The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Everyone Can Have A Website, What’s Your Excuse?
Once upon a time, it was a dream to have a website. Before social media, the only way you could really show off, whether you built a website or a portfolio, was through a website. Having a website said a lot about you because it was the main establishment of your identity online and you could do anything with that website that you owned. Most companies had websites, but it was not as common for people to have websites.
Basically, to sum up what a website is: your website is a bunch of files, which are placed on a computer server, distributed through a Domain Name System (DNS) and IP address, which allows a web browser to render those files, and in turn, allows everyone to type in your web address which enables them to see your website. Many companies offer to host your website and handle all the aspects of it being seen by the world.
Fortunately, nowadays, the cost of a website is cheap enough that anyone can afford to have one. Most people have several, sometimes just to hold the domain name, but other times because they have multiple projects going on. If you were to do everything yourself, starting up and having a website could cost you under $50 a year. The cost of your domain may vary depending on who you host with, but the majority of registrars charge a fair price. The costs may vary depending on whether you want shared hosting, VPS, or a dedicated server. Setting up a website may cost as little as your time or depending on who you hire, could cost you very little or a lot.
To put it into perspective:
- Domain Cost: $12 – $20 / per year
- Shared Hosting: $2 – $10 / per month
- Virtual Private Server Hosting: $15 – $50 / per month
- Dedicated Server Hosting: $80 – $1000+
- Web Design: $0 – $2000+
- Total: $15 – $5000+
Depending on what you want and how much you want to invest, you can have a website for as little as $15 or as much as $5000. I will even help you get started! Sign up today through this link and get a free domain for life!
Domains are your real estate, where you build your foundation, your house, your location. It is how you are found. You register your domain through registrars who usually offer 1-year, 2-year, 3-year, 4-year, 5-year, and sometimes even up to 10-year plans. It may be more rare to find anything offered longer than that, but before your time is up and your domain is about to expire, the domain registrar offers you the opportunity to renew your domain, usually at a somewhat higher cost, but it may be worth it to keep the domain, especially if you have had it for quite some time.
Most people opt for shared hosting at first, which is equivalent to piece of a large pie on the computer. You get a slice, everyone gets a slice, and you share the resources. Some web hosts may limit your resources, while others may say it is unlimited. Nothing is actually unlimited, but by unlimited, there restrictions are relaxed and often used as “first come, first serve.” In other words: Most websites rarely use enough resources, so those that do will get a bigger piece of the pie, though everyone pays the same amount.
Many companies will oversell their shared hosting services so that as many as a few hundred people may be on a computer server. What does that mean for your piece of the pie? You still have to share with everyone, but the pie is probably not any bigger, unless the company is running some top notch computers, but it is probably easier to just set up a new computer and host more people on that computer.
Experience level for being on shared hosting is beginner.
You are on a computer shared with just a few others. You are given a piece of the pie and your resources divided among those who are sharing that computer. These computers usually have more memory and hard drive space, but your resources are limited among those who are sharing this computer. VPS are often faster, as the processor of the computer is focusing on only several tasks at once, and the web host normally may not put as much restriction on your web resources.
Most users are given privileges to install additional software to improve their website, which may not be available on shared hosting. People usually upgrade to a VPS when their websites become popular or they need additional functionality.
Experience level for being on VPS is intermediate, advanced, and expert.
You are given the sole computer and have access to all of the resources, able to install anything and everything you want, and you are not limited to doing anything on your computer. Depending on the software you are using, applications you need, resources you need, this may be the best hosting solution for your company. This also means that you are responsible for maintaining any updates and fixing any issues that occur on your dedicated server. It also means that since you are not sharing any resources with anyone else, you should have the fastest speed and performance.
Experience level for being on a Dedicated Server is advanced and expert.
There is much more to consider when deciding on the costs of a website including the design and development of the website, the content, and general maintenance of the website and content on it. Further costs include the branding, marketing, and advertising of the website. It would be great that because you built it, they will come, but unfortunately, there is a lot more work to it than that, so depending on how popular you want your website, and how much time you are willing to invest into your website.
When it comes to the Internet, very rarely do things happen overnight. Unless you are a company that can afford the advertising, or you have found something that is out of this world and that everyone wants, your website is probably not going to viral, and you will only gradually build a visitor and fan base.
This infographic gets much more into detail for the costs of a website.
Click to open / Right-click for save options
The Cost of a Website
How Much Does a Website Cost?
We all know a website is critical to business success today, but one thing that’s hard to determine is how much it will cost you to have one built. Find out how to set your budget for a web design project, and what to consider.
Every website needs a domain name to be hosted online. You can either buy a brand new domain name, or purchase one that’s been registered for a while.
- Brand new domains will cost about $10-15 a year, depending on registrar and TLD.
- Registrar is the company like GoDaddy, BlueHost, etc.
- TLD refers to: .com, .org., .net
- Aged domains can cost hundreds, or even millions of dollars.
- Price depends on many factors including:
- Age of domain
- SEO.com: sold for $5 million in 2007
- Beer.com: sold for $7 million in 2004
- Hotels.com: sold for around $11 million in 2001
- You will pay a domain fee every year to keep the domain, which varies depending on registrar.
Total Cost (estimate): $10/year – hundreds, thousands, and even millions of dollars.
Every website needs web hosting to be online. Your web designer/developer can help you secure web hosting, but this is not typically included in the design and development fees.
- Shared: Many websites are hosted on the same server.
- Think of a server as an apartment building.
- Each “apartment” gets its own space and web address, but you are stuck with whatever the apartment building gives you.
- Cost effective way to host a website.
- Spend as little as $3.95/month
- Virtual Private Server (VPS): Many websites are hosted on the same server, but each account gets more control, similar to what dedicated servers provide.
- You’re still sharing the server, so you get an “apartment” but you have the freedom to do what you want with the apartment.
- More expensive than shared hosting, but gives you more control over the hosting environment.
- Expect to spend at least $29.99/month.
- Dedicated Server: You are in control of the server.
- You get your own apartment building, and are in complete control of it.
- You choose what software to run, how many websites to host, etc.
- Dedicated servers are best for sites that are highly trafficked, and need extra security.
- Dedicated servers are the most expensive way to host a website.
- Expect to spend at least $99.99/month
Total Cost (estimate): $47.40/year – $1,199.88/year
Design and Development
Costs can vary significantly depending on the scope of work required.
- Will a pre made theme work? (Price range: Free to ~$100)
- This is more cost-effective than something that will require heavy modification, or something that will need to be built from the ground up.
- Custom themes: $500 to $3,000
- Do you have graphics and imagery, or will the designer need to provide those as well?
- If the designer needs to provide that, think about how much they’ll have to provide.
- Stock photography/graphics can be costly, depending on the size you need. Expect to pay around $15 to $20 an image, but other images will cost more.
- ($1.60 to $1.67/credit, images average 6-15 credits) depending on the stock library you use.
- How many pages of content will your website need?
- Are you providing that, or will the designer need to do it?
- Will you outsource it to a copywriter, or write it yourself?
- If you write it yourself, do you have the time and ability?
- Content quality will vary depending on who you hire, and cost varies with quality.
- Freelance non-native English speakers will write for around $~1/page
- Agencies can charge $100+ page
- Functionality (Development)
- Do you need more than simple contact form?
- Will you need a forum?
- Do you want to include a blog?
- Will your website be membership based?
- Do you want your site to deliver dynamic content?
- Content that’s been personalized for each visitor?
- Example: com’s homepage is personalized based on purchase history.
- Will you need an ecommerce platform?
- Will your website need to be compatible with any third party platforms?
- Additional costs may be incurred for updates and website maintenance.
Total Cost (estimate): $200-$10,000+
Average Starting Prices
WhichWebDesignCompany.com keeps track of 7,382 web design companies world-wide. Here are the average starting prices for common website develop projects.
- UK Companies
- Prices start from £610 brochure website (data from 1452 companies)
- Prices start from £1165 content managed website (data from 1518 companies)
- Prices start from £1660 ecommerce website (data from 1472 companies)
- U.S. Companies
- Prices start from $1190 brochure website (data from 237 companies)
- Prices start from $2235 content managed website (data from 226 companies)
- Prices start from $2640 ecommerce website (data from 231 companies)
- Brochure Website: $1,190 – $3000+
- A “Brochure” website refers to a basic informational site about your business.
- Creates an “online presence”
- Generally Includes Pages for: Home, About, Products/Services and Contact
- CMS Website: $2,235 – $10,000+
- For membership-based sites, forums, blogs or other sites that use a database and/or dynamic content.
- Generally Includes Pages for: Home, About, Products/Services and Contact
- Plus: a CMS-integrated design & programming
- (Popular CMSs: Joomla, Drupal, WordPress)
- “Dynamic” functionality gives website owners the ability to “log-in” and make changes to the content of the site.
- e-Commerce Website: $2,600 – $10,000+
- Includes the basic “brochure pages”: Home, About, Products/Services, Contact
- Plus eCommerce functionality with:
- Shopping cart software:
- Ability to add & update products
- Accept and Process Payments (Credit Cards, Paypal, etc)
Example data provided by WhichWebDesign.com
Depending on which decisions you make along the way you can plan on spending hundreds, or even thousands of dollars. Low end amounts come from shared hosting with pre-made themes and graphics, higher end amounts come from dedicated hosting and/or completely custom design and coding robust features.
You get what you pay for: quality matters.
- 15 of the Most Expensive Domains of All Time – thenextweb.com
- Shared Hosting: Compare Hosting – whoishostingthis.com
- VPS Hosting: Compare Hosting – whoishostingthis.com
- Dedicated Server Hosting: Compare Hosting – whoishostingthis.com
- How To Set A Budget For Your New Website – forbes.com
- How Much Should a Web Design Cost – webdesign.about.com
- Web Design Pricing Calculator – designquote.net