“I need a new WordPress website. How much is it?”
It’s a question I get asked frequently – with the answer never getting any simpler.
Recently, the question was changed up – and it made me sit and think more, if only for a few extra seconds.
Instead of asking “how much is it”, I was asked about the costs involved in a WordPress site.
Yes, fundamentally it’s the same thing – but the shift in the approach to the question made me sit down and actually consider all of the costs to an individual, as opposed to what the project cost would be.
I threatened the person who asked me that question with a blog post… so here goes.
Domain Name – from £6 per annum
The domain name is the easy-to-remember address for your website (and you’ll probably also use it for your email addresses, too) – so don’t make it too long, make it memorable and make it relevant and appropriate!
There are lots of top-level domains available, now, including some specialist ones like .accountant, .agency, .football and geographical ones like .london
Of course, the more familiar .com and .uk continue to exist, too.
Remember, you are only renting your domain, so make sure you get as many years as you can afford up-front or, alternatively, set a reminder in your calendar for the month before it’s due to expire.
Try not to shop around too much for your preferred domain. Some domain registrars will register a domain themselves if they have a high interest in a particular domain. This allows them to then set a higher price on the value of the registration, with some domains I’ve witnessed jumping from $6/yr to over $600/yr.
Hosting – from £5 per month
Another on-going fee, this time for the storage location of your website.
Even if your website is developed locally, i.e. on your network, it still needs somewhere to live where any-and-all computers connected to the internet can access it.
Many websites will be more than happy being housed on shared hosting – helping to keep your monthly hosting bill to a minimum.
For more robust hosting – e.g. where e-commerce is taking place or there are frequently high visitor numbers – either dedicated or a VPS hosting service would be more appropriate.
These services will typically be priced from £10+ per month, dependent upon your specific requirements.
Again, shop around for the best deal (not just the £ value, but also the specification of the server you’ll be using) – but without fear.
SSL Certificate – from Free
There was a time not too long ago when web hosts and domain registrars charged upwards of £50 per year for an SSL Certificate.
Not any more.
LetsEncrypt changed all of that, and now more hosts are offering basic SSL Certificates free of charge.
These certificates, whilst providing 256-bit encryption, may not be suitable for all websites as they don’t usually provide an insurance value should things go wrong.
Still, unless you’re handling card details yourself and need to be PCI-compliant or HIPAA-compliant, the free certificates will more than suffice.
WordPress – Free
Yes, WordPress is Open Source and so is free of charge for you to use. Nothing to pay for this software as-is. However, you may be charged for some plugins (more on that later).
Theme – from Free
So, this is where the WordPress-specific expenses start creeping in.
If we want to keep the costs to a minimum, there are plenty of free options available. At the time of writing, there are in fact 1100+ free themes inside the WordPress.org theme repository.
Some of these themes, however, will be freemium, meaning that you can use the free version but pay for some more added functionality.
There are also many premium themes available across a number of different markets. One of the most popular, ThemeForest, has over 1900 categorised as “Business” themes, and over 2000 categorised as “Blog”.
Premium themes typically start from around $49 (plus VAT if you’re in the UK) with a license that allows you to receive updates for 12-months from purchase.
Plugins – from Free
WordPress plugins extend the functionality of your website, allowing customisation dependent upon your specific needs and requirements.
Just like themes, plugins come in three price categories: free, freemium and premium.
Plugin development is far more extensive than theme development, so the choice and selection is vastly different with many duplications of functionality occurring.
To put this into context, the Plugin repository of WordPress.org at the time of writing, has over 50,000 free or freemium plugins available.
ThemeForest’s sister website, CodeCanyon, is an excellent source of premium plugins, listing over 7000 at the time of writing.
These plugins include categories such as SEO (to help improve rankings), post and page sharing, image galleries, contact forms, image compression, directories and calendars.
Many of the more common plugins, such as SEO and contact forms, have some fantastic free plugins available; more functionality or more specialised requirements may demand a price tag, however – typically starting from around $20. Once again, check the license to ensure you receive updates to the plugin as they’re released.
Backups – from Free
There are several reputable Backup plugins available, the majority of them being freemium versions.
The free version may suffice for smaller websites, but storage space will still need to purchased from somewhere – e.g. Amazon (AWS), Google (Google Drive), Dropbox or Microsoft (One Drive).
Some of the paid backup plugins come with storage space included.
Please, don’t rely on your website host company for backups. Yes, their servers will be backed up, but it is essential that you keep copies for yourself just in case anything goes wrong with the host’s backups or if, for some reason, you aren’t able to get in touch with the host company.
So, there you have it.
If you’re looking for a simple blogging platform or a simplistic business website, you could have a WordPress-powered website up-and-running for less than £100 per year if you’re prepared to do it yourself.
Hiring someone to get such a site set up may be a better option for the less experienced person – and they should help to ensure the site is submitted to the search engines, configured for receiving emails and is secure using SSL and backups.