Let's Build a Website

Web Hosting Plans

Most web hosts offer a variety of hosting plans to fit the needs of websites of all sizes and purposes. This resource explains common hosting options. To learn more about web hosts, check out my resource Choosing a Web Host.

Free

Believe it or not, there are free hosting services available. However, these options are usually unreliable and also require advertisements on your site. I highly recommend avoiding these services if you can afford to do so.

Shared

$3.95–$9.95 / month

Shared hosting is by far the most popular, and that is likely because it is the most affordable. This option is best for small businesses and new bloggers. The server that hosts your site is shared with up to hundreds of other sites. Sharing your server with other websites can cause performance issues. For example, if another site has a sudden increase in traffic, your website may load more slowly because the other site is hogging more of your shared server’s limited bandwidth. Also, as your site grows and becomes more popular, you will start to use up your server’s limited resources, requiring you to upgrade. Some hosting companies will ask you politely to upgrade, while others will simply suspend your site until you do. Be careful, because these hosting plans will advertise “unlimited” resources in order to be appealing, but in reality there is no such thing as “unlimited” resources.

VPS (Virtual Private Server)

$20–$120 / month

In a VPS hosting arrangement, you share a server with other websites, but your website has dedicated resources including its own operating system, storage, RAM, and data-transfer limits. This prevents other websites from affecting your website and leads to smoother and more stable site performance. VPS hosting can handle more traffic than a shared hosting plan. It also allows you to have more control to configure and run specific software. I recommend this hosting option to those who have intermediate to advanced technical skills, or are working with someone who does. VPS hosting combines the best of a shared host and a dedicated host. It has a lower cost than a dedicated server – most start at around $30/month. If you want reasonably priced server space where pages won’t load slowly when other sites on the same server have a traffic spike, then VPS is a good option for your business.

Dedicated

$100–$1200 / month

Dedicated hosting is for high-traffic websites. A dedicated server hosts a single site, which can then take advantage of the server’s full resources to increase stability and reliability. Because you own the entire physical server, you can choose your operating system, hardware, and any other specific software needed to run your site. However, you’ll need to handle security and maintenance yourself unless you upgrade to a managed server, which is more expensive.

Managed

$20—$200 / month

Managed hosting is the best for non-technical beginners looking to simply focus on their site’s content. With this plan, you pay the hosting provider to optimize your site for performance, keep your site secure, provide regular backups, run malware scans, and perform updates when needed. This type of hosting plan is more expensive, but you have the help of an expert to take care of the technical side of your site. You can purchase a managed shared, VPS, or dedicated hosting plan.

Managed WordPress Hosting

$20—$150 / month

Managed WordPress hosting is built completely with WordPress in mind. Attempting to use non-WordPress tools can lead to unexpected outcomes. A managed WordPress plan will cost more than a shared host plan and some VPS plans. You are paying for the convenience of the managed server as well as the added support and features that you would normally need to set up and maintain yourself.

Final Considerations

  • Hosting plans are very cheap when you sign up, but rates will usually increase when you renew.
  • It’s more important to choose a host based on its reputation than on the actual specifications of the server. Please check out Choosing a Web Host for further information.
  • You can always start with a shared hosting account to get started and upgrade at a later time as your site grows.

Lee Stratman

Owner, Stratman Web Development

Lee Stratman is a Web Developer from Madison, WI. He helps small-to-medium-sized businesses build effective websites that utilize the popular content management system WordPress.

LET'S GET STARTED