Tuesday 11th December 2018

1&1 Review

Solid uptime but limited customer service, excessive legalese and overbearing restrictions.

  • Cheap introductory rate but it increases by 707% (not a typo) in the second year;
  • Its monthly uptime is good however its response time is average;
  • It provides a free one year domain registration (includes domain privacy);
  • There’s a lot of important information confined to it terms and conditions;
  • Its custom admin panel is lacking structure;
  • Customer service is relatively inaccessible and only available by phone.

1&1 Review

Solid uptime but limited customer service, excessive legalese and overbearing restrictions.

  • Cheap introductory rate but it increases by 707% (not a typo) in the second year;
  • Its monthly uptime is good however its response time is average;
  • It provides a free one year domain registration (includes domain privacy);
  • There’s a lot of important information confined to it terms and conditions;
  • Its custom admin panel is lacking structure;
  • Customer service is relatively inaccessible and only available by phone.

Latest rankings

We performance test the world's biggests hosts on a second-by-second basis. The top 3 performers for July 2018 are listed below.

Host Uptime Response time
HostGator 100% 390
Bluehost 100% 502
Hostinger 100% 513

Latest rankings

We performance test the world's biggests hosts on a second-by-second basis. The top 3 performers for July 2018 are listed below.

Host Uptime Response time
HostGator 100% 390
Bluehost 100% 502
Hostinger 100% 513

Overview

1&1’s monthly uptime is very good, particularly in consideration of its introductory or year one price – it has been as high as 99.98% an as low as 99.95%.

However, its server response time isn’t as noteworthy. The fastest server response time it has recorded is 1,081 milliseconds, while the slowest is 1,272 milliseconds.

The best performing web hosts typically register monthly server response times of low- to mid-hundreds of milliseconds.

1&1 confines a lot of important information to the fine print. For example, its general terms and conditions state:

“1&1 reserves the right to move customers to servers which are more suited for that customer’s usage, in 1&1’s sole discretion, and the customer agrees and understands that during any such move some or all of the 1&1 services may be unavailable or inaccessible”.

Other terms state, any and all requests for technical support may be refused by 1&1 with or without reasonand bandwidth use…shall not exceed six gigabytes per month (more on both of these below).

1&1 has also faced numerous problems with its mail servers in recent years – many of the IP addresses it lists on its website appear on prominent blacklists. Its customer service also leaves a lot to be desired – it doesn’t offer live chat or ticketing support (you have to call). It claims to offer email support however it’s incredibly difficult to unearth an email address.

This said, there are positives (sort of). It:

  • Offers a great introductory price;
  • Offers free SSL but it isn’t as easy to implement as with other web hosts;
  • Supports HTTP/2; and
  • Claims to offer free daily backups however they aren’t available from your admin panel and they are likely only made for server restoration purposes.

Overall, we find the experience a bit disorientating and, considering the renewal costs (not the introductory costs), we believe there are better options out there.

Latest uptime

Month Uptime Response time
January 2018 99.95% 954ms
February 2018 99.95% 1146ms
March 2018 99.98% 1272ms
April 2018 99.98% 1223ms
May 2018 99.98% 1158ms
June 2018 99.98% 1189ms
July 2018 99.95% 1,081ms

Key data

Click on a metric to compare the performance of all 18 hosts, or learn more.

N/A = Not applicable NS = Not specified RBNS = Restricted but not specified

Monthly price1

$8.99

Annual price2

$11.88

Bandwidth/data transfer

Unlimited

The not-so-small small print

1Many web hosts advertise monthly prices but don't allow you to pay monthly. If you can't actually pay monthly we don't display a monthly price.

2This metric lists the annual price for packages paid 12 months in advance. It doesn't calculate the cost of packages paid monthly for 12 months.

3This is what it costs to renew a package paid annually in the second year. Most hosts increase prices for the second and each subsequent year.

4A "free domain" may sound like an enticing offer but keep in mind its costs will often be subtracted from a refund and some web hosts charge significantly more for renewals than registrations.

5Most web hosts display their uptime guarantees to one decimal point e.g. 99.9% is actually 99.90%. While some uptime guarantees look more attractive e.g. 100%, it's the compensation terms - how much they pay you if they fail to honor it - that matter.

1&1 alternatives

Excellent uptime and response time but offers poor customer service and lacks essential features.

Annual price

$59.88

Uptime

99.99%

Nothing spectacular, nothing truly terrible. They're expensive relative to other web hosts.

Annual price

£94.99

Uptime

99.93%

Good uptime, features and value for money but no free domain and response time is average to poor;

Annual price

$24.88

Uptime

99.94%

Variable but often good uptime; very good response time; excellent value but lacking core features.

Annual price

$39.00

Uptime

99.94%

Pricing

Like with most hosts, the monthly price 1&1 advertises isn’t the price you pay if you actually want to pay monthly; rather, to qualify for the $0.99 per month rate you have to pay one year in advance, which means the price you pay is $11.88.

If you actually want to pay monthly then the same package costs $8.99 per month. If you choose to pay in advance you’ll be given a “free” one year domain registration, which includes one year of free domain privacy (which is a great offer).

The annual introductory price makes 1&1, by some distance, the cheapest web host we’ve reviewed; however, the price for your second year of hosting is 700% more expensive ($95.88). We’re unsure whether the second year is paid in advance or paid monthly – the quoted renewal charge on the checkout page is $7.99 per month. 

The same rules appear to apply to its domain names. One year .com registrations cost $8.99 however the renewal fee is $14.99 per year. The initial one year registration also includes free domain privacy but it’s unclear at what rate domain privacy renews or whether it remains free.

Unlike other hosts, 1&1 doesn’t appear to assist with website migrations let alone provide them free of charge (as some do).

Further, it’s important to be aware that they run a custom admin panel and that this may make it more challenging to migrate to another web host in future (many web hosts only offer free website migrations if your previous host uses cPanel).

1&1 offers a 30 day money back guarantee (standard) and a 99.99% uptime guarantee (better than most but not the best); however, neither of these are promoted on its gigantic sales landing page.

Rather, they are confined to its terms and conditions. The only other page we found that mentions the money back guarantee is divorced from the navigation of the main website.

Key data

Click on a metric to compare the performance of all 18 hosts, or learn more.

N/A = Not applicable NS = Not specified RBNS = Restricted but not specified

Annual price

$11.88

Compare web hosts

We compare 17 web hosts against 56 metrics, including monthly and annual pricing and bandwidth, CPU, read/write, storage and database restrictions.

Technical

1&1 isn’t particularly forthcoming about usage restrictions it places on its user’s accounts.

As is typical with 1&1, we had to rely on its upgrade pages to glean more information on the limits set on entry-level accounts. We found the following:

  • “Processes,” a metric which seems to only include “PHP processes,” are limited to 300 per minute;
  • RAM is limited to 2.5GB for simultaneous “PHP processes” but 512MB for individual “PHP processes”.

1&1 allows users to increase the maximum RAM available by up to 19GB, for an additional cost. Other web hosts typically restrict CPU usage on a percentage basis, e.g., Siteground restricts at 20%, Hostgator restricts at 25% and Heart Internet restricts at 5%.

1&1 also restricts storage to 100GB for its entry-level “Basic” package; however, according to its landing pages more expensive packages offer “unlimited” storage.

Reading section 3.19 of its general terms and conditions reveals the following on “unlimited storage”:

“Packages with unlimited web space are initially configured with 50 GB of available web space… in the event the customer’s usage approaches the limits of the available web space, 1&1 will increase the webspace configuration automatically in increments of 20 gigabyte”.

This sounds a bit sneaky to us. The same applies to mail space except it’s increased in increments of 5GB. The same provision also states inodes (meta data for files) are restricted to 250,000 (this compares favourably to other web hosts).

As far as ‘bandwidth’ is concerned, 1&1 states within their feature list that they offer “unlimited traffic” and this is on a row which includes a tooltip which contains the word “data transfer”.

However, according to provision 3.15 of its general terms and conditions:

“Unless provided otherwise in the specifications for your Services, Bandwidth use, including but not limited to data retrieval from your Web Site, e-mail traffic, and downloads, shall not exceed six gigabytes per month”.

We assume they have “provided otherwise” by stating “unlimited traffic” on their features comparison page; however, in provision 1.5 of its general terms and conditions it states:

“Bandwidth shall refer to the rate of data transmission in bits per second using 1&1’s equipment”.

A lot of web hosts treat “bandwidth” and ‘data transfer’ synonymously however a “commonly accepted” distinction is “bandwidth” refers to the speed of transfer while “data transfer” refers to the amount of data transfer.

1&1, by placing this definition in their general terms and conditions, doesn’t appear to be treating the two synonymously.

6GB sound like a data transfer restriction, however its referring to it as “bandwidth,” a term it previously defined as referring to the rate of data transfer, and it hasn’t “provided otherwise” on its features comparison page (i.e. mentioned “bandwidth,” it has only mentioned “data transfer”).

Key data

Click on a metric to compare the performance of all 18 hosts, or learn more.

N/A = Not applicable NS = Not specified RBNS = Restricted but not specified

CPU usage restriction?

NS

CPU usage restriction

NS

Number of CPU cores

NS

Bandwidth

Unlimited

Storage restriction

20GB

RAM restriction

512MB

Database size restriction

1,024MB

Free SSL?

Yes

No. of websites restriction

1

Compare features

Annual price

Compare all 18 hosts by what it costs if you pay 12 months in advance.

Host Annual price
SiteGround $47.40
Bluehost $59.40
Hostinger $39.00

Free domain?

Compare all 18 hosts by whether they offer a free domain with new hosting subscriptions.

Host Free domain?
FatCow Yes
A2 Hosting No
HostGator Yes

Offers HTTP/2?

HTTP/2 was the first update to the HTTP protocol in 20 years. See which hosts support it.

Host Supports HTTP/2?
Just Host No
GoDaddy No
SiteGround Yes

Entry processes

Learn more about, and compare 18 hosts by, limitations placed on entry processes.

Host Entry processes
InMotion 20
GreenGeeks 100
Namecheap 20

Service

It’s unclear whether 1&1’s 30 day money back guarantee provides a full refund or a prorated refund. According to provision 4.9 of its general terms and conditions, you’ll receive a prorated refund of any pre-paid fees. We’re not sure if it refunds partial months however we doubt it.

1&1 also offers an 99.99% uptime guarantee (many web hosts only offer 99.90%); however, again, it’s only really mentioned in its general terms and conditions (in other words it doesn’t promote it).

According to provision 4.6 of 1&1’s general terms and conditions:

“If You can demonstrate to 1&1’s satisfaction, in 1&1’s sole discretion, that 1&1 has failed to maintain the Uptime, You may contact 1&1 and request a credit for that month proportional to the amount of downtime, to be put towards the purchase of future 1&1 Services”.

It’s unlikely they’ll accept reports from third-party monitoring tools.

1&1 apparently offers daily automated backups however we can’t find these in its admin panel so we assume they’re only available on request; all the information about backups on their website, apart from on their comparison page, point to how to perform manual backups on your database and web files.

You can purchase CodeGuard (daily backup and restore) for an additional cost.

We’ll be clear on the final point: we don’t like its admin panel.

Firstly, we don’t like custom admin panels generally as it can make it more difficult to switch between web hosts; however, aside from that, it’s disorganized and filled with confusing labels e.g. “websites” and “web hosting” are top-level navigation items, as is “MySQL database”.

Unlike cPanel, where its architecture is displayed up-front and options are categorized on-page, everything in 1&1’s admin panel seems to be behind yet another label or menu.

Everything takes more clicks and demands more discovery, any many of the services in the admin panel are also in beta.

Key data

Click on a metric to compare the performance of all 18 hosts, or learn more.

N/A = Not applicable NS = Not specified RBNS = Restricted but not specified

Uptime guarantee

99.99%

Live chat support

No

Ticket/email support

Yes

Phone support

Yes