1 and 1 vs Fasthosts

UPDATE: I’ve noticed whenever Fasthosts servers go down (and it’s quite often) this page gets a major influx of visitors looking for answers and help. So here’s a couple

1. Leave Fasthosts! I’ve seen more people have problems with them than ever! I wholeheartedly recommend SiteHQ, which virtually all of my client sites are hosted on, or Clook.net, again great support and we recommend both to friends and clients.

2. If you really want to contact Fasthosts then try their Sales helpline on 0870 888 3600, their support section may work at https://www.fasthosts.co.uk/support/ (but I’m guessing their site is down if you’re reading this!). Unfortunately I can’t login to get their technical support number as I don’t have an account with them!.

— Original Post —

A while back I wrote about my ordeal with Fasthosts Tech Support and how they cleverly informed me that a client’s site didn’t even exist on their servers and that all servers were up and running when the next day the client’s site reappeared after we’d assumed it had been deleted. Have to say that post pulled in hundreds of visitors a couple of months ago when Fasthosts had a major outage – I wondered who was attacking my site!!

Anyhow, now it’s the turn of 1 and 1, one of the other major UK hosting companies. Another client had a site off me and it went live last March. I managed to get into their admin section and work out how to change the domain’s nameservers just fine. I thought this was a doddle, all those people complaining about 1 and 1. Once the site was live I set to work on transferring the domains. Step 1 – work out where to do this. I spoke to a friend who said several years ago he had to download a form from their site and fax it off to them. Okay, fine, not a major issue, however I couldn’t find the form. In fact I couldn’t find anything about domain transfer away from 1 and 1. I did find one page in their FAQ but it wasn’t linked! After a bit of hunting and clicking on the right buttons I finally found a page explaining it all along with a link to their Contracts section where you can transfer your domains away and cancel your contract.

So since March it has taken until today to get the domains IPSTAG to finally be changed. During this time I’ve requested transfer about 4-5 times per domain. My client has phoned 1 and 1 several times and emailed them several times asking for email addresses to be updated. Turns out the main stumbling block was because at some point the client’s details had been updated and instead of reading the outbound (second part) of their post code as 1NN it was entered as INN (all UK postcode outbound parts always start with a number) and never noticed by their call centre staff. Apparently this wrong password meant they couldn’t change an email address elsewhere (makes perfect sense I’m sure). And even then since getting it all finalised and looking correct on Friday and re-requesting the transfers it still takes a human being to process the transfer. This is a very large company and they can’t have an automated process?!

When it comes to 1 and 1 tech support it’s worse than Fasthosts and their on hold music is even worse! I found with 1 and 1 the only way to get a decent answer is to use the email support@1and1.co.uk. Perhaps whilst you’re with them you’re fine, but come to leave and regardless of whether it’s a good business trick or not, putting up too many hurdles in the way of a leaving customer is only going to frustrate them more!

That said I’ve still not finished the job as I still have to ensure the contract is now fully cancelled!

29 Responses

  1. Matt says:

    I had to try and move a domain away from them years and years ago, it was such a pain in the backside, Id never ever use them or fasthost – Im more then happy with sitehq 🙂

  2. Sarah says:

    Oh I’d never use either, I just wish I didn’t keep getting clients who did!

  3. becky says:

    I think Fasthosts and 1&1 are the same company actually.
    I know when I had to renew my domain name with Fasthosts I had to actually pay 1&1.
    Personally I have never had a problem with Fasthosts. That being said, I have never had downtime so not had reason to call them. Maybe if I had a problem I would feel their wrath. lol

  4. Alan says:

    Hi, I have just cancelled my contact with 1&1 due to the poor service and
    poor performance of their servers. So I decided to join WebFusion with their
    Fusion Developer package, what can I say this has to be the worst hosting
    company bar none? Their MyServerWorld control panel is a joke the functionality
    is simplistic aimed more at a home page than a asp.net web developer. They use MS SQL
    Database which you get 3, but you cannot import a database with its stored procedures and triggers.
    The only option you get is to import an sql script and execute that. So to all you web developers give webfusion a wide berth.
    Alan 🙂

  5. Sarah says:

    Hey Alan, sorry to hear of your problems. I’ve updated a site on Webfusion for a client before but it didn’t use databases so I never ventured that far, glad I didn’t have to by the sounds of it!

    I wholeheartedly recommend SiteHQ for hosting. Virtually all of my clients are hosted on their servers, very little downtime, great support and well priced. When I did sell hosting I was a reseller with them, running 60+ sites, for almost 3 years without problem.

    Hope you get yourself sorted soon 🙂

  6. Alan says:

    Hi, Sarah
    Thanks for your reply , will give SiteHQ a look.
    Thanks again Alan 🙂

  7. Harpritt says:

    Hi Sarah

    Thanks for such a cool blog.

    im trying to work out which company to host with, reading this i kinda get the impression that both are bleerrrrrgh….

    can you reccomend the lesser of the two, or maybe another company.


  8. Sarah says:

    Hi Harpritt, thanks for the comment. In answer to your question, well it depends on how much you think you need to rely on the support! Often a company is fine until you wish to leave them or require their support, then it all falls apart.

    The trouble with companies such as these is that it’s so large it’s essentially a faceless company, you never get the same person twice, you have to repeat the problems with everyone you speak to and often one person does or says something completely different from another! I prefer to deal with a smaller company where I know the people running there. The two hosting companies I thoroughly recommend are SiteHQ at http://www.sitehq.co.uk as previously mentioned, and Meirhosting at http://www.meirhosting.net. All of my clients bar a few are on SiteHQ servers and I can happily say I have no complaints with either company. Both have given me support whenever required, even when I’ve managed to cancel my paypal subscription payment, or cancelled the standing order by mistake etc! These companies are not faceless companies as the person who starts dealing with you will stick with you until it’s sorted.

    Honestly I’d give both 1 & 1 and Fasthosts a wide berth, and any other large company. After my recent experiences with a faceless UK Online and my ADSL problems, I’ve spoken to 10+ different people there and am going round in circles with it all. The new ADSL company I can speak to just a handful of people who are ready to give you the support – why? Because it’s their livelihood, not just their job – that makes all the difference 😉

  9. Harpritt says:

    Cheers for the reply Sarah…..

    This will make you laugh… in the space of a week i went from Tollon hosting to webfusion to 1&1 to finally settleing on fasthost……

    Tollon – IIS instances were restarted up to 13 times a day, in one case 22 times.

    web fusion – the sales team told me that they can handle custom 404, pointing them to .asp files….. THEY LIED

    1&1 – Same as web -fusion

    Fast host – all looks good so far…

    Tis a joy!

  10. Dave o says:

    I know this was written quite a while ago but would you still recommend SiteHQ? Currently searching for new hosts – tried Mediatemple and demon and not overly impressed.

    And i thought finding a new host would be easy 🙂 Like everything for one persons good experience there is an equally bad one!


  11. Sarah says:

    I still use SiteHQ and yes I’d still recommend them 🙂

    My personal method for selecting a host is usually try them for a month and see how the uptime is and how things go with one or two minor sites, then if I’m happy after a month I stick with it.

    Good luck with your hunt 🙂

  12. Victor says:

    Never be tempted to use Fasthosts.

    They are rubbish in everything they do.

    Whether it is just for one basic site, or like us a reseller with many, do not go near them.

    They will be more trouble than they are worth, with slow servers, bad idiotic support and terrible attitude to customer retention. Don’t do it

  13. Sarah says:

    Victor, doesn’t sound like you’ve had a good time with them. Thankfully I’ve never had to deal with either of these hosts again since getting my clients away from them. I wouldn’t give either of them a second look.

    Hope you’ve got yourselves a decent host now 🙂

  14. Matthew Hill says:

    Hi, I found your site after googling for “fasthosts wordpress” due to problems I’m having getting it to work for a client of mine.

    However, after bad downtime already and poor support, I’ve decided that it’s simply not worth the hassle and am trying to recommend that my client move their hosting elsewhere (especially since reading hundreds of accounts of Fasthosts woes.)

    I’m interested in your SiteHQ recommendation, but after looking at their packages, they only offer 1 site per deal (not counting reseller which isn’t what I’m after).

    I’m used to having packages where I can host unlimited domains on one account — do you have any experience with a good host who offers that?

  15. Sarah says:

    Matthew, if you want to host a number of domains then you need a reseller account. You’ll be pushed to find a good host that will offer unlimited domains these days, but most hosts will offer a reseller account where you can host X domains and assign up to your total space and bandwidth available on that account. I’m not sure what you think a Reseller account is but that sounds like what you’re after.

    A single site account is that, for a single site. Multiple domains means reseller.

    SiteHQ’s reseller accounts are limited to a number of domains. Most hosts that I would recommend are either similar in that they restrict domains or they restrict the amount you can oversell eg. 2.5 times the amount of space/bandwidth you have. Clook, Aventure Host, Meirhosting and SiteHQ are probably the 4 that are most recommended amongst the designers and developers that use the forums I use.

    Hope some of that helps you.

  16. Matthew Hill says:

    Hi Sarah, thanks for the input.

    A reseller account is not necessary for me as the multiple domains are just for me (I run 5 different sites). Multiple domains on one account does not mean you need a reseller account.

    Many hosts offer multiple domains without reseller accounts, I’m currently with MediaTemple on a Grid Server and have looked at other companies such as Webfaction who offer multiple domains too. Meirhosting in fact offer something similar.

    I’ve investigated all the companies you mentioned and unfortunately, none of them compare with what can be bought in the USA, so I’m continuing my research mainly with US based companies.

    I still don’t understand why the UK hosting market is so uncompetitive compared to the US. It’s simply impossible to buy the kind of high bandwidth, top end features in the UK that can be bought cheaply in the US. I wonder if this will ever change, or if more and more UK based companies will end up hosting the US?

    A bit off topic, but does anyone know why the UK is so far behind when it comes to hosting?

  17. Sarah says:

    Hi Matthew, SiteHQ can do multi domain accounts. Just contact them and let them know what you need. I know they’re looking to add in new packages, and one which they used to have is the type of account you’re after I believe.

    US hosting will work out cheaper due, in part, to the exchange rate. UK businesses are actually moving more to UK hosting than US hosting, and to be fair, the UK hosting market isn’t expensive, the US hosting market is just so very cheap, however as with everything, you get what you pay for. A lot of US hosting via various small companies is actually, at the end of the line, with The Planet, and their support is not fantastic. SiteHQ’s UK hosting is with Rackspace, which commands higher prices for their servers but also offers a far superior support and service.

    Meirhosting’s UK hosting is fairly comparable. I have their smallest reseller for my own sites and have more than enough bandwidth and space for the dozen or so sites I host, and it’s not expensive at all, especially compared to what I’ve paid in the past. Hosting prices have dropped in the past few years to an insane low, I prefer to pay a little bit more and get a better service.

  18. Matthew Hill says:

    Hi Sarah, thanks for your advice and tips.

    I agree that paying a bit more for better service works out better in the long run. So after a lot of research and some performance testing (with WebFaction, MediaLayer and Memset versus my current host Mediatemple) I decided to go the other route and get a virtual dedicated server rather than shared hosting.

    I’ve opted for the Virtual Miniserver by Memset which vastly outperforms all of the USA based shared hosting i mentioned above. I haven’t yet moved my sites over but I’m looking forward to a big speed increase when I do. It requires a bit more tech savvy than many users would like, and you don’t get any support with the basic deals, but it’s completely configurable, can act as a reseller machine and allows me to do whatever I want pretty much.

    With 10GB storage and unmetered bandwidth for £30 a month, I think that’s pretty good. They won a PC Pro award several years running for best provider so they must be doing something right. 😉

    Thanks again for your helpful advice.

  19. Sarah says:

    Glad to hear it’s all sorted. Not sure about the unmetered bandwidth, lets hope your server neighbours don’t take that literally 😉

  20. Sam P. says:

    Maybe you should check out http://servage.co.uk/, i’ve heard a feew good things about them.

    If you really want quality mediatemple.net is who you want, you get what you pay for.

  21. Sarah says:

    Cheers for the comment Sam P. You’re right, you certainly get what you pay for 🙂

  22. Matthew Hill says:

    @Sam P: I was previously with MediaTemple using their Grid Server which is the reason I wanted to move. It’s unreliable, not fit for purpose and does not deliver what they say. Indeed, everyone on the Grid received a 2 month refund last year for the very many problems they were having. Although it’s improved a bit, it still does not provide the performance I would expect from a premium supplier, and some applications run very badly on their servers, WordPress in particular.

  23. Matthew Hill says:

    By the way, be very cautious with servage. There are good reasons why they are so cheap.

    A no effort google throws up some very negative reviews:


    Their bandwidth terms are dubious to say the least — no host can offer the figures they suggest at those prices. And finally, they have no phone number on their website. In my experience, that tells you A LOT.

    As you said, you get what you pay for. 😉

  24. Paul says:

    Just for your info, Germany’s United Internet, the parent company of 1&1 Internet, has acquired leading UK hosting provider Fasthosts for 61.5 million pounds ($114.7 million US). The all-cash deal is the latest in a flurry of major deals in the hosting industry, and continues a trend of consolidation among European hosts.

    They will soon be all one.


  25. KitKave says:

    I have been with SiteHQ for well over 6 years I have hosted over 60 sites and currently have 4 ecommerce sites with them.

    The sales and support team are friendly and helpful and I would not consider anyone else having moved from a number of other hosts.