The Hidden Costs of Website Hosting – When you look at web hosting costs on a hosting provider’s site, you’ll typically see one single number for each plan. That’s why it’s easy to think that one price is all you’ll ever pay. But Is that really the case? In this post, we’re going to dig into web hosting costs in detail, including those hidden costs that you’ll want to pay attention to.
If you want to make a WordPress website, you need web hosting. It’s one of the few unavoidable costs of launching your own WordPress site.
So — how much will that hosting cost? And what are some of the hidden hosting costs that might increase your bill beyond what you expect?
In this post, we’re going to dig into web hosting costs in detail, including those hidden hosting costs that you’ll want to pay attention to.
The 4 Different Types of Web Hosting
There are three general types of web hosting that are available to all types of websites:
- Shared hosting
- Cloud hosting
- Dedicated hosting
In the WordPress space, there’s also a fourth type of hosting — managed WordPress hosting.
Let’s go through them.
1. Shared Hosting
With shared hosting, your account and websites will share resources with other hosting accounts on that server.
Really the only reason to choose shared hosting is the price. Because accounts share resources, shared hosting is typically the cheapest way of hosting a website.
Most shared hosting providers also advertise generous limits such as “unlimited websites” and “unlimited storage” (though there’s no such thing as truly “unlimited” hosting).
However, from a performance perspective, sharing resources with other accounts is not an optimal configuration. How well shared hosting performs really depends on how many hosting accounts the provider tries to put on each server.
2. Cloud Hosting
With cloud hosting, your account still isn’t the only one on the server. However, unlike shared hosting, each cloud account is isolated from the others and gets its own dedicated resources within “the cloud”.
In general, this means that cloud hosting will offer better performance than shared hosting, though it depends on the providers.
It’s also easy to allocate more resources to your sites when needed, which means you can easily “scale up” your server if your site’s traffic increases.
There are also two types of service to go along with your cloud hosting:
- Unmanaged – you’ll be responsible for managing the server when it comes to the software, configuration, updates, etc. For example, you’ll need to apply operating system updates and patches.
- Managed – the hosting service will manage the basic server details for you when it comes to basic details like operating system patches and updates.
All things equal, an unmanaged plan will always be cheaper than a managed plan because of this.
3. Dedicated Hosting
With dedicated hosting, you have an entire physical server just for your site(s). You get everything and you don’t need to share it with anyone else.
The main advantage of dedicated hosting is that you have full control over the physical environment. You can choose the hardware, the software, and so on.
However, the vast majority of WordPress users do not need dedicated hosting. This is mainly a solution for large enterprise businesses that need a dedicated hardware environment for specific technical or regulatory reasons.
For most WordPress users, you can get the performance benefits of dedicated resources by using cloud hosting, at a lower price than dedicated hosting.
Dedicated hosting is something that you’ll come across, which is why it’s worth mentioning. But for a quick-loading website, cloud hosting offers better value.
4. Managed WordPress Hosting
Managed WordPress hosting has some overlap because you can find managed WordPress hosts that use all of the different hosting approaches above. That is, you can find managed WordPress hosts that offer shared hosting, cloud hosting, and/or dedicated hosting.
The defining feature of managed WordPress hosts is that they offer a suite of “concierge” features for WordPress users that go beyond what generic hosting offers. This includes features such as the following:
- Automatic backups.
- Automatic WordPress updates.
- Built-in performance optimizations.
- WordPress-specific security features.
- Expert WordPress support.
How Much Does Web Hosting Generally Cost?
The top-line price for web hosting will depend on the type of web hosting that you purchase and the provider that you’re looking at.
In general, hosting prices are ordered like this, in order of the cheapest to the most expensive:
- Shared hosting
- Cloud hosting
- Dedicated hosting
Managed WordPress hosting typically sits somewhere around the cloud hosting level, though it depends on the specific configuration of the managed provider. Some managed WordPress hosts that use shared environments will cost less, while managed hosts that use cloud hosting will typically cost more because of the extra features. An example of a shared managed WordPress host is SiteGround, while hosts like Kinsta and Flywheel use the cloud hosting approach.
Let’s look at some specific pricing examples to give you an idea of what you’ll pay.
Shared Hosting Pricing Example
Shared hosting typically starts at around $5-$15 per month at full price, though you can often find special promotional prices starting at around $3 per month for your first billing term.
Cloud Hosting Pricing Example
Cloud hosting can cost as little as $5 per month for an unmanaged VPS direct from a cloud provider like DigitalOcean. However, cloud hosting can scale all the way up into the hundreds per month depending on the resources available to your server.
A realistic price for a basic managed cloud is around $20-$40 per month, and it can easily go up into the hundreds.
Dedicated Hosting Pricing Example
Dedicated hosting typically costs ~$80 per month at a minimum for an unmanaged server, with most providers starting in the hundreds (especially for a managed server).
Managed WordPress Hosting
Managed WordPress hosting from a quality provider typically starts at $20-$30 per month on the low end for a single site.
What Are the Hidden Costs of Web Hosting?
When you look at web hosting costs on a hosting provider’s site, you typically see one single number for each plan. Because of that, it’s easy to think that that one price is all you’ll ever pay.
At some hosts, that is true. However, many hosts will have hidden costs that can raise your bill beyond what you expect.
There are two general types of hidden hosting costs that you’ll want to pay attention to:
- Price changes
- Add-on services
1. Hidden Hosting Costs via Price Changes
One of the most common causes of hosting price surprises is price changes, which is especially common in the cheap shared hosting space.
Many cheap shared hosts offer a special promotional price that only applies to your first billing cycle (which can be anywhere from one month to three years depending on the host).
When you go to renew your plan, you’ll need to pay the “regular” price, which can sometimes be 2-3X higher than the promotional price.
You can typically find the regular price for a plan by looking for text such as “Regular” or “Normally”.
If you’re looking at cheap hosting, you’ll want to make sure to factor in both the promotional price and the regular price when you’re making your decision. Otherwise, you’ll be in for a shock when you go to renew your hosting.
Another tricky pricing detail can be your billing term. Typically, you’ll need to pay for a long term upfront to get the lowest price. On shared hosts, this is usually three years, while it’s typically only one year for more premium hosts.
2. Hidden Hosting Costs via Add-Ons
Beyond price changes, another source of hidden hosting costs is add-ons that you need to pay for beyond the hosting itself.
Some hosts will charge you extra for features that are pretty fundamental, which means you’re almost forced to pay the extras. Here are some common examples:
- SSL certificates – while many hosts now offer free SSL certificates, you’ll still find some popular hosts charging for SSL certificates.
- Backups – many shared hosts charge extra to back up your site, which is important to consider if you don’t want to use a backup plugin.
- Security – some shared hosts will charge extra for security firewalls or malware scans. Given that WordPress security is absolutely essential, you might feel obligated to pay for these add-ons in addition to using a security plugin.
- CDN – using a content delivery network (CDN) is a great way to speed up your WordPress site. However, some hosts will charge you extra to use the CDN. Or, you might need to pay for a third-party CDN service alongside your hosting.
How To Save on Hosting Costs
If you want to save on hosting costs, there are two high-level things that you can do.
First, you want to use the minimum resources that are needed to efficiently power your sites. If you have a single low-traffic site, you absolutely don’t need some ultra-powerful high-resource dedicated server. Start small – if you outgrow your server’s needs, you can always upgrade later on.
Second, you want to choose a host that lets you avoid the hidden hosting costs that we discussed above. Instead of picking a host that will nickel-and-dime you for essential features, look for an all-in-one solution with one flat cost.
If you’re an Elementor user, you can handle both factors by choosing the Elementor Cloud Website solution.
Elementor Cloud Website uses Google Cloud Platform to offer an all-in-one WordPress hosting solution for one fixed price.
You get all the features and performance that your WordPress site needs, with none of the hidden costs or surprises.
For a flat $99 per year, you’ll get the following:
- Built-in hosting from Google Cloud Platform
- Secure CDN by Cloudflare
- Free SSL certificate from DigiCert
- 20 GB storage
- 100 GB bandwidth
- 100K monthly visits
- Free custom domain connection
- Free primary domain elementor.cloud
- Automatic daily backups
- Manual backups from My Elementor account
And oh yeah, did we mention that that price also includes Elementor Pro features at no extra cost? Remember – it’s an all-in-one solution for building websites!
Don’t Let Hidden Hosting Costs Surprise You
If you want to make a WordPress website, you’re going to need to pay for web hosting.
If you make smart choices, you can keep your costs low and save as much money as possible. But if you’re not careful, you can get hit with hidden hosting costs and end up paying more than you expected.
One way to make sure there aren’t any surprises is to choose the Elementor Cloud Website solution. You’ll pay one transparent fee with no surprise costs, while still getting all the important functions that your WordPress site needs. And because it uses Google Cloud Platform, you can be confident that your site will load quickly.
Plus, you’ll get Elementor Pro features at no extra cost, which means you can start building your website right away.