My other halfs father uses 1&1, with the website builder or something like that.

1&1 are so restrictive to what you can do on your own website when using that building package, shockingly awful.

I work for a premium SEO company (, and we use:

GoDaddy & rarely eNomCentral to buy domains.
Hostgator to host.
WordPress to build websites.

The best package available.

Hostgator even have a great feature called "Quick Install". From this section you can literally have dozens of different website platforms installed on your site in less than a minute, from WordPress, to forum software, voting software - even your own social networking software.

I can make a site that looks very impressive by chucking some pre-made php software on to it from Hostgator.

If I were you, I'd jump off 1&1 and follow the route I just said.