Although cheap web hosting and quality host don’t really go well together, we did manage to gather up the best of the best in terms of price and value for the money.
While I was starting my online adventure I was also looking not to break the bank when it comes to hosting but there was clearly a lack of quality and unbiased reviews towards that so I had to do a lot of research to find something that would fit my low budget.
This is why I’m writing this post today and I’ll make sure it’s updated monthly with the best offers all around the web.
What’s the selection process like?
Currently, I as am writing this I have more than 200+ websites using more than 70+ different hosts(ranging from high-quality and expensive to not so expensive hosts or) so I can say I have a lot of data that I can check and show here.
As part of the selection process, we looked at 4 main aspects:
- Spent countless hours analyzing the best ones in terms of uptime and speed – at the end of the day, it all boils down to this, how fast a site load is one of the main factors for google rankings and visitors staying on your website or not
- Checking the companies history and seeing if they are legit or not – some of them have great deals but they are not going to be around in 3+ months and all your websites will be gone so we need to make sure these are real companies that are going to be around in the years to come.
- Analyze their offers in terms of resources and features offered: many of them have low offers but they have extra charges on features some may offer for free, like SSL, 1 click app installers and such.
- Going and checking out how helpful and solution-focused their support is: hosting a website is not always as easy as just pointing nameservers to an IP and then only paying the bills. There will always be problems along the way and you
Cheap Web Hosting in 2017 and onwards
[ # name of the company
a bit about it
Recommended or not?
1. iPage at $1.99/month
iPage is probably one of the least expensive hosts out there. Their lowest plan starts with $1.99/month and you also get a free domain registration.
In terms of speed it’s average with a loading time of 939 ms
If you register your domain for free with them the costs will be quite high when renewing it.
Also to get the $1.99/month price you’ll have to commit for a 3 years plan.
2. FastComet $2.95/month
At $2.95/month FastComet might be a very good option for a low budget hosting.
- Free website transfer
- Free Cloudflare CDN integration
- Free domain name
- 24/7 support
On the downside:
- Uptime is around 98.5% so you will experience some downtime
- Speed is 969 ms
3. Hostinger – $2.15/mo
Hostinger has various cheap hosting plans starting from $2.15/mo for 1 single site package and going up to $7.95/mo for unlimited site package.
- Free domain name registration
- Weekly backups
- 30 days money back guarantee
- PHP 7.x and MySQL 5.5
- Speed can vary from 990 – 1.2 sec
- Support is not always customer-focused
4. BlueHost – $3.95/mo
While they don’t have great loading times and features BlueHost does a great job when it comes to customer support. Cost is a bit higher though with their lowest package starting at $3.95/mo.
- Free domain name
- Good customer support on email, phone or chat
- Weekly and monthly backups of your entire account
- Speed is around 1.3sec
- Uptime is around 98%
HostGator is one of the strongest and most reliable hosting company out there. They have a $3.95/mo shared hosting plan but I would strongly advise you to go for their cloud hosting package which at only $4.95/mo will make a huge difference.
- Speed is 450 ms
- Uptime is around 99.9%
- Great 24/7 support
- Money back guarantee
- Domain name is not free
6. InMotion Hosting – $3.49/mo
Usually they are more expensive but they do have some promos running at the moment so we can include them in this cheap web hosts list.
- Speed is great at around 550 ms
- Uptime is around 99.9%
- SSD Drives
- Free backups
As for the downsides:
- For the lowest plan you can only host 2 websites
- To get this price you’ll have to commit for 2 years.
7. eHost – $2.75/mo
eHost is one of the newer companies but they’ve done a good job so far in terms of support and speed hence we’ve included them in this list.
- Speed is 750 ms
- Free domain name
- You can host unlimited domains
- 30 days money back guarantee
- Renewal plans are expensive
How to find a reliable and affordable hosting provider?
It’s quite easy to find a cheap hosting company and that’s mainly because of the only costs you have for this kind of business are the servers, the domain name, and one system admin to run the whole thing which most of the times it’s the owner itself.
That’s why you can find lots of $1 hosts all over the internet but most of them will be closed in 3-6 months time and your website and the data will be gone along with them.
Others have really low fees for joining but then they overcharge on the next billing e.g. I did find a host that was constantly running a $3/year but then the next billing was around $350 so they make a loss the first year but recoup it in the years to come.
To find a reliable hosting you’ll need to look at several features to get the best fit for you:
#1 – UpTime Uptime is the time your website is online. This is why you get a hosting provider to do this for you. You could host a website on your own laptop but then you would need to keep on all the time so instead, we find someone else that does this for us(hosting company). The issue is that because of the complexity and resources needed to have good servers and qualified people to maintain then some hosts take the cheap route on this and it will affect your website uptime.
#2 – Site Speed Page loading time is a critical thing to consider when looking for a new host. Having a slow website may also be the cause of your own website and a better host might not fix your issues if you don’t have an optimized website. As basics things, you should look for unoptimized images, cache and only then at the server loading time(which is caused by the host). A slow website will affect your search engine rankings score, your visitors experience on your website and your conversion score.
#3 – Customer Support Besides the first two things, customer support is another crucial factor when you’re looking for a new host. You should always find if they offer 24/7 support and what channels(live-chat, phone support or email/ticket). In my opinion, live-chat would be the best one as it should be easy to get an instant response.
#4 – Existing/previous customers reviews: Online reviews can make a business successful or it can severly damage it. You should always check what other people say about the host you want to get. See how many have had a good experience and how many have had a bad one and then try to see what are the common issues they’re having and how would that affect you. If you can’t find anything about them online then this might be a new company and well, I wouldn’t recommend getting a host that is less than 3-5 years old in the business.
#5 – Extra Services: it became a common practice for hosts to charge you a low entry fee when joining but making all the profits by upselling extra or even not needed services. They might be very aggressive when doing so and you might get in trouble with some by not buying their ‘spam guard’, ‘malicious activity scanner’ services. Some will even try to sell you web design and SEO services so be careful when signing up with such hosts.
Common problems you might encounter with a cheap web host
Although you may think you’ll never have any of these problems you should know that they’re more common than you think and in order for them to keep the costs low and be competitive they will do lots of things to save cost.
Most of these hosting packages will come on a shared server because of the low price point. That means you will share the same resources with hundreds of other websites. Now, it starts to be a problem when there’s way too many sites using the same resources and the CPU gets overloaded. Some will limit the number of sites on a server but most of the times they will add as many as possible to keep the costs low and sometimes if your site is consuming too many resources you will be asked to either upgrade to a more expensive package or they will shut down your service.
So, even if the server specs look good you will still have very high loading times and will also cause downtimes. This in the end will lead to a bad user experience on your site and that will also affect your search engine rankings.
Another common issue is to have your site hosted in a bad neighborhood. What is a bad neighborhood you might ask?
Because of the multitude of sites hosted on the same server(same IP) some of them will get hacked and used for other malicious activities like mail spamming, phishing and so on. This will most likely cause your IP to be blacklisted and then mark your site as ‘bad’ in the eyes of the search engines. To avoid that you should always go with a host that has a strict policy regarding this, keeps a running firewall all the time and is always scanning for malicious code.
Black Listed IP
Did it ever happen that your site just won’t index in Google or other search engines? It may very well be because of your site IP. In order for these engines and Internet Providers to block scammers and hackers they will often blacklist whole IP resulting in blocking all the websites on that IP. In this case the only thing that you’re left to do is to request your host for a new IP or even move to a new host.
To check and see if your site IP is blocked you can use SpamHaus.
High or Hidden Cancellation fees
Another popular way for cheap hosts to make extra money is to have a strict or hidden cancellation policy that will make it harder for you to cancel their service. They may also require a lot more than the market usual for things as SSL installs, site migrations or even domain registrations, all in order to make an extra dime.
Bad Support team
One of the biggest cost as a cheap hosting company is the support team behind. And because they don’t affect the sales directly, only in time through user experience, some companies choose to overlook the importance of having a good and well trained team to help with hosting problems. This lets them be more competitive in price but it also means that you might have to wait 2-3 days to get a ticket answered and get your site back up when it’s down. This overall makes it a painful experience when having to deal with such things.
That is why it’s always good to know if they have a 24/7 team to handle live chats or some other way of direct communication.
Long term contracts for cheaper prices
To get such a cheap hosting price some will require a long term contract(1-3 years) and most of the times this will have to be paid upfront. It’s a common sales tactic to present the lowest monthly price but when you get to the payment option to see that to get that price you’ll have to commit for at least a year with all paid upfront.
You can avoid this issue by still choosing the monthly option but then the price will most probably double and you won’t save any cost. Because of this it’s really important to do some extensive research before signing with any host as this will be a long term commitment from both sides. Trying to cancel early and asking for a refund for the remaining unused months is also a no go on 99% of them.
Expensive renewal fees
As I said in the last paragraph, in lots of cases this will be a long term commitment and because of that, hosts are prepared to take a loss in the first year of service but recoup all of it in the next years to come. That is why some renewal fees will cost 300-500% of the joining fee and you will get a charge on your credit card without any previous notice. To avoid this you can try to move around hosts every few years to avoid the higher fees and take advantage of lower joining fees. You might think it’s a hard thing to do but most of them will offer 1 website migration free of charge when joining.
Understanding your needs
After all, what might be a good solution for me, might not work at all for you. It’s really important to define exactly what kind of site you’re going to need the host for. Basic questions will sound like:
- What platform will I use for it(WordPress, Magento etc)
- Do I need any special features
- Which country will I target with this site
- How much traffic do I expect it to get
- What is the budget I can spend on a host
- What are my tech skills and what kind of support do I need in case I run into problems
If you’re just starting out then pick something with good support and servers close to your users location. Make sure you have a budget to pay for at least 1 year because it will take time to develop the website and also get traffic to it.