So, you are thinking about building your website. Congratulations! It means you are taking a new step in your business development. Great news!
But you need to assess your strategy wisely. One important question to answer is how much does it cost to build a website?
The short answer is it ranges between $0 and $120,000.
It is easy to exceed the budget without a proper estimation.
This article discusses the specifics of website pricing based on IT Craft’s experience working with hundreds of people looking for website solutions. It also includes tips on making efficient decisions in this area.
How much does it cost to create a website? Let’s clarify below.
What is the Average Cost to Build a Website?
Let’s start with the following comparison: each website is like a building. It might be a one-story building or a skyscraper. It might be an industrial building like a toy factory or a daycare center for children. It might require smart communications like a hospital or more basic like a bookstore.
As with a building, so, too, with the costs of website development. They vary based on:
- website size
- type and purpose (ecommerce, blog, news, etc.)
- planned functionality
- selected technology (e.g., CMS-based development)
To provide a better estimate of required costs, let’s divide websites into four categories based on average website development costs:
It is possible to launch a website at no cost at all. Many DIY builders offer basic functionality, enough for launching something plain and simple.
Free plans are limited in features, the number of pages, or website visitors. Offered functionality is used as-is. Providers can display ads to website visitors.
Examples: non-profit blogs, personal websites, and event websites.
A basic website contains one or several pages with key information about a business or a promoted product.
Website owners can apply for design customization. Yet, the design remains straightforward.
A contact form is available for purchase or subscription to the targeted event. Basic spam protection helps protect against bots.
Examples: landing pages, portfolio websites, and simple business websites.
- Advanced website: $10,000+
Advanced websites are a long-term investment, serving sales and business promotion via the Internet. Many ecommerce solutions fall into this category.
The website receives a brand design and logo.
Developers provide specific integrations, including product cart, search, product configurator, marketing and analytics tools, calendar and events, etc. They finetune the codebase for the best performance.
Examples: customized business websites, elearning websites, and online stores.
- Complex website: $60,000+
Complex websites provide the most convenience to customers through a well-thought-out UX, elaborate UI, and rich functionality.
Some of the complex website features: a customer portal, product configurator, automation tools, AI-powered chatbot, and more.
This category is characterized by complex logic and architecture. Due to many active users, websites require regular high-load testing and constant infrastructure maintenance.
Examples: marketplace solutions, social media websites, and video streaming websites.
We’ll discuss the options on how to build a website in greater detail below.
First, let’s focus on unavoidable expenses all website types include.
The following elements are always on your list:
You must register your domain name to keep it for yourself.
There are different services online for domain names:
1. Free domain name generators help find a name, e.g., NameMesh, Nameboy, LeanDomainSearch.
2. Domain name registrars help with registration, e.g., Domain.com, Bluehost.com, Namecheap.
Unique popular names like VacationRentals.com or cars.com cost millions of dollars. Yet, with a little imagination, prices for a domain name registration start from $0.99 per year and might go up to $22.99 per year, depending on the chosen domain name extension and the type of business you run. Extensions, such as .com, .net, and .org, tend to be more expensive. Also, domain names might cost more for retail websites.
Hosting companies might provide a free domain name registration as a part of their service.
A physical server stores and services your website. Many hosting companies in the market offer calibrated hosting packages depending on hosting space and functions. Good examples are GoDaddy.com, HostGator.com, Siteground.com, and Hostinger.
Depending on your website size and requirements, you can choose from:
- a shared hosting $2.95/mo*
- a virtual private hosting (VPS) hosting $29.99*/mo*
- a dedicated hosting $89.98/mo*
*pricing depends on specific conditions and might vary.
Some hosting companies diversify their marketing proposals for websites built with builders and WordPress. They offer special packages for ecommerce.
A secure socket layer encrypts sensitive data on your website. An SSL certificate is mandatory for commercial websites where data, such as customer name and credit card info, are processed.
Special certification authorities provide SSL certificates on a paid basis (GeoTrust.com, Namecheap, Comodo). Pricing starts at around $7.88 per year per certificate.
This website gives a good overview of SSL pricing by different providers: SSL2Buy. Some hosting companies might provide free SSL as a part of their services.
The entire visual output visitors see on the screen: all those images, buttons, menus, and scrolls.
The design must comply with the technical features of your website (for example, to look good on mobile screens). It is possible to get the visual design in three ways:
- Purchase a ready-to-use design theme and use as-is. This option is usually available for DIY builders and customizable CMSs (WordPress, Magento). You can choose from among several free design themes. Paid themes start from $2! Check out Themeforest website to see examples. WordPress is the only CMS with an impressive number of free and paid themes.
- Purchase a ready-to-use design theme and customize it. It works for both a CMS-based and a custom website, though with some challenges. The price includes purchase cost and designer work—or your time invested in theme customization. The customization work also includes functional changes. Website design prices might start from $1,500 for WP and up.
- Create a custom design from the ground up. This option is available for CMS and custom solutions (preferably for custom solutions). It includes the cost for graphics and their integration—individual for each website. Also, pricing depends on the contractor. Web page design price for a custom solution starts from $700 and up.
Content Management System (CMS)
A CMS allows you to manage the entire content on your website pages: text, images, videos, ads, and more. You also manage your customers and subscribers from a secure back-end panel, including but not limited to:
- block or activate users
- delete or add roles
- assign rights
- manage emails
There are many popular CMSs on the market. We strongly recommend WordPress development as it is based on one of the most developed and advanced systems.
It makes sense to use several channels to maintain visibility on the Internet and contact your potential clients. Marketing tools include:
- search engine optimization (SEO)
- pay-per-click advertising (PPC Ads)
- conversion rate optimization (CRO)
- attractive content
- social media marketing
If you decide to use marketing tools, you will spend hundreds to thousands of dollars: marketing is costly. It also requires adjustments in website code to successfully execute marketing strategy.
You could arrange one-time marketing campaigns. Still, you also need regular activities to get results.
Plugins decrease the scope of work. Developers embed needed functionality instead of spending hundreds of hours on coding.
A wide variety of plugins cover most business needs. These are just a few of the many functions where plugins work best:
- SEO and analytics
- Spam protection
- Performance and caching
- Contact form and CTA
- Cookie consent
For instance, there are over 58,000 free WordPress plugins.
As with design themes, plugins can be free and paid, including one-time payments and subscriptions.
Examples of website plugins:
Stripe Payment Block – Stripe Payment Block allows the creation of dynamic PayPal Donation Buttons on your website.
Akismet Anti-Spam – a plugin based on a global spam database defending website contact forms from spam. It also allows the management of all suspicious messages from the admin panel.
bbPress – a trusted forum software suggested by WordPress.
How Much Does it Cost to Build a Website Based on its Type
Let’s analyze how a website’s associated complexity affects the price. How much does it cost to make a website depending on its type? Check below:
Costs: $720 – $1,620
A landing page promotes a specific product or service. It is short and straightforward.
Landing pages are simple from a technical point of view. Yet, they require several iterations for improvement to convince visitors to buy, subscribe for a course, leave an email address, and so on.
Developers might integrate different marketing tools into landing pages, e.g., for SEO, studying visitor response, or retargeting. Then, they must test performance.
Examples: Zoho, Kissmetrics, Apple MacBook Pro.
Costs: $1,200 – $3,600
A blog website usually contains several sections, including a contact page, blog entries, and legal information. Visitors can search the archive, leave commentaries, use sharing buttons, and subscribe for updates.
A blog website requires installing and tuning a CMS that enables the author(s) to edit and post new entries. Website admins can also manage and respond to commentaries. Anti-spam protection is essential.
Examples: The Moz Blog, Gimme Some Oven, ProBlogger.
Costs: $1,620 – $10,000
News websites are similar to blogs, but the number of categories and volume of information is much larger. Updates are more frequent.
The functionality of a news website is more complex. In addition to search and content management, developers must create and fine-tune a paywall, manage subscription plans and related multiple user profiles. Multi-language support and emphasis on local news are essential for international online newspapers.
Examples: Washington Post, TechCrunch, Reuters.
Costs: $1,200 – $10,000
Corporate websites have a complex structure. They often provide different resources, both open and access-only. The latter category could include client and employee resources (webinars, item tracking, knowledge base, etc.).
Corporate website architecture is complex. An access management system is essential to ensure correct and timely permissions for varying user roles.
Support via different channels is important for customers.
Examples: Deloitte, USPS, Logitech.
Costs: $1,620 – $20,000
A great ecommerce solution decreases decision time.
A catalog is the core of an ecommerce website, providing easy navigation through available products. Visitors benefit from product information, configurators, product reviews and unpacking videos, multiple purchase options, and more.
Performance is critical. Websites must download in under 3 seconds on user devices, requiring thorough load testing. Fast and accurate updates ensure successful sales.
Examples: Nike, Adorama, Bonprix.
Costs: $3,600 – $20,000
Both teachers and learners benefit from creating elearning websites. Websites focus on multimedia content and interactive exercises for self-learners. Or they connect tutors and learners via video calls and text chats.
Content development tools are a priority for websites where teachers publish and sell their courses.
Examples: DuoLingo, MasterClass, iTalki.
Costs: $3,600 – $20,000
Every digital service needs a website to provide essential information about the product, its features, the company, social proof, FAQs, and more.
SaaS websites primarily serve marketing purposes. Still, it is a good idea when a SaaS website offers more to its visitors, e.g., knowledge base, success stories, freebies, etc. SaaS websites need an elaborate UX to ensure seamless integration with the company’s main product, turning visitors into users immediately.
Examples: HubSpot, Deezer, DocuSign.
Costs: $5,000 – $30,000
Marketplace websites have complex functionality and UX. It is crucial to let website users start secure selling and purchasing as soon as possible. Rich functionality is required, including profile management, search, rating system, listing, order management, and so on. Different monetization models apply.
There is more. A robust back end is necessary to withstand user load. Downtime is intolerable. So is the lack of mobile responsiveness.
Examples: Etsy, Airbnb, Craigslist.
Therefore, complexity of requirements skyrockets for some popular categories such as ecommerce and retail, corporate websites (especially in healthcare and financing) or learning, and similar ones.
When websites provide complex functionality and store sensitive corporate data or user information, costs increase substantially. All of these activities require special attention.
Popular websites have more frequent users than simple solutions. Session length is longer. Developers must be extra careful, ensuring the best website performance. Development and maintenance costs will be higher.
Cost of Website Development Based on the Team
Each project must find the right balance between competence, attitude, and reasonable budget limits.
Sure, it is more comfortable to communicate with someone local. However, borders are gone in the age of globalization and the Internet. Talks by Zoom or Skype are no longer an issue.
Widening your search criteria lets you save substantial direct (hourly rates) and indirect (recruitment, HR, and management) costs.
Available options from the most to the least expensive include:
- in-house team
- local website development agency
- outsourcing agency
- freelancer/freelance team
Costs to build a website an In-House Team
Hiring in-house developers can be the best option regarding communication, control, and overall availability.
The high price is the problem. You need to invest in recruitment and onboarding. Add a decent salary and high overhead costs.
Benefits: maximum control over processes.
Risks: the most expensive option.
Hire a Local Website Development Agency
A local agency resides in the same country as you. The people at the agency speak the same language and build a workflow on your principles, creating the least possible barriers on a project.
It is still expensive. Location directly affects considerations on how much to charge to build a website. While you save on indirect costs, hourly rates are high due to high standard of living.
Benefits: same time zone and same culture.
Risks: costs less than an in-house team but is still expensive.
Hire a Freelancer or a Freelance Team
Many foreign companies establish centers in Europe and USA, where you can talk to an expert directly. Some of the work is done in Eastern Europe or Asia. You benefit from close communication and a lower website pricing at the same time.
Still, you must ensure the team shares all details in the project documentation. There will be no problem with project transfer if your team loses pace.
Benefits: the least expensive option.
Risks: low quality or delivery delays might occur.
Hire an Outsourcing Agency
Many foreign companies establish centers in Europe and USA, where you can talk to an expert directly. Some of the work is done in Eastern Europe or Asia. You benefit from close communication and a lower price at the same time.
Still, you must ensure the team shares all details in the project documentation. There will be no problem with project transfer if your team loses pace.
Benefits: balanced quality-for-the-price ratio.
Risks: slipping into vendor dependency.
Costs to Build a Website: Development Approach
There are three basic ways to build your website:
- use a DIY (do-it-yourself) builder
- use a customizable content management system (CMS)
- build a custom site
Let us review each option in detail:
Option 1: Do-It-Yourself Builder
Costs: $0 – $50
If something simple and minimalistic meets your business needs, explore DIY builders and self-hosted solutions. Those can decrease substantially how much to make a website will cost you.
DIY builders are like children’s construction sets. You select some features for your website, then drag and drop them onto a screen. The service embeds elements into your web page. Easy, intuitive, simple—like building blocks!
The great advantage of DIY builders is that they handle everything: website setup, installation, and hosting.
There are many options. The most noteworthy include:
The table below compares the basic features suggested by DIY builders.
Here is the challenge: You must answer the question, “How much does it cost to build a website?”
And this one, “How much does it cost to run a website?” It might be inexpensive to build a website, but website costs grow exponentially as the number of visitors grows or as you continue to enrich your feature list. Hence, it is equally important to calculate how much website maintenance might eventually cost you.
If you go with the most expensive subscription plan at WordPress for $41.27 per month, you will end up with about $500 per year. This is just a “bare-bones” price. Remember costs of design customization and plugins you might want to integrate plus developers’ time to combine all the parts. With a custom-built solution, you invest thousands of dollars initially, but you get a scalable and customizable tool for your business for years, tailored to your ideas, plans, and needs. There are no compromises between quality, requirements, and prebuilt pieces you might use.
- Benefits of Using a DIY Website Builder
Free – Basic functionality is available at no cost. You can launch a simple website on your own. No need to engage expensive developers. You keep it on the platform after launch—free hosting is included in many plans.
User friendly – You can select a template and create a website on its basis in only 15 minutes—no coding or design background required to start something new and simple.
AI helpers – In 2024, some DIY builders simplify the task for you. Describe your needs in several words and get a website generated with content, images, and features. (AI helpers are not included in free plans yet.)
- Drawbacks of a DIY Website Builder
Domain name – With DIY, your website link might contain extensions like “wix” or “weebly” if you choose basic subscription packages. The website might also have ads. Don’t want any ads? There is an additional fee to get rid of them.
Limited customization – DIY builders can only offer predefined functions. Are you thinking of something original? You will need a more sophisticated solution and expert help.
Limits on platform load – Free plans are suited for something simple. Costs increase fast when you go “beyond the borders of simple.” You must switch to an expensive plan to handle the growing user load and content volume.
Slow support – only limited support is available for free and low-cost plans. You must upgrade to receive priority support which can still be limited to email or chat.
Option 2: Customizable Content Management System (CMS).
Costs: $1,000 – $50,000
A customizable CMS is a good alternative for DIY builders. But it is not that simple.
A CMS provides a pre-made website construction. You must add content, set up functional modules, and manage website parts. You need more training and understanding than DIY builders. Yet, your website does not look basic.
The list of the most popular CMSs includes:
WordPress is a flexible, multipurpose platform. It is currently the leading CMS platform with a great market and community of developers. There are functional modules for WP. You need to find and install the right one(s) for you. Check for more details in our post “How Much Does a WordPress Website Cost to Develop?”
Suits: every kind of website and content, from a personal blog to a high-load online store.
Joomla is an award-winning CMS platform, providing powerful features for content publishing. It provides a wide feature list out of the box but requires expertise in initial tuning.
Additional Joomla benefit: can be used for building Web apps.
Suits: professional websites administered by several users.
Blogger is a well-established platform that Google currently owns. This CMS is simple and enables you to start working even with limited experience in website development.
Drawbacks are limited customization and a lack of advanced features.
Suits: running a blog.
This CMS is a great option. Magento platform offers every possible functionality needed to run a high-load online store. Scalability is impressive.
Magento’s drawback is pricing. How much does a website cost per month? The license is so expensive that the price is available only upon request unless you apply for Magento Open Source.
Suits: top-rated ecommerce solutions.
Drupal CMS enables a high degree of flexibility. It is possible to optimize performance and security. Drupal offers a wide number of options for content management. It is easy to add roles and permissions.
Still, upgrades and management can be time-consuming and require experience.
Suits: website with frequent updates.
- Benefits of Building a CMS Website
Availability of third-party solutions – Expansion of a CMS-based website requires less work due to available third-party themes and plugins, e.g., multi-language support.
Customization – CMSs are highly flexible. They can be adjusted to client needs, scaled, and expanded. Developers can make a mobile app from a website.
Updates – It is easier to provide big and small updates from a CMS interface. You can gain user insights, create personalized offers, conduct testing, etc.
- Drawbacks of a Building a CMS Website
Coding – CMS websites are not beginner friendly. You need to code and test to integrate the required third-party services.
Setup and optimization – You need to tune multiple parameters when you set up your website’s back end. Also, plugins might conflict, requiring work on optimization from you.
Support – open-source CMSs provide community support. It takes time until someone answers your question. You might need to hire an expert if the work needs to be done immediately.
Option 3: A Fully Custom Solution from the Ground Up
Costs: $20,000 – $100,000+
If you intend to create an original concept of an online business, consider a custom solution.
A custom-built solution is also the best option when you have a growing user base or want to meet unique needs. Although the costs to build a website increase, you have much more freedom and flexibility in choosing features to implement than when using premade functions suggested by builders (although they are very good).
Building a custom website is like constructing a building: an exclusive plan to fit the terrain, unique design, and functional preferences. You have much more freedom and flexibility in choosing features to implement.
If your plan goes beyond something basic and simple, it is always better to base your website on a scalable and reliable platform from the very beginning.
For example, suppose you want to create a web service extensively containing “heavy” content like videos or pictures. In this case, you might need to consider dedicated servers, clusters of servers, or special clouds to host your website. A high user load creates the same necessity.
An important note here: costs to build a custom website are lower with a dedicated team. The team manages the project better than a single freelancer.
Why? Because one person cannot be an architect, a mason, and an assistant simultaneously. Each team member is dedicated to a specific area. A qualified team normally includes one or more designers, programmers, QAs, and a business analyst who talk—and listen (!)—to you to understand your needs and requirements.
This guarantees the job is done correctly.
- Benefits of Building a CMS Website
Unique branding – custom website aligns best with brand identity. Unique design and functionality create a strong association with your business, helping you stand out from competitors.
Response to unique challenges – You create a solution for your specific issues for which functionality is not available in off-the-shelf software, e.g., a custom CRM or ERP system.
Fundamental control – You own the codebase, design, and data instead of depending on third-party platforms. You never risk having restricted access to your website and data because you no longer comply with seemingly ever-changing platform policy.
- Drawbacks of a Fully Custom Website
Costs – The costs to build a website are highest for custom projects: you need high-level experts to succeed. Also, you might need to prepare for flexible budgeting: total costs will differ from initial estimates.
Maintenance – You must invest in server maintenance, infrastructure improvement, and seamless scaling to ensure best-in-class UX for every visitor. No excuses.
Onboarding – Be prepared for an increased onboarding time. New developers need to learn your specifics before adding changes to the website codebase. In turn, total costs increase.
Cost of Creating a Website: Marketing Expenses
You should use specific marketing tools to be visible on the Internet and contact your potential clients.
How much does it cost to create a website from a marketing standpoint? It depends on your preferred marketing channels. You need to integrate specific instruments and ensure they are well aligned with the technologies you already use. Possible risks of ignoring the tech side include performance slowdown, security vulnerabilities, or compliance failures.
Here is where you might need the help of a development team with your marketing activities:
Using several marketing plugins might cause conflicts between them, which happens often. The results are website errors, deteriorated performance, and ineffective marketing campaigns. Developers optimize plugins and ensure website compatibility. They may also set up specific landing pages to eliminate the situation when marketing activities affect the website core thus, helping reach marketing objectives.
There are numerous available marketing tools, each providing different subscription plans. Developers grant required support. They help determine which tools are optimum. They can suggest implementation and improvements, custom features that boost specific marketing channels or calculate possible tech risks and pitfalls. As a result, website owners receive a comprehensive view of the tech side of their marketing strategy.
Need Help with a Website?
No problem. We know how to launch your website on time and for a reasonable investment. Web development has been IT Craft’s area of expertise for 20+ years of market operations.
Our teams have helped develop and maintain myriad projects of wide-ranging complexity, from a simple business website to a custom ecommerce platform that powers up several US-leading businesses.
Are you only starting, being limited in your budget?
Check out IT Craft’s WordPress development packages. You can boost your online presence for as little as $720.
Do you already have a website and want to move forward?
IT Craft engineers are best at the following activities:
- Full-cycle web development
- Project rescue
- Website redesign and modernization
- Functionality expansion
- Ecommerce website development and maintenance
- Scaling and optimization
- IT consulting
Whatever you envisage, we plan—and build.
Here are two of many website development projects where IT Craft’s expertise increased its customer’s project bottom line:
Samadhi is a Chilean eco-friendly resort located in one of the most scenic places in the world. Its owners strive to increase convenience by launching a website where future visitors can discover information about available accommodations, activities, amenities and move to a booking service.
The client selected the standard WordPress package, ensuring upfront website costs. The development team built the website from scratch, providing all required integrations. It also left room for future updates and expansion.
DQ Surgical is a renowned company specializing in medical equipment and sterilization container systems. As a part of services, the company offers COVID-19 testing from 11 locations across Germany. For it, the company required a website that enabled visitors to quickly check availability and book an appointment.
The IT Craft team prepared a list of tech requirements, then built a WordPress website from scratch while providing all necessary third-party integrations. Use of WordPress platform ensured cost-effectiveness. Third-party plugins enabled the team to decrease development time and costs.
To be able to erect a building, you obviously must study architecture and several related disciplines. So, too, websites from the ground up.
You choose from three options:
DIY builders, you need no technical skills at all. Simple and intuitive interface and easy instructions. All you need is some time and attention. A few hours to read the manual and FAQs would be enough to start. How much does it cost to build a website using a DIY builder? Cheap to start. Yet, costs often skyrocket when you add new features or the user load increases.
Customizable CMSs (e.g., WordPress) require tech understanding. Their manuals are longer and more complicated. Weeks or months of learning and training might be needed to learn the CMS up to an advanced level. Hiring a dedicated team will save you time. And costs, too.
Fully custom solutions, you need no technical education and skills. Your contractor undertakes the whole technical background and explains any related questions to you when necessary or when you ask. This is the most expensive option in terms of website costs—dollar-wise, not timewise.
Choose the option that suits you best. Follow the steps and take action now!