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How Much Does Website Development Cost? A Comprehensive Breakdown

Are you considering creating a website for your business but wondering about the website development cost?

There are several costs associated with website development, so it’s better to know in advance how much you’ll need to invest in your website. Luckily, there isn’t just one way of creating a website, so there are solutions for different budgets!

In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive breakdown of basic website development costs to help you better understand what to expect and make a more informed choice.

website development cost

What are the factors affecting the cost of a website?

Before we look into the costs associated with website development, it’s important to understand the factors that can affect this cost.

  • The first one is of course the type of website you’re looking to create. For example, a simple portfolio website will cost less than an e-commerce website with hundreds of products.
  • Second, the cost will vary a lot based on whether you choose to rely on a website builder, and develop the website yourself, or you’ll seek the help of a web professional. With this second option, the result will probably be more professional, but it will also cost a lot more.
  • Lastly, the cost will also vary based on the content creation and marketing activities you’ll choose to focus on.

📌 Basic website development cost

Whether you’re going to create a blog or an e-commerce, every website owner needs to take into consideration these basic website development costs:

Domain name

The domain name is where your audience will find your website.

💡 What is a domain name?

A domain name is a unique identifier that is used to locate a website on the internet. It is essentially the address that people use to find your website. When you register a domain name, you are basically renting the rights to use that name for a certain period of time (usually a year). Domain names are managed by organizations called domain name registrars.

The cost of your domain name may vary for different reasons, but a standard domain name will usually cost around $10 to $50 per year.

However, the cost will be higher depending on:

  • domain name: a popular domain name will have a higher cost;
  • domain extensions (TLDs): newer or more specialized TLDs can be more expensive;
  • registrar: some registrars charge more than others;
  • domain name’s length: short domain names usually cost more than longer ones.
  • availability of the domain name: if a domain name is already taken, the price will be higher.

Web hosting

The second step is web hosting.

💡 What is web hosting?

Web hosting is a service that allows you to make your website accessible on the internet. When you create a website, it consists of various files such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, images, and videos. These files need to be stored on a server that is connected to the internet so that people can access them using their web browser. Web hosting providers offer this service by providing space on their servers.

The cost of web hosting can vary depending on a few different factors, including the type of hosting you need, the hosting provider you choose, and the features you require. For example, the cost could range from $2 per month for shared hosting, to over $100 per month (or more) for dedicated hosting.

Here are some general guidelines:

Shared hosting is the most affordable option and can typically cost between $2 and $10 per month. This type of hosting involves sharing a server with other websites, which can sometimes impact performance if there is a lot of traffic. Shared hosting is a good solution if you have a small website with low traffic.

VPS hosting is more expensive than shared hosting and can cost between $10 and $50 per month. With VPS hosting, you still share a physical server with other websites, but you have more control over your portion of the server.

Dedicated hosting is the most expensive option and typically costs over $100 per month. With dedicated hosting, you have an entire server to yourself, which provides the best performance and flexibility.

Cloud hosting is a newer option that provides high availability and scalability. Costs for cloud hosting can vary widely depending on the provider and the features you need.

Website design

The cost of web design can vary widely depending on a variety of factors, including the complexity of the website, the level of customization required, and the experience of the designer. In general, there are two main options for web design: using a pre-built theme or hiring a professional designer.

  • Using a pre-built theme is often the most cost-effective option, as there are many free or low-cost themes available for popular website platforms such as WordPress or Shopify. The average cost for pre-built themes can range from $0 to $200, per theme.
  • Hiring a professional designer can provide a more customized and unique design for your website, but it will also be more expensive. A web designer can typically charge $75 per hour. The average cost of website design for small business can range from $2,000 to $5,000 for a simple website, and from $10,000 to $20,000 (or more) for a more complex website.
💡 Is it better to use a website builder or to hire a web professional?

It really depends on what you’re looking for. Pre-built themes are of course less expensive and provide a basic design that can be customized with your own content and branding. However, they may not offer the level of customization or uniqueness that you require for your website.

On the other hand, hiring a professional designer will definitely cost more, but you’ll have a more complex website that matches your needs.

If you’re a beginner and you’re just getting started, then pre-built themes can be a good choice. But if your website is a core part of your activity, a web professional is what you need!

🔎 Looking to hire a web professional?

We may know the right one for you!

Check out our partner directory: lots of amazing web agencies and professionals ready to help you.

SSL certificate

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and it’s a security protocol that encrypts communication between a web server and a client, such as a web browser. An SSL certificate is essential for you to have, because it confirms your identity as the website owner and ensures your users’ privacy is protected.

There are three main types of SSL certificates: domain-validated (DV), organization-validated (OV), and extended validation (EV). DV certificates are the most basic and typically the least expensive, while EV certificates offer the highest level of validation and security but are also the most expensive.

The cost of an SSL certificate from a traditional provider can range from around $50 to several hundred dollars per year, but there are also providers – like Let’s Encrypt – that offer free SSL certificates (even though these may have some limitations or trade-offs).

👉 Learn more about SSL certificates and security

Legal compliance is an aspect that is often overlooked, but it shouldn’t. With privacy laws being enforced all around the world and people paying more and more attention to how their data are used, you need to make sure that your website is compliant! Not to mention that non-compliance could also expose you to huge sanctions (have you ever heard about GDPR fines?).

💡 At the very least, a standard website should have:
  • a privacy and cookie policy, that is the document that informs your users about your data collection and processing activities and your use of cookies;
  • a cookie management solution, which is a solution that helps you manage every aspect of cookie usage: create a cookie banner, implement the prior-blocking of cookies, and store your users’ preferences;
  • a terms and conditions document: though this isn’t always a legal requirement (unless you’re running an e-commerce), terms and conditions are often a good idea, because they help protect your business from potential liabilities.
❓Do privacy laws actually apply to you?

Find out with this 1-minute quiz!

The cost of legal compliance can vary quite a bit.

  • If you seek the help of a legal expert, the legal advice could range from around $300 to more than $1500, depending on your business activity.
  • Another way to achieve compliance is through online generators, like iubenda. iubenda allows you to create your legal documents and manage privacy preferences from a single dashboard. And you can start for free, or upgrade your plan based on your actual needs! Find out more about pricing here.


Lastly, when considering website development cost, it’s important to budget for ongoing website maintenance to ensure that your website remains secure, up-to-date, and effective.

The cost of website maintenance can vary depending on the size, complexity, and functionality of your website, as well as the level of support and services that you require. Generally, website maintenance costs can range from a few hundred dollars per year for a basic website to several thousand dollars per year for a larger, more complex website with advanced features.

💡 Some factors that can impact the cost of website maintenance include:
  • Frequency of updates: if your website requires frequent updates to content, software, or security measures, this may increase the cost of maintenance.
  • Type of website: different types of websites require different levels of maintenance. For example, an e-commerce website with a large inventory may require more frequent updates and security measures than a blog.
  • Level of supports: if you require ongoing technical support or other services, such as website backups or performance monitoring, this may increase the cost of maintenance.
  • External services: if you use external services or plugins on your website, such as payment gateways or analytics tools, these may come with additional costs for maintenance and support.

📌 Additional website development costs

Besides the standard website development cost, you may need to consider some additional expenses which may benefit your activity in the long run.

website developer costs

Add-ons and plugins

Based on your activity, you’ll likely need to add extensions or plugins to your website, to manage some additional functionalities.

💡 For example, some popular plugins are:
  • Backup and restore plugins: to ensure that your website data is backed up and can be easily restored if needed.
  • Contact form plugins: to create custom contact forms for your website visitors.
  • SEO plugins: to optimize your website for search engines, such as by generating sitemaps and optimizing metadata.
  • Performance optimization plugins: to optimize your website’s speed and performance, such as by caching content and optimizing images.
  • Social media plugins: to integrate your website with social media platforms, by allowing visitors to share your content on social media.
  • E-commerce plugins: to help you create an online store and manage payments and orders.
  • Analytics plugins: to help track your website’s traffic and user behavior.

If you’re using a website builder, these often have app stores or repositories where you can download some of these plugins for free. But you can expect to pay for others.

The average cost for add-ons and plugins can vary from $0 to $100.

Content creation costs

If you want your website to help your brand establish a certain authority within your niche, then you may need to take into consideration content creation costs. Content creation costs for a website can really vary widely depending on what your aim is.

Here you have two main options:

This option is free and you can benefit from many free resources on the internet:

  • There are guides that can help you understand how to write effective copies for your website and landing pages.
  • There are free stock images or illustrations you can use, such as Unsplash, Canva or Undraw.
  • There are free tools that can help refine your descriptions, copies and CTAs. For example, Deepl Write helps you with that.

However, the downside of this decision is that – if you don’t have any kind of expertise in this field – the content of your website may not be as engaging as other websites which were crafted by professionals.

This option will cost you more, but you’ll be sure that your content is high quality and that it achieves the goal you want.

The average hourly wage for a freelance copywriter is $27, but it can be higher based on their expertise.

SEO and Marketing costs

Another website development cost you should probably consider is SEO and Marketing costs. If you want to promote your website and make it rank on search engines, you’ll need to invest some time and money in these activities.

According to Backlinko, the average small business owner spends about $500/month on SEO, and hiring an experienced SEO freelancer or agency by the hour typically costs anywhere between $50-$150 per hour.

To this, then you may need to add other digital marketing activities, such as:

The costs will vary based on the professional and the goal you want to achieve with these activities.

How much does website development cost?

The website development cost for a small business would probably range between $100 and $500. Of course, this cost refers to a website that is created with a website builder and does not take into consideration any potential additional costs for hiring a professional. Then to this cost, you’ll need to add a monthly or yearly cost for maintenance: the average yearly cost to maintain a website is around $200 a year (but this can vary based on the size and complexity of the website).

Hiring a web professional to build your website, while ideal, will definitely cost you more. A simple website for a small business can range between $2,000 and $9,000. Freelancer marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr might offer a good compromise on price vs quality as new freelancers and developers from regions with lower living costs may charge lower rates. However, keep in mind that maintenance costs will still add up over time while using a professional.

Both methods of building a website (website builders and web professionals) have their pros, cons and associated costs. It’s up to you to decide what best fits your budget and business needs. We hope this article helped.

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