“How much does it cost to build a WordPress website?”
This is a question that I get asked quite frequently and unfortunately, it’s not that straightforward.
But rather than use the standard “it depends” answer, let’s see if we can do better than that and give you a clearer estimate on how much it will cost you.
Because even though it really does depend, you still want to make sure that you don’t overspend, minimise the cost where possible, but also make sure that you have a high-quality website that meets a high standard.
And that means less headache in the long-run.
The purpose of this article is to help give you an idea of the possible costs of a premium, well-coded, highly optimised yet cost-effective WordPress site. It is not a post to help you cut down costs and cut corners where possible, while at the same time maintaining a high standard.
So if you are looking for a way to build a WordPress site as cheaply as possible (which will involve the likes of cheap hosting, poorly run plugins and themes, and insecure pages), then this article is not for you.
But, if you are looking for a way to build a cost-effective but efficient and well-maintained WordPress site that lasts a long time and provides fewer headaches, then read on. There are plenty of similar articles about how much it costs to build a WordPress site. This post will look at my own experience. All recommendations are based on products I use or have used.
Important note: this post contains affiliate links to products that I personally use and recommend. This means that I will earn commissions at no extra cost to you if you do purchase the products. But you should not purchase the products if you don’t think it will benefit you.
Read the disclaimer for more information.
Table of Contents
- Which Version of WordPress Are You Referring To?
- How Much Does a WordPress.com Website Cost?
- How Much Does a WordPress.org Website Cost?
- So What is the Total Cost of a WordPress.org Website?
- Can I Get a WordPress Site for Free?
1. Which Version of WordPress Are You Referring To?
First things first, you need to ask yourself which WordPress site are you talking about: WordPress.com or WordPress.org.
In case you are not aware, they are two very different platforms but they have the same purpose, which is to allow you to create your own website.
So make sure you understand the differences between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org before we go any further.
And once we do, we will then split them up and look at the costs of both sites.
2. How Much Does a WordPress.com Website Cost?
This is actually very simple to calculate as WordPress.com will list the prices for different types of packages:
And that’s it.
Of course, if you are going for the Business package, which will give you the ability to install any plugins and themes that you choose, then you may come across plugins that you might want to pay for.
And that will obviously increase your cost.
You can get an idea of how much certain premium themes and plugins will cost below.
Apart from that, it’s quite simple to work out the prices and it is also a very easy way to budget yourself as you know what to expect.
3. How Much Does a WordPress.org Website Cost?
This is where it gets a lot more complicated because it really does depends on who you are, your budget, your requirements, etc.
But if you are on this site, chances are that you are similar to me – you run a small business on your own or with a small team and you want a well-coded, optimised, efficient website, which is well maintained, easy-to-use and with minimal technical hitches.
If not, you might be a website owner who is passionate about a particular topic or hobby and you use a website to create content around and spread the message to like-minded people.
Either way, the various costs have been broken down for a WordPress.org website below.
It is by no means extensive, but it will give you a rough idea of what to expect.
a) Domain (approximately £20/$25 per year)
This tends to be the starting place for many people if you haven’t got a domain (and if you already have, you can skip to the next section about hosting).
There are various places you can start searching for domain names where it will give you different prices for different TLDs (top-level domains) such as .com, .co.uk, .net, .fr, .com.au, etc.
If you are a new customer, you might be eligible to get discounts where you can get a domain at a low price for the first year, and then back to its normal price for the second year.
Other times, it will depend on what type of TLDs you choose, as .com is more expensive than .co.uk.
Most people would want to aim for the prestigious .com domain as they are the most popular and well-known TLD. But that’s no easy feat as they are getting harder to acquire.
But all is not lost as, by understanding how to find and search for the perfect domain, you can eventually find your ideal domain.
b) Managed WordPress Hosting (approximately £10-£20/$13-$25 per month)
Notice that I have deliberately mentioned “managed WordPress hosting” and not just “hosting”.
I always recommend you use managed WordPress hosting if you are serious about your website, even though it costs more than the average hosting provider.
This is particularly important if your business and livelihood is dependent on your website, as you want to make sure that it functions the majority of the time.
Sure, you can get cheaper hosting which can save you a few quid per month. But as the saying goes, “You get what you pay for”.
Because more often than not, cheap hosting will actually come at a heavy cost. Don’t expect to have a fast website, fast customer service, knowledgeable WordPress experts and a highly secure website if you use cheap hosting.
Which is why the phrase of “you get what you pay for” could also apply when it comes to web hosting.
I recommend 34SP for your hosting (if you refer to this website, you can get one month hosting for free). Based in Manchester, UK, you can get top-class hosting provided by very knowledgeable staff who are also WordPress experts.
Another option is to use WP Engine, which is slightly more expensive but they also provide excellent service and an excellent product, with slightly more features.
c) Premium Framework & Themes (between $69–$198.95 as a one-off payment, or £385/$499 for unlimited access)
The good thing about WordPress.org is that you can actually obtain good quality themes for free via their repository.
However, it is difficult to gauge which free theme to recommend, whether it will be maintained by the developers in the long-term, or if they are well coded.
This website is using the framework and theme provided by StudioPress, one of the most reputable and well-known brands within the WordPress community.
They are particularly well-known for their infamous Genesis framework, which acts like the skeleton of your website and provides a well-coded, highly optimised, secure and fast foundation for your website.
And for design, StudioPress also provide equally high-quality themes which are compatible with Genesis too.
There are different price points to consider:
- Genesis Framework – $69 as a one-off payment
- StudioPress Themes – $129.95 as a one-off payment per theme
- Pro Plus All-Theme Package (Genesis + unlimited access to all current and future themes) – $499 as a one-off payment
d) Premium Plugins
Thanks to the generosity of many plugin developers, you will have access to over 50,000 plugins, which enables you to add new features to your site with very little cost or even for free.
Like many website owners, there are certain plugins that I use for free. They provide you with enough features to get you by before you need to pay to unlock more features.
But there are other plugins where it is recommended that you pay for them. Here are a few examples:
- iThemes Security (£60/$80 per year) – the free version of iThemes Security plugin is good
- Sucuri (£155/$199 per year) – a more premium version of security service, Sucuri is very well known for proving excellent protection and clean-up of your site, with fantastic support. It is also cloud-based, which means it will not add any weight to your site, and no effect on your site speed.
- BackupBuddy ($60/$80 per year) – even though a well-managed WordPress hosting company will provide backups, it is recommended that you have additional backups elsewhere. BackupBuddy provides an excellent option to keep everything on your WordPress site backed up and offers easy ways to roll it out when needed.
- Ninja Forms (free with optional features to pay for: £22–£99/$29–$129 per year) – one of the most popular contact form plugins out there and used by hundreds of thousands of websites. You could get the form for free, but any “extensions” such as automations and ability to customise will require additional fees.
But it goes without saying that you need to understand what to watch out for before you download and install any plugins.
e) [Optional] Ongoing Maintenance (£77/$100 per month)
One of the most important aspects of running a WordPress.org site is to make sure that you maintain it and carry out the updates to the core software, plugins and themes where necessary.
By not carrying out the updates, you run into serious security risks.
It is easy to do it yourself by manually updating them via the WordPress dashboard.
The other option is to outsource your WordPress maintenance to someone who can keep an eye on your updates.
The benefits of doing this also means access to additional services such as daily backups, extra security and performance monitoring.
Whichever way you do it, maintaining and updating are essential parts of running a WordPress website.
f) [Optional] Website Repairs/Development Work (cost varies)
There are bound to be times where you run into technical hitches, large and small.
You can do as much research as you want and spend as much time trying to fix it yourself. But the more you do, the more you spend your time away from what you do best – running your business.
And you don’t have to hire a dedicated web developer or overspend your budget on hiring an agency to fix your problems.
You can use a service like Codeable, where you can state your problem and you will hear from seasoned and vetted WordPress developers across the world who can give you a price instantly.
The prices will naturally vary depending on how large or small the task is, but at least you can still get an idea of the prices.
4. So What Is the Total Cost of a WordPress.org Website?
If we add up everything that we have discussed above:
- there is a one-off payment for Genesis and a theme for £153/$198.85
- and a yearly payment of between £150/$195 – £277/$322
This is without taking into account the optional monthly maintenance and development work.
Plus, this is only if you had chosen the one-off payments for Genesis framework and the theme instead of the Pro Plus package at £385/$499.
But if you think you will make use of the current and future themes on StudioPress, then you might find it cheaper to purchase the Pro Plus package in the long-run.
To keep the costs low, you may consider leaving out a few features. Perhaps stick to the free version of Ninja Forms and don’t buy any extensions that come with it, and choose iThemes Security over Sucuri.
And that could take it towards the cheaper end of the price range, but you will have a very cost-effective, well-built and optimised website.
But as I have mentioned several times, you can get much cheaper hosting, plugins and themes. And you can also leave out security and backup.
However, you may run into technical problems and spend a lot of time fixing them.
Everyone’s circumstances are different, but think about the value of your time and where it’s better spent.
Is it to spend many hours and days learning to fix your site, or is it to pay a little bit more for the well-known, reputable and premium packages which will save you so much stress, headache and time in the long run? And, a site that is highly optimised and quick to load?
I know what I would prefer.
And since you have saved time, you can also focus on your business, your website and push forward with growing your online visibility.
5. Can I Get A WordPress Site for Free?
Yes and no.
You have already seen from the above that you can get a free WordPress.com site if you don’t care about the lack of customisation.
If that suits you, then there’s your answer.
WordPress.org may be free in a sense that you can download the core software. But in order for it to function properly and efficiently, you will require a number of extra features, like plugins, well-maintained themes, hosting, domains…and your time.
Let’s face it, time is money for some of us. The time it requires to start and build a site varies, but it will initially take up a lot of your time.
But if you do it right in the beginning by setting the right foundation, you will thank yourself in the long-run.
It’s all well and good having a website. But it’s another thing to make sure that it does what you want with the least amount of headache.
Hence the reason why this post is not about having the cheapest website possible, but it’s about maintaining that balance between low-cost and high-quality.
After you build your site, there are a number of WordPress-related tips and advice that you should follow to help you make the most of your site.
But at the end of the day, you will not be able to grow your website’s visibility without making sure that you have the basic foundation set.
A question for you: “Would you rather pay for premium with fewer headaches, or would you prefer to take the risk of paying less?”
Let me know in the comment section below.
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