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How Much Does It Cost to Build a Web Application

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If you are looking for a short answer, the only correct one is that it depends. The cost to develop a web application depends on multiple factors so it is never possible to come up with a precise estimate without making an ultimate business analysis, and gathering Software Specification Requirements. And even when these stages are already behind, the cost to build a web app can rarely be fixed. So, let’s get an idea of the average costs to create a website in 2021, taking into account essential factors affecting the final price. 

What Factors Affect the Final Cost to Develop a Web App

The min-max price gap for web app development is too deep to come up with an accurate estimate at a glance. Depending on the strategy you choose, the idea behind the website, the complexity of the features and some other factors, you can both build a web app for free or pay a fortune for it. Let’s compare the options. 

The way you build your app

Depending on the development strategy, the final price may vary significantly. Below are four main tactics the business owners can choose from. 

Drag and drop development –  $0 – 400

This is the simplest option that requires no technical skills. To create a website using drag and drop functionality, you have to choose a suitable platform and build a website using pre-developed blocks and templates. It can be a viable strategy for the solopreneurs, or those who need to develop a pretty simple website. You can do it even for free, and pay only for the hosting and domain name, the price for which rarely exceeds $100.

WordPress development – $20 – 1000

Those with some technical knowledge often choose WordPress to create a semi-custom website. The main benefit of WP is the opportunity to choose a predeveloped theme depending on your project specifics, plus integrate your website with add-ons and plugins for better user experience, reporting, payments, SEO and so on. The cost to create a WordPress website rarely exceeds $1000, plus it can be powerful and awesome enough to drive your profits. A wordpress speed optimization service would also be cost efficient and would be able to boost your sites reliability.

No to low code development – $1000-5000

Using a no or low code development platform is a tactic that becomes especially popular among the companies on the way to digital transformation. As a rule, they need a lot of custom solutions but aren’t ready to invest a lot. No to low code development platforms still require the understanding of the development and testing processes, plus technical skills and knowledge to accurately tailor the platform’s capabilities to the business necessities.

Being SaaS solutions, the subscription to such a platform may cost $1000-5000 per month. 

Custom development – $5000-50000

Custom development is a way to build the highest-end web apps that have the greatest chances to stand out and perfectly solve the business needs. Still, this is the priciest approach since in this case, you have to hire a whole team of Business Analysts, developers, designers, and testers. Most companies understand the opportunities the custom development opens up for their business, so they are ready to invest in it, and in most cases, the custom solutions are paid off. 

Let’s review the other factors influencing the price to build a web app suggesting that it is going to be created in a custom way. 

1. The complexity of the design

The more custom design elements you have to use, the more time the designers have to spend creating them. That’s why a highly customized website with outstanding branding and a lot of visual content always costs more than its simpler alternative. This is also the reason why some companies choose the path of semi-custom design, using the ready-made design elements where possible but creating branded ones from scratch. 

2. The location of the developers

Following the path of custom development, you will have to hire a development team which can be large or small depending on the project necessities. Still, their location matters since the average salaries of the programmers vary significantly. For example, if an Indian developer makes $25-30 per hour, the services of the same programmer from the US may cost $100 per hour on average. That’s why a lot of companies are looking for the best price-quality match when choosing an outsourcing destination and hiring a remote tech team. 

3. Your business domain

The industry your business operates in also matters for the final price of web app building. For example, creating a news portal for a media company is much cheaper than creating a telehealth solution for a hospital since the latter app will use more advanced technologies like videoconferencing.  

Let’s compare:

  • The price to build a news portal – $5000
  • The price to build a telehealth web app – $60000

What’s more, the price to build a web app can significantly vary even within the same niche. For example, the cost to build a marketplace is higher than the cost to develop a branded eCommerce website since in the first case you also have to create the features for both sellers and buyers. 

For comparison:

  • The price to build a marketplace – $20000 – $40000
  • The price to build an eCommerce website – $8000–$30000

MVP vs. Ready to Market

The cost to develop a web app will also be different depending on whether a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or ready-to-market solution is at stake. The approximate prices above are the costs to develop an MVP,  while the final solution may cost two-three times more depending on the features you would like to develop.

The technologies you power your final solution with are also important. For example, a website that comes with AI features will always be more expensive than those without. 


The final cost to develop a web app is almost impossible to predict based on the app idea only. What’s more, the development strategy you choose largely determines the possible price range – while it is pretty possible to create a simple website almost for free, the more advanced solutions developed in a custom way may cost a fortune. The only ever-green cost optimization advice is to follow the LEAN development methodology, carefully validating each of your new ideas and investing only in those features your business or target users actually need.