How much does it cost to operate a Website?
In a previous article I covered Why websites cost so much which went over the development costs, this article will identify the administration running costs of a website exclusive of any development.
Basic Website costs
This is what every website needs, regardless of type.
Domain Name Registration
A domain name is the address to your website. Domain names vary in price depending on the type, for a “.com” expect to pay around $15 to $25 per year. For a “.com.au”, “.net.au” or “.org.au” you can pay from $25 to $50 for 2 years.
Hosting is hired space on a computer that is connected to the internet 24/7. This space is where you store and serve your website files. Hosting space varies considerably in price depending on how much space you need, how many people view your website, technology required and overall quality. Finding a reliable, affordable and quality web host can be tricky – remember it’s important to know that you get what you pay for and this is an area that you can’t skimp out on (Check out Digital Pacific for Australian based affordable hosting). Having said that there are a few Australian web hosting companies that over charge considerably so be wary of those. For an average small to medium business expect to pay around $300 per year. Remember to check with your web developer and they can give you the specifications you require from a host.
The Extra Fees
People think online stores are extremely cheap to run, in comparison to having a physical store this is the case. But if you receive payments online or receive any sensitive data there are a few extras you will need.
Note: If you only transfer users to a third party website to process payment such as Paypal you won’t need these extras as they do all the hard work for you!
SSL (secure socket layer) Certificates
If you pass sensitive data around on your website, such as Credit Card details the data needs to be encrypted. To do this you will need to purchase a SSL Certificate. These certificates can cost anywhere from $70 to $300 per year depending on the level of security you require. If you’re on a shared host, you may also need to upgrade your account. As it’s also a benefit for your SEO, some hosting companies will now include this in their packages.
Merchant Account Fees
You need to set up a merchant account to start receiving credit card payments. Prices vary, and the best place to start is by contacting your bank and ask about receiving payments online. Fees can vary; being a percentage of sales, annual fees, a cost per transaction or a combination of those. For the basic merchant account exclusive of a payment gateway (see below) expect to pay a setup fee of at least $110 plus 2% of the sale amount +16c per transaction with a minimum of $20 per month.
In order to accept payments online your website must be PCI DSS Compliant – which means banks won’t let you accept payments unless you meet a high standard of security. If you are wanting to collect payments online securely the best way is to use a third party Payment Gateway. Gateways handle all the sensitive data and process the payments. They are usually based on a yearly fee plus a cost per transaction starting at $350 per year plus 25c per transaction. Some reputable gateways are Eway and Secure Pay. Some banks now offer gateways as a package with their merchant account, so contact your bank to find the best solution.
In conclusion expect to pay an annual fee of around $325 just to have a basic website online. If you expect higher traffic or require a lot of storage space then expect that figure to be higher, and if you want to receive payments online triple that price.