1&1 MyWebsite Review: Our verdict on the web hosting giant

1&1 has set its sights on getting every last technophobe online. That’s no mean feat, considering that nearly 20% of small businesses don’t have a website at all (source). That’s why they are pumping quite a bit into their marketing budget for TV and other ads. That has led to around 700,000 paying subscribers so far.

A sector-specific website builder

1&1 has carved out a nice niche for themselves by focusing on specific business sectors. Altogether they cover more than 200 industries and offer around 140 different layouts that, for the most part, look very professional. But: you shouldn’t leave any of their templated texts on your website – otherwise you risk losing your opportunity at good Google rankings. There are thousands of other MyWebsite owners using the same copy as your initial site. Search engines are all about unique content, and that’s why you should change it as soon as you can.

Unfortunately, you won’t find a free trial version on 1&1’s website: however, at least there is a 30-day money back guarantee. An interesting detail is that 1&1 was partnered with its competitor Jimdo until 2010. That’s why the two website builders look quite similar. After their short liaison each company went its own way, and that’s why it’s very interesting to see what each of them has created out of the original product.

See it in action here

info You can sign up for a 1&1 MyWebsite account account here (link will open in a new window)

1&1 in Detail

Criterion Rating Comment
Ease of use
Editor is very easy to use. Supports drag and drop functionality. Images can be resized and cropped without the use of external software. There's also an "undo" button that we found very useful.
Choice and flexibility of design (templates)
Plenty of good sector-specific business templates created around the same basic layout. Access to HTML and CSS, so advanced users can create their own layout. All layouts adapt dynamically to the screen sizes of smartphones and tablets (responsive design). 1&1 MyWebsite provides a lot of pictures to use for your design.
Advertisement-free yes As it should be, given all accounts are paid.
Languages
Editor supports a variety of languages, but there is no special function to set up a multilingual site. Their app store offers translation apps, but please be aware of the low quality of such translations.
Your own domain name (e.g. .com or .net) yes Domain and 200 email addresses included. If you want to use an existing domain, you can either redirect it to 1&1 or transfer it completely.
Depth of navigation
Pages up to three levels deep. This isn't much, but should be enough for most.
Widgets (small tools to add extra functionality)
Add photos (and edit them), video (YouTube) or embed your Facebook or Twitter. Through their Web Apps directory, you can easily integrate third-party tools.
Monetization yes Using Google AdSense (installation is a bit clunky, but it works) or other banner ads.
E-Commerce
You can add the 1&1-Shop in all plans. Additionally, there is a free Paypal Ministore where the shopping cart runs entirely through Paypal.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Title tags, meta tags, meta descriptions and image ALT tags are all editable. The URL itself cannot be edited. In the Plus plan, they also offer a SEO tool, which wasn't active in our test version.
Blog
There is a very simple blogging function. Enough to post news now and then, but nothing more. No RSS option that would enable your visitors to subscribe to your blog and link to your social media accounts. Also, the blog editor is very restrictive, but you can add blog posts via a mobile app.
Visitor statistics
Includes a basic analysis tool. If you need more detailed stats, consider adding Google Analytics.
Contact form yes There is a rudimental contact form tool that doesn't offer a whole lot room for customization. More extensive forms are available via external form builders.
Password protection yes You can either secure the entire website or individual pages. More info.
Newsletter tool yes You can create HTML newsletters. It's a great solution to get started in email marketing. Once your list grows, you may want to consider switching to a more powerful platform.
Add HTML code yes Allows you to add other widgets and tools.
Storage space Unlimited Its web storage is unlimited and you can add as many pages as you want.
Backups & Restore no 1&1 does not offer backup or restore features. You can find a workaround here.
Support yes Telephone, email and live chat. We've heard a couple of complaints about 1&1's support. In our experience, email support was relatively speedy, but responses weren't always helpful. Help files could be more comprehensive.
Fun Factor
The "getting started" menu provides useful help getting your feet wet. The only part we are not exactly fans of is 1&1's reputation of making life hard for their customers. Cancellations are more difficult than they should be, you can test the software only after a full registration with your credit card, a price that rises after the first year, etc.
Overall Rating
4/5
1&1's website builder is well designed and scores bonus points for its focus on specific business sectors. The downside is its relatively high price.

Conclusion

1&1’s website builder is easy-to-use and will enable you to hit the ground running with your website. One thing we particularly liked is the well-designed interface that guides you through the setup process.

Prices are steep, especially considering the rise after the first year. If you want to give it a go, you can always try the PRO package during the first 30 days, use the SEO service, and get everything set up properly. After that you can downgrade to the BASIC plan, which should be good enough for most regular websites.

The online store and blogging feature are certainly downsides of this product. It’s better than nothing, but that’s about it. If you really need to use these tools professionally, you better check out their old partner Jimdo. There you’ll find a lot more functionality for your money. On the other hand, you will notice that 1&1 has invested quite a bit in great looking layouts. This will make it easy for you to create an up-to-date website that also looks beautiful on mobile devices. The design point definitely goes to 1&1 MyWebsite.

It’s the perfect product if all you want is an easy and quick solution to your missing or outdated web presence. MyWebsite will help you get your site up and running at record speed.

> Try 1&1 MyWebsite 30 days (money back guarantee).

1&1 Example Sites

Alternatives to 1&1

Weebly
See review
Squarespace
See review

FAQ about 1&1

I want to open an online store. Which package do I need?

E-commerce is part of their PREMIUM plan, but available as an add-on for their other plans. If you mainly want to open a web store you can also take a look at their dedicated E-commerce packages. More online store providers on our website.

Review Updates

17 Jan 2017 – New section backup & restore added to the review
08 Jun 2016 – Review update
19 Oct 2015
– All plans include 200 email addresses
27 Aug 2014
– New rating for templates
31 Mar 2014 – Major updates: new responsive templates, blog feature and a different shopping feature
04 Jun 2013 – 1&1 confirmed that although they advertise “unlimited pages”, in reality that means 500.
15 Jan 2013 – Facelift for the editor and improvents in SEO, video review added
6 Oct 2011 – 1&1 MyBusiness Site is now called 1&1 MyWebsite
20 Sep 2011 – New features added (mobile website, social widget and new templates)
20 Jul 2011 – General update
14 Mar 2011 – General update

Last updated: 17 Jan 2017 | Robert Brandl

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