Is it possible to get cheap web hosting that still works well? That depends.
Some reputable companies offer low introductory rates without cutting features to attract customers. But, more often than not, “cheap” means poor quality. The tricky part is separating the good from the bad.
Below we’ll go over how to tell a quality hosting company from a poor hosting company, no matter the price:
What can I expect to pay for web hosting?
First thing’s first: what does web hosting typically cost at face value? The answer, of course, depends on the type of service you use and the hosting provider you sign up with, but this is the “normal” range of prices:
- Shared server: A shared hosting plan is typically the most economical option by far. Shared hosting is when multiple users all share the same physical server. Costs of operating and maintenance are split amongst them, and costs usually range from roughly $2 – $10 per month.
- Virtual private server (VPS): VPS is still a shared server, but a certain amount of resources are set aside just for you. That means that no matter how much bandwidth or data any of the other sites need, they can never infringe on what is yours. Costs usually run between $20 – $50 a month.
- Dedicated server: The opposite of shared hosting, a dedicated server is entirely yours: All of the RAM, bandwidth, and disk storage are dedicated entirely to your website. As it is yours to do with as you please, you can host one or several websites on the same server, and you can customize however you like. You can expect to pay $100+ per month.
What is a “cheap” web hosting service?
It should go without saying that “cheap” web hosting usually comes in the form of a shared server. Most hosting companies just cannot afford to give away a dedicated hosting plan at bargain rates!
While shared hosting in and of itself is not a bad option, especially if you’re on a budget, there are still several factors you should take into consideration:
- The fine print: Many services offer amazing prices, but then force you to run their ads on your website or upcharge for “extras” such as additional domain names or live support.
- Included features: A good web host will include all of their normal features, even when they’re offering a special rate. Things to look for include:
- Storage and bandwidth: If the plan comes with 5GB or less, it’s not worth it (no matter how cheap it is).
- Add-on domains: Most web hosts will give you space for several domains, so you should stay away from the options that give you only one (or none at all).
- Email addresses: Again, most web hosts will provide you with at least one, and sometimes several, email addresses. Be wary of “bargain” companies that make you pay extra for just a single email address.
- Support: Sooner or later, your website is going to run into some sort of problem. When this happens, you may have no idea what to do and need support from your hosting provider (especially if you’re a brand-new website owner). Often, cheap web hosting comes with limited support, meaning you may wait days or even weeks for a response when it comes to complicated issues.
- Server speed: Shared hosting services aren’t necessarily the fastest, to begin with, but sometimes a ‘cheap’ hosting plan could be excessively slow. Why? Because the hosts overload the server with users in an effort to make as much money as they can. Make sure the service you sign up with can guarantee load times of 200 ms or less.
You CAN find quality cheap web hosting . . . if you do your research. Always check for hidden charges, uptime guarantees and included features before you sign on. And never search for something as important as your web host on price alone!