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Whether you want to start a blog, have a static page to set up, or have a low-traffic business blog, sometimes plain, cheap hosting plans are the right option for your needs. Usually tied to shared hosting, these cheap plans can cost as little as a dollar per month (or sometimes, even less).

If you are looking to start a new website for a personal project, a blog, a church, or even a small business, you may not need a lot of high powered web hosting features, and you probably don’t want to have to pay for them.

Lucky for you, the cost of server resources is so low these days that you can get reasonably good hosting for relatively short money.

Cheap hosting plans come in a variety of different styles, so make sure you find the one that is right for you.

Cheap Shared Hosting Plans

The most popular type of cheap web hosting plan is the shared plan, and these almost always run less than $10/month. If you use our Compare Hosting tool and search for Shared Hosting, you’ll find that some of these plan run as low as $1/month.

With a shared hosting plan, many different customer accounts are hosting from a single server. Companies put dozens, or even hundreds, of accounts onto the same server. This is how they can afford to sell these plans so cheaply, but this can cause problems.

With so many different customers running websites from the same server, everyone is sharing the same limited set of computing resources. This means that the activity of other customers can have an effect on the performance of your site. If one site on the server is suddenly drawing a ton of traffic, it might slow down response times for the other sites sharing the same server. Security breaches and blacklisting affecting one site on the server can also spill over and cause problems for other sites.

Shared hosting plans usually advertise that they are “unlimited.” They claim unlimited bandwidth, unlimited storage, unlimited websites, and unlimited email. There are usually limits, though, if you look at the Terms of Service. Generally, the way it woks is that everything is unlimited unless you use too much of it. If you are drawing so much traffic and using up so much bandwidth that it is causing ongoing performance problems for other sites, the company will throttle your traffic or require you to upgrade.

Most shared hosting plans support WordPress and other popular PHP-based website software. For personal projects and small organizations, the resources of a shared hosting plan will often be enough. With a well-coded site, major shared hosting plans can easily handle a few hundred visits a day.

If have or are expecting traffic to be in the range of thousands of visits per day on the low end, you might want to look at other options.

Pay as you go VPS hosting

Some hosting companies provide VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting on a scalable pricing plan, so that you only pay for resources used: storage, CPU cycles, bandwidth.

With plans like these, a low traffic site running a basic CMS (Content Management System) will only cost a few dollars a month, and there won’t be any problem with throttling or dealing with upgrades as traffic grows — you simply pay more for using more.

The downside to this is that it introduces a lot of uncertainty into your monthly costs. It becomes very hard to predict what your hosting costs will be. You might have cheap hosting this month, and surprisingly expensive hosting the next.

The other potential problem with these types of accounts is also one of their strengths. Compared with Shared Hosting plans, many VPS hosting plans allow you to do more customized things with the server. This also leads to a requirement to have a better understanding of server management.

Free SaaS Hosting

Maybe the only thing better than cheap hosting is free hosting. Depending on your needs, and your willingness to forgo extreme customization, this is a viable option.

Several blogging sites offer freely hosted blogs, which can also work as a regular websites for small businesses and non-profit organizations. The best option for this is probably WordPress.com, which allows you to set up a free WordPress blog without having to worry about hosting or server management. You can even pay a small fee in order to have your own domain name associated with your site. If you do this, no one will know that the site is actually a free blog.

The downside to this kind of site is that you don’t have as many options for things like running ads and selling products. Overall your ability to use custom plugins can be limited because they only make certain ones available.

The Best Cheap Hosting For You

Figure out what kind of website you will be running and what the future plans for that site are likely to be before making a big decision. If you setup a free blog and decide later that you should have run your own site, you aren’t going to want to deal with the hassle of moving.

Cheap Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

  • If I want to upgrade to a private hosting plan, will I need to move all of my files?

    That depends on if you are set up with a VPS hosting plan, you can automatically increase space or bandwidth, without having to make any changes to your existing files. If you are on a shared hosting plan and want to move to a private plan, you will need to move your files to the private server. As long as you stick with the same host, they will likely do this for you or at the very least guide you through the process.

  • If someone on my server gets blacklisted, how might that affect me?

    It may not affect your website, but it could definitely affect your email account. Your emails may wind up in recipients’ spam filters, or they might be rejected altogether. If reliable email is critical to your business, you may want to look at VPS hosting or consider a separate email host. With a Google for Business account, you can use Gmail for your personalized email. Other email platforms offer similar services.

  • If I use free SaaS hosting through a site like WordPress, will I have the same experience as if I install WordPress on a hosted server?

    The experience will be similar, but with the free solution you won’t have the same capabilities for customization and add-ons. However, in the case of WordPress, if you initially set up your site for free on their servers and then decide to self-host, there are tools available to help you transfer your content to a self-hosted plan. Many other SaaS solutions offer similar utilities or make it easy to transfer from a free hosted plan to a paid hosted option with additional benefits.

  • If I’m on a higher-price plan and want to downgrade, is that possible?

    Absolutely, though you shouldn’t count on quite as much support as going the other way. If you are on a high-priced VPS plan and want to switch to a lower-priced VPS plan, downgrading should be pain-free, so long as you’re not over your new storage limits. Moving to a shared plan will take more effort, and will likely mean copying your files to the new server. Your host may or may not provide assistance with this process. If they don’t, it might be time to consider a new host since you already have to migrate your content.

  • Are there times when I just shouldn’t consider a shared plan?

    Definitely. If you expect to have high traffic, a shared plan isn’t right for you. Not only could your site suffer from the slow performance, but your host may force you to upgrade. If you’re planning on hosting space or bandwidth-heavy content, like large image galleries or video galleries, you will quickly reach your quotas, and your visitors may think twice about waiting for your insufferable load times. Most importantly, if security is an issue for your or your organization, shared plans should not be on your radar.

  • Are there additional security measures I should take with a cheap hosting plan?

    That depends on the type of plan. With a shared plan, you are all on the same server, so one site’s vulnerability is everyone’s vulnerability. You should definitely consider adding firewall protection to keep any potential threats out. With VPS hosting, your server is completely separate from all other servers sharing that machine, and should be protected from any vulnerabilities that affect them. Of course, additional security measures, such as firewall protection, are still helpful, just not as critical.

  • Do cheap hosting plans support dynamic web content?

    Cheap hosting plans do support dynamic content; however, depending on the extent to which your site utilizes dynamic content, it may quickly become too much for your plan. On a VPS plan, this should not be a problem, as it can adjust to higher server loads.

  • Are fixed prices available for VPS servers?

    Yes, but these come with some drawbacks. If your site does exceed the set limits, you will often be notified and given the opportunity to upgrade to a higher plan. If you do not wish to upgrade, you will be charged for any usage over your limit, typically at a higher rate than upgrading. This could get very expensive. Additionally, you may need to spend more each month in order to account for fluctuation.

  • Is low-cost VPS as fast as a higher-cost VPS?

    Probably not. Many hosts will adjust the amount of dedicated RAM you receive, the speed of your CPU, and the VPS network port speed, based on the hosting level you are paying for.

  • How does VPS compare to dedicated private hosting?

    Even though your virtual server is separate from all other virtual servers, you are still sharing space on the same physical machine. If the host attempts to cram too many virtual servers onto the same computer, or if one of those virtual servers starts using too many resources, it could impact performance for everyone else.

  • If I’m using a shared plan, can I get SSL certification?

    Yes, but it’s harder than if you were using a dedicated server or even a VPS. The biggest reason for this is with a shared hosting plan you don’t have a dedicated IP address. You share your IP address with everyone else on that server. With VPS hosting, you can receive a dedicated IP address, but it probably is not set up automatically.

  • How can I decide which plan to go with?

    There are a few important factors to consider. First, how much money do you have available? Dedicated servers are expensive. VPS servers are much less expensive, but not quite as cheap as shared hosting. Second, how much traffic do you plan to get? If you don’t expect much traffic, shared might be right for you. If you expect it to grow over time, the flexibility of VPS is probably a better option. If you know it’s going to be huge right away, a dedicated server is probably best. Third, what level of security do you require? For eCommerce sites, shared hosting shouldn’t even be a consideration. VPS provides much better security for you and your customers. Of course, dedicated hosting provides the highest level of security.

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