Hosting Tutorial & Guide

How Much Does It Cost to Start a WordPress Blog in 2016

updated on Oct 13, 2016
How Much Does It Cost to Start a WordPress Blog in 2016 WordPress is a free CMS that doesn't require any license fee, and there are numerous free themes and plugins available for use. However, does this mean you don't need to spend a penny to start a WordPress blog? Not really.

No matter which type of WordPress site you are going to build, you have to pay for some necessary things including a domain name and web hosting. And depending on your needs, you may also purchase a highly customizable theme, a plugin that adds exactly the feature you want, an SEO service, or a website maintenance service.

Starting a WordPress blog can be costly with no upper limit if you want to make the blog famous and profitable. But most people like you may prefer to build a blog that is professional enough to share with the rest of the world with the minimum possible cost. Then, how much does it really cost to start a WordPress blog in these days?

In this guide, we will show the necessary fees you have to pay to start a brand new self-hosted blog that is functional, secure and professional in the appearance.

A Domain Name

After making the decision to start a blog, the first thing you have to buy is a domain name which gives your blog an identity in the virtual world. To choose a good domain name for your blog, you'd better:
  • Make sure to include keywords in the domain name so that you can build an easy-to-recognize brand in the future.
  • Consider .com first when selecting the TLD, and then .org and .net. .com is currently the most popular TLD that brings the most traffic, and it is used by the majority of the famous websites.
For a normal .com domain that includes two or three words, the cost is about $12 per year. There are also premium domains that are very catchy with competitive keywords, but they are usually priced at hundreds of dollars per year or more. These are not what you need.

If you want to protect your registration information with domain privacy, then you have to pay about $8 more per year per domain.

Yearly cost: $12 - $20

The Cost of Starting a WordPress Blog - Domain Name

A Web Hosting Package

Besides domain name, web hosting is another essential element for starting a WordPress blog. Depending on the feature, security and performance you want, the cost varies much from one web hosting package to another.

Generally speaking, you can pay $3/mo - $5/mo for a basic package that includes disk space, bandwidth and a control panel, but if you need more power, you have to pay more.

Below are the hosting types you may consider when selecting the best WordPress hosting package to use.
  • Shared hosting – The cheapest option suitable for most beginners and individuals who don't need much server resource or server control. The cost could be as low as $3/mo.
  • VPS hosting – The option for those who have acquired a certain level of server management skills or want better server performance. The cost ranges from $10/mo to over $100/mo.
  • Managed WordPress hosting – The most worry-free choice for which WordPress is installed, optimized, updated and secured by the hosting provider. Also, it is a premium choice that charges about $30/mo for one WordPress blog.
Our suggestion is that you can start with a shared hosting package to cut down the cost and learn some DIY skills. When you find this is not what you want, you can upgrade to another hosting type later.

Yearly cost: $40 - $360

Have no idea about which shared web host to choose? Then you can consider the following ones that offer quality and reliable hosting packages with a free domain included. With any one of them, you can get a saving on the domain cost.


WordPress Install and Setup

Since WordPress is free and open source, you can download and install it on your own server at any time. The installation process is simple. If you don't know where to start, this tutorial includes all the information you need.

After successful installation, you have to set up your blog, such as changing the permalink, configuring the comment settings, etc. These tasks are simple to finish, but you need to spend some time searching the tutorials if you have no experience yet.

To eliminate the setup troubles, some web hosts offer premium blog setup services which charge up to $99. We don't suggest you try these services but you should follow your own choice when there is a need.

One-time cost: $0 - $99

WordPress Website Design

After setting up your blog, you have to give it a professional look to increase visitors' trust and the brand awareness. The problem is that choosing the right WordPress theme with the functionality, speed and price you want is a tough task. Fortunately, there are some guidelines to follow.

If you are building your first blog, you can definitely start with a free WordPress theme. For the selection of the theme, read the reviews and the documentation carefully to make sure the theme is able to meet your needs.

If you want to make your blog stand out, then you can try a premium WordPress theme. Such a theme usually requires a yearly fee of $49 to $99 for single site use. For the purchase of premium themes, we'd suggest Elegant Themes which gives you access to 87 well-designed themes at an affordable cost of $69 per year.

Hiring a designer to design a unique theme for your blog is also a choice, but you will need to pay thousands of dollars or more. So this is not recommended for personal sites.

Yearly cost: $0 - $99

The Cost of Starting a WordPress Blog - Website Design

WordPress Security

WordPress is popular, which makes it the target of a large number of hackers. So you should always remember to keep your WordPress blog secure by taking the necessary measures like updating the WordPress core, themes and plugins, strengthening the passwords, and securing your database.

You can handle the site security by yourself with some free plugins. For example, you are able to fight against spam comments with Akismet, and back up your site with BackWPup. Of course, you can also get some premium security features by purchasing a premium security plugin like Sucuri.

Sucuri is a popular security solution that deals with malware removal, hack scanning, website application firewall, DDoS mitigation, and more. It costs a minimum of $16.99/mo.

Yearly cost: $0 - $200

WordPress SEO

If you want to build a brand with a professional WordPress blog, you need to consider investing in a paid SEO optimization service offered by a reputable SEO company. The cost varies heavily depending on your budget, but such services are usually not cheap at all. For example, Yoast offers SEO reviews for websites at a price starting at $799. The review covers site structure, speed, content, sitemap, etc.

If you are just starting out, you can make use of some free WordPress SEO plugins to handle the basic optimization. Maybe you have to spend some time learning the use of the plugins, but you will certainly gain an enormous saving on your cost. Besides using plugins, you should also make sure to follow the best WordPress SEO practices.

Yearly cost: $0 - $1000

Additional Features on Your WordPress Blog

WordPress has rich built-in content management features, but when hosting your own blog, you may want to add some additional features to achieve certain goals, for example, subscription form, contact form, social sharing buttons, ad management tool, and broken link checker.

Most of these features can be added easily to your blog by installing free plugins. However, to gain more powerful features and a good using experience, you may need to purchase some premium plugins. In this case, you need to pay. For example, Gravity Forms, one of the most popular form plugins, charges $39 per year for single site use and $99 per year for the use on three sites.

Yearly cost: $0 - $100

The Cost of Starting a WordPress Blog - Additional Features

Website Maintenance

After running a blog for several weeks, you should plan website maintenance to eliminate the potential security threats, optimize the speed, and clear the unwanted content. Site maintenance may take lots of time if you are unfamiliar with it, but as long as you have got your own plan, things become easier.

For WordPress website maintenance, you can either make a DIY plan to get rid of the cost, or buy a maintenance service that handles the technical things like backups, updates, upgrades and spam deletion for you. Website maintenance services are easy to find on Google, and a professional one like WP Site Care charges $99/mo ($79/mo when billed annually).

Yearly cost: $0 - $1000

How Much Does It Cost to Start a WordPress Blog?

After reading the information above, you should now have got a rough idea about how much you will need to pay for a new WordPress blog. To be more specific, the minimum costs of building a blog with different requirements are as follows.
  • Basic blog setup with a free theme: About $60 per year.
  • Basic blog setup with a premium theme: About $110 per year.
  • Premium blog setup with enhanced security, performance and design: Over $400 per year.
  • Premium blog setup with professional design and various premium features: Over $600 per year.
Depending on the costs of each important element, you can decide your own blog setup that meets your budget. After getting the blog up and running, you can also try making money from your blog to cut down your expenses. There are various choices for doing so, such as taking part in an affiliate program, selling products/services, and displaying ads.