Building a website
As I mentioned when discussing 1&1’s ease of use, this is a company far better suited for intermediate to advanced users rather than complete beginners, and the website building tools available is one of the main reasons why.
The company’s shared hosting plans focus primarily on one-click installation of Content Management Systems like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal, as well as add-ons, interaction tools and other web purpose-specific tools such as the Moodle e-learning platform and wiki creator, MediaWiki.
Whilst these are easy enough to install and start using, they do require a learning curve that is at least a little steeper than customising a template with the kind of drag-and-drop website builders which 1&1 unfortunately don’t bundle in with their unlimited plans.
That’s not to say there isn’t one available. A drag-and-drop website builder known as 1&1 MyWebsite is available, but this is in it’s own separate package with first-term prices ranging from £0.99p per month for a basic, entry-level solution, to the all-encompassing £14.99 per month Premium plan which is better suited for online stores and other large websites.
Sadly, the long-term, regular prices for these packages are more expensive than a basic hosting package, with the former being charged at £6.99 after the first term and the former setting you back a cool £29.99 per month after the 12 month contract term expires.
If you’re still interested in this solution, I’d actually recommend the same plan level as with hosting. 1&1 MyWebsite Basic will set you back £4.99 for the first 12 months and £9.99 thereafter. Again, whilst this is certainly more expensive than an unlimited hosting plan from the company, it does come with a permanently-free domain name (the starter plan only includes a free domain for the first 12 months), unmetered bandwidth and storage, a basic email package, and over 10,000 well-designed templates for you to customise.
There’s also a vast stock photo library (and when I say vast, I mean several million images) and various add-on tools for site management and user interaction.
Unlike hosting, 1&1 MyWebsite does come with a free 30 day trial, so you can at least give it a go before deciding whether it’s worth sticking with it, or looking for a cheaper alternative such as iPage.