Web hosting sites vary a great deal. In terms of the prices they charge and the services they offer.
Some offer a blend of cheap website hosting services. While others, focus on specific platforms or they cater for certain file types. Such as image and video.
This page covers the first type. In detail.
It also includes a short list of web hosting sites for WordPress, blog and ecommerce website projects.
Visit our hosting sites guide for lists of, and information about, other Internet hosts.
Best Cheap Website Hosting Services
Web hosts tend to package their services as a range of plans. ‘Starter’, ‘Business’ and ‘Pro’ are common names you are likely to come across.
However, before you get to the point where you are ready to choose a plan, you need to understand that there are different types of underlying server setup.
Understanding the main differences between these server setups and their main benefits is critical to getting a good deal AND finding the best host for your website.
Cheap Shared Web Hosting
With this type of plan, your website will be hosted on a single web server with many others. You essentially share the software, hardware, capacity and performance of the server with other users. This includes sharing things like the CPU, disk space and RAM.
For the most part, this tends to be the very cheapest web hosting option. It is best suited to small personal projects rather mission critical business use. Mainly because the speed and availability of your site can be affected by other users who may be consuming high amounts of resources.
Best Cheap VPS Hosting
A VPS is a step up from sharing a server with other users. With VPS web hosting, your website lives in its own virtual environment. You get to choose the amount of RAM, processing capacity and disk space available to your virtual server AND only you will be able to use it.
There are no software limitations either. You can install software of your choosing. For example, you could choose to run Nginx or Lightspeed web server software rather than Apache.
Pricing is very affordable for a low spec, entry-level VPS. Expect to pay from $5 USD (around £5 GBP) per month. The downside is that you need more technically abliity. The responsibility for installing, updating and managing server software and security in your hands, rather than those of your web host.
Best Cloud Hosting Providers
If you have no interest in having technical responsibility, then using a cloud host is worth thinking about. Cloud hosting is like the shared type. The main difference is that your host stores and serves your website from a pool of web servers, rather than one standalone machine.
This means that the speed of your site is less likely to be affected by other website owners. When resources begin to approach unsatisfactory levels, web hosts can simply add more servers to the pool.
If you are starting out, it makes sense to begin with a low-spec combination of RAM, CPU cores and disk space. As your needs change, you can change your combination (up OR down) to suit. This gives you the option to manage the amount you spend on hosting per month.
Dedicated Server Web Hosting
For larger projects, and those that require higher levels of privacy and security, the only serious option to consider may be dedicated server web hosting. Essentially, this involves having a server that is dedicated to your use alone.
You are responsible for software installation, updates and security, but the hardware is usually supplied and managed for you by your hosting company. One exception to this is Colocation hosting. Where you run servers, that you own, in a data centre managed by your service provider.
Clearly you need technical knowledge for both these options. So do not choose theme lightly.
Expect to pay a minimum of $30 USD (£30 GBP) per month for the cheapest (managed) dedicated hosting plans.
All of the hosts above provide self-service solutions. Essentially, they provide you with web space and other hosting account features that allow you to host any kind of web application you like.
However, a slew of application specific hosts have emerged in the industry. They specialise in providing everything you need to operate things like a WordPress blog or an ecommerce shopping cart.
Website builders are another type of application hosting that has become popular in recent years. In fact, several of the best web hosting sites listed above have a website builder solution of some sort.
There are also a growing number of websites that ONLY offer hosted, drag and drop, website builder solutions without the need for using FTP. Which is worth considering if you are not technically inclined.
Short list of the best web hosting sites for applications:
- WordPress: SiteGround, Bluehost, WPEngine
- Ecommerce: Shopify, BigCommerce, Volusion (14/15 day free trials available)
- Blog: WordPress.com (free), Blogger (free), TypePad
- Website Builders: Wix (free), SquareSpace, Weebly (free)