Here’s the Average WordPress Developer Salary. Is It Fair?

Posted on October 15, 2017 by in Resources | 24 comments

Here’s the Average WordPress Developer Salary. Is It Fair?

No matter what field you’re working in, you should always keep an eye on the industry to know what people are getting paid. For that reason, and because most of us work with WordPress professionally, we thought it would be helpful to take a look at the average WordPress developer salary for both yearly and hourly rates.

Accurate WordPress developer salaries that apply to everyone can be difficult to figure out because of some confounding factors, but I’ll do my best to give you worthwhile published numbers of what WordPress developers are making nowadays.

Why It’s Sometimes Hard to Pin Down An Accurate WordPress Developer Salary

Before I get to the actual numbers, I want to start with a quick discussion of why it can be hard to pin down a single, accurate number when it comes to WordPress developer salaries.

WordPress Developers vs. WordPress Implementers

This is the biggest issue when it comes to trying to figure out an average WordPress developer salary. There’s this odd mixing where “WordPress developer” can refer simultaneously to:

  • “True” developers: the people coding themes, plugins, and custom solutions from scratch
  • Implementers: the people taking existing solutions (like Divi) and “implementing” them into a successful end product
  • Tons of people who do both to varying degrees

Everyone offers value to the WordPress community, but the jobs and skill level requirements are different enough that lumping everyone into the same category muddies the waters when it comes to salary talk.

WordPress is a Truly Global Community

While plenty of industries are going global to a certain extent, I think this is a distinctly WordPress thing because WordPress, as a community, tries to be more global.

There are WordCamps all over the world and it’s common for most WordPress businesses to be fairly accepting of remote work. So it’s totally possible for one company to have employees on three different continents, which means salaries can be tough to pin down.

The Vagaries of Salary Estimates for Every Job

Beyond the two WordPress-specific complications above, you also run into the issues that apply to every single job out there.

I’m talking about things like salary variance between job markets, benefits, etc.

For example, the WordPress developer salary of someone working in New York City is going to be higher than someone working in Topeka, Kansas. Even if they’re doing similar work.

Same goes for devs who gets 2-months of paid vacation and equity in the company. They probably won’t make as much as someone whose compensation package is more salary-focused.

What the Data Says About WordPress Developer Salary

Apologies in advance for being a little geocentric when it comes to yearly salary. The fact is; most of the published data for yearly salaries is for USA-based WordPress developers. International data is either non-existent or, more likely, hard for me to find because of language barriers.

For WordPress developer hourly rates, the rates quoted are much more global (which you’ll see because of the huge ranges).

Full-Time WordPress Developer Salary in the USA

WP Engine has put together what is by far the best look at WordPress developer salaries in the USA. Pulling data from Indeed.com, they analyzed thousands of different job postings. Here’s what they discovered:

  • The largest category that they looked at was jobs offering $40,000-59,000
  • Overall, though, the majority of all jobs offered $60,000+

There’s one important caveat about WP Engine’s numbers, though. They come from job postings, not from actual working WordPress developers. As I’m sure we all know, “what you want to pay” (the listed salary) doesn’t always match with “what you have to pay to get talent” (the actual salary).

PayScale from Human Capital backups WP Engine’s findings, though, marking the median national salary for USA-based WordPress web developers as $50,541. WordPress developers with titles like “Front End Engineer” and “PHP Developer” were able to bump their median salaries up to $57,158 and $59,721, respectively.

Indeed’s own salary estimate tool puts the average WordPress developer’s salary in the USA at $71,758. This number is from 2017, whereas WP Engine’s analysis was from 2015, which might explain part of the difference.

And finally, Neuvoo found that the median salary is $62,277, with entry level positions starting at $44,000, and experienced developers making up to $87,000.

To sum things up, we have:

  • WP Engine “Working With WordPress”: Majority of jobs are $60,000+
  • PayScale: Median salary $50,541-$59,721
  • Indeed: Average salary $71,758
  • Neuvoo: Median salary $62,277

Freelance WordPress Developer Hourly Rate

As I’m sure most readers of this blog know, it’s quite common for WordPress developers to freelance on their own. And if you’re a freelancer, your work is going to always boil down to a defined hourly rate.

That is, even if you bill per project, you’ll still typically have at least a target hourly rate in your mind.

So…what is that WordPress developer hourly rate, on average?

Again, WP Engine looked at this number. Pulling data from eLance, they found that the majority of WordPress freelancers charge $20 per hour or more. Keep in mind that this is all freelancers including, but not limited to, developers.

That number certainly seems low for a developer. So, let’s look at the published rates from some of the freelance marketplaces where WordPress developers hang out:

  • Codeable – guarantees developers $60 per hour minimum, but doesn’t put a cap on it
  • Upwork – hourly rate for WordPress developers ranges from $20 to $100 per hour
  • People Per Hour – of 2,624 WordPress developer freelancers, 1,890 charged less than $15 per hour, with only 42 charging more than $60

People Per Hour

Is that what all WordPress developers make per hour? Or is that what you should charge? Not necessarily. We’ve talked a lot about setting prices as a freelancer, how much WordPress websites cost, and how much to charge for Divi websites.

And the fact remains that experience and how you market yourself will play a big role here. For example, Brian Krogsgard gives the hourly range for freelance WordPress developers from $25 per hour for beginners up to $400 for specialists.

I think the takeaway is this:

While the average WordPress developer hourly rate might seem low, there’s plenty of room to make a good hourly rate. Especially, if you have the skills and market yourself well.

Are WordPress Developers Underpaid?

When you hear things like “Drupal developers make x10 more than WordPress developers,” it’s easy to be a bit disheartened by WordPress developer salaries.

Andy Adams has a great post on the difference between WordPress developers and Rails developers, in which he talks about how the industry treats hourly rates between the two.

Additionally, Tom McFarlin has a series of posts digging into the issue, as well as his thoughts on three things that hold WordPress developer salaries down.

Personally, I don’t know enough about the issue to make an educated claim one way or another. Since, we have a massive community of WordPress developers right here, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.

First, do you think the published average WordPress developer salaries actually reflect your experience? And second, do you think WordPress developers are underpaid for the work that they do?

Featured Image via Jane Kelly / Shutterstock.com

24 Comments

  1. $60k to do WordPress? Hell yes, that is more than fair.
    Fact is It’s $20K more than the average American makes in a year.
    Add 4 or 5 real world coding languages and then you’ve got a reason to ask for more.

  2. @ james

    I don’t know where you live, but $60k is VERY LOW if you have a lot of experience and live somewhere like the Silicon Valley, Seattle or New York.

  3. Does this take into account all of the low wage implementer’s who advertise their services on these pay work sites? US based workers are not going to be able to compete with them.

  4. This is a post for Elegant Themes Blog, so it would be fair to say most people here are implementers or child theme developers at best.
    Let’s say everyone here works ONLY with Elegant Themes: when you consider older themes like Chameleon and newer and more advanced as Divi (and Extra), would you charge the same per hour for both even if the latest demands a lot more knowledge but also offers a lot more in terms of design and functionality? And then comes Elegant Themes’ Divi plugin, to renew older themes, to create a middle point between Divi/Extra and the others. So, a fixed cost per hour no matter what or a cost based on the project?

  5. Quite honestly, I was shocked to see the freelance rates in this article, how low they were.

    I build websites – now in WordPress – as my “retirement job,” sort of like a paying hobby (a “jobby”?). I ask for and get $100 an hour, and have enough clients to keep me as busy as I care to be.

    Granted, I *have* been building websites since 1995; I have an extensive background in building sites in HTML and PHP, using some rather advanced CSS and even javascript and MySQL, and I have skills with photo editing, graphics development, and copywriting, so I guess my clients are paying my rate as much for my experience and judgment as they are for the labor of actually building sites.

    I can usually build a typical 4 to 10 page catalog site in 5 hours or less, complete with custom graphics, properly edited photos, contact form, good copy, FAQ page, etc.

    Divi is a wonderful tool for this sort of rapid site building. I can spend my time on site design rather than developing the code to implement the design.

    I also offer my clients guidance on site structure, copywriting as applied to website presentation, digital marketing, SEO, and focus (What do you want your site to DO?).

    So I guess what I offer my clients, beyond merely building their site, is worth what I charge. It must be, because I keep getting new clients.

    Reading this ET blog posting made me wonder at first if I was way out of line with what I charge. But in writing this reply, I’ve decided the answer is no, I’m not.

    I’d be interested in hearing why other freelancers charge what they do.

    • Hard to believe you’re so customer focused when you mention ‘I’ 20 times in your post, you strike me as someone pretty set in their views. If you find data like this is shocking, you probably should get outside the house more often.

      • Jacko, this was such a shockingly rude reply. It adds nothing to the topic. What, exactly, is your problem with David’s comment?

      • It’s not like he’s writing for an About page nor is he copywriting. He’s just sharing his experience and opinion among WordPress developers/designers. Peace! 🙂

    • I think you’re right on target as the services you offer are beyond web design and also include some business development and marketing. 👍🏼

    • Given your breadth of experience (not knowing your location) and holistic understanding, your site-building rate should be much higher than that. Once built, the maintenance rate or package should be ratcheted down.

    • I was also very surprised to see $15-25/hr freelance rates in the US.

  6. is this salary per year?

  7. I’m not a WordPress developer, just a person who has built a few simple websites for myself and friends. I hire coders and designers when a project requires skills that are beyond my ability and expect to pay them $50-$75 per hour. The people who work for $10 per hour are probably desperate or living somewhere with a very low cost of living.

    A hardworking person with skills deserves to earn $60,000+ per year.

    • “A hardworking person with skills deserves to earn $60,000+ per year.”
      You are absolutely right on that one.
      Still, I can’t seem to find the clients that are willing to pay the kind of money in order for me to pay my team that kind of money.
      Oooo….and we do write our own code.

  8. My freelance job which was designing websites for customers has morphed into providing more of an online presence for companies to include social media, email newsletters and working with a developer for an online ordering app. For this my businesses (wholesale food) , I charge the client AUD$700 a week minimum which normally works out at $60-70/hour. The rationale is that I am a digital sales rep, I reach all customers rather the traditional sales reps and their regions, not requiring a car etc. It gives me the security of future on going work rather than just taking on websites and my client is really happy to have somebody on top of their move into a bigger online presence. Anybody can design a website but the online world is so much more than just a website so its been incredibly advantageous for me to offer more than website design for businesses. Divi has the advantage for me that its so good the website design part is easy and sophisticated taking less time so I can focus on reaching the clients customers through other supporting media.

  9. I’m more of a designer/implementer…I tackle a lot of problems, but I don’t know and refuse to learn code. I get it from tech support or find it on my own. I charge $45/hour. Most people are more than happy to pay this price for a beautiful and fully functioning website…

    • How long does it take you to finish a website? Im a developer and If I was to use pre-built themes for clients, I would finish their websites in 5 hours. I cant justify to myself charging someone $250 for a WordPress website. That just brings the whole industry down.

  10. Hi,

    just to let you have a sight on European (Italian in my case) fares. I have 30 years of experience (HTML, CSS, PHP, MySql, Linux server management, image editing) and I began working with WordPress since his birth.
    With this background I ask 50€/hour for developping and/or implementing and I am in the middle or the range…

  11. Colin,

    The salary breakdowns you have given are for “Developers” or both WordPress “developers and Implementers.” Because I’m not clear this would be WordPress implementers?

    I consider developer skills very different than implementers.

    Adam

  12. Just a different perspective to consider: the creation of value. Creating value with an hourly rate will always be a trap – there are only 168 hours in a week. But creating value for a company, creating a lasting impact for their business can totally transcend an hourly rate.

    Plus the notion that hand-coding or building plugins from scratch is somehow more valuable than using pre-built solutions is questionable too. In 11+years developing in WordPress I have very very rarely come across a problem that can’t be solved with an existing plugin or solution. If more coding = higher rate then I guess developers ought to build their own operating system so they can charge $10k/hr.

    In my experience clients pay for projects to get results for their business. Much of what goes into a successful project is outside the realm of WordPress – defining requirements, helping clients understand the REAL problem they are trying to solve (which is almost never “a new website”) and helping clients get the best use out of a new marketing asset.

    WordPress just happens to be a great tool that can solve a lot of problems fairly quickly.

  13. I was just reading an article on Medium this morning on a very similar subject and I will raise the same comment.

    What you charge your client is based more on “Perceived Value” than comparison to coders round the world. If your client feels that the value of your work, in relation to their final profit margin is worth $100/hr, they will pay it.

    But mostly, you have to believe in that value yourself first.

    If you really are just implementing a site that anybody could do, then your perceived value will be low. But if you are adding extra insight into that build, as “David in Mississippi” mentioned above, by bringing extra insight and services, then the “Perceived Value” will be higher.

  14. I have some WordPress developers working in my team and some of my friends are PHP developers and Magento developers. What I have read from your article I think its about right.

    I am curious about WordPress designers though. I might hire one or two in the near future and could you write a piece on that it would be great!

  15. The term developer can cover a whole spectrum of job roles. There are plenty of freelancers out there who simply install a theme and call themselves developers. For those people $20 per hour is probably reasonable. If you are actually getting into the code itself and customizing then you probably are worth significantly more.

    It may also be worth considering that despite the fact many of the freelancers are giving their location as USA the reality of the situation might be that they are actually offshore. This will definitely skew the figures towards the lower end.

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