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Disclosure: if you purchase through any links on this web page, I earn referral fees from partners. These fees do not influence my recommendations.

Cheapest web hosting for new and low-traffic sites: Hostinger

The $0.99-a-month price tag is unbeatable.

Their servers are robust enough to handle up to a few hundred daily visitors, as you can see in our Hostinger shared hosting review. All the most important features, such as free daily backups and automatic WordPress installation, are there.

You also get excellent website loading speed and the best domain prices in the industry to boot. If you’re looking for a truly cheap web hosting company, this is it.

Perfect for hosting your online portfolio or a personal blog.

Second-best choice in this category: DreamHost.

Hostinger “Single” plan highlights:

  • Starting first-term price: $0.99/mo.
  • Starting renewal price: $2.15/mo.
  • Websites allowed: one
  • Storage: 10 GB
  • Data transfer: 100 GB
  • Money-back guarantee: 30 days
  • Live chat: 24/7

Best cheap web hosting service for high-traffic websites: InterServer

InterServer’s shared hosting boasts unlimited data transfer, unlimited storage, and support for unlimited websites. Their web servers are very powerful – our test website was able to handle 100 concurrent visitors without taking the slightest performance hit.

InterServer includes a range of useful freebies with all their plans, such as free SSL certificates, automatic website backups, and daily malware scans. To close the deal, they offer a price-lock guarantee and $11-a-year domains.

If your website serves thousands of daily visitors or if you need to host multiple sites without sacrificing performance and stability, InterServer is your best bet. Second-best choice in this category: A2 Hosting.

InterServer shared plan highlights:

  • Starting first-term price: $4.00/mo.
  • Starting renewal price: $4.00/mo.
  • Websites allowed: unlimited
  • Storage: unlimited
  • Data transfer: unlimited
  • Money-back guarantee: 30 days
  • Live chat: 24/7

Cheap web hosting services price comparison

One of the problems you’ll face when researching inexpensive shared hosting providers is a lack of transparency in their pricing structure.

However, there are a few recurring patterns:

  1. Plans that allow you to host unlimited websites (aka unlimited web hosting) are usually more expensive than single-website plans
  2. The first term is usually much cheaper than subsequent terms (renewals)
  3. The monthly fee is usually lower for longer subscriptions

Let’s see how our affordable hosts compare across the above three factors:

Cheapest web hosting for one website

We start by comparing the cheapest hosting plans that support one website.

Single-website Plans – First Term (per month):

Here’s what you will pay for your first term as a new customer:

Host3 year termAnnual term
A2 Hosting$3.91$4.40

* Price available with 4-year terms (Hostinger no longer sells 3-year terms)

Here’s a chart comparing 1-year subscription prices, based on the data in the table above:

1 year subscription - monthly price

Hostinger and iPage lead the way with the cheapest annual terms. See our page about the cheapest web hosting for a year for more.

GoDaddy, HostGator, and Bluehost are by far the most expensive providers.

Here’s a graph for 3-year subscriptions:

3 year subscription - monthly price

Hostinger is now significantly ahead of competitors, including iPage.

Bluehost rose a few rungs up the ladder, while GoDaddy remained the least affordable web host.

Single-website Plans – Renewals (per month):

After the first term is over, you’ll pay your host’s standard renewal prices:

Host3-year termAnnual term
A2 Hosting$7.99$8.99

* Price available with 4-year terms (Hostinger no longer sells 3-year terms)

Here’s a visual comparison of renewal prices:

1 year subscription - monthly price - renewals

Hostinger still leads the way as the most pocket-friendly web host. However, SiteGround is now the most expensive provider of the bunch, with iPage right at its heels.

Now a visual comparison of 3-year term renewal prices:

3 year subscription - monthly price - renewals

Rankings haven’t changed much compared to the annual term.

Total expenses for six years of one-website hosting:

Here’s how much you would pay in total for six years of hosting. The graph below assumes that:

  • You opt for an initial 3-year plan to maximize the value of any first-term discounts
  • After your first term is over, you renew for a 3-year subscription
6 years cumulative - one-website hosting

Hostinger is again the cheapest host with six years of service for $113 (March 2020 correction: you actually get eight years of hosting at this price, as Hostinger has replaced its 3-year terms with 4-year terms).

Conversely, hosting with SiteGround for six years would cost you $572.

Long-term expenses can be significant, so make sure to consider then when choosing your provider.

Verdict: cheapest hosting plans for a single website

If price is your number-one priority, go with Hostinger – they’re the most affordable provider in both the short and long term. Just keep in mind that they are not suitable for websites with more than a few hundred daily visitors.

If your website receives thousands of visitors per day, choose InterServer instead – they offer the best value for the money.

If top-of-the-line server robustness and speed are what you’re after, go with SiteGround.

Cheapest web hosting for unlimited websites plans

Let’s now compare hosting plans that support unlimited websites.

Unlimited Websites Hosting – First Term (per month):

Host3-year termAnnual term
A2 Hosting$4.90$5.38

* Price available with 4-year terms (Hostinger no longer sells 3-year terms)

Here’s a visual comparison for annual terms:

1 year subscription - monthly price - multi-websites - first term

Hostinger is no longer as cheap as it was for single-website hosting.

InterServer moves closer to the top, while GoDaddy remains at the bottom of the pile.

How about 3-year subscriptions?

3 year subscription - monthly price - multi-websites - first term

Overall, iPage is the cheapest provider for hosting multiple websites, regardless of the term length.

However, as you will soon learn, the quality of their service is very poor and we don’t recommend hosting with them.

Unlimited Websites Hosting – Renewals (per month):

Here’s how much you’ll pay if you decide to renew after the first term:

Host3-year termAnnual term
A2 Hosting$9.99$10.99

* Price available with a 4-year term (Hostinger no longer sells 3-year terms)

1 year subscription - monthly price - multi-websites - renewals

When it comes to renewals, AccuWeb and Hostinger sell the cheapest multi-website annual plans. SiteGround is by far the most expensive host in this category.

Moving on:

3 year subscription - monthly price - multi-websites - renewals

Hostinger has the most affordable renewals of three-year unlimited-websites plans.

Total expenses for six years of unlimited-websites hosting:

Here’s what six years of unlimited-websites hosting costs, assuming you get the longest first-term, and the longest renewal after that:

6 years cumulative - unlimited-website hosting

Hostinger is the cheapest solution in the long run for hosting unlimited websites, with AccuWeb and InterServer right behind it.

Verdict: cheapest hosting plans for unlimited websites

Even though Hostinger is the cheapest provider for long-term multi-site hosting, we feel like InterServer is a much better pick; they cost only slightly more than Hostinger, but the quality of their service is miles ahead.

Check out our rankings of the best unlimited domains web hosting for more details on how hosting multiple websites works.

Do any of these providers offer student discounts?

Of the 11 inexpensive hosts we are comparing here, free or cheap hosting for students is available at InterServer, SiteGround, and DreamHost.

Available payment methods:

HostPayPalCredit CardBitcoin
A2 HostingYesYesNo

SiteGround doesn’t list PayPal on their checkout page. However, if you contact their presale team via live chat before you buy, they’ll give you a special PayPal payment link.

Only Hostwinds and Hostinger accept cryptocurrency payments, but we expect this to change in the coming years.

Server Resources Limits

Disk storage limits (in GB):

HostOne-website planMulti-websites plan
A2 HostingUnlimitedUnlimited

For new and small websites, even one or two Gigabytes of storage is enough. Even so, choosing a host with unlimited storage can potentially save you a lot of headaches down the road, so it’s worth considering.

But even when disk space is unlimited, there may be other restrictions that dictate how you can store files on your server. Make sure you are aware of them.

If you’re new to hosting websites, you may find our WordPress storage requirements guide useful.

Data transfer (bandwidth) limits

The larger your website and the more people browse it, the more bandwidth you’ll need. For a more detailed overview, see our guide to estimating a website’s bandwidth requirements.

So, how much bandwidth do the best web hosting providers offer?

HostOne-website planMulti-site plan
A2 HostingUnlimitedUnlimited
AccuWeb500 GB750 GB
Hostinger100 GBUnlimited

Hosts with unlimited data transfer reserve the right to throttle bandwidth if they determine that your traffic levels exceed their “fair use” policy.

But what does “fair use” mean?

No one knows exactly – the determination is made on a case-by-case basis. Still, over 99% of websites never reach the levels of traffic where bandwidth throttling can become an issue.

So unless your websites receive well over 100,000 visitors per month, you shouldn’t worry.

MySQL database limits

Most low-cost web hosts limit the number and maximum size of MySQL databases you can create:

HostSingle-website planMulti-website planMax. DB size
SiteGroundUnlimitedUnlimited500 MB
iPageUnlimitedUnlimited2 GB
Bluehost20Unlimited2 GB
A2 Hosting5UnlimitedUnlimited
Hostinger1Unlimited3 GB
GoDaddy10251 GB

InterServer, HostWinds, and AccuWeb break ground with their no-limit policy on all plans.

SiteGround’s 500 MB size limit can become a bottleneck for larger websites. As a point of reference, we own a WordPress site with around 250 short posts, and the database for that site is 150 MB large.

If you’re an advanced webmaster and plan to host your own website analytics (with Matomo, for example) instead of using an external service like Google Analytics, be aware visitor logs can occupy huge amounts of MySQL storage space if you let them pile up. You’ll want to set up periodic purging of these logs to save storage.

Related reading: How big can a website database get? 

Inode limits

An inode limit tells you how many files and folders you can have on your server.

HostInode limit
Hostinger800,000 - 3,200,000
A2 Hosting600,000
SiteGround150,000 - 450,000

These are very generous limits overall.

Even 200,000 Inodes is enough for a few large websites or dozens of smaller ones. The overwhelming majority of webmasters won’t ever need to worry about Inode restrictions.

Still, DreamHost blows competitors away with its unlimited-inodes policy. Hostinger is not far behind, with 800,000 Inodes on their lowest plan and 3.2 million Inodes on the highest plan.

For websites with an unusually high Inode requirement – a large photo gallery for example – stick to DreamHost, A2, or Hostinger (the last one for low-traffic sites only). You may also find our Inode requirements guide useful.

Related reading: unlimited inodes hosting

Website Security and Account Safety

What happens if you accidentally delete important website files? Does the host offer free malware scanning? And just how difficult is it for malicious attackers to hack into your admin account?

Free automatic website backups

If you want to host a WordPress site, you can install a free WordPress plugin that will take automatic backups of your site. In this case, whether your hosting company offers additional free automated backups becomes less relevant.

However, it’s safer to be with a hosting company that offers free backups. It adds an extra layer of security and improves your odds of a successful website recovery in case of a critical server malfunction or a site mishap.

HostFree auto backupsBackup restorationNotes
A2 HostingDailyFree
HostingerWeeklyFreeFree daily backups with highest plan
GoDaddyRandom intervals$150Free restoration for Managed WordPress plans
HostWinds--Only manual backups

AccuWeb, A2 Hosting, and Bluehost have the best policies: free daily backups and free restorations.

Conversely, HostWinds does not offer any form of automatic backups for free.

GoDaddy and iPage have free backups but impose preposterous backup restoration fees, to the point where you’re better off buying their expensive premium add-on backup service to get free restorations.

Most of these hosts (excluding SiteGround, DreamHost, and AccuWeb) sell premium backup services for $2.00 – $3.00 a month. A premium backup plan allows you to set your own backup schedule and to restore your website for free using a one-click tool.

Related reading: hosts with free backups and restorations.

Malware and virus protection

All the best web hosting providers use firewalls to prevent malware from infecting their users’ websites.

However, no firewall provides bulletproof security; occasionally, malware is bound to bypass this first line of defense and infect a website. In fact, according to a SiteLock report, over one percent of all websites online are infected by malware each week.

Unfortunately, not all budget hosts perform free malware scans to detect potential malware that have have slipped through the cracks:

HostFree scansScan frequencyPaid scans
SiteGroundYesOn demand
DreamHostYesOn demand
BluehostYesOn demand
A2 HostingNo-$5.00 / mo
iPageNo-$3.99 / mo.
GoDaddyNo-$5.59 / mo.

Overall, InterServer, AccuWeb and HostGator have the most serious approach to malware protection. They offer automatic daily malware scans using ClamAV and other, proprietary software.

Free SSL certificates

An SSL certificate encrypts and secures the connection between users and your website.

It’s a must-have for any website handling sensitive information (e.g., credit cards, users’ personal data).

Since 2014, SSL has also become a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm, another reason you should consider having one.

HostFree SSL cert.Notes
A2 HostingLet's Encrypt
AccuWebLet's Encrypt
HostWindsLet's Encrypt
BluehostLet's Encrypt
HostGatorLet's Encrypt
iPageLet's Encrypt
SiteGroundLet's EncryptEnable it under cPanel -> Let's Encrypt
DreamHostLet's EncryptEnable it under DomainCentral
HostingerOnly with Business plan$12.00 with other plans
GoDaddyOnly with Ultimate plan$75.00 with other plans

Nine companies offer SSL certificates gratis with all shared hosting plans.

At some providers (SiteGround, DreamHost) you’ll need to manually enable your certificate after you activate your account, but most web hosts enable it by default.

Hostinger and GoDaddy disappointed us by only offering a free SSL cert. with their most expensive shared hosting plans.

Two-factor account authentication

InterServerYesGoogle Authenticator
A2 HostingYesGoogle Authenticator, Azure
SiteGroundYesGoogle Authenticator
DreamHostYesGoogle Authenticator, security key
HostWindsYesGoogle Authenticator
BluehostYesGoogle Authenticator
HostGatorYesGoogle Authenticator
GoDaddyYesSMS, Google Authenticator

Malware infections are not the only type of attack that can ruin a budget-conscious webmaster’s day. Malicious third-parties may attempt to hack into your hosting control panel directly, giving them full authority over your website.

By now, everyone (hopefully) knows they should use strong, non-obvious passwords, and to keep those passwords safe and private.

However, in rare and unfortunate situations, this isn’t enough.

This is where two-factor authentication (2FA) comes in. When you enable it, you’ll have to provide your password plus a one-time code generated on your smartphone to access your account.

Make sure to enable 2FA as soon as you buy your hosting package.

This will make it impossible for unauthorized third-parties to log into your account, even if they manage to guess or otherwise obtain your password.

Verdict: best web hosting for top-tier security

InterServer comes out on top with an all-around superb approach to security. They have free backups, free automatic daily malware scans, free SSL certificates for each website, and two-factor authentication.

AccuWeb and Bluehost are not far behind.

iPage is the opposite of InterServer. They have expensive backup restorations, no free virus scans, and they don’t support 2FA. GoDaddy doesn’t look too good, either. Avoid these two hosts if top-notch security is a priority to you.


Although freebies aren’t the most important factors to consider when choosing a host, they are nice to have.

Free domain for one year with new account registration:

HostFree domainRenewal (.com)Free domain notes
GoDaddyYes$18Only with higher plans
AccuWebYes$12.99Only with annual and longer plans
DreamHostYes$14Only with Unlimited plan
HostingerYes$8.99Lowest plan includes free domain with a .website extension
HostWindsYes$14.84Only with annual and longer plans
InterServerNo$11New users can get a domain for $1.99
A2 HostingNo$14.95

Only Bluehost and iPage bundle a free domain with all their plans, but their domain renewals are expensive.

The majority of hosts either don’t include a free domain or only include it with their more expensive subscriptions.

InterServer is unique in that while they don’t feature free domains, they offer new customers a one-time chance to buy a domain for $1.99/year.

After taking domain renewal costs into consideration, we conclude that Hostinger and InterServer have the best domain offering overall; you’ll save dozens of dollars in the long run (5+ years) if you register your domain with one of them.

Free website migration service

Migrating a website from one server to another is generally easy. You can:

  1. Use cPanel’s Backup Wizard tool to create and download a copy of your entire website, then use the Backup Wizard restore tool at your new host to upload the website. This only works if your old and new servers both offer cPanel.
  2. If you’re running a WordPress site, use one of multiple plugins to safely move your site.

However, if you prefer experts to handle the migration for you, here’s what you can expect.

HostFree migrationCompletion (days)
A2 HostingYes1-3
AccuWebYesUp to 7
SiteGroundOnly with higher plans1-2

Server uptime tests

We used Uptime Robot to track the uptime of our eleven websites for two weeks:

HostUptimeMonthly downtime
InterServer99.99%4 minutes
Bluehost99.99%4 minutes
SiteGround99.99%4 minutes
iPage99.98%8 minutes
AccuWeb99.98%8 minutes
Hostinger99.96%16 minutes
DreamHost99.96%16 minutes
HostWinds99.96%16 minutes
HostGator99.96%16 minutes
A2 Hosting99.95%20 minutes
GoDaddy99.95%20 minutes

Uptime (availability) expresses the amount of time a website remains accessible online. The higher the uptime percentage, the better.

The lower the uptime percentage, the more downtime your website experiences. When your site is down, visitors can’t access it.

Here are examples of how long your website would be offline for a given uptime percentage:

UptimeMonthly downtimeAnnual downtime
99.999%26 seconds5.2 minutes
99.99%4.3 minutes51 minutes
99.95%21.6 minutes4.3 hours
99.90%43 minutes8.6 hours
99.80%86 minutes17 hours
99.50%3.6 hours1.8 days
99%7.2 hours3.6 days

An uptime below 99.95% should be a red flag. Luckily, all of the hosts we tested have uptimes of 99.95% or better.

Website Speed Test

We used GTMetrix to test the loading speed of our sites once per hour for an entire week.

That’s close to 170 measurements per website.

Here’s the average load speed for each hosting provider:

Average website load speed

SiteGround outperformed all competitors with a stellar load speed of 0,6 seconds (600 milliseconds).

All websites loaded in less than two seconds, which is a great result.

Traffic Spike Test

We wanted to get an idea of how well each web host performs when multiple people browse a website simultaneously.

To test this, we used LoadImpact to simulate real-user activity on the site (loading pages, requesting content from the server, etc.).

During the simulation, we kept an eye out for:

  • HTTP request errors
  • I/O timeouts

HTTP errors and I/O timeouts suggest that the server faced difficulties handling the sudden onslaught of traffic. A real user would experience this as a webpage failing to load or loading very slowly.

Simulation #1 – 100 simultaneous visitors:

100 simultaneous visitors simulation

Only SiteGround, InterServer, and A2 were able to handle 100 concurrent website visitors without skipping a beat.

DreamHost handled 63% of requests correctly, meaning that around 37% of requests resulted in an error – an obvious sign of server resource overload. The remaining hosts did even worse than DreamHost.

HostWinds and Hostinger performed the worst – our test websites were under so much stress that they went offline.

Overall, if your website servers 100 or more concurrent visitors on a regular basis, and you don’t want any of your visitors to have trouble loading your pages, we strongly recommend that you choose SiteGround, InterServer, or A2.

Simulation #2 – 50 simultaneous visitors:

50 simultaneous visitors simulation

At 50 website visitors, HostWinds was able to handle 100% of incoming traffic – a great improvement over the previous test.

Hostinger is still at the bottom of the barrel – their server is apparently not meant to support high-traffic websites.

Simulation #3 – 25 concurrent users:

25 simultaneous visitors simulation

Now, iPage was performing flawlessly as well, and Hostinger saw a great improvement (from 21% to 90%).

GoDaddy was barely able to handle 51% of server requests correctly. Clearly, 25 simultaneous website visitors was too much for them.

Simulation #5 – 10 concurrent users test:

10 simultaneous visitors simulation

We were shocked to see that even at 10 simultaneous users, GoDaddy’s web servers were struggling and returning an error for 25% of traffic.

Verdict: best web hosts for sites with lots of concurrent visitors

If your site regularly serves 100 concurrent visitors, you probably have a monster of a website with thousands of daily visitors. In that case, InterServer is our top recommendation.

For new or smaller sites with dozens or hundreds of daily visitors, any provider will do – just make sure to avoid GoDaddy and HostGator.

Refunds and Returns

Money-back refund guarantee policies

All hosts on our list offer a money-back guarantee:

A2 Hosting30

A few weeks after we concluded our tests, we requested a refund from each host. We’re happy to report that we received our money back from every provider in less than three days.

Check out our page on hosts with the longest money-back guarantees for more information about refunds and how to request them.

For details on how to request a refund from a particular provider, consult our web hosting reviews.

Pro-rated refunds (refund on unused subscription months)

Some hosting providers offer refunds on unused subscription months. For example, if you purchase three years of hosting and decide to cancel after two years, you would receive money back for the one year of unused hosting.

 Pro-rated refundsComments
A2 HostingYes
HostingerYesRefund only as account balance
GoDaddyYesRefunds issued at GoDaddy's discretion

See our list of hosts with pro-rated refunds for details on how they work.

Live Chat Availability

Live chat is usually the fastest way to get help with your website or hosting account.

We tested the queue times for each host three times during early morning hours, and three times during rush hour (between 6 and 9 p.m.):

 Chat availabilityAverage queue
A2 Hosting24/7< 1 minute
HostWinds24/7< 1 minute
Bluehost24/7< 1 minute
InterServer24/71-2 minutes
AccuWeb24/71-2 minutes
SiteGround24/71-2 minutes
iPage24/71-2 minutes
DreamHost5:30AM - 9:30PM PT1-2 minutes
HostGator24/72-3 minutes
Hostinger24/71-90 minutes
GoDaddy5AM - 6PM MST, Mon-Fri10-60 minutes

DreamHost is the only web host on our list without a 24/7 live chat. This shouldn’t be a problem if you’re based in the U.S. but can be an issue if you’re in Europe.

Overall, most hosts seem to understand the importance of short queues and do a good job of keeping them short. The only exceptions are Hostinger and GoDaddy.

Best Web hosting on a Budget – Summary

After spending more than 150 hours testing and comparing hosts, here’s what we recommend:

If you’re a beginner webmaster and want to host a single small website (e.g. personal blog, portfolio website) for pennies and without hassle, sign-up with Hostinger. You’ll need to upgrade to a more powerful host when your website begins to receive more than 200-400 visitors per day, but until that moment comes, you’ll be very happy with their service.

If you want to host multiple websites, or if you expect to serve thousands of daily visitors, pick InterServer. Their lowest shared hosting plan comes with unlimited resources and is extremely affordable in the long run. They also sell very cheap domains and dedicated IPs, if you need them.

Finally, if you want to host a corporate website and whenever first-class performance and load speeds are top priorities, choose SiteGround. They cost a premium, but you definitely get what you pay for.

How we chose which hosts to test:

There are hundreds of cheap web hosting services out there. Since we can’t test them all,  we decided to narrow down our selection based on a combination of the following:

  1. Price – we’re looking for pocket-friendly hosting companies, so we excluded providers that charge more than $7 a month
  2. Server uptimes, as reported by Down.com
  3. Userbase size, as reported by W3Techs (The more users, the better.)
  4. The availability of U.S.-based servers

This led to the following selection:

That’s eleven companies in total.

We focused on their shared hosting plans exclusively because they are the most affordable.

Purchasing domains and web hosting

We started by purchasing a shared hosting plan from the eleven providers above.

Next, we bought eleven .xyz domains, because they were inexpensive ($0.99/year). We pointed one domain at each hosting account.

Finally, we installed WordPress (WP) on each of our websites. Since WP powers more than 32 percent of all sites, we decided to conduct all hosting tests using WP.

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