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Cheap Web Hosting 101
If you only bought the cheapest things in life, you’d be eating ramen for three meals a day and riding an old skateboard to work instead of driving a car.
You get what you pay for.
That being said, not all cheap web hosts are bad, and not all expensive web hosts are good.
That’s why it’s so tricky.
Don’t get confused, we’ll show you the light.
We’ve combed through hundreds of hosting companies to try to find you only the cheapest ones that are worth a dang.
So how do you choose?
Start with a budget range, identify what you really need, and then pull the trigger. Let’s dig in.
1) Choose the middle plan, not the cheapest plan
Let me let you in on a little secret.
Most hosting companies want you to buy their middle tier plan.
Whether it’s shared hosting, WordPress hosting, or dedicated hosting, the best deal is often in the middle.
Most of the rock-bottom cheapest plans only allow you to have one website on the plan.
If you’re anything like me you’ve got 10 website ideas cooking at any point.
So don’t restrict yourself like that.
They keep the cheapest plan’s features very bare bones so that you don’t buy that one and instead look to the next cheapest plan. Well it may be a bit deceiving, but at the end of the day that’s the better deal.
Like we noted on our web hosting comparison page:
“If you’ve literally got $2 a month you can afford for hosting, well, maybe you’ll just have to go with that. But if you can swing a few more dollars, there’s a world of other things to compare that go into value beyond just price.
Price = the raw $ amount that the hosting will cost you
Value = what you actually get for that price”
Stay within your budget, but don’t be stupid.
2) The cheapest price requires the longest commitment
So this is an odd one. Web hosts will do one of two things:
- They’ll require you to sign up for the longest period to get the screaming deal, like 4 years, so you can’t run away
– or –
- They’ll actually only let you get the deal for the first year and then you’ll have to renew at a high price or switch hosting.
In an ideal world, they’d give you the discount for signing up 12 months, 24 months or 48 months.
But it doesn’t work that way, their accountants and churn-busters have run the numbers.
So at the end of the day, be realistic.
Is this a hobby site that you’ll abandon in a year? Or is this a long term income-generating site that has to work?
That will determine how long you stay.
3) Plan your must-have features
You’re as unique as a snowflake.
Your needs are not perfectly met by a global hosting behemoth.
You are unique.
Well, the reality is, unless you’re a big business, all hosting plans are cookie cutter. You gotta choose from what they have
So what you need to do is decide which features your really need.
Create a few categories:
- Must have – things you can’t live without. For me it’s good support and a staging website built-in
- Nice to have – this may be simple things like one-click WordPress installation or Git repositories
- Don’t need – stuff you’ll just never use, for me it’s Drupal compatibility and email – I just use G Suite
Take a look at all hosting features, these are just a few:
- Storage space
- Site speed
- WordPress support
- SSL certificates
- Caching tools
Conclusion: Be frugal, not cheap
At the end of the day, you want to be frugal with your money, but not “cheap”. Cheap has the connotation of choosing solely based on price, at the sake of quality. Don’t be that person, be smart.
Plan for the long run, don’t spend over your budget, and choose the best “cheap”, but great value, host you can find.