WooCommerce vs Shopify

· 8 minute read
WooCommerce vs Shopify

Creating an online store can be difficult due to the vast number of ecommerce platforms that are available on the market. So, choosing the right ecommerce solution is crucial for getting your business up and running.

In one of our previous posts, we talked about different CMS platforms. In this article, we compared two ecommerce platforms and their features to help you decide which platform would be more suitable for an online store.

WooCommerce and Shopify are the two most popular CMS amongst all the ecommerce platforms out there. WooCommerce is a plugin for the popular open-source software, WordPress while Shopify is its own standalone hosted ecommerce platform.


WooCommerce is a free plugin to any WordPress website which makes them fully functional online stores.

To launch a store, WordPress needs to be downloaded on your web host. Then the WooCommerce plugin can be added to the website. It’s an open-source project which means anyone can download it and edit it.

With official or third-party plugins, the core of WooCommerce can be extended to improve shopping experience. However, if there isn’t a plugin or theme that satisfies your requirements, you can also get full access to your store’s underlying code. This means you can do your own direct edits to your store’s functionalities or hire a developer to do so.


Shopify is a closed-source hosted tool and has a different approach to creating an ecommerce store. This means you do not have all the codes that powers your store. Instead, everything is set up by Shopify where only a domain name and the Shopify service are needed.

Shopify makes the creation of an ecommerce store simple and stress-free. The platform handles hosting and maintaining and securing your store without the need of installing a plugin to create the store. There are opportunities to customise your site with apps (in WordPress they are called plugins) and themes but you are only given access to specific features that the Shopify team decides to give you access to.

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Plugins, Apps and Features

Plugins are software additions. Their purpose is to allow add-on features and customisations of computer programs, apps, and web browsers as well as the customisation of the content offered by websites. On Shopify, these are called apps.

Both platforms give you all the core features you need for a functional e-commerce store, however WooCommerce has a larger collection of addons and direct code access for customisation. Although not every plugin is focused on ecommerce, there are over 58000 free plugins and more premium plugins are available at other marketplaces for WordPress and WooCommerce. Shopify has only 5700+ apps.

WooCommerce vs Shopify: SEO Capabilities

Organic traffic plays a big role in your store’s success therefore SEO is essential for any e-commerce store. Both platforms will need a third-party app to give you more control over the store’s SEO performance. 

WooCommerce has several paid and free SEO plugins such as Yoast SEO, Rank Math, All-In-One SEO, The SEO Framework, SEOPress and the platform allows more control over fundamental SEO details. SEO Booster is the most popular Shopify SEO app costing $30 a month. With Shopify, there are limited options and does not offer as much control over URLs.

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Ease of Use

Both platforms are simple to use for non-developers. However, WooCommerce has a steeper learning curve. When setting up a WooCommerce website for your store you require sourcing your own web hosting and security. In contrast, Shopify is easier to set up for a regular user as Shopify takes care of the technical side of operating your store. On top of this, installing, managing, and updating a software is not required and it is accessible for the everyday person.

WooCommerce is more technical and requires a certain level of knowledge or the willingness to learn to code. No previous knowledge is required when using Shopify.

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Customisation

There are two main ways you can customise a WooCommerce store:

  • Plugins
  • Themes 

You can either use off the shelf themes and plugins to extend your store or have a development team create a more bespoke experience for you. Once a WooCommerce theme is installed, then you are able to customise it using a code-free editor.

Shopify has the same basic approach to design customisation but without the flexibility, that WooCommerce provides. Several Shopify builder apps also let you customize product pages or create pop-ups for more flexibility. However, you don’t get the same level of design flexibility.

Payments and fees

Payment processing is the centre of your ecommerce business regardless of what type of products or services you deal with. The end goal is always converting visitors and aiding their subsequent transactions.

Both WooCommerce and Shopify offer a wide range of tools to help you. These two are not the same though. When you compare WooCommerce vs Shopify transaction handling, it turns out they’ve carried out varying systems and fees.

Despite the numerous payment processing options Shopify offers, there is one that consistently towers above the rest.

Shopify decided to get involved with the most critical part of online selling. And so, Shopify Payments was created and is currently the default payment processor on the platform. It comes inbuilt on the Shopify dashboard.

However, Shopify doesn’t double up as a payment processor. Shopify Payments is only a payment application that is powered by Stripe. Although the service might seem like Shopify on the surface, the transactions are essentially processed by Stripe in the background.

Although there are many differences between WooCommerce and Shopify payment processing systems, there are some notable similarities between them.

The inbuilt payment processing that also starts by default. WooCommerce happens to outshine Shopify by offering two different options – PayPal and Stripe.

PayPal and Stripe essentially come as add-ons that you can choose to embed directly onto your online store. Consequently, it is possible to process transactions conveniently without directing shoppers to third-party checkout pages.

PayPal and Stripe are both solid payment processors that have been tried and tested. The mass of WooCommerce online stores should be comfortable with either of the two solutions. A merchant bank account is not needed to get things up and running.

WooCommerce is willing to let you proceed freely if you’d want to try out a different service. PayPal and Stripe are just the two of many payment processing solutions. That means WooCommerce supports an abundance of payment processing solutions, most of which can be integrated through plugins.


Security is a major concern when running transactions online and through your own store. Problems can occur if the site and the data of customers are compromised. You need to make sure that the choice you make between the two platforms is the one that protects your customers best. When looking at any popular ecommerce platforms, a high level of security should always be the first priority for any business owner. Shopify might be simpler to use than WooCommerce, but you need to consider security when you’re looking for the best solution for your ecommerce store. 

How do WooCommerce and Shopify do security?

WooCommerce doesn’t have any security measures included with the plugin. You are responsible for most of the security since it runs on WordPress, which is an open-source project. This means you will have to obtain your own SSL certificate and ensure that your hosting company has secure servers. You’d also want to configure site security plugins, two-factor authentication, and some additional things to protect your site.

Shopify covers all security measures for you. Therefore, getting an SSL certificate or ensuring that your site is secured from attackers is not needed however, a strong password is. 

The Shopify service takes care of website security because Shopify is a closed-source, hosted solution. Shopify deals with handling any safety issues while making sure that the site is safe from hackers. Shopify comes with an SSL certificate built-in for free and your site gets a significant boost for your store SEO. The Shopify SSL lets customers know that you’re giving them a safe browsing experience.

On the other hand, WooCommerce works excellently with WordPress, and is self-hosted. Your service does not come with built-in security. You need to handle the security on your own, with a hosting provider, or by yourself.

Which E-commerce platform is suitable for my requirements?

If you need simplicity and have a flexible budget, we recommend Shopify.  We recommend WooCommerce if your project requires flexibility and creativity.

We, at Brightbulb Design, make businesses thrive through extraordinary designs. We also have a variety of web developers with vast knowledge in website maintenance and hosting. Our developers provide regular monthly updates whilst keeping your website secure.  If you need help with your project or more information, contact us on 01983506505 or email us on hello@brightbulbdesign.co.uk .

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