WooCommerce makes it easy for anyone to turn a WordPress website into a fully functioning online storefront. Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur selling just a few products, or a retail startup with plans to grow, this free and open source plugin adds essential eCommerce features to any self-hosted WordPress site. You can set up and run your WooCommerce store with a basic shared hosting plan, but WooCommerce-specific hosting can provide the support and features you need to expand your business and build your brand.
What Is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce powers about 40 percent of all online businesses. Available through the official WordPress Plugin Directory, WooCommerce includes all the basics for setting up an online store for selling physical or digital goods, as well as running affiliate sites or handling drop shipping for printables and other custom products. WooCommerce comes with shopping cart and payment functions as well as a wide range of options for setting up product pages, landing pages, and special events.
Depending on the nature of your enterprise, you might need some additional special features in order to run a WooCommerce store. Users can build on the core functions of WooCommerce with a number of extensions that can be downloaded and installed from WordPress.org or from the WooCommerce developer site. WooCommerce integrates easily with other features of an existing WordPress site, with a WooCommerce-optimized version of the WordPress text editor for setting up product descriptions and themes designed specifically to support the plugin’s many eCommerce features. By combining all of these elements, store owners can completely customize a WordPress WooCommerce site.
Because WooCommerce is a dedicated WordPress plugin, it can run anywhere a WordPress site can be hosted. For most new online entrepreneurs, that means using a basic shared hosting plan offered by general web hosting providers, or a slightly higher priced WordPress hosting option that adds support and other features specifically designed to maximize the performance of a WordPress site. But a number of hosting providers also offer WooCommerce hosting packages – hosting options aimed at maximizing users’ experiences with WooCommerce, including additional support and features for scaling your site.
How Does WooCommerce Hosting Work?
WooCommerce can be used to create an online storefront of any kind, or any size, and for many eCommerce ventures, general shared hosting provides all the support and space needed for the life of the site. With this kind of hosting, your WooCommerce powered WordPress website shares space on a common server with hundreds or even thousands of sites created with a wide variety of site builders and platforms.
In a general shared hosting environment, broad-based support is available for problems related to the various platforms being used by hosting customers, but support staff may not have in-depth knowledge and experience for resolving complex issues related to a WooCommerce-based site. Users are typically responsible for installing and managing the WooCommerce aspects of their sites on their own, too.
To help users take full advantage of WooCommerce capabilities and features, some leading web hosting services offer dedicated WooCommerce hosting alongside other kinds of hosting packages, including general shared hosting. WooCommerce hosting is designed to provide the support and additional functionality users need to create a scalable eCommerce site, with no need for site design and development expertise. Like general web hosting services, WooCommerce hosting packages are available in formats ranging from basic hosting that leaves most of the site setup and ongoing maintenance to users, to managed hosting and virtual private server options that offer more service, privacy, and security.
Installing WooCommerce on a generic WordPress site requires users to combine the WooCommerce plugin with themes, extensions, and other plugins to create the right look and functionality of a WooCommerce website – but WooCommerce hosting packages typically come with the essentials already built in.
Pre-Installed Themes and Templates
WooCommerce hosting packages usually include a WooCommerce installation, so that users don’t have to download and install the plugin individually or to search for a theme that works with WooCommerce. In a dedicated WooCommerce hosting environment, WooCommerce is usually pre-installed with a compatible theme and templates for various kinds of eCommerce functions. For more specialized needs, users can also add a set of WooCommerce extensions to the core site setup.
Enhanced eCommerce Security
WooCommerce hosting packages can also provide the enhanced security an eCommerce site needs to safely perform functions such as processing payments, capturing visitor emails and managing customer profiles and preferences. WooCommerce hosting typically includes a dedicated IP address and a pre-installed SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate for secure management of transactions and customer data. WooCommerce hosting services also work with the core features of the WooCommerce platform to ensure site security is regularly updated and maintained.
Improved Site Performance
Dedicated WooCommerce hosting can eliminate some of the performance problems that come with general shared hosting. In a hosting environment shared by a large number of sites drawing from the same pool of resources, sites can run slowly or crash when one “tenant” of the site uses more than its share. This can be particularly problematic for growing eCommerce ventures that have a sudden upsurge in traffic or need more space to expand the company’s offerings. Because WooCommerce hosting typically reserves specific servers for WooCommerce sites, more bandwidth and storage space becomes available, so sites can load faster, run more smoothly, and scale up as needed.
Dedicated Service and Support
WooCommerce hosting is designed to provide support and services that focus specifically on the features and functions of WooCommerce, so hosting plans at every level typically include round the clock access to technical support representatives with WooCommerce experience and expertise. Dedicated WooCommerce hosting also provides a full suite of features to help site owners at all levels of experience to create the ideal eCommerce site. Whether you’re a new user with no web development experience or a seasoned designer, WooCommerce hosting packages are available to meet the needs of your business.
Is WooCommerce Hosting Right For You?
WooCommerce hosting can make it easier to set up and run a WooCommerce powered online storefront, but it isn’t necessarily for everyone. If you’re starting a new site on a limited budget, or if you’re only planning to sell a few items, basic shared hosting for a WordPress site may be all you need – but you’ll most likely have to install and configure WooCommerce on your own.
If you’re setting up an online retail business with plans to expand, carry a large number of products, or set up an online marketplace, though you may want to consider dedicated WooCommerce hosting. With a variety of hosting options available at a range of prices, WooCommerce hosting can provide the resources to build your eCommerce site and scale your business over time.
WooCommerce is a powerful free plugin that can power online stores of all kinds. Whether you’re a new user or an experienced developer, dedicated WooCommerce hosting has the tools you need to start – and grow – your eCommerce venture.