How Much Does It Cost to Host a Website?

Compare Web Hosting Prices from the Industry’s Top Providers

Even in this age of social media dominance, the smart business owner runs their own website. Coming up with a design for your website is hard enough, but seeking out the right web host also requires research.

A web host is the company that owns the server your site runs on.

All websites need to run on a server, a type of computer that provides (or serves) your website to other computers that request it. These requests can come from PCs, smartphones, tablets, or anything else with a web browser.

Some business owners may choose to run their own server out of a back office somewhere, but this isn’t advisable.

how much does it cost to host a website

Web hosts have their servers in data centers, which are dedicated facilities with internet connections designed to serve large numbers of website visitors.

There’s a whole universe of web hosting companies out there, offering different services for different types of websites. These services can also vary from one web host to another, with some offering added features or discounts that others don’t.

You can get services for the most novice website owner, where the host manages pretty much all technical issues, or expert services where the website owner is responsible for almost everything.

With so many choices to make, it can be tough to figure out which services to buy, how much they should cost, and which provider to choose. That’s where we can help. In this article, we’ll detail how much you should expect to pay for different types of web hosting services, and which web hosting providers we recommend.

1

Web Hosting Costs Explained

Website hosting costs can vary, with prices starting as low as $2.75 per month and escalating all the way up to $729 – or even higher. The cost depends on a variety of factors, such as the type of website you have, how many monthly visitors you expect to have, and whether you need extra services such as automated backups and an email account.

Knowing the kind of website you want to run – or currently run – makes it easier to figure out what sort of hosting you need. You’ll also need to figure out the level of service you require.

A simple WordPress blog, for example, can start with a low-priced shared hosting service. Once that blog gains a high amount of popularity, however, it will inevitably require a more robust type of hosting with unlimited bandwidth limits or storage.

There are five types of hosting we’re going to discuss in this article, as they are the most commonly used by website owners.

Shared Hosting

This is beginner level web hosting. If you have a very low traffic website with a static page, or a WordPress blog, then this is the best option. Shared hosting is often the cheapest form of web hosting, but also the least robust, as your website is one of numerous sites sharing the resources of a single server.

VPS Hosting

Virtual private server hosting, or VPS hosting, is the next step up from shared hosting. The big difference is that for all intents and purposes, it appears as though you’re running your own server. In reality, your website is still one of several websites sharing a single server, but there are fewer websites sharing resources – meaning your site’s performance should be better.

Dedicated Hosting

With dedicated hosting, you are paying for your own server. Typically, these services are tiered based on how powerful your server will be, as well as whether the web host manages the service or the business manages it in-house. Not every dedicated hosting provider offers managed services, although some do.

Cloud Hosting

You’ve probably heard talk of “the cloud,” a nebulous term meant to describe online services like Dropbox or OneDrive. What it actually means is a cluster of servers working together, so that a web service never goes down (or goes down very infrequently). Cloud hosting, then, is a group of servers working together to keep your website up and running. If one server goes down, another picks up the slack, and so on. As you might imagine, cloud hosting doesn’t come cheap – but if you can’t afford even a few hours of down time, it might be the best option for you.

WordPress Hosting

Before we start, let’s be clear about one thing: you can run a WordPress site on pretty much any web hosting service. Managed WordPress hosting is not about running a WordPress site per se – it’s about getting a service that’s tuned to meet the needs of WordPress sites. That includes key features like 24/7 support and automated backups, or other items you may not get with regular shared hosting.

That’s the breakdown of all our web hosting services. Before we get into the specifics of web hosting costs, keep in mind that as your web hosting plan increases in features, it will usually increase in cost.

Take a look at HostGator’s shared hosting plan, for example. If you start with the cheapest plan, you can only use that plan for a single domain (web address). The two higher tiered plans, however, allow unlimited domains. The highest tier also has added benefits, like free search engine optimization tools and a dedicated IP address.

hostgator shared hosting prices
The more expensive the shared hosting plan you take out with HostGator, the more features you get.
If you’d like to find out more about which providers we recommend for each type of hosting, take a look at the guides below. 

2

How Much Does Website Hosting Cost?

Now let’s take a closer look at the costs of different types of hosting. A lot of the pricing you’ll see here is initial promotional pricing, where you pay a specific price for a certain amount of months or years of service. Once your promotional period is over, your monthly cost may go up.

Shared Hosting

$2.75 – $15 per month

Shared hosting is where most people start their web hosting journey. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the current prices of the top five shared hosting providers that we recommend.

Host Entry Plan Mid-Tier Plan Highest Plan
InMotion $6.39 $8.49 $14.71
HostGator $2.75 $3.95 $5.95
A2 Hosting $3.92 $4.90 $9.31
Dreamhost $2.59 - $5.95
Bluehost $3.95 $5.95 $13.95

VPS Hosting

$5 – $80 per month 

VPS hosting is the next step up from shared web hosting when traffic starts to increase on a website. Here are our top five choices for VPS hosting providers, as well as how much they charge per month.

Host Entry Plan Mid-Tier Plan Highest Plan
InMotion $29.19 $47.39 $69.34
A2 Hosting $32.99 $46.19 $65.99
Bluehost $19.99 $29.99 $59.99
iPage $19.99 $47.99 $79.99
HostGator $29.95 $39.95 $49.95

Dedicated Hosting

$80 – $730 per month

If you’ve decided to pay for your own server, traffic must be getting pretty serious, and your needs are outgrowing the lower tiered hosting plans. Here are the starting prices for each tier from the top five services we recommend.

Host Entry Plan Mid-Tier Plan Highest Plan
HostGator $118.99 $138.99 $149.00
Bluehost $79.99 $99.99 $119.99
InMotion $105.69 $166.59 $238.99
A2 Hosting $141.09 $207.49 $290.49
SiteGround $269 $349 $729

Cloud Hosting

$4.50 – $240 per month

Cloud hosting is what you turn to when downtime could prove fatal to your business. This form of hosting makes sure there’s always a server on hand, ready to provide your website to the world.

Host Entry Plan Mid-Tier Plan Highest Plan
A2 Hosting $5 $10 $15
SiteGround $80 $160 $240
InMotion $21.04 $42.24 $69.34
HostGator $4.95 $6.57 $9.95
Dreamhost $4.50 $12 $48

WordPress Hosting

$4.99 – $290 per month

These plans are for those who need dedicated and specialized services designed just for WordPress sites and blogs.

Host Entry Plan Mid-Tier Plan Highest Plan
Bluehost $19.95 $29.95 $49.95
A2 Hosting $11.99 $18.99 $36.98
InMotion $4.99 $8.99 $11.99
WPEngine $35 $115 $290
SiteGround $3.95 $5.95 $11.95
3

Extra Web Hosting Costs to Consider

A hosting package is one thing, but there are often some “hidden” fees that you may not really think about until you’re already up and running. Beyond the hosting package, you need to own a domain name, for example. Sometimes your domain name registration is included in your hosting package, while other times, you turn to a domain registrar.

Here’s a breakdown of a few of the extra costs you should consider.

Domain Name Registration

Typically costs $10 to $15 per year

When you run a website, you need a domain name. This is the web address that you put on your business cards, shopping bags, and other company marketing materials. Most people opt for a .com domain name, but you can also choose from .net, .biz, or country-specific suffixes such as .ca or .us.

Domain name registration has some extra fees of its own, such as privacy protection, which keeps your name and address out of public WHOIS listings.

It’s also worth pointing out that keeping your domain name registration with your web hosting provider is not always the best choice. If you should ever want to leave your web host, having your domain registered with services such as GoDaddy makes that easier, as you’ll avoid the hassle (and potential cost) of transferring your domain to a new registrar.

godaddy domain registration cost
You can buy a custom domain name for your site from your hosting provider, or from domain registrars such as GoDaddy.

Office 365 or G Suite

Adding business email and productivity suites typically costs $6 to $15 per month

Not all hosts provide this service, but a number of them allow you to purchase business accounts for G Suite or Office 365 at good prices. The end result is that you can have your business email in Gmail or Outlook.com.

SSL Certificates

Vary from free to $450 per year, with the average price around $50

When you have an SSL certificate, your website gets that little green lock in the URL bar of a browser. This is a must have for any webpage handling financial transactions, or where users need to login to the website. Many websites choose to use SSL even when they’re just simple pages displaying information, because Google often favors sites using SSL over those that don’t.

These days, most web hosts provide free SSL certificates with their mid- to high-tier plans; however, keep in mind that if you have the technical know-how to deal with the command line, you can get a free SSL certificate via Let’s Encrypt.

a2 hosting ssl certificate cost
You can buy a range of premium SSL certificates from A2 Hosting that secure your site and your visitor's data.

SiteLock

Typically costs about $24 per year

Not all web hosts offer SiteLock added security as part of their services, but those that do usually charge about $2 per month. SiteLock offers features such as daily malware scans, web application firewalls, and DDoS attack protection. Whether SiteLock is worth the money is something of a debate online, but we won’t get into that here. Some web hosts also offer SiteLock services for free as part of their packages.

Automated Site Backup and Restore Services

Website backups with web hosts are often free, but may cost $2 per month or more

Just like your PC at home, it pays to have your website files copied to another location that is not your web host server in case the worst happens. Some plans include backups for free, while others won’t charge to save the backup, but may charge you a restoration fee should your data disappear.

Keep in mind that you could backup the site yourself, but that usually takes a little bit of technical know-how. You’ll also need to manage your backups to make sure they’re working and copying correctly.

4

How Much Does It Cost to Host a Website: Summary

Now you know how much web hosting should cost, based on the type of hosting you require, from the services we recommend. There are certainly a wide range of pricing options, with hosting costing from as little as $2.75 to more than $700 per month.

If you opt for a higher priced plan, or for a whole lot of years at a lower price, many web hosts offer a limited time money-back guarantee. These often last between 30 and 90 days. That way you can try out the service, and if you don’t like it, you can walk away without losing your investment.

To review, here are the five types of web hosting we looked at, along with their price ranges:

  • Shared Hosting: $2.75 – $15 per month
  • VPS Hosting: $5 – $80 per month 
  • Dedicated Hosting: $80 – $730 per month 
  • Cloud Hosting: $4.50 – $240 per month 
  • WordPress Hosting: $4.99 – $290 per month 

The important issue to remember with web hosting is that the type of website you’re running will often dictate the type of web hosting you need.

Beginner sites in almost all categories should go with shared hosting. VPS, Dedicated, and Cloud hosting are for more active websites, with the latter being more important for websites that can’t afford any downtime. WordPress hosting, meanwhile, is specifically for WordPress-based sites that want the specialized support and features which managed WordPress hosting services provide.

Once you’ve got your hosting plan picked out, don’t forget to consider those extras we discussed. You’ll be on your way to running an active and well-maintained website in no time.

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About Hannah Whitfield

Hannah Whitfield

I’m Website Builder Expert’s Content Manager, which means I’m in charge of checking everything written for our site, as well as writing my own articles.

I started writing about the wonderful world of the web around two years ago, and haven’t looked back since. Put simply, there’s never been a more exciting time to get online. Having tested all of the best website builders and ecommerce platforms on the market, I’m in a great position to help you do just that!

I hope you find our articles helpful, and please feel free to pop me a message with anything else you’d like to see here on Website Builder Expert.

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