How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Web App? Let’s Cut It into Half…

Quick Summary:

Cost to build a web app is an important aspect to discuss since web apps are platform agnostic and can run on all smart devices irrespective of their operating software. Web apps are essential business tools for driving better conversions, increasing digital footprint, and establishing customer trust. So how much does it cost to build a web app? Let’s find out!

From the most straightforward businesses to enterprises with complex needs, web apps have emerged as an invaluable asset for businesses of all niches and sizes. They are one of the most effective and flexible tools in the arsenal of any business since they possess app-like capabilities and are stored on a remote server, which is then presented to client on a web browser. This makes web apps accessible across all devices irrespective of their operating system/platform.

Many popular web apps such as Grammarly, Canva, and Google Workspace help users carry out business-related tasks. Web apps like Netflix, Spotify, and others help people stream high-quality content for immersive entertainment. The widespread acceptance and response towards web apps prove enough that web apps are worth investing in.

Hence, investing in a web app is ideal if you are an SME, ecommerce business, SaaS company, or deal primarily with logistics. The next question is, how much does it cost to make a web app? Various factors must be considered before estimating the average cost for a web app. Giving a ballpark figure for the overall web app development cost is like attempting to count all the stars of a night sky.

Web App vs Mobile App: When is Developing a Web App Ideal for Your Business?

Web App vs Mobile App

In today’s times, you’ll hear most people talk about the mobile-first era and find studies stating that users spend more time on mobile phones than any other intelligent devices. Before understanding the price to develop a web app, you should first ask yourself if opting for a web app is the right solution for you. Or will a mobile app better solve your purpose?

This is the reason mobile apps have gained such widespread popularity. However, the limitation with mobile apps is that you need to develop them exclusively or tweak them a little as per the targeted platform – iOS or Android. This generally takes more time and money in comparison to web apps that can be deployed on any smartphone with a browser without any prior configuration.

However, mobile apps can mainly handle more complex processes while providing better features than web apps. Although if your requirements or project scope doesn’t need such extravaganza features, there’s no point paying for them as well.

Here is a helpful breakdown that will help you decide whether a mobile app is better for your business or if you should stick to a web app :

Mobile App Web App
Needs to be configured as per the platform One app works on all platforms
Requires App Store Approval No approval required
Requires Users to accept App Updates Updates are handled in the background
Maintenance can be expensive Maintenance is considerably cheaper
Requires downloading and installation No downloading or installation needed
Takes up storage space on users’ device No storage access or space needed
Expensive – especially if opting for Native App Development Better Cost-Effectiveness
Can work offline Mostly works only online
Performs better and faster with platform updates Limited performance optimization
Easy to search on App Stores Not as easily discoverable

If you think a mobile app is better suited for your business, you can refer to our guide on – How much it cost to develop a mobile app. If you are sure about the web app, continue reading further.

Factors Affecting Cost to Build a Web App : Web App Development Cost Breakdown

Factors Affecting Web App Development Cost

So, what factors affect the average cost to create web apps? Let’s find out! Your business requirements are unique, and so is your web app idea, hence you should closely examine the factors that may influence its cost rather than searching for a one-fits-all solution which may seem to be inexpensive but would end up costing you more in terms of performance, visits, engagement and conversion rates.



Web App Cost Factor #1: Project Scope and Complexity

The first thing to remember when estimating the overall cost to build a web app is to identify what kind of web app you want. It makes a huge difference in your web app development budget if you plan on developing an essential company website, setting up an ecommerce store, or developing an enterprise-grade software solution such as Enterprise Resource Planning for managing your day-to-day business activities.

Moreover, you also need to assess if your web app can carry out your required tasks by itself or if it needs access to third-party integrations such as GPS navigation, Payment Gateways, Social Media Login, and Google Analytics. Some third-party integrations are free to integrate, whereas some require you to pay a subscription fee. We will get into further detail about different third-party integrations and their associated costs later.

A simple web app with limited features and capabilities will cost way lesser than a web app with complex architecture and better capabilities.

Here is an estimate of how much web app development cost as per project complexity:

Project Complexity Functions Development Time Average Cost to Develop a Web App /Hour Overall Cost
Simple Informational – Database Backend 1460 – 2190 $25 $36,500 – $54,750
Medium In-App Purchases, Login/Registration, Backend, Admin Panel 2190 – 4380 $35 $76650-$1,53,300
Complex AI/ML Integration, Detailed Analytics, Complex Database, Backend, Admin Panel 4380 – 26280 $50 $2,19,000-$13,14,000

These are web app cost estimates for your reference; individual project cost is subject to vary per scope and required functionality

Web App Cost Factor #2: Uniqueness of Project

You have an innovative idea to carve out a new niche or introduce some competitive features in an existing market to get an edge over your competitors. If you plan to do that through your web app by integrating a feature that is less likely seen on any other web app, it will be an additional expense in your overall average cost of web app.

This is because, for standard projects, developers can refer to pre-existing codes on community platforms and their company assets, such as functions, templates, classes, open-source codes, and libraries. They can work on such projects from scratch because resources and proper documentation are available. Hence the average cost of developing a web app reduces significantly if you develop a standard app like a taxi-booking app solution. In contrast, developing a unique web app will require hiring expert web app developers who can bring your ideas to life. It would naturally take more time as well.

Web App Cost Factor #3 : Types of Web Applications

Your web app cost would differ significantly as per your project requirements. There are three types of web apps with different offerings and benefits, and they serve different purposes. Naturally, the cost of web development as per their type also varies significantly. The three types of web apps you can choose from our – MPA (Multiple Page Application), SPA (Single Page Application), and PWA (Progressive Web Application). Let’s decipher them in greater detail :

Type of Web Applications Average Cost of  Building a Web App
MPA $35,000 – $52,000
SPA $1700 – $10,000
PWA $3000 – $10,000

MPA : Multiple Page Application ($35,000 – $52,000)

MPA is the most traditional type of web application we all generally interact with daily. Such a web app consists of multiple pages allowing users to navigate between the contents of one page to another with a click of a button. Generally, such a web application is most suitable for developing huge marketplaces, business websites, and other enterprise-grade platforms. Such web apps have a complex architecture and require better handling to ensure smooth and effective functioning. Hence, the costs of developing an MPA can naturally be significantly higher than its alternatives.

SPA – Single Page Application ($1700 – $10,000)

Singe Page Applications are web applications that present all the content on a single page and interact dynamically with the user by updating the requested content by rewriting the current page with new data instead of loading an entirely new page. A few significant benefits of such an app are reduced loading time, more straightforward navigation, and reduced development time. Generally, Singe Page Applications are ideal for developing a mailing platform; the most popular platforms for developing SPA are Angular and React. However, they can pose a challenge in terms of SEO since Google needs more pages to index and crawl for its SERP ranks.

If you are looking for ways to optimize your SPA for SEO, you should have a look at the:

Also Read:  How Much Does It Cost to Build a SaaS Application?

PWA – Progressive Web Apps ($3000 – $10,000)

Progressive Web Apps are a kind of application software accessible through the web with essential web technologies such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and WebAssembly. It provides users with an application software experience that matches native apps. These apps are installable, responsive, linkable, network independent, and highly secure.

Web App Cost Factor #4: Development Approach

“Who” develops your web app also significantly impacts the cost to make a web app. There are several different ways to hire the right talent for your web app project. You could :

  • Hire a freelancer
  • Build your in-house team
  • Hire dedicated developers from a web development agency
  • Outsource the web app project to an offshore company

Let’s discuss all these approaches with their merits and demerits to give you a better idea about the feasibility of each option.

Hire a Freelancer

Freelance developers work on multiple projects from different clients, mostly on short to medium-term tenures. They aren’t actual employees of the company that hires them but work on the tasks/projects assigned to them by their clients. Hiring freelance developers makes sense when you want to build a bare-to-bones basic web app with no backend, admin panel, or many third-party integration requirements. Since to handle all such tasks, you would need a team of developers.

Freelancers are ideal for : Weight Tracker App, Book Database, Notes App, Tic-Tac-Toe Game, and Blog Engine.

Build Your In-House Team

Suppose you don’t have a development team and feel uncomfortable outsourcing your web app project to a freelancer or offshore web app development company. In that case, you can build your in-house team of web developers to work on your web app. However, this would mean you must hire all the necessary talents to build your web app. This includes frontend and backend developers, designers, QA, architects, project managers, and more. Remember to spend quality time setting up a proper recruitment process, screening possible candidates, filling each role, and onboarding all members. Moreover, you would also bear non-deferable expenses like salaries, bonuses, and other employee benefits. Building your team only makes sense when you have various product ideas, want to avoid looking for new talents for each project, and are willing to invest heavy capital.

An in-house team is ideal for – Multiple Products, Long-Term Projects

Hire Dedicated Developers from a Web Development Agency

Hiring dedicated talents from a reputed and specialized web app development company are ideal if you already have an in-house team and need additional talents to work on a project. There are mainly two use cases where this would be the scenario :

  • You need additional talents to work on a project to complete a project faster.
  • You need a dedicated Project/Product Manager to manage your team and help them complete your project.

How is hiring dedicated developers from a web development company a better alternative than freelancers in these situations? Well, since you hire such talent from a specialized company, you get the following assurances:

  • Industry Standard Talent
  • Proper Communication Skills
  • Time Zone Flexibility
  • Proper Documentation
  • Dedicated Focus on your Project
  • Quick Onboarding

Dedicated Developers from Web Development Agencies are ideal for – Talent Addition and Managerial Positions

Also Read:  How to Extend or Build an App Development Team?

Outsource the Web App Project to an Offshore Company

Last but not least, you can also outsource your entire web app project to a dedicated offshore company. This is one of the most emerging models in today’s time since the offshore company takes full responsibility for your project completion, managing all resources and talents needed to build your web app. The benefit of outsourcing to an offshore agency is that they offer lower labor costs, leading to a justified web app development budget cost. This also saves time on your hands to focus on strategic decisions to grow your business and increase your revenues. You must conduct thorough research on your selected offshore agency to ensure they are authentic, efficient, and trustworthy.

Outsourcing the web app project is best for – companies that don’t have a technical background; managers need to focus on business-critical decisions.

Web App Cost Factor #5: Web App Talent Hourly Rates

Many different talents come together to work on a mid-scale to an enterprise-grade web app. As discussed in the section above, if you are hiring an in-house team or adding additional talents to your project, you need to be aware of their industry-standard hourly rates so you can get access to whichever talent you need at the right price. Here are the different profiles and their hourly rates that will help you come up with a better web app cost estimate.

Web App Development Talent Web App Development Talent Hourly Rates
BA  $30 – $150
Frontend Developer   $20 – $140
Database Developer   $20 – $120
Backend Developer   $20 – $200
UI/UX Designer   $15 – $130
Copywriter   $15 – $80
Project Manager   $35 – $200
QA Engineer   $15 – $100

These are estimated hourly rates for your reference, which may vary as per the location of the developer and their expertise level

Web App Cost Factor #6: Developer Location

Where you hire the talents needed to work on your project also plays a crucial role in deciding the overall price for web app development. When you hire web developers from countries like the USA, the UK, and Canada, their hourly rates generally range higher than those of countries like Ukraine and India. This is primarily because each country has a different economic status which reflects its labor rates and minimum wages, which again ripples down to the average payscale of developers in that country.

We can divide the developer hourly rates into three broad categorizations :

  • Onshore Locations – US, UK (Image Section: Benefits – Same Time Zone, No Language Barrier, English Proficiency, Cultural Values)
  • Nearshore Locations – Costa Rica, Mexico (Benefits – Closer Proximity, Shared Time Zone, Better Infrastructure)
  • Offshore Locations – India, Ukraine (Benefits – Flexible Working Hours, Cost-Effectiveness, Access to top Talents)

Average Web Developer Hourly Rates – Web App Development Cost Breakdown

Country US UK Costa Rica Mexico India Ukraine
Hourly Web Developer Rates $36-$48 $35 – $40 $26-$30 $12 – $22 $10 – $20 $17 – $24

Wherever you hire your developers, their skills will mostly be at par with others. As you can see, the average hourly rates of web developers are significantly higher for onshore locations such as the US and the UK. In contrast, Costa Rica and Mexico(nearshore) are comparatively cheaper, and offshore locations such as India and Ukraine are the most economical.

Web App Cost Factor #7: Time Allocation and Urgency of Project

Time is of the essence, which is why it is always better to plan out your web app project requirements well in advance. Doing so helps you get a better estimate of all the features and functionalities you want in your web app and also scout for your ideal web developers with time in hand. You can negotiate the web app price with different service providers without worrying about tight deadlines. However, some projects often appear out of the blue, and you need to develop your web app in a rush. In such a situation, you should be prepared to pay significantly more for your project, as tighter deadlines would lead to additional resources working on your project, increasing your overall web app development cost.



Web App Cost Factor #8: Web App Development Phases

One of the most essential aspects to know about the overall web app costs is to breakdown the entire web app development lifecycle into stages and get a fair idea of how much money you should expect to invest in them. Again, this breakdown would differ from project to project based on your web app’s scope, complexity, type, and other attributes. But this web app development cost breakdown will help you get a decent estimate of the average cost of building a web app. Let’s get right into it –

Development Stage Hours Needed Web App Development Prices
Initial Research and Discovery 1 to 3 weeks $2000 – $21,000
UI/UX Design 1 to 3 weeks $100 – $2650
Frontend Development 1 to 4 weeks $1200 – $13500
Backend Development 2 to 6 weeks $150,000 – $320,000
Web App Testing and Deployment 1 to 4 weeks $5000 – $40000
Post Deployment Maintenance and Updates Repetitive $1000 – $450,000

1.Initial Research and Discovery ($2000 – $21,000)

Estimated Time – 1 to 3 weeks

Your web app project would start with researching the market and finding existing competitors in your niche. Doing so helps you get live examples of businesses in the same field who already have gone through the process you are about to undertake. Critically analyzing such web apps will help you understand what works practically and what does not. You will be able to identify pain points from a customer’s point of view that the existing web apps seem to need help solving and also identify impressive features which you might have not thought about earlier.

Although taking this task by yourself can be very time-consuming. You wouldn’t incur many expenses in terms of money, but it would delay your project significantly. Hence, what you can do instead is outsource the project to a web app development company and discuss the project requirements, vision, and other essential aspects of your project with a dedicated project manager assigned from their end. The project manager can help validate your ideas and inputs by running a risk analysis test and providing proper guidance on approaching your web app project better. This also helps in getting an average cost to build a web app.

Request an MVP of the finalized scope of work so you can test how the app works bare-bones before committing to a full-scale web app project.

2. UI/UX Design ($100 – $2650)

Estimated Time – 2 to 6 weeks

Once you have shortlisted all the basic functionalities and scope of work for the web app, you need to pay attention to the overall web app design. All these aspects contribute to the overall web app design costs.

There are three things to focus on in UI/UX design:

  • Look and Feel of the Web App
  • Brand Integration and Niche Relevance
  • User Flow and Content Highlighting

Look and Feel of the Web App

The first thing a visitor will see when they arrive on your web app is your page’s overall look and feel. Suppose your design is too cluttered, or the content needs to be comprehensible. In that case, chances are the visitors will immediately abandon the page and go to another web app looking for their solution. Hence it is important to pay attention to the overall UI of your web app. For this, there needs to be an efficient communication link between the frontend and backend to ensure all the priority features are included and have their space without choking down other features, giving the users a clean and minimalistic app experience.

Brand Integration and Niche Relevance

When people generally talk about design, they primarily focus on the visual aesthetics and the look and feel of the web app. While that is an essential aspect of design, the UI/UX of your web app should be more comprehensive than that. All design elements – colors, typography, images, illustrations, and more- should reflect your brand identity and comply with your specific industry. The best way to ensure this is to hire dedicated developers who have worked on projects in your niche and understand all its nuances or outsource the project to a specialized firm with an impressive portfolio to prove their merit.

User Flow and User Interface

Another important aspect of web app design is how well it is structured and designed to help users navigate the web app without guessing where they are supposed to click or go. Generally, you need UX experts proficient in creating wireframes and storyboards with all the discussed features before you move on to the final structuring of the app.

3. Frontend Development ($1200 – $13500)

Estimated Time – 1 to 4 weeks

Frontend development is where your design gets converted to an actual GUI via coding. It is responsible for managing client-side development and helping users interact with your app. Frontend development generally is done in JavaScript, CSS, and HTML. The most popular front-end JavaScript frameworks today are Angular, React, and Vue.

Some of the critical roles of frontend developers include –

  • Deciding on overall web app design
  • Developing the overall web app’s site layout
  • Deciding how the app navigation will be like
  • Ensure that priority content is easily distinguishable and appealing

4. Backend Development ($150,000 – $320,000)

Estimated Time – 2 to 6 weeks

Backend is where the magic happens, behind the curtains. This aspect of your web app needs to be visible to the visitors. Extensive processes like data exchanges, storage, API calls, validation checks, and other important functions occur. Your hosting and server are also managed in the backend. Whenever a user requests any information on the front end, i.e., clicks a button or types a query, the relevant data is sent to the browser via the backend framework to show visitors a response to their query. There are many popular PHP backend frameworks such as Laravel, CodeIgniter, and more, as well as others such as Java, .NET, and others. Which backend framework you select can significantly impact the overall price of a web app.

5.Web App Testing and Deployment ($5000 – $40000)

Estimated Time – 1 to 4 weeks

Once you are done developing and designing your web app, you must put it under thorough testing to ensure it performs in different scenarios and executes all expected tasks well under different use cases. Early testing also allows you to identify a function or extension not working as intended and replace it with a better alternative; if you develop your app and make it available for the public to use without putting it through testing, the chances of it crashing or catching bugs increases significantly.
There are various types of tests available for testing different aspects of your web app. Here are the most important ones –

  • Software Performance Testing
  • Graphical User Interface Testing
  • Compatibility Testing
  • Regression Testing
  • TestComplete
  • Security Testing
  • Load Testing
  • Automated Testing
  • Manual Testing
  • Functional Testing

Pro Tip: testing is an endless process and should be continued after deploying the web app.

Once you have completed all the steps mentioned above, you are ready to deploy your web app on the net and make it accessible to the public.

6.Post Deployment Maintenance and Updates ($1000 – $450,000)

Estimated Time – Repetitive

Maintenance is an essential aspect of web app development. All web apps require constant maintenance and updates to ensure their smooth functioning and relevance in the industry. Constant maintenance and updates help ensure your web app is best prepared against any security or performance issues. Most people must remember to include maintenance costs in their overall web app development pricing, which is a huge mistake. How much you will need to spend on your web app maintenance will depend on several factors like the type of web app, the size of your project, and other factors. However, there are certain fixed maintenance expenses that you will incur to some extent when it comes to maintenance. Let’s break it down

Important Web App Maintenance Costs Breakdown

Web App Maintenance Factors Importance Average Web App Maintenance Costs
Domain Name Necessary $10 – $20/year
Web Hosting Necessary $60 – $210/month
Email Necessary $1- $24/user/month
SSL Certificate Necessary $0 – $1000/year
Plugins Recommended $0 – $600/month
eCommerce Capabilities Optional $20 – $1200/month
SEO and Marketing Recommended $60 – $300/month
Tech Support Necessary $4 – $250/month

How to Reduce Web App Development Costs? Tips and Tricks you must know

Reduce Web App Development Costs

Now that we have a fair understanding of how to come up with your web app development budget, we should look at ways to reduce the overall web app development costs. There are many tips and tricks to cut down on unnecessary costs which can help you make your web app in a budget-friendly manner without having to compromise on its quality:

Make use of third-party services

If you’ve heard of the phrase ‘reinventing the wheel,’ you’d understand what we are coming at. The price of developing a web app from scratch can be very high. Although it has many benefits, like getting complete control over your web app operations, functionalities, and other important aspects, it could be more practical since it would take ages to code everything from scratch and wouldn’t be worth it. You don’t need to spend time and money on making solute ions that already exist in the market. You can leverage a third-party service provider and then tweak it to your requirements and web app’s design. Such tweaks can help you lower web development costs significantly. For instance, you could easily leverage HubSpot’s bespoke marketing services instead of setting up your marketing software. This would save you considerable time and provide professional and easy-to-set-up marketing campaigns with useful insights.

Pro Tip: It is not advisable to overuse third-party services in places easily integrated by professional coding since it would add many dependencies to your site and increase its overall loading time. Be careful in selecting third-party services for sections with a market-proven solution ready; it is a better alternative from a cost point of view.

Start by building MVP/Prototypes

If you have a web app idea in mind and are clear about the functionalities you think would best fit your project, test it before committing to a full-time web app project. You can do this by requesting a professional web app development agency or hiring expert web developers to make a prototype or an MVP of your web app idea. An MVP is a bare-to-bones version of your app developed to ensure that your ideal web app meets all your requirements. You can then test out this MVP with a close group of potential customers, investors, or other stakeholders and take their valuable feedback to improve your web app. This will help you eliminate many unnecessary features that would have cost a fortune if they made it to the final web app project.

Periodically add New Features

One of the most underrated yet effective ways to reduce the price for developing a web app is to show only some of your cards at once. Start by launching your web app with the most core and essential features. Check if it’s getting the response you anticipated and build an initial user base. You can then periodically add new features to enhance the overall web app experience and draw new users to try your web app. This will also help retain previous users since they’d develop a sense of trust in your business. Economically, this will be more cost-effective than dumping all the features at once and then running the risk of an unsatisfactory response.

Start with Basic Design

Yes, your web app design plays a significant role in how well you can retain a visitor to explore your services. However, spending a fortune on a design from the get-go can burn a hole in your pocket. Hence, you should pay attention to the important aspects of design and get a well-designed website with the scope for improvement as your business grows. Don’t necessarily go for the most expensive theme from the beginning. You could also customize your web app design by outsourcing the project to a web app design agency. They could scale it according to your needs whenever you like upgrading your web app.

have a unique app Idea?

Hire Certified Developers To Build Robust Feature, Rich App And Websites

Wrapping Up

This is your ultimate guide on the cost to build a web app. Keep all these factors in mind when developing your ideal web app project. While wanting to save up costs for web development is a noble want, overcutting on necessary expenses can prove fatal to the success of your web app. Don’t get your web app developed in a rush before getting detailed estimates from promising vendors. Keep all these pointers in mind, and you’re good to go!

Need Consultation?

Put down your query here...

    Ronak Patel

    Ronak Patel, the CEO of Aglowid IT Solutions, is a NASSCOM member and a published writer in top tech publications like DZone and Hacker Noon. With a background as a full-stack developer, he brings a wealth of technical expertise. Ronak's marketing acumen complements his technical skills, ensuring the delivery of innovative IT solutions that excel in the market.

    Related Posts