Online is a new reality. So if you're wondering when is the right time to create eCommerce website in Magento, it's now.

Magento is a robust solution with more than 500 000 downloads and about 190 000 stores using it to cover their business needs. It is flexible, customizable, and scalable. This gives you plenty of opportunities to grow your business and deliver an exceptional online experience. That's exactly why Magento is best for eCommerce.

And since eCommerce sales are predicted to hit $6,5 trillion by 2023, chances are you don't want to catch the last train. Start acting now. 

In this comprehensive guide, you will learn everything you need to know to create Magento website along with how to choose the right Magento edition. We will also discuss the price of Magento eCommerce development and the estimated time required to build Magento website.

There is too much to cover, so let's jump right to it.

What Magento Edition to Choose?

Once you decide to create Magento 2 store, you usually get stuck on what Magento edition to choose. Since Magento pays attention to your business needs and objectives, it offers you 3 different versions to opt for. 

It is too easy to guess they are differentiated by the business size. However, there is still more than that.

Magento Open Source 

Magento Open Source that is also referred to by its former name — Magento Community (CE) is a free version of the platform. Though it offers you only some basic features, it is completely free to use. 

However, you have to cover the hosting plan and customizations. 

Open Source Magento is best when you're just starting to build your way in eCommerce. Still, a lot of well-established stores are based on the open-source edition as well.

Magento Commerce 

Unlike Magento Open Source, Magento Commerce (sometimes still referred to as Magento Enterprise (EE)) is paid and will cost you around $24,000/year. This Magento edition is recommended for mid-size and large enterprises since it offers more advanced B2B features than the previous edition.

Besides you get 24/7 Magento technical support, Progressive Web App Studio, and advanced security features.

The only thing is you still have to choose the hosting provider.

Magento Commerce on Cloud 

Commerce on Cloud Magento (Magento Enterprise Cloud formerly) is quite similar to the Magento Commerce. However, it uses the Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosting, so you don't have to cover it separately.

Additionally, you get a rich administrative suite, round-the-clock support, and plenty of other features. This edition is recommended for large enterprises and const you from $40,000/year. 

Before moving on to building an eCommerce website in Magento you need to be clear about your business objectives and the budget. Magento is very flexible and you could upgrade in the process. However, without a plan, you might start with the wrong edition and fail to keep up with the requirements.

Since we're discussing how to create eCommerce website with Magento, I'd go with the Magento Open Source. There is always a place for customization.

Nevertheless, you can always opt for Magento Commerce if you are not on a tight budget and want the "extra" of the Commerce editions.

How Much Does It Cost to Build Magento Website?

The Magento pricing is probably the first question that pops up once you decide which Magento edition to go with. 

Luckily Magento Open Source doesn't require you to pay any monthly or yearly fees. But it still doesn't mean your Magento 2 store will come cheap. 

So here's an approximation of the costs you'll have to encounter:

  • Magento Lisence: Magento Open Source — free, Magento Commerce — starting from $24,000/year, Magento Commerce on Cloud — starting from $40,000/year
  • Domain Name: from $10 to $500/ year
  • Hosting: from $10+/month or from $120+/year
  • Theme: $0 or up to $499 (custom pricing for creating a custom theme)
  • Extensions: from $0 to $500 per extension (custom pricing for creating an extension from scratch)
  • Development: from $15 to $200+/ hour depending on the location of the developer or the development company

As your business grows, so do the requirements of the custom functionality, design, and solutions.

Note: if you choose the Commerce edition, the cost per year will be tied to your annual revenue. So keep this in mind too before you decide to build Magento website.

Top 10 Steps to Create eCommerce Website in Magento

Building a website with Magento is not as hard as it seems, especially when you choose Magento Open Source. You can pretty much do it yourself once we break down the process of how to create eCommerce website in Magento into small steps.

Should we begin?

1. Review Magento system requirements

Finding the right hosting provider is one thing, but finding the right Magento hosting provider is the other. Magento like any CMS has certain system requirements which you have to know before moving any further. 

The last thing you need is to sign up for a hosting plan only to find out they don't provide enough memory or use the wrong server. 

The following is required for Magento to operate:

  • Operating System: Magento recommend to use Ubuntu since regarding other operational systems there could be some incompatibility issues. Besides, Magento works or Windows OS or Mac only locally and .
  • Web Server: You can use Apache or Nginx. If you opt for Apache, review Magento Apache documentation to set up Apache mod_version and mod_rewrite modules.
  • Memory: Magento requires 2GB of Random Access Memory (RAM) though more is preferred.
  • Database: Magento is compatible with MySQL versions 5.6, 5.7, and since Magento 2.4.1 it support 8.0
  • PHP: Magento recommends using PHP 7.2, PHP 7.3, or PHP8 with the latest Magento 2.4.2. 
  • Security: Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) are a must for PayPal Integration.

Keep these requirements in mind when you choose the hosting provider so your website has enough bandwidth to process the number of orders and customers.

2. Choose the right hosting and a domain name

If you decide to build your store with Magento or any other CMS, choosing a reliable Magento hosting provider is the first step. 

You already know your hosting should satisfy Magento system requirements. But that's not it. It is important to note a few other things.

Make sure the server where you want to host your website had a fast response time since loading speed matters, a lot. Besides, your hosting needs to have an SSL certificate which offer you plenty of security options.

Since your business requirements might change over time as your business grows, pay attention to scalability. Hosting should provide you an option to upgrade to a more advanced plan with more capabilities and server resources.

Pro tip: don't go for a shared hosting environment. It might seem cheaper at first, but you will have to share hardware capabilities and server management. It causes trouble during the development or any other server-related tasks. 

Finally, it is wise to choose and register the domain name with the hosting provider too. 

We've already gathered the best Magento hosting providers and analyzed the features they offer for your Magento store, so you don't have to do the research.

3. Download and install Magento

Once you select the hosting provider, installing Magento shouldn't be a big deal since most of the hosting providers offer you a one-click installation and an easy Magento setup. However, if installing Magento is not included in your plan, you should know how to set up Magento yourself.

Regardless of the Magento edition, the first thing you need before downloading the files is to register an account on Magento Adobe official website and decide how you want to get the software.

Besides, it is important to check the prerequisites and make sure to do the following before the actual installation:

Even if you don't have a 1-step installation, most of this is covered by your hosting. 

Magento Releases

 Magento releases

Then you can download the latest Magento release via composer, git, or archive, though the composer is the most popular way to install Magento among developers. It has a lot of techie benefits that your will come to appreciate later on.

Obviously, this step might sound too complicated to non-techie people, you can always rely on developers or hosting to cover you up. 

4. Configure your design

Now it's time to design your store. 

Magento goes with a default LUMA theme that has everything you need to sell. You just need to adjust a few banners, logos, and colors for it to fit your brand book. 

Still, you might not be satisfied with that.

Magento Luma Theme

Default Magento LUMA theme

The best shopping experience is hugely influenced by your website design. So if you satisfy customers' needs and make your store more engaging you have to opt for different Magento 2 themes, like Optimized Magento 2 Theme.

Before you think about it — not all themes cost a fortune. There are a lot of providers and community enthusiasts that offer free or fairly priced themes. You can find the best themes on Magento Marketplace, Theme Forest, or Template Monster. 

Note: if you decide to choose a theme on Magento Marketplace, all you need to get it working is to retrieve your access keys, copy a theme in the Extension Manager and install it in one click.

Custom theme development is another option here if you want to have a unique, brandable, and one-of-a-kind website design. But this comes at a price as you might have guessed.

If you're building an eCommerce website from scratch with Magento, you also have to cover logos, colors, layout, and other settings. Go to the Content > Design > Configuration section to explore them. 

Magento Design Settings

 Magento Design settings

Besides, Magento allows you to create banners out of the box and new CMS pages to diversify your website. Magento is very flexible regarding this.

5. Create websites stores and store views

The hardest part is behind. 

After you install Magento and set up a theme, all that is left is to configure store settings from the admin panel. So, if you needed some help with the previous steps, you can take the configuration into your own hands from now on.

Understanding Magento website structure is really important since it influences a lot of other features of your store. Once you install Magento you originally have one website which is referred to as the Main website, one store, and one store view correspondingly.

While the website part is clear, let's define the place of stores and store views here.

Magento Websites Stores Storeviews

Magento website structure (websites, stores, storeviews)

You can create multiple stores within a website that will share a catalog but feature different products. 

At the same time, store views represent different views of the same store that differs mainly in language

Regarding this, you can have multiple stores within one website in one language. However, if you want to create a multi-language website to sell globally you need different store views.

6. Cover general settings

Before you move to the catalog configuration you have to configure the most basic settings of your store. If you create an eCommerce website from scratch, there are a few options to cover:

You can configure all of them under the Stores > Configuration tab along with other settings. With a new Magento 2 store, these are the basics. However, it might change if you start adding some custom features.

Magento general config

General Magento configurations

7. Create products

Finally, the best part about building eCommerce store in Magento is setting up a catalog.

Products and categories are the main sources of traffic and revenue in your eCommerce website, so you have to make sure they are engaging and well-structured for customers to navigate. 

Adding products is one of the things that make Magento stand out. Not only does it allows you to create an unlimited number of products and categories, but it also offers you 6 product types each with the default attribute set. 

Product Types Magento

Category page in default Magento

You can create simple, configurable, grouped, bundle, virtual and downloadable products in just a few clicks. And if you need to add some extra information, you can just extend the product attribute list with your custom product features. 

The same goes for category configuration. After you create your products you can categorize them from product or category pages. 

8. Payment and shipping options

Creating products and setting up categories get you over half of the way. To fill in the blanks in the sales process, we still have to figure out what payment methods to provide and how to ship your products to the customer.

Here as well, Magento wins a score for the most flexible and customizable CMS

Payment method is a vital purchasing factor in most cases. That's why offering a variety of options for customers to opt for increases the likelihood of the purchase. 

Magento offers you a variety of payment methods including bank transfer, purchase order, check/money order, and zero subtotal. Moreover, it also supports integration with Paypal, Braintree Klarna, and other payment providers.

Magento 2 Payment Methods

Payment methods in Magento

Regarding the shipping, there are more than 7 shipping methods and integration you can configure under Stores > Configuration > Sales > Shipping Methods

Depending on your store location or a distribution center, you can choose different shipping services and methods, like table rates, in-store delivery, UPS, FedEx, and DHL.

Magento shipping

Shipping methods in Magento

None of the configurations is too complicated. You can easily configure them from the admin panel, considering the number of guides available online.

9. Preview and launch your website

Before making your website live you have to make sure your store works like a clock. It is the final step in the process of creating a website using Magento.

You have to run all necessary tests to measure website speed, order placement process, website responsiveness on various devices, code vulnerabilities, and any custom extensions conflict. 

It allows you to make adjustments and optimize your store before publishing it online. 

Would be strange if you made changes to the website with live customers, right?

Note: use staging or local environments for this purpose and check your website functionality before deploying to live. Once confirmed everything works as expected you can move your Magento website files to the web server through a local application or File Transfer Protocol (FTP).

Deploying the website to live can take up to several days
depending on the size and complexity of your project. It requires significant technical expertise and a lot of server-side interactions. So you might want to call out to developers for some assistance.

10. Optimize Magento 2 store

Once you create Magento 2 website and launch it, you might think you can cross it off your to-do list.

But that's not it. 

We've only covered basic and the most important features, while in reality, your Magento 2 website is a work in progress. To get people to come to your website and buy your products you have to work through different strategies. Till you find the one that works best for you. 

Along the way, you will need to optimize your store functionality and implement multiple Magento 2 extensions

Increasing website speed, exploring different marketing strategies, and improving product page SEO are key optimization tactics you'll have to work out constantly. 

But the result will be worth it once all your efforts start to pay off.