Skip to main content

Gatsby E-Commerce Tutorial

Table of Contents

In this advanced tutorial, you’ll learn how to use Gatsby to build the UI for a basic e-commerce site that can accept payments, with Stripe as the backend for processing payments.

Why use Gatsby for an e-commerce site?

Benefits of using Gatsby for e-commerce sites include the following:

  • Security inherent in static sites
  • Blazing fast performance when your pages are converted from React into static files
  • Easy to host

You can see the working demo hosted here:


How does Gatsby work with Stripe?

Stripe is a payment processing service that allows you to securely collect and process payment information from your customers. To try out Stripe for yourself, go to Stripe’s Quick Start Guide.

There are alternatives to Stripe, like Square and Braintree, and their setup is very similar to Stripe.

Stripe offers a hosted checkout that doesn’t require any backend component. You can configure products, SKUs, and subscription plans in the Stripe Dashboard. If you’re selling a single product or subscription (like an eBook) you can hardcode the product’s SKU ID in your Gatsby side. If you’re selling multiple products, you can use the Stripe source plugin to retrieve all SKUs at build time. If you want your Gatsby site to automatically update, you can use the Stripe webhook event to trigger a redeploy when a new product or SKU is added.

Setting up a Gatsby site

Create a new Gatsby project by running the gatsby new command in the terminal and change directories into the new project you just started:

Installing the StripeJS plugin

You can extend the functionality of this default starter with plugins. One such plugin is gatsby-plugin-stripe, which you’ll install in this project:

Open the root site directory in a text editor and navigate to gatsby-config.js and add the StripeJS plugin to gatsby-config.js in the plugins section. Your gatsby-config.js should look like the following code example:

See your site hot reload in the browser!

Run npm run develop in the terminal, which starts a development server and reloads changes you make to your site so you can preview them in the browser. Open up your browser to localhost:8000 and you should see a default homepage.

NOTE: If you have already started your Gatsby development server using npm run develop, you will need to restart the server by pressing CTRL + C in the terminal where the command was run and running npm run develop again to see changes in your gatsby-config.js reflected on localhost:8000

How does the StripeJS plugin work?

Stripe provides a JavaScript library the allows you to securely redirect your customer to the Stripe hosted checkout page. The Gatsby plugin, gatsby-plugin-stripe, will add this snippet:

to the end of the <body> tag across all of your pages. This helps facilitate Stripe’s fraud detection.

If you want to further customise the checkout process or pull Stripe data into your site, check out Gatsby’s plugin library for more Stripe plugins.

Getting your Stripe test keys

View your API credentials by logging into your Stripe account, and then going to Developers > API Keys.

Stripe public test key location in Stripe account

You have 2 keys in both test mode and production mode:

  • a publishable key
  • a secret key

While testing, you must use the key(s) that include test. For production code, you will need to use the live keys. As the names imply, your publishable key may be included in code that you share publicly (for example, on the frontend, and in GitHub), whereas your secret key should not be shared with anyone or committed to any public repo. It’s important to restrict access to this secret key because anyone who has it could potentially read or send requests from your Stripe account and see information about charges or purchases or even refund customers.


You can find an implementation of these examples on GitHub.

Easy: One Button

If you’re selling a simple product, like an eBook for example, you can create a single button that will perform a redirect to the Stripe Checkout page:

Create a product and SKU

For Stripe Checkout to work without any backend component, you need to create a product listing in the Stripe Dashboard. This is required for Stripe to validate that the request coming from the frontend is legitimate and to charge the right amount for the selected product/SKU. To set this up, simply follow the steps in the Stripe docs.

Note: You will need to create both test and live product SKUs in the Stripe admin. Make sure you toggle to ‘Viewing test data’ and then create your products for local development.

Create a checkout component that loads StripeJS and redirects to the checkout

Create a new file at src/components/checkout.js. Your checkout.js file should look like this:

What did you just do?

You imported React, added a button with some styles, and introduced some React functions. The componentDidMount() and redirectToCheckout() functions are most important for the Stripe functionality. The componentDidMount() function is a React lifecycle method that launches when the component is first mounted to the DOM, making it a good place to initialise the Stripe.js client. It looks like this:

This identifies you with the Stripe platform, validates the checkout request against your products and security settings, and processes the payment on your Stripe account.

The redirectToCheckout() function validates your checkout request and either redirects to the Stripe hosted checkout page or resolves with an error object. Make sure to replace successUrl and cancelUrl with the appropriate URLs for your application.

The render() function applies your styles to the button and binds the redirectToCheckout() function to the button’s onclick event.

Importing the checkout component into the homepage

Now go to your src/pages/index.js file. This is your homepage that shows at the root URL. Import your new checkout component in the file underneath the other imports and add your <Checkout /> component within the <Layout> element. Your index.js file should now look like similar to this:

If you go back to localhost:8000 in your browser and you have npm run develop running, you should now see a big, enticing “BUY MY BOOK” button. C’mon and give it a click!

Advanced: Import SKUs via source plugin

Instead of hardcoding the SKU IDs, you can use the gatsby-source-stripe plugin to retrieve your SKUs at build time.

Add the Stripe source plugin

Add the gatsby-source-stripe plugin which you can use to pull in the SKUs from your Stripe account.

Now you can add the plugin configuration in your gatsby-config file:

To retrieve your SKUs from your Stripe account you will need to provide your secret API key. This key needs to kept secret and must never be shared on the frontend or on GitHub. Therefore you need to set an environment variable to store the secret key. You can read more about the usage of env variables in Gatsby here.

In the root directory of your project add a .env.development file:

To use the defined env variable you need to require it in your gatsby-config.js or gatsby-node.js like this:

Lastly, make sure that your .gitignore file excludes all of your .env.* files:

Create a component that lists your SKUs

In your components folder add a new Products folder. This folder will include the components that interact with the Stripe SKUs. First, you need a component that queries and lists your SKUs:

You can validate your query and see what data is being returned in GraphiQL, which is available at http://localhost:8000/___graphql when running npm run develop.

Once you’re happy with your query, create a new page where you can import the newly created Sku component:

When navigating to http://localhost:8000/advanced/ you should now see a list of paragraphs with your SKU names.

Create a component that presents a single SKU

To make your SKUs more visually appealing and interactive, create a new SkuCard component in your Products folder:

This component renders a neat card for each individual SKU, with the SKU name, nicely formatted pricing, and a “BUY ME” button. The button triggers the redirectToCheckout() function with the corresponding SKU ID.

Lastly, you need to refactor your Skus component to initialize the Stripe.js client, and render SkuCards while handing down the Stripe.js client in the props:

Adding a cart component

You can call redirectToCheckout() providing an array of SKUs and their quantities to charge for multiple items at the same time. Instead of each “BUY ME” button redirecting to the checkout page, you can therefore provide a central “GO TO CHECKOUT” button that uses the state of a cart component. You can see the necessary changes for this example on GitHub.

Testing Payments

In test mode (when using the API key that includes test) Stripe provides test cards for you to test different checkout scenarios.

Edit this page on GitHub