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Shopify vs WordPress – where should you set up your online store?

There is one primary thing Shopify and WordPress have in common – they can both help you build and grow an online store. The process, however, is very different.

Shopify is a website builder designed specifically for online shops. WordPress, on the other hand, is meant to handle anything. There’s no job too small or too big for it. But which one’s better for you?

Shopify’s only purpose is to give you everything you need on a silver platter. You don’t need skills or experience to build an online shop – it’s customizable and pretty easy to use. However, with ease of use comes great limitations. You’re not at liberty to do anything that crosses your mind if you don’t know how to code.

With WordPress, the sky’s the limit. Every single thing about the website can be edited to its core – initially designed for blogs, WordPress now powers over a third of the internet. Sure, you need to know a thing or two about website development, BUT nothing’s impossible. 

And just a thing before we start this comparison – there are two options when choosing WordPress.  

Tip

WordPress comes in two forms - WordPress.com and WordPress.org.. There are some minor differences - different ways of signing up, account management interface, available services, and pricing. But overall, the basics are pretty much the same - looking deeper into it, it’s pretty much the same platform. In this comparison, we’ll be using WordPress.org - but if you’d like to know the differences, check out our article on
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org.

Both of these platforms have a learning curve and incredible tools for eCommerce, so it might be quite difficult to choose between the two. So whether you just thought of opening an online shop but you’re a baker or have tons of experience in web development, your choice has to be quite calculated.

Now, enough chit-chat. In this post, we tested both Shopify and WordPress. These builders were compared on pricing, ease of use, templates, and overall features. 

This comparison is quite lengthy, so the choice is yours – you can either read the text to its fullest, or press on the sections on the table below. If you don’t have the time to do that, you can press here and go straight to the conclusion. 

ShopifyWordPress
Rating4.6 ★★★★★4.2 ★★★★
PricingPlans start at $29/monthCan range from free to costing thousands
Ease of UseLimited editing, features focused on eCommerceSimple site editing interface, but the setup is a bit more difficult
Templates9 free templates, 64 premium templates, additional third-party template marketThousands of first-party and third-party templates
Business FeaturesSolid in-house and third-party toolsFlexible, a lot of third-party tools available
eCommerceAdmirable built-in tools for all types of usersThird-party plugins that are fairly good and customizable
PerformanceMiddling performanceRelies heavily on hosting provider
WebsiteShopify.comWordPress.org

Winner:“Shopify

Pricing – which gets you more for less?

At first glance, Shopify seems like the pricier solution for an online shop. It comes with 3 plans, and the prices range from $29 to $299 per month.

WordPress is free, but you’re going to have to pay for hosting, and the prices differ because of many things, mainly depending on the provider. Not to mention, it also has additional costs that can raise the monthly price of your website quite a bit. 

To make things a bit less confusing for you, I’ll talk about different plans and prices for each platform individually, starting with Shopify.

Shopify pricing

As I mentioned earlier, Shopify has 3 plans. It’s pretty obvious that these plans aren’t the most affordable, but they come with tons of features —even the entry-level plan.

PlanFeaturesPrice
Basic ShopifyEcommerce, unlimited products, 2 staff accounts, multiple sales channels, free SSL certificates, Shopify POS Lite, 4 inventory locations$29/month
ShopifyEcommerce, 5 staff accounts, 5 inventory locations, professional reports, lower commissions on credit card payments$79/month
Advanced ShopifyEcommerce, 15 staff accounts, 8 inventory locations, advanced reports, 3rd party calculated shipping rates, lower commissions on credit card payments$299/month

There isn’t a free Shopify plan, but the platform offers a simple 14-day trial that doesn’t require connecting a credit card to get started. You can test everything out yourself with no risk involved. But now, let’s talk about these plans a bit more in detail. 

Basic Shopify – the cheapest plan that Shopify has to offer, costing $29/month. This plan aims to charm the personal users, but it also grants an array of selling features:

  • Multilanguage websites
  • Point-of-sale selling features
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • 2 staff accounts and 4 storage locations
  • Discount codes and gift cards

While these features are really good for the price, this plan comes with a drawback – a hefty transaction fee on all transactions. If you choose to use Shopify Payments, the fee will be 2.9%+30¢ for each transaction. If you favor using something different, you’ll have to pay Shopify an additional 2% from each purchase.

Shopify – this $79/month plan offers even more eCommerce features, such as:

  • Shipping discounts via USPS, UPS, or DHL
  • 5 staff accounts and 5 storage locations
  • Option to offer increased/decreased prices for international locations

Besides these features, the Shopify plan lowers the transaction fees. With Shopify’s own payment gateway, the transaction fee is reduced to 2.6%+30¢. When using a different gateway, the extra fee is reduced to 1%.

Advanced Shopify – the most expensive Shopify plan that costs $299/month provides these additional features:

  • International pricing assigned for each item individually
  • Report builder and advanced analytics
  • 15 staff accounts and 8 storage locations
  • Custom third-party shipping rates at checkout

The transaction fee is even lower in this plan. Using the Advanced Shopify plan, they’re 2.4%+30¢ on Shopify Payments. When using a different gateway, the Shopify fee is reduced to 0.5%.

As you can see, Shopify is transparent when it comes to fees. It’s also worth mentioning that the prices of the plans can get even if you’re prepared to commit. For instance, Basic Shopify costs $21.75/month if you’re ready to pay upfront for 3 years.

shopify basic plan price

At the same time, it’s important to remember that Shopify was designed to accommodate users with no web development experience. So you don’t have to worry about hosting, domain name, maintenance, or whatever else that has to do with keeping your website up. It’s the whole reason why Shopify doesn’t have the lowest rates.

WordPress pricing

WordPress is a whole different story. Since it’s free, the cost depends on the hosting provider you choose

There is such a thing as free hosting – 000webhost – but it barely offers anything. The next best thing is Hostinger, a provider that made a name for itself for delivering decent features and impressive performance for cheap. Bluehost is another solid choice, albeit more expensive than Hostinger, but the features are more extensive. And lastly, for all the pros out there who want the best of the best on WordPress, WPEngine is the answer. 

Let’s look into these WordPress hosting options in more detail:

CombinationsDescription
000webhost + DomainThis free hosting platform allows you to connect a custom domain, which makes this option cost $10-15 a year ($1 a month). But it’s not a surprise that all free web hosting platforms are slow, unsafe, have limited storage, and are covered with the host’s ads.
Hostinger + DomainThis cheap premium host costs around $35 a year for a 12-month plan. With a custom domain, the price rises to around $45-50 a year (around $4 a month), which makes it a good option for a basic website.
Bluehost + DomainThis is a WordPress-centered provider. The price ranges depending on the number of sites and visitors you’re planning to have, and it falls between $60 and $250 a year ($5-20 a month).
WPEngine + DomainThis is a professional WordPress host for big projects and businesses. The plans offered vary between $300 and $3,000 a year ($25-250 a month).

Just as a word of caution, I’m not a fan of 000webhost. For one thing, anyone who visits your website can see that you went for a free provider – the ads are all over the place. You would be better off choosing any other provider offered except this one.

Side note – it’s a common practice in the industry to have higher renewal fees and lower prices the longer the billing period. If you want to save more money, you should consider investing in a longer term plan. Take Hostinger, for instance. $1.39/month applies only if you purchase a 4-year subscription. Monthly rates are almost 7 times higher.

hostinger payment plans

With WordPress, the price of your website could be extremely broad, depending on what tools, extensions, and templates you need, as well as what hosting provider you choose. The maintenance also could further up the price of your website, so you have to keep that in mind.

In conclusion, WordPress is cheaper than Shopify. However, you have to worry about a lot of things when you choose WordPress. Shopify, on the other hand, runs pretty much everything. You just have to come up with a good product and somewhat of a strategy.

Shopify vs WordPress – a case study

During every comparison, I try to put myself into your shoes and look for any difficulties that might happen while building a website, find the answers to my problems, and give them to you on a silver platter. This Shopify vs WordPress comparison is no different.

Testing Shopify and WordPress was an apples and oranges kind of thing. While Shopify makes things simple for you, it comes with a slight learning curve. WordPress can be easy to use, but it takes more effort

Now, I’d like to introduce you to the two test sites we made. You can click on the images below to visit them.

Here’s the site we built with Shopify:

shopify test site screenshot

And here’s the site we constructed with WordPress:

wordpress test site screenshot

Now, let’s see how everything went down.

Ease of use – builder vs. CMS

  • Shopify offers a streamlined experience and helps you set up an online store
  • WordPress requires plugins to make setting up your website easier
  • Both builders have a learning curve

WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS) and Shopify is a builder. Shopify delivered a straightforward signup process, and the dashboard wasn’t too complicated to navigate. While Shopify has most of needed tools integrated, WordPress does not. All in all, WordPress’s setup and website creation process were slightly more complicated.

Using Shopify

While Shopify is a website builder, which, by definition, is easy to use, it will take you some time to get used to

When I first signed up, I was asked about my selling experience, my current revenue, and I had to provide some personal info. Shopify tailors the setup experience based on your status and background, which is really neat. The industry I wanted to sell in was also something Shopify needed to know, which makes a ton of sense.

shopify starter survey

Once you answer all of Shopify’s questions, you must provide an address for payment purposes. Then, just like magic, your site is prepared, and you’re welcomed to your dashboard.

shopify dashboard for selling immediately

I like the way Shopify chose to arrange its dashboard. It made it clean and functional. Obviously, it all revolves around your online store, so you’ll find different categories for orders, products, analytics, customers, apps, and so on. Plus, the homepage provides you with some helpful tips and articles on how to grow your online store.

Now, to edit your website, you have to access the Online Store section in your dashboard’s menu. That’s where you’ll see all your options for themes, pages, products, the blog, etc. All the elements are located on the left, and if you want, you can add some more.

shopify theme editor

My first impression was that there wasn’t much to edit. No matter which theme you select, you can’t do much about its elements. Sure, you’re free to add images and text, but where you add them is not up to you. 

shopify gallery editor

There is an option to make your own sections, however, they’re still quite limited and only allow you to add a small number of elements to mix and match.

shopify custom elements

Nonetheless, if you want some more in-depth editing, it is possible to edit your site’s HTML and CSS. It’s not exactly very easy to use, but if you have experience with HTML/CSS I highly suggest you try this feature out.

shopify code editor

That’s pretty much it. I recommend that you learn to navigate Shopify’s dashboard before creating your online shop for real. That way, you can familiarize yourself with all the features you might need in the future. I also suggest checking out our extensive Shopify review here. But overall, Shopify provides a smooth experience

Using WordPress

Moving on to WordPress, the signup process was not as smooth. The first thing you have to do is go to a hosting provider’s website and purchase a plan. Obviously, you need to buy a domain as well. After you do that, you have to install WordPress, which you’ll find in your hosting account’s control panel.

One thing worth mentioning here is that some providers include an auto-installer for WordPress. Take Hostinger, for instance. 

wordpress download icon on hostinger

That makes WordPress way easier to set up. It takes just a few minutes, and all you have to do is click on Next until you reach Finish.

As soon as WordPress is installed, you can access your dashboard. There, you’re going to find everything you need to create and run your website. Well, not really everything. You have to install a few plugins first. But we’ll get to that later. 

wordpress dashboard example

I liked that WordPress added a few pointers in its dashboard. It shows a few initial steps you have to go through and some suggestions to improve your website.

When it comes to editing, WordPress makes you work for it. For one thing, it’s nothing like a website builder. Don’t get fooled by the Appearance category in the left menu. Sure, you can pick a template, add some menus and widgets, but that’s pretty much it. The editing capabilities depend on the theme you select.

wordpress customizer

So, what can you do to edit your website? You must actually go to every page and play around with its elements as much as the theme allows. I, for one, played with the features, the header design, and the content. 

wordpress individual page editor

The theme I chose allowed me to play with a few more settings for each element. As for the difficulty level, I don’t think we can talk about one because it’s all pretty self-explanatory. It’s a “what you see is what you get” kind of situation.

WordPress, just like Shopify, allows you to edit your site’s HTML and CSS, so even when your theme doesn’t allow you to do drastic changes, you’re free to play around with code. Pretty fun, right?

Considering the fact that not everyone knows how to code but everyone wants to edit their WordPress site, you can install plugins to help you change things around. Some plugins are definitely able to give you a website builder-like experience. A really popular one is Elementor.

wordpress elementor plugin screenshot

Elementor is a drag-and-drop editor that lets you play with the elements on your page. You know…like a website builder.

wordpress elementor plugin example

While Elementor can be incredibly helpful, it is so only as long as you open your wallet. Sure, the free version offers some flexibility, but only to make you crave for more. That’s how they get you. So, for more features and options, you have to pay and the prices start at $49/year. 

With all this ease of use that Elementor provides, I still think it’s a head-scratcher compared to Shopify. Admittedly, there is a learning curve, but that goes away after playing around with it for a little while. You can learn more about Elementor and WordPress in our review here.

The bottom line is that both Shopify and WordPress are easy to use….eventually.

Shopify focuses on online shops, and the dashboard is easy to navigate. The website creation process takes a bit to get the hang of it, but you can create something genuinely pretty with minimal effort. WordPress offers a different kind of easy experience, and the plugins surely help. 

Templates – premium vs everything?

  • Shopify gives you only 9 free templates
  •  WordPress offers more free templates because of third-party options

Appearance is important, and it’s one of those things that have a say on whether people come back to your website or not. Fortunately, Shopify and WordPress have the templates department covered

While WordPress comes with countless templates from its third-party libraries, Shopify chose quality over quantity and provides about 70.

Shopify choice of templates

With Shopify, you have two options. One, you can go for a free template, which doesn’t stretch your horizons too much because there are only 9 of them. 

shopify templates free options

The second option is to purchase a template from Shopify’s theme store, which covers 10 industries. However, the bad news is that Shopify’s paid themes can set you back quite a bit. The prices start at $100, but the most common price is $180 (as if Shopify wasn’t expensive enough). 

shopify paid templates

It’s not all bad news, though. Shopify’s themes are among the best-looking themes I have ever come across. Most of them are gorgeous, and they include all kinds of features that I’m sure you’ll like. Plus, you can read the reviews of other customers who purchased a particular theme, which is always hopeful functionality-wise.

Just to make a point, here are some Shopify templates I liked.

shopify vogue template
shopify cascade template

WordPress choice of templates

Switching to WordPress, things are (yes, you guessed it) different. If you access the Appearance section in the dashboard, you’ll come across 200 free templates.

wordpress org theme list

Adjust your expectations, though. WordPress’s free templates are quite outdated. They look pretty basic, and you can rarely find something relatively appealing. If you choose one of them, chances are your website won’t stand out at all – there will be thousands of other websites that look exactly the same.

So, what’s the best solution? WordPress is open-source, which means that anyone can create templates, plugins, or various features for the site. And that means there are many people out there who sell templates. Prices differ, and you can sometimes find something decent for just a couple of bucks. Other times, if you want something really good, you’ll find themes that go for hundreds of dollars.

You won’t find these themes in WordPress’s dashboard. However, some websites sell them, such as ThemeForest and Template Monster.

To give you some examples, here are two templates I found. The first one has a meager price of $23, while the second costs $199. They are definitely made for very specific niches and offer tools that could assist those specific needs.

wordpress glass third party theme
wordpress third party theme 2

Overall, you could say that WordPress chose quantity over quality, but there’s a lot of third-party quality out there. Shopify went in the opposite direction. Even so, both platforms give you access to free and paid templates, and it’s a certainty that you’ll find something adequate.

Business features – there’s more than selling

  • Shopify offers an array of in-house features and a great third-party library
  • WordPress fully relies on its massive plugin library to provide tools for business
  • Both builders provide a range of helpful business tools to further grow your business

Simply saying business tools is not nearly enough. There are more aspects to it, such as eCommerce features, marketing, SEO, analytics, etc. That’s why I’ll get to each one of them individually.

eCommerce 

eCommerce tools are a vital part of an online shop, and both Shopify and WordPress understand that very well. Shopify is built exclusively for selling, which is why you get what you need right off the bat. WordPress, however, makes you install third-party tools.

Required experience

Starting off with Shopify, remember that this platform was built to help people make an online store with little to no effort. As a result, the whole experience should not give you too many headaches. Unlike WordPress, Shopify builds your website as an online shop right from the start, while WordPress starts as a blog.

WordPress could be a bit of a challenge when creating an online store. You have to install a plugin to get eCommerce features. Here, additional knowledge is very much needed – you have to read on which plugin you should choose and how to use it in advance as well as know the subtleties of how to use it. Then, once the integration is complete, you still have to work your way up to a fully built store. 

In-house vs third-party features

Shopify gives you access to a ton of in-house features necessary for eCommerce. I’m talking about sales channels, offline locations, discount codes, abandoned cart recovery, manual order creation, gift cards, etc.

All can be done using Shopify’s simple but quite powerful interface. Here’s an example of how to add and manage products.

shopify product editor

You can edit all things eCommerce in the main dashboard. If you have no experience in selling online, Shopify has your back. If you take a look at the dashboard, you’ll see links to all sorts of helpful materials whose purpose is to teach you to set up shop.

shopify dashboard guides

The features that Shopify offers with its plans are quite excellent. For example, I think that the abandoned cart recovery feature is pretty neat – it lets you see the visitors who have left items in their basket but decided to leave early. With this feature, you can send your customers emails, and see whether they returned to complete the purchase.

abandoned cart list on shopify

But wait, there’s more. Shopify really goes the extra mile and provides a lot of additional eCommerce features. The catch is that you have to visit its app store to get them. Luckily, the app store I’m talking about is massive. So there’s no way you’re not going to find what you need. 

shopify ecommerce tools app store

I have to warn you, though. While Shopify tries to excel in every aspect, some apps I encountered were not as good as I wanted them to be. 

Shopify offers plenty of quite expensive alternatives, but honestly – they might not be worth your time and money. For instance, Digital Downloads has a 3.2 rating, which is pretty awful. Fortunately, there are enough options in the app store. Kable Digital Products, for example, has 5 stars. It comes with a 14-day free trial, and then you must pay $49/month if you sell 10 digital products or more.

Moving on to WordPress, this platform sends you to its plugin library for every single feature. That’s not so bad, though. WooCommerce, WordPress’s most powerful eCommerce solution, has a flawless integration and allows you to create a custom marketplace.

wordpress woocommerce plugin

WooCommerce, just like Shopify’s tools, offers a pretty guided experience that helps inexperienced users to set up their store without breaking a sweat. I was asked questions about my store and the products I was planning on offering.

woocommerce industry of store

I think it’s not a surprise that some advanced features here cost extra – since this particular platform is free, the developers have to make money back somehow.

woocommerce type of products to sell

After selecting what to sell, a helpful guide shows what additionally you have to do to get your store up and running.

wordpress woocommerce startup guide

With WooCommerce you can also edit your product descriptions with an editor similar to WordPress’s blogging editor.

woocommerce adding products

As you can see, there may be some additional fees when using WooCommerce, however, you can create an admirable online store with very little money.

Payment options

Just like with anything else on the internet, there are numerous payment options. However, not all of them are available on all platforms. Shopify has some of the best payment solutions, such as Amazon Pay, Square, and cryptocurrencies. The platform also has its own point-of-sale system.

Shopify is very transparent when it comes to transaction fees – this means that you’ll be able to budget better. Each plan that Shopify offers pays less for transactions, so definitely look into that when choosing your plan.

Nevertheless, WordPress seems to have a better grip when it comes to payments. As long as there is a plugin for it, you can go for any payment options you see fit. Amazon Pay, Stripe, Paypal, credit/debit cards, and so on, are all available in WordPress’s plugin library.

Touching transaction fees – WooCommerce, when compared to Shopify, is not as transparent. The transaction fees are hidden and you have to look into each payment gateway that interests you to know exactly how much you’ll need to pay.

Shipping 

Since you’re selling something, you must handle the shipping as well. The good news is that Shopify comes with built-in integration with UPS and DHL. You can always look into the app store for more choices – a good option is Pirate Ship, which handles UPS shipping without monthly fees. It’s also worth mentioning that Shopify provides the necessary support for dropshipping, as well as gives out guides on their website on how to find suppliers.

With WordPress, once again, you have a ton of options. You can go for UPS, USPS, FedEx, and whatever is available in the plugin library. WooCommerce has its own shipping solution, but you can use whatever you may seem fit from the WooCommerce extension library – Shippo and Skyverse are quite popular options.

Sales channels

Shopify allows you to sell your products on Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, Pinterest, and eBay. The platform really does shine in this department, when compared to other website builders in the market.

However, if you think Shopify shines when it comes to sales channels, wait until you see what WordPress has to offer. WooCommerce comes with a multi-channel feature that allows you to sell wherever you see fit – even on more platforms than Shopify. Etsy, Amazon, eBay, Walmart – you name it.

woocommerce multichannel shipping

The limitations of entry-level plans

Shopify is not cheap to begin with, and if you go for the entry-level plan, you won’t be able to take advantage of all its features. For instance, when you go for Basic Shopify ($29/month), you don’t have access to professional reports. In addition, the credit card rates are higher, and you are not allowed to set country-specific domains.

With WordPress, while things are different because it’s free, some plugins come at a price. Even WooCommerce, which doesn’t charge you initially, has some paid features. And it’s not like you can refuse to pay once your business grows. You’ll need what WooCommerce premium has to offer.

What’s important to remember here is that both Shopify and WordPress take care of your needs when it comes to eCommerce. Shopify was specifically built for it. While WordPress wasn’t, its massive plugin library has you covered.

Marketing and SEO

Growing your online business is impossible without the right marketing and SEO tools. Shopify provides a few features such as email marketing, Google Smart Shopping, and Facebook ads, while WordPress covers just about anything – WordPress’s plugin library to the rescue once again.

Shopify delivers three primary tools: email marketing, Google Smart Shopping, and Facebook ads.

shopify product promotion

Shopify’s email marketing features give you access to multiple ready-made designs with Shopify Email. Just pick a template, and you can then track the campaigns from your dashboard. Google Smart Shopping lets you set a daily budget, and then Google runs marketing campaigns. It does that either through free listings or paid smart shopping campaigns. My guess is that I don’t have to explain Facebook ads to you, do I?

When it comes to SEO, Shopify allows you to optimize every product, category, and tag page. Adding alt texts to your images is possible as well. You can do all that from your dashboard.

shopify seo

At the same time, if you access Shopify’s app store, you can find several third-party SEO tools, such as SEO Optimizer and Shogun Landing Page Builder. Both of them are pretty decent.

shopify seo app store

Let’s move on to WordPress. Right from the get-go, don’t expect any built-in SEO and marketing tools because there aren’t any. However, the plugin library is once again your unlimited source of helpful tools. I can say with confidence that WordPress can offer you everything that Shopify can, but the tools will be available in the form of different plugins. 

wordpress marketing plugins

With a simple search, you can find tools to run email campaigns, create marketing pop-ups and forms, and whatever else you can think of. With Creative Mail, for instance, you can run flawless email campaigns. 

wordpress app creative mail

Of course, I should warn you that not every plugin you find in WordPress’s library is worth it. But that’s what reviews are for, right? So don’t install the first thing you see. 

As for SEO, the story is pretty much the same. You’ll have to install a plugin to help you optimize your website. Don’t worry, though. WordPress is the all-time favorite for SEO-focused websites.

One good example of an SEO tool is Yoast SEO. Its job is to look at your website’s content and tell you what you can optimize. That includes potential SEO issues, page titles, and even keywords that will rank well on Google.

wordpress using yoast seo

Another example is RankMath. Even if Yoast SEO has been around for longer, RankMath is more advanced. You can opt for the free version, but the premium version is so much better. The cheapest plan costs $59/year, but trust me, it’s worth it. It will bring in more revenue than you spend on it.

rank math seo

The bottom line is that Shopify and WordPress deliver reliable marketing and SEO tools that help you grow your online business. Shopify has a few in-built features, but WordPress, as you’re already used to, makes you visit its plugin library.

Analytics

After installing eCommerce features and tools that help with the marketing campaigns and SEO optimizations, you want to see what works and what doesn’t, right? That’s what analytics are for. Fortunately, both Shopify and WordPress provide tools for this as well. 

If you go for Shopify, you’ll find that it has both in-house and third-party analytics tools. If you access your dashboard, you’ll come across this:

shopify analytics

As you can see, you have access to all kinds of information about sales, store sessions, orders, conversion rates, returning customers, and so on. It may not be much, but it’s decent.

Now, if you need more analytics tools, visit Shopify’s app store, where you’re going to find a ton of them.

shopify analytics app store

Can you guess where WordPress keeps its analytics tools? Once more, you need to pay a visit to its plugin library. While you’re going to find a plethora of analytics tools, one of the best is Google Analytics: which can be connected via a Site Kit plugin.

wordpress google analytics

Of course, there are other decent analytics tools in WordPress’s plugin library, such as Clicky and JetPack. But, no matter which one you decide on, you’ll get all the information you need to keep optimizing your website.

Overall, I’d say that WordPress and Shopify have analytics covered. But, as you’re already used to, Shopify provides both in-house and third-party apps, while WordPress sends you to its plugin library every time (not that there’s something wrong with that).

App stores

App stores are essential for every platform. That’s what you can turn to when you need some additional features. Shopify’s app store is not as extensive as WordPress’s, but you’re going to find everything you need in both.

While Shopify has a decent collection of in-built features, its app store is massive. It contains over 6000 apps that can improve your website. For instance, if you want to enhance your store’s design, there are 1368 apps whose sole purpose is to achieve precisely that.

shopify app store screenshot

Now, while there is no shortage of Shopify apps, remember that not all of them are free of charge. In fact, some of them can get pretty expensive. For instance, SEO Manager comes with a 7-day free trial, but it sets you back $20 per month once the trial is over. 

shopify seo manager

Moving on to WordPress’s app store, let’s just say that it doesn’t even begin to compare to Shopify’s. It’s massive.

WordPress’s plugin library contains tens of thousands of apps. Since WordPress is open-source, just about anyone with the proper knowledge can develop and publish an app. However, not all plugins are free. The developers need to have some money for food, after all.

Either way, a difference I noticed between Shopify and WordPress’s app stores is that WordPress doesn’t use categories. As a result, its plugins are not so neatly organized – it’s basically one big pot you need to use the search bar for. You must click on the Plugins category in your WordPress dashboard, write in something you’re looking for, and only then you get hundreds or possibly thousands of results.

wordpress plugin store

However, there is one drawback to this whole unlimited number of apps. Shopify has fewer apps, but they’re well-curated. WordPress’s not so much. When I say that you can find anything in WordPress’s plugin library, I really mean anything. 

Even so, it’s common knowledge that WordPress has some of the best plugins. For instance, take a look at WPForms. Contact forms are a must, and this app enables you to make one. But why do you need forms? Because that’s how you get contact forms, payment forms, feedback forms, and pretty much any form you may want to put on your website. 

WPForm allows you to choose from several templates, or you could design your own. You can use the drag-and-drop editor to that effect. It shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes.

wordpress wpforms

While WPForm has the Lite version, which is free, WPForms Pro comes with some extra features you may find useful. Just be ready to pay for it because the prices start at $39.50/year.

wpforms pro pricing

Needless to say, Shopify and WordPress give you access to extensive app stores if you need more tools to grow your website. However, the difference between the two libraries is massive, and WordPress has a lot more to offer than Shopify. 

Overall, both builders have great business features. While Shopify has most of them integrated, WordPress has an extensive third-party library with anything you might need.

Performance – which one’s faster?

The last comparison today is on performance. Your online store needs to be fast because that leads to a better overall user experience, making your site visitors want to come back.

To get the performance results, I put both of the sites we made through GTMetrix – a site that measures the overall speed and platform optimization.

Here’s how Shopify behaved:

shopify site performance

And here’s how WordPress performed (when hosted on Hostinger):

wordpress performance

Google’s recommended time of loading for modern business websites is 3 seconds. 

Shopify lands behind that. The website fully loaded in 3.7 seconds, but most of the content on the site was up and ready to use at 2.9 seconds.

Things are better with WordPress. As you can see WordPress’s performance was executed with flying colors when using a reliable hosting provider, loading in just under a second. You might think, why should I stress about the hosting provider?

The answer is quite simple – WordPress’s results heavily depend on your hosting provider and your media. A fast provider and well-optimized media is a must if you want to have a speedy website. 

I can give you an example, here’s another test site that was made using WordPress and hosted on a random free hosting provider. It doesn’t have any links or media, and it uses WordPress’s free template. 

wordpress performance with a different hosting provider

I think it’s pretty clear that the performance is way worse. The website took 2.7 seconds to load instead of 0.9. You might think, oh, but it’s still better than Shopify’s results. However, you have to remember that this test site is empty and still took 3 times longer to load than our WordPress site hosted with Hostinger.

Overall, both builders are a great option for your online business. Shopify could’ve done better with its performance, but it’s still not that bad. WordPress can be both extremely fast and painstakingly slow – it all depends on your choice of hosting. 

Shopify vs WordPress – final side-by-side comparison

We reached the end of this Shopify vs. WordPress comparison, and while both platforms can help you create and grow an online business, there are significant differences between the two. So let’s go over them one more time, shall we?

ShopifyWordPress
Rating4.6 ★★★★★4.2 ★★★★
PricingPlans start at $29/monthCan range from free to costing thousands
Ease of UseLimited editing, features focused on eCommerceSimple site editing interface, but the setup is a bit more difficult
Templates9 free templates, 64 premium templates, additional third-party template marketThousands of first-party and third-party templates
Business FeaturesSolid in-house and third-party toolsFlexible, a lot of third-party tools available
eCommerceAdmirable built-in tools for all types of usersThird-party plugins that are fairly good and customizable
PerformanceMiddling performanceRelies heavily on hosting provider
WebsiteShopify.comWordPress.org

All I can say is that if you’re a complete beginner, Shopify is the better choice. You don’t have to deal with a lot of things. That’s the whole point of a website builder, after all. It’s easier to set up a good-looking online shop, but it doesn’t offer a lot of flexibility and the prices are quite steep.

Nevertheless, if you want to learn to work with WordPress and you’re willing to make an effort to absorb all the necessary information, it’s definitely worth it. WordPress is far more flexible and can enable you to create a custom marketplace.

Both Shopify and WordPress are great choices if you want to build and grow an online store. Both of these builders offer great eCommerce tools and other features to further strengthen your business and online presence. 


More Shopify comparisons you might want to read

More WordPress comparisons for you to check out


Shopify vs WordPress FAQs

Is Shopify or WordPress better?

It’s hard to say if Shopify is better than WordPress. Both of these builders have incredible tools for eCommerce and offer quite different website-building experiences. Shopify is more like a traditional website builder, while WordPress is a bit more difficult to get the hang of. 

Is WordPress cheaper than Shopify?

WordPress can be both cheaper and more expensive than Shopify. To have a WordPress website, you need to pay for hosting, a domain, and also plenty of additional costs – plugins, templates, tools, etc. These expenses together can rake up to a hefty price, which could be higher than what Shopify costs.

Can I have the functionality of Shopify on WordPress?

You used to be able to have the functionality of Shopify on WordPress by using a Shopify plugin. This plugin allowed you to drop products with buy buttons into sidebars, pages, or blog posts of your choice.  Currently, this plugin isn’t available anymore, however, there are other plugins that offer a similar experience.

What’s the difference between Shopify and WordPress?

The difference between Shopify and WordPress is that using WordPress you can create any type of site while Shopify is dedicated to creating online stores. Shopify offers a lot of in-house tools for eCommerce, which means that setting up a store is fairly simple. WordPress requires specialized plugins to do that.

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