Whether you want a fully hosted package or a better deal on WordPress and hosting, here's how much a website costs
Building a website is something anyone can do in 2023. The best website builders let you create great-looking sites with no coding skills, while CMS tools like WordPress give you full custom design control. Hosting, domains and ecommerce are easy to add on. But how much does building a website cost?
You can actually build and publish a website for free with Wix or Weebly, as long as you don’t mind their adverts all over your site. At the opposite extreme, you could pay a designer thousands to craft your web presence. But if you’re serious about building a website that’s worth every penny, go for something in between.
Thanks to the rapid evolution of website builders and fierce competition between them, it needn’t cost more than around £17/mth for a fully-hosted custom domain (URL) with unlimited web space and bandwidth, ecommerce functions, web analytics and the best customisable templates in the business. If you’d like to spend less at first, opt for a starter package for less than £10/mth, then upgrade later as your website grows.
One size doesn’t fit all, though. The price point, provider and approach that suits you best depends on your business ambitions, your design skills and the type of website you want to build.
How much does a website cost?
Before we get bogged down in specific features and prices from different providers, let’s offer some broadly representative examples…
- Online CV: £4/mth for a fully hosted Wix website, which you create using customisable templates, plus around £5-£10/year for a custom domain name (your own branded URL). Or try Weebly Professional, which includes a domain and costs £9/mth.
- Blog: £8/mth for GoDaddy Basic, which bundles excellent blogging tools with its website builder. Add £5-£10/year for a custom domain.
- Photo gallery with video: £12/mth for the unlimited bandwidth, custom domain and amazing templates of Squarespace Personal.
- Booking website: £12/mth for GoDaddy Premium, whose appointment booking tools are top notch. Add £5-£10/year for custom domain.
- Portfolio with online store: £17/mth for Squarespace Business, which has gorgeous designer templates, unlimited bandwidth, mobile optimisation and ecommerce tools.
- Growing online store: £25/mth (£19/mth if you pay annually) for Shopify Basic, whose drag-and-drop page builder supports unlimited product pages and is packed with ecommerce tools. Add £5-£10/year for a custom domain.
Is VAT included in these prices?
No. Infuriatingly, website builders generally add VAT at checkout. For example, Squarespace’s Personal plan is advertised at £12/mth if you pay annually, but you actually pay £14.40/mth once 20% VAT (an extra £2.20) is added. 1&1’s website builder IONOS is one of few to be upfront about this – it says “excludes VAT” next to each price – but even they leave it to you to work out what that costs. If in doubt, assume that you’ll have to add 20% to all these prices at checkout.
How much does it cost to build a website using a website builder?
It doesn’t have to cost a bean. Even website builders that don’t have a free plan let you sign up for free and start customising templates without having to hand over any card details. Shopify’s free trial lasts three days and Squarespace’s is 14 days.
You can get a fully-hosted website builder package with custom domain for a few pounds a month. These starter packages come with chat, email and community support to help you learn the ropes. The custom domain is free for the first year, and will then cost you around £5-£10 per year to keep. If you already own a domain or you want to buy it separately, Wix Connect Domain and Weebly Connect (both £4/mth) let you connect it to your new website.
If you want a website builder with greater bandwidth to accommodate your growing traffic, expect to pay around £8-£15/mth. Packages at this level are simple enough for beginners to use, but sophisticated enough to provide all the tools and functions you need to create and run a great-looking website.
Here’s a comparison of website builder packages at this price range. All these prices apply if you pay annually (prices with an asterisk are special offers):
|Price per month||Custom domain||Ad- supported||Bandwidth||Analytics|
|Wix Connect Domain||£4||No||Yes||1GB||No|
You’ll always get the best prices if you pay for a year upfront.
How much does a custom domain name cost?
If you’re spending money on building a website, even just a few pounds a month, don’t settle for a non-custom domain name (such as www.janesfirstwebsite.weebly.com). That’s basically an advert for your website builder. A custom URL makes your website look far more professional.
Most of our favourite website builders include a custom domain for free for the first year of your plan. But if you already have a domain name, then check out GoDaddy’s website builder packages, which let you link existing domains to a website and website builder. They’re excellent value for money, especially when GoDaddy is having one of its regular special deals. The cheapest standard Wix plan, Wix Connect Domain, takes a similar approach.
To buy a domain, again head for GoDaddy, where you can buy a custom domain for as little as £1, then link it to your GoDaddy website for free with any plan. Prices vary depending on the domain extension: .site starts at £1; .me starts at £5; .co.uk starts at £12, and .shop is a hefty £37.77. You can also transfer domains (along with emails, attachments and so on) to GoDaddy, at prices ranging from free (.co.uk) to £18 (.com).
Wix also sells custom domains for adding to your website, but it’s somewhat less upfront than GoDaddy about prices, only agreeing to reveal them once you sign up and start adding domains to your basket.
How much does it cost to build an online store?
Some of the website builder packages mentioned above let you accept online payments. But if you’re keen to get selling online, through marketplaces such as eBay and Etsy as well as through your own website, you’ll be better off with an ecommerce package.
Ecommerce plans from website builders like Wix, Squarespace and GoDaddy have all the tools you need to build and run an online store, and cost from around £17 to around £35. They also help you sell and collect digital payments via existing channels such as social media and marketplaces, and even in person using a POS (point of sale) card reader.
Some website builders are entirely devoted to ecommerce. Shopify, for example, has subscription plans powerful enough to run global retail businesses, and will even help you source products from wholesalers. Shopify doesn’t include a custom domain name with your plan, but it does let you buy one. Find more detail in our guide to Shopify pricing.
Different ecommerce website builders mention different features in their packages, so it’s a bit tricky to compare like for like. Custom domains (free for first year), inventory management, POS devices and unlimited product pages are common to most ecommerce website builder packages, but not all, so check before signing up.
Here’s a quick summary of what you get for your money (prices apply when paid annually):
- Wix eCommerce Business Basic: Unlimited products, cart recovery – £15/mth
- Wix eCommerce Business Unlimited: As above plus sell subscriptions – £20/mth
- Wix eCommerce Business VIP: As above plus loyalty schemes – £27/mth
- Squarespace Commerce Basic: POS, reviews, 0% transaction fees – £23/mth
- Squarespace Commerce Basic: As above plus cart recovery, subscriptions – £35/mth
- GoDaddy eCommerce: £10/mth for 1 year, then £20/mth
- IONOS eCommerce Plus: Mobile app, online booking – £1/mth 1 year, then £25/mth
- IONOS eCommerce Pro: As above plus advanced SEO – £25/mth 1 year, then £50/mth
- IONOS eCommerce Expert: As above plus B2B – £35/mth 1 year, then £75/mth
- Shopify Basic: POS, unlimited products, cart recovery – £19/mth
- Shopify: As above plus ecommerce automations – £44/mth
- Shopify Advanced: As above plus advanced reports and functions – £230/mth
How much does it cost to build a website using WordPress?
WordPress started life in 2003 as a free blogging platform, and grew to become the world’s most popular CMS (content management system), running 42.8% of the top 10 million websites. There are two ways into WordPress: WordPress.org, which is open-source CMS software, and WordPress.com, which is a website builder. The one you choose comes down to ease of use and cost.
WordPress.org software is completely free to download and use. However, you’ll need to be handy with web design and code, and you’ll have to pay for hosting and domains separately. A custom domain need cost no more than a few pounds a year, but a web host may cost as much as a website builder package (more on hosting costs in a moment). So while WordPress.org gives you the freedom and control of coding, it ultimately doesn’t work out a huge amount cheaper than WordPress.com.
This is how the prices for WordPress.com stack up:
|Package||Price/mth||Price/yr||Custom domain||Ad-supported||Premium themes||Plugins|
What are the best website builders in 2023?
Here’s our current pick of the best website builders we’ve tested.
1. SquareSpace: The best for businesses
Flexible, slick and responsive, SquareSpace picked up five stars and a Recommended award when we tested it. In our full-length SquareSpace review, we praised the tool for its professional-caliber templates and comprehensive ecommerce and marketing features. Easy to set up and endlessly versatile, this is certainly our favourite website builder – although you’ll need deep pockets.
Price: From £12/mth
2. Wix: The best all-rounder
One of the first website builders and still one of the best, Wix picked up four stars and a Recommended award when we put it though its paces. Our full-length Wix review applauded its accessibility, myriad customisation options and free tier: you can try the builder out without paying a penny and then upgrade as your business evolves.
Price: From £0/mth
3. Square Online: The best for newcomers
Square Online is perfect for new and smaller businesses. In our full Square Online review – in which the website builder earned four stars and a Recommended award – we levelled particular praise at the ease of use, noting how simple it was to get started and to integrate a new site with Square’s physical store systems for inventory management and point-of-sale.
Price: From £0/mth
How much does it cost to host a website?
As we’ve seen, domains can cost as little as £1/year, but hosting is a bit more expensive, with monthly prices closer to those of website builder subscriptions.
GoDaddy, our best web host, has plans starting at just £3/mth for one website for a year. This includes a free domain with matching SSL security certificate and email, plus 10 databases (which you’ll need for a WordPress.org-designed site) and free one-click WordPress installation. The downside is you only get ‘standard performance’ bandwidth, which means your site may struggle to cope when traffic gets busy.
For unmetered bandwidth and 10 sites, GoDaddy Deluxe costs £4/mth for a year. GoDaddy Ultimate, with unmetered bandwidth for high-traffic sites, is currently £8/mth for a year. If you’re really keen on hand-crafting your own website in WordPress rather than using a website builder, at least you can be assured that domains and hosting won’t bankrupt you.