IONOS may be best known for its web hosting and domain registration services, but it’s also becoming a leading website builder. It’s affordable with plans starting at £1 per month for your first year and plans as low as £10 per month upon renewal.
It is designed to be very user-friendly with an intuitive and code-free site editor, and extras such as pre-built templates, a free domain name, free business email and an online booking tool. Find out if it’s the best choice for you with our IONOS website builder review.
- Beginner-friendly website builder that requires no experience
- Very competitive intro pricing and affordable renewal rates
- Online booking tools
- Built-in AI text generator
- E-commerce capabilities
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- 99.99% guaranteed uptime
- Its entry-level plan has a maximum of 10 pages
- Few templates compared to competitors
- Limited design customisation capabilities
Table of Contents
What is IONOS?
IONOS is among the most popular domain name registrars and web hosting services on the market and it has been around for over 25 years. In more recent years, it released its own proprietary website builder to give users a more comprehensive set of website-related services. Its site builder includes everything a business needs to build and manage a website, such as the user-friendly site builder, domain name, SSL certificate, site analytics, online booking tools and the ability to sell products or services online.
Here’s what IONOS offers:
- Website builder
- Domain names
- Web hosting
- Email hosting
- SSL certificates
How IONOS website builder works
The IONOS website builder is designed to make building websites easy. To start, register for an account, register or connect a domain and then choose a pre-built template that best fits your brand and its unique needs. Within the simple site editor, users can customise their website using the left-hand vertical menu. Its structure is intuitive and is organised by pages. To make changes to a page, click on the site element that you wish to change (e.g., text, photos, etc.).
Is the IONOS website builder right for me?
The IONOS website builder offers very few frills compared to leading competitors. However, while it’s fairly lightweight, that also means that it is more clutter-free and easier to learn how to use. That said, the IONOS website builder is best for those who want a quick and easy way of building an informational DIY website on a budget.
IONOS is recommended for:
- Businesses that want a quick and easy way of building an informational website
- Website beginners and nontechnical users
- Those on a tight budget who need a low-cost DIY website builder.
IONOS is not recommended for:
- Businesses that seek a highly customised website
- Online-based businesses that require a comprehensive feature set
- Those who want to test-drive it before investing in a paid plan as it does not offer a free plan or a free trial.
What sets IONOS apart
There are two key selling points to IONOS’ website builder. First, it’s affordable. While most of its competitors start at around £12 per month, IONOS starts at £6 per month. Second, it’s very simple to build a site with. Its site editor, though lightweight and frills-free, is straightforward and easy to use. This makes it a good option for those who need a simple, informational website and are on a tight budget.
IONOS website builder pricing and plans
The main feature of the IONOS website builder is its beginner-friendly site editor that makes it easy to build a website without any experience or coding knowledge. It is also e-commerce enabled for those who would like to create an online store and its plans include all of the website must-haves, such as a domain name, an SSL certificate and even email hosting.
Ease of use
The leading selling point of the IONOS website builder is its ease of use. While it’s not the most feature-rich website builder on the market, this comes with the benefit of being a much more simplistic site editor.
There is no need to have any prior website building or web design experience – never mind knowledge of code. Users simply purchase a plan, choose a pre-built template and customise their chosen template in the simple site editor. One notable feature within the site editor is that it is AI-enabled, which can be used to help write website copy.
In addition to its standard plans, IONOS also offers e-commerce plans for those who are looking to sell online. However, it offers a very limited feature set for online sellers.
While many e-commerce site builders include e-commerce-specific features such as abandoned cart recovery, shipping and tax calculators, easy returns processing, dropshipping integrations and more, IONOS does not. So it’s worth considering your particular needs before investing your time and money into an IONOS online store.
Free domain name
Every website builder plan includes a free domain name for the first year. This saves businesses that need a domain name about £8 to £16, while also making the process of connecting their domain to their site a lot easier as it will happen more or less automatically when they get a domain from IONOS in the checkout process. It’s worth noting that after the first year, standard renewal rates apply. For example, a .com domain from IONOS renews at £15 per year.
All IONOS website builder plans include a free Wildcard SSL certificate. While an SSL certificate is required for online stores to accept payments, it is advisable for all websites to install an SSL certificate as it helps improve your site’s security and also helps your site rank higher in Google search results. SSL certificates are widely available for free, however, it does make it easier to get an SSL directly through IONOS when using its website builder.
Those who need affordable email hosting will generally find IONOS to offer quality plans for a very competitive price. Its entry-level email hosting plan costs £1 per month for 2GB of storage. Its mid-tier plan costs £1.50 per month for 12GB of storage and its top-tier plan, Mail Business, costs £1 per month per user (for 3 months) with 50GB of storage for each user. It’s easy to set up – especially for users who purchased their domain name from IONOS as there is no need to manually connect your domain to your email account.
- Mail Basic 1: £1 per month for 2GB of storage (approximately 10,000 emails)
- Mail Basic 1+: £1.50 per month for 12GB of storage (approximately 60,000 emails)
- Mail Business: £1 per month per user for 50GB of storage (approximately 500,000 emails)
In addition to its own email hosting plans, IONOS also offers email hosting through Google Workspace. This makes it very easy to set up an email account that uses your own domain name to Google Workspace for those who want to use Google Workspace for their email, but purchased a domain from IONOS. New users currently get one month of Google Workspace for free and upon renewal, it costs £6 per month per user for 30GB of storage.
IONOS customer service and support
IONOS support is available 24/7 via phone and live chat. Though 24/7 support is not uncommon among web hosts and website builders, it is rarely available via phone. This is particularly helpful for website beginners as phone support is typically the fastest way to resolve an issue. Users frequently report that support is very helpful, knowledgeable and quick to find resolutions.
IONOS alternatives and how they compare
IONOS vs. Weebly
Weebly is one of the best e-commerce website builders not only for its ease of use but also for its price. While an online store with Weebly that is ad-free and enables you to connect your own domain will cost £7 per month, with IONOS it will cost £6 per month for the first six months (renewed at £20 per month). It’s also generally a better value with Weebly as it is designed to meet the needs of e-commerce businesses with a far more comprehensive set of e-commerce-related features – never mind unlimited storage.
For a basic business website, IONOS is the cheaper option at £6 per month (renewed at £10 after 6 months) compared to Weebly at £12 per month. Granted, Weebly does offer a free forever plan and a personal-use plan for £7 per month, but neither is suited for professional use.
The free plan does not allow you to connect a custom domain, and instead uses a Weebly subdomain (e.g., yourbusiness.weebly.com) and though the personal plan does allow you to connect a custom domain, it displays Weebly ads, which looks unprofessional.
In general, Weebly costs a bit more than the IONOS website builder, but it is far more customisable and offers far more templates, giving users more flexibility to build their ideal site. Businesses that prioritise features and capabilities, and want a website that can more effectively scale with them, will likely find Weebly to be more suitable.
IONOS vs. Squarespace
Squarespace costs substantially more than IONOS at £12 per month compared to £6 per month. Granted, Squarespace does offer a much larger set of features and capabilities. In addition to a far larger template library with award-winning designs and seemingly endless add-ons to expand functionality, Squarespace plans come with unlimited storage and bandwidth.
On top of that, Squarespace also offers a free 14-day trial, which enables users to test-drive the site builder and find out if it’s right for them – without having to invest in a plan.
Both have a similar site editor where elements, such as a paragraph of text, a photo or video, banner or contact form, can be added to web pages, but only to specific areas of the page. So when a user drags and drops, say a text block onto the page, it will go to the designated area – as opposed to the exact location on the page where it was dropped. While this type of site editor offers less design freedom, it can help web design beginners build a more professional-looking site.
IONOS vs. Wix
Wix does one major thing very well that IONOS does not: it is very customisable. Wix utilises a true drag-and-drop site builder so that users can place elements, such as text, images, contact forms or more, anywhere on the page. Whereas, the IONOS site builder is set up so that while users can drag and drop elements to the page, there are set locations where elements can go.
Granted, while Wix offers far greater design flexibility, this is not always best for every user. For example, those who are new to web design often find it easier to build a site when they have fewer design options.
Customisation capabilities aside, Wix is generally a far more powerful website builder than IONOS. It has far more templates to choose from, which are conveniently broken out into business categories (e.g., professional services, real estate, e-commerce, etc.). It also has a tool that will design a site for you, which can be a good option for those who need a site but don’t want to spend a lot to hire a web designer, but who also do not necessarily want to design their own site.
Our expert opinion
IONOS is a good option for those who are looking for an easy-to-use DIY website builder at an affordable price. It’s not overly customisable, so it’s not likely to be suitable for those who have unique needs. However, it is very lightweight at this time so it is generally not well-suited for businesses that rely heavily on their website to land sales and operate.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is IONOS a good website builder?
IONOS has a simple, but good-quality website builder that is not only easy to use with a very minimal learning curve, but it is also one of the most affordable website builders on the market.
What’s the best website builder?
The best website builder for you will depend on your unique website needs. However, Weebly is revered as the best overall website builder as it’s very easy to use while also being very feature-rich and versatile.
Meanwhile, GoDaddy is the best value for service providers as it has a built-in online booking system. Wix is best for building highly customised sites without code. Shopify is best for dropshipping and Squarespace is best for those in creative industries. Learn more about the best website builders.
Are free website builders legit?
While there are legitimately free website builders that offer a high-quality site building experience, keep in mind that the free plans are limited.
For example, free website builders often do not allow users to connect their own domain and instead use a subdomain (e.g., yoursite.weebly.com).
Some display ads, which is not ideal when creating a website for professional use, and others offer very limited storage or pages with the free version. Learn more about the best free website builders.