I’ve been a customer of 1&1 for a few years now on their Instant Mail package which provides five mailboxes (POP3 or IMAP) as well as parking of my two domains. It also supports up to 150 email aliases, web based email access and good spam and anti-virus facilities.
The main reason for using them was the fact that they allow you not to have a catch-all facility for domain based email. A few years ago a spammer blitzed my domain name with <everything>@thespenders.co.uk leading to hundreds of thousands of emails ending up in my mailbox leading to a very unhappy ISP. They were unable to suggest a suitable solution so I moved to 1&1 and have been happy ever since.
However, as The Register have reported, 1&1 have been experiencing various problems with their email service this week. The problems first surfaced for me after Thunderbird asked me for my (stored) password for my IMAP mailbox. A trip to the web mail interface failed, as did logging onto the control panel for account management. Intermittently things came back, only to disappear again. There still appear to be problems at the moment.
The most disappointing aspect however is the lack of information coming from 1&1 on the matter. Obviously there wouldn’t be much use in sending an email, though actually the email address my account is registered with is one from my ISP, not one they manage, for that exact reason. I’ve searched but have been unable to find any information about the outage/problem on their web site, either linked off the home page or from the control panel. A system status page wouldn’t go amiss. I didn’t try phoning them as it was obvious they had problems and there were informational posts around from plenty of people who had stuck on hold to get through.
The outage did make me think about whether I should move to another provider, but as the first problem in a couple of years I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. However I’ll definitely be suggesting some improved notification mechanisms for future problems. Hopefully they will be redundant though!