Last updated: November 13, 2019
Web Hosting Payments – Here’s What You Should Know Before Signing Up
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Web Hosting and Payments
Conventional 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.
Here is the list of payments we will be covering on this page, so you can understand and outweigh their strengths/weaknesses:
- Credit Cards
- Check Payments
- Money Orders
- Wire Transfer
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.
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.
Some Don't Use Credit Cards
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 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 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 set up 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 to accept payments through PayPal, but many do.
Wire Transfer - The Big Dog
Wire transfer, or bank transfer, is a method of sending money directly from one bank account to another.
It is often used for large sums of money transferred between institutional accounts.
Are There Advantages to Wire Transfers?
There are some advantages to accepting wire payments and other types of financial transfers for hosting providers.
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.
This is by the added cost of processing the payments and other time-consuming tracking problems.
Are There Notable Risks?
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.
What Are the Downsides?
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.
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.
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.
What Is the Blockchain and How Does It Work?
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 a 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.
Why Is Bitcoin So Convenient as Hosting Payment?
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.
Pricing and Plan Variety
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.
The Problems with Buying Based on Price Only
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.
This is the inability to 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.
Are Web Hosting Plans Really That Different?
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.
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.
Free Hosting and Money-Back Guarantee
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.
5 Reasons to Avoid Free Hosting
There are 5 main reasons to avoid most free hosting plans, do bear these in mind. Any of these can make your hosting experience a misery.
- Click-bait adverts
- Banner Ads
- Add-ons for even basic features
- Terrible performance
- Low-quality support
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 add-ons.
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 should compare hosts that accept your preferred form of payment and/or offer money-back guarantees.