How Much Does It Costs to Build a Website? Surprisingly, Not Very Much.

Note: All $ is in HKD

You come across hundreds of amazing websites each day. Some of them exhibit remarkable design while others have top-notch functionalities. You may be wondering how much it costs to build a fully functioning business website. Here is the short answer to our title question: surprisingly cheap. 

Though affordable, a website could cost a hundred to a few thousand Hong Kong Dollars to make. A simple website costs as little as $700, while a commercial website with loads of features and stunning design may cost more than ten thousand. Costs for building websites are subjective to requirements, but hardly any website cost over a few thousand to build if you ignore labor costs. 

This is much like fixing a car: the parts cost a fraction of how much the labour costs.

Car breakdown concept. the car will not start. a young man is calling for a car service. they cannot fix the car on their own. insurance must cover all costs. Premium Photo

Therefore, please don’t call your web designer and tell them that they are overcharging you. You wouldn’t call your interior designer and tell them: they shouldn’t charge you anything because it costs nothing to draw a few pictures. 

Are you planning to build a website for your business at a competitive price? Learning how to make a personal website as a portfolio? Then you must know about all the major website development costs to finally decide your budget. Before learning how to build your own website, the following guide will showcase a transparent explanation of costs related to website development.

What are the Major Costs Associated with Website Development?

It does not matter whether you are an expert in website development or a complete newbie; there are some fixed costs you have to pay for building your website. At the minimum, you mainly have to consider these 3 factors:

  • Domain Name
  • Web Hosting
  • Website Development Tools/Content Management System (CMS)

Do note that for practical purposes, you don’t need to find separate service providers for each of the three parts. Most vendors offer two or all three parts of web development. That's why making a basic website, even an e-commerce one, is not complicated at all. However, going with the full-package does have some drawbacks, most notably the lack of ability to customize, which is the reason why the more complicated websites find their own hosting and build their website separately.

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Let’s dive right into the costs of these parts one by one.

Domain Name - $100 to $500 per YEAR

Pricing breakdown starts with the domain name. The domain name (or URL. For example to your website is considered the identity of your website across the online world. Purchasing a domain name is a necessary part of website development; otherwise, you cannot launch your website for your audience.

Registering for a new domain can cost you between $100 and $500 per year, depending mostly upon the top-level domain. A .com top-level domain usually costs just above $100/yr, a .hk domain could cost around $280/yr, while a .io domain could cost up to $500/yr. The price tags also differ slightly by the platform you choose for purchasing a domain.

Domain registration web page concept with tiny people character choose Premium Vector

Web Hosting - $25 to $300 per MONTH

Whether you have a small business website or a commercial one, you need a web hosting server to store your website data and to publish your website for a global audience. 

There are many web hosting providers online, each provides many types of hosting services. There is an informative article by Quick Sprout If you want to learn about different types of hosting. Here, we’ll look at shared hosting only for our quick consideration.

Shared hosting is the cheapest option with the easiest set-up process, and provides enough security and reliability features for most simple and business websites. This hosting service is quite cheap and costs as low as $25 to $70 per month.

Other hosting options such as VPS, cloud hosting, and dedicated hosting provide more room for customization and website traffic. They can be configured to do more than hosting a website. However, they could cost from $300 to $2000 per month. These features are also not going to make a difference if your site does not have thousands of visitors on any given second. That’s why we recommend shared hosting for most users and small businesses.

WordPress Hosting is also an easy option for those who decided to use WordPress as their development tool/CMS.

Cloud hosting concept illustration Free Vector

Website Development Tool/CMS - $0 to $400 per MONTH

Now comes the most pivotal part of website development. You don’t need to build websites from scratch. Small and large businesses across the world are spending smartly on website builders such as Webflow and Wix. They have premium themes and templates with superb support features for their business websites. We’ve also written about the differences between the most popular website building tools.

Some costs come in the purchase of premium themes and the subscription fee for using the tool. There are free themes that provide a decent and presentable layout, and premium themes can cost around $100 to $1000 depending upon the level of its popularity and the associated features. 

While most website builders have a free trial or a free plan, the bulk of the main features usually come from their paid plans. They could cost from $30 to $400 per month.

Apart from this, there are many paid plugins that you may need for your website functionalities, such as social buttons, eCommerce features, SEO tools, scheduling, and automatic translation. Plugins with simple functionalities and upgrades can cost up to $100. There are also plugins with specialized functionalities and worldwide popularity. The more expensive plugins can cost up to $26,000! A website rich with features would surely cost more than a simple one.

If you are trying to keep costs minimal, use something like HostGator WordPress Hosting at $50 to $120 per month and develop your website using WordPress.

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Final Take — How Much Does Your Website Development and Maintenance Cost per Year? 

Simple Website - under $700 per YEAR

A simple website with common features and fewer plugins could take less than $700/year to run. If you are just building a personal portfolio website, or If you have a small business that targets a local audience, then a simple website is the best option for you. 

You don’t need to add expensive customized features that are not under your business requirements. Go for the features that make your website fully functional for your intended users.

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Commercial Business Website - $3000 to $10000 per YEAR

If you have a commercial business with a global audience, then having a lackluster website can tarnish your business reputation. Build a website with a customized premium design, diverse payment options, and other top-notch features. 

Other factors such as security, performance, page loading time, and function-specific plugins are the key factors to make a commercial website standout. You should expect costs up to $3000-$10,000 per year for your commercial website, barring development labour costs.

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Start Building Your Dream Website Today Without the Risk of Overpaying

Now that you have got a basic estimate of building a website, try building a website with all the required features and attractive design within budget. A well-designed website with solid features can go a very long way, as well as the web building knowledge and experience.

You could follow our easy step-by-step guide on building a simple site or read more about the best website builders in 2021. (Coming Soon!)

Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links.

Angus Yip
Web designer @ MSHK

Ex Silicon Valley full-stack developer. Web designer, SEO expert, and co-founder of Media Studio Hong Kong.

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