Website Hosting Costs: A Breakdown (2024)

There’s no such thing as a website without a web host—but the best web hosting costs money. From personal vanity sites to multimillion-dollar online stores and everything in between, there’s a wide range of hosting needs depending on what you want to achieve with your website. 

All web hosting plans have different features and price points. Some offer plug-and-play hosting and website design, while others offer technical innovations to deal with high-traffic surges. Knowing which one will work best for you and your business can save you money and tech-induced headaches. 

Read on for information that will help you determine the best web hosting cost and provider for your needs. 

How much does web hosting cost?

Web hosting costs as little as $2 to $5 per month. Most users should expect to pay between $5 and $50 per month, depending on their needs. Enterprise users may pay far more, depending on factors like storage and site traffic volume. 

Hosting Plan Hosting Cost Range (USD/month)
Shared hosting $5 to $20
WordPress hosting $2 to $10
Dedicated hosting $80 to $500
VPS hosting $20 to $90
Cloud hosting $50 to more than $2,000

What goes into web hosting pricing?

Your web hosting costs will depend largely on the features you need. For example, a cloud hosting plan with RAM and CPU dedicated to your website will cost more than shared hosting, where you share those processing resources with other hosted websites.

Considerations that go into calculating your web hosting costs include: 

  • Hosting plan features. Access to tools to help create your website and 24/7 support will cost more overall. You’ll also pay more for features like higher bandwidth and storage space.
  • Contract period. The duration of your hosting agreement impacts price. For example, a monthly plan is generally more expensive than a yearly plan. Multiyear plans often are the most cost-effective in terms of monthly rates, but require long-term commitment. 
  • Type of hosting service. You can opt for either managed hosting or self-managed hosting services. Managed hosting covers the setup, configuration, and maintenance of your website. That option will cost more than self-managed hosting services, which make you responsible for all server management tasks.
  • Server location. The location of the server hosting your website also influences costs. Servers in heavily populated areas, like Tokyo, may be more expensive due to operational costs and demand. You may choose to have your server closer to your target audience to reduce network latency and improve load times. 

Types of web hosting

Not all hosting solutions are built the same, and each has its own advantages that depend on what you’re trying to achieve with your website. Nearly all web hosting options out there fall into one of four primary categories. If you can identify which category makes the most sense for your own needs, then you’re that much closer to finding the right web hosting provider.

Shared hosting plan

A shared hosting plan lets multiple websites use a single server. You’ll likely never know which sites you’re sharing resources with, but the nature of this arrangement is that multiple sites share the infrastructure in order to be accessible to the internet-using public. Companies that offer shared web hosting have often invested in large server farms that store and transmit their client’s website data.

Shared hosting is a popular form of hosting because it is consistently affordable and user-friendly. A basic website builder and other bespoke tools often are available from shared hosting providers, so you can achieve whatever you need. The best providers will also offer you a human support staff to have your back whenever your site encounters issues.

All that said, shared hosting is not without its drawbacks. Once a website achieves a certain level of traffic or server load, its performance and loading times will inevitably suffer. That’s because those hosting resources are shared across every website using that particular hosting provider. As a site successfully scales its operation on a shared hosting provider, it might need to look elsewhere to find a better solution that won’t sacrifice performance.

Shared hosting costs: Shared hosting starts from around $5 per month, and may run as high as $20 per month depending on the level of service you require.

WordPress hosting plan

The open-source software platform WordPress accounts for an outsized portion of the internet. Some 43% of the internet runs on this technology. WordPress has been a heavy hitter in internet content publishing for more than 10 years, forming the backbone for all sorts of websites—from casual personal blogs to for-profit media businesses to ecommerce shops. However, WordPress is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Some business processes may not be compatible with this infrastructure, so do your research to check if WordPress is the right solution for your unique needs.

Many shared hosting plans offer WordPress installation plug-ins that make it easy to use free WordPress software in conjunction with any web host. If you go this route, you’ll incur whatever costs are associated with shared hosting, plus some providers may charge a one-time or recurring fee for using their system to rapidly install WordPress. Always do your homework to parse the fine print of the provider’s hosting costs.

WordPress hosting costs: You can expect to pay around $10 per month for a WordPress hosting plan.

Dedicated hosting

With dedicated hosting, you have full control over the server’s resources and configurations. Your hosting provider leases you an entire physical server that you don’t share with anyone else, so you can use all its resources exclusively for your website.

In comparison to other hosting options, this solution offers the best performance, security, and stability. It’s perfect for websites that need specific server configurations and advanced security measures. With a dedicated hosting plan, you get an unparalleled degree of control, so you can even make your own software and apps. 

Hosting on a dedicated server is faster and handles high traffic volumes without impacting performance. But keep in mind that it’s also one of the more expensive options and requires more technical knowledge, so it may be best for more tech-savvy users.

Dedicated hosting costs: Entry-level dedicated servers can cost as low as $70 per month. Enterprise-grade servers can easily run past $1,000 per month, depending on the provider and your needs.

Virtual private server (VPS) hosting

VPS hosting is about using virtualization technology to provide you with your own set of private resources on a server that has multiple users. The technicals go like this: Your hosting provider installs a virtual layer on top of the server’s operating system, partitioning the server in such a way that every individual user gets to install their own operating system and software. 

This solution is markedly more secure and stable than shared hosting. It’s a good choice of hosting service for websites that are beginning to outgrow their shared hosting resources but don’t need the resources of a dedicated server. 

VPS hosting plans offer accessibility similar to if you had a dedicated server, but at a much lower cost. The websites hosted on this category of shared server can never interfere with the others, and it easily scales to accommodate higher-traffic websites. At the same time, much like dedicated hosting, VPS hosting is a more expensive route and more technically involved than other options.

VPS hosting costs: A tiered plan in this arena will cost $20 to $90 per month. 

Cloud web hosting

Cloud web hosting effectively decentralizes your hosting solution using a collection of virtual and physical servers that act as the host. This protects your site from surges in traffic and spikes in demand for your data. Cloud hosting gets its name because it uses remote cloud resources, like a privately owned network of high-performance computers, to deliver websites and internet applications to whomever seeks them.

Whereas most other hosting solutions store data centrally on a single server, cloud hosting sees multiple instances of that data deployed across multiple servers. Given this structure, cloud hosting may sometimes also be referred to as “cluster server hosting.”

The major advantages of cloud hosting include: 

  • High availability. This refers to how easily the provider can recover from a server failing. With cloud hosting, your website is more likely to remain up and functional, even if one or more servers fail. 
  • Traffic load balancing. This refers to maintaining harmony between the amount of traffic heading to a site and the amount of infrastructure that supports it. You might imagine a highway that magically adds lanes to itself during rush hour and shrinks down during less busy times—that’s what traffic load balancing refers to in a cloud hosting paradigm. Since cloud resources can be dynamically allocated, cloud hosting can easily support site scalability.
  • Enhanced security. This refers to the protections offered by cloud hosting’s many redundancies. If something goes wrong, whether by accident or as the result of a malicious cyberattack, there are multiple copies of the data stored on different servers that can act as backup. 

Cloud hosting costs: For all those advantages, cloud hosting comes with one major downside: It’s the most expensive option, with a tiered plan starting around $50 per month and going up from there.

Top web hosting providers

Feature Shopify HostGator Bluehost InMotion Hosting A2 Hosting SiteGround
Starting price $29 per month, billed annually $2.75 per month $2.95 per month $2.29 per month $2.99 per month $2.99 per month
Renewal price Same as the starting price $6.95 per month $11.99 per month $8.99 per month $12.99 per month $17.99 per month
Standout features Unlimited products, multichannel selling, high-converting checkout Free domain for first year, free website transfer Free domain for first year NVMe SSD drives for fast performance Free site migration, enhance security with HostGuard Free email migrator, ecommerce enabled
Storage limit Unlimited Unlimited 10 GB 10 GB 100 GB 10 GB
Website builder Yes Yes Yes, through WordPress Yes Yes Yes
Money-back guarantee 3-day free trial 30 days 30 days 30 days Most plans have 90 days 30 days
Free SSL certificate Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Free business email No No No Yes Yes Yes
Uptime guarantee 99.9% 99.9% No No 99.9% No

Notice that many of these plans have a low intro fee of around $3. Then, the hosting costs increase when you renew. These prices reflect the basic plans for each host, but prices can vary depending on if you upgrade to a premium plan with more features.

Shopify’s price starts higher because it’s part of a complete ecommerce package. This package comes with a free domain name, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited email forwarding, and more. Basically, with Shopify, you get everything you need to sell online from day one. 

Want a breakdown of the leading ecommerce web hosting services and their hosting costs? Check out 9 Best Ecommerce Hosting Solutions in 2024.

How much should you spend on hosting?

Choosing how much to spend on a web host means looking at a few key factors related to your website.

Factors to consider in web hosting costs include: 

  • Traffic volume: Estimate your current and expected traffic. Higher-traffic websites require more resources.
  • Budget: Decide how much you can comfortably spend. Factor in monthly or yearly costs and any increase as your site grows. 
  • Storage and bandwidth: Make sure your provider can handle your website’s files, databases, and emails. Look for plans that allow easy upgrades without downtime or hassle.
  • Technical expertise: Managed hosting options can be more expensive but require less technical know-how.

Here are a few different web hosting scenarios to consider:

Type of Site Traffic Budget Recommended Plan
Personal blog Low $3 to $5 per month Shared hosting
Small ecommerce website Moderate $20 to $40 per month Shared or VPS hosting
Scaling ecommerce site High $100 to $200 per month Dedicated hosting

Hosting costs FAQ

Are hosting costs charged annually or monthly?

Depending on your hosting provider, hosting costs can be charged either monthly or annually. Providers also typically offer a discounted rate on annual hosting fees, since it guarantees you’ll be using their service for a full year.

How much does web hosting cost a month?

The price varies depending on the type of web hosting and the range of services being provided. Shared hosting typically costs between $5 and $20 a month, virtual private server (VPS) hosting typically costs $20 to $40 per month, and cloud web hosting costs typically start at $50 per month and go higher depending on a client’s needs.

How much does email hosting cost?

Email hosting is a separate service from web hosting but can be included in a web host’s services. It typically costs $1 to $15 per month, but the cost can vary depending on the email hosting provider you’re using and whether they offer other services.

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