What is the cost of building & running a UK website

Discover what is the cost of building & running a UK Website.

Every day, swarms of people turn their ambitions of owning a website into a reality, either to improve the reach and exposure of an existing company they have, or to set up a new eCommerce business.

Since most of us have budgetary and time constraints to consider, and realise how super-competitive the web hosting industry has become, one of the first questions people often ask is: Where do I begin?

To stand the best chance of getting the right kind of website and deal, you’ll firstly need to identify what types of features your website actually needs, and also (of course!) how flexible your budget is.

Join us now as we dive in to explore just how much it could cost to get the ball rolling and run your very own business website. (Note: The prices featured are approximate and for guide purposes only.)

The Expected Costs of a UK Website

Unfortunately there’s no simple answer for this; everything will differ, in varying degrees, depending on the size of your business, required features, and the provider you decide to host with.

With that said, those looking to launch a basic business website should expect to pay annual costs in the region of £100; at the far end of the spectrum, however, the annual running costs for large, complex sites could fetch for around £10,000 (or more).

But that all sounds rather vague, doesn’t it? For costing to make any real sense, we need to begin gradually breaking down what the working parts of a website are. Let’s start with upfront costs for the basic elements:

  • Web Hosting: £0-1,000+
  • Domain Name: £0-35
  • Marketing (inc. SEO): £0-130
  • Website Security (& SSL): £0-275+
  • Content: £0-4,500+

Website Basics: Explained

If you’re not too familiar with these fundamental elements, and why the choices regarding them can be so pivotal for eCommerce, here’s a brief overview to get you up to speed:

Web Hosting

To build a house, you need a plot of land; to build a website, you need a web server (basically an internet-connected, super-powered computer that stores website database files, etc). 

Different tariffs will fetch for different amounts, with prices ranging from just a few pounds to around £90 monthly for SMB-level businesses; the price for larger firms, with greater performance needs, can be considerably higher.

Domain Name

This simply refers to the address of a website, such as ‘Amazon.co.uk’, ‘Facebook.com’ or ‘Wikipedia.org’. Domains are often critical for helping to establish a brand, so when it comes to choosing yours, be sure to pick wisely. 

The extension type (.com/.co.uk/.org, etc) usually determines the cost, but you should expect to pay no more than £20 annually.

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Marketing (& SEO)

In order to increase website exposure and traction, with a bit of research, patience, frugality and social media networking savvy, it’s possible to achieve a whole lot for very little – or nothing at all. 

Marketing, along with SEO (search engine optimization), which involves analyzing and tweaking page content to improve search engine rankings, typically plays a vital role in gaining traffic. 

Thankfully, many web hosts offer assistance in this area during the initial setup stage (expect an upfront price of around £60-100).

Website Security (& SSL)

While many preventative steps can be taken to bolster the security of websites for free, any serious business – especially those dealing with customer transactions – should install an SSL certificate in order to encrypt sensitive data.

Installing a security plugin (which scans your website for malware and other threats) should also be considered. Expect to pay around £50 for SSL, and from £75 for a reputable security plugin, annually.


This simply refers to the copy and various media, including logos, images and videos, that features on websites; it communicates info, establishes branding, and entices customers – and should be compelling. 

The cost really comes down to whether you’re up to producing your own content. If writing copy and creating media isn’t your strong suit, you’ll have to pay a content creator; the price can grow from hundreds up to thousands, depending on the website’s size.

Website Builders & Web Designers

How are you going to build, maintain and run your website? If you’d prefer to build it yourself, one of the most popular, money-saving tools around is that of the mighty website builder. There’s also the more traditional way of getting the job done: a web designer. 

Let’s explore each option in more detail to better understand how they stack up against one another:

Website Builders

If you would prefer to keep costs to a minimum, a website builder may be your ticket. These innovative website design tools offer high levels of customization and have quickly evolved, too, with many firms now offering the game-changing Drag & Drop feature.

Developed to be ultra user-friendly – no matter your computer literacy – most website builders come with a simple, easy-to-navigate userface and menu system, meaning there’s no need to concern yourself with more technically-minded tasks such as coding.

Website builders, as we’ll be exploring a little later below, can be used for website sizes that stretch all the way from small to medium – do note, however, that anything above medium-sized is generally considered ‘web designer territory’.

So, in a nutshell, website builders represent the cheaper, hands-on approach to website design, and, once again, are best suited to SMB types. Competition is fierce, with many host’s providing these tools for under £10 monthly.

Web Designers

With the magic fingers of a professional web designer flowing, there really shouldn’t be any limits regarding a website’s design and functionality. But with high skill sets come higher prices – and they’ll almost certainly be a lot higher than that of a website builder.

But that kind of premium is to be expected here; you are, after all, calling upon someone else to take on all the heavy lifting for you. So expect to pay both an initial design fee, along with a monthly maintenance fee (to keep your website running smoothly and safely).

While web designers can be used to build websites of any size, they are often most cost effective for medium-to-large sites; the design and functionality for these tends to be more bespoke and complex, and so, if you’re going to dig deeper into your pockets, you may as well do it for a website that genuinely demands a designer’s expertise.

Lastly, it goes without saying that, due to the higher costs of web developers, you should always shop around and get multiple quotes in order to ensure you’re getting a fair deal; beyond the right price, don’t forget that finding the right person for the job is also critical.

Website Types: Cost Breakdown

As we’ve already touched upon, website running costs typically depend on how big the owner wants to grow their company; in other words, the loftier the ambition, the bigger, more technical and performance-based it will need to be, leading to greater expense.

Plus, it will of course depend on whether you will be calling on the expertise of a web designer, or will instead be building and maintaining the website yourself by using, for example, a Website Builder (which will feature in our price comparisons below).

Let’s check out a few different sizes of business websites and the expected costs behind them. (Note: To keeps things more digestible, the focus will be on Basic to Large-Scaled websites only – and won’t cover bespoke/corporate-level varieties.)

Basic (Non-eCommerce) Websites

For people like tradesmen, consultants and freelancers, a stripped-down website, with just a handful of core pages – featuring contact details, info about services, and perhaps a blog and links to social media at most – will probably do just fine.

These types of websites are not technically eCommerce-related since they typically receive work inquiries via email and contact forms (as opposed to actually selling products/services via an online store).

Here are the costs that business owners should expect to pay for a basic website like this:

Web Designer Route

  • Hosting: £100/yr
  • Design: £175 (upfront)
  • Domain Name: £15/yr
  • Website Builder: N/A
  • Maintenance: £160/yr
  • SSL Certificate: £50/yr
  • First Year / Ongoing Annual Total: £500 / £325

Website Builder Route

  • Hosting: £100/yr
  • Design: N/A
  • Domain Name: Often included (check!)
  • Website Builder: Often included (check!)
  • Maintenance: N/A
  • SSL Certificate: Often included (check!)
  • First Year / Ongoing Annual Total: £100 / £100

SMB (eCommerce) Websites

For those looking to sell products/services by utilizing the power of an online shopping tool, they will of course need an eCommerce-orientated website capable of processing orders and financial transactions – responsively and securely.

A small-to-medium eCommerce website will typically feature more content and pages than that of a Basic website (above), but just how much will depend entirely on the business’ unique needs and length of its product/service roster.

Along with an online store, it’s recommended that you feature a blog to attract your target audience, and also provide a support/FAQ section. You will also have to provide a business address, along with a returns and data privacy policy, etc.

Here are the costs that owners should expect to pay for small-to-medium business websites like these:

Web Designer Route

  • Hosting: £250/yr
  • Design: £3,750 (upfront)
  • Domain Name: £15/yr
  • eCommerce Store: N/A
  • Maintenance: £1,900+/yr
  • SSL Certificate: £50/yr
  • First Year / Ongoing Annual Total: £5,965 / £2,215

Website Builder Route

  • Hosting: Often included (check!)
  • Design: N/A
  • Domain Name: £15/yr
  • eCommerce Store: £250/yr
  • Maintenance: N/A
  • SSL Certificate: Often included (check!)
  • First Year / Ongoing Annual Total: £265 / £265

Large Scale (eCommerce) Websites

While all eCommerce websites, no matter their size, are built for the same purpose of selling goods, it’s typically the contrasting traffic, page and product volumes that best define them. Naturally then, large scaled websites require bigger ambitions and deeper pockets…

For those looking to sell hundreds of products and or attract hordes of customers, they will need to turn their attention toward a large scaled website capable of effectively handling dense activity and data, including mass onsite traffic and shopping cart processing. 

Here are the costs that owners should expect to pay for large scale business websites like these:

Web Designer Route

  • Hosting: £650/yr
  • Design: £6,750 (upfront)
  • Domain Name: £15/yr
  • Maintenance: £3,600+/yr
  • SSL Certificate: £150/yr
  • First Year / Ongoing Annual Total: £11,165 / £4,315

Website Builder Route

  • (N/A – Only the work and knowledge of a highly skilled web designer would suffice for a large scale website)

Click Here to read about the best way to use a Blog to bring in organic traffic for your business website.

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avatar Ellis Snell