Web Hosting Costs and What to Expect from a Provider

2011-03-08 by Roko Nastic

Web Hosting: Are You Getting Value For Money?

Price is often a major factor for anyone looking for a web host. In many cases, comparative packages could have very similar prices and this can add to the confusion over which web host to select.

So with this in mind, it may be advantageous to anyone seeking a web host to learn more about the current pricing situation within the hosting industry and what you should expect for your money.

How Much Should Web Hosting Cost?

This is a common query among website owners. But it is a fairly ambiguous question. In order to provide a rational answer, we need to break the subject into 5 sub-questions:

1. What type of hosting package do you require?

This will have the greatest influence on price. It makes sense that a dedicated server package, with increased resources and greater flexibility, will cost more than a shared hosting account.

2. Are there specific resources you must have?

You may manage a website that requires a large amount of MySQL databases, or needs a dedicated IP and Private SSL Certificate. Additional resources not included in a standard package may incur an additional monthly charge.

3. Are you bothered about a web host’s popularity and/or size?

Some people want the feeling of security and brand establishment that comes with an industry recognized web host, such as Hostgator. But many smaller, less renowned hosts, like MDDHosting, are perfectly capable providers. A lack of preference, or prejudice, could assist with finding the best deal.

4. Do you have technical limitations i.e. an ASP.NET based website?

If you run a website that uses specific programming code or is platform-specific, your web hosting options will be reduced. This does not mean you won’t find a great deal. But if you choose to only search for specialized hosting, like for example DotNetNuke web hosting, this could affect price.

5. Will you require the use of specialized software (such as a particular CMS platform)?

If your site runs particular software you will require a host that provides product support for your chosen platform. Again, price may be influenced by a preference for a generic provider that happens to support your software, or one supplying platform-specialized hosting.

Approximate Prices of Hosting Packages

*based on a monthly charge

Shared Hosting $5-$15+
Reseller Hosting $10-$50+
VPS Hosting $20-$100+
Dedicated Server Hosting $50-$400+
Cloud Hosting Cloud hosting packages will be more expensive compared to standard hosting equivalents. This is due to the extra set-up and maintenance costs associated with cloud hosting. Additional resource usage will also be charged at higher rates.

It goes without saying that in each hosting category, price will increase with additional resources. So a basic dedicated hosting account may be located for around the $80-a-month mark, but a more resource-rich dedicated server package would be considerable more.

What You Should Be Getting For Your Money

It would be far too complicated to suggest what specific features you should expect for each hosting package. Most web hosts will provide reasonable allowances in respect of RAM, disk space, data transfer, databases, and email accounts (relevant to each type of account).

But in case you were curious, here are the basics involved with each hosting package:

Shared Hosting: Numerous websites share one physical server and the resources allocated to that server.

Reseller Hosting: You are allowed to lease out the server space and resources you rent from the web host. Basically, you can become your own web hosting provider. You will get an enhanced control panel to organize and manage your customers and can set your own tariffs.

VPS Hosting: As with shared hosting, your website will share space on a server with other sites. But your site is virtually isolated and has a dedicated amount of resources allocated to it. No other site has access to these resources. A VPS account is more secure, reliable, flexible, and often possesses greater resource allocations.

Dedicated Server: You rent a server form the hosting company. You have sole access to this server and all its resources. Very secure and scalable. There are sliding scales of management available, starting with the web host providing full technical support, to you having complete control over your server and being responsible for security and applications.

Cloud Hosting: Cloud hosting offers all the same services as standard hosting (shared, VPS, dedicated etc) but guarantees 100% up-time and scalability. With cloud hosting, resources are spread over a network of servers to minimise overload and crash disaster. There are no resource restrictions - if you go over your allotted resource allowance you will simply be billed for any additional resources you use. But this increased performance and flexibility does come at a cost. Cloud hosting is more expensive and additional resource usage is normally charged at an enhanced rate.

What you should be also be actively searching for is a host that has a proven record of excellent customer service and technical support, plenty of positive customer feedback, reliability, no hidden fees, and a user-friendly interface.

How Frugality Can Lead to Deficiency

If finding the cheapest web host is your only concern, you could end up making a terrible mistake. Of course, you may get lucky and stumble on a great host that just happens to be offering the best price at the time of your search. But you are playing a dangerous game of web host Russian Roulette.

Web hosting can be found for surprisingly minimal costs these days (thanks to improved technology and fierce competition), so obsessing over the cheapest offer is not necessary. A cheap host that has abysmal up-time, limited scalability, or disappears altogether will end up hurting both your website and your bank account.

Analyze a web host on its standards of performance, reputation, and resources...not on its suspiciously low price.

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Roko Nastic

Roko Nastic


Roko Nastic is writer and editor at WebmasterFormat. He enjoys helping other webmasters and website owners succeed in creating better, faster and more profitable websites.

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