Despite the fact that setting up a self-hosted WordPress website or blog is one of the most inexpensive ways to create your very own site, it can be hard to know exactly how much should a WordPress site cost.
Even though the self-hosted WordPress software is, in fact, free, there are a few other costs you will want to keep in mind when you are considering your website budget. To help you get a better idea of how much should a WordPress site cost, we’ll be looking at some of these expenses in more detail. This includes domain name registration, hosting fees, themes, backups and other add-ons.
By the end of this article, you should have a clearer answer to the question of how much should a WordPress site cost you.
1. How much does WordPress cost?
As just mentioned, the WordPress software, available for download from WordPress.org, is completely free to use.
On its own, WordPress is powerful, but it is also incredibly customizable, allowing you to change almost anything about its appearance and the way it operates, through the use of themes and plugins. A large number of these are available for free, but many cost either a one-time or a subscription-based fee, which we will get to later.
However, when it comes down to it, the backbone of your WordPress website or blog is free. This is great news for small businesses, individuals, or bloggers hoping to make their mark on the web.
2. How much does a domain name cost?
A domain name is used as the address of your website. It’s what people type into to find your site. It could be a .com or another type of domain name that you own and is your home on the web.
While it is possible to skip this step (as well as the next one) by setting your website up as a free blog on WordPress.com, virtually every professional website on the internet has its own domain name and self-hosted website. You and your blog or business will be taken far more seriously, and be easier for visitors to find if you purchase a domain name.
Domain names are available for registration from a domain name registrar. While there are many, many options for where to purchase a domain name, the company I use and recommend is NameCheap.
Though .com is the most-recognized top-level domain (TLD) on the web, it is getting harder and harder to find available domains to register. However, there are now hundreds of other interesting TLD options. These are often more expensive, but they are worth keeping in mind if your great idea is already taken.
Cost: $15 per year
3. How much does WordPress hosting cost?
The next step when it comes to answering the question of, “how much should a WordPress site cost me?” is determining your web hosting requirements. If you are trying to keep your WordPress website costs minimal, hosting will most likely be the priciest part of your shopping list.
Although there are a ton of options for the type of hosting you can use, entry-level shared hosting is generally adequate for bloggers and businesses creating their first website. This type of hosting means that your website will live on a server shared by many other websites like your own. If you are expecting huge bursts of traffic or need advanced security features, you may instead opt for dedicated hosting, where your website is the only one on the server.
Hosting prices range widely from service to service, but you can generally expect to pay between $5 and $15 a month to host your WordPress website with a reputable and reliable company. Usually, hosts will offer you cheaper hosting for the first year if you pay for the whole year in advance. If you can afford to do this, I would recommend it since it results in a cheaper bill overall.
Cost: $5-20 per month, or $60-240 per year
4. How much does a WordPress theme cost?
A WordPress theme can make or break a website. Your theme is ultimately what controls the look and feel of your blog, so be sure to invest the time into finding something that’s just right.
There are a ton of different features a WordPress theme can have, but one of the most important things to look for is a theme with a responsive design. That means that your WordPress blog will look just as good on small screens as on larger ones.
Some WordPress themes are free. With a few exceptions, these themes will do in a pinch, but they tend to be fairly plain, not very customizable, and offer little to no support to users. Paid themes, which are almost always higher quality and fuller-featured, can run you anywhere from about $50-$200, either a one-time fee or an annual one. Be sure to check out ThemeIsle’s extensive theme collection here for gorgeous blog and business themes.
Here are some specific recommendations:
- Give the default WordPress themes a try. After all, they have been selected to be the default themes for a reason. Experiment with “Twenty Fifteen” and “Twenty Sixteen” for starters (you can find them in your wp-admin right out the gate).
- If you’re launching a blog, consider ThemeIsle’s newest, completely free blogging theme. It’s called Zillah.
- For a modern design with some cool parallax effects, Zerif PRO is perhaps the solution for you.
Cost: $50-200, either one-time or annual fee
5. What other costs might a WordPress site have?
Depending on the exact functionality you need, that can be a very difficult question to answer. There are thousands upon thousands of plugins available to alter the way the core WordPress software works. Many are free, but fuller-featured plugins or those that do something truly unique can range in price from a few dollars to hundreds.
Something every blogger needs to consider before it becomes a problem is how they are backing up their website. Although rare, mistakes can happen that cause your entire site to be wiped from your server.
If you aren’t making regular backups, that could mean months of hard work down the drain. WordPress Backup to Dropbox is a free option for bloggers who are starting out, but if your blog is vital to your livelihood, you should look into more secure options, like VaultPress. The basic VaultPress plan starts at $99 per year and it’s something I use myself on my most important websites.
Cost: $0-400, some one-time fees and some annual
Final thoughts on how much should a WordPress site cost
Answering the question of how much should a WordPress site cost is very difficult. Every individual and every website has very different needs.
Sometimes low cost, entry level hosting will suffice. Other times high-end managed WordPress hosting is the best option. Sometimes free themes and plugins will fit the bill, other times only the best premium themes or even a custom built design will do.
Although self-hosted WordPress is one of the quickest and most inexpensive ways to build a website, it is easy to see the word “free” and forget about all the other costs that can go into making your website a success. Hopefully, this article has given you a little more perspective about all the hidden costs that can go into creating a WordPress site, and you now have a better idea of how much should a WordPress site cost.
Total Cost: $200-800 annually
How much did your WordPress site cost to set up? Were there any other hidden costs along the way? Share your experiences in the comments below!