Choosing the right affordable web host can make a world of difference in your business, so whether you're looking for the best video streaming host or a reliable website host, making an informed decision can be a tremendous boon to your efforts.
There's no shortage of high-quality, super-reliable services from which to choose, and we'll delve into select options below.
But first, we care to illuminate some of the key points you should look for in any affordable web host that you consider.
Being educated about the various providers can save you lots of wasted time and frustration along the way.
And knowing from the outset whether a managed or shared server option would best suit your business is the first step in determining which company you ultimately sign up with.
The plan names, stated features, and technical jargon used among the services may all sound identical, though you can be sure that, like most any service on the market, significant differences indeed separate one business from the next.
Moreover, affordable web host providers have varying policies, prices, and benefits which, upon close examination, can help distinguish a particular plan and render it best for your given purpose.
An efficient place to start is to highlight the most relevant needs you need addressed by a provider and begin a process of elimination for those which either fail to meet them or are non-competitive price wise.
For example, some companies may offer advanced website analyzer tools, while others might limit their services to DNS web hosting only.
Select firms will provide guidance on how to improve your website speed and design, while a competitor may have a video series on how to optimize your layout for a better user experience.
The point is that having a clear understanding of that which you most need in an affordable web host will be useful once you begin evaluating the top providers in the marketplace.
There's simply too much information, too many options, and far too much distortion between one brand's claim versus another to embark upon this task without first reading up on the subject.
And going about the arduous steps of making an intelligent selection is tough enough to begin with, so anything one can do to both accelerate and streamline the process is a positive.
To help in this regard is a tried-and-true method of listing all points of consideration, along with referring back to these notes during your evaluation of prospective plans.
The sheer volume of information available from the top affordable web host companies should not deter you from delving into the literature on their services.
A good place to start the process of elimination is with the cheap/inexpensive hosts which offer the core services that you'll need.
It's best to start at the bottom (in terms of pricing) and work your way up because almost all web hosting companies observe certain 'triggers' that lead to additional fees being charged to your account.
And in many cases, the bargain plans are apt to have lower allowances or grace periods before various fees hit your billing statement in result.
For example, a prominent brand which promotes itself as a leading affordable web host might lure a great number of customers with its clever marketing and entry-level service charges, but in reality, the available plans end up costing substantially more than anticipated.
Unlimited bandwidth and subdomains might be touted by the company, though in reality, a relatively small number of web pages are included in some of these discount hosting plans.
Budget-minded consumers are naturally drawn to cheap, though comparable products, so it's easy to attract the interest of a large number of prospects.
The unfortunate casualty is that customers will soon learn that the package they deemed both affordable and adequate is anything but when the additional fees and adjustments are applied to their statements.
So this, along with several additional reasons, is why we recommend keeping close tabs on billing-related language in the agreements that you're considering from each affordable web host which would meet your needs.
Highlighting the most consequential differences will cut your assessment time down significantly, and before long an actionable short-list will emerge with the most suitable firms to handle your internet hosting account.
We recommend that you make a list of the features you'll need in an affordable web host, as it can be huge time drain trying to pick the best plan without one.
Selecting the right web host and domain registrar may seem straightforward enough, but in practice, the task can become extremely involved.
For one, the combination of tools and information on what's actually needed to run your website can be confusing at best.
Technical advancements and new 'best practices' come onto the market frequently, with little consensus about what's most important for a particular consumer or business model.
Tech writers and industry experts often times have differing opinions about topics such as SEO (search engine optimization), online marketing strategies, and website page speed, all of which further confuses the lay person who simply wants to get started building an internet presence.
What's more is that breaking down what all you'll need from an affordable web host goes beyond the more philosophical realms of e-com, as specific protocols and business tools must be accounted for in whichever plan you decide on.
HTTP vs. HTTPS, the number of subdomains allowed, maximum page limits, link tracking and redirects, and many variations of these features are some of the more important areas you'll need to consider in a provider.
What’s more is that most companies price website hosting within a bundled package, which means that there may be several features included which you care not to pay for.
Thus, in the absence of a well-defined checklist, the feeling can be overwhelming when trying to assess whether you're getting everything you need at an acceptable price.
Obscure definitions and fine-print details can effectively bury information which may have a direct bearing on your decision to select a particular affordable web host over another.
That said, unlike other types of internet services, web hosting packages are highly variable in relation to the usage patterns and general needs of various subscribers.
So when you're given what seems to be a runaround answer of "it depends" when consulting with a sales agent, keep in mind that this statement is, in many instances, accurate.
Quoting precise monthly service fees for specialized or nonstandard services is something that company reps are trained to avoid, as general misstatements or guarantees are sometimes required to be honored, even if the employee was not authorized to make such offers.
There are, however, ways in which you can receive relatively accurate (ballpark) figures for your chosen product.
And going back to our tried-and-true method of keeping track of everything, listing any key price breaks/differences between the providers you're analyzing is a good way to minimize the number of data points for which you must account.
An itemized process like this is, by virtue, is only necessary when buying, say, cheap cloud hosting services and other variable-rate plans since off-the-shelf alternatives entail consistent charges each month.
(Of course, standard-billed accounts are indeed susceptible to variability in result of entries like late fees, added services, or plan changes.)
Following a systematic process of documenting billing terms is no doubt helpful, but can only go so far when trying to compare the litany of options available from even the smallest affordable web host.
Now compound this complexity with the fact that, in addition to the big fish of the industry, a number of telecom companies have begun to offer various forms of service, while a few are going as far as marketing themselves as alternatives to affordable web hosting companies, a few of which we'll cover below.
1and1 Internet has been an affordable web host since 1988 and has built itself into one of the dominant names in a competitive industry.
Of German founding, 1&1 came into fame for its user-friendly control panel platform – a rarity for many companies in the 90's.
From then on, the multinational firm has expanded its operations and now offers an exhaustive suite of cheap hosting solutions.
Customers can gain almost immediate access to the Net by registering a domain with the company and waiting the customary time period (typically 24 hours) for your new name to be added to the internet by your domain name server.
Included in your fee to set up a name with 1and1 is an unlimited number of subdomains which you may redirect to any URL of your choosing.
This feature alone drives an impressive amount of business to the company, given how unlimited subs are of high value to certain users, particularly online affiliate marketers and physical storefront owners.
In both cases, specific subdomains may be used to facilitate tracking of advertising campaigns, in addition to allowing for more catchy marketing terms than the root domain name.
And naturally, some of these customers soon realize the limitations + expense of paid advertising and thus upgrade their accounts to one of the many affordable web hosting plans currently available.
Some of the most popular plans from 1&1 are its inexpensive business, gaming, and corporate varieties.
Managed server demand has grown sharply over the past few years and having a strong record of security, support, and administration is a marketing advantage for the company.
Potential clients want to be sure that their data, websites, and media will be secure – indefinitely! These assurances are particularly important for download hosting firms which are notorious for having high volumes of traffic at unpredictable times of the day.
So if a server company is weak in any key category with (super) high-demand clients, then it's likely that, sooner rather than later, these deficiencies will be exposed by an unforgiving population.
Moreover, dedicated platform prospects are generally more educated (sophisticated) in regards to IT matters, which means that if there's any hint of lax management or quality concerns, then it's all but certain the shopper will look elsewhere for service.
In that same vein, business users have a great need for – and thus an interest in – an eminently-reliable affordable web host which can deliver uninterrupted bandwidth without fail.
This is yet another area in which 1and1 shines, as it has a remarkable record of keeping websites both running and free from intrusion.
So in light of its sterling reputation and a broad range of solutions, 1&1 Internet is a top affordable web host equipped to handle virtually all of your site web hosting needs.
GoDaddy is now the largest domain registrar in the world. Formally founded (under a different name) in 1997, the company was re-branded shortly before the turn of the millennium.
(For those who remember, there were few businesses more profitable than being an internet company back then, since websites were sprouting up by the millions.)
And even during its early days in the mid-90's, GoDaddy has enjoyed healthy market exposure while being featured during peak television viewing occasions like Super Bowls.
Making clear that it offers one-stop hosting, domain registration, and website design tools, GoDaddy is likely the first name most folks think of as an affordable web host.
What's more is that a long-standing NASCAR sponsorship has placed GoDaddy in the living rooms of millions of viewers for more than a decade.
So if perhaps more than most, the brand has done well in result of a broad, comprehensive marketing approach which seems to resonate with a considerable number of consumers.
Everything from conventional plans to state-of-the-art cloud solutions is offered at competitive rates, along with helpful support representatives ready to accept your call.
Thus, GoDaddy should definitely be on your short list of the best affordable web host companies, especially if you're looking for a solid platform on which to build your online presence.
Even if you're currently shopping for something rather specific and don't need a domain right now, it would be wise to check back periodically as GoDaddy holds many specials throughout the year.
Notwithstanding the tumultuous ride the company's been on in recent years, Yahoo! has managed to keep its affordable web hosting business intact.
Presently co-branded with Abaco Small Business, Yahoo! plans are inexpensive and can be tailored to both personal and commercial interests alike.
Business email and e-commerce packages are also available, in addition to the standard domain purchasing. Yahoo! has endured many changes recently, but still benefits from competent IT management and one of the most recognizable names in the tech industry.
In fact, there's a selection of corporate analysts who've been quoted as saying that Yahoo! could benefit shareholders perhaps more so than if it were to more emphatically tout its days as an affordable web host for industry, institutions, and general consumers.
Furthermore, Host Gator and Liquid Web are two names holding their own amongst the historical titans like, and both companies have legions of satisfied customers between them.
Akin to its competitors, Host Gator offers the general slate of services aimed at enhancing the productivity of its users.
Large-scale cloud platform plans are fully scalable with the provider, all while more common hosting services make up the majority of its customer base. Host Gator also holds frequent sales promotions for its products, which makes it a very popular choice indeed.
Elevating itself into the upper echelons of technical services, affordable web hosting provider Host Gator has achieved remarkable success through both innovative marketing and product delivery.
This latter point cannot be overstated, given the user engagement metrics registered by visitors of its website.
Immediately upon landing on the Host Gator domain, prospective customers are greeted by not only an aesthetically-pleasing landing page but one that's actually functional and informative.
The chief qualm that common internet shoppers cite with corporate websites is, while being creatively designed and easy on the eyes, they're often times a nightmare to retrieve pertinent information from.
So by providing key details about its services up front – not the least of which is its standing as a reliable yet still affordable web host – 'The Gator' captures the attention of shoppers much better than most.
Whether being cheap website domain registration or dedicated cloud server hosting, an air of confidence is bestowed upon visitors that goes a long way in acquiring new customers.
Moreover, with nearly 10 million website owners placing their online businesses in the hands of HostGator's shared hosting solutions, it's an impressive feat for the company to manage such a broad-based operation.
Webmasters the world over have raved about the ease with which the Host Gator Control Panel and website builder is manipulated (in a good way) to render the most efficient results for their sites.
5-star ratings are common for virtually all of the Houston-based titan's services, though it's within the cloud and VPS division where the greatest growth potential lies.
Traditional domains and website hosting companies have enjoyed a steady, reliable stream of business for many years.
Corporations, small businesses, and various institutions historically managed their own IT software and data servers either in-house or via outside contractors.
But the common practice was for the majority of the hardware to be located onsite at the actual place of business.
Thus, in those not-too-distant days, an affordable web host was somewhat limited to marketing its website and domain services, with the little opportunity to leverage its massive infrastructure beyond these 'cookie-cutter' products.
This all changed, however, when pioneering companies like Host Gator began seriously assessing ways in which they could grow revenue by expanding upon their legacy product offerings.
A similar corporate undertaking was gaining traction around the same time, as businesses of all stripes were evaluating means by which reduced IT infrastructure could be effected without harming their operations.
Several firms were reporting multi-million dollar tech management expenses, in addition to soaring real estate costs related to housing enterprise web servers.
Fast forward a few years and we've now reached an era where business both large and small are transferring the bulk of their data storage, research applications, and business process files to other companies which specialize in the management/protection/preservation of such info.
Hence, the term 'cloud web hosting' came about to highlight the fact that no longer must a firm invest in + maintain hard assets like enterprise servers but can send their big data to 'soft' assets like web services accounts.
Sprawling data centers owned and operated by Host Gator and other affordable web host brands now bear the burden of managing the entire back-end process for a fee.
The shift to cloud-based hosting has been a tremendous success for all parties, as it's yet another example of the efficiency gained via the division of labor.
For example, an online furniture retailer can more intensely focus its efforts on supply chain management, product delivery, and customer service without the added hassle of a complex, integrated IT program.
And in turn, firms like Host Gator can leverage both its technology expertise and data center footprint to offer affordable web hosting services to a growing number of industries turning to the cloud-based solutions in droves.
Next up is Liquid Web, which also boasts many of the above features, though it excels in its plans geared toward the SMB (small- to medium-sized business) community.
Liquid Web is also one of the few players which assumes complete control of its operation, running three major data centers throughout the U.S.
24-hour technical support and onsite personnel ensure that your business never closes, an absolute must for the discerning commercial class.
(To be fair, each of the affordable web host providers we've covered here is a 24/7/365 operator, so that metric can be attributed to all of them.)
In sum, our overview of these brands is by no means exhaustive, as there are still more qualified providers — Blue Host and Weebly web hosting company, for example — which may serve your interests well.
That said, we hope that our rundown of the industry standouts we've touched on in this article will help guide you in selecting the best affordable web host for your needs.
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