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October 03, 2022

WordPress powers over 40% of all websites on the internet for a reason. As a powerful open source content management system, WordPress is the perfect option for building a website without advanced coding skills or huge investments. This is what we all have heard, but is it really that simple?

In this comprehensive guide to the WordPress platform and hosting, Nexcess will offer a WordPress website cost estimator. We will provide you with a full cost breakdown of building, hosting, and maintaining your WordPress website, whether it’s a blog, small business portal, or an online store.

The Cost of a WordPress Website: Pricing

Is WordPress free? This question is often asked by aspiring website owners. WordPress is an open source platform for website building, which means that the core functionality it offers is free, and you do not have to pay a subscription fee to keep using it. Moreover, as WordPress improved over the years, its built-in features can be just enough to run a small blog or even an ecommerce website if you use all the tools at your disposal wisely.

WordPress is definitely the best choice to create a website on a budget. However, it takes a significant amount of time and effort to make the most of its free functionality. Is it actually worth it in the long run? Most of the time, you will need a number of additional features, which can be provided by WordPress plugins and themes, both free and paid.

Before building your online presence, you need a clear understanding of WordPress website costs, including WordPress hosting. The costs of running a WordPress website differ dramatically, ranging from just $10-20 to a few thousand dollars a month.

Online resources can help you understand how WordPress works. You can also learn about the plugin, functionality, and customization options available to you.

WordPress.com and WordPress.org are the two major online platforms that you as a future WordPress website owner will choose between.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

Throughout the long and fascinating history of WordPress, the platform has undergone many changes, with thousands of individual developers and whole companies contributing to its success. The existence of WordPress.com and WordPress.org is a great representation of how the platform can remain free open source software, but at the same time allow its creators to build and maintain the brand.

WordPress.com is an online platform for building and hosting WordPress websites offered by Automattic, the company behind WordPress. It is the official WordPress hosting solution that includes both free and paid plans. The free WordPress hosting plan includes very limited functionality and can not be used to launch an online business, as its main goal is to help you learn what WordPress has to offer.

WordPress.org is the platform that unites the WordPress community and provides a catalog of open source software for expanding the core functionality of the content management system. WordPress.org is a resource where you can explore WordPress plugins and themes, and choose what additional features you would like to add to your website. Plugins and themes will form a large part of your WordPress website costs.

All in one WordPress solutions

Factors That Influence the Cost of a WordPress Website

Key factors impacting your WordPress website cost can be broken down into two categories: WordPress website building and administration costs, and WordPress hosting expenses. The chosen WordPress hosting provider will ensure that your website stays accessible to your potential customers, while you work on improving the user experience and growing your online business.

WordPress Hosting Plans

A hosting plan is a set of hosting services available to you on a monthly or yearly subscription basis. It will include a fast and secure hosting platform for running your website, along with a number of software solutions for website management. Your hosting provider will become the point of contact if any issues occur, or you need any assistance performing website administration tasks.

WordPress hosting plans offer server infrastructure optimized for the needs of the content management system, and a range of tools for technical aspects of running a WordPress website. The infrastructure optimizations provide improved website performance and security, and can include SSL certificates, caching solutions, and a content delivery network. WordPress website management tools can include automatic updates and backups, staging environments, and premium plugins and themes.

We will discuss WordPress themes, plugins, and extensions later in the guide. However, keep in mind that your hosting provider can help reduce your WordPress website costs significantly with server-side solutions and plugins included in WordPress hosting plans. Another aspect to keep in mind is email, and whether your WordPress plan will include email hosting, or you will need to search for an email service provider.

WordPress Hosting Pricing

Hosting expenses will greatly increase your WordPress website costs. WordPress hosting pricing starts at around $10 per month for shared and managed cloud hosting plans. It can go up to $1000+ for high-availability enterprise hosting solutions. Choose a WordPress hosting provider that includes more features and offers great support for an affordable price.

Nexcess offers secure, high-performance hosting for WordPress and WooCommerce with a large number of features and customization options, and their award-winning support team is just one call away.

Choosing a Domain Name

No online business can exist without a domain. A domain name is a unique identifier for your business that helps potential customers find you online. Choosing the right domain name is key to standing out from the competition and ranking well on search engines like Google.

Building a strong brand identity and your SEO strategy starts with domain registration. You can choose any domain registrar — a company offering domain registration services — but purchasing a domain and hosting together often offers a number of benefits. Some hosting companies offer a free domain name for the first year and one management portal for both hosting and domain administration.

Purchasing a domain is part of your WordPress website costs

Domain Registration Pricing

Depending on the top-level domain, or the domain extension, domain registration costs range from $10 to $30 annually. Most of the time, you will need to renew your domain name every year, with most companies allowing for automatic renewal. Having a free domain name or a discount included in the WordPress hosting plan is a great way to lower your WordPress website costs, especially at the start.

Nexcess offers domain registration services, with .com domain names starting at $15 yearly.

WordPress Themes: Free or Premium?

Building a WordPress website, you can choose from thousands of spectacular web designs with a wide variety of features and customization options. WordPress themes are templates that help you bring your ideas to life without any previous experience in website building and design. Whatever WordPress theme you choose defines the content layout and the overall look of your website.

Default WordPress Themes

WordPress offers a number of free default themes that are included in each WordPress installation. Once you install WordPress for the first time, you will see three standard themes named after the years in which they were released — Twenty Twenty, Twenty Twenty One, and Twenty Twenty Two. Default WordPress themes offer basic functionality and customization options for website building.

WordPress themes must also be calculated into the WordPress website cost

Free and Premium WordPress Themes

WordPress is highly customizable. You can choose from thousands of multipurpose and business-specific themes, both free and premium. Premium themes often provide better designs and customization, and more content templates, although a large percentage of WordPress website owners are fully content with what some free themes have to offer.

Numerous premium-like WordPress themes are free and provide a great user experience, such as OceanWP, Neve, and Kadence WP, the default theme on all Nexcess managed WordPress hosting plans. Themes like StoreFront and ShoppingCart are among the best WordPress ecommerce themes.

WordPress Website Design Costs

Choose a theme according to the type of website you are designing, but keep in mind that the template you pick will be the central part of your WordPress website design costs. WordPress theme prices vary dramatically, ranging from $50 to $300 yearly, although some allow for purchasing a lifetime license.

Plugins and Extensions

Plugins and extensions are indispensable and absolutely necessary for running a WordPress website of any kind. By extending the native capabilities of WordPress, plugins can help you accomplish a large number of tasks. Performance and security, backups, search engine optimization, and ecommerce functionality — these are just a few areas where WordPress plugins can help you improve your website and add the functionality you need.

As plugins are essentially add-ons, a fresh WordPress installation won’t have any plugins installed by default. You can browse the catalog of WordPress plugins with their descriptions and user reviews on WordPress.org. Just like themes, WordPress plugins can be free or paid, depending on the list features included.

While there are some great free plugins available, most security, performance, and backup plugins, as well as ecommerce extensions, are paid. Premium plugins can be included in your hosting plan, which again highlights the importance of choosing the right WordPress hosting solution. For example, Nexcess provides iThemes Security Pro, the industry-leading premium WordPress security plugin, for free on all fully managed WordPress hosting plans.

WordPress Plugins and Extensions Pricing

Prices for most premium WordPress plugins range from $10 to $100 monthly, although sometimes you can purchase a lifelong subscription. You can substantially reduce your WordPress website costs if your hosting plans include premium plugins installed by default. Regardless of what plugins you choose, do not install any software from unverified sources. This can put your website at great risk, which can then turn into hundreds of dollars spent on malware remediation.

Nexcess offers Plugin Installer, a custom catalog of the best plugins and extensions on WordPress, WooCommerce, and StoreBuilder hosting plans. Nexcess Plugin Installer makes it easier to choose the best solutions by offering everything you need to customize your website, carefully selected by the Nexcess’ team of WordPress experts.

Nexcess plugin installer

Monthly WordPress Costs

Typically, monthly WordPress website costs are comprised of hosting, domain registration, design costs, and plugin subscription expenses. Those can vary dramatically depending on the type of website you are running, the chosen WordPress hosting provider, and the software solutions you choose to extend the native capabilities of WordPress.

If you are building a small WordPress website which does not require using a premium theme or any paid plugins, you can significantly reduce your WordPress website costs. In this case, your WordPress costs will be defined by WordPress hosting and domain registration expenses, and can be as low as $10-20 monthly.

For medium-sized and large websites, including ecommerce sites, monthly WordPress website costs can range from $100 to a few thousand dollars, depending on the chosen WordPress hosting plan and types of plugins installed. Moreover, most mission-critical WordPress websites, including huge WooCommerce marketplaces, often require hiring a developer or even a whole team dedicated to web development and maintenance, which results in higher costs.

How to Estimate the Cost of Building a WordPress Website

To estimate the cost of building and managing a WordPress website, you need to take three main aspects into account.

  • Website type. Clearly define what type of WordPress website you would like to build. Depending on whether it is a blog, an online portal for your business, or an online store or marketplace, WordPress website costs will vary significantly.
  • Hosting. Shared, cloud, VPS, and dedicated hosting — the many types of WordPress hosting available in today’s saturated market can meet diverse requirements of all business owners. Monthly hosting costs can range from $10 to $1000+  depending on the type of hosting and features included in the hosting plan.
  • Website design and functionality. WordPress plugins and themes define the design of your WordPress website and its functionality. Consider which features you absolutely need and which can possibly be included in your hosting plan, so you can reduce your monthly WordPress website costs.

The Cost of a WordPress Blog

A blog is the easiest to build and the most affordable type of website you can create using WordPress. Moreover, blogs are natively faster and more secure, which results in lower requirements for the features WordPress hosting plans and plugins need to provide.

Lower Requirements for Hosting and WordPress Add-Ons

There is a simple explanation for that. WordPress blogs have significantly less dynamic content compared to business websites and ecommerce, so it requires fewer hosting resources to work correctly. Blog posts remain unchanged, which means that static content largely prevails on WordPress blogs. This ensures better performance with lower requirements for server infrastructure, and a reduced attack surface.

WordPress Website Design Costs

There are a large number of free WordPress themes that will help you design your blogs. The most popular and widely used of them include GeneratePress, Kadence WP, and OceanWP.

WordPress Blog Total Costs

The cost of running a WordPress blog typically ranges from $15 to $30 monthly, which includes WordPress hosting and domain registration costs. If you would like to use a premium theme or install a number of paid plugins, your monthly costs can double or even triple, reaching $100-$150.

The Cost of a Small Business Website

A small business website sits between a WordPress blog and an online store when it comes to the costs associated with bringing it online. The amount of dynamic content and the additional features you may need can vary greatly depending on your goals and what exactly you are planning to host.

Higher Requirements for Security and Performance

Your website represents the image of your business online. It’s important for your site to have great performance and security to make sure that your business is well represented. Moreover, if you accept inquiries from your customers or even store any customer data, you will need to make sure that their sensitive information is secure on your website.

Design and Functionality

You can still use free WordPress themes to design your business website, as those would meet all your requirements in most cases. You may need to use premium plugins, which can include security, search engine and performance optimization solutions, and email software.

WordPress Business Website Total Costs

The cost of running a WordPress business website can be as low as $15-30 monthly. In most cases it will reach $50-150+, especially if you install premium plugins, sign up with an email service provider, or choose a bigger WordPress hosting plan.

The Cost of Building an Ecommerce Website on WordPress

With the rapid development of ecommerce, online store owners face more challenges than ever before. Online stores and marketplaces built on WooCommerce require high performance and advanced security measures in order to provide a safe and enjoyable shopping experience. It inherently results in higher website building and maintenance costs.

Security and Performance

Dynamic content, sensitive customer information, and accepting payments significantly extends the list of software solutions you will need to use. Moreover, you will need to ensure fast page load times. If your product catalog loads slowly, your potential customers will find another seller.

Choose high-performance WooCommerce hosting with advanced security features, such as a CDN, SSL certificates, and PCI compliance.

Ecommerce Functionality

WooCommerce is a robust ecommerce platform that offers a wide range of built-in solutions for product catalogs, payment processing, and pricing management. There are a number of premium plugins and extensions that simplify most ecommerce management tasks as your online store grows and attracts more customers.

WordPress Ecommerce Website Total Costs

Ecommerce businesses cost more to build and host. A small online store will cost you $30-80 to operate monthly. Midsize and large ecommerce websites require a monthly budget of $100-1000+ depending on the number of daily visitors, orders placed, and the additional functionality you wish to implement.

How Much Should a WordPress Website Cost?

With its extensive native capabilities, WordPress allows you to design and build a website without any coding skills or huge investments. WordPress hosting pricing, domain registration fees, and what theme and plugins you select are the main factors determining your WordPress website costs.

How much should a WordPress website cost? There is no definitive answer to this question. If you plan to build an online business using WordPress, think of what functionality you absolutely need on your future website, and find the best WordPress hosting solution depending on your budget and the features you would like to see included.

Nexcess can save you hours looking for the best WordPress hosting solution. Whether you are building a blog, a business website, or an online store, we are ready to accommodate your needs. Nexcess takes pride in powering thousands of mission-critical websites, keeping your business online no matter what. Providing unrivaled performance, enterprise-grade security, and the best support in the industry for over two decades, we know exactly what your online business needs.

Fully optimized for WordPress and WooCommerce, Nexcess fully managed hosting plans include premium solutions for designing and managing your website.

Unlock the power of WordPress with fully managed WordPress and WooCommerce hosting plans from Nexcess.

Kiki Sheldon
Kiki Sheldon


Kiki works as a Security Specialist for Liquid Web. Before joining the Abuse & Security Operations Department, she worked on the Liquid Web Managed Hosting Support Team, where she gained extensive knowledge of Linux System Administration and popular Content Management Systems (CMSs).

Kiki’s passion for writing allows her to share her professional expertise and help others. She keeps up with technology and always looks to improve her technical skills. In her free time, she enjoys reading, especially classic books and detective stories.