Once you’ve gone through the website design and development process, it needs to be “hosted” by a website hosting company so that it will appear on the internet. The cost of this is usually incurred monthly or yearly. You also need to purchase a domain name, which is a yearly or bi-yearly cost, but for now lets just focus on the cost of website hosting.
How much you need to spend on hosting is a difficult question to answer because it largely depends on the particular needs of your business and your website. How big your website is, how much traffic you have (now and in the future) and how important your website is to your business all needs to be taken into account. For example, a one page website can be hosted for a lot less money than a large eCommerce website.
With hosting options for as a little as $2 per month and as much as thousands per month, it can be difficult to know how much you need to spend. Here are some important points to consider:
1. Speed and Reliability
Generally with website hosting, you get what you pay for. Cheaper website hosting is usually slower (so when people visit your website it takes longer for the pages to load) and less reliable (so your website may go offline ie. not work from time to time). Cheap hosting companies may promise fast speeds and 99.9% up time, but this isn’t necessarily the case.
2. Technical Support
You will undoubtedly require some technical assistance at some point, so it’s important to look at what kind of technical support your potential hosting company offers. Cheaper hosting companies may offer online support only, while more expensive companies may offer 24 hour phone support.
3. Location of Servers
Where do your customers live? If you’re targeting Australia customers, I recommend using an Australian hosting company. Australian hosts tend to more expensive than American hosts, but their servers are usually located in Australia. This can mean (but doesn’t guarantee) faster website loading times, and better ranking on Australia Google. Of course, if you’re appealing to a global audience, the location of servers might not be relevant to you.
4. Bandwidth and hosting space
Bandwidth refers to how much traffic your website can receive. When you’re just starting out, it can be tricky to know how much bandwidth you will need. I would recommend starting with a small allowance in order to save money. As traffic to your website increases, you can increase your bandwidth allowance. Ever tried to visit a website but it had an error message saying bandwidth allocation exceeded? If your website receives too much traffic, it will go offline and you’ll have to contact your hosting company to get it back up and running again. If you suspect something is going to bring a large amount of traffic to your website (eg. you’ve book at TVC campaign) please discuss this with your hosting company beforehand, they can usually increase your bandwidth just for the month (for a price!) so that you’re website hopefully won’t crash. Hosting space refers to the amount of space that you need for all the files that make up your website, you web developer will be able to tell you how much you need for your website. If you just have a small website (5-10 pages) you won’t need too much.
So how much should you spend on website hosting? Here are my recommendations:
A basic 1-10 page website – $20 a month
For a basic website that is used for information purposes and a small amount of lead generation, I would recommend starting at $20 a month. Choosing a reliable hosting company in this price range can require some trial and error. It’s a good idea to ask around for recommendations if you can, and I’d suggest signing up to a monthly rather than yearly account, so you can change to a different provider if you aren’t happy.
A small online store $50-$100 a month
For a small online store it’s fundamentally important that your website is functional with minimal downtime, but you also probably don’t have the budget to be spending too much money on hosting. I’d recommend finding a hosting package that also includes management, so the website is hosted but also monitored and updated to ensure that everything is working correctly.
A big website or online store (100+ pages) $100+ a month
The hosting needs of a large website are far more complex and in a lot of circumstances you’re better off setting up your own hosting rather than using a hosting company. I’d recommend discussing your options with your website developer.