Cost is a critically important consideration when selecting a web host. But while it’s a truism that you get what you pay for, it’s also true that every penny counts and that there is some great web hosting deals to be had. First, let’s define web hosts in general. A web host is a company with servers that you use to store and deliver the files that make up your website. Large businesses can spend hundreds of dollars each year on dedicated web hosting or virtual private server (VPS) hosting, but there are plenty of web hosts designed specifically for very small businesses, too.
That’s exactly what the services collected here focus on—these are good, functional web hosting companies that will get your website online with the least amount of damage to your wallet. That’s something that we can all appreciate. But how cheap?
Pricing in our list of cheap web hosts is based on the regular monthly prices, with no discounts applied for the starter plans. If the host offers monthly plans, that’s the price we use, even though many of them work out to be cheaper on a per-month basis if you pay upfront for the annual plan. If you’re buying on price, you might not want to pay the full year up front, even if it means saving a bit on the back end. Some budgets really are that tight, and some projects may not last a year.
Setting up a website with your own domain is easy, and most importantly, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Do you need email, blogging software, email marketing, e-commerce, and file sharing?
Also worth highlighting is the service’s customer support. While it’s nice to have FAQs and forums, when it’s 3 a.m. and your website is inexplicably down, you want someone available right away. Look for 24/7 customer support.
The aforementioned features are valuable to the web hosting experience, but none match the importance of site uptime. If your site is down, clients or customers will be unable to find you or access your products or services. Every customer turned away is a potential sale lost and traffic not monetized.
Boasting excellent uptime and intuitive website-building software, Bluehost makes it easy to create attractive, functional, and stable pages for your business. However, it lacks a few features found in rival hosting services. Getting started on a building your first business website can be a daunting task. Sure, you could just communicate with your customers via Facebook or another social media platform, but if you’re serious about doing business online, you’ll want to take the plunge and sign up for a top-notch web hosting service. Bluehost does a good job of balancing price and features for businesses that need a bit of hand-holding, while also offering plenty of options to experienced administrators. Bluehost lacks some features offered by our top overall services, DreamHost, HostGator, and Hostwinds.
Bluehost doesn’t offer month-to-month shared hosting options. Instead, it requires you to sign up for an annual plan. If you sign up for a two-year or three-year plan, you get discounts. If you commit to staying put for three years, the service’s $3.95 per month rate is attractive. That said, those who don’t want lengthy commitments will probably prefer HostGator’s month-to-month options.
There are many variables to consider when you’re selecting a web hosting service, ranging from features of interest to a more general customer base (such as pricing and storage) to those that are of more concern to businesses (such e-commerce and server location). SiteGround addresses all of these issues and does it well. It offers many hosting types, lots of performance-enhancing tools, and excellent customer service at a reasonable price. Although SiteGround skimps a bit in the storage area and lacks Windows servers, it’s a quality web hosting service for both individuals and small businesses.
With SiteGround, you pay a bit more for a bit less in the way of technical features, but the solid security, customer service, and tutorials make this Web host extremely friendly for small businesses and new webmasters.
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and only up to 25,000 visits per month. Although not exactly the cheapest from our list, when it comes to price per performance ratios it is indeed in the top three. While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features. WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to provide managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. With WP Engine, you are generally paying for performance & not having to think too much about maintenance, security & speed.
HostPapa’s primary advantage is their pricing and fairly straightforward plan structure. Web hosting companies are all selling the same thing – a home for your website – but they all have different plans with different caps, different bonuses, and different renewal prices. For most, figuring out their true value requires a breakdown into different parts.
To compare “apples to apples” among hosting companies, I break things down into Core hosting features and Bonus hosting features. Core hosting features are the “3 D’s” – domains, databases and disk space. The core purpose of a hosting server is to serve website files when someone types in your domain name.
For both short-term and long-term pricing, all HostPapa’s plans are competitive for the shared hosting end of the market. In fact, the Starter and Business plans are about as cheap as you would want before they are a bit too good to be true.
And that’s because every hosting company has a similar business model with similar costs, infrastructure, etc. It’s all in how they play with the variables, how they hire good people, and how they develop & maintain their processes.
HostPapa is fairly clear about the higher level of resources dedicated to their servers and the “higher-touch” level of service that they promise. To keep their end of the bargain – I’d expect prices to be right where they’re at.
HostPapa’s pricing is a solid advantage – especially when looking at overall value.
1&1 has affordable hosting that comes with a rich variety of website-creation tools, as well as good support and impressive uptime reliability in our testing. If you’re looking for a feature-rich, affordable web host, 1&1 offers a wide array of packages, including shared, cloud, a virtual private server (VPS), WordPress, and dedicated hosting. We clocked some downtime in our most recent testing, however, which is disappointing, as impressive uptime had helped propel 1&1 to our top pick for WordPress-based hosting in the past. Reliability and a few other issues prevent 1&1 from outclassing competitors DreamHost, HostGator, and Hostwinds, our overall Editors’ Choice winners. Still, it’s a web host that newbies may want to consider, thanks to its good customer support and easy-to-use website creation tools.
As you can see from the list we have enumerated above, not all cheap web hosts are created equal. Some have data transfer allotment and storage caps. Read the fine print for the unlimited offerings, however, as there are sometimes gotchas that might sneak up on you later. Other services limit what applications you can use. Some require you to upgrade to a higher tier just to get a particular feature. And then there are the bare-bones services offering just space and no built-in tools to make the process of building and maintaining a site easier. If you’re a skilled coder, that might be fine. Which web host you select depends entirely on how you plan to use it—and your budget.