How Much Does Website Maintenance Cost?

Hand pointing to computer screen Website maintenance costs UK 2022

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Website maintenance costs include the price of hosting, domain name renewal and SSL certificates among a few other things. The costs can range significantly depending on how much you’re prepared to do in-house versus what you need to outsource. As we’ll explain in more detail further down this guide, copywriting and SEO are significant costs due to specialist skills needed. If you’re setting up your website for the first time, or looking to redesign an existing one, you may also want to factor in using a web design company.

This article breaks down various website maintenance costs and explains the different price points. This is all to help you understand exactly how much you can expect to pay for your website maintenance.

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How much does website maintenance cost?

Truth be told, while some will enjoy the challenge of maintaining a website themselves, most outsource this task to a specialist company. How much it will cost depends on exactly what you want included, and the size and complexity of your website.

You may not need web copywriting and SEO if you can handle these in-house. However, you will need hosting and domain renewal. You’d be pretty silly to forgo an SSL certificate but you may be able to get away with zero plugins.

The annual costs of website maintenance will be:

Essential website maintenance costs:

  • Hosting costs: £115-£4,800 annually
  • Domain name renewal costs: £1-£17 annually

Important website maintenance costs:

  • Cost of SSL Certificates: £18-£210 annually
  • Plugins and extensions: £0-£6,000+ annually

Optional website maintenance costs:

  • Web copywriting costs: £600-£69,600 annually
  • SEO on-site and off-site pricing: £11,280-£18,600

Looking for a simpler solution? Remember, with website builders, you can expect to pay significantly less. Your hosting and domain is generally included, as is the SSL security certificate and sometimes backups and plugins too. Websites created with website builders will also have more security measures automatically in place, and you’ll have a support team in case anything goes wrong.

Hosting costs: £115-£4,800 annually

Hosting is generally billed on a monthly basis. You’ll need to choose the best web hosting service depending on how “content-heavy” your website is and how much traffic (i.e. how many website visitors) you get regularly. If you only have a small website, you can opt for shared hosting for as little as £9.60 per month (incl VAT). Mid-sized websites may suit VPS hosting for £12-£80 per month.

Data-rich and complex websites (such as a large ecommerce site, video upload website, or content sharing service) need dedicated hosting, which will cost around £120-£550 per month (incl VAT).

four price packages for hosting
Hosting packages, like these ones from BlueHost, go up in price after the first year.

You should look into the details of a variety of plans rather than making a snap decision on total price alone. Why? Your hosting package is a great chance to make savings in other areas of web maintenance. Here are some services that often come as standard: website backups, SSL certificate, customer support, unique IP address, and a firewall that blocks cyber attacks.

So paying an extra £5 a month for a more comprehensive hosting package could save you hundreds on multiple subscriptions in the long run.

Shared hosting

If you have a low-traffic website and you’re looking to save money, you should choose shared hosting. This means you share server disk space with other websites. Here are the monthly prices for one year deals (ignoring intro offers):

table with hosting resources allocation data
You can see the share of server resources you get with each hosting type (from HostGator).

VPS hosting

If you’re expecting high traffic to your website, you’ll need more server space. The “V” stands for “virtual”, so it’s much better for scaling because you get ringfenced resources. Your website may use cloud resources or physical server space, depending on the provider. Only an expert can set up and manage this kind of hosting.

It’s ideal for ecommerce sites (online shops), and any business websites that need to load quickly without outages.

Here are some monthly renewal prices for one year contracts (ignoring introductory discounts):

  • HostGator, Snappy 2000 VPS (2 vCores, 120GB SSD) £65 plus VAT per month (converted from USD). It’s $10 extra per month for cPanel
  • Hostinger, VPS Server Plan 2 (2 vCores, 40GB SSD) £9.99 plus VAT per month
  • IONOS, Virtual Server Cloud L (2 vCores, 120GB SSD on Linux) £10 plus VAT per month. For Windows, it’s £10 extra per vCore per month
Why am I charged extra for Windows?

A web server has to run on an operating system (OS) – two examples are Linux and Windows. Linux is open source, meaning it’s free to use. Windows, on the other hand, charges a license fee for using its OS. This cost is often passed on to the website owner.

Linux is very efficient at handling web traffic, while Windows draws more disk space and memory from the server’s hardware. That makes Windows OS more expensive to run than Linux.

Dedicated hosting

Large, complicated websites with loads of visitors accessing it at once need a super sized server. That means more memory, faster speed, and more CPU resources. It’s known as “dedicated hosting” because your website enjoys exclusive access to web hosting power.

screenshot of Ticketmaster website page selling Beyonce concert tickets
Event sales websites like Ticketmaster would benefit from dedicated hosting to cope with traffic spikes.

Domain name renewal costs: £1-£17 annually

Domain registrars like to tempt you in with seemingly rock-bottom annual fees. You’ll see prices like 86p a year and think “Wow that seems so cheap, let’s go!”. But domain name renewal is a long-term investment and you should be thinking in ten-year chunks, not scouting for one-year deals. The low prices of introductory offers under £1 are to attract new customers and the renewal after the first year may not make it worth the initial discount.

The price of your domain name renewal depends on which registrar you choose, how valuable the domain name is and how many years at once you renew for. Suffice to say, renewing for multiple years in one go (the maximum is 10) typically bags you a discount from the domain registrar. This is the discount to choose. domain name costs

  • Crazy Domains £8.60/yr
  • GoDaddy £0.86/yr (then £11.99 renewal)
  • 123-Reg £0.99/yr (then £11.99 renewal)

.com domain name costs

  • Crazy Domains .com: £11.73/yr
  • 123-Reg .com: £1.99/yr (then £16.99 renewal)
  • GoDaddy .com: £0.99/yr (then £17.12 renewal)

Cost of SSL certificate: £18-£210 annually

An SSL certificate reassures a web visitor that their sensitive information (such as payment details and passwords) is protected by encryption. It’s a key consideration of setting up a website.

Listed below are the prices to buy a certificate for one year. Generally the prices indicate an SSL certificate for just one domain, though you can pay a little extra to include additional domains.

You can save money by paying for multi-year SSL validation but obviously this means a greater upfront payment. If you have the cash on hand, it’s definitely worth buying the SSL certificate for as many years as possible because this means a bigger discount for you.

Domain validated (DV) SSL certificate: best for small websites or blogs

  • RapidSSL Standard DV: £17.95/yr
  • Comodo EssentialSSL: £23/yr (converted from USD)
  • GeoTrust Standard DV: £115/yr

Organisationally validated (OV) SSL certificate: best for a business website

  • Comodo Premium SSL (OV): £57/yr (converted from USD)
  • GeoTrust True Business ID OV: £111.48/yr
  • Entrust Standard OV SSL: £162.30/yr

Extended validation (EV) SSL certificate: best for an online shop or medical facility

  • Comodo EV SSL: £148/yr (converted from USD)
  • Sectigo EV SSL: £208/yr
  • Thawte SSL Web Server with EV: £207.10/yr
Screenshot of secure URL from
An active SSL certificate shows up as a secure website in your web browser.

You’ll likely also need to pay for SSL certificate installation (around £50) unless your IT manager is able to do this in-house.

Plugins and extensions: £0-£6,000+ annually

Plugins are additional programs you buy for your website to give it extra features. You may not need to buy any of these if your existing website doesn’t run off plugins. On the other hand, a website with lots of complex features can run up bills in the thousands each year.

Plugins are available for every type of website framework. Even drag-and-drop website builders (such as Wix or Shopify) usually have an “app store” where you can purchase plugin subscriptions.

Here are some plugin examples for Magento, an Adobe website platform:

icons, star ratings and prices for a range of Magento plugins
The highest rated Magento plugins range from $0-$999.

WordPress is one of the top website providers, so we’ll take a look at some plugin prices for WordPress.

WordPress Plugins costs

  • OptinMonster Pro (pop-up marketing campaigns): £89-£482/yr (converted from USD)
  • Icegram Express (marketing automation): £0-£188/yr (converted from USD)
  • Gravity Forms (create webforms): £48.30-£212/yr (converted from USD)
  • Yoast SEO (improves visibility on search engines): £0-£229/yr (plus VAT) for one website
  • Booking Calendar, wpdevelop (appointment scheduling) £0-£212 (with discount offer, converted from USD)

Web copywriting costs: £600-£69,600 annually

These days your site has a poor chance of appearing high up on search engine results unless its content is truly valuable to the reader. In any case, you should select a content creator (i.e. a copywriter) who mentions SEO as part of their skillset. It’s worth knowing that companies that blog get 97% more links to their websites – more links can greatly improve the Google search ranking of your business.

Here’s a quick checklist to ensure your content is hitting the mark:

  • Accurate information within your particular niche
  • Answer the web visitor’s questions
  • Pages structured with headings, subheadings and relevant images
  • Hyperlinks across your website and to high-quality external websites

Unless you have a lot of time and talent, you’re best off outsourcing your content creation to the professionals. You can hire through an agency, which will cost more but likely deliver reliable results. Or you can chance it with a freelancer of your choosing, which you should invest time in carefully selecting.

How much does it cost to hire a freelance copywriter?

The average day rate for a freelancer was £387 in 2021. That means for 15 days of copywriting per month, you’d pay £5,805.

Just over two-thirds (66%) of copywriters charge a daily or hourly rate, according to ProCopywriters, a UK-based alliance of writing professionals. As far as hourly rates go, you can expect to pay £50-£75 per hour for a skilled copywriter.

Most freelancers (70%), however, prefer to charge on a per-project basis.

Here are some examples of project prices from top rated British freelancers:

  • 1x blog/article copy up to 500 words (including four SEO keywords): £81.65
  • 1500-word blog post optimised for four keywords: £293.95
  • 5 x 1000 word articles based on your given instructions: £408.26
SERP infographic Bright Edge stats

Around 6% of freelancers charge per word. A low-level freelance writer charges 3-5p per word (that’s £40 for a 1,000 word blog post).

A mid-weight freelancer skilled in writing advertising copy that converts sales for a target market charges 8-10p per word. This means you can expect to pay £45 for a 500-word landing page. High-end writers charge 50p per word.

When selecting a freelancer, you can save a lot of money outsourcing to countries like India, Singapore or Malaysia where English is a major language. Just be sure to check out their portfolio of work and keep in mind the level of editing you may need to do if the language doesn’t sound natural for your audience.

How much are agency copywriter fees?

Most copywriting agencies are not transparent about pricing because they would rather partner with businesses for long-term contracts. This is worth looking into because regularly updating your site with quality content is the only viable SEO strategy outside of technical improvements.

A minimum order from a copywriting agency can be £500 or £1,000 for at least 300 words.

Cheaper rates are available. However, you should ask yourself why low price is important and consider whether a higher ROI could come from investing in higher-end content production.

Here are some prices from Get A Copywriter:

  • 120 word product description: £15
  • 400 word website page: £49
  • 600 word press release: £74
  • 1,000 word blog post: £123
  • 3,000 word white paper: £417
cost of hiring an agency copywriter price list

SEO on-site and off-site pricing: £11,280-£18,600

It pays to keep up to date with best SEO practice. As a rough guide, you should budget £940-£1,550 monthly for SEO services.

You’ll need to pay for on-site and off-site improvements; the former referring to content, internal linking and technical improvements. The latter encompassing backlinks from high-authority domains.

Pricing is not typically available on demand because SEO services are often included in wider web developer services, for instance. To get a quote, let us know roughly what you’re looking for and we’ll match you with the best web designers for the job.

Website builder web maintenance costs – a cheaper option

As we mentioned briefly above, website builders are a cheaper, easier way to create and maintain your own website.

No coding needed; when using a website building platform, you simply choose a template, drag-and-drop images and text boxes into place, choose some integrations  and voila – you have a website!

What’s more, website builders won’t charge extra fees for ongoing maintenance – many necessary costs are bundled into your monthly subscription fee.

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Next steps

The amount of maintenance that a website needs can sound overwhelming, but it’s easily managed once you break it down into chunks. Here’s a summary of average annual website costs to budget for:

  • Cost of SSL Certificates: £18-£210
  • Plugins and extensions: £0-£6,000+
  • Hosting costs: £115-£4,800
  • Domain name renewal costs: £1-£17
  • Web copywriting costs: £0-35,100
  • SEO on-site and off-site pricing: £0-14,940

If the low-maintenance website builder option appeals, our recommendation is Wix (the best all-rounder).

Alternatively, take our quick quiz and we’ll match you with web design experts who’ll take care of your project for a fair price.

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Written by:
Sabrina Dougall
Sabrina is a business journalist whose career began in news reporting. She has a master's in Investigative Journalism from City University London, and her work has appeared in The Times, The Daily Express, Money Saving Expert, Camden New Journal, Global Trade Review, and Computer Business Review. She specializes in writing about SEO (search engine optimization). Having run her own small business, Sabrina knows first-hand how critical digital marketing is to building a client base and local reputation.
Reviewed by:
Robyn Summers-Emler, Grow Online Editor, Profile Picture
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.