This article was created in partnership with Cloudways. Thank you for supporting the partners who make SitePoint possible.
While online shopping via eCommerce has been growing steadily for years, there’s been an unprecedented explosion since the start of the pandemic.
Even if you own a brick-and-mortar store, having an online presence has never been so important.
An eCommerce store doesn’t just boost your income. It provides an alternate stream of revenue, limiting your exposure to events like the one we’re currently in. And of course, an eCommerce store enables businesses to reach a much larger market than a storefront alone.
In this tutorial, we explain how you can create your eCommerce store with WooCommerce on the cloud in just ten minutes.
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems in the world. It now powers 37.5% of all sites on the Internet, and that number isn’t inflated by all of those forgotten blogs with an audience of one. 38% of websites in the Quantcast Top 10k are WordPress-powered, too.
If you look past the Gatsby front-end, the site you’re reading this article on is powered by WordPress, too.
WooCommerce is a popular WordPress plugin that converts your WordPress site into an eCommerce store. WordPress and WooCommerce are both open source, and actively developed. The community and support for both the platform and the plugin are tremendous. It’s an easy choice for beginners and experts in web development.
But that’s enough talk. Let’s fire up a server on the cloud and create an eCommerce store.
Set Up Your Server on Cloudways
We’ll use Cloudways to manage our hosting. Cloudways allows you to create an instance on the cloud with WordPress pre-installed, and WooCommerce ready to go. This saves a lot of time. There’s no need to configure a web server, create a database, install WordPress, and then install WooCommerce. Cloudways has a free trial — after that, plans start at $10/month.
Once you login to your Cloudways account, click the button to add a new server. You can select one of five platforms for your server — the cheapest option is DigitalOcean. Select the server size and location.
In application and server details, select the option to install WordPress with WooCommerce.
Click “Launch Now” to create the server.
It takes a few minutes for your server to deploy and for WordPress and WooCommerce to install.
Once the status shows that your server is ready to run, you have successfully created your eCommerce store! It’s time to point your domain at your newly-created instance.
Link a Domain to Your Server
Go to your server’s settings page to view its general information. Head to Domain Management, where we’ll point a
store. subdomain to our eCommerce site. This section also tells you where you should point your domain or subdomain through your DNS registrar:
Next, visit the domain registrar, and create a
CNAME entry for your subdomain to the URL from the previous step.
Save it and visit
store.yoursite.com to view the current version of your website.
Notice that the URL is still HTTP. You’ll need to enable HTTPS to ensure the security of your customers. Go back to the server management page on Cloudways and select SSL Management to upload your SSL certificate. Here’s a guide to setting up SSL through Let’s Encrypt
Configure Your eCommerce Store
With our store software set up and our subdomain linked to it, let’s configure the site. First, you need to set three credentials through Cloudways:
- your WordPress admin login details,
- the database login,
- and credentials to access the server through SSH or SFTP
You can set all of them in the Access Details section on the Cloudways server page.
Head to the WordPress login page of your store and use the credentials from the previous step to gain entry into the admin area. To set the WooCommerce configurations, head over to the WooCommerce section on the left menu.
Once you are satisfied with the settings, head over to the URL
store.yoursite.com/shop/ to preview your WooCommerce site. At this stage we still have the default theme for the store:
Cloudways: Advanced Features
We’ve seen how easily you can configure your website. Let’s explore a few advanced options for our store that Cloudways provides.
You can check the status of various services on your server. Even if you didn’t manually install these services, WordPress and WooCommerce need them to run your store. The status of these services can be seen on the Manage Services section of the server management page.
If your store faces any technical issues, this page is a good place to start debugging what may be wrong with it.
A critical function of a cloud hosting service is regular backup and restore services. Head to the Backup and Restore section to get information on the latest backup. Hit the Take Backup Now button to start the process of taking a backup. Ensure that you have a backup before you make any important changes to your store, or update WordPress or an important plugin.
At any point in time, you can select a backup from the dropdown menu and hit Restore Application Now to change back to an earlier snapshot of your store.
If you manage your code through Git, you can generate an SSH key, and download and link it to a Git vendor like GitHub or Bitbucket. This would enable you to sync directly from the Git vendor to your Cloudways server.
Other advanced features include the Cloudways CDN and the ability to migrate an existing WordPress site. During the trial period, you can also migrate the website you created for free.
Final Thoughts on WooCommerce on the Cloud
Cloudways managed hosting platform gives businesses flexibility and choice in how websites are hosted. With features such as support any time of the day through any day of the year, a simple & scalable dashboard, various cloud providers, and transparent billing, you’ll have a plethora of options on how to get going.
It’s important to have an online presence as a business to engage your customers, grow orders, and diversify your income streams. While there are many options to opening your eCommerce store, the one-click creation of a WooCommerce instance on the cloud through Cloudways is one of the easiest ways to get started.
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