How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Freelance Web Developer?

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Freelance Web Developer_

Capable freelance web developers aren’t a dime a dozen. Nor do they come cheap. The typical starting rate of a freelance web developer is $70 to $300 per hour, according to 99designs.

Codementor also conducted a study on this, surveying over 5000 freelance developers from different parts of the world. 

It turns out, the main factor affecting rates is location, as development costs tend to vary from country to country. Other factors include your developer’s skill level, preferred tech stack, and experience.

Your location matters more than you think. For example, freelance developers from the US and New Zealand have the highest hourly rates, while developers from the Northern part of Africa and the Former Soviet Union charge the least.

Cost of Freelance Developers by Region

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Freelance Web Developer 8

As you can see, developers from New Zealand and the US charge the highest hourly rates (at 70%/hour). 

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Developers from the least expensive regions such as Asia, Africa, and the Former Soviet Union charge up to 40% less. 

The study analysed 5302 freelancers from different parts of the world. We’ll try to break them down to see how they were distributed. 

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Freelance Web Developer 6

The US and Western Europe were the most represented countries in the study, comprising 1883 and 1197 developers, respectively. 

Developers from Canada, the Middle East, and Northern Africa aren’t as prevalent; however, they still made a sizeable chunk of the study (209, 133, and 34, respectively).

The Cost of Freelance Web Developers by Country

Not all freelance developers are equal. Some specialize in specific technologies, while others are full-stack developers. 

There are pros and cons to hiring full-stack developers. On the one hand, you have more control over the project, but on the other, you might have to pay more since they’re generalists. 

The Cost of Freelance Web Developers by Country 

There are pros and cons to hiring freelance developers from different countries. One of the biggest pros is that some countries are cheaper to hire from. However, there are other factors to consider, such as time zone, available technologies, language, communication, etc.

So how much do web developers in these countries charge? Here are the average hourly rates of the top 10 most represented countries:

We’ll start with the most expensive

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Freelance Web Developer 7

As you can see from the graph, Australia has the highest average hourly rates for web developers. It’s closely followed by New Zealand, with the US coming in third.

Now Let’s look at the countries with the cheapest hourly rates.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Freelance Web Developer 4

As you can see, the least expensive countries are 28% less than their expensive counterparts.

It’s also worth mentioning that Pakistan, Ukraine, and India have the lowest average hourly rates (43, 44, and 46, respectively). 

They are up to 40% cheaper than Australia and Switzerland.

The Average Hourly rates of Website Developers by City

Now, let’s narrow down our search and look at the average hourly rates of developers in different cities.

Again, we’ll start with the most expensive cities in the world to hire freelance developers:

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Freelance Web Developer 5

Developers from Munich and Pato alto have the highest hourly rates. They are about 54% more expensive than the least expensive cities. If you are looking for a budget-friendly option, try hiring web developers from Dhaka, Cairo, or Lahore.

Least Expensive Cities to Hire Freelance Website Developers in the World

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Freelance Web Developer 2

As you can see, the three least expensive cities to hire freelance website developers are Dhaka, Cairo, and Lahore.
Most of these cities are in South Asia, with more than half of the top 10 cities on this list charging an average of $30 per hour.

The Cost of Hiring Freelance Web Developers by Tech Stack

By now, you should have a pretty good idea of how much it costs to hire a freelance web developer. It’s time to take this knowledge and compare different tech stacks within the same country or city.

Ruby developers charge the highest hourly rates, with objective C coming in second. Python, .Net, and AngularJS also have high average hourly rates. 

However, the differences are too small to be significant. In fact, the top 4 tech stacks average out to within $5 of one another.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Freelance Web Developer 3

From the table, AWS developers demand the highest hourly rates. It’s closely followed by Ruby, Object C, and Ruby on the Rails. 

The difference in rate isn’t that big between the tech stacks – with the difference between the highest and the lowest-tech stacks being only $15. 

It shows that location is a far more determiner of the web developer’s cost than the programming language you choose. 

The Average Years of Experience

It makes a lot of sense to analyse the years of experience for each tech stack. How long has the developer in question been coding, not just in that particular language but overall? 

Say, for example, the developer in question has been coding for nine years in JavaScript. But they added a new programming language two years ago. In that case, we’ll record the years of experience as nine years instead of two. 

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Freelance Web Developer 1

What Stack do Web Developers Prefer?

As you can see from the graph above, C# developers tend to be the most experienced. 

On the other hand, Swift and iOS developers are the youngest.

MySQL, WordPress, and PHP follow them.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Freelance Web Developer: Cost Breakdown?

Rate-wise, a professional web developer can cost anywhere from $25 to $200/hr, depending on their location, experience, tech stack, and level of expertise. On average, you can hire an experienced developer for around $75/hr.

Your developer’s hourly rate should include the time it takes to research and fix bugs, not just write code.

Some developers prefer not charging by the hour. They instead offer flat fees or monthly/annual retainers.

The time it takes for your developer to finish the project largely depends on how complex the project is or the number of features you want them to build. 

This brings us back to our original question: how much does it cost to hire a freelance web developer?


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Freelance Web Developers Charging a Flat rate or on Per Project Basis

If you have a very good idea of what your MVP looks like and want to turn it into a full-fledged product, or you’re just building a basic starter presence, then you should be prepared to spend between $5000 and $10000 on the project, with an average completion rate of $6800.

That covers the cost of coding the project and the mechanical setup of the site.

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Some developers may choose to charge cheaper than that, with some going as long as $500. 

In most of these cases (if not all), developers take the shortest route possible to get your site up. That usually involves using canned themes and general designs and formats.  

There’s nothing wrong with doing this as long as you’re aware of what you’re paying for. The “cheap” price tag can still help your site stand out and win SEO if the developer takes time to work on a few things. 

The lack of prototyping and planning can backfire, though, and slow down development drastically. 

As for the final price tag, if you want a well-built website that looks great and does what it’s supposed to do, be prepared to fork out at least $3500. 

If you’re looking for a more customized website design from a source like Toptal, expenses will increase because it takes time to make one-off builds and tailor them to your exact specifications and needs.

The price goes up the more the developer makes changes or the more the specifications deviate from the original plan.

How to Hire a Freelance Web Developer

Freelance web developers aren’t hard to find.

There are tons of them out there, and it only takes a few minutes to find one. However, if you want a good one, you don’t just need to know where to look, but how to look for one. 

That’s a challenge in itself. 

That said, here are some tips to help you out with hiring a freelance developer:

  • Take Your Time to Understand Your Project

Don’t just rush to a web developer with an idea and expect them to transform it into a web product on the spot. 

This is not just about how much it costs to hire a freelance web developer: this is about the success of your business and site. 

Do your research ahead of time and plan everything. Write down what you want the website to do and look like. Even more important, research your target audience, and see if your idea is something they could use. 

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You need to know the steps you want the site to take, how it should work, what information you need your visitors to provide, etc. Make sure that everything flows as it should be before moving on with development.

You can start by scripting the project. Write down everything you want the website to do in a detailed step-by-step manner.

  • Hire A Website Designer, if You Have a Budget for It

If it’s a simple website with basic functionalities, you can skip this process and go directly to hiring a freelance web developer.

For example, if you’re building a website to establish a web presence and nothing else, then you can do away with a web designer and go directly to getting a developer.

However, if it’s a custom design with lots and lots of features, you may want to look into hiring a website designer.

Speaking of which, a freelance web designer will charge you between $500 to $10,000 or even more, depending on your project’s complexity. 

Some prefer working with hourly rates. In which case, their hourly rates can range from $30/hr for a junior web designer to $80/hr for an experienced one.

It’s worth mentioning that some high-end web designers charge up to $180/hour. 

It’s also important to note that design work has no one-size-fits-all solutions. What worked for one client may not necessarily work for you. So, do your due diligence and make sure you find the right one. 

  • Consider Additional Factors

Not every freelancer is after a huge pay check. Some value relationships more than anything else.

So, networking and referrals can bring fees way down and open up opportunities for long-term work.

It doesn’t hurt to ask for a referral or personal recommendation from your Freelance Web Developer, either.

  • Working with A Flat-rate Website Developer

Not all freelance website developers love working with hourly rates. Some prefer to work with fixed rates.

All you need to do is describe your project to them in detail. Include the requirements, features, and other information. They will then give you a fixed price estimate.

Another pricing model quickly gaining popularity is the “time and materials” model. In this case, the client pays for the time and resources it takes to complete a task but doesn’t fixate on the final price or budget.

Typical flat rate quotes range from $5000 to $10000 for a pretty generic, custom website.

Let’s look at the cost breakdown.

    • Initial Mechanical Setup (Project detailing, hosting, domain name, and server configuration: $150 to $200
    • Website design and Build (the actual coding of the website): $5,000
    • Content Creation (for first-level writing): $500 for subsequent rounds between $250 and $500 for every piece of content produced. 
    • Client Training and any Turnkey Direction: $500 per session

As you can see, the cost breakdown for a freelance developer is approximately $7000/project. 

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The flat-rate pricing model is a bit rigid, and it only works when the terms are sequential, straightforward, and unlikely to change. 

Note that none of these figures are set in stone. Rather, they’re provided as a guide for budgeting and negotiating with freelancers. 

Size of the Site

The number of website features (and complexity thereof) plays a significant role in deciding how much it costs to hire a freelance website developer.

There are two types of website features: frontend and backend. Frontend features can be seen by the visitor or client, while backend features are only visible to the site owner (or administrators).

Also, the more pages a website has, the higher its cost will be. That’s because the more pages a site has, the more time and effort it takes to build it up. 

Here are some simple examples of frontend features:

News, blog, links, contact forms, registration forms, videos, galleries, and portfolios are other types of frontend web design elements.

The following are backend features:

  • Security
  • Membership accounts
  • Forums
  • Inventory management systems
  • Dashboards
  • And APIs

Ideally, your requirements should comprise both frontend and backend features to be considered a custom job.

Your CMS (Content Management System) also plays a crucial role in determining how much it will cost you to hire a freelance web developer. In other words, any website without a backend is considered a generic project.

If you’re building a simple website from a template, the cost can be way less than what’s we’ve highlighted in this article.

With that out of the way, let’s try to break down the cost of hiring freelance developers to develop different websites, according to Upwork.

Type of Website How Much a Freelance Developer Will Charge You for It (estimated price)
Templated WordPress Website Between $500 and $2000/
Small business website (with 8 to 16 pages) Between $2000 and $9000
Large business website (with 25 to 75 pages) Between $10000 and $35000
Ecommerce website (with 100 to 1000 pages) Between $5000 and $55000
Custom database website with backend features Between $6000 and $250000

7 Things to Pay Attention to When Hiring a Freelance Web Developer

  1. Experience

The more experienced your freelance website developer is, the better results you will get out of your project. An experienced web developer knows how to avoid mistakes and has diverse knowledge in different areas of website design. Also, most importantly, they have already seen all possible web development scenarios, so no unpleasant surprises later on.

  1. Communication

You can learn a lot about your freelancer by the way they communicate with you. The more responsive and available they are, the more you’re guaranteed better results. A reliable Freelance Web Developer will always inform you about their progress and regularly update you on how things are moving along.

  1. Portfolio

A reliable freelance web developer will provide you with a link to their previous projects to see what they have been working on in the past. Be sure to ask if you can see the websites they have worked on before, read all the details about them, and, if possible, contact them for more information about the project and how everything went down between them and the freelancer.

  1. Availability

Time zone differences can be a problem if you and your freelance web developer don’t live in the same area. You want to make sure the time zone differences don’t interfere with your work schedule. A reliable freelance web developer knows how to prioritize their time and make themselves available for meetings. 

  1. Payments and Price Range

Before starting a project, be sure to discuss the payment method and price range with your developer. If you want to establish a long-term business relationship, fixed pricing is the way to go. It will help you avoid misunderstandings for future projects. On the other hand, if you aren’t sure about what you want and need to make changes along the way, then the cost-per-hour payment model will do.

  1. Work with Milestones

A good freelance web developer will always work with milestones. Milestones are the stages of a website development process that must be achieved before moving on to the next stage. A milestone can be anything from completing part of the website to solving any technical problems encountered during work or providing you with a regular update.

That way, you do not have to pay for the project in full but after every completed milestone.

  1. Fixing Mistakes

If your project fails to meet your expectations, don’t hesitate to tell the web developer about it. Sometimes things go wrong, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on the project. A competent developer will listen to your feedback and make necessary fixes until you’re completely satisfied with the results.

Other Costs You’ll Incur

Domain Name Registration

The first thing you’ll need to come up with when developing your site is a domain name. If you already have a suitable name for your business, go ahead and register it.

The cost of registering a new domain name is only $10 to $15 per year. However, this cost will vary depending on a few factors: 

  • Domain Name Registrar: You can register your domain name through any domain registrar you choose. There are dozens of them around, so be sure to do your homework before choosing one. Popular options include GoDaddy, Network Solutions, Namecheap, Whois, and eNom.
  • Top-Level Domain (TLD): Many TLDs are available, including .com, .org, .net, and more. The cost of registration is different for every TLD. For example, the price for a .com domain name will always be higher than a local domain, even with the same website name.
  • The Duration of Your Domain Name Registration: You can register your domain name for a maximum of 10 years and a minimum of 1 year. Registering your domain name for more years means you have to pay more. However, some registers have discounts for registering the domain name for more than one year.
  • Protection Plans: Some registrars have special registration plans for website protection and privacy services. Generally, if you want to avoid unexpected costs at a later date, always choose a plan that’s tailored to your needs.
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Hosting Costs

To put your website online, you’ll need hosting space. Your options range from shared hosting to VPS and dedicated servers. Shared hosting is the cheapest of the three options, but hosting a single website on a shared server is not a good idea for businesses with growing visitors. 

VPS hosting is more expensive than shared hosting but offers better performance and security. If you have a dedicated team working on your site, you’ll need a high-performing dedicated server. That should give you complete control over your hardware resources.

The average price of hosting your website starts at $5 per month and can go all the way to thousands of dollars per month, depending on the allocated resources. However, the cost depends on the hosting server’s location, storage space, bandwidth, and other factors. Additional charges may also arise after the first year if you continue to use the service.

Content Management System (CMS)

If you’re building a generic website with a limited number of features and functionalities, the chances are you’ll need to install a CMS. However, some developers will build their content management system for your project. If that’s the case, there won’t be any additional costs related to CMS installation.

If not, you may have to spend extra time choosing and installing a suitable CMS solution. The most popular ones are WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and Magento.

All these tools come with different licensing terms, so check them out before making your choice. Content management systems will cost you between $0 and $500 per month, depending on the solution you select.

Here’s a Side-by-Side Comparison of the Top CMS Programs in 2022

CMS WordPress Joomla Drupal Wix WooCommerce
Cost CMS: Free

Themes: $0 to $250

Plugins: $0 to $200

CMS: Free

Themes: 0 to $200

Plugins: $0 to $70

CMS: Free

Themes: $0 to $80

Plugins: $0 to $100

CMS: Free

Templates: Free

Apps: $3 to $15/month

CMS: Free

 Templates: $0 to $250

Plugins: $0 to $200  

Ease of Use Easy (coding skills not necessary) Moderate (Moderate coding skills needed) A bit advanced (You need to be good with coding) Easy (coding skills not required) Easy (coding skills not necessary)
Suitable for Small to medium-sized businesses looking for a simple website with limited functionalities Ecommerce sites, networking sites, and blogs Big businesses with complex websites and loads of functionalities Small businesses looking for simple websites Small ecommerce sites, selling hundreds of products
Theme Options Has over 10,000 themes to choose from (both paid and free) Has over 8,000 theme templates to choose from (mostly paid with only a few free options) Over 2000 themes to choose from Over 300 theme templates  Over 50 theme templates to work with 
Extensions (Plugins) Has 50,000 plus plugins 7,000 plus extensions 39,000 plus 200 plus 100 plus
Popularity The most popular plugins, powering more than a third of the world’s websites (over 75 million websites run on WordPress) Over 2.5 million websites run on Joomla Over 1.5 million websites run on Drupal Powers more than 3.3 million websites Over 3.8 million ecommerce sites use WooCommerce

Website Maintenance Costs

All websites need regular updates to work to continue working seamlessly. Website maintenance costs range from $0 to $500 per month depending on the CMS you use and other hosting factors.

Note: Every CMS has different update options that may or may not be free. Some CMS updates may require you to hire a developer, while others can be quickly done with a simple click of a button. 

Here are some tasks that are part of website maintenance: 


It’s suggested that you get an experienced web developer to handle these tasks. In which case, the cost may vary depending on your website’s size and complexity. 

10 Sites to Hire Freelance Web Developers

Now that we know how much it costs to hire a freelance website developer, let’s look at some of the places to find them.

  1. Fiverr

Fiverr is an online marketplace with many freelancers offering services that start at just $5. It’s one of the cheapest platforms to hire freelancers. 

Here are some of the most popular website development gigs available on Fiverr:

    • I will design, develop, clean, and modern WordPress website as an Elementor pro expert
    • I will develop your customized WordPress website design
    • I will develop white-label Webflow websites
  1. Toptal

 Toptal was specifically created for tech talents. The website hosts a vast network of high-quality website design and development freelancers. 

You can never go wrong with this freelancing site, as their freelancers are highly vetted before they’re accepted on the platform. 

In fact, according to Toptal, only 3% of freelancers that apply with them make it through their spiderweb of vetting processes and tests. 

  1. Hired

 Hired connects clients with website developers. Just visit the platform and create your company profile. After that, you can go ahead and search for developers, using their search algorithm to fill out your development team. 

The platform is home to thousands of developers looking for new opportunities. They have relevant experience and are always ready to jump on any project and run with it as specified. 

  1. Github Jobs

If job boards don’t appeal to you, then perhaps you should consider looking for these developers from a job board specifically geared towards web development. 

Github Jobs houses one of the largest development communities in the world. So, you are rest assured they have the best website developers you can find. 

Whether you’re looking to hire a frontend, backend, or full-stack developer, then look no further than Github, the most prominent open-source online repository for developers. 

  1. Stack Overflow

 Stack Overflow is the most prominent Q&A for developers. It’s a helpful resource for techies, programmers, and web developers. On the platfom, we have coders at all skill levels posting their hard-pressed questions about different programming languages and getting other web professionals to answer them.

The platform has billions of web development questions, tackling almost every imaginable programming problem you might have. Their job board is also one of the most spectacular places to visit when searching for qualified developers. 

  1. Upwork

You’ve probably heard of Upwork, the biggest freelancing site in the world. The simple allows you to create a profile, publish your job post and wait for proposals to start pouring in. You can then go through the job applicants and choose a few candidates worth interviewing. 

Their hiring process is as straightforward as they come. Not only that, you can decide on whether to hire freelancers on a fixed rate or hourly basis.

  1. Angular Jobs

 Angular Jobs is a site dedicated to hiring AngularJS developers. For the uninitiated, angular is one of the most popular JavaScript frameworks for developing single-page applications.

And as you would expect, many website development companies use the framework as their main development tool. If you’re looking for a frontend developer, you can’t go wrong with Angular Jobs. The site has a massive pool of developers and companies looking to hire.

  1. Envato Studio

Envato Studio is one of the largest freelancers’ marketplaces in the world. 

Their website design platform is one of the best, boasting thousands of web developers. 

Their job board is no different, as it’s a treasure trove of web professionals looking to impress and companies looking for work done. You can always trust their site to find the best online contractors.

  1. Freelancer

 Freelancer is another site where you can directly post your development jobs for free and connect with the best web professionals looking for work.

Whether you’re looking to hire the developers on an hourly or fixed-rate basis, Freelancer has both options for you. 

  1. Guru

Guru is another freelancer platform with over 20 million registered members worldwide. It boasts the same features as most other platforms on this list — free job posting, direct contact with freelancers, and a variety of different payment options.

Their marketplace houses a highly developed community of web professionals and coding experts. You can always rely on Guru to help you find skilled developers or other freelancers to help you out with your project, no matter how large or small it might be.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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