited, it serves a purpose if you want to get a basic site online quickly. You’ll get a range of helpful features, such as pre-set content blocks, legal page outlines, SEO help, and an optional e-commerce feature.

It’s worth noting that IONOS is only available in limited countries, and the support experience is somewhat underwhelming. I also wish the website was a little easier to use too.

But if you have a low budget and are in one of its supported regions, it’s worth a glance. Or you can check out SITE123 if you’re looking for an alternative at a similar price point.

FAQ

Is IONOS a good website builder?That depends on what you need and which website builder you’re talking about. IONOS has two: MyWebsite Now and MyWebsite Creator. In this review, we focused on MyWebsite Now, the beginner-friendly option. Honestly? It’s pretty decent. If you want a dead-simple experience with minimal configuration required, MyWebsite Now will give you exactly that at a low price. A complete website, no hassle. The e-commerce feature is great, too. But all of that only matters if you’re in the right region. The closest comparison I can make (and the best alternative) is SITE123, which has been near the top of our list of the best site builders for a long time.How many websites can you host on IONOS?You can host as many websites as you like, but you’ll need to pay for each one separately. This sentiment holds true no matter which of IONOS’ site builder products you choose and is par for the course for most — if not all — site builders.Which IONOS plan should I choose?MyWebsite Now comes with two plans, Starter and Online Store Starter – both are very reasonably priced. If you’re on a really, really low budget, the Starter plan should do just fine, as the other simply adds on store functionality. If you’d like to get IONOS MyWebsite Now (or a plan on any other site builder) for less, check out our site builder coupon page.What is the best website builder in 2021?As always, my personal favorite is Squarespace for its smooth experience and tight integration with third-party add-ons and services. Plus, I like the page editor. If I didn’t code my own sites, that’s what I’d use. That said, for pure design flexibility and an abundance of features, you can’t beat Wix. With over 800 templates, hundreds of add-ons and apps, and some rather interesting AI tools, Wix takes the top spot in our cross-product evaluations pretty much every time. If you want to publish large amounts of content, you should go with WordPress, though. WordPress is the most popular CMS globally for a reason, and it’s regularly adding more site-builder-ish features.

Ezequiel Bruni Ezequiel Bruni
Ezequiel Bruni is biologically Canadian, legally Mexican, and self identifies as a total nerd. He’s been a web and experience designer off and on since he was a teenager, and loves sharing the kind of beginner’s advice he really wishes he’d had when he first started. He also loves video games, tacos, open source software, video games, sci-fi and fantasy in all their forms, and video games. He does not love writing in the third person.

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