Don’t you hate it when you’re told that something is free…only to find out in the end that it’s not?
I think we can probably agree that hidden costs are the worst.
One of the many advantages of WooCommerce is that the plugin itself is free. But as we all know, very few things in life are actually free. And unfortunately, running a WooCommerce store isn’t one of them.
Yes, the plugin is free to download, but you are still going to have to pay, at least a little bit, in order to run a store on WooCommerce.
So how much does WooCommerce cost when all is said and done? Well, there’s no easy answer to that question, but in this blog post, I’ll tell you what comes free with WooCommerce…and what you can expect to shell out money for.
There are some mandatory costs that you’ll have to pay in order to run a WooCommerce store. Here’s what they are:
When it comes to hosting, you can either go dirt cheap…or shell out the big bucks; hosting can range from $3.95 to $5,000+ a month. If you have a simple website with minimal integrations and low traffic, you’ll probably pay about $15 per month for a decent plan. Although we recommend WP Engine, which has plans starting at $35 a month.
And if your website has a ton of integrations, functionality and hundreds of thousands of visitors per month, then you can expect to pay upwards of ????
To get you on board, hosting providers generally offer a free or low-cost period to start with, and if you commit to several years, often give a discount.
A domain name is going to run you between $10 and $15 per year for each domain name that you have. The price will depend primarily on the extension (like .com or .org) and where you purchase the domain name from (the registrar).
So why would you need more than one domain name anyway? There are several reasons. Firstly, a domain name can easily be misinterpreted or misspelled by your audience, so you want to try and secure domain names for all of the different ways that your domain name could be misspelled. For example, let’s say that you want your domain name to be: shirts4u.com. Then you would probably want to also secure domain names for: shirtsforyou.com, shirts4you.com, and shirtsforu.com.
Another reason you should do this is to prevent competitors from stealing your traffic. If your brand becomes well-known for something, then your competitors might try to create a similar domain name to try and take website visitors from you.
Payment Processing Fees
This is one of those costs that many people probably don’t even think about. But for each of your orders, you’ll be charged a processing fee by your payment provider.
Stripe and PayPal Powered by Braintree are two free payment gateways that are part of WooCommerce Core (automatically integrated with your store, as long as you activate them when setting up your store). PayPal Powered by Braintree doesn’t charge you anything for the first $50,000 in transactions; after that, you pay 2.9% + 30 cents for each transaction. With Stripe, you pay 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction.
There are several other payment options that don’t come with processing fees: cash on delivery (customers pay when they pick up the order), check (customers mail you a check before you send them the order), and BACS (bank transfer). But keep in mind that these payment options are a bit more complicated and less reliable than payment gateways.
Regardless of whether or not you include these free payment options, you will need to use payment gateways (and accept credit or debit cards) if you want to run a successful eCommerce store.
When it comes to themes, you have three options: free, paid and custom.
Storefront is the free theme offered by WooCommerce. One advantage of getting a theme through WooCommerce (as opposed to one from an outside developer) is that you have more support if you need it. If you’ve got questions, you can often seek answers from the WooCommerce support team, in the forums, at the local WordPress meetings in your area, or the conference, WordCamp.
You can also pick a theme from an outside developer, which will either be free or paid. Paid themes generally range from $20-$100 per year. They are normally higher quality and more unique; have greater functionality; better customer service; and are updated regularly.
Whether you go with a paid or a free theme, if you choose a theme from an outside developer, just make sure that it’s been properly maintained, updated and works with the latest version of WooCommerce.
Lastly (but certainly not least!), you can hire a developer to create a custom theme from you. This is obviously going to be more costly than a premade theme, but the advantages are that it will be highly customized to meet your needs and you’ll have more flexibility should you want to make changes down the road.
Extensions (also known as plugins) allow you to add greater functionality and customize your store.
But there are certain extensions that you’ll have to pay for. For order fulfillment, we really like ShipStation; like WooCommerce, the plugin itself is free, but you’ll have to pay to actually use the service (although there is a free trial to start). Plans for Shipstation start at $9 a month and go up to $159 a month. Some extensions have one-time fees, while others are subscription-based.
In case you’re interested, here are a few more of WooCommerce’s top-selling extensions (from 2017, anyway).
Setting Up and Maintaining Your Store
So far, we’ve covered what you can expect to pay if you set up your WooCommerce store entirely on your own. But you might be wondering: how much does WooCommerce cost…with a developer? If you need some help setting up and maintaining your store, then obviously you are going to have to pay more.
We build new custom WooCommerce websites (with custom WordPress themes) that start at $10,000. Then our services to maintain and continuously improve websites start at $2,500 per month. You could probably find these services for cheaper, but just remember: You generally get what you pay for.
So what’s so great about custom design? We explain it a bit more in this blog post, but to put it quite simply, a custom design is more customized, original, and adaptable to change. With a premade template, what you see is more or less what you get; there’s only so much that you can do to customize it.
So…How Much Does WooCommerce Cost Then?
There’s no straight answer to that question. It really depends on the volume of your store and what you’re looking to do.
With every WooCommerce store, there are certain non-negotiable expenses, like domain names, hosting and payment processing fees. Then, depending on how much you want to customize, you’ll have additional expenses on top of that.
There is a lot that you can do through WooCommerce Core (without downloading any extensions), but if you want to customize your store more or add greater functionality, then you might have to pay a bit in order to do that.
When it comes to WooCommerce extensions, the options truly are limitless. Just be careful not to add too many extensions to your store, since doing so can slow down your store.
The advantage to WooCommerce is that you have more control over how much you pay. If you want a very basic, small store, then you can probably get by paying just $20-$25 per month, according to our Lead Web Developer, Caleb. For a more customized, high-performing store, you can expect to pay much more than that.
Want some help setting up (or maintaining) your shop? Get in touch! Before doing anything, we’ll give you a free quote and tell you exactly what the WooCommerce store of your dreams will cost you. No hidden costs….Promise.