As a nonprofit, you want to keep your operating costs as low as possible to maximize the amount of good you do. But when it comes to your website, cutting too much could damage your engagement.
A visually appealing website can boost engagement — and donations — by 180 percent.
There is one place that you can save some cash, and that’s your web hosting. Web hosting for nonprofits is free when you choose the right provider.
Would you like to save the monthly fee on an essential item? Read our complete guide to web hosting for nonprofits, including hosts that offer discounts just for you.
Is a Website Host Necessary?
If you run a robust website with integrations that boost your marketing (and your donations), then you do need a host of some time.
The only time you don’t need a web host is if you create a free website from Weebly or Wix. Both offer free hosting for templates created on their site.
Not only is a web host necessary for running any website, but you need a package that meets your needs.
What to Look for Among Web Hosting for Nonprofits
You’ll find free and discounted plans across the internet, but before you commit to a host, you need to make sure it suits your needs.
Whether you want a free or paid account, an excellent hosting package offers three things: support, security, and speed. Ideally, your package allows you to at least begin to scale your website.
After all, you wouldn’t want a sudden bit of publicity to cause your site to crash and make you miss out on both exposure and donations.
With that in mind, you need to decide three things.
First, you need to know how much customer service you expect. If you want your host to deal with your website completely, then you need a fully managed service. But if you are comfortable performing some maintenance, you can settle for email and phone support.
Second, you need to estimate the amount of traffic you get. The price of a plan primarily reflects the storage and bandwidth allocation you get. If you are actively working to scale your site, ask for more bandwidth early.
Finally, determine whether you want a shared or private server (VPS). Shared hosting is standard hosting that requires you to share performance with other sites. A VPS provides a much better performance, but you need to know more about server maintenance.
4 Companies that Offer Web Hosting for Nonprofits
Some of the best-known web hosts also offer special rates for nonprofits, churches, and other qualifying organizations. Check out these options.
If you run a WordPress site, consider checking out DreamHost. It provides hosting service as the low, low price of free. All you need to do is provide evidence that your site belongs to a 501(c)(3) organization.
Your free plan comes with shared hosting for your website (one site per account), and as long as you keep your account, it will remain free.
Because DreamHost is free, you miss out on the extensive features that come with paid plans. However, you still get 24/7 live chat support as well as ticketed and call-back services. Even WordPress recommends DreamHost itself.
We like DreamHost because it is easy to scale as your organization grows. If you want to upgrade you plan to a managed WordPress subscription, you get an SSL certificate and 30 GB of solid-state drive storage for only $11 per month.
2. A Small Orange (ASO)
A Small Orange (ASO) differs from other hosting companies because its founders believe in an ethical operation.
What does that mean? It means you pay for the features you use rather than a list of features you never run into.
ASO is also free for non-profits. All you need to do is contact customer support to ask for your free plan.
Like most free plans, your support is limited. You get 5 GB of storage and 50 GB of bandwidth on the free plan. One of the standout features is unlimited email accounts, which is helpful when you want to grow.
While ASO is fantastic for new websites or small, local nonprofits, it doesn’t scale well. If you have a viral moment, your free site could crash at that critical juncture thanks to the average performance of the website.
Of course, you can upgrade and benefit from a 10 percent discount on any of ASO’s standard plans.
Is your site already up and running? Are you looking for superior hosting that takes your nonprofit status into account?
Skip the free and $3 plans and head straight to Kinsta.
Kinsta runs hosting on Google Cloud that offers professional hosting for established WordPress sites. With Kinsta, you get fantastic loading speeds all day and night as well as DDoS protection, hardware firewalls, and SSL certificates. That means you can worry about running your organization and leave Kinsta to care for your site.
Kinsta offers a 15 percent discount for all nonprofit plans. When you prepay, you get both the discount and two months free.
Prices start as low as $25.50 a month (including the discount), which includes 1 WordPress install, 20,000 visits, and 5 GB of disk space. The same start package is $212.50 per year (with both the discount and the free months).
Are you building your first site and looking for a basic web presence? Consider using Wix.
Wix offers both a template and hosting that makes your site easy to create and run. You can even set up PayPal donations on your website.
The most basic Wix plan is free forever, but you can also upgrade to add items like a custom domain name or a shop for a monthly fee.
Make Your Host Your Home
Whether you’re building your first site or you’re looking for a host that acknowledges your unique status as a charity, there’s no shortage of web hosting for nonprofits.
The trick is to find a web hosting package that best suits your needs and your ambitions. It’s better to pay a few dollars a month to grow your presence (and your cash flow) than to limit yourself with a basic free plan.
Have more questions about growing your site? Check out the rest of our site for more free WordPress resources.