2022 Cheap hosting and domain

I’ve been long term client of GoDaddy when it comes to domains. I think has been in GoDaddy for 10 years or something. Not anymore.

When Godaddy purchased Webfaction the change was huge. Pricing with Webfaction was clear: Everything was included except special stuff and capacity. When GoDaddy came along, pricing started to be very cumbersome, hard to understand and at the end: pricey.

GoDaddy goes with same plan in Domains. They’re advertising super cheap domains and most of the services are very cheap when you buy them. But, as we know, domain stuff is usually recurring. So, after 3 years or so, cost is much higher and in most cases automatically billed.

In most concrete terms, my domain with WHOIS privacy was just renewed. Cost for 3 years was whopping 120 USD.

I’ve been saying it many times but I say it once more. I use Opalstack, maybe the best shared hosting provider, to run this and many other sites. Opalstack took what Webfaction had and made it even better. And for my use case it’s perfect.

Even though I love Opalstack, I don’t want to keep my all eggs in the same basket so therefore domains have been in GoDaddy and my DNS is done via Cloudflare (which I really love, btw).

When I got notification that I was invoiced 120 USD for the domain and the privacy product, I got a bit angry and upset because I felt just as it was: I was played.

I somehow remembered that I saw domain registrar stuff in Cloudflare control panel back in the day so in five seconds I was looking at the domain costs in Cloudflare. Cloudflare says that they’re not making any profit from domains. And domain was cheap enough (10 USD / Year). And, of course, privacy product was included in domain price.

If I had moved my domain to Cloudflare earlier, i would’ve saved 90 USD.

Cheap website fast?

I say what you’ll need:

Opalstack for webhosting that scales well and doesn’t need more money every time you use it.

Cloudflare for DNS services and domains. You get DNS for free and domains are cheap. And with quite small prices, you get pretty great services!

And, if you need to send emails, take Mailjet for sending emails. It has free tier and it’s perfect for you.

Do you agree or do you have your own favorite services? Leave a comment. It’s trendy again in 2023!


Free Mail Sending Service

Have you ever suffered from poor email deliverability? You’re using a shared server and somebody sends too much email and whole server gets backlisted. All the mail you send will go to spam folders of your customers and all notifications are missed.

I believe that has happened to most of us. And it’s not only because of a shared hosting. It can also happen to a full VPS solution as your server is new and have no reputation. Want to send 1000 emails to your customers from there? Spam folders guaranteed.

As others, I have been there also. Probably back in the crazy days I may have caused some of those shared hosting blacklistings.. Sorry. But seriously, you don’t need to send that much emails to get blacklisted when there’s no reputation.


I have encountered email sending problem multiple times. When I developed my personal stuff (basically testing it out) with Outsystems I needed to send email. Outsystems does not provide you a server to do that. But it’s more than capable to use a SMTP service if you point one to it.

Many more or less homegrown ways to circumvent the problem has been introduced. Maybe the worst was to use Gmail SMTP with my own personal credentials. Thank god the API limits were minimal. I guess I only could send something like 50 emails in a day with it.

I have googled free smtp service. Nothing really interesting pops out. They are either developer tools or then something pretty shady. Usually these free ones also actually cost something. Not something I’d like to use to contact my customers.

Mail delivery in Webfaction days

When my sites were in Webfaction’s servers sending email was not the greatest experience. Setting it up did actually require something and not all emails were delivered. Once again I was looking for something to use to deliver my emails.

At this point, it might be worth to mention that I haven’t spammed ever. It certainly starts to sound that way when reading this text. But no. I just have had clients and own customers (hundreds or thousands usually) and somewhat relevant material have been sent to them.

Anyways, when Webfaction gave me enough headache I finally found the solution. Actually many of them.

Free tiers

There’s plenty of those email campaign tools which you can use to send transactional emails as well. They usually provide either an API or a direct SMTP access to their service.

My favorite service is Mailjet. Developer friendly. Their main business is to deliver emails to their recepients. You cannot use it for spam (that’s a good thing). You can use either API or SMTP for transactional mails. The free tier is quite big, 6 000 emails per month. Completely free. And if you happen to need some more occasionally, you can buy more very low cost.

2 cheapest tiers in Mailjet

There’s others. I’ve also used Mailchimp. It’s more focused to campaigns and stuff but you can get your things done.

Both services allow you use templates. So, you can use their template design tools to design a template and then just use API calls to fill and send the template. And it’s always delivered to the inbox.

Of course, it takes a bit work to get these services working. Usually DNS magic is enough, so you can get security features like SPF and DKIM to work.

But My Shared Hosting Delivers Emails Just Fine!

If you’ve read this blog before you know that I’m an Opalstack fanboy. Want to know more? I’ve a post about it here. Go read it.

Anyways, there was some discussion in the forums about email deliverability and sending limits. And Opalstack is doing great work with that. No problems with deliverability at the moment. So why bother to use some other service?

A few pointers:

  • Hosting providers are focusing on… hosting. Emailing services are focusing on… delivering email. Do you need more arguments?
  • In case somebody’s script go crazy and spam hell out of the server, you’re fine if you’re using external email delivery service

I recommend you getting familiar with these services. They’re free for small usage and quite cheap in larger volumes as well.