Currently, renewable energy resources are becoming more important to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiency. Researchers have focused on all components of wind turbines to increase reliability and minimize cost. In this paper, a procedure including a cost analysis method and a particle swarm optimization algorithm has been presented to efficiently design low cost steel wind turbine towers. A virtual tool is developed in MATLAB for the cost optimization of wind turbine steel towers with ring stiffeners using a particle swarm optimization algorithm. A wind turbine tower optimization problem in the literature is solved using the developed computer program. In the optimization procedure the optimization results match very well with the optimization results obtained previously. The wall thickness of the shell segments and the dimensions of the ring stiffeners are selected as the design variables, and the limits of the local buckling for the flat ring stiffeners, the local shell buckling limit, the panel ring buckling limit and the limitation of the frequency are considered the design constraints. Numerical examples are presented to understand the impacts of the design variables on the total cost of the wind turbine tower.