Some of you may be thinking that a church doesn’t need a website.
Nothing could be more wrong than that.
Why? We have a dozen reasons for why a website is essential for a church. Maybe even more than a dozen.
Let’s start with something basic. A church cannot survive unless members of the church support it with donations and sponsorships. They need a center in which they can post up-to-date information about church activities.
All churches have to raise money, one way or another. Those are used to pay the bills, promote more awareness for the church in local community, do good things for other people in need, and so on.
With a website, a church can do a lot more than just asking everybody to donate every Sunday. They can post their charity activities on the website. Announcements of all kinds. Bake sales. Put it up as a news column and let the local newspaper know all about it. A call to action for a charity cause. Send emails to members via the website’s newsletter. See the point?
Depending on which town you are in, the local community can be small or big. If it is a village of just a few hundred people, fine. But what if it is a church in a small town of a few thousand people? Sure, that small population helps in spreading any kind of news but won’t it be more effective to rally everyone via a website?
There are loads of reasons we can think of. A church needs a reliable host that keeps the site up at all hours of the day or night and has patient and outstanding customer support that’s easy to reach.
But let’s stop here and move on to our list of 5 best hosting companies for churches.
The Best 5
- A Small Orange : Fantastic Shared hosting at prices starting at only $2.92/month,
- Lithium Hosting : High performance Shared hosting at even lower prices,
- Site5 : Budget Shared hosting with great customer support backed by a written agreement,
- Siteground : Shared hosting with datacenters in Europe, US, and Singapore,
- Arvixe : Basic and premium Shared hosting plans for both large and small churches.
Read more about them after the break!
Winner – A Small Orange – From $2.92/month
A Small Orange (ASO) was founded in 2003 in Atlanta. Their mission statement is to provide the best quality service at an affordable cost. Unlike a large percentage of shared hosting companies, their site and marketing deliberately rank low on the nonsense scale. You can pretty much read their site and learn about what they charge and the services they provide. What a concept!
They claim 99.9% uptime and offer an unusually generous 90 day money-back guarantee, the highest in the industry. They do have a long term policy of not overbooking their shared servers and a good rep among the geeks for that and for quality technical support. With a three month trial period, you can be sure that it works as advertised!
Although their advertising doesn’t boast about themselves or feature celebrity spokesmodels, they’re quietly on the cutting edge of shared hosting technology. They’ve upgraded their Shared Hosting plans to use solid state drives (SSD) at no increase in price. Their well-known commitment to not overbooking their shared servers and their 24/7 tech support has won them lots of fans.
Shared Hosting Plans
Our experience is that you get the best service by selecting a Shared hosting plan with enough storage and bandwidth for your needs instead of going for a provider who advertises “unlimited” everything. One problem is that “unlimited” Shared hosts can flake out when you actually take them up on that “unlimited” promise. ASO is the perfect model for how to do Shared hosting that works.
ASO offers a graded scale of limited shared hosting plans. Their prices range from only $2.92/mo to $30/mo, with discounts for annual prepayment.
If you sign up for a year at ASO, your monthly charge is lower than the advertised price! If you buy an annual plan, they include 2 extra months and a free domain name.
Here are A Small Orange’s Shared hosting plans.
All the plans are unlimited in other ways:
- Unlimited POP3/IMAP Mail Accounts
- Unlimited MySQL Databases
- Unlimited Mailing Lists
- Unlimited Email Forwarders
- Unlimited Subdomains
- Unlimited Parked and Add-on Domains
- Unlimited FTP Accounts
ASO uses the industry standard cPanel control panel and the Softaculous app installer.
If you are migrating from another hosting company who uses cPanel, they will handle the migration for free.
Daily backups are also included, as is 24/7 technical support. ASO has a good reputation for providing excellent tech support.
ASO gets a checkbox in the “green” category. They say that they match 150% of their energy usage with renewable energy.
2. LithiumHosting – From $1.95/month
LithiumHosting was founded in 2006 and dedicated to providing quality web hosting at a low cost. They’re very much like A Small Orange but they offer even cheaper prices!
They use the Hivelocity datacenter as its back end, with private peering connections via 10G in Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta and Seattle and have a European datacenter in Amsterdam.
- They offer a 45 day money-back guarantee.
- They have a 99.7% uptime guarantee.
- They use the Softaculous installer and cPanel control panel.
It appears that they are in the process of upgrading from mechanical drives to SSD but solid state storage is not yet an across-the-board standard. They say that SSD is available on “some” servers and customers can request a no-cost upgrade to SSD if they are experiencing performance issues with database-driven sites. So this point is relevant if your site uses a CMS like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla.
They recently junked their “unlimited” plan in favor of a graded scale of pricing. It resembles ASO’s but it is more aggressive. Lithium Hosting is very unusual in that they offer a real 30-day free trial. Some hosting companies offer a free trial but it is only a few days and you are not allowed to install a database-driven app such as WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal. In effect, you would be unable to test what you intend to use. With LithiumHosting’s free trial, you really can try out your SQLite at no cost!
Notice that you get more storage and bandwidth for the dollar with Lithium Hosting than with ASO. That’s the differentiator between these two excellent companies.
Here is their price schedule:
Like ASO, Lithium Hosting offers discounts for long-term commitments. Here’s Lithium Hosting’s Shared hosting prices for contracts from one month to three years:
|Plan||36 month||24 month||12 month||1 month|
For a small church, one of the economy plans here or at ASO should work out fine. Both providers allow you to upgrade to a higher tier if the need arises. It’s just bookkeeping.
3. Site5 – From $4.95/month
Site5 has been in business for more than 15 years and is one of the largest and most successful hosting companies. Site5 is the home for over 200,000 domains and 250 servers. They have a worldwide network of 20 datacenters around the world.
They’re one of the giants in the industry, so they certainly have a Shared or VPS plan that is right for your church.
Their main datacenter is in Dallas, but you can request another location when you sign up. Other datacenters charge a bit more per month.
Site5 offers a 45-day money back guarantee. What’s almost unique is that they have a 30-day free trial account! It’s available for Shared and Cloud Shared plans. If you want to check out Site5 ahead of time, we suggest that you take them up on their 30-day free shared cloud account. This is perfect for trying out the performance of the Shared hosting plan.
Site5 is among very a small group of hosting companies that offers a customer support Service Level Agreement. The SLA states that if a customer does not get a response to a support inquiry within 24 hours, his account will be credited as a token of apology. This is both commitment and confidence.
They specialize in popular content management systems and blogging platforms like WordPress, so you can set up the platform you like best via the Softaculous one-click installation . You can even get technical assistance from their team if you use Joomla, Drupal or WordPress. Our favourite is WordPress, if you are wondering what we use.
Shared Hosting Plans
Their Shared hosting plans are priced at $4.95, $8.95, and $11.95 a month. The $4.95 plan permits only one site but the others are unlimited. Only the $11.95 plan comes with a dedicated IP address, needed to process credit card payments.
Cloud Shared Hosting Plans
Site5 has an interesting premium-level Shared hosting plan that delivers the advantages of Cloud hosting without the price penalty of a fully-managed VPS. They call it Cloud Shared Hosting. Like a VPS, it has storage and bandwidth limits and it comes with the uptime advantages of cloud hosting. The Cloud Shared Hosting plans are designed with fully redundant backup components with automatic failover. If your main server goes down, the backup server takes over automatically. They cite a 99.99% uptime statistic, but a true cloud really shouldn’t be going down at all. That’s the reason they cost a bit more money.
A dedicated IP is included, as is their 45-day money-back guarantee.
4. SiteGround – From $3.95/month
Founded in 2004 by a few university friends, SiteGround gradually but steadily grew into a leading web hosting service provider. Today, the company has about 90 employees and is constantly growing.
The company now has datacenters in Chicago, Amsterdam, and Singapore. The company is built to provide top-notch customer support and high performance hosting services, while sticking to the policy of not overselling their resources. Their place in the market is to compete on the basis of quality and service rather than cutthroat prices.
Shared Hosting Plans
Siteground offers three categories of shared hosting plans that correspond to small, medium, and high cost. Their shared hosting plans limit storage and bandwidth so as to not overbook their shared servers.
Besides storage and bandwidth, this table reports on two factors that are important if you collect money using your site. In other words, its important!
|Name||# Sites||Storage||Bandwidth||SSL Cert||PCI Comp.||Price|
The GrowBig plan comes with an SSL certificate, so it is possible for your customers to establish a secure and encrypted connection. This is needed to process credit card transactions. Only the top plan, GoGeek, also includes server PCI compliance (Payment Card Industry), making it the preferred choice for e-commerce.
Siteground features enhanced support for three packages:
- WordPress for blogging
- Magento for e-commerce
- Joomla for general content management.
Their customized version of the cPanel has panes for these packages. Their deluxe Shared Hosting plan, GoGeek, also has a built-in staging feature, the git version control system, and fewer sites per machine. These extras make it appealing for large sites and sites that need to do e-commerce.
5. Arvixe – From $4/month
Arvixe has been in the hosting business since 2003, making it a well established provider. It has an even broader range of plans than most providers, as they maintain parallel lines of plans for both Windows and Linux. We have one word of advice: Linux. Unless you have a special need for Windows hosting, its best to stick with Linux. In effect, Linux is the native language of the web.
Shared Hosting Plans
Arvixe has two categories of shared hosting, with two plans to pick from in each. Personal Class plans are for smaller websites, while Business Class plans enjoy more server resources and have the security features that are required for business on the web.
The Personal Class plan is only $4/mo while Personal Class Pro is $7/mo. The former is restricted to six domains, while the latter supports an unlimited number of domains. In all likelihood, the $4/mo plan is all you will ever need.
Personal Class Shared hosting is an unlimited storage and bandwidth plan that includes unlimited mailboxes databases, subdomains, and FTP accounts. Personal Class is a good plan for a church site that is not too demanding of computer resources. Certainly the price is right!
If that doesn’t work for your site, upgrade to Business Class. The Business Class plan costs $22/mo and Business Class Pro is $35/mo. The former is limited to six sites while the latter is unlimited. The cost differential between Personal and Business is proportional to the number of accounts per server. A higher priced plan like Business is recommended if you have a very large number of active users or wish to support e-commerce.
The benefits of setting up a website for your church definitely outweighs the cost. So stop wondering and start building one. That’s the only way you can stay afloat and keep in touch with the believers. If you want to explore others, head on to our hosting services comparison tool and use it to evaluate other firms.