Shopify vs WordPress: Where Should You Host an Online Store?

Your online shop can serve as a business’s storefront, which makes every business decision — including which platform on which to host it — pivotal to your success.

There are many ways to sell items online, but when it comes to flexibility and eCommerce, two platforms lead the pack. This begs the question: considering Shopify and WordPress, which is the right choice for you?

Factors to consider

Whether you pick Shopify or WordPress, it’s important to consider how the following factors will affect your site’s setup, performance, and your business in the immediate future and over a longer period of time.

1. Pricing structure

WordPress and Shopify have two very different pricing structures:

  • Shopify costs between $29 – $299 per month, depending on which services you sign up for.
  • WordPress and its accompanying eCommerce plugin, WooCommerce, are both free.

WordPress, however, can come with some additional costs. Web hosting, domain fees, themes, and plugins can be quite affordable, but more robust features will increase your expenses. (Note, too, that the hosted version of WordPress, WordPress.com, has a Business plan through which you can build an online store and install eCommerce plugins.) As for Shopify, some free options are available, but others cost additional fees on top of the monthly price.

To get a clearer idea of what an online store may cost on Shopify vs WordPress, create a list of the plugins, themes, and associated service or web hosting fees you’ll need, so that you can compare the annual costs associated with each platform.

2. Themes

Shopify’s themes are created exclusively with an eCommerce focus, so if you’re solely looking to create an online store, using one of Shopify’s free themes might be the quickest way to get started.

Since it’s an open-source platform, you can create and customize your very own WordPress themes. If you prefer to leave web designing to the professionals, there are hundreds of free and paid WordPress eCommerce themes at your disposal.

3. Search engine optimization (SEO)

Both WordPress and Shopify offer features to improve your store’s search engine rankings.

However, as Torque reports, WordPress is favored by website owners and developers because of its more robust SEO feature set. For example, WordPress gives you more freedom when choosing your URL structure and phrasing than Shopify does. At times this might force you into using a structured URL that Google may not rank for.

4. Customization and functionality

Shopify is all about getting an online shop up and running in as little time as possible, which is great for store owners who want to keep things simple.

Due to its open-source ethos, WordPress boasts many website functionality and customization options that you just won’t find with Shopify. In fall 2018, Shopify had a few thousand apps in its ecosystem, compared to WordPress’s nearly 55,000 plugins — a distinction between the two platforms that will become more important as your website grows.

Your online store today and in the future

Both Shopify and WordPress provide what you need to get an online store off the ground, but the best fit for your needs will likely come down to whether you prioritize a quick setup with Shopify, or long-term customization and functionality with WordPress.

Thousands of small businesses and online stores call WordPress.com home.

Whether you’re looking to promote your business or share your story, we have a plan that’s right for you.

Create your own website