The topic of this article is such that, if you are here, you are most probably looking to build a WordPress website. WordPress is a free and open-source CMS. More than a third of the websites on the internet are known to be built with WordPress.
WordPress is, in reality, a free platform. The creators don’t charge you for using it as it is governed under the GPL licensing model. However, there are some aspects of your WordPress website that are not free. While some of them are not essential at the start, you will need them at some point.
Actual Costs of a WordPress Website
I’ll be talking about the most common and probable aspects of a WordPress website that will add to the cost of its overall build.
Web hosting refers to making your website available on the internet. The files of your website are stored on servers that can be accessed over the internet via their domain name. There are many types of hosting such as shared web hosting, WordPress hosting, VPS, and Dedicated servers. While all of these can accommodate a WordPress website, WordPress hosting plan is the most recommended.
WordPress hosting is not the cheapest, you can get a shared hosting plan for much cheaper, but it may not offer you the support you’ll. Not all WordPress hosting plans are built the same, so you’ll need to choose wisely. WordPress hosting plans start at just a few dollars a month, but I recommend you have a look at our Hosting finder tool to find the best deal with the features that are important to you.
Remember that this is a recurring cost and you will need to make payments monthly or annually depending on your contract. Some of the most important things that you’ll need to consider are performance, storage, bandwidth, and managed support. Support can go a long way, especially if you are not a developer.
Domain and SSL
Now that you have your hosting plan sorted out, the next thing to consider is your domain. Most hosting plans come with a “Free Domain”, making it look like you get your domain for free. But the catch is that nearly all web hosts provide you with a free domain registration for just the 1st-year.
While you may not have to spend during the first year, it is important to find out the renewal cost of your domain as some top-level domain name prices can range from just a few dollars to hundreds or even thousands of dollars depending on their popularity.
Other things to consider are whether your domain comes with certain important features like domain privacy. This protects your personal contact information and safeguards your identity from hackers and ransomware.
An SSL certificate protects the data being transmitted between your users and server from external parties by encrypting it. So having one gives your visitors an added layer of security increasing the reputation of your website.
Like domain registration, most web hosting plans give you a free SSL certificate, but just for the first year. So again it’s important to consider renewal costs. But it’s more important to consider the validity and reputation of the SSL provider and the level of trust it provides. There are different levels of validation like Organization Validation and Extended Validation and will be required based on what your website is for. Read more about it in our article about free and paid SSL.
Website Design & Themes
How your website looks will have the highest impact on the first impression it makes. So spending on design maybe a recipe for success. There are two approaches that you can take, firstly, you can hire a developer and have your website custom designed. It is difficult to estimate a cost for this type of design as each designer and website are unique and pricing will depend on many factors.
Secondly, you can opt for one of the many thousands of themes in the WordPress Theme directory. They are mostly free, however, there are many premium themes that can give your website a unique look. Many of the developers of these themes offer additional customization services that can make even a free theme look unique.
Once you have your website designed and hosted, there are many other things that you need to consider to make it stand out. Fortunately, you’ll be able to satisfy all these through the WordPress Plugin directory which currently has more than 55,000 listings.
Some essential services are available only as paid plugins, making them another item that will add to the cost of your website. There are also other things like e-commerce plugins that you will need if you are planning an online store. This type of plugin will definitely have an up-front cost as well as recurring costs such as transaction fees.
A good Page Builder will help you to create the pages of your website through an easy to use drag and drop interface. Once you are done building your website, you will need to consider its security. There are many plugins that offer security features like login protection, protection from many types of external attacks, malware scanning, and backups. If your security plugin does not cover backups, you should look at a dedicated plugin that will automate your backup process.
How to Minimize Costs
While it may be impossible to avoid costs, there are ways to minimize them or delay them so that you don’t have to spend a considerable amount right at the start. Starting with hosting, a good method of identifying an economical hosting plan is to find one that offers you sufficient storage, bandwidth, and performance. What’s important to remember is that price isn’t everything. You should also consider things like email addresses, free domain registration, and SSL certificates.
Start with a lower type of hosting such as WordPress hosting. You can upgrade as your website grows. Most web hosts offer lower rates with longer contracts, this is another way to save on hosting costs. Website design is another aspect that can save you a lot of money and effort. Opt for a free WordPress theme and spend some time to find one that is uncommon and suits your website. If you really need to, you can look for a paid theme or get customizations done.
Most WordPress plugins are free or have a free version. You can select good plugins based on their star-ratings and number of installations. If you really need premium functionality, you should first look for newer plugins that offer similar functionality. That will allow you to save on unwanted costs at the beginning.
We’ve spoken about most of the common aspects of a WordPress website that will add to its cost. There are also some web hosting plans that offer free themes and even some free plugins like e-commerce tools. So its completely worth it to spend a lot of time looking for a good web hosting deal.