WordPress vs. Shopify: The 8 Key Differences – MakeUseOf

Not sure whether to choose WordPress or Shopify for your site? Here are their differences.
Each business venture out there is looking to build an online appearance after surviving a tragic pandemic. Besides, the growing market and the pandemic have shifted buyers’ focus on purchasing online. In correspondence, you might be looking for an online solution for your eCommerce or online business.
The burning question is—what will be the best eCommerce platform for you? Like you, most entrepreneurs coming online often face the dilemma of choosing between WordPress or any other dedicated eCommerce platform like Shopify for their business.
Hence, in this article, we have tried to draw a fine line between WordPress and Shopify for your better understanding of these two platforms.
WordPress is the most prominent open-source content management system (CMS) that powers 42 percent of all the world's websites today. And as it's an open-source tool, it's completely free.
Initially, WordPress started as a blogging platform. But the emergence over the years drove WordPress into creating and managing all types of websites. Specifically, the introduction of WordPress plugins and themes has significantly impacted non-technical users choosing WordPress as their platform.
Another revolution from WordPress is WooCommerce, using which you can create a fully functional eCommerce store without worrying about managing a complex management system. Since the inauguration of WooCommerce, WordPress has gained an influential place in the eCommerce niche.
Related: What Is WordPress and How Does It Work?
Shopify is a self-hosted web application platform where you can create an online store without worrying about anything. It has an extensive range of customizable templates to meet individual business needs. Therefore, logging in and building your website is as simple as playing a plug-and-play game.
Shopify hosts your website on its servers. Hence, everything runs on the cloud. Notably, Shopify is self-hosted, so you don’t have to purchase any hosting solution. It’s a Software as a Service (SaaS) tool, which means you don’t own the software entirely. You pay a particular amount of monthly or yearly fee to use the software.
Related: How to Quickly Create an Online Store Using Shopify
WordPress and Shopify are two different emperors of two distinct online niches. In the next part, we discuss some of the key differences between WordPress and Shopify.
Whether you want a magazine site, a membership site, an online store, or maybe a blog, WordPress can serve them all. Therefore, WordPress has versatile users serving each a different purpose. Moreover, it has a large ecosystem of themes and plugins, empowering you to develop any kind of website.
On the contrary, the user base of Shopify constructs with entrepreneurs and eCommerce store owners because it's a store management system. Those who own an online eCommerce store or plan to have one consider Shopify as their go-to platform. Apart from eCommerce users, other users don't have compelling reasons to use Shopify.
The WordPress CMS is free. Thus, you don't have to pay a single penny for using WordPress or WooCommerce. However, as the domain and hosting don't come with the WordPress package, you need to pay for those.
Although most WordPress plugins and themes in the WordPress repository are either completely free or come with a limited free version, you still need to buy the premium version to access advanced features.
On the other hand, Shopify comes with five different pricing plans. And its pricing plan covers everything on behalf of you as a user. So, you don't need to worry about other issues.
WordPress offers an unmatched variety of themes. It provides more than 8,800 themes for your website and more than 1,500 themes just for eCommerce. Apart from that, there are lots of themes developed by third parties. However, considering the security and compatibility issues after the WordPress update, we suggest you use the themes from
On the other hand, Shopify offers a total of 70+ themes, out of which 10 themes are free. The rest of the themes cost $140 or more.
The basic layout of WordPress and Shopify are almost the same. Both of the platforms come with a similar dashboard with a menu on the left side. You can select options and add, edit, or delete elements as per your needs using the menu.
Some users have confirmed that they found the Shopify interface a bit simpler and contemporary compared to that of WordPress. However, WordPress offers more flexibility in customizability as it comes with visual editor plugins like Elementor and Divi to tailor your shop or website according to your taste.
Comparing the simplicity of Shopify, WordPress is comparatively a little complex to use. As it’s not precisely developed to create online stores, users need to install an eCommerce plugin like WooCommerce, BigCommerce, or Ecwid. Also, the backend dashboard may look a bit overwhelming to a newbie user as there are so many options and tools.
Adding products to your Shopify store is a simple process. The interface looks a lot like a Microsoft Word document. Users need to tell the system a bit of their business, and the system takes care of the rest. There are two ways for uploading products—individually or in bulk.
Nowadays, a significant number of users browse from their mobile or tablet devices. In that case, a device responsive website is a must for you considering client satisfaction.
Most of the WordPress themes are mobile responsive, though there are some which lack this feature. On the other hand, all the Shopify themes are mobile-ready. However, you can use Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) from Google on both platforms to enjoy better mobile responsiveness.
Shopify is a precisely designed platform for eCommerce businesses and online stores, whereas WordPress serves a versatile interest. Therefore, Shopify has a slight leading edge in the eCommerce arena over WordPress.
Shopify offers all the elements, themes, and everything else directed to one goal only—to provide you with a fully functional online shop. Whereas eCommerce is not the sole concern of WordPress. To build an eCommerce store in WordPress, you need to install separate plugins (WooCommerce, BigCommerce, etc.).
Both of the platforms integrate multiple payment options, and Shopify supports more languages. However, you can use multilingual plugins to use other languages on your WordPress website.
For dropshipping, WordPress has a native solution. On the other hand, Shopify integrates with Ordoro, eCommHub, and Inventory Source for dropshipping.
Being a blogging platform primarily made SEO a strong zone for WordPress. The platform itself is SEO-friendly. Besides, various SEO plugins like Yoast SEO and Rank Math provide you with excellent guidance to hold a strong position in the SERP.
The SEO functionality of Shopify is pretty solid, too. For example, you can add meta titles, meta descriptions, and meta tags. You can also add 301 redirects and change page URLs according to your needs. Also, Shopify recommends SEO best practices when you add products to your website.
Related: Most Effective WordPress SEO Plugins
Both WordPress and Shopify have their significance and weaknesses considering your purposes. Thus, considering the principal differences between these two platforms, you can choose the most suitable one for your needs. If you are not satisfied with any of them, there are other options in the market as well, such as Magneto and EDD.
While WooCommerce is a great plugin, an alternative option may better suit your business’s needs.
Zadhid Powell is a CSE graduate who gave up coding to start writing! Alongside a Digital Marketer, Fintech enthusiast, SaaS expert, reader, and keen follower of software trends. Often you may find him rocking downtown clubs with his guitar or inspecting ocean floor diving.
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