Every month, new web hosting providers pop onto the scene with “revolutionary” hosting plans that drive down hosting prices. At first glance, it appears you can have unlimited data and bandwidth, the best software applications, and even hundreds of dollars of PPC credit – all for just $1.99 per month. However, are these deals too good to be true?
Due to the extremely competitive nature of the hosting industry, there are often deceitful marketing practices and other underhanded tactics used to solicit new clients. To avoid these bait-and-switch practices, you’ll need to understand the various aspects of web hosting plan pricing.
In addition to the pricing structure, plan features are just as important, especially when you’re trying to conduct an accurate and relevant comparison. The following information can help you decide which hosting plan is right for you based on both price and plan features.
What Are the Cheapest Web Hosting Plans?
If you are trying to create a website on a limited budget and you need the cheapest web hosting plans available, then you should definitely consider shared web hosting. Shared web hosting is the cheapest kind of web hosting available because the web servers are shared by hundreds of web sites simultaneously.
Shared web hosting plans can be purchased for approximately $2 – $8 per month, depending upon the plan contract and features. Plans with multi-year contracts generally cost less, since you are securing your plan for several years in advance.
Many shared web hosting plans claim to offer unlimited features. Such claims should be taken carefully, as many companies have been known to place unexpected limitations on “unlimited” shared hosting accounts. To avoid such practices, make sure you inquire about your hosting limitations with the hosting provider, and be sure to only use reputable hosting companies.
For novice web site owners that need a quick entrance into the world of eCommerce and online business, shared hosting plans can be the perfect solution.
The Pricing Effects of Billing Cycles
Many people fail to account for the difference between various payment structures when comparing plan pricing. Some web hosting plans will let you pay for your first month, without the obligation to pay for the rest of the year, while others will require a year worth of payments upfront.
Plans that charge by the month are usually slightly more expensive on a monthly basis than plans that charge by the year. For example, it is possible to find a hosting plan for about $10 per month (when paid on a monthly basis), but that same plan may only cost $7 per month if the plan is paid a year in advance. Such billing differences should be considered when calculating the overall startup cost of any web hosting operation.
Most shared hosting providers are able to offer such cheap prices and unlimited features because they acquire the yearly payment upfront. Thus, a plan that costs around $4 per month would actually cost about $48 plus any applicable startup fees. On the other hand, VPS and dedicated hosting plans can be purchased on a monthly basis, and even though the total monthly cost is more, the set up cost will ultimately be less.
For webmasters that are on a strict budget and are attempting to make minimal investments initially, monthly plans would be ideal. If you’d like to save money in the long term and secure a quality web hosting account for a year or more in advance, then you may want to consider the extended payment structure.
Hidden Hosting Fees
Fees are another important aspect of web hosting pricing, as they can account for a large portion of the total money spent on hosting if you are not careful.
The first fee you’ll need to look for is the set up fee. This fee is easy to spot because it is usually advertised on the sales page of the hosting account. Once you have purchased your hosting plans, the fees become harder to notice, primarily because they are well hidden in the terms and conditions of your hosting contract. As a paying customer, you should not have to worry about finding hidden fees. Instead, simply give your hosting company a call and find out what the applicable fees are for your hosting account.
Keeping these tips in mind will help you choose the cheapest web hosting plan that can still serve your website’s needs adequately.