How Much Does WordPress Cost? Is WordPress Free to Start a Blog?

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You heard WordPress is open source. It’s free, and you can download it in an instant, and start using it however you want, without first seeking permission from any authority. Now you’re really interested, and perhaps thinking of launching your own WordPress-based website.

But is WordPress really free? And does it mean you can create your own personalized WordPress without shelling a coin? Is it gratis? Well, the answer is both yes and no.

Allow me to explain. First of all, WordPress is an open source project, which means you can download, use, build on, and modify it freely without fear of getting licensure charges slapped against you.

WordPress is free in the sense of freedom not in the sense of free beer. – WPBeginner

No single company sells the WordPress software – it’s software developed by a community of developers, bloggers, and other WordPress lovers. You can download your own copy for free at WordPress.org.

At the same time, you can start your own WordPress.com blog without putting down your credit card. The only downside is you get limited features, and instead of a personalized domain e.g. yourname.com, you get a yourname.wordpress.com sub domain. You will have to pay to get a personalized domain.

Where does that leave you? And are there costs to meet to get your own fully-fledged WordPress site? Today’s post will shine light on this matter.

Lifting Off the Shroud

WordPress is an open source community software that’s the result of contributions made by ten of thousands of contributors from all corners of the globe.

WordPress.org, where you download WordPress and stay updated about the WordPress platform, is just a “custodian”, leading the development, and maintenance of WordPress.

On the other hand, WordPress.com is a service that allows you to own a WordPress blog in five minutes. The blog you get is, however, severely handicapped in functionality making it the lesser ideal solution for a business website than self-hosted WordPress.

Enters self-hosted WordPress, the flavor you download from WordPress.org, and the day is saved. This is also where costs make a debut.

What Costs?

Yeah, tell us, what costs? WordPress is 100% free. You can download it now, and start developing sites on your local machine. But to put your WordPress site(s) online, you need to part with a few pennies in the name of:

  • Web hosting
  • A personalized domain name
  • WordPress design/installation fees
  • Premium WordPress theme
  • Premium WordPress theme
  • SEO service
  • Et cetera

Let’s expound these items one after the other. Bullet number one:

WordPress Hosting Costs

As we’ve already established, you cannot put your website online without a reliable web host. A reliable host in terms of providing great customer service, awesome packages, best security, and more.

When it comes to WordPress hosting, you’re spoiled for choice. At the end of the day though, it all boils down to either renting server space or buying your own server.

Buying and maintaining your own server is great, but it is damn expensive especially if you have a small website that can perform fairly well on rented server space.

The good news is there are a million and one web hosts out there ready to host your WordPress site. Many offer a quick WordPress auto-install option that saves you a great deal or time and trouble. Companies such as Bluehost, Hostgator, GoDaddy, and Dreamhost are prime candidates.

Shared web hosting costs between $4 – $15 a month with these providers. There’s, however, another group of companies that dedicates their entire efforts and infrastructure to WordPress hosting. Managed WordPress hosting is the solution they offer, with WPEngine leading the pack. Costs hang around $30 per month, but the specialized service is worth every dime.

WordPress Domain Costs

Having a web hosting account only isn’t enough. You need something else – you need a personalized domain name for your business. Think of it as your business address. Google.com, Facebook.com, Twitter.com, 85ideas.com etc are all good examples of domain names.

Worry not one bit, registering your very own domain name is both cheap, and easy. Companies such as Namecheap, and a couple of web hosting companies will charge about $10 per year for domain registration. This, however, depends entirely on the type of domain you choose seeing they come in many different TLDs, at different prices.

Side Note: TLDs simply means top-level domains, and they’re differentiated by the last part of the domain name after the period e.g. .com, .net, .club, .org, .biz etc.

Now that you have web hosting, and a domain name, does that mean you have a working WordPress site? Well, no even though you’re just one step away from owning your own site. You should look into investing in a premium WordPress theme that ships with great features, awesome support, and a lifetime of updates. Or you can walk the path traveled by many and download free WordPress themes from WordPress.org, among other places.

Premium WordPress Themes

As we’ve just mentioned, you can start and run your WordPress site with a free WordPress theme from the repository, or reputable theme vendors such as 85ideas and WPExplorer just to mention a few.

The only shortcoming with free WordPress themes is you get a limited set of features, and theme support is scrapped away. If you’d be happy to start a professional site, with a slew of great features, you need to hire a reputable WordPress developer, or invest in premium WordPress theme.

After all, they are cheap, going for about $49 to $99 a copy. A great theme will let you turn your website whichever way you desire. Don’t look into saving money when it comes to design; spend some bucks and get a great user-friendly website.

Premium WordPress Plugins

While you can get amazing WordPress plugins at the WordPress repository, they simply can’t beat premium WordPress plugins in a fair head-head game. Unlike free plugins, premium WordPress plugins are so cool, and usually come with great features, a lifetime of updates, as well as professional support.

Most premium WordPress cost between $5 and $30, so you ought to have a great time shopping. Hypothetically speaking, let’s assume you end up buying five premium plugins for your new site at an average price of $15 each. That would translate to about $75 bucks.

Moving on…

WordPress Design/Installation Fees

If you lack the time or skills, you will need to hire an expert to set up WordPress for you. This could costs you anywhere between $100 and $5000, depending, of course, on your needs and preference.

Product Creation

Before you start building your website, you must have  an idea of the products you wish to sell. It’s just like any other business. Product research and development costs can rack up first.

You can keep production costs down by outsourcing production to the many eager companies around the world. Don’t sacrifice on quality though, because that would suck.

Promotion

Build it and they will come huh? Well, I wish it was that easy. After you’ve put together your website, you need to promote it actively in social media, and other sources available to you.

You might need to spend some money on PPC advertising, SEO, and other online marketing activities.

And here we are…

WordPress is just a content management system that helps you to build websites easily. It’s 100% free. Actually owning a WordPress-based website is a totally different  game – you have to spend money on hosting, domain name, website promotion among others.

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Editorial Staff
mark@markcambridge.com

Editorial Staff at 85ideas is a team of WordPress experts led by Brian Harris. Here to share amazing tuts, guides and collections.

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