E-commerce Solution Total Cost Calculator

Looking at the costs and the benefits of using licensed and hosted ecommerce solutions

Hosted vs. licensed E-commerce solutions

Ecommerce total costHow much will it cost to run your e-commerce Web site? When you are reviewing different shopping cart software, the answer might not be that obvious. Use our calculator to find out. We go beyond the "start up" costs, as running an Internet store is something that you will be doing for quite some time. Typically, there are two main options:

  1. Hosted e-commerce solutions
    When you buy or subscribe to this kind of service (e.g. Yahoo! Stores), you are typically charged a combination of a setup fee, a monthly fee, and, in some cases, a commission on sales.
  2. Licensed shopping cart software
    When you purchase shopping cart software like ProductCart, you normally pay for the software license fee, and, in some cases, for a yearly support & updates plan.

Good reads on this topic

What are the differences in these two approaches? Practical eCommerce ran two interviews on this topic. Check out the articles:


Ecommerce calculator

E-commerce Solution Total Cost Calculator

E-commerce system (software you buy or service you subscribe to)

Setup Fee or Purchase Price: $ If this is a hosted solution, enter the setup or activation fee. If not, enter the purchase price.
Monthly Subscription: $ /month Typically applies only if this is a hosted solution.
Sales Commission:     % Some hosted solutions (e.g. Yahoo! Stores) charge a commission on sales on top of the monthly hosting fee. You typically don't pay sales commissions if you purchase licensed software.
Estimated Sales: $ /month A rough estimate of your expected, average monthly sales over the next 2 or 3 years.

Web site hosting

If you purchase a Licensed ecommerce solution, it means that you separately pay for your Web site hosting. This is typically included in the cost of a hosted solution. Adjust the numbers below accordingly.
Web Hosting Setup Fee: $ If the hosting company charges you a setup fee, enter it here. Many hosting companies don't charge a setup fee anymore.
Web Hosting Monthly Fee: $ /month The monthly price you pay for your Web site hosting account, if it's not already included in the monthly subscription fee entered above under Ecommerce System.
SSL Certificate: $ This is typically a yearly charge. Prices vary depending on the type of SSL certificate you purchase. If it's included in your ecommerce hosting plan or in your Web site hosting account, then change it to 0.

Other Expenses

For example, many ecommerce providers charge for technical support, either through a plan or on a per-ticket basis.
Other One-Time Fee: $ E.g. a lifetime technical support plan.
Other Monthly Fees: $ /month E.g. a monthly technical support plan.


An online store is always a medium-term investment. Enter the number of years you plan to use this ecommerce solution (e.g. before you might consider a major upgrade or a switch to a different system).
Estimate my cost for...

Note about payment processing: This tool focuses on the cost of the ecommerce system itself. Other costs that you may incur are those associated with processing credit cards online (payment gateway fees & merchant fees). Those costs are often the same regardless of whether you use a hosted or licensed ecommerce solutions (e.g. you decide to your Authorize.Net as your payment gateway, and have an Internet Merchant Account with Wells Fargo: it doesn't matter which ecommerce solution you adopt, as your monthly and per-transaction costs remain the same).

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