WordPress is Free. Right?

WordPress is one of the three most popular open source content management systems (CMS). Even though WordPress is free and open source, there are costs for the domain, hosting, security, SSL, premium upgrades, etc.

What is WordPress?

A content management system is software that facilitates creating, editing, publishing, and sharing content. An open source software solution is free and designed to be publicly accessible. Open source software gives users and developers the freedom to inspect, modify, use, and redistribute the software.

The WordPress CMS is free but needs to be self-hosted and maintained. The WordPress core and associated elements are maintained by the thousands of contributors who are part of the WordPress community. For the improvements and fixes to be implemented on a live website, updates are essential!

WordPress.org and WordPress.com are not the same. WordPress.org requires self-hosting and maintenance, while WordPress.com offers a limited free blogging platform. To remove the WordPress.com ads, you have to upgrade to one of their plans. The more customizability you want in terms of design and functionality, the more you will have to upgrade.

What are the costs for WordPress?

A domain and web hosting is essential for getting your website published. An SSL Certificate, backups, security, premium themes, and premium plugins also add additional costs.

Essential Costs

  • Domain: Your domain name is the URL you type into search engines. Think of it as your address online. Domains can be purchased from GoDaddy and can significantly vary in price.
  • Hosting: Hosting is what makes your website publishable and visible on the web. Siteground, GoDaddy, WP Engine, and Bluehost are a few well known hosting platforms. Some web developers offer a packaged deal for a website and hosting. At Kreative Solutions, we reccomend Siteground for an all-in-one hosting solution.

Additional Costs

  • SSL Certificates: An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates the website’s identity and encrypts information sent to the server. Some hosting companies integrate a free SSL certificate into their hosting package, while others offer it as an add-on.
  • Backups: Backups are copies of your files and database that can be restored if something unexpected happens. Manual backups can be performed by a developer, but automatic daily backups often require monthly fee.
  • Security: Website security helps protect your website against hacking, malware, blacklisting, etc. There are free security plugins like iThemes and Wordfence, but premium or pro versions add an additional cost.
  • Premium Themes: The theme determines the front-end styling of your website. There are tons of free WordPress themes, but often the additional features and the graphical user interface makes premium themes worth the cost. Divi by Elegant Themes is our favorite!
  • Premium Plugins: A plugin is a piece of software that contains a group of functions that can be uploaded to WordPress to add new features or extend functionality. Free plugins are free, but can lead to unanticipated bugs, plugin-theme incompatibilities, and security vulnerabilities if abandoned. Yoast SEO is one of our favorite plugins to leverage for search engine optimization.

When weighing the costs, remember you get what you pay for. Free sounds nice but can also be dangerous. Before selecting a provider, learn about their differences and the extent they support their products. Free plugins may save money in the short run, but it may end up costing you more in the long run if the plugin generates a security vulnerability that a hacker exploits.

Sample Cost Breakdown

As a tangible example, here’s the annual cost of this website:

Domain$9.99 / year
Siteground StartUp Pricing$11.95 / month
SSL CertificateIncluded in Hosting
Divi Theme$89/ year
Application SecurityFree
Server SecurityIncluded In Hosting
BackupsIncluded in Hosting
Total$325.80 / year

In addition to the subscription fees, plan on paying for some technical website maintenance. Updates do not always go as planned! Ensure that you always have a backup and someone who is technical enough to fix the unanticipated surprises.

Final Thoughts

Kreative Solutions is fussy about the technology used in our websites. Only the best of the best makes the cut. Yes, we take the freebies when we can, but only free reputable companies that continuously update and improve their products. Just like in sports, your team is only as strong as its weakest link!