Is WooCommerce Free? Does it have any additional costs?
WooCommerce is thought to have the greatest market share of any shopping cart in the world, owing to the fact that it is built on top of the world’s most popular website builder - WordPress, and is also “free” to use.
Is WooCommerce, however, really free? Does it have any additional costs?
As a result, in today’s post, we’ll dissect these expenditures and provide a realistic estimate of how much it costs to run a simple WooCommerce store.
Let’s get started!
Is WooCommerce Free?
To begin with, WooCommerce is a free open source software plugin that is built on top of WordPress, the world’s most popular free content management system. So, the base software is, in essence, free.
While this can result in significant savings, there are still certain fees associated with launching a new store when it comes to WooCommerce pricing.
For example, a domain name (about $12 per year) and hosting service ($5-$25 per month) are required. Additional charges for WooCommerce include a theme ($59), plugins and extensions (from $25 per), and development fees ($20-$150/hour).
To sum up, WooCommerce itself is free and brings you full control over what you spend. In order to run your WooCommerce store, you need to pay several hidden costs, including hosting, domain name, themes, extensions, plugins, security, developer fees.
7 Major WooCommerce additional costs
In this part, we’ll look at seven additional expenses in further detail. It’s crucial to keep in mind that you might not need all of the features mentioned in this post, so the WooCommerce cost may vary, but it will give you a big picture of the entire cost of running an actual business.
The first and most essential WooCommerce expense you’ll encounter is for web hosting. Every website needs a space on the internet to operate, which is what web hosts supply. Hosting is the WooCommerce expense that you just cannot avoid.
Customers will not be able to view your website if it is not hosted. So it’s not a question of whether you need web hosting; it’s a question of which web host you should use.
There are multiple hosts to choose from, such as Bluehost, GreenGeeks, DreamHost, A2 Hosting, Hostinger, GoDaddy, HostGator, SiteGround. However, Bluehost is considered to be the best option and even recommended by WordPress itself.
When selecting a host, you should consider a variety of factors, including:
- How many websites are hosted on your server? When using a shared hosting plan, resources are shared across all of the websites on the same server. Too many sites can stymie performance, especially during busy hours.
- Is the customer service satisfactory? Are the customer care representatives accessible to assist you 24 hours a day, seven days a week? Consider the various support options (phone calls, live chat, forums, etc) and if they charge a support fee.
- What security features are available? Look for features such as automated backups, virus protection, and email spam filters.
- What is the uptime of the server? Uptime is the proportion of time that servers (and your website) are operational. You want to achieve the highest possible percentage.
- How does the host perform in terms of speed? Your host is the foundation of a fast website. Read customer reviews to learn from their mistakes, and look for SSD servers and high-level resource allocation (like RAM and CPU).
- Are you able to scale easily? Make sure you can increase your hosting plan without having to migrate as your site expands.
Hosting can cost as low as $3.95 per month or as much as $5,000 per month, but the typical cost is around $6.95 per month. Most providers provide a free or low-cost trial period, followed by discounts if you purchase hosting services for two or more years.
2. Domain name
Another crucial WooCommerce expense is a domain name. A professional online store should have a professional domain name such as .com, .net, .co.uk. There are two options for purchasing one domain name: Purchasing a domain from your hosting provider; Purchasing a domain from a registrar.
When purchasing from your hosting provider, not only will you save money in the first year, but you’ll also enjoy the convenience of controlling your web hosting and domain registration in one location.
Some hosting companies, such as Bluehost, include a free domain name for the first year of your hosting plan, which you can register when you join up. After the first year, you must renew your domain at a standard fee, which generally varies from $10 to $20 per year depending on the domain name extension (.com,.org,.us…).
If your hosting company does not provide free domain registration, or if you choose to keep the two separate, you could purchase your domain name from a domain name registrar such as Domain.com or Namecheap. Some hosting companies also act as domain name registrars, which means you can buy a domain name from one company while hosting your site with another.
In general, the typical cost of a domain name is about $10-20 per year.
This is an optional cost. Every online business necessitates the use of a theme, and there are several free WooCommerce templates accessible.
Many new eCommerce businesses begin using WooCommerce’s official Storefront theme, which is both well-designed and simple. There are several accessible child themes that are particularly tailored for various sectors, and you can edit nearly everything directly from the WordPress Customizer. If you have any problems, WooCommerce offers outstanding assistance.
If you’re considering a free theme, go for one that has been well-maintained and was built by a developer with WooCommerce expertise (e.g. has been updated recently and is compatible with the latest version of WooCommerce).
Looking for a free theme is not difficult, but the quality of a theme might vary greatly. Another issue with free themes is that they do not give assistance and may have hidden backlinks that you do not want on your website. Therefore, undoubtedly, there are numerous reasons to consider investing in paid themes:
- Greater customization means that your business will stand out from the crowd and be more consistent with your identity.
- Improved functionality makes it simpler to build your online business
- More customized customer service for premium themes
WooCommerce itself sells customized Storefront themes, which means you can pay for a more personalized, advanced version of the basic Storefront design. These templates are available for a one-time fee of around $39-129.
There is also a multitude of websites that provide attractive and professional themes; just make sure it supports WooCommerce:
- WooCommerce Storefront Themes
- Astra WooCommerce Theme
All in all, the typical cost of themes is around $0-129 per year.
Extensions (also known as add-ons) are WooCommerce-specific functionality that can be added to your sites, such as payment and shipping options.
Regarding payment gateways, payment gateways allow you to take payments online in a safe and secure manner. Each one differs in terms of price and structure, and WooCommerce integrates with all of the major options.
The ideal solution is to utilize WooCommerce Payments, which lets you manage payments straight from your WooCommerce Dashboard.
There are no setup or monthly costs with WooCommerce Payments. For each transaction made using a credit or debit card issued in the United States, you pay 2.9 percent plus $0.30. There is an extra 1% fee for cards issued outside of the United States.
Another option is to use PayPal. You will not be charged a monthly fee for a basic Paypal account, but you will be charged 2.9 percent + 0.30 cents for each sale to Paypal. This will take your clients to the Paypal website, where they can pay using their PayPal account or a credit card. If you wish to take credit card payments directly on your website, you can pay an extra $30.00 per month for Paypal Pro. Two other choices are Stripe (2.9 percent and 0.30 cents per transaction with no additional costs) and Authorize.net (2.9 percent and 0.30 cents per transaction + $25/month).
As for shipping, WooCommerce offers flat-rate delivery, free shipping, and local pickup.
The WooCommerce Shipping extension is a free solution that links to USPS and enables you to print shipping labels directly from your WordPress dashboard while saving money.
If you want more complex options, choose Table Rate Shipping ($99), ShipStation Integration (beginning at $9/month), and Distance Rate Shipping ($79).
Therefore, shipping extensions cost around $0 – $108 per year on average. Payment gateway extensions cost about 2.9% + .30 cents per sale plus a monthly fee of $0 – $30 per month on average.
Plugins are broader and less necessary additions. Plugins are optional features that you can add to your WooCommerce store to make it more appealing to consumers.
There are hundreds of free and paid plugins to select from, resulting in an infinite number of configurable features for your online business.
With regard to marketing plugins, here are some of our suggestions:
- WooCommerce Google Analytics: Free
- AutomateWoo: $99 per year
- WooCommerce Points and Rewards: $129 per year
- Yoast WooCommerce SEO: $69 per year
As for growth plugins, the WooCommerce Multilingual plugin and the Booster for WooCommerce are totally free to use.
Regarding design plugins, we suggest two free plugins, namely Custom Product Tabs and WooCommerce Customizer, and one paid plugin called Checkout Field Editor, which costs $49 per year.
In terms of security, SSL certificates and anti-malware tools are of utmost importance.
In terms of SSL certificates, basic SSL certificates are frequently offered for free in web hosting plans (in fact, Bluehost’s plans all include free SSL security). If your hosting provider does not offer it, you can get a free basic SSL certificate through Let’s Encrypt.
However, because you will be handling consumers’ financial information, e-commerce sites typically require greater security than what a free SSL can give. More sophisticated SSL solutions are available for $7-150 per year from providers such as Namecheap and most hosting providers, depending on the functionality you want.
SSL certificates are the natural place to begin when it comes to website security. However, if you want to go the extra mile, you should consider anti-malware tools such as SiteLock. Some site providers even provide discounts on this sort of security. When you sign up for SiteLock with Bluehost, for example, the basic version costs only $23.88 per year.
Sign up for one of SiteLock’s prepackaged Business plans, which run from $149.99 to $499.99 per year, for the best anti-malware security.
7. Developer fees
There will come a time when you will need to seek assistance. Typical causes include technical problems or the requirement for new functionality. Perhaps you already know someone, but here are some sources where you can find experts:
You might be able to employ developers on an hourly basis to help with aspects of your site that are outside of your area of expertise. Developers’ hourly rates will range from $10 to $100 or more. Alternatively, you may need to hire a developer to design and create your complete site from the ground up. This may also vary, but it might cost anywhere from $1,000 and $15,000.
Last but not least, there is the hidden cost of time. Although time is not exactly a WooCommerce expense, it is important to remember that the WordPress and WooCommerce platforms do need some technical knowledge as well as a substantial time investment.
Instead, if you want to start selling online with minimal effort, try utilizing an e-commerce website builder like Shopify or BigCommerce. These systems handle hosting, site design, and the majority of other services for you.
To conclude, the WooCommerce plugin is free, however, it cannot function without a hosting plan and a domain name. Once you’ve covered the fundamentals, it’s pretty much up to you how much money you want to spend on your WooCommerce store.
Here is a recap of the possible WooCommerce costs:
|Major additional expenses||Price|
|Hosting||$3.95 - $5,000 per month|
|Domain name||$10 - $20 per year|
|Themes||$0- $129 per year|
|Extensions||Transaction fees + $0 - $360 per year|
|Plugins||$0 - $129 per year|
|Security||$0 - $300 per year|
|Developer fees||$1,000 - $15,000|