Why 1&1 is One of the Worst Registrars on the Planet

For those of you who know me – I'm a very optimistic person. It takes a lot for me to start complaining but sometimes I just have to do it. I use this blog to educate new and experienced Domainers alike and feel it is important to steer my readers in the right direction. 

When running a Domaining business, or just getting started in the Domaining world it is absolutely essential that you have a registrar that can meet your needs. I have been a customer with 1&1 for eight years now and am sad to say that it has finally become impossible to use them as a registrar. Here are the biggest problems that make 1&1 *very* limiting for anyone managing multiple domain names through their service. 

No Bulk Updates
This is the biggest problem by far. I currently host about sixty domains through 1&1 (a small portion of our portfolio) and sometimes need to update things like the admin contact email or our address as we recently moved our offices from Boston to Los Angeles. With most registars you can simply select all of your domain names and change the contact information for all of them. With 1&1 you have to change the contact information for each domain name one at at time. 

I can tell you from experience, this process takes about an hour with sixty domains – which would mean that if you hosted 600 domains with 1&1 it would take you easily 100 hours to update your contact info every time you move!
Painfully Slow Domain Transfers
When you transfer a domain name from one registrar to another you must accept the transfer at the original registrar (registrar you are transferring from). Almost every registrar gives you the option to accept the transfer. This means that you can transfer a domain in a matter of minutes. 

If your registrar does not provide this option – in the case of 1&1 – then you have to wait 5-7 days until the transfer goes through. This may sound crazy so let me put this in plain English – transfers with 1&1 take 5-7 days whereas with almost every other registrar in the world you can complete your transfer in a matter of minutes. 
Outdated Interface
Like I said, I have been with 1&1 for eight year now and the Control Panel has not been updated even once in this time period. This clearly shows that 1&1 is not investing in their infulstructure. The Control Panel is clunky and slow making every task take the a very long time to complete. Simple things can be next-to-impossible to figure-out and repetative tasks oftentimes involve opening multiple browser windows leading to a degraded user experience.
Terrible Technical Support
1&1's technical support mirrors the rest of the company. It is unreliable and I have actually never had a call where they have been able to fix my problem. I am pretty sure the job of tech support at 1&1 is simply to explain to users that you can't do a certain task. 

Everytime I call tech support our conversation goes something like this:

Me: Hi, I'm wondering how to do [BLANK]

1&1 Technical Support: I am sorry, we currently do not support that option.

Me: Any idea when you will update the system to allow something like this?

1&1 Technical Support: You are not the first person to complain about this. Your opinion is very valuable to us, I will make a note of this. 

The tech support folks always sound like they are on anti-depressants and I can understand why!

Whether you are new to domaining or a seasoned pro I would avoid 1&1 like the plague. There are much better registrars out there for Domainers like Moniker and Fabulous that take customer service seriously and provide features that make it easy to scale your business. 

One final note: If anyone from 1&1 is reading this post – PLEASE – send me an email! I would be very interested to hear from someone who actually has the power to make changes. In these tough economic times quality of service is paramount and only the strong will survive. 

I hope this post has been useful to Domainers looking to choose a registrar. I've always said that the best way to learn is by making mistakes. Hopefully my mistake in choosing 1&1 can help others avoid the frustrations that I've had.

Have a Happy New Year and as always Happy Flipping!

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{ 12 comments… add one }

  • Patrick McDermott December 31, 2008, 11:03 am

    It’s even worse than you portray.
    It’s not easy or intuitive to turn off auto-renewal which has caused a lot of their customers trouble including locking their accounts and sending the accounts to collection.
    You have to go to a separate site to delete your domain or stop auto-renewal.
    You can’t do it from the control panel.

    1and1 does not charge your credit card in real time.
    It can take a week or more before they charge your account.
    You have to be aware of this especially if you’re close to your spending limit.
    And this is a BIGGIE.
    1and1 does not register domains in real time.
    It can take 24 to 48 hours…or more!
    Nowhere on their site do they tell you this.
    This is especially important if you are registering dropped domains.
    I had lost quite a few domains to others until I realized this delay.
    I register a domain 1:35PM today and think all is well.
    In two days I find someone else regged it 5:45PM a day later.
    When I contacted their “Customer Service”
    to complain about this, I received a snide response something like this:
    “That’s the way it is and there is nothing
    we can do about it.”
    But there is something I can do about it
    and that’s not to use them.
    1and1 is a division of Schlund & Partner based in Germany and which is part of
    United Internet.
    1and1 AG (Germany)is the ICAAN accredited Registrar not 1and1.com (USA).
    I suspect 1and1.com, the USA division, is
    accumulating domains to be registered and sending them in a batch to the German Registrar.
    I don’t know this for sure but why else for
    such a long delay?
    On the German Registrar’s site it says:
    “…Schlund + Partner registers domain
    names for many providers and resellers…” so I think I am right.
    Source: http://registrar.schlund.info/

  • Patrick McDermott December 31, 2008, 12:47 pm

    I forgot to add this to the list.
    1and1 “Customer service” is only available M-F until 5PM EST.
    If you live in California that’s until 2PM EST.
    For an Internet company the size of 1and1, I find this both shocking and appalling.
    I made a comment about 1and1 on Namepros forum a while ago which
    I’ll repeat here:
    “New Math: 1and1 = 0”

  • John December 31, 2008, 5:51 pm

    uggg, The worst. I realized this a day ago. I tried to transfer a name to another registrar which was painfully difficult, 1and1 delayed then rejected the transfer (close to 5 day expiration). I was so pissed, that to make sure 1and1 didn’t get another dime, I deleted domains and cancelled billings 20 days ahead. Good 20 days worth of domains too.
    I had gotten to the point that with them, I didn’t care anymore. Those domains will delete before they can bill for them lol

  • Patrick McDermott January 1, 2009, 12:14 pm

    This is a violation of the Registrar-Registry agreement and ICANN policy:
    “Registrars are not permitted to deny transfer requests arbitrarily. ICANN
    has no policy that permits or requires registrars to deny outgoing transfer
    requests solely because the registration is within X number of days before expiration”
    Policy on Transfer of Registrations between Registrars.
    “Instances when the requested change of Registrar may not be denied
    include, but are not limited to:
    Domain name registration period time constraints, other than during the
    first 60 days of initial registration or during the first 60 days after a registrar

  • Helder January 1, 2009, 2:54 pm

    I never used, but i’ve read about this before that’s why i never used them. It’s good that you alert people to these situations.
    Until i’ve been using Name.com , i’m happy with them
    Widest.com, so far so good too
    I used godaddy once, but i’ve hear a lot of stories that made me stay away, all at nodaddy, other domainers also told me not to use them.
    Fabulous i’ll use when i can register in bulk to be able to get their discounts
    Moniker, i’ve read that they don’t have support anymore, do you know if it’s true?
    I’ve also read good things about enom, what do you think of them?

  • Patrick McDermott January 2, 2009, 11:20 am

    Widest.com IS GoDaddy.
    Is that your reseller site?

  • Robert Nevin January 2, 2009, 7:57 pm

    They wouldn’t give me a receipt for my payment!
    I had purchased some sites via PayPal, but it was weeks before they charged my account! I didn’t have enough in my PP account so I wanted to simply send them a check, but they don’t take checks! I reluctantly put the charge on my credit card.
    I kept checking the control panel to see if my payment showed up, but it didn’t for days! I finally emailed and called customer service to get a receipt and was told that they do not issue receipts! I couldn’t believe it. No amount of reasoning on my part could get them to email me something showing I had paid them!
    I only have a few sites registered with them and I’m going to move them asap! I will NEVER register another site with them!

  • zero and none January 4, 2009, 2:56 pm

    Yes they suck in many ways, I also hate how you cant renew your domains when you want or renew for multiple years – you have to wait for 1and1 to (hopefully) auto-renew them each year around the time of expiry, better hope nothing goes wrong with the transaction. On other registrars I like to renew my most valued domains for 5 years at a time.

  • Helder January 4, 2009, 4:19 pm

    It’s not my reseller site, i know widest is a godaddy reseller, but i believe the things that have happened at godaddy won’t happen there, different people and different actions, i believe. Besides i “know” the owner of widest, so i guess it will be always ok

  • Angus pemn March 8, 2009, 4:36 am


  • Jeremiah October 11, 2012, 9:48 am

    Wow, I just bought a domain from a guy who had it registered with 1&1. It is so slow (3 days thus far) I was afraid he was trying to scam me. I am glad I found this blog, I will give them another few days.

  • Kelly Clarke February 4, 2016, 11:06 pm

    Well, 1and1 finally renewed one of two domains that I paid to renew with them. I also ordered two more and have not been billed for those two new ones. The technical support representative said she will need to escalate my issue to find out why 1and1 refused to renew one of my domains. Last year it took two weeks to activate the domains. I should have transferred the domains to GoDaddy or Hostgator. I hear it takes forever to transfer domains so I guess I will do it around July haha. I have been trying to renew the domain since January 24, 2016. Today is February 4, 2016. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Shame on me.


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