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The Cheap Hosting Catch

Cheap Web Hosting May Not Be As Cheap As You Thought

Have you ever looked for a cheap web host? It may be for cost reasons, a personal website or a test website that we want separate from our main sites. Whatever the reason, the allure of unlimited hosting for $5.95 or even $3.95 per month can be hard to resist. The problem is that cheap web hosting may not be as cheap as it appears on the surface.

To get that low price, you almost always have to sign up for 2 years or more. That means you pay for those years up front. So instead of spending, let’s say, $3.95 per month, you actually have to pay $142.20 for the 3 year plan right at the beginning.

If you want to go for 2 years, you end up paying $4.95 per month. That’s $118.80 up front. Going down to 1 year, that’s $71.40 up front at $5.95 per year. To have your hosting billed monthly, the price goes up to $7.95 per month plus an initial setup fee of up to $35.

So, our cheap web hosting at $3.95 turned out to be $7.95 per month plus a setup fee. Additionally, some hosts don’t even offer monthly billing anymore. Their minimum signup is 3 months or even 1 year. If cost will be a deciding factor in the host you pick, try to find one that has no setup fee if you pay monthly.

Most hosts have a money back guarantee. So if you leave, they should refund the balance. However, if that hosting came with a free domain, they could deduct up to $35 if you leave. They may also raise your rate to that of a shorter term if you leave early. So, if you left your 3 year contract after 1 year, you may be charged the 1 year rate and refunded less. Not to mention the hassle of getting a refund in general.

Remember, all of this information has to be in their terms of service. Always read it before you sign up!

The long-term low price can be a great deal if you are certain you will stay with that host. However, it can be tough paying in full at the beginning. Laying out the cash at the beginning is also a risk since you have not tried their service.

If you are new to the web or won’t need hosting for that long, this is no deal at all. Also, especially for business (ecommerce and internet marketing), what happens if you leave because you need to upgrade? Hopefully your business will grow steadily over time and you will need higher capacity hosting sooner than 2 years from when you start. Locking into a 3 year plan may make that transition more troublesome than it should be.

It’s my feeling that for those starting out on the web, with business or personal websites, it’s better to pay month to month. Once you are established, know your business’s direction and have a host you know is good, then sign up for a longer term.

So, have you signed up for a cheap hosting account and found out they weren’t as cheap as they advertised (or as good)?

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