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1 & 1 vs Blue Host

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1 & 1

1&1 is the web hosting company that has been around the longest (since 1988, before the Web, when it served other IT markets). They now mainly serve small businesses with 50 or fewer employees.

1&1's main features include:

  • all domain name purchase, registration, and transfer services
  • a website builder or an option for a custom website design created by a 1&1 expert or via pre-made template
  • Shared web hosting on Windows or Linux servers
  • Optimized, managed WordPress hosting
  • Managed cloud and dedicated server hosting for specialized projects
  • Email
  • eCommerce with an online store builder
  • Local marketing tools such as local listings, search engine marketing, search engine optimization, email marketing, and a tool for determining website readiness
  • Security tools, including SSL certificates, an SSL readiness checker, and Norton online shopping security tools

Between standard and WordPress hosting, there are six website hosting plans of varying complexity that are all priced in 3 basic tiers.

  • 12 months $0.99/month, then $7.99/month
  • 12 months $4.99/month, then $9.99/month
  • 12 months $8.99/month, then $14.99/month

None of these plans have setup fees, all are payable in advance, and there's a minimum contract term of 12 months. Each has a 12 month billing cycle and a 30 day money back guarantee. Also, each plan includes a free domain when you add it to your order at purchase, but free domains renew at the normal price after 12 months.

For reputation, 1&1 tends to be below average in the number of people who are likely to recommend it to others. This may be due mainly to their brand name not being as recognizable in popular culture, general word-of-mouth, and in mainstream advertising as are GoDaddy and other big name web hosting providers.

On review websites, there are numerous complaints of outdated server software, bad security practices, poor customer service, not being able to cancel service, bad domain registrar service, and people being charged for services they didn't order or use. However, on the consumer complaint sites reviewed, 1&1 is making an effort to reach out to people to resolve their issues.

1&1 claims to be the "safest of the safe" web hosting companies. They do offer SSL, DDoS protection, geo-redundant infrastructure, and secure data centers. However, the fact that they offer a separate security package (SiteLock) as a paid add-on demonstrates they are not fully committed to providing the best security for all customers at all times. A great hosting company will offer the best security for every site on its platform.

Security incidents reported by 1&1 customers include hackers using social engineering to trick 1&1 employees and even account owners into giving them access. Most of these types of incidents appear to be from 2011. In 2016, Symantec, the online security company, recognized 1&1 with its "Game Changer" award for global security leadership. So it is likely that 1&1 has improved its security practices since 2011. Still, complaints about bad security persist in online forums.

While all web hosts eventually experience some degree of down time, performance reviews (in terms of site availability) for 1&1 generally agree that the uptime is very close to 99.9%, as most web hosting services who want to stay in business generally will be. Performance as measured by page loading speed, according to one review, has been steadily improving over GoDaddy performance as measured through a period of 3 years.

For customer service options, 1&1 offers only email and phone support, not online chat support. However, you do have access to 24/7 phone and email support for both technical issues and billing problems.

One customer service review noted it took about 2 minutes to talk to a representative on the phone and 1 hour from when the account owner emailed 1&1 customer service until receiving a response. For both the phone and the email transaction, the first response was courteous and useful one. Everyone's experiences will vary based on the complexity of each individual customer service issue.

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BLUE HOST

BlueHost, founded in 1997, is rated highest in content management system support (WordPress, Drupal, et. al.) and is known for helping users quickly establish their websites in an affordable price range. They currently host 2 million websites and are one of the most popular hosting companies due to their high-paying affiliate program blog backlinks skewing the positive reviews in their direction.

Features that BlueHost offers are

  • domain names
  • shared hosting
  • cloud hosting
  • WordPress hosting
  • WooCommerce (eCommerce) hosting
  • virtual private server (VPS) hosting
  • dedicated hosting

As with most hosting companies, the rates you see on BlueHost's pricing pages are promotional or introductory rates that will increase upon renewing service. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee, but it doesn't apply to the purchase of domain names.

Shared hosting for static websites is split into three plans with somewhat complicated and hidden upcharges:

  • $2.95 per month for a 3 year commitment gives you 1 site and 50GB of storage. If you only want 12 months of service, the introductory rate increases to $4.95. This jumps to $7.99 per month at renewal.
  • $5.45 per month for a 3 year commitment gives you unlimited sites, unmetered storage, marketing offers, services for spam, and $24 per year in "extras". If you only want 12 months of service, the introductory rate increases on this plan and then jumps to $10.99 per month at renewal.
  • $5.45 per month for a 3 year commitment gives you unlimited sites, unmetered storage, marketing offers, services for spam, domain privacy, and backup, and $80 per year in "extras". If you only want 12 months of service, the introductory rate increases on this plan and then jumps to $14.99 per month at renewal.

The "extras" that the more expensive two shared hosting plans provide are not specified on the pricing pages of BlueHost.com, leaving potential customers wondering what they are and what the real value of those plans might be.

Optimized hosting for WordPress sites is split into four plans:

  • $19.99 per month for up to 100 million visits/month and 30GB of storage and backup. This jumps to $39.99 per month at renewal.
  • $29.99 per month for up to 300 million visits/month and 60GB of storage and backup. This jumps to $59.99 per month at renewal.
  • $39.99 per month for up to 600 million visits/month and 120GB of storage and backup. This jumps to $89.99 per month at renewal.
  • $49.99 per month for unlimited visits/month and 240GB of storage and backup. This jumps to $129.99 per month at renewal.

The WordPress plans are positioned in the context of hundreds of millions of visits per month. That magnitude of monthly site visits is unrealistic for the vast majority of WordPress sites that see only a fraction of that level of traffic. These rates may be reasonable for the publisher of an already very popular WordPress site with a lot of big media files. However, budget-conscious WordPress site owners who are just getting started and won't expect high numbers of monthly visits or a need for big amounts of storage, even out to years 2 and 3, will want to look to another hosting company with lower renewable rates.

BlueHost's reputation is not as high as other web hosting companies. One reviewer took WordPress.org to task for endorsing BlueHost and recommended they stop doing so because of BlueHost's slower servers, poor technical support, and more frequent outages than other hosts. Other sites also had numerous comments from real BlueHost users complaining about these same problems.

Performance of BlueHost hosting got a description of "lackluster" from one blog that frequently posts comparison reviews of load tests done against various hosting companies. The maximum web page response time in that test was 10.64 seconds under a load of 20 concurrent users. Even at only 10 active users, the response time was inconsistent and ranged between 1 to 3.5 seconds on average. Overall uptime (availability) of websites was recently measured at 99.93%, slightly under the industry average of 99.94%.

BlueHost's security is generally recognized among most reviewers and customers to be fairly good for the price paid.

Customer service at BlueHost is not its strong point. People who have BlueHost accounts complain of curt replies, long wait times, and difficulty getting issues resolved quickly. There are a number of YouTube videos BlueHost has published to try to reduce the load on their support team, so if you have a problem it's best to start with those first.

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Web Hosting

To help you find the Best Web Hosting, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of 1 & 1 and Blue Host.

If you're a business owner, a writer, or a hobbyist, sooner or later you're going to want a website. To have a website, you'll need a web hosting service. There are hundreds of web hosting companies available to host your site, but which one do you choose? And, how do you know what to look for?

The first step in choosing a web host is figuring out how much you want to spend per month in hosting costs. While some web hosts are nearly free when you sign up, there is often some fine print involved. Many web hosting companies will lure you in with cheap pricing at the outset, but then will raise the monthly subscription cost when you renew at the end of a month or a year.

Some web hosting companies will offer you a lower overall cost if you choose to pay up front for multiple years. While some web hosts will seem really expensive compared to other, that's because they're usually offering more value for your dollar in more advanced or innovative features their cheaper competitors aren't covering. Whether you choose a more expensive host will depend on whether those features improve convenience or lead to a better return on investment (ROI).

That leads us to the next decision to make: features. You'll want to decide which features you genuinely need versus which ones you don't really need at all. Aside from the core service of hosting the actual website will be offerings such as web design, do-it-yourself site theme implementation, domain registration, email, eCommerce tools and setup, online advertising to promote your website, website development tools, and search engine optimization (SEO) help. Some of these will be important to you and others will not be necessary.

Security and performance are considerations that often get overlooked in the drive to find the cheapest web hosting available. Cheaper cost to you means the web host is cutting corners somewhere in how they host your site. Often that means "shared hosting", which means your site is put on the same web server as hundreds of others. There are security and site speed implications to this that often are not in your best interests.

Reputation can also be a key factor - web hosts with bad reputations or "fly by night" business practices can hurt your business or position in search results.

Finally, you want to know how reliable and supportive each web host is from the perspective of its customers. How many people are complaining about hacked sites, slow page load times, poor support, and price hikes over time? There will be many, many complaints across all web hosting options, so you'll want to narrow the list of things that are important to you and focus primarily on those as you evaluate options.

Once you have an idea of which web host you want to subscribe to, shopping online will make it easier than ever to find it. To summarize, as you decide which web host should get your business, keep in mind these criteria:

  • Features. Which features does the web host offer and do you need all the features or just some of them?
  • Cost. How are the hosting costs structured? Will there be monthly subscription cost hikes after a certain period of time?
  • Reputation. What are people saying about the web host online? Is the web host going to shut down or change names soon, and are they engaging in shady practices that can hurt your brand?
  • Security. How many security incidents has the web hosting company experienced? Are there widespread complaints of site outages? If so, how quickly and to what extent were those issues addressed?
  • Performance. Are websites generally faster or slower on one web hosting service compared to its competitors? Does the web host offer plans that handle increasing numbers of visitors or sudden traffic spikes with more ease?
  • Customer Service. If you experience problems with your website, what are the contact options for getting support, and how responsive are they? Are support representatives courteous and helpful, or are they rude and condescending? How long does it take to fix problems?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best web hosting companies available today. We hope these reviews will help you find the right web host to make your website appealing, secure, and affordable!



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