Purchasing web hosting service is extremely easy; however, purchasing great web service is extremely difficult. Some of the web hosts pretty much register the domain and give you access almost immediately to some temporary space while the DNS wait period occurs.
I can’t remember how long it took for me to get access to the temporary space on 1and1, because I started hosting with them around 2003 / 2004. I have used 1and1 pretty much exclusively since purchasing my first domain name and can’t say I have a lot of complaints although there are definitely somethings I wish they did differently.
I haven’t had any issues with the actual web hosting although I do find it frustrating that things like FTP accounts are so limited. I was thinking about including hosting in my web design/development projects and allowing the company FTP access but that would limit me to 50 clients per package. An important thing to keep in mind is that if you are going to use a 1and1 database (MySQL / MS SQL) is that it is behind a firewall and you must use their web based tools.
The four times, I have had to deal with 1and1 I was extremely disappointed with the level of customer service. For example, there was a severe email outage for about two days and staff seemed to be indifferent to the issue. Before you go with 1and1 make sure that you know exactly what you are doing, and that you have patience because their technical support/customer service is terribly slow. The FAQs aren’t exactly great and often don’t really contain remedies to the problem: for example why is DOMDocument disabled and how do I fix the problem? Well, 1and1 doesn’t actually say at the time of this writing!
I’m not exactly thrilled with having to pay for a full year’s service at a time and not getting any sort of deal for allowing them to use my money for free for like 12 months. Cancelling domains and packages is quite tricky on the billing/cancel application partly because you have to respond to an email at least once and then wait some period of time (2 months?) and make sure again that the item is actually cancelled.
1and1 was the cheapest host that I could basically find around 2003/2004 and still seems to be one of the cheapest. I wouldn’t describe the experience as great but I also wouldn’t say it was terrible. If you are price conscious, willing to learn, and have patience then your 1and1 experience will probably be similar to mine.