If you’ve heard of Woocommerce and WordPress, you probably know they are both used to create e-commerce websites. What you might not understand is the difference between the two. Is Woocommerce an independent platform for designing shops? Or can you create an e-commerce website with just WordPress?
To put it simply, WordPress is a platform used to create websites. Woocommerce is a WordPress plugin used to add e-commerce functionality to WordPress. You can’t create a Woocommerce website without WordPress, and you can’t build a shop with WordPress without some type of plugin.
To help you understand this better, you first need to understand what WordPress is and how it works. If you think of WordPress as a program, and Woocommerce as an add-on to WordPress, it will start to make sense.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a content management system used for building websites. A content management system (or CMS) stores all the design elements and content for a website in a database. The design elements are stored in a directory of CSS files called a theme. The content is stored in another directory.
When you build a website, you add content such as pages or posts through the WordPress dashboard. WordPress retrieves the information from the theme files and the content directory and uses this information to display your content and design elements when a page is loaded in a browser.
However, a clean installation of WordPress only includes the basic WordPress features. You can design and edit a website, but you won’t have any eCommerce features. In order, to design a shop with WordPress you need to install a plugin.
What is Woocommerce?
Woocmmerce is an open-source e-commerce plugin that works exclusively with WordPress. Woocommerce is not the only e-commerce plugin for WordPress, but it is the most popular one. It’s also completely free. Unlike other shopping platforms like Shopify, Woo-commerce is not a standalone platform. In order to design a Woocomerce shop, you must first install WordPress.
With Woocommerce, you create a shopping storefront. You can showcase digital and physical products, take payments, track inventory, and calculate shipping and tax. It comes with tons of features that allow you to run and manage a shop.
In addition, you can add additional plugins to Woocomerce to customize it even more. For example, you can add plugins that create product variation galleries, allow you to schedule deliveries, or add a digital wallet system to your shop.
Woocommerce Vs WordPress
Now that you understand what WordPress is and how Woocommerce works with WordPress, let’s discuss what makes them similar and different.
1. WordPress and Woocommerce are both open-source and free
Both WordPress and Woocommerce are free and open-source. Although you can purchase premium plugins and themes to work with WordPress and Woocommerce, they are both free.
2. WordPress worlds independently. Woocommerce only works with WordPress.
WordPress is an independent CMS platform. Woocommerce is a plugin for WordPress.
3. WordPress does not come with e-commerce features. Woocommerce comes with tons of e-commerce features.
WordPress doesn’t automatically come with any shopping or e-commerce functionality. Woocomerce is a comprehensive e-commerce system, with tons of shopping features and additional plugins.
4. WordPress is lightweight. Woocomerce is a resource hog.
WordPress is a lightweight open-source CMS. It can be resource-intensive if you install a heavily coded theme or a lot of plugins, but a basic WordPress website doesn’t use a ton of resources. Woocommerce can use a lot of space on your server and slow down your website’s performance.
5. WordPress comes with themes. Woocommerce does not.
WordPress comes with a selection of thousands of themes. Woocommerce does not come with its own themes. Some WordPress themes are designed specifically to work with Woocommerce, but other themes don’t integrate with Woocommerce well.
Why isn’t Woocommerce Just Built into WordPress?
You may be asking yourself, why do you need a separate plugin? Why doesn’t WordPress come with shopping features already integrated? After all, there are other platforms that have a website and shop in one.
WordPress is a lightweight platform for building websites. Woocommerce, on the other hand, uses a ton of resources. If you have a Woocommerce website, it will require you to use a hosting plan that can accommodate the number of resources it needs to function properly. Since many website owners do not need the functionality of an e-commerce platform, Woocommerce would waste space and resources for most WordPress users.
WordPress is an open-source platform and free, any developer can create plugins to use with WordPress. While Woocommerce is the most popular e-commerce plugin, it’s not the only one. Just like WordPress has numerous page builder plugins, WordPress also has a selection of e-commerce plugins. Most people go with Woocommerce because of all its features, but some users prefer a lighter-weight plugin that doesn’t use as many resources. By keeping WordPress simple, each user can customize their website, or shop based on their own needs.