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Paying for web hosting: monthly versus annually

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Many web hosting companies offer their customers the option of being billed for their services monthly or annually.

If your web hosting company offers this, then you've probably already signed up for one plan or the other.

But are you happy? Maybe the other option would work better for you. It really comes down to your financial situation and your bill paying habits.

For some people, annual billing works best, while other swear by monthly billing. There's not usually much difference between them, save for perhaps a discount for paying annually, since the web hosting company will have your year's worth of money up front.

Annual billing

An annual billing agreement with your web hosting company means that you will pay for your web hosting service up front.

You'll pay a whole year's fee as a lump sum.

In some cases, some web hosting companies may offer a small discount off the total fee for those who sign up for annual billing on their web hosting agreement, because they'll have your money up front (in most cases, refunds aren't given for web hosting agreements).

The advantage to an annual billing set-up is that you only have to worry about this bill once per year. But once you take care of it, it's done. For a whole year! It's not something that will take up your time month after month.

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On the down side, if you have an annual billing agreement with your web hosting company, you'll need to be able to pay that annual fee all at once when it comes due. Failure to do so might mean the web hosting company interrupts your service.

Monthly billing

If you have a monthly billing agreement with your web hosting company, then you'll pay an equal portion of the annual fee every single month.

Most web hosting companies will require their customers to sign up for an automatic payment arrangement where the money comes directly from subscribers' checking accounts or credit cards.

The advantage to having a monthly billing schedule with your web hosting agreement means that you'll be able to budget the money to pay the bill every month, instead of having to scramble to get the funds together once a year.

The downside is that monthly billing with your web hosting company can eat up your time every month as you settle it. Automatic billing also means you'll have to make sure that the money is in your account every month; it's not usually a bill that's sent to you with 30 days to pay.

The web hosting company gets their money every month, and you'll be facing fees if it's not there to be withdrawn. If you've already signed up for either the annual billing or monthly billing agreement with your web hosting option, you may be able to change to the other one.

Review your service agreement with your web hosting company. Look for a clause that dictates when or if you can make changes to your billing agreement (like a move from annual to monthly billing or vice versa).

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