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One of the most the most common questions when starting a blog is how much a WordPress website costs. The great thing about WordPress is that it’s just software, and how much it costs you to run is mostly up to you. For this post, we’ll be showing a budget option, a value option, and a premium option. We’d like to emphasize that each of the options we’ve chosen are just examples we could think of that fit the category; there are many different good, high-quality options for each section.
What You Need
In order to understand how much a WordPress website costs, it’s important to understand what you need to run a WordPress blog. Fortunately, you really only need two things: a domain name and web hosting. There are also a lot of things that are nice to have, but not required, namely a good theme and high quality plugins. For this post, we’ll show you how much each component costs, as well as an overview at the end.
What To Look Out For
Since web hosting providers want to advertise the lowest price possible, they often advertise the monthly price you get when you purchase in bulk. Although this isn’t technically dishonest, it does mean you’ll need to potentially pay for a year or more up front to get that pricing. Some web hosts also offer a discount that applies to your first purchase, which you can get more value of by purchasing a couple of years in advance. This can actually provide huge long-term savings if you can afford it, so it may be worth considering.
However, in order to provide a balance between value and up front cost, we’ll only be showing the price you can get for purchasing up to one year in advance. We’ll also do our best to show you the total cost for your first year, as well as for subsequent years.
For most new WordPress sites, hosting will probably be what costs you the most. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. For example, Namecheap offers their Stellar plan for only $18.44 for your first year (it’s currently 50% off for your first year). This plan includes 20 GB SSD storage, unmetered bandwidth, as well as 30 email accounts with a 100% uptime guarantee. You can even add up to 2 additional domains and 30 subdomains to this plan, if you want to add more sites later on. SSL is also free for the first year.
After the first year, the cost of the annual plan will increase to $33.88 a year, which is still really affordable. You can also purchase an SSL certificate for your website for $8.88 a year. The total cost for the second year (and all subsequent years) will be $42.76.
Note: If you’re looking for a budget hosting option, you may also be interested in our CynderHost review.
The next step up in hosting would probably be an affordable VPS hosting plan. A VPS gives your website more resources than a typical shared hosting plan, which means your website will load faster and be able to handle more traffic. It also provides some other security benefits due to better isolation between customers. Cloudways offers a unique mix of features; an easy to use VPS hosting plan that doesn’t cost too much. Starting at just $10 a month ($120 a year), you can get 1 GB of RAM, 25 GB of SSD Storage, and 1 TB of bandwidth. There is no limit as to how many websites you can host on one server, and you can even choose where your VPS will be hosted.
The biggest downside is that there aren’t any email accounts included in the price as their VPS’s are meant for web hosting. However, they more than make up for that with fully featured email accounts that cost just $1/month each.
The absolute best experience you can get with WordPress is with a high-quality managed hosting provider. For the premium option, we’ll be using WP Engine, a popular managed WordPress host. There are also many other good options, such as Flywheel and Kinsta, just to name a few. WP Engine’s most affordable plan is $300 per year and includes 10GB of storage, 50 GB of bandwidth, and 25000 visits.
A domain name is how people access your website from a browser, and looks something like “example.com”. This is a must have in order for people to be able to easily access your site. There aren’t really different tiers here, since most registrars offer similar pricing. The biggest difference between registrars is the add-ons they offer and how much they cost. Common add-ons are for WHOIS privacy and email forwarding.
In order to register a domain name, you have to provide some personal information, such as your name, phone number, email, and address. This information is then publicly available on a WHOIS database where anyone can look up any domain. In order to protect your personal information, and to keep your email from being bombarded by spam, most registrars offer WHOIS protection. This basically just replaces your information with theirs, and keeps all of your information private. Many registrars offer this for free, but some charge extra for it.
Email forwarding allows you to have a professional email address (i.e. “firstname.lastname@example.org”) without needing to pay for or manage another email account. You can set up an address that forwards to an email account you already have, such as a free Gmail account. However, many hosting plans offer some email support which gives you more control (e.g. filters, keeping your business emails separate, etc).
Namecheap, in addition to offering affordable hosting, also offers some of the best prices for domain names (it’s probably the other way around; they aren’t called hostcheap after all). Although the pricing varies depending on the top-level domain you choose (e.g. .com, .org, .net, etc.), you’re probably going to get a .com domain. If that’s the case, then your first year will be $8.88, plus an $0.18 ICANN fee for a total of $9.06. For subsequent years, it will cost $12.98 to renew, plus the $0.18 ICANN fee for a total of $13.16.
Namecheap offers free WHOIS protection, as well as email forwarding.
If you don’t want to set up another account, you can purchase a domain name from Google Domains. All you need is a standard Google account to get started. A .com domain with Google costs $12 a year for the first year and to renew. Similar to Namecheap, Google Domains also offers free WHOIS protection and email forwarding. Purchasing your domain from Google also makes integrating with other Google products, such as Google Search Console and business Gmail plans easier.
The theme you choose in WordPress will dictate how your website looks and feels. A good theme can keep readers engaged for longer, while a bad theme can make navigating your website a bad experience. Similar to hosting, there are a lot of different pricing options you can choose from. Since a theme is a must have, we’ll count it towards how much a WordPress website costs at the end.
Nothing is more budget friendly than free. And, there are literally tens of thousands of completely free themes for WordPress. You can browse the WordPress theme repository from your WordPress website under Appearance > Themes > Add New. Since there are so many to choose from, that are all free, we won’t be listing a specific one here.
If you’re looking for a step above a premade theme, but still want reasonable pricing, then a theme/page builder is a good option. Two popular options for WordPress websites are Divi and Elementor. Both options are quite affordable and let you build your own website with a drag and drop builder. You can even create templates for dynamic parts of your website (e.g. for post pages) to give every page on your website a custom feel.
Out of the two, Elementor is more affordable for a single website, costing just $49 a year. Divi is also quite affordable, starting at just $89 a year for unlimited websites. You can also purchase a lifetime license for $249.
You can’t get more custom than a custom coded theme for your website. Since WordPress is such a popular website platform, there are a lot of freelancers and studios that can make a custom theme for your site. As the price will vary greatly depending on the complexity of the theme you want, we unfortunately can’t give an exact price here.
The nice thing about WordPress is that your posts and pages are separate from your theme. You can always start with a free theme, and choose to upgrade to a drag and drop builder or even a custom theme later on.
Plugins are an easy way to add functionality to your website. Similar to themes, there are tens of thousands of free ones available in the WordPress plugin repository, as well as a large library of premium ones. Since the plugins you’ll need for your site will depend on what you want your website to do, we’ll focus on one type of plugin that you should (almost) always have: caching. A good caching plugin will speed up your website and reduce server load, giving your readers a better experience and allowing your server to handle more people at once.
This section will be short because there’s not much to talk about, and because we’re working on an entire in-depth post on WordPress performance. We also have a post comparing WordPress caching plugins to see which one is fastest.
If you’re looking for a good caching plugin on a budget, we recommend WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache. The former is more basic but is extremely simple to set up. The latter provides much more options, but when configured properly, can yield a huge performance boost.
If you want a powerful and easy to configure caching solution, then WP Rocket is a good choice. Starting at just $49 a year for one website, WP Rocket is an affordable choice that does just that. They claim to implement more than 80% of website performance best practices out of the box, before you even get a chance to play with settings. They also support a large library of features, each of which takes only a click or two to enable:
Back To The Question: How Much Does A WordPress Website Cost?
As you can see in each section, how much your WordPress website costs will vary depending on where you decide to spend your money. You can choose to save money on hosting, but spend more on a caching plugin and theme or you can choose to splurge on hosting and use a free theme and caching plugin. That being said, here are a few configurations for how much a WordPress website costs:
Sticking with the budget section of each category, the breakdown will look like this:
- Domain Name: $9.06
- Hosting: $18.44
- Theme: $0.00
- Plugin: $0.00
Bringing a total cost of just $27.5 for your first year of hosting. Subsequent years will cost $55.92 ($42.76 for hosting and $13.16 for the domain name). As you can see, it is possible to keep your costs under $30 for your first year.
Going up to the value section of category, the breakdown will look like this:
- Domain Name: $9.06
- Hosting: $120
- Theme: $49 (Elementor) or $89 (Divi)
- Plugin: $0
As you can see, the cost increased quite a bit for the value tier. With this configuration, your WordPress website will cost you between $178.06 and $218.06 depending on which theme you choose.
Finally, the breakdown for the premium section will look like this:
- Domain name: $9.06
- Hosting: $300
- Theme: ???
- Plugin: $49
Without a theme, the price for the first year will be $358.06. If you choose to add Elementor, then your cost will be $407.06 or if you choose Divi instead your cost will be $447.06.
In conclusion, how much your WordPress website costs is really up to you. Whether you’re on a budget and want to maximize your savings, or want to have a blazing fast, custom designed website, WordPress can fit your needs.