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1&1 has poor billing practices. More Info
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1&1 Review

A confusing mess.

My work is supported by affiliate commissions (more info). By Steve Benjamins Updated Jul 4 2017

1 0.png?ixlib=rails 1.1

Review Updates

  • Mar 9 2016 New review published.
  • Oct 25 2016 Review updated.
  • Jul 4 2017 Review checked for accuracy.

User Experience

Originally, 1&1 was partnered with Jimdo and the 1&1 website builder was a white-label version of Jimdo. But a few years ago, the partnership dissolved and 1&1 was left to start improving Jimdo’s website builder on their own.

1&1’s website builder is based off of Jimdo

Right: 1&1’s website builder is based off of Jimdo

The 1&1 website editor can devolve into a mess at any given time. I mean what is going on in this screenshot? (right?)

Editor's everywhere!

Right: Editor's everywhere!

You drag-and-drop elements in order to build a page. One bright-spot for 1&1 is that there are plenty of elements to choose from (and extra “Web App” elements such as Yelp reviews that you can add).

One note: there is an annoying scroll bug in the elements drawer that kept bringing me back to top!

Right: One note: there is an annoying scroll bug in the elements drawer that kept bringing me back to top!

Unfortunately I found many elements were thoughtlessly designed. For example, the newsletter signup element (which doesn’t look like much) forces you to include a Captcha— why!?

No newsletter signup needs a Captcha. That’s a great way to reduce signups!

Right: No newsletter signup needs a Captcha. That’s a great way to reduce signups!

Oftentimes the website editor was unwieldy. It felt messy and just … crammed full of stuff. In this screenshot (right) the logo editor has a Save button but it’s hidden behind the sidebar menu. Yikes!

You can see the save button poking out just slightly.

Right: You can see the save button poking out just slightly.

Editing the footer is very limited. There is a Print button included on your footer— and there is no way to remove it. Who is printing webpages in 2016?! There is also no meaningful customization you can do to the footer other than editing the copyright message.

Footer

Right: Footer

Over all 1&1 will be a frustrating experience for most users. The website editor is buggy, messy and oftentimes confusing. It doesn’t feel like there has been much thought put into building a coherent product.

1&1's website editor

Right: 1&1's website editor

Features

  • Blog

    The post editor is limited to three sections: text, photos and video. Unfortunately you can’t have more than these three sections (example: text, video, text), it’s an annoying and unnecessary constraint. Over all the blog element strays too far from the conventions of a blog. For example, there are no individual post pages— so people can’t share your post on social media. There is a commenting section, but not integrations with Disqus or Facebook comments. You can’t create drafts or set posts to publish on a future date.  Show Screenshot

  • Ecommerce

    You can install Ecwid or Paypal store apps from the 1&1 web app store, but 1&1 does not provide any ecommerce functionality. (It’s confusing— 1&1 seems to have a separate ecommerce product that they advertise as well. Don’t be dooped by that— the website builder upgrade does not give you this ecommerce builder.)  

  • Form Builder

    The form builder lets you add text fields (both single and multi-row) and checkboxes— but that’s it, you can’t add radio buttons or file uploads. Strangely, there is no way to order your fields. You can only add extra fields on the end of the form— that’s annoying (and such an easy fix!). You can send form submissions to up 3 email addresses (but there is no database saving form submissions, so make sure you don’t accidentally delete those emails!). There is no way to customize the success message or send form submissions to a custom page.  

  • iOS & Android Apps

    No.  

  • Retina Ready

    No. Images did not display sharp and crisp on retina displays (such as iPhones and Macbooks).  

  • Newsletter

    There is a newsletter signup element but it has to be integrated with 1&1’s Email Marketing Manager (it can’t be integrated with popular email services such as Mailchimp). But the worst part is all newsletter signups have to have a Captcha (those spam protection tests). I’ve never seen a newsletter signup have a Captcha— that’s a great way to lose a ton of potential signups!  Show Screenshot

  • Membership System

    No. 

  • Design from Scratch

    No. 

  • Multi-lingual

    No. 

  • Restaurant Menu

    There is a very simple menu builder. Menus are made of sections that let you create items with prices. It’s worth noting that there is no description field for items— so you can’t have a description of the item displaying beneath it’s name.  

  • Donations

    No. 

  • Audio Player

    No. 

  • Podcasts

    No. 

Themes

Most themes are quite basic. They’re not terrible but they definitely don’t feel contemporary either.

Two details will bother most people about this theme: (1) there is a small white gap beneath the footer that I could not remove. (2) The logo is flush to the top— no space!

Right: Two details will bother most people about this theme: (1) there is a small white gap beneath the footer that I could not remove. (2) The logo is flush to the top— no space!

Here’s another example theme:

Theme example

Right: Theme example

Themes are supposed to be responsive but I found them to have disappointing results. For example, why isn’t the logo in the header on mobile? (right) Why is the header text so small? It just doesn’t look great.

Mobile

Right: Mobile

Bad Billing Practices


In 2014 I wrote a blog post about 1&1’s cancellation policy (it went sort of viral). In the post I explained how 1&1 invoiced me weeks after I had cancelled my account. At the time, I asked 1&1 customer support why this had happened and they told me “sometimes the system generates crazy invoices, but don’t worry because now you won’t be charged.”

Billing systems should never generate “crazy” invoices.

While for this review (March 2016), I did not receive any “crazy” invoices after cancelling, I am still suspicious of 1&1’s billing department and have decided to keep it rated as having “bad” billing practices.

The cancellation is an 8-page process. It’s pretty needlessly confusing and often has contradictory instructions.

What the hell does 'No cancellable items' mean?

What the hell does 'No cancellable single items present' mean?

After you go through the process and confirm your cancellation you’re told to call in to 1&1 “in order to avoid data loss in the event of an accidental or malicious cancellation request.” I wish they would have just told me to call in from the start!

Fortunately after calling in I was able to cancel. In all it took me about 20 minutes to cancel my account. It would be nice if 1&1 could improve this process!



Written By Steve Benjamins

I founded Site Builder Report in 2012 to help people find the best website builder. My work is supported by earning an affiliate commission when readers choose a website builder based on my reviews.

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Last update: Jul 4 2017

Keep in mind that 1&1 may have changed since then. If you believe something is out of date in my review, please let me know.