Affordable web hosting: While website hosting and maintenance can come with a hefty price tag, there are many affordable and dependable options available. This guide showcases the top low-cost web hosting services in 2023.
Forbes Advisor has evaluated the leading web hosting providers and identified 11 excellent choices that offer a balance of affordability and performance. If cost is not a concern, we also have a guide to the best overall web hosting services.
The Best Cheap Web Hosting Services of 2023: affordable web hosting
If you’re looking to create a straightforward website without requiring limitless storage or bandwidth, Hostinger is an excellent choice. It provides three shared hosting plans that begin at $1.99 per month with a 48-month commitment (and renews at $3.99 per month). The most affordable plan does not include a free domain name, unlimited storage, or unlimited bandwidth. This option is ideal for small businesses or entrepreneurs who only require a basic website (such as a physical store displaying hours and contact information).
Hostinger boasts a 30-day money-back guarantee and 24/7/365 chat support, but its most impressive feature is its 99.9% uptime guarantee.
24/7/365 support is available via live chat.
Hostinger has a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
Who should use it:
Businesses or entrepreneurs who need a way to quickly and easily build a professional business website.
IONOS provides one of the most affordable web hosting plans, priced at just $1 per month for the first year (and $10 per month thereafter). This plan includes unlimited storage and speed, ensuring you don’t have to worry about exceeding limits due to large media files or high traffic. Additionally, any of IONOS’s hosting plans come with a free SSL certificate, free domain, and free email, which would typically cost $5 to $20 per year from other providers.
In addition to an intuitive interface, IONOS’s hosting plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, 24/7 customer support, access to a dedicated personal consultant, a 99.9% uptime guarantee, and straightforward management tools.
Each IONOS plan comes with 24/7 support. There’s the IONOS Help Center, with DIY instructions and video tutorials, or you can call or email customer support. You also have the option to chat with a sales representative during business hours.
IONOS has a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
Who should use it:
Startups with a small initial budget.
Interserver is an excellent choice for those who require an unlimited number of email accounts. This web host provides an array of plans and services, such as asp.net, reseller, boost, and cloud VPS, but shared plans will generally be the most cost-effective option, regardless of the hosting provider.
Interserver’s plans start at just $2.50 per month and offer limitless ULTRA SSD storage, over 450 cloud apps, free site migration, free SSL certificates, unlimited email accounts, a website builder, and global content caching. Moreover, InterShield Security helps safeguard your website against viruses, malware, and potential attacks.
Your plan comes with 24/7 managed support.
Interserver has a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
Who should use it:
Businesses that need lots of email accounts or hosting for multiple websites will find Interserver to be the perfect host.
For those who use WordPress, StableHost is the top hosting provider. It provides unlimited disk space and bandwidth, a free SSL certificate, and 24/7/365 support. With a 99.9% uptime guarantee, some plans have no restrictions on the number of websites or email accounts, but the standout feature is its WordPress optimization.
StableHost also includes free domains for the first year and is renowned for its exceptional customer service. You can anticipate a response from the support team within 20 minutes, around the clock.
Each plan comes with 24/7/365 email and chat support. Its Platinum plan also comes with VIP support.
StableHost has a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
Who should use it:
Startups and new businesses will find StableHost to be a good choice as plans include everything you need to get your site up and running, as well as extras that businesses need such as free business email.
Bluehost is among the most sought-after web hosting providers available. While it may not be the most inexpensive option on our list, it is a well-rounded web host that provides almost everything most businesses need to construct and operate a professional website. Its plans begin at $2.95 per month with a 36-month commitment and renew at $9.99 per month. These plans include a free domain name and SSL certificate, as well as a user-friendly website builder that rivals popular site builders like Wix and Squarespace.
Access customer support 24/7/365 via phone or live chat.
Bluehost doesn’t mention an uptime guarantee, but states most issues are resolved within 15 minutes.
Who should use it:
Bluehost is a top web host for businesses that are looking for a good all-around web hosting service for WordPress.
DreamHost is widely acknowledged as one of the top web hosting providers for its competitively priced, feature-rich plans that include all the essential elements needed to construct and manage a WordPress website. Plans start as low as $2.59 per month and include all the necessary resources for creating and managing a website.
The Shared Starter plan begins at $2.95 per month with annual billing and renews at $6.99 per month following the promotional period. It comes with a free domain name (with private registration), a free SSL certificate, one-click WordPress installation, free business email that uses your custom domain, and world-class technical support to assist you with all your WordPress-related questions and requirements.
DreamHost offers 24/7/365 customer support via live chat and email.
DreamHost has a 100% uptime guarantee.
Who should use it:
DreamHost is one of the best cheap hosting service providers for those who are new to WordPress as it offers some of the best technical support in the industry.
Namecheap is recognized as a prominent web hosting provider and domain name registrar, renowned for its competitive pricing. With a 12-month contract, plans begin at $1.58 per month and renew at $4.48 per month, providing 20GB of storage, unmetered bandwidth, free SSL certificates, a user-friendly website builder, and 24/7 technical support. It stands out as a top choice for users who require hosting for multiple sites, such as businesses with multiple locations or brands, as even the most economical plan comes with hosting for up to three sites. Additionally, Namecheap offers some of the most affordable VPS hosting plans available, starting at less than $7 per month.
Namecheap offers 24/7 support via live chat.
Shared plans receive a one-day service cycle prolongation for each hour its service is down.
Who should use it:
Since Namecheap’s cheapest plan includes hosting for up to three websites, it’s the ideal solution for those hosting multiple sites on a budget.
Upon signing a 36-month contract, plans begin at $2.95 per month and will increase to $10.95 per month when renewed. These plans consist of a free CDN, a free SSL certificate, unlimited databases, 50GB of storage, a Softaculous WordPress installer, and free nightly backups. Moreover, it also includes up to 50 free email accounts using your own domain name for businesses in need of professional email services without additional cost.
Access GreenGeeks live chat 24/7/365. You can also email support and get a response within 15 to 20 minutes, or call Monday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. ET.
GreenGeeks has a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
Who should use it:
GreenGeeks is a good web hosting service for businesses that want peace of mind, with its nightly backups and performance-improving CDN at no extra charge. Its Earth-friendly initiatives such as a 300% green energy match are a nice bonus to feel good about too.
MilesWeb is an affordable hosting provider that offers plans starting at just $0.75 per month with a 36-month contract. While the plans are limited to 1GB of storage and unlimited bandwidth, they are ideal for basic business websites that need a simple online presence. One of the advantages of MilesWeb is that they don’t increase the price upon renewal, so you can enjoy a low rate forever. However, it may not be suitable for e-commerce sites or websites with large amounts of content.
MilesWeb offers 24/7/365 support via email and live chat.
Its uptime guarantee is 99.95%.
Who should use it:
Businesses with simple, informational websites that need a web presence at an ultra-affordable price.
HostGator is a well-known web hosting provider that offers a wide range of features, including unlimited storage, bandwidth and domains, as well as a free SSL certificate. However, there is a file limit of 250,000. HostGator’s plans also come with unlimited email addresses and 24/7 support, and a 30-day money-back guarantee is available. Keep in mind that if you cancel your account after registering a free domain through HostGator, you will be charged a fee to keep your domain. Renewal fees vary depending on the length of your contract, but a three-year term will cost an affordable $6.95 per month.
Each HostGator plan comes with 24/7/365 live chat and phone support.
HostGator offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
Who should use it:
Businesses or individuals who already have a live website, but are looking for a new web host.
For entrepreneurs who have experience building websites, MochaHost is a great choice. It provides various features, including unlimited storage and bandwidth, as well as a free SSL certificate that is necessary for accepting online payments.
Moreover, MochaHost offers a 100% uptime guarantee, 24/7 support, and free website transfers. Its most notable feature is the LifeTime Discount Guarantee, which allows you to lock in a discounted renewal rate for life when you select a three-year package.
With MochaHost, access customer support 24/7, as well as its knowledge base and step-by-step interactive tutorials. Support is available via live chat, ticket and phone.
MochaHost has a 100% uptime guarantee.
Who should use it:
Web-savvy entrepreneurs who don’t need a lot of help getting their website up and running.
In our search for the top affordable web hosting services of 2023, we considered several factors, such as price, features, uptime, and customer support. We analyzed various features like storage, bandwidth, term length, response time, and the inclusion of a free domain name. After gathering this data, we evaluated real customer reviews to determine whether the services delivered on their marketing promises.
Here’s a quick glance at the various factors we considered in our evaluation:
- Pricing, including pricing for introductory rates and renewal rates
- Key features, such as storage and bandwidth
- Freebies and inclusions, such as a free domain, SSL certificate and business email
- Customer reviews
- Money-back guarantees
- Uptime guarantees
- Number of sites
- Customer support
Typically, hosting plans should be priced at a few dollars per month, come with 24/7 support, offer a money-back guarantee, provide an uptime guarantee, and include domain names, preferably for free or at a very low cost.
What Is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is a service that offers servers to businesses and individuals to store their website and associated data, such as images, documents, videos, and more. These servers are connected to the internet, allowing users to access their website online. Hosting companies typically provide an interface and technical support to manage the server, relieving users of any technical burdens.
How Does Web Hosting Work?
Web hosting involves storing a website’s data on a server that is accessible via the internet. Visitors can access the data by visiting the website. The hosting company provides a user-friendly interface and technical support to manage the server’s complex components, relieving the users of any technical burden.
Furthermore, the hosting company maintains and updates the server, ensuring its smooth and efficient operation. They also provide security measures to protect the data against malicious attacks, and may offer additional services such as domain name registration, email hosting, and SEO support.
How To Choose the Best Cheap Web Host
When selecting the best web hosting provider for your website, whether it’s cheap or not, there are several factors to consider. Our list of the top affordable web hosting companies emphasizes the monthly fee, contract terms, and overall value.
Unlimited vs. Unmetered Storage and Bandwidth
Web hosting services often switch between using “unlimited” or “unmetered” to describe their storage and bandwidth offerings, but the difference between the two is often unclear. By reading the fine print in the Terms and Conditions of each host, you can usually find the answer.
Unlimited storage may come with conditions, such as limitations on resource usage if you are on a shared server with other users. If you exceed these limits, the hosting company may ask you to remove files from your site.
On the other hand, unmetered bandwidth typically means that the hosting company is not closely monitoring your site’s visitor numbers. However, if your traffic goes beyond a certain threshold, such as 300,000 visitors in a month, the host may ask you to upgrade to a virtual private server (VPS).
Companies Can Change Terms
Although a web host may initially promise 100% uptime, unlimited storage, or low monthly fees, their terms can change at any time. To ensure that the host remains a good fit for your website’s needs, it’s important to carefully review any changes to their policies.
Web hosts often advertise an uptime between 99.90% to 100%, but the 0.10% difference matters. Uptime guarantees do not cover scheduled maintenance downtime, so if a web host informs you of scheduled downtime, it doesn’t count towards their uptime. However, unplanned downtime can be costly for web hosts because they may need to provide free months of service to their customers.
If your website experiences 99.90% uptime, it could result in approximately 44 minutes of downtime each month. In comparison, 99.99% uptime would only result in around four minutes of downtime per month.
Does Server Location Matter?
The geographical location of a server can affect the speed of a website for certain users. For instance, if you operate a bakery in Chicago, the majority of your site visitors are probably local, hence it would be beneficial to choose a web host with servers located in the central United States to ensure faster loading times. However, server location should not have an impact on search engine optimization (SEO) and consequently, it should not affect your search engine ranking. Nevertheless, some professionals have different opinions and think that server location might have an effect on rankings.
When reviewing web hosting policies, you may come across the term “inodes”. Inodes are data structures that contain all the attributes of a file, such as the file name, permissions, and the time of the last change. While some web hosting companies may not limit storage, they may limit the number of inodes allowed (for example, HostGator has an inode limit of 100,000 for shared plans).
Types of Web Hosts
Web hosting services come in different types to suit different website needs. These include:
Shared Hosting: This is the most common type of web hosting where your website shares server resources with other websites. Shared hosting plans are cost-effective, but they have some limitations such as lower server resources and slower speeds.
VPS Hosting: This is a step up from shared hosting, where your website still shares server resources with other websites, but with fewer websites than shared hosting. VPS hosting plans often offer more server resources, such as CPU cores, RAM and storage space.
Cloud Hosting: With cloud hosting, your website is hosted on a network of servers, offering greater flexibility and scalability than other types of web hosting.
Dedicated Hosting: This is the most expensive type of web hosting, but it offers the greatest flexibility and resources. With dedicated hosting, your website is hosted on its own server, giving you more control over the server resources and the ability to customize the server to your specific needs.
Premium vs. Affordable Web Hosts
Premium web hosts typically provide advanced features such as unlimited storage, bandwidth, and email accounts, along with better performance and security. However, these features usually come at a higher price point.
In contrast, affordable web hosts generally offer more basic features, such as shared hosting, which is less expensive but may not provide the same level of performance and security. However, if your website does not require the extra features, an affordable web host can be a viable and cost-effective option.
Watch Out for Changing Terms
Make sure to carefully review the terms and conditions of any web hosting company before signing up. Companies may make changes to their policies over time, and these changes could affect your website. For instance, a company could alter its policy on unlimited storage and bandwidth to impose restrictions on how much storage and bandwidth you can use.
Moreover, some companies may amend their terms to give themselves the right to raise prices after you have already subscribed to their services. Therefore, it’s important to read the terms and conditions attentively and stay alert for any modifications that may be introduced.
When selecting a web hosting provider, it’s essential to consider their customer support. If you encounter an issue with your website, you’ll want to contact customer support to get it resolved quickly.
To gauge a hosting company’s customer support, read reviews from previous customers, and try contacting them with a question before signing up. Look for a provider with 24/7 customer support availability, so you can get assistance when you need it. Furthermore, check that the provider offers various support channels, such as phone, email, and live chat, to give you options when contacting them.