5.2: Shipping Methods
Shipping methods are used to calculate shipping rates and total shipping costs for a given cart/order.
Shipping methods in Magento can be divided into two major groups: "online" and "offline". Offline methods calculate rates based on local data, such as table rates stored directly in Magento, or a single flat fee set in the store configuration. Online methods obtain rates by requesting them from a remote service.
Typical offline shipping methods include
pickup. Typical online methods include
fedex. Magento supports these examples natively.
A shipping "carrier" provides one or more available rates (e.g., "Ground" or "2-Day" from a typical online provider), and final shipping costs on an order are applied based on the customer's selection from these rates. The "collect rates" logic that shipping methods must provide determines rates based on the specific information about the order, such as shipping address, product dimensions, and product weight. This process can be initiated in two different places on the store front-end: on the cart page (using the "Estimate Shipping and Tax" functionality), and on the first step of checkout.