If you’ve been searching for a web host the chances are you’ve come across one of many “web hosting comparison” sites. These sites generally follow the same format with a highly visible “Top 10” or “Recommended” list of web hosts.
You may have visited several such sites and you’ve noticed the same hosts company names keep appearing – they must be good to be recommended on some sites you might think, but wait, there’s something you should know.
How To Find Real Comparison Web Hosting ?
A reliable web host is a must for all websites and blogs, but it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. I have always been telling people about this: Not all cheap web host sucks! Some budget web hosts are as good as that VPS hosting deal you were looking at. And hey, that “awesome” web business idea you have in mind doesn’t need a dedicated hosting yet. You can host it on a shared hosting first and make the switch after it accumulate enough buzz.
When I first started my venture on the Internet, I stuck in not one, but two, ridiculous hosting deals. I was spending senseless money on a reseller hosting account that I do not need and on a web host that has literally less than 10 features. The first one was Network Eleven (I am not even sure if they are still around or not) – they still owe me about a hundred bucks as they refused to process my cancellations for months; and the second one was Gate.com. Both companies were the classic examples of businesses running on “charge as much as we can; deliver as little as possible” motto.
Those experiences suck, but I only have myself to blame on. That is the price of being naïve.
I do not want it to happen on you. Hence, I wrote this article. This is not about me, it’s about you. I am here to show you the truth, teach you how to be a good cheap-host-hunter, and help you save some money on hosting.
So, ready? Let’s rock and roll.
What’s in this guide
This cheap hosting guide consists of the following subjects :
- Basic understanding on current budget hosting business.
- Cheap hosting services I recommend
- Common problems (and solutions) with cheap web host.
- List of some of the cheapest hosting services in market (below $5/mo, see chart on right).
How Cheap Is Cheap?
First, let’s define the term “cheap”.
In order to fall into the ‘cheap web hosting’ category, how cheap a hosting plan needs to be?
Being in this line for more than a decade, I see hosting prices drop drastically for the past 10 years – first, we called $8.95/mo cheap, then $7.95/mo, $6.95/mo, $4.95/mo, and it goes as low as $1.95/mo in certain occasions these days.
So how cheap is cheap (by today’s standard)?
Quick answer: Below $5/mo, with adequate features.
By adequate features, I mean hosting services that come with features that match current market standard. The standards may change from time to time (for example years ago a $5/mo hosting deal can get you only 6 addon domains, 5GB storage, and 10GB data transfer; now everything goes unlimited).
At this time of writing, a standard cheap hosting deal should at least cover sufficient power to host at least 50 – 100 not-so-active domains with basic web statistics support, email and web mail services, auto script installations, updated PHP and MySQL, basic after-sale technical support, and at least 99.8% server uptime. It would be a plus if the host can provide regular server backup, periodic malware scanning, and additional dedicated IP as well as private SSL certifications; but honestly you really can’t ask for too much with a host cheaper than your coffee.
List of Best and Cheap ASP.NET Core 1.0 hosting
Common Problems with Cheap Web Hosting Services (and how to deal with it)
I know. Good things often do not come with the word ‘cheap’. Before you draw conclusion that all cheap hosting suck, you need to understand that these hosting companies are in business for money as well. There will be drawbacks and pitfalls when you go cheap – No doubt about it.
But hey, that’s the norm in every industry around the globe. Are you going to just sit back, rant all day, and do nothing?
No. We are better than that.
Given below are some of the common catch-22 behind the low price tags and my tips on how to counter the problems.
Problem #1: Aggressive Up-selling and Cross-Selling Practice
Many budget hosting companies have aggressive up-selling and cross-selling practices. They make extra money by recommending products, add-on services, and apps such as email spam protections, CMS themes, Top Level Domain registration, CDN services, email management tools, and more. While some of the offerings are straightforward, some services trick their customers to sign up for free trials. Then, when the trial ends, they charge their customers high prices for the services. Their customers end up paying premium prices for services they simply wanted to try and likely don’t even need.
Make a quick check with your host upon signup, make sure that the hosting company did not sign you up on any software or web service trial. Be skeptical with every emails and suggestions you receive from your hosting company. Avoid clicking blindly and do your research before signing up for any add-ons in your account. In short, be a smart Internet shopper, problem fixed.
Problem #2: Rushed servers
Sometimes, web hosting is so cheap because the company hosts too many websites on one shared server. That means websites hosted on that server will have limited server resources. This leads to slow load times and frequent down time; which then lead to a poor customer user experience.
No one should host their website on a frequent down hosting. Go search for uptime record and experts’ comment on your short-listed web hosts before you subscribe to a web host. At uptrends, we track dozens of hosting services and post regular updates.
How do you track website uptime yourself?
What is hosting uptime?
Uptime refers to the amount of time that your website is up and running, available to visitors and potential clients; anything that isn’t uptime is downtime – and to oversimplify it, downtime is bad.
Downtime means that people can’t reach your site which can be frustrating to potential visitors while also costing you traffic and revenue. Additionally, if people aren’t able to reach your site the first time, they may not try again. That said, hosting providers provide minimum uptime guarantees which is a guarantee that they’ll have your site up and running that percent of the total hours in a day. As a general rule, don’t work with providers who give anything less than a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
Understanding your needs in website hosting
If you are buying something you don’t need, you are wasting money no matter how cheap it is.
And that is why you need to know your hosting needs before you pick up a new web host. Before you leave this page to buy a web host, please think thoroughly about our own needs and answer these questions –
- What kind of website are you building?
- Do you want something common (a WordPress blog, for example)?
- Do you need Windows applications?
- Do you need a special version of software (ie. PHP)?
- Does your website need special software?
- How big (or small) can the web traffic volume go?
- What is your 12 (or 24) months budget for the website?
- How much of this money should go into hosting?
For starters –
- Pick a web host that you can afford for at least 2 years. Your blog may not make any money at all, particularly at first, so you want to be sure you don’t have to shut the blog down because of lack of funds.
- A reliable shared web host should be good enough for now. Just remember to check about space limitations and check uptime.
- Right now you should focus on building useful content and growing your community. You should spend more on marketing and content. Get a good newsletter service and start building your email list, start social media marketing ads, get in touch with local bloggers and hire them to promote your blog, etc.
- Ask questions about customer service and if they will help you understand running a website because you are new to blogging.
For seasoned bloggers and site owners
- As part of your job now is to make sure your readers can navigate smoothly within your blog. You need a very reliable and fast web host.
- You should track your site uptime and response speed with tools like Pingdom and Uptime Robot.
- Monitor your blog memory usage and know your limit – once your blog hits 80% of the allocated memory (this the usual bottleneck you’ll first bump into with shared hosting), then it’s time to consider upgrading to VPS hosting.
- Also, consider using an SSD hosting for faster site speed.