WooCommerce vs WordPress [6 Key Differences]

Updated on September 19, 2023 by Editorial Team

If you’ve decided to take your business online, it’s important first to understand the difference between WooCommerce vs WordPress.

Building your online store is a great way to establish your online presence and expand your reach to a wider audience.

However, designing and launching a stunning online store for your products and services can be daunting, especially if you’re a beginner with little to no technical experience.

Fortunately, WordPress, along with WooCommerce, makes this job super easy for you.

WordPress is a Content Management System, while WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that helps you build an e-commerce website to sell products and services online.

By installing the WooCommerce plugin on your WordPress site, you can access extensive features and functionalities to build an interactive and customized e-commerce store for your audience.

In this post, we’ll walk you through the major differences between WordPress vs WooCommerce to help you understand the basics and launch your own e-commerce website.

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    What is WordPress?

    WordPress is a powerful, open-source software for building websites, applications, and blogs.

    Started as a blogging tool, WordPress later developed into a feature-rich CMS and an intuitive website-creating tool.

    At its core, the software allows you to build and edit full-functional websites from scratch with tons of customizations and unique features.

    As of 2023, over 810 million websites are developed using WordPress – that’s about 43% of all the websites on the internet.

    WordPress is a popular website-building tool for beginners and experts alike, thanks to its ease of use, design flexibility, and seamless integration capabilities.

    The software also offers you access to an extensive library of third-party themes and plugins to help you level up the functionality of your website.

    For instance, Nexter is a powerful all-in-one theme from POSIMYTH Innovations that equips you with the best design, styling, and customization options for a fully functional and stunning website.

    However, one of the things it lacks is the ability to create an interactive and functional e-commerce store. This is where a WooCommerce plugin comes in handy.

    What is WooCommerce?

    WooCommerce is a plugin that helps extend WordPress’s functionality to build customizable e-commerce stores.

    It is a user-friendly platform that lets you build your online store from scratch, list products in an attractive manner, add shopping cart functionality and much more to your WordPress website.

    Powering over 20% of all WordPress websites, WooCommerce is a highly flexible and powerful extension for your website.

    Since it is an open-source platform, you have complete control over your online store. Plus, an extensive range of pre-made templates and design options help you make your e-commerce website visually appealing for your audience.

    WooCommerce vs WordPress – Major Differences

    Now you might wonder, What is the difference between WordPress and WooCommerce?

    The major difference between WooCommerce and WordPress lies in their purpose and functions when it comes to building websites.

    In layman’s terms, you could think of WordPress as an operating system of your smartphone, while WooCommerce is an app you install.

    WooCommerce is a plugin that works on your WordPress CMS to build interactive e-commerce websites.

    Here are some other differences between WordPress and WooCommerce:

    1. Purpose

    Both WordPress and WooCommerce are used together to create a fabulous e-commerce site, but the major difference between WordPress and WooCommerce lies in their purpose to help you get there.

    WordPress is a widely popular, flexible content management system (CMS) that lets you create interactive websites for a personal blog, business, e-commerce website, and more.

    The platform offers you a user-friendly interface along with plenty of design options and additional plugins to customize your website the way you want to.

    By default, it works with the Gutenberg editor, but you can also install other page builder plugins like Elementor, depending on your website needs.

    On the other hand, WooCommerce is a plugin specially designed to help turn your WordPress website into an online store.

    The plugin offers you a wide range of functionalities to build a feature-rich online store and sell your products and services to a wider audience.

    2. E-Commerce Features

    While WordPress delivers amazing content management with some basic e-commerce functionality for your online store, it lacks the wide range of advanced features and plugins offered by WooCommerce.

    WooCommerce has an extensive marketplace for tools, themes, and extensions you might need to enhance the functionality of your e-commerce store.

    WooCommerce equips you with unique extensions and tools for homepage designs, navigation menus, product listings, payment options, shipping methods, and more.

    Additionally, it features an intuitive interface to help you manage and fulfill orders on the go with automated tax planning, live shipping rate updates, and easy inventory tracking.

    The best part? WooCommerce also supports various payment gateways to offer your customers a secure and seamless online payment experience.

    3. Focus

    When it comes to choosing an e-commerce solution to build your online business, it helps to understand what these two tools are focused on.

    With WordPress, you get the perfect tool to build, design, and edit highly flexible and scalable websites. It stores your content, including website pages, posts, visual elements, settings, and more.

    In contrast, WooCommerce is a plugin tightly integrated with WordPress to add e-commerce functionalities to your website.

    While it is an easy-to-use tool based on WordPress, it is also an entirely separate tool with its own codebase.

    This means that WooCommerce brings you customizations and extensions for your online store that otherwise might not be available on WordPress.

     4. Ease of Use

    WordPress is quite popular for its simple setup and user-friendliness. It offers a minimal learning curve for website creation, making it perfect for beginners with limited technical knowledge.

    It features a straightforward dashboard, which allows its users to add different functions, plugins, and customizations to their websites with ease.

    Conversely, WooCommerce can be slightly complex, given the range of functions and processes it entails to design and manage an online store.

    You might need to put in your time and effort to understand product listing, inventory management, payment methods, shipping cost structures, and so on.

    Nonetheless, WordPress and WooCommerce offer access to extensive documentation, video tutorials, and online communities to make learning easy for you.

    5. Extendibility

    Both WooCommerce and WordPress bring you a comprehensive library of plugins and addons to help you extend the functionality of your e-commerce store.

    With WordPress, you have access to tons of third-party plugins and widgets to customize the design of your website and add custom elements.

    Such as image galleries, social media feeds, Google reviews, navigation menus, e-commerce stores, translation capabilities, and so much more.

    For instance, The Plus Blocks for Gutenberg by POSIMYTH Innovations is a user-friendly plugin for your Gutenberg editor that offers you a range of unique blocks for your website.

    This plugin lets you add virtually every handy feature and design to your website that you could think of.

    Similarly, WooCommerce also allows you to add plugins – called extensions – in addition to the basic e-commerce features built in.

    The official WooCommerce marketplace houses thousands of unique and feature-rich extensions for various functions, including payment processing, shipping calculations, tax management, and recurring payments like product subscriptions.

    Furthermore, you have various customizations available to help you design an attractive online store.

    6. Hosting Requirements

    WordPress is a flexible CMS that has relatively minimal hosting requirements. WordPress can work well on a range of hosting services – be it shared hosting, dedicated servers, or virtual private servers, as long as the hosting providers meet the basic requirements.

    Alternatively, not all WordPress hosting is optimized for running WooCommerce.

    Your hosting will affect the speed and performance of your WooCommerce store, and a hosting that’s optimized will offer you access to better features and tools to build a functional online store.

    WooCommerce hosting vs WordPress hosting: Is It the Same?

    A versatile CMS, WordPress features modest hosting requirements and can run on a range of hosting services. At a basic level, all WordPress hosting is compatible with WooCommerce.

    This means if a hosting provider offers WordPress compatibility, you’ll just as easily be able to use WooCommerce since it is only a WordPress plugin.

    However, as mentioned above, not all WordPress hosting is made to run WooCommerce.

    WooCommerce hosting plans are specialized hosting with extra features, tools, and optimizations targeted for WooCommerce users.

    So, the major difference between WordPress and WooCommerce hosting has more to do with performance and features than the basic server requirements.

    Since WooCommerce stores have higher performance requirements for a better user experience, hosting that’s optimized for WooCommerce can help you achieve that.

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      Here are the areas where you’ll find major differences between hosting for WordPress and WooCommerce-

      • Optimized Caching: Caching boosts website speed by storing static HTML versions of pages. While WordPress hosting often includes caching, WooCommerce sites need specialized hosting due to unique needs. Blanket caching can hinder WooCommerce functions, so dedicated WooCommerce hosting with optimized caching is essential.
      • Heavy Data Usage: WooCommerce sites heavily depend on their database for product data and functions like search. Basic features strain the database, stressing regular hosting. This leads to slower performance due to the increased database load. Specialized WooCommerce hosting is essential for efficiently handling these demands.
      • Support: Since speed and performance are especially essential to your WooCommerce store, it needs reliable hosting that offers a minimum of 99.9% uptime guarantee, timely support, and highly responsive hosting for a faster WooCommerce website.

      FAQs about WordPress vs WooCommerce

      What is the main difference between WordPress and WooCommerce?

      The main difference between WordPress and WooCommerce lies in their purpose and focus for creating an e-commerce store. While WordPress is a versatile Content Management System to help you build and edit websites, WooCommerce is an e-commerce plugin for WordPress that turns your website into an online store.

      Is There a WooCommerce Alternative to WordPress?

      Shopify, Easy Digital Downloads, and Magneto are popular WooCommerce alternatives to help you create a stunning e-commerce website to sell unlimited products or services.

      What is the reason behind WooCommerce not being natively integrated into WordPress?

      Since not all WordPress users are e-commerce store owners, adding e-commerce functionality to WordPress core can affect their experience of working with the tool. Users looking to build their online store can install the WooCommerce plugin and access unique features and functions for their online store.

      Can I use WooCommerce without WordPress?

      No, you cannot use WooCommerce without WordPress. WooCommerce is an e-commerce plugin specially designed to turn WordPress websites into e-commerce stores. You will need WordPress configuration to build, design, edit, and run your online store.

      What are the advantages of using WooCommerce over a standard WordPress website?

      Using the WooCommerce plugin for your e-commerce website gives you greater flexibility and functions for designing an attractive online store. WooCommerce offers extensive design and customization options unique to an e-commerce store, along with better security and performance features to make your website stand out.