Many features, low prices – but how does 1&1 IONOS web hosting perform?
Founded back in 1988 in Germany, 1&1 IONOS is now the largest domain registration web hosting provider in Europe, hosting more than 12 million domains in its data centers around the world.
The company has a wide range of products that cover pretty much every need: normal shared hosting, website builder plans, basic and managed WordPress hosting, professional e-commerce hosting and some very powerful VPS, cloud hosting and dedicated servers.
There is real depth here as well. The 1&1 IONOS Website Builder plan isn’t just the company’s regular shared hosting with PrestaShop pre-installed, as you’ll find with many other providers. It’s a full-featured service that works for everyone from webshop newbies to large, established businesses, with catalogs of up to a million products and the ability to sell on Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Instagram and more.
Do you want to try 1&1 IONOS? Go here to get the deals.
The 1&1 IONOS shared hosting scores with some unusual but capable features that are even available in the budget Essential plan for 4,- Euro per month.
This limits you to 10 GB of storage, but supports 10 email addresses with up to 2 GB of storage each, includes unlimited traffic, automatic installation of WordPress and 70+ other top web apps, and throws in a free domain for a year. Daily backups, often a premium extra, are available as standard. And all shared hosting packages come with a free wildcard SSL certificate that allows you to secure all subdomains for your site (login.mydomain.com, download.mydomain.com, anythingelse.mydomain.com), a very unusual touch.
The shared hosting package Business for 8 euros per month boosts performance, supports unlimited disk space, 50 email addresses and can host an unlimited number of websites.
The top-of-the-line Expert package for 12 euros a month includes unlimited storage space and 100 e-mail addresses. Valuable extras include SiteLock malware protection and an integrated content delivery network that boosts performance.
Pricing is refreshingly simple. There are no lengthy contracts, no complicated introductory discounts, so you won’t find your costs doubling when you renew. 1&1 IONOS only offers monthly billing for shared hosting (there are more options for some other products), so you can simply pay your 4,-, 8,- or 14,- Euro every month and cancel whenever you want.
1&1 IONOS WordPress Web Hosting
If you’re looking for WordPress hosting, then one of the shared packages is for you, but 1&1 IONOS also offers capable managed WordPress packages. These offer you easier setup, pre-installed and recommended plugins, automatic updates and improved support. Prices start at 4,- Euro per month and are billed monthly (this is the standard price, so it won’t double after a year or two).
Still not enough? The 1&1 IONOS WordPress Pro plans take the technology to the next level with low-level performance optimizations (Varnish-based caching, CDN), intelligent automatic updates, staging environments to test updates without changing the live site, and more. Prices range from €18 (one site, 10GB of space) to €120 (more resources, up to ten sites, 100GB of space) and are billed monthly.
The basic managed plans are very reasonably priced and outperform many competitors, at least in terms of the basics. GoDaddy, for example, has Managed WordPress plans that score high with daily backups and malware scans, even on the cheapest products, but they start at 6.99 per month, and even that requires a three-year subscription that renews for 9.99).
WordPress Pro comparisons are more difficult, as professional users will have very specific requirements. Bluehost has WordPress Pro plans, for example, that support unlimited sites and storage, come with an integrated marketing center, and include valuable extras like Jetpack Premium/ Pro and (in the high-end Scale plan) unlimited video compression. The starting price of 19.95 per month over three years is significantly higher, but there are also many additional features, and the plans may be a better option for you. Even though 1&1 IONOS’s prices are tempting, you shouldn’t go by them alone, but also look around at other top providers and check exactly what you get with each plan.
1&1 IONOS has a decent selection of five VPS plans that aren’t very configurable, but have a surprising bonus: They all support unlimited traffic.
The low-end VPS S plan is terribly underpowered with just a 1vCore CPU, 512MB of RAM, and 10GB of storage, but it’s hard to complain when it costs just 2 per month and is billed monthly.
Other plans give you two to six cores, 2GB to 12GB of RAM, and prices from 10,- to 40-, euros billed monthly (again, not a special offer that jumps up later – it’s the standard price).
Configuration options are limited, but include choice of operating system (CentOS, Debian, Ubuntu or Windows) and data center (USA, UK, Germany, Spain). The Plesk Control Panel is available for an additional charge (5,- Euro per month), and backups cost from 0,12 Euro per GB per month.
These packages are also very affordable, and the monthly billing in particular allows you to try them out for minimal cost.
The lack of an introductory discount means that there could be better deals out there, especially if you’re willing to commit for a longer period of time. At Hostinger, for example, you can get a plan with 3 vCPU, 3GB RAM, 60GB of storage and 3TB of traffic for an initial $12.95 per month over four years ($39.95 if you renew); the IONOS plan with 2 cores, 4GB RAM and 120GB of storage costs $20 per month.
1&1 IONOS offers a handful of dedicated server plans, and here, too, the price is the highlight: an 8-core Intel Atom system with 8GB of RAM costs just 65 euros per month.
There’s not the performance you see with the top competitors (the high-end plan has only a 4-core CPU), and they have hardly any configuration options. InMotion Hosting, on the other hand, lets you choose your preferred OS, add secondary or backup drives, a hardware firewall, remote KVM management and more.
However, most competitors also charge significantly higher prices. If you just want to dip your toe into the dedicated server waters, 1&1 IONOS seems like a reasonable start.
Creating a website
Signing up with 1&1 IONOS is easy. Choose a plan, fill out a few forms with your details, and pay by card or PayPal – no surprises there. After we handed over our money, the site activated our account, directed us to our control panel, and sent us a welcome email, all in less than 60 seconds.
The 1&1 IONOS web dashboard is a simple front end for your account, with large tiles pointing to the main functional areas: Domains, Email, Websites, Hosting, My Account and so on.
Since the shared hosting packages don’t have a cPanel, your options are limited. The hosting section includes a file manager, FTP support, phpMyAdmin for database management, an option to change the PHP version of your domain and that’s about it.
These aren’t exactly the most capable tools either. When we click on “Upload” in the file manager, we are prompted to “Add files by drag & drop”. That’s “files” – plural. But when we dragged and dropped our website files into the file manager, it warned us that we can only transfer one file at a time. That’s not very practical, although of course you can upload as many files as you need via FTP.
1&1 IONOS makes it easy to install WordPress. You enter the name of your site, choose an admin login and password, and the company sets everything up within a few minutes.
If you’re looking for something different, the 1&1 IONOS Installatron-based App Center lets you install 75 other top apps, including Joomla!, Drupal, PrestaShop, MediaWiki, Magento and more.
While this can’t match Softaculous’ 400+ supported apps, it will cover most users and overall 1&1 IONOS provides enough setup basics to get by.
The company also takes the “enough to get by” approach with its other shared hosting management tools. If you’re just uploading a static site or setting up a WordPress blog, you shouldn’t have any major problems. But old hosting hands will probably miss the capable file manager, detailed site metrics, and other advanced options you get with cPanel management.
The support of 1&1 IONOS web hosting
As we’ve seen, the 1&1 IONOS website isn’t always the most intuitive, and even experienced users will probably need help from time to time.
Fortunately, the company seems to be aware of this and has taken some smart measures to guide confused users in the right direction.
For example, if you can’t find a certain feature or are unsure how something works, you don’t have to go to a separate support page to find the answers. Just type a search term into the search box at the top of the control panel, and some well-chosen hits will point you in the right direction. (Usually, anyway).
This works well as an easy way to access common help documents. Entering WordPress gave us links to articles on setup, activating an SSL certificate, installing plugins and themes, using the Gutenberg editor, and more. All the articles are clearly displayed in a sidebar rather than on a separate page, so you can see detailed tutorials alongside the part of the 1&1 IONOS interface you’re trying to understand.
What’s even more unusual is the fact that the 1&1 IONOS site search can also help you navigate through the features. If you can’t find your FTP password, are looking for the “restore backup” feature, or are wondering where to create a subdomain, just type in a keyword like “FTP”, “backup”, or “subdomain” and you’ll get matching links. Click on one and you will be taken directly to that section of the site.
This also applies to the account management functions. Have you ever wondered how to cancel a web hosting contract? That’s no problem here: just type “cancel” into the search box, click “cancel contract” and you’ll be redirected to the cancellation form. Much easier.
If you’d rather browse a central support site, 1&1 IONOS lets you do that, too. There’s a lot of useful content here, but it’s mostly about setting up standard features and configuration options. If you search for “WordPress”, for example, you’ll find articles about installing WordPress, plugins and themes, but there’s nothing about importing a website from another hoster, an important topic that the best hosters cover in detail.
1&1 IONOS also offers several ways to contact the support team, including phone and live chat.
In our experience, responses can take a bit longer than with other providers, but not enough to be a major issue (we occasionally wait 5 minutes in live chat, rather than two).
The agents aren’t the best we’ve seen, and if you give them an answer or a problem that isn’t common, they won’t always handle it well.
But they’re also friendly, helpful in most situations, and happy to stay with you as long as it takes to solve the problem (or find out they can’t), and considering the price you pay, that’s very good news.
Speed is important, even with cheap shared hosting. That’s why we wanted to find out how our 1&1 IONOS server performs.
After publishing a simple test page, we had Uptime.com constantly check uptime and response times over a seven-day period.
The average response time for our server was an above-average 248ms. The best providers are only a little better at around 200ms, but the worst can be 400ms or longer.
The results ranged from 218-779ms, wider than we would like. However, the graph shows only a handful of significantly slower responses, and our server typically managed times of under 400ms, again better than most.
(If you’re interpreting these results, keep in mind that they’re only for simple shared hosting packages. They don’t give us any information about what you might see from a VPS, dedicated server, or other high-end product.)
1&1 IONOS offers affordable plans for first-time users and a variety of more powerful products for everyone else. The shared hosting management console can’t compete with cPanel, but once our site was up and running, we found it to be faster than most.