How much does it cost to maintain a website?

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When I was in my twenties, I bought my first house. My husband and I scrimped and saved and were ready for our big investment – or so we thought. There were so many costs involved with purchasing and owning a home that we just weren’t prepared for! Does this sound familiar?

Well, owning a website is a lot like owning a house. You can’t just pay your mortgage and taxes and assume everything will be okay. You need insurance and you need to maintain your property. Similarly, your website is not a one-time investment.

As your business evolves, you need to update your site to reflect changes to your services, team members, or policies. Even a very basic site should be updated from time to time to keep the design and the content fresh!

In addition, a lot goes on behind the scenes that requires attention.

It’s really troubling, the number of websites I see that haven’t been updated since they were launched. Sometimes it’s outdated content; other times it’s broken links that no one’s caught or bothered to fix. But what’s most worrisome is when they’re running a version of WordPress from two or more years ago or have plugins that aren’t even supported by the developers anymore. Can you say security risk?

If you don’t have the time or the skills to maintain your website, you’ll need to pay someone to look after it for you.

To help you plan your budget, I’ll outline some of the variables that can affect your ongoing website maintenance costs.

Website Content Updates

If you use WordPress or another Content Management System (CMS), you can probably update your content yourself. However, if you’re simply too busy with client work to fit website updates into your schedule, it may be more practical to outsource this task.

And when it comes to major changes affecting the layout or navigation of your site, you will likely need to pay a website designer to implement them for you.

Domain Name Renewal

In most cases, you will have registered one or more domain names for your website. Your domain registration must be renewed annually, usually at a cost of $15.00 to $25.00 per year. If you have multiple domain names (such as yourawesomebiz dot com, yourawesomebiz dot biz, yourawesomebiz dot ca), this fee applies to each one, so a fairly small investment can add up quickly if you’re not careful!

Website Hosting

Hosting can range from free to hundreds of dollars per month, depending on the level of service you need. You can learn more about your options in Website Hosting: Are you giving your site a good Home Sweet Home?.

If you’ve purchased an SSL certificate or other extras from your hosting service, this is usually a recurring expense as well. (Just make sure you actually need those add-ons! Some hosting companies are notorious for convincing people who don’t know any better that they need more than they really do.)

WordPress Updates

WordPress is continually being updated with new features and security enhancements. This is great, but it means you need to apply the updates to access the new features and, more importantly, to keep your site secure.

It’s not always a difficult process, depending on your level of technical knowledge, but it is essential that you do it carefully and correctly. I’ve had clients contact me after updating their own site because something went wrong. Restoring a broken site can be costly, especially if you factor in the cost of lost business due to your website being down.

If you’re not 100% sure you have the time and expertise to manage your own updates, my Website Care Plan might be just what you need. For a set monthly or yearly fee, I look after updates, backup, security, and more.

Themes and Plugins

Premium WordPress themes and plugins are a great way to give your site a professional look and added functionality, but in most cases, you need to renew your license each year in order to be eligible for continuing upgrades and support. Outdated themes and plugins present a security risk and may even stop working properly.

If your web designer purchased a theme or plugins for you, ask them whether you are responsible for the cost of future updates.

Additional Support

You may also choose to enhance your site by investing in other services, such as professional copywriting or search engine optimization. Just like anything else, pricing for such services varies widely, so do your homework and make sure you’re working with someone who really understands your business and your goals for your website.


I’ve listed above the types of maintenance costs that most website owners can anticipate. Clearly, a website is not a one-time expense! You’re probably looking at $230 or more per year for domain registration and hosting, and even more if you require assistance keeping your site up-to-date.

But don’t think of this as just one more expense — consider it an investment in your website, your business, and your peace of mind.

If you have better things to do with your time than working in the back end of your website, let’s talk! Schedule a free Get to Know You session and find out how I can free up your schedule for what you do best and enjoy the most.

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Casual Photo of Janet Barclay

Janet Barclay

I eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, cooking, watching movies, drinking tea, and spending time with my family.

Join the Conversation!


  1. Janet Schiesl on April 29, 2024 at 8:28 am

    Great advice Janet and thank you for all you do.

  2. Julie Bestry on April 29, 2024 at 4:31 pm

    I think the biggest obstacle in business is not knowing what you don’t know; not being able to anticipate the costs (and labors) related to having a web site has surely kept many professionals from moving ahead with creating or renovating a site. This is why your posts are always so superlative; you help people anticipate their needs, concerns, and costs, empowering them (us!) to make wiser decisions. You are always on the forefront of what we need to know, so thank you!

    • Janet Barclay on April 30, 2024 at 1:36 pm

      You’re so right! I’ve had a number of new clients with WordPress sites that simply didn’t know they were supposed to maintain it. I even had one or two where the person who created their site told them they didn’t need to. I’m always happy to share what I know. If it helps even a couple of people, that’s a win!

  3. Linda Samuels on April 30, 2024 at 2:02 pm

    You make a compelling argument for investing in a Website Care plan. As you know, I have a Squarespace site, so I can’t take advantage of the service you offer. But if I had WordPress, you’d be my person.

    There is always work to do on a website. Most of it I’m able to do myself, but sometimes I have to hire someone with more extensive technical knowledge to fix something. In general, Squarespace is an easy platform to work on and maintain.

    • Janet Barclay on April 30, 2024 at 3:36 pm

      I’ve never worked with Squarespace, but I hear it’s an excellent platform for someone who prefers to DIY but doesn’t want to deal with technical stuff.

  4. Pam Holland on April 30, 2024 at 4:52 pm

    This is a post I needed when I started my website. It is on WordPress, and since I blog regularly (with a focus on keywords), I get pretty good SEO. But just yesterday I “happened to notice” that there is a section that is not working properly. On my To-do list! I HAVE had that experience you mentioned of hosting companies trying to sell me more than I needed. Thanks for the expert advice, Janet. 🙂

    • Janet Barclay on May 2, 2024 at 2:59 pm

      Ooh, I hate when that happens. I hope you’re able to resolve the problem easily.

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