In the past, purchasing cloud hosting space to manage a website was considered an expenditure relegated to larger businesses that had an ample budget. Nowadays, in this age-of-technology, where websites are more of a necessity than a luxury, the price of web hosting has reduced substantially. There are many different things to consider when purchasing a web host, but the first thing to understand: what actually is a web host? Essentially, websites are built from webpages that are viewed by people on the Internet all over the world.
Creating these pages can be done by an endless amounts of ways, but using tools such as Content Management Systems (like WordPress) are by far the easiest and require no website code whatsoever. Once the web pages are created, they are available to visitors who type in your website address (also known as domain name). A web host is simply a company that provides cloud-based server space for managing your website. They can, and often do, offer many other perks, but the basis is simply the ability to showcase your website to visitors and make sure the web pages remain available and accessible.
So why isn’t all web hosting the same price? The resources that you are purchasing need not be the same for every site. For example, a huge e-commerce website will take up more disk space than a standard blog. For this reason, the owner of the e-commerce site would need to purchase a plan with larger disk allocation to store all of this data. In addition, the web page data that are being served to your visitors consume bandwidth to be presented on the world wide web. Bandwidth measurements can vary, but a user with a complex site will likely use more bandwidth than a user with a smaller site. The amount of website traffic and type of data being hosted will dictate how much bandwidth is actually consumed. Primarily, the combined price of CPU, RAM, disk space and bandwidth are the main factors involved when it comes to price differentiation amongst web hosting plans.
Some web hosting providers are front-and-center with all of their costs. You can see the services you’ve purchased and how much you are paying for them. Conversely, other, larger web hosts make a profit by claiming that bandwidth and disk space are “unlimited”, but forcing the user to pay for increased services or rates if they ever reach these amounts. For this reason, finding affordable web hosting often comes down to reading the fine print. Paying for “unlimited” bandwidth or disk space is often a mistake, as purchasing a plan with a set (but known) amount can often be much cheaper in the long run.
For a simple website, such as one that contains pictures, audio, embedded video, and text, we recommend a very small hosting plan. This type of website does not take up an inordinate amount of space, and paying for an extremely large buffer of unused resources is where many churches run into trouble while purchasing web hosting. A good rule to remember is to only purchase what you need. For many hosts, increasing the plan resources is as simple as a phone call. In the vast majority of cases, our smallest plan (with 5GB of disk storage and 10Gb of bandwidth) is sufficient for users. This plan can be purchased yearly for $3.99 per month, plus the cost of registering a domain name ($18.99) if one is not already owned.
In a time where everyone gets their news, social interaction, and entertainment from a computer, not having a website is a detriment to many churches. The cost of entry into the field of website hosting was once a barrier to smaller communities that could not afford the expensive, technical plans that used to be the norm. However, with a little help and a little research, it’s possible for a website to be built on the most modest budget.