IONOS by 1&1 review: new challenge to the cheap hosting market?
In this IONOS hosting review, I’m sharing my findings of extensive tests and research to find out whether this host is the right pick for you.
IONOS might not be as flashy as the other hosts in the market, but it’s actually Europe's largest hosting provider with over 30 years of experience. A versatile provider, you can expect to find all sorts of website-related solutions. This includes an extensive range of hosting solutions such as shared, WordPress, VPS, dedicated, and agency hosting.
It made its way into the hearts of more than 8 million users by offering affordable prices, ease of use, and strong security.
Or, at least, that’s what 1&1 IONOS claimed. And, the many glowing IONOS reviews from customers do seem to back that up.
But, I’m not one to be influenced by just hearsays alone. That’s why I set out to test the provider for myself. And, in this IONOS review, I’ll share my findings - everything from its pricing and ease of use to performance and security. Surely, the review is extensive, so to save some time you can skip to the summary of the findings.
|Price:||Prices start at $0.50/mo|
|Hosting types:||Shared, WordPress, Windows, VPS, dedicated|
|Server locations:||The US and Europe|
|Support||24/7 live chat and phone|
|Current deal:||Now 95% OFF|
1&1 IONOS pros and cons
- Wide selection of hosting solutions and services
- 99.99% uptime guarantee in SLA
- Full-stack security including Wildcard SSL
- Servers only in Kansas, United States for shared hosting
- Hard to reach customer service on live chat
1&1 IONOS pricing & plans
1&1 IONOS’s pricing is on the affordable end of the spectrum. Just like most providers, its most in-demand solution is shared hosting – where prices start from $0.50/month. Besides that, it also has quite a few other hosting solutions that include WordPress Pro, Windows, VPS, and dedicated hosting.
|Type of hosting||Best for|
|Shared hosting ($0.50/mo)||beginners and basic websites for portfolios, blogs, passion projects, and small businesses. Take 95% now!|
|WordPress Pro ($18/mo)||WordPress developers, designers, and agencies.|
|Windows ($5/mo)||Small and medium-sized projects on the Windows operating system (OS).|
|VPS ($2/mo)||More advanced users who want better resources, control, and performance.|
|Dedicated $45/mo)||High-traffic websites, organizations, online stores, and advanced users.|
It’s clear that the provider has an option for every user. But, for this 1&1 IONOS review, I’ll be focusing on the provider’s shared hosting plans – the most sought-after option.
1&1 IONOS has 3 shared hosting plans where prices start from just $0.50/mo and go up to $8/mo. The trio comes with a domain for a year, an SSL Wildcard certificate each, a professional email account, daily backups, and unlimited traffic, among other things.
But, of course, there have to be some variations to explain the differences in the prices. Well, let’s take a look:
|Essential||$4||The best option for a basic or personal website. It can host one website and is optimized for up to 50 visitors/minute. The plan comes with 10GB storage, up to 512MB RAM, and 10 databases.|
|Business||$0.50||Ideal for mid-sized projects and is optimized for up to 200 visitors/minute. It comes with unlimited websites, storage, and databases, as well as up to 6GB RAM.|
|Expert||$8||Best for bigger websites that house more content and see higher traffic. It’s optimized for up to 500 visitors/minute and comes with everything in the Business plan, as well as up to 19GB RAM, SiteScan malware protection, and a Content Delivery Network (CDN).|
1&1 IONOS website hosting isn’t the most generous with its resources for its cheapest plan. But, this is pretty common with all the providers in the market. And, once you get to the Business plan, it tells a very different story with unlimited websites, storage, and databases.
Speaking of which, I’d say that its Business plan is the best plan thanks to its huge introductory discount. For 12 months, you get tons of resources (including unlimited storage and database) in addition to various features for just $0.50/mo.
But is the unbelievably cheap plan legit? In fact, is IONOS legit when it comes to its prices, or is there a catch? Let’s find out.
Pricing need to know
To score the best price with 1&1 IONOS, you need to navigate your way carefully, as the provider isn’t above some crafty trade tricks. Prices are cheaper with longer billing terms, and renewals are more expensive.
Let’s explore this further.
The Business plan costs just $0.50/mo if you prepay for 12 months. That works out to just $6 for an entire year of hosting and is the lowest price you can get.
Now, let’s compare this price against the provider’s close competitors: Hostinger and Bluehost.
The best price you can get with Hostinger for 12 months of hosting is $2.99/mo. That equals $35.88 upfront. Meanwhile, Bluehost’s lowest price for 12 months is $2.95 – totaling $35.40 for the year.
Clearly, 1&1 IONOS is the cheapest option among the 3 providers for a year of hosting. Close to 6 times cheaper, to be exact.
But, what about in the long term? For that, we’ve to take a look at their renewal prices:
- 1&1 IONOS Business plan renews at $10/mo.
- Hostinger’s cheapest renewal costs $2.99/mo.
- Bluehost’s cheapest renewal costs $8.99/mo.
So, the takeaway here is that 1&1 IONOS has the cheapest initial pricing compared to Hostinger and Bluehost. But, when it comes to renewal pricing, Hostinger has the lead.
Moving on, we also need to talk about its money-back guarantee. 1&1 IONOS has a 30-day money-back guarantee that covers hosting but not things like server usage fees and Search Engine Marketing setup fees. Pretty standard stuff.
All things considered, 1&1 IONOS is as cheap as it gets. For just half a buck, you get a hosting solution that can host multiple websites as well as generous unlimited storage and databases. And, when it’s time to upgrade, the provider has plenty of options to scale, too.
Hosting management: is 1&1 IONOS easy to use?
1&1 IONOS uses a custom panel for hosting management. The panel is functional, clean, and beginner-friendly. That said, if you’re making a move over from the classic cPanel, you might need some time to familiarize yourself with the IONOS control panel.
IONOS control panel
1&1 IONOS control panel also doubles as the main dashboard. Hence, everything you need to run your website – from hosting to domain and security – is right here on one interface. As a whole, the interface is clean, intuitive, and user-friendly. The perfect blend of simplicity and functionality, really.
Upon the login, you’ll see the main dashboard that works as the control panel. This is how it looks like:
Right at the very top is a prompt to complete the next step of the setup process if your account is new. And, to the right are the suggestions for search engine optimization with the option to access the detailed analysis.
But, smack in the center is where the treasure is at. This is where you’ll find all the functionalities you need for your website. They can be found under the main categories – domains & SSL, email, hosting, and security.
Now, I know that the provider catches a lot of flak for its control panel. In fact, I’ve seen several 1&1 web hosting reviews – and an especially scathing IONOS VPS review – that panned the host for it.
Here’s my stand: if you’re a loyal cPanel user, it might be a tad bit confusing. But, frankly, that’s to be expected when you switch between interfaces. And, yes, it might not be as powerful as cPanel, especially if you’re on the cheaper hosting plans.
But, otherwise, I find that the interface is actually very beginner-oriented. Everything is well-organized, intuitive, and practical. I don’t foresee any trouble navigating the panel, both for first-time and experienced users.
And, if you do need help navigating, the search bar is there for you. It helps you quickly find things like domain and WordPress, which brings us to the next part.
IONOS WordPress management
For WordPress installation and management, 1&1 IONOS offers some help to simplify and accelerate things. Nothing too elaborate but still helpful tools and features like a one-click installer and setup assistance.
Whether you opt for a 1and1 managed WordPress, unmanaged WordPress, or shared hosting plan, the provider offers basic setup assistance to make the content management system easier. One of the main assistance rendered is via its custom installer.
Here, 1&1 IONOS custom one-click installer helps you to quickly set up your WordPress site so that you can hit the ground running. It’s just as simple as every other one-click installer in the market. All you need to do is type in your domain name and hit install.
Besides the custom installer, the host’s WordPress Setup Assistant plugin is also available. Just pick the purpose of your site, and the Assistant will pick up the reins. It’ll help to suggest design templates, install the selected template, install various plugins, and more.
It’s a great assistant to have for beginners, that have no idea where to start with WordPress. Those who prefer a more hands-off approach will also appreciate the simplifying of the WordPress setup.
All things considered, 1&1 IONOS is very easy to use. Its custom control panel/dashboard might not be the most powerful and cutting-edge interface in the industry, but it’s beginner-friendly, neat, and intuitive. Meanwhile, the customers’ 1and1 WordPress hosting review was right: WordPress setup and management is a breeze with the host.
1&1 IONOS performance
1&1 IONOS performance is very good, considering what you pay. The host is remarkably reliable and pretty fast. Meanwhile, its traffic-handling ability could be better but still absolutely not a cause for concern.
For this IONOS review, I put the provider under intense pressure and ran 3 types of tests to check its uptime and response time, speed, and stress handling ability.
IONOS uptime and response time
First things first, I checked on 1&1 IONOS’ reliability in the long run to see if it passes muster. Spoiler alert: it did. For almost a month, the host maintained a 99.99% uptime with just 3 outages totaling 3 minutes. That’s very much in line with the provider’s uptime guarantee of 99.99%.
Now, you might go, why not 100%? Well, perfection sure sounds wonderful, but a few minutes of downtime is inevitable for things like server maintenance. In any case, its current uptime gives all signs that it’s reliable and has a healthy server.
As for server response time, the provider’s results were less impressive. Its response times mostly lingered around the 700ms mark and eventually averaged at 758ms. Alas, that’s above the market average of 600ms.
But, the situation is far from hopeless! For one, this is just a bare server without any optimizations. Plus, I’m also seeing some great improvement with faster response times. Hence, I’ll be keeping a close eye on it.
Overall, 1&1 IONOS uptime is a definite win. Meanwhile, its server response times are slower than desired, but they are showing signs of improvement.
IONOS website speed
For this 1and1.com review, I tested the provider’s website speed on both an empty WordPress site and a built one. Both did well in this test with the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) within what Google considers to be good.
What you want here is to see an LCP below 600ms for a blank WordPress site and below 2.5s for a built one, which are considered incredibly fast and good news for user experience.
Well, for my empty site, the LCP for San Antonio took 666ms. That’s pretty darn good. Meanwhile, London and Mumbai saw longer times to load LCP at 880ms and 1.6s, respectively.
I’m not surprised at all that the US has the best performance since my website is hosted in 1&1 IONOS’ US data center at Kansas – the only location available for its shared hosting plans.
Next up, I tested on a built WordPress site and, here, LCP took just 1s. This bodes well and increases the chance of ranking higher on results pages.
Besides LCP, fully loaded time is important for better ranking and customer experiences. You want to keep it under 3s for a built site, and that’s exactly what 1&1 IONOS did with a fully loaded time of just 1.1s.
Briefly, IONOS by 1&1 loads websites quickly. And that’s what matters for organic traffic and user experience.
IONOS stress testing
Finally, it’s time for a stress test so that I can assess 1&1 IONOS’ traffic-handling ability. To start things off, I sent 50 virtual users (VUs) to my test website.
Ideally, I want a flat blue line (speed) as the gray line (number of visitors) heads up. Meanwhile, the red line (failure) shouldn’t be there.
Regrettably, 50 VUs completely overwhelmed the server. The site started to slow down and, eventually, failed.
That said, I do want to note that 50 VUs would equal around 50,000 monthly visitors. That’s a massive load on the server, especially a shared one.
So, I eased up and gradually slashed the number of VUs until 1&1 IONOS passed with 10VUs. That’s about 10,000 monthly visitors. It might not sound like a lot but, trust me, that’s still a whole lot more than what most websites on shared hosting would see.
As you can see, the blue line representing speed is absolutely stable, while the number of visitors is increased. Plus, there are no HTTP failures.
Extremely reliable, pretty stable, and fast, 1&1 IONOS performance is definitely one to earn it some praise. At this price point, it overpasses a lot of its competitors easily.
Security: is 1&1 IONOS secure?
For security, 1&1 IONOS covers all the basics and also some more advanced web hosting security measures. Among the offered features are SSL Wildcard certificates, daily backups, DDoS protection, and more.
1&1 IONOS offers a free SSL Wildcard certificate for all plans to enable an encrypted connection between your site and your visitors.
A free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate is the bare minimum, but it’s certainly a pleasant surprise to get a Wildcard SSL instead. This protects not only the main domain but also all subdomains as well.
The provider offers automatic daily backups for both webspace and databases. Here, backups of up to 6 days are automatically stored so that you can recover files easily.
For a budget host, a weekly backup is more common than daily automated backups. So, that’s one more point in favor of 1&1 IONOS.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection
DDoS is an attack where traffic from various compromised systems floods a targeted site to overload it. DDoS attacks often cause the targeted site to be inaccessible, so it’s a good thing that 1&1 IONOS’ DDoS protection is activated by default.
A basic version is included to scan for malware. Some of the included features are daily malware scan, reputation monitoring, spam and blocklist monitoring, and platform scan for WordPress.
1&1 IONOS keeps your data in two separate data centers about 60 kilometers apart to protect against data loss and outages.
Overall, I’m impressed with 1&1 IONOS’ wide-ranging basic and advanced security measures, especially considering its affordability. It’s far more generous than its peers.
Will 1&1 IONOS support help me?
1&1 IONOS offers 24/7 help via 2 support methods: phone and live chat. Besides that, it also has heaps of articles in its help center, Startup Guide, and Digital Guide.
For this IONOS review, I tried to get in touch via live chat to gauge the support team’s performance. Unfortunately, my multiple attempts were unsuccessful, and it appeared that the online support was unreachable.
I then turned to its phone support instead and was rewarded. There was always someone available to pick up my calls at all times, and the agents were helpful as well as efficient.
But, it’s worth noting that 1&1 IONOS only offers phone numbers for 13 countries. So, if you aren’t from one of these 13 countries, you’ll need to pay a pretty penny for international calls.
This is why it’s a good thing that 1&1 IONOS’ knowledge base is well-stocked with hundreds of articles. The articles are categorized either under its Digital Guide or Startup Guide and cover a variety of topics. Including hosting services, servers, online marketing, productivity, and more.
But, that’s not all.
1&1 IONOS’ help center also has a massive collection of articles and step-by-step guides for its products and services. They cover topics like domain registration, server and cloud infrastructure solutions, and web security. Each article is well-written and carefully structured.
Fast and efficient, 1&1 IONOS support via phone is excellent. Plus, its knowledge base and help center are extremely helpful as well. My one gripe is that its live chat is unreachable.
1&1 IONOS review: the final verdict
With all I found during this IONOS review, it’s clear why it’s Europe's top provider. Sure, it’s not for all users but its charms are boundless.
If you need a reminder, here’s a recap of how the provider fares:
|Feature||Cheap and secure web hosting|
|Pricing||1&1 IONOS pricing is affordable with its Business shared hosting plan priced at just $0.50/month, thanks to a huge introductory discount.|
|Ease of Use||The provider is very easy to use. Its custom control panel is neat, well-organized, and functional. Plus, WordPress setup requires just a click with its installer.|
|Performance||The host is remarkably reliable and its website loading times are top-notch, too. However, its performance could be improved with more speedy server response times and better traffic-handling ability.|
|Security||1&1 IONOS has you covered with its full stack of security solutions. All the basics are covered and you also get some nifty advanced features.|
|Support||The provider has 2 support methods – live chat and phone – and should be available 24/7. However, it’s hard to reach its agents via its chat option.|
Final recommendation for IONOS?
Cheap, easy to manage, and secure, 1&1 IONOS is best for beginners, smaller websites, and those on a budget.
Alternatives to 1&1 IONOS
1&1 IONOS might be one of the largest web hosting providers in the world but it isn’t necessarily the perfect choice for you. In that case, I’d recommend checking out these two alternatives: Hostinger and Bluehost.
Hostinger is a must-mention for quality cheap web hosting, with prices starting at just $1.39/month. Despite its affordability, the provider has consistently delivered an incredible performance with 100% uptime and remarkable speed.
Besides that, Hostinger is known for its ease of use, too, thanks to its intuitive proprietary hPanel. Plus, its helpful and efficient support team will readily lend a hand whenever necessary.
Bluehost offers an array of plans and solutions, but it’s most well-known for its WordPress-centered hosting plans with cPanel integration. With its plans starting at just $2.95/month, the provider caters mostly to beginners and those in search of easy-to-manage hosting.
Meanwhile, the provider’s well-rounded business tools and features as well as great performance automatically attract business and professional users looking for a bargain.
1&1 IONOS FAQs
Is IONOS a British company?
No, IONOS is a German company with headquarters in Montabaur, Germany.
How fast is IONOS?
IONOS is fast with a fully loaded time of just 1.1s for a WordPress website.
Where are 1and1 servers located?
1and1 servers are located in the US, UK, Germany, and Spain. For shared hosting though, you can only choose the US.
Is 1and1 a good web host?
Yes, 1and1 is a good web host with affordable prices, easy management, reliable and fast performance, and tight security.
What happened 1and1?
1and1 is now IONOS by 1&1 since its merger with cloud infrastructure specialists ProfitBricks back in 2018.
Does IONOS have a cPanel?
No, IONOS doesn’t have a cPanel. The provider uses its proprietary control panel, which also doubles as its main dashboard.