As a startup, you are most likely counting your pennies as you read this. Funds only go so far, so your startup website needs to be near the top of the list when you're prioritizing how to use available resources. Even though most local startups don't need a large website, it is the platform that establishes your brand and serves as a main access point for reaching customers.
Being in the startup world, you're always looking for more cost effective ways to run your business. I've listed some of the least expensive ways to host your startup website, taking into consideration cost, platform and business size:
This VPS hosting service is one of the cheapest host providers you will be able to find. Serving U.S. and UK start-ups and small businesses, Hostwinds is known for their reliability, with a no-downtime guarantee to back that up, plus 24/7 technical support that quickly solves problems through live chat or phone.
Other benefits include unlimited bandwidth and disk space, nightly backups and options that include VPS, shared or dedicated hosting. Prices are as low as $4.50 per month for one domain or $5.50 for up to four domains. For $6.50 per month, you can have a dedicated IP address. In addition to this cheap hosting, you get free stuff like free website and file transfer, free set-up and free domain name. This is a great way for a start-up on a tight budget to get website hosting.
Use this webhosting service if you need a lot of features, such as unlimited domain hosting, GB file transfer, hosting space and email accounts, as well as free templates and domain name, all under one account (domain).
This is a go-to website hosting partner for quick access to live chat and phone support from technical wizards. It offers a helpful demo account, so you can learn how the control panel works in advance manage your website. There are multiple security tools, such as admin password protection, a secure FTP, daily server backups and shared and dedicated SSL certificates, to keep information safe.
The icing on this web hosting cake is that it offers free ecommerce and shopping cart applications for retail start-ups, as well as CMS software, WordPress and survey software. Of note is the fact that it is one of the very few companies that do not give you an uptime guarantee or a catchall email. Annual fees include a domain migration fee of $14.99, a domain name fee of $14.99, and shared annual hosting of $47.40-$179.40, with no set-up costs.
This simple, straightforward, eco-friendly web hosting company, located in SCORE Northeast Massachusetts territory in Burlington, MA, uses wind power to run its operations and features a knowledgeable and friendly team. The web hosting does not limit how many domains, subdomains, add-on domains or parked domains you can host from one account. High-quality technical support comes from the “Moo Crew” by phone, live chat and email, or you can select from their knowledge library of video tutorials, articles, and FAQs if you want to take the DIY approach to technical issues.
FatCow is ideal for those who need strong email tools, including a catchall email account and ways to set up email aliases and auto-responders. Value-adds include credits toward Google AdWords, Facebook, advertising and Bing/Yahoo! Search marketing, as well as a free YellowPages.com listing.
Minimal downsides are evident but do include only shared hosting capability and shared SSL certificate, as well as no cPanel. The annual shared hosting fee is $49 plus $14.99 for domain migration, but no fee for domain name or set-up.
4. A Small Orange.
This web hosting company offers many shared plans, including the Tiny plan for small startups, the Medium for the average size business and the Super for more complex websites. They also offer a VPS or dedicated hosting plan for even more room.
The website hosting company has numerous types of hosting services, unlimited email addresses and Web applications like blog apps, CMS software, forum or calendar functionality, tools for educational and retail websites, survey tools and wikis. The only downsides are a somewhat limited bandwidth and disk space across all plans, and no ability to create mobile websites. Costs for shared annual hosting range from $35 to $240 as well as $15 for domain migration and $14.55 for domain name.
This website company is known for its security strength, focusing on serving companies that want to sell products online. Features include a webspace recovery tool, daily backups, shared and dedicated SSLs. They also offer SiteLock for an additional fee for regular malware scans or signs of suspicious activity.
With unlimited bandwidth and disk space, this website host provides scalable solutions that grow as your start-up expands. Numerous website hosting plans mean there is something for every type of start-up and budget. The company also offers additional marketing value for the money with credits for Google AdWords, Facebook, Bing and Yahoo! There is a free ecommerce and shopping care software, plus an email marketing tool for email blasts and newsletters.
Just note that they do not offer live chat for tech support but only are available through email, phone and social media. Prices range from $23.99 to $179.88 per year for webhosting and $0.99 for the first year of a domain name but no fees for domain migration or set-up.
Like many web hosting companies on this list, this one is committed to environmentally friendly webhosting, opting for renewable energy sources to power its operations.
It’s good to go with a host provider that offers unlimited hosting right out the gate, so you can grow your website down the line with more domains and any number of subdomains, add-ons or parked domains. GreenGeeks offers many starter websites that come with email accounts and search directory listings. This is great for start-ups that don't have a website and want to quickly get online status without waiting to design a site.
The company also goes easy on the fees, with no costs for set-up, domain migration or domain name. The only costs are annual shared hosting fees of $47.92 to $95.40. The only downsides are the lack of 24/7 phone support, no email management through a control panel and the inability to host mobile websites.
This website hosting company provides a significant level of confidence, thanks to all-access tech support through email, phone, social media and live chat. They also have numerous resources and a forum to get additional help.
While many companies give you a 30-day money-back guarantee, Hostgator gives you another 15 days on top of that to decide if you want to cancel your hosting service. To design your website, they give you thousands of templates and customizable tools, as well as access to an array of open-source applications for content management, e-commerce, wiki, and blogging. They offer unlimited email addresses and numerous email tools, as well as free site builder and control panel demos.
They only do weekly server backups, so if you are updating content daily, this may be an issue. They also do not offer cloud hosting. Some fees are involved, including $7.95 per year for domain migration and $12.95 for domain name, while annual shared hosting costs range from $66.72 to $143.52.
8. InMotion Hosting.
Starting with 99.9% uptime guarantee, you can feel at ease knowing this website hosting company will be working for you around the clock. Other great features include WordPress web hosting, private domain registration, cPanel demonstrations and dedicated SSL certificates. However, there is a limit of 25 domains for its top plan, and no cloud or reseller hosting.
They do not charge fees for domain name, domain migration, or set-up. Annual costs for shared hosting range from $56.68 to $125.88. Teachers can get free web hosting as an educator, while students can get 50 percent discount off shared web hosting.
This website hosting company delivers many unlimited features and value-adds, plus it regularly puts its shared hosting services on sale, such as its current promotion of $1.99 per month or $23.88 per year. The only additional fee is $14.99 for the first year of a domain name, but set-up and domain migration are free.
You get unlimited domains, add-on domains, parked domains and subdomains. Value-adds include many types of advertising credits and a free listing on YellowPages.com. There is 24/7 tech support, shared and dedicated SSL certificates, a cPanel for easy management, and user-friendly website design tools. However, you cannot register private domains.
While it may seem like free website hosting is impossible, Hostt proves it is anything but. Rather than just offering a stripped-down webhosting service for just the very basics, Hostt offers many extras. These include free WordPress and free Joomla hosting, as well as support for Ruby, Python, Apache, Lighttpd, Mongrel and Visual Studio.
There are an unlimited number of domains allowed, along with free transfer from an existing website and unlimited bandwidth. You also enjoy one-click installation, 24/7 technical support and full control over your server and website. About the only annual charge is $13.95 to register your existing domain with them. Special note: I used to be involved full time with this business, hence me putting them at the last.
With the pros and cons and range of prices and fees, features and services, this list illustrates that there is some type of website hosting solution for every type of start-up.
Contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine, Entrepreneur and Connector