WordPress hosting in ecommerce | maxcluster

Anyone who deals with e-commerce solutions will sooner or later come across the name “WooCommerce”. In this article you will find out what the popular WordPress plugin can do.

According to BuiltWith, WooCommerce’s global e-commerce market share is 25%. In Germany, the market share is at least 12%. So, WooCommerce is quite popular on an international as well as national level. In the following, we will take a close look at the solution, provide an overview of the structure and functions, and show for whom the use of WooCommerce is particularly worthwhile.

Market share of WooCommerce in GermanyMarket share of WooCommerce in Germany | Source: BuiltWith

WooCommerce at a glance

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is a PHP-based e-commerce solution that was released in 2011 and is available as open source software. However, WooCommerce is not an independent shop system, but an extension of the content management system WordPress. The core platform is free and currently available in 65 different languages. It is easy to install and integrate into an existing WordPress website with just a few clicks. Also, the platform’s features can be accessed through the WooCommerce Marketplace using numerous free and fee-based plugins be expanded.

Structure of WooCommerce

After installation, WooCommerce can be accessed via the WordPress backend and also has its own dashboard there. Similar to WordPress itself is WooCommerce modular. So if you have already worked with the WordPress dashboard, you will be able to use WooCommerce well after a short time. For example, creating new products in the WooCommerce backend works very similar to creating a blog article in WordPress.

Creating products in the WordPress backendCreating products in the WordPress backend | Source: wordpress

With the shop system different types of products displayed: In addition to physical items, it is also possible to integrate digital products (e.g. mp3, mp4 files or e-books). WooCommerce can also be used to sell tickets for all kinds of events. The shipping method can be individually adjusted depending on the product.

With the already integrated product blocks Categories, tags, filters and search functions for products can also be created, with the help of which the shop structure and user experience can be improved. Not only many of the storefront themes available for download, but also the standard theme integrated into the platform are characterized by a responsive design. The shop is therefore already optimized for display on mobile devices.

Frontend view of a sample WooCommerce storeFrontend view of a sample WooCommerce store | Source: wordpress

Features of WooCommerce

The core platform has everything that is needed to set up an online shop. However, if you want to run your shop at business level, you will quickly find that its functionality is limited. As already mentioned, the Marketplace numerous extensions and themes integrate to increase the functionality of WooCommerce. For example, the shop can be equipped with a visually appealing storefront or expanded to include payment, CRM, SEO and web analysis tools.

If that is not enough for you, you can also work on the development level based on WordPress hooks. With the help of hooks it is possible to Integrate your own code into the WordPress core at specific pointsto run or modify processes. The WordPress core itself remains unaffected. For example, own themes or plugins created and integrated into the system.

For whom is WooCommerce particularly worthwhile?

The relationship between costs and benefits

As an e-commerce solution, WooCommerce particularly impresses with its (initially) manageable costs, quick and uncomplicated setup, high usability and the variety of possible modifications. First of all, no CSS or HTML knowledge is required for the installation and setup of the shop system, but know-how in dealing with the CMS WordPress is clearly an advantage. Once setup is complete, the free core platform is ideal for testing.

functionality

Since the functionality of the platform alone has its limits, a large number of plugins can be used to expand the possibilities of the online shop. This is the case, for example, when the shop should be used more specifically for marketing or sales activities. As open source, the system is also very flexible and can be adapted to individual requirements and expanded with specially developed plugins. Without sufficient knowledge in development, however, this is not possible.

usability

Many free and paid themes pay through responsive design and clear navigation structures to a positive user experience. With themes from third-party providers, however, you should test how the design behaves on different end devices before you buy it. However, the large number of paid extensions also means that the expansion of the online shop can quickly become cost trap can be. Therefore, it should be relatively clear in advance which functions the shop should cover.

performance

With the amount of built-in plugins, caution is also advised in terms of performance. The more plugins are used, the more computing power is required to operate the shop. So if you have more complex requirements for your shop system or operate a shop with high access numbers, you have to reckon with the fact that the system can lose stability and speed or cause more costs due to scaling.

Target groups

The use of WooCommerce is particularly suitable for Operators of small to medium-sized online shopswho look after them themselves and only have a limited budget at their disposal. Due to the easy integration option into an existing WordPress system, WooCommerce is also an interesting option for bloggers or influencerswho want to add an online shop to their website. Since the elementary platform can be used free of charge, WooCommerce is also suitable for newcomers to e-commerce who are keen to experiment.

Use of WooCommerce in Germany

If you want to run an online shop based on WooCommerce in Germany, you have to take a few special features into account. Since WooCommerce was designed for the American market, changes need to be made to accommodate this Legal and data protection compliant operation of the shop to guarantee. For example, it is necessary to adapt imprint and terms and conditions pages or payment methods. Plugins such as Germanized can be used for this. The basic version of Germanized is free of charge and not only contains numerous features with which the shop can be optimized in relation to the German market, but also text templates for legally required pages such as general terms and conditions or data protection.

The pros and cons of WooCommerce at a glance

advantages Disadvantages
Free core platform Core platform offers few features
Easy to install and integrate with WordPress As a shop solution, WooCommerce is linked to CMS WordPress
Functions can be expanded with numerous plugins Many functional extensions and themes are paid (not obvious)
Can be used internationally Not optimized for the German market
Storefront themes with responsive design Functionality of third-party themes not always guaranteed
open-source Limited support (paid and English only)
HTML or CSS knowledge is not mandatory From a performance point of view, less suitable for large and complex online shops

What should be considered during integration?

Before deciding on an e-commerce solution, it is helpful to consider the technical requirements to watch. First of all, WooCommerce is tied to the CMS as a WordPress plugin. So, assuming the latest WooCommerce version 5.5.1, at least WordPress 5.5 or a newer version is required to set up an online shop.

In addition, as open source software, WooCommerce is based on the PHP scripting language and is only compatible with PHP 7.4 or newer PHP versions. The PHP memory limit is also important because it specifies the maximum amount of memory a PHP script can use when running. To avoid unwanted disruptions, we recommend setting the PHP memory limit to at least 128 MB.

WordPress uses MySQL as the database management system. The minimum requirement for running a WooCommerce store is MySQL 5.6 or higher.

Since the GDPR came into force, the transmission of personal data must be encrypted throughout the EU. One encrypted data transmission is established using an SSL certificate. You can read more about SSL certificates in the article linked here.

So that your WooCommerce version always has the latest security updates available, you should regularly update the shop system to the latest sub-version. On this page you can check if your WooCommerce version is already up to date or if newer updates are available.

Technical requirements of WooCommerce 5.5.1 at a glance
WordPress Version 5.5 or newer
PHP Version 7.4 or newer
MySQL Version 5.6 or newer
PHP Memory Limit 128MB or more
HTTPS support Valid SSL certificate
cURL (optional) Only required when using certain plugins

WordPress hosting at maxcluster

Anyone who runs a professional online shop also deals with the topics Security, infrastructure and performance. How can reliability be guaranteed? How do I ensure that my shop does not lose loading time even with a lot of traffic? Who do I contact if I have a problem?

In addition to the provision, individual configuration and maintenance of the necessary hardware, managed WordPress hosting at maxcluster also includes full access to our e-commerce stack and technical support available around the clock.

services like Redis, Varnish, or Elasticsearch from our e-commerce stack are already included in our hosting packages at no extra charge. Through our Managed Center, customers and developers can independently make adjustments and individually configure the available tools.

Our technical contacts in service are available if you have any questions or problems available at any time and solve any problems that arise completely independently through proactive monitoring.

If you would like to learn more about WooCommerce and WordPress hosting at maxcluster, you will find further information here. Do you have further questions or need support with hosting your online shop? Our support will be happy to help you on 05251/414130 or by email to support@maxcluster.de.

Conclusion

Let’s come back to the question of which target groups WooCommerce is particularly recommended as an e-commerce solution for. There is no universal answer to this question. The decision for a shop system always depends on the requirements that are placed on it. It makes sense to create a requirements profile in advance. Our checklist can help you with this.

WooCommerce is a versatile and, if used correctly, inexpensive e-commerce solution that certainly lives up to its popularity. Operators of small and medium-sized online shops in particular benefit from the ease of use and the multitude of possible functions.

Updated on 03/14/2022 | DR