Is it possible to get cheap web hosting that still works well? Bottom line: yes, but you have to do some research. “Cheap” by itself often means poor quality and lesser functionality, but it is possible to find affordable, quality web hosting if you look hard enough.
Here are our thoughts on finding quality hosting providers when you’re working with a limited budget:
How Much Does Web Hosting Cost?
The cost of web hosting can vary greatly from provider to provider and depending on what type of service you choose to use. For example, a shared hosting plan will typically cost far less than a dedicated server. Here are some general guidelines:
- Shared server: A shared hosting plan means that you share your physical server with anywhere from one to hundreds of other websites. Users share all server resources and the costs of operating and maintenance are split amongst them. You can expect to pay 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.
As with most products, you often get what you pay for – and if a hosting service’s main selling point is that they’re “cheap” or “a bargain” then they’re likely low quality. However, if you don’t need anything more than basic functionality a bargain hosting company might work out fine for you.
What Can I Expect From a “Cheap” Web Hosting Service?
A bargain web hosting service will provide you with everything you need to get your website connected to the Internet, but there are several things you should take into consideration:
- The fine print: Many services offer amazing first-year prices and then jack up rates at renewal. Others will make you pay heavily for “extras” such as additional domain names or upgraded support.
- Support: Speaking of support, every website runs into an issue sooner or later. 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 go days or even weeks for a response when it comes to complicated issues. Is that something that you’re willing to deal with?
- Reliability: One of the most important factors when it comes to your hosting service is how often they experience downtime. Of course, if you run a basic blog, a little downtime might not affect you very much. But if you run a thriving e-commerce store, downtime might cost you thousands of dollars. Bottom line: You need to ask yourself how much an extended downtime might affect your bottom line.
- Security: If your site houses any sensitive client information (like name, address, or credit card number), security should be one of your top priorities. A hacker stealing that information would not only be a public relations nightmare, but it could leave you open to a civil suit. Just as important, however, is your own information: if a malicious user gained access to your files, they could easily render your website unusable, leaving you to start over from scratch.
Don’t let price be your main consideration when deciding on a hosting provider. Rather than looking for cheap web hosting, try a reputable company that offers an affordable price. While you may not get the cheapest price out there, you will find that you can get quality service that won’t break the bank (and you won’t end up paying for it later).