Apr 12, 2024

Digiteum Team

web app


Web Application Development Cost: How to Estimate Your Project

You plan to build a web application for your business. Getting an estimate of web app development cost is the first step to understanding the resources, time, and budget you will need to allocate for the project. It also helps you define the scope and create realistic expectations, reducing the risks of cost and schedule overruns.

Half of all large IT projects end up with a 45% cost overrun, according to McKinsey research. The risks of going over budget and schedule are higher for long software projects, adding a 15% increased cost for every year spent on the project.

In this post, we will walk you through the major factors that impact the estimate for web application development and show how the cost is formed based on a sample estimate. You will learn:

  • What affects the costs, timeline, and resources needed to build an app
  • How much does it cost to build a web application
  • What additional expenses to expect
  • How to optimize the costs of your web project

Factors influencing web app development cost

In a very simple sense, the cost of developing a web application is the sum of effort, resources, and tools required to design, build, and support it. This includes, among other things, the salaries of engineers who program the app, investment in infrastructure to host it, vendor and services fees, and many other things. Some major factors that impact the final price are:

What impacts the cost of web app development

Functional and non-functional requirements

Functional requirements determine what your application can do. This included all features, functional modules, etc. Non-functional requirements define how your application should perform and behave in terms of security, scalability, and usability.

Requirements are the key determinators that will have the biggest impact on the cost of your project. The more complex and extensive features you include in the scope, the more time it will take to build a web app.

Smart requirements prioritization is one way to optimize the scope and therefore the cost of web application development. We will talk about this later in the post, so stay with us.

Technologies and infrastructure

Requirements will help you define the technologies, architecture, and hosting approach (e.g., cloud, on-premises, hybrid) for your web project. But not only. Your existing tech infrastructure, in-house competencies, and, in some cases, even local regulations may impact the tech stack.

All together, programming languages and frameworks, hosting, and data management solutions will influence the overall web application development cost and ongoing expenses. For example, hosting on-premises requires upfront investment into hardware and administration. In contrast, cloud platforms provide pay-as-you-go plans.

But most important of all, the tech stack will determine the resources and skills you will need to build an app. Some technologies are more expensive than others. Compare, for example, the median yearly salary of a PHP engineer ($84,494) and a Python engineer ($124,890) (US, source: Indeed, 2024).

Team composition, seniority, and location

The composition, expertise, and geographic location of your team all play a crucial role in estimating the cost of web app development. For instance, when hiring software engineers in the US, you can expect some of the highest rates with middle-level engineers averaging $105,624 and senior engineers with a $146,172 yearly salary (source:, Indeed, 2024). In contrast, hiring a senior software engineer in Poland comes at a lower cost, with an average salary of $75,312 (source: Glassdoor, 2024).

Your approach to development and support is another deciding factor. Will you engage your in-house resources to design, build, and maintain a web app? Need to extend your tech team to add the necessary expertise or skills for the project? Or consider outsourcing web application development to a tech provider in one of the nearshore or offshore locations?

Integration strategy

Integrations can be both an expense and a cost-saving opportunity. On one hand, integrating third-party services and ready-made solutions for standard tasks like CRM or payment features will help you optimize the scope and reduce the need for custom development. On the other hand, integration require support and may come with subscription or licensing fees.

Integration with SaaS and other applications you already use in your workflow will also impact the cost of your project.

Support and maintenance

So often overlooked at the outset, support and maintenance fall into the category of recurring expenses. This is the money you will be paying after getting your application out the door. This includes hosting and scalability costs, subscriptions and licenses, CDN and security certificates, as well as ongoing application support and maintenance.

Even though it may not get into the original budget, it’s worth considering when you estimate web app development costs.

Now that we listed the key factors that will affect the estimate for your project, let’s try to answer your main question: “How much does it cost to make a web app?”

How to estimate your web application development costs

We have bad news and good news.

The bad news is that it’s hard to give an average cost for web app development. Because there’s no such thing as an average web application. Every web system is unique with its own target market, features, integrations, and technologies.

The good news is that you can get an accurate estimate for your web application project if you have a clear vision, requirements, and business goals. Sharing this information with your tech team or an outsourcing partner is the first step to defining the scope of the project and understanding the resources and time needed to implement it. More about scoping soon.

Now, to better understand where the cost of web application development comes from, let’s break down the process and team structure for web app development and go through the key components of your estimate.

how to estimate web application development costs

Web app development process

A web application is a feature-rich interactive web system. Unlike websites like blogs or online stores that can be created with popular platforms (Wix, Shopify, Squarespace, etc.), web apps are custom-built to perform specific tasks and provide unique services. The process of developing web applications usually includes the following stages:

  • Business analysis and planning
  • UX/UI design
  • Development (frontend and backend)
  • QA and debugging
  • Deployment and support

Web app development team

Different specialists are involved in web application development. A core cross-functional team usually includes:

  • Project manager responsible for keeping the project on track, planning, management, and communication between the team and stakeholders.
  • System architect who designs the web app architecture, ensuring that it meets functional and non-functional requirements.
  • UX/UI designer who creates user experience, responsive UI design, and a scalable design system.
  • Backend and frontend engineers (or full-stack) responsible for developing a client-side application (interactive user interface) and server-side engineering (business logic, data processing, integrations, cloud infrastructure, etc.)
  • QA engineer who performs various tests to make sure the application is bug-free and meets quality standards and requirements.

Applications with extensive infrastructure may also require a dedicated DevOps engineer to manage deployment and operations and monitor system performance. And depending on the complexity and specifics of the project, other specialists like data scientists or ML engineers may be involved.

Essentially, the cost of building a web app is largely defined by the time your team will spend on the project. Mind that each specialist participates at different stages and has different workloads. For example, a PM is engaged in the project from start to finish but may be involved only on a part-time basis. A UX/UI designer leads the design stage which may take only 25% of the length of the project.

Web app development scope

The scope of the project is another major defining factor for estimating the costs of web application development. It determines the features, workloads, and deliverables of the project. Knowing the scope, you can estimate the time and resources you will need to build your application.

At Digiteum, we help clients articulate requirements and define the scope of their software projects using several approaches.

For companies with well-defined business goals and project objectives, we offer a 2-4-hour Scoping Workshop after which we can provide a realistic time and cost estimate, suggest tech stack and team composition, set priorities, and build a project roadmap.

For idea-stage or large-scale modernization projects, we recommend a 2-4 week Discovery with a comprehensive set of deliverables, including a strategic product roadmap, design concept, and detailed project timeline and costs.

Get an accurate estimate for your web application

Remove the guesswork and cut the risks of cost overruns with an accurate estimate for your project.

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Example of a web app cost estimate

It looks good and all. But it still does not answer the question “How much does it cost to develop a web app?”

Although there is no exact number to answer this question. And even giving a range could be misleading because two applications with the same purpose may be as different as night and day. But we can give you an example of an estimate for a moderately complex web application to demonstrate how the cost of web application development is formed.

Example: A medium-sized B2B web application that allows clients to order services from a vendor online. It should have the following features and modules:

  • Sign-in and log-in
  • Client profile and dashboard
  • Create and place a new order
  • View order status
  • Order history
  • Online payment
  • Messaging
  • CMS and admin dashboard for content and order management
  • Integrations with third-party services (support chat, payment gateway, etc.)

Workload breakdown

PhaseTime (hours)
UX/UI design
(design, clickable prototype, design system)
Frontend: interactive interface
(dashboard, ordering features, status, messaging)
Backend and APIs
(set up environment, database and data model, documentation)
(payment, chat)
Admin and CMS
(dashboard, order management, payment)
QA and debugging240
Project management240

Estimate example

Let’s get a web application development cost estimation for the given workload. To calculate the cost, we are going to use the average hourly rates for middle-level tech specialists in the US (Source: Indeed, 2024). Feel free to adjust the rates to other locations, seniority levels, or add a technology angle.

  • UX/UI designer $57
  • Frontend developer $59
  • Backend developer $67
  • QA $60
  • PM $57

Based on the average rates in the US and the given workload, the development of this application will start at $82k. That is without taking into consideration vendor fees if you outsource your project and additional expenses associated with infrastructure costs, services, subscriptions, and other charges.

IMPORTANT: We used a sample application with a minimal number of features, simplified workload breakdown, and calculated total costs based on the average rates provided by Indeed. The real cost of building a web app varies greatly depending on your hiring strategy and location. The price for the same application could grow by 25% if you hire senior specialists for the job. Alternatively, it would decrease if you choose to outsource to Eastern or Central Europe.

How to reduce web app development costs

how to reduce web app development costs

Outsourcing web app development is one of the most viable approaches to optimize the costs of your project. Working with a reputable tech partner who offers competitive rates can help you slash your web app development costs by up to 30% depending on location. There are a few other strategies that you can employ.

Leverage integrations

Integration with third-party services is a proven way to speed up time to market and cut custom web application development costs. The general rule of thumb is to choose off-the-box solutions for secondary features and standard tasks. So you can focus your resources on business-critical features and the core functionality of your application.

Create a product roadmap

Prioritize features and create a strategic product roadmap from MVP to a fully-fledged application. It will help you deliver a functional product early on, test it in the market, and understand how to grow it. More importantly, you will get better control over your budget and drop irrelevant features and workloads.

Set up effective SDLC

Make sure your team or tech partner sets up an effective software development lifecycle at the outset. This will lay the ground for high productivity, fast and smooth deployments, and reduced costly mistakes and rework on the project. Some of the best practices for effective SDLC are code reviews, CI/CD pipelines, test automation, and comprehensive documentation.

Get an accurate estimate for your web app development

If you are considering building a new web app or modernizing a legacy application but have uncertainties about the resources and costs, we can help. Our senior tech specialists and business analysts will help you:

  • Define, document, and prioritize requirements
  • Select optimal tech stack, infrastructure solutions, and integrations to develop your system resource and cost-effectively
  • Develop a product roadmap aligned with your business goals and budget
  • Provide an accurate cost and time estimate​ with project timeline and team composition
  • Put together a cross-functional team to design, develop, and deliver your application on time and budget.

“They are very thorough and provide quick detailed estimates. They’re usually extremely accurate and have thought through the detail a lot more than we’ve prepared in the brief.” Mike Burgess, formerly founder of BAM Mobile.

Get an estimate for your web app

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Quick round-up

It’s impossible to give a specific answer to the question “How much does it cost to create a web app?” without having project requirements and goals. However, learning how the estimate is built and what impacts the bottom line is the first step to understanding the costs of the project. If you are looking for a detailed estimate for your web application, contact our team.


How does scalability impact web app costs?
Scalability costs vary depending on the hosting, infrastructure, and architecture of your application. That’s why it’s important to consider scalability at the start when deciding on the technical aspects of your project.
How does tech stack impact web app development costs?
It plays a crucial role in defining the skills and resources you will need to build an application. Additionally, it will impact recurring costs to scale, and maintain the application and infrastructure.
How to calculate the cost of web application development?
To calculate the cost, define the scope of the project, estimate the time needed to develop each component and feature, and multiply by the hourly/daily rate of the involved specialists. Factor in recurring expenses such as infrastructure costs, vendor and services fees, and potential expenses related to changing requirements and priorities.