Website development cost: site building rates and maintenance expenses

ThinkMobiles Team 13/04/2017

Have you ever been interested to get to know about how web companies charge their own services? We have also made our own research about ‘how much does a website cost?’.

See also our website estimetor:

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How much does a website cost?

Web Builder Agencies

Mostly website charges depend on average hourly rate for web developers: how hard the task is, how much time it would take. Nothing new is here. Most of IT developers work in the same way.

For example our agency is based in Ukraine and taxes, rent and labor for each team member are still lower than in West Europe or North America. That means hourly rate for web development would be much lower (in range $25), as well as average price for a website for our clients.

There are still some west companies that have low charges for their work, but most of them use off-shores to maintain such kind of prices. It would be good to stay careful with offers that sound too good, too cheap, or unreal.

Finally, some companies may set a price for creating a website depending on value of your business. For example if your business value is $1 million, they may ask for 5% of it as cost for building website for such kind of customers.

Freelancers and Web Brokers

Meantime, freelancers, one-person developers and website brokers can also be competitive on their website price. But quality, reliability and lack of communication is the cost for such kind of economy.

Moreover, such choice may also lack the wide range of skills opposite to web companies, as well as work and result of it might be highly personalized.

Website Packages

There are still some agencies, that may suggest their customers to purchase website packages for a fixed price. It is mainly in few times lower than average cost for a website of such a type worldwide. But they may overcharge customers in other ways like “unincluded” features that you need.

Drag and Drop Builders

Also online tools like Wix, SquareSpace may suit for those who want to try to create website by own hands. However, these tools are complicated to use and hard to master, so average people still can’t use them entirely.

The tools like these are highly customizable, but require basic knowledge in coding, graphic design and other things to reach a unique and attractive result. But those challenges may still be ok for companies that want to try it themselves.


While looking at estimated prices with whomever you choose, ensure that there are no hidden extras. Large websites would take time to build, so there is a chance to be caught up for paying for things you wish, but didn’t include them into the list before.

Website design cost


Design costs start from zero dollars and fly up to the sky to reach high profit. It may hardly impact on any budget as much as you wish, reaching an attractive look for your own website. No doubt, that low quality design means nothing to world class, and creates more problems than profit.

Some options, such as WordPress “skins” create features, may save your money, but don’t give your website an unique look. Though designing from scratch is more unique and also may contain some functionality special for your audience.

Lower cost may be $0, but average website design prices vary in $100-$15,000 range initial investment.

Multimedia Design

In order to design a more eye-catching look and provide more interactive capabilities to website content, getting some multimedia features is a good idea. Such kind of actions may help to be noticed by audience, attract them and regain their interest.

As prices vary from firm to firm, multimedia parts may be cheap as well as hardly hurt budget. Simple multimedia slider would surely win less than insite interactive applications which customize products, show AR, or VR content etc.

Average cost of multimedia may vary from $300 to $10,000 initially, or even higher as more exclusive and interactive content you wish to obtain.

Additional website development expenses

Content Managment System (CMS)

Such kind of tools is ‘must have’ for everyone who has no clue in coding, but has needs in editing info, pages, and other information on the website. CMS solves that problem and provides ability to fully control data of websites without any coding required.

Like many other things CMS may be free and paid, with monthly or annual subscription. Each choice has different features, and, surely, the free-version is extremely limiting your actions, but helps save your money.

CMS varies from $0 to more than $10,000 annually, depending on the platform and features it obtains.

Responsive to Mobile

More and more people start using mobile for internet surfing and even shopping. But search engines had special algorithm for searching via mobile devices. So, the website that was not optimized for mobiles would be negatively affected.

Websites with a too wide for a phone screen don’t support mobile format. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to import web design to mobile format, so most of it should be redesigned manually. Obviously, optimization actions take time to make and test, so that also influences budget.

Average mobile optimization prices vary from $2,000 to $30,000. The larger the website is, the higher price would increase.

Database Integration

Never cheap, but expensive choice to integrate database can provide more useful additions to the website. That feature moves you from static website category to dynamic website, where visitors are also able to add their own data.

That may buff your online presence and make more functionality, interactive and attractive. However, websites which have database, are also more likely to go wrong, creating different issues and errors.

Average cost starts from $5,000 and goes high up to $25,000 and even more. All depends on the range of data parts that would be integrated.

Functions for e-Commerce Websites

e-Commerce websites have their own unique needs in functional kit. Without such kind of things like shopping carts, payment systems, shipping setups and tracking e-Commerce sites could not exist. However, all those features need time to be developed and tested.

Commonly, agencies don’t make any extra money on adding e-commerce features. But it needs time to ensure all parts of work correctly and any e-store customers don’t get into trouble. Because of this features require in-depth study, they would have major effect on website budget.

Average cost of e-Commerce features varies from $500 to $5,000 initial funding.

Regular non-development website expenses

The cost of a website may change extremely depending on different components they compose. Obviously, any basic websites with standard functional kit will cost less on start and by maintenance, then heavy e-Stores or those with business company’s database integrated.

Some website parts have just initial prices, others have cost per time, while some of them have both. Some prices are fixed, while others may vary from small to no-limit.

Domain Name

Chosen domain name is shown in the URL and is unique for all websites. Despite there may be sites with similar domain names, yours – is only yours. So, to get your hand on the domain name you like, you need to register it every year.

The cheapest end of scale varies from $1 and goes up to $15 for new names. However, the more popular and the more desirable the domain name is the higher price it will have. Sky is the only limit (for example, was sold for $5 million in 2007)

The average cost for a domain name varies from $1 to $15 yearly, but also may reach millions for initial purchase.


To be reachable in internet any website should be hosted on the host server. In other words, it is the service that gives website space on its own server and allows anyone to enter the website. While there are free options, most of them are usually paid, so it also influences site maintain cost.

Host cost may also vary in prices. While each brand host has its own prices, there are also 3 types of “servers” they may provide:

  • Shared server – your website shares server space with other websites. Like in ‘apartment building’ it is cheap, but lacks in security and is limited in space.
  • Virtual private server – your website is virtually separated from others, but it is still located on one physical hard-drive as others.
  • Dedicated server – you receive full control on the server and manage it as you wish.

You also may get your own server, but commonly, this way is more expensive than renting one from host-companies.

There are agencies around internet, that sell packages with both domain and host names mostly for nothing (near $15 per year).

Average cost for hosting varies from $5 to $250 and more per year, depending on traffic, security etc…

Top Good & Cheap web hosting services are iPage, BlueHost, GreenGeeks.

Best web host companies for enterprises, developers and high-traffic websites are InMotion, WP Engine, Media Temple.

Ongoing Maintenance

It’s necessary to be sure that the entire site works correctly without any issues. Nowadays, with extreme competition everywhere, having issues isn’t an option. Maintenance ensures that all parts of hardware and software work correctly.

Regular updates and adding new interesting features also attract visitors. Fast and quality work of website is the basis to retail audience and go high in search of engine result pages ranking.

Average cost goes from $200 to $1500 annually, and depends on complexity of the site.

SSL Certificates

Security socket layer is necessary to obtain for those websites that plan to collect and store tons of personal data from their own users. SSL ensures that info entered by site visitors using browser safety reaches target server.

Note that people avoid interaction with sites that lack SSL, especially e-stores. Fortunately, such kind of security measures doesn’t impact your budget. While some may reach $500 per year, most of SLL average price is ok.

Average SLL costs are between $9 and $60.

SSL providers with cheapest packages are RapidSSL, Alpha SSL.

Most reliable SSL providers are Verisign, GeoTrust, Comodo.

WordPress websites costs

WordPress is a famous free open-source content management system built in PHP and MySQL. Creating websites using WordPress tools is an easier way than building them from scratch, some examples may be built even without coding (but would lack uniqueness).

Using WordPress also gives some benefits to the website owner. First of all those sites may use design themes, different plugins, secure benefits, support services, Trackback and Pingback standards, tagging etc. Let’s take a closer look at them:

Themes cost

Websites on WordPress may have various customized design themes. For common users it’s the best way to change website look without rewriting core code of the site. Surely, coding would provide more benefits due to a more unique look and interactive possibilities.

Though WordPress developers designed free themes, web-marketplace presents premium for purchase. But be aware, the theme that promises tons of features might look like a great deal, but often simple themes that work good with popular plugins are better.

Average theme on WordPress cost goes from $0 to $400 annually. You may also hire designers to create the theme that suits you, or even do it by yourself.

Good WordPress themes marketplaces are TemplateMonster, Themeforest and, surely, WordPress itself.

Plugins cost

Nowadays, a number of WordPress plugins go beyond 49k, each of them provides custom features that allow to customize sites to your needs. Here may be found everything from search engine optimization to client portals.

However, not each one is created good enough and there are buggy ones. Also, not every plugin is updated regularly to meet WordPress changes. So not every of them works correctly, while others don’t function at all. So, choose those that are the most popular among similar.

Average WordPress plugin prices vary from $0 to $40 annualy each. Surely, you may handle without plugins as well.


As far as WordPress is popular around the globe, there is nothing special that it’s often targeted by hackers. That’s why security measures are welcomed and are rather necessary to work comfortably with WordPress sites.

While there are some free and cheap options to stay secured, most of welldone plugins are still premium, so they require purchase. It is difficult to suggest costs, it’s better to be sure that intruders don’t use your private information, and information of your visitor will be used against you.

There are free security options, but recommended security costs for WordPress website are near $200 per year.

Check out WordPress security plugins do be safe.

Average website cost we have done before

While we start website development costs estimate, we take into account overall complexity in order to calculate the total number of required hours. Meanwhile, as each website should be unique with its own brand, design, content and features kit, there are no fixed prices.

First of all: Each of our website is mobile-friendly with google Analytics integrated in it.

Basic info, business website:

Websites like these include 5-10 pages, limited functionality and mostly have no need in plugins. They are the simplest, so they also have the lowest cost of website development. There is no need in special or complex features.

This is the main reason to create such kind of website to obtain web presence and be some kind of ‘internet brochure’. It will answer the main questions like “what is it?”, “what do they do?”, “Are they good enough for me?”.

Small websites may provide tools for clients to communicate with their audience (blogging), manage business directly from the site or update and change content. These addons will prevent our clients from need in hiring programmers to do such kind of actions.

Content management system is commonly more time-consuming in creating than just making HTML code from scratch. Moreover, there is still a wide range of little testing moments, client service and content managements that also enlarge time and budget needs.

HTML languages are stable while also regularly updated, so that allows to tweak fast the website and keep it well. It is also important to be sure that the website is mobile friendly while more people prefer to browse from mobile devices.

First of all clients should decide everything they really need to ensure that developers can build websites exactly how the customers wish. Take in mind next steps:

  • How many pages do you wish? (average pages stay in 5-10 range)
  • What functionality do you want? (blogging, comments, gallery etc)
  • Would you provide designers with logo and other images, or they should design it?
  • What are plans for expansion in the future?
  • Also, we suggest some useful features as:
    • Social platforms integration (links and feeds);
    • Main blog;
    • Email subscription to newsletter;
    • Other small features like calendar, gallery, slideshow, etc.

Cost: $2,000 – $3,500

Advanced info, business website:

Such kind of websites are developed with fully functional set as well as with original design. Clients receive unique design and tools that allow the manager to update any content piece (images, text, etc). Also, the website like this is built with tools to create new custom pages.

These sites are developed with the idea that the client will make immersive number of updates and changes in closer future. So CMS tool helps making most of basic actions like ads or changing content without necessary knowledge about coding and web-design.

Social interaction parts are already necessary for websites of such caliber. Blogging informs visitors with news and other info about everyone. Meanwhile, audience may communicate with bloggers as well as with each other using comments.

Surely, these websites suit for companies that have high traffic, a larger assortment of products or services and need to be more informative for visitors. This also may be a good refresher for those who already have smaller sites, but need something larger and more dynamic.

But everyone should remember that the larger website will be, the longer time would it need to be made. This takes in account various reasons like testing, coding, designing etc. Nothing that may be done in a hurry.

  • Average number of website pages goes up to more than 20;
  • Websites must have CMS system;
  • Social interaction tools (comments or even forum);
  • Unique design is also important;
  • Various small but useful features (social network integration, gallery etc…)

Cost: $4,000 – $9,000

Custom info, business website:

Web development costs increase with numbers of pages, sections and functionality features. Such kind of website is commonly suitable for big companies or famous brands. The larger the site is the more flexibility it may offer for clients and visitors.

No doubt that CMS tool is a must have for such a caliber of website. Despite the fact that it is time-consuming and hard to build it provides great launching pad for future growth of the website and company online presence.

Meantime, large websites are obliged to be mobile-friendly. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to import classic-version to mobile-responsive format. So take it in mind and expect additional expenses to obtain site in both formats.

However, for usability of the site it should include social activity with full functional kit. Social network, blogging and other web applications with attractive design and content that attract visitors – all these cost both time and budget.

Countless websites may fall into this section, including such as Facebook, Forbes and others. Surely, sites like this may be also hard coded from scratch, but anyway it requires significant customization action and time.

So, websites in this category unlike any others need complex and close cooperations of web developers and designers. Moreover, it requires tons of time for creating plans, making researches, consulting, database building and testing.

In spite of coding and designing part of work there are other things that also influence price for website development:

  • More client-developer meetings;
  • More agency personnel involved in the process;
  • Larger scale exclusive features and design needed;
  • Additional security measures.

To develop such websites both the client and developers should have patience and reach high understanding for each other.

Cost: $8,000 – $45,000

e-Commerce website:

Such kind of websites were developed specially for companies that specialized on selling various products via internet platforms.

So, any e-Commerce site should be built and designed with the idea to make buying online comfortable, safe and intuitive. Such things like IE accept payment for chosen products, shipping, customer support tools etc.

To build even one simple purchase button (or accept payment or donations) into the website there are tons of challenges to solve first. Things go more complex as catalogue, shipping, email transmission are added.

Moreover, clients that look for e-Commerce websites, also need various other things like guidance, education and following:

  • Server setup system;
  • Choosing SLL options and purchases;
  • Account customization;
  • Shipping options (setting account and coordinates);
  • Email bot system (for “thank you” letters);
  • Catalog with various sections for different products;
  • Custom attractive design;
  • AR features support (optional).

Note: any good e-Commerce website should be mobile-friendly, while much more purchases around the world are made from mobile devices. That will expand audience, but also hit hard on website cost.

Cost: $5,000 – $40,000

Various option features that may be added to site functionality kit:

  • Account dashboards: + $1,000 – $2,500
  • Clients back-office systems: + $500 – $5,000
  • Custom product configurations: + $2,500 – $10,000
  • Subscription and membership: + $1,000 – $2,000
  • Multi-language support: + $1,000
  • Secure client database: + $1,000 – $3,000
  • Distributor data and directories: + $500 – $2,000
  • Extensive company team bios: + $500 – $1,000
  • Data migration, database configuration -$TBD
  • Additional optimization for social media -$TBD


It is all about the website size, design and flexibility. Small sites would not cost you much, but would provide online presence and a chance to be noticed. Major enterprise websites would give your company or brand stronger internet presence and, for sure, buff your business.

So, nowadays, having website even for small business is necessary to get known and be noticed. As there are billions of people using mobile devices while shopping in-store. So, having web presence is highly important.

More and more people use internet for various purposes and the number of hours that each of us stays connected to the web is rising from day to day. Soon, it will be true enough to say that having a website would be cheaper, than not having it.

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1 comment

John Hay Supetran

Great article. Neat and complete. Thank you for this