Website Maintenance Cost

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Everything you need to know about website maintenance pricing

It only takes about 50 milliseconds (that’s 0.05 seconds!) for users to form an opinion about your website – and decide whether or not they want to stay. Keeping your website up-to-date is an important way to show its quality, and the cost of maintaining a website pays off in the end: 47% of customers will visit a company’s website before deciding whether or not to make a purchase, so you’ll want to make sure everything looks fresh and runs smoothly!

So, how much does website maintenance cost?

Website maintenance costs vary depending on the size and intent of your website – but even the smallest sites should expect to spend about $100/year. Midsize websites will end up costing between $400- $500/year, while larger business and ecommerce sites can easily enter the $1,000+ annual range.

Here’s what you can expect from the eight essential costs:

Breakdown: the cost of maintaining a website

    1. Domain name – $10- $20/year.
    2. SSL certificates – $0- $50/month.
    3. Web hosting providers – $2.75- $15.00/month.
    4. Email hosting – $1- $5/month.
    5. Tech support – $0- $1,000/month.
    6. Search engine optimization – $0- $800/month.
    7. Content updates – $0 – $3,000 total.
    8. General updates – $0- $200/month.

Below, we’ll look at each individual cost in detail.

Cost of Maintaining Different Types of Websites

Your website maintenance pricing range will vary depending on the type of website you have. We’ve broken down the essential costs, on a monthly basis, of each type of site below:

*This table shows the monthly cost of a domain name, but most registrars bill domain names annually – so you can expect to pay $10- $20/year up front for your domain name, rather than in monthly installments.

Monthly Cost Small Blog/Portfolio Large Blog/Portfolio Local Business Large Business Small Ecommerce Store Large Ecommerce Store
Domain name* $1-2 $1-2 $1-2 $1-2 $1-2 $1-2
SSL certificate $0-10 $0-10 $0-10 $0-10 $0-14.99 $0-49.99
Web hosting $2.75 $2.75 $2.75 $2.75 $6.95 $18.99
Email hosting $1-5 $1-5 $1-5 $1-5 $1-5 $1-5
Tech support $0 $0 $50 $100 $100 $100-500+
SEO $0 $0 $0 $300 $300 $600
Content updates $0 $0 $0 $200 $0 $200
General updates $0 $0 $100 $200 $200 $200
Approx. Monthly Total $10-15 $10-15 $165 $815 $625 $1,000+

Domain Names

Typical cost: $10- $20/year

The most prominent recurring website cost you’ll encounter is your domain name cost. Your domain name is your website’s “address” on the internet, and it’s not actually a one-time purchase. Most domain name registrars bill on an annual basis, and you’ll want to stay on top of that yearly cost so that you can keep ownership of your domain name.

The cost of your domain name will vary depending on the extension (e.g. .com, .net) and the registrar you choose. Below, we’ve summarized the costs of some popular extensions, and how they vary when purchased through the different registrars NameCheap, GoDaddy, and HostGator:

Registrar .com .org .us .me
NameCheap $8.88/year $11.98/year $3.88/year $3.88/year
GoDaddy 99¢/year $10.17/year $7.99/year $3.49/year
HostGator $12.95/year $12.95/year $5.95/year $15.00/year

Domain name registrars also charge more after the first year – in other words, the renewal price of your domain name will typically be higher than the introductory price of your first purchase. Generally, introductory domain name costs for popular extensions like .com and .org cost $3-12/year, while renewing a domain name costs $10-20/year.

SSL Certificates

Typical cost: $0- $49.99/year

SSL certificates encrypt information passing through your website, and keep visitors’ information safe. No matter what type of website you’re running, security is one of the most worthwhile expenses that you’ll incur. If visitors don’t see your website as trustworthy, it will impact engagement. In fact, 75% of respondents in one survey said they would abandon an online transaction if they felt that the website was not secure. Even if you’re not running an ecommerce site, Google favors sites with SSL, so adding this extra security layer is still an important website maintenance cost.

So, what do people look for to see if your site is secure? The padlock icon and “https://” in the address bar are both indicative of an SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate. Check out how they appear below:

SSL padlock

Most web hosting providers offer a basic version of SSL protection for free via the non-profit Let’s Encrypt. However, if you want to upgrade to a stronger level of SSL protection (we’d recommend this for ecommerce sites, since visitors will be sharing their payment information), the next step would be to buy SiteLock security, which you can purchase through your hosting provider for about $2/month – not too pricey, considering we’re expected to spend about $6 trillion globally on cybersecurity by 2021! SiteLock’s extra features include daily malware scans, automated malware removal, and Google blacklist monitoring.

Don’t want to pay more than you have to? Check out the 10 Best Free SSL Hosting Providers.

Web Hosting Providers

Typical cost: $2.75- $15.00/month

bluehost hosting provider

If you’re using a website builder, then web hosting is another expense that will be sorted out for you. However, if you’re using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, then you’ll need to find a web hosting provider. Web hosting providers power your site, and decide everything from how quickly your pages load to how many files you can store. Basically, hosting is an essential part of the cost of maintaining a website.

Web hosting is also a recurring payment that you’ll have to budget for in order to keep your website up and running – literally. This is because factors like website uptime are also dependent on your hosting provider.

Hosting costs vary according to hosting provider and hosting type. The most common types of hosting are shared, VPS, cloud, and dedicated hosting. Shared hosting is the cheapest type, and can still accommodate the needs of most small to medium-sized websites. Below, we’ve outlined the cost of purchasing a shared plan from three of the top shared hosting providers:

Hosting Provider Price Uptime Storage
Bluehost $2.95/month 99.98% 50 GB
HostGator $2.75/month 99.99% Unmetered
InMotion $2.49/month 99.97% 10 GB
Want more options? Take a look at our full ranking of the 8 Best Shared Hosting Providers

Get more pricing info with our breakdown of How Much Website Hosting Should Cost

Shared hosting will do the trick for most websites, but if you’re running a large blog or a medium to large-sized ecommerce store, you’ll want to consider VPS hosting instead. While shared hosting means sharing a server’s resources with other websites, VPS hosting means having more server resources allocated to your site. VPS plans are more powerful, and therefore more expensive, as you can see below:

Hosting Provider Price Bandwidth Storage
Bluehost $18.99/month 1 TB 30 GB
HostGator $19.95/month Unmetered 120 GB
InMotion $17.99/month 4 TB 75 GB

Very large ecommerce websites should eventually consider upgrading to a dedicated hosting plan, which costs between $80-300/month. With this type of hosting, a server and all of its resources are dedicated entirely to your website, so your business won’t be affected by fluctuations in anyone else’s traffic or files.

Heads Up – Web Hosting and Introductory Prices

Regardless of which plan and provider you end up choosing, the cost of your web hosting will increase noticeably after the first year. This is a pretty unavoidable expense, and one worth knowing about. For example, the $22.99/month InMotion VPS plan mentioned above renews at $64.99/month after the first year.

If you’re not sure what kind of hosting your site will need, you can take our web hosting quiz to get a tailored suggestion! If you’re stuck between a few different options, consult our web hosting comparison chart to make an informed decision.

Email Hosting

Typical cost: $1- $5/month

“Email hosting” means having a custom email server for your website, which can accommodate email addresses @yourdomain.com and lend your site more legitimacy. Like SSL security, basic email hosting is available for free from many hosting providers, but many website owners choose to pay more money for more features and capabilities.

bluehost email homepage

For example, Bluehost’s email hosting, which you can buy as an add-on to a regular hosting plan, costs $2.99/month for the first year (it renews at $4.99/month) and includes:

  • Emails and calendars
  • Outlook web access
  • 15 GB email storage

Email hosting is a necessary expense for a business website, because having email addresses hosted @ your domain boosts your site’s professionalism. On the other hand, if you’re running a personal website, email hosting is a great addition if you have some extra budget to spend – but if not, don’t sweat it!

Tech Support

Typical cost: $0- $1,000+/month

Both website builders and web hosting providers have in-house customer support teams to help you work out technical difficulties, free of charge. However, if you want more tailored support, you can opt to outsource and pay for a website maintenance service. Website maintenance services come as tiered packages, so you can choose a plan (and, more importantly, a price) based on your website’s needs.

For example, an outsourced web maintenance plan for a personal blog will cost around $50/month and include regular updates to your site’s theme and plugins. For more commercial websites, you can pay around $100/month and receive dedicated SEO support in addition to regular updates. Larger ecommerce sites can pay $500-1,000/month to add development support, like the creation of new templates and functionalities for your site.

Tech support could cost you nothing, or it could be the most expensive website maintenance cost on your list. It all depends on what you’re looking to get out of these services. We recommend starting with the in-house support included in the price of website builders and hosting providers, and deciding what additional support (if any) you’ll need from there.

Want to get your money’s worth from in-house tech support?

Bluehost is our number one hosting provider for customer support. Read our Bluehost Review to learn more.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Typical cost: $0- $800/month

DIY SEO

SEO covers all of the little things you can do to boost your website’s rankings in Google search results. Anything that makes your site easier for search engine crawlers to find will contribute to good SEO, and the best part is, you can make significant improvements to SEO by yourself, without spending a dime. Here are some basic steps that you can take:

  • Write snappy page titles and descriptions: the title and description are what make up your page preview on Google. Short, informative titles and descriptions will encourage people to click through to your site.
  • Incorporate relevant keywords: keywords are the search terms you want your page to rank for. For example, if you’re selling homemade jewelry, you may want your product page to show as a result when people search for “craft bracelets.” Therefore, you’ll want to include the term “craft bracelets” on your page where applicable.
  • Tag images: when you upload an image to your website, you can provide “alt text” that will show up in place of the image in case of loading issues. This text is also a clue for search engine crawlers trying to figure out what your page is about.

If you’re going the DIY route for your SEO, it’s important to note that some platforms have better capabilities than others. You can check our guides to the best hosting providers for SEO and the best website builders for SEO to see which platforms have the strongest SEO features.

Outsourcing SEO

If you’d prefer to have an expert handling your site’s SEO, you can consult an SEO agency to analyze your website and create a tailored strategy. We’d recommend this for larger websites, since SEO agencies can make a lot of helpful technical improvements, but they usually come at a high price.

Content Updates

Typical cost: $0- $3,000

DIY Content

The look and feel of your website is one thing. The actual content that your website posts is another. Great content – blog posts, “About Us” pieces, bios, and basically anything people can read, watch, or view on your site – will make or break your audience engagement.

If you enjoy the creative aspects of running a website, then you can have fun with content planning and creation. Drafting the content itself will make up most of the work, but it’s also vital to stick to a good schedule when you’re actually posting the content. Nothing’s worse than clicking onto a blog page that hasn’t been updated since 2011!

Outsourcing Content

If you’d rather go the freelance copywriter or creative agency route for your web copy, prices will vary dramatically depending on the tasks you need done. If you want new blog posts written multiple times a week, you’ll be paying between 10¢ and $1 per word. If you only need a landing page written once, it’ll cost about $500-1,000 for the full page.

General Updates

Typical Cost: $0- $200/month

“General updates” refers to the routine maintenance you’ll need to conduct to make sure your website stays current. This includes regularly updating your plugins, themes, and CMS, if you’re using WordPress. You can keep an eye on this yourself for free, but it may be time consuming and/or technical – so you can also outsource to a professional who can update themes and plugins for you, and make sure everything is compatible with the latest version of WordPress.

What About Website Builders?

Average cost: $10- $30/month

We haven’t included website builders in our list of essential website maintenance costs, because they offer a different approach to maintenance. If you use a website builder, you won’t have to calculate your website maintenance costs separately – instead, you’ll get an all-in-one solution that’s affordable and easy to budget.

squarespace homepage

So, what’s the catch? Website builders are easy and affordable, but they do offer slightly less power and scalability than a DIY website, in which you would pay for hosting as a separate service. Website builders may not be ideal for extremely large or high-traffic websites, but for most of us, they’re a simple solution!

When you pay $10-30/month for a website builder, that cost already includes a lot of maintenance elements that you’d otherwise have to think about on your own. You’ll typically get hosting, a domain name, basic SSL security, and tech support included. In some cases, you’ll have to pay to renew your domain name after the first year. Check out the monthly prices and features of top platforms like Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly below:

Builder Price (billed yearly) Hosting SSL certificate Domain name
Wix Combo plan – $13/month Included Included Included free for 1 year
Squarespace Personal plan – $12/month Included Included Included free for 1 year
Weebly Pro plan – $12/month Included Included Included

Website Maintenance Cost: Recap

Now that you know the typical costs of maintaining a website, you can plan out an effective budget. Remember that your expenses will vary depending on what type of site you’re running: for example, an ecommerce store taking payments onsite will need to spend more on SSL security than a personal blog will. And if you decide to use a website builder, many basic costs will come included in your plan.

To recap, these are the essential website maintenance costs:

  1. Domain name – $10- $20/year.
  2. SSL certificates – $0- $50/month.
  3. Web hosting providers – $2.75- $15.00/month.
  4. Email hosting – $1- $5/month.
  5. Tech support – $0- $1,000/month.
  6. Search engine optimization – $0- $800/month.
  7. Content updates – $0 – $3,000 total.
  8. General updates – $0- $200/month.

With these moves in mind, you’re all set to keep up the good work!

FAQs

At first, it may seem tempting to ignore potential website maintenance costs and save money up front. But this can quickly become a costly mistake down the line. For example, outdated design means a negative user experience – and 89% of consumers will shop with a competitor after a poor customer experience. And even worse, a lack of regular maintenance can expose your website to hackers or disruptions in uptime.

That depends on which website maintenance cost we’re talking about! Some elements, like domain names and SSL certificates, only need to be purchased annually – and you can even set them to “auto renew” each year, so that you won’t need to worry about forgetting! Other elements, like content updates and SEO updates, should be looked after at least once a month. If your site has inaccurate information or slips lower in search results, you’ll notice real impacts on traffic and conversions.

While it’s certainly tempting to leave website maintenance work to a third party, the cost of outsourcing can add up very quickly. That’s why we only recommend it to large websites with a sizable budget and workload.

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About Maura Monaghan

Maura Monaghan

I grew up scribbling in notebooks, and until recently the thought of relocating my writing to the digital world seemed like an impossible goal. But when I finally took the plunge and created an online portfolio, I immediately saw the benefits of having my work out on the web. Since then I’ve learned everything I can about creating different websites, so that I can help those in a similar situation get online without a similar headache.

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