Web Hosting Costs: The Hidden Truths
Web hosting has, over the years, become more and more accessible to ordinary people. The result is that hundreds of websites are being added to the over 1.1 billion that are already in existence on a daily basis. In one of my posts, I look at some of the reasons why it may be a good idea for you to launch your own website or blog this year. One of these reasons is the fact that web hosting costs have fallen drastically over the past few years. In fact, so great has been this fall that you can have your site hosted for as little as $0. 95/month! Have you ever stopped to ask yourself how these companies generate profits?
Hidden Web Hosting Costs
As just mentioned, there are an endless number of companies with which you can host your website. So cutthroat has the competition become that prices have, over the past few years, fallen to ridiculously low levels. If you have ever wondered how anyone is able to stay in business at these low rates, then you are not alone. The answer, of course, lies in the hidden web hosting costs. These are the things that everyone who is considering web hosting should be aware of;
Getting a domain is, perhaps, one of the first things that you do when embarking on your blogging journey. Most companies, however, now offer domains free of charge for the first year of hosting your website. You would think therefore, that we would not have included domains among the hidden costs that come with having your website or blog hosted by companies such as Bluehost and GoDaddy, right?
However the fact is that domains are a major hidden cost, even where they are offered for free. To begin with, there are companies, such as HostGator, that still charge you for domain registration. The thing is; you don’t see the charge, an extra $12.95, in the, enticingly low, advertised web hosting costs.
The above example, from HostGator, is actually one of the most favorable scenarios. You actually get to know about the domain fee before concluding the transaction. The fact, though, for most of the web hosting companies that offer domains for free, is that the honeymoon stops at the end of the year, when you have to renew whatever the hosting plan that you have chosen for your website.
The whole thing is hidden in the fine print which, of course, none of us ever actually read. (If you read the fine print, then you are either a lawyer, have been burned before, or there is something severely wrong with you).
In any case, domain renewal reverts back to around $12 a year after the first free year with most of the major web hosting companies. We know that this does not add much to web hosting costs, but it is something that you need to consider when signing up.
The Cost of Add-ons
One question that you will constantly come across if you browse across the internet, surrounds the issue of how web hosting companies can afford to pay out up to $100 for each new customer that is referred to them by affiliates. That is really a puzzling scenario, considering that the new customer will only be paying, on average, less than $5 per month for web hosting. At $5 per year, the total that will be paid to the web hosting company is $60, which translates into a loss of $40 for the web hosts, right?
The Unavoidable Extra Web Hosting Costs
The answer, of course, lies in the fact that rarely does one get to pay only the advertised amount when signing up for web hosting. There are several add-ons that, on the face of it, are only optional. However, people who are half serious about their sites will be compelled to carry these extra web hosting costs. These include;
- Site Security
- Content Delivery Networks
- Site Backup
- Domain Privacy Protection
- Search Engine Jumpstart
The above addons are from Bluehost. They do tend to vary depending on the company with which you wish to have your site hosted.The question that many are forced to ask themselves when confronted with the screen in the above screenshot (from Bluehost), is which of these optional options can I really do without?
Domain Privacy Protection
This is supposed to protect you from a Whois lookup, thus saving you from the machinations of malevolent internet marketers.In all honesty, if you do not really have anything to hide, you could probably do without this option.
Site Backup Pro
If you have carried out research before embarking on your blogging journey, you will have come across stories of woe from people who have lost their websites in one way or the other.
In any case it is important for your website to be backed up. In our view, there is absolutely no reason why this option shouldn’t be included, by default, in the non optional web hosting package. In any case, choosing to have this option, as you rightly should, adds $35.99 per year to your hosting fees.
Search Engine Jumpstart
For some reason, this option does not come pre-selected in the example in the above screenshot. Perhaps, Bluehost believes that giving your site a head start in terms of Search Engine Optimization is really not that important.We, at Network Bees, disagree. In any case, you add another $35.99 per year to your overall hosting fees by choosing this option.
This is another of the things that, we believe, should never be made optional to people who are looking for web hosting solutions.
Site Security is absolutely crucial and should be listed as part of the advertised web hosting costs! However, that would, of course, add $23.88 per year to the overall cost of having your site hosted, which would not be that good for business.
We do have to say that our own host, InterServer, covers site security as part of the $8 package on which Network Bees is hosted. We became painfully aware of the importance of site security and backing up when this site was attacked by malware. Fortunately, we were able to clean it up without having to resort to drastic measure.
In our view, its absolutely criminal that some web hosts have made site security optional in a bid to keep web hosting costs down.
Length of Hosting Plan
Another thing that you will notice, when hunting for a home for your website, is that the advertised web hosting costs are almost always for the packages that run for 36 months. That’s right! Some of the Web Hosting Companies that are out there, such as Bluehost, do not even offer single month packages. Those that do, such a HostGator, charge way more should you decide that you only wish to try them out for one month. This comes to around $10.95 per month at HostGator.
InterServer: An Honest Web Host
The only company that does not use the form of slightly dishonest advertising is InterServer. Here, the cost of a one month hosting package is actually the advertised $5.
Should you choose to have your site hosted for 36 months, the web hosting costs, in fact, fall to around $4 per month.
The Cost of Renewing your Web Hosting Plan
Another thing that you will discover with most of the web hosting companies that are out there, is that after the one year or 36 month honeymoon period, the cost of having your website hosted reverts to the normal monthly charges.
Bluehost, as an example, states in two fine print sentences, at the bottom of this page, that web hosting costs “revert back to normal,” at the end of the promotional period. The screenshot below shows actual web hosting costs that you would then have to pay.
The above web hosting costs are more than double the initial web hosting costs. That is the reason why you will come across a lot of fuming returning customers on forums across the internet. These hidden web hosting costs make the price of renewing your plan substantially high.
InterServer’s Price Lock Guarantee
The one exception to this rule is InterServer. One of the things that attracted us to this host is the fact that it offers a price lock guarantee on all of its hosting packages.
What this means is that the web hosting costs that you pay when you initially sign up get locked. They are what you can expect to pay for as long as your site is hosted by InterServer! For us, that’s about $86 per year on a Managed WordPress hosting package.
It is our believe that people who are looking for a home for their websites should be aware of these “hidden web hosting costs” that may, in the long run, end up inflating the amount that they need to keep running their sites. While none of the charges that we have exposed here are truly earth shattering, it remains that most of the companies that are out there do not properly disclose real web hosting costs to people.