Understanding Hosting Fees
One of the most commonly confused and misunderstood fees that come along with any website project is the monthly hosting fee. Often it’s the main portion of the project cost that is debated and that clients tend to insist is not a necessary part of having a website. It’s also something that agencies often fail to really explain or define for a customer so that they see the reason why it exists. The common notion is that it is just the way an agency maintains a residual form of income from the project once it is completed.
What do hosting and maintenance fees include?
When on the search for a professional website provider, it’s essential to look at what the provider includes with their services. If you purchase a package without looking at the deliverables, you can end up not only wasting money but also getting locked into something you may not need.
7 core website maintenance costs
When researching your website maintenance costs, you’ll want to consider these factors (mentioned in the table above), which will influence how much website maintenance costs your business.
1. Domain Name Registration
A domain name is unique to your business, appearing in your website’s URL. Without a domain name, it’s impossible for users to visit your site, which is why you must pay to renew your domain name each year. If you don’t, someone else could purchase the name and force your company to find a new one. One thing that we always recommend is never letting an agency control your domain name. The agency will manage your domain name for you and make sure it’s registered and up to date, but never give your domain name over to an account to which you do not have access.
On average, it costs businesses $1 – $2 per month or $12 – $24 per year to renew their domain name.
2. Plugin Registration
Plugins are software apps within your website that carry out a specific function. These apps require software developers to write code that makes the elements function, just like an app on your phone. One of the most common examples of a plugin within a website is a contact form. Someone fills out a form on your website, and a plugin collects the data, stores the data within the website, gives confirmation to the user that the form was submitted and that someone will be in touch soon, and then sends a confirmation email to the administrators of the website.
The use of these small software packages within your website is licensed on a yearly basis for your website. These costs include the use of the plugin, support from the software companies, and access to monthly updates to the plugins that keep them functioning correctly.
The amount of plugins used within a website varies based on the size and complexity of the website. A website that showcases a company’s services and is purely informational will have significantly fewer plugins associated with it than a company whose website houses an online store or customer database.
3. Website Server Hosting
Like your domain name, website hosting is essential. If you don’t have a hosting provider, it’s impossible for people to access your website. That’s why your provider needs to include website server hosting costs in your website maintenance budget.
While your business may want to save money by choosing a less expensive website hosting option, it’s essential for your team to select the best one for your site. If you opt for a hosting option that doesn’t meet your current website traffic levels, this can result in a sluggish site, and you may lose quality leads.
Today, most people expect a website to load in two seconds or less. If it doesn’t, they go somewhere else to research a product, find a service provider, or spend their money. That’s why your business needs to make the speed of your pages and site a priority.
4. SSL Certificate
An SSL certificate, also known as a Secure Sockets Layer, protects your company and your site visitors. This certificate works by allowing your site to receive, transfer, and secure sensitive data provided by users or your business.
If you have an active SSL certificate, your website URL appears with a padlock next to it in Internet browsers like Google Chrome. Your URL also updates from “http” to “https” for users. In most cases, shoppers look for the padlock before making a purchase, which is why this site feature matters.
5. General Website Upkeep
From a user perspective, general website updates keep your site looking fresh and modern, as well as secure. Even if your company doesn’t process any payments online, it’s essential to have an online presence that conveys trust and quality.
While all of your registration costs pay for access to monthly updates for the software on your website, someone has to go in and make sure those updates are installed and functioning properly. A website is a moving and changing piece of software. It is not merely a brochure that is placed online and left to itself to work correctly. Without regular upkeep, your site will not function correctly.
There is an amount of standard upkeep that comes with all of our monthly hosting and maintenance fees; however, additional maintenance is always available at an additional rate.
Provide your site with routine maintenance, and you can improve the chances of people not only finding your company but also investing in it, whether by visiting your store, calling your team, or purchasing your products or services.
It’s worth mentioning that many companies misinterpret what website updates include, especially when a part of a website maintenance package. Upkeep to your website’s elements like content, navigation, and forms maintains the quality and functionality of your site.
For example, if you’re launching a sale and need to update your product or service pricing, most website maintenance plans would include that kind of update. If you’re looking for your provider to redesign your product and service pages, however, you can expect a separate fee.
6. Content Management System
A core part of any website is a content management system (CMS). A CMS allows you to upload, publish, and manage your website’s content.
A few examples of some go-to CMS applications include:
In some cases, businesses will build a custom CMS.
Whether you choose a standard or custom CMS, it’s critical for your company to maintain it with security patches and routine updates. With consistent maintenance, your CMS remains secure and functional. Plus, your team can access new features and tools with most updates.
Depending on your CMS, your website maintenance costs may also include a subscription or service fee for using your CMS. WordPress, for example, features several paid service plans. You get billed yearly but pay monthly.
7. E-Commerce System Upkeep
If you’re an E-Commerce business, then you understand the essential role of your payment system. Without your payment system, it becomes impossible to accept, process, and fulfill orders online.
That’s why E-Commerce system support is essential for your company.
With E-Commerce system support, your service provider keeps your system secure, up-to-date, and live. Like tech support, your team can also submit tickets when system errors appear. For example, maybe shoppers aren’t receiving an order confirmation email.
Why do hosting & maintenance costs vary so much?
Prices for website maintenance have a wide range due to several factors, including:
Your website’s size
Your website’s complexity
Your service provider’s experience
Your service provider’s resources
Your website maintenance service selection
While most service providers try to provide a one-size-fits-all package for website maintenance, many sites require a customized service and pricing plan.
Even though pricing is a critical factor, you shouldn’t use it as the deciding factor.
Fixating on website maintenance pricing can result in your company partnering with an inexperienced, unresponsive provider. That’s why businesses need to look at price as a component rather than as a decision-maker when comparing service providers.
Get your business and your website the best service possible by considering more than pricing.
That doesn’t mean your company needs to exceed your website maintenance budget. Instead, you should partner with a service provider that offers the best service and customer experience, versus the lowest price.
Partnering With Vibrandt Media
When you partner with Vibrandt Media as your website provider, having some sort of website hosting and maintenance plan is required. However, you can be sure that we will take your needs seriously to set you up with an affordable plan that fits your needs and budget.