How Much Does Web Hosting Cost? A Beginner-Friendly Guide

Posted on November 26, 2023 | Updated on April 18, 2024

How much does web hosting cost, exactly? It seems like there’s no one answer. Frankly, there isn’t. However, you can still figure out how much you’ll pay by looking at our cost breakdown.

How Much Does Web Hosting Cost?

It’s challenging to pick an exact number because there are just too many variables. How much does web hosting cost per month? Since it ranges from just over $1 to well over $500 per month, even pointing to the average price wouldn’t do the question justice. 

Like most things, the cost of web hosting varies widely. The average figure is far too general to help you make data-driven decisions. If you want a more accurate number, you need to use specific information. To find out what you’ll really spend, consider the service type, plan features, and other variables.

What Factors Impact the Cost of Web Hosting?

The type of web hosting you go with is your most significant cost factor since private servers are way more expensive than shared ones. However, there are many more expenses people don’t even think of until they see it on their bills.

Here are the main cost factors associated with web hosting:

  • Web hosting type: Cloud, shared, virtual private server, dedicated, or WordPress services vary wildly in cost. More resources, independence, and flexibility translate to higher expenses. For example, dedicated hosting is the most expensive but is one of the most sought-after.
  • Brand and plan: Many web hosting providers offer the same kind of service. They all price differently, but the competitive market they’re in forces them to be close in range.
  • Domain registration: Some service providers capitalize on the importance of domain registration and charge a fee for it. Domain extensions can cost extra. While plenty offer the feature for free, you may have to pay for it.
  • SSL certification: A secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate verifies a website’s identity and shows users it’s safe. While some service providers offer certification at no cost, many annually charge for it because it’s valuable. 
  • Add-on features: You can spend money on optional features like backups, widgets, or enhanced customization. They’re not essential, but they can be helpful.

Taking all of these factors into consideration, how much does web hosting cost? If you decide to spend extra on SSL certification, add-in services, or domain registration, prepare to add around $15-$150 to your monthly bill.

What About Hidden Web Hosting Fees?

Unsurprisingly, web hosting service providers slip in the occasional hidden fee. Even if they point them out in the fine print, these charges still come as a shock to most people. You should be aware of their tactics so you can avoid them and save money.

Here are some of the most common web hosting hidden fees:

  • Setup: Web hosting service providers don’t always display setup fees in their plan pricing. If you notice your first bill is higher than it should be, this charge is probably the culprit.
  • Renewal: Providers often slip in sneaky extra charges for domain name renewal. Changing it would cost you business, so they expect you to put up with the sudden cost. You could end up spending between $15-$30 every month if you’re not careful. 
  • Free domain: Sometimes, providers bundle a domain name with the rest of their services at no cost to make the deal more attractive. While you may rightly assume “free” means you won’t have to pay for it, they end up charging you for it eventually.
  • Hosting: In an effort to draw more customers, web hosting services often offer very low costs. They hope you’ll accustom yourself to them and stay after your initial contract ends. Typically, you end up paying double or even triple the price of your original plan. 
  • Website migration: Are you thinking of moving to a new web hosting service? Some providers charge for that. Many offer it as an add-on service. This fee typically depends on the size of your site and the time it takes to migrate.

So, how much does web hosting cost with fees included? Tack between $5-$100 on top of your monthly bill to get the answer. While a one-time setup charge alone won’t break the bank, you’ll definitely feel some pressure if you have to pay for every kind of fee every month.

Real Examples of Web Hosting Prices

Hostinger only charges about $2 per month for one website, 30 GB of storage, and unlimited extras. Also, it claims to have 99.9% uptime and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. Its more expensive plans go up to $14 and $25 monthly. Plenty of providers ask for reasonable payments in exchange for solid plans. 

Bluehost offers VPS, dedicated, and shared hosting. It charges between $3 and $13 per month for shared plans. After the first year, you spend $12 to $29, depending on what you choose. However, you can keep your expenses lower longer if you choose a three-year plan.

GoDaddy prices with the same method as many others, where you don’t see the fantastic introductory prices ever again. However, it stays low for longer than most, jumping from $7.99 monthly to $13.99 after three years.

HostGator has a separate pricing structure for each type of hosting. Shared is $10-28, Windows shared is $10-$22, WordPress is $13-$92, VPS is $20-$150, Linux dedicated is $180-$330, Windows dedicated is $180-$289, and Cloud is $9-$20.

Keep in mind most of the prices you see here are introductory, meaning they will rise drastically after your initial contract is up. The cost increase is usually manageable since a website increases your customer base — and you typically get a year to prepare — but it comes as an unfortunate shock if you aren’t aware of it beforehand.

What Should You Expect to Pay Each Month?

Initially, you should spend as low as $2 per month if you have a cheaper plan. Make sure your plan is locked if you want to maintain your web hosting cost. If you don’t, expect your monthly hosting expense to skyrocket over time. If you don’t have the option to secure a fixed price, aim for providers who offer multi-year rates.

How much does web hosting cost once the introductory rate is gone? Expect to pay double, triple, or even quadruple the price of your original plan. For example, think back to Bluehost’s $3 plan — its price increases a staggering 75% after only one year. Surprisingly, it’s still one of the most beginner-friendly services available. 

Do You Have to Pay for Web Hosting?

Small business owners, app developers, and entrepreneurs don’t typically have excess funds lying around to put toward building their brand. Even though spending $5-$150 per month is generally reasonable, it can be hard to maintain when it eats into your profit. Luckily, you can lower the cost of web hosting by using a free service. 

Most options are pretty bare-bones, but they’re helpful when you need flexibility. So, how much does web hosting cost if you use a free service? While the word “free” implies you’ll pay nothing, those pesky hidden fees might still come up. You might have to pay for domain renewal, setup, SSL certification, or add-on features. 

What Should You Pay for Web Hosting?

Generally, small business owners will be fine on cheaper plans. Spending more allows your website to handle heavy traffic and content — which isn’t all that helpful when you’re just starting out. Unless you plan on launching a streaming service or a massive e-commerce website, opt for the more affordable options. 

As a general rule of thumb, you should try to pay less than the average cost of web hosting if you’re not a website-centric business. If you’re worried about overpaying or underpaying, see what it would cost to switch plans before committing to one.

Pay Attention to Prices

Web hosting can get very expensive if you don’t pay attention to the fine print. Before you commit to a plan, find out how much — and how soon — the price will increase. Additionally, see what the provider’s policies, fees, and refunds are to get an idea of your extra expenses. 

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