Shared Hosting is where your websites share the server resources (server memory, CPU power, bandwidth, etc) with other websites. It is the most cost-effective to host a website today. More than 90% of individual hosts their domain and sites on a shared hosting plan.
Some companies give out free domain (usually for 1st year) to new customers but that shouldn't be your main consideration factor. A .com domain costs just $10 – $15/year – don't let that affects your buying decision.
Cheap hosting deals don't always stay cheap. Many companies lure customers in with cheap prices, and then jack up the renewal fee two or three years later. Many of these companies lose money during the first two or three years they have a customer, so they charge the higher prices later to recoup their losses. It's also important to look at the renewal price when you signup.
When choosing a web host, you should also look past your current website needs and consider if a host can support future needs. For example, if your site grows in popularity, can you easily move on to more powerful options such as VPS hosting?
Thanks to various factors, web hosting providers can now offer more for less. This means more flexibility and choice for consumers like you and me.
Today most shared hosting plans are cheaper than $5/mo. For those who are new or hosting simple sites with low resource demands – inexpensive shared hosting is an ideal launch point.
Hostinger offers a wide variety of hosting services, ranging from the advanced with VPS cloud hosting plans to beginners who just want to get started with a cheap shared hosting.
Hostinger's cheapest plan – “Single” is priced at $1.39/mo. At the price of slightly more than a dollar, you get to host 1 website with 30 GB SSD disk space and 100 GB bandwidth – which is adequate for about 10,000 visits monthly.
For higher tier shared hosting – Premium ($2.59/mo) and Business Plan ($3.99/mo), you'll get more storage space, bigger site hosting capacity, innovative features like advance cron jobs, GIT access, free Google Adwords credits, unlimited databases, and free dedicated SSL – stuffs that you don't usually get from a budget hosting plan.
As mentioned in my Hostinger review – I think Hostinger is a great choice for those who are looking one-stop cheap hosting solution – in particular newbies who are just starting out.
Hostinger does bring a lot to the table – from fantastic pricing to a wide range of server locations and excellent customer supports. These advantages do come at some sacrifice though – such as the lack of migration assistance and some minor SSL headaches. Of course, you’ll also have to content with plan renewal price hikes, but that’s quite typical with low cost hosting providers.
Solid hosting uptime – Uptime > 99.98%
Reasonable speed performance, server responses in 200ms – 400ms range
Flexible hosting options – Host with different types of hosting and control panels
Heavy discount during signup, “Single” plan start at just $1.39/mo
All shared plans optimized for best WordPress performance (LSCWP)
Newbie-friendly: Smooth on-boarding process & easy to use hPanel
Choices of data centers in three continents
Wide range of payment options including PayPal, Google Pay, and crypto currencies
Self-deemed a easy-to-use cheap hosting provider, InterServer specializes in shared, VPS, dedicated, and co-location hosting solutions.
Interservers offer all-in-one shared hosting at very cheap price – $2.50 per month cheap to be exact. Included in this is unlimited site hosting, LiteSpeed-powered server, free weekly backups, cron jobs support, and excellent in-house technical support.
Two things I like the most about InterServer's cheap hosting plan:
You don't have to subscribe for long term to enjoy Interserver's discounted price – InterServer shared hosting plans is priced at $5/mo for 12 months subscription and $2.50/mo for 1 months subscription, and
They allow users to host unlimited domains at their budget plan (most budget plans we discuss in this article allow only one domain per account)
These two factors made InterServer the easy choice when you plan to host multiple (low traffic) websites in one account.
Quick Review: What I Think of Interserver
I started using InterServer since 2013 and visited the company HQ at Secaucus, New Jersey in 2016. Their server performance was rock solid and technical supports are superb (all done by in-house staffs).
A2 Hosting is fast, reliable, and cheap. Their shared hosting comes in three flavors – Lite, Swift, and Turbo.
Lite, the cheapest plan of all, allows users to host 1 website, 5 databases, and 25 email accounts.
You wouldn't know Lite is a budget plan by looking at its features: Full SSD storage, SSH access, Rsync, FTP / FTPS, Git and CVS ready, Node.js and Cron support, and pre-configured for best WordPress performance (using in-house built WP plugin – A2 Optimized). All these for $2.99 a month.
Founded in 2006 by Trey Gardner, GreenGeeks has benefited from his extensive experience in several large hosting companies. Today, Trey and his experienced core team of professionals have built GreenGeeks into a healthy, stable and competitive company.
The company’s roots lie in North America and has served over 35,000 customers with more than 300,000 websites. As an eco-friendly company, it has dedicated itself to leaving a positive energy footprint and replaces used energy with triple the energy credits that are used.
But that's not all – On top of being environmental friendly, GreenGeeks is also very budget friendly. Their all-in-one, 300% green shared hosting plan costs $2.49/mo during signup.
For first time customers, TMD shared plan starts at $2.95/mo – a 60% price cut from the standard renewal price. The company has been around for over 10 years and has four data centers spread across the United States and an overseas data center in Amsterdam.
We’ve recently were given a free account by TMDHosting so we decided to put the hosting provider to the test. Turn out – the budget host is not bad at all.
InMotion Hosting is old-school, reliable, features-rich, and affordable.
Their cheapest hosting plan – named “Lite”, starts at $2.49/mo. It allows users to host 1 website and comes with a free domain, SSH access, PHP 7 support, site backup and restore, full support in Cron and Ruby, as well as hack & malware protection. What's more – if you are a new users, folks at InMotion Hosting will help migrate your site for free.
Admittedly, InMotion Hosting does not offer the cheapest price in town, but they are the best hosting provider in overall based on my experience. I use InMotion Hosting personally and have collected years of record in InMotion Hosting uptime and speed test. To find out more, please check out my in-depth InMotion Hosting review here.
What I Think of InMotion Hosting
Solid server performance, uptime >99.95% TTFB ~400ms
Great product range – upgrade to VPS or dedicated plans in future
Free domain name for first year
Free (and auto installed) SSL in all shared plans
Good live chat and email support
Free site migration for first time customers
Entry level plans (Lite and Launch) packed with all necessary features to host a business website
90 days money back guarantee (industry's #1)
Hosting prices increase during renewal
Choice of server locations in United States only
Launch plan costs extra but allow to host 2 websites only – not suitable for users with many websites
Starting at a highly reasonably price of $3.95, $5.95, and $9.95 per month, ScalaHosting has a lot to offer in their shared hosting plans. Although it keeps true to the low-cost-hosting concept of most hosting providers, elsewhere it is generous. If you’re a newbie to website hosting this is an excellent place to start.
Scala's cheapest plan – Mini, costs $3.95/mo when you signup for 3 years. At this price, ScalaHosting gives all new users unlimited email accounts & databases, free website migration, domain name, and SSL. This alone would make it an extremely strong value-for-money proposition. Also included is a software installer, 7-day cycle of automated backups, and more.
Most importantly, there is a lot of room to grow at ScalaHosting. From their range of shared hosting plans, you can move on to their excellent managed Cloud VPS hosting plans as your website grows. The key differentiator of Scala's VPS plans against others is that they offer users the benefits of using SPanel on Digital Ocean or Amazon AWS cloud infrastructure. This makes for much better cost-effectiveness if you take into consideration that you’re on a managed plan.
ScalaHosting – Not that Cheap but Really Good
Some of what I like and dislike about ScalaHosting include:
Excellent starting prices with guaranteed 1x CPU power and 50 GB storage
Free domain name for first year (save ~$15 a year)
Free SSL certificate for all websites in budget plans
Automated daily backup and data restoration for 7 days
Cloud VPS hosting powered by Digital Ocean and Amazon AWS infrastructure
Full range of hosting solution for upgrade – VPS, Dedicated and Managed WP plan
Prices increase after first term – Plans renew at range of $6.95/mo – $13.95/mo
HostPapa is founded in 2006 by by Jamie Opalchuk. Headquartered in Ontario, Canada – HostPapa is a popular names in some regions including Australia, Canada, and United States.
HostPapa cheapest hosting plan (named “Starter”) starts at $3.95 a month. For that price, you'll get a free domain, 100GB full SSD storage, and hosting capacity to host two websites and 100 email accounts. Higher-tier “Business” plan comes with better server power and more essential features and costs the same during signup ($3.95/mo); but it is pricier during renewal ($14.99 vs $9.99/mo).
FastComet is a rare gem in the hosting world. With a long list of useful features and low price tags – the web host is suitable for both newbies and advanced users.
A test site was setup at FastComet in early 2018 and we tracked their server performance for over a year. You can check out the results we got in this detail FastComet review.
FastComet cheapest hosting plan is incredibly low price at signup – their cheapest plan, FastCloud, costs only $2.95/month at signup. The plan comes with 15 GB SSD disk space, malware scan and report, free network firewall, SSH access, and daily backup.
FastComet Pros & Cons
Here's what I like and dislike about FastComet in a nutshell.
Solid server uptime results based on our tracking
Choice of 10 server locations
Generous server resources offer – Lowest plan able to accommodate up to 25,000 visits per month
Secured hosting environment with auto malware scanning
Daily backup included in all shared plans
Excellent live chat support based on my study on hosting company live chat system
45 days money back guarantee
Broke its price lock guarantee back in 2017
Only 7 days trial for VPS Cloud users
Private DNS not available for FastCloud users
Lack of caching mechanism for cheaper shared hosting plans
* Note: FastComet have adjusted their pricings multiple times in the past. For best accuracy, please check prices at FastComet.com.
Bluehost entered the web hosting market in 2003 and has been going strong since then. The Provo, Utah based company is well-recognized today and hosts over two million websites.
Unlike many other companies in today's hosting space, Bluehost does not officially disclose where their servers are hosted. Aside from a likely presence in Utah, little is really known and there are no options to select a location on sign-up.
Support is available via live chat, phone, and a ticketing system. Should you need more specialized assistance, Bluehost also has marketing consultants who can work with you on your needs.
BlueHost – Most Popular Cheap Hosting Choice
Excellent server performance based on my track record
Well recognized brands in hosting industry
Popular choice among bloggers – officially recommended by WordPress.org
Comprehensive self-help documents and video tutorials
Great for newbies – Helpful get-started emails when you signup
Flexibility – Upgrade to VPS and dedicated hosting later
How to Choose an Affordable & Reliable Host You Can Trust
What is a Cheap Web Host?
A cheap web host usually refers to shared hosting that cost less than $5 per month during signup and not more than $10 per month after first term.
Hosting prices have changed drastically over the last 10 – 15 years. In early 2000, a $8.95 per month package with basic features was considered cheap. Then the price dropped to $7.95, then $6.95, $5.95 per month, and then even lower in 2021.
When I first created this page – I was making a list of hosting deals below $10/month. But that is no longer relevant in today's hosting market. If you look at some of the lowest-priced offers I hand-picked above – you'll notice that today, some shared hosting services cost less than $2 per month.
Cheap price tag matter but there are also a number of factors you need to consider when choosing a cheap web hosting service. Let's look at other crucial factors when choosing a low-cost hosting.
1. Server Performance
A good budget host should comes with sufficient server resources to keep your site “up” at all times.
A slow and often “down” hosting affects your website user experience and Google rankings badly. This is why we emphasize so much on server uptime and response rate in our hosting reviews. No one should host their sites on a slow and unstable web host.
Some budget hosting companies tend to overload their capacity and host way too many websites in one server and this often lead to slow server response rate and frequent hosting down time.
Avoid this type of budget web host at all times!
When searching for a cheap hosting plan – look for providers that guarantee at least 99.9% hosting uptime. Once you have signed up to a new web host make sure you:
Test your server response rate (by looking at time-to-first-byte readings) using Webpage Test or Bitcatcha.
If your host performs badly – make sure you ask for a refund and switch web host.
2. Essential Hosting Features
Cheap or not – your hosting plan should comes with all the essential features that are needed to run your websites. This includes (but not limited to) basic server maintenance features, email services, easy installer for popular scripts, latest version of PHP and MySQL, after sales technical support, 99.9% server uptime, and reasonable server network speed.
Some budget hosting companies also provide regular server backup, auto malware scanning, additional dedicated IP as well as one-click Let's Encrypt SSL activation. These features are nice to have but they are like “bonus”. I can totally understand if hosting companies are charging users extra for malware scanning or backup-and-restore feature.
3. Options to Upgrade
There are different types of hosting servers available in market: Shared, VPS, dedicated, and cloud hosting. Hosting your websites with a provider that offer the full range solution will reduce the hassles to upgrade later.
4. After Sales Support
To cut operation costs, some cheap hosting companies run on outsourced customer support team and often fail to support their customers swiftly. The slow response times are not always due to a lack of caring. In some cases, cheap hosts simply don’t have enough technical staff members to attend to customers' support requests.
Sadly, there is not much we can do with a hosting company that runs on poor after-sales support.
For newbies who need extra support, it is best to avoid hosting companies with bad service. Talk with the support department before you place your order, ask related technical questions (such as inodes limits, CPU cycles, Ruby on Rails, etc) and judge their quality based on the responses.
For your reference, I did an undercover experiment and talked to 28 hosting companies (which many of them charge less than $5 per month and can be categorized as “cheap web host”) support in 2017 – see what I found out in this study.
5. Hidden Fees & Charges
Some cheap hosting service providers have suspicious business practices and unclear terms and conditions.
To avoid cheap hosting companies with questionable pricing policy, you are recommended to read ToS and check out genuine hosting reviews before purchase.
One way to quickly learn about a company's ToS is by visiting the host’s ToS page, press Ctrl + F, search for keyword like ‘cancellation’ and ‘refund’ and find out if the company has clear cancellation and refund policy. Some web host may charge $20 – $30 for domain registration and SSL certificate fees during cancellation – which is acceptable; but anything more than that is a no-go.
Bottom line: Look Beyond the Price Tags
The cheapest hosting deal might not be the best.
Also understand that “best” is always a relative term. There is never a fixed solution to one's web hosting needs.
Your ultimate goal is to select a cheap web host that is best for you.
And to achieve this goal you need to understand clearly what you need from your web host.
What kind of website are you building?
Do you want something common ?
Do you need Windows applications?
Do you need a special version of software (ie. PHP)?
Does your website need special software?
How big (or small) can the web traffic volume go?
What is your 12 (or 24) months budget for the website?
How much of this money should go into hosting?
For Beginners –
Pick a web host that you can afford for at least 2 years. Your site / blog may not make any money at all, particularly at first, so you want to be sure you don’t have to shut the blog down because of lack of funds.
You don't need expensive premium web hosting services for now. An affordable shared web host should be good enough for now. Just remember to check about space limitations and server uptime.
Right now you should focus on building useful content and growing your community. You should spend more on marketing and content. Get a good newsletter service and start building your email list, start social media marketing ads, get in touch with local bloggers and hire them to promote your blog, etc.
Ask questions about customer service and if they will help you understand running a website because you are new to blogging.
As part of your job now is to make sure your readers can navigate smoothly within your site/blog. You need a very reliable and fast web host.
You should track your site uptime and response speed with tools like Pingdom and Uptime Robot.
Monitor your blog memory usage and know your limit – once your blog hits 80% of the allocated memory (this the usual bottleneck you’ll first bump into with shared hosting), then it’s time to consider upgrading to VPS or cloud hosting.
The answer is $0. Although relatively rare, there are free web hosting offers like 000Webhost that come with subdomains (ie. mydomain.000webhost.com) that you can use to create and run a website for zero cost. There are, however, various limitations and risks involved with free hosting – if you can afford to pay $3 – $10 per month, I strongly recommend to you to go with a budget web host instead.
Who is the cheapest paid-hosting provider you recommend?
Hostinger shared hosting starts at $0.90 per month – they are the cheapest among top hosting providers. To evaluate Hostinger performance, I host a test site on their platform and publish uptime / speed data I collect here. You can read about my experience in this detailed Hostinger review.
What are the different types of hosting services?
There are four main types of web hosting are shared, virtual private server (VPS), cloud, and dedicated server hosting. Each offer varying degrees of performance, reliability, and security.
Where can I host a website for free?
Providers like Wix and 000Webhost offer free plans. However, many top web hosts also offer trial periods on reasonably-priced shared hosting and we recommend you try both to see the difference.
Is Wix really free?
Wix does indeed offer a limited free plan. However, this free plan comes with many drawbacks including not being able to link your custom domain and enforced Wix ads on your site.
Is WordPress hosting free?
The WordPress CMS itself is free to use and you can also use it for free on WordPress.com (with limitations).
Is free hosting good?
Free hosting is generally not suitable for long term use unless you're intending to run a very basic, low traffic volume website. Most websites will require more resources as they grow and it is not likely that free hosting will be able to accommodate that growth.
More Web Hosting Guide
We have also published a number of actionable guide and helpful hosting reviews for those who are searching for a web host.
Founder of WebHostingSecretRevealed.net (WHSR) - a hosting review trusted and used by 100,000's users. More than 15 years experience in web hosting, affiliate marketing, and SEO. Contributor to ProBlogger.net, Business.com, SocialMediaToday.com, and more.