How to Choose the Best Cheap Hosting
Before you dive into choosing a cheap hosting plan, it’s imperative to understand different hosting options available in the market and whether cheap hosting is the best fit for your needs.
What is Cheap Hosting (Shared Hosting)?
Shared hosting is a web hosting setup that allows you to share your server resources with other websites that are hosted on the same server. In a shared hosting setup, about hundreds of websites are hosted on the same server, sharing the resources like RAM, CPU and disk storage.
This is how hosting companies can profitably sell you hosting spaces with minimal price.
Let’s take a look at when shared hosting is the best choice for your site.
- You’re getting started with a new website and expect a low traffic volume.
- You don’t mind sharing server resources with other sites as long as you can operate your site smoothly and safely.
- You want the cheapest hosting plan for your site.
As your website grows, you may need more control and flexibility over your hosting server. In such cases, you can easily upgrade your shared hosting to VPS and Dedicated server.
Let’s take a quick look at these 2 hosting services and how they differ from shared hosting.
Shared Hosting vs. VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting
VPS is basically an independent partition of a physical server. Hosting providers create multiple virtual partitions of one physical server, giving you more control over your server at a lower cost than dedicated server hosting.
In case you’re wondering, here are the main differences between shared and VPS hosting.
With a shared hosting plan, hosting providers have a script to limit the resources of each client so that no one is using up all the resources. When it comes to VPS hosting, while you’ll still be sharing resources with other clients, you get much more stable server hosting environment with little to no fluctuation in the resources available.
VPS hosting is scalable meaning your hosting provider can adjust the amount of server space allocated for your site as your traffic grows.
Shared Hosting vs. Dedicated Server Hosting
With a dedicated server, you get a complete server for your sole use. Unlike shared hosting server, as you’re not sharing any resources with other websites, you get much more control over its configuration and overall operating environment.
Not every website requires all the bells and whistles offered by dedicated server hosting. Below are a few instances when you need to start using dedicated hosting for your site.
- Your website is rapidly gaining traction among your audience and you believe you will soon outgrow your existing hosting environment.
- You want enhanced security features that are available only with a dedicated server hosting plan.
- You need an IP address that you don’t want to share across other websites.
Factors to Consider While Choosing a Shared Hosting Provider
Web hosting market is a competitive space. In order to stay ahead of the curve, hosting companies offer tons of perks to customers and promises a great uptime always even with shared hosting. If you’re wondering what factors you should consider while choosing a cheap hosting provider, below are some of them.
When choosing a cheap hosting service provider, you need to choose the one that offers maximum uptime. Before you jump in, be sure to pay attention to the guarantee uptime percentage. You can’t expect your host to provide 100% uptime guarantee, but anything below 99.9% is unreliable.
Some hosting offers a refund if they fail to meet their uptime guarantee. However, that doesn’t cut it because if your site goes down only for a second, it’s going to cost you money.
A downtime can happen due to
- Security threats
- Hardware failures
- Natural disaster
- Human error
- Backup disk corruption
- Power outage
Evidently, your hosting providers don’t have control over many factors that can cause downtime. However, be sure to choose a provider that guarantees at least 99.9% uptime.
Speed is one of the most critical elements you need to consider when choosing your cheap hosting service. Google continues to emphasize page speed on their algorithm, and if your site takes more than 3 seconds to load, your visitors will likely abandon your site.
While you can find a lot of tips and tricks to boost your website speed, they’re not going to work out if you’re hosted on a server that compromises on speed.
Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should choose an expensive hosting plan for your site. A lot of hosting companies offer cheap hosting with blazing fast page speed.
To test the speed of different popular hosting services, we’ve created a test site on these hosts with default WordPress theme installed on it and conducted speed tests with 2 tools: Pingdom and Load Impact.
Hosting may not be your area of expertise but as a website user, it’s important to have a clear idea about what hosting features you could expect as standard from the outset.
Let’s start drilling into detail and look at the different features you can get from a cheap hosting provider.
One-click script install: One-click script install is a standard feature you can expect from any qualified cheap hosting providers. It helps you easily install website script like WordPress, Joomla, etc. with just a single click on your host without having you to be technically inclined.
Website builder: Website builder is another standard feature you can expect from your cheap hosting provider. Keep in mind that not all the website builders offered by different providers are created equal. Some web hosting companies simply have a white-labeled partnership with site builders like Weebly, while some others offer you a custom built site builder.
If you want to build a website with a site builder, it’s worth taking a moment to examine the features these builders offer to you. For example, some lets you simply create a basic website with ease whereas some others even let you launch an ecommerce store and help you start selling your products.
The key is to analyze if your hosting provider gives you the right set of features you’ll need from their site builder.
Control panel: A control panel is a web-based interface offered by your hosting provider to manage your hosting account, including website files, email hosting, domain name, and a lot more. Before choosing a cheap hosting for your site, you’ll need to understand how your web host lets you manage your hosting account. The most popular control panel is cPanel, but some web hosting companies offer a custom built control panel to make it easy to access your website hosting account.
Domain limits: Cheap web hosting services are often priced on the basis of the number of domains you can use on it. With a higher plan, you can use unlimited domain names.
Email hosting: Just like domain names, some hosting providers set a limit for the number of email addresses you can set up with your domain name.
Disk space and bandwidth: Shared hosting plans often come with unlimited disk space and bandwidth. Even though the plans are often advertised as unlimited or unmetered disk space and bandwidth, they’re not actually unlimited. It simply means unlimited usage based on the Terms of Services of your hosting provider.
Keep in mind that when you create a shared hosting account, you need to fully comply with the Terms of Services of your host, and you’re allowed to use only the resources that are required to operate a small website.
Free marketing offers: Some cheap web hosting companies like HostGator gives you AdWords and Bing credits worth $100 that you can use to promote your online business.
Free domain: Many web hosting companies allow you to claim a domain name for free when purchasing any hosting account. Aside from allowing you to save the domain registration fee, claiming a free domain name also makes it easy to manage both your domain and hosting under a single panel.
You never when you’re going to need technical support for your web hosting server. As your visitors expect your site to be up around the clock, you need to ensure that your hosting provider offers 24/7 support with your hosting plan.
A few things you need to consider are:
- Support modes: Ensure whether your hosting provider offers free support via live chat, phone and email throughout the day.
- Response time: Understand the average response time and the average time it takes to get your support request resolved.
- Documentation: Having an extensive documentation is compulsory. With a great knowledge base, you don’t have to waste your time on live chat because in most cases, you can get it sorted out on your own.
Having helped thousands of users to set up a website, we’ve found that people used to ask the same sort of questions again and again. This is why we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions, so you can find the best cheap hosting service for your site.
What’s shared hosting or cheap hosting?
Shared hosting is the cheapest hosting option available that comes with all the essential features you’ll need to get your website up and running.
Is shared hosting safe?
Shared hosting gives you a secure environment to build and grow a small website. Some shared hosting plans also give you dedicated IP address and SSL certificate which grants access to your site any time you need and provides a secure connection.
How can a web hosting company offer cheap hosting without compromising on quality?
With shared hosting, server resources like RAM, CPU and disk storage are shared with other sites that are hosted on the same server. This is how hosting companies keep the costs low without compromising on quality.
Typically, how much does it cost to purchase a shared hosting plan?
Hosting companies often advertise a huge discount for the initial term. But normally, a shared hosting plan will cost around $100 per year. As you site grows, you can upgrade your hosting to higher hosting options like VPS or dedicated server for handling more traffic.
Do I need to have domain and hosting from the same provider?
Not necessarily. You can get a domain and hosting from different providers. Some hosting providers allow you to register a domain name for free when purchasing a hosting account, which makes it easy to set up a blog from the ground up.
Alternatively, you can buy a domain name from a domain registrar. In the long run, buying a domain name from a domain registrar will be profitable for you because the domain renewal cost will be low.
Do I need to get a hosting addon?
No. Hosting companies often try to upsell hosting addons when you subscribe to a hosting plan. You can uncheck those addons before making the payment for your shared hosting to save money. When you’re just starting out with a new site, you won’t need those addons. However, you can always purchase those addons later if you find them useful.
Does shared hosting really offer unlimited resources?
Hosting companies often advertise to offer unlimited/unmetered bandwidth and disk space.
When they claim to offer unlimited/unmetered resources, they mean unlimited based on their terms of service. Their terms of service require you to use the resources for running a website under normal site operation condition. That means there are still usage restrictions.
However, in most cases, you won’t find any issues with their bandwidth and disk space.
What happens when my site outgrows the initial plan?
If you exceed usage, you’ll likely receive an email from your hosting provider to reduce it. If you find frequent outage, it’s the best moment to upgrade to any higher plans so you can create a stable hosting environment for your site.
Why does hosting support matter?
You never know when you’re going to get int trouble in terms of hosting.
In fact, just because a web hosting provider has a satisfactory uptime score, doesn’t necessarily mean your site will be 100% secure and up around the clock. For example, if you’re on a shared hosting server, your site may have an impact on how other websites hosted on server consumes the resources.
When you find any issue with your hosting server, you’ll want to contact your hosting provider instantly and get it resolved in no time. It can only be done if your hosting provider has a good track record of resolving support requests with no trouble.