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If you’re wondering how much it costs to host a website, buckle up. Understanding website hosting costs is vital to maximizing your budget, but that’s not the only thing at stake.

Your hosting decision will also influence whether your website runs smoothly. The hosting provider you side with can either make building your online presence brutal or a breeze.

To help you out, this guide will explain the different types of hosting and their typical costs, plus added expenses that commonly crop up. You’ll also learn how to choose the ideal web hosting provider for your unique circumstances and brand.

Free versus paid hosting

While free hosting seems like a great way to save money, be aware of several downsides.

The host will place advertisements on your website to offset the costs of providing free services. These ads can distract your website visitors and increase page load time, leading to a worse user experience.

Free hosting often comes with limited storage, bandwidth, CPU and other essential computing resources. During high traffic, this can mean your website loads slowly or crashes. 

Free hosting often comes with limited storage, bandwidth, CPU and other essential computing resources. During high traffic, this can mean your website loads slowly or crashes.

Paid website hosting is a better option for building and growing an online presence. Trustworthy paid hosts offer strong security measures such as firewalls and DDoS protection. They also provide high uptime guarantees and 24/7 customer support via several channels.

Commonly, paid plans support add-ons that improve your website’s performance, such as content delivery networks (CDNs), SSD storage and caching mechanisms.

In some paid hosting plans, you can personalize server settings and install your preferred software. If you’re looking for extensive customization options, paid hosting provides exactly that.

All in all, you’re better off with a paid web hosting plan unless you want to launch a small, temporary project or personal website. A paid plan doesn’t mean an expensive one; with this guide, your plan will be affordable. First, consider the factors that affect web hosting costs.

Factors that affect website hosting costs

Various factors affect website hosting costs, including the type of hosting and the features.

It’s worth understanding the factors that affect your website hosting costs. We’ll discuss each in this guide.

  • Web hosting type: Each type of hosting has its typical price point. In the next section, you’ll learn the average expenses for the most popular types of hosting.
  • Scalability: As your website grows and gains traction, you’ll need to upgrade your hosting package to add more resources and features that accommodate growth. This will increase your hosting costs. Providers each have a pricing structure; prioritize hosts that make it easy to upgrade.
  • Renewal prices: In many instances, web hosting will cost less when you sign your first contract. Once your deal term expires, you’re faced with renewing at a higher price. It’s a good idea to lock in the introductory deal for as long as possible, ideally several years.
  • Features: Web hosting providers typically include many features in a single hosting plan, such as backups, a page builder, email service and DNS management. The perks may come at an additional charge. Prioritize hosts that throw in useful features for free.
  • Contract length: Certain hosting providers offer discounted rates if you pay for one or more years in advance. For instance, when you purchase a 36-month plan from Bluehost, you enjoy higher discounts than monthly plans.

Web hosting types and their costs

There are a few popular web hosting types, and the one you choose will have a major impact on your web hosting costs. Let’s look at each in detail.

Different hosting types come with varying price points.

Shared hosting

If you care about affordability first and foremost, shared hosting should be your first consideration. With this type of hosting, you rent space on a server with other clients. In other words, many websites will have access to one server’s CPU cores, RAM and disk space.

Shared hosting boasts a low price point because the rental configuration is quite economic. It’s similar to how renting a house with four roommates is cheaper than each person living alone.

Since you share a server you don’t own, you can’t control server configurations or install software to your heart’s content. Also, if one client’s computing usage suddenly surges, it could temporarily dampen your website’s performance along with everyone on the server.

What’s the best use case? Shared hosting is best suited to personal blogs, smaller online stores and new brands with low traffic. The pros and cons of shared hosting are explained in-depth in our guide.

How much does it cost? Shared web hosting costs as little as $2 monthly with Bluehost.

Virtual private server (VPS) hosting

With VPS hosting, a physical machine is “split” into virtual servers using software known as a hypervisor. A subsection of the server is dedicated to each client, and they’re allocated their own resources.

You’re guaranteed some dedicated resources, putting you above worrying about your website slowing down due to the activities of other customers.

You’re guaranteed some dedicated resources, putting you above worrying about your website slowing down due to the activities of other customers.

What’s more, VPS plans often give users root access, allowing them more control over software installations and server configurations. This also means you’ll benefit from technical knowledge to manage and configure the virtual server.

What’s the best use case? VPS hosting is suitable for growing websites, especially those outgrowing a shared hosting package. Bluehost has guides so you can learn more about VPS hosting and how it works.

How much does it cost? VPS hosting starts at around $10 monthly.

Dedicated hosting

With dedicated hosting, an entire physical server is reserved solely for your use; all the hardware resources are at your disposal. Overall, dedicated hosting provides maximum performance, customization and security.

Since you’re the only one using the server, you can install any software, choose the operating system and implement your own security controls, like your favorite intrusion prevention system. In short, this hosting type gives you full control over your server environment.

Dedicated hosting usually means higher web hosting costs compared to shared hosting and VPS hosting. Another thing is you’ll need access to a technical team to manage a dedicated server effectively. Some dedicated hosting plans include a server management service.

What’s the best use case? Dedicated hosting is ideal for high-traffic websites and large organizations with complex IT needs. We wrote an explainer on dedicated hosting and its best use cases.

How much does it cost? Dedicated hosting prices start at $100 monthly.

Cloud hosting

When your website is hosted on a network of cloud servers, if one server goes down, other servers in the network will take over its responsibilities. The result? Reliability.

Another key benefit of cloud hosting is scalability. You can scale computing resources up and down according to your needs. Imagine you run an eCommerce website. In preparation for holiday seasons and sales, you can scale up your RAM and disk space. Later, you can reduce them to save on expenses during slower months.

Managing cloud workloads can be difficult; 95% of IT decision-makers say that a lack of cloud skills is holding their organizations back. Thankfully, some cloud hosting plans come with a server management service.

Some website owners are wary of storing sensitive data in the cloud. On the other hand, you have access to many robust cloud security options. You can incorporate role-based access control and strong encryption to protect your data.

What’s the best use case? Cloud hosting service is suitable for websites of any size, especially those that benefit from increasing and decreasing resources at will.

How much does it cost? Cloud hosting typically comes with pay-as-you-go pricing; you’ll pay at a predetermined rate for the resources you consume.

Additional web hosting costs to know

Secondary expenses are involved when building a website. Let’s take a closer look at these additional web hosting costs.

Domain name

You need a domain name to establish a website on the internet. It’s part of the address people type into their browsers to reach you. For example, Bluehost’s domain is

When choosing the perfect domain name, you’ll need to select a top-level domain extension (TLD) — examples include .net, .org and .com.

Buy a domain name from a registrar or hosting provider like Bluehost. We offer a free domain name for the first year, domain name privacy and automatic renewals.

Domain name registration and email hosting are website hosting costs to consider.

Various factors affect domain name prices, including the TLD’s popularity and the registrar you use. New domain names typically cost between $10 and $20 per year, which may increase when it’s time to renew.

You can create email accounts with your domain, which brings us to our next point.

Email hosting

With a custom email address, you establish trust and credibility with users. It exudes professionalism.

Many web hosts offer email hosting, usually for an extra cost on your hosting plan. If your host doesn’t include this service, browse email hosting options. Google Workspace, for instance, charges $6 per month. However, Bluehost clients can get Google Workspace for half that price.

SSL certificate

SSL certificates are another website hosting cost to consider.

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encrypts the link between a web server and a browser, meaning all data passed between the two remains confidential. An SSL certificate will keep hackers from eavesdropping on any sensitive data transferred between two systems.

If your website allows people to enter personal details like financial information, login credentials or email addresses, definitely install an SSL certificate. As a bonus, SSL certificates help you rank higher in search results.

The type of SSL certificate and the level of validation required will affect what you’ll pay. The single-domain SSL certificate is generally the most affordable, costing around $8 per year. Some web hosting providers bundle free SSL certificates with their hosting plans; Bluehost clients can activate a free SSL certificate for all their domain names.


After you finish creating your website, you’ll need to connect with your target demographic, grow brand awareness and convert leads into paying customers.

Marketing tactics such as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing and email outreach will help you grow your business.

How much you spend on marketing is up to you. There are completely free routes, pay-as-you-go approaches and full-on budgeted campaigns. 

How much you spend on marketing is up to you. There are completely free routes, pay-as-you-go approaches and full-on budgeted campaigns.

There’s one last factor that will greatly affect your website expenses: The provider you side with.

How to choose a web host

  1. Research and compare hosting providers
  2. Prioritize hosts with 24/7 tech support
  3. Opt for only relevant and impactful features
  4. Aim for longer contracts 
Comparing different hosting providers can help you maximize your budget.

With this approach, you’ll pick an ideal web host and save the most money, too. Let’s consider each step in detail because the web host and plan you pick will have a big influence on how much you pay.

Research and compare hosting providers

Begin your research by reading reviews published on authoritative websites like Trustpilot. People in your network are also a good source for web host recommendations.

Diligently vet hosting providers to find one that best suits your web hosting needs and budget. Create a shortlist of potential hosts, then look closely at their features.

Prioritize hosts with 24/7 tech support

Customer service shouldn’t come as an afterthought when vetting providers. A web host with round-the-clock support can protect you against prolonged downtime if you run into a technical issue you can’t troubleshoot yourself.

You should also confirm how you can reach out to the customer support team. The best web hosting providers offer support via several channels including phone, email and live chat.

Bluehost offers 24/7 tech support via phone and chat.

Opt for only relevant and impactful features

Keep comparing hosting packages until you have a clear picture of what features you require for your website.

Add-on features like automatic backups, SSL certificates, content management systems, CDNs and branded email accounts can increase your web hosting costs. In contrast, some web hosts provide these add-ons for free in their hosting plans.

If you want a hosting plan with exactly the right features, opt for a specialized one like Bluehost’s WordPress hosting packages.

WordPress hosting is custom-built for websites using the WordPress content management system (CMS) — it’s the most popular CMS, powering over 32 million live websites. You’ll enjoy tailor-made features like automatic WordPress installation and free game-changing plugins.

Check out our guide to learn more about WordPress hosting.

Aim for longer contracts

In many cases, you can get a discount on hosting fees if you opt for a longer contract. When you consider that you’ll probably pay a higher rate after renewing, it’s clear that opting for a longer contract is one of the best ways to minimize web hosting costs.

There are some web hosts who offer longer contracts and freebies. Bluehost, for instance, offers 36-month plans with a free domain, SSL and CDN, allowing you to shave off expenses in multiple ways.

Final thoughts: A beginner’s guide to website hosting costs

We’re confident that you now understand the costs associated with web hosting. If you’re just starting out, a low-cost shared plan may suffice. Don’t forget to compare providers to ensure you get a plan that suits your budget and satisfies your needs.

If you’re searching for a web hosting company with a proven track record, look no further than Bluehost. Our web hosting solutions span WordPress hosting plans, online store plans, VPS hosting and dedicated hosting.

Furthermore, our team of experts can go one step further and build a stellar website for you. Request a consultation today and get a website tailored to your specific needs.

Web hosting cost FAQs

What is the cheapest way to host a website?

A shared hosting plan from Bluehost costs as little as $2 monthly. You get a discount when you sign up for longer contracts, paying for one or more years upfront.

Alternatively, you can host your website on a free server — but you’d have to tolerate ads placed on your pages. Plus, free web hosting typically comes with limited server storage and bandwidth, which can hold your website’s performance back.

How much should you pay for web hosting?

The cost of website hosting varies depending on the web hosting provider, the type of hosting and the features offered. Shared hosting typically costs $3 to $20 a month. VPS and dedicated hosting are more expensive because you don’t share resources, while cloud hosting costs vary based on your usage.

Do all websites need hosting?

Yes, all websites need hosting. Web hosting is the space on a physical server where your files and data are stored and then delivered to internet users. Without hosting, your website won’t be accessible online. However, with the abundance of hosting options available, you can get your website on the internet with little to no web hosting costs.

Can I host a website myself?

It’s possible to host a website on your own server, but it requires technical experience and coding knowledge — plus, you’ll be in charge of security. If an issue arises, you’ll have to solve it hands-on; that’s why many website owners opt for hosting companies. On the upside, self-hosting gives you complete control over your website.

  • Devin Sears

    Devin is a Senior Event Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. He is our brand steward for all things Bluehost and WordPress. You'll always see him supporting Bluehost at WordCamps around the world!

    Brigham Young University
    Previous Experience
    Social Media, Customer Experience, Field Marketing, Sponsorships, Event Coordinator
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