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1&1 targets small business with new hosting deals

Smaller businesses will likely start with the MyWebsite tool that creates simple HTML pages from templates and suggested content for different industries, then use the 100-plus web app snippets to include content from LinkedIn, Amazon, TripAdvisor and other sites that help you keep your web site fresh.

Whichever way you build your web site you can create a mobile version of it (using a tool in the 1&1 console that's based on GoMobi); you pick the content to include and any changes you make to your main site will be reflected in the mobile site too. You can also turn your site into a Facebook fan page using the Social Page Creator and schedule tweets and Facebook updates from the Social Media Manager.

The new hosting plans are more flexible too; you can get a 30-day free trial for any of them, you can have a contract that you renew month by month rather than once a year (so you're not locked in) and you can downgrade as well as upgrade the service you get online instantly, even if you're on a 12 month contract.

If you're using a dynamic cloud server to run your own virtual machines in 1&1's data centres, you can pay for those by the minute and put them to sleep when you're not using them; the data won't be deleted so you can reactivate them when you want to start paying to use them again.

With so much free web space from cloud services like Tumblr and Flickr, some small businesses may wonder why it's worth paying for web hosting at all. "People believe that hosting is a commodity you can buy anywhere," Hoffman acknowledges, "but we think differently. We think is it a professional product and we think there's going to be a dramatic growth in powerful but resource hungry applications that put more demand on the hosting platform."