How to Make a Website Like eBay

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Ben Sibley

“Follow the plan outlined here and you can create your own website from scratch without writing any code for less than $300.”


You might remember their supremely popular ad campaign from the 90s.

While they haven’t changed their model much over the last twenty years, it’s still an extremely profitable company.

And here’s why that matters for you.

An evergreen opportunity

eBay has proven that auctions can be a profitable long-term strategy online. There’s no question that you can do the same and be successful.

That said, you probably don’t have the resources to become a mass market solution. Instead, you should focus on a niche.

If you have a good hook to make your brand stand out, you can not only make a website like eBay, you can compete with eBay.

With that out of the way, let’s get to building the site!

Sneak peek

It’s hard to envision the site without actually seeing it first. Here’s a quick look at what your site will look like:

Essential WordPress auction theme
This is the Essential auction theme

The Essential WordPress theme has a gorgeous design with all the features you need to recreate an auction platform like eBay.

You can create your own auctions or allow visitors to register and list auctions. They can add images, descriptions, and choose the listing price just like on eBay.

There’s loads more functionality, but let’s keep moving for now. Here are the main steps you need to follow to build a site like eBay.

How to make a site like eBay

In this guide, you’ll find all the tools you need to create the site and some additional tutorials to take things further.

Here are the five main steps to follow when building your site:

  1. Pick a domain
  2. Get hosting
  3. Install WordPress
  4. Choose a WordPress theme
  5. Customize your site

Let’s get started with selecting the domain name for your new online business.

Pick a domain

I’ll keep this simple.

Coming up with a memorable name for your business is tough. It’s even tougher to find a matching domain name.

The problem is that there are “domain squatters” who buy up all the domains for the standard rate and then jack up the prices. That means you’re going to find the domains you want on sale for $1,000-20,000 over and over again.

If you want to avoid paying thousands for your domain, you need to know how to find the ones that are still unregistered and only cost $10.

I put together a detailed domain scouting guide including all my favorite tips and tricks for finding available domain names.

Domain Name Post

Give that tutorial a read and you’re sure to come away with an excellent domain.

Once you’ve found an available domain, hold off on buying it for just a minute. You’ll want to complete this next step first.

Get hosting

Without hosting, your site won’t load.

When you purchase hosting, you’re renting space on a server. That server is then connected to your domain and delivers your site’s files to visitors when they arrive.

And then your site loads 🙂

There are literally hundreds of hosts available, but the one I recommend you use for your website is Nexcess.

Nexcess WordPress Hosting

Nexcess is affordable without being one of the “cheap” hosts that make your site load slow and break all the time.

There are three other reasons for selecting them.

First, their WordPress hosting includes creating a site automatically for you.

Second, they handle plugin updates and daily backups for you.

Lastly, their hosting is much faster than cheaper hosts, but they don’t charge nearly as much as the premium hosts that offer similar speeds.

Click here to create your first site with Nexcess and WordPress.

Choose a WordPress theme

The WordPress theme you choose will completely change the design of your website.

Furthermore, the Essential theme which you previewed earlier includes all the functionality you need to recreate eBay.

Essential WordPress auction theme

The demo site in the screenshot above is for watches, but you can sell any kind of products you want.

Here are a few more screenshots from around the demo site so you can get a better look.

Essential auction product page
Product page
Essential auction archive

You can click here to see the live demo site for yourself.

Essential also comes with responsive image sliders, product comparisons, wishlists, and mega menus.

This auction theme looks gorgeous on laptops, tablets, and smartphones thanks to its responsive design. All of the colors are customizable and all of the text you see can be translated into any language.

Theme alternatives

Essential is an awesome theme, but I have a few other top-notch recommendations for you.

Check out this collection of the best auction WordPress themes to find additional templates for your site.

Auction WordPress Themes

Auction plugins

And just to make sure you know about all the options at your disposal, visit our collection of the top auction WordPress plugins too.

You can use those plugins to add auctions to WordPress with any theme installed.

Customize your site

At this point, you have a live WordPress site with Essential (or another auction theme) installed.

You don’t need any other tools to build the site, so it’s time to start customizing!

First, check out our tutorial on basic WordPress customizing. That guide will walk you through all of the basics that come built into WP.

Beginner WordPress Customization

Next, take a look through the documentation for Essential. The developers have put together dozens of articles with step-by-step instructions for customizations like adding auction listings and creating sliders.

If you want even more control over your site’s design, you should consider learning how to use a page builder as well.

Once your site is fully customized, you’ll be ready for launch!

Launch your website

In this guide, we covered all the tools you need to put together your own site like eBay.

I haven’t touched on the marketing plan or getting traffic – I’ll leave that part up to you 😉

To summarize the steps shared here one last time:

  1. Pick a domain
  2. Get hosting
  3. Install WordPress
  4. Choose a WordPress theme
  5. Customize your site

If you have any remaining questions about how to make a website like eBay, you can post in the comments section below.

Ben Sibley
Ben Sibley
This article was written by Ben Sibley. He is a WordPress theme designer & developer, and founder of Compete Themes.