TL; DR: HoboHost offers affordable shared hosting packages ideal for emerging entrepreneurs and companies eager to establish a web presence. It continues to provide cost-effective cPanel options, even after the control panel’s licensing tweaks significantly disrupted the shared hosting marketplace. HoboHost maintains a highly competitive business model while offering a full suite of services and U.S.-based servers and support teams. That helps provide value and long-term stability within the modern shared hosting ecosystem.
Most hosting providers diversify their product offerings to attract businesses of all sizes. That approach tends to minimize the needs of shared hosting customers.
Virtual private servers, dedicated servers, and even colocated servers have become the priority in recent years. However, shared hosting provides value for many small businesses just getting started or larger companies that aren’t as heavily focused on their online presence.
Cody Ayers saw that market dynamic and launched HoboHost in 2008 to focus on those shared hosting clients who use cPanel.
“Our founding principle was simple: to be the most affordable cPanel hosting service and offer exceptional support with servers based in the United States,” Cody said.
Today, HoboHost offers accessible shared hosting packages with a visual website builder and both cPanel and Softaculous control panel options. The company is also a certified hosting partner with Cloudflare.
“The market was flooded with unreliable hosts in our price range and with nightmare stories and terrible offshore support,” Cody said.
He said he resolved to do better and keep prices low while offering standard tools like cPanel that customers already knew and trusted.
As a provider of shared hosting services, HoboHost delivers a full suite of products. Each of its four packages is optimized for bandwidth and resource needs so entrepreneurs can get their websites up and running quickly.
Pricing for cPanel Affects Budget Web Hosts
Although many modern hosting providers want businesses to scale up, there’s still plenty of demand for low-cost accounts with low resource requirements.
Startups often rely on that service level, especially those that need to establish a public online presence that they’ll later adjust as the business grows. Startups that need a relatively modest website and email make ideal candidates for budget shared hosting.
Entrepreneurs and hobbyists benefit from budget shared hosting, as well. For example, someone who runs a microbusiness as a self-published author could use budget shared hosting to create a WordPress blog and establish an email account associated with their branded URL.
Modern shared hosting functions a bit like a commodity. Costs and product offerings are often so similar that providers tend to distinguish themselves through add-on services or customer service. Pricing and product specifications rarely serve as the differentiator. HoboHost is an exception to that market rule, thanks to its commitment to $1 cPanel hosting.
In the shared hosting market, customers use a control panel to manage their accounts and interface with their portion of a server. cPanel is one of the most common and trusted control panel software, but the vendor modified its pricing logic for partner hosts in recent years. The resulting price increases adversely affected the budget hosting market. Although some providers have looked into alternative control panels, cPanel’s market dominance has made migration a challenge.
In 2019, cPanel shifted from a per-server to a per-account license model. After that change, some providers raised their prices by as much as 900%, depending on how they provisioned their servers. Those costs generally get passed along and are difficult to avoid, given that cPanel is used by more than 1 million live websites and is considered the fullest-featured and most integration-friendly of the hosting control panels.
“The biggest shift we’ve seen in the market recently has been the increase in cPanel pricing,” Cody said. “Not once, but twice now. That is making it increasingly difficult to offer cPanel at the $1 per month price point we offer and has shut out many of our competitors. We remain competitive by keeping our prices the same and expanding our feature set and package limits.”
Predictability in Fee Schedules Attracts and Retains Customers
One aspect of the cPanel license-model change was its effect on small businesses as hosting providers passed costs directly on to their clients. However, given that prices vary based on the provider’s own license type and the number of accounts on a server, that cost can vary significantly among providers. The new license model also shifted from annual to monthly license fees, meaning the finances are even harder to predict.
HoboHost’s pricing model keeps costs the same for customers that can’t afford not knowing how much to set aside for hosting.
“We offer consistency in price with no surprises the following year,” Cody said. “Our goal is to maintain a level of affordability that makes an overpowering argument to either switch to our services or a website. Whether you need a website for your business, a personal blog, or just to store personal projects, we aim to be the obvious choice.”
HoboHost’s emphasis on pricing stability means that customers can expect to see little or no increase in year-over-year prices. That requires extra effort with cPanel’s new license model, although HoboHost’s commitment has so far stood the test of time and contributed to its high customer retention rate.
For small enterprises that budget carefully and hobby businesses that seek to minimize costs, HoboHost’s Floor package is just $11 per year. Its top-end Subway package is $60 per year. That translates to between 92 cents and $5 per month. Those pricing tiers are critical for a substantial price-sensitive segment of the market.
Although stability is an essential part of HoboHost’s value proposition, it also values its customer support team. The company sources its support from the United States. In addition, problems and suggestions arising from customer interactions often make it into its product road map.
“We take our support tickets seriously and regularly incorporate feedback from customers into our ongoing development,” Cody said.
HoboHost: Hosting Services at an Affordable, Consistent Price
HoboHost has always emphasized value as its core operating principle, from its launch more than a decade ago to its modern incarnation as an affordable shared hosting provider. Its full range of services, with U.S.-based support and servers, delivers rich capabilities for entrepreneurs and emerging businesses that need a web host but don’t require complex processing power.
cPanel upended the market by changing its licensing model. Many budget providers, already operating on thin margins, were forced to raise prices. But HoboHost kept prices low and prides itself on cost stability even as it adds features and delivers extras.
Cody said that the company will continue to make incremental improvements and add new features based on direct customer feedback and trends observed in customer tickets.
“HoboHost continues to offer $1 per month cPanel hosting while other providers have switched to other control panels or increased prices,” he said. “We’re focused on continuing to offer clear and steady value above all else.”
For entrepreneurs or hobbyists who need a low-cost, high-quality solution for a basic web presence, HoboHost’s value proposition is quite appealing.