Regardless of whether you are creating a small website to promote your personal brand, you will need a web server. Sure, you could buy a server, pay your ISP for a dedicated IP address with plenty of bandwidth, and run it all from your living room or office while sending an identical server to your friend’s house for redundancy. But the cost and hassle of doing this is absolutely not worth anyone’s time, so web hosting plans come into play.
Depending on your needs, you can spend as little as $1.99 per month for a low-bandwidth shared plan or more than $200 for a dedicated server with lots of memory and processing power. Below we show the current best cheap web hosting plans for the main plan types: Shared, VPS, Dedicated, Cloud and WordPress.
Note that our top web hosting plan recommendations are based on price and features alone. We have not rated these services and therefore cannot vouch for their uptime or download speeds. However, you can expect each of these services to have around 99.9 percent uptime and likely comparable speeds. Performance differences are likely small, so shopping by price and features makes sense.
Registration of a domain
When you create a new website, the first thing you need is a domain name. You cannot publish a website or register for a hosting service without deciding on one. Some of the best web hosting plans come with a year of free domain registration, but we recommend using a separate company to manage your domain names so it’s easier to change services without incurring additional fees. Sign up with a company that specializes in domains like Namecheap or GoDaddy, but don’t use these companies for website hosting.
Main Types of Web Hosting
Before looking for the best web hosting deals, you need to decide which type of plan best suits your needs.
- shared hosting ($2 – $12/month): The most popular and cheapest form of web hosting, shared means your website resides on the same physical server as an unknown number of other users’ websites. Performance should be solid if you don’t expect more than 50,000 to 100,000 visits per month. However, you probably don’t have administrator access to the server, and PHP scripts you run are likely to time out.
- WordPress hosting ($4 – $15/month): WordPress hosting is a more specific form of shared hosting and is optimized for use with WordPress, the world’s most popular CMS, which usually comes pre-installed. However, there is nothing stopping you from buying a regular shared hosting plan and installing WordPress yourself.
- VPS hosting ($20 – $100/month): If you expect a decent amount of traffic, you need admin controls, or you just want to run a script for as long as needed, a Virtual Private Server is the way to go. Despite physically residing on the same computer as other accounts, VPS have their own dedicated RAM, CPU cores, and storage that is exclusively yours, so they function and function similarly to standalone servers. You even have admin access to tweak server settings, install custom software, and run scripts without timing out.
- Dedicated hosting ($79 – $500+): You get your own computer, located in the host’s data center, over which you have complete control. This is the most expensive option as the company rents you an entire computer. Remember that you are responsible for keeping the software on it up to date.
- cloud hosting ($10+): Instead of having one account on one physical server, your website’s data and processing is spread across multiple boxes. As with VPS, you pay for a certain amount of dedicated RAM, CPU cores, and storage, and prices are usually lower. However, you may not have admin-level access.
The Best Cheap Web Hosting Deals
Tips for cheap web hosting plans
- Pay in advance for several years: Most web hosting companies want to keep you loyal. Therefore, the introductory prices they display on the site are often only valid if you pay a year, two, and often three years in advance. Although this is more of an investment and locks you in, we recommend you go for it as the savings are significant.
- Minimum requirements: If you’re paying for VPS, dedicated, or cloud hosting, we recommend a plan with at least four cores, 4GB of RAM, and 100TB of storage.
- Forget Windows: All of the plans we recommend here are for Linux-based hosting. You can pay extra for Windows hosting plans, but they’re not worth the premium. For example, Liquid Web charges $30 more per month for its 4GB Windows VPS than its 4GB Linux VPS.
- Don’t stockpile bandwidth or disk space listed as “unlimited” and “unmetered.” This means you won’t be charged if you exceed a certain bandwidth, but if there’s no limit specified and you get too much traffic – similar to unlimited data plans for smartphones – you’ll likely see either slow or a cap. This kind of ambiguity is acceptable on an inexpensive shared hosting plan, but not when you’re paying for a more expensive service.