Cheap vs. Premium Hosting (Is the Higher Cost Justified?)

While quality over quantity rings true in most circumstances, it doesn’t hurt to question the system. Is premium hosting worth the higher cost? Or can all your needs be met with cheap hosting?

Especially for individuals or small businesses, it’s essential to save money wherever you can. A website is a crucial component of success. But not just any run-of-the-mill site; a website that is updated, professional looking, and performs optimally.

If that’s the goal, you would naturally think premium hosting is the way to go. After all, if you pay more, you get more. But is the higher cost justified or does a cheap hosting plan provide everything you need for your website?

Cheap vs. Premium Hosting

In many cases, cheap versus premium refers to the type of web hosting service. Shared hosting is almost always the more affordable option, while managed hosting costs more and is considered a premium service.

As an example of cheap versus premium hosting, take a look at the table below. We looked at Bluehost and compared their shared hosting plan to their premium WP Pro plan.

BASIC SHARED HOSTING PLAN WP PRO PLAN
PRICE $2.95/mo $19.95/mo
WEBSITES 1 Unlimited
DOMAINS 1 Unlimited
STORAGE 50GB Unlimited
BANDWIDTH Unmetered Unmetered
BONUS FEATURES
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Free SSL certificate
  • No traffic limits
  • Spam protection
  • WP Auto-updates

When you look at a side-by-side comparison of a cheap and premium hosting plan, the significant differences are easy to see. Price is likely the first feature that stood out to you.

And while there is a stark difference in monthly price between cheap hosting plans and premium hosting plans, there are numerous coupon codes available to save you money on whichever hosting plan you decide is best for you.

Some coupon websites are offering discounts up to 78% for Bluehost, but you may want to consider more than just the price when looking for a hosting plan.

Benefits of Premium Hosting

There are quite a few benefits to opting for premium hosting or managed hosting, over cheaper, basic shared hosting. Choosing a premium service can be particularly beneficial if you have ever experienced any of the following problems and were left to deal with them on your own:

Common issues that appear with hosting services

  • Your website was hacked
  •  Website runs slowly
  • Your site crashed after an influx of traffic
  • Someone else’s site crashed the server, knocking yours offline.

One of the overlooked benefits is that it should protect individuals’ electronic personal data as per HIPAA Security whether in case of a hospital or other personal information. This is an important factor in which companies and individuals should pay attention to while choosing a premium hosting plan.

Many users with cheap hosting plans experience the above issues, which naturally causes quite a bit of frustration.

When you pay for premium hosting, you can rest assured that in most cases, if you were to experience any issues, including the ones mentioned above, experts with your hosting company will clean up the mess for you.

How does Premium hosting help?

Slow loading websiteWith a premium hosting plan, you get high-quality support to help fix the problem, as opposed to just advice on how to fix it yourself, like you would with many cheap hosting solutions. Plus, as a customer who is paying more per month, you are given priority over customers on more inexpensive plans.

Additionally, premium hosting plans include more features that many users find incredibly valuable. Often, managed hosting plans include premium security features, automatic updates, and a broader selection of themes and plugins.

As mentioned above, many cheap web hosting users experience slow site speeds and load times. Not only is that frustrating for the user, but it’s a major turn-off for site visitors. Even a 1-2 second delay can lead to a dramatic reduction in conversions. You can also miss out on a potentially devastating amount of money for your e-commerce site.

With premium hosting, you’re guaranteed faster site speeds and load times, meaning you don’t have to worry about the effects of a delay.

In an interview for Inc, Austin Gunter, director of community and content at WP Engine,

 

Think of managed hosting as a bit like NetJets, the world leader in private aviation. NetJets’ customers can fly in private jets with all related amenities at a relatively affordable price. Like managed hosting, NetJets is certainly a bit more expensive than the low-cost alternative. However, in both cases, you get what you pay for.”

 

Wouldn’t you enjoy the ability to fly like a rock star if you felt like it was worth every penny spent? Who wouldn’t! That’s precisely the main idea with premium hosting: you pay a bit more to get a lot more.

Cons of Premium Hosting

The biggest downside of opting for premium hosting is the price. For a premium service, you could pay nearly ten times as much per month as you would for a basic shared hosting plan.

It should also be noted that while it can be helpful to have your site managed for you, it requires you to give up a lot of control. If you are a tech-savvy web designer, you may be disappointed to learn that your access to advanced server functions is limited. You will find far fewer restrictions with a basic shared hosting plan than you would with a premium web hosting plan.

You may also run into some issues when downloading specific plugins with a premium hosting plan. To keep your site running as optimally as possible, some hosting providers will ban certain types of plugins.

Benefits of Cheap Hosting

managed hosting

The most apparent benefit of selecting basic shared web hosting is the price. While there are some free web hosting plans on the market, there are quality services available for just a couple dollars a month.

If you need hosting services for a single, smaller site, a basic shared hosting plan can provide everything your website needs to operate successfully. To stand out among competitors, web hosting providers continually update and improve the software and features of all their hosting plans. What this means for you, is that even if you opt for the cheapest plan, you are still getting excellent service.

Is Shared hosting worth it?

By opting for a shared hosting plan, you get an incredible value in terms of price versus performance. Cheaper, shared hosting plans are typically recommended for beginner bloggers who don’t need all the add-ons and bonus features.

However, beginner bloggers and small businesses aren’t the only users who can benefit from basic shared hosting. If you know your way around web design and site management, you will be pleased with the nearly unlimited ways you can customize your site. Customization is far more limited with a premium, managed hosting plan.

Cons of Cheap Hosting

Opting for shared hosting because of the lower price means you must do what the name suggests: share your resources. Multiple sites use the same server, which has the potential to slow down your site. Some hosting companies, but not all of them, will limit the number of hosting accounts on a single server to avoid issues. But there’s still a significant chance you will, at some point, face issues like slow page loads or downtime.

Additionally, many web hosting companies offer plans for cheap, but then hike up the prices after the first year or so. Many hosting companies will also squeeze more money out of you with costly add-ons. Essentially, you think you are saving money, but you end up paying as much as you would for a premium service anyway.

What you should be worried about Managed hosting?

Slow hosting

Remember the airline analogy we referenced before? Think of shared hosting as a commercial airline. They include fewer features than your premium option to offer you the lowest price. Often, managed hosting plans include premium security features, automatic updates, and a broader selection of themes and plugins.

Perhaps most concerning, is that with a cheap hosting plan, your site is much more vulnerable to security threats. Even if you take steps to protect your site with added security features, your site is at a higher risk because there are other sites on your server. A premium hosted account is much harder to hack, and with a premium plan, you have the backup you need to restore your site. Those backup capabilities aren’t available with a cheap hosting plan.

Additionally, with a basic shared hosting plan, you will most likely be responsible for managing your site. Managing your own website isn’t a huge deal, but it does require extra effort on your part that you wouldn’t otherwise have to worry about with a premium hosting plan.

Conclusion

To decide which hosting plan to use for your website, focus on which features are most important. If you are just starting as a blogger or want to build a site that doesn’t expect loads of traffic, a cheap, shared hosting plan is suitable. But if you’re worried about having to manage many features on your own, premium hosting may be worth every penny.

There are pros and cons to each hosting plan. If you are satisfied with every aspect of your premium hosting plan then yes, the higher cost is certainly justified.

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