How much does it cost to build a website in Canada?

LaunchCategory
26 min read
Leighton Burley

If you’re looking to build a website for your business, you may be trying to estimate the cost. Maybe you’ve asked one or two web design agencies for estimates or looked at different options for building a website yourself and been left wondering by the wide range of choices.  

  • What features will you need?  
  • What about a domain name and web hosting?  
  • How much does a website really cost? 

In this post, we’ll cover the basics of choosing the right type of website for your venture and estimating the web design costs to build it.

Getting a website doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Tell GoDaddy Airo about your idea and it will generate a domain name, logo, website, social media handles, professional email and more — all for the price of your domain name. Check it out now. 

A small business website may cost as little as $20 per year, depending on the domain name you choose.  

A very large, complex website made for gaming or e-commerce could cost $30,000 or more in web design and development costs. 

The costs cited in this post are estimates only and, as AI continues to speed many previously manual processes, are subject to change. All prices are shown in CAD. 

The basic building blocks of every website   

Every website is formed of five basic elements: a domain name, hosting, web design & build, website security and marketing. The table below provides a rough guide to pricing for each of them: 

Website building blocks and their cost 

Website feature Cost upfront 
Domain name $0.01-30 
Web hosting $0-300+ 
Web design & build $0-5,000+ 
Website security $0-360+ 
Search engine optimisation (SEO)$1,700-5,000 Source 

Domain name 

Buying the right domain name is vital because it will form the cornerstone of your business identity. 

In terms of price, the cost of your domain name will depend on the domain extension you pick — for example, .com, .ca, .shop, .net.  

But as an estimate, expect to pay around $20 a year for your domain.  

At GoDaddy, you can register a .ca or .com domain for as little as ‪$0.01 for the first year (with a three-year term). Choices like .world or .site start from as low as $2.73 for the first year.  

On the other end of the spectrum, .inc domains, popular as they are with larger organisations, can be more costly. The snappier and more memorable .com domains tend to come with premium price tags, too. Nevertheless, there are plenty of good .ca and .com domains still to be found out there. Check current domain prices here

Web Hosting 

A website consists of computer files and all those files need to be stored somewhere. That place is a web server.  

Of course, you could buy your own server, but this is too costly for most people. So they “rent” space on a hosting company’s server instead. 

Web hosting prices vary so much because of the diverse types of plans on offer. The hosting plan you need will depend on your business requirements. 

For many small businesses, shared hosting is the place to start. As its name suggests, you share space on a single server with other websites. So at some point you or one of your neighbours may grow to a point where you need more but you can easily upgrade your hosting plan. 

At GoDaddy, shared hosting plans range from $4.99/month up to $12.99/month. 

Good web hosting is important because it keeps your website online and available to customers around the world. The quality of your hosting plan can also impact how quickly your website loads for customers. 

Related: What’s the difference between a domain name and hosting? 

Web design & build 

Exactly what content you need — text, photos, videos — will vary depending on the kind of business you’re running and the features your target customer expects.  

If you use Airo, the tool will create text and select photos for you.  

But for more complex sites, you may need to hire someone to: 

  • Write text for your website 
  • Take photos  
  • Shoot videos 

Ready to give writing a go? Read Copywriting tips for your small business (10-minute read) to start strong. 

Website security 

You need to keep your site safe. You will want to use an SSL certificate on your site to encrypt exchanges flowing to and from your site. As your website grows, you may want to invest in additional website security software. 

Related: How hackers can tell if your website is a good target 

Search engine optimization 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a well-documented series of tweaks that will make it easy for search engines to find and index a website. This can make it more likely that your website will appear in search results whenever anyone searches for products or services like yours. 

There may be some upfront costs relating to SEO when setting up your website, particularly if you use a web designer. Alternately, you can manage the basics yourself by reading posts like this to start. 

Of course, the fastest option is Airo from GoDaddy 

This AI-powered tool not only helps you find the best domain name for your venture, but auto-creates: 

  • An eye-catching logo design you can easily customise 
  • A complete website with photos and text that will help your business engage and attract customers online (also customisable) 
  • A professional email account that strengthens your business credibility 
  • Selling products online? Just upload your product pics and Airo will auto-generate product descriptions for you to tweak

What type of website do you need?

Before you can begin estimating the cost of web design, you’ll need to decide what type of website you need for your venture or business.

The type and size of your website will be a major factor in the overall cost of your website design.

Here are some of the common types of websites you can consider.

Brochure-style website

One of the most common types of websites is the brochure-style website, which can be used by:

  • Businesses that don’t plan to sell online
  • Professional services
  • Nonprofit organizations

This style of website will usually display the basics about your business and what you have to offer, along with your social media and hours of business. A brochure website has less than 15 pages, so it costs less to design than a larger website.

This is attractive to anyone who may not have a lot of money for web design.

For a brochure website in Canada, you can expect to pay between $20 for an AI-built site to $625 for a bespoke website. 

This depends on the features you want and how many pages you need on your website. You’ll also need to:

  • Register a domain name (be sure it’s registered in your name, not the designer or developer’s name) 
  • Pay for hosting every month to make your website visible on the web
  • Possibly pay for a web designer to make updates

This means that a small bespoke brochure website will cost around $625 - $1,225, with about $225 of annual recurring costs for updates, domain name renewal and hosting fees.

Small e-commerce store

Another common type of website is the e-commerce store, which allows you to sell your products or services online.

A small to medium-sized e-commerce store will have anywhere from 10 to 100 products, and a blog that allows customers to follow your business and gain more information about your products.

The cost depends on how many products you’d like to have in your shop, and what features you want to use. You’ll also need a secure payment method so that your customers are safe while they’re submitting banking details to your site.

If you hire someone to build an e-commerce website for you, the website design cost may be between $1,000 and $5,000.

Woman Looking at Her Cellphone

You’ll also have to pay for a domain name, monthly hosting costs, plugins for processing payments, and recurring costs for updates. This means that a small e-commerce store in Canada will cost around $1,680 - $6,000, with about $680 in annual recurring costs.

While it can be costly to build an e-commerce website, it doesn’t have to be. With GoDaddy Online Store, anyone can design a professional e-commerce website for as little as $26.99 per month.  

Prefer WordPress and have a few tech skills (or are willing to learn)?  

GoDaddy's Managed WordPress Ecommerce plans start at $28.99 per month, come with WooCommerce installed and take care of the routine updates and security patches for you.  

Large e-commerce store

Some people want to move their entire store online so that they can begin selling their products to customers everywhere. A large e-commerce store will have:

  • 100+ products
  • Tutorial videos for products
  • An active blog to inform their customers about their products or promos

With a large e-commerce store, you’ll need to pay for:

  • A domain name
  • A more powerful hosting plan
  • Plugins or apps for payments and security
  • Recurring maintenance fees for updating the website and product listings

Expect to pay $5,715 - $50,000+ for a large e-commerce website, with about $715 in yearly costs.

If you were to build a massive online store (like Amazon), this could cost hundreds of thousands.

Large custom website

There are also large websites that are content-heavy (e.g. gaming, lots of high-resolution photography, etc) and have custom features that make them difficult to code. The complexity of these larger websites will require more time to build, which makes them more expensive.

A large website may be built for a custom purpose like banking or social media, or perhaps it’s designed to display a lot of content such as an online magazine or news channel.

These websites are custom built for robustness and are designed to handle hundreds of thousands of visitors daily.

With a large website, the cost will be quoted on a per-job basis depending on your business's needs.

You'll need to budget between $10,000 and $75,000 for a large custom website.

You’ll also have higher hosting fees and more update fees, which will add to the annual cost of owning a large website.

How much does it cost to build a website in Canada?

This table will provide a breakdown of website design costs in Canada.

Website typeTotal cost of building your websiteWeb designer feeWebsite builder costCost of hosting/domainAnnual recurring fees
Brochure website (built by web designer)$625 - $1,225$400 - $1000N/AStarting at $60 annually$150 Website Updates
Brochure website (built with Godaddy Website Builder)FreeFreeFreeIncludedN/A
Small-medium e-commerce store
(Built by web designer)
$1,680 - $6,000$1000 - $5000N/AStarting at $180 annually$680
Large e-commerce store (built by web designer)$5,7150 - $50,000+$5,000 - $50,000N/AStarting at $600 annually$715
e-commerce store
(built with Godaddy Website Builder)
$26.99 / monthFreeFreeIncluded$26.99 / month
Large custom website$10,000 - $75,000+$10,000 - $75,000+N/A$1,200+ annually$3,000+

**Please note that these website design costs are approximate and may vary by Province or from agency to agency. You should always shop around when you’re building a website and compare pricing to see which option is the most cost-friendly.

The steps of building a website

To understand how to estimate the cost of website design, it might help to know the steps required to build a website. Three basic elements are required to create any website:

Step 1 - Choose a domain name

Before you get started with building your website, you’ll need to search for a domain name for your website. This will serve as your web address (e.g. TimHortons.com).

You can use the name of your business, brand or a random word that represents your website.

Check out our article on tips for choosing a domain name.

If you’re not sure what you should call your website, you can use a domain name generator to look for names. If you get a domain from GoDaddy, your new domain includes GoDaddy Airo, our integrated AI solution that instantly creates a free website, logo and more.

Some domain names are cheap and won’t add much to the cost of web design. However, this is a recurring fee, so you’ll want to be sure that you find a domain name around $5-$20 per year.

Of course, you can choose an expensive premium domain name, but this will only add to the annual cost of owning a website.

Editor's note: GoDaddy Airo not only helps you find the right domain name, it instantly creates a logo, website, email, social posts, and more for your new business. Try it now!

Step 2 - Pick a hosting plan

Once you’ve chosen a domain name for your website, you’ll need to purchase web hosting for your website. The web hosting is what makes it possible for your audience to open and use your website. Without web hosting, the only one who would ever see your website is you.

AI-assisted tools like GoDaddy’s Airo take care of this step for you (the hosting cost is included).

When you’re choosing a hosting plan, you’ll want to consider the type of website that you have and the amount of traffic that your website will get every month.

If you have a smaller website, you may not need a large hosting plan; however, if you’re running a large online store, your website will require a larger hosting plan.

You’ll want to be careful when choosing a hosting plan, because it can add up and make it more expensive to own a website. Usually, hosting plans will cost $4.99 to $28.99 per month, depending on your website's size and how much traffic you’re getting every month. The rule of thumb is to start small, then scale up as traffic increases to your site.

Related: What is web hosting? Complete guide for beginners 

Step 3 - Design your website and add content

Next, you’ll need to design your website and add content to it — text, photos, videos, etc. During this phase, you’ll need to design the layout, set the menu and create content to put on your website.

Person Working on Laptop
Pre-built templates or themes (WordPress) make the design process quicker.

This phase is the most important, because the look of your website and what’s on it can make or break your business. If you have a website that doesn’t look professional, it can create a bad image for your brand or business.

If you’re trying to estimate the cost of having your site built by a designer, you’ll want to look at this phase of the process closely.

This is because the designing process takes time, which costs more money. This makes it more costly than choosing a domain name or buying hosting for your website.

However, if you use an AI-assisted site builder like Airo and do all the writing and photography yourself, your only cost is the annual fee for your domain name.

Other costs to consider when running a website 

Depending on the type of website that you're running, there can be other costs to building a website, including: 

  • Plugins and extensions: To add specific functionality to a WordPress website, you may need to buy premium plugins or extensions that aren't available for free. 
  • Email hosting: If you want a professional email address that matches your domain name (e.g., info@yourbusiness.com), you may need to purchase email hosting. 
  • Analytics software: To track your website's performance and user behaviour, you might invest in advanced analytics tools beyond the free ones available. 
  • Legal: Depending on the nature of your business and website, you may need to consider costs relating to copyright, compliance, or consultation with a legal expert, particularly for privacy policies, terms of service, and compliance. 

Go forth and build

If you’re trying to build a website in Canada, you’ll want to consider Godaddy Airo to create your website, along with a great-looking business logo, social ads and posts — even emails to send to your growing list of subscribers.

With this option, you’ll have the chance to choose from a number of designs and adjust the one you choose to perfectly suit your venture. It won’t cost you as much as hiring a web design agency, and you'll have all the tools needed to promote your business on search engines, social and more.

The costs cited in this post are estimates only and, as AI continues to speed many previously manual processes, are subject to change. All prices are shown in CAD. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Building a website can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Often, people are concerned about website cost, building a website that will work for their needs and successfully launching their website. They also question which type of website is suitable for their needs and the best way to build the perfect website.

In this section, we’ll answer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about web design and try to help you learn how you can build the right website for your needs.

How much does it cost to build a website from scratch?

If you’re looking to build a website from scratch, you can expect to pay between $500 and as high as $30,000, depending on your website's size and the features you have coded into the website.

There are several methods that you can use to build a website that will affect the website cost.

  1. You can learn to code and make the website yourself which will lower the cost of website design because you’re doing the work yourself. However, not everyone knows how to code, and it could take a long time to learn to code.
  2. You could hire a website designer to build a website for you, but this method will cost the most. So if you’re trying to lower website costs, you’ll want to use an alternative way of making a website than hiring a web design agency to build your website.
  3. You can use a website builder to DIY and create a website. This method is the easiest way to build a website and the most cost-friendly way to design a website. You can also design and launch your website faster with a website builder than coding a website yourself or hiring a website designer.

With a website builder, you’ll be in complete control of the website design, and you won’t need to know any code. All you’ll have to do is choose a template and replace the photos and text with your own, and the website builder will take care of everything else.

How much does it cost to build a website for a small business?

A website can cost anywhere between $500 and $6,000, depending on the features that you have on the website. Often, small businesses have smaller websites with less content, making them easier to build and more cost-friendly to create.

However, if you’re looking to build a website with e-commerce functionality to sell products online, the website could be more expensive.

For example, if you want to have an e-commerce store built for your small business, you can expect to pay over $5,000 and as high as $30,000, depending on the website's size.

Many small businesses don’t have a lot of money to put towards a website, so a cost-friendly website is the best option. In addition, they need a website that looks professional and can grow their business while reducing website costs.

One of the ways that you can build a website for your small business is by using a website builder. A website builder can create a stunning website at an affordable price for your business. With a website builder, you can create an e-commerce website and begin selling products online without paying several thousand dollars to build a website with e-commerce functionality.

Can you build a website for free?

There’s no way to build a website for free because you’ll always need to pay for a domain name and hosting for the website. However, if you’re able to code the website, you can build a website without much cost.

Another way to build a website without a lot of costs is by using a website builder. With a website builder, you can design the website by yourself without knowing any code. This is one of the most affordable ways to build a website.

How much does it cost to run a website per month?

After you’ve paid to have your website designed, you’ll have ongoing website costs every month.

You can expect to pay between $20 per month to several hundred dollars per month for operational costs.

You’ll need to pay for website hosting, which will cost you about $5 to $100 per month, depending on the type of website you have. The cost of website hosting varies and will be determined by the:

  • Host company
  • Hosting plan
  • Number of visitors you expect to see monthly
  • Amount of data that your website uses per month

You’ll also need to pay for your domain name, which will cost about $10 per year unless you have a premium domain name that costs more.

If you’re working with a web design agency, you can expect to pay a monthly retainer for website maintenance and ongoing upgrades to the website. This retainer may be several hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars per month, depending on the website's size.

If you’re a small business looking to reduce website cost, you’ll want to use a website builder. With a website builder, you will be able to operate your website at much lower costs. You’ll also be able to maintain and update your website by yourself.

What types of websites are there?

When it comes to websites, there are many types of websites that you can use. Some of the most popular types of websites include:

  • Blogs
  • Business websites
  • Non-profit websites
  • E-commerce websites
  • Educational websites
  • Entertainment websites
  • Project and portfolio websites
  • Help forums
  • Social media websites

A blog provides a platform for you to have your voice heard, and you can publish your own content for the whole world to see. A business website will provide more information about your business, the services that you offer, your pricing and a contact page so your customers can contact you.

An e-commerce website enables you to post products for sale, arrange shipping and process payments from customers anywhere in the world..

A project and portfolio website is often used by college students who want to display their work or artists who wish to present a gallery of their past work.

Finally, a help forum website provides a gathering place for individuals within a community to discuss solutions to problems that they’re experiencing so that others can benefit.

What type of website do I need for business?

The type of website you’ll need will depend on the size of the business and the services or products you offer. For example, if you own a small business, your website needs will be very different from a corporate company's needs.

You’ll want to build a website while controlling website cost as a small business. You’ll want to use a business-themed website that provides an:

  • Overview of your business
  • The services you offer
  • Pricing
  • Contact information
  • A blog to communicate with your customers

If you want to sell products online, you’ll need a website with e-commerce functionality so that you can safely list and sell products online.

A website builder is an ideal choice for small business because you can design your website, make unlimited customizations until you’re satisfied with the design, launch the website with much-needed marketing tools and reduce website cost.

How long does it take to build a website?

The amount of time that it takes to build a website can vary from several hours to several months, depending on the features you want in the website, the size and how many web designers are working to create the website.

If you’re looking to build a website quickly, you’ll want to use a website builder. A website builder will allow you to create a website in a matter of hours or days.

You can also continue modifying the website over time to add any features or pages that are required.

You could get a web design agency to build you a website, but this is a costly endeavour, and it requires more time to build your website. This is because they have to manually create your website instead of using pre-built themes that can be easily modified to meet your needs.

Unless you need custom features built into your website, a website builder will be the fastest and cheapest option.

Do website builders actually work to build a website?

The short answer is yes. A website builder can build a website that can be used by just about anybody. Unless you’re looking to launch a large social media platform such as Facebook or Twitter, then a website builder will be helpful to you.

If you’re looking to launch a large online platform with millions of users per month, then you’ll likely need custom web development, and a website builder wouldn’t be suitable for your needs.

However, a website builder is an ideal solution for the majority of people who require a website. If you’re looking to build a website to reach your audience, then a website builder will actually work to build a website that’s functional and looks professional for your brand.

How can a small business sell products online?

If you own a small business and would like to sell products online, you’ll need to build an e-commerce website for your business. With the e-commerce functionality, you’ll be able to list your products online and sell your products with secure payment options.

An e-commerce store is one of the most expensive websites to build from scratch. This is because the websites can become quite large once all the products are added to the online store and become challenging to manage. The website also needs to be secure enough to safely process payments.

A cost-friendly method of building an e-commerce store for your small business is using a website builder. A website builder can create an e-commerce website that can list all your products online to begin selling to your customers online. It also provides secure payment options so that your customers can feel safe when they’re making an online purchase from you.

Is it worth having a website for a small business? 

Absolutely, having a website for a small business is worth it and highly recommended. A website offers several benefits: 

  • Accessibility: Your potential customers can learn about your business, products or services any time, from anywhere. 
  • Credibility: A professional-looking website can enhance your business reputation and instil trust in potential customers. 
  • Marketing: A website is a powerful marketing tool where you can promote your business widely and cost-effectively. It also allows for digital marketing strategies such as SEO, content marketing, and email marketing to attract more customers. 
  • Sales: With an ecommerce functionality, a website can act as an additional sales channel, allowing customers to purchase directly from you 24/7. 
  • Customer Service: You can provide improved customer service through a website by offering FAQ sections, chatbots or forums where customers can get answers to their queries. 
  • Business Growth: A website helps you reach a wider audience, expand your customer base and drive business growth. 

Remember, your competitors are likely to have a web presence. A well-designed, user-friendly website can keep your business from falling behind. 

Can a small business grow using a website?

If you’re looking to grow your small business, you can use a website to build your brand. A website will give you an online presence and allow your customers to find you online while providing valuable information about your business to your customers.

You can also use a series of marketing tools to help advertise your business through your website. Firstly, you can begin ranking your website through Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so that your audience can find you in search results. You can also perform content marketing in your blog to gain new customers by answering people's questions. Finally, you can also use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to gain exposure for your business and drive traffic to your website.

One of the easiest ways to promote your business online is building a website with a website builder. A website builder makes it easier than ever to build a website, and it provides all the marketing tools you need to grow your brand online.

Related: How to add keywords to your website

Can you build a website for free? 

A business owner could technically build a website for free using various website building platforms. For instance, WordPress.com offers free plans. However, these free plans come with limitations such as subdomains (e.g., yourwebsite.wordpress.com), lack of customization, limited storage, and often the presence of ads on your website.  

So while a free plan might suffice for a small or start-up business, as the business grows, using a paid hosting plan would be necessary to provide a more professional appearance and enhanced functionality. 

How much does a landing page cost?

A landing page can cost anywhere between $250 to $1,500, depending on the length of the page and the features added to the page. If you have custom code added to the page, it can cost even more. The landing page cost will also depend on the rate that the web designer is charging you for their services.

If you’re looking to add landing pages to your website without having to pay a steep web design bill, you may want to use a website builder. With a website builder, you can add as many landing pages as you want without having to pay extra. You can also build the pages as quickly as you want without having to consult a web design agency and waiting for them to fit you into their busy schedule.

This post on how much it costs to build a website was originally published on 10 September 2020 and updated on 4 March 2022.

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