• The Hidden Costs Of Hosting

    PUBLICATION DATE: 19 Mar 2019 | AUTHOR: Johan van Seijen | CATEGORY: Hosting,

  • Quick Summary: Hosting is such a simple product. Or at least it should be. But just as with our last article about domain names there are a lot of hidden costs, especially after that first year. Costs that within a process of auto-renewal is being hoisted on the shoulders of the customer. In this article we'll review three of the biggest hosting providers and see how deep the rabbit's hole will go.

  • More expensive than you'd like

    What we're going to see in this article that hosting is more expensive than professional providers would like you to believe. I haven't yet examined the three providers GoDaddy UK, Bluehost and Hostgator, but you can bet your behind they are using the exact same trick they are using with domain names. A low-entry fee to lure the unsuspected and a steep price increase, through auto-renewals, after the first year.

    What we're going to look at is hosting specifally for a WordPress installation and without it as well. And I'm going for the most basic and cheap packages with every hosting provider. I will not comment on the quality of the package (speed, uptime etc.), but will just focus on the pricing.

    Hosting price data


    1st year hosting




    1st year WordPress hosting




    hosting renewal fee




    WordPress hosting renewal fee




    hosting price increase (%)




    WordPress hosting price increase (%)




    Includes 1st year domain?




    Includes 1st year SSL certificate




    GoDaddy hosting pricing

    On GoDaddy's page for GoDaddy we can see their cheapest package going for €3.99 per month. I'm redirected to GoDaddy UK, hence the euros. It seems that, contrary with domain names, hosting deals are displayed per month rather than year. What's also totally different is that it clearly states the increased renewal fee of €6.99 per month underneath the initial price. With a disclaimer you can find on the bottom that reads that renewal prices are subject to change and auto-renew. I can't find any other page about hosting renewal fees so it feels very fishy to me. Who knows that this is actually going to be the renewal fee? I'm not so sure.

    Strangely enough if you're just opting for hosting without WordPress, it is set at €2.49 for the first year, but ramps up to €7.49 per month for the renewal. That means the initial price is cheaper, which makes sense, but the renewal price is more expensive, which doesn't. I can only think that overall more people go for clean hosting, which turns out to be more profitable for GoDaddy, since the renewal fees are higher.

    Both packages include a domain name for the first year. I don't see anything about an SSL certificate, so I assume it's not included and you have to pay full price. The article " SSL sadness with GoDaddy" actually refers to the fact that the SSL certificates are GoDaddy's "cashcow", with a nice picture of a dead tree with vultures on it in the background. Very nice.

    So is GoDaddy playing nice.? A little on the cusp again here. Both packages offer rock-bottom pricing and include the domain name. But the fact that the SSL is not included and overpriced makes the total package still very premium.

    Bluehost hosting pricing

    Bluehost's shared WordPress hosting plan starts at €2.59 per month. They display it as a promotional price which was normally €7.03 per month. Knowing the industry standard with respect to WordPress hosting packages you know this is marketing bull. If they'd ever have this price, they would blow themselves out of the water. This price goes up to €7.90 after the first year for an annual plan.

    They don't make a distinction between WordPress and non-WordPress hosting, lumping them together. So Bluehost is 10 cents more expensive than GoDaddy for the first year. Bluehost also include the domain name.

    The lettering is small, but at least it's on the same page and it's visible for the people searching for it, like me. A big pro is that Bluehost offers free SSL for their standardd package.

    Hostgator hosting pricing

    Let's head over to Hostgator. The cheapest plan is $2.75 (€2.42) per month and includes a free SSL certificate. Looking up their hosting chart reveals that this initial price bumps up to $10.95 (€9.64) per month. That's a 400% price increase ladies and gentlemen.

    Their WordPress hosting plan $5.95 (€5.24) per month for the first year, going up to $14.95 (€13,16) per month after the first year: a 250% price increase. It also includes a free SSL.

    Concluding remarks: hosting renewals drain your wallet

    Again you can see that the renewals are the way these hosting providers really rake in the money, Doubling, tripling and quadrupling the price in all accounts. Again it is what it is. I have yet to find a hosting provider who's 100 percent transparent in their prices and doesn't increase their renewal fees.

    Also keep in mind that these are the cheapest packages available, meaning they are all shared hosting packages. You share the server space with other clients, hundreds of them, which can have a detrimental effect on your website's performance.

  • About the Author

    Johan van Seijen


    Johan van Seijen is co-founder of Nexus Themes and our lead designer. After gaining a Master's Degree in Information Science he decided to try his luck in the illustration industry, working for clients as Avantgarde, Cosmopolitan and Glamour. With the return to the software industry grew the desire to create something to be truly proud of and which could spearhead his ambition of having his own company. And this company is what followed. He lives with his wife and daughter in Amsterdam.