E-commerce Website Price: Full Cost Breakdown

Table of Content

E-commerce Website Costs

How much does it cost to build an e-commerce website? Surely you don’t want to hear the run-of-the-mill “it depends” answer to this question. After all, while e-commerce website price does depend on various elements, these elements should still be quantifiable.

Below, we scrutinize the 10 most important factors directly affecting e-commerce website costs. We explain how various options increase or lower the TCO, analyze the payment processing and transaction fees of different solutions, and give you estimated ranges for each of the other e-commerce website price components. 

1. Platform Selection and Licensing Fees

Choosing between the two distinct platform categories directly affects your e-commerce site cost. These two options are free open-source platforms and high-end proprietary solutions that come with licensing fees. 

Open-source (free) platforms provide a high degree of customization without the upfront cost, which makes them appealing to businesses with specific needs and technical expertise. However, they often require more time and resources to develop and maintain, so this type is a better fit for businesses with an in-house development department or resources to manage an outsourced team.

Proprietary platforms offer a more plug-and-play solution, with built-in features and support that can simplify the launch process. These platforms typically charge monthly or annual fees, which can accumulate, especially for premium services offering advanced features. 

Here’s a quick look at the fees of the 5 most popular e-commerce platforms:


Licensing Fees


Open Source (Community Edition): Free
Adobe Commerce: Custom


Basic Shopify: $39/month
Shopify: $105/month
Advanced Shopify: $399/month


Self-hosted: Free
WP Engine:
Lite – $13/month
Startup – $20/month
Professional – $40/month
Growth – $77/month
Custom – $600/month


Business Basic – $27/month
Business Unlimited – $32/month
Business VIP – $59/month


Standard: $29.95/month
Plus: $79.95/month
Pro: $299.95/month

Discussing the features and pricing plans of free and paid e-commerce platforms deserves an article of its own. That’s why we advise you to check out our detailed overview of 11 e-commerce platforms before you make up your mind.

But before you do that, make sure to check out the next point as it can largely affect your choice of the platform.

Read More: Magento E-commerce Website Development Cost 

2. E-commerce Hosting Costs

Here, you also have two large categories to choose from: self-hosted solutions and Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms. Each option comes with its own set of advantages and considerations, impacting e-commerce website development cost, control, and scalability.

SaaS E-commerce Platform Hosting

One of the popular SaaS e-commerce platform examples is Shopify. You pay them a monthly fee (from ~$39 for Basic Shopify) – and they take care of hosting, performance, and security for you. The only thing you need to handle yourself is buying and annually renewing a domain name for approximately $10 – $20 per year.

Mind that the plan and its fee directly translate into your website’s server capabilities. If you need a more powerful website with reliable hosting that can handle your traffic at its peak, you may eventually need to switch over to the premium plan, which can cost you ~$400 per month.

Self-hosted E-commerce Website

If you build your site using open-source tools like WooCommerce or Magento, you have to find a hosting service yourself. In other words, you'll need to pay for the hosting and a domain name, as well as for your SSL certificate (see the next section). 

Hosting costs can vary from $2.99 to $1000 per month, depending on how much traffic your site gets and – consequently – how robust your hosting servers should be. For a busy site with thousands of daily visitors, you’ll need increased redundancy, the ability to host a lot of traffic without decreasing your page load time, and tighter security. Choose a hosting provider based on what best fits your needs and budget.

Read More: Best Hosting Providers

3. Security Features

As we’ve mentioned, you’ll need to individually obtain an SSL certificate if you choose any of the self-hosted e-commerce platforms. For Magento, you can request SSL Setup Services for professionals to take care of it for you at a minimum price. Otherwise, you have to choose among 3 certificate types: 

  • Domain Validated SSL (DV) – verifies ownership of the domain name. It's the simplest and most common form of SSL certificate that costs around $50 per year. Perfectly suitable for small websites or blogs.
  • Organization Validated SSL (OV) – provides a higher level of validation by verifying not only domain ownership but also the existence and legitimacy of the organization behind the website. Prices range from $50 to $150 per year. Ideal for small to medium-sized businesses and e-commerce sites.
  • Extended Validation SSL (EV) – implies a rigorous validation process and displays the organization's name prominently in the browser's address bar. Costs range from $150 to $500 per year, reflecting the enhanced security features. Best suited for large enterprises and financial institutions.

Apart from the SSL certificate, you need to cover the costs of data encryption, firewall, and compliance with PCI DSS and PSD2. The free options of these tools are available but security is not something to be taken lightly. We advise investing in security in advance to avoid bigger losses in the future.

Security Element


SSL Certificate

$50 – $500 per year

Web Application Firewall

$20 – $100 per month

PCI DSS and PSD2 compliance

$79 – $120 per year

Click Fraud Software

$30 – $400 per month

Cybersecurity, Antivirus, and other tools

$500 – $2000 per year

The estimated annual cost for the entire e-commerce website security varies from $500 to $10,000. This range accounts for the basic costs of SSL certificates and more advanced security implementations, including custom security protocols and compliance audits. 

4. Custom Design vs. Template-Based Design

The visual appeal and user experience of your e-commerce site will greatly influence its success. That’s why you should always aim for a stylish, responsive, and accessible design when calculating your e-commerce project costs.

Custom designs offer a unique look that can differentiate your brand in a crowded market, but they require a significant investment in design and development resources. These designs cater to specific business needs and customer journeys, potentially offering a higher return on investment through improved engagement and conversion rates. Besides, you can be 100% confident in the design’s mobile-friendliness by paying for a responsive design.

Template-based designs are a cost-effective solution that can accelerate the development process. While templates may not offer the same level of uniqueness or brand alignment as custom designs, many of them are inherently responsive. You can also adapt a template to fit your style and preferences but, of course, professional template customization implies a fee too.

The estimated cost range for e-commerce website design is a one-time investment ranging from $0 to $25,000. While there are free options available, premium or customized ones might be better for commercial projects.

5. Apps or Extensions vs. Custom Development

As you explore various e-commerce platforms from the inside, you'll likely find that – just like templates – off-the-shelf solutions can't fully meet your business's requirements. This is where you’ll need to choose between add-ons/extensions and custom development.


E-commerce platforms offer extensive libraries of add-ons, apps, and plugins – tools that allow you to enhance your store's capabilities without the need for extensive custom coding. Some apps are free, but most come with a one-time payment or a subscription fee, which can increase the overall cost of running an online store. Shopify and Magento extensions are priced between $50 to $800, while Wix plugin costs range from $5 to $50.

Custom Development

While add-ons and extensions provide quick solutions to typical e-commerce challenges, they may not fully align with your business model or goals. Custom development offers full agility of customization but comes at a higher upfront cost compared to extensions. Depending on the complexity of the project and the expertise of the developers involved, custom development costs can vary significantly, often starting from $5,000 and scaling upwards to as much as $100,000.

Read More: Best Extensions for Magento and Top Shopify Apps

We recommend going for extensions in case you want to leverage a couple of additional functionalities or would love to experiment before committing to developing a feature. In case you need massive functionality expansion of your platform, custom development will definitely be cheaper than a few dozen add-ons.  

6. Integration with Third-Party Services

Integrating third-party tools with your e-commerce store is necessary for ensuring smooth operations and providing a seamless shopping experience for your customers. These tools cover various services, such as payment processing, shipping logistics, and customer relationship management. 

The costs, as you might expect, depend fully on what exactly you want to integrate as well as how many integrations you are aiming for at your store. The higher the complexity of the target software and the more integrations you need – the higher the costs of the integration service. A very rough estimate ranges from $2,000 for payment processors to $20,000 for complex CRM systems.

Read More: Best CRMs for E-commerce Integration

7. Payment Processing and Transaction Fees

Payment processing costs are the fees associated with handling transactions on your e-commerce website. Each time a customer pays, you pay a fee to the payment company. 

Payment processing costs are separate from other e-commerce website costs because they cover the services provided to you by payment processors. The fees also slightly differ by the processor and the platform.  


Shopify offers its proprietary payment gateway, Shopify Payments, which allows you to accept credit cards and other methods like Shop Pay and Apple Pay. The payment processing fees for Shopify Payments range from 2.9% plus 0.30 cents per transaction on the Basic plan to 2.4% on the Advanced plan. If you don’t rely on Shopify Payments, there's an additional 0.5%2% fee per transaction.


Wix supports various payment methods and includes Wix Payments, the platform's native payment solution. Unlike Shopify, it doesn't require transaction fees when you use third-party payment processors integrated with Wix Payments – Stripe or Square. However, you’ll still be subject to the 2.9% plus 0.30 cents payment processing fees of those providers.


WooCommerce doesn't have its payment gateway like Shopify or Wix do. Instead, it directly connects with various third-party payment processors, including PayPal, Stripe, and Square. Each payment option comes with the typical fee structure: a percentage fee per transaction plus a fixed fee (around 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction for Square) as well as an additional 1% fee for non-U.S. cards.  


Like Wix, Magento doesn’t require transaction fees. However, its default payment gateways – PayPal and Braintree – come with processing fees. PayPal charges 2.9% plus $0.30 for each transaction, and Braintree – 2.59% plus $0.49. If you choose to integrate Stripe, the fee per transaction is the same as PayPal’s but additional fees apply for specific scenarios: 1.5% for international cards and 1% if currency conversion is necessary.

Read More: Top 10 Payment Processors in the U.S.

8. SEO and Marketing Efforts

SEO and marketing efforts are key to your e-commerce website growth. Without them, you risk attracting fewer customers and missing a healthy profit margin. Understanding the costs of these efforts is important for effective budgeting and determining ROI.

You have two main options for SEO and marketing: outsourcing and in-house. Outsourced marketing and SEO can offer comprehensive support but can be pricey, with high-end agencies costing around $20,000 monthly. What’s more, agencies are, sadly, not the people who know your business and product/services inside-out. To brief the tasks and control the quality or alignment of their input with your goals, you’ll still need significant efforts in-house.

Building a full in-house marketing team is definitely costly as well. Salaries for an entire team of marketers can total around $461,000 yearly. In addition, you’ll need to pay for various SEO and marketing tools for your team to use. While the tools’ fees can range from $1,000 to $10,000, the investment in them is often justified by the potential for increased traffic and improved conversion rates.  

To protect your business and customers, you need to ensure that your e-commerce website complies with all legal regulations that affect your store or customers. Achieving compliance means following several steps, with each incurring its separate costs.

  • Legal Consultation. If you don’t have a lawyer in-house, you need to seek advice from legal professionals who specialize in e-commerce law. Expect to pay around $100 to $300 per hour for their services.
  • Drafting Legal Documents. Create essential documents like terms of service, privacy policy, and refund policy. This could cost between $500 to $2,000, depending on complexity.
  • Compliance Costs. Ensure compliance with various regulations, such as GDPR, Omnibus Directive, ADA, and tax regulations. Budget at least $1,000 to $5,000 for compliance efforts and technical adjustments.

Read More: All The E-commerce Laws You Need to Know

10. Ongoing Maintenance and Support

The development of an e-commerce website is not a one-time cost – you need ongoing maintenance and updates to ensure security, functionality, and relevancy in the current market. 

  • For small e-commerce sites, the annual maintenance cost typically hovers around $50–$300. These sites generally have simpler structures and require basic maintenance to keep them operational.
  • Midsize e-commerce sites, with a moderate level of complexity, may need an annual maintenance budget ranging between $400 to $600. This cost covers more extensive updates, security measures, and support to cater to the increased demands of a larger site.
  • For larger e-commerce platforms with complex features and higher traffic volumes, the maintenance costs can exceed $800 per year. These websites need thorough maintenance to handle the scale of their operations.

Make sure to allocate a budget for these recurring costs. Continuous maintenance is responsible for the long-term success of your e-commerce site.

E-commerce Website Costs: Takeaways

E-commerce website development costs and the total cost of ownership depend on various elements. Some of them are platform and hosting options, the number and nature of customizations and integrations, payment processing fees, as well as marketing, legal, and maintenance efforts.

All these factors can be measured financially. But the final figures are only a high-level range and do not account for cost-mitigation strategies employed by expert development companies. Feel free to reach out to Amasty experts for a tailored estimate that aligns with your business needs and budget!

April 11, 2024
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