Selecting the right web hosting for nonprofits is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as you launch your 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Having a strong online presence is no longer optional. With the number of internet users passing 4 billion, all types of organizations must be discoverable via an online search to get noticed, attract customers, recruit new members, and secure funding. Nonprofit organizations are no exception in this regard.
Many nonprofits are reluctant to create a modern website because they fear that the costs associated with it would break their budgets. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Today, establishing an online presence is not just easy but also affordable. In fact, it can cost nothing at all for a nonprofit organization to get its website online as there are a number of options for free web hosting for nonprofits, but trying to save as much money as possible is often not worth it in the long run. Web hosting for nonprofits is more affordable than you think, when working with one of the hosting providers highlighted below.
In this article, we explain the difference between paid and free web hosting for nonprofits and provide five recommendations for each of the two types.
Paid Versus Free Web Hosting for Nonprofits—What’s the Difference?
Nonprofit organizations seldom sit on piles of cash. Cost is always an important factor when making any decision, and that includes choosing a web hosting service. The good news is that web hosting has become extremely affordable over the years, with many services even offering free web hosting plans to verified 501(c)(3) nonprofits.
Going with a free web hosting service may seem like an obvious choice for a nonprofit, but the experience of many nonprofits that have decided to choose the free route tells us something different. The problem is that free web hosting services almost always come with at least one catch:
- Their customer support is often very limited, and customer support requests from non-paying customers receive the lowest priority.
- Strict bandwidth and data storage limits make it impossible for free customers to seamlessly scale their online presence.
- WordPress, if supported in the first place, performs poorly and is difficult to manage because free web hosting services tend to come with terrible management panels.
In other words, you get what you pay for when it comes to web hosting for nonprofits. Considering that most younger donors prefer to learn about nonprofits via their websites, according to the Millennial Impact Report, it’s easy to see why paid web hosting makes sense.
The best paid web hosting providers make it exceptionally effortless to create and manage visually appealing websites, which have been found to drive up to 180 percent more engagement, making them integral to the success of any nonprofit.
Top 5 Best Paid Web Hosting Services for Nonprofits
Most nonprofit organizations can’t afford to spend the same amount of money on web hosting as businesses and enterprises, but they don’t have to. There’s no shortage of excellent paid web hosting services that deliver the scalability, reliability, and performance nonprofits need to maintain a strong online presence at an affordable price.
Bluehost is a huge name when it comes to WordPress hosting. The company was founded in 2003, and it has since then become one of the largest web hosting companies in the world, not to mention an official WordPress hosting provider. Today, Bluehost powers over 2 million websites, and the company is firmly determined to making this number grow larger by offering irresistible features at unbeatable prices.
The most affordable Bluehost hosting plan costs just $2.95 a month, and it includes a free domain name, a free SSL certificate, 1-click WordPress installation, and 24/7 customer support. All Bluehost plans come with a 30-days money-back guarantee, given nonprofits a lot of time to evaluate whether they’ve made a good choice.Bluehost Signup
With data centers in USA, Europe, and Asia, SiteGround is a fantastic choice for all nonprofit organizations that would like to establish a global presence and attract supporters from around the world. SiteGround is widely known for its fast adoption of leading web hosting technologies and security-first mindset.
It was one of the first web hosting companies to introduce a custom Let’s Encrypt SSL integration, and it uses proprietary AI software that helps it prevent 5 million brute-force attacks every single day. Prices start at $3.95 a month, but the best web hosting for nonprofits offered by SiteGround costs $5.95 and includes priority technical support as well as free backup restores, among other things.SiteGround Signup
Founded in 1996, DreamHost is so old that it remembers the early days of the web, when websites consisted mostly of text and hyperlinks. Despite being around for such a long time, DreamHost has successfully adapted to changing customer needs, winning it PCMag’s “Editors’ Choice Award” for four years in a row.
DreamHost loves nonprofits, offering free shared hosting to USA registered non-profit charitable organizations. This free offering is their Value shared hosting package, which offers everything you need to build and host your website. However once your nonprofit website begins receiving traffic, you’ll need to scale up to a paid plan with more server capacity. Luckily DreamHost recently began offering up to 35% off DreamPress, their performance WordPress hosting platform, to all verified 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations. The DreamPress platform is adequate for most nonprofit hosting needs, and will scale as your website grows.
One of the most attractive aspects of DreamHost is its price, which starts at just $2.59 a month. However, the price doesn’t include email hosting, which is why nonprofit organizations should instead go with DreamHost’s Shared Unlimited plan, which costs $7.95 a month (before nonprofit discounts are applied). Regardless of which plan you choose, DreamHost always guarantees 100 percent uptime thanks to its multiple data center locations and constant monitoring. As a nonprofit you can be confident in DreamHost as they work to support charitable organizations like yours.DreamHost Signup
Wix is a website builder first and a web hosting service second. It dramatically simplifies the creation of modern, mobile-ready HTML5 websites with its drag-and-drop tools that make it extremely simple to add text, images, galleries, social plug-ins, e-commerce capabilities, and other elements.
Wix users can choose from countless professionally designed website templates, including templates created specifically for nonprofit organizations, and customize them based on their personal needs. Several monthly subscription plans are available to fit all budgets, with prices starting at $11 a month and ending at $35 a month.
If your nonprofit is just starting up and doesn’t have the budget to hire a web designer or developer, then Wix is a simple solution to quickly build your nonprofit website without the need for coding and server configuration.Wix Signup
5. WP Engine
Unlike the previous paid web hosting services, WP Engines focuses exclusively on managed hosting, which means it leases dedicated servers to a single customer and manages them on their behalf. Managed hosting is a great choice for nonprofit organizations looking to scale, but it comes at a price. What you receive in return, however, is a blazing fast website that is built to scale as your nonprofit grows.
The most affordable managed hosting plan offered by WP Engine costs $35 a month, making it considerably more expensive compared with the likes of Bluehost, SiteGround, and other providers of shared web hosting services. That said, even the cheapest WP Engine plan includes over 35 premium WordPress themes, automated SSL certificates, and access to a global content delivery network, so its price isn’t actually as steep as it may seem at first.
If your nonprofit has funding and is ready to launch to a larger audience and begin scaling quickly, then WP Engine is the enterprise class hosting solution for you.WP Engine Signup
Top 5 Best Free Web Hosting Services for Nonprofits
Some web hosting companies, like DreamHost mentioned above, want to support nonprofit organizations and help them make the world a better place by offering them free web hosting services. Such services are typically available only to registered 501(c)(3) organizations, but even informal charities and volunteer groups have a chance of at least receiving a nice discount. Of course, the main reason why most web hosting companies offer free web hosting services for nonprofits is that they hope to turn them into paying customers eventually, but that’s just how businesses need to operate to keep their doors open.
MightWeb is a likable web hosting service that believes in reliability, adaptability, and customer-centricity. MightWeb operates a high-performance infrastructure with redundancy on all critical capacity components and distribution paths. By default, all MightWeb customers are covered by its advanced DDoS protection and benefit from its 10 Gbps backbone.
The most affordable web hosting plan offered by MightWeb costs $3.95, but the company offers advantageous sponsorship deals to registered nonprofit organizations in the United States via its sponsorship program. To qualify, nonprofits are required to submit a ticket with subject “Non-Profit Sponsorship,” detailing their needs and telling MightWeb a bit about themselves.MightWeb Signup
tsoHost is a UK-based web hosting company that became an official registrar for .uk domains back in 2004 and is now serving over 250,000 customers in the UK and other countries around the world. Its unique name, which reads the same backwards as it does forwards, is supposed to convey its dedication to knowing the hosting industry from back to front.
To also convey its dedication to making the world a better place, tsoHost offers Charity Hosting for all UK-registered charities and nonprofits. The hosting includes 10 GB of storage space, 150 GB of bandwidth, 5 x 500 MB mailboxes, one hosted website, and unlimited free renewals. Besides its free hosting plan, tsoHost also provides discounts on its other hosting plans, helping nonprofits make every penny count.
If you’re looking at tsoHost paid plans, use coupon code WebHostingProf for 10% off your purchase.tsoHost Signup
InterServer.net was established in 1999, and it now serves both individuals and Fortune 500 companies around the world. The company is dedicated to providing best-in-class customer experience, which is why it guarantees that the price you sign up for is the price you’ll actually pay. If you’re not fully satisfied with InterServer.net, you can ask for a refund and receive your money back—no questions asked.
To help nonprofit organizations establish an online presence, InterServer.net offers a free web hosting plan with one-click install scripts available for all popular content management systems, including WordPress. The only caveat is that nonprofits are required to place a text link on the bottom of their home page.InterServer Signup
Kualo launched over a decade ago, and the company has been on a mission to build a better hosting experience ever since. Today, Kualo hosts over 100,000 websites for customers in over 90 countries worldwide, and its nearly perfect TrustPilot rating shows that it knows what it’s doing.
Kualo wants to get more nonprofits online, and it offers a 100 percent free web hosting plan with a free website builder, WordPress compatibility, spam-free email, and dedicated 24/7 customer support. All nonprofits registered in the USA can apply for the plan and use it to host an unlimited number of sites that together take up as much as 30 GB of storage space. Best of all, Kualo is powered solely by green energy, making it an ideal partner for nonprofits protecting the environment.Kualo Signup
Weberser is a relatively small web hosting company that offers a free web hosting plan intended to meet the needs of nonprofit organizations. The plan includes 5 GB of storage space, 100 GB of bandwidth, 5 email accounts with 5 GB per account, 2 databases, and 1 website.
Nonprofits that outgrow the free plan can upgrade to the Pro plan for $5 a month and enjoy 50 GB of storage space, 200 GB of bandwidth, 10 email accounts with 5 GB per account, 5 databases, and the ability to host up to 5 websites. There’s also the Business plan, which costs $10 a month and is suitable even for large enterprises with thousands of customers around the world.Weberser Signup
It has never been easier for nonprofit organizations to establish a strong online presence and secure additional funding from supporters around the world. Even though free web hosting services for nonprofits are readily available, they can lead to a lot of headaches down the road because they almost always come with at least one catch. As such, most nonprofits should start with an affordable paid web hosting service that provides the performance, reliability, and scalability necessary for meeting all online challenges and growth opportunities in the coming years.