How Much Does a Website Cost in 2023?

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In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook on a server that cost US$85/month.

Can you guess how much an online shop website costs in 2023?

desktop and mobile view of cosmetics company website
A professional website with an online shop costs just US$85 per six months with

What a time to be online. Clearly, businesses nowadays don’t need to spend big for premium web design. In fact, you can build yourself a website, like the one above from, for easily less than $200 a year. It can even be as low as $90 a year if you only need a very basic site. That said, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. To learn more about the different costs involved in creating and running a website, read on.

Website Costs at a Glance

  • DIY websites cost between $0-$500 per year
  • DIY shop websites cost push costs $0-$3,000+ per year
  • Custom websites built by agencies can cost as much as $5,000-$50,000+, depending on the scope of your project

Pricing in this article is in Canadian dollars, unless otherwise stated.

We’ve broken down some typical costs for outsourcing the creation of different sized websites below. Note that web design prices vary, so you should take these figures as guidelines rather than as gospel. For example, if you intend to manage content creation and site maintenance in-house, you can cut your costs by quite a bit.

Site TypeMicrosites (1-3 pages)Small Websites (4-39 pages)Specialist Websites (40+ pages)
  • A one-page website (with 10 hours of design work) costs: $6,724
  • A five-page small business website (with 25 hours of design work) costs: $19,834.50
  • A specialist website with 45 pages costs: $42,030

These prices are typical of hand-coded websites, but you might be lucky enough to find professional services for less. For example, if you register your interest in pro web design, we can put you in touch with, whose websites start from $930.

If you're looking to build a website yourself using website builder software, skip right now to Part 3: Designing Your Website. These subscription-based tools include the cost of hosting, design and programming. Often they'll give you the first year of your domain for free as well. Because you do all the “creating” yourself, the cost is far lower than hiring an agency or freelancer to do it for you.

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The Five Stages of Making a Website

You can split the costs of setting up a website into five parts:

You don’t necessarily have to tackle these parts in this order. There’s nothing to stop you, for instance, from choosing a web designer before you’ve bought a domain name, or from writing content for your blog before you’ve bought hosting. Companies like GoDaddy even bundle these services together in order to make creating a website even easier.

If you want to find the very best deals, you need to understand exactly what you’re paying for at each stage.

Part 1: Getting a domain name

GoDaddy Domain Name Search

When you buy a house, you normally pay a lump sum for the house and the lot.

Not so with building a website. A domain name is like the street address where you need to buy the lease. The domain name is simply the website address, for example, ‘'. It includes everything after the ‘www.' which means you need to choose a main name and a type of top-level domain (TLD), such as ‘.com' or ‘.ca'.

The cost of a domain name includes a one-off registration fee (USD $0.18) and a renewal fee (around $18 per year) at the end of each billing period. You can also transfer a domain from an old address to a new one.

Your domain name is a crucial aspect of your business’s branding. It’s what displays at the top of someone’s web browser every time they visit your site. It’s where business directories like Yelp send people who are likely to be interested in your services. It’s also what customers type when they want to find you online.

You want your domain name to be:

  1. Relevant to your business
  2. Memorable for your customer
  3. Commercially valuable
  4. Appropriate for your geolocation

So how do you get a web address? That’s where domain registrars come in: companies that compete to sell you domains. Buying from them is simple, and you can make a purchase in a few clicks. A standard purchase agreement is from anywhere between one to 10 years with an option to renew. Often your registrar will include optional privacy add-ons that protect your personal information from being published on the public ICANN database.

Costs of different domain names

Assuming you want a long-term home for your website, pay close attention to the renewal costs charged by different registrars. Some make money by advertising rock-bottom registration fees, only to sting customers with hefty renewal fees a year later.

We researched the renewal cost of popular types of TLD (.com, .ca, .net) sold by different domain registrars. This gives you a more accurate annual price, excluding newcomer discounts that expire after the first 12 months.

Here are the results:

Cost of domain for second year (C$)
Crazy Domains18.501923

Occasionally, registrars will offer a discounted price per year if you pay upfront for several years' registration. This is the case for Crazy Domains, which offers a 23% discount if you buy your domain for 10 years.

Very popular domain names with a high commercial value are actually going to cost you more in the first year, compared with renewal fees. The reason is you'll have to buy them off the current owner (assuming they are willing to sell, that is).

Here's an example:

three different domain prices: $888.00, $1,088.00, $3,688.00 which all renew at $19.99 per year thereafter. lists premium domains at far higher prices than the renewal fee after a year.
Expert Tip

It's a good idea to buy more than one TLD for your business website, so that you can protect your brand image and capture customers that type in the wrong web address. So if you own “” you'd be wise to buy “” and “” as well.

SSL security certificate

You'll need an SSL security certificate to add security to your website, and reassure customers.

Having a SSL certificate gives your site an ‘https’ prefix and a padlock in the address bar. The ‘s’ stands for secure, and signals to web users, customers, clients, and search engines that your website connection is encrypted.

In short, an SSL certificate will encourage customers to take your website seriously – and so will Google. So you should check that your web designer will include one as part of your package.

screenshot of SSL security certificate from University of Toronto's website
An SSL security certificate shows up as a padlock in the web address bar.

Here's an overview of SSL pricing, as of March 2023:

SSL certificate type ExplanationSuitable ForPrice range ($C) per year
Standard (DV) SSL“Domain validation”, with standard encryption.

Covers just one domain: eg

To get this, you just have to verify you own the domain.

Microbusiness websites: small charity, community, non-profit, campaign website, beauty salon, auto services, at-home services, repair workshops, studios. Storing no sensitive data and taking no payments.$14-$140
OV SSL“Organisation validation”, with good encryption. You’ll have to submit your business details to confirm you own the website.SMBs, local businesses, tour operators, legal firms, consultants, accountants, care services, agencies, libraries.

Holding some data, such as email and log-in but not payment details.

EV SSL“Extended validation”, with very strong encryption. Your business details must be verified to rule out fraud.Large websites with sensitive customer data, payment details, such as online shops, financial services, specialist consultancy, medical services including counselling, addiction or mental health treatment.$115-$410
Multi-domainCovers several websites (could be three, or several hundred depending on your subscription).Entrepreneurs running multiple websites. Eg web developers, agencies, hoteliers, merchants.$130-$500
Wildcard SSLCovers subdomains (for example)

Strong encryption.

Business websites with subdomains (such as a separate website for an online shop or corporate customers or log in zone/intranet). Eg education sector, public sector, financial services, and corporate sector.$270-$860+

Now you've got a secure domain, we'll move on to the second critical step of making your website: getting it online.

Part 2: Hosting Your Website

GoDaddy Domain Name Search

Our ‘buying a house’ analogy isn’t perfect. There’s an essential component to building a website that homeowners don’t have to worry about: hosting.

Every time you open a new webpage, your web browser needs to find out what content to load. It does this by communicating with remote servers that store information about different websites. In a nutshell, a web host is a company that manages these servers, letting the public visit your website.

Hosting is important because without it, your website doesn’t exist. That’s why buying a web domain before you’ve sorted out hosting can actually be a bad idea. Anyone trying to visit would see this error message instead of your beautiful homepage:

GoDaddy Domain Name Search

Luckily, hosting providers make it super easy to link new or existing domain names to their servers during signup. You can also get bargains on some top domain names if you buy them as part of a web hosting package. With suppliers like, who cover the full range of website creation services, there’s zero chance you’ll get left in the lurch.

A Word on Web Hosting Types

There are three main types of web hosting, each with their own pros and cons. A lot of these relate to bandwidth restrictions – limits on how big your website can be, or on how many people can visit it each month. The best option for your business depends a lot on your size and growth plans.

Shared Hosting

Your site shares server space and bandwidth with a number of other sites. Since you’re also sharing the cost for that space and bandwidth with other businesses and individuals, this is a cheaper option. However, if you need more space, speed or security it will cost you extra.

Typical cost: $4.75/month.

Virtual Private Server (VPS)

This is a hybrid solution between a private server and a shared one. While the mechanics are similar to shared hosting, there’s usually a guarantee of minimum bandwidth allocation that scales to meet unexpected spikes in traffic. VPS arrangements are also more flexible when it comes to software updates. For example, you can install Apache, PHP or MySQL application updates when you like, without affecting anyone else on the server.

Typical cost: $13-$27/month.

Dedicated Hosting / Managed Hosting

Your business gets its own server. Bandwidth and memory are less restricted than the other two options, there is a higher degree of reliability and flexibility, and common issues — updates, upgrades, security, and maintenance — are handled by staff at the hosting company. These options handle any amount of traffic with strong website performance.

Typical cost: $100/month

Expert Advice: How to choose web hosting

Your website doesn't work if your hosting fails. That means you've got to put a lot of trust in your web host, so it's important to make the right choice. You can switch web hosting providers if your current one lets you down. Top of your list of cost considerations should be:

  • Server stability: How much of the time your website is live is called ‘uptime’, and you want it to be as close to 100% as possible. Downtime is a real profit killer, as your website coming offline prevents customers from converting. Ouch.
  • Renewal fees: Like domain name registrars, web hosts sell their services on subscription. They like to pull you in with big discounts, but there's usually an autorenewal feature that commits you to a higher price.
  • Package: Look out for features such as extra web security, domain name registration, a website builder or email inbox deal.

We researched the costs of using different suppliers’ shared web hosting solutions for one year. We've ignored the first year because it's almost always discounted. So here's the cost of the second year's renewal, which is closer to your ongoing annual cost:

Cheapest Web Hosting Providers
Web hostCost of second year of most basic shared hosting plan

Remember that these plans include different benefits, so it's not simply a case of choosing the best price. For instance, Hostinger gives you 50GB for your website, Namecheap gives 20GB, and Bluehost or IONOS just 10GB on its cheapest plan. So you'll need to find the right option based on the size of your website (and if you need to host more than one website).

Did You Know?

Businesses suffer a serious amount of revenue, time, and reputation damage in around 50% of data center failures, according to a 2021 survey by Uptime Institute. Make sure you choose a reliable web hosting provider to safeguard your digital assets.

Part 3: Designing Your Website

GoDaddy Domain Name Search

Now that your site has a home and an address, it’s time to get down to brass tacks. The web design stage is where the look and feel of your website finally comes into focus. It’s also where costs can spiral out of control, if you’re not careful.

As someone who has tested lots of DIY website building software, I’m confident that there has never been an easier or cheaper time to build a website yourself. By the way, that’s coming from someone who reads code about as well as a stone treads water. Why not look into our Wix pricing guide to find out just how affordable it is?

But just because you can design a website cheaply, does that mean you should?

Time = Money. Of all the reasons why you might want to hire a professional web designer, this one stands out. If you’re like most small business owners, you already juggle lots of responsibilities. Adding web design to the mix is probably one ball you could do without. Sourcing professional expertise on the matter frees you up to do what you do best; run your business.

Web Design Considerations

Whether you’re briefing a professional or taking web design into your own hands, you should have a clear picture of the kind of website you’re after. Important considerations include:

☑ Number (and types) of webpages

☑ Type of functionality needed

☑ Ability to change existing content or add new content

☑ Mobile responsiveness

☑ E-commerce functionality

☑ Content creation

☑ Off-the-shelf or custom applications

☑ Integrations of third-party software

Who Should Design My Website?

You have a few options for professional website design:

Web Design Agency

Many hands lighten the load. Good agencies employ graphic designers, programmers, copywriters, and other specialists. Great project managers will keep the design process aligned with your goals every step of the way.

A good web design agency brings a degree of reliability and accountability that you just don’t get with other options.

Freelance Website Designer

Here, you’ll get a more personalized approach than you’d get with an agency. However, many freelancers take on multiple clients, which can lead to projects taking longer than expected. Depending on the type and scope of your project, they may also need to bring in subcontractors to complete certain tasks.

Ensure that you’ve spelled out your needs, budget, and project specs in advance. Believe it or not, edits and alterations are the top source of cost overruns, so be sure to the procedure for them.

Off-Shore/Outsourced Web Design

Given the lower wages commanded overseas, you may be tempted to contract with someone in South Asia, the Philippines, or Eastern Europe. However, the lure of low web design prices may be offset considerably if the work isn’t done quickly or correctly. Or, if language barriers lead to frustration for everyone involved.

Price: Custom websites built by web design agencies can cost as much as $5,000-$50,000+, depending on the scope of your project.

Build Your Own Website

Looking at those figures, responsibilities, and potential complications, you may well be tempted to go the DIY route. There are plenty of options to do just that, but they have as many drawbacks as they do benefits, not least of which are a lack of specialization, a tendency toward sameness, and — most importantly — the fact that correctly building a unique website is a massive time sink, especially if you’re coming to it for the first time. If that sounds like you, it might be time to find a qualified designer!

Website builder pricing

DIY websites cost between $0-$2600+ per year, depending on what exactly you need your website to do. If you're looking to sell online, Shopify is our recommended ecommerce platform. We've written a full Shopify pricing guide to help you understand the different features you'd get access to according to your budget. Meanwhile, you can take a look at our Best 10 Shopify Stores for some design inspiration.

Which DIY Website Builders Are Best?

If you are dead set on doing it yourself, make sure you choose the right tool for the job. We've ranked the best website building tools that money can buy, using ‘Usability' and ‘Cost' as key criteria:

Swipe right to see more
0 out of 0
Best For

A website that works well

Best For

A beautiful website

Best For

Building an online store

Best For

Speedy website launch

Best For


Price Range
Price Range
Price Range

$38-$385 per month

Price Range

CAD$8-$22/month (first year)

CAD$13-$32/month (afterwards)

Price Range

CAD$0-$29/month (paying annually)

Hosting included?
Hosting included?
Hosting included?
Hosting included?
Hosting included?
Free trial
Free trial
Free trial
Free trial
Free trial

To narrow down your options and make your decision a little easier, we've created an in-depth comparison of Wix vs Squarespace. Or if you're looking for a variation on this, why not check out our Wix vs Shopify guide instead?

How Big Should My Website Be?

You should aim to create a website that functions well, looks great, and contains all the information your customers need to find. These factors – alongside your budget – will determine the size of your website. Unless you really only want a one-pager with a street address and phone number, the size of your website is going to vary according to your particular business needs.

We're happy to arrange a callback from a web designer who can talk through your options with you. Simply register your interest in web design consultation and we'll match you with professional website makers who'll get in touch with you directly.

Starter/Small Business Site

Solopreneurs and small businesses can often be served by a site that ranges in size from a single splash page to five pages. Whether you’re building your first site or redesigning your existing one, be sure to choose a designer that understands your niche and takes the time to understand what sets you apart from your competitors.

Medium Business Site

Not only are medium business websites larger — with some containing twenty pages or more — they’re also more complex. Ecommerce functionality (taking payments), mailing list signups, CMS integrations, applications, and more come into play. This requires a skilled designer or the input of an agency.

Large Business Site

Microsites, subdomains, SEO, product descriptions, blog posts and whitepapers… large businesses carry bigger challenges, but bigger rewards for meeting them head-on. You’ll typically need to wrangle not only a design team, but also several stakeholders within the business, each of whom may have competing ideas and even competing agendas. You'll need highly experienced website designers, a bit of diplomacy and a lot of forethought to keep the project on time and on budget.

Interested in selling online?

We've actually written a separate guide entirely for comparing the best ecommerce platforms, so feel free to check it out if you're looking to sell online.

Part 4: Creating Your Content

GoDaddy Domain Name Search

Content is like the furniture that turns a house into a home. Perhaps more so than anything we’ve discussed, quality content is what converts your website’s visitors into customers.

Page copy, product descriptions, social media, blogs… each has its place, and each needs a skilled writer to bring it to life. Freelance copywriters bill on an hourly, per piece, or per word basis.

Typically, copywriting agencies charge according to the type of content being produced.

Contacting agencies for quotes directly is the best way to scope out content costs for your website. But, for a rough idea, check out this list of professional fees for the most popular business copywriting services:

Copywriting Agency Fees
Copywriting ServiceFee Range
Site content audit and report$1,500-$3,000
Keyword research$500-$1,500+
Key message copy platform$3,000-$4,000
Home page content: SEO and Sales-conversion copywriting$500-$1,000/page
Category page update: SEO and sales-conversion copywriting$500-$1,000/page
Product page update: SEO and Sales-conversion copy$400-$800/page
Order page/shopping cart sequence$400-$800
New page: SEO and sales-conversion copy$700-$1,200/page
Banner ad or text ad$250-$1,000
Online sales/landing page for single promotion$950-$5,000+ (based on length)

Part 5: Running Your Website

GoDaddy Domain Name Search

Success! Your site is live, and the volume of traffic you’re getting makes rush hour on the Manhattan Bridge look quiet.

You’re not done yet though. Like a house, your home on the web is going to need some maintenance to be at its best. Here are some key areas you should prioritize:

Database Programming

Particularly for websites with e-commerce portals and membership login areas, you need to be able to update product descriptions and user details with ease. All of this information lives in databases that run behind the scenes of your website, and without a specialist to look after them, they can quickly get messy. Bringing backend web developers on board, either through an agency or in-house, is the simplest way to take care of ongoing database maintenance.

Mobile Responsiveness

It’s no secret that Google favours websites that display nicely on smartphones. This is something that your web designer should address up-front, but it also requires periodic checks to ensure compliance with browser updates and new web standards.


SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of making sure your website is poised to pull visitors from Google.

For smaller websites, it’s easy enough to carry out on-page SEO checks in-house. However, as your site swells in size, a job done properly becomes a job done professionally.

To make sure your site attracts all the visibility it deserves, investing in outside SEO expertise is key. The services of an SEO agency can set you back anywhere between $100-$300 per hour (depending on the scale of the project).

Headlines or dead lines?

91% of search engine users don’t go past page one of the search results, and more than half don’t even scroll beyond the first three results on page one.

Get Your Business Online

You've got to be realistic about website costs, but that doesn't mean budgeting has to be a scary scenario. Remember, you're investing in the profitability of your business, as a website brings in increased brand recognition, more sales, new hires, and future growth opportunities.

If you’re creating a website and want an idea of the costs involved, your best bet is to get bespoke quotes. We're happy to help with this: simply fill in our short webform and we’ll connect you with top website designers today.

For now, here's a quick summary of average website costs in Canada:

  • Website you make with a website builder: $0-$500 per year
  • Online shop you make with a website builder: $0-$3,000+ per year
  • One-page website built by an expert: $6,724
  • Five-page website built by an expert: $19,834.50
  • Specialist website with 45 page built by an expert: $42,030

All of the above will have ongoing costs, such as framework maintenance, security updates, fresh content creation, and adding any new features over time. Have confidence in your dream of owning a business website, and look forward to that launch day.

Written by:

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

Reviewed by:
Robyn Summers-Emler, Grow Online Editor, Profile Picture
Robyn Summers-Emler Digital Growth Editor

Robyn started working on Expert Market in 2021 as a specialist in business websites and digital marketing. As the Grow Online Editor, she ideates, commissions and optimizes content on Expert Market that helps businesses thrive in online spaces and maximize their ecommerce potential. Covering everything from choosing a website builder to scaling a social media marketing strategy – Robyn uses her expertise to help startups, SMBs, and larger businesses realize digital growth in an increasingly competitive landscape.