Pricing Web Hosting

With today's emerging technologies and the increasing demand for a wider range of services, the Web hosting landscape has exploded into an array of complex, specialized categories.

"The Web hosting industry has always been driven by evolving customer needs and advances in technology," says Reed Caldwell, founder and CEO of ServInt, a managed hosting provider that's experienced its own evolution during 15 years of service. "As modern Web content has become woven into the fabric of our daily lives, the hosting industry has adapted to better meet customers' high expectations for uptime, performance, managed services, security and social responsibility."

Which is all good news for anyone shopping for a Web host in today's heavily tilted buyer's market. Whether you are in the development stages of a one-person startup or you have enjoyed a successful Web presence for decades, it never hurts to take a quick refresher course in the current costs of Web hosting.

Shared hosting is the most affordable and most popular option, and today's fees start at just a few dollars per month. The upside is that you'll receive unlimited bandwidth and storage space for little money. The downside is that you'll be sharing a server with others - creating the potential for security issues or lapses in performance.

But millions of satisfied customers share their Web hosting services, and there are a staggering amount of reputable, professional companies from which to choose. There are also dozens of shared Web hosting review sites, and one of the most helpful and informative is

"The shared hosting industry is to a point now that companies are just about at the break-even threshold and most of their money comes from upsells," says Josh Ewin of Dedicated Now, a 12-year-old managed dedicated server company. "The reseller business has grown so much over the past few years and there are so many Mom and Pop companies that providers are realizing they have to offer customers more than just low prices."

Some shared hosts will offer dedicated IPs and private SSLs for added security, nudging the monthly fee past the $10 mark and into the $12-$15 range. If you're still not comfortable with the shared-server concept at that price, consider dedicated and managed hosting, where the host supplies a dedicated server of which the customer has exclusive use. Dedicated monthly fees can start as low as $59 per month, but they average closer to $250-$300 and can top out just above four figures, depending on the robustness of the network, the quality of the hardware and the range of services provided.

"You have to look at web hosting as a service the same way you view transportation as a service," says Ewin. "There are different price structures for different vehicles, and you can expect to pay much less to ride in a Geo than you would in a Bentley. In the last 18 months or so, companies are really realizing the value of adding in significant management services."

Yet another option that falls between shared server hosting and dedicated or managed hosting is Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting. This is a form of shared hosting that allows website operators more control over hardware, software and access through a private area on the server used only by them. This is a logical and popular way to transition into dedicated and shared hosting for a more affordable cost of about $50 to $150 per month, again depending on bandwidth and storage requirements.