Why I Don’t Recommend WooCommerce for Your eStore

by Nate Hoffelder

After a decade of running The Digital Reader, Nate is a veteran web publisher with experience in design, maintenance, recovery, and troubleshooting. What little he doesn't know, he can learn.

May 28, 2020

I’m going to let you in on a secret: I am something of an outcast in WordPress circles. It’s not just that I spell WordPress* with a lowercase “P”, but also that I rarely recommend using WooCommerce to set up a store on a WordPress site.

WooCommerce is the best-known e-commerce solution for WordPress,  This has made it the most widely used e-commerce plugin, which would be fine and all except for the fact that WooCommerce has abilities that far exceed what most people need.

This plugin is designed to run retail sites with hundreds of products in dozens of categories.  It can handle multiple shipment and sales tax policies, coupons, time limited sales, bundle deals, and what have you. It is a robust solution if you need a massive retail site, but what if you don’t?

What if you only want to sell a few items on one page?

Here’s where I descend into heresy: If you only have a few items to sell, and you do not need WooCommerce’s many features, you are better off going with lighter-weight and simpler solution.

There are in fact hundreds of different solutions ranging from platforms like Teachable (for courses) to Gumroad (digital downloads) to more general payment processing services like Payhip.  Any one of these solutions are easier to set up and maintain than WooCommerce, and they also require less in the way of server resources. In fact, they don’t tax your server at all (that’s one of the things I look for in e-commerce solutions).

The simple truth is WooCommerce is so well-known that no one stops to ask if it’s the right tool for the job. They just use it regardless.

I, on the other hand, avoid it, because for 99% of my customers, it does so much more than they need.

* You can’t see the lowercase P because WordPress automatically converts it to a capital.

Hi, I'm Nate.

I build and fix websites for authors, and I am also a tech VA. I can build you a website that looks great and turns visitors into fans, and I can also fix your tech when it breaks. Let me fight with tech support so you don’t have to.

My blog has everything you need to know about websites and online services. Don’t see what you need. or want personalized help? Reach out.

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