Last Update | December 2021
Monthly Update – December 2021
|Hosting Plans||Web Hosting; WordPress Hosting; Dedicated Hosting; VPS Hosting; Cloud Hosting|
|Top Features||Help Desk; Live Chat; Phone Support; Knowledge Base; Social Media|
|Customer Support||99.99% Uptime Guarantee; Linux- Or Windows-Based Servers; Personal Consultants for Customer Support; Transparent Product Offerings And Prices; 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee; Free SSL Security, Domain For A Year, Email Address, Daily Automated Backups|
During December, IONOS:
- Had a disruption with its Customer Service Support Tool.
- Had a disruption with its Website Builder and Hosting, some websites were inaccessible.
- Performed a scheduled maintenance on its Billing Service.
- Had technical issues with its Customer Service Support Tool.
IONOS is the largest hosting company in Europe headquartered in Germany, with over 90,000 servers in operation, 15 facilities in 9 countries around the globe, ten proprietary georedundant ISO 27001 certified data centers, and 2,000 employees from 40 countries.
In turn, IONOS has 8 million customer contracts worldwide and 12 million domains under management in its own regional data centers in the US and Europe.
Simply put, millions of people are concerned about IONOS’s quality since it determines their website performance. So, today, I have decided to put in on the test. But before getting into details, let’s clear up some basics.
IONOS is the web hosting and cloud partner for SMBs. The provider is an expert in IaaS and offers a portfolio of solutions, such as Web Hosting, WordPress Hosting, WordPress Pro, ASP.NET Hosting, Dedicated Hosting, VPS, Web Hosting for Agencies, and Cloud Hosting. You can also find domains, SSL certificates, Website Builder, eCommerce tools, marketing, email services, and more within their offer.
We can trace back the beginnings of IONOS to 1988, when it went under the name 1&1 and engineered its own data center architecture and extensive network. Over the years, the company was committed to expanding and enabling millions of clients to get online, set up their web presence, and take advantage of more sophisticated digital services.
Then, in January 2020, the provider changed its name once again. Today, it goes by IONOS by 1&1.
IONOS by 1&1 is a member of the United Internet group. The provider is on a mission to make powerful technology work for everyone and deliver the best of cloud computing.
That’s more or less what you need to know about IONOS, in theory. Now, let’s get to practice and put it to the test. As you already know (directed to my loyal readers), I am your reliable source, and today, I am here to tell, is IONOS worthy of your attention?
Getting Started with IONOS
Welcome to IONOS by 1&1. Here’s what you see as soon as you visit their website. As you can spot, they favor the color blue. At the time of my visit, they had discounts up to 92%, which is an excellent greeting if you ask me.
As mentioned earlier, IONOS offers web, cloud, VPS, dedicated, and WP hosting packages. At first sight, the website is a bit overwhelming. However, once you start analyzing it, you will realize that everything is well-organized and easy to find.
In the top menu, you can first choose from Domains & Hosting or Cloud Computing. Then, you can choose from a variety of services within each tab. You can also ask for support, even if you are not a client, over live chat or phone.
If you have an account with IONOS, you can sign in in the top right corner. But I guess you don’t. So, let’s dive straight into the registration process and see how it goes.
With shared hosting, essentially, you get what you pay for, meaning a pretty limited offer. Still, I always go with this alternative, and it’s for a reason. It allows me to test what the web hosting company provides at a minimum (it only gets better from there). Further on, first-time users, entrepreneurs, and small businesses almost always go for this option. And they are the ones that need my guidance the most. So, it’s only logical!
I selected Web Hosting, which took me to the following screen. Amazingly enough, I have written about dollar hostings. However, seeing a half-dollar web hosting offer is incredibly rare. IONOS sure got my attention with this one. Still, let’s check the quality you will get at this price.
All shared hosting plans come with 99.9% uptime, DDoS protection, free 24/7 support, great scalability, blazing-fast speeds, and compatibility with various apps. You can choose from a range of plugins to enhance your website, including popular web hosting apps, such as TYPO3, Joomla!, Drupal, PrestaShop, and KOKEN.
You can also benefit from a free domain for a year, a free Wildcard SSL certificate, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
If you click on ‘See plans,’ you will get to the three different offers: Essential, Business, and Expert.
The shared hosting plans differ in the number of websites they support, storage, databases, CPU & MEM resources, and additional features.
Essential is the cheapest plan. It works best for a single website, with 10 GB storage, ten databases (2 GB SSD), professional email, domain, and basic CPU & MEM resources.
On the other hand, the Expert plan supports up to unlimited websites, storage, and databases. It also comes with a free domain and professional email. Still, it takes things to another level since it adds maximum CPU & MEM resources, SiteScan malware protection, and a CDN to the offer.
IONOS offers three Windows Hosting plans: Business, Pro, and Expert. I will get the Business plan since it’s sufficient for my needs, and I am on a Windows OS. Still, you should select an offer depending on your business needs, budget, and preferences.
When you click ‘Continue,’ you will get to the following screen. Here, you can add your domain and get it free for the first year. I have to say; I love the transparency at the point. IONOS immediately informs you that you will have to pay at renewal, which most web hosting providers try to hide on purchase.
To see where the provider takes me, I have entered an existing domain to check whether it’s free (knowing it’s not). They got it right; the domain is mine. So, I will transfer it.
Once I clicked ‘Transfer it here,’ I got to the following screen.
If you scroll a bit down, you can select your Nameserver Settings and move the domain.
Also, IONOS allows you to set up an external domain for use with your existing IONOS products.
The next step in the registration is the Cart.
You can change your billing period from 12 months to a single month. However, you will have to pay a higher price.
I also like that IONOS secures transactions with SSL encryption to protect customers’ data. You can choose from MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, Discover, or American Express when it comes to payment methods.
Next, I clicked on ‘Continue.’ At this point, you can continue to checkout, check out with PayPal or sign in (if you already have an account on IONOS). I went for the first option.
In Customer details, you need to enter your billing information and domain registration information.
The fourth step in the registration process is Payment. Once you fill out these details, you can continue to the Order Review.
If everything is okay, you can read the conditions, check the boxes, and ‘Order now.’
Another thing I liked on this page is the phone PIN. Essentially, IONOS grants you a unique number to prove your identity when speaking with IONOS customer support over the phone. So, make sure to memorize it (save it somewhere safe).
That’s all about the purchase. Finally, you will see the thank you screen.
IONOS immediately started setting up my control panel. The process took approximately two minutes, which is excellent! Then, I clicked ‘Get started.’
Setting Things up at IONOS
Tada! You’re all set.
If you click on ‘Home,’ you will see the following screen. Here, you can select a product that you would like to use, including Domains & SSL, Email, Websites & Stores, Hosting, Security Solutions, My Account, or Add another product.
In Domains & SSL, you can order a domain, transfer a domain, create subdomains, pre-reservation, set up an external domain or an SSL certificate.
In the Email section, you can find the following options. Essentially, you can choose from several types of email addresses, including Basic, Business, Microsoft Exchange, or Email Forwarding.
In Websites & Stores, you can start your new web project. More precisely, you can get hosting, WordPress, build a website, sell online, get design services, or organize all of your online presences from a single place.
Next is the Hosting Overview. Here, you can find the plan you have purchased. As you can see (and remember), I got the Web Hosting Business Windows. In this section, you can track your webspace, configure FTPS, create databases, and get a CDN.
In Security Solutions, you can protect against Internet threats.
As you can spot, I have an unused SSL certificate (included for free in my shared hosting plan). So, let’s set it up. All you will need to do in this process is enter your domain and you will be good to go!
In My Account, you can manage invoices, contracts, and accounts.
Contracts & Subscriptions displays all your purchases (products, packages, additional items, and domains) that you have in your IONOS account at the moment.
Next, you can manage your password, phone PIN, set up Two-Factor Authentication, or issue access permissions in the Login & Account Security.
Contact Details essentially display the data you have entered on registration, including your name, address, city, country, ZIP code, phone number, and email address.
IONOS also provides details on your consents and further information on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Finally, in Profile Details, you can set up several variables, such as:
- The most important success factor for you as a customer (modern website design, attracting as many visitors as possible, maximum data security, performance and reliability, and personal support during use)
- Who manages your products (you, another person, you manage websites of your clients as a service)
- Why do you use your products (private projects, business projects, private and business projects, or association, club, or charity projects)
- The level of your digital knowledge (no knowledge, beginner, advanced, or expert)
Here, you can open up additional fields. Say you select business projects. IONOS will then ask for your industry, business, number of employees, and so on.
Once you select your answers, your Profile Details page will look something like this.
See, that’s my personal opinion. Maybe it’s because it takes some getting used to. Some users get around easily, especially with the improved search bar. It allows you to find settings and switch between products faster. The important thing is that IONOS is improving, especially since the rebranding in 2018. So, since the users have mixed feelings regarding the control panel, the provider might adjust it further.
Performance, Speed, and Uptime
When choosing a web hosting provider, uptime, speed, and overall performance play a crucial role. Essentially, they determine the user experience, so you must consider these factors before the purchase. Uptime refers to the total time your site is up and running. Downtime is how often your website crashes out of the total, making it unavailable to visitors.
IONOS provides a 99.99% Uptime Guarantee, which is excellent. The company has a geo-redundant infrastructure, mirroring your data in two data centers. It means that if one undergoes maintenance or an outage, your performance will not be interrupted.
Furthermore, the provider’s data centers have a battery-supported uninterruptible power supply to keep your site online at all times. They are also protected by generators that kick in during extended outages.
Better yet, IONOS pursues scalable performance management. Say your current performance level has reached its limit. The web hosting company will notify you of this issue. In turn, you can adjust the performance level to ensure you keep up with demand.
During testing, IONOS confirmed its promise. It delivered superior uptime of 99.98%.
Next, we come to speed. See, loading speeds and latency can either make or break your connections with customers. Fast forward, IONOS is neither the best nor the worst in this regard. During testing, it has delivered an average page loading speed of 865 ms in the last year.
The provider has 15 data centers—your speeds and performance depend on which data center you are using. If you are on a plan where you can choose, ultimately, you are directly affecting your performance. If not, IONOS will decide for you. The company assigns you the data center that’s closest to you to minimize latency by default.
Also, you have the option to get a Content Delivery Network. It delivers your content quickly and makes it available worldwide.
Level of Support at IONOS
When it comes to customer support, it’s safe to say, IONOS takes things to a whole other level. As a customer, you will get a dedicated customer service agent. It means that each time you need some help, you will be talking to the same person on the phone.
Keep in mind; web hosting providers usually don’t provide this within their offers. Instead, you will be talking to a different agent each time you need help, depending on who’s available at the time.
Another thing I especially love about IONOS is the following. Regardless of the page, you can always spot the live chat window on the right and the ‘Need help?’ option in the bottom right corner. In other words, whenever you encounter an issue, you can instantly ask for assistance or an agent to resolve it for you. All you need to do is click ‘Start chat.’
So, let’s check whether they truly help out. I would like to form my own objective opinion. Once you click ‘Start chat,’ you will see the following.
They connected me with an agent in approximately five seconds, which is fantastic. He immediately welcomed me, and here’s how our conversation went.
I asked about the personal consultant service, how it works, where it takes place, and what topics they could assist me with.
The live chat agent specified that personal consultants are available 8 am-6 pm EST over the phone or email. Finally, I asked about the kind of topics they cover.
The agent responded: “Everything on your account, technical server issue, billing, or more. As long as it has nothing to do with scripts/codes, which is out of our scope.”
Next, you can use IONOS’ Online Contact Service or Help Center.
If you go for the Online Contact Service, you will get real-time expert support. At this point, you need to select one of the many topics so that IONOS can connect you with the proper agent/team.
The Knowledge Base is also well organized. It’s divided into multiple categories so that you can choose the topic you need help with. For instance, you can find Domains, SSL Certificates, Email, Office, Websites & Stores, Hosting, Server & Cloud Infrastructure, Online Marketing, and so on.
As mentioned before, IONOS provides a 30-day money-back guarantee on all shared hosting plans.
In other words, I can get a refund on my web hosting plan. However, I can forget about the dollar I have spent on my domain. It’s not much; I’ll manage.
Now, let’s check whether the web hosting company stands faithful to its promises. I will log in to my account for this one. After all, it’s a refund. So, it’s only logical that I am an existing customer. Better yet, this will allow me to compare the customer support for customers and regular website visitors. Does it differ?
To get a refund, first, you need to log in to the control panel.
Next, enter Contracts & Subscriptions and select Manage contract (under the plan you wish to cancel within Actions).
At this point, you can change or cancel the contract. If you scroll a bit down, you can also find the features included in your package.
Once you click ‘Show cancellation options,’ you can choose from several options:
- Change domain expiration dates
- Cancel additional items
- Update auto-renewal setting
- Cancel within the 30-day money-back guarantee
Since my contract is still within the 30-day money-back guarantee, I will go for the last option.
IONOS tried to understand your issue and offer further assistance, which I especially like.
As mentioned, I am not getting a refund on my domain, which is transparently shown within the Terms and Conditions for a 30-Day Money-back guarantee.
Make sure to carefully read the Terms and Conditions for the 30-Day Money-back guarantee to avoid all confusion and set proper expectations.
At last, you will get the final warning.
If you are good with it, you can cancel your contract.
Security and Backups
IONOS offers a free SSL Wildcard and Site Scan from SiteLock to protect your website from hackers, malware, and unauthorized access. In other words, it encrypts your website for advanced security and protects all data exchanged between users and the website.
With an SSL certificate, you will have an HTTPS website. In turn, Google will mark your site as secured (which is not the case with HTTP websites).
With IONOS, you can also benefit from Data Protection, Website Security, and Email Security.
IONOS also creates daily backups of your web space available for a maximum of six days. If you need data backups over a more extended period, you can also manually create your backups.
With IONOS, you can create manual backups using options such as MySQL or SFTP.
Specific Features of IONOS
What makes IONOS superior compared to other providers?
- 99.99% Uptime Guarantee
- Linux- Or Windows-Based Servers
- World-Class Customer Support (A Single Point Of Contact) At No Extra Cost
- Transparent Product Offerings And Prices
- ISO 27001 Certified Data Centers
- 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
- Free SSL Security
- Free Domain For A Year
- Free Email Address
- Daily Automated Backups
During November, IONOS:
- Had disruption in several Control Panel areas, some websites were inaccessible
So, the question is, is IONOS the one?
Let’s start with the “positives”. IONOS has remarkable uptime. Even though it has average speeds, overall, I can say that it delivers reliable performance. The company also has feature-packed plans at affordable prices (especially the cloud and dedicated hosting solutions). It also provides for solid security with free SSL certificates included in all web hosting plans.
Next, you can set it up on both Linux and Windows, which allows for great flexibility. As a customer, you can also benefit from advanced plans if you need to upgrade in the future. The provider adds several freebies into its services, which is another advantage.
Still, IONOS might not be the perfect choice for you. The provider works best for small white-collar businesses due to its comprehensive packages, affordable prices, strong security features, and ultimate reliability. However, as explained earlier, customers have divided opinions regarding the user interface. So, IONOS might not be the perfect choice for beginners or first-time users in web hosting since they find it challenging to navigate.
Furthermore, IONOS is unavailable in all countries, especially in Europe (even though it’s headquartered in Germany). Also, you might benefit from initial discounts. However, the renewal prices are far higher. Well, at least IONOS is open and transparent about this.