Reliable and fast web hosting is absolutely essential for a successful online business, but it doesn’t have to cost the earth. I’m a bit of a tight bugger and over the years I’ve picked up a few little tricks to save a few quid on hosting.. and it doesn’t mean running an old UNIX box in your loft like that chap in the picture.
Don’t be scared to haggle on package prices
I’ve never paid list price for a web server. It’s always worth the effort of firing off a quick email to the sales department and explain what you want and ask for a price? View server prices on web hosting sites as a “guide price” rather than a fixed fee. In my experience they are always willing to offer a little discount or match a competitor offer. Just ask.
Pay using a cashback credit card
If you pay for hosting using a credit card, look at getting a card with a cashback or reward scheme. I use an American Express Platinum Cashback card for most of my hosting and get about 1.5% cashback. It may not seem a lot, but over the course of a year it really does add up. The most important thing to remember is to pay your bills on time and in full otherwise any savings made in cashback will be wiped out by hefty interest charges.
Use a scalable cloud hosting solution
Don’t be talked into buying a big expensive web server if you only run a small site. With a scalable cloud based server solution you can increase your hosting performance and data limits when needed. This means you’re not paying for bandwidth your not using.
Use a US or European hosting company
Hosting abroad can be much cheaper than hosting in The UK and it makes no difference to web site performance due to the global nature of the web. If you also factor in the exchange rate, you can often get a much higher performance web server for your money in The US. There are some SEOs that say hosting your site in The UK will be better for UK search rankings, but I’ve seen very little evidence of this. If your web site has good quality content, it’s fast and popular with visitors – it doesn’t matter where you host. It will rank well.
Use a credit card with a good foreign transaction rate
If you choose to host with a foreign webhost they will probably charge you in their local currency and not in £ sterling. Banks have a nasty habit of giving a really poor foreign echange rates and plonking some hefty extra charges on top of foreign transactions. You can save a lot of money and ditch the extra fees by using a credit card designed for travel or foreign spending. They will give a much better exchange rate and add no extra banking charges.
Use voucher codes or coupons
It’s always worth having a quick Google for voucher codes before you buy web hosting. The bigger brands will always be running something like a 20% off code or “your first month free” offer.
Pay annually rather than monthly
Most web hosting companies will offer a discount for paying annually. I got in-touch with one of my client’s hosts and managed to secure a deal where if they paid up-front we got 12 months hosting for the price of 10. This saved his small business about £200. If you don’t plan on changing hosts within the next 12 months this is a really easy way to reduce costs. All you have to do is ask.
Evaluate and renew services every year or two
It’s so easy to get stuck on an old slow server when you stick with the same hosting company for a few years. You keep paying the same amount every month for the same old server spec, but the web hosting market moves fast and server specs get cheaper over time. Every 12/24 months you should see what server specifications are being offered by your hosting company and ask for upgrades.
Keep your domains and web hosting with separate companies
By keeping your domains and hosting separate it gives you makes moving hosting companies so much easier. If you have your domains and web hosting with the same company it can be a real uphill battle to cancel the hosting and transfer out your domains. Some companies can make the process very long and it can lead to downtime – which nobody wants.. If you keep your domains and hosting separate – all you have to change is a nameserver or two and not go through the process of a full domain release and transfer.