There are three ways to build a website: with a website builder, with WordPress, or by hiring a professional designer. The route you pick will affect the overall cost of building your website.
If you choose to use a website builder, it could cost you as little as $6 per month, whereas using WordPress increases that monthly price to anywhere between $11 and $50. Hiring a website designer is the most expensive option, with an upfront price tag of over $10,000.
Below, we’ll take a deep dive into all three methods, giving you a rundown of all the full costs involved, so you can choose the best route for your budget.
How Much Does Building a Website Typically Cost?
On average, though, you can expect to pay an upfront cost of around $200 to build a website, with an ongoing cost of around $50 per month to maintain it. This estimate is higher if you hire a designer or developer – expect an upfront charge of around $6,000, with an ongoing cost of $1,000 per year.
Here is a rough breakdown on all the areas you will need to pay:
Website Domain: $12 – $60
Website Hosting: $35 – $600
SSL Certificate: $0 – $200
Website Template or Theme: $0 – $200
Ecommerce Functionality: $20 – $24,000
Website Content: $0 – $5,000
Apps and Integrations: $0 – $100
SEO and Marketing: $0 – $90
There are three main ways to build a website: use a website builder, build with WordPress, or hire a web designer. Which method you choose will have a huge impact on how much your website costs. For example, creating content is free with a web builder, but can cost over $5,000 if you’re using a web designer.
Website builders are usually the cheapest way to build a website. While WordPress is technically a free, open-source platform, you have to pay for hosting, themes, plugins, and even professional help from a developer, which can increase your total cost.
Hiring a web designer is the most expensive option. Realistically, you don’t want to pay less than $5,000 for a web designer, otherwise, you might end up with a disappointing result that you’re not happy with, but that you’ve still paid a few thousand for.
You need to choose the right method for you. Hiring a web designer is expensive, but it takes the technical hassle out of your hands. Using a website builder is cheap and easy, but you don’t get the same level of control as you do with WordPress. WordPress gives you flexibility, but it’s the most time consuming and hands-on approach.
We’ll walk you through each option, explore the various costs involved, and explain how to ask the right questions to get the most out of your money. Ready? Let’s go!
Using a website builder is the cheapest way to build a website, and is best for:
- Technical novices
- Anyone who needs a website live sooner rather than later
- Personal websites and portfolios
The full range of website builder prices ranges from free up to around $500 per month. However, most new sites will fall within the $6 to $50 per month bracket.
Let’s address the elephant in the room first – the free plan. The truth is, if you’re building a website that anyone else is going to see, you need a paid plan instead of a free plan. This is because free plans come with various limitations, the most common being:
- Adverts displayed on your website
- A free, non-custom domain, such as https://www.wix.com/upgrade/website
- Limited features, such as low storage and bandwidth allowances
- No eCommerce features, meaning you can’t sell online
- Basic customer support
The free plan is only suitable for trying out the website builder, seeing if it’s the right fit for you, and for building test sites to hone your skills and try out new ideas without any financial pressure.
It’s the free plan that usually gives website builders a somewhat bad reputation for being cheap and poor quality, but that’s not the case as long as you choose a good quality builder.
What Costs Are Involved Using a Website Builder?
Professional Help: $0
You won’t need to pay for any professional designers to help out with your site, as builders are easy to use and quick to get the hang of. You pay for a subscription, either monthly or annually, and this is the main cost you’ll need to budget for.
Domain Name: $12 per year
A lot of website builders include a free custom domain in their plans – this usually gives you a free domain of your choice for your first year, after which you’ll need to pay. Domains vary in price but average around $12 per year for a common one such as .com.
Apps: $3 – $60 per month
If you want to add apps to your site, then there’s often a mix of free and paid ones to choose from. Paid apps aren’t usually expensive, ranging from $3 to $60 per month – you get to pick which apps to install and which plan you want, so you’re in total control of this cost.
Themes, Hosting, or Security: $0
You don’t need to pay for themes, hosting, or security for your website – these costs are all included in your website builder subscription.
Using WordPress gives you a lot more control over your website – and your budget. It’s best for:
- Those with a little technical confidence
- Anyone who wants full customisation
- Blogs, business sites, and very large websites
The cost of a WordPress website is pretty hard to pin down. It depends on a lot of different factors because there are a lot of different aspects to think about when setting up a WordPress site.
On the one hand, WordPress is free. There are free themes and plugins too, so in theory, it should be easy to keep costs low. However, you might find you need a premium theme, and then there’s hosting to think about (and pay for). If you hire a WordPress developer, your total website cost could quickly creep up into the thousands.
Various costs can affect the total price of building a WordPress website, but the main one is hosting. You can get away with using free themes and plugins, but hosting is an essential and important cost that’s vital for getting your WordPress website online.
So, how much does it cost to host a WordPress website? It depends on your provider. There are tons of hosting providers out there to choose from, and some are better than others. For WordPress, we recommend using Bluehost (and so does WordPress itself, come to that!)
What Extra Costs Are Involved Using WordPress?
Okay, so we’ve covered the main cost associated with creating a WordPress website. But what about other costs aside from hosting? Let’s run through how much it costs to build a website when you consider extras such as domains, plugins, and themes.
Professional Help: $300 – $100 per hour
Many beginners use WordPress, but if you want a complex or custom website, then chances are you might need to hire a WordPress developer to help make your ideas a reality. This is optional, so we won’t be factoring this cost into the final WordPress total, as many people build quite happily without a developer’s help.
However, if you do need to hire someone to help you with your WordPress site, you’re looking at a cost anywhere between $30 and $100+ per hour. Usually, the more you pay, the better the developer is likely to be – but always do your research before hiring someone.
Spending around $100 per hour on a developer may sound like a lot, but that’s within the average cost you should expect to pay for a capable WordPress specialist.
Domain Name: $12 – $60 per year
You need a domain for your WordPress website to help people find you online!
Unlike website builders, you don’t get a free branded subdomain, so you need to pick out a custom domain from day one. This is usually part of the sign-up process when you create a hosting account, making the whole registering process super easy.
Domains vary in price depending on the hosting provider you register with, and the domain you pick (such as .com versus .rich) – these two factors will hugely affect how much you should expect to pay for your domain.
On average, though, domains cost anywhere between $12 and $60 per year. The good news is that some web hosts, such as Bluehost, give you a custom domain for free for your first year – after that, you’ll need to pay the yearly domain fee.
Plugins: $0 – $100+ per year
Plugins add functionality to your WordPress website, such as contact forms, testimonials, newsletter subscriptions, and whatever else you want your site to have! Popular plugins include adding e-commerce or multilingual functionality to your WordPress website.
There are free plugins and paid plugins, so it’s up to you how much you want to spend adding new features to your site. Some plugins come with different plans so that you can start off using the free plan and then upgrade to unlock a better version.
The cost of plugins ranges from $0 to $100+ per year.
Themes: $0 – $50 per the theme
Just like plugins, there are both free and premium themes for you to choose from. Free themes are a great way of getting started, and you can find some stylish ones in the WordPress theme directory. Just bear in mind that they might not be as professional or loaded with features as premium themes, which can cause you to rely more heavily on plugins further down the line.
Premium themes tend to be around $50, but can reach up beyond the $200 mark – however, this is a one-time charge, after which the theme is yours to customise and edit for as long as you wish.
The upside to using a premium theme is that it usually comes with more support and regular updates, to stop it from breaking or becoming outdated, and also has features built-in to save you spending money on premium plugins. Think of it as a theme and plugin bundle!
It’s your choice whether to use a free or premium theme – just remember to think about your website and its essential features when choosing.
Security: $0 – $200 per year
Any hosting provider worth its salt will come with security features built into its plans. However, WordPress sites can be pretty vulnerable to online attacks, so it’s worth investing in some extra security measures.
There are free security plugins available – for example, Sucuri is a security plugin that scans, blocks, and removes threats from your site. The plugin is free, but if you want a Sucuri account and access to all its features, then the cheapest Sucuri plan costs $199.99 per year.
Sucuri isn’t the only option, so it’s worth doing some research. Other popular choices include:
- Wordfence: $0 – $99 per year
- JetPack Security: $0 – $299 per year
- Cloudflare: $0 – $200 per month
- iThemes Security: $80 – $199 per year
- All in One WP Security & Firewall: $0
3. Web Designer
Hiring a web designer to plan and create your site puts your project firmly in the hands of professionals. You don’t get to sit back and relax – you’ll need to work with your web designer to create a site you love – but it does take a lot of the heavy lifting away from you.
Hiring a web designer is best for:
- Anyone needing a very complex website
- Those with zero time or technical confidence
- Big budgets and big, custom websites
This is possibly the hardest cost to estimate because different web designers will charge different rates depending on the project and their own experience. You might choose an agency or a freelancer, and this will also affect the cost.
On the whole, though, you’re looking at a cost between $5,000 and $30,000 to get someone to create your website for you.
We tried and reviewed the design agency Hibu, so we can give you a more accurate estimate based on their charge rates.
However, remember that other agencies and freelancers will have their pricing tables.
When we tested Hibu, we paid an upfront cost of $449, and then an ongoing fee of $129 per month.
Hibu’s upfront quotes range between $99 and $449, which covers the creation of your website. This is dependent on how many pages you need, which features you want, and if you need to sell through your site.
There is then an ongoing fee, which ranges from $99 to $159 per month. This covers hosting and security, grants access to support and lets you create maintenance requests.
Price is pretty important here because if you pay less than $5,000, you could end up with a poorly designed website – and run into problems pretty quickly as you try to maintain it. This is not an option if you’re not confident in your budget, so don’t overstretch yourself!
What Affects the Cost of Hiring a Web Designer?
Here are some things to think about when hiring a web designer, which will all factor into the final cost of building your website:
- How complex is your website plan?
- Do you want the designer to handle hosting, domains, and plugins for you? Or do you just want them to design and build your site?
- Will you need them to carry out ongoing maintenance on your site? Or will you do this yourself?
- Do you have a pre-made template you want the designer to customise? Or do you want the designer to build your site from scratch?
- What sort of features do you need? For example, will you be selling online?
- How many pages is your website going to be? You’ll need to know this beforehand to get an accurate quote.
It’s often a good idea to manage your hosting and domain name because then it’s in your name and under your control. This makes running your site easier, and gives you a bigger say over your site – for example, it’ll make moving hosting providers much easier.