Ultimate Guide to WooCommerce Shipping


WooCommerce is the most popular option to create an online store whether you sell digital or physical products. To build up a successful WooCommerce store, you need to make some basic settings to activate your store such as product management, shipping, checkout, etc. Among them, shipping is one of the most vital factors if you are selling physical products. This article will cover everything you need to know about WooCommerce shipping and present you the way to set up your shipping methods that are suitable for your store.

Shipping settings in WooCommerce

When you are setting up a WooCommece store, you can set up shipping details that help you to keep a check on the shipping details. Also upon setting up the shipping date, your store can function effectively. Basically, you can set up general settings, shipping options, shipping zones, and even the shipping classes. Upon setting up these, you can effectively run an eStore with effective shipping.

  • General settings
  • Shipping options
  • Shipping zones
  • Shipping classes

By default, WooCommerce offers you basic shipping options that allow you to ship products to different locations. There are two different options here namely the General option and setting section. Now, let’s get started:

General Settings

The general option helps set the specific shipping and the selling locations. To do so, follow the steps given below.

Navigate to Settings > General Options. Here, you would have two different options. One highlighting the selling locations, meaning that the countries you sell to. The option has the following possibilities that you can select and modify:

  • Base Location: Select the location depending on where you are shipping your orders.
  • Selling Location(s): Select the locations to which you wish to sell your products. You can select any one options from the drop-down:

*Sell to All Countries: Clicking this means that you sell to all countries.

*Sell to All Countries, Except For…: Selecting this option will require you to name the countries that need to be exempted from the list.

*Sell to Specific Countries: If you sell your products to only a few nations, you can specify them here.

  • Shipping location: Give you the option to select the locations to which you want to ship your products. You can select anyone from the drop-down:

*Ship to all countries you sell to: this option suggests that you ship to all of the countries that you sell to.

*Ship to all countries: This option suggests that you ship to all of the countries.

*Ship to specific countries only: If you ship your products to only a few nations, you can specify them here.

*Disable shipping and shipping calculations: This option will temporarily stop all shipping methods.

Put simply, you can enter the names of the countries in the respective sections to set the default shipping and selling locations for the products in your WooCommerce store.

  • Default Customer Location: This is the customer location that you want to set as default on your online store. With the data, you can calculate the shipping cost, way before the customers enter the address.. Besides, there are the following options as well in the drop-down menu that you can choose as the default customer location:

*No location by default:  Here, the store owner does not set any default location, and hence no taxes are calculated.

*Shop base address: In this option, you can set the base location of your store as the default customer location.

*Geolocate: Determines the customer’s default location based on the IP address through which the customer logs in.

*Geolocate (with the page caching support): Here you can determine the customer’s default location based on the IP address through which the customer logs in. The only difference is that you have to select this option only if your store has page caching support.

Shipping zones

What is shipping zone?

Shipping zones are geographical areas or area codes where items are shipped. You can narrow down your shipping zone from regions to zip codes for shipping. It’s important to note that each customer falls into only one zone. Additionally, each zone can have multiple shipping methods too.


How to add shipping zone?

To add Shipping Zones, you need to follow these steps :

  1. Go To WooCommerce > Shipping > Shipping Zones.
  2. Click in Add new shipping zones and Just follow the steps below to add a shipping zone.

3. Add the Zone name, and Zone regions corresponding to the Zone name. Regions can be Countries, states, or continents.

4. For each shipping zone, you can add different Shipping methods, which is explained next.

Shipping option

The second tab under the WooCommerce shipping dashboard is the shipping options tab. There are 3 items you can configure from here.

  • Calculation: You can select if you want shipping calculations to be done on the cart page or if you want to hide the shipping cost until an address is entered. It is recommended to hide the shipping costs until an address is entered. This way customers will get a more accurate shipping cost and will not be surprised by changing shipping costs.
  • Shipping destination: You can also select the default shipping destination. This can be to the shipping address, to the billing address or you can force your customers to use the same billing address for shipping as well.
  • Debug mode: Finally, you can enable the debug mode.

Shipping classes

What is WooCommerce shipping classes?

WooCommerce shipping classes are a very useful feature that allows you to allocate shipping conditions to specific groups of products. Shipping classes can be used to group products of similar type and used by some shipping methods, such as Flat Rate Shipping, to provide different rates to different classes of product.

How to create Shipping classes in WooCommerce?

There are many types of products that you can group in, such as bulky items, lightweight items, fragile items, specific packaging.

Let’s follow the steps below to create WooCommerce shipping classes:

  • Step 1: Go to WooCommerce > Settings > Shipping tab > click on the Shipping classes link as below.
  • Step 2: Fill in with your class’s name, slug, and description. After that, click on the Save shipping classes button.

How to apply WooCommerce shipping class to products?

After having some shipping classes, now you can apply them to the product you want.

Apply to individual product

In your WordPress dashboard, go to Products > All products > choose the item > edit.


Drop down to the Shipping tab to select the Shipping class you want. Lastly, save your change.

Apply to bulk products

If you’d like to add this shipping class to a lot of items, you can go to Products > All Products. Then you select the products you want to apply the shipping class for. After that, click Edit from the dropdown on the top left and then Apply.


Now, you can edit the Shipping class and update to save everything.


WooCommerce Shipping Methods Overview

There are various shipping methods that help you control the shipping rates offered. They are divided into different categories based on their functionality.

Basic Shipping method

Flat rate

What is flat rate?

Flat rate is a fixed rate that you charge for a product per item, per order, per shipping class or a particular zone. Certain mathematical calculations are used in arriving at this rate. For example, you can charge customers based on the number of items in the cart or charge 10% of the total order cost for shipping.

How to set up shipping flat rate?

Step 1:  In dashboard, go to WooCommerce > Settings > shipping > Shipping zones

Step 2:  Add a new shipping zone or edit the exist Shipping zones and then add shipping method.


Now, you can select Flat rate shipping method for your shipping zones.


After that, you should add necessary information as tax, cost and shipping class costs as follow:


In the Shipping class costs section, you can edit some needed information like Class shipping class cost, No shipping class cost, and calculation type where you choose the method of applying additional cost.

There is one cost field for each shipping class.

  • No Shipping Class Cost – Useful if you use the Per Class option below. Otherwise, use the Cost field.
  • Calculation Type – Two options:
    • Per Order – Picks the most expensive option based on shipping costs in the cart.
    • Per Class – Charges shipping for each shipping class.

Finally, save your flat rate shipping and start to apply it for your products by referring to this tutorial.

Free Shipping

What is free shipping?

Free Shipping is a default WooCommerce shipping method that does not charge customers any fee for shipping the products they have ordered from the eCommerce store. It can be triggered by a coupon, a minimum order amount, or both. The store owner can use this as a sales tactic to encourage customers to spend more.

How to set up free shipping?

Step 1: As the way to create flat rate shipping, to set up free shipping, you need to add a new shipping zone or edit the existing ones.

Step 2: Select Shipping Methods as Free shipping, from the dropdown options of the Title section.


Step 3: Set condition


In the Free Shipping Requires, you have to enter the condition to apply the free shipping. There are 5 different options:

  • N/A: Choose this option if you require no condition or criteria for Free shipping
  • A valid free shipping coupon: In this option, customers have to provide a free shipping coupon to avail of the free shipping service. Free shipping coupons are generally provided by WooCommerce store owners as part of a marketing strategy.
  • A minimum order amount: In this option, the order should meet the criteria of a minimum order amount for the customer to avail of free shipping.
  • A minimum order amount OR a coupon: In this option, the customer has to meet the criteria of either a minimum order amount or a free coupon to avail of free shipping.
  • A minimum order amount AND a coupon: In this option, the customer has to meet the criteria of both a minimum order amount as well as a free coupon.

You can now click on Save Changes, to save the settings made.

Local Pickup

What is local pickup?

The local pickup shipping method for WooCommerce allows your customers to pick up their purchased products themselves. This shipping method is extremely suitable for the shop owners that locally selling and any customer can directly drop into the store and pick their items. This is one of the simplest shipping methods offered by stores.

How to set up local pickup shipping on your WooCommerce store?

Step 1: As the process of setting up other shipping methods, to set up local pickup, first you have to go to Shipping zones and edit or add a new Shipping method.

Step 2: Select Shipping Methods as Local Pickup.


Step 3: Edit the Local Pickup settings and apply the rate, and tax to be applied if needed.

Advanced shipping methods

In addition to the basic shipping method, WooCommerce also offers various ways for you to calculate the delivery cost. Some of the most popular methods are listed below.

Table rate shipping

What is table rate shipping?

Table rate shipping, which is an advanced shipping method in WooCommerce, lets you create complex rules for shipping your products worldwide. By applying table rate shipping on your WooCommerce store, you can define multiple rates based on the product’s destination, and set up more complex rule-based shipping cost calculations such as weight based shipping, shipping based on cart or product totals, shipping based on items in the cart, based on shipping classes, and more.

How to set up table rate shipping?

The easiest way to set by installing a third party such as Table Rate for WooCommerce by Flexible Shipping, WooCommerce Weight Based Shipping, WC – APG Free Shipping, etc.

Carrier Calculated Shipping Rates

What is carrier calculated shipping?

Carrier calculated rates is an advanced shipping functionality where the shipping rates are calculated using the shipping accounts of carriers like UPS, FedEx, USPS, etc. Its main advantage is that the shipping rates are accurate to the real-world scenario so you don’t have to estimate the shipping charges. This eliminates the possibility of overcharging or undercharging shipping costs to the customers.

How to set up carrier-calculated shipping?

Carrier calculated shipping is not a built-in functionality on WooCommerce. The easiest way to set up carrier-calculated shipping rates is by using a multi-carrier shipping solution such as the PluginHive WooCommerce Shipping Services plugin. Based on your region of shipping, you can choose from different shipping carriers like UPS, USPS, FedEx, DHL, Canada Post, and many more. The plugin allows you to set up multiple carriers’ calculated shipping rates based on your preference. Besides, the plugin also automates the entire shipping process of printing shipping labels, tracking your orders, marking the orders as completed, and sending email tracking notifications to the customers.

Custom shipping option

What is custom shipping option?

Custom shipping method is an advanced shipping option that is not an in-built feature in WooCommerce. By default, WooCommerce offers limited number of shipping methods by default namely Free shipping, Flat rate, and Local Pickup. What if you needed to add a custom shipping method? Take for example if you needed a distance-based shipping method.

How to set up custom shipping option?

To create a WooCommerce shipping method, you need some programing skills. You can take a look at this tutorial to get the detailed process of setting up custom shipping method in WooCommerce.

Or you can install  Custom Shipping Methods for WooCommerce plugin to solve such issue. The plugin allows you to easily add custom shipping methods for WooCommerce. The shipping calculations can be based on quantity, cost, weight, volume, percentage fee, and distance.


Shipping cost is an important factor for all online stores, especially those selling physical products. Higher shipping rates or inappropriate ones often become the reason for customers abandoning the cart. Hence, you need to understand customers need and set up the right shipping methods that are suitable for different shipping zones.

After reading this article, we hope you are now easily able to configure your shipping options and pick out the most appropriate shipping methods in your WooCommerce store.

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