Website Maintenance Costs

Website maintenance

By Dan Barraclough

How much does it cost to keep a website up and running? We explain what you'll need to pay for, how much it'll cost – and advise you on how to cut those fees…


Website maintenance is a bit like installing computer updates. It’s a total pain, and we’d all rather not do it, but it only gets worse the longer you leave it.

The only thing worse than this on a Friday evening…

…is this on a Monday morning

On average, 77% of users will give up trying to access your website when they see a 404 error message like the one above. Meanwhile, slow-to-load web pages are a major cause of ecommerce customer dissatisfaction.

The causes of poor website performance are complex. The consequences, however, are simple; fewer sales, more customer complaints, and bad news all round for your bottom line.

Fortunately, most issues are completely avoidable with the right approach to website maintenance. Sure, you’ll need to shell out for the services of trained professionals; but you’ll save yourself a whole lot of time, money and stress in the long run.

Here’s the lowdown on website maintenance costs in 2020. If you don’t have a website, our guide to web design costs is also worth a look.

Build your own website quickly and affordably with Wix, one of our favourite website builders Try Wix for free

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 comes with minimal maintenance costs. However, below are the average monthly costs for different sized websites:

  • Small blog: $5 – $25 per month
  • Portfolio website: $5 – $30 per month
  • Medium-sized blog: $20 – $60 per month
  • Large blog: $50 – $100 per month
  • Business website: $35 – $300 per month
  • Small ecommerce store: $150 – $1,500+ per month
  • Large ecommerce store: $300 – $1,500+ per month
  • Enterprise ecommerce store: $1,500+ per month

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 site copy, images, and videos into place; integrate the apps and tools that'll add the functionality you need; and voila – you have a website!

What's more, website builders won't charge big extra fees for ongoing maintenance – many of the necessary costs will 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!

Website builderBest for…Price range (per month, billed annually)Is a free plan available?Check it out!
Wix logoBest all-round website builder$13 – $49Yes!Visit Wix
Squarespace logoBest for creative entrepreneurs$12 – $40NoVisit Squarespace
Weebly logoBest for total beginners$6 – $26Yes!Visit Weebly
Shopify logoBest for ecommerce businesses$29 – $299NoVisit Shopify
BigCommerce logoBest for big growth ambitions$29.95 – $269.96NoVisit BigCommerce

Web Domain Renewal Fees

As the Dallas Cowboys learned the hard way in 2010, it’s easy to forget to renew your domain name after you’ve bought it. Renewal fees are due at the end of each billing period, and you’ll need to pay them to keep hold of your domain name.

We examined the average renewal fees for the three most popular types of domain name (.com, .net, .org) sold by 45 major domain name registrars.

Here are the registrars who emerged cheapest overall:

.com
RegistrarAverage renewal fee/year
AlpNames$8.75
Porkbun$8.84
NameSilo$8.99
Dynadot$8.99
OnlyDomains$8.99
.net
RegistrarAverage renewal fee/year
Porkbun$9.78
OnlyDomains$9.99
Dynadot$10.99
Crazy Domains$11.00
Amazon Route 53$8.99
.org
RegistrarAverage renewal fee/year
Crazy Domains$9.99
BigRock$10.59
Porkbun$10.72
NameSilo$10.79
Dynadot$10.99

Web Hosting Costs

Note: For a detailed costs breakdown of the different types of web hosting options, check out our full guide to the costs of creating a website.

Much like registering a domain name, signing up to receive web hosting services is usually cheaper than renewing an existing subscription.

We already ranked the top web hosts according to the initial cost of their shared hosting plans. Now we’re going to look at how they stack up when you add renewal fees into the mix.

We’re only concerned with renewal costs here, since these are what keep the figurative lights on for your website. Here’s how the top web hosting providers fare:

Cheapest Web Hosting Providers
Web hostRenewal fees for basic shared hosting plan/year
Namecheap$38.88
1&1$95.88
HostFav$29.99
iPage$119.88
Hostinger$39.00

Website Framework Updates

Note: If you have decided to make your website with a DIY website builder like Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace, you can skip this section. Your framework updates install automatically, free of charge.

Remember, using a website builder is quicker, easier, and cheaper than hiring a professional web designer, and you'll still end up with a sleek website that does everything you need it to. Skip back up this page to check out our favorite website builders!

All websites rely on a software framework. In 2020, WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are the three most popular frameworks. Developers are constantly iterating upon these frameworks, adding new features and security fixes.

As a website owner, it’s in your interests to update your website with minimal impact to performance. That means scheduling planned downtime for rolling out updates, testing the post-update functionality of your website, and debugging the source code to fix any issues.

Needless to say, it’s a process that requires considerable technical expertise. If you don’t have in-house IT personnel, it’s best to hire an IT consultant or web agency.

Most website maintenance agencies offer a range of pay-as-you-go and fixed pricing plans. Pay-as-you-go maintenance runs at around $120 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.

Did You Know?

WordPress received seven major updates in 2017. Each one several fixed bugs and vulnerabilities for the 37.5 million websites using the framework.


Content Update Costs

Even if your business has the best product or services on the market, outdated content and broken hyperlinks on your website will send the opposite message to customers. A copywriting agency 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 other article on web design costs.

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

Search Engine Optimization Costs

Quite simply, SEO – or Search Engine Optimization – is what keeps your business in Google’s good books. SEO professionals make sure that each and every aspect of your website is fine-tuned to appear at the top of search engine results pages.

SEO agency packages run from $200 to $800 per month, and include support for:

  • Keyword research and targeting
  • Website analysis and evaluation
  • Page coding and optimization
  • Descriptive HTML site mapping
  • Local business listings indexation
  • Site analytics reporting
  • Off-page link building
  • Competitor analysis

Other 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 confirms the identity of your website to users. Essentially, it reassures people you’re the real deal and that you can be trusted with their data. You don’t have to buy one, but you’ll probably want to; SSL certificates are known to boost e-commerce sales and Google rankings. SSL certificate installation prices start from around $50 (one-time fee).
  • Website backups – Regularly backing up your website is a cheap insurance policy against getting hacked or infected with malware. From $5 a month, you can rest easy knowing that a recent version of your website can be restored from the cloud at the click of a button.
  • Plugins and extensions – These are mini-applications that you install in your website to add features, like a video player or a Twitter feed. Plugins are free to download but require frequent updates to work properly. Website maintenance agencies can install updates for you – prices are available by quote.

Next Steps

If your website suffers from 404s galore, you’ve got work to do. Now you should have a better idea of what that work entails, and how much it will cost.

That said, you’ve got another option: redesigning your website from scratch. It’s all well and good paying professionals to maintain an old website, but if it doesn’t follow modern web standards and causes problems for your SEO, is it really worth it?

World class web design not only gives your brand great visibility; it also makes light work of website maintenance. A slick site built on the most modern frameworks is a cinch to maintain, and web design companies can even do that part for you too!

If you’re creating a website and want an idea of the costs involved, your best bet is to get bespoke quotes.

Complete our short webform and we’ll connect you with top website design suppliers today.

Or, to build your website yourself with minimum hassle and cost, check out our favorite website builders: Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, Shopify, and BigCommerce.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a writer for Expert Market, specialising in a range of cool topics. He loves web design and all things UX, but also the hardware stuff like postage metres and photocopiers.

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