1&1 IONOS Website Builder Review: A Good Choice in 2023?
What Is 1&1 IONOS?
1&1 IONOS is Europe's largest provider of hosting and cloud services, being used by more than eight million customers. For those lacking in programming know-how, 1&1 offers MyWebsite*, a site builder featuring a drag and drop editor that makes it easy to create a polished website in little more than a few steps.
Below, we'll take a detailed look at how MyWebsite performs.
1&1 IONOS Website Builder Review
Plenty of features
Powerful editor offering lots of customization options
Personalized guidelines for client-specific marketing
Large variety of templates
Cluttered and somewhat clunky editor
Templates lack quality
No third-party app center or store
Configuration and Usability
To use MyWebsite, you'll need to set up a 1&1 IONOS account. Unfortunately, unlike most of the other platforms we assessed, you can't start building right away and will need to wait until your account is verified. During testing, this took around 24 hours.
To start a new web project, look for the "Websites & Shops" area in the 1&1 IONOS dashboard. Since 1&1 IONOS is a hosting provider, you can use a CMS like WordPress, Typo3, or Joomla, or, as we'll be doing below, MyWebsite. For this, 1&1 IONOS used Duda's site-building software, which is utilized by other companies like webgo and checkdomain.
You can access 1&1 IONOS's site builder in the user dashboard's "Websites & Shops" area.
A digital business card for your website
To get started with MyWebsite, click on the "Edit Website" or "Create Website" options in the menu. First, you'll need to give your website a name and specify its branch. If desired, MyWebsite will create a digital business card for you that goes online immediately, acting as a placeholder for visitors to your domain. Once you're ready to build your actual website, click on "Select a Design now".
Next, choose a template. Once you've settled on a particular design, you can either check a live preview of it or incorporate it directly onto your site. After this, you'll reach the actual site builder, where a brief tutorial awaits.
1&1 IONOS's MyWebsite editor is based on Duda.
Once you've selected a template, your website will be built and you can start filling it with content. While doing this, most of the screen is taken up by the editor's site preview, in which you'll work and edit content directly.
There are two menu bars around this window. All tools, including design settings, elements, blogs, and products are located to the left. Above, you can alternate between desktop, tablet, and smartphone views, or switch to developer mode. Here, you can also repeat steps or undo changes, and publish your website.
You can also check how your website will display on mobile devices.
Widgets, widgets, widgets
As mentioned, you can edit content directly in the live preview. Depending on its type, you'll be able to choose from a variety of different options.
In addition, by right-clicking on a particular element, you can modify it, such as by adding a start animation or widget to it. This can then be integrated into your site by dragging and dropping content from the menu off to the left.
By right clicking in the editor, a formatting menu will open with which you can specify an element's position or add animations.
By clicking on the symbol that appears between columns, you can add an entire section. These are ready-made, easy to customize, and can be filled with elements, such as an "About Us" page, an image gallery, or customer reviews.
Complicated, but well-organized
1&1 IONOS MyWebsite's editor is lightweight, versatile, and powerful. The number of options on offer, as well as their presentation, can be slightly overwhelming. 1&1 IONOS keeps quite a bit of control over your design options. Even though each element comes with two menus (accessed via either right- or left-clicking on them), certain options in these actually forward users to the same feature.
Considering how many features it offers, MyWebsite's editor is surprisingly well-structured. Anyone who is willing to learn its ins and outs will be rewarded with a great deal of creative freedom. Unfortunately, its learning curve might scare away inexperienced users. This makes it less suited for those looking to create their first website. Another downside is that new users need to wait for their accounts to be unlocked prior to building.
IONOS makes adding new widgets to a page easy. Users can select from a variety of elements in the page menu, which are arranged by dragging and dropping them. Alternatively, you can right-click on elements that have already been integrated into your site, and add new widgets to them. These include text, videos, buttons, contact forms, and more: The possibilities are (nearly) endless.
Bags of creative freedom
Once you've gotten familiar with MyWebsite, its editor demonstrates its power, offering a great deal of freedom in designing your website. The large selection of widgets, ready-made sections, customization options for content elements, and drag and drop functionality ensure that anyone can let their imagination run free.
Elements are content blocks that you arrange by dragging and dropping them.
Unfortunately, 1&1 doesn't offer an app store or center, however, the editor features some external widgets from services like Yelp or TripAdvisor.
Powerful blogging platform
Blogging features are located in the menu bar on the left, or by clicking on the blog entry in the website preview. Just like elsewhere in the editor, the available options are presented somewhat confusingly here. 1&1 IONOS could definitely have put more effort into making its site builder easier to use, especially for beginners. This complexity does allow more options, however.
For anyone who wants to really customize their blog, MyWebsite offers many options. New entries are added through an extra tab dedicated to managing blogs.
Blog management is divided between layout and entry modes. In layout mode, you'll specify your blog's structure using the same sections as in the regular editor. To support search engine optimization (SEO), all entries in your blog have a uniform layout. In entry mode, you can fill individual entries with content, which can be edited, as well as add content elements by dragging and dropping them.
To help manage your blog, MyWebsite makes it possible to add new entries or edit existing ones.
Tags and user-defined URLs can be incorporated into individual entries, and it's possible to create a backup of your blog to protect against unexpected data losses or attacks. Through a pop-up menu, you can set the number of entries per page, as well as how they are displayed. Should you already have a blog elsewhere, it's possible to import up to 300 entries via RSS feed, a nice touch that few other site builders offer.
The division of tools between the blog tab and the regular editor's dashboard makes things somewhat more complicated than they need to be. In addition, we also noticed a few helpful features missing, such as the ability to grant editors access to certain password-protected areas of a blog.
Ideal language settings
MyWebsite makes creating a multilingual website incredibly easy. Simply click on "Add language" in the page menu and specify your site's primary and secondary languages. After this, MyWebsite will automatically translate your website's content into the other language you've indicated using Google Translate, however, you can toggle between your website's languages and manually edit content.
With MyWebsite, you can make your website multilingual with just a few clicks.
Customized viewing and shopping experience
By clicking on "Personalize" in the menu, you can set user-defined and client-specific guidelines. This makes it possible to display certain pages and products to users based on their geographic location or time zone.
While the slightly fragmented and overloaded interface takes some getting used to, MyWebsite is a powerful tool that offers an impressive selection of features.
Templates & Design
MyWebsite offers more than 400 different design templates, divided into categories such as, "Professional Services", "Construction & Property", or "Trades". Most of the designs are sleek, however, they are some quality issues, especially when compared to competitors like Squarespace.
MyWebsite advertises more than 400 templates that are logically grouped into categories.
Unfortunately, you cannot change your website's template once you start building, and actually have to start a new project to switch designs. You can select different layout options within the template you've chosen, and adjust the page background, font, text size, and spacing. It's possible to configure further aspects, such as the background color, shadow, or frames, in each column.
You can freely arrange and format elements, making it possible to tailor your website's appearance.
Stock photos galore
Few websites can make do without images, however, with 1&1 IONOS, you'll need to source these on your own since its selection of stock photos isn't too impressive. Other site builders, such as Wix or Squarespace do much better in this area, offering stock photo integrations that provide plenty of high-quality media.
MyWebsite could definitely improve its stock photo selection.
Neither MyWebsite's templates nor its stock photos impressed us, with both being considerably less than what most of its competitors offer. At the same time, the ability to further personalize templates is practical.
E-Commerce, Marketing & SEO
You can only set up an online shop with MyWebsite if you've booked a "Shop" subscription. In the similarly named sub-menu, you can manage your store. Before that, you'll need to add products, images, prices, as well as categories, and variations.
IONOS supports a number of different payment methods, including PayPal and Stripe.
Users are able to upload a CSV file of their products or import a shopping cart system like LiteCommerce.
Product variations can be created with just a few clicks.
Payment and shipping are managed in the "Configuration" area. Shipping methods can be set manually or directly integrated using services like DHL with fees linked to order weights or totals.
Unfortunately, many standard features are behind paywalls. As an example, selling digital products is only possible for "Advanced" subscribers and above, as are different product options, such as user-defined images, SKUs, or quantities.
Discounts and email marketing
To help peddle your wares, MyWebsite also provides access to a few marketing tools. It's possible to create coupons and discounts for selected products and categories or to send emails to customers who abandon their shopping carts.
While on the topic of emails, it's worth mentioning that MyWebsite also includes a newsletter area. This isn't a dedicated email marketing tool, but rather, an option to integrate Mailchimp. Other site builders with store capabilities allow their users to launch newsletter campaigns without needing to purchase an upgrade.
You can nudge customers towards completing purchases by offering discounts and coupons.
SEO & Analytics
IONOS offers internally-developed analytical and SEO tools, such as Ranking Coach or WebAnalytics, albeit as subscription add-ons. Other site builders provide basic analytical data at no extra charge. With the help of a tracking code, you can easily integrate free tools from Google into your site.
In terms of SEO, you're given access to a number of basic features, such as the ability to add global page titles, descriptions, and keywords. These can all be configured for your sub-pages.
Taken together, 1&1 IONOS's MyWebsite is well-equipped in terms of ecommerce, with the only disappointment being the numerous paywalls.
1&1 guarantees round-the-clock support, seven days a week. Its informative help center features can be full-text searched and includes step-by-step guides, some of which are even presented as videos. Should you be unable to find answers to your question here, you can contact support by telephone or live chat. Paying IONOS subscribers can also consult personal advisers.
On a Wednesday afternoon, we waited around six minutes for a staffer in the live chat, with the hotline necessitating eight minutes of queuing.
Support articles are sorted by feature, with direct contact possible via hotline or live chat.
Although other providers offer the ability to contact their support teams by email, while not making hotline or live chats available, 1&1 took the more direct route. Since our question was satisfactorily answered within a short period of time, we don't have any complaints.
Three different subscriptions are offered for IONOS's website builder, namely Starter, Plus, and Pro. A store can be added to any of these (at cost). Starter uses a different editor, which permits far less customization than the other two subscriptions. Beginning with Plus, users can integrate dynamic content such as parallax effects or professional image galleries. Pro unlocks extra features for displaying dynamic content.
If adding a shop to any of the three plans, you'll have varying product limits to start (500, 5,000, or 10,000 - all of which can be increased).
Below you can find a current overview of 1&1 IONOS' plans:
|Starter||Plus||Starter (+ Store)||Plus (+ Store)||Pro||Pro (+ Store)|
|Contract Period (Months)||12||12||12||12||12||12|
|Free of Ads|
In the table below, you can see how well MyWebsite fares in terms of price against the other providers from our sample. For each, we took the most affordable, ad-free yearly subscription that included a unique domain:
Unfortunately, 1&1 IONOS doesn't offer a free version of MyWebsite, however, subscribers have 30 days to request a full refund.
IONOS doesn't do beginners any favors with its MyWebsite site-building platform. The editor, with its numerous pop-up windows and settings, will likely be overwhelming at first. Continuing with the negatives, the service's templates aren't our cup of tea, especially when set alongside those of their competitors, which seem to emphasize quality over quantity.
At the same time, the functionality and range of options that MyWebsite brings to the table are entirely worth it in our opinion. 1&1 IONOS serves up a truly powerful website builder with solid features and plenty of customization possibilities.
Should you be ready to set aside some time to learn its ins and outs, MyWebsite will grant you considerable design freedom, as well as access to well-conceptualized features and marketing tools. If 1&1 IONOS made their editor more accessible to beginners, they'd be able to go head-to-head with the leading services from our sample.
The reviews of 1&1 that we analyzed were good. All the same, it was difficult to determine which of the reviews (and how many) relate to MyWebsite, and which are for other services and programs that the company provides. Support seems to be an issue, with several reviewers complaining about the lack of expertise and competence among staffers.