5 Cheapest Web Hosts Under $3 Per Month
A list of the top 5 cheapest web hosting plans for affordable, yet reliable, web hosting to get your website online with a low budget.
Looking for the cheapest web hosting? Many webmasters understandably seek the lowest price they can get to keep their site up and running. When it comes to web hosting, a shared hosting plan is the cheapest type you can get. Often referred to as bargain web hosting, this type is ideal for brand new sites just starting off or for small, existing ones with little traffic. In this guide, we list the top 5 cheapest choices for hosting your website, all under $3 per month. Of course, cost is not the only factor you should look at when it comes to web hosting and we have also taken into account several others – such as the reliability of service, quality of hardware, value of bonus options, extra tools available on platform, and the renewal rate.
IMPORTANT TIP: The length of the term when signing up for a hosting plan plays an important factor on price. For example, signing up for a 3 year term often gives you a lower rate than a 1 or 2 year term. Although paying ahead of time for 3 years may cost more upfront, it will greatly save you more in the long run.
The Cheapest Web Hosts at a Glance
A quick overview of the top 5 cheapest choices for web hosting, all available at a price of under $3 per month (depending on term length):
|Web Host||3 Year Price:||2 Year Price:||1 Year Price:||Learn More:|
Super Cheap Introductory Priced Linux Hosting with vDeck
First on our list is iPage. It is the only one to use vDeck (a control panel) for domain name management and server administration rather than cPanel. In a very competitive industry, with thousands of web hosting companies advertising online for the same business, this small cost savings in vDeck software licensing vs. cPanel licensing allows iPage to consistently offer their web hosting at an incredibly low price of $1.99 per month. Unlimited MySQL databases, storage, bandwidth, and domain names at that price is one of the best prices in the industry for LAMP hosting with CentOS Enterprise Linux servers. However, beware of their renewal fees, which are steep at $10.95 per month. Signing up for a 3 year term is highly recommended. Their hosting does come with numerous features and over $500 in extras packed in. iPage is owned by EIG so they use MOJO Marketplace & QuickInstall for open source script management. vDeck has 90% of the features of cPanel and iPage also offers a free domain name registration with a new account sign-up ($14.95 value), making for an overall great deal on web hosting… Read our full review
- Cheap introductory pricing
- Renews at a high price
- 1 year term @ $2.99
- 2 year term @ $2.49
- 3 year term @ $1.99
- Free domain name
- $500 in extras included
- Recent improved speeds
- Reliable & affordable
Powerful & Reliable cPanel Hosting at an Amazing Price
Thanks to a special deal we were able to receive from HostGator, their entry-level shared hosting plan (which they call Hatchling) is 60% off, making it less than $3 per month (if you choose the 3 year term). HostGator is a well-known brand and offers reliable web hosting services of all types. They are one of our favorites and we've found from our own experience with them that they do offer really good performance and reliability. Their Hatchling plan is priced at $2.78 per month and includes a variety of features such as 24/7 customer support, 1 click installs via Mojo Marketplace, 45 day money-back guarantee, and $100 Google & Bing ad credits. All in all, this plan would make a solid choice for affordably and reliably hosting your website… Read our full review
- A+ performance
- Renews at $6.95/mo
- 1 year term @ $3.98
- 2 year term @ $3.57
- 3 year term @ $2.78
- Single domain hosting
- $100 Google & Bing ads
- Great choice
Well-known brand & single domain hosting under $3/month
Bluehost was an industry pioneer of low-cost shared Linux web hosting back in the day. Although their pricing has increased since then, they still offer a cheap, single domain hosting plan for less than $3 per month with a 3 year deal. The plan includes unmetered bandwidth, 5 email accounts with 100MB of storage per account, and 50GB of disk space, which should be sufficient enough for a small website. There are no marketing offers included in this plan, which is something you may want to consider. While not the most feature-rich plan on this list, Bluehost is an established brand with one of the largest client bases and also has great technical support. They also have a reputation for solid performance and reliability, although our own experience with them has not lived up to this. We continue to notice average speeds and occasional downtime. Choose Bluehost for single domain hosting at $2.95 per month with a higher quality of customer service, support for open source projects, and the trust of a well-established brand… Read our full review
- A+ tech support
- Renews at $10.99/mo
- 1 year term @ $4.95
- 2 year term @ $3.95
- 3 year term @ $2.95
- Single domain hosting
- Free domain name
- No ad credits
- Established brand
Lowest Prices in the Industry with Low Renewal Rates
WebHostingPad is an established web hosting company aggressively targeting the lowest prices in the industry with $1.99 per month rates for unlimited domain hosting available on 5 year contracts. For 3 year terms, the cost is $2.29 per month. These plans include everything in the LAMP software stack that the major web hosting companies like HostGator, Bluehost, and GoDaddy provide on their shared Linux plans. Although performance and reliability is not as good, WebHostingPad also charges 50% lower renewal rates than other companies do, making this truly a bargain web host. Small businesses and independent publishers can save over $120 a year over other company prices for the exact same web server software platform (cPanel + CentOS). When you need the absolute lowest rates on shared Linux server plans for low cost LAMP development and long term budget hosting, remember WebHostingPad. The company offers everything required for WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento, & other CMS websites at a fraction of the price of other web hosting companies.
- Super-cheap Linux hosting
- Low renewal rates
- 1 year term @ $3.99
- 2 year term @ $2.99
- 3 year term @ $2.29
- Free domain name
- Free site transfer
- Somewhat frequent downtime
Cheap cPanel Hosting with Numerous Features, but Poor Support
eHost is last but not least on our list and offers a single budget account at $2.75 per month, with cPanel, CentOS Enterprise Linux, and support for unlimited domain names, MySQL databases, email accounts, etc. As with the other bargain hosts, bandwidth and storage is unmetered except in certain circumstances. CPU throttling is at 10% of server resources for 90 seconds maximum. Overall, with 32-core AMD Opteron 6376 and Intel Xeon E5-2630 v3 servers, eHost performs at a level equivalent to many of the largest web hosts like Bluehost, HostGator, & GoDaddy. The LAMP stack software installation includes the full 100+ open source script collection available through Softaculous. With world class hardware and an industry standard cPanel interface, eHost's unlimited domain hosting plans at $2.75 per month are one of the best deals available on web hosting anywhere. We highly recommend them for low cost LAMP platform development, multi-site portfolio hosting, and web development staging environments for start-up applications… Read our full review
- Cheap cPanel hosting plans
- Ultra speeds & reliability
- Renews at $13.98/mo
- 1 year term @ $4.99
- 2 year term @ $3.49
- 3 year term @ $2.75
- Free domain name
- $100 Ad Credits
- Poor customer support
How to Choose a Cheap Hosting Plan for Your Site
Unlike nearly everything else we buy on this planet, web hosting prices fortunately tend to fall, rather than rise. This is due in part to the economies of scale. As more servers are added, bandwidth, memory, processing, and data storage costs go down. It costs hosting companies less from year to year to host the same number of clients. For example, in 1998, Hostway.com gave you 14 MB for every dollar you spent on hosting. In 2008, they gave you 860 MB per dollar spent. Now you get 7,194 MB (equivalent to 7.2 GB) for every hosting dollar. We predict this upward trend in value compounded with a downward trend in cost will be the case for the foreseeable future, or until some other industry disruptor comes into play.
That being said, web hosting is a very competitive industry and although the costs of hardware are decreasing, marketing and advertising costs are high. Many web hosts are pinching pennies to get you the best deal to stay competitive.
How “Cheap” is Cheap?
There's an old saying “you get what you pay for” and just like with most consumer services, this applies to web hosting. Cheap web hosting is very popular, but notorious for having slow speeds and frequent downtime. When compared to other services and commodities, we define cheap as less than $3 per month for unlimited shared Linux web hosting.
We typically don't recommend skimping on web hosting, however we do realize that not all websites published on the web are profitable enough to generate sufficient income to cover the monthly cost of a high-performance web hosting plan.
QUICK FACT: Nearly 95% of all websites published on the web are simply not profitable enough to generate sufficient income to cover their monthly web hosting fees. This single fact illustrates why bargain web hosts are so popular year after year with netizens.
Fortunately, anyone on a budget – whether it be small businesses, start-up companies, eCommerce store owners, students, non-profit organizations, bloggers, or independent web publishers – can succeed with a cheap web hosting plan if they choose a good web host and use it appropriately. In website development where high performance is most important, site owners are advised to go with a VPS, cloud, or dedicated hosting solution.
What to Look for in a Cheap Hosting Plan
Below is some advice on what to look for when purchasing a cheap hosting plan and how to get the lowest price.
Avoid Aggressive Upselling & Cross-selling Practices
Many web hosts will try to upsell and cross-sell to their customers. Although sometimes this may be necessary and beneficial for the customer, often times it's spammed too aggressively and is not needed. Even at checkout, many web hosts try to cross-sell additional products/services.
Always check what features and services are included in your web hosting plan at the price being advertised. As you can see from the screenshot above, these few additional cross-sells can significantly increase your initial cost.
Choose a 3+ Year Term & Invest in the Long Run
As previously mentioned, most web hosts give you the best rate if you purchase the longest term. The basic rule of thumb is the longer the term you purchase, the cheaper the introductory price.
If you want the lowest rate, choosing a 3+ year deal is mandatory. You'll pay more upfront, but save more in the long run. We almost always recommend choosing the longest term as most web hosts offer a 30+ day money-back guarantee and a pro-rated refund afterwards. However, be sure to check the refund policy as not all web hosts do this. For example, Bluehost offers a 30 day money-back guarantee, but does NOT offer a refund after 30 days. They used to… but changed this. Sneaky!
Check the Renewal Rates
The introductory price that you see advertised is almost always the cheapest price you're going to get throughout the lifetime of your hosting service with the company. After your first term has passed, your web host will renew your hosting service at their regular rate. This is why we recommend choosing their longest term initially!
It is typical for the renewal price to be significantly higher than what was signed up for initially. That said, some web hosts are notorious for this. With iPage, for example, after signing up at $1.99 per month, the contract renews at $7.99 per month (assuming a 3 year term). The result is a 4x (or $216) higher bill than last time. Always be sure to check the renewal price!
QUICK TIP: Avoid host hopping if you're happy with your web host. Higher renewal rates are standard for most web hosts and something you should expect to see. Hopefully by the time your initial term ends, your site will have grown enough to produce revenue that can well exceed its hosting costs.
Get the Lowest Price by Taking Advantage of the Secret “Walk Away” Offer
Speaking of introductory pricing, some web hosts have a secret “walk away” offer that is even lower priced. This is ultimately the lowest price you can get when signing up. The idea is that a customer is about to signup, but then decides to back out. The web host then offers an even lower, special price to entice the user to continue with their purchase.
Not all web hosts offer this, but some of the ones on our list currently do 😉
Look for Additional Bonus Features & Freebies
Many web hosts throw in hundreds of dollars worth of free addons like advertising credits, directory listings, a domain name (typically free for the first year only), and other goodies that can help cut down the cost of launching your website. Some web hosts include promotional SEO and SEM services or anti-spam and security utilities. The value of these extras are largely determined by the different needs and requirements you may have.
Check for Implementation of New Web Standards & Latest Software Versions
Bargain web hosts are sometimes known to lack the advanced support of new web standards or implement the latest software versions on their web servers. Only when cPanel rolls out security updates and/or platform support for most of the web standards, will the bargain hosts follow. The provision of advanced caching features like APC, OPcache, & Memcached is standard, but turned off on some bargain web hosts for better PHP performance on older hardware.
Plans that include free SSD storage, cloud optimization of network traffic, and premium hardware configurations should be preferred over companies that do not have these options available.
Check What Tech Support is Available With Your Plan
Some web hosts consider technical support and telephone access to staff for issue resolution a bonus feature (although generally these are a standard of service shared by most companies in the industry). There is increasingly a trend for budget web hosting companies to rely on issue tickets over phone staff for greater technical support efficiency in operations.
Finding the Right Mix Between Affordable & Reliable
All of the web hosts listed above offer decent shared web hosting plans based on a single, standardized product of Enterprise Linux web servers (CentOS or CloudLinux) with cPanel (or vDeck for iPage). Shared Linux web hosting is the least expensive option primarily because of the advantages of using free, open source software. The LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) is a basic requirement for most contemporary websites running open source scripts for content management, eCommerce, or specialized tasks. Many small business owners and individuals start off with a cheap hosting plan to easily launch websites based on open source script frameworks. It's the best, most cost-efficient method to launch complex, new websites on a tight budget.
QUICK FACT: Websites generally with low budgets have little traffic and are thus suitable for an inexpensive hosting plan.
Although there is often a bias towards high performance hardware and new web standard implementation on web hosting platform reviews, many customers are looking for a simple and easy-to-use service without a lot of extra features that they do not need. Just because it is possible to install 5 or 10 different CMS scripts with databases on a bargain web host does not mean that the websites will operate under high traffic conditions or need to scale effectively on the web servers. Prospective customers are advised to pay attention to the amount of server resource allocation provided to every bargain hosting account, as well as the CPU limitations for I/O request processing. By making proper use of page caching solutions, multi-domain publishers can develop CMS websites for many low traffic domains on a single bargain hosting account, while still receiving industry standard software administration features and high-level hardware performance on the remote network.