How much does a website cost?

Is there a general range I should expect to pay for a new website?

If you’re just getting started online, then you’ve probably turned these questions over in your head.

They’re very important questions to answer. Unfortunately, there isn’t a straightforward answer for either of them. It all depends on the goals of your site, the type of site you’re building, and the method you’re going to take to build out your website.

As a general rule of thumb the more hands-on you’re going to be throughout the process the lower the cost will be. So, using a website builder or a CMS will be much cheaper than hiring a professional website designer.

Below we’ll examine how much a website costs to build, as well as the factors that will influence the overall cost.

drag and drop website builder

Website Cost Considerations

The price of your website will depend on a lot of different factors. Both pre-existing factors, as well as the type of site you’re going to build.

Here are a few of the main considerations that will influence the overall price.

1. Your Choice of Domain and Hosting

Every website needs a domain name and hosting. Your domain name is what people will type into the address bar to access your site. While your hosting is where all of your website’s files will be stored. You can purchase these together or separately.

2. The Platform That Powers Your Site

You’re going to have a lot of different options when it comes to building out your site. You can use a website builder, choose a CMS like WordPress, or even hire a professional to build your site for you. With WordPress, you can rely on free themes and plugins to reduce your overall cost, while with a website builder you’ll typically pay a monthly fee. Hiring a web developer will be the most expensive option. We’ll cover this in more detail below.

3. The Type of Website You’re Building

The type of website you’re building will greatly influence the overall cost. For example, if you’re building a simple personal blog, then your expenses will be very low. But, if you’re building out a complex eCommerce store, then you should expect higher website build costs.

Generally, the more complex and feature-rich your website, the higher the cost will be. But, this cost can be offset by doing most of the design tasks yourself, or using the right website builder software or CMS.

Essential Website Expenses: Domains and Hosting Costs

The overall cost of building your site will be greatly influenced by factors above, like the type of site you’re building, and what software or platform will form the foundation for your site.

But, there are two essential expenses to building a website that you won’t be able to avoid: your domain name and hosting.

Here’s how the cost of these two elements breaks down.

1. Domain Name Costs

Your domain name is probably one of the first things you’ll purchase. Your domain name is the URL that people will type into their website browser to actually view your site.

We won’t get into choosing your domain name here. But here are a few great resources for choosing the perfect domain name:

Every domain isn’t created equal. Most domains will run you around $9 to $15 per year. However, the costs can run up into the hundreds or thousands, if you’re absolutely set on a certain domain.

Here are a few factors that will influence the overall cost of your domain:

The Top-Level Domain

The top-level domain is the .com or .org that follows your domain. The top-level domain or domain name extension you choose will influence the overall cost of your domain.

There are dozens of different top-level domains to choose from. But, the most common are .com, .org, .net, and .co. You’re probably best off choosing .com if it’s available.

A lot of other domain name extensions are experimental, or country-specific, but sticking with common and widely recognized extensions is probably your best bet.

Going for more abstract and creative domain name extensions will probably add a higher fee to your domain name purchase.

The Type of Domain

Purchasing a brand new domain will definitely be the cheapest option for acquiring a domain. But, there are other options available if you’re absolutely set on a domain.

Here are two common methods for acquiring a domain besides purchasing it through a registrar:

  • Reach out to the current site owner. If you do a domain search on HostGator Domains and see that the domain is already taken, then you might be able to get in touch with the owner and place a bid. This will usually be a more expensive route. You should expect to pay at least a couple hundred dollars, maybe more.
  • Purchase your domain through a marketplace. There are sites like Sedo that list domain names that people already own. These domains are pretty pricey, but if you have the budget, this allows you to buy a domain outright, or make an offer.

Once you’ve settled on your domain name it’s time to buy it. If you’re looking for the best deal, then you’ll probably want to buy your domain name right here at HostGator.

Just type in your desired domain name, see if it’s available, and complete the purchase. If your domain is available, then your desired extension will influence the yearly price.

check is domain name is available

You can simplify your life even further by purchasing your domain name and hosting together.

2. Website Hosting Costs

Choosing the right web host for your website is a decision you’ll want to take seriously. The right web host will make it easy for you to build your website, as well as improve site performance, keep your site secure, and a lot more.

When it comes to web hosting, you’re going to have a lot of different hosting options to choose from. For example, you’ve got shared hosting, WordPress hosting, cloud hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated hosting. On top of that, you have different hosting plans within each type of hosting.

The hosting package you choose will greatly influence how much your site costs to build.

Generally, hosting packages will range from $10/month to $150+/mo. That’s just a very basic estimation. Shared hosting will typically be the cheapest plan, but as your website requires more server resources to function, then you’ll need to upgrade to a more expensive plan.

However, as your website grows, both in size and traffic levels, you’ll hopefully be making more money to cover the additional hosting costs.

If this is your first website, then a basic shared hosting package will probably be the best type of hosting for your needs. Shared hosting is beginner-friendly, easy to set up, is very cheap, and gives you enough server resources to get you through the initial stages of growing your site.

Did we mention it’s cheap? Yes.

hostgator shared hosting plans

Here at HostGator, you can pick up the cheapest shared hosting plan for less than $3 a month!

Website Design Costs: DIY vs. Professional Services

With your domain name and hosting secured it’s time to look at the other big factor that’ll influence the cost of building your website.

This section is highly variable, as you’ll soon learn. But, as a general rule of thumb, the more work you’ll willing to do yourself, the cheaper designing your website will be.

Here’s a look at the two different routes to building your website:

1. DIY Website Building Costs

When building your website yourself you’re going to have a few different options to explore. Unless you know how to code (or want to learn), you’ll primarily be relying on a website builder or a CMS like WordPress to build out your site.

Here’s a cost breakdown of each of these two routes to site creation.

Cost of Using a Website Builder

Website builders make it incredibly easy to build out your site. These tools are created for complete beginners meaning it won’t take any coding knowledge to build out your site.

The general process will be as follows: you select a template, make changes via a drag and drop interface, add your content, then publish your site.

There are dozens of different website builders that exist online today, including one here at HostGator. By using a builder like the Gator Website Builder you’ll help to keep costs low while building out a beautiful and functional website.

choose website template with gator website builder

Cost of Using WordPress to Build Out Your Site

Another common option is using WordPress to build out your site. WordPress is a free CMS, so there won’t be any upfront costs required to build your site.

All you need to do is install WordPress on your site, which you can do from within cPanel.

Then, you’ll customize your site by choosing a theme, and add more features to your site via the vast plugin library.

The costs for using WordPress to build your site are highly variable. For example, you can get away with building a WordPress site entirely for free by relying on free themes and plugins.

Or, you can spend $100+ on a premium theme, along with premium plugins that range from $10-50+ per month. It all depends on your theme and plugin selection.

2. Professional Website Design Costs

Getting your website built by a professional will be the most expensive option by far. The price for a professional website build will vary greatly. The overall cost depends on the type of site you want to be built and who you’re using to build out your website.

Here’s a general average cost breakdown for professional web design services:

  • Basic small business site – $1000 – $7500+
  • Larger business site – $10,000 – $25k+
  • eCommerce site – $5000 – $20k+
  • Freelance hire – $500 – $5000+

These are very rough estimates. Generally, if you’re going to hire a developer via a site like Upwork then your costs will be cheaper than if you’re hiring a web design agency to build out your site. It’ll also be cheaper to have a developer customize an existing theme than create a brand new WordPress theme from scratch.

On the other hand, if you hire a web design agency, they’ll be able to bring their expertise from creating hundreds of sites and apply that knowledge to your site. They may also bring additional expertise a freelance developer may not have, like UX, SEO, and PPC.

How Much Does a Website Cost? The Verdict

Hopefully, you have a better idea of the answer to the question: how much does a website cost?

As you can see there are ways you can build a website for basically nothing, while other website builds will run up into the thousands of dollars.

If you’re looking for the cheapest way to get a website online, then consider using some of the resources here at HostGator. For a domain name and the cheapest shared hosting plan, you’re looking at roughly a $15 upfront investment. Then, you can use WordPress or the bundled website builder.

If you’re going to be hiring a professional to build out your website then expect to pay a lot more. The overall cost will depend on the designer or design firm you’re using, along with what you’re asking them to do. For example, doing WordPress theme customizations will be cheaper than building out a 100-page eCommerce site.

There is no clear cut cost for the price you’ll pay to build out your website. But, this is kind of a good thing. It means that you can build a website, no matter your budget or existing technical skills. You can create your new website yourself, or you can hire a professional to take care of everything for you.

Overall, it’s up to you how much your website costs to build. Whether you have a low or high budget, you’ll be able to find the right combination of tools to help launch your dream website.

Kevin Wood writes about technology and human potential. You can find him at his virtual homes Wooden Writing and Counter Culturist.