wordpress website maintenance

Some businesses don’t consider what it takes to maintain their investment after building a new site. And since 37% of websites are built with WordPress, we believe it’s important to breakdown the costs associated with the platform.

Business owners and marketing teams often get overwhelmed with upkeep after launching a new site. Sometimes more work is required to keep it running than they expected.

For this reason, companies use software and labor to keep things running smoothly so they can focus on more important tasks to grow the business.

The issue that some companies encounter is cost.

You’ve probably encountered numerous subscription-based software costs for your website that drive up your expenses. Along with that, you’ll hire an employee, build a team, or work with an agency to manage it all.

We’ve written this article to give clarity about the true costs of WordPress maintenance. Whether you’re looking to build a WordPress site or trying to research what you should be paying for maintenance, we’ll cover it all!

What Is WordPress Website Maintenance and How Does It Work?

Before learning about costs, you should understand precisely what WordPress maintenance entails.

Website maintenance is the routine process of updating software, inspecting design and functionality, optimizing performance, reviewing security, and conducting any other tasks that are required to keep a website fully operational and secure.

Technically speaking, “maintenance” does not include any design, development, marketing, and other tasks performed to grow your website.  WordPress maintenance only consists of the tasks required to keep your website reliable and operable.

WordPress maintenance is usually performed using a combination of labor and software.  Most of the work involved will take place within the WordPress dashboard, however there are third-party tools that can help you manage this process easier, especially if you have multiple sites.

Below, we’ll break down how to calculate WordPress maintenance cost, including both software and labor expenses.

What Is Included in WordPress Maintenance Cost Calculation?

There are many components that make up WordPress maintenance costs, so we understand that it can be hard to estimate and keep track of.

Below we will discuss the 7 primary components of WordPress maintenance costs so you can learn what to expect for your own website.

1.  Website Hosting

Your website hosting provider stores your files and databases and enables them to be retrieved by internet users.

Website hosting for a WordPress site typically ranges between $5 and $75 per month.

Simple websites with minimal content will be on the lower end of this cost range. Larger sites with lots of content and users should expect their costs on the higher end of this range.

2. Domain Renewal

Domain renewal is the cost of retaining your domain name, which typically costs $10 to $20 per year.

This cost is very similar regardless of your type of website. However, if you want a special domain name, you’ll likely pay more to acquire your domain name for the first year.

3. Software Updates and Site Optimization

Managing updates and optimization keeps your website up to date and running smoothly. It can cost anywhere from $25 to $2,000 per month.

Sites on the lower end of this cost range are simple and only have a handful of plugins. You can expect to pay more if your site has a large number of plugins that need constant attention from a team of experts. There may also be software costs involved in facilitating this process.

4. Paid Plugins, Themes, and Other Software

Most, but not all, WordPress websites have paid software that helps add functionality or helps with site management.

Paid plugins or themes are the most common form of paid software on WordPress sites, and often cost $50 to $600 per year. Of course, the costs can be much higher if your site requires specialized functionality.

If your site is complex and has lots of special features, you can expect to have more software expenses.

5. Inspections, Troubleshooting, and Repair

Analyzing your WordPress site and fixing errors can be a time-consuming process that frustrates website owners. It can be difficult to diagnose website problems, and they are often expensive to fix.

Most website owners can expect this cost to be between $50 and $3,000 per month. The cost may vary depending on the reliability of your site.

It’s uncommon that your cost in this category would exceed $1,000 per month on average, but it may be a possibility for very complex sites.

To help eliminate the risk of large website repair bills, we recommend partnering with a website maintenance company who will proactively maintain your WordPress site and fix errors with at no additional cost.

6. Firewall Protection and Malware Scanning

Keeping your site protected is a very important, but often overlooked, aspect of owning a WordPress website. We believe that a firewall and monitoring system are required to ensure the success and safety of your site.

Website security for a WordPress site can cost between $0 and $100 per month. Security on the lower end of the range is sufficient for basic sites with low traffic. More expensive security software is appropriate for sites that have high traffic or store sensitive information.

There are plenty of fully-managed WordPress security services that cost less than $100 per month.

7. File and Database Backups

Every WordPress website owner should be taking backups of their website regularly, which is typically done with an automated tool.

You can expect this to cost anywhere from $0 to $50 per month.

Free software works great for small websites. More expensive software is great if you want special features such as off-site storage, real-time backups, and high-capacity storage.

Comparing the Cost of DIY vs. Outsourced WordPress Maintenance

One major factor in determining the cost of WordPress maintenance is how you will approach the labor side of the equation.

That is, do you plan on doing maintenance yourself or outsourcing the work to someone else?

We’re going to focus on 3 labor-driven aspects of WordPress maintenance and how the costs compare when outsourcing vs. DIY. We’ll also include the non-labor-driven costs so you can compare how this effect your overall WordPress maintenance cost.

Software updates and optimization$0-50/mo.$50-2,000/mo.*
Inspections, troubleshooting, and repair$0/mo.$50-3,000/mo.*
Website security and backups$0-50/mo.$50-100/mo.
Other non-labor-driven costs$20-150/mo.$20-150/mo.
Software updates and optimization$0 to
$50 to
Inspections, troubleshooting, and repair$0/mo.$50 to
Website security and backups$0 to
$50 to
Other non-labor-driven costs$20 to
$20 to
Total$20 to
$170 to

*Most sites will not exceed $1,500/mo. in outsourced maintenance costs.

As you can see, the cost of DIY WordPress maintenance is much lower than outsourcing it. That’s because you’re handling all the labor yourself.

However, you should consider the value of your time and how website maintenance might distract you from your other responsibilities.

The Real Cost of DIY Website Maintenance

Many website owners handle maintenance themselves to save money, and we absolutely understand why they would want to do this.

Running plugin updates, checking on backups, and other maintenance tasks seem easy and straightforward, so why spend money to hire someone else to handle the responsibility?

The often-ignored truth is that WordPress maintenance bogs you down!

How many times have you spent several frustrating hours trying to fix a WordPress issue? How much time and energy did that deplete from your otherwise productive day? It’s likely that an expert could have resolved that much quicker because of the experience and knowledge.

Even when things don’t go wrong, you’d be surprised how much time you spend dealing with all these small maintenance tasks. All this time adds up and distracts you from your primary responsibilities.

Lastly, if you’re not an expert in WordPress maintenance, your site may not even be in good shape despite your efforts. Is the time and frustration worth it if your site performs poorly anyway?

The Investment of Outsourcing Website Maintenance

As you learned from the table above, outsourcing WordPress maintenance has a higher price tag, so what additional value does it provide?

Although website maintenance is often viewed as an expense, it’s actually an investment in yourself, your team, and your business.

Outsourcing WordPress maintenance will help free up your resources (time, focus, attention, etc.) so you can devote these resources to more pressing tasks.

Let’s face it. If you’re reading this post, website maintenance is probably not in your job description.

Not only will this help you allocate your resources effectively, it will also keep your website in better shape than if you were doing it yourself.

When working with a WordPress maintenance company, you’ll get a full-team of experts on-hand for a fraction of the cost of hiring in-house. Also, there is no hiring or training needed before you get started.

Consider the benefits of outsourcing your WordPress maintenance and how that will affect the performance of you and your team.

WordPress Maintenance Costs Based on Type of Website

The biggest factor that determines WordPress maintenance cost is the type of website. Different types of websites will have different expenses associated with them.

Below we’ll list examples of different types of websites and the costs associated with them so you can figure out what to expect with your own site.

wordpress maintenance costs by website type

Personal Website or Small Blog

A personal website or small blog is usually run by one person, does not have many pages, and receives minimal traffic.

These sites typically don’t need any paid software or professional help. The biggest expense will be website hosting, which may cost $80 to $200 per year.

Medium to Large Blog

A medium or large blog is usually run by a single person with assistance from freelancers, or by a small in-house team. Most of the website expense will go into non-maintenance tasks such as marketing and content creation, but there are maintenance costs involved as well.

For maintenance on a medium or large blog, you can expect the costs to be between $50 and $400 per month. This will cover hosting, website repairs, software licenses, plugin/theme updates, and security.

Small Business Website

A small business website typically has 3-10 pages with simple functionality such as a contact form. This type of site is most common for local businesses.

Maintenance on a small business website typically costs $50 to $200 per month depending on what special features or site needs (such as online ordering).

Medium Business Website

A medium business website is similar to a small business website but has more pages and usually some advanced functionality. These sites could have up to 100 pages which may go into more detail about their services. The site may have a blog as well.

A medium business website typically costs $150 to $400 per month to maintain. This cost will vary depending on what functionality the site requires, how much traffic it receives, and the number of pages.

Large/Custom Business Website

A large or custom business website is complex with a large number of pages. It may use a custom theme and have other custom software integrated into the site.

The cost to maintain a large or custom business website is typically anywhere from $400 to $3,000, but can cost more if an in-house team is necessary. Custom functionality may require constant attention to keep it maintained and operating properly.

Small Ecommerce Website

A small ecommerce website typically sells less than 20 products and does not receive high volumes of traffic. Although they may seem simple, maintaining the ecommerce system will require more work than a non-ecommerce site.

You can expect a small ecommerce website to cost between $150 and $300 to maintain in most cases.

Medium Ecommerce Website

A medium ecommerce website may sell up to a few hundred products and receive a significant amount of traffic. More upkeep is needed because of the number of products and traffic levels. You’ll want quick response to website issues such as payment errors, missing content, and broken links. There will also be several paid plugins that you’ll need to give your store the functionality it needs.

A medium ecommerce website typically costs $300 to $1,000 to maintain each month including hosting, labor, and software expenses.

Large Ecommerce Website

A large ecommerce website may have any number of products, but most importantly they receive high volumes of website traffic. They need to be able to handle large spikes of visitors during sales and promotions as well.

Due to the high traffic volume and complexity of these sites, maintenance can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000+ per month.

The cost can scale much higher than this depending on the size of the website. Think about what it would take to maintain Amazon.com.

Is WordPress Maintenance Worth the Investment in Time and Resources?

When considering these costs, you may be wondering if all this effort toward maintaining your WordPress site is actually worth it.

Yes, WordPress maintenance is worth the investment. It helps extend the lifespan of your site, maximize marketing effectiveness, and more.

You’ve spent a lot to get your site developed and designed to fit the needs of your business. Maintenance will help protect your investment by keeping it up to date with the latest plugin updates, PHP version, etc. It will also eliminate errors before they turn into a larger problem.

Proper WordPress maintenance also supports your investments in sales and marketing.  If you’re sending traffic to a website that doesn’t work well, you’re wasting your marketing dollars.

Visitors can tell if your site is not well-maintained. Broken buttons and links, slow page loading, and design problems will frustrate your users. They’ll visit your competitor instead.

That being said, here are the primary benefits of maintaining your WordPress website:

  • Better user experience
  • Increased marketing effectiveness
  • Better visibility in search
  • Protection against plugin vulnerabilities and malware
  • Prolonged lifespan of your site
  • Prevention of errors and other site problems
  • Reduced downtime
  • And much more

If you’d like to learn more about how maintenance can benefit your site, schedule a free consultation.

FAQs About the Cost of Maintaining WordPress Sites

Here are 5 warning signs that your WordPress website needs maintenance:

  1. Plugin and theme updates are available
  2. Functionality is not working
  3. Random errors and warnings are appearing
  4. Pages are slow to load
  5. Website backups are not running

Simple WordPress websites can be easy to maintain with basic training, however errors can be difficult to fix without experience.

Complex WordPress websites should be maintained by someone with extensive WordPress experience.

Although WordPress costs more to maintain than website builders such as Wix or Squarespace, it is more versatile, easier to customize, easier to use, well-supported, and SEO-friendly.

Here are 5 warning signs that your WordPress website needs maintenance:

  1. Plugin and theme updates are available
  2. Functionality is not working
  3. Random errors and warnings are appearing
  4. Pages are slow to load
  5. Website backups are not running

Simple WordPress websites can be easy to maintain with basic training, however errors can be difficult to fix without experience.

Complex WordPress websites should be maintained by someone with extensive WordPress experience.

Although WordPress costs more to maintain than website builders such as Wix or Squarespace, it is more versatile, easier to customize, easier to use, well-supported, and SEO-friendly.

Getting Started With WordPress Maintenance

We hope this guide helped you understand the true costs of WordPress maintenance and how much it might cost for your site.

Remember to consider the costs and benefits of doing maintenance yourself versus outsourcing it to a WordPress maintenance company. Although it may be great to save costs by doing it yourself, consider the time and resources that this will drain from you and your team.

It’s important to prioritize maintenance so you can take advantage of your marketing efforts and protect your website investment in the long term. There are numerous benefits to proper website maintenance.

If you’re still not sure how WordPress maintenance with cost you, we are happy to do an assessment of your website along with a free consultation call.

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