How much should website hosting cost

We’ve been asked plenty of times how there can be such a vast range and what this range mean? To start, we’ll address the real issue which is what is hosting.

Website hosting plans range from $10 a month to $1000 a month or more. We’ve been asked plenty of times how there can be such a vast range and what this range mean? To start, we’ll address the real issue. The issue is that the word “hosting” is used as a blanket term to cover any sort of web-related services.  

Having a site “hosted” is technically only the most minimal thing that must be done. It’s like putting gas in your car.  

If you don’t have the site hosted, then it will not show up on the web. This doesn’t mean the site will run properly or be secure or be fast or not break or anything else. However, the phrase “website hosting” is often used to cover the full gamut of website-related tasks. This is why there is such a HUGE price range. To use the car analogy again:

Let’s say that Andy only pays for gas for his car while John pays for gas + oil changes + a weekly car wash + part upgrades every 3 months. They each have a single, monthly expense, but John gets WAY more and, in turn, pays more. However, due to the very poor use of the phrase “put gas in my car,” John believes that Andy has a WAY better deal, but actually, John has the best value.

Andy: “I only pay $20 a month for my car to have gas. What a deal!”

John: “What the heck!? I pay $100 a month for gas!”

For some reason, the web hosting industry has done a poor job of using “Website Hosting” to mean just about any combination of services. Below is a list of a few services that are used in the hosting process. Some sites need all of these things, and some sites need only a small sub-set. The list below is by no means comprehensive. I just put down some of the most common items we use to help our clients keep their sites up-to-date, looking good, and secure.

  1. Hosting = what you get for the $10/month option with some hosting providers
  2. Up-time monitoring
  3. Backup = what you get for an additional $10/month with some hosting providers.
  4. Backup monitoring
  5. Backup retention (30, 60, 90 days, etc.)
  6. Form delivery error monitoring
  7. Site performance monitoring
  8. eCommerce integration
  9. PHP updates
  10. Site core updates
  11. Plugin updates
  12. Malware scans
  13. Intrusion detection services
  14. Brute force attack lockout services
  15. DNS management
  16. SSL renewal
  17. CDN Services
  18. Privacy policy management & updates
  19. ADA website compliance management & updates
  20. PCI compliance management & updates
  21. Domain registration & renewal
  22. Included content change labor
  23. Included design edit labor
  24. Included trouble ticket support
  25. SEO optimization
  26. SEO A/B testing
  27. Google advertising management
  28. Google/Facebook/Yelp review feed services
  29. Etc.

So, in order to answer how much you should pay for hosting, we need to know what your website does. The answer to this question will determine what services you need.  

Basic websites:

These sites are like online business cards.

  • Info
  • Simple contact form

What could happen if you only pay for hosting:

  1. The site is down, and you don’t know it. Google will penalize your search rank if not fixed soon. Loss of business!
  2. Your contact form stops working. Clients are asking for help, and you have no clue. Loss of business!
  3. Your site gets out of date and becomes vulnerable to more attacks and displays improperly on newer browsers. Loss of business!
  4. Your site gets hacked and defaced or used to attack visitors to your business. Loss of business!
  5. You are not compliant with clearly stated privacy info and ADA accommodations. Potential lawsuit.  

To avoid the issues above, you need at least these services:

QuickFix charges $109/month for the services below.

  1. Hosting
  2. Up-time monitoring
  3. Backup
  4. Backup monitoring
  5. Backup retention (30, 60, 90 days, etc.)
  6. Form delivery error monitoring
  7. Site performance monitoring
  8. PHP updates
  9. Site core updates
  10. Plugin updates
  11. Malware scans
  12. Intrusion detection services
  13. Brute force attack lockout services
  14. DNS management
  15. SSL renewal
  16. Privacy policy management & updates
  17. ADA website compliance management & updates

Ecommerce websites:

These sites sell things online.

  • Info
  • contact form
  • Payment processor integration
  • Product database
  • User login database
  • Inventory sync/management
  • etc.

What could happen if you only pay for hosting:

  1. All the same stuff that could happen to the basic site plus…
  2. Site hacked & customer’s credit card data is stolen. You are found NOT compliant with PCI regulations. Potential lawsuit & loss of business.
  3. Your payment gateway is hacked and used to process stolen cards. The site goes down when the gateway is closed. Loss of business!

To avoid the issues above, you need at least these services:

QuickFix charges $159/month for the services below.

  1. Hosting
  2. Up-time monitoring
  3. Backup
  4. Backup monitoring
  5. Backup retention (30, 60, 90 days, etc.)
  6. Form delivery error monitoring
  7. Site performance monitoring
  8. eCommerce integration
  9. PHP updates
  10. Site core updates
  11. Plugin updates
  12. Malware scans
  13. Intrusion detection services
  14. Brute force attack lockout services
  15. DNS management
  16. SSL renewal
  17. CDN Services
  18. Privacy policy management & updates
  19. ADA website compliance management & updates
  20. PCI compliance management & updates

If your site isn’t like either of the two above, it’s ok.  

Notice how both sites need almost the exact same services because they have virtually the same risk items. Of course, the e-commerce site has a much more considerable risk overall due to the credit card aspect. That one risk item is significant enough to require the government to create the whole PCI Compliance initiative. However, as far as the number of risk items, they are pretty close to the same.

Make sure you think about how your site breaking (or getting hacked) could hurt your business and talk to your MSP (Managed Service Provider) about your concerns. If you don’t have an MSP, that’s what we are! We would love to help you have an easy, safe website management experience.


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