Ecommerce WordPress

Why You Shouldn’t Use WordPress for an eCommerce Website (and What Are the Alternatives)

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There are over 30 million live websites powered by WordPress, which is 41% of all websites using CMS.

WordPress is undoubtedly the most popular platform in the world. It has been created by bloggers and for bloggers, so you are probably wondering: “is WordPress good for eCommerce?”, and rightfully so.  It has many serious flaws. Read on to learn more about which platform to choose for your business.

Why WordPress is So Popular

Let’s start by learning a bit more about WordPress and why it is so popular.

WP doesn’t require a substantial investment. It is open-source software, which means it is free for anyone to use. It has a straightforward installation process and a clear interface that allows a user with zero experience to quickly learn how to use the CMS. Due to the popularity of the platform, there are a lot of free tutorials answering virtually every question about the platform you may have. There is also a large pool of WordPress specialists that can help you for a relatively small fee.

There is a whole ecosystem around WP ‒ many template design options and plugins to expand functionality. You get the impression that you can make anything out of the WP platform. 

Can WordPress be used for eCommerce? There is a WooCommerce plugin that you can use to create an online store with WordPress. At the moment, most of the eCommerce websites run on this plugin.

This plugin can turn a blog CMS into a fully-fledged online store. It can further be upgraded with extensions that add even more features to your website. Sounds perfect, right? But what is the catch?

Disadvantages of WordPress

Even though it has many advantages, WordPress has a lot of weak points that you should consider: 

  • Not intended for eCommerce – WP is a blog CMS. That’s why it lacks some vital eCommerce features. The WooCommerce plugin is a workaround for this problem, but it has limitations that you won’t have with a specialized eCommerce platform or custom-built website. 
  • Poor security – Is WordPress safe for eCommerce? Not really. According to the Sucuri report, over 90% of infected websites with CMSs are built on WordPress. Due to its popularity and accessibility, WordPress is alluring to hackers. They discover vulnerabilities (especially among outdated versions) and attack several websites at once. Additionally, not all themes and plugins are trustworthy. They are at risk of infection, too.
  • Limited customer support – Both WordPress and WooCommerce are open-source and free, so there is no paid support team ‒ only the community of users and contributors. 
  • Low page speed – There are plenty of reasons for website speed problems: themes, plugins, WordPress configuration, external scripts, etc. As a result, not only do users end up hating your website, but also Google won’t rank you.
  • Unreliability – When using WordPress you won’t be able to go without plugins because it is the only way to add new features. Furthermore, plugins are created by independent developers without strict quality standards, so you need to be careful when choosing them. Website maintenance can become a nightmare because some plugins are not compatible with each other which causes bugs. 

What Other Options Do You Have? 

Luckily, you have a myriad of worthy alternatives. You can choose from specialized off-the-shelf solutions or develop a website from scratch. Let’s explore your options.

Proprietary eCommerce Platforms 

Proprietary platforms are CMS solutions made specially for eCommerce. This type of software is different from open-source in that you have to purchase it from a vendor as a SaaS or license. This ensures that it will not be an easy target for those who want to exploit its vulnerabilities. In addition, since you pay for this type of software, the vendor will be responsible for quality and security standards, and customer support. 

Of all the alternatives to WP, Shopify is by far the most popular because of its attractive cost-benefit ratio.

When comparing “WordPress vs Shopify for eCommerce” the latter wins most of the time because of the following:

  • It’s a SaaS platform and for a monthly fee starting at $29, it provides all the functionality, including hosting, so you don’t need to worry about it.
  • It is designed specifically for commerce and offers stylish themes to customize an online shop. 
  • It has reliable 24/7 customer support, so you won’t be left alone with your problem.
  • It is user-friendly and easy to set up which makes it great for small businesses and startups.
  • The platform has built-in tools and auto-created sitemaps for SEO.
  • It provides users with insights on business performance and analytics of digital marketing campaigns.
  • Crucially, Shopify has a higher level of security as it hires experts to monitor the system and issues timely updates.
  • Offers multiple payment providers to accommodate different customers’ needs. 
  • Additionally, it has fast page speed, so you don’t have to worry about usability and SEO issues connected to slow websites. 
  • Shopify is also scalable, so if your sales suddenly grow your online store won’t crash, you’ll just have to upgrade your pricing plan. 

Custom Development

If you have specific requirements that ready-made solutions don’t provide, it is better to build a custom website. Custom development is the right choice if you require unique features or extra security, or you expect an influx of visitors or sales. Custom websites have the following advantages: 

  1. Better user experience because it’s tailored to your TA
  2. Increased brand exposure through great design
  3. Unique functionality tailored exactly to your needs
  4. Flexibility to change and add new features
  5. Any kind of integrations with third-party systems or legacy bespoke software
  6. Can have the ultimate level of security as only you and your team have access to the code
  7. High loading speed as the website is optimized to your needs and there are no unnecessary features

Naturally, custom development also has its disadvantages. It takes months to build a unique website and is much more expensive than out-off-the-box solutions. So you need to consider the costs and benefits for your business.

Wrapping Up

WordPress is a powerful and well-known tool that many people use to create websites and online stores. But despite its popularity, this platform lacks some vital characteristics like page speed and security among others. WordPress disadvantages mean it is probably not the best choice for your online business.

Among preferred alternatives are proprietary platforms, like Shopify, which offer paid service with numerous perks. Another choice is custom development where a website is built according to your personal requirements. Depending on your goals and budget you can find a worthy option that is safe and functional.

About the author


Inna Lebedeva

Inna Lebedeva is a market researcher and writer at Greenice web development company. She explores today's trends in IT business and provides useful insights for startups. Inna covers a wide array of topics from remote work to eCommerce development. Her writing is always based on deep research and expert interviews.