1&1 Review

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Pros: Powerful control panel with lots of features, inexpensive pricing, useful marketing tools

Cons: Lack of customer service, some sneaky terms in ordering process

Bottomline: For people new to the world of web site creation and hosting, 1&1 is a solid choice if your web site is not mission critical

1&1.com is a giant web hosting company. They have almost 6 million customers and more than 2,400 employees, and in excess of 37,000 servers. You’ve probably seen their 10+ page ads in magazines or heard about them from friends or colleagues. They are definitely an industry leader and a well known company in the web hosting industry.

1&1 offers a few main service types: domain registration, mail hosting, Linux hosting, Windows hosting, virtual private servers, dedicated servers, eshops, and Microsoft Sharepoint hosting. This review will discuss the pros and cons of 1&1 as a Linux hosting provider.

1&1 Control Panel

The company’s offerings are quite inexpensive. 1&1 offers a lot of space and bandwidth for very little money. You have to pay six months in advance for many of the plans, but the six months of their least expensive plan still comes out to be less than $20. Be sure to read the order and refund terms carefully. 1&1 will try to lock you in for longer if you choose some of their special offers.

Each account includes plenty of email accounts, databases, a control panel, a 90 day money back guarantee, and 24/7 support.

I called their sales department and the office was closed due to weather. I gave up trying to reach technical support representative over the phone after waiting on hold for more than 10 minutes. Their hold queue didn’t tell me when I should have expected my call to be answered, so who knows how long it takes to get through to a human. Among bigger web hosting companies, support seems to be the worst aspect. 1&1 doesn’t seem to be an exception in that regard.

An email sent at 11:07 PM on Friday the 16th got an answer at 3:26 AM on Tuesday, March 20, 2007.

Bigger web hosts have their advantages, though. The main ones that apply to 1&1 are: they have a top notch data center and network and lots of partnerships with interesting companies. Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about the company disappearing or going under and there is always someone to turn to if there are serious problems.

1&1’s partnerships range from being an ICANN accredited domain registrar to having partnerships with companies like Google (for ads) and Plesk (for control panels). A lot of these partnerships have helped 1&1 develop its marketing center, which offers discounts and vouchers on major web sites and tools like Google Adwords or Microsoft Adcenter to 1&1 customers. These offers add a lot of value to the accounts and can make a difference for someone starting out on the web.

The company’s custom control panel isn’t bad. It offers all of the expected features and has some nice add-ons that aren’t typically found in control panels. Most of the features, including billing, can be easily managed via the control panel, which has one login.

The control panel features a whole bunch of tools ranging from blog systems (a custom WordPress install) to web site builders to statistics programs and everything in between. Most of the little applications are pretty user friendly and will easily serve the needs of a newbie or an average web site owner. Each one has its own customization options and can be customized to a certain extent.

In my tests, FTP access was pretty quick and problem free. 1&1 likes to assign every install and many folders an odd series of letters and numbers as identifiers. This annoyed me personally, but was easy enough to get used to and understand.

Getting used to the control panel is not difficult. After a few minutes of playing around with, I was able to get a good idea of how it worked and was up and running. If you aren’t sure how to do something, 1&1 offers a lot of in-depth help articles and tutorials. I was able to get answers to a majority of my simple questions by looking at these documents.

Would I use 1&1 personally? No. Would I recommend them to a new web site owner who was just looking to get started and didn’t want to spend too much money? Most likely. As they say, you get what you pay for – and with 1&1, there is definitely a lot of value for your $20 a year.

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Disclosure: Clickfire has an affiliate advertising connection with 1&1

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Douglas Hanna is a former writer for Clickfire and other publications who went on to become CEO of a major web hosting company.

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