Best Cheap Hosting
Back when I started my first website I remember paying almost $40 dollars for standard shared hosting. The hosting industry has come a long way since then.
When we talk about hosting what we're really talking about are datacenters. If you're unsure of what a datacenter actually is think of your favorite Sci-Fi movie with rows upon rows of computers.
Sort of like this image on the right.
Companies like Amazon have launched Amazon Web Services which dominate the global cloud computing market. The result is massive economies of scale for hosting companies that can now rent server space for a fraction of what they used to pay.
Modern cheap web hosting provides the speed, performance and features that expensive legacy hosting plans used to offer for a fraction of the price.
When it comes to cheap hosting the rule is the more server resources the cheaper your plan will be. For this reason if you're looking to save money going with the bigger hosts over local companies is the way to go.
Pro Tip - That legacy hosting plan you might already be paying $20-40/month for can be purchased for less than a dollar. If you're buying from a local Australian hosting company you're almost certainly overpaying.
TLDR – Quick Takeaway
In this review we only recommend three companies. The first pick is by far the cheaper and also still maintains great uptime, performance and additional features.
The other two are premium choices for those looking for a little bit more flexibility and performance.
If you're curious about how we test uptime, please look at our live site tracking here.
1. Hostinger ($0.80-$1.45/Month) – Best Overall
Load time: 389Ms
30 Day Money Back
Alright, you’re looking for cheap hosting. Well, you found it. You’re probably thinking that you have to give up a whole bunch to use a hosting service that is cheaper than two dollars. That’s where you’re wrong.
We were slightly skeptical when we first stumbled upon Hostinger. At the time their pricing was at $0.80. It was easy to write them off as another sub-dollar hosting service. Then we tested them. The speeds they posted blew almost every other service out of the water and their uptimes are super close to 100%.
How was this possible?! Let's look at some of their features.
Speed and Uptimes
Let's look at some metrics.
Anything under 2000Ms is a good load time. That means that a webpage takes two seconds to load.
Hostinger posted a 389Ms load time. That means that their web pages load pretty quick. Hostinger prioritizes their server speeds more than most and it really shows.
The uptimes for Hostinger are just as ridiculously good. Any uptime over 98% is considered good. At 99.90%, Hostinger clocks in with one of the highest uptimes in the industry.
Cheap web hosting pricing practices are honestly a problem. They lure you in with a super cheap promotional price and then when your promotional stint with them is over they double or triple the price.
Honestly, Hostinger is no different. However, you can lock in the promotional price for four years. Yes, four years. That could be seen as a negative for some people but for others knowing you’ll have cheap and reliable hosting for that long is a plus.
There are problems at the lowest tier. You don’t receive a free domain and you don’t receive a free SSL. You can upgrade to a slightly more expensive plan at $3.95 per month (not exactly expensive) and receive the domain, SSL, as well as free daily backups.
Buyer beware, the markup after the promotional pricing for Hostinger is steeper than a lot of other places. You can lock in the $1.45 per month for four years but after that, you will be looking at $7.99 per month. The $2.95 per month plan would go up to $11.95 per month and the $3.95 per month plan would reach $15.95. Hostinger isn’t playing around with those prices.
Just like any other hosting service in this price range, Hostinger likes to start you off low and then raise the price. They do give super long promotional contracts which means this practice can be taken advantage of by the customer (i.e. you).
Free Website Builder
The free website builder from Hostinger is nothing to write home about. However, if you don’t want to deal with content management systems because you only plan on having a landing page or a contact page then this is perfect for you.
The website builder is basic but it is completely free. Taking a look at the picture above, it is clear you can make an attractive webpage with that. The issue comes up when you try to do more with the builder. It just isn’t built for that.
The type of functionality that the builder offers, combined with hosting for $1.45 per month, is hard to look down on. Read our guide to best website builders if that's what you're after.
We love guarantees here at Best Web Hosting Australia. They show us that a company is confident in their offerings. Hostinger offers a 30-day money back guarantee as well as a 99.99% uptime guarantee. If uptime goes below that you have the opportunity to get a little bit of money back.
We touched on a few of the downsides in the pricing section. No free SSL is a bummer. However, you can work around it. Using a free SSL can be really easy, especially when using WordPress. Here are two SSL options when using the lowest tier of Hostinger.
- Let’s Encrypt – Available via all cPanels. It’s a free SSL cert for any website. Yay!
- Really Simple SSL – This is a great plugin that forces SSL on your site. It also comes with a ton of features to customize.
Another downside is no phone support but most hosting services don’t offer it anyways. If you’re attached to the cPanel interface you will also be bummed to find out that Hostinger uses its own panel. It is intuitive to use but website veterans will find that they’ll be missing what they’re used to.
2. HostGator ($2.75/Month) – Best Premium Choice
Load time: 941Ms
Support: Phone and Live Chat
My personal favorite thing about HostGator is their Instagram advertisements. For some reason, the picture on them is a super up close picture of their mascot. It’s kind of terrifying.
I see you!
Okay, besides the fact that their ads are a little too close up, HostGator is a top-notch hosting service. They have a stellar reputation and are a fantastic choice for cheaper shared hosting.
Speed and Uptimes
The best thing about HostGator’s speed and uptimes is the consistency of them. They aren’t the fastest, and they don’t have the best uptime, but they will consistently be in the upper tier of both of those categories.
Anything over 98% is considered a good uptime and HostGator always sits squarely above that mark.
While being right under 2000 Ms isn’t blowing anyone out of the water, we haven’t seen much variation from that number no matter where the speed was tested in the world. That speaks to HostGator’s number of servers and commitment to consistency.
The pricing layout of HostGator is straightforward. They have promotional pricing sitting at $2.75 per month, $2.95 per month, and $5.95 per month. These promotional prices each basically double when the periods are over but you can lock those prices in for three years.
As you can see the upgrades basically allow you to have more domains and unlock a few more tools. The great thing about HostGator is that it gives you access to all the basics with their hatchling plan.
One thing that has to be mentioned is that HostGator has phone support. They also have 24/7 customer support in general.
Unmetered bandwidth and disk space to go along with their free SSL makes HostGator’s bare features stand out. Every hosting service should offer a free SSL and HostGator makes good on their reputation by stepping up in this regard.
Another wonderful add-in with HostGator plans are that they also offer a $100 credit for Google AdWords. If you plan on selling anything with your hosting plan or just want more traffic sent to your blog then this is a great way to get started for free.
The biggest downsides to using HostGator are the fact that it isn’t as cheap as Hostinger and it doesn’t offer the same upside as SiteGround. It is the best middle ground though. Read our full HostGator review here.
3. SiteGround ($3.95/MONTH) – Best 2ndPremium Pick
Load time: 472Ms
Support: Live Chat
In terms of hosting you can’t really beat SiteGround unless you jump into the upper echelons of hosting, which will cost you a pretty penny. We have a ton of client sites running on SiteGround’s servers and will see that number growing in the future. Siteground offers the best customer service, great uptime, quick load speeds, and added features.
Free SSL should be standard with any web hosting service. Any site selling digital or physical products online needs an SSL certificate. Any SEO-centric website needs one as well if you want it to show up in Google searches. If a hosting service does not offer SSL for free then walk the other way.
Fantastic Customer Support
Hostinger and HostGator have pretty awesome customer support. Most hosting services customer support is literal garbage covered in vegemite. Some of you might be thinking that sounds good. It also has bird poop all over it - sorry.
SiteGround has the best customer support. It’s kind of creepy how fast they respond to messages.
The customer support agents at SiteGround are all knowledgeable and are ready to help fix any issue. This includes technical issues and general troubleshooting. As I said, SiteGround has the best customer support on this list - It’s kind of like hiring another employee to fix things for you with how much they want to help.
The only downside is that customer support is all chat-based. No phone support is offered but the chat system is available 24/7. A ticket system is also available with responses coming in within 24 hours.
Imagining a high-impact visitor going to your website and finding it won’t load should give you cold sweats. You’ll rarely have a website that goes down with SiteGround. Over 99.9% uptime with very little downtime. Anything over 98% is considered good. Clearly, being close to 100% means you’re in the upper echelon of uptimes.
One of the best features included on SiteGround is the free CDN. Cloud Distribution Networks (CDNs) spread your website files over a bunch of different locations globally so being far from a server is not an issue for a website visitor.
This means that at SiteGround no matter where a user is accessing your content they will receive comparable speeds to someone across the world. Yes, even here in Australia.
Free Website Transfers
You may already have a website that you want transferred to another hosting service for a variety of reasons. Having to transfer your website manually is like getting your chest waxed - painful.
Our good friends over at SiteGround take care of this for you. They even do it within two days. It’s like they want you to like them or something.
Downside of SiteGround
Just like with anything else in this world, SiteGround does have a downside. The main reason SiteGround isn’t first is that their plans can get costly.
They bring you in a $3.95 per month but after your first plan is up they charge you more money. Locking yourself into a 3-year plan isn’t always ideal but it’s the longest you can take advantage of the low prices for.
Read our full SiteGround review here.
Why We Don’t Like Free Hosts
Let’s go over why most half dollar per month hosts suck.
- Easily Hacked
- Bad IP Neighborhood
- Google Will Hate You
- Terribly Downtime
- Bad Support
There are a couple of reasons for avoiding this kind of cheap web hosts under a dollar.
- These options commonly use shared IP which is extremely easy to hack and has a high likelihood of being otherwise compromised.
- Your website will be hosted on the same servers with many spam blogs that Google generally looks down upon.
- While these might be cheap they will be slow with long downtimes and poor customer support.
A lot of cheap web hosts will have terrible uptime and atrocious downtime - often being out of commission for a few minutes or even hours at a time. If reliability, quality, and uptime are things that are important to your business or personal blog (spoiler: they are) then I would definitely urge you to stay away from any kind of ultra-cheap web hosting.
Let’s take a look at some of the different types of web posting and what they provide.
Different Kinds of Value Hosting
There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to cheap web hosting. If you’re looking for cheap web posting for a personal blog or project you’ll be looking for different criteria than cheap while posting for a small business.
Think about shared hosting like living in an apartment with a lot of different people. By apartment, I actually mean IP which means Internet Protocol. A shared host uses a shared IP address. This means that many different websites are posted on the same IP. The logic behind shared web hosting is that no small business requires the resources of an entire server by themselves, especially if they are using a fairly undemanding CMS like a WordPress website.
By using a communal group of resources multiple businesses can share one dedicated IP or server to meet their traffic needs. However, the solution presents a significant problem.
You have no access to the other sites hosted on that particular IP. Shared hosting is definitely the cheapest form of hosting and the majority of businesses online actually utilize shared hosting.
Shared hosts differ in quality of service and more importantly - in their pricing. While it is possible to find extremely cheap shared hosting for under a dollar this is commonly referred to as SEO hosting.
SEO hosting is built to house and maintain multiple spam websites for the purposes of SEO or link building. These services often operate on a turn and burn principle that allows these hosts to generate revenue and then simply abandon their customers.
Dedicated hosting is the opposite of shared hosting. On a dedicated host, there is one IP that is assigned to your particular website. A dedicated host is actually the same as renting out physical space on a server located on a data center.
Dedicated hosting is definitely the most expensive option and is not a cheap choice for most websites. I would only recommend dedicated hosting for small businesses or anyone who wants extremely reliable hosting at all times.
VPS hosting or Virtual Private Server hosting is a mix between dedicated hosting and shared hosting. On a VPS you rent a portion of their server or IP that allows you to operate a dedicated server on the cloud.
This allows for much more robust features and a lot more bandwidth. VPS servers use droplets to create a singular IP on a cloud computer.
A CDN or a Content Distribution Network works by forwarding your websites IP to their own unique IP, which in turn is used by thousands of different websites. Since this IP is used by so many sites it’s trusted by Google.
A CDN also allows you to distribute your content all over the Internet and avoid making multiple requests on the server-side for information. CDN’s are free and easy to install.
If you’re looking to use a CDN, I would suggest first getting a simple shared hosting plan and then adding cloud flair onto it. This will allow for greater security speed and also anonymity.
Cheap Hosting Buying Guide
- If you’re a blogger looking to build your own simple website then I would suggest shared hosting. Shared hosting allows you to save money and scale up as your blog increases in traffic and sales. There is no need to commit to a more expensive dedicated server when the resources on a shared host are more than adequate.
- Small businesses also have some of the same requirements as bloggers. The majority of small businesses don’t actually receive a high amount of web visitors. These websites are built more for reference and their specific users. For these reasons, shared plans are more than enough for any small business. If you’re a small business feel free to check out our small business guide to hosting.
If your site is getting anywhere less than 3,000 to 4,000 visitors per month, any quality shared hosting plan will fit your needs. Again, as your site scales up in traffic and sales you should move from a shared plan over to a dedicated plan.
One thing you need to be aware of is that some hosts will charge you to migrate sites or will charge an arm and a leg for features like SSL or backups. Picking the right host can save you a lot of money in the future.
One of the most common mistakes is picking the absolute cheapest host
What happens is you save money initially but in the future, as you try to add different features to your site or move it over to another host those same service providers charge you multiple service fees and add extra paid features.
By the time you’re done paying for all of these together will actually end up spending 3 to 4 times the price of the original quality shared hosting plan.
So the moral of the story is don’t cheap out on web hosting and try to go for the lowest priced plan. If you spend more than a couple of dollars a month you’ll be getting something that’s much higher in quality.
Recommended Cheap Hosting for eCommerce
If you’re an eCommerce site looking to start a new website, stay away from shared hosting and opt for a dedicated plan. eCommerce sites are heavy on graphics, media, videos, and other interactive features.
These require more resources and up-time than shared plans are able to provide. While you might save a few bucks a month on hosting, you’ll definitely lose a lot more than that on potential sales and revenue. If you want to know more, read our eCommerce guide.
People are spoiled. Any load time longer than 12 seconds is going to cause people to leave your site almost immediately. Importance of SSL
Importance of SSL
Another important feature to consider for eCommerce is SSL protection. SSL or Secure Socket Layer protection creates an encrypted tunnel from your user’s computer to the web servers. This protects their information from hackers and other malicious forces.
It has become a requirement for any financial transaction online as well as any payment processor worth using. These processors will flat out reject any websites that don’t have SSL. The problem with cheap posts is that they often charge upwards of $60 for installing SSL on a yearly basis.
While their base plan may be only one to two dollars you’re going to spend upwards of $50-$60 just for your SSL.
At this point, the message is clear. Yes, you can get cheap web hosting. However, if you try to get too cheap with your hosting you will end up spending more money in the future. The thing about starting a website is that you don’t know where it will go and how it will grow.
Wrapping it Up
With everything said, you can’t go wrong with any of the three options outlined here. Hostinger provides absurd value at $0.80 per month and is the best option if you’re truly trying to save money.
Hostgator and SiteGround also provide fantastic value but you will find yourself paying a little bit more money.
Discount Hosting FAQ
What is the best free website hosting?
There are no free website hosting services worth using. You can technically host for free on Wix, WordPress.com, and Weebly. However, you will not be able to use a domain name.
Can I host my website for free?
Yes, but you will receive much worse service than if you pay a few dollars per month for hosting.
Is GoDaddy a good website builder?
GoDaddy’s website builder is not very good. Other website builders such as WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace are better.
Is WordPress a good website builder?
WordPress is the best website builder but it has a large learning curve and you have to pay for hosting.
What is the best free website builder?
Using WordPress while hosting your website on third-party hosting is the best way to build a website. You can build a website for free on Wix but you will not have a domain name.
Well, thats it.
If you have any questions or comments don’t be shy and leave one below we’ll answer it as fast as we can.