Website Maintenance Costs

two people looking over a website design on a laptop

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How much does it cost to keep a website up and running? Around $6,715 per year for a small business website. We explain what you’ll need to pay for, how much it’ll cost – and advise you on how to cut those fees.

A website is not like buying a painting. You can’t choose a design, hang it on the wall and forget about it. Security certificates run out, domain names need renewing and content grows outdated.

Forget your updates and you’re essentially setting fire to your reputation. Not only does a website convey the image and credentials of your company, but it’s often the direct point of sale for your products and services.

In this article we’ll break down the costs of domain renewal, hosting, framework updates, content and SEO (search engine optimization). Read on to discover the cost of website maintenance for your particular business size, and be sure to check out our definitive guide for website costs.

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How Much Does Website Maintenance Cost?

The cost of your website’s maintenance depends on factors like hosting, domain renewal fees, content updates, and SEO checks – unless you’re using a website builder, which includes most of those maintenance costs in the monthly fee.

However, below are the average monthly costs for different types of commercial websites:

Small business website annual costs: $6,715

At the lower end of the small business website scale, we’re looking at an everyday website with no more than 5,000-15,000 monthly visitors. The below costs are for a website that only needs basic security as it doesn’t take customer payments or store sensitive data. Some example websites include: beauty salon, auto repair services, personal trainer or online training courses.

  • Domain renewal: $13
  • Shared hosting: $72
  • SSL certificate: $80
  • Website maintenance package: $3,600
  • Ten new 500-word articles by a mid-range copywriter: $2,000
  • Plugins: $950

Total: $6,715

The above does not include SEO (organic search marketing) services, which can easily cost $1,500-$4,500 monthly. We’ve factored in the cost of website backup into a website maintenance package we found from WebFX. However, not all website maintenance services include this.

On the other hand, you may be able to save money on the SSL certificate with a hosting or domain name package.

Medium-sized online shop annual costs: $16,555

If your website processes payments, you’ll need strong encryption. That means a pricer EV (extended validation) SSL security certificate is in order. Hosting power should increase so your website won’t crash on Black Friday. And your domain renewal fee may be far higher than average, if your chosen website name is commercially valuable.

  • Domain renewal: $19
  • VPS hosting: $336
  • SSL certificate: $250
  • Website maintenance package: $11,700
  • Plugins: $4,250

Total: $16,555

We’ve left out SEO marketing services from the above costing because it’s usually separate from general web maintenance. SEO services for a mid-sized ecommerce website are likely to cost $43,200 per year.

We haven’t included product copywriting or photography either. You may or may not need to pay extra for these depending on the availability of skills and time within your team. Or your supplier may provide such assets for you.

Or, for a cheaper option…

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

Requiring no coding or technical knowledge, when using a website building platform, you simply choose a professional-looking design template, drag-and-drop your content into place and voila – you have a website!

What’s more, website builders won’t charge big extra fees for ongoing maintenance – they’ll be bundled into your monthly subscription fee.

Below, we’ve listed our favorite website builders, and included their price ranges. Be sure to check them out before hiring a (more expensive) web designer!

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$6-$26 per month

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Try Wix Try Squarespace Try Weebly Try Shopify Try BigCommerce

Web Domain Renewal Fees

A website name is only borrowed, and you’ve got to pay to renew the license every year.

We found domain renewal costs range from $10-$17 these days. It’s also possible to find cheaper prices but we’ve been careful to only recommend domain registrars with a good reputation.

It helps to consider one provider for your hosting, web maintenance, domain renewal, website builder and plugins such as email inbox options. Reason being you can score discounts if you buy all these things in one package. But we’re including prices so you can tell whether you’re being offered a genuinely good deal (or not).

Here are the cheapest prices from credible domain registrars for three types of top-level domains (TLDs):

RegistrarAnnual renewal cost
Crazy Domains$14.40
RegistrarAnnual renewal cost
Crazy Domains$16.99
RegistrarAnnual renewal cost
Crazy Domains$13.99

Web Hosting Costs

Your hosting needs renewal from time to time and its expense is part of the overall costs of a website. Of course there are different types of hosting, depending on the amount of traffic to your website. If you had significantly more or fewer web visitors last year, it’s worth thinking about choosing a more generous or more basic hosting package according to your needs.

Shared hosting costs

If you have a small website with low traffic and few extra features, you only need the cheapest option: shared hosting.

Web hostMonthly price for basic shared hosting plan

VPS hosting costs

If your website goes through periods of higher traffic, you should look to invest in “virtual private server” hosting: VPS.

Web hostMonthly renewal for standard VPS plan

Larger websites with vast databases, and a high numbers of visitors will need “dedicated hosting” At this level, you can choose between self managed and managed, depending on the level of IT expertise you have in-house. Managed dedicated hosting is the most expensive web hosting service there is, but you benefit from top-grade severs (meaning high speed and lots of memory) plus excellent support. Pricing for dedicated hosting ranges from $120-$1,000 monthly.

Websites which need dedicated hosting include: gaming, video streaming, university or hospital websites (with user log-ins), banks, payment services, marketplaces, and high-demand shopping sites.

Downtime = money down the drain

Computer network outages cost your company money in sales, operations, staff time, and reputation damage. The individual cost of IT outages is increasing, according to a 2023 Uptime Institute report.

Website Maintenance Packages

As a website owner, it’s in your interests to update your website with minimal impact to performance. That means scheduling downtime for updates, debugging, and security fixes.

These days agency and freelancer prices are pretty similar. Either may offer a range of pay-as-you-go and fixed pricing plans:

  • Pay-as-you-go maintenance runs at around $125-$250 per hour, and is best if you’re looking for short-term help rolling out critical software updates.
  • Fixed pricing plans provide ongoing monthly maintenance at a reduced hourly rate – anywhere from $50 to $100 per hour.
  • To really save money, you can hire a freelancer in India or another country where English is widely spoken. On websites like you can find highly rated professionals to fix two or three bugs on your website for as low as $10.
three pricing plans at $300, $975 or $10,000 per month
Here's some examples of web maintenance packages from top agency WebFX.

Wordpress experts Emily Journey and Associates are based in Ohio. They offer the following web maintenance packages:

  • Basic: $199 per month
    90 minutes of support
    Security updates
    Hosting management
    Domain management
    Basic content updates
  • Premium: $450 per month
    4 hours of support
    One hour training in WordPress or SEO
    Editing and publishing content

If you’re lucky, then your web maintenance package may include some content updates, like it does with Emily Journey and Associates. However, if you need longform articles and sales conversion text for your website, you’ll need to pay extra.

Content Update Costs

Even if your business has the best product or services on the market, outdated content and poorly-written pages will leave your customers cold. A copywriting agency or freelancer can handle content quality control for you.

Fees vary according to the type and length of content in question. We’ve covered average copywriting service fees in our explainer on website costs.

But these are the average freelance rates for a 500 word article:

  • Rookie: $65-$150
  • Professional: $175-$350
  • Industry Expert: $400-$700

The above is a very rough guide, and the rates you’ll pay will depend on the freelancer you choose. A writer may be willing to charge less if you commission more work from them. You should note that the top-level experts will have minimum project rates of $1,000 to $1,500.

Looking to sell your products over the web? Shopify can help you build an online store easily and cheaply

Search Engine Optimization Costs

For a website SEO – or Search Engine Optimization – is arguably the most important form of marketing you can invest in. It’s what keeps your business in Google’s good books. The best SEO agencies make sure that each and every aspect of your website is fine-tuned to appear on search results.

SEO includes services such as:

  • Content audit
  • Keyword research
  • Competitive analysis
  • Site analytics reporting
  • Ensuring broken links are redirected
  • Off-page link building (backlinks)
  • Local business listings creation

Often it makes sense to hire a separate company to carry out SEO for your website. If you’re wondering about how much SEO costs, we’ve written a helpful guide. But the top line is: the average monthly SEO agency fee is $3,594.

Technology Costs

As well as the costs detailed above, there are a couple more expenses to keep in mind:

    • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate – A digital certificate that reassures visitors your website connection is encrypted. That means their data is safe, and site is guarded against malware. SSL certificates are known to boost ecommerce sales and Google rankings. You’ll need to pay for both the certificate ($7-$250 per year) plus installation (around $50 one-time fee or $15 to $35 if outsourcing to overseas freelancers).
    • Website backups – Regularly backing up your website is an insurance policy against cyberattacks and network issues. Costs may be wrapped up in a maintenance package, or your in-house IT can use paid File Transfer Protocol (FTP) tools. Don’t forget the additional cost of data storage, either on your own hardware or external cloud storage services.
    • Plugins and extensions – These are mini-applications that you install in your website to add features, like a video player, a Twitter feed or an email inbox. Plugins often have a free version but premium options vary in price. So your costs here could range from $0 to over $7,000 a year, depending on how your website works.

If all the above costs seem like a lot to manage, just remember you’re not alone. If you’ve ever wondered how many small businesses have a website the answer is simple: most of them. It’s perfectly possible to work out an affordable budget for your website, as long as you’re savvy about your long-term goals.

Free SSL anyone?

One of the biggest SSL certificate providers is a nonprofit. Award-winning security provider Let’s Encrypt issued 30 SSL certificates per second in 2022. So ask your webmaster to install one for free.

Next Steps

If your website suffers from 404 errors galore, you’ve got work to do. Now you know what areas of web maintenance you need to pay attention to, and how much they’ll each cost.

If you’re planning to overhaul your website and need a precise idea of costs, your best bet is to request tailor-made quotes. Simply complete our short form and we’ll match you with our trusted website designers.

Or, to build your website yourself with minimum maintenance costs, check out our favorite website builders: Wix and, for ecommerce sites, Shopify.

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.