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If you don’t have a website, you might as well not exist.
Whether it’s via smartphone or desktop, more than 4 billion people in the world (over half the population) are plugged-in. That’s 4 billion opportunities for people to get to know you. Better yet, they could be spending money on your services — cha-ching!
Regardless of whether it’s to promote your business or your “personal brand” (millennials), staking your place on the internet is pretty much essential at this point.
And if you’re just now getting started or prefer a super easy set up, one of the best ways to make your presence known online is to use a website builder. These programs will help you construct websites without manually coding anything.
Of course, as the demand for personal and business websites has increased, so has the number of options claiming to be the best choice for you. But take our word for it: they aren’t all created equal.
Here are 12 of the best (cheap) web hosting services for you to use this year, in no particular order.
HostGator — starting at $2.75 per month
Whether you’re a seasoned internet veteran or just learning how to build your first website, HostGator has staff there to help you every step of the way and every second of the day. The website hosting service has three web options. Choose between the Hatchling, the Baby, and the Business plan. Each one has offerings that are slightly different from the others, and we’ll break down what you need to know:
The Hatchling: A single domain plan that includes one-click installs and unmetered bandwidth. That means you aren’t charged for how much web space you take up.
The Baby: This plan starts at $5.95 per month and gives you unlimited domain options so you can run as many websites as you want. It includes one-click installs so your site is easy to design and unmetered bandwidth.
The Business: The plan with the most offerings includes unlimited domains, one-click installs, unmetered bandwidth and a few free extras like positive SSL (security tools), dedicated IP (your unique internet address), and VoIP Phone Service so you can make calls using the internet.
Each one of the plans gives you a plethora of different tools, themes, and templates to help your webpage come alive, starting with a one-click application installer that puts everything literally at your fingertips. The installer is a simple drag-and-drop building experience that’s perfect for first-timers. With HostGator, you can create virtually any type of website from a blog, forum, and CMS to wiki, photo gallery, and even your own e-commerce store.
The downside: Renewal rates tend to skew on the pricier side.
GoDaddy — starting at $1 per month
GoDaddy offers one more hosting package than HostGator. The Economy plan is great for people planning on launching a small website. On the other hand, the Deluxe and Ultimate packages are for those looking to start multiple sites with more advanced features and the Business Hosting plan is optimized for high traffic and e-commerce. Each includes advanced features like unmetered bandwidth and Microsoft Office Business emails. You also get 1GB of database storage for free with every package.
We think you’ll like the free domain options and access to a one-click installation of more than 200 apps. If you choose GoDaddy, you can select between 3-, 12 -, 24, or 36-month plans and when you start, there’s a Getting Started Wizard that gives you step-by-step instructions on how to navigate the website.
If you have a hard time coming up with your personal domain name, GoDaddy has professionals there to help. And once you’re in, the rest is pretty straightforward.
Unfortunately though, GoDaddy doesn’t have a real month-to-month payment option so prepare to pay for several months of service at sign-up if you want the best savings.
InMotion Hosting — starting at $2.95 per month
InMotion Hosting has a variety of different offerings at reasonable prices, including VPS (virtual private server), dedicated servers, business hosting and reseller hosting. Included with each option is secure IMAP email so you can access your email from any device and free SSD drives, which means your website may even run faster than some of the competition.
Choose between the Launch Plan, Power Plan, and Pro Plan. Each is pretty generous and includes a free domain, unlimited bandwidth, and unlimited email options. Let’s break each down:
The Launch Plan: This option starts at $2.95 per month and covers all skill levels. You get to create up to two different websites along with free advertising credits and user statistics.
The Power Plan: The second tier is better for small businesses, offering up to six sites and double the performance of the Launch option. It can support a higher number of visitors at any given time and starts at $4.49 per month.
The Pro Plan: The most costly (but still reasonable) plan is the Pro plan for $7.49 per month. It has four times the performance of the Launch plan and has all the benefits of the other two.
On top of all that is a pretty long 90-day money back guarantee (truly industry leading). On the flip side, InMotion lacks windows servers, so you don’t have access to Microsoft operating systems. PC Mag also says that you have to create separate logins for all add-ons, which could be pretty troublesome.
Hostwinds — starting at $3.74
In just eight years, Hostwinds has managed to become a web hosting power-player. What makes this site different than the others is its vast array of shared VPS and cloud server services.
Starting from scratch with Hostwinds is pretty easy since the site uses an integrated online interface, which pretty much means you can create and edit your website straight from your favorite browser. You can also install hundreds of popular applications in just one step, saving you lots of time. Or, if you want to transfer your website from another server, the experts at Hostwinds can help you seamlessly do that.
Though not every plan has a Windows option, Hostwinds goes the extra mile as far as customer service is concerned. We tried it, and they responded instantly. So if you need help at any stage of set up, Hostwinds has a team ready to assist.
Wix — starting at $5 per month
Though Wix is priced a little higher than others on the list, it’s one of the best start-from-scratch systems out there. Some of the features Wix is known for are a blog hosting, e-commerce hosting, iOs and Android apps. Wix websites look great on high-resolution devices. You can also send out newsletters or give your viewers access to membership systems, which is a pretty cool bonus.
Because Wix has so many features, it’s really flexible to design a site no matter what your interests are. Choose from hundreds of integrated animation capabilities to really make your website stand out from the competition.
One of the most significant problems with Wix is, once you pick a template for your site, you kinda have to stick with it. Otherwise, you have to start an entirely new website to change it. There’s a free plan you can start with, but the premium plans range from $5 to $25 per month. In the most basic premium plan called the Connect Domain, you get 1 GB of bandwidth and 500 MB of storage, and in the most premium VIP plan, you get 20 GB of storage and $300 in ad vouchers.
BlueHost — starting at $2.95
The basic package on Bluehost is currently on sale for $2.95 per month. For you to get that price though, you have to sign up for a 12-, 24-, or 36-month package. Once you sign up, you’ll get a free domain and access to the site builder. You’ll also be able to install WordPress, one of the easiest and most powerful blogging and website content management systems, in just one click. In fact, WordPress even recommends using BlueHost to start your website.
BlueHost gives you three different package options: Basic, Plus, and Prime.
The key differences are, the Basic only lets you host one website whereas the other two give you unlimited site hosting. You’re also capped at just 50 gigs of web space with the Basic plan, but with all three packages, the webs space is unmetered. The amount of traffic you bring in is unlimited with BlueHost, but you get $200 in marketing offers if you sign up for Plus or Prime to spend on Google or Bing services.
The Basic plan on BlueHost also includes five different email accounts, where the other two both give you unlimited email addresses. The two premium options have the same cost at $5.45, so if you’re trying to decide between the two, we suggest you go with Pro, so you at least have access to spam experts and domain privacy if you ever need it.
Websites come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors so your web host should be just as flexible? If you agree, then InterServer might be a good option for you. InterServer is the only one on the list that locks your server price down for life. InterServer has the same introductory price as Wix, but when you consider that the company throws in unlimited storage, unlimited email accounts, and you can have your website transferred from another server for free, it’s more than worth it.
If you’re a blogger, small business owner, or if you want to create an e-commerce website, InterServer can offer you a private environment, reliable speed, and a monthly service fee that you aren’t required to pay ahead of time.
InterServer recommends the Standard plan, which pretty much has all you need to get your website up and running. Like the others, there’s 24/7 support if you run into trouble.
Oh, and you can get your first month for just $.0.01 if you use this coupon code: Hosting ADV.
FatCow — starting at $4.08 per month
FatCow wants to be friendly to you, your budget, and the environment, making it one of the more intriguing options for those looking to start their own website. FatCow gives you unlimited bandwidth, storage, and access to easy-to-use website builders. FatCow also utilizes wind power to run its hosting, which is pretty unique.
The website has a bit of a cartoonish vibe compared to others, but it offers a ton of services that first-timers and veterans alike will appreciate. Ground zero of FatCow is the Weebly Drag and Drop Builder in the control panel that allows you to select your domain name or website address. Then, you just do as the icon says, drag and drop the elements you want to add to your web page.
The sucky thing about FatCow is the super high renewal rate. Check ’em out below:
1-month: $14.95 monthly rate (billed monthly, subject to availability)
12-months: $14.95 monthly rate (billed $179.40 for 1 year)
24-months: $13.95 monthly rate (billed $334.80 for 2 years)
36-months: $12.95 monthly rate (billed $466.20 for 3 years)
iPage — starting at $1.99 per month
iPage.com has been running for 20 years so your website will be in good hands. Currently, iPage is running a promotion for 75% off the regular price of $7.99 per month, so if you sign up now, you can have your website go live for only $1.99 per month. iPage provides a free domain name for your first year along with a free security suite. iPage also throws in about $500 in extras, including $200 marketing credits for Google and Bing. In addition, you get 1 GB of free cloud storage where you can store your email, documents, videos, photos, and files online.
Unlike many of the more flexible web hosting sites, iPage only offers one simple sign-up option called the Essential plan. Most of the features are unlimited, so this plan is pretty much all you need anyway. You can create your website using WordPress, or you can use iPage’s proprietary builder that has drag and drop functionality as well as templates that are pretty mobile-friendly.
For support, iPage has phone, chat, and email support 24/7 to help you solve your hosting related issues.
The introductory prices (the cheap ones) are for the first term of service only and automatically renew at rates that range from $8 to $10. If you register a free domain through iPage and wish to cancel your account, there is non–refundable $15 fee to keep it.
1&1 — starting at $0.99 per month
With basic web hosting services starting as low as $0.99, you can get started with 1&1 without really risking much at all. Not only is 1&1 one of the cheapest services out there, but you can have your website up in a flash using the drag and drop editor and access to hundreds of different templates.
If you want to build your site using WordPress, you can do that too with just two clicks. 1&1 has email, e-commerce, and marketing options as well if that’s what you’re looking for.
Though 1&1 offers a number of pricing tiers ranging from $0.99 to $9.99 per month, we’re sure the cheapest option will give you more than enough to start with. The downside to using 1&1 is that some of the other options on this list offer longer money back guarantees. PC Mag also noted that the site lacks reseller hosting plans.
Justhost.com — starting at $2.50 per month
JustHost says it’s the last hosting websiteyou’ll ever need, and it just might be. The site offers three hosting plans. The Basic one is $3.95 per month and allows you to manage and run one website and includes one free domain. You get 50 GB of web space and unlimited email addresses if you need them.
The Plus and Prime plans are $6.95 per month and throw in up to $200 in marketing offers. The Plus plan gives you 150 GB of web space and the option to host up to 10 websites while the Pro Plan pretty much offers unlimited everything. What’s really cool about JustHost is that for an additional $2.99 per month, you have access to SEO optimization tools to help make your site more visible.
To actually design and create your website, JustHost lets you use WordPress and Weebly. You can also transfer a domain name you already own from another web builder if need be. If you run into trouble, Just Host has a pretty extensive Help Center section along with a 24/7 chat center, and agent phone support to answer any questions you have. Despite access to numerous features, JustHost makes you pay extra for a lot of the useful ones, so look out for that.
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Siteground is said to be one of the fastest, low cost web host services out there. No matter which plan you choose, you have access to stable server hardware that is SSD based, which basically means that all your input and output operations should run smoother than some of the competition. On top of that, the company offers a free JetPack plug-in from the developers behind WordPress. The JetPack plug-in can help the images on your webpage load faster for your viewers.
To contact customer support on Siteground, you have the option to start an instant online chat, or you can post a ticket to get service within a couple of minutes. For those who prefer step-by-step video instructions, there’s that too.
With each plan, you get unlimited email accounts at your domain and free site transfers. However, all of the packages limit your disk space and the beginners option limits you to a single domain. But if you’re just starting out, and anticipate around 10,000 monthly website visits or less, the StartUp package is all you’ll need.