Costs to Launch & Operate a Store

WooCommerce costs nothing to install on your WordPress site but has other associated expenses, depending on your starting and ongoing needs. If you are interested in WooCommerce pricing and would like to know how much it costs to launch and operate an online store, read our guide. For startup expenses, expect to shell out anywhere from $500 to $1,000, with monthly recurring fees starting at $300, depending on your sales volume.

We looked at the essential elements of a WooCommerce store, compared pricing for basic and advanced websites, and added nice-to-have features that can further customize your store and drive more conversions. Here is a table outlining the fees, all of which we discuss in detail in our article.

Domain Fees

Necessary or Optional: Necessary
Estimated Costs: Some hosting providers include free domain registration in subscriptions; otherwise, $15 per year on average

Your domain name is your online store’s address on the internet, like Domain names are registered through an accredited domain registrar such as Bluehost, GoDaddy, or Google. Like Bluehost’s WordPress for WooCommerce hosting, most hosting services include a free domain with your hosting package.

You can also register your domain separately. If you go that route, expect to spend about $15 per year—or less if you prepay a year or more for domain registration. Our domain name guide can help you choose which domain name to go with—whether your business is better suited to a .com or .org address.

Web Hosting Subscription

Necessary or Optional: Necessary
Estimated Costs: Can vary widely based on number of sites hosted, security features, and more; $120 per year is a good starting point for basic site hosting

If you are just starting an online store, it may get overwhelming knowing all the essentials needed to get your ecommerce store up and running. Aside from registering a domain name for your business, you need to sign up for web hosting. Think of web hosting as the house for your domain name (your address) in the World Wide Web. The best type of web hosting depends on your business needs, but we have rounded up our top picks for the best web hosting platforms for small businesses.

A WordPress hosting package designed for WooCommerce is the fastest and easiest way to get your WooCommerce store up and running. Bluehost offers a WordPress for WooCommerce package that starts at just $29.95 per month. It gives you several necessary ecommerce features out of the box, including

  • A pre-installed WooCommerce plug-in: With WooCommerce hosting, your setup is quick and easy since it comes with WooCommerce already built in.
  • An SSL certificate: A secure sockets layer (SSL) is a must-have protocol for ecommerce stores and, purchased separately, these have fees starting around $49 per year.
  • Unlimited bandwidth: Your site won’t slow due to bandwidth limits.
  • Phone support: Got a question or site issue? Calls are answered 24/7.
  • A free domain name: You don’t have to purchase your website address separately, which is a savings of $9.95 per year or more, and it’s automatically connected to your WordPress/WooCommerce site with no redirects needed.
  • 24/7 monitoring: Managed WordPress hosting is closely monitored for you to ensure uptime and security.

Of course, you can add WooCommerce to a standard WordPress hosting package. Still, you’ll have to locate and install the WooCommerce plug-in, purchase (in some cases) and install an SSL certificate and domain name yourself—and remember to renew them annually. The WooCommerce-ready package from Bluehost removes setup headaches and added costs, so you can concentrate on growing your WooCommerce business.

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When choosing a host, consider the following:

  • The number of websites on the server: If you sign up under a shared hosting plan, you will be sharing resources among all the websites on the same server—this can slow things down for your website.
  • Responsive customer service: Ideally, you have access to customer service help 24/7 via all channels—phone, live chat, and email.
  • Security features: Automatic backups, malware prevention, and email spam filters are just some security features that are essential for hosting.
  • Server uptime: You want your website to be up 99.99% of the time. Read through third-party reviews to find out if users experience downtimes.
  • Speed performance: Find out the host’s SSD servers and high-level resource allocation (like RAM and CPU).
  • Scalability: Look for platforms that offer hosting plans that you can upgrade without needing to migrate.

Website Themes & Design Fees

Necessary or Optional: Necessary
Estimated Costs: Free; paid WordPress and WooCommerce themes cost anywhere from $20 to $100 per year

WordPress themes are one of the most fantastic perks of launching your online store with WooCommerce. A theme drives the entire look and feel of your WooCommerce store. WooCommerce offers users a free Storefront theme, shown below.

Homepage of WooCommerce Storefront free theme.

The free WooCommerce Storefront theme is an excellent budget-friendly starting point.

Alternatively, you can choose from many other themes. WooCommerce sells customized themes based on Storefront for as little as $79 per year. Other theme providers, like Elegant Themes, offer themes with virtually limitless possibilities. Divi, another theme provider, costs around $89 per year, or you can purchase lifetime access for a one-time payment of $249.

Homepage of Overline WooCommerce paid theme.

Overline, a paid WooCommerce theme, costs $79 per year. (Source: WooCommerce)

If you prefer to work with a free theme, go with one that is updated regularly and is compatible with the latest version of WooCommerce. However, there are some advantages to going with a paid theme. For example, paid themes are well-maintained by developers to ensure compatibility across all plugins and extensions and provide customer service. Free themes usually offer just a Q&A forum with no one-on-one or customer support. Moreover, free themes typically have the same design but limited functions.

Store Management Costs

Necessary or Optional: Necessary
Estimated Costs: Free plugins available; paid plugins run from $5 to $300 per month, with an average of $159 (for advanced ecommerce sites)

Like running a brick-and-mortar store, there are essential operational expenses when running an online store—like shipping and payment gateways.

Estimated Costs: From $8 to $65 per year

An SSL certificate is crucial to your online store’s security as it encrypts sensitive information, such as credit card data. It is usually a free inclusion in web hosting packages. If not included, you can sign up for one.

Estimated Costs: From $35.88 to $99 per year

While SSL certificates secure your online store information, you can go the extra mile and sign up for anti-malware protection. Hosting providers already have their security protocols, but adding an extra layer to your website is fine. Some hosting providers have add-on deals for this type of protection. For example, Bluehost offers added site security through SiteLock—its basic version is billed at just $35.88 per year.

Bluehost also recommends the Jetpack’s free plan that includes brute force attack prevention and automatic updates. It offers a premium plan that costs $99 each year and provides security features such as automated malware scanning and real-time backups.

Estimated Fees: 2.9% + 30 cents transaction fees per sale, plus $25–$30 monthly fees for specific payment gateways

Payment gateways allow you to securely accept payments online and usually don’t have setup or monthly fees. They do, however, charge a processing fee per transaction.

WooCommerce integrates with most of the popular payment processors, but their costs vary. WooCommerce has a built-in payment gateway, WooCommerce Payments, enabling you to manage payments directly from your WooCommerce Dashboard. Other payment gateways, such as Square, Stripe, and PayPal, vary in recurring monthly and processing fees.

Cards showing WooCommerce integration with WooCommerce Payments, Stripe, Square, and PayPal.

WooCommerce integrates with over 80 payment gateways. WooCommerce Payments, Stripe, Square, and PayPal are the most popular payment methods.

Here are the online credit card processing fees of top-rated payment processors.

*With PayPal, there are no monthly fees if you use a basic account, but customers get redirected to the PayPal website to check out using their credit card. If you want to accept credit cards directly from your online store, upgrade to PayPal Pro, which costs $30 a month.

Estimated Fees: Free plugins available; paid plugins cost from $5 to $300 a month

Direct connections to USPS and Canada Post are included in the free WooCommerce Shipping extension. You can print your shipping labels directly from your WooCommerce dashboard using this plugin.

However, if you want to ship via other carriers, like UPS, FedEx, or DHL, you need to add shipping service plugins. Many online sellers find that comparing shipping software is the most convenient and cost-effective solution.

WooCommerce Marketplace showing shipping software available like WooCommerce Shipping, ShipStation, Shippo, and USPS.

Some of the preferred shipping software available in WooCommerce Marketplace are WooCommerce Shipping, ShipStation, Shippo, and USPS. (Source: WooCommerce)

Here is a breakdown of some top shipping plugins and their monthly costs to consider in your overall WooCommerce pricing.

Plugins & Extension Add-Ons

Necessary or Optional: Optional
Estimated Costs: Free plugins available; paid plugins cost anywhere from $29 to $129 per year

Plugins are optional add-ons that help your WooCommerce store operate more efficiently and provide a more meaningful customer experience. Since WooCommerce is also a plugin (from WordPress), it has borrowed a lot from WordPress plugins and adapted it to its platform—many of them still free.

However, you can pay for the following plugins to enhance your store and drive more conversions if you have extra resources—these costs up to $129 a year.

Tip: Don’t overload your WooCommerce store with too many plugins—too much of everything is bad—and unnecessary extensions might slow down your site. Practice discretion and do your research.

Add store features (such as waitlist options and gift-wrapping) and specific product page features (such as custom product tabs, custom buttons, a Pinterest-type photo gallery, and a checkout field editor).

Create bundles and pop-ups or transform your store into an online catalog. You can also create different options for services such as booking appointments.

Sales conversion plugins are the add-ons that help collect customer feedback, run promotions, recover orders, promote rewards, and do upsells and cross-sells.

Marketing Costs

Necessary or Optional: Necessary
Estimated Costs: Anywhere from free (for MailPoet email marketing, for example) to hundreds per year for high-end SEO plugins

WooCommerce marketing extensions help promote your online store by email, social media, and additional sales channels. Online marketing also involves automation, SEO, and reporting, and analytics. We listed three types of marketing extensions that we think are necessary to help advertise your business online.

Estimated Costs: $0 to $99 per year

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to share your products, promotions, and sales-driving content with existing and potential shoppers. Most top-rated email marketing services have plug-ins that connect their service seamlessly to a WooCommerce setup. This integration allows users to collect email addresses and contact information via website sidebars, through pop-ups and banners, and from WooCommerce orders.

You can even use email marketing services to create automated remarketing for abandoned carts, conduct shopper surveys, send informational newsletters, and much more.

Here are four popular email services that offer fully integrated plug-ins for WooCommerce.

Estimated Costs: $0 to $599 per year

Neither WooCommerce nor WordPress offers much built-in SEO tools—so plugins come to the rescue. SEO plugins provide several tools that help improve your Google search rankings for desktop, mobile, and even voice searches made using Apple’s Siri and Google Home devices. Using an SEO plug-in, you can craft better site content and product descriptions that target relevant keywords and import data from Google Analytics to help you understand shopper behaviors, identify popular products and content pages, and much more.

Here are three popular SEO tools to add to your WooCommerce pricing plan:

Web Developer

Necessary or Optional: Optional
Estimated Costs: $1,000+; retainer fees are an additional charge

WooCommerce is highly customizable, and there might be instances that you need the help of a web developer with some of your store’s setup. You have the option to keep web developers on retainer—fees will range from $10 to $100+ per hour. Alternatively, you can hire a website developer to design and build your entire site from scratch, and costs can run anywhere from $1,000 to $15,000.

WooCommerce provides a list of partner experts that have WordPress and WooCommerce expertise.

Bottom Line

The list of features that you can add to your WooCommerce store is virtually endless. However, customizing your WooCommerce store extends beyond just creating a unique website look; it also includes paying premium fees to run your store more efficiently.

If you’re on a tight budget and are well-versed with coding, it’s possible to create a WooCommerce store for the cost of a domain name and hosting plan—all for just $135 per year. Large enterprises that can afford to spend or hire a web developer will probably spend more than $1,000. With some customization, most small business owners can probably get started for around $1,000.

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