How To Choose The Right Nonprofit Web Host
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 our expert recommendations below for each of the two types.
Note: If you’re a church, parish, or other ministry, you may want to also check out our church website hosting recommendations and guide.
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.
Best Paid Web Hosting Services for Nonprofit Organizations
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 Key Takeaways:
- DreamHost = Best paid hosting plans discount for nonprofits. You can’t beat the free plan for sharing hosting, and the 30% off DreamPress performance hosting offer is second to none!
- Perfect for startup nonprofits with little to no budget for web hosting, but requiring paid solution quality and reliability that can scale as they grow.
We’ve covered Flywheel in a number of hosting reviews and comparisons, and have found their managed WordPress hosting platform to be excellent!
Flywheel is perfect for startup and mid-level non-profits alike, with offering everything from a blazing fast infrastructure built on Google Cloud, to real human US-based support, ultra-secure SFTP server setups, nightly auto-backups, and a great platform tuned specifically for WordPress performance. Flywheel also offers non-profits free hosting migrations, along with the 20% discount.
Flywheel Key Takeaways:
- Flywheel = Best managed hosting platform for nonprofits. Flywheel is considered a leader in managed WordPress hosting. With 20% off hosting plans for nonprofits, this offer can’t be beat!
- Perfect for mid-level nonprofits running WordPress with a steady visitor stream and the need for fast, managed hosting.
- Perfect for non-technical nonprofits — especially startups — looking to create a beautiful website with ease.
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.
BlueHost Key Takeaways:
- Bluehost = Best budget option for nonprofits. Bluehost is the standard for shared hosting — fast, reliable, trusted and most of all, affordable!
- Perfect for startup nonprofits needing quality hosting on a budget.
- For the best Bluehost price, see our latest Bluehost discounts to ensure you’re maximizing your hosting budget.
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 $6.99 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 Key Takeaways:
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 Key Takeaways:
- Wix = Best website builder for nonprofits. Tried and true, Wix stands atop the others as the gold standard for non-techies looking to build a website via a drap-and-drop editor.
- Perfect for non-technical nonprofits — especially startups — looking to create a beautiful website with ease.
- To take your nonprofit budget further, see our Wix promos and coupons for the latest discounts and deals.
6. WP Engine
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 Key Takeaways:
Companies that Provide Free Web Hosting to Qualifying 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. They’re analyzed in more detail on our green web hosting review, ranked in the top 10 of all eco-friendly web hosts.
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.
Our Recommendation for Nonprofits
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.
If your nonprofit is involved in ministry (such as a church, parish, or temple) and needs a website — you’ll want to read our church website hosting guide to find a church-specific hosting solution.