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Payments Accepted by Web Hosts
Whether you are looking for discount shared hosting or a high-end managed account on a dedicated server, hosting is going to cost money. Fortunately, you have many options about how to pay for it.
Credit Cards - On the internet, credit cards have become “the currency of the realm.” It would be easier to create a list of hosting companies that don’t take credit cards than a list of hosting companies that do. Though, if you are looking for a web host that can help you accept credit card payments; see our page about credit card gateways.
Bitcoin - Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, a form of digital money created by a peer-to-peer, distributed system of software. Besides being a currency, Bitcoin is really a payment system. The innovation behind Bitcoin is that the public ledger — the payment system itself — is both the means of transaction and also the record of all held value. Rather than storing coins in some specific location, one’s Bitcoin wealth is determined by the units of accounting within the blockchain which a person has direct control over. Control over a specific amount of Bitcoin is accomplished with private encryption keys.
Meanwhile, the blockchain — the public ledger — is distributed. It does not exist in one single disk or database, but has been copied over and over and over by many different people. No one can change it, because a change would appear as an inconsistency. A transaction occurs when value is transferred from one person’s encryption key to another. This is added to the end of a local blockchain and propagated out to the rest of the network.
For all these reasons — anonymity, convenience, cost — many web hosting customers would like to be able to pay for their hosting with Bitcoin. Fortunately, some hosting companies are beginning to accommodate this feature. If anonymity and privacy are of chief concerns, paying for hosting with Bitcoin is not enough. Depending on your specific needs you may also need to look into offshore hosting.
Check Payments - Most hosting companies are trying to keep their costs as low as possible, which generally means keeping paperwork and labor-intensive processing to a minimum. For this reason, not all hosting companies accept check payments. Unfortunately, some organizations only issue checks, and do not use credit cards. This is especially true of small non-profit organizations. Often, freelance web developers and small design shops run into this problem with these small clients -- suddenly the requirement for check-payment shows up near delivery time without it being mentioned earlier.
Fortunately, some hosting companies do, indeed, take checks.
Money Orders - Money orders are payment vehicles issued by large, trusted organizations such as Western Union or the United States Postal Service. They are often used in place of paper checks, for similar reasons. Not very many hosting companies accept money orders for payment, but some do.
PayPal - PayPal is a form of electronic payment accepted almost universally around the internet. It also acts a sort of payment-medium, allowing sellers to accept credit cards and other forms of payment without having to setup merchant accounts. Typically, the fees for Paypal are slightly higher than with credit cards, because the ease-of-use service provided by PayPal is added on top of the credit card fees paid by the merchant account.
For this reason, not all hosting providers pay accept payments in PayPal, but many do.
Wire Transfer - Wire transfer, of bank transfer, is a method of sending money directly form one bank account to another. It is often used for large sums of money transferred between institutional accounts.
There are some advantages to accepting wire payments and other types of financial transfers for hosting providers, but the majority of payments made online are done by credit card, debit card, or direct from a bank account. Sadly, any advantages a hosting provider or website owner gain by accepting wire payments are often outweighed by the added cost of processing the payments and other time-consuming tracking problems.
Wire transfers carry much higher risks as well, because the majority of transactions involve wiring money to strangers (especially internationally, and especially to cash offices). Wire transfers and other direct to account payment options also require the hosting provider to share a lot of account information with their customers.
Speed (or lack thereof) is another problem with wire transfers and other account-based transaction methods. The speed issue is especially true when it comes to international transfers. International payments are not processed quickly and the banks involved in the process have to conduct their business in line with Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) frameworks. This means it usually takes a few days to transfer the money.
Practicality is another problem. Most people have simply grown accustomed to using credit cards for their online payment needs. Many simply do not view wire transfers as an alternative for a number of reasons – convenience being the most obvious one.
Pricing and Money-Back Guarantees
Web hosting companies advertise all the wonderful benefits you will get from setting up your website --they film TV commercials of small business owners making new sales on a beautiful new website hosted on their platform. Alternatively, they sell price; they think that hosting is a commodity and the lowest price will win.
Web hosting customers usually think about one of these two things. They either buy based on slick advertising that makes them feel good about their new website, or they buy based on price because they can’t see how any of it is different. What is forgotten in all of this is the actual task of website administration — a task you will have to engage in once you buy a hosting plan and set up your website.
If you get the sense that most web hosting plans are basically the same, that’s because they mostly are. There are some standout companies doing really unique or amazing things — especially in the managed hosting world — but most web hosting customers don’t need particularly unique or amazing services. That probably includes you. You don't need a $99/month state-of-the-art managed hosting platform with artisanal WordPress optimizations (unless you do).
What you need is a solid web hosting company with a decent plan at a decent price. Thankfully, there are a number of companies providing exactly that. Whether you need a VPS plan or can get by with a shared hosting account, there are several really good options available.
Free hosting is usually more expensive than it is worth. Hosting always costs something — web hosting companies aren’t non-profit charities (most of the time) — and they don’t give away hosting unless they can make money from it somehow.
There are many ad-driven free hosting companies, that allow you to set up a small website with a limited number of features and pages, full of banner ads and other annoying ad-ons. This is almost always a bad idea. But, there are a few good very cheap or free hosting options available without advertising.
No matter how much research you do, or how many features you compare, or how many hosting reviews you read, it's possible to simply pick a host that doesn't end up working out for you. If you choose a host that offers a money-back guarantee, you'll have the opportunity to try out your hosting plan without wasting any money on it.
You can compare hosts that accept your preferred form of payment and/or offer money-back guarantees by following the links below: