How To Set Up WooCommerce: A Step-By-Step Guide
For the last couple of decades, online shopping has grown at a mind-blowing rate with the help of technological development. In 2019, total eCommerce sales worldwide reached 3.5 trillion US Dollars, accounting for 14.1% of total retail sales. E-commerce platforms’ continuous development in terms of functionality and flexibility is one of the main factors contributing to such an impressive amount. Currently, WooCommerce is the platform that makes up 25% of all websites using eCommerce technologies on the entire internet.
WooCommerce is one of the most powerful open-source platforms on the market at the moment. Basically, it’s an eCommerce plug-in for Wordpress websites. Unlike hosted platforms, WooCommerce’s source code is all free to download, install and edit.
In this article, we will show you how to install WooCommerce and build a store from scratch!
Even if you’re new to the game and the term “build a website” sends shivers down your spine, don’t worry! This guide targets all those who need help building a store, especially beginners.
Let’s have a quick look at the outline to get an idea of how to install WooCommerce!
How to set up a WooCommerce store
Managing a WooCommerce store involves a certain amount of coding. This is what you have to bear with in exchange for endless customizability and functionality of your store.
As a result, to set up WooCommerce, you cannot avoid having to deal with some technical stuff.
Without further ado, let’s get straight into 5 steps to set up WooCommerce!
Step 1: Choose hosting
First of all, in order to build a WooCommerce website, you need to get yourself a host. It is a place for you to store all of the data on your website. Choosing the right hosting provider is a matter of great importance because your store will benefit a lot from the most suitable one.
There are several options you can choose from, namely Bluehost and SiteGround. Both of them are WooCommerce partners and are recommended by Wordpress. Let’s have a quick overview of each one to help you make a decision.
If your business is still in its early days when the budget is not that big and you are not expecting loads of traffic to your site, Bluehost is a safe option. The hosting company offers a shared hosting plan starting at $2.95/month, with a free domain name included. Other than that, you also get Wordpress one-click installation, FTP, SSL Certificates and 24/7 support via email, phone and live chat.
Having been around since 2001, A2 Hosting brands themselves as a developer-friendly hosting provider. Apart from the most basic tools for a fast and secure website, the hosting provider is also famous for its variety of features. Some of the features that make A2 Hosting stand out are built-in server-side caching, staging areas and speed optimization plugins for CMSs. If you are a developer who is looking for a medium-priced hosting plan with a decent range of attributes, A2 Hosting is definitely an ideal option for you!
This name is among the top used and rated hosting providers in the Wordpress community. It is mostly well-known for security and speed. Additionally, the SiteGround support team also does a very good job making the company stand out from dozens of other competitors, as they provide the best 24/7 support service to customers.
Other than that, SiteGround offers all the functions to maximize the performance of a Wordpress site, including free SSL, automatic upgrades, built-in WP caching, CDN, one-click staging and GIT version control.
These are just two of the most outstanding names in the industry. There are also other decent options that you can choose from, namely Pressable, Dreamhost or WP Engine, or even Wordpress.com itself, all of which are recommended by community members. An important thing to keep in mind is that you should choose a domain name that best represents your brand, and an SSL certificate is always needed!
Step 2: Download Wordpress
If you have followed our advice and chosen your hosting provider, the next step to set up WooCommerce is installing WordPress. With 1-click installation integrated into many hosting services, the process isn’t as much of a big deal as it was before.
For example, if you decide to go for Bluehost, the system will automatically install Wordpress when you create an account. If you already passed the auto setup process, follow these steps to create a new Wordpress page:
- Log in to your Bluehost account, navigate to My Sites > Create site
2. Enter your site name and tagline
3. Choose the domain name and directory
4. Wait a few seconds and then click on “Login to Wordpress”
In case you already have another host for your website and want to manually install Wordpress, here are the basic instructions:
- Download and unzip the package from Wordpress.org
- Create a database for WordPress on your web server, as well as a MySQL (or MariaDB) user who has all privileges for accessing and modifying it.
3. (Optional) Find and rename wp-config-sample.php to wp-config.php, then edit the file (see Editing wp-config.php) and add your database information. Note: If you are not comfortable with renaming files, step 3 is optional and you can skip it as the install program will create the wp-config.php file for you.
4. Upload the WordPress files to the desired location on your web server:
- If you want to integrate WordPress into the root of your domain (e.g. http://example.com/), move or upload all contents of the unzipped WordPress directory (excluding the WordPress directory itself) into the root directory of your web server.
- If you want to have your WordPress installation in its own subdirectory on your website (e.g. http://example.com/blog/), create the blog directory on your server and upload the contents of the unzipped WordPress package to the directory via FTP.
- Note: Make sure to disable the option to convert file names to lowercase, .
5. Run the WordPress installation script by accessing the URL in a web browser. This should be the URL where you uploaded the WordPress files.
For more details about manual installation, please refer to Wordpress official guide. There should be no big problems if you follow their step-by-step instructions.
If you’re moving to WooCommerce from another platfrom, you can consider our All-In-One migration package. With the package, our experts will perform the migration for you from A to Z, which means we will set up WooCommerce for you!
Step 3: Install WooCommerce plugin
Now that you’ve got a Wordpress website, let’s look at how to install WooCommerce! There are several ways to do this, but we will, of course, go for the easiest one. From your website dashboard, navigate to Plugins > Add new.
Then, navigate to the search bar and type “WooCommerce”. You should see the plugin appear right at the first result. Click on “Install now” and wait for a few seconds. After that, click on “Activate” to turn on the plugin.
After activating the plugin, you will be directed to WooCommerce’s setup wizard.
There you will need to enter some information in order to configure your store. You can see there are different steps including Store details, Industry, Product Types, Business Details and Theme.
1. Fill in store details
Here you will provide your store location and whether you’re setting up a store for a client. This information is really important as it provides a foundation for further tax and shipping configurations.
2. Select your industry
Now select the industry (can be more than one) that your store operates in and you’re ready for step 3!
3. Select product types
This is the step where you identify the product types you plan to sell with WooCommerce. The option to sell physical and downloadable products will be free of charge. Selling other types of products requires an amount of money and WooCommerce will charge you anually for this. If you’re not sure, just click on “Learn more” for more information about each type.
4. Fill in business details
Here you will provide WooCommerce with more information about your business. Your choices will affect your user experience as WooCommerce will adjust some details according to your needs.
WooCommerce will also offer some useful marketing options. You can certainly deactivate the services later if you don’t want to use them any more.
5. Choose a theme
Deciding how your store will appear to your customers is a must when you set up WooCommerce . While the unsettling importance of your store’s appearance shouldn’t be overlooked, it’s completely fine if you still have no ideas for now. WooCommerce offers a few themes designed for eCommerce that helps you make an easy start.
You can always change your theme later on if you decide to invest time and money in giving your site a professional look (which you probably should). As there are thousands of sites competing in any given industry, a customized premium theme that makes a distinctive impression is never redundant. You can browse the Official WooCommerce Marketplace for a premium theme to your liking. We also picked a few of the best looking and feature-rich WooCommerce themes for you to try out yourself.
Step 4: Configure WooCommerce settings
Since your store is nicely set up, let’s configure a few other settings to make it run smoothly before adding the first products.
From your dashboard go to WooCommerce > Settings. You should see a number of tabs on the page.
Also, hover your mouse on the question marks beside the settings for explanation before you make a change.
In the General tab, you should see some settings that were configured in the setup wizard. Other than that, here you will be able to:
- Limit the countries you’re willing to sell or ship to
- Enable tax rates and calculations
- Decide whether to use coupon codes.
- Configure currency options
Note that in the Default customer location option, enabling Geolocate can potentially decrease your loading speed as you’re relying on data from a 3rd party.
The Products tab consists of 3 sections: General, Inventory and Downloadable products. In the General tab, you will see Shop pages, Measurements and Reviews configuration options. The Inventory section is where you activate stock management and set up low stock alerts. Lastly, the Downloadable products section lets you configure your download settings.
Next, the Tax tab is also divided into many other sections as seen from the image below. Each section lets you configure a corresponding type of tax rates. Note that the tax section is only visible if you enable tax rates and calculations in the General tab. For detailed explanation, you can refer to WooCommerce’s guide on setting up taxes.
Moving on, the Shipping settings are only necessary if you sell physical products.
The first section is Shipping zones. Here you can add geographical areas to which you ship your items, methods for each zone and rates for each method. You can add multiple zones and even multiple shipping methods and rates for each zone.
The Shipping options lets you decide whether to show the Shipping calculator. You can also choose to ship to the billing address or customer shipping address by default or only ship to the user’s billing address.
Lastly, the Shipping classes section lets you group products of similar type and provide different rates to different classes of product.
You can configure your payment methods in the Payments tab. This is where you choose which payment gateways to enable and show to your customers on the checkout. Clicking on any gateway will take you directly to its setup screen, where you can adjust its title, description and instruction. You can read more about free and premium payment gateways for WooCommerce on WooCommerce Docs site.
Step 5: Add products and start selling
After having your store set up and ready, it’s time to add your first products and launch your business. In order to do this, navigate to Products > Add new from your dashboard.
Give your product a name and then add a description in the section below. The description should include everything your customers need to know about your products. Make it interesting!
1. Adding categories, tags & images
Now look to the right, you should see a section called Product categories. As you can see, here I’ve added a few categories already.
Since you’re just getting started, click on “+ Add new category” to add one. Categories will help you group your products, and help customers browse your store with ease.
Right below the Product categories section is where you can add tags and images for your product. Tags help your customers filter products and quickly locate ones that suit their style.
In the Product image section, add the image that you think most suitable as this will be the main image displayed on the shop page. You can add several more in the Product gallery section right below.
2. Adding product data
After you’re done, scroll down just a little bit to access the Product data section. This is where you will add the most important information about your products, including prices, SKUs, Shipping information and so on. Make sure to go through every single tab of the section and fill in all required information.
The last thing to do is go over all the information you’ve just added. When you’re sure you’ve got everything right, it’s time to publish your first product! Look at the top right corner of the page, you should see the Publish section. Click on the Publish button to make your product live on your site.
To expand your business, bringing your store to some social media is one of the best solutions. The good new is this can be easily done with some social network plugins. Remember to add these to improve your store.
That’s it! Repeat the steps above to add other products to your store. It’s not hard at all once you’ve got the hang of it. After adding a number of products, remember to look for more options to customize your themes again and create eye-catching shop pages. You might want to hide the Woocommerce category, set the number of products per page, and so on to make your shop page easier to use and manage.
Why WooCommerce can be your game changer
After you set up WooCommerce, it may take you a bit more time to get used to how things works, but the final result is always worth it. There are a lot of reasons why WooCommerce is the perfect choice if you’re serious about selling online and want to make your store as much of a revenue generator as it can be.
Being the platform with the biggest number of users, WooCommerce gives access to more than 400 extensions. You can browse for payment gateways, SEO, shipping and marketing extensions and so on. Moreover, the platform also made a big leap forward with the release of WooCommerce 4.0 on March 6, 2020 including many useful features to help you grow your business.
Remember that whenever you’re stuck, you can always go to the WooCommerce forum on Wordpress site, or contact WooExperts. Even though you can’t really get help from the WooCommerce team via phone or email, the user community is so large and active that you can solve most of your problems there. Additionally, WooCommerce gives you access to a lot of self-help options, namely FAQs, Docs and Blog. However, be sure to know the differences between problems regarding WooCommerce and Wordpress so as to look for help at the right place!
If you want to know more about what WooCommerce has against its competitors, we have gathered all of the biggest names in the industry. Follow the link to find out more about WooCommerce strengths as well as other alternative solutions!
We’re glad our tutorial has made things easier for you to set up WooCommerce. In case you’re currently running a store on another platform, the good news is our WooCommerce migration service can help you make the process a lot faster!
With our automated migration tool, you won’t have to manually import data from your current store to WooCommerce. Instead, all you need to do is fill in basic information about your stores and all of your data including products, orders and customers will be automatically migrated to your new store.
Want to know more about our reliablility? We’re happy to tell you that we score a solid 4.8 out of 5 stars with 264 reviews on Trustpilot at the time of writing. Additionally, with 96% of users satisfied with our service according to Financesonline and a lot of positive reviews on Youtube, we can ensure that our service is worth every penny of yours!
If you still need anything, we’re here to help! Our support team is available 24/7, and you just need to Contact us!