Why You Should Never Use 1and1.com Hosting

UPDATE: I'm now going through another 1and1.com incident where my server has been down for over 36 hours. I don't host large sites there, but still have a few mini sites there that I didn't move yet. I highly recommend avoiding 1and1 hosting.

I have a so-called "1&1 Premier Professional Package" hosting package on 1and1.com hosting. It's supposed to be equivalent to their so-called "Developer" hosting package.

Tonight's experience was the last straw and I'm going to give you a few reasons why you should never use 1and1.com for hosting.

I've had many problems with 1and1.com's tech support over the years. Tonight's issue was that the .htaccess file rules were not working on 1and1.

I was trying to remove the file extensions from PHP files so that a URL like http://example.com/about would execute the file http://example.com/about.php.

This is the code that works perfectly on my localhost and on Dreamhost, but that sends 404 errors on 1&1 hosting:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ $1.php [L]

I spent an hour on the phone with a 1&1 tech support staff who had difficulty even finding the correct directory on the Web server. For a while he was telling me that there was no .htaccess file (because he was looking in the wrong place).

I told him that 1and1 has an unusual server configuration and that .htaccess rules like AddType application/x-httpd-php .html don't work on 1&1. (You have to use the unusual AddType x-mapp-php4 .html.)

So I called them just wanting to know how they had modified their servers so that the standard mod_rewrite code above wasn't working.

To keep the story short (the phone call was over an hour long), I will just cut to the conclusion: he told me that I needed to link to about.php and to reconfigure my .htaccess file.

It sounded like he was just repeating what his boss was telling him without really understanding what he was saying. He kept saying that I was linking to "a folder called about" when I needed to link to about.php. I tried to explain that /about is a file, not a "folder" — it does not have a trailing slash... and that I didn't want .php file extensions because I was going to later upgrade to a CMS (Drupal) that doesn't have .php file extensions.

He wouldn't put me on the phone with a manager and said "this is a scripting issue, not a server issue". He said that 1and1.com servers could read any .htaccess file. I started to explain the issue about how 1and1 can't read AddType application/x-httpd-php .html and that I had to call them to get a workaround, but after a little more arguing we got cut off.

1and1.com cannot read any .htaccess file. The following .htaccess code works on my laptop's localhost Apache as well as on Dreamhost, but creates 404 errors on 1&1 — Options -MultiViews creates 500 errors:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ $1.php [L]

Past Problems With 1and1.com Hosting

Terrible Customer Service

This isn't the first serious issue I've had with 1and1.com. I remember calling them once to ask them why I couldn't download their free software anymore, and the supposed "tech support" told me that it was impossible that I had ever downloaded it. I told him that it had been offered for free when I signed up and that I had downloaded it before. He told me I had to send them money to get it shipped by CD. By the end of the conversation he was angrily telling me that it was impossible for me to have ever downloaded their software. Basically calling me a liar.

Tech Support Without Technical Knowledge

Other times I've called their "tech support" and had to talk with people that didn't have much of a tech background and who didn't know what they were talking about. Like the guy above who told me /about is a "folder" and that I needed to link to /about.php.

"Too Many FTP Connections"

Any Web host that bans your IP for editing more than one file at a time over FTP is crap. GoDaddy.com and 1and1.com are the only two hosting companies that consistently ban my IP for doing this.

I like to edit more than one live file over FTP/sFTP at a time — perhaps a PHP file and a CSS file at the same time. If you try to do that with 1and1.com (or GoDaddy) you are likely to get your IP address temporarily banned.

Site5, Bluehost, and other hosting companies don't have that problem. Every cheap host has problems of one kind or another, but 1and1 is really one of the worst hosting companies that I've used in 5 years of building Web sites.

Do you have a 1and1.com horror story? Please add a comment below.

UPDATE: A few minutes after I posted this I deleted 4 files over sFTP with Konqueror and then tried to rename two files and 1and1.com banned my IP address for too many FTP connections!

Average: 3.6 (45 votes)