How much should a web site really cost?

Lately I have been asked by many people how much should they pay for a personal or small business website. It seems that these are good times to get some extra cash from a web initiative.

The problem is that, for most people, building and hosting a website is somewhat of a mystery. And when people treat something as a mystery they tend to over complicate it and over pay for it. Some people I talked to spent 20-100$ on simple basic hosting alone! That is, in most cases, more than what they need to pay.

So, to set the record straight, here is how much I pay for my web sites:

Domain name

I pay 8$ per year on average for each of my 12+ domains. Sometimes I get a great deal of 6$ for a .com domain but on average I pay 8$. I use GoDaddy to buy my domains, I had good experience with them as a registrar, but I do not host my sites there.

Site hosting

– Spacebug is hosted for 1 1/2 dollars per month. This is cheap as chips but you can only host one domain on that account. I use quality hosting online for I am very happy with their service and would highly recommend them for beginners site, they provide unlimited email accounts, subdomain and one MySQL server, and that is all you need to begin creating your own thing on the web. They would have been perfect if they allowed multiple sites and MySQL on the same low cost account.

For the rest of my sites I use hostmonster. I am moderately happy with their services. Their support provides only generic answers and is a little impolite. Their uptime was great for a time, but lately they had several unannounced downtime events. Having said that, their offering is very impressive with unlimited domains and MySQL instances for only 6$ a month, a cost I share with a few friends so the bottom line come to about 2$ a month.

Thatâ’s it? Well, not necessarily…

This is the point when you need to determine whether you want to develop and design the site yourself, use or customize some out-of-the-box product, or pay someone else to build the site for you.

Let’s examine these options:

Paying for someone else to develop the site can cost a lot, it might be worth your while if you have the funds and do not have the skills and don’t want to learn them or can’t spare the time. Just remember, it can cost quite a lot- I have personally participated in web development projects ranging from 1000$ up to a 500,000$ and more.

In many cases using or customizing some out-of-the-box framework or product might prove to be a very productive thing. If you are interested in a blog like functionality you might be interested in WordPress, I like WordPress and use it often. If you are interested in managing general content site then Drupal might be the right product for you, it is a great CMS and spacebug is proudly powered by Drupal. Both products and many others are free and open source products. You do need to learn how to customize them to fit your business requirements. If you are interested you might want to read one of the books bellow:

Building a website from scratch might be good if you have “something completely different“ on your mind, and it sometimes happens. Some sites have so little in common with other generic sites that customizing an out-of-the-box product or framework might be harder then writing it all from scratch. If you are an experience developer, you could also use some low-level frameworks like CakePHP that provides you with some functionality, such as seamless database ORM, and let you implement the rest yourself. These type of frameworks usually aim to improve your productivity as a developer.

If you are just getting started you might be interested in one of these books:

Why did I decide to recommend books? Well, 12 years ago, I bought “teach yourself ‘Perl’ in 21 days”. While I do not recommend developing in ‘Perl’ nowadays, I do think that a good book served as a great starting point, much better than most of the books I had to read in university.

The last, priceless, component in a good website is luck and determination, so good luck and be determine!

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Amir Shevat

Amir Shevat is the global Startup Outreach lead in Google Developer Relations ( Previously, Amir Led Google Campus Tel Aviv and was the co founder of several startups.

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1 Response

  1. etsy says:

    Thanks for sharing

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