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Hidden costs of web development that you can’t and shouldn’t avoid

Web development cost is quite a complex issue. There’s no telling how much should it cost to build a website from the get-go because many aspects influence it, from front-end development agency’s rates to project scope.

23 September, 2022
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Web development cost is quite a complex issue. There’s no telling how much should it cost to build a website from the get-go because many aspects influence it, from front-end development agency’s rates to project scope.

And then there are hidden costs of web development.

Although unavoidable, if you know about them beforehand and plan for them, they shouldn’t be an issue. Today, we’ll break down these costs for you, both standard and somewhat hidden ones, to make them simple and accounted for.

Before we jump straight into our web development pricing guide, a little reminder about other worthwhile articles in our blog, for example, our piece about the front-end project’s deliverables or whether to choose freelancers or a web dev agency.

Now back to the web dev costs.

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How much does it cost to develop a website?

We can safely say that the average cost can range from $10,000 for simple custom landing websites with just a few pages to $150,000 and more for a full-scale eCommerce platform or other enterprise-level web solution with numerous pages and features.

Mind you, these prices are rough estimates for custom-made websites. Sometimes the total cost can be less if you use no-code tools or ready-made website builders, for example. However, a major caveat of choosing the latter is the possibility of getting an ordinary “just like everyone else’s” site with a standard set of features.

Now, typical website development consists of three stages - UX/UI design, front-end, and back-end development. The design costs are determined by the amount of research, animation complexity, number of pages, etc., and can vary from $1,000 up to $10,000 and more.

Similar factors affect the cost of front-end development, along with the level of responsiveness and number of technologies used. Overall, it can range from $2,000 to $15,000. The backend heavily depends on data processing and integrations and has a similar price range.

Website development cost breakdown

Have you ever thought about how much do web developers’ costs affect the final price and why the website’s type plays such a major role in cost estimations? Here’s what influences web development’s costs the most.

Web development cost breakdown
Web development cost breakdown

Website’s type

Whether you want to build a regular business website, an eCommerce web platform, a landing page (so-called brochure site), a web portal, or a complex enterprise solution, naturally, the costs will vary. Corporate or SaaS sites can set you back at least $30,000.

Hourly rates in web development

Rates drastically differ depending on the region. Such amplitude is attributable mainly to the cost-of-living differences in various countries, the experience, and the tech stack. The average web development hourly rate in Europe, primarily Eastern Europe, is $50 per hour.

Your web dev team’s type

This factor has nothing to do with the site itself but with the team creating it. The vendor type can extend from freelancers or a small team of developers to a large professional agency with a full range of services. Agency, of course, is pricier, but obviously, more experienced.

Number of pages

It’s also pretty clear that the higher the number of pages, the more expensive the site will be. The count can be somewhere between a single-page site just for promoting your business to 200+ multi-page eCommerce platforms that have a page for each product.


The variety and complexity of requested features on your future website take a toll on the final cost, similarly to all the prior aspects. The most popular include a shopping cart, checkout, an on-site search, an admin panel, a contact back form, payment integration, notifications, etc.


Hidden costs

When estimating how much does website development cost, you should also plan for a few more expenses called hidden costs, which are not exactly hidden per se since most of them do get discussed beforehand if your partners are pros.

However, they are usually dubbed like that because they are not the first thing that pops into your (a client’s) mind when planning your budget. They are typically maintenance- or marketing-related expenses. So, you should also set money aside for:

  1. Embedded tools. Nowadays, you can embed anything - from Instagram feed to audio and video, but payment systems (Visa, Mastercard, ApplePay) remain the most common. Such integrations usually charge transaction fees.
  2. Updates and maintenance. Any post-deployment fixes, scheduled maintenance, or regular updates to keep up with the times can go up to $15,000 or more a year.
  3. Domain name. Registering and renting a decent quality web address (URL) for your website can set you back from $5 to $15 yearly.
  4. Security. Even though standard security is typically present, to adequately protect your and your customer’s data, you need to at least invest in SSL certificates ($10 to $200)
  5. SEO and content. Search engine optimization, social media or pay-per-click advertising, copywriting, and other marketing costs can quickly stack up on top of each other and take more than four digits yearly.
  6. Hosting. Maintaining your website’s reachability and reasonable loading time on the Internet is the sole purpose of hosting providers. Prices vary from $80 to $200 a year.
  7. Plug-ins and third-party software. Don’t forget that paid plug-ins, themes, and other third-party software that adds crucial functionality to your website also come with recurring fees and subscription costs.

At the end of the day, learning what factors weigh in the most is vital in being cautious and prepared for various web development prices. Moreover, a professional website development price list should always explain how much a client would spend on the product based on the elements we discussed in our article.

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CEO and Founder of Merge

My mission is to help startups build software, experiment with new features, and bring their product vision to life.

My mission is to help startups build software, experiment with new features, and bring their product vision to life.

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