I’ve been a guest and a resident of many church homes throughout my lifetime. As I’ve sampled various denominations, taken part in worship services of all sizes, and ventured on missions trips, I’ve learned that each religious institution is as unique as the individuals who walk through its doors. And, in 2020, a church needs an online presence that embodies the work carried out in its physical location.
Your church’s website is where potential new members will read up on your pastor’s teachings before trying out a Sunday service; it’s where parents will find information about Vacation Bible School or youth group meetings; and it’s a platform from which to post your sermons and worship services for folks to follow at home. And it all begins with your web host. Here, we’ll cover the most affordable and reliable hosting plans, as well as options for design and how to snag additional savings. Click the links below to skip ahead, or scroll on!
Top Free and “Almost-Free” Hosting Services for Your Church
As is the case with many not-for-profit organizations, most churches operate on modest budgets. Any surplus funds are allocated to missions and day-to-day operational needs. Fortunately, web hosting is not a tremendous financial burden; it’s hardly even an inconvenience. Most feature-rich shared server hosting plans can be had for as little as $3 per month. While it’s tempting to sign up for the first free offer you find in search results, we have a few words of wisdom to share regarding the difference between free and “almost-free” hosting options.
“Almost-Free” Hosting for Churches (Best Value)
We understand price is likely a major factor in choosing the host that powers your church’s online presence. We’ve taken that into account when recommending the best hosting services overall. In addition to low price points, our favorite hosts pack dedicated support, reliable hardware, domain and email essentials, and design and marketing tools into affordable shared hosting bundles. Read through our reviews of the most affordable, yet reliable, hosting providers below to determine which company best matches your needs.
- Unlimited everything, from bandwidth to databases
- FREE site builder & WordPress performance upgrades
- FREE daily or weekly backups
- 90+ auto-installation scripts and custom control panel
- SSH access & SSL certificates
- Get started on Hostinger now.
- Known for performance at a low price
- Endorsed by WordPress.org team
- FREE Weebly site builder
- FREE Cloudflare CDN
- Get 63% off today (was $7.99/month)
- Get started on Bluehost now.
- $0.01 for the first month, then $5 monthly after
- NO annual contracts and NO sudden price increases
- Unlimited storage space, data transfers, and email
- New domain is $11 with 1-month plan ($1.99 otherwise)
- 99.9% uptime and price-lock guarantee
- Get started on InterServer now.
Discounted and Free Hosting for Churches
For reasons we’ve discussed ad nauseum in other posts, you should proceed with caution when considering a 100% free hosting package. These companies almost always force your site to display their advertising, allegedly free domain names are actually subdomains of the host (e.g., YourChurchName.YourWebHost.com instead of YourChurchName.com), and the perfect storm of cheap hardware and limited server resources can subject your website to unwanted downtime.
But, for this audience, there’s good news! A few select hosting providers, including DreamHost, offer free web hosting for US-based churches and nonprofits. And we’ve scoured the web for the few actually free hosting companies that can be trusted, which brings us to One.com. The domain, email, and web hosting provider offers free service for the first year! Read our review below for more information on the offering.
- FREE site builder for easy, code-free design
- Ample SSD storage with unlimited bandwidth and emails
- FREE backups and restores, plus add-on SiteLock security
- Unlimited email inboxes with POP3 and IMAP
- 24/7 support via email and live chat
- Get started on One.com now.
For the best of both worlds, try coupling one of the “almost-free” hosts above with a handy-dandy coupon! We’ve worked out special arrangements with many of the most trusted hosts, allowing us to offer reduced rates on popular plans. Click to activate the promotions below, or see other active deals on our hosting coupons page.
Top “Website Builder” Hosting Services for Churches
Once you have your hosting covered, there’s the matter of actually designing and building the website for your church, charity, nonprofit, or ministry-based organization. Online tutorials abound for building a site using a drag-and-drop site builder, such as Weebly, a content management system (CMS), such as WordPress, or bare-bones HTML and CSS coding. However, we’ve simplified matters by pointing you toward the easiest-to-use site builder and WordPress plans. See our recommendations for each below.
WordPress: Best for Churches, Global Organizations, and Charities
The software that began as a simple blogging tool, WordPress has grown to dominate the internet. It currently owns a 69% stake in the CMS market, powering more websites than any other platform. The software is completely open-source, meaning anyone can modify its underlying codebase to meet individual needs, and a community of volunteer developers contribute to its growth and evolution.
As the WordPress community has grown, so has the repository of compatible tools. Themes, or website design templates, give you a starting place on the design front. And plugins, or optional software that can be installed, allow you to add all manner of functionalities to your WordPress site. Because of its ease of use, extensibility, and the range of add-on options available, WordPress is the route we recommend to most hosting customers, including churches and nonprofit organizations of all sizes. See our favorite WordPress hosting plans below.
- WordPress pre-installed with NGINX and PHP 7
- FREE SSL certificate and unlimited bandwidth
- Optional automatic plugin, theme, and core updates
- Features a FREE drag-and-drop WP page editor
- Premium themes and plugin subscriptions
- Get started on InMotion now.
- Recommended by WordPress Core since 2005
- FREE SSD storage and SSL certificate
- FREE domain registration and email
- Automatic installation and updates
- 63% discount exclusively for HostingAdvice shoppers
- Get started on Bluehost now.
- FREE Cloudflare CDN and 1-click installs for WordPress
- Turbo Server, SSD speed boost, and optimized caching
- A2-optimized WP plugins for performance and security
- SSL certificates, PayPal integration, and 24/7 support
- FREE HackScan and KernelCare
- Get started on A2 Hosting now.
Builders: Best for Christian Counselors, Life Coaches, and Small Nonprofits
WordPress is easy enough to learn — that last one being the key word. You must be willing to do some reading, research, and trial and error. And, we get it, not everyone has the time to make friends with finicky software (or cares enough when there are easier options).
For a more transparent site-building experience — where what you see in the editing window on your computer is what you get when visitors come to your published site — try a website builder. These intuitive environments allow you to visually design webpages using templates, and you can drag and drop photos, text boxes, and other content into place. It’s more closely akin to designing a PowerPoint slide and clicking a button to publish it to the web.
If you’re a solo or small operation (e.g., a life coach, counselor, or missions group), you may be in this boat. Small- to medium-sized churches might find happiness with this option as well.
Many of the best hosts (see any familiar faces?) include a site builder tool for free as part of their hosting bundles. We took the liberty of outlining the best site builder hosting plans available:
- No coding skills needed with drag-and-drop builder
- 100s of templates with niche-specific designs
- Add features via the App Market and Wix Events
- Easily create ecommerce functionality easily
- Great way to build small sites on a budget
- Get started on Wix now.
- Choice of Weebly or WebsiteBuilder by iPage
- Mobile-optimized options and easy-to-use setup wizards
- 100s of professionally designed, customizable themes
- FREE online store, shopping cart, and blogging platform
- Get +75% off your first month
- Get started on iPage now.
- Drag-and-drop design with the Gator™ website builder
- Hundreds of mobile-friendly, industry-specific templates
- FREE hosting, domain name, and SSL certificate
- Easily add a blog, ecommerce, and social media marketing
- Analytics portal helps you gauge your site’s performance
- Get started on HostGator now.
Build a Beautiful Online Presence That Furthers Your Mission
Whether you’re representing a small congregation or an internationally known religious organization, we want you to find a solid web hosting foundation. Key features to look for include uptime guarantees, site design options (e.g., one-click WordPress installations, free site builders, etc.), and 24/7 support. For more on what to look for in a hosting provider, head on over here. And if you run into any trouble, give us a shout in the comments. Godspeed (pun intended)!