With free WordPress plugin WooCommerce neck and neck with Magento as the ecommerce platform leader in terms of usage among the Alexa top 1 million ranked websites, businesses may be wondering whether they should build their sales website using WordPress, go for something custom-made or look into a cloud-based solution.

Potential problems of WordPress for ecommerce

At a fundamental level, WordPress is built as a CMS – it was made for blogging, not ecommerce. This means that various combinations of plugins that enable ecommerce functionality can also lead to bugs and security problems.

Popular platform naturally attract hackers, although it is generally held that the security of WordPress itself is “good enough”. The trouble is, with a WordPress, development and hosting is entirely down to you (permitting customisation), unlike with various cloud-based solutions: the constant drip of updates means that your site might face security challenges if not maintained properly.

Things to consider include ensuring registered users use appropriately complex passwords, SSL certificates/HTTPS, secure hosting, whether payment partners are trusted and avoiding free themes from dodgy sources.

Upsides of using WordPress for ecommerce

WordPress is widely used for ecommerce websites because it’s cheap, it’s adaptable and it’s scalable.

WordPress and the relevant ecommerce plugins are mainly free, although development and implementation may not be, of course.

As an open source platform and the content management system (CMS) of choice for tens of millions of websites, there is a gigantic community of developers, which in turn means a vast library of resources, meaning potential savings on development costs. These include plugins which make the platform eminently customisable but also make it possible to quickly cobble together a simple, workable solution should the need arise.

Developers generally comment on its scalability and robustness – properly hosted (some recommend WP Engine, for example) and configured, WordPress can handle any size of website and any amount of traffic.

Others comment about its solid SEO capabilities both out of the box, thanks to things like search-friendly URL structures, and via plugins like Yoast SEO.

Things to consider include ensuring registered users use appropriately complex passwords, SSL certificates/HTTPS, secure hosting, whether payment partners are trusted and avoiding free themes from dodgy sources.