WordPress is free, right? So that means a WordPress website is free too, right? Not exactly. Whereas the technology is free to use and you could build a website and use the WordPress servers entirely for free, business applications of the content management system are often associated with a variety of hidden costs. So how much is a WordPress website?
First, let’s uncover some of these hidden costs. Most business owners will obviously need to pay a professional to build and market their website. But in addition to these costs, you also need to consider the cost associated with domain registration, themes, plugins, security, and storage. More importantly, there are hidden costs associated with managing your WordPress website; in other words, what are the hosting costs for a WordPress site?
There are a few different hosting options. WordPress itself can host your site, but there are also self-hosting options, managed WordPress hosting, and premium managed WordPress hosting. Each of these options has pros and cons and the costs associated will vary significantly.
You can run your site directly from WordPress.com and enjoy basic shared hosting for no charge. That being said, there will still be costs for domain registration, themes, plugins, security, and storage. For example, a domain will cost between $13 and $18 (depending if you own the domain or purchase it from WordPress.com). Likewise, certain themes will carry a cost, usually around $60-80 per year as a minimum. Realistically, only a casual content producer should consider WordPress.com hosting because of reduced access to themes and plugins which will limit the customizability of your site.
Affordable hosting options start at around $5 per month where you site is hosting on a large, shared server. However, these very basic self-hosting services often result in compromised site performance. Self-hosting does allow you to access and use unlimited themes (though you’ll still pay for premium WordPress themes), many business owners are concerned about the user experience. If a shared server crashes or is overwhelmed by users, customers visiting your site might become frustrated.
Regular Managed WordPress Hosting
Regular managed WordPress hosting allows the flexibility and benefits of self-hosting with support from WordPress. Small businesses can get optimized managed plans from WordPress for less than $30 per month; and while you’ll still use a shared server, you’ll also get better support in case of problems. If you spend a little more, between $100 and $250 per month, you can access a dedicated server.
Premium Managed WordPress Hosting
The best (and most expensive) hosting option is arguably premium managed WordPress hosting. With this type of hosting you get the flexibility of self-hosting, the functionality of a dedicated server, and improved security, storage, and support.
So what does this all mean if you’re trying to determine the cost of a WordPress website? First, the ultimate price tag will depend on what your business needs are. WordPress websites can easily range from as little as $1000 per year to more than $3000. And don’t forget – this doesn’t include the cost of building or marketing your site!