5 Clever Ways to Avoid Sneaky Web Hosting Fees

Creating your own website is an extremely rewarding endeavor, especially as a budding blogger or new business. However, the journey to creating a website can be overwhelming and confusing, especially for cash-strapped first-time builders. There are many options to consider, including your potential website’s domain name, server type, and server operating system.

Unfortunately, web hosting services add many add-on features during the checkout process that make building a website an even more complex and expensive proposition. Follow these tips to avoid these extra fees and lower your hosting costs.

1. You don’t need an annual hosting contract

Web hosting services always present their best plans first, with prices corresponding to annual or multi-year contracts. An attractive rate of $2 per month sounds great until you read the fine print or go to the checkout page and realize the monthly fee listed is for a long year-long (or multi-year) commitment. Adjusting the plan length to charge you monthly usually results in a fee closer to the web host’s renewal rate, which is usually a much higher price. Depending on the service and type of hosting you need, you might not even find plans shorter than a year. That means you’re facing a long-term bill that’s significantly higher than expected.

However, not everyone needs lengthy hosting commitments. If you want to host for a short period of time, e.g. For example, for a special occasion or maybe a charity drive, a year-long hosting plan is a waste of money. If you find yourself in this boat, the first thing to look for is a host’s monthly hosting rate. If you don’t find that, go to another company. Don’t be afraid to look around; There are many great web hosting services that are billed on a monthly basis.

Keep in mind, however, that shorter, monthly contracts forgo many of the bonus perks associated with the advertised offer. If a web host promises free domain registration or an SSL certificate, this only applies to the annual contract specified on the plan page. Shorter terms lack these extras, leaving you with just the hosting.

2. Be wary of free domain names

Web hosting services often bundle domain registration into their hosting plans. At a glance, this can save you a lot of money as you don’t have to register a domain elsewhere at a potentially higher fee. However, these are often introductory tariffs that increase significantly in price. Usually you have the domain for one year; After that, you need to renew the domain with your hosting provider, usually at a significantly higher price than if you bought it directly from a registrar. What was a free feature for the first year could easily turn into an additional $15-$30 fee to add to your web hosting renewal fee.

A free domain isn’t a bad thing, mind you. Be sure to take advantage of the offer. However, do your due diligence and find out what the domain renewal rate is from your web host. This information is not immediately apparent and may require you to contact the web host’s customer support team for accurate values. With this information, you should shop at other registrars to see which offer better rates. For more information, see our domain registration guide.

Domain privacy costs extra with most hosts.

3. Avoid registering private domains (if you can)

When you register a domain, your name and address are listed in the WHOIS database. If your domain is registered to a business address, this is not a big problem. However, if it is registered sheeveryone who is interested knows where you live.

Most web hosts do not offer this privacy protection for free. For example, HostGator does not include this protection with its included domain. Instead, there is an annual fee of $14.95. However, if you only need short-term hosting and you don’t mind having your address on a public database, you can create a website without this privacy protection and save money.

4. Decide if you really need an SSL certificate

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a fairly standard Internet technology that secures the web connection between server and client side. This is a useful feature, especially if you want to sell goods or collect visitor information through a web form. SSL encryption is so widespread that many visitors feel more secure when a URL has the familiar HTTPS and lock icon in the address bar. In fact, many browsers now warn users when they venture onto a site without SSL security, which could discourage potential visitors from staying there.

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That said, SSL is commonplace, but it’s not necessary. If you are creating a hobby or purely informational blog, this level of security is not required. In addition, SSL certificates are potentially expensive. They vary widely in price, from free (usually for a year after signing up for hosting) to hundreds of dollars per year.

5. You don’t need every security option

In addition to SSL certificates, web hosting services offer additional security options such as malware detection, daily website backups, website monitoring and DDoS protection. Some hosting services include this as part of the annual subscription, others include security features that you can add piece by piece to your subscription.

If your potential website is going to handle valuable or sensitive data like customer credit card information, live security monitoring should be at the top of your security concerns. However, if you don’t run a business or handle valuable data, you may not need to worry about certain security considerations at all. For example, you can manually back up a website yourself instead of paying Bluehost $2.99 ​​per month.

For more information about web hosting, see 5 Things You Need to Know About Web Hosting Before Signing Up for an Account. Also, take a look at some of the best website builders we’ve reviewed, as these highlighted services offer hosting and security features that you should consider.

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