There are two different types of WordPress.
The first one is WordPress.com, a hosted website builder which offers various free and paid plans for you to choose from.
The second is WordPress.org, a self-hosted, open source software that allows you to build your own website or blog.
However, a question that often pops up is: “Is WordPress free?”.
Well, WordPress software is free to use, modify, and build a website on. What you'll need to pay for, however, is the hosting space. And how much WordPress will cost depends on which site you are using.
And to get your website online, there are various fees you will have to pay to third party companies.
In this article, I’m going to give you a little more insight into WordPress as well as tell you about some of the costs of building a website with this piece of software.
Why Is WordPress Free?
If you’re asking yourself why WordPress isn’t sold as software, the answer is simple: No-one actually owns it.
WordPress is a community project that is open source. This means that anyone can contribute to it. While there is a core team of developers that lead the project, anyone with the skill to do so can fix bugs and add features to the service.
The software itself, yes, it's free.
When it comes to building a website with it...Well, this is the free ride ends.
The Costs of Building a Website With WordPress
How much does WordPress cost, truly?
The truth is, while the software is free to use, you still have to pay for other elements to get your site looking the way you want it to. Furthermore, you’ll have to pay for the website to actually go online. Here’s a breakdown of the costs of building a website with WordPress:
Hosting (a few dollars a month)
The cost of WordPress depends largely on the hosting provider you go for. Hosting is a service that allows you to post your website or blog on the internet. Simply put, your website is stored on a server. When someone types in your URL, they will connect to this server, thus allowing them to view your web pages.
However, not all hosts are the same, and in many cases, the pricing varies significantly. Additionally, different websites have different storage and bandwidth needs. For example, you wouldn’t choose the same package for a blog as you would for an online store.
Additionally, your host should come with one-click installation of WordPress so that you can get started quickly. Some of the most reputable providers that offer quick one-click installation include DreamHost, InMotion Hosting, Bluehost, SiteGround, and Hostinger.
Also, over time, your traffic volumes will increase. You may also be adding new content to your website which means you’ll need the right amount of storage space. With this in mind, you should check that your hosting plan allows you to grow your website without having to switch providers.
When it comes to pricing, these vary depending on the provider and the plan you go for. That said, you can host your website for as little as $5 a month nowadays. For example, the Premium Shared Hosting plan from Hostinger costs as little as $2.15 a month, and that’s not the company’s most affordable plan either.
Domain Name (about 10 dollars per year)
Next, you need to give your website a name. However, before you can assign a name to your site, you have to buy it. This is called a domain name and it can be bought from a variety of companies. That said, it’s worth checking with your chosen hosting provider if your plan doesn’t come with one for free for the first year.
Once the first year of your hosting plan is over, you may have to pay for your domain renewal separately. These can cost hundreds of dollars a year, however, there are many available for less than $10 per annum depending on the top level domain you go for (e.g. .com, .org, etc.).
Themes (varying prices)
WordPress has a virtually unlimited number of themes for you to choose from, more than 6,000 of which are free. While free themes are available, you can expect to pay a minimum of $100 (one-time) if you’d like to use a premium theme with all the bells and whistles.
One of WordPress’ best features is that you can customize your theme as long as you know how to code. If you don’t you can also hire a web developer to design a theme for you from scratch. Remember, however, that web developer fees don’t come cheap and that this option could cost you thousands of dollars.
Plugins (varying prices, depending on needs)
Companies and individual developers from across the world create new plugins specifically for WordPress users. These plugins allow you to add functionalities to your website. All you have to do is search for the plugin you want to use, install it, and activate it on your dashboard.
While there are more than 54,000 free plugins available on WordPress today, others come at an extra cost. Yoast, for example, is one of the most popular SEO plugins available to use on WordPress. The app uses a traffic light system to tell you what you’re doing well and what you could improve on.
While the tool does have a free plan, the premium one costs $89 per site excluding VAT. Other popular WordPress plugins include MonsterInsights which provides Google Analytics, WooCommerce which allows you to turn your site into an online store, and Akismet which stops comment spam.
So, Is WordPress Free?
Yes and no. WordPress itself is free to use. However, there is no way of getting your website on the internet without the help of a hosting provider. With this in mind, if you want to create a WordPress website and get it online, you need to be ready to pay a small amount of money each month.
The amount you spend on your site depends entirely on your individual needs and your budget. Some WordPress websites cost thousands of dollars, although this is nearly only applicable to larger companies and eCommerce websites. On the other hand, it is possible to create a WordPress site for as little as $100 if you want to keep it simple.