WooCommerce fees to know in 2020
WooCommerce is a plugin that adds ecommerce functionality to WordPress websites. Both WooCommerce and WordPress are free, open-source software, so you might be wondering what WooCommerce pricing we’re referring to. In short, there are a few essential costs that you’ll have to pay before your WooCommerce site can actually go live.
How Much Does WooCommerce Cost?
It costs about $10/month to cover the basic features you’ll need to make the free WooCommerce plugin functional. Moving beyond the basics towards some bells and whistles will cost an additional $200 or so per year. For large-scale WooCommerce websites, total annual costs could be upwards of $1,000.
In order to build a fully fledged online store, you’ll need to add at least a few of these features to your WooCommerce pricing budget:
|WooCommerce Cost||Cost Estimate: Basic Site||Cost Estimate: Mid-Range Site||Cost Estimate: Advanced Site|
|Theme||Free WooCommerce theme||Free WooCommerce theme||$35-129 professional theme|
|Extensions||Transaction fees dependent on sales volume||Transaction fees dependent on sales volume||Transaction fees dependent on sales volume, plus $100-400/year for scalable features|
|Approximate Annual Total||$110||$300+||$1,500+|
Now let’s take a closer look at what each expense is, and whether you’ll need it!
Typical cost: $6.95/month | Nice or necessary? Necessary
The first, and most important, WooCommerce cost you’ll encounter is for web hosting. Every website needs a space to exist on the internet, which is what web hosts provide. Of all the associated WooCommerce fees out there, hosting is one that you just can’t avoid.
Without hosting, customers won’t be able to access your website, period! So, it’s not a matter of whether you need web hosting – just a matter of which web host you should use.
Heads Up: Introductory vs Renewal Hosting Prices
No matter which web host you choose, you’re practically guaranteed to encounter cheap introductory rates when you first sign up to a plan. These discounted prices are great, but they usually expire after a year or so, and renewal pricing will kick in. Renewal rates are often a lot more expensive than introductory rates!
Which web host should you choose?
We know firsthand that there are a ton of hosts to choose from – we’ve researched and ranked the eight best WordPress hosting providers out there – and we recommend Bluehost as the best option. We’re not alone in that conclusion, either: Bluehost is also recommended by WordPress itself.
Bluehost scored 4.6 out of 5 in the “value for money” category of our hosting research. Specifically, you’ll get the best value for money from Bluehost’s tailored WooCommerce hosting plan, which comes in three different pricing tiers: Starter, Plus, and Pro. The best pricing tier for you will depend on the scale of your WooCommerce store, but here’s a quick comparison:
|Introductory Price||Renewal Price (after one year)|
While it’s fairly simple to install WooCommerce yourself, Bluehost’s WooCommerce plans are convenient because they come with all of the software and the dynamic Storefront Theme pre installed already. Bluehost also offers a 30 day money-back guarantee, so you can try out a WooCommerce plan completely risk-free.
Typical cost: $10-20/year | Nice or necessary: Necessary
Registering a domain with your hosting provider
A domain name is another essential WooCommerce cost, and there are two different ways to buy one. Some hosting providers, including Bluehost, offer a free domain name for the first year of your hosting plan, which you can register when you sign up for your hosting. After the first year, you’ll have to renew your domain annually at a regular price, which typically ranges from $10-20/year depending on the domain name extension (.com, .org, .us…) that you choose.
If this option is available to you, we recommend it: not only will you save money in your first year, but you’ll also enjoy the convenience of managing your web hosting and domain registration in one place.
Registering a domain with a registrar
If your hosting provider doesn’t offer free domain registration, or if you’d just rather keep the two separate, then you’ll need to purchase your domain name through a domain name registrar like Domain.com or Namecheap. Some hosting providers also function separately as domain name registrars – meaning you could purchase a domain name through one provider, and still host your site with another.
Just like hosting providers, domain registrars also have first-year introductory prices that increase upon renewal. Check out this cost comparison for a few of the most popular domain name extensions:
|Registrar||Introductory Price||Renewal Price||Introductory Price||Renewal Price|
Heads Up: Pre-registered Domain Names
There is one exception to the domain name pricing outlined above. If someone already has the domain name you want, then they may try to sell it to you for an exorbitant price (pre-registered domain names often sell for thousands of dollars!).
If you’re dead-set on a domain name that’s already taken, then this could be an unexpected expense. But in most cases, it makes more sense to search for a different domain name that hasn’t been registered already!
Typical cost: $0-129 | Nice or necessary: Necessary
Every online store needs a theme, and there are plenty of free WooCommerce templates available. In our book, the perfect starting point is WooCommerce’s own Storefront theme, which won’t cost you a dime and offers plenty of opportunity for customization.
Top Tip: How to choose a free theme
While we recommend starting with the WooCommerce Storefront theme, you don’t have to choose a theme directly from WooCommerce or WordPress! If you decide to browse the rest of the internet for a free theme, make sure you choose one that has been updated recently, and is compatible with the most recent version of WooCommerce.
If you want to scale your online store, or want to ensure that your site has the highest quality design, you may want to invest in a paid WooCommerce theme.
WooCommerce sells customized themes based on the Storefront template, meaning you can pay for a more personalized, powerful version of the basic Storefront model. These templates range from $39-129, in the form of a one time payment.
There are many reasons to consider investing in a paid theme:
- Better customization means your store will stand out from the crowd and align better with your branding
- Increased functionality makes it easier to grow your online store
- Customer service for paid themes is more personalized
Typical cost: transaction fees + $0-360/year | Nice or necessary: Necessary
Extensions (also called add-ons) are additional, WooCommerce-specific features that you can add to your site, such as payment and shipping options. These are invaluable additions to an online store, so we’re going to explain the different costs associated with payment, shipping, and sales extensions below.
WooCommerce integrates with all of the major payment gateway options out there – meaning your online store can accept payments through PayPal, Stripe, or whatever your preference may be.
However, each payment gateway varies in cost, and usually charges a recurring monthly fee and/or a standard transaction fee.
WooCommerce Payments – $0/month + transaction fees
The easiest option is WooCommerce Payments, which charges no monthly fees. The transaction fee costs you 2.9% + 30¢ for every purchase made with a US credit or debit card, and is carried out completely onsite. There is an additional 1% fee for international cards.
PayPal – $30/month + transaction fees
PayPal is another popular option. If you choose a basic PayPal account, you won’t have to pay a monthly fee – just a transaction fee of 2.9% + 30¢ for every purchase. However, your customers can’t pay directly on your WooCommerce website – they’ll have to be directed to the PayPal site to complete their purchase.
If you upgrade to a PayPal Pro account, customers will be able to stay on your site to complete their purchase. But you’ll have to pay $30 per month in addition to the transaction fee.
Automated tax calculations and live shipping rates from leading carriers are built into the WooCommerce dashboard for free. Plus, WooCommerce Shipping is a free extension that allows you to print shipping labels at home from your WooCommerce dashboard.
So what shipping extensions will you have to pay for?
WooCommerce offers hundreds of different shipping extensions, ranging in price from $0-299/year. Here are a few that we think are the most useful:
- Table Rate Shipping – $99/year: Define multiple shipping rates based on location, price, weight, or item count.
- Distance Rate Shipping – $79/year: Offer shipping rates based on distance or total travel time, with the option to charge extra based on the weight or number of items in a cart.
- Shipment Tracking – $49/year: Enable customers to track their shipments with ease.
WooCommerce offers a wide range of extensions to help you sell in specific ways:
- WooCommerce Bookings – $249/year: Let your customers book reservations, appointments, or rentals on their own time, no phone calls required. Your digital calendar will fill up accordingly.
- WooCommerce Pre-Orders – $129/year: Allow customers to order products before they’re available, and charge either up front or upon release.
- WooCommerce Subscriptions – $199/year: Offer subscription-based products with recurring payments, so that you can better track and manage your revenue.
Each of these sales extensions (and the many more available) can bring even more professionalism to your online store.
All of the above WooCommerce extensions come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Typical cost: $0-129/year | Nice or necessary: Nice
Plugins are essentially more general, less essential extensions. Plugins are optional features and functionalities you can add to make your WooCommerce store more engaging for customers.
There are hundreds of different free and paid plugins to choose from, which means a limitless amount of customizable features for your online store. To give you the gist, we’ve selected some of our favorite plugins across different ecommerce categories to discuss below.
The Google Analytics plugin is free to use on your site, and it offers a wealth of marketing insights to help you plan your next move. You can track the flow of users from product page to cart checkout, learn what channels drive the most traffic, and exclude visits from site administrators to get a more accurate sense of customer data. All you need is a free Google Analytics account to use this plugin, and the benefits are invaluable!
AutomateWoo takes care of multiple marketing functions for you, and costs $99/year. For that price, you’ll be able to automate and customize abandoned cart emails, birthday emails, follow-up emails with tailored product suggestions, and SMS notifications for your customers.
The WooCommerce Points and Rewards plugin costs $129/year, and lets you reward customer purchases with points that are redeemable for discounts. You can easily set the number of points customers will earn for each dollar spent, and control how many points can be redeemed for a specific discount amount. You can also award points for actions like signing up or writing a customer review.
As far as search engine optimization, or SEO, goes, the Yoast plugin is top of the market. For $69/year, you’ll get all the tools you need to help your product pages climb the Google results and drive more traffic to your store.
This free plugin lets you run a fully multilingual WooCommerce site by translating all WooCommerce products, keeping the same language through the checkout process, and sending emails to clients in their own language.
The Booster plugin offers more than 100 modules to enhance your site, all wrapped into one free package. Features include the ability to add all world currencies to your store, automatic currency exchange rates, and the ability to add a global discount to all products.
The free Custom Product Tabs plugin is simple, but it massively improves the customer experience. You can add tabs to individual product pages, and within each tab you can place text, images, and HTML. You can also save certain tabs and add them to multiple products as needed.
WooCommerce Customizer is a free plugin that helps you save time and avoid headaches while customizing your store. Tasks like customizing button text and labels usually mean having to write a bit of code – but the Customizer plugin makes small tweaks a lot easier by providing a settings page where you can add your customizations and save them, all without writing even a line of code.
For $49/year, the Checkout Field Editor gives you an easy way to add, edit, and remove fields shown on your WooCommerce checkout page. The editor supports several types of custom fields, like checkboxes and datepickers, while core fields can also be moved around without any coding.
Typical cost: $0-300/year | Nice or necessary: Necessary
The most basic (and important) security feature for any ecommerce store is a secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate, which encrypts the data that flows between a customer’s computer and your website. Customers can tell if a website has an SSL certificate, because the URL will start with ‘https’ and display with a padlock icon in the navigation bar.
SSL certificates are especially important for ecommerce sites, since customers will be hesitant to provide payment information to a website without these trust signals.
Basic SSL certificates are often included free in web hosting plans (indeed, all of Bluehost’s plans include free SSL security). If your hosting provider doesn’t offer it, you can install a basic SSL certificate for free through Let’s Encrypt.
That said, ecommerce sites generally need more protection than what a free SSL can provide, because you’ll be handling customers’ payment details. You can purchase more advanced SSL packages through vendors like Namecheap and through most hosting providers for $7-150/year, depending on the features you need.
SSL certificates are the logical starting place for securing a website. But if you want to go the extra mile, you can look into anti-malware tools like SiteLock. Some web hosts even offer deals on this type of protection. If you sign up for SiteLock through Bluehost, for example, the basic version is billed at just $23.88/year.
For the ultimate anti-malware protection, you can sign up to one of SiteLock’s prepackaged Business plans, which range from $149.99 to $499.99/year.
SiteLock’s cheapest Business package provides automatic malware removal and automatic threat detection. Its priciest plan includes both features, plus:
- Google blacklist monitoring
- File-level scanning
- Plugin scanning
- Weekly scan report
- XSS scripting protection
- SQL injection protection
Typical cost: $1,000-6,000 | Nice or necessary: Nice
If you’re running a small or midsize WooCommerce store, you won’t need to bother bringing in a web developer. While developers are capable of handling the nitty-gritty tech stuff to bring your site’s design and functionality to the next level, their services come at a steep price – and the benefits don’t really outweigh the cost unless your online store is fairly large or looking to scale!
If you are a larger site wanting to outsource the work to a developer, it will cost around $1,000 to $6,000 depending on the project, or an hourly rate of $60-150. WooCommerce provides a catalogue of verified WooExperts, so you can be sure the developer you choose is fully prepared to work on a WooCommerce website.
Hidden Cost: Time
Okay, so “time” technically isn’t a WooCommerce cost – but it’s worth keeping in mind that the WordPress and WooCommerce platforms do require some tech skills and a significant time investment! If you’d prefer to start selling online with less hassle, consider using an ecommerce website builder like Shopify or BigCommerce instead. These platforms take care of hosting, web design, and most other features for you.
The WooCommerce plugin itself is free, but it can’t get off of the ground without a hosting plan and a domain name. Once those basics are covered, it’s pretty much up to you how much you’d like to spend on your WooCommerce store – tons of optional add-ons mean there’s enough flexibility for any budget.
Let’s recap the potential WooCommerce costs:
|Necessary or Nice:||Low WooCommerce Pricing Range:||High WooCommerce Pricing Range:|
|Theme||Necessary||Free WooCommerce theme||$35-129 professional theme|
|Extensions||Necessary||Transaction fees dependent on sales volume||Transaction fees dependent on sales volume, plus $100-400/year for scalable features|
…and now, you’re ready to build your own budget!
Open-source software, such as WordPress and WooCommerce, is a type of software in which the source code is released under a license that gives anyone the right to use and edit it.
Most of the WooCommerce support available is through WooCommerce Docs, which offers community forums and tutorials on just about any topic. You can also contact the WooCommerce team by filling out a support ticket form on the website.
Whether or not you know how to code, you’ll be able to customize the Storefront theme a great deal. If you can code, then the opportunities are endless. And if you can’t, then the free WooCommerce Customizer plugin will allow you to make edits without any coding.
Yes, you can review demo versions of paid themes before purchasing one. WooCommerce also provides a 30-day money-back guarantee after you purchase a theme.
WooCommerce does not offer trials for plugins or extensions, but a 30-day money-back guarantee always applies.