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How to Start a WooCommerce Store: Step-By-Step Guide (2024)

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How to Start a WooCommerce Store: Step-By-Step Guide (2024)

Looking for a solution that gives you more flexibility and control than Shopify?

WooCommerce might be just what you need!

In fact, as of June 2024, over 14% of the top one million ecommerce sites use WooCommerce.

But where do you start?

In this step-by-step guide for 2024, we’ll show you exactly how to set up your WooCommerce store from start to finish.

How do you start a WooCommerce store? (A 12-step walkthrough)

These are the 12 steps on how to start a WooCommerce store in 2024:

  1. Come up with your product idea
  2. Define your ideal target audience
  3. Choose a fulfillment method
  4. Find a supplier
  5. Install WordPress and WooCommerce
  6. Pick a WooCommerce theme according to your niche
  7. Add products to your store
  8. Create your standard online store pages
  9. Install the right WooCommerce plugins
  10. Design and brand your WooCommerce store
  11. Set up your store’s settings and payment gateways
  12. Choose a marketing method that fits you and start advertising

Let’s take a look at them in some more detail!

1. Come up with your product idea

The first step in starting your WooCommerce store is to clearly define what product(s) you want to sell.

Why?

Your product choice will shape the entire process of building your store. It influences your choice of supplier, the name of your store, and the theme you select.

To get started, look for the following characteristics of a winning product:

If you don’t know where to start, check out these articles to get your creative juices flowing:

Ask yourself these questions to spark product ideas:

  • What do you enjoy?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What do you wish existed?
  • What problems do you want to solve?
  • What do you know a lot about?

If you’re still struggling to find product ideas, consider using a product research tool. These tools compile popular products, making it easier to find a winning item.

Homepage of Sell The Trend
One of our favorite product research tools: Sell The Trend

If you’re not sure which tool to pick, try our product research tool quiz to find one that best suits your needs.

Find your product research tool here

Not a fan of quizzes? Some excellent tools to explore include Sell The TrendNiche Scraper, and Thieve.co.

Now, you may also want to think about whether you want to start a general, niche, or one-product store:

Type Short description Pros Cons
General store A store selling products in various categories. You can take advantage of different product trends. Marketing can be difficult.
Reach more people. It’s challenging to build a loyal customer base.
Niche store A store focused on a single niche (e.g., fitness or pet) You can focus on a specific target audience. It can be hard to pick a niche and stick to it.
You can start social media theme pages. Less freedom.
Upselling is easier.
One-product store A store selling just one product. Dedicate your focus to a single product. It’s crucial to sell a winning product.
It’s easier to optimize marketing campaigns. No possibility of upselling or cross-selling.
Easier to improve your conversion rate.

It’s okay if you’re not entirely sure about the store type right now.

You can start by selecting the products you want to sell, and then choose the most suitable store type based on those decisions.

2. Define your ideal target audience

The next step is to define your target audience—the group of people you want to sell your products to.

They often share similar interests, hobbies, ages, or genders.

Understanding your target market

Now, why is identifying your target audience important? Philip Kotler, an American marketing expert, puts it this way:

There is only one winning strategy. It is to carefully define the target market and direct a superior offering to that target market.

Philip Kotler

The most common methods to define your target audience are:

  • Develop a buyer persona. A buyer persona is a fictional character that represents your ideal customer. Creating a buyer persona helps you understand who your target audience is and what their needs are.
  • Analyze your product’s benefits. Look at its key benefits and consider who would find them most valuable.
  • Test different audiences. Sometimes, the best way to find your ideal audience is through testing. Run ads targeting different groups and analyze which performs best.

For a detailed step-by-step guide on defining your ideal target audience, check out this article!

3. Choose a fulfillment method

Before starting your WooCommerce store, you need to decide how to fulfill orders.

Here’s an overview of three recommended fulfillment methods, along with their pros and cons:

Fulfillment method Short description Pros Cons
Dropshipping / Print on demand Sell products without keeping them in inventory Quickly test various products. Less control of the fulfillment process.
Low start-up costs. Long shipping times.
Low-risk. High competition.
Third-party fulfillment Buy your own inventory and let a third party fulfill your orders. More control over your inventory and shipping. More risk (will your product sell?).
Shorter shipping times. Higher upfront investment.
You can buy your inventory in bulk, which is cheaper.
In-house fulfillment Manage the fulfillment of your products yourself. Full control over the fulfillment process. It can require more time or money.
Great opportunity to use custom packaging. It distorts you from other tasks.
Learn more about the whole fulfillment process of an online store. You are responsible for everything.

Let’s take a look at each one in more detail.

Dropshipping / Print on demand

Dropshipping is the most popular and straightforward method of running a WooCommerce store.

When a customer orders a product, you contact your supplier, who then ships the product directly to the customer.

In short, it’s perfect for entrepreneurs looking to start with a low upfront investment!

How does dropshipping work - Infographic

A similar fulfillment method is print on demand (POD).

While it’s similar to dropshipping, POD focuses on selling custom-printed products like t-shirts, mugs, and phone cases.

This method is perfect for those who want to sell self-designed products without any initial investment or risk.

The print on demand model - Infographic

If you can’t choose between dropshipping and print on demand, take a look at this infographic:

Print on Demand or Dropshipping: Which one to pick - Infographic

Third-party fulfillment

With third-party fulfillment, you ship your products to a third-party logistics company (3PL) that stores, packs, and ships them for you.

Red Stag Fulfillment homepage
Example of a third-party fulfillment company (source)

The main advantage of third-party fulfillment is that it gives you more control over your inventory and shipping.

Plus, if you choose a fulfillment warehouse in your customer’s country, shipping times should be way quicker.

However, this method requires a higher upfront investment as you need to purchase inventory in bulk, which comes with more risk if your products don’t sell.

In-house fulfillment

In-house fulfillment involves managing the entire process yourself. This gives you complete control over inventory, packaging, and shipping.

Person sitting next to a laptop

You can even use custom packaging to improve your brand!

However, it can be time-consuming and may distract you from other important tasks like marketing, customer service, and accounting. Plus, it requires an investment in storage space, equipment, and materials.

So, you can choose this fulfillment method if you want full control over your operations and are prepared to dedicate the necessary time and resources.

4. Find a supplier

So, you’ve found the product you want to sell.

Great! But that’s just half the battle.

You’ll also need a reliable supplier who can provide high-quality products at the perfect price range.

Some suppliers specialize in dropshipping, others in in-house fulfillment, and some focus exclusively on print on demand.

Here’s how to identify a good supplier:

How do you spot a good dropshipping supplier - Infographic

Got it? Now, let’s look at some of the best suppliers for different fulfillment methods!

Best suppliers for dropshipping, in-house, or third-party fulfillment stores

We’ve created a table to help you find a supplier for your store.

Click on the supplier’s name to visit their website, or the ‘Read Review’ link to see a detailed review, including pros and cons.

These platforms easily integrate with your WooCommerce dropshipping store. They allow you to browse and import products with a click of a button.

For example, here is the one for Spocket:

Spocket WooCommerce integrations

If you’re interested in suppliers in a specific region, you can find them in these lists:

Alternatively, you can find a local supplier through a quick Google search.

In our experience, they often provide the fastest delivery times, which is essential for dropshipping stores.

Plus, working with local suppliers can help you avoid the ‘software fees’ that platforms like Spocket or Syncee charge on their higher plans.

However, keep in mind that most local suppliers do not offer direct integration with WordPress websites. This means you will likely need to manually add products and process orders.

Tip: Always order samples before committing to a supplier to ensure product quality.

Best suppliers for print on demand stores

If you want to start a print on demand store, you’ll need a specific type of supplier. These suppliers specialize in customizing products based on your designs.

Here are our top two picks:

For more print on demand suppliers, check out our article here with the 15 best print on demand companies!

5. Install WordPress and WooCommerce

If you’re new to WordPress, let’s clear up some common confusion before diving into the installation of WordPress and the WooCommerce plugin.

WordPress logo

People often mix up WordPress.com with WordPress.org, but they’re quite different.

WordPress.com is a fully hosted platform similar to Shopify. It handles all the hosting and maintenance for you but has restrictions on customization and monetization.

WordPress.com homepage

On the other hand, WordPress.org is what many consider the ‘real WordPress.’

It’s an open-source platform that you can download for free and install on your own hosting account.

Plus, it opens up a world of plugins that WordPress is famous for!

In this guide, we’ll focus on WordPress.org because it’s free and feature-rich, which is exactly what we need to set up an ecommerce store!

WordPress.org homepage

Now, let’s talk about WooCommerce.

This powerful plugin transforms your WordPress site into a fully functioning ecommerce store at no cost.

WooCommerce logo

It is essential for creating your online store as it provides the framework for cart functionality, product listing, checkout processes, and payment options.

With this background in mind, let’s move on to installing WordPress and WooCommerce.

Option 1: Direct installation through your hosting provider

The easiest way to install WordPress and WooCommerce is directly through your hosting provider.

For example, if you’re using SiteGround, you can simply choose ‘WooCommerce’ during the setup process.

WordPress + WooCommerce option on SiteGround

This will automatically install both WordPress and WooCommerce for you. This one-click installation saves you a ton of time!

And if you encounter any issues, most hosting services have support teams ready to assist. So, if you’re stuck, don’t hesitate to reach out to them!

Option 2: DIY install

If you prefer a more hands-on approach or if your host doesn’t offer direct installation, you can set up WooCommerce manually.

Here’s how:

First, make sure you have a WordPress site ready.

WooCommerce plugin on WordPress backend

Then install WooCommerce by following these steps:

  1. Go to ‘Plugins’ in the WordPress left-side menu.
  2. Search for ‘WooCommerce’.
  3. Click ‘Install Now,’ then ‘Activate.’

After activation, WooCommerce’s setup wizard will guide you through the initial setup.

WooCommerce setup

The five steps include:

  • Store Details. Enter your store’s address.
  • Industry. Select the industry that best fits your store.
  • Product Types. Choose ‘Physical products’ or other options if you offer customizable products.
  • Business Details. Share how many products you plan to list and if you’re selling on other platforms. If you’re just starting, select ‘I don’t have any products yet.’
  • Theme. Start with the free Storefront theme or stick with your current theme by selecting ‘Continue with my active theme.’

We’ll dive deeper into choosing themes in the next step.

6. Pick a WooCommerce theme according to your niche

Now that you’ve set up WordPress with the WooCommerce plugin, it’s time to choose a theme that matches your niche.

Think of your theme as your website’s outfit—it sets the first impression and vibe of your store.

The best part? You can always change your store’s appearance by switching to a different theme!

You have two main options for adding a theme:

  • Choose a free (or premium) theme from WooCommerce.
  • Upload a third-party or custom theme.

WooCommerce offers three themes:

  • Storefront. A versatile option that works well for most stores.
  • Deli. Earthy tones, perfect for natural or handcrafted products.
  • Boutique. Designed for small shops and boutique stores.

Storefront is a reliable choice for most stores, although it’s fairly basic and offers limited customization options.

Storefront theme on WooCommerce setup

For more flexibility, you can choose a free third-party WooCommerce theme like OceanWP or WoodMart.

To install a third-party theme, follow these steps:

  1. Download the theme’s .zip file.
  2. On your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Appearance > Themes and click ‘Add New.’
  3. Click ‘Upload’ to add the .zip file.
  4. Click ‘Activate.’

Tip: Need a quick recommendation? Have a look at 10 best WooCommerce themes for ecommerce and dropshipping stores!

7. Add products to your store

Someone writing a product description

After choosing a supplier, it’s time to add products to your WooCommerce store!

We recommend entering the important details about your products now. This way, you can start to see how your store is shaping up before diving into further customization.

If you’re using a dropshipping platform like CJdropshipping or Syncee, you can simply integrate their plugin with your WooCommerce store, and then add products from their catalog with a single click.

Dealing with a local supplier? You’ll probably be adding products yourself.

If you’re familiar with WordPress, you can upload your product details in bulk using a CSV file directly into the platform.

For those adding products one by one, check out this detailed WooCommerce guide on adding and managing products.

8. Create your standard online store pages

An image of a checklist

Next, let’s add content to your ecommerce store by creating the standard pages that any online store needs.

These include your FAQs, return policy, and shipping policy pages.

Although these pages might seem a bit boring to create, they are crucial for every online store!

They build trust and ensure your customers have all the information they need, which can help reduce inquiries and improve overall satisfaction.

9. Install the right WooCommerce plugins

WordPress plugins page

Your WooCommerce store becomes even more powerful with the right plugins. By adding plugins, you can introduce features like pop-ups, size guides, and memberships.

The best part? Most of the 55,000+ WordPress plugins are free or follow a freemium model!

To start, check out these essential WooCommerce plugins for your dropshipping website:

To install plugins, navigate to Plugins > Add New in your WordPress dashboard.

Keep in mind that while plugins enhance functionality, adding too many can slow down your website.

Also, always install plugins from reputable companies to avoid the risk of hacking or being locked out of your own online store.

Tip: If you have a dropshipping store, take a look at these 14 best WooCommerce plugins for dropshipping stores!

10. Design and brand your WooCommerce store

To customize your WooCommerce store, you need to:

  • Design your logo
  • Add content
  • Style your store

Let’s start with your brand logo!

Your store’s logo is just as important as its name—it leaves a lasting impression on your visitors.

For tips on designing a standout logo, check out this guide: How to Get a Logo for Your Dropshipping Store? (5 Options)

Next, let’s style your store to reflect your brand!

From the WooCommerce dashboard, navigate to Appearance > Customize. The ‘Customizer’ provides a live preview of your store as you make changes.

WooCommerce Customizer on the left side

Here’s what you can personalize:

  • Site Identity. Set your site title, tagline, and logo.
  • Header. Customize the layout, colors, and content of your header.
  • Footer. Adjust the footer layout, text, and widgets.
  • Typography. Choose fonts and styles for your text.
  • Buttons. Style your buttons to match your brand.
  • Product Catalog. Configure the layout and appearance of your product listings.
  • Product Page. Design the individual product pages.
  • Checkout. Customize the checkout page to ensure a smooth purchasing process.

For a more detailed guide on managing the layout, store notice, and more, read this detailed article here.

11. Set up shipping, payment gateways, and tax settings

Fantastic progress! You’re almost ready to open your WooCommerce store to your first customers.

The final step is setting up shipping, payment gateways, and tax settings. It might seem tricky, but we’ll simplify it for you.

Let’s start by setting up your shipping zones.

These zones are the regions where you’ll deliver your products. For instance, you could have a ‘Domestic’ zone for all US states or a ‘West Zone’ for just the western states.

WooCommerce Shipping on WordPress dashboard

Then, add shipping methods to each zone. WooCommerce offers three main shipping methods:

  1. Flat rate
  2. Free shipping
  3. Local delivery

You can mix and match methods for different zones based on what you need.

Finally, apply rates to these shipping methods. For example, if your supplier charges $10 for shipping anywhere in the US, you could set a flat rate of $10 for all US zones.

To find these settings, go to WooCommerce > Settings > Shipping in your dashboard.

For more help, check out this free guide:

WooCommerce tax plugin

Now, let’s set up your taxes!

Setting up taxes with WooCommerce is simple, especially if you’re selling in the US, Australia, Canada, the UK, or Europe.

Just use the WooCommerce Tax plugin to automatically calculate sales tax at checkout based on the customer’s location.

If you’re selling in another country, look for tax plugins specific to your country in the WordPress Plugins store.

Lastly, let’s talk about payment gateways. Here are some top options for WooCommerce:

12. Choose a marketing method that fits you and start advertising

Once you’ve set up your WooCommerce storefront, it’s time to start marketing!

Remember, marketing is an ongoing effort. It’s not a one-time task; you need to be consistent and persistent.

That being said, there are many different ways to market your store, and the best methods depend on your goals.

If you’ve identified your niche, product, and target audience, this article will help you find your best marketing method!

For a quick overview of which marketing methods might work for you, check out this infographic:

How to pick the right marketing method for dropshipping - Infographic

Once you’ve decided on your plan, you’re ready to launch your WooCommerce dropshipping store!

Why you should start a WooCommerce store in 2024

First off, starting an online store is a smart move, as online shopping is one of the fastest-growing segments in the retail industry.

Check out the growth of retail ecommerce sales worldwide:

Retail ecommerce sales worldwide - Data Infographic

You’ll see that sales are skyrocketing.

But why choose WooCommerce specifically?

Simply put, WordPress with the WooCommerce plugin is one of the best overall ecommerce platforms out there. It’s no surprise that it’s the second most popular shopping cart in the world!

Ecommerce Usage Distribution in the Top 1 Million Sites
by BuiltWith

With over 5.8 million stores and a presence in more than 175 countries, WooCommerce offers valuable features like:

  • Built-in payment processing.
  • Customizable checkout options.
  • Local customization.
  • Ability to list unlimited products and product images.
  • A large community of merchants, developers, and other users.

If you’re not sure if WordPress (with WooCommerce plugin) is the best platform for you, take our quiz here for a personalized recommendation based on your specific needs.

Not sure which ecommerce platform to pick?

FAQs about starting a WooCommerce store

Here are some frequently asked questions about starting a WooCommerce store. We hope these will address any remaining questions you might have:

Is WooCommerce good for small businesses?

Yes, WooCommerce is an excellent choice for small businesses due to its flexibility, extensive customization options, and cost-effectiveness. It allows businesses to scale as they grow without significant upfront investment.

Does WooCommerce cost money?

While WooCommerce itself is free, there are associated costs such as hosting, premium themes, and various extensions. These additional expenses can vary depending on the specific needs and scale of the business.

What is the difference between WooCommerce and Shopify?

WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that offers extensive customization and control but requires a separate hosting setup. In contrast, Shopify is an all-in-one hosted platform known for its ease of use and built-in ecommerce features, suitable for those preferring simplicity and convenience.

Do you need hosting for WooCommerce?

Yes, WooCommerce requires a WordPress site, which necessitates a hosting service. The choice of hosting can affect site performance, security, and scalability, making it an important consideration for any WooCommerce store.

Is WooCommerce good for beginners?

No, you need some technical expertise to run a WooCommerce store. While adding plugins might be easy, handling security, backups, and troubleshooting requires experience. However, there are tutorials available to help beginners in navigating these technical aspects.

Summary

Before we go to the conclusion, we’ve created a quick summary of this article for you, so you can easily remember it:

  • Taking the time to find the right product and a reliable supplier is essential; don’t rush this step.
  • Choose a theme from the WooCommerce theme store for better customization options instead of using the default Storefront theme.
  • Enhance your store’s functionality by exploring and adding plugins from the WordPress Plugins store.
  • Limit the number of plugins you install. Just like too many apps can slow down your phone, an excess of plugins can affect your site’s speed, compatibility, and security.
  • Marketing is an ongoing process for your online store. Keep promoting and connecting with your target audience.
  • When you find a successful product, consider scaling up to maximize profits by importing in bulk or using fulfillment centers like Amazon.

Final thoughts

That’s it! Now you have the key information to start your WooCommerce store in 2024.

Starting a store isn’t easy, but by following this guide, you’ll be well on your way to success.

If you’re on a limited budget, consider dropshipping and check out this article where we show you how to create a dropshipping WooCommerce store for free!

We hope you found this guide helpful and wish you the best of luck with your WooCommerce journey.

If you have any questions, please feel free to drop a comment below.

Want to learn more about WooCommerce?

Ready to move your online store to the next level? Check out the articles below:

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Best Web Hosting for E-Commerce in 2024

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Web hosting domains for web pages

What is the best web hosting for e-commerce right now?

The best web hosting for e-commerce right now is Hostinger. Hostinger offers both a website builder and WooCommerce hosting plans at affordable prices — starting at less than $5 a month.

Hostinger’s e-commerce plans include a free domain for one year, secure socket layer certification, firewall protection and email hosting for up to 100 email addresses. You’ll also get a good amount of storage — 500 products for the store builder and at least 200GB for the WooCommerce plans — and access to 24/7 customer service.

Hostinger logo

Sarah Tew/CNET

Hostinger is a rapidly growing web hosting company that offers two types of e-commerce hosting: an AI-powered e-commerce website builder and managed WooCommerce hosting. WooCommerce support is also included in Hostinger’s managed WordPress plans.

Both types of e-commerce hosting from Hostinger include a free domain for one year, SSL certification, firewall protection and email hosting for up to 100 email addresses.

Plans

Hostinger’s e-commerce website builder offers both an AI-powered site generation process — building a site for you based on simple information you enter about your business — and a self-created website option that is based on 150 templates.

The e-commerce site builder also features SEO tools, marketing integrations, inventory management tools for up to 500 products, appointment scheduling and 20-plus different payment methods.

For managed WooCommerce, Hostinger offers four plans with one-click WooCommerce setup, LiteSpeed caching, auto-updates and automated daily backups. More advanced plans include benefits like built-in WooCommerce integrations and AI content generation tools.

Pricing

Hostinger’s e-commerce store builder plan starts at $4 a month (plus three months free) and renews for $9 a month if you choose a four-year plan. The $4-a-month introductory rate applies to all plans of one year or more, but renewal costs vary based on contract length.

Hostinger’s managed WooCommerce hosting starts at $4 a month, with renewal pricing as low as $9 a month for the most affordable plan. The $4-a-month introductory rate applies to all plans of one year or more, but renewal costs vary based on contract length.

Ionos’s main e-commerce offerings are an online store builder and WooCommerce hosting. Both include a free domain for at least one year, an SSL certification, firewall protection and access to 24/7 customer service via live chat or phone. 

Plans

Ionos’s online store builder includes manual and AI-driven site-building tools, including a customizable checkout with options to add upsells to encourage people to upgrade their products and cross-sells to encourage people to buy related products. A variety of payment processors, shipping rate calculation tools and promo/coupon creators are also included.

All online store builder plans from Ionos include free email hosting for at least one email address and the ability to list at least 500 physical products in your store.

Ionos’s WooCommerce plan includes preinstalled WordPress and WooCommerce, plus an AI-powered setup wizard that builds a site for you based on basic information about your store. 

Ionos’s WooCommerce plan also includes a caching plugin, Jetpack backup, automated WordPress updates, unlimited product creation and email hosting for 10 accounts.

Ionos also offers managed hosting plans for Magento and PrestaShop, two moderately popular e-commerce platforms.

Pricing

Pricing for Ionos’s e-commerce site builder is complicated. The Plus plan starts at $1 a month for six months but rises to $30 a month after those months, and you must sign up for a year to get the discount — so you’ll pay $30 a month for the second half of your term. The Starter plan, on the other hand, starts at $6 a month for six months but only rises to $24 a month afterward.

As for WooCommerce hosting, there’s only one plan, and it costs $10 a month for the first year and $20 a month after.

Magento plans use cloud hosting and have hourly billing rates with monthly maximums, the lowest being $7 a month.

You can also save money by purchasing one of Ionos’s highly affordable shared hosting plans, with the lowest tier starting at $4 a month and rising to $6 a month on renewal. If you choose this option, you’ll have to configure and maintain your e-commerce store on your own. 

PrestaShop plans are similar to regular shared hosting plans, with the most affordable one starting at $4 a month and rising to $6 a month.

SiteGround is known for its excellent WordPress hosting and award-winning customer service. SiteGround offers a variety of WordPress plans, including three WooCommerce plans.

Plans

All of SiteGround’s WooCommerce plans include unmetered bandwidth, a free domain for the first year, permanent SSL certification, WordPress auto-updates and daily backups.

SiteGround also offers top-notch security features, including a constantly updated firewall, AI anti-bot tools and a custom security plugin. Combined with a content delivery network and highly optimized servers, these features ensure excellent site and server performance.

Pricing

SiteGround’s least expensive WooCommerce plan starts at $3 a month and rises to $18 a month on renewal. The most expensive WooCommerce plan starts at $8 a month and rises to $45 a month on renewal. You must sign up for one year to get the full introductory discount, and there is no option to keep the discount by signing up for a two or three-year term.

Buying regular shared hosting from SiteGround won’t save you money, either — the prices for both regular shared hosting and regular WordPress hosting are the same as SiteGround’s WooCommerce hosting prices. 

A2 Hosting is an independent web host with a 4.6/5 star rating on TrustPilot with over 2,500 reviews. A2 Hosting also performed well in our hands-on review, with excellent ease of use, a good variety of plans and great server performance — even on a basic plan without added caching tools. Customer support via phone and email was slow, suggesting that it may take a significant amount of time to address complex issues.

Plans

A2 Hosting offers several WordPress hosting plans and one WooCommerce plan. A2 Hosting WordPress plans include optimized WordPress installation with automatic setup for essential pages and plugins, plus server performance tools like LiteSpeed caching. These plans also include daily backups, SSL certification and an advanced firewall with distributed denial of service and brute force protection.

Pricing

The lowest-tier WordPress hosting plan from A2 Hosting starts at $10 a month and rises to $26 a month after renewal. The one plan with preinstalled WooCommerce starts at $40 a month, with a renewal cost of $62 a month. Discounts are only available with a three-year plan.

You can save money with a regular shared hosting plan — starting at $2 a month and rising to $13 a month for the lowest tier. These plans still include excellent security and WordPress features, but some of them don’t include daily backups or performance tools like LiteSpeed.

Nexcess offers top-tier WooCommerce hosting and fully managed Magento hosting. All of Nexcess’s plans feature SSL certification, firewall protection, automated daily backups and an above-average 99.99% uptime guarantee.

Plans

Nexcess’s managed WooCommerce hosting plans come bundled with plugins like Yoast SEO, Astra Pro and Beaver Builder Lite bundled directly into its hosting packages for improved performance.

Nexcess’s managed WooCommerce hosting plans also include automated updates for WordPress and all plugins, plus a plugin performance monitor to track the impact plugins and themes have on site performance. Object caching and image compression are also included to further improve performance.

Nexcess’s fully managed Magento hosting plans include robust developer tools and caching for accelerated site speed.

Pricing

Managed WooCommerce hosting through Nexcess starts at $8.40 a month, with the most expensive plan costing $438 a month. There is no introductory pricing.

Fully managed Magento hosting through Nexcess starts at $37.52 a month for the first three months and rises to $67 a month after those three months. The most expensive plan starts at $539.01 a month for the first three months and rises to $1,017 a month in following months.

Factors to consider when choosing a web host for e-commerce

Website builder vs. content management system

A website builder is a visual design tool for creating sites without using code, installing extensions or managing software updates. Most website builders are front-end editors, so you can see what your site edits will look like to the public in real time. Website builders also tend to be proprietary, making it difficult to switch hosts later on.

A content management system or CMS is a tool for creating, managing and organizing content like blog posts and landing pages without needing code. These tools are typically open-source, so you can use them with most hosting companies and plans. They also tend to have more customization options than website builders, but you may need to install extensions to access these options. WordPress is the most popular CMS, powering 43.4% of all websites.

If you want the simplest site building process possible, choose a website builder plan. If you want maximum flexibility and you’re capable of dealing with more complex software, choose a third-party hosting plan with a CMS like WordPress.

Shop management system

The shop management system is the tool you’ll use to create your online store, product pages and checkout experience. If you’re using a website builder, this will be built into the software. If you’re using WordPress, you’ll probably end up using the popular WooCommerce plugin.

Other shop management platforms include Magento — recently rebranded as Adobe Commerce — and PrestaShop. These are essentially content management systems built specifically for e-commerce. Some hosts, including Ionos and Nexcess, offer specialized hosting plans for these tools.

Hosting types

Most website builder hosting plans from traditional web hosts use shared hosting, which involves splitting a server’s resources between many sites. This lets hosts keep shared hosting prices low. Data storage, which includes how much space and bandwidth you have for things like images and blog posts and how much monthly traffic your site can accommodate, is limited on these plans.

If you choose a CMS, you’ll be able to pick between a few types of web hosting. Shared hosting is the most affordable, though basic shared hosting plans will require you to set up your e-commerce software yourself. Many web hosts also offer specialized shared hosting plans that are optimized for WordPress and/or the popular e-commerce plugin WooCommerce. These specialized plans are often more expensive than regular shared hosting.

As your site grows, you might want to switch to virtual private server hosting for dedicated bandwidth and storage. This lets your site accommodate more monthly visitors — often several hundred thousand — and store thousands of large files like images and videos. You’ll also get some server customization options, like the ability to choose your operating system.

Large e-commerce sites can also choose dedicated hosting. Dedicated hosting gives you an entire physical server, often including enough bandwidth to handle millions of monthly visits and enough storage to upload hundreds of thousands of large files. Dedicated hosting also offers more server customization options.

Both VPS and dedicated hosting have managed and unmanaged hosting options. Managed hosting tends to be more expensive, but includes server software maintenance. Unmanaged plans are typically less expensive, but require you to maintain server software yourself (or hire someone to do it).

E-commerce tools

A website builder for e-commerce should include:

  • Store design tools, including product page and checkout customization
  • Payment processing capabilities
  • Search engine optimization — SEO — tools
  • Coupon creation

An e-commerce plan from a traditional web host should include:

  • A preinstalled CMS (typically WordPress)
  • Preinstalled plugins or extensions for online store creation, such as WooCommerce

Security

At minimum, your e-commerce site should have the following security measures in place:

  • SSL certification: This protocol encrypts data sent to and from your website, such as customers’ payment information.
  • Firewall: This software attempts to filter out malware attempting to infect your site.
  • DDoS protection: DDoS attacks flood a site with fake, malicious traffic to overwhelm the server. High-quality web servers are equipped with software to protect them from these attacks.

Some hosts may also provide things like two-factor authentication, malware scanning/repair and automated backups to further protect your site.

Performance

The best web hosting services for e-commerce provide at least 99.9% uptime, meaning your site won’t go down for more than 45 minutes a month due to server issues. This is important because every minute your site is down is a minute you could be losing traffic — and if you’re running an e-commerce store, losing traffic equals losing money.

Many web hosts also offer tools to improve site speed and other aspects of performance, such as caching tools that store your data in users’ browsers so they can access your site faster on repeat visits.

Customer service

Customer service should be available 24/7 via live chat, email and phone. You also want customer support to be fast to respond and knowledgeable enough to assist you with any problems you encounter.

Reading third-party reviews is important, as web hosting companies will always play up the quality of their customer support. Looking at reviews from real people helps you understand whether or not the host you’re considering follows through on the promises made on its website.

Pricing

Consider what hosting fits within your budget, as the company and plan you choose will majorly impact your operating budget. Web hosting — especially e-commerce hosting — pricing can be confusing.

Here are four things to look out for:

  • Annual/long-term payments: Most web hosting companies display monthly prices, but you can often only access the lowest price by paying for one to three years at once.
  • Renewal pricing: Many web hosts’ listed prices are introductory rates, meaning you’ll be charged more per month when your service renews.
  • Transaction fees: Some e-commerce-focused web hosting services charge transaction fees on some or all of their plans.
  • Additional fees: Many web hosts provide a domain for the first year but require you to pay for your domain separately in subsequent years.

How CNET tests web hosting

We extensively research every web host we include on lists like this one. We start by reading their websites to evaluate the quality of their plans and pricing. We also read reviews from third-party sites like Trustpilot and check the Better Business Bureau for complaints about the service.

We’re currently conducting full reviews of popular web hosting companies to provide our hands-on, expert assessments. These reviews use our framework for testing web hosting services, including:

  • Uptime monitoring for one week
  • Speed tests over the course of five days
  • Calls and emails to customer support to determine things like waiting time, professionalism and expertise of the customer support teams

Notes from these reviews are included in the listings for the relevant hosts. This page will be updated regularly with new notes as we publish more reviews. 

Other web hosting we’ve tested

HostGator

HostGator Web Hosting logo HostGator Web Hosting logo

Sarah Tew/CNET

HostGator is a popular web host that powers over 707,000 websites. HostGator’s two WordPress-based e-commerce plans include several preinstalled plugins for e-commerce and marketing, automated WordPress updates and automated daily backups.

HostGator delivers decent security features with all plans, including SSL certification and an advanced firewall with DDoS protection.

In my testing, I found HostGator’s site setup and management tools easy to work with. Benchmarking showed that HostGator’s servers offer decent performance. Customer support was inconsistent across channels, so you might want to avoid HostGator if your site is complex and/or you expect to need a lot of support.

Pricing: Online Store plan starts at $10 a month and rises to $25 a month on renewal; Online Store + Marketplace starts at $13 a month and rises to $40 a month on renewal. You can save money by purchasing a shared hosting plan ($3.75 a month to start, $10 a month on renewal). All of these prices are based on the purchase of a three-year term. 

Read our HostGator review.

GoDaddy

GoDaddy logo GoDaddy logo

Sarah Tew/CNET

GoDaddy is the biggest player in the web hosting space, powering a full 15.6% of all websites. You can get many types of web hosting from GoDaddy, including shared and WordPress hosting. The company also offers Managed WooCommerce Stores that include hosting, automated WordPress/WooCommerce updates and shipping discounts of up to 84%.

GoDaddy’s Managed WooCommerce Stores also come with SSL certification, an advanced firewall with DDoS protection and malware scanning. This is notable, as many of GoDaddy’s hosting plans don’t include these features.

During my hands-on assessment, I found GoDaddy frustrating to get started with, but this was balanced out by excellent server performance and customer service. There are a lot of open complaints on GoDaddy’s BBB page, so you might want to avoid GoDaddy if your site is complex or you expect to need high-level support.

Pricing: The most affordable WooCommerce Store plan starts at $25 a month, and rises to $30 a month on renewal. The most expensive WooCommerce Store plan starts at $130 a month and retains this price on renewal. All WooCommerce Store plans from GoDaddy come with 2.9% plus 30 cents card transaction fees in the US and 2.7% plus $0 card transaction fees in Canada.

You can save a lot of money by choosing a regular shared hosting plan — starting at $6 a month for the most affordable option, with a renewal price of $10 a month — but you’ll be sacrificing a lot, including basic security features like a firewall.

Read our GoDaddy review.

Which hosting service is best for an e-commerce website?

Hostinger is the best hosting service for an e-commerce website, with both website builder and WooCommerce plans available for affordable prices. Hostinger offers AI site and content creation tools, email hosting and 24/7 customer service.


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What is the No. 1 e-commerce platform?

Is GoDaddy good for e-commerce hosting?

GoDaddy is a reasonably good choice for e-commerce hosting, offering managed WooCommerce plans with heavy shipping discounts available for some regions and shipping methods. Starting prices for GoDaddy’s WooCommerce plans are high, and non-WooCommerce plans lack key security features.


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2 Reasons to Buy Shopify Stock Like There’s No Tomorrow

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2 Reasons to Buy Shopify Stock Like There's No Tomorrow

It’s not very often that you can buy a potential $1 trillion business at a 90% discount.

Shares of Shopify (SHOP -7.04%), the most popular e-commerce software platform in the U.S., have risen by more than 2,000% since going public in 2015. The S&P 500, for comparison, rose by just 195% over the same period.

The best news is that Shopify stock could rise another 2,000% in the years to come. If you’re looking for stocks with massive upside, this one’s for you.

Shopify has a massive lead on the competition and it’s not even close

There are two critical factors to pay attention to when it comes to Shopify. The first is the competitive landscape. In this regard, Shopify is undoubtedly king.

When most people think of e-commerce, they think of companies like Amazon, which sell products and services online. But there’s another type of e-commerce business, and that’s platforms that allow others to set up digital storefronts of their own. Shopify, for instance, doesn’t run any of its own stores. Instead, millions of merchants run their stores using Shopify’s platform. Small home businesses use Shopify-powered stores, but so do major brands, including Nike, Allbirds, and Red Bull.

Let’s say you want to start selling online. You could list your products on Amazon, but you’ll have to give the company anywhere from 8% to 45% of your sales. Shopify, meanwhile, takes only a small percentage of your sales as a fee, and in return gives you all the things you need to establish a successful e-commerce business. That includes web design templates, marketing and analytics tools, inventory management dashboards, payment processing, and more. You won’t have the immediate reach of a platform like Amazon, but you’ll have more tools, customization options, and functionality, plus you’ll retain a much greater portion of your sales.

According to data compiled by Statista, Shopify has a 28% market share for e-commerce platforms in the U.S. WooCommerce commands an 18% market share, while Wix comes in third with 17%. Total e-commerce spending, meanwhile, is on the rise. In 2019, e-commerce spending in the U.S. totaled $540 million. Last year, it surpassed $1 billion. By 2029, it’s expected to approach $1.9 billion. E-commerce platforms like Shopify, then, are swimming in a bigger and bigger pool of potential customers. As you’ll see, there’s a good chance Shopify will not only maintain its current industry lead but expand on it in the years to come.

Artificial intelligence could put this stock on steroids

The second reason to love Shopify stock right now is that it’s perfectly positioned to benefit from the rise of artificial intelligence (AI). E-commerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and Wix all compete a bit on price. But what they compete on most is functionality and user experience. Whichever platform makes its platform more powerful and easier to use wins.

With the largest market share, Shopify has an early lead. AI should accelerate this lead even further in the years to come. That’s because Shopify has the resources to attract the most AI developers to its platform. Right now, any developer can add more functionality to Shopify’s platform, earning money whenever users decide to incorporate the new tool or service. Developers know that Shopify offers them the largest potential user base to monetize their creations. Already, the company has dozens of AI apps and features that users can implement in a few clicks — everything from chatbots to automated content creation. As AI takes off, expect Shopify to benefit, gaining more market share in an already large and growing market.

How big could Shopify get? After a recent pullback, the company is valued at just $75 billion. Amazon, for comparison, is worth around $1.9 trillion. Shopify would have more than 2,000% in upside if it reached Amazon’s size. To be clear, Amazon is a far more diverse and far larger business than Shopify. It will take years or even decades for Shopify to attain a $1 trillion market cap, let alone a $2 trillion market cap. But it is businesses like this that can sustain growth for long enough to reach this enormous size.

The global e-commerce market is clearly large enough to accommodate a Shopify 10 or 20 times its current size. Keep in mind, this underlying market is still growing by around 10% annually. Much of that growth will be directed to large, consolidated e-commerce sites like Amazon. But independent stores, such as those powered by Shopify, will also take an increasing amount of this new market growth. After a 25% decline in share price over the last 90 days — a drop fueled by short-term concerns over quarterly guidance — this is a great time to back up the truck for a high-quality business with a massive long-term growth runway.

John Mackey, former CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Ryan Vanzo has positions in Shopify. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Amazon, Nike, Shopify, and Wix.com. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2025 $47.50 calls on Nike. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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How to Connect to API of eCommerce Platform

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connect to api

Since the world has become more digital, it is crucial for eCommerce software vendors to guarantee that their solutions can interoperate with the different eCommerce platforms and marketplaces. These integrations help ensure the flow of continuity of the user experience, data exchange and synchronization, and good business management. The application programming interface (API) is very useful for achieving these integrations. The article is devoted to the specifics of how software vendors can connect to API of eCommerce platforms and marketplaces and how this process can be made easier.


Understanding APIs


APIs enable two or more software applications to exchange data and information. For eCommerce software vendors, APIs are the way to get and manage data from eCommerce platforms and marketplaces. The eCommerce API gives users access to various store information. It often enables GET, ADD, UPDATE, and DELETE data from stores, such as orders, products, customers, categories, etc.


eCommerce API integration refers to the process that enables an app or software to connect to API of an eCommerce platform. Therefore, software providers can provide various valuable features for online store owners. Some are order management, inventory synchronization, product management, and others.


api

API of eCommerce Platforms


Every eCommerce API is unique and has its own features and way of functioning. Here are some examples of popular eCommerce APIs:


Magento API


This API allows the developers to get and modify the store data on the Magento platform including customers, orders, products, etc. It supports both REST and SOAP communication protocols.


WooCommerce API


When software developers connect to API of WooCommerce, they can get, add, modify, and delete data in WooCommerce stores, such as products, prices, orders, customers, and shipping statuses.


Shopify API


This API allows you to retrieve, create, update, and delete object data in WooCommerce stores: products, prices, orders, customers, and shipping statuses. The API is XML and JSON compliant and uses HTTP requests, including GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE.


BigCommerce API


BigCommerce RESTful API enables you to integrate your eCommerce applications with BigCommerce and use any code language of your choice. It allows the user to view and manipulate store data, which includes orders, products, customers, categories, shipments, etc. All CRUD operations are allowed via HTTP methods, such as GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE.


Squarespace API


Squarespace API has different endpoints, such as the Inventory API, Orders API, Products API, Profiles API, Transactions API, and Webhook Subscriptions API. These allow developers to get stock data, order history, manage products, and much more.


1721219167 357 How to Connect to API of eCommerce Platform1721219167 357 How to Connect to API of eCommerce Platform

Key Considerations Before Connecting to an API

  1. API Documentation

  2. API documentation is the starting point for learning how to communicate with a specific platform’s API. It contains information on the endpoints, the formats of requests and responses, authentication, the rate at which requests are allowed, and how errors are handled. It is imperative to go through the documentation of the target eCommerce platform or marketplace carefully before moving on to the integration part.


  3. Authentication

  4. Various platforms employ different forms of authentication, including API keys, OAuth, and basic authentication. Make sure that you are familiar with the expected authentication method and have the credentials needed to make the API calls.


  5. Rate Limits

  6. APIs usually have rate limits to prevent overuse and misuse of the API. These are the limits that you should observe so that you don’t get throttled or blocked. This information is usually available in the API documentation.


  7. Error Handling

  8. Good error handling is vital for a successful integration since errors are bound to occur at some point. It is also important to know the various error codes and their meanings and how to manage them in your integration to address matters like rate limits, timeouts, and authentication.


documentationdocumentation

Methods to Connect to API of eCommerce Platform


There are two ways of connecting to eCommerce API: in-house integration development or via integration solution like API2Cart.


In-house integration development


in-house integrationin-house integration

Creating eCommerce API integrations from the ground up takes a lot of time and effort and includes stages such as planning, development, testing, and support. This can slow down the time it takes to market your solutions.


In-house development allows more control, but it requires a team of qualified developers, which may prove expensive. Moreover, the costs of maintenance and updates, which are continuous processes, are also included in the resource requirements.


All the eCommerce platforms are different in terms of API, documentation, and prerequisites that need to be met. Managing all these for several platforms can be rather cumbersome and also comes with some mistakes.


Integration with eCommerce platforms via API2Cart


api2cartapi2cart

API2Cart decreases integration development time. Data can be easily accessed, and developers can connect to eCommerce platform APIs with minimal effort.


The service helps to decrease the need for a large internal development team, which reduces costs. It also includes maintenance and updates, so you don’t need to waste your time and effort on them.


API2Cart has detailed documentation and code samples, which makes it more convenient to connect to the APIs. This support can help minimize the time taken in the integration process.


API2Cart can process large numbers of API calls, which is why it works for any business, regardless of its size. It’s flexible and can accommodate your business’s growth without compromising performance and reliability.


This API integration solution provides its clients with detailed technical support in case of any questions or problems connected with integration. This support can be very helpful when trying to figure out issues and/or fine-tune your integrations.

API2Cart helps you to integrate with the shopping platforms faster, save time on development, allowing you to concentrate more on other business operations.


Depending on various factors such as business requirements, time and money constraints, and other factors, it is possible to choose between the in-house integration development and the use of API2Cart. If you want to have full control and high flexibility and have the capabilities, developing your own may be more suitable. But if you are in search of a cheap, efficient and easily customizable approach, API2Cart is a viable competitor with its API-based integration.


How to Get Started to Connect to eCommerce APIs via API2Cart


API2Cart provides a simple way to connect to API of multiple eCommerce platforms and marketplaces. To start using the service, you need to follow these simple steps:

  1. Sign Up and Get the API Key

  2. The first one is to get an API2Cart account with the help of experts. Once you sign up, you will be given an API key that will be used for the authentication process.


  3. Connect a Store

  4. To add a store to your API2Cart account, you need to enter the basic details of the store such as the store URL, the platform, and the authentication details. API2Cart employs various forms of authentication with regard to the platform used.


  5. Explore API Methods

  6. API2Cart contains many API methods, including products, orders, customers, categories, etc. The documentation explains how to use them appropriately.


  7. Test and Optimize

Check that the integration is functioning correctly. Monitor the API calls and responses and modify your integration.


API-IntegrationAPI-Integration

Conclusion


Integrating with the API of eCommerce platforms and marketplaces is one of the most important tasks for eCommerce software vendors. By knowing the critical factors, adhering to the integration steps, and using tools like API2Cart, vendors can make the process easier, shorten the development time, and have reliable connections. API2Cart is a unified API approach that offers a reliable and flexible solution to help vendors concentrate on value-added services. With a single API software, vendors can integrate with over 40 eCommerce platforms and marketplaces. The list of supported integrations includes Magento, WooCommerce, Shopify, Squarespace, Amazon, etc. You can get more information about API2Cart by scheduling a call with our manager.


Following the guidelines and best practices mentioned in this article, eCommerce software vendors can easily connect to the APIs, improve their products, and provide the best user experience.



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