A lot of people think they have to spend a fortune on their web host.
But here’s the thing. There are plenty of great web hosts that cost less than $5. Cheap hosts don’t always suck!
In fact, some of the best hosts have introductory prices as low as $1.99, and you’ll still get all their top features. They’re willing to lower their entry price to attract customers, and you can take advantage.
Of course, there are also some bad hosting companies hiding in the same price range. The tricky part is separating the good from the bad.
I’ve come up with 6 easy criteria to help you identify the best hosts at a cheap price, so you can have the best of both worlds. But if you are in a hurry, here are the top 3 cheap web hosts that I recommend (& their renewal price).
Cheap Host Hunting
1. check their features
A good web host will pack in all their top features as part of the package. Things to look out for include:
- Storage & bandwidth
Most quality hosts now come with unlimited storage, but some still have a 5GB limit or less.
- How many addon domains?
Most web hosts should give you space for up to 25 additional domains, but we’ve seen poor options that only give you one, or even none at all.
- How many email addresses can you create?
Some hosts don’t include a single email address in their package.
- What control panel do they use?
The control panel user experience can make or break a web host for me. Check if they use cPanel, Vdeck or a customized alternative. Pick the one you feel most comfortable with. (Pro tip: if you’re unfamiliar with their control panel, ask for a demo.)
- Do they support pre-installed website scripts?
Check if they support WordPress, Drupal, Joomla installation. If you need any specialised features like PHP or ecommerce integration, make sure they support that too.
2. how fast is their server speed?
Server speed is simply how quickly (or slowly) your web server to responds to a request.
In other words, when someone clicks on your website, it’s the time taken for your server to wake up and start sending files. Google suggests a server speed of 200 ms or less.
It matters because every request must be lightning quick on your website, especially if you’re an ecommerce seller and you expect quick order processing. A fast server response is essential for good user experience.
Unfortunately, many of the lousy web hosts overload their servers, which means your website is competing for speed. Others simply aren’t using efficient hardware, so the response is slow.
On the other hand, the best web hosts will still make sure you get a fast response time, even on a shared server.
You can test server speed using our speed checker tool. Simply enter the website URL, and you’ll see how fast the server responds around the world.
3. what is their uptime?
There’s nothing more frustrating than your website going down. So your web host’s uptime figure is crucial. The better their uptime, the more reliable the host.
Quite simply, anything less than 99% uptime should be avoided, and 99.9% should be your target.
You might think that even 98% sounds quite good, but think of it like this: 98% uptime means your site could be down for 3-7 days of the year!
You can track a web host’s uptime with a free tool like uptimerobot.com. Uptime Robot checks your website every five minutes for signs of life, and it alerts you if anything is wrong. We use Uptime Robots to monitor our site, and power our uptime figures.
4. talk to their tech support before you buy
Tech support is one of the main things that separates good web hosts from bad web hosts. A good company will have an expert team that answer queries quickly and effectively. Bad hosts often neglect their customer service.
If something goes wrong on your website, you want to know there’s a friendly voice on the other end of the phone who can fix it for you. If you prefer online chat or email, look for a web host with that contact preference.
There are a few ways to test a web host’s tech support without actually buying it. Try submitting a ticket for the following reasons:
- Ask for a control panel demo.
- Ask about the refund policy and renewal price (more on this shortly).
- Ask about the storage limit.
- Ask about site script availability.
A good web host should reply quickly and efficiently to these queries.
5. are there any hidden catches in their terms-of-service?
Most web hosts use strong marketing language, like ‘unlimited storage and bandwidth’ or ‘unlimited CPU’. Unfortunately even ‘unlimited’ has a limit! And you’ll find it in the web host’s terms of service.
In some cases, web hosts reserve the right to suspend or even disconnect a website that overloads these limits.
Below are some real life examples from reputable web hosts that show these restrictions:
Additional reasons for termination
Specifically, look for the following hard limits:
- How many files (regardless of size) can I host? (aka inodes)
- What are the storage and bandwidth hard limits?
- How much CPU resources can I use?
It’s also worth checking the terms-of-service for their refund policy. Sometimes, you’ll try out a web host, and then realize it’s not right for you. The good web hosts understand this, and they’ll offer a fair refund policy.
Unfortunately, the bad hosts often have no refund policy at all, and they’ll even charge an additional cancellation fee.
If you can’t find these numbers in the terms of service, ask their support team
6. what is the renewal price & are there any hidden costs?
The $5 web host is usually an introductory figure, and the renewal price will be a little more. Check to make sure the figure doesn’t jump to an outrageous price!
You’ll also notice that most web hosts offer a discount if you sign up for a longer period. However, it’s best not to lock yourself into a long contract if possible. You may want to expand or change things in two years.
Lastly, some hosts try to up-sell certain add-on products like daily backups or server security scanning. If you don’t want these extras, be sure to uncheck any boxes before you buy.
What Help Can You Get From Bitcatcha?
Our website exists to help you find the best web host, and allow you make an informed decision. Here are some of our tools you can use right now to help you decide:
- Server speed checker
Run speed tests on different web hosts to see which delivers that fastest response time. (Pro tip: we test server speed from 10 different points on the globe, so look for the server that delivers high speed to your target audience).
Another tip: Don’t test the web host’s website. Find a website using that host, and test theirs. (The web host themselves are probably using a much more expensive private server for their site). For example, if you want to test Hostinger’s server speed, we have 3x test websites hosted on their different datacenter.
- Uptime records
To save you the time of tracking uptime yourself, we have been tracking and recording the uptime of various web hosts for months, and present them to you. Head to our review pages, and you’ll see the overall percentage uptime of each host, and how many days it’s been since the last down period.
- Best host for
We’ve categorized each host by their specialities. Find the best host for blogging, ecommerce, portfolio sites or forums.
Cheap Web Hosting
All pricing listed are based on 12-month contract introductory price.
Considering all the factors (server speed, uptime, tech support, ease of use, and price) here are six of the best options out there to try.
- Unlimited SSD
- 1 Free Domain
- Outstanding Support
- Low Introductory Price
“Premium services at a super low price, what else can you ask for?”
Hostinger is our top choice for cheap web hosting, because they offer premium services at an insanely low signup price. For this list, we listed price of the brand’s cheapest plan on a 12 month basis which is $2.34 per month, but if you select 48 months, you’ll only be charged $0.99 a month!
Their servers are really fast globally because they have datacenters all over the world, which is surprising because you don’t expect that when you’re paying prices like these.
They’ve also got an impressive list of unlimited features:
- SSD storage
- Email accounts
Aside from speed and features, Hostinger has an excellent support team, which serves over 20 countries in their native language! Hostinger really packs a full punch with their affordable plans, especially for those that are just starting out.
- Maximum storage
- Maximum bandwidth
- 1 Free Domain Name
- Price Locked Forever
- Unlimited Domain Hosting
“You never have to worry about renewal fees with their fixed prices”
HostMetro offers 1 free domain name with their MegaMax Plan, with maximum storage and bandwidth (note their strategic usage of the word “maximum” instead of “unlimited”).
Sounds pretty reasonable to me.
With HostMetro, you’ll get to host as many websites as you want with their unlimited domain hosting, but the best thing about this brand (to me at least) is the fact that their price is locked forever – If you pay $2.95, you’ll be paying $2.95 for as long as you host with them.
Hurrah! No need to worry about renewal fees!
Standard Web Hosting
- Unlimited ULTRA SSD Storage
- Free SitePad Website Builder
- Unlimited Email Accounts
- Free Website Migration
- Price Locked
“Fixed prices with SSDs, priced slightly higher than its competition”
InterServer comes with unlimited storage on their Ultra SSD servers, so you know your sites will load of fast with their platform.
You’ll also get to enjoy a free website builder, unlimited email accounts and free site migrations, but like HostMetro, they key feature here is the price.
The Standard Web Hosting plan only costs $5 a month, and it’s price locked so you won’t need to worry about renewals. At this point of time, we don’t know if their renewals are price locked forever or not, but it’s safe to assume it is, otherwise they’ll lose a majority of their business to HostMetro.
- 1 Website
- Unlimited Storage
- Unlimited Transfer
- Free & Easy Site Migration
- Free SSL & SSD
“Well rounded web host, suitable for any types of sites”
What we like about A2 Hosting is that their Turbo plans come with really fast servers, with technology that allow sites hosted with them to load up to 20x faster than regular servers!
Although the lite plan doesn’t come with Turbno servers, their regular servers are still pretty damn fast, with a worldwide average of 150ms!
Users will also get unlimited features, such as SSD storage, bandwidth and transfers. They’ll also enjoy 25 free email accounts, free SSL security, easy site builder with thousands of themes, 1-click optimized WordPress setup and best of all, they’ll get to pick their datacenters which are spread across 3 continents to maximize site load speed for their customers!
- Free Domain Name
- Max Speed Zones™
- Unlimited Transfer
- SSH Access
- 24/7 US Support
“Premium services suitable for small business owners”
Inmotion Hosting is an excellent webhost. It’s actually the preferred web hosting service for us before we switched over to SiteGround, and we still think very highly of them.
Inmotion provides users of their launch plans with a free domain name, unlimited transfers, free SSL, automatic backup and hack protection, with unlimited emails, bandwidth and disk space.
Best of all, they’re really fast, thanks to their Max Speed Zones, which is basically a fancy way of saying datacenters, which are located in the USA. Although they don’t have any datacenters in Asia, Inmotion is still really fast globally.
BTW, we’ve come to an agreement with Inmotion Hosting, and our readers get to enjoy 50% off their prices, so go crazy!
- 1 Website
- 50GB SSD Storage
- Unmetered Bandwidth
- Free SSL Certificate
- Standard Performance
“Low prices with standard features, great for bloggers”
Bluehost is one of the more highly recommended web hosting services around, and their prices are low enough to juuuust to get them on this list.
With their Basic plan, you get what you pay for – 1 free domain, 50gb of SSD storage (which means they care about speed and efficiency) and unmetered bandwidth (it isn’t specified how much is allocated per account, but as long as you fall into their “normal” range, you should be okay).
If you want free email accounts, then Bluehost isn’t something you’d want, because email is an additional paid service with them.
However, Bluehost does come with free SSL so if you’re running a business website, this will come in handy. Aside from that, they’re pretty stable. Couple that with their other perks, and Bluehost is indeed a worthy contender for this list.
Verdict: Which web host to go for?
Don’t forget: Match your web host to your website needs!
Unfortunately, there is no outright best web host. Only the one that is right for you and your needs. Different web hosts are suited to different priorities.
A simple portfolio site, for example, only needs a small, shared web host. But, if you’re running a blog or website with more than 30,000-40,000 visitors a month, you’ll want additional storage, and the ability to upgrade to VPS when the time is right.
If you’re looking to start an ecommerce site, you’ll need a web host that allows payment integration and additional security measures. (Be sure to check out our recommended eCommerce Hosting.)
As you can see, cheap web hosts don’t always suck, but do check out their features and performance before you buy. Good luck! And if you still have further questions, feel free to get in touch, and I’ll be happy to answer your questions.
Now, if you have deep pockets and are looking for some top-shelf stuff, check out these Managed WordPress Hosting platforms.