When Written: Mar 2007
VERDICT: 1&1 offer an extensive range of hosting products combined with excellent connectivity
PRICE: £24.99 + VAT
1&1 are a large ISP whose adverts are seem it be everywhere, their servers which are based in Germany offer a huge range of services from simple web hosting to Microsoft Sharepoint and Exchange servers. You can rent space and bandwidth on either their virtual servers or have your own server in their racks. Linux and Microsoft operation systems are offered, their portfolio seems to offer every hosting service that you can think of, including some that you hadn’t thought of!
With such a large offering of services, trying to review 1&1 Profession package in one page is a bit like trying to sum up Microsoft’s office suite of programs in the same space. This package gives the user 20G of web space, 200G of monthly traffic with 10 free .co.uk domains as well as their standard set of tools which include an RSS Creator, a Blog tool, as well as The SimpleSubmission, SimpleSEO, Search Marketing and Banner Advertising tools. First let us first consider what features we need from an ISP? The most important we feel is the connectivity and a small concern we felt might be from the fact that 1&1’s hosting is in Germany and the degree of any latency between there and the UK, so we set up some monitoring tools and have been monitoring our test web site hosted on 1&1.
We tested the connectivity from an ADSL connection in deepest Suffolk, also from the centre of Red Bus in Canary Wharf, one of the main Internet connection points for the UK and also using the Bello monitoring system which is based in Texas USA. We found that the connectivity was very good with only one small outage of 30 seconds during the testing period. The ping times were very stable from the server room in London with transatlantic times a little more variable. We compared the transatlantic response with a similar test to our own servers so that a problem on the main transatlantic route did not skew the results as that would affect any ISP and it would be unfair to judge them on that basis. The ping times from the USA to 1&1 were a little slower than to our servers in London, but that was caused by an extra hop. The important thing is that they were consistent showing a stable network.
Some ISP companies are run by a group of technology savvy people who will setup and make changes you request. These companies are great if you have non-standard needs or need to use cutting edge technologies, our just want someone else to do the hard work for you, there is no substitute for the personal touch. However the majority of the ISPs now have a web based front end where the user can edit and add facilities as they need to. Obviously the user still needs to know something about the technology but there is help and support at hand in the form of FAQs and support lines. The 1&1 Professional package control panel offers a positively bewildering array of options and extras.
In fact during this review it was all too easy to get side tracked, to try something else out! With this control panel you can do the usual setting up of ftp accounts to upload your web site files as well as setting secure SSH areas for ecommerce and protected directories to enable private areas of your web site, but that is only the start of the offerings. There is the usual web site builder based on Net Objects, but also a tool to build a Flash based one as well. Databases, cgi scripts, chat rooms, photo gallery, eCommerce shops, PDF creators, RSS feed generators, email marketing tool, Blogging tools, SMS manager are provided, all this and that is before you start to look at the marketing tools. These marketing tools allow you to host banners adverts on your site as well as submitting your web site to the search engines and producing sitemaps to help certain search engines like Google to index your web site.
1&1 offers a huge range of packages and options at very reasonable prices and with the performance and connectivity to match. Of the larger ISP hosting companies they must rate as one of the best. There is still a place in the market for the smaller personal ISP but with a skilled person’s time being a large overhead, passing a lot of the setup and configuring of a users internet presence back to the user, makes a lot of sense. However whilst it is easy to concentrate on the ease of setting up of a web site, this can be a small part of whole picture. Where the relationship between client and ISP often breaks down is when something is not working or there are connectivity / routing problems.
The sign of a truly excellent ISP is how they resolve these issues, made all the more important because they occur when the site is live rather than the less critical time of setting up. It is not easy to test such thing in a review and looking through the forums can be a good way to find how a particular ISP handles the issues when such events occur, but just bear in mind that a large ISP may appear to have more problems simply because they have more customers! 1&1’s connectivity seems good and their range of services is one of the largest, so there is something for everyone. We have found 1&1 service and support excellent and would certainly recommend it to clients if they needed such services.
EASE OF USE: 5
VALUE FOR MONEY: 5
1&1 connectivity tests out well
1&1 offers a huge range of services
Article by: Mark Newton
Published in: Mark Newton