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Is WordPress a Good Solution for E-commerce? (Part I)

For many non-WordPress users, the impression of WordPress is that it is a platform for blogs and magazines. Many people hardly know that WordPress is the Jack-of-all-Trades which can flexibly handle any type of website one would want to build.

Especially for e-commerce, WordPress can help you create an exceptionally good online business website. However, there is pretty much a controversial conversation regarding this statement. Through this article, I’ll give you some points of view so you can have the answer for the question: Is WordPress a good platform for e-commerce?

We’ll jump through these parts:

  1. Why WordPress is not good for e-commerce websites
  2. In defense of WordPress weaknesses as an e-commerce platform
  3. Why WordPress is good for e-commerce websites
  4. Tips to create a successful WordPress e-commerce website

Why WordPress is not good for e-commerce websites

WordPress is easily vulnerable to security attacks

As WordPress has been increasing its popularity, it also has become a target for many security attacks. According to statistics in 2013, more than 70% of WordPress installations were vulnerable to hacker attacks. The truth is, there have always been plenty of exploits for WordPress because of its dominance.

 

As stated in the infographic which covers the report of WordPress 2013 states, most of the holes for hackers to sneak through come from WordPress themes and plugins. Badly-coded themes, poorly developed plugins, using cheap hosting, and using weak passwords are the main reasons that lead to WordPress hacking.

For e-commerce websites which store a large amount of consumers’ personal information, it will be a big problem if the website gets hacked and all that precious information is stolen. The business will have to face a great loss in consumer trust and financial income.

WordPress updates suck

Using WordPress not only means that you will have to live with the constant threat of being attacked anytime, but it also requires you to update things frequently if you want everything run smoothly.

One problem is that, WordPress core, WordPress themes and plugins are frequently updated. This job is not so difficult but will take you time to keep things up-to-date with the latest version. In a bad case, the new versions might not compatible with each other and might crash your site. Not to mention that some customizations you made might be overwritten and lost if you don’t have a backup.

If you’re running an e-commerce website with huge traffic each day, then it will be a big minus for your reputation if the site is not available for visitors to view or purchase your products.

WordPress can’t handle heavy traffic and a complicated system

The scalability of an e-commerce website is important when it comes to a big website with intensive traffic every second and a giant database. Popular e-commerce websites will have to be able to deal with a large amount of data every second. This is where platforms like Magento beat WordPress.

Many people believe that WordPress was not born for large-scale operations. So, it’s impossible for WordPress to outweigh other born-for-ecommerce platforms. Plus, it’s reasonable to think that features of an online store like shipping, online payment checkout, tax calculation, CRM, rewards for customers, 3rd party integrations, APIs, etc. would be better in a native e-commerce platform than using plugins or addons for each feature.

In defense of WordPress weaknesses as an e-commerce platform

WordPress is easily vulnerable. Which platform is not vulnerable to security attack?

If you are concerned about a website’s security so much, you should never live with the illusion that there is any website, or software, or anything else on the internet, that is absolutely secure.

WordPress gets higher attack counts because it’s has been the most popular CMS, with way more users as well as installations, than other platforms, not because it’s easy to hack WordPress. Get your facts straight.

Besides, you should practice good habits like paying attention to choosing and installing WordPress themes or plugins, or hardening your WordPress security by following these tips:

5 helpful tips to boost WordPress security

Boost WordPress security by adding two-factor authentication

There are too many updates to WordPress?

 

Updates are natural part of any platform, be it WordPress, or Joomla, or Magento. If you’re running too many sites at one time with many of the same plugins or themes, you can try WordPress multisite. Using a multisite system needs only one click to update all of the sites.

If you fear that installing updates can break your website, I’d suggest you to follow this best practice: test the new components on your localhost first before uploading them to your live site, if you’re nervous. However, the thought of installing updates making a site crash is quite backwards. It’s very unlikely for this to happen.

Comparing Magento or Prestashop, their updates are like a horror story but seems like their users are not as many as WordPress users so the complaints seem fewer (You don’t believe me? Spend some minutes researching Google for the pain).

WordPress is not for big websites

The scalability of WordPress is not the root of why your site is running slow. Scalability depends greatly on the server you’re using. Besides, WordPress itself scales very well. Need proof? Look at WordPress.com this is a multisite system which is running nearly 10 million websites perfectly.

For e-commerce websites running on WordPress, you can take Woocommerce Themes for example. It’s a solid e-commerce website that has nearly 500 products with more than 100,000 paying customers, with 10,000 visitors every day. The WordPress they’re using scales just fine.

My advice is that you should choose a really good host to handle your server well enough for your website to run smoothly.

Quick thoughts

That’s what for our part one of the two parts regarding WordPress as an e-commerce solution. What do you think? Is there any comment on the downside of WordPress for e-commerce websites? Let’s discuss!

by Vivian Vu

I'm a proud minion in the WooRockets Team. Enjoy life, music, writing blogs and LOVE to read comments for my blogs - So feel free to connect with me by leaving a comment right below or tweet me @vivianjedi

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