Website Hosting Options and How Much They Cost

In order to truly understand the cost of hosting your website, it’s best to break down the options. In general, there are four available hosting solutions you can pursue. Each has its pros and cons, and each brings with it a different pricing plan. We’re here to help you find the best possible hosting situation for your website.

Shared hosting

Shared hosting is the most basic, simple, and widespread method of hosting a website. To understand why it’s called “shared” hosting, let’s dig into the anatomy of a physical web server.

A server is really just a computer with the sole purpose of housing websites. Your website will literally be stored on a physical machine somewhere in the world. Just like your personal computer, this machine has limited resources (memory, processing power, etc).

It’s called shared hosting because the same machine that your website is located on hosts a number of other websites simultaneously. All of the websites on a given server are sharing that machine’s available resources.

This type of hosting can be thought of as the college dormitory of hosting. A lot of people are packed into a small space, it’s much cheaper than an actual house or apartment, and you get the bare essentials to function properly.

Shared hosting is perfect for websites under a certain level of traffic. It’s a great starting place if you’re working with a tight budget, or if you’re just starting to get set up on the Internet. If you ever need something more than shared hosting, you’ll be able to upgrade whenever you wish.

Pros and cons of shared hosting

Pros: Easy, affordable, hands-off

Cons: High down-time potential depending on the vendor you bought from, websites seeing any respectable growth will soon outgrow shared hosting

Shared hosting price estimate

Shared hosting prices fluctuate based mainly on the quality of the vendor. Most shared hosting will cost you between $2 - $25 / month. It’s important to do your research when selecting a shared hosting vendor, as many on the lower end of that price range will have poor server configurations and overpopulated servers that could result in extended downtime for your website.

Virtual private server (VPS) hosting

VPS hosting is the first step up from shared hosting. You still share a physical machine with other websites, but it’s set up such that each website has its own virtual, private server. One machine is used to simulate multiple servers.

The overall pool of computing resources is still shared between websites, but each is guaranteed a certain amount of those resources. You’ll have full control over the configuration, customization, and administration of your personal server, as will each website on the machine.

To use a common comparison, hosting through a VPS is like owning a condo. You still share the building, but your space is self-contained and independent of the other condos. You’re only responsible for what happens within your condo.

Pros and cons of VPS hosting

Pros: Complete control over your server, much room for growth, very secure

Cons: Noticeable price jump from shared hosting, more technical know-how required

VPS hosting price estimate

Much like shared hosting, VPS pricing often reflects the quality of both the service and hardware involved. Do your research and look up reviews and testimonials before signing up with a specific vendor. Most VPS hosting solutions will cost in the $10 - $100+ / month range.

Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting is like owning a house. You don’t share anything with anyone, and you can do whatever you want to it. However, it’s also your fault when something goes wrong, and you’ll have to do most of the fixing.

This is the best option for websites with any kind of appreciable traffic, as a properly configured dedicated server ensures great performance as well as room for expansion. If you aren’t technically inclined, you will likely need help setting up and running a dedicated server.

Pros and cons of dedicated hosting

Pros: Maximum control, high growth potential, no sharing

Cons: Large price jump from VPS hosting, high level of technical know-how required, you’re responsible for what happens to your website

Dedicated hosting price estimate

Dedicated hosting solutions will cost you anywhere from $50 - $1,000+ / month. There really is no upper limit here, as you can always pay more for better hardware.

Cloud hosting

Cloud hosting is like VPS or dedicated hosting, but all computing resources are pulled from a network of physical servers instead of just one. Cloud hosting is similar to your heating or electric bill. It’s very flexible because you use whatever you need, and pay afterwards.

If your website has a sudden spike in traffic, your cloud hosting service will simply pull the necessary resources from its network. You’ll never run out of resources with cloud hosting, although your costs will increase accordingly.

Pros and cons of cloud hosting

Pros: Unlimited growth potential, you only pay for what you use, very reliable

Cons: Lots of debate over how secure cloud hosting is, difficult to conceptualize and configure if you’re unfamiliar with the technology behind it

Cloud hosting price estimate

Cloud hosting may be the hardest hosting solution to provide a price estimate for, as price can vary wildly depending on usage. Your best bet is to look at the traffic statistic of your website closely, and create a personal estimate based on the resource needs of your website. Many cloud hosting plans will fall in the range of $5 - $200+ / month, although again there is not necessarily an upper limit.

The bottom line

The truth is that website hosting will cost you whatever you want it to cost you. Starting out with shared hosting is a great way to establish a web presence online, and you can simply upgrade from there as needed. Hosting costs and needs are greatly dependent on the levels of traffic and functionality you expect from your website, so plan accordingly!

Try out our free website cost calculator

Website hosting is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to establishing a web presence. Dealing with your own website can be a daunting task, but we’ve got you covered.

We put together a free website cost estimate calculator that’s meant to help you gain a better understanding of what goes into the website creation process, and to provide you with an overall cost estimate based on your personal needs. Go get your estimate now!