February 21, 2023
3
MIN READ

A Complete Guide to Optimizing Your Website Hosting Costs

IT

Rethinking your cloud spending as you grow? In this guide, we share everything you need to know to reduce hosting costs without affecting your users' experience.

Having an online presence is critical for growing startups & scaleups. Your website can be a key asset in engaging and converting qualified leads. And you can’t have a competitive website without the right web hosting service.

In today’s post, we'll explore some tips and strategies to optimize your web hosting costs to get the best value for your money. 

We’ll dive into:

  • What web hosting is & how it works
  • The difference between web and domain hosting
  • Website hosting cost factors
  • The most common types of web hosting
  • 6 tips to optimize web hosting costs

Without further ado, let’s begin.

What Is Web Hosting?**

For starters, if you want your website to be accessible online, you’ll need web hosting. Basically, web hosting is a service that allows you to rent space on a server. In a sense, you can think of hosting as a plot of digital land you rent so you can build your website on it. This “plot of land” will be accessible through an address: Your domain name.

Some hosting companies just offer you space on their servers. So, as long as you comply with certain technical restrictions, you can build almost anything you need. This is the case with most hosting companies out there. But the best web hosting providers don’t just rent out server space. 

They also offer: 

  • Domain hosting services
  • Security features (such as SSL certificates & automatic backups)
  • One-click software installers
  • Expert support
  • Migration services
  • Access to a Content Delivery Network
  • And more

It’s also worth mentioning that some companies offer hosting with the software you need to build your website, pre-installed. Noteworthy options include:

  • Low-code website builders like Webflow or Squarespace
  • WordPress.com & Ghost(Pro) plans
  • Managed WordPress hosting plans

Web Hosting vs. Domain Hosting: What’s the Difference?

Although web hosting and domain hosting are related, they’re two different services. As we mentioned previously, web hosting provides your website with a space on the internet. Domain hosting, on the other hand, provides you with your website’s address, its domain name.

Most reputable website hosting companies offer both domain hosting and web hosting, which may sound convenient. However, depending on your needs, you may want to consider relying on two different providers. 

Website Hosting Cost Factors**

At this point, you may be wondering: How much does it cost to host a website? And this question is very important if you’re trying to assess whether your current hosting spending is reasonable. But the truth is that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. 

However, if you’re working on website hosting cost optimization, it’s key for you to understand what factors may be adding up to your hosting bill. 

In this section, we’ll dive into 10 factors that can make your web hosting services particularly expensive. Some are well-justified and essential, but others could be worth compromising.

We’ll cover:

  • Uptime
  • Storage space & bandwidth limits
  • Customer support 
  • Server location options
  • Security features
  • Automatic backups
  • Scalability
  • Ease of use
  • Number of websites
  • Extra services & add-ons

Let’s dive into each one, shall we? 

Uptime

The best web hosting services have an uptime of 99.9% or higher. That means that their servers very rarely go offline. 

While most hosting providers promise high uptime, those that truly deliver it may be charging a premium fee. But this extra charge is usually preferable to experiencing downtime on a regular basis. Especially if your website’s key to your sales & marketing efforts. 

Nevertheless, in the event of an outage, most hosting companies offer a contractual guarantee and reimburse you for a part of your fee.

Customer Support

The best website hosting providers offer 24/7 customer support via:

  • Chat 
  • Email
  • Phone

Good customer support may impact your hosting costs in two ways:

  • Quality support may only be available for high-tier plans
  • Hosting companies that provide good customer support consistently are usually perceived as more trustworthy than their competitors - so they don’t compete on price

Storage Space & Bandwidth Limits

Storage space and bandwidth limits go hand in hand. Storage space refers to how much server space will be available for your website. Meanwhile, your bandwidth will determine how quickly your website loads and how much data can be transferred to your visitors.

The more storage space you have available and the higher your bandwidth limits, the more expensive your hosting plan will be. Choosing a hosting plan with lots of storage space and bandwidth can be great to guarantee scalability. But your website shouldn’t be super heavy and transfer tons of heavy data to your users. So, this may be a technical concern worth bringing up when examining your hosting costs. 

Security Features

To be safe from any malicious attacks, we recommend you ensure that your web host offers DDoS protection, SSL certificates, and other security features. In some cases, you may have to pay an extra fee for them. But it will be justified. However, we recommend you research different options. For instance, you may want to get your SSL certificate from a specialized vendor, instead of your hosting provider. 

Automatic Backups

Make sure your hosting provider lets you perform backups regularly and that you can quickly restore your website from these backups if necessary. 

Ideally, you should opt for a web host that offers automatic backups. However, if your provider doesn’t offer them, you can get this type of backup service from a third party. Automatic backups are one of those features that may add up to your hosting costs, but that will make a difference. 

Friendly UX

Depending on who will have ownership over your website, it may be essential for your hosting provider to offer an intuitive dashboard.

A beginner-friendly backend will be key if your website will be handled by a non-technical team. But, if you’re not happy with your current hosting provider and your developers are managing your website from a terminal, a pretty dashboard isn’t a good reason to stay. 

Scalability

Some types of hosting are better equipped to handle growth than others. For instance, if your website runs on a VPS, you’ll be better prepared for a traffic peak than if you’re running on shared hosting. A growth-proof hosting plan will be more expensive than a plan with very strict limitations. But in most cases, the difference is worth paying for.

Number of Websites

Will you be hosting one website or four? A hosting plan that allows you to build several websites will be more expensive than a single-site hosting plan. But, is that cost justified in your case? Does your team have plans for future platforms? Would these platforms run on the same stack as your current ones? 

Share these questions with your team, and analyze whether your current hosting plan has been strategically chosen to accommodate future projects. 

Extra Services & Add-Ons

Some hosting service providers offer a very poor customer experience, full of hidden fees and misleading offers. Watch out for these hidden fees.

In some cases, hosting providers add extra fees through:

  • Monthly support fees
  • Domain registration fees 
  • Add-on services such as SEO optimization, extra security features, or email marketing

These are just a few examples. And, while some providers aren’t completely honest about these fees, if they correspond with services that your team’s actually using, they may be justified. 

Website Hosting Types**

Now you know what website hosting is and what factors tend to justify its price. But not all website hosting plans are created equal.

In this section, we’ll share the most common web hosting types, along with their average cost. 

We’ll explore:

  • Shared hosting
  • VPS hosting
  • Managed WordPress hosting
  • Cloud hosting
  • Dedicated hosting

Let’s get started!

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is one of the most popular and affordable types of hosting out there. It’s mostly used by small businesses and low-scale websites. For instance, a shared hosting plan can be a great option for getting a personal blog online. 

When you choose a shared hosting plan, you're sharing limited server space with hundreds or thousands of websites. That's why these plans are so affordable and so limited. 

Shared hosting comes with significant performance and security downsides. For instance, if other websites on your server are consuming large amounts of resources, this could negatively affect your platform's performance.

Shared hosting plans are usually in the $5-$15 range.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting

Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting is a good upgrade from shared hosting. With VPS hosting, you still share a server with other sites. However, every website has its own dedicated server space that houses its files and content. In other words, the resources are 100% your own. Consequently, VPS hosting is secure and scalable.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that VPS hosting can be managed or unmanaged. With managed VPS hosting you won’t have to deal with maintenance, as your hosting provider will take care of it. On the other hand, with unmanaged VPS hosting, you’ll have to take care of software upgrades, data backups, and server maintenance.  This could be a great option if you have a team of IT experts that wants to take full control of your website's online presence. 

VPS hosting prices usually range from $18 to $85 per month.

Managed WordPress Hosting

As WordPress is one of the most popular CMSs, multiple hosting providers offer WordPress-specific services. It’s worth mentioning that you can host WordPress on almost any commercial hosting. However, having a WordPress-specific hosting plan can help you to:

  • Keep your WordPress website updated automatically
  • Enjoy WordPress-specific security features
  • Get the best performance that WordPress is capable of, through an optimized server

The average cost of managed WordPress hosting ranges from $2 to $30 per month.

Cloud Hosting

With cloud hosting, your website is given its own dedicated computer resources on a mass network known as “the cloud”. Cloud hosting is highly reliable and can manage traffic surges with ease.

Besides, upgrading or downgrading your hosting resources is easy, since your hosting provider simply allocates more (or fewer) network resources to your account depending on usage. 

Some popular cloud hosting providers include:

Plus, as with VPS hosting, you can choose between managed and unmanaged cloud hosting. 

Cloud hosting plans usually start at $50/month.

Dedicated Hosting

With dedicated hosting, a website has exclusive access to an entire server. With this type of hosting plan, you’ll very rarely experience connectivity or security problems. This option is quite expensive, but it may be an ideal solution for high-traffic sites that are mission-critical assets. This could also be the best option for websites that store sensitive user data. 

The average cost of dedicated hosting ranges from $80 to several thousand dollars per month.

6 Tips to Optimize Website Hosting Costs**

Switching your hosting plan or looking for features that may not be worth paying for are just two ways to optimize your website hosting costs.

In this section, we’ll dive into 6 other options.

If you’re looking to reduce your hosting costs, we recommend you:

  • Find hosting providers that offer discounts
  • Make sure that your website’s optimized for performance
  • Implement a cloud-native web application architecture
  • Keep it simple
  • Delete outdated content
  • Make sure your website supports sales
  • Decouple your CMS 

Find Hosting Providers that Offer Discounts 

A great way to reduce your web hosting costs is by looking for web hosting companies that offer lower prices for committing to long-term contracts. In some cases, companies may get a 50% discount if they commit to a 3-year contract. In fact, the longer the contract, the more you’ll reduce your annual costs. 

These types of contracts are pretty common among hosting companies. However, the challenge is in finding the right balance between convenient pricing and service quality. 

Make Sure that Your Website Is Optimized for Performance

A website's payload is typically dominated by images, videos, and unoptimized code. If your website’s not experiencing traffic peaks but your hosting plan’s starting to look restrictive, you may want to check your website’s performance. 

A lighter website won’t just require less bandwidth and storage. It’ll also offer a better user experience. 

Keep It Simple

To minimize unnecessary resources, it’s always good to keep your website and domain structure as simple as possible. That won’t just reduce hosting costs, but it’ll also make it easier to maintain your website. 

We recommend you:

  • Keep an eye on your website’s sitemap
  • Make sure every page has a purpose

Delete Outdated Content

If your website has been up for a while, you're likely to have outdated or irrelevant content, including:

  • Landing pages for expired promotions
  • Old, irrelevant news 
  • Announcements for past events

Hence, we recommend you make a regular habit of auditing your website, at least once a year. In some cases, your content will be worth updating. This may be the case for old blog posts that are still bringing traffic to your website. But, if your content has become redundant or obsolete, you may want to remove it and set up a permanent redirect to a better page. 

Make Sure Your Website Supports Sales

It’s okay to want to reduce unnecessary hosting costs. But, what if you could maximize your website’s ROI as well? At the end of the day, a great way to optimize your website hosting costs is by ensuring that your entire website supports your sales efforts and drives conversions. 

By leveraging your website as a sales asset, you can make your hosting costs worth it. And that’s every bit as important as reducing them.

Decouple Your CMS

Tech stack changes can significantly affect how your development team operates. We don't recommend making these types of decisions based on cost alone. But decoupling your CMS (content management system) from your website's front end may help you to get improved performance without increasing your hosting costs. In fact, you may be able to host your static front end for free. 

Decoupling your CMS consists of using your CMS to store content that you’ll “feed” to a front end that’s optimized for performance. For instance, most websites running on WordPress handle both their content and their look-and-feel through their CMS. So, every time someone visits this type of WordPress website, they have to make a server request, which is a resource-intensive and relatively slow process. And, in order to improve performance, you’d have to invest in a better hosting plan. 

But, by decoupling WordPress, you can continue using it to manage your content, without being stuck with an underperforming front-end. However, this option has a caveat: You’ll need a developer to decouple your website and to maintain it afterward. 

Take Back Control of Your Company’s Spending**

Website hosting costs may be a burden on your scaleup’s finances. But, are there any other unnecessary costs? 

Do you know how many software subscriptions your company is currently paying for? What is the return on your investment for each of them? While software can have an incredible impact on your teams’ workflows, excessive subscription costs can quickly mount up. Especially when different teams are trying different tools. Here’s where Cledara can help.

With Cledara, you will:

  • Easily view all your software subscriptions in one place
  • Identify unnecessary subscriptions and unsubscribe with one click
  • Examine tool usage and who’s benefiting from what tool
  • Prevent unforeseen spending through virtual cards
  • Make sure that team members always have access to the tools they need
  • Avoid shadow IT
  • And more

Leave your SaaS worries behind. Book a demo and discover Cledara today.

Contents

Contents

Subscribe to our newsletter

Receive the latest insights in your inbox

Share this post

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay informed on the latest SaaS insights

Explore more

Explore more

Have You Secured Your Software Stack?

SaaS security is a set of practices, protocols, and processes that have the primary goal of ensuring the security of a company's SaaS environment.
Read more

What is SaaS?

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a cloud computing model that allows users to access applications over the Internet. But there's far more to it - find out here.
Read more

What is an SBOM?

Software providers must now meet SBOM requirements in order to qualify as US public sector vendors. Learn everything you need to know about SBOMs in this post.
Read more

Avoid $65m Cloud Bills with a Cloud Management Platform

Wondering if it's time to adopt a Cloud Management Platform? Here's everything you need to know before investing.
Read more

What Is Software Asset Management? [Benefits & Best Practices]

Software Asset Management helps organizations gain control and optimize software costs and usage. Learn more about its benefits and some best practices in this post.
Read more

IT Governance Framework: A Guide for Enterprise Companies

IT governance is a formal way to integrate an IT strategy into an organization's business strategy. In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about it.
Read more

Technology Business Management (TBM): A Guide for Scaleups

Rationalize your IT expenses and align them with your business goals through Technology Business Management (TBM). Here's what you need to know.
Read more

What is Application Rationalization and How to Implement It

Application rationalization is the process of assessing and streamlining an organization's software applications to improve efficiency, reduce redundancy, and optimize resource allocation.
Read more

How to Write a Good Software Business Case [+ Template]

Do you think your company needs to invest in new software? In this post, you'll learn how to write a good software business case. Free template included.
Read more

Is Shadow IT Hiding in Your Company? Tips for Bringing Informal SaaS Out of the Dark

Unsure about how to tackle hidden software used throughout the company? You're not alone.
Read more

Software Tech Stack: Definition + How to Manage Yours

Learn what a software tech stack is, why it is important and how to manage one with Cledara.
Read more

9 Software Management Best Practices to Streamline Your IT

Here's how to manage your software investments effectively.
Read more

4 Software Management Processes COOs Should Implement Today

To boost productivity and ensure the whole business is empowered to work efficiently, strong software management is key.
Read more

How Software Management Helps Startup COOs Scale Operations

Ensure that the tools powering your business drive real value.
Read more