How to save money on web hosting?

Introduction

As just a user, you’ve almost never thought about how services as email, websites or cloud work. I bet the time when you wanted to set up a blog or gaming server, you first heard about the hosting provider. Sadly that’s not cheap, especially nowadays. And here it is. Below you will find a table of hosting prices from the most popular providers.

 

ProviderShared HostingVirtual Private ServerDedicated Server
DreamHost$2.59 mo$13.75 mo$149 mo
Bluehost$2.95 mo$18.99 mo$79.99 mo
A2 Hosting$3.92 mo$5 mo$99.59 mo
HostGator$8.76 mo$15.96 mo$189 mo
GoDaddy$5.99 mo$24.99 mo$89.99 mo

As you can see it’s more or less the same. If you do not care about resources and agree to share hosting, you shouldn’t worry too much. Otherwise, when you require a lot of resources and in addition you want to manage everything (i.e. you need a dedicated server), the situation is completely different and the costs are huge. Fortunately, this is not the end. Thankfully there is a few things you can do.

What is the solution?

Self-hosting. Why?

Because it is easy and reliable. Servers have evolved a lot in recent years. The specification is very tempting. And you don’t need to be worried about the size. For example, Raspberry Pi are not much bigger than a chocolate bar. Mini PCs are the size of a small router. In addition, they can be used as desktops. Here’s the info.

Dedicated Home Servers
  • Raspberry Pi [1, 2, 3, 4, zero]
    RAM: 1 GB, 2 GB and 4 GB
    CPU: 1.5 GHz
    Memory: up 2 TB
    Price: from $35
  • Nettops/Mini PCs
    RAM: up to 8 GB
    CPU: up to 3 GHz
    Memory: up 2 TB
    Price: from $100
How to solve the issue with public IP?

After buying and installing the home server, you must obtain a public IP address, otherwise you will not be able to use it fully, it will be just hidden in the home network. If your internet provider provides you with a public IP, then we should not worry about it. Otherwise, you can think of using some software.

  1. Ngrok/Serveo/Pagekite/other (free, freemium, paid)
    These are services that provide us with public addresses for our home server. For example, you can run the server on the port (locally), and Ngrok will provide us with a public address and redirect traffic.
  2. Small VPS (paid) and frp (free) software
    If you have a few bucks you can turn your virtual private server with help of frp software in a gateway to your home server (giving it a public address). Other way saying frp software is a “self-hosted ngrok”. As a result you’ll get a dedicated server for the price of VPS (plus home server price).
    If you can afford a small investment, you can purchase a cheap virtual private server, and use frp software transform it into a proxy to the home server (with help of the proxy public IP address). In other words, frp software and VPS will provide same functionality as Ngrok but without restrictions. After all you’ll get a dedicated server at the VPS price (plus the price of the home server).
Conclusion

Self-hosting is not something new. The internet started this way. People hosted their own services and websites. Later, server providers appeared to make it easier for ordinary users. However, this is not always worth it. If you have a bit of money and you’re willing to learn new things you can host your own home server and save a lot of money.

Paul Cable
I am a software engineer, amateur astrophysicist and futurist. I like tech and science. My free time I spend taking photos and making videos.

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