When the planning for a new website starts to take hold, the first and most deterring question is usually: How much is this all going to cost?
The answer being: It varies, but you can get a good idea if you know what you’re looking for.
Most websites on the internet use WordPress as their content management system (CMS) for the endless range of possibilities it provides. The platform allows users to build a website of any kind—from a personal blog, to an Ecommerce operation, to an e-learning web class—anything is possible.
As the most popular CMS in the world, WordPress performs reliably, cost-effectively, is and supported by a massive community that’s growing all the time.
But building a WordPress site doesn’t simply end at getting a domain name, paying for hosting, and completing whatever goes into the initial design. Website management is an ongoing process with ongoing charges, and to avoid surprises, users must consider all the long-term costs.
WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com
There are two versions of WordPress, with costs and performances varying from each other, so understanding the differences are important.
WordPress Hosted: WordPress.com
WordPress.com lets users create fast websites whose technical aspects are managed by WordPress. This means users won’t have to download WordPress onto their computers for website building, and hosting is handled for them.
These versions of WordPress do have a range of customization options available to make well-performing websites, but they are limited compared to the virtually infinite possibilities of a self-hosted WordPress site.
A WordPress site can be created this way for free, though it will include advertisements and banners, plus a domain name with the WordPress name, unless a paid plan is chosen. The range for WordPress.com plans run between $4 a month, at $48 a year, to $25 a month, which adds up to $300 a year. Different price plans include different website management features and tools, along with a range of onsite storage sizes.
The self-hosting software to build a WordPress site can be downloaded for free from WordPress.org.
These versions of WordPress are open-source, which means users can add whatever features they desire, customize their own code, and upload custom themes to change the layout and navigation of their website. Because of this open-source availability, third-party developers are also able to develop and distribute their own paid features for WordPress websites
If you have the right knowhow, creating an entire WordPress website from scratch is possible with only the domain and hosting fees paid alone. However, most users tend to pay for premade features designed by other developers to put their sites together.
When you consider these commonly added expenses, estimating the yearly cost of a WordPress website gets a bit trickier.
WordPress Site Essentials (and their yearly costs)
WordPress is free to download, but that’s only the first step before things get start to get costly.
To make a WordPress site functional, at the very least, you’ll need to pay for a domain name and hosting. After that, most users will also want a theme to enhance their website’s design, and plugins that extend its functionality.
To get your website online, a host is required to store files data and post pages of content.
There are different hosting plans for every kind of website out there, with their own price differences and benefits to consider. In general, hosting tends to cost roughly $7.99 per month.
Bluehost is one of the most popularly used hosts for WordPress, as the CMS endorses them itself. Like many other hosts, the service offers multiple hosting plans with features designed to handle different loads of website traffic and performance.
On average, the domain name for a website costs around $14.99 per year.
This is an unavoidable yearly cost for WordPress websites, and all others. But the result is a custom URL to host your content on. Aside from the name, choosing a domain also involves whether a website ends with .com, .org, .net, .co, and such.
A domain name must be unique from all other active domains, and if it isn’t renewed, a name may be purchased by someone else.
Plugins (Functions) & Themes (Design)
Plugins and themes designed by both WordPress and third-party developers are available for free and for purchase.
These are integral to enhance the WordPress platform beyond its basic blogging capabilities, so all notable websites tend to use them. The range of prices for premium themes and plugins may cost users anywhere from hundreds-to-thousands of dollars, and will make up the bulk of initial website costs.
For new and veteran WordPress users interested in finding user-friendly additions to their website, check out CreativeMinds’ WordPress plugins.
But after the web design and functionality of a website is established, these expenses will become much less frequent. Unless a website is undergoing some form of overhaul (which long-running sites eventually must do to stay relevant), plugins and themes won’t be the main concerns for WordPress annual costs.
When it comes to the yearly costs of a website after it is created, aside from added plugins or design changes down the road, the bulk of expenses will fall under website support.
While this is an avoidable cost (as there are countless guides on how to manage WordPress websites) many users aren’t interested in learning the technical end of maintaining their website and pay for ongoing support instead.
This way, business owners and content creators focus on what they do best, while professional webmasters handle the back-end security, updates, performance speed, and everything else which goes into the continued and smooth operation of a website.
For WordPress users interested in finding support for the creation and continued management of their websites, feel free to check out our WordPress support services here.
It isn’t the most satisfying answer, but the yearly cost of WordPress websites differs between every specific user. Truth is, figuring out just how much one will cost requires some good research into each area mentioned above.
It is possible to create a WordPress.com website for free, but for a self-hosted website, the lowest one can reasonably expect to pay is about $100 dollars per year. Depending on the needs of a website, it can cost anywhere between a couple hundred dollars, to tens of thousands. After that, there’s still the continued maintenance and support costs.
From $100, to $500, to $10,000, the price of a WordPress site comes down to its complexity, which also affect the costs of its yearly upkeep.
To avoid overpaying, we recommend user start small and scale their website up as it gathers momentum. When it’s time to step up, be sure to find reliable source of plugins and themes with scalable products and reliable support. That way, costs remain more manageable, and users are less likely to find themselves paying for unnecessary features.