Do you want to start a website? Then you already know that you need web hosting. The good news is that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Still, the fact that it costs anything at all begs the question: How much should I pay for web hosting?
What Are My Options?
When it comes to web hosting, you have two options:
1. Free Web Hosting
A free host is usually one that offers free hosting along with a limited version of their content management software. WordPress.com, Blogger.com, and Joomla.com are just a few examples of free web hosting options.
- There are no upkeep costs.
- You also get a free sub domain.
- Most free options are very easy to use and don’t require technical knowledge.
- Depending on your user agreement, you likely don’t own your blog, which means it can be suspended at any time.
- You’ll have little control over your site. WordPress.com, for instance, doesn’t allow you to place ads, which limits your earning potential as a blogger, not to mention that WordPress may place their own ads on your site.
- You don’t get your own main domain, which means you’ll have “.wordpress.com,” “.blogspot.com,” etc. in your domain.
- You’re very limited on storage space, bandwidth, and speed.
A self-hosted website is one where you’re hosting your site on your own servers or paying a third party, such as Bluehost or HostGator, to store your website files on their servers.
- You have more control over your site since you’re the owner and you’ll have access to your website code.
- You have the freedom to monetize your blog as you please.
- Self-hosted websites look more professional.
- Self-hosting can be intimidating to new website owners.
- Self-hosted sites require ongoing upkeep costs.
While you could decide to pay absolutely nothing for your website, the benefits of a self-hosted website greatly outweigh those of a free website. We strongly advise against a free host as it breaks the #1 web hosting commandment: Thou shalt not choose a free web hosting provider.
What Features Should I Consider?
If you choose to self-host your website (which we hope you will!), then you have to consider what’s a fair price and what isn’t. But before you can know if what you’re paying for is fair, you have to know what you’re getting for the price. Ask yourself these questions:
How many websites/blogs do I plan on hosting?
If you’re planning on setting up more than one website, then you’ll want to make sure you’re using a host who doesn’t charge extra for each domain name or perhaps offers a discount for additional domains.
How big are my websites going to be?
Will your website be a static site with only a few pages, or are you going to be putting a lot of content or images on your site’s blog? If you’re leaning toward the latter option, then you have to be sure your choice host offers enough storage space for you. The good news is that a lot of the top hosts feature unlimited storage space in their packages.
How much traffic am I expecting?
Bandwidth is the amount of data your website can transfer. More bandwidth means that you can accommodate more visitors. Choosing a host that offers unlimited bandwidth is the best option, but if you’re looking at a different hosting package, be sure you know how many site visitors you’ll be able to accommodate. Contact the hosting provider if you’re unsure.
How much customer support will I need?
If you have no idea what you’re doing, then you’ll want access to customer support to help you build your website. Some hosting providers offer a higher level of customer support than others, so be sure to check their contact options if you’ll need help; it’s better to be able to call them on the phone to get support rather than trying to get help from a chat box where no one ever seems to be online. A cheaper hosting package is likely to come with a lower quality of customer support.
Am I okay hosting on a shared server?
Shared web hosting is when your site files are saved on the same server as someone else’s. This usually isn’t an issue for most small business websites. However, it can cause bandwidth bottlenecking and security issues. Still, shared web hosting means that it’s a lot more affordable. Hosting on a shared server might cost around $5-$10 per month whereas hosting on a dedicated server will cost you anywhere from $100-$350 or more per month.
What type of security do I need?
Another thing to consider is security. If you’re running an e-commerce website and accepting a lot of payments online or storing sensitive customer data, then an SSL feature for encrypting your data is necessary for your website’s security and your credibility. You can usually add this to your web hosting for around $30-$50 per year for a single domain.
What Should I Be Paying?
Your website is likely to incur numerous types of costs as you begin building it, from paying for a domain name to hiring a web designer. But what about your hosting provider?
The truth is that web hosting varies in cost from a few dollars per month to hundreds of dollars. Answering the questions above and knowing what types of features you need will help you make the best decision for your site.
But you didn’t come here just to listen to me beat around the bush.
Here’s the quick answer: If you’re a small business, paying $5-$7 per month will usually get you all the features you need and sometimes more. There are numerous hosting options that offer unlimited bandwidth, disk space, domains, and more for around $6 per month. If you’re paying any more than that, be sure you need the extra features before you pay for them.
If you’re getting a lot of traffic and are concerned about security and speed, then paying up to $350–depending on how much storage space you need–is more reasonable.
The best way to get the best deal, however, is to compare web hosts based on their prices and packages to find one that meets your needs and budget.
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