2017 Update: I’ve removed Arvixe as they shut down their program in October 2016 and updated the list of hosts I’m actively running campaigns for!
The web hosting industry has some of the most lucrative affiliate programs online, but not all are created equally. As a long time hosting affiliate, I’ve worked with quite a few of them in my time. These are some of the best hosting affiliate programs I have worked with and trust the most – and it just so happens that a lot of them lead the industry in payouts.
A row of server racks in Google’s N. Carolina data center
Having dealt with a lot of hosts, I know the difference between good and bad companies. Wonky payout schedules, crazy amounts of shaved leads and horrible customer support/end-user experience.. been there, done that. I recommend that if you’re going to promote a company you get a real feel for how they work. Go through the sign-up process, bug their support department with some simple questions to see how quickly/accurately they respond – you want to get a feel for the true end user experience so you can represent them well.
So lets cut to the chase, here are my top hosting affiliate program recommendations. I go into details with each host further down, but I know you’re busy.
These are the companies I typically promote with offers related to blogging or setting up a simple site. They usually have a lower barrier to entry (price) and are focused more towards individuals, hobbyists, and small business owners. 95% of the time, one of these hosts is the one you should be promoting.
Payout $85-$140 per sale. Hosting starts at $3.92/mo.
A2 Hosting’s affiliate program has been popping up on my radar recently as I’ve been seeing a lot of my friends promoting them. I didn’t think much of it at first but decided to take a closer look. A2 Hosting is another one of the few non-EIG hosts offering huge payouts, with a range starting at $85 up to $140 per sale (based on monthly volume) – seems like a pretty good starting point for most affiliates.
Their plans come in just under $4/month, however, they lack the free domain offer of someone like SiteGround, Bluehost, etc. Their affiliate program is also 2 tier, meaning if you refer other affiliates you get a cut of their success – which is a $5 commission for every $85-$140 commission your sub-referral gets.
I’m pretty new to the program and just starting to test them out, but it seems like another Arvixe-type winner in terms of conversion and payouts even at low volumes. I’ll be sure to post updates and would love for you to share info with me about your experience in the comments below.
If you’re interested in joining, you can sign-up for the A2 Hosting affiliate program here.
Payout $50-$125 per sale. Hosting starts at $3.95/mo with Free Domain.
SiteGround is a long time player in the hosting space and remain one of the few independent hosts still out there. Their affiliate program is (thankfully) much better than other independent hosts, offering a commission range of $50-125 per sale.
Like HostGator and others, they offered tiered commissions meaning the more customers you refer the more you get paid for ALL commissions. For 1-5 sales per month they offer $50/sale, but if you manage to get 6 commissions in a month you’ll get $75 for all 6. This is becoming pretty standard in the industry as it rewards volume. Sign up for the SiteGround affiliate program here.
Payout $105 per sale. Hosting starts at $3.25/mo with Free Domain.
iPage’s affiliate program is one of the newer ones I’m trying out as their flat rate commission is quite good, offering $105 per referral. Their plans are also priced competitively with the cheapest coming in at just $3.25/month with a free domain name.
I haven’t had much time to test their offers but I have a feeling iPage may do quite well for me considering the low price point, free domain and higher (than normal) flat rate commission. You can sign up for the iPage affiliate program here.
Payout $65 per sale. Hosting starts at $3.95/mo with Free Domain.
Bluehost is a very popular option for hosting and has very good name recognition. Name recognition can be both good and bad, good because people have likely heard the name and therefore it’s easier to convert. Bad because, like all affiliate programs they only reward new signups. So if you’re promoting the program to people who may already have web hosting, there’s a chance they’ve used Bluehost before.
In the last couple years, Bluehost has changed their affiliate program and now only offer a flat $65 per sale. Previously you could use Commission Junction to get a better rate, but that’s no longer the case. If you’re looking to promote Bluehost I recommend you sign up with them directly.
Payout $30-$120 per sale. Hosting starts at $7.95/mo.
DreamHost is another independent host who has been around for ages and they’ve recently updated their affiliate program. Their commission varies based on the product referred and the billing term (monthly/yearly) – ranging from $30 up to $120 per referral.
If someone purchases the normal shared hosting on a monthly billing term, it’s $30 commission. If someone purchases yearly it’s $100 commission. They offer $50 for monthly DreamPress (their WordPress-optimized hosting) referrals and $120 for anyone who purchases yearly.
DreamHost generally has good brand recognition, so if you’re testing offers it’s one I would throw into the mix and give it a shot. One downside would be the pricing as DreamHost plans are generally higher priced compared to others. You can sign up for their affiliate program here.
Payout $50-125 per sale. Hosting starts at $5.56/mo.
If you’ve been looking at hosting affiliate programs, you’ve probably come across Hostgator. They have one of the most well-known affiliate programs and offer some really good payouts if you can drive volume. Tons of brand recognition which can make sales easier in certain markets. Hostgator utilizes ImpactRadius to manage their affiliate program as well as Commission Junction – however their rates have been decreased for CJ affiliates. Previously you’d get $100 flat per sale with CJ, that has been reduced to just $75.
If you’re not going to be driving a high volume of sales (less than 10 per month), I’d still recommend signing up through Commission Junction as you’ll earn a bit more money from the start. Later on, you can switch to their in-house program if you start driving 11 or more sales per month, so you can take advantage of the bonuses there.
Business Hosting Affiliate Programs
These hosts and plans are more focused towards the small/mid-size business market. Great to promote if you’re dealing with local business owners or people looking for somewhere to host their online business.
Payout $50-75 per sale. Hosting starts at $5.99/mo with Free Domain.
InMotion provides more business-oriented hosting options (that’s how they market themselves) and come in at a decent starting price of just $6 per month. I promoted InMotion a bit and didn’t have much success, although my target audience wasn’t business owners. I’m working on a new site which is business-oriented and hopefully, I’ll see some more success.
Unfortunately, InMotion also decreased their affiliate rates from $50-125 down to just $50-75 per sale, so it’s hard for me to really get behind them when there are other better-priced offerings with higher payouts. Their standard rate is $50 and you can do some extras to get an additional $25 per sale, such as following their social media accounts and putting their banner above the fold on your homepage. From some fellow affiliates I know, there are ways to get better rates – such as if you have a well-ranked site and can drive traffic, they will offer up to $150 per sale. but with a lot of other hosts coming in cheaper, I wouldn’t focus too much on InMotion unless they convert really well for your audience.
This industry is all about testing, so try a few different offers out and see which ones work best for you. Check out the InMotion affiliate program here.
Update – January 2017: InMotion has canceled the 2-tier aspect of their affiliate program, it’s now a single tier affiliate program.
Payout $163-$1000+ per sale. Hosting starts at $89/mo.
Liquid Web is what I would call ‘Premium’. If you’re focused in the B2B space and someone wants high-end managed hosting, this would be my recommendation. Their affiliate program has changed a bit over the years, but new accounts are just paid a flat fee on signup that ranges from $160-ish to over $1000 per sale. $160-250 for the Cloud Sites/Managed VPS/Managed WordPress hosting plans, up to $1000 or more for the dedicated servers they offer.
If you’re looking for general hosting affiliate programs this one probably won’t do too well, but if you’re focused on high end then it’s definitely worth a go. They manage their affiliate program via Commission Junction.
High-Performance Hosting Affiliate Programs
These hosts and plans are focused towards people who have existing high traffic sites or have a serious need for speed. They’re expecting big bursts of traffic, or heavy amounts of steady traffic, and want to make sure their sites are fast and stay online.
I’ve been using the WP Engine affiliate program now for a couple years, and it’s consistently one of my top earners. The conversion rates are solid for the price point (a bit higher than most at $29/month) but the service quality is high, and the commissions match at $200+ per sale. You get paid $200 minimum per referral or 100% of the first month, whichever is higher, so if you refer someone to their enterprise plans you could see $249 to thousands of dollars as a commission.
As the name suggests, they only do WordPress hosting – and are generally targeted towards people who have big sites or need high-performance hosting. I generally refer serious bloggers and clients of mine who need quality hosting to WP Engine, just because I know they’ll be taken care of. They automatically implement a CDN and high-performance server caching so you only need to focus on your design and content.
Whoever you choose to promote, and I can’t stress this enough, make sure you stand behind them 100%. Don’t make your pick on who to promote based solely on the affiliate commission, you want to refer people to someone that you already host with (and trust) or a host that is trusted by your friends & family.
The programs listed above are some of the bigger offers per sale, but there are many others out there. If your host already has an affiliate program you may want to consider using them first, even if it means less commission.