How much does it cost to host a website? What are the costs of different hosting plans?
There is no one generic answer to this question since the cost of web hosting depends on the requirements of the website, what kind of server it needs, how much space is required to host the files, what will be bandwidth usage per month, how much traffic the website received on a monthly basis and other things.
If you have just started a website which has negligible traffic, then the web hosting costs of a new website will be fairly low. However, if you have a website with lots of traffic and you want to move it to another hosting company, then the costs will be on the higher side.
In this post, we will see the different costs of web hosting. But before we discuss the costs, let me clearly elaborate which costs are not included in web hosting
Costs which should not be counted into Web hosting Costs
Let me clarify the costs which should not be counted into cost of renting a web server or a web host.
- Cost of the domain name should not be counted into cost of the web hosting. This is because a domain name is not linked with Web hosting in any way. You can purchase a new domain name for $10, a premium domain name for a thousand dollars or a very old domain name for a million dollars. But that does not mean that this cost is needed to host the website.
- Cost of design and development for the website should not be counted into web hosting. This is because web hosting only gives you space to host your files and other related software applications e.g databases, scripts which you can install in your server. You can hire a designer and a developer to get a superb theme done but that should not be included in your web hosting costs.
- Cost of content delivery network or other related software should not be included into web hosting. Many websites uses content delivery network and other third party tools to optimize their websites. But that does not necessarily mean that is is a fixed cost for any website. What this means is that a specific website which uses a content delivery network from a third party service is using the content delivery network for its own business objectives. And that does not mean that you have to do the same thing for your website. Similarly, there are websites which uses a premium contact form plugin on their contact pages. This is a third party add-on software which is used by that specific website and it does not mean it applies to you as well.
Before we go into the costs of web hosting, we also have to know the type of web server which we are considering. The cost of a web server directly depends on the amount of resources a particular website needs, so we will have to take into consideration the resources that comes with each hosting server type.
Broadly speaking, there are three types of web servers
- Shared web server – A shared web server is that server where many websites are hosted on the same IP address and each website shares space with others. A shared hosting server is ideal for new websites who do not have much traffic and it is the cheapest web hosting plan available, since it uses the least of resources.Ideal for small websites with very little traffic e.g less than 5000 visitors a day.
- Virtual Private Server – A virtual private server is that server where many websites are hosted but each website has slightly more control, compared the control offered in a shared server. A virtual private server also offers you to upgrade resources such as RAM, bandwidth allocation and other things on demand, which are not possible in a shared web hosting plan. A virtual private server also allows you to have a unique IP address for your website which is not shared with other websites hosted on the same server.Ideal for mid level websites which has somewhat more traffic and needs to be optimized for speed and performance, without having to spend a lot of money in buying a dedicated server.
- Dedicated Server – A Dedicated server is that server where you control everything. You are in complete control of your server, its resources, usage, security and everything else.A dedicated server is ideal for large websites with lot of traffic where everything must be remain in your control so you can tweak the server according to your requirements. Ecommerce sites, large news sites, web applications, social networking websites with millions of users generally use a dedicated server.
There are other server types out there but most of them can be categorized in these three disciplines. Now that we know the different types of web servers available, let’s take a quick comparison of the costs of different web hosting plans.
Cost of A Shared Web Hosting Plan
The cost of a shared web hosting plan depends from one hosting company to another. And there are literally thousands of hosting companies out there, some of them even offer shared hosting plans free for the first few months, so you can see their service and decide to upgrade or leave after using their services.
However, I will share the cost of shared hosting plans for the most popular and trusted web hosting companies so you can do a comparison of which one fits the bill for you
Hostgator shared hosting plan — $10.95 per month when taken monthly, $5.95 per month when taken annually.
Dreamhost shared hosting plan — $7.95 per month when taken monthly.
Bluehost shared hosting plan — $5.45 per month when taken annually.
Siteground shared hosting plan – $3.95 per month when taken annually.
Inmotion Hosting shared hosting plan – $5.99 per month when taken annually.
There are other hosting providers who offer cheap hosting plans in shared hosting but I am not going to list them here since most of these companies are not well known and cannot be trusted.
Cost of A VPS Web Hosting Plan
When it comes to VPS hosting plan, you will have a requirement why you want to take a VPS hosting plan. Mostly, websites who were hosted on a shared hosting plan choose to take a VPS hosting plan when their website becomes more resource hungry, needs more RAM and CPU usage and has performance requirements.
This happens typically when your website has lots of traffic and lot of content and gets thousands or millions of visitors per day and the server is not capable enough to serve resources to so many people.
Hostgator VPS Hosting Plan – $39.95 per month when taken yearly.
Bluehost VPS Hosting Plan – $19.99 per month when taken yearly.
SiteGround VPS Hosting Plan – $11.95 per month when taken yearly (Although SiteGround does not have a VPS Hosting plan as per the name, the GoGeek plan would be suitable if your website is hosted with WordPress content management system.)
Dreamhost VPS Hosting Plan – $15 per month when taken yearly.
Wp-Engine WordPress Hosting – $29 per month when taken yearly. (Similar to Siteground, Wp-Engine does not have a VPS hosting plan as per the name but their plan is optimized for WordPress websites and provides powerful features equivalent to VPS hosting)
There are some of the web hosting companies you can choose to avail a VPS hosting plan. I have personally tried out Hostgator.com, Bluehost.com and Wp-Engine, I would recommend Hostgator and Bluehost the best in terms of technology and after sales support. Wp-Engine offers many useful features for WordPress sites but if you don’t need those exclusive features, you can go ahead with Hostgator.com or Bluehost.com
Cost of a Dedicated Hosting Plan
The cost of a dedicated hosting plan comes in the range of $80 – $500 per month and varies as you expand and upgrade your services. The companies whom I have listed above also offer a dedicated hosting plan but it is usually not a good idea to take a dedicated server before taking a shared hosting server or a VPS server.
The reason is – you must familiarize yourself with a shared server first and then upgrade to a VPS hosting server and then to a dedicated server, when the need and situation arises. In case your website suddenly gets lots of traffic and needs high resources, you should first upgrade to VPS plan and then slowly make the switch to a dedicated server, when the right time comes.
A dedicated server is more difficult to maintain and manage, since you will need to own the server and have to tweak it completely on your own. This requires a good depth of knowledge and unless you are aware of these things, it is usually not a good idea to take up a dedicated server.
When you acquaint yourself with the knowledge of how a server works and have had the experience of using a shared server and a VPS server, it will not take you much time and effort to decide which dedicated server is best for you.