October 18, 2023
minute read

How Much Does a Website Cost in 2024? Expert Breakdown


The price of a website varies depending on the size and complexity of your website, the features you need, and the way you choose to build it.

There are three approaches to building a website.

One, using a website builder like Durable, which can give you a functional and stylish website free of charge in under 30 seconds.

Two, you can go the WordPress route.

WordPress is open-source and free, but costs accrue when you factor in domain registration, hosting, premium themes, and plugins. Also, if you're not tech-savvy, you might need to hire a developer to customize the site to your liking. 

So, while you can start a WordPress site for as little as $55 for domain and hosting, the overall annual cost, including premium elements and potential developer fees, can range from $500 to a few thousand dollars.

Then there's the third option, hiring a professional web designer or agency. This is often the most expensive route but guarantees a site tailored to your requirements. 

Such expertise comes with a price tag, of course.

How Much Does a Website Cost?

  • Using a website builder: Website builders vary in cost. However, Durable allows you to build an AI website, with copy, images and a subdomain completely free of charge. Or, for solopreneurs or small businesses, a $12 a month Startup package comes with a custom domain name, unlimited storage, SSL certificate, SEO, free hosting, and access to free stock images.
  • Using WordPress: Range from around $50-$60 per year for a site with basic WordPress configurations. This totals several hundred dollars annually if you opt for premium themes and plugins.
  • Hiring a professional web designer: $1000 to $100,000, depending on the complexity of your website.
Website Feature Durable WordPress Web Designer
Domain name A subdomain is free of charge, while a custom domain name is included in the $12 per month package. $15-$20 per year $15-$20 per year
Hosting Included From $5-$10 per month From $50-$100 per month
SSL Included Around $60 per year Around $60 per year
Template Included Free or paid.
The average cost of a premium theme is $50.
Apps/Plugins Features included in paid plans Free and paid.
Premium plugins range from $47 to $200.
Often included or extra based on the requirement.
SEO and marketing Features included in paid plans Free plugins and the premium cost $100+ per year Custom: $100-$5000+ per month.
Content management Features included in paid plans Included $500-$5,000+ (one-time or annual)
Overall total $0-$240 per year Ranges from $55 per year to thousands of dollars. $1000-$10,000+ (varies based on customization)

Durable offers an all-inclusive package at an incredibly competitive price. Moreover, with a new free plan, it's an affordable choice for startups, small businesses, and individuals. 

WordPress offers flexibility, but you will need to purchase a domain name and web hosting. You may also need a developer to help with installation and configuration.

However, if you're seeking a unique design and tailored features, professional web designers deliver, but at a higher cost.

If you want something to get started with, why not try Durable out for free?

What Features Will You Need to Build a Website?

There are several features to consider when building a website. They vary depending on the type of website you’re building and your specific needs. 

Some of the most important features include:

1. Website Domain

A domain name is your website's address on the internet. It’s how people will find your website when they search for it. 

A good domain name is easy to remember and relevant to your business or organization.

A domain name

A domain name is like naming a business. It needs to resonate with your brand, be easy to recall, and make a mark in the audience's minds.

Cost Analysis

  • Durable website builder: We provide a custom domain name within our subscription model, which is $12 monthly for the Starter plan and $20 for the Business plan. 
  • WordPress:  Domains are external purchases and can be bought from various registrars. They typically range from $10-$20 annually.
Hostinger’s cost of domain names depending on Top-level domains (TLDs)
  • Web designer: They will guide you through buying a domain. The costs are consistent with the WordPress estimates.

2. Hosting

Web hosting is the service that stores your website's files and makes them accessible to visitors.

It’s like buying a plot of land to build your house. 

When registering a domain name, you must choose a web hosting provider.

The cost of web hosting varies depending on the amount of storage space you need, the amount of bandwidth you need, and the features you want.

Here is a comparison table of what some top providers charge for web hosting:

Provider Starting Price (per month)
Hostinger $1.99
1&1 IONOS $1.00
Bluehost $2.75
SiteGround $2.99
WP Engine $20.00

Cost Analysis

  • Durable website builder: Provides an integrated hosting solution within its subscription model.
  • WordPress: You'd need an external hosting provider. You can go with one from the table above.
  • Web designer: Depending on their service model, they might offer hosting or recommend renowned third-party providers, with costs ranging between $24 – $10,000 per year.

3. Content Management System (CMS)

A CMS software application allows you to create and manage your website's content. 

A CMS allows you to change the content of your website as easily. It lets you add, modify, or delete content, ensuring your website stays updated without delving into technicalities.

There are several different CMSs available, such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.

Cost Analysis

  • Durable website builder: Integrated CMS is part of the package.
  • WordPress: At its core, WordPress is a CMS.
  • Web designer: They might integrate existing CMS platforms or develop customized ones, influencing the cost. If you decide to go with a custom CMS, it’ll cost you an average of $2000 to $25,000.

To know which CMS will better fit you, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the purpose of your website? Are you looking to create a simple brochure website or need a more complex website with e-commerce or membership functionality?
  • What are your technical skills? If you are not comfortable with technology, you will need a CMS that is easy to use.
  • How much traffic do you expect?
  • How much customization do you need?
  • How much support do you need?

4. SEO and Marketing

SEO is the process of optimizing your website so that it ranks higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Marketing is promoting your website to potential customers through various channels, such as social media, email, and paid advertising.

The cost of SEO and marketing can vary depending on the size and complexity of your website.

Note, many web builders offer basic SEO as part of the package. However, outsourcing SEO to a freelancer or a marketing agency, it’ll cost you an average of $497 per month.

If you are on a tight budget, you can do SEO and marketing yourself. However, you should hire a professional SEO or marketing agency to get the most out of your SEO and marketing efforts.

Cost Analysis

  • Durable website builder: Offers basic SEO tools as part of the package.
  • WordPress: Basic SEO can be achieved through free plugins, while advanced tools might cost extra. For example, one of the top SEO plugins for WordPress, Yoast SEO, costs $99 annually.
  • Web designer: They might devise and implement a custom SEO strategy, driving the cost upward based on the complexity.

5. Apps/Plugins

Apps and plugins add functionality to your website. For example, if you wish to start a newsletter, you'll need a plugin to collect emails and manage subscriptions.

With plugins, you can transform a basic blog into an online store, a portfolio, or even a social network. They offer the adaptability to change your website's function as your needs or goals evolve.

Cost Analysis

  • Website Builder: A web builder like Wix offers a suite of apps that cater to various functions. The Wix App Market has over 500 apps. The basic apps that handle essential functions are free, while specialized apps (like those for advanced e-commerce features) have monthly charges. Costs vary widely but expect to pay anywhere from $5 to $50+ per month for premium features.
  • WordPress: The WordPress repository boasts tens of thousands of plugins. While many are free (59,635 free plugins), some more advanced, specialized, or well-supported plugins come at a cost. These premium plugins range from a one-time fee of $15 to subscription models costing $200+ annually. Factors influencing the price include the plugin's complexity, support provided by its developers, and updates.
  • Web designer: When hiring a professional, the approach to functionality extension can be twofold. They might recommend and configure third-party plugins (with costs similar to the WordPress model) or opt to custom-develop features, significantly increasing costs. Custom development provides a tailor-fit solution but can range from $200 to several thousand, depending on the complexity of the desired feature.

6. Template

A template is to a website what architecture is to a building. It dictates its look, feel, layout, and user navigation. 

A well-designed template ensures users find what they're looking for easily and enjoy their visit, increasing the likelihood of them returning.

Why is a Template Important?

  • First impressions matter: A neat, visually pleasing design creates a positive impression, encouraging users to explore further.
  • Organized presentation: Templates organize your content into coherent sections. This makes it easier for visitors to find what they're looking for.
  • Mobile responsiveness: With so many people browsing the web on mobile devices, responsive templates ensure your site looks good and functions well, no matter the screen size.
  • Easy customization: Modern templates come with customization options. So, while two websites might start with the same basic template, they can end up looking entirely different after some tweaks and personal touches.

Cost Analysis

  • Website builder: They offer a selection of templates as part of their package. You can pick from various styles, suited for different purposes, from blogs to online stores. Some are free, while premium designs with more features might have a one-time fee or monthly subscription. For example, Shopify’s paid templates go for as high as a $350 one-time fee.
  • WordPress: One of WordPress's strengths is its vast library of themes. Many are entirely free, though there are also countless premium themes available. These premium themes, often boasting enhanced features and support, can cost anywhere from $25 to $200 or more. The price often reflects the theme's versatility, design quality, and the level of support offered by its developers.
  • Web designer: If you're aiming for a truly unique look, a web designer can create a custom template tailored just for you. This tailored experience comes at a higher cost, ranging from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, depending on the designer's reputation and the complexity of the design. Approximately $2,000 to $15,000.

How Much Does It Cost to Maintain a Website?

A website isn’t a one-time investment. It requires regular maintenance to ensure it functions efficiently and meets the evolving demands of its visitors. 

Beyond the initial setup, there are ongoing costs and occasional hidden expenses that you might not have factored into your budget.

Average cost of maintaining different types of websites

Let’s delve deeper into understanding these costs and how to manage them effectively.

1. Hosting Renewal Fees

While the initial purchase of hosting can come with promotional pricing, renewal fees can surprise you.

Depending on the package you choose and your hosting provider, renewal fees can range from $50 to $300 annually for standard shared hosting and considerably more for dedicated or VPS hosting.

For example, hosting with Bluehost will cost you $2.75 per month to start with. But after the first year, you’ll be required to pay $12 monthly.

So, how do you reduce the chances of paying for expensive hosting? 

Look out for hosting providers that offer fixed renewal rates, or consider paying for multiple years upfront if you get a good deal. Always read the terms and conditions to understand future pricing.

Save more when you pay for multiple months upfront

2. Domain Renewal

Typically, domain renewal can range from $10 to $50 annually, but premium domains can be significantly pricier.

For example, if you choose a domain with a TLD (Top-Level Domain) like .luxury, .app, or .guru, the renewal costs might be substantially higher than the standard .com or .net. 

This is because these niche TLDs cater to specific industries or interests and can offer a unique branding opportunity. As a result, their perceived value—and thus their price tag—is higher.

Also, the domain's original registration price doesn't always reflect the renewal price. Some registrars offer promotional rates to attract new customers, only for those rates to spike upon renewal.

Namecheap's yearly renewal prices for domains

In the image above, Namecheap offers domain registration for $5.98 annually. However, the rate will be higher after one year when you come to renew your domain.

3. Content Updates

Fresh content keeps visitors returning, but there are associated costs, whether you’re creating it yourself or hiring someone.

Content updates include regular blog posts, new product descriptions, updated images, or any other content addition to keep the website relevant.

If you hire content creators, writers can charge anywhere from $50 to $500 per article, depending on the depth and expertise required. Photographers or graphic designers may have separate rates.

Consider creating content yourself or using platforms like WordPress, allowing easier content management. If hiring, consider bulk deals or long-term contracts to get better rates.

Remember, you should create and update your website content at least once or twice a week. So, in the long run, this will be a significant amount.

4. Security and SSL Certificates

One of the biggest hidden costs of website maintenance is security. Hackers are constantly looking for ways to exploit vulnerabilities in websites. If your website is not properly secured, you could be at risk of a data breach or a hacking attack.

Security is especially non-negotiable. The cost of a security breach can be significant. 

You could lose customers, damage your reputation, and be forced to pay fines. Sometimes, you may even have to shut down your website altogether.

Premium security plugins or services can range from $50 to $500 annually. SSL certificates, if not provided free by your host, can range from $10 to $70 per year.

How do you reduce the chances of paying this cost?

  • Keep your software updated: Web hosting providers and CMS platforms regularly release security patches. Install these patches as soon as possible to protect your website from vulnerabilities.
  • Using a security plugin: Several security plugins are available for popular CMS platforms. These plugins help to protect your website from hacking attacks and other security threats.
  • Having a backup plan: If your website is hacked, you will need to have a backup plan in place. This will allow you to restore your website to its previous state before the attack.

Also, many hosting providers offer free basic SSL certificates.

5. Backup Solutions

In the previous point, we said one way to prevent data loss is to have a backup plan. However, you need to pay for the backup services.

Backup solutions can range from free to $200 annually, depending on the frequency and storage size.

And in 2023, the best backup is cloud storage solutions, which automatically save and store your data offsite. They are a bit expensive, though. This increases the costs, especially for larger websites.

Rewind says, “For a lower-level data backup, you can expect to pay an average of $1 per GB of data per month. This type of file-level cloud backup makes file retrieval possible but would require a difficult rebuilding process if the server went down.”

Also, some hosting providers offer complimentary backup services. Alternatively, consider free or affordable plugins that allow scheduled backups.

See this PCMag article on the best backup software and services.

6. Premium Plugins/Extensions Renewals

To enhance website functionality, you may have installed plugins or extensions. Many come with renewal costs.

Depending on the plugins, annual renewals can range from $20 to $500+.

How do you reduce the chances of paying it? Always check the renewal prices before purchasing a plugin. Sometimes, there might be free alternatives that can perform similar functions.

How to Plan and Estimate the Cost of Making a Website

Creating a website demands planning, time, and budgeting. You, therefore, shouldn't start website building without a plan.

The thing is, there are so many web builders and so many agencies offering web building services. If you don’t have a plan and you don’t know what you are looking for, you might find yourself spending money on subpar services.

Ask yourself the following:

What Features Do You Need?

Let's start with the basics. Before diving into the aesthetic or technical details, determine the core features you need.

  • Blog section: Do you plan on updating content regularly?
  • E-commerce capabilities: If you're selling products or services, you'll need a shopping cart, secure checkout process, and product display functionalities.
  • Contact form: A simple way for visitors to reach out, which is crucial if your business is looking for leads.
  • Gallery or portfolio: Perfect for artists, photographers, or anyone needing to showcase their work visually.
  • Membership/Subscription: Are you planning to have exclusive content or products?
  • Integrated social media: This feature lets your website visitors jump directly to your social media channels and vice versa.
  • Interactive features: Things like chatbots, interactive maps, or appointment schedulers elevate user experience.

So, consider what you need because not all features suit every website. 

For instance, a writer showcasing their portfolio may not need e-commerce capabilities. Meanwhile, an e-commerce startup might not require a membership section.

Align the features with your website's purpose.

Also, remember the more features you integrate, the more complex your website becomes. This complexity equates to increased costs, both in terms of initial setup and maintenance.

How Much Time Do You Have?

A common misconception is that website creation is a one-time, quick task. It’s an ongoing project. For example, you need to work on your site’s SEO monthly, update content weekly, do A/B testing on your pages, etc.

You require varying amounts of time based on your chosen approach.

Website builders (like Wix or Durable), these platforms are designed to be user-friendly, with drag-and-drop functionalities and pre-made templates. For example, with the AI webite builder, Durable, you can create an entire website in 30 seconds. However, remember that while this is quick and often budget-friendly, you might compromise on uniqueness and advanced functionalities.

WordPress, on the other hand, is a more customizable solution compared to website builders. WordPress does require a bit more technical know-how. 

With thousands of themes and plugins, you can tailor your site pretty extensively. So, a WordPress site can take anywhere from a few days for a basic setup to weeks or even months if you're looking for something highly customized.

And when you hire a professional, given the back-and-forth communication, design, development, testing, and revisions, such a project can span from weeks to several months.

The time you have at your disposal directly impacts the cost. If you're in a rush, using a website builder is cost-effective and quick. But if you want a unique design and have time to spare, hiring a professional is the best investment. It’ll set you apart from competitors.

What is Your Budget?

The budget is your compass. Without one, it’s easy to get lost in captivating designs, advanced functionalities, and enticing agency offerings.

But just knowing your budget isn't enough. Ensuring you stick to it is where the challenge lies.

A budget provides a clear framework, helping you decide what is essential for your website and what might be a “nice to have.” This clarity protects you from unnecessary expenditures.

As mentioned above, many individuals and businesses often overshoot their website budget. This is because they get lured by intricate designs, functionalities they don't necessarily need, or agencies that upsell services. Some underestimate ongoing costs like maintenance, updates, and domain renewals.

So, how do you see that you stick to the budget?

  • Outline clear objectives: Before spending a dime, clearly outline your website's goals. Is it to showcase a portfolio, sell products, or provide information? This objective will guide your decisions and ensure you invest in features that offer value.
  • Research and quote gathering: Don’t settle on the first price you see. Gather multiple quotes, especially if considering agencies or freelancers. This gives you a ballpark estimate and ensures you're not paying excessively.
  • Prioritize essential features: Remember the list of features we discussed earlier? Rank them based on their importance. This way, if you're nearing your budget limit, you can cut out the less critical functionalities without compromising your website's core purpose.
  • Beware of hidden costs: Some platforms or agencies might have costs that aren't evident upfront. Always inquire about potential additional fees, like those for premium plugins, themes, or after-launch support.
  • Use a budgeting tool or spreadsheet: Track every expense, no matter how trivial it seems. Over time, small costs accumulate and push you over your budget.
  • Stay flexible but firm: It's okay to adjust your budget slightly if you find an incredibly beneficial feature. However, ensure any increase in spending is justified and doesn’t stray far from your original budget.
  • Review and revise regularly: As your website progresses, regularly review your expenditures. This helps you catch any overspending early and adjust accordingly.

Your budget is a reflection of your goals, needs, and priorities.

After all, a successful website is more than aesthetic appeal and functionality. You want a profitable website.

Who is Your Target Audience?

Different demographics prefer different designs, functionalities, and content. 

Different age groups have different preferences. For instance, a younger demographic might prefer vibrant colors, trendy designs, and embedded multimedia-like videos. In contrast, an older audience might appreciate larger fonts, simpler navigation, and detailed articles.

Another thing is devices and accessibility. Millennials and Gen Z are more likely to browse on mobile devices, older generations might still use desktops. 

According to a study, Uniquely Generation Z, 75% of Gen Zers said mobile phone or smartphone is their device of choice.

Gen Z's device choices

Therefore, ensuring that your website is responsive to various devices based on your target audience is crucial. Also, consider accessibility features for those with disabilities.

Another thing to consider is, is your audience local or are you targeting a global demographic? The answer could affect language options and cultural nuances in design and content.

How Scalable Should Your Website Be?

Scalability in terms of a website refers to its ability to handle growth and increased demand gracefully without compromising user experience or functionality. 

If you're thinking long-term, plan for scalability from the very beginning.

Remember, if you’re aggressive with marketing and SEO, traffic spikes can happen unexpectedly. A scalable website can handle these surges without crashing, ensuring you capitalize on these golden opportunities.

Also, as your business expands, you might want to add more products, services, or even venture into new areas. A scalable site design allows for seamless additions without starting from scratch.

Scalability isn't without its costs. So factor this into your budget.

  • Initial investment: Scalable solutions, especially in terms of hosting and database design, will have a higher upfront cost than basic solutions.
  • Ongoing costs: Scalable cloud hosting solutions typically follow a “pay-as-you-use” model. This is cost-effective. However, sudden traffic spikes can lead to increased costs, but the revenue and reputation benefits often outweigh these costs.
  • Technical support: As you scale rapidly, having technical support or a dedicated IT team becomes crucial. They monitor website performance, handle issues promptly, and ensure the website remains optimized.

Will You Need Ongoing Professional Support?

A website isn’t a one-time project.

Updating plugins, ensuring compatibility with the latest browsers, and regular maintenance can be time-consuming. Consider budgeting for regular professional support if you're not tech-savvy or busy.

Websites also face threats ranging from malware to DDoS attacks. Budget for a professional to ensure your site is secure, conducts regular backups and takes prompt action in case of breaches.

Factor this as a recurring cost into your budget.

What Is the Most Cost-Effective Way to Build a Website for a Small Business?

Durable's homepage

Building a website is a balancing act. You want a platform that's both professional and functional yet doesn't drain your resources. 

With numerous options available, the decision can feel overwhelming. Let's simplify it.

  • DIY website builders: Platforms like Durable offer easy-to-use interfaces, a plethora of design templates, and hosting services all bundled together. They're user-friendly even for those without any technical know-how. The cost? Much lower than you'd expect, especially considering the in-built features.
  • WordPress: This is a popular choice, offering flexibility and scalability. However, there's a steeper learning curve here. While the platform itself is free, the cost increases with premium themes, plugins, and hosting.
  • Professional web designers: Going professional ensures a customized website tailored to your business needs. But this customization makes it the most expensive option of the three.

After considering the balance between cost, ease of use, and features, an AI website builder like Durable clearly offers impressive value. 

For small businesses looking to establish an online presence without breaking the bank, it's the ideal choice.

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