How Much Does a Website Cost?
The costs for a website are going to vary depending upon what you are trying to accomplish, but every website has 2 basic costs...
1) The domain name (yoursite.com)
2) The web host
If you remember nothing else from this site, remember that you absolutely must have these 2 things to get started.
You pay for domain names yearly and most registrars will give you a discount if you pay for multiple years. For example, WebsitePalace.com charges $13.99 for one year of registration.
But if you register the domain name for 10 years in advance, it will only cost you $8.99 per year. Most registrars provide discounts for registering multiple years up front.
You may be wondering why I recommend WebsitePalace.com when there are numerous registrars out there.
I make it no secret that I am affiliated with Website Palace and if you start your website there, you will receive a free e-book (written by me) that walks you through setting up your website. You won't receive anything like this with other registrars.
I also created a screencast video that walks you through setting up your site. So you'll get to watch me using my own Website Palace account to give you an idea of how to get started. I guarantee you won't find anything like this with other hosts.
Because most domain registration companies offer very similar services for building a website, I wanted to offer something valuable that I know you cannot get at other sites.
By the way, Website Palace also hosts my Webmaster forum, WebsiteBabble.com.
A web host is the company that actually stores your web files. They allow you to publish your files to the Internet and provide other features such as email accounts, database support, etc.
Hosting is generally a monthly fee. At WebsitePalace.com it's $3.99 per month for their smallest plan and the amount of space you receive is more than enough for the average customer.
The nice thing about most web hosting plans is that you can easily upgrade to a higher package if you should need it.
You can actually watch a video of me explaining the various hosting plans offered at Website Palace.
What About Free Hosting?
I am not a fan of free web hosts. Your building options are often very limited and many of them are supported by ads. So you have these unprofessional and annoying banners flashing on your site, which screams "Amateur!".
Also, when you choose a free host the address of your site is usually something like http://username.freewebhost.com instead of yourdomain.com.
And because you do not own the domain, there may be limitations on what you can do with your site (i.e. adding user interactive features such as chat rooms, message boards, etc.).
I started with a free host years ago and the problem I had was that the free host decided to start charging. And if you didn't want to pay their recurring monthly fee then you lost your site. No questions asked. Fortunately for me the sites were not for business purposes so it wasn't a huge loss.
Not to mention, the major search engines like Google and Yahoo may devalue your site and it may be harder to achieve a good rank. You don't want to start off on the search engine's bad side -- especially if you are trying to make money.
In my opinion, it's not worth it. And if you are trying to create a business then a free website should not even be an option.
You wouldn't start an offline business for free so online should be no different. Expect to make an investment and you have to admit that the prices for starting a website are very reasonable.
You could never start an offline business for that kind of price.
There may be other costs for your site, depending on what you need. Below I've addressed some you may incur.
Outsourcing a Web Designer
If you decide you would like someone to create and design your site then you will likely have to pay for this.
Web design rates vary from person to person and can range anywhere from $25 per hour to hundreds of dollars per hour.
If you do decide to outsource, it's best to find someone you know, or at least get a referral from a friend. Also keep in mind web design firms generally charge more than people who freelance from their home.
In many cases Web designers take advantage of people's lack of knowledge about website creation and hike up their prices or charge for miscellaneous items that you would get for free if you did it on your own. That's why it's best to get a referral.
vWorker.com is another good option if you must outsource your design. This site consists of a pool of programmers who are looking for work. You simply input your bid request that explains what you need done and coders from all over will reply with a bid.
You can email the programmers and discuss specifics before accepting any bid and if you cannot find a quote that is suitable, you are not obligated to accept any bid.
Each programmer has a rating so you can get an idea of their history and feedback from other RentaCoder customers.
When the coder is done with your work, you pay them securely with PayPal and do not release the funds to them until you have received your work.
It's a great option if you need design work but cannot find someone locally that can help you. I've used them for several small jobs and have been pleased with the outcome on every occasion.
Website Tonight Designer
Website Palace has a web hosting package called "Website Tonight". This is a unique hosting plan that does not require any software or programming experience. All you do is choose a template and add your text and pictures.
They also offer a custom design package with this hosting option where someone will build your site for you and even do a customized logo if you wish.
Customized designs are always going to cost you more money because you're outsourcing the work. But if you really want to consider having someone else create your site, you might want to look into their plans.
Web Software / HTML Editors
If you decide to create your site on your own, I'd highly recommend you invest in a good Web editor. I used Dreamweaver for this site. I bought the template from
Dreamweaver is pricey and will run you about $400. If this is not in your budget you can go for something more affordable like Artisteer.
Note: Some web hosts will offer website building tools so make sure you check that out before signing up. For example, WebsitePalace.com has a hosting option called "Website Tonight" and it comes with online building tools so no software is needed.
Just be aware that most hosts that include website building tools still have limitations on design. In my opinion, it's best to own your own software or code from scratch. That way you have the freedom to do what you want with your site's design.
You can also use WordPress, which is a platform for blogging and your content is organized by date and category. You can also use WordPress to build a traditional non-blog website too. Learn more about WordPress here.
Shopping Carts / Merchant Fees
If you plan on building an online store then you may incur some fees setting up a shopping cart. Also, if you accept credit card payments, you could incur costs from a merchant account that will collect payments for you.
Generally the merchants take a small percentage of every transaction made from your store and send you the rest.
Here is an example of what a merchant account can cost you if you go with Website Palace.
If you can absorb the preliminary information on this site, you will have a huge advantage because most people rush and don't take the time to plan and educate themselves before they begin.
If your goal is to make money with a website or blog, absorb the content on this site like a sponge.