How much does it cost to maintain a WordPress website?

Just like web development costs, website maintenance costs can vary greatly depending on complexity of project. For example, if you own a static business page where information is updated a few times a year, your maintenance costs may include just hosting and domain name renewal plus basic  software updates. Online stores, travel sites, news sites etc usually require more monthly work and therefore their recurring costs are higher.

In this blog post, I will cover common website maintenance costs related to running a WordPress website.

 

Hosting

Your website needs to be hosted somewhere and you have to pay for that – that’s clear. Many people confuse the cloud-based WordPress platform (sites registered via wordpress.com) with “the real WordPress” (the one that you download from wordpress.org). In the first case, you pay the WordPress platform a small monthly fee (usually 5 to 25 EUR) and your website is hosted on their servers. This is definitely not what I recommend doing because this version is very limited compared to the “real” WordPress. It is, in fact, a completely different product and may be suitable for hobby sites or personal blogs.

So, you will need to choose a hosting company (I can help you with that) and you’ll be paying them a fixed monthly fee (or yearly, which usually saves you 5-20%). A good shared hosting costs between 10 EUR and 30 EUR per month. If you run an e-commerce website, you will probably need a more powerful and flexible solution (e.g. VPS), so average monthly fees for a small to mid-sized online store may be 50 to 150 EUR here.

Domain name

The cheapest domain names start from 10 EUR per year, but maybe you’ll also want to purchase additional domain names with different suffixes (like example.com, example.eu, .example.co.uk etc) so that your competitors cannot buy them. There’re some fancy domain name suffixes like .travel, .movie or .flowers that can cost 150-250 EUR per year, but most businesses go for a local suffix (.co.uk, .de, .fr etc) or the old good .com.

SSL Certificate

As of July 2018, the Chrome browser marks all http websites as “not secure”. Every well-maintained website nowaday uses the https protocol to serve data to their visitors. To serve your website via https, you will need to purchase a SSL certificate and renew it every year. In fact you can even use a free SSL certificate from your hosting provider (if they provide one), or from a CDN like Cloudflare. Paid SSL certificates can cost from 5 EUR to 250 EUR per year – again, depending on your business needs. For example, an e-commerce website needs a higher level of security than a simple business site.

CDN

CDN stands for Content Distribution Network and it’s a technology that helps serve your content from data centres nearest to visitor’s location, thus making your website load faster. A CDN usually also protects your site from bad bots and aggressive traffic. Maybe you have heard about CDNs like Cloudflare, KeyCDN or Incapsula before. There’re usually both free and paid plans. Free plans work best for smaller websites and static business sites, while paid plans provide extra protection and advanced caching for high-load projects. Paid Cloudflare plans start from 20 USD per month, Incapsula is more expensive starting from 59 USD per month. But once again, a free plan will absolutely work for a small website.

Paid plugins

These are usually paid for on a yearly basis. A smaller website can run with no paid plugins at all, but it’s common for WordPress websites to be using 1-3 paid plugins, that’s just cheaper and simpler than hiring a web developer for writing custom code and updating it. Average WordPress plugin price is about 50 EUR per year. For example, Slider Revolution, a popular plugin for building complex animated sliders, costs 25 USD per year, per website. Another popular addon, a caching plugin called WP Rocket, costs 33 EUR per year, per website.

Web developer fees

A WordPress website requires regular updates. You may need to pay your web developer a monthly fee for minor edits, core/plugin updates, and other maintenance. Some developers charge hourly for this type of work, but it’s common to charge a fixed monthly rate that covers a certain volume of work. Maintenance fees can start from 25-50 EUR per month, additional work like making changes to your website layout, publishing new content and adding new features can cost about 20-50 EUR per hour.

If you’re tight on budget, you can learn updating WordPress yourself. Just make sure you have automatic backups activated on your hosting server 😉 If anything goes wrong, you can roll back to a safe copy and hire a web developer for assistance.

A common model for website maintenance and updates is a fixed monthly rate + hourly rate for extra work.

Other costs

We’ve listed most standard WordPress maintenance expenses, but additional costs may arise as well. For example, I’ve seen web font licenses that require a monthly fee based on number of pageviews! Or, if you’re running an ecommerce website, your payment gateway will charge you a small fee on every transaction. Or you might be using some other third-party integrations.

Conclusion

Every website is different and its monthly/yearly maintenance costs should be calculated individually. For a small website, these costs can be as low as 100 EUR per year, that’s just 10 EUR per month. An ecommerce website with up to 5.000 product titles is more likely to cost you between 100 EUR and 300 EUR per month.

More questions about building a WordPress website? Please feel free to contact me!