Have you ever wanted to start your very own online business but you lack the resources and funds? What if I told you that you can create a free eCommerce website on a free web hosting platform and starting selling online today! All it takes is 10 to 15 minutes and just 7 simple steps. From startups to small businesses right through to huge brands, there are a huge number of companies that can benefit from their own eCommerce website, where they can sell their own products or services. In today’s competitive and convenience-focused society, no longer do consumers want to venture to the high street in order to buy items, instead, consumers want to shop from their own homes, making eCommerce a flexible solution for both businesses and buyers.
How to Create a Free eCommerce Website and Start Selling Online
Start selling your products and/or services online today, quickly and completely FREE. In this guide, you will learn about how to install WordPress on your free website hosting package. You will also learn how to set up and install the Woocommerce plugin and the Woocommerce Storefront theme. You will also learn how to point your custom domain to the free web hosting provider.
Prerequisites: Items needed to create a free eCommerce website
- Custom Domain name and access to its DNS settings. (not required, but recommended for connecting directly to free web hosting)
- An active email – to sign up for the free hosting plan.
- 10 to 15 min to complete this tutorial and have your very own totally free eCommerce website.
Step 1: Sign up for free web hosting
- Sign up for free hosting.
- When signing up for free web hosting please use this link to get the full benefits from this tutorial.
- Enter your email address.
- Create and enter a password.
- Enter the name you wish to call your website.
- Press “GET FREE HOSTING“.
- Successfully answer CAPTCHA and press Verify.
Step 2: Verify Email
- Head over to your email inbox and look for a verification email. Make sure to check your junk or spam folder in case you don’t receive the email in your inbox.
- Open the verification email.
You will be greeted with a message saying “Congratulations on joint 000webhost -the best web hosting community in the world!”
- Press the text link “Click here to verify email“.
A new webpage will load notifying you that your email has been verified.
Step 3: Create your first website.
- Press the “Create your first website” button.
- Answer the following question about your new website.
- What idea encouraged you to signup for 000webhost.
- Enter a website name. (can be the same name used during sign up)
- Enter a password.
- Press the “Create” Button.
The free website builder tool gives you 3 options when creating your website.
- Build a Website Easily – create a stunning website with our East Website Builder & no technical knowledge!
- Build a WordPress Website – Create powerful & beautiful Website or blog using WordPress web software.
- Upload Own Website – Upload your own prebuilt website or files with our interactive web file manager.
For this tutorial, we will be selecting option 2, “Build WordPress Website“.
WordPress is an online, open source website creation tool written in PHP. But in non-geek speak, it’s probably the easiest and most powerful blogging and website content management system (or CMS) in existence today.
A WordPress install pop up screen will appear.
- Enter a username for your site admin.
- Enter a password for the site admin.
- Select a Url from the drop-down menu.
- Select native language for installation.
WordPress will now install on your selected URL.
Upon completion you will be greeted with this message “Congratulations, it’s ready!“.
- Press the “Go to configuration page” red button.
Step 4: Set up WordPress
- Enter the admin login credentials created prior to installing WordPress.
The WordPress Dashboard
- Learn more about WordPress Dashboard and backend services from here.
In order for our new website to have eCommerce functions, we must install the Woocommerce plugin.
- From the left navigation menu locate Plugins and hover over it until a submenu appears.
- Select the “Add New” option from the list.
Add Plugin page
- locate the search bar and search “Woocommerce“.
WooCommerce is a free eCommerce plugin that allows you to sell anything, beautifully. Built to integrate seamlessly with WordPress, WooCommerce is the world’s favorite eCommerce solution that gives both store owners and developers complete control. Businesses in the United States use WooCommerce to sell anything from luxury mattresses and cupcakes, to kayak lessons and hand-crafted jewelry – online.
- Press the “Install Now” button.
- Post-installation press “Activate” to active the newly installed plugin.
Step 5: Set up Woocommerce
Welcome to the set up Woocommerce page.
- Start by entering some basic information about your business.
- Set up can be skipped for later by pressing the “Not right now” greyed out link.
- Set up payment options
- Woocommerce out the box comes with Stripe and PayPal integration.
- Offline payments option is also available. (Cash on delivery, Checks, etc.)
- If you plan on selling physical goods enter your shipping preferences.
- Enter your metrics for product weight and product dimensions.
- Woocommerce recommends two additional plugins.
- Automated Taxes – set up automatic taxes based on zones and states.
- MailChimp – for CRM and email target campaign marketing.
Woocommerce also recommends Jetpack. Jetpack is the ultimate toolkit for WordPress. It gives you everything you need to design, secure, and grow your site in one bundle. With Jetpack, you can: Fully customize your site with free themes, image tools, and rich content.
- In order to use Jetpack, you will be asked to create a wordpress.com account. This account can also be created for free with the ability to upgrade to a paid version for additional features.
Your new Woocommerce store is ready for product creation, import and website customization.
Step 6: Install and set up the Woocommerce Storefront theme.
- In order for our newly installed Woocomerce plugin to work correctly, we need to install a Woocomerce support theme into our WordPress website.
- Click the grey button labeled “Visit Dashboard” in the YOU CAN ALSO: menu.
- From the left side menu of your WordPress dashboard locate “Appearance“
- From the popup sidebar select “Themes” from the list
- Press the “Add New” button in the Themes page.
- Search and Install the Storefront theme.
- You can use any free or premium Woocommerce theme. but for this tutorial, we will be using the stock Woocommerce Storefront theme.
- Searching Google will lead you to thousands of free and paid Woocommerce supported themes.
WooCommerce Storefront is a free, intuitive theme for WooCommerce. Woocommerce Storefront is built and maintained by WooCommerce core developers so you can rest assured the integration between WooCommerce, WooCommerce extensions, and WooCommerce Storefront is water-tight.
- Activate and set-up Woocommerce Storefront theme.
WordPress theme customizer.
- Follow these steps to install and setup Woocommerce Storefront.
After you have set up the Storefront theme your new eCommerce website is ready for you to start uploading products.
Woocommerce Storefront theme comes with demo data which you can reference when uploading your own products.
Step 7: Point your custom domain to your new eCommerce website. (Optional)
- Navigate back to your 000webhost dashboard.
- from the top toolbar select the second option “Set web address“.
- A popup will appear stating “Wow! You’re growing like crazy! Why not update?” Ignore this message by pressed the grey out link labeled “It’s Ok, I don’t mind 000webhost branding.”
- My domains page will appear.
- Select the option to use your “Own domain“.
There are two ways we can have our custom domain direct its way to 000webhosting services.
- Park Domain – Park domain to 000webhost nameservers. When you want to access your website without www.
- Point Domain – Have a domain name, but do not want to change nameservers. When you want to have full control of your DNS Zone.
- Enter your custom domain name
- For this tutorial, I will use my custom domain moneydontbuyclass.com.
- Write down the 2 DNS name servers
- Press the “Park Domain” Red button.
Head over to your domain registry and update your nameservers.
- Enter the 2 nameserver address you wrote down earlier and press update.
- In “My Domains” page you will now see your custom domain labeled as parked. Nameservers can take 24 to 48 hours to update depending on your domain hosting provider.
- The alternative to park domain is point domain. You can point a domain by updating the CNAME records within your current domain registry.
- Contact your domain registry or refer to support guides on how to update CNAME records from your domain registry.
There you go! You have successfully created a free eCommerce website with premium features on a free web hosting provider. Please leave your comments and concerns below and I will get back to everyone’s inquiries asap. This tutorial shows you how you can create a free eCommerce website completely and 100% free.
How to Create a Free eCommerce Website and Start Selling Online
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