Article by Jerry Low .
Updated: May 13, 2019
So you’ve decided you want to set up a website. It might be a personal website, or it may be intended to support your business. That’s when the next thought hits you:
How much should a website cost?
Web hosting is only one segment of the true cost of building a website. To create a truly successful website, the project needs to be looked as an entire business, not just a standalone item. Read my other market survey to see the total cost of building a website.
There are a number of factors that you need to consider when calculating the cost of a website, and all of them can vary wildly, depending on how complex or simple your needs are. That said however, the cost to build a website basically boils down to the following items:
- Web hosting
- Content creation
- Graphic design
- Web development
- Marketing and others
In this article, we will specifically look into item #1 – the cost of web hosting.
Web hosting is an important factor for your website because it affects not only the potential performance of your site, but also factors into the overall cost. And you’ll pay web hosting fees for however long you own your website.
“Jerry, just tell me how much should I pay for web hosting?”
For shared hosting, the fee to pay range from $3 – $10 per month. For VPS hosting, expect to pay $30 – $55 per month for a mid-range VPS hosting service.
There are many kinds of web hosting, all at different price points and offering different features and options. You need to find not only the right features and price, but also choose a reputable host.
The right combination can lead to a lifetime of bliss, but the wrong one can end up costing you much more money than you expected.
To help you make the right choice, we studied 100 shared and VPS hosting companies and compiled the following guide.
How Much to Pay for Shared Web Hosting?
Expect to pay $3 – $10 per month when you signup for a shared hosting service.
On average, entry level shared hosting (usually allow only one website) cost $3.40/mo during signup while mid-range shared hosting (usually allow up to 10 websites) cost $8.44/mo. For higher end shared hosting plans, the average signup price jumps to $21.66/mo.
Bear in mind that cost is a very delicate matter when it comes to web hosting since most providers offer various plans. As such I advise you to look beyond the cost to the exact features that a web host is offering before considering the price.
Top shared hosting services at this price range
Where do our numbers come from?
We did not pluck the numbers from the cloud. Here is the data (gathered in January 2019 and updated in March 2019) we used for reference.
Hosting fees for 150 shared hosting plans. Shared hosting fees go as low as 29 cents and go all the way to $99.99 per month. Table sorted by alphabetical order. Please visit hosting company’s website for best accuracy.
About shared hosting – Budget friendly but usually not the best performance
By far the most commonly available and frequently chosen option, the term shared hosting is quite literal. Your hosting space shares the combined resources on a single server.
Let’s take for example when a host tells you that your shared account will be on a server with an twin 8-core Intel Xeon processors, 128GB of RAM and RAID Storage with unlimited SSD storage. Sounds great doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, since you are on a “shared” account, you will be sharing those resources with as many other people as your host decided to put on that same server. It could be anything from between tens to even hundred of shared accounts on a single server.
Shared Hosting – Pros: 1) Usually low cost, 2) Less technical skill required, 3) No need for server maintenance or administration; Cons: 1) Server issues affect all accounts on the same server, 2) Limitations in system resources.
Shared Server Performance
Because all resources on the server are split between the different accounts, in many cases performance is a little bit spotty. If you happen to share a server with lots of other dormant accounts that don’t take up much resources, you will be fine. If you are on a server with many active high-activity accounts, performance may be more limited as you must wait for your share of time for resources.
Typically, shared hosting providers manage this by placing restrictions on resource usage on shared servers. If you end up taking up too much server resource time, you may be forced to upgrade to a more expensive plan.
Shared hosting plans are normally the cheapest you’ll find (aside from free hosting, but that is an entirely different story). As a result of that, you will discover that most shared hosting plans come with limited service levels.
This includes possibly lower or no guarantees on uptime and more limited customer support channels.
Shared Hosting Renewal Price
The web hosting business is incredibly competitive, and many hosting providers often fight for market share in new customers. Price is one of the features they may opt to fight with.
This means that they will often have fantastic buy-in offers for new customers. If you are not paying attention and get taken in by these fantastic offers, you may end up paying a premium in fees when it comes time to renew your hosting plan.
Take for example the case of the cheapest hosting plan that SiteGround offers. New customers are offered a buy-in at only $3.95 but the plan renews at an eye-watering $11.95. Always pay attention to the regular prices that a plan charges and don’t get taken in by buy-in discounts. These should be taken as a bonus, not the main reason you take up a plan.
How Much to Pay for VPS Web Hosting?
Expect to pay $30 – $55 per month when you signup for VPS hosting service.
Average costs for VPS hosting stand at $17.20/mo, $54.79/mo, and $164.27/mo for lowest, medium, and highest level plans.
Due to increased features backed with better service-level agreements and customer support, VPS hosting often comes at a premium above shared hosting. At the same time, expect to pay a lot less than what you would expect to for a dedicated server.
Based on our study – At the low end of the scale, some VPS plans such as that from Hostmalabar based in India can start from as low as 52 cents per month. At the high end of the scale, the price of VPS hosting may stretch all the way up to the $399.95 price tag that SmarterASP.NET is looking for on its highest plan.
Top VPS hosting at this price range
Reference data for VPS hosting
Hosting fees for 150 VPS Hosting plans (Q1 & Q2 2019). Table sorted by alphabetical order. Please visit hosting company’s website for best accuracy.
About VPS hosting – Better server control and performance
Where in the past the only choice up from shared hosting was to get your own dedicated server, today you can opt for VPS. VPS gives you the illusion of having your own server even though the entire environment is simulated.
VPS servers offer all the flexibility and features of a fully dedicated server. The only limitations are those imposed on the VPS account by the host – usually in terms of physical resources such as processor, memory and storage.
With these features, VPS are extremely cost-effective solutions for those who still are not sure if they require the immense resources that come managing a dedicated server.
VPS Hosting – Pros: 1) Much cheaper than dedicated servers, 2) Highly customizable and scalable, 3) -Good technical support. Cons: 1) Much more expensive than shared hosting, 2) Requires more technical knowledge to manage
This is one of the key differentiators between shared hosting and VPS hosting. VPS hosting accounts are isolated, meaning that the resources allocated to that account are only for that account. If another WPS account on the server is using a lot of resources, your VPS account won’t be affected.
More importantly, VPS server often allow full access to functions that shared accounts do not typically have such as root access, self-chosen control panels to even direct control of what versions of some scripts are running.
These features make it seem as though you are running a fully-fledged dedicated server. Unfortunately, they also require you to know what you are doing you are responsible for very detailed server configurations. Getting it wrong my cause you a ton of headaches.
Learn how VPS hosting works in this guide.
VPS accounts are often taken up by hosts which have more active websites that cater to higher traffic. As such, many web hosting providers know that they may require more attentive support – and in part are paying higher fees for such.
VPS accounts are often backed by higher uptime guarantees and support levels.
VPS accounts are no different from shared accounts in the sense that web hosts are fighting for market share of new customers. As such, it is not uncommon to find steeply discounted plans for new customers.
Again, it helps to look past this and towards the features of the plan and their actual renewal prices rather than the initial discount. The discounts for new customers can be just as steep as those found in shared hosting plans.
Some VPS hosting providers like Hosting24.com use a large discount as a hook, but their renewal prices scale up by as much as 450%.
Other Website Costs to Consider
As mentioned above, web hosting is only one segment of the true cost of building a website. To create a truly successful website, the project needs to be looked at holistically as an entire business, not just a standalone item.
Aside from planning and creating the website, consideration also needs to be put into other factors such as longer-term content development, marketing, eCommerce fees (if applicable) and so on. And of course, the domain that will point to the website sitting on the web hosting space.
Once you factor in all of these additional components of the business, then you will have a more realistic idea of the true cost of building a website.
Looking for a web host?
- Best web hosting for businesses
- How to choose the right web host
- Web hosting comparison tool