Starting an online shop has become as easy as starting a blog website. The tools and technology have evolved to a point where all you need is an idea for a product, and you could start an online store in a day.
You still have to deal with legalities, such as sorting out a business entity, but even this aspect of online selling is becoming easier by the day.
For first-time digital sellers, the harder part is going to be deciding which eCommerce platform to use. There are so many available on the market today that it can be confusing to understand what makes each one different.
WooCommerce – which is integrated directly with WordPress – has been around for a decade and has proven to be one of the most reliable eCommerce platforms in the world. It easily competes with platforms like Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, or Weebly. And here’s why.
One of the reasons why WooCommerce is so popular amongst online sellers is that it’s completely free to use. Just like WordPress, which is the backbone of this eCommerce platform. Other than your hosting costs, running both WordPress and WooCommerce is completely free.
Sure, there are external costs associated, such as website hosting and a credit card payment processor – but these costs remain relatively low even by modern standards.
A business plan from Shopify will set you back roughly $79 per month, with half the amount of flexibility that WooCommerce provides.
Last but not least, WooCommerce supports third-party plugins, much like WordPress itself. This means you can get hundreds of free WooCommerce extensions from the official plugins repository.
You can choose from all-in-one plugins like Jetpack, which drastically improve your site security and protection. And you can go with something like Booster – a plugin that adds more than 100 marketing tools for you to use to promote your newly created online store.
There’s also an official Extensions store from WooCommerce – a lot of the plugins listed in this store aren’t free, but might provide a much deeper layer of customization for your online shop.
How to start your online shop?
Okay, now you know a little bit more about WooCommerce and why it might be a solid choice for your first online shop. So, how do you actually go about starting your online shop using WooCommerce?
One of the reasons why WordPress is so popular is because it’s simple. There are no extra “knobs” or “tasks” you need to complete in order to start a website, and the same applies to WooCommerce. There are two things you’re going to need to get started:
- A website hosting account.
- An active WordPress installation.
Fortunately, this article is all about that. The nice part about choosing a WooCommerce hosting platform is that you’ll have very little technical management to do.
The WooCommerce hosting companies listed in this article provide both a hosting account and an active installation of WooCommerce. Furthermore, you’re going to have access to a reliable support system where you can ask questions or voice your concerns.
If you were to do this manually, your best resource is going to be the official WooCommerce documentation. As it stands, installing WooCommerce on an existing WordPress site can be done within a few clicks. See here:
All you have to do is going to Plugins -> Add New and search for WooCommerce. Afterward, you can follow the installation instructions and take it from there. Either way, let’s take a closer look at the options you have for managed WooCommerce hosting!
Nexcess is a family brand of LiquidWeb – a hosting brand that has been around since the early days of the Web. LiquidWeb is known to have WordPress professionals such as Chris Lema on their side, so you’re in good hands right off the bat.
One of the things that Nexcess does extremely well is the integration with external tools and platforms. At the end of the day, you’re going to need extra tools to help you make extra sales.
And, on top of that, you’re also getting a managed hosting experience. This means that whenever you have a question or need help with something – there’s always going to be at least one support person to give you a helping hand.
As a beginner, you’re going to want to start with the Starter plan. The final price for an annual subscription rounds up to about $190 per year. This gives you 30GB of storage space, 500 orders per hour, and more than 3TB of monthly bandwidth. These are ideal specifications for any new online store.
And, in addition, the Starter plan is supplemented with the following tools and plugins:
- AffiliateWP + Direct Link Tracking
- WP101 WooCommerce Tutorials
- Image compression (via Jetpack Free)
- Astra Pro
- Image lazy loading (via Jetpack Free)
- PDF Invoices & Packing Slips WooCommerce extension
- WP All Import Pro for WooCommerce
- Stripe Payment Gateway
- iThemes Security Pro
An important feature offered by Nexcess is its Sales Performance Monitor. This feature keeps track of your past sales performance, uses various models to predict future sales, and alerts you in case of variance.
To use this feature, you need to activate the WooCommerce Sales Performance Monitor on your dashboard.
You’ll have access to all of these once you finalize signing up. Additional plans (Creator, Standard, Growth, Enterprise) include even more such tools and plugins. Overall, Nexcess caters to both beginners and experienced sellers alike. You’ll have everything necessary to start your online store from day one.
Kinsta is somewhat of a jack of all trades when it comes to hosting solutions. Their hosting services stretch from premium personal hosting to more intricate solutions such as high-performance WooCommerce hosting.
On the upper echelons of WooCommerce stores, you’re dealing with a lot of requests and data processing, which means that the capabilities of your hosting provider are more important than ever.
This is where hosting providers like Kinsta shine through the most.
Let’s look at some of the reasons for choosing a high-performance hosting provider:
Studies continuously show that a slow eCommerce store is the number one reason for poor sales performance. Sometimes, it’s to do with poorly optimized images, and other times it’s to do with poor server performance from your hosting provider. In this regard, Kinsta offers tools and the guarantee that your WooCommerce shop will always function to the tee.
The Starter plan is roughly $35 per month, and this includes everything from setting up your WooCommerce store to SSL certificates to state-of-the-art security features. You can gradually upgrade your plan as your store grows in popularity and resource demand.
Cloudways strikes a neat balance between affordability and excellent functionality for managed WooCommerce hosting. Highly optimized for performance and scalability, WooCommerce websites hosted on Cloudways experience the shortest page load times.
Despite those intense lightning speeds, it remains a cost-effective solution, thanks to its Pay-As-You-Go model that only charges you for the resources you’ve consumed. (It comes with a free 3-day trial and with an e-commerce bundle, too!) And it’s only too easy to set up and launch a server on Cloudways.
The intuitive Platform’s mantra can be summed up thus: click and go. Meaning even users without the faintest grasp of technicalities like coding can maneuver their apps and websites with ease.
Or instead of setting up anew, you might want to migrate an existing application to the site. Not a problem – Cloudways engineers can do it safely for you without the application going offline. And the first migration is free!
Once you’re on the Platform itself, you can quickly take advantage of some of its exciting benefits:
- Optimized Performance: Cloudways’ own custom stack includes NGINX, Apache, MySQL/MariaDB, and PHP-FPM, and boosts performance even during high traffic. The Breeze plugin comes pre-installed on WooCommerce stores to further amplify caching, which is already strengthened through built-in tools like Memcached, Varnish, and Redis.
- Iron-clad Security: Cloudways takes security extremely seriously, as exhibited by its dedicated firewalls against unauthorized logins, free SSL Certificates courtesy of Let’s Encrypt, IP whitelisting, and more. Additionally, if you’re operating more than one WooCommerce store, they’ll all be hosted in isolation on the same server, so an attack on one will never affect the others.
- Flexibility and Scalability: Cloudways prides itself on offering freedom of choice. You can select from over 60 global data centers, and among the top 5 hosting providers in the world (DigitalOcean, Amazon Web Services, Google Compute Engine, Vultr, and Linode). And whenever your store is ready to grow, you can scale up server resources readily.
- Exceptional Support: Where Cloudways really outshines is its expert support that’s available year-round 24/7 through live chat. On average, the support staff takes 2.1 minutes to respond to an inquiry, and 30 minutes to solve and close it. Cloudways’ active community of WooCommerce experts adds to the official support, as does its Knowledge Base (a set of resources to help you resolve problems on the Platform).
Nestify lets you harness the power of Amazon Web Services to your WooCommerce store. The availability of basic to advanced hosting plans makes it equally attractive for beginners to experts.
Nestify subscriptions don’t limit you on the number of website visitors and allow building unlimited online stores.
Check this demo to see how quickly you can get started:
Besides, you get industry-leading NVMe storage and assured zero downtime while availing of its free migrations.
So how does Nestify stacks against its competition?
First, you get complete transparency in terms of the critical resources (CPU, RAM, etc.). Next, you have a free premium CDN making your store truly international without slow loading times.
Additionally, you have free SSL, 24×7 support, and daily & on-demand backups.
Finally, you can try Nestify with their no-credit card, 7-day free trial, and subsequently enjoy a risk-free 60-day money-back guarantee.
SiteGround is one of the oldest hosting companies still operating since the early days of the Web. And their success spreads throughout many different categories and hosting choices.
When it comes to WordPress specifically, SiteGround is both an active Theme and Plugin developer as well as a reliable WordPress hosting provider. Their expertise is not limited to one area, which makes them a safe choice, especially for WooCommerce needs.
Getting started with SiteGround is easy. You can choose from starting your hosting plan fresh, which, for the most part, is covered by an automated installation process. Alternatively, you can migrate an existing WooCommerce website to SiteGround and take advantage of the many unique features that this provider has to offer.
Here are some of those features:
- Daily Backups. Create a copy of your existing website each day to ensure that in times of need, you’ll be able to reinstate your store instantly.
- AI-based Spam Protection. SiteGround employs modern Artificial Intelligence technologies to ensure that your online store remains free of spam and malicious robots.
- Automated Updates. SiteGround takes care of automatically updating your WordPress & WooCommerce installations to prevent you from falling behind the curve. This also includes the protection from breaking your site unintentionally.
- Free SSL Certificate. Ensure that attackers with malicious intent can’t get past your security with a free SSL certification—courtesy of LetsEncrypt.
Should your WooCommerce require more resources, you’ll have the option to upgrade your plan without any downtime. Lately, SiteGround has started leveraging Google Cloud Platform which means you enjoy the low latency network for better performance worldwide.
WP Engine is one of the most secure and fast eCommerce platforms that can help you build and launch your online store with ease.
Remove the hassle for building an online store using useful features like ready-to-use themes, setup wizards, drag-and-drop provisions, and more without learning to code. All these benefits enable you to add your products and content easily, even if you are a beginner.
In addition to that, its instant search facility helps customers find their desired items. You can also attract more shoppers with some features like “did you mean” and autocompletes so that they can get relevant products.
Show the uniqueness of your brand by adding high-quality marketing copy for products. Educate your customers by putting out blogs for each category, and maintain and update them from time to time to grow your digital presence. They provide 3 sites in their Professional plan for your store, blog, and other use.
This incredibly fast platform is optimized for website speed, scalability, and security using industry-leading infrastructure. They automatically update your plugins and site so that you can have the latest functionalities and security patches available for your online shop.
If you have a website hosted somewhere else, you can quickly migrate your website using their automated migration plugin. Just install the plugin on the online store, verify the transfer, and move your shop instantly to the high-performing WP Engine.
You completely own your data and store and are not restricted with a single platform or vendor, unlike closed-source solutions such as Shopify, Squarespace, etc.
Some of the advanced features included here are Elasticsearch-powered Instant Store Search, Starter store quick installation, SSH access, FREE SSL certificates, user permissions and activity logs, multi-factor password authenticator, WordPress-optimized WAF, cloud CDN, 30+ StudioPress themes, Genesis framework, 1-click staging sites, and more.
WP-Engine has also started a Live Cart feature which helps in giving real-time updates to the shopping cart without affecting performance. This feature helps pages load faster and allows more concurrent users to shop by leveraging cache to keep cart prices accurate. Confidently run your Christmas and Black Friday sales with Live Cart.
WP Engine’s hosting plans start from $30/month for 1 site, 50GB bandwidth, 25k visits, and 10GB storage.
With its 20+ years of experience in the hosting space, DreamHost is one of the largest and independently owned hosting providers. It is, in fact, one of the recommended sites by WordPress.
WooCommerce and WordPress come configured with your site along with superb plugins and themes to help you get on the boat. Selling with a WooCommerce site powered by DreamHost, or rather DreamPress is fun both for you and your customers as it provides blazing-fast site performance by combining server-level caching and next-gen cloud technology.
DreamHost stores all the files on SSDs to deliver a 200% faster performance. It guarantees 100% uptime with multiple data centers located globally along with emergency generators, redundant cooling, and regular site monitoring.
DreamPress employs a secure WAF to prevent malware and other online threats. It also provides site backups to keep you future-proof in case of any disruption.
With isolated resources, your site can surpass huge traffic spikes and keep it running, always! They provide a free SSL certificate by Let’s Encrypt. It helps you establish your credibility and process payments directly from customers with added security.
Other features included are free WordPress migrations, 1-click staging, WP Website Builder, Jetpack plan, domain privacy, email accounts, SFTP access, WP-CLI, 24/7 live chat, and ticket support.
Avail the hosting at just $16.65/month. It includes 1 site, 100k visits (uncached), unmetered visits (cached), 30 GB SSD storage, and many more.
WooCart is the first company in our list that focuses exclusively on managed WooCommerce hosting. The brand was originally launched in 2017, and since then has been extremely successful in gaining traction due to the nature of the features and support that the WooCart team provides.
One of the main attractions for managed hosting is that you don’t need to do any technical maintenance yourself. In this case, if you become a WooCart customer – everything from installation to setting things up is taken care of by the WooCart support team.
You still have to manually adjust your site settings and choose a style, but most of the heavy lifting is done on your behalf. Furthermore, WooCart will help to migrate your existing WooCommerce store (if you have one) to their platform free of charge.
Among the reasons for choosing WooCart as your hosting choice, performance has to be very high on the list. And here’s why:
- WooCart uses Google Cloud as its back-end hosting service. This is a world-class server infrastructure that would otherwise have very limited access to, unless for specifically built platforms like WooCart.
- WooCart scan and check the plugins you’re using in order to detect potential performance bottlenecks. If issues are found, you can resolve them through the support team or disable the plugin entirely.
- WooCart automatically smushes (optimizes) all the photos that you add to your store. This gradually turns into a steady improvement in performance as you’re able to provide faster loading pages to your customers.
The basic Shop plan starts out at roughly $60 per month. This includes all of the above-mentioned features, with a modest limitation of around 50,000 monthly visitors. WooCart won’t disable your eCommerce shop if you go past that limit, but you will have to consider upgrading once your store grows in size and demand.
FastComet specializes in a variety of hosting solutions, including that of WordPress hosting, basic shared hosting, and of course, WooCommerce hosting. Hindsight, what draws people to FastComet, is the number of free features they provide to their customers.
- A free domain transfer from your existing domain provider, which will also include a free one-year renewal free of charge.
- Free Cloudflare CDN integration so that you can serve your website from a location nearest to your store visitors.
- Managed & 24/7 technical support, free at your disposal when you need it.
- Free migration from your existing hosting provider if you decide to make the switch to FastComet. This includes everything from your photos to product information and anything else you’re using on your existing store.
That said, it’s not just the freebies you get as to why FastComet is a popular choice. It’s also affordability. The shared hosting plans start at just $10 per month for a very modest number of resources.
You get an allowance for up to 25,000 monthly visitors, with 15GB of storage and immediate access to your account. Further, you’ll have a dedicated account dashboard with separate access to tools like cPanel, and of course, your WooCommerce dashboard.
If you’re after an entry-level budget solution, then look no further than FastComet. Their set of features and options for upgradability is top-notch!
With affordable plans and exceptional performance guaranteed, Pressable’s WooCommerce hosting utilizes the same network as WordPress.com, which is the most reliable that is out there.
It puts a lot of emphasis on security, including daily backups, brute force attacks, and malware scans, all thanks to the Jetpack premium that comes along with the hosting for free. 😉
Migration is also a breeze. You can either let the team do it for you or use the automated migration plugin to do it yourself within a quick time. If at any point in time you encounter any difficulties or doubts, their support team will be available 24/7 to help you.
Mind you, their entire team is filled with certified WordPress and WooCommerce engineers, so you don’t have to worry even a little.
Founded in 2008 and quickly became a go-to option for hosting websites, GreenGeeks now powers over 300,000 websites overall. With a stat like that, there was no way I could have left this out of the list, especially for something like WooCommerce which demands nothing less than the best performance.
It’s super-fast, eco-friendly, and comes with the latest technology, such as CDN, SSD, and PHP7 to maintain the level of sophistication for users. Moreover, it has advanced security control, automatic updates, and daily backups.
Here some of the many amazing features of their premium plan that gives you the best value:
- 4X performance boost
- Free domain name
- Free SSL certificate
- Unmetered data transfer
Picking up this hosting platform will not only give you a brilliant experience for your online shop but also a sense of contentment because it continuously makes up for the energy used by their service to keep things environment-friendly, thus the name GreenGeeks.
To top it off, it has a 24/7 expert support team to reach out to whenever you stumble upon a problem.
Managed WooCommerce Hosting: A Summary
There are plenty of choices for professional and reliable hosting providers for WooCommerce shops. In the end, it comes down to your specific needs and preferences. Each hosting provider has a unique edge or specialty that they’re able to provide to their customers. And that’s mostly what you’re going to be basing your final decision on.
This roundup of the best-managed WooCommerce hosting services covers both entry-level providers but also high-end professional services.