Updated February 2024
How much does website maintenance cost in the UK in 2024?
The question might seem straightforward but like all things tech, when you dig a little deeper it can get a bit more complex. Let’s look at some of the driving factors.
But first let’s touch on what website maintenance actually is.
Essentially it’s the ongoing service which aims to keep your website running smoothly.
There are six main components:
As well as this, customers in 2024 are expecting a very high level of responsiveness, quick turnaround for questions and support requests, and expert advice on how to get the very best from their websites.
Let’s quickly look at each element in turn.
Websites are not static. The information they contain changes often.
For some informational websites the information might only need to change on a monthly basis.
On a fast-moving news or e-commerce website, the content might need to change daily or even hourly.
Clearly the updates to a website vary widely.
The beauty of modern Content Management Systems, such as WordPress or Wix is that they allow non-technical staff to update the website with confidence and minimal training.
But in many cases, you might want to outsource the updating of your website to your website management company.
Whatever the situation, a website management package should be able to easily accommodate your changes.
Therefore, the frequency and complexity of updates will be a key driver of the cost of your maintenance service.
How updates contribute to cost
Your website is enabled by a complex set of interacting software.
From the server it’s hosted on, to the database that contains your website content, to the content management system that allows you to update it, it’s all software and bugs can and do creep in.
Keeping your software bang up to date is the right way to guard against software bugs that can throw your site offline if not looked after.
Your website needs to be open for business around the clock. Uptime is a measure of how long your website is online for, in a given month.
It’s measured as a percentage (the higher the better).
For example, if a website was available for an entire month without any outages or offline time, it would have a monthly uptime score of 100%.
But if there were 30 minutes of outages during that month, it would have an uptime of about 99.93%. This sounds high, but actually for many websites, particularly busy e-commerce websites, the site must be online 100% of time otherwise it can result in large losses.
In the world of websites, achieving an uptime of 99.93% is not usually very difficult. But achieving a guaranteed 100% uptime is much, much harder, and therefore more expensive!
How uptime contributes to cost
In terms of uptime, the cost will be driven by two main factors: the reliability of your web server(s) and the reliability of your website content management software (CMS).
The power and reliability of your servers is in turn driven by your needs in terms of the amount of traffic that your site typically receives each month.
But the power required must cater not just for “average” traffic, but for spikes in traffic caused from time to time. Other causes of website downtime include hardware failure – after all, all websites are still hosted on some physical machine somewhere in the world (even cloud-hosted websites).
Issues with your DNS – the records that tell the Internet where to go to your website – are another very common cause. Robust “premium” DNS hosting is advisable but costs more than “cheap” DNS provided by large-scale web hosting companies.
Denial of Service attacks (DDOS) are another cause of website downtime. These are caused when your site is deliberately bombarded with requests from multiple locations.
This is a type of attack and whilst higher-profile sites are more at risk, it can happen to anybody.
To combat against DDOS, web firewalls are advised but again, these drive up the cost of your website hosting and maintenance.
Hacking: almost all websites are vulnerable to hacking and some types of sites much more than others.
Hackers are always one step ahead of the game and are extremely good at finding new vulnerabilities in the software that runs your website.
Maintenance services much keep your website software up to date at all times in order to ensure the latest updates that fix known vulnerabilities apply.
Errors are problems which cause the site to malfunction (not do what it’s supposed to do).
Some errors don’t cause too big a problem on the site and are more of an annoyance. For example, broken links, missing images, typos or out of date information.
Other errors are “mission critical”. For example, an error that prevents a customer from making a payment on an e-commerce site would be in this category.
For this reason we categorise errors into low, medium and high priority errors. The goal is to reduce and eliminate all types of error, but with a particular focus on the high priority, mission critical errors.
You should expect a website maintenance company to have different processes in place for dealing with emergencies than handling routine maintenance or updating tasks.
How error fixing contributes to cost
The frequency of software updates is a driver of the cost of website maintenance.
We’ve all experienced the irritation and inconvenience of trying to use a website that runs slowly.
Studies show that adding just a second of speed to each page load can reduce e-commerce sales by 10%.
47% of website users expect a page to load in under 2 seconds.
And after 3.3 seconds, conversion rates (e.g., purchases or signups) drop off dramatically.
Speed is money in the online world.
For this reason speed is a key measure in website maintenance.
Speed is often measured using standard tools available online, including Google Search Console (which gives access to the so-called Core Web Vitals, a suite of metrics that measure website usability, and include speed and responsiveness.
How speed contributes to cost
Most website maintenance programmes include measuring these metrics on a monthly basis.
Additionally, you should expect action to be taken if a measure of website speed drops to levels that affect your business.
Speed is largely dictated by how and where your website is hosted. There are some very cheap hosting packages out there at the moment, with costs as little as £1 per month.
But the more traffic a website attracts, the more robust and powerful your web server needs to be. The costs can reach hundreds or thousands of pounds each month, depending on the complexity of the website and the amount of traffic it must cope with.
Some website maintenance plans include web hosting (sometimes for free). But we wary of these offers, and make sure that your site will not be placed on a low-cost server, or one that is shared with lots of websites.
Perhaps the least understood element of website maintenance is recovery.
Should a website “crash” or become corrupted (there are many reasons why this can happen) then the ability to get the site back online fast is crucial.
If the site is badly corrupted then it will need to be restored from a backup. So the ability to recover the website and bring a recent backup online is vital.
It’s your “insurance policy” – only needed rarely but when it is needed it is needed very urgently.
How recovery contributes to cost
Recoverability must be tested regularly to ensure your site can be brought back online when needed.
As the saying goes, “if you don’t test your backup, you don’t have a backup”.
If this element is missing, then when an emergency does occur, you will have to wait much longer for your site to be put back online. Perhaps you will have to wait days rather than hours.
Website recovery is hopefully only needed on rare occasions but when it is needed, it’s needed fast.
The number of backups your site needs will vary from site to site. Perhaps a daily backup is sufficient, or perhaps your site requires continual backups.
This is particularly true of e-commerce websites where customers will be placing orders continually throughout the day, and this data is vital to the running of the business.
Perhaps the most important part of the service is the ability to call a web professional and discuss your website’s requirements.
Perhaps you like to manage your website yourself but need a bit of support now and then.
Perhaps you prefer to outsource the entire management of your site to professionals.
Or perhaps, like most businesses, your needs fall somewhere in the middle.
Whatever level of support you need, it’s a key driving factor in the cost of website maintenance because the service will usually bundle in a number of hours per month reserved for supporting you and your website.
The cost of this support will vary depending on how it’s delivered (by phone, email or Zoom/Teams/Google Meet etc.) and how many hours are expected to be needed.
Monthly support hours can vary from 1 hour to almost full-time hours and the hourly rate will vary but usually falls in the region of £50 to £100 per hour.
Average cost of monthly website maintenance UK
So that brings us to the actual cost of monthly website maintenance.
Each of the six pillars above has a variety of different levels of service. Each one could be tailor-made for your specific needs.
Your website maintenance company will take all of the above factors into account when pricing up your maintenance package.
They will look at: the amount of traffic your site receives and therefore where best to host it, the power required to keep your site running quickly, the risks and harm caused by outages and slow running, and the appropriate amount of backup and recovery points, frequency and complexity of updates, amount of support you need.
Monthly website maintenance in 2024 varies in price from under £100 per to over £1500.
We’ve been monitoring average website maintenance costs since 2018 when we first developed our maintenance service. It’s a way of keeping our prices competitive!
We look at only UK-based services. Our figures are based on researching at least 50 companies offering this service. We group them into tiers of service including basic, mid-range and high end. Not every company offers service at each of the price levels. Some have fewer price points and other have many more.
Here are the average monthly costs from our research, showing how they have risen year-on-year since 2018.
Website maintenance costs are rising year-on-year, broadly in line with inflation.
The most movement innovation in this service is taking place at the low end, with companies competing to get more businesses signed up.
And at the very high end we are seeing executive services charging £1500 per month and upwards for a very high level of personal service. This is a service offering which approaches the costs of hiring a webmaster yourself, albeit without the attendant hassles of taking on an employee.
Find out more about our professional website maintenance service.