How Much Does It Cost to Build a WordPress Website?

Launching and running a WordPress website could cost as little as $50/year, or it could easily run up to thousands. To help you understand which option is best for you, this article breaks down the cost of building a WordPress website in 2020 and beyond.

If you’re looking to make a website with WordPress, the first question on your mind is probably: how much does it cost to build a WordPress website?

Well on one level, this question is a little bit like asking how much a house costs. That is, it depends on where your site is hosted, what features you need, etc. There’s no one answer for all situations.

Launching and running a WordPress website could cost as little as ~$50-60 for an entire year, or it could easily run into the thousands of dollars.

Most WordPress sites sit somewhere in the middle between those two extremes.

To help you understand which situation is likely to apply to your needs, we’re going to break down how much it costs to build a WordPress website in 2020 and beyond.

What Are the Costs That Go Into a WordPress Website?

When you’re building a WordPress website, there are two types of costs that you’ll encounter:

  1. Required costs — even if you have the most barebone site in existence, these costs are pretty much impossible to avoid. Think of these as the bare minimum cost of making a WordPress site.
  2. Optional-but-likely costs — these are costs that you can avoid if you’re willing to sacrifice a little, but that you’ll most likely spend at least a little bit on.

Let’s dig deeper into each type of cost…

The Two Required Costs for Building a WordPress Website

The two costs that no WordPress website can avoid are:

  1. Hosting* — hosting is what powers the WordPress software and makes your site accessible to people anywhere on the Internet.
  2. Domain name — your domain name is your website’s permanent address on the Internet. E.g. “elementor.com”

*Yes, free WordPress hosting technically exists, but it’s not a viable option for a serious website.

How Much Does WordPress Hosting Cost?

Your site’s hosting plays a big role, not just in your site’s performance, but also in its security and how much maintenance falls on your shoulders.

The budget end of the WordPress hosting space is cheap shared hosting. If you’re just getting started with your site, shared hosting is all you need (until your site becomes wildly successful, and then you might need to upgrade).

If you look at our list of recommended hosts, you’ll find there are several quality options that cost under ~$5 per month, though you’ll typically need to pay for a year upfront.

For example:

  • SiteGround – $47.40 for your entire first year.
  • A2 Hosting – $35.60 for your entire first year.

So on the low end, you can pay under $50 for an entire year of hosting your site.

As your site grows, or if you just want a more premium hosting service, you might start to move towards managed WordPress hosting. This gets a little pricier – here are some examples from our recommended hosts:

How Much Does a Domain Cost?

The cost of your domain depends on two factors:

  • Where you register your domain name.
  • What domain extension you use.

The most common domain extension, .com, typically costs $10-12 dollars per year if you purchase it at a domain registrar like Namecheap or Google Domains.

Some domain extensions are cheaper, like .info, while others get into the $30+ range, like .io.

Summing up the Required Costs to Build a WordPress Website

If you put those two costs together, you get a bare minimum cost of about $50-60 to power a WordPress website for an entire year.

This will get you a working website using the WordPress software that people, anywhere in the world, can access.

But — to turn that “working website” into the “website of your dreams”, you’re likely going to want some premium WordPress extensions, which is where the next set of costs come into play.

The Optional-But-Likely Costs to Build a WordPress Website

To customize your WordPress website to meet your needs, you’re likely going to want some premium WordPress extensions, which come in two forms:

  • Themes — your theme controls the design structure of your site.
  • Plugins — plugins add new features to your site.

First, it’s important to note that there are thousands of free WordPress themes and plugins available. That’s why these costs are optional.

If you’re on a super tight budget, you can avoid these costs and use all free extensions, though you’ll likely need to make some sacrifices to do so.

Some free extensions are actually pretty generous with their functionality. For example, using just the free version of Elementor at WordPress.org, you can already build some great-looking content and landing pages using a visual, drag-and-drop editor.

However, most WordPress users are going to want at least a few premium extensions.

Developers often lock the best features behind paid versions. So if you want those features (and premium support), you’ll need to pay.

How Much Do You Need to Spend on WordPress Themes?

If you want a premium WordPress theme, the “standard” price for a premium WordPress theme is ~$60. You can find some themes at a cheaper price, but that’s rare.

You’ll also find themes that are more expensive, which is a little more common. For example, some theme developers have moved to more like ~$90, while you’ll even see some developers charging $200+ for a single theme.

How Much Do You Need to Spend on WordPress Plugins?

Plugins are the most variable cost of any WordPress website because there’s no cap on the number of plugins you can use. Your site only needs one WordPress theme, but you might need anywhere from zero to 20+ premium plugins depending on what you want to do with your site.

Also, there’s no “standard” price for a premium plugin like there is for themes. Some plugins cost just $10, while others cost $100+.
Here, it’s really hard to say more than “it depends”.
Most WordPress owners will probably want at least a few premium extensions, so a good starting point is to budget $100-200 for plugins.
If you’re creating more than a blog or brochure website, it’s also easy to exceed that.

For example — an ecommerce site. While the core WooCommerce plugin is free, most WooCommerce stores need to spend hundreds or thousands on premium plugins to extend the core plugin.

Elementor Offers an Easy Way to Save Money

If you want to save money on both the theme and plugins that your site needs, Elementor Pro makes a great option because it packs so much functionality into one tool (and one price!). It also integrates with different marketing & CRM tools like Mailchimp and Hubspot.

For just $49, you can replace the need for a premium theme and a number of premium plugins.

Here’s how:

First, rather than using a premium off-the-rack WordPress theme, you can use Elementor Theme Builder to design your entire website using a simple visual, drag-and-drop editor.

If you’re a little daunted by the idea of designing your entire site from scratch, you can also rely on Elementor template kits, which are basically pre-made designs for an entire website that you can then just customize to meet your needs.

Second, Elementor Pro can replace the need for many of the premium plugins that you might be interested in. Here’s a list of common extensions that many WordPress users want, and might be tempted to purchase separately:

  • Landing page builder for conversion-optimized pages.
  • Form plugin for contact or registration/login forms.
  • Popup/email opt-in plugin to grow your email list.
  • Slider plugin to create image or post sliders.
  • Social share button plugin to integrate social media.
  • Pricing table plugin to display prices.

With Elementor Pro, you can create all of those elements from one plugin:

  • Landing pages – build them with Elementor or import one of the pre-made templates.
  • Forms – use the Form widget for things like subscriptions.
  • Popups/email opt-ins – use Elementor Popup Builder and add the Form widget where needed (you can even connect straight to email marketing services)
  • Slider – use the Slides widget.
  • Social share buttons – use the Share Buttons widget.
  • Pricing tables – use the Price Table widget.
  • …you get the idea – you can replace a lot of other tools!

So — How Much Does It Cost to Build a WordPress Website?

If we put these costs together, here’s how things shake out: To create a barebones WordPress site that uses all free extensions, you should expect to pay about $50-60 per year for decent hosting and your domain name.

This is basically the minimum cost to build a WordPress website. It’s not super realistic for most users, but it’s achievable.

A more realistic cost for most websites would be to budget ~$60 for a premium theme and at least $100-200 for some premium plugins.

So, you should expect to pay ~$220-320 for a year of running your WordPress site.

Of course, it can also go higher if you need more advanced features, or you are creating an eCommerce store.

Finally, if you want to keep the cost of your WordPress site down without skimping on features, check out Elementor Pro. By packing multiple tools into one low price, Elementor Pro makes it easy to build complex WordPress sites that won’t break the bank.

About the Author

Colin Newcomer
Colin Newcomer
Colin is a freelance writer for hire specializing in WordPress and digital marketing. Grow your business with in-depth, conversational blog posts.

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Comments

11 Responses

  1. If you are a business user and you want to use your website to attract business then those costs are a lot higher. If you are ok with not keeping up with updates, performance issues, backups, search engines, and just want a website to point at through other marketing – then sure, $50 to a few hundred bucks a year is fine.

    Then take into account your time, and what if you break the site – then what?

    You can always start with a run of the mill site properly designed for the desktop and mobile devices, but at some point in your marketing budget, you need to consider the real purpose of a web site.

  2. Don’t include limited-time pricing like the first-year hosting you mentioned. Everything you look at in the WordPress ecosystem is marketed as “free”, but it’s carefully hamstrung to be all but useless without a paid premium…often annual. Small not-for-profit orgs can’t really function at your hypothetical entry level, but also can’t budget hundreds of dollars annually for hosting, domain, pagebuilder, templates, and plugins.

  3. I’d also add… beyond the hard costs of registering a domain, building and hosting an Elementor-based site, if you build websites for other clients, I recommend checking out Pricing Creativity by Blair Enns (just Google it).

    I just finished it and am completely changing how I approach pricing.

  4. Hi! If I’d go for elementor pro what theme should I pick? If I’ll pick a free theme will I be able to edit everything -> menu fonts & colors, footer, styling of the blog page, etc?
    Or do you still advise to get a paid theme?

  5. Normally your posts are mostly educative and/or fun, but this one I had to comment.

    The costs that you are recommending are only to prove on paper that such a WP site can be setup in less than $100/year. However, for most parts it is misleading, because no meaningful website/blog/community-site/etc. worth any value can be really maintained any better than it can be maintained with a free WordPress.com blog with free themes.

    For the sake of argument you have put up the pricing, while you yourself recommend Kinsta / WP Engine which is $30+ per month. The real reason they charge so much is because they are not just hosts on paper, they guarantee security, malware scanning, plugin vulnerability scanning, CDN, Caching, Backup/Restore, and a host of other services which are basic to a prudent practical website. It’s not 2005, it’s 2020 already! Let’s not hide the fact that hosting a WordPress website which expects and can sustain decent traffic, along with all crap that comes along with it, is not cheap!

    1. I disagree 🙂 I have a successful site that gets 15,000 monthly visitors and generates a good side income that uses the SiteGround GrowBig plan, the free GeneratePress theme, and the free version of Elementor.

      My portfolio site brings me lots of business to my primary job. I also run it off the same GrowBig plan and don’t pay anything for extensions.

  6. I now tell clients to expect around $1200 per year for domain, hosting and maintenance/updates, licensing on a WordPress website maintained by a professional web designer.

  7. I think WordPress is cheaper and more popular than any other site. Because no matter the startup cost, the cost of training required in WordPress is less than the cost of training despite the numerous and valuable plugins. I have been using WordPress for 3 years now and I use the translated version since my site is Iranian. And it has been very affordable and pleasant for me.

  8. Good discussion here. The article is accurate enough. I am one year into designing and maintaining a web site, with no web design experience as a starting point. I was able to get a shared hosting plan for $55 per year for 2 years. The cost goes up to, I believe, $110 per year. Web Hosting is $12 per year. I have since learned that the shared hosting plan is too thin to be viable going forward and I will need to up the ante to a dedicated WordPress hosting plan of some sort.

    So far I have been determined to have this site not cost me any more money. I am using a free theme (Astra) and the free version of Elementor. I’ve been happy with this combination.

    This year, I need to expand my sites capabilities and that is going to require buying Plug-ins. The site is used to advertise a vacation rental property. In order to keep an accurate availability calendar and accept credit card payments I need more functionality. I accept that this is not going to be ‘free’ and that it is a reasonable cost for doing business.

    I have figured out how to do my own backups using FTP and Filezilla. Security is something that I need to learn a lot more about but for now I use the free WordFence plugin to get some level of security.

    As Sarkari states “they guarantee security, malware scanning, plugin vulnerability scanning, CDN, Caching, Backup/Restore, and a host of other services which are basic to a prudent practical website.”, there is quite a lot to maintaining a web site in the modern era. I have a computer/technical background so figuring out new things related to Tech is not that difficult for me. This matters.

    I keep plugging along, learning as I go, continually overwhelmed by how much there is to learn about. It’s a good thing that it is interesting to me.

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