Researching the best cheap web hosting makes sense — why pay for more than you need, or pay more for than you have to for the exact same thing? I can totally relate, and can help you find the best host for your budget.
A web host is a lot like a car. Any new car you buy can do essentially the same thing. It’ll turn on, it’ll get you from point A to point B. Web hosts are the same — they’ll all host your site, and lots of them will have similar uptimes and speeds, too. Like cars, some are more expensive than others and you can feel the difference. A Mazda is not a Maserati. They’re totally different. And the people who they’re best for are totally different. It’s the same with web hosts.
If you’re building a business on your website, I have one note of caution: do not pinch pennies that’ll lose you dollars. Yes, cash flow is important, but opportunity cost is important here, too. I recommend not wasting time you could be investing elsewhere chasing the cheapest option. The cheapest option may not be the best for you in the long run.
In this guide, I’ll help you figure out just how much hosting power and service you need, and what you should pay to get a good price on that level of service.
Quick guide to the best cheap web hosting providers
- WebHostFace from $0.69/month
After promotional pricing, you’ll jump to $6.90/month
- Namecheap from $1.29/month
I recommend buying your domain name here, but not hosting. It’s cheap here, but I like to get my hosting from a specialized hosting company.
- SiteGround from $3.95/month
Fantastic reputation and happy customers — my top pick
- DreamHost from $2.59/month
Cheapest managed WordPress hosting
- InMotion Hosting from $3.99/month
Best customer support
The first two in this list are the cheapest web hosts I’d recommend — they’re decent and they do the job, but they’re not what I’d use or recommend most people use.
Here’s why: the best web hosts don’t cost much more. My top picks for web hosts regardless of price — SiteGround, Dreamhost, and InMotion Hosting are all in the $3/month range. For the price jump, you’ll get a faster site, more customer support, and better security. If you’re launching a business that $36 annual difference is 100% without a doubt worth it.
So, what’s the best web host for you?
That boils down to a few questions:
- What does cheap mean to you?
- What do you need?
I recommend building your business on a quality host — the price difference isn’t worth it to me to sacrifice security, speed, SEO rankings, and conversions.
- Are you game to sign a multi-year contract?
You’ll get the best price on your first contract. When you renew you’ll be bumped off that promotional price, which is usually ridiculously discounted — sometimes 90% off — and onto regular pricing. Want to save money? Sign up for a longer initial contract. I sign up for the longest contracts I can, since I’m in in for the long haul.
Some of the best hosts are only $3/month, which is cheap to me. The cheapest decent hosts are less than $1/month.
If you know your website isn’t going to be complex or highly trafficked — maybe it’s a landing page for a 200-person event that’s going to be over in a few months — I recommend considering a free website builder first. You might be able to get what you need for no money at all. These things are surprisingly great: you can take off the branding, use your own domain, and the built-in templates look good.
If that’s not you — say, you want your site to live longer than a few months, or be visited by more than a few people — you do need hosting. Here’s where the Mazda vs. Maserati question comes into play: the absolute cheapest hosts cost under $1/month during the first contract promotional pricing, but they’re definitely more of a Mazda.
In-depth reviews of the best cheap web hosting providers
Shopping around for a great cheap web host isn’t all that different than looking for a great web host in general. As I reviewed these web hosts, I took more into consideration than just price.
Key features of the best web hosting plans
- Customer support: You want 24/7 live support and a robust, well-organized knowledge center.
- Storage and bandwidth: These are limitations on how big and heavy your website can be, and how much oomph you have to deliver that content to your visitors, before having to upgrade to a higher-tier plan.
- Migration: Free supported migrations are a nice-to-have if you are transferring an existing site to a new host (as opposed to launching a new website).
- Free trial: A money-back guarantee gives you the opportunity to really dig into customer support, as well backend features and usability. Longer is better, though most cheap web hosts offer only 30 days.
WebHostFace – Best for multi-year contracts
WebHostFace is relatively new to the web hosting scene and is making a name for itself with extremely low promotional pricing — we’re talking under a dollar a month. And because that promotional pricing is available on both short month-to-month contracts as well as big three-year contracts, you can get a lot of hosting for not much money. (That said, at about $7–10/month, its plans’ base rates aren’t all that “cheap.” Once you’re out of the promotional honeymoon, you’ll be paying more than with some of my top picks for hosting at any price point.)
Snapshot of the cheapest WebHostFace plan
- Promotional price: $0.69/month
- Regular price: $6.89/month
- Contract lengths: month-to-month (requires $9.95 setup fee), 1 year, 2 years, 3 years
- Domain registration (.com): $15/year
- Domain privacy: $11.95/year
- SSL: Free (provided by Let’s Encrypt)
- Storage: 15GB (SSD)
- Bandwidth: Unmetered
- Migration assistance: Free for 1 site
- Money-back guarantee: 30 days
- Uptime guarantee: Yes
- Support: Email and 24/7 live chat
Typically, I wouldn’t recommend a host that is only 5 years old: longevity is a good marker for quality. But for the rock-bottom price, I like WebHostFace’s free Let’s Encrypt SSL and one free assisted site migration. I also like that SSD disk space and CDN is included, which will give websites more optimized performance. There are hard caps on storage space — the cheapest plan tops out at 15GB, the next bigger caps at 20GB. That’s plenty of room for most websites, but something to keep in mind if your site is particularly big or complex.
WebHostFace’s super-cheap pricing comes from a 90%-off promotion that extends through your first contract, whether it’s one month or three years.
WebHostFace doesn’t offer any promotions or deals on domain registration. Like I said up top, I recommend registering with a separate domain registrar than your hosting company, and in this case, it makes extra sense. Domain registration through a provider like Namecheap will score you a better deal, and you’ll still get to take advantage of extremely low hosting costs.
Cost breakdown for hosting plus domain registration and domain privacy
Price for 1 year: $35
Price for 3 years: $106 ($35 per year)
Price for 5 years: $324 ($65 per year)
On the cheapest shared hosting plan and longest contracts, including registering a new .com domain and opting into domain privacy.
Cost breakdown for just hosting
Price for 1 year: $8
Price for 3 years: $25 ($8 per year)
Price for 5 years: $190 ($38 per year)
On the cheapest shared hosting plan and longest contracts.
Upgrading to WebHostFace’s middle tier (about $10/month) increases disk space and grants users SSH access. VPS is significantly cheaper than some of the competition, with plans starting as low as $10/month.
Namecheap – Best for monthly and annual contracts
Namecheap is best known as a domain registrar, but also offers budget hosting with a beautifully intuitive and easy-to-use backend, and a decent knowledge center. Like WebHostFace, it has caps on its storage (the cheapest plan offers 20GB). Unlike WebHostFace, its disk space is SSD-accelerated (as opposed to pure SSD). Not a problem for a simple, low-key website, but something to keep in mind if you’re afraid of sluggish speeds. Also unlike WebHostFace, it charges for an SSL certificate — not great, especially since it’s totally normal for lots of web hosts to include one for free.
Snapshot of the cheapest Namecheap hosting plan
- Month to month: $2.88
- Annually: $1.29/month for first year, then $2.57/month
- Contract lengths: month-to-month and 1 year
- Domain registration (.com): $8.88 for first year, then $12.98/year
- Domain privacy: Free
- SSL: $1.99 for first year, then 10.49/year (provided by Comodo PositiveSSL)
- Storage: 20GB (SSD-accelerated)
- Bandwidth: Unmetered
- Migration assistance: Free
- Money-back guarantee: 30 days
- Uptime guarantee: Yes
- Support: Email and 24/7 live chat
Namecheap plays hard in promotional pricing, with first-year discounts on everything from hosting to domain names to SSL certificates. It also offers only two contract lengths — month-to-month or one year — which means you aren’t going to score the mega deals that a host with multi-year contracts can offer. That said, the non-promotional price for its cheapest plan is comparatively low: under $3/month. (WebHostFace’s equivalent plan is nearly $7/month if you’re paying in full). If long-term contracts make you nervous, and you’d prefer to purchase hosting monthly or year-by-year, Namecheap is going to be the best deal.
There are two other things I appreciate about Namecheap hosting. The first is domain privacy is free for life if you register your domain with (or transfer it to) Namecheap. This is pretty rare — Dreamhost is one of the only other hosts that offers this add-on for free. Also, migration assistance is included at no cost, which is a nice-to-have if you’re looking for a new host for your existing site.
Namecheap displays total costs for a year, instead of monthly pricing like most other hosts.
Namecheap is my favorite domain registrar, and it’s the only one I’d even consider hosting a site with — despite it’s less-than-stellar specs. That said, if you’re comfortable paying for web hosting three years at a time, you’re going to get better site performance and more robust customer support for about the same price if you register your domain with Namecheap and host your site on DreamHost.
Cost breakdown for registering a domain and hosting a site with Namecheap
Price for 1 year: $26
Price for 3 years: $135 ($45 per year)
Price for 5 years: $244 ($49 per year)
On the cheapest shared hosting plan, assuming registering a new .com domain, opting into domain privacy, and purchasing an SSL certificate.
Cost breakdown for registering a domain with Namecheap and hosting a site with DreamHost
Price for 1 year: $56
Price for 3 years: $128 ($43 per year)
Price for 5 years: $249 ($50 per year)
On the cheapest shared hosting plan with the longest contracts, and assuming registering a new .com domain.
The next cheapest shared hosting plan jumps to about $5/month (or $52/year), and increases storage limits, email accounts, and some control panel features. Upgrading to VPS starts at $20/month.
Other cheap web hosting options I considered
1&1 Ionos — from $1/mo
1&1 Ionos offers big shared hosting plans (100GB) for a dollar a month for the first year before bumping up to $8/month. It also offers a sort of “pay for what you use” model when it comes to traffic — its cheapest plans can accommodate around 100 visitors/minutes. To be able to handle more, you can either pay $2/month per “performance level” (up to level 5) or upgrade to higher-tier plan.
Bluehost — from $4/mo
Bluehost is one of the most popular web hosts around — along with SiteGround and DreamHost, it’s one of WordPress’s three recommended web hosts. I like it, but don’t love it. For the same price (about $4/month for the first contract and then $8/month) you can go with InMotion, which offers similar specs, but better customer support, higher ratings, and a longer free trial. Bluehost does stand out for offering a five-year contract, though. InMotion caps out at two years.
FastComet — from $2.95/mo
FastComet offers cloud hosting for reasonable rates. It’s an interesting option for those looking for fast performance and dependable uptime, but isn’t the cheapest option out there. FastComet scales pricing with contract length: opt for a three-year contract, and you’ll get hosting for under $3/month, while month-to-month hosting runs about $6. I do appreciate that the renewal prices match the promo prices — with FastComet you won’t be surprised three years from now about your web hosting costs suddenly increasing.
Hostgator — from $2.75/mo
Hostgator is another extremely popular host with decent pricing under $3, especially if you sign up during a good sale and lock into a nice, long, three-year contract. Like Bluehost, though, its technical specs are similar to InMotion’s and for available for a similar price: about $7/month after the promo wears off. I prefer InMotion.
Hostinger — from $0.80/mo
Hostinger is the closest contender to a runner-up for great cheap web hosting. It’s not quite as cheap as WebHostFace, though, plus its plans are smaller (10GB) and it only includes a free SSL on its highest tier of shared hosting. A couple of things I do like, though: one free site migration, and the promise of a 24-hour turnaround on all help tickets.
iPage — from $1.99/mo
iPage is a budget sister provider to popular web hosts Hostgator and Bluehost, and stands out for offering only one shared hosting plan at deep discounts for its long-term contracts: hosting for under $2/month for three years before it bumps up to around $7–10/month. That’s cheap, but you can do better with both Namecheap and WebHostFace, especially considering storage isn’t SSD and migrating a site will run you a whopping $150.
How the best web hosts compare to the best cheap web hosts
When I reviewed the best web hosts for small businesses, three shared hosting providers stood out with reputations for excellent customer support and even better performance. If you have growth goals for your website, I think one of these hosts is worth the additional expense. In some cases, that expense might not end up being all that extravagant: these providers also deal in promotional pricing and free add-ons.
SiteGround — Best reputation
SiteGround has a glowing reputation and the performance to back it up — it’s typically one of the first hosts to introduce new and developing technology to its shared hosting customers. If you’re looking for excellent web hosting, you’ll be very happy with SiteGround. If you’re looking for the ultimately cheapest hosting, it’s not the winner. At around $4/month, its promotional pricing is on par with lots of other web hosts. But after your initial contract (either one, two, or three years) that price triples to $12/month. I still think it’s the best choice for almost everyone.
DreamHost — Cheapest managed WordPress hosting
DreamHost isn’t my favorite web host ever. It has enough little quirks — like a custom, non-universal control panel and phone support you have to pay to use — to keep it out of our top slot for lots of small businesses. But, when you compare it to “cheap” web hosts, it’s a stellar deal, especially considering even its lowest-tier shared hosting plan has managed WordPress hosting built right in.
On top of that, DreamHost provides a free SSL and free domain privacy (if you choose to register your domain through DreamHost), and it offers a massive 97-day money-back guarantee. There’s no promotional pricing with DreamHost either, which means you can get 50GB of storage and unlimited traffic for under $3/month, if you opt for a three year contract. Buy a plan year by year and you’ll get it for just under $4/month.
InMotion Hosting — Best customer support
I think of InMotion as the Subaru of web hosts (more car metaphors, I know…): it’s an all-around provider with a solid reputation. It especially stands out for its customer support, with a knowledge center that’s recognized as one of the best in the business. It also offers a full 90-day money-back guarantee — second longest only to DreamHost.
For those looking for cheap web hosting, its plans are discounted at a fairly comfortable $4–5/month, depending on whether you opt for a two-year or one-year contract. After that, shared hosting runs about $8/month.
How to calculate your actual web hosting costs
There’s more to your web hosting costs than the initial pricing. Not only will that price jump when you renew your contract, there are few other add-ons you should compare prices on. Some plans offer these bonus items for free; others charge kind of ridiculous prices for them. If you’re not paying attention to the entire cost of your web host plan, you may not be comparing apples to apples.
Compare the intro pricing to the plan’s long-term pricing
If you’ve seen jaw-dropping low prices for a web host, it was probably short-term introductory pricing. Like cable companies, just about every web host out there offers some sort of intro deal, that’ll last as long as your first contract. These prices tend to be dramatically lower than the base rate of the plan. iPage, for example, offers a one-year contract for $3/month. The second year, that same plan bumps up to $10/month. When you’re calculating, take that jump into account. I’m assuming that your website will be around longer than a year, yeah?
A provider’s promotional pricing isn’t consistent — throughout the year, some discounts are bigger than others — but it’s likely there’s always some kind of sale happening. There are always some major discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but I won’t get into those — waiting nine months to start your business to save less than $100 is not something I’d recommend doing. Start your business now and you’ll make that $100 up and more.
There are a handful providers that don’t participate in much promotional pricing. These hosts tend to scale pricing with the length of the contract: longer contracts = lower monthly prices. FastComet sells one of its shared hosting plans for $6/month on a month-to-month basis, but drops it to $3/month if you sign on for three years.
Pick the right contract length
What’s the best contract length? There’s no single good answer.
The cons of a short-term contract are clear: they are more expensive. Go for a long contract, though, and you lose the flexibility to switch to a different, more interesting, more powerful provider should you outgrow your host’s services or become unhappy with its quality after the initial money-back guarantee period.
I think the best approach is to go for a high-quality host and lock in the introductory pricing for as long as you can. Know this: you can still use your same hosting plan if you change domain names.
Check the price of the SSL certificate
Secure Sockets Layer encryption is what makes a website secure enough for sensitive data like credit card info and passwords. They’re mandatory for all ecommerce businesses, but also important for just about any website: SSL certificates make your website safer for users and will increase your search rankings. Most web hosts sell SSL certificates (which is our recommended place to buy one). Prices can range from totally free to a couple hundred bucks a year, depending on level.
Websites with SSL certificates show a green padlock icon in the browser bar, as well as an https:// url.
Account for domain registration freebies
Domain registration: Approx. $15/year (but depends on the domain)
If you’re looking to set up a brand new website, you’ll need to purchase a domain as well. Most web hosts give you the option to register a new domain as you purchase a hosting plan; some also include a promotion deal for one year free. There is plenty of advice on keeping your domain hosting separate from your web host, including convenience if you ever want to move your site, more options in domain extensions, and increased security (if someone hacks into your web host, your domain won’t be impacted, and vice versa). They also tend to be cheaper and the service more reliable. I like to get all my domains from Namecheap — it’s great and makes it easy to manage all my domains in one spot.
Generally, I recommend registering domains through a separate domain registrar, if only because that’s what their expertise is — a hot dog from a hot dog stand is always going to better than a gas station hot dog, even though they are both hot dogs. That said, it’s not necessarily bad to host your domain through your web host, especially if you’re only working on one website. Just know they may not have the extension you want, and they probably are going to charge a little more (in the realm of $3 more a year or so) after the initial perk expires.
Don’t forget about domain privacy: Approx. $12/year
When you register a domain, whether it’s with a domain registrar or your web host, we recommend opting into domain privacy. It’s what keeps your personal information, like your physical address and phone number, out of WHOIS public records — and therefore out of the speedials of lots of spammers. (At least for now. This all may be changing soon. After the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, went into effect mid-2018, some domain registrars have stopped publishing this type of information to avoid liability. Paying extra for domain privacy may become a thing of the past!)
Check the prices on upgraded plans
This factor won’t impact everyone, but I hope it does. If you envision building a bigger, more complex website over time, and/or you are expecting traffic to your site to grow, you’ll be needing to upgrade from the cheapest web hosting on a shared server to a higher tier of shared hosting that can accommodate more robust, higher-traffic websites. And as you grow more, upgrading to a VPS server is a high probability.
If you have goals for your site, it’s worth it to evaluate the long-term costs of hosting, especially if you’d rather not move hosts.
Recap: The best cheap web hosting plans
Ultimately, web hosting prices are all pretty reasonable. If you’re building a business it’s about the same cost as your business internet plan — at least while your site is small and just getting started. I recommend not making this decision only on price. If your site goes down and the customer service is lackluster, you’ll be begging your past self to cough up the extra few bucks a month. That being said, if you’re just trying this whole build a website thing out, then you’ll be happy with my two picks for the best cheap web hosting plans — the service is decent and so are the specs.
- WebHostFace: Cheapest intro pricing
- Namecheap: One of the best cheap hosts, but not my favorite overall host
- SiteGround: Best reputation and my recommendation for most sites
- InMotion Hosting: Great customer support
- DreamHost: Cheapest managed WordPress hosting
- Last updated March 15, 2019 – I’ve confirmed the pricing is accurate and updated this guide to make it more skim-able. (Basically, I want it to be clear on a scan exactly how to find the best cheap host for you, and call out the hidden costs you might not think of and help you figure those into your calculations.)
- First published November 20, 2018