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How Much Should You Expect to Pay for Web Hosting?

Web hosting prices are more competitive than ever. It’s even possible to find shared hosting plans for a few dollars per month. This begs the question: How much should you expect to pay for a quality web hosting plan?

While prices do vary from one plan to another, these differences are usually based on clear factors such as the type of hosting, the amount of resources you’re getting, and the number of supported sites. Therefore, it is possible to predict how much any given hosting plan should cost.

In this post, we’ll discuss some of the reasons hosting prices vary. We’ll then walk you through three real-world examples, to help you get a sense for how much you should expect to pay. Let’s get started!

Why Hosting Prices Vary From Plan to Plan

Starting up a new website doesn’t have to be expensive. If you opt for a free platform like WordPress, there are only a few start-up costs to consider. These include paying for a domain name, and signing up for a hosting plan.

Finding the right hosting service and plan can be challenging as there are plenty of options to consider. What’s more, price is likely to play a major role in your decision, since website hosting varies widely in cost. These are some of the most crucial factors:

  • Type of plan. For example, shared hosting is usually the cheapest type of hosting, while dedicated plans are more expensive.
  • Number of sites. Hosting more than one site on the same plan will cost extra
  • Amount of resources. Different plans offer varying amounts of bandwidth and storage space.
  • Managed or unmanaged. If you want a managed hosting plan, you’ll usually pay more than you would for unmanaged hosting.
  • Extra features. Hosting plans frequently offer additional features, which often affect their cost. These extras vary, but can include a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, Content Delivery Network (CDN), and more.

You can use this list of features to roughly predict how much a given hosting plan might cost. In short, the more sites, resources, features, and extras you’re after, the more you’ll pay. To illustrate, let’s look at some specific examples.

How Much You Should Expect to Pay for Web Hosting (3 Case Studies)

In the following sections, we’ll take a look at three example scenarios. For each one, we’ll set up a hypothetical (but common) situation, and discuss what kind of hosting you’d want to look for and how much it would likely cost.

1. A First-Time Website Owner

Let’s imagine that you’re building your very first website, such as a basic blog or personal portfolio. Either way, it won’t be very big, and you don’t expect a lot of traffic, at least not initially.

For this website, a basic hosting plan should be sufficient. You won’t require a lot of space or resources, and you likely wouldn’t use many of the extra features offered by fancier plans. In fact, you’re probably best off with the simplest type of hosting – a shared plan:

Prices for A2 Hosting shared hosting plans.

Nearly every hosting provider offers shared hosting, and these plans are both popular and cheap. If you’re looking for a one-website shared plan, you can expect to pay under $10 per month. For instance, our own shared hosting is only $7.99 per month for the Lite plan if you pay for a year in advance.

2. A Growing Website

Now, let’s say you’re already running a moderately successful website. It could be a blog with a devoted readership, or a small to mid-sized online store. You may have started out with shared hosting, but you’re getting more traffic and using up more resources than your plan can handle.

In this scenario, you’ll want to upgrade to something more robust. In most cases, Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting is the logical next step. This gives you access to a virtual server that’s completely isolated, more resources, and often performance-enhancing extras.

What’s more, VPS hosting plans can be just as cheap as shared hosting if you’re willing to manage your own server. However, this will require a certain level of technical expertise and spare time. If you have both of those, you can get VPS hosting for as little as $5 per month:

Prices for A2 Hosting unmanaged hosting plans.

Of course, not everyone has the knowledge and experience needed to manage their own server. In that case, you’ll be better off with a managed plan – which we’ll address in the final case study.

3. A Busy Business Owner

This scenario posits that you’re a busy professional, running a business site or a thriving e-commerce store. You rely on your site to perform well consistently, but you lack the time and/or technical knowledge to make that happen yourself.

In that case, you’ll probably want a managed hosting plan, where your provider will take care of many vital tasks for you. These exact tasks will vary, but you typically won’t have to worry about optimizing your site, performing updates, creating backups, configuring your server, or keeping an eye on security.

These services can be incredibly helpful, but it also comes at a higher cost. You can find managed plans for just about every level of hosting – shared, VPS, dedicated, etc. – and you should expect to pay a premium for them. As an example, our managed VPS plans start at $49.99 per month:

Prices for A2 Hosting managed hosting plans.

For even more robust plans, such as dedicated hosting, the difference can be smaller. Our unmanaged dedicated hosting begins at $119.99 per month, while the managed version costs $169.99. If you’re running a site popular enough to need a dedicated server and you aren’t a developer, you’ll almost certainly want some help.

In the end, whether the cost of a managed plan is worthwhile depends on your needs and goals, especially if you’re making an income from your site. However, managed hosting can pay itself off quickly in saved time and convenience.

Conclusion

When it comes to website hosting, you have a lot of options. That’s good news, since it means you can find the level of service and resources you need for a reasonable price. Of course, it helps to have a baseline so you know what ‘reasonable’ is.

To get you started, we’ve gone through three scenarios and discussed how much you could expect to pay for hosting in each case:

  1. If you’re running a small, low-traffic site and only need basic shared hosting, this can cost less than $10 per month.
  2. For growing, high-traffic sites that require more resources and bandwidth, you can get unmanaged VPS hosting for as low as $5 per month.
  3. Business owners and non-developers can benefit from a managed plan, which should cost around $50 for VPS hosting, or closer to $200 for dedicated hosting.

Do you have any questions about how to choose the most cost-effective plan for your site? Ask away in the comments section below!

Image credit: Max Pixel.

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