There is a misconception that people always looking for something free. When people are expecting something free, they are not expecting to give anything in return. For example, to create a WordPress website, it is free to use WordPress. But what is the real cost of a WordPress website?
Let’s find it out.
First of all, no matter whether are you using WordPress.com or WordPress.org, both these website builders are free to use. You don’t need to pay WordPress to use it.
However, there are some additional costs that you will need to take care of to run a website.
Today, we will reveal all the costs required to create a self-hosted WordPress website from scratch.
Before we start anything, let’s discuss this. What are WordPress.com and WordPress.org? And how different are they?
WordPress Website is Free
WordPress.com is a free hosted website-building platform. With WordPress.com, you don’t need to host or manage the website installation. All you need to do is to sign up for a new account and start customizing the website.
You don’t need to install WordPress, plugins, server maintenance and so on. Everything is managed by WordPress.
And of course, due to its simplicity, there are some limitations on the website features.
If you sign up for WordPress.com, you can use the basic version for free. And only upgrade to a paid plan if you need more features. Things like custom domain names, selling products and accepting payments, and display ads all would require a paid subscription to work.
WordPress.org is Not Free
WordPress.org, on the other hand, is a self-hosting solution. It’s an open-source content management system (CMS) that you will need to get a place to host your website. It can be either a web hosting service or your own server.
For this, there is more work to be done to get it set up. But you will get full control of your website. Unless your web hosting service company went out of business and you lose access to the web server, else you can control almost everything in it.
WordPress itself is open-source software that you can download and install on your web hosting server for free. Else, some web hosting service providers do provide one-click installation for WordPress as well.
With WordPress, you can now control the entire website, no more tiered paid plan to control what you can do. You can install different plugins like WooCommerce to add an eCommerce feature to your website and start selling products on it.
The plugins are also free to download and install, but of course, the plugin creator might charge some premium for exclusive features.
So, with WordPress.org, you will need to pay for your own domain name and web hosting service to start. And of course, WordPress expert cost if you decide to hire someone to create it for you.
Cost Breakdown For a WordPress Website
For us, we always suggest starting directly with a self-hosted WordPress website instead of starting from the free-hosted WordPress due to its flexibility to manage and customize.
So, now the next question would be how much will it be to run a self-hosted WordPress website and what are all the costs involved.
Don’t worry, with that, you can still start with a very low budget. In fact, you only need two paid items to start. A domain and web hosting. And of course, you can get both at a very low price.
Only when your business grows and you need more functions, then you may get some paid plugins or themes to increase your website’s attractiveness.
1. Web Hosting for WordPress Website
Web hosting is the most important for a self-hosted WordPress website. It’s the place where you install your website information, and let people access your website.
A web hosting service can be costly if you opt for dedicated server hosting, which you definitely don’t need when starting out. Instead, you can start with shared hosting for a very cheap price. Compared to a dedicated hosting service, a shared hosting service means the service provider is partitioning the server virtually and you are getting a single partition of it.
In some cases, since the resources are shared, you might need to fight for the resource during peak hours. But in general, it’s totally fine to start and use shared hosting.
Another factor will be your customer location and the server location. You definitely should get a hosting server that is near your customers. This is so that your web loading time can be reduced.
Hence, investing in a trustable and good-performance web hosting service is definitely very important to secure good customer experience and web reliability.
Making sure that your hosting is up-to-date and securely configured can save you both time and money. You definitely don’t want your website is always down for maintenance due to the hosting.
Another thing to look at will be the bandwidth and storage for your hosting plan. These will surely affect your website performance and customer experience.
Bluehost Web Hosting
Bluehost is an accredited web-hosting service provider working closely to optimise WordPress website hosting. Being the top service provider, Bluehost is also one of the three web hosting services listed on WordPress.org.
Not to forget, you can get WordPress web hosting for $2.95 per month only. And you can expand to a higher plan on demand. Bluehost does provide also one-click WordPress installation feature, making it so easy to install and deploy a WordPress website on it.
2. Domain Name for WordPress Website
If you don’t know what is a domain name, www.yourdomainname.com is a domain name. The name that people enter in the search bar to browse your website.
You definitely want a custom domain name that can represent your company and what you are doing. At the same time, something that people can remember easily. This is for when people want to look for your website, they can find it instantly.
Not only that, it will increase the trustworthiness of your website as well. People will think that you are legit as you take the action to get a domain. As compared to some who use a subdomain from their web builder.
Having a custom domain name is important for your online branding as well. You can have the same brand name across different platforms to build standard branding.
You can start by checking the name availability for domains and different platforms using the free tool called Namechk.
Then when you found the right name, proceed to a registrar to purchase your domain. You can buy it from a third-party registrar or even from the web hosting service provider directly.
It will be good that you check on registrars like Namecheap or Godaddy and compare them with Bluehost because different registrars might offer different prices for the same domain name.
They might provide some discounts or offers together with their service.
For example, Bluehost does offer 1-year free domain with their web hosting subscription. But, you need to read the terms and the renewal fee as sometimes the renewal cost in the second year might spike.
3. SSL certificate
A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate is an important security feature for any website. In layman’s terms, it’s the HTTPS in front of the domain name. And normally, some browsers will flag it as insecure if your site is without the SSL certificate.
Having a secure connection will protect your visitors’ personal data for not being intercepted by a third party. This is especially important if you process the payment on your website. Without a secure connection, both you and your clients will be at risk of a data breach.
It is highly recommended to get one for your website. Going for a paid version might cost you a bit more, but it will be much easier to implement and manage compared to the free version.
To get one, you might be able to get it from your web hosting provider or even the domain registrar. You definitely don’t want to have any issues on your website due to corruption or expired SSL certificates.
A WordPress theme is a collection of files that determine the design and functionality of a WordPress website. It defines the look and feel of the site, including the layout, colours, fonts, and styles for various pages and elements.
Themes can also include custom templates for specific types of pages, as well as options for customizing the site’s settings and behaviour. WordPress themes are usually built using HTML, CSS, and PHP and can be easily installed and switched to change the appearance of a site without affecting its content.
WordPress offers a lot of themes both free and paid. And there is no reason why you can’t start with a free theme. Some themes even provide different starter templates based on industry. This includes digital agencies, personal blogs, online shops, travel websites and more.
And there are also some premium WordPress themes on the market that cost from $50 to a few hundred per year. The charges vary depending on the complexity of the features included. In some cases, you won’t be needing it.
Anyway, a free theme is sufficient for you to start and build a great website. One of the free themes that we recommend is called Astra Theme. Astra theme is a well-built theme with different starter templates for different website types. Not only that, but it also works with different builders like Spectra, Elementor, and Beaver Builder.
There is a premium version for Astra pro plan which let you unlock more features like hosting your online courses and so on. You may decide later whether you need to go for the pro plan or not.
Plugins are essential for WordPress websites. As WordPress is designed as an open-source content management system (CMS), it only provides basic features that a website need.
This is because WordPress is designed for everyone. And not everyone will need all the features. Having more unnecessary features will only slow down the website’s loading speed, which is not good for the user experience.
This is why WordPress introduces plugins to add features to your WordPress websites. You can access to WordPress plugin market from the left sidebar. There are plenty of free and premium plugins available.
You should install only the plugins that you really need for your website to avoid adding unnecessary weight to your website.
Some common plugins that we use include SEO optimization, contact form, social media integration, website optimization and reporting plugins. You might add on others like eCommerce plugins or membership plugins depending on your business.
6. Website Security
When you are online, people are trying to spam and hack your website to steal valuable information. This is especially important if you are processing payments on your website.
Although WordPress is generally considered a secure platform, extra precaution still needs to be taken to avoid any issue.
By installing security plugins and regularly updating your WordPress and themes, you can also minimize the risk.
And to avoid losing all your website data, it is advisable to always keep a backup on a regular basis. If anything unfortunate happens, you can always restore from it.
It’s also important to back up your data on a regular basis. If something does happen to your website, it’s good to have a copy of your data to restore.
7. Custom development
Also, do keep some budget in case you need some custom development. Although you can do a lot of things with basic WordPress with the plugins. However, there might be times when you will need a customised feature.
It can be things like optimizing your website to load faster, or custom development for a sales funnel to simplify your checkout process.
These customizations can cost you quite a lot depending on its complexity.
This is not a must, but sometime you might need this to get what you want.
How Much You Need To Start a WordPress Website.
WordPress is one of the most popular CMS platforms that supports millions of websites. It is free and very easy to install and launch.
However, due to the nature of the open-source software, you need to host it somewhere. And when you need more features, you might need some additional paid plugins or themes to build something you need.
In overall, you should be able to get your entire website running, in less than <100. This will cover your web hosting and domain name cost.
Everything else is optional, from premium themes and plugins to custom development work. You can get it if you really need it. Else, without that, your website will still be working fine. Selling products/services and getting paid.
If you decided to start today, you can sign up for Bluehost web hosting and get your domain from Namecheap. Then install the Astra theme, and get one of the starter templates that suit your business to start.
No matter which route you take, if you started and would need help, you can always leave a message on our website. Our team will be able to support you for free to get you started.