How to Create an Online Marketplace Like Etsy

Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, will earn a small commission if you make a purchase.

The Definitive Guide on How to Start a Marketplace Website

build a site like etsy

Starting a website can be daunting, especially if you have never made one before.

You may well have a million online business ideas running around your head, but it feels like that barrier to entry; i.e launching a website to make that first step is a bridge too far.

Well, it doesn’t need to be that way. As we explain all over, launching your own website in 2021 could not be easier.

And even something as ‘seemingly’ complicated as an online marketplace can be started with no experience whatsoever.

To prove it, this guide will show you exactly how to create an online marketplace similar to Etsy.

Sounds good? Well, let’s get started…

This BuildaSiteLike Ultimate Guide will cover 3 main steps:

  • Step 1. We will introduce the Content Management System that will allow you to build a website with no prior experience (And it is absolutely free to use!)
  • Step 2. We will show you our recommended hosting and domain name provider
  • Step 3. Cover everything you need to know to install your CMS and Etsy style marketplace theme

By the end of this article, you will have an online marketplace up and running, ready to accept vendors and buyers.

Click here to see what your finished website could look like

And all this can be done in less than an hour!

Step 1: Introducing the Content Management System (CMS)

starting a site like etsy

If you have done any preliminary research into building a website, you may well have come across WordPress. This is currently the world’s most popular CMS and is used for an estimated 30% of all websites currently online.

Let’s take a broader look at what the CMS actually does.

What does the Content Management System (CMS) do?

wordpress cms on laptop

The Content Management System is the backbone of your website; it provides an easy to use interface that allows you to create and manage the design, content, and function of your website without needing to learn any complex code.

You could think of it as similar to your Facebook profile; when you log in to that you can add images and texts, as well links and other information.

Well, when you log in to the admin area of your website CMS, you can do exactly the same (and then some). Add written content, pages, blog posts, images, and videos – all of that is done via a simple point and click interface within the CMS.

In fact, the entire design of the site can also be controlled from inside your admin area. In the case of WordPress you choose an appropriate theme, (more on this later) which will then alter the look of your website.

In the case of our Etsy style website, we will show you how to install WordPress and then choose a theme that will give you all the functionality you need to run an online market place.

Essentially, using WordPress and an appropriate theme will allow you to launch a sophisticated website, with no web design skills whatsoever.

The rest of this guide will demonstrate how to build a marketplace with WordPress

wordpress cms for beginners

This will involve the following:

  • Signing up to the iPage hosting plan, (and take advantage of a massive 75% discount)
  • Register a brandable Domain Name for your new Etsy style website
  • Installing WordPress onto our iPage hosting (with just a few clicks)
  • Purchasing and installing the best Etsy Template WordPress Theme
  • How to prepare your new site ready for launch

Step 2: Choosing Your Hosting & Domain Name


The first major step towards building our new site is to purchase the domain name and hosting. Let’s take a quick look at what those terms mean.

  • Domain Name – Every website online has a domain name. This is the virtual address of the website on the internet. ( is an example of a domain name.)
  • Hosting – For visitors to be able to access your website 24/7 it needs to be hosted online. The hosting provider takes care of this for you, (generally for a monthly or annual fee).

Helping you get started online!

We have partnered with iPage to bring our readers what we believe to be the best beginner web hosting deal online today. Sign up using the link below you will get a MASSIVE 75% Discount on your hosting plan & a FREE Domain Name


After testing all of the major hosting providers online, we are very comfortable recommending iPage. Not only do they offer an incredible value starter package; the options provided will ensure all beginners get the help they need to launch their first website.

With feature-rich hosting, a fast and responsive live support service, and all at an amazing $1.99 a month price tag, they really have raised their game above similar services in the space.

Not only that, following the special link above means iPage will give you your first-year domain registration absolutely FREE.

Note: It is important to clarify that Build a Site Like does earn a small commission if you purchase hosting with iPage. However, this comes at no extra cost to you and all goes towards helping us keep the lights on 🙂

So if you’re ready to start building your Etsy online marketplace, let’s head over to iPage to purchase some hosting…

Click this link to open the iPage Website in a new window

Once you arrive at iPage, click the Get Started Now Button.

This will take you to a page where you can choose your free 1 year, domain registration.

To create this tutorial I typed in

I then press search.

Nice, your domain name is available!

I am happy to see that.

However, don’t worry if you do not see the same message. Your first choice .com name may already be taken. This is common.

Try another name, or even a different extension, (the results page will show some viable suggestions for you too).

Once you have settled on a domain name that is available, press Next, choose my term.

(For more on choosing a ‘brandable’ domain name head here)

This page will ask you to select a 1, 2, or 3-year duration for your hosting plan.

The longer-term you choose the better savings you will enjoy as the $1.99 a month price will extend throughout the entire term, (but won’t upon renewal).

We opted for two year plan. The total cost of the term can be seen to the right.

After you have made your choice click Next, customize my plan.

This will take you to a list of optional extras.

The extras are as follows:

  • Domain Privacy – yes, you will definitely need this. Without it you’ll receive annoying calls and/or emails from online services that have taken your details from the domain register
  • Website Security & Daily Backup – You’ll need this too, your site should be secure and backed up.
  • All in One WordPress Bundle – Nope, don’t bother with this.
  • SSL CertificateYes please Mr iPage. Your visitors may see a security warning if a certificate is not in place.

After you have chosen all your extras, click Continue to Payment and fill in your payment details.

Well done, Step 2 is almost complete!

After reaching the payment confirmation screen you will be asked to create your login credentials for the new iPage account.

After this, you will be able to login into your new iPage hosting account.

Now it’s time for exciting step number 3.

Step 3: Installing the CMS & Your Marketplace WordPress Theme


i. Installing WordPress Using the iPage SimpleScripts

After logging into the iPage Control Panel you reach a screen such as the one below.

Head to the Website section, and click My Installs (SimpleScripts).

From the script list, click WordPress.

Leave the default settings as is on the page that you end up on.

Click Install and iPage will take over, (you will be asked to create your login details – Username and Password – for the WordPress admin area, however).


Your WordPress Installation is complete.

Check out the front page of your new website by typing in the domain name into your browser, (

Yes, pretty underwhelming at the minute hey?

With only the WordPress default theme in place and no content at all, your site will look very basic indeed.

We’re about to change all that for you!

It’s time to purchase and install your Etsy style marketplace WordPress theme!

ii. Installing a WordPress Marketplace Theme


[Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.]

We are now at my favorite stage of the website building process – installing the theme.

There are a ton of available themes online, (over 11,000 on ThemeForest alone) however to make this guide as simple as possible, we have done the research for you.

As a beginner, you need a theme that will do all the heavy lifting for you, so that all the processes run automatically in the background.

And to ensure you get the best theme for the job, (in this case to create a marketplace so that vendors from around the world can sell their craft wares on your site) we have tested a bunch and come to a conclusion on the best one around.

Drum roll, please…

The Best WordPress Marketplace Theme in 2021

This accolade goes to Handy, a complete wordpress marketplace theme designed specifically for arts and craft style items.

With over 3000 sales at the time of writing, plus just over 4.5 star average out of 5 from user reviews, this theme has clearly been making waves in the online marketplace arena.

With a design perfect for handmade craft e-commerce sales, an abundance of features to make it easy for vendors to sign up and start selling, (and importantly for you to take a small commission on any sales), in our opinion this is a clear winner as the best Etsy style wordpress theme available.

So if you’re ready, let’s go ahead and purchase Handy so we can fully launch your new website.

Click here to open the ThemeForest website to purchase your new theme.

handy wordpress theme on themeforest

The above link will take you straight to the Handy theme sales page. Click Buy Now

Now you will need to enter your billing address and payment details, (Major credit and debit cards are supported, as well as Paypal).

Once that is done click Continue.

After creating your login details, you will be able to access your ThemeForest members area in order to download the theme.

Then, follow the video below from the theme authors on how to install Handy

How to Install the Handy WordPress Etsy marketplace theme

This is where it all begins to finally take shape.  You will also see that the theme authors have provided a sample data install option.

By following the video below you can have your new creative marketplace live, with all the demo content already in place.

How to install the Handy sample data to Help launch your new site

Nice and easy!

The next step however is to prepare the site for business so that outside vendors can begin selling their wares. The easy to follow video below will explain these features.

Setting up Handy ready for Business Vendors

And once you have finished the above, pour a drink and give yourself a slap on the back, because…

Congratulations you’ve just built your very own wordpress online Marketplace!

Further Details:

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How was your experience building this site like Etsy? Was the guide easy to follow? Do you have any questions? Post your comments as we would love to hear your feedback.

And if you like what you found here please Share it with friends; we want to get the word out so that everyone can understand how to get started online and build a successful website just like… 🙂

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