The Real Cost of Running a WordPress Website

by Eugeniu  August 24, 2016

I know you LOVE the word ‘FREE’.

Who doesn’t?

Whenever you plan to build a site on WordPress CMS platform, the first thing that comes to our minds is ‘FREE’, and that makes you more excited to work on your dream project.

Real Cost of Running a WordPress Site

Before we start with the real cost of running a WordPress website, let me explain the basic difference between a site and a self-hosted WordPress website.

A blog runs on WordPress servers; your blog is hosted on the WordPress server and not your own. Here you can only get access to basic features. The benefit of using or allowing your website on is that you don’t need to spend a single dime on hosting.

But… the flaw is that you are limited to only basic features and your domain would become a subdomain on WordPress. For example:

Doesn’t sound or look professional, does it?

A self-hosted WordPress blog is hosted on third party servers, like Cloudways. Here, you need to pay for hosting which varies from host-to-host.

You are, however, in complete control of your blog, and you have access to all the premium WordPress features which will help you build a stunning professional website.

Here are some overwhelming features of running a self-hosted WordPress blog:

  •      Full-time support
  •      No plugin restrictions
  •      No limit on selling advertisements
  •      Custom templates
  •      Complete independence – Customization is in your hands.

There are some costs involved in building and RUNNING a Self-hosted WordPress website, and that’s why I am writing this post!

Building a site on WordPress is not a big deal and won’t cost you much, but building and maintaining it is. The problem of maintenance is wherein the problem of cost lies; you may also need to consider this before starting up your projects.

If you’re a personal blogger, it might not cost you much.

But if you are setting up a business on WordPress to generate revenue from your site, then you should go through this post to learn about the real cost of running a WordPress website and how to minimize those costs.

Let’s get started with the cost analysis!

What’s the real cost of running a WordPress website?

As I mentioned earlier, if you’re using WordPress for business, get rid of the word ‘Free’ from your mind. You need to spend in order to earn 🙂 Below are some of the costs you’ll have to incur:

  •      Domain registration
  •      Web-hosting
  •      Premium WordPress Theme
  •      Premium WordPress Plugins
  •      Developer (Optional)
  •      Security and Backups

Domain Registration ( $10 – $12)

The first and the most important element is the domain name. This is the most valuable part of your website which is going to add value later on.

A general domain will cost you around $12. There are a number of domain registrars you can opt for but almost every one costs the same.

NOTE: Make sure you go with a branded domain for your website. In case you get your dream domain name but its price is high, it’s still worth it to pay a little more and get the name you need.

Domain is the most valuable asset of your business, and it is something you do not want to compromise on.

How to minimize domain name cost?

While I did say that domain name is not something you should compromise on, it doesn’t mean you can’t minimize its cost. If you are really interested, you can search the internet for discount coupons or codes that will allow you to avail discounts from your domain registrar. Go ahead and give it a try, who knows you might stumble upon a healthy discount.

Web Hosting ($45-$100)

Before we begin with WordPress web hosting cost, let me emphasize that you should always go with a reliable web-hosting company.

Recently, an employee at a web hosting company messed up a single line of code, which ruined the entire hosting company and all of the sites it hosted on that server went down with it.

Using a reliable web host will cost you a little higher than most new hosting companies, but it’s worth spending money on a reliable service provider.

A reliable web host will cost you around $60/year, which isn’t all that expensive.

I prefer Cloudways – A Managed WordPress Hosting. Apart from being affordable, it’s also a reliable web host, because Cloudways is unlike traditional shared hosting. It provides dedicated and optimized cloud servers capable of handling high spikes of traffic.

If you’re just starting your business, then it would be a good decision to invest in cloud hosting since you won’t have to deal with traffic spikes and security etc. (they are managed by the host providers) and easily scale servers when required.

How to minimize hosting costs?

To minimize the cost of hosting, you need a coupon code. If you plan on hosting your website with Cloudways, then you might want to start following them by subscribing to their newsletter and on their social media pages to stay updated with their latest discount offerings.

If you don’t find any coupon codes, look out for the closest sale offers. It might be during a major holiday, like Independence Day, Halloween, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc. These offers will help you grab a huge discount on web hosting.

Premium WordPress Theme ($0 – $100)

You can install any official WordPress theme on your website at no cost. However, it may not be very easy to customize and could have a lot of bugs in it.

As you know, building a business online is not as easy as it appears to be. It takes a lot of effort to build authority in your field. You need to stand out from the crowd, and design is one of the most important factors which contribute to that and also add value to your website.

And believe me, spending few bucks on a premium WordPress theme is worth it. It saves a lot of time and gives good ROI in the long run.

How to minimize premium theme costs?

Keep a lookout for discounts or look for the latest launch offers.

Premium WordPress Plugins (Optional)

If you’re just starting out, you may not need any premium WordPress plugins just yet. You would need them later on though, and there are a few must have plugins for a WordPress user that you might be interested in.

For example, there is no good free Popup opt-in plugin available for WordPress. So, if your business relies on list building, you need to shop for a premium plugin.

“Get WPMUDEV Yearly Membership in just $392 instead of $588 through this exclusive discount link

This cost is completely based on your specific business needs.

Developer (Optional)

There is no need to hire a developer even if you don’t have any coding skills. But if you need your website to look a particular way, and your theme doesn’t offer that functionality, then a developer could be of help.

You might also need a developer if there are bugs in your website which are rather difficult to fix. Trying to fix them yourself may take your whole day, and you probably won’t find them all on your own.

Hiring a developer would be considered a “variable cost” and not a “fixed cost” for your business. You only hire a developer when you need one, and the price is determined by the developer and your specific needs.

How to minimize the developer cost?

As I said earlier, WordPress is easy to setup and you may not require a developer initially. You’ll only need a developer if you want to customize the website and your chosen theme doesn’t offer that functionality.

You should keep regular backups of your website, especially prior to making any big changes. That way, if anything happens to it, it can be restored.

For customization, you can contact a developer in your network. If you don’t find any, you can check some freelance sites like Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer or opt for a team of professionals. That way you can hire a developer with good ratings and who also meets your needs.

Security and Backups (Free – $$$)

If you go for a good host like Cloudways, they’ll keep regular backups of your website; their automatic backup feature is great!

However, I’d suggest that you choose a plugin for backup of your site nevertheless  just to be on the safe side.

There are many free security plugins for WordPress that can help you save your money. And if you are also looking for backup plugins for your WordPress site, here are some:

Security :

  •      WordFence
  •      BulletProof


  •      UpdraftPlus
  •      BackupWordPress
  •      BackWPUp
  •      BlogVault

I personally use UpdraftPlus and its works well for me.

If you receive huge traffic to your WordPress site and have a full-fledged business online, then you can’t rely on using free plugins. You need to get a premium service. For a premium security service, you would be looking at approx. $150 per year. For premium backup services, about $500 per year or you can always use services like which will take care of everything at a much lower price.


Even if you’ve chosen to use WordPress for your site, you can’t stick with a “free” site for long in business. There are many fixed and variable costs to consider when building your business’ site:

Fixed Costs:

  •      Domain – $10
  •      Hosting – $60
  •      Theme –   $50


Total: $120


Variable Costs:

  •      Premium Plugins
  •      Developer
  •      Security and backup services

Have any queries? Feel free to ask by commenting in the section below.

Make Your WordPress Website 100% Faster.

Host it now on Cloudways WordPress Hosting Platform.

About Eugeniu

Eugeniu is the Marketing specialist at WPMatic and TeslaThemes. You can always reach to them on Twitter.

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  • fwraiders

    I can understand this article is here to attract people to your hosting who are on a broke man’s budget. But at the same time, I think it’s important to be realistic and manage expectations. If you have $120.00 you’re not going to get Amazon. You have to realize what you are, and where your shortcomings lie in this area as well.

    If you do not you will make an ass out of yourself and your business while wasting time and blowing money you didn’t need to.

    Let me use a car as an example. You want a Corvette ZR1. It’s expensive and you’re not rich, so you try to find a way to get one at a vastly cheaper rate. You see you can make your own car (car kits) it comes as a kit so you go get a frame (WordPress​), you have the doors and body you chose because that’s part of the kit you bought (theme and some free plugins).

    Now you start putting it together and you realize, “Wow! This is really looking like a slightly funky Corvette.”

    Then, you start realizing something is a just a bit off, well this is missing the super expensive and incredibly complicated on-board computer system that truly makes this thing perform the way you want it to (custom coding so it does what you actually need it to do for YOU).

    You can add it but if you do it’s gonna make it really expensive again cause that things have to be wired into the motor and everything else, sensors calibrated, and the whole 9 yards.

    Okay well, it looks like a Corvette. We’ll just pretend it’s a base model that didn’t need that (insert the old “they can call me to place orders” – wah wah waaaaaah).

    Now we’re talking about the other parts of it, like the headlights, brake lights, signals, and everything else that alerts others that you are there and what you are doing (SEO just the on-site stuff ). The fuel is the actual marketing (we’re not gonna bring that up). But, you have so many things you need, and if you think like those people who bought these car kits that they are gonna be possible for you to put together than you are sadly mistaken.

    Professional mechanics with years of experience have to bring in help to get those things put together properly (just like real web devs bring in marketing pros and programmers and others to really make this baby do work). So, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can do this alone–or that you should even attempt to.

    If someone’s willing to do it for $120… run! Donate that money to something. At least, waste your money on a good cause. Realistically, we’re talking much more expensive than $120.00, you have your time (whatever that is worth… and you will need lots of it), reading, practicing, figuring out why it’s not working, heck looking up stupid graphics or creating them (which you probably can’t do) takes a lot of time.

    Writing takes time, everything about this takes time.

    So here is the reality of it.

    Think more like $5,000.00 for your business site. Do not be embarrassed to ask for help and pay for it either. Use the years of experience a professional can offer you. The idea that it’s only a simple WordPress site and it’s only worth $120.00 is a terrible idea, because for $120.00 you’ll end up with a $120.00 website with no visitors that actually makes you look like a hobo.

    Your content is more important than almost every aspect of your site, but also only findable​ if you have it put together properly. Don’t be a fool! A Corvette ZR1 costs that much for a reason.

    There is a ton of money, research, and development and more that went into that car to make it what it is.

    It’s a bad **** and it will do what you expect it to. The real question is: are you really ready for a site that can make you money because when you start thinking 120.00, you’re going to get a money pit or a complete failure that sits and collects dust.

    You want to make a site for your family reunion? Then hell yeah make your own and the ugly parts add character.

    Do it for your business though and you’re making your customers think you are unreliable, poor (not gonna last), and worst of all shady. We spend our money on the things we find to be important in our lives, if your businesses public appearance doesn’t matter to you, then that’s a bad sign.

    If you wouldn’t go outside and screw a spray painted piece of plywood to the front of your building, so you could save a few dollars on a sign then don’t do it with your website.