Running a website that offers great browsing experience for visitors and is easy to manage for website owners is something that has become an expensive service to acquire. Creating a website alone is a tedious job but the whole process of making it run and accessible to users of the internet is a whole new level of work.
There are many things needed – hardware, software and human resources to host a website. Most website owners who are not involved in the “back-end” of running websites may ask themselves: why is website hosting expensive?
Web hosting is not just a simple rent to a server but a complete package of giving what website owners need to run and manage their website. This package needs a lot of resources in order to be efficient and effective. Let’s break down each of the resources needed to run a website in order to understand the cost of running a website:
A website that is accessible through the internet needs to be hosted by a server. Without any server for your website to be on, it will be inaccessible to the users. A web server is actual physical hardware installed with server software so users can access a website hosted on that server. The physical hardware is expensive alone and so is the software.
The reason why it becomes cheaper is that some servers can host many websites at once. If you have a dedicated server – more likely to have more space storage, less vulnerable to a data breach but also the most expensive type of hosting.
Companies offering website hosting services invest and buy these servers to cater to website owners. If you’re a website owner with paid hosting, you are basically paying rent to use your host’s server. A full breakdown of the cost of a server can be found in an article by Mark Lahn for ServerMania.
Websites contain a lot of data. Some of these data are personal while some are large-sized files of media such as photos and videos. In case there is a data breach, server error, or damage on the physical server, a backup should be available to recover the data lost in that scenario.
Website hosts regularly create backup data and maintain it ensuring customers that they do not have to worry about losing any of their data. The creation of backup data requires software and actual hardware – a dedicated computer to back up the data of all the data that is on your website and server.
Website hosts who offer customer support are applauded because it helps website owners who do not have the in-depth technical knowledge in order to update their sites or resolve errors encountered. Some of the customer support offered by some website hosts are available 24/7 and in various channels – emails, ticket systems, and phone.
While this customer support is helpful for many website owners, it also costs a lot. The human resources needed to make the customer support available at all times can be quite a lot especially if you’re hosting many websites.
Note that customer support would also need to have basic knowledge about website hosting in order to provide satisfactory support to website owners. The process and software needed to create efficient customer support can also be expensive and requires maintenance.
The reliability of a website is one of the most critical things that affect the user experience of visitors to the website especially if a website has many visitors on a daily basis, you want visitors to have the optimal experience while browsing through the website. The main factor that affects the reliability of a hosting service is the uptime.
Of course, there is required time to do some maintenance within your server – security updates, data backup, and installation of new software. How quickly this maintenance is done affects the uptime of the website. In case there are any problems in the server, hosts resolve it as fast as possible so the website can be accessible again.
The things required to maintain this reliability are expensive – human resources with technical knowledge, backup server if needed, and software, basically these are the things that account for the operational cost of running a website. In this post by Quick Sprout, it is highlighted that reliability and operational need are one of the contributors to the cost of the website.
The data on your website and server are vulnerable if they are not provided with layers of security and protection. Protection from hackers, viruses, and malware are software and security layers developed to protect your data and content from being lost or worse, accessed.
In a comparison by Daniel Brame, the top picks for security software for business come at a cost. Paid web hosting gives free SSL certificates to websites ensuring users that your website is safe to access from their end. These security features have routine updates so your server where your website is hosted is constantly protected against possible harm.
Effective security software alone is expensive so if you’re paying for your hosting, this is one of the features that you won’t get to experience at maximum level with free hosting.
Free hosting websites may offer free storage but with paid hosting the storage offered is bigger. Free hosts offer at most 5GB but with paid hosting, you can almost go unlimited. The space storage on the internet may seem like its a virtual space but in reality, space storage requires hardware. While some space storage devices are embedded in the servers, some hosts have separate storage devices for backup.
Domain Registration and Email
Registering a domain under your desired name can be done by most website owners but with paid hosting, this is usually included. While you can get your desired domain personally, having a domain registered through your paid host can save you from the process and hassle of separate billing – the same case with having a personalized email. Although the cost for domains and emails can be cheap, they also tend to be overlooked as mentioned in this post by PageCloud.
Companies that offer hosting services treat their service as a business and the primary purpose of this business is to create profit. While you can save a lot if you manage a website alone, as long as you have sufficient knowledge and resources, the investment you’ve made in acquiring the hardware and software won’t be returned for quite some time – that’s why there is shared servers, so the investment made on buying such hardware will be returned in the soonest possible time.
But in order further to understand why hosting is expensive. Take a look at the table below with the summary of every resource need to host a website and its estimated cost:
|Hardware||Estimated Cost||Software||Estimated Cost||Human Resource (with technical knowledge)|
|Customer Support||Not Needed||NotNeeded||Yes||$100 (monthly)||Yes|
|Reliability / Operational Cost||Yes||$200||Yes||Included in Server Allocation||Yes|
|Domain Registration and Email||Not Needed||NotNeeded||Yes||$10 (annual)||Optional|
Some website hosts also offer cPanel and other plugins in order to help website owners manage their site well. These features are not free and require maintenance and updates as well to comply with the changes in the software installed on the platform.
Many hosting companies are now providing additional features like Cloudflare and cache plugins to help you speed up your site. These extra services add tasks and demands on the companies and require an additional fee to keep functional and maintained.
The number one reason why website hosting is expensive is because of the convenience it offers to website owners. While you can host your website alone if you’ve had the resources, it can be quite a handful to do it alone. Below is a table of summary of the things needed to run a website. If you see in the table below, many hardware, software, and resources required to host a website but with a web host – those are already taken care of.
A comprehensive breakdown of the cost of hosting a website was written by Hannah Whitfield in WebsiteBuilderExpert in this article.