If you want to sell physical or digital products on your existing WordPress site, this article will show you the best WordPress ecommerce plugins to install that turn your blog into a store.
Because WordPress is one of the most popular website platforms in the world, there are literally hundreds of WordPress ecommerce plugins available to run your online store. So how do you narrow your choices down? Fortunately, the work has already been done for you.
Here are the 5 best WordPress ecommerce plugins compared and evaluated based on the following criteria.
- Ease Of Use – Is the ecommerce plugin easy to get up and running?
- Functionality – Does the ecommerce plugin offer the ecommerce features you need to sell online?
- Price – How much does the ecommerce plugin cost?
- 3rd Party Apps And Integrations – Is the ecommerce plugin well supported by 3rd party tools and developers?
- Support And Maintenance – Is the ecommerce plugin easy to maintain?
The comparisons in this post are written based on hands on experience running a 7 figure ecommerce store and working with over 4000 students in my ecommerce course.
In addition, my kids currently run a WooCommerce store over at KidInCharge.com. Feel free to check it out!
Ultimately, the best WordPress ecommerce plugins for you depend on your specific needs and your budget. Here are the top WordPress ecommerce plugins compared and contrasted for your review.
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Things To Consider Before You Choose A WordPress Ecommerce Plugin
Before you install any WordPress ecommerce plugins, you must first ask yourself the following questions.
Do You Have A Good Webhost?
Unlike a blog, running an ecommerce store can be very resource intensive and even the best WordPress ecommerce plugins can slow down your site dramatically.
As a result, a good webhost is a must!
If you are on a budget, you can start with an inexpensive host like Bluehost. The cheapest Bluehost plan costs $2.95/month, comes with a free SSL certificate and will allow you to run a fully functional store.
Overall, Bluehost will be an adequate ecommerce platform until you hit about 10,000 visits/month. But once your store exceeds this level of traffic, it makes sense to upgrade to a VPS or a dedicated server like Liquid Web or WP Engine.
Liquid Web is the service I use to host all of my sites including my 7 figure ecommerce store.
Is Your WordPress Site Secure?
Because you’ll be accepting credit cards and processing personal information on your site, you need a good security plugin in addition to your SSL certificate.
At a minimum, you should install a plugin like Wordfence or Securi to make sure that you are well protected from malicious activity.
Are The WordPress Ecommerce Plugins Compatible With Your Version Of WordPress?
WordPress updates every couple of months which can create compatibility problems for smaller developers who may not have the resources to keep up.
As a result, it is important to choose WordPress plugins that are updated frequently from a company that has dedicated resources for support.
Does The WordPress Ecommerce Plugin Have Strong 3rd Party Developer Support?
Ecommerce is constantly evolving and new features and tools are added every single day. Without the help of 3rd party software and developers, your online business will quickly become obsolete.
If your WordPress ecommerce plugins are not compatible with popular 3rd party tools, they should not be considered.
Does The Ecommerce Plugin Have A Strong Community Of Users?
The best WordPress ecommerce plugins have a strong community of users who can help you troubleshoot common issues. Because you will likely use many ecommerce plugins on your site, incompatibilities can arise.
The easiest way to determine the size and quality of a plugin community is to look at the number of downloads and ratings on the WordPress ecommerce plugin repository.
Make sure you read the 2 and 3 star reviews to make sure that your WordPress plugins are robust, work as described and won’t break your site.
The Top 5 WordPress Ecommerce Plugins
With the above criteria in mind, here are my top 5 ecommerce plugins for WordPress.
If you are selling digital products like courses, memberships, communities etc., a different set of WordPress ecommerce plugins may be required.
Ecommerce Plugin #1: BigCommerce For WordPress
If you are not tech savvy and you don’t want your online store to slow down your existing WordPress site, the BigCommerce WordPress ecommerce plugin is my top choice!
The BigCommerce WordPress plugin installs a fully featured ecommerce platform on your blog, it’s super fast, and it won’t bog down your site speed at all.
All of your products and transactions are hosted on BigCommerce’s servers and you don’t have to worry about anything technical at all.
Bigcommerce takes care of server uptime, security, payment processing, everything! In addition, BigCommerce is well supported by 3rd party developers and they have a strong user community as well.
The best part is that you can run your online store in a subfolder instead of a subdomain which is the main shortcoming when integrating Shopify with a WordPress website.
For example, your store can be located at www.yourblog.com/store/ instead of store.yourblog.com which is much better for search engine optimization.
Even though your ecommerce platform is hosted on BigCommerce’s servers, customers shop directly on your WordPress website and the integration is seamless.
As a result, the BigCommerce ecommerce plugin is a solution that is 100% scalable and you won’t have to worry about the technical aspects of selling online. BigCommerce also offers 24/7 customer support if you ever run into problems and supports all major payment gateways.
The only downside is that BigCommerce costs money. The cheapest BigCommerce plan starts at $29.99/month. For more information, read this post on BigCommerce pricing
Overall, BigCommerce hosts many large ecommerce sites including Clarks, Skull Candy, Camelbak and more!
Here’s how I rate the BigCommerce Ecommerce plugin on a scale of 1-10 (10 is the best).
- Ease Of Use – 9 – BigCommerce is easy to use and you can get up and running right away.
- Functionality – 10 – BigCommerce offers every feature that you need to launch a fully featured online store.
- Price – 5 – The BigCommerce plugin requires paying for a monthly plan based on your revenue.
- 3rd Party Apps And Integrations – 8 – BigCommerce is a popular ecommerce platform and is well supported by 3rd party developers.
- Support And Maintenance – 10 – BigCommerce takes care of all of the technical heavy lifting for your online store.
Ecommerce Plugin #2: WooCommerce
WooCommerce is the most popular WordPress ecommerce plugin in the world and it’s free to use just like WordPress.
WooCommerce is open source which means you get access to the source code and you can fully customize your online store exactly how you want.
Because WooCommerce is a well supported ecommerce platform by 3rd party developers, there are hundreds of compatible ecommerce plugins available that add cutting edge shopping features to your WooCommerce store.
Plus, Woocommerce is compatible with almost any WordPress theme and there are thousands of free themes to choose from.
In fact, the main reason why my kids chose WooCommerce for their tshirt business was because WooCommerce is popular and cheap!
Opening their shop cost them less than $200 to start and they pay zero monthly recurring fees.
However, the main downside to WooCommerce is that it can greatly slow down your WordPress website. In addition, configuring WooCommerce may require some technical knowledge to setup and design your theme exactly how you want.
If you decide to use WooCommerce as your ecommerce platform, you should install the WPRocket plugin which will greatly speed up your site.
Because WooCommerce is a slower ecommerce platform, they don’t power as many well known brands as BigCommerce or Shopify.
However, WooCommerce is a powerful WordPress ecommerce plugin that runs many 6,7 and 8 figure stores and all major payment gateways are supported. In fact, they are the most popular ecommerce platform in the world in terms of market share.
Overall, here’s how I rate the WooCommerce plugin on a scale of 1-10 (10 is the best).
- Ease Of Use – 7 – WordPress was not originally designed for ecommerce. As a result, WooCommerce may seem like a bolt on solution to sell products online. There are many counterintuitive menus and options to choose from which can be intimidating to new users.
- Functionality – 7 – Out of of the box, WooCommerce has everything you need to start selling online but it’s the bare minimum. Options like gift cards, advanced coupons etc… will require adding other ecommerce plugins which may incur additional fees.
- Price – 10 – You can’t beat free:)
- 3rd Party Apps And Integrations – 10 – Because WooCommerce is so popular, there are thousands of add on WordPress ecommerce plugins available and most tool providers support WooCommerce out of the box.
- Support And Maintenance – 5 – WooCommerce does not provide any support. As a result, you have to be good at problem solving and finding your own solutions. Because WordPress updates so often, you may encounter plugin incompatibilities and other technical issues.
Ecommerce Plugin #3: Ecwid
The Ecwid ecommerce plugin shares many of the same characteristics as the BigCommerce plugin in that it won’t slow down your site.
Ecwid is a fully hosted platform which means that they take care of the technical aspects of your online store so you don’t have to worry about site security, site uptime, etc.
All of your products and transactions are served on Ecwid’s servers which is completely independent of your site. And similar to BigCommerce, you can run your site in a subfolder which is great for SEO.
Ecwid’s only SEO drawback is that you can’t change your URL slug which is a nice to have feature but not a deal breaker.
The best part about Ecwid is that it’s 100% free to use for up to 10 products on your site. However as your store grows, you will eventually have to sign up for a paid plan that starts at $15/month.
The main downside to using Ecwid is that it does not have good 3rd party software tool support.
For example, integrating Ecwid with the leading email marketing platform Klaviyo requires you to use Zapier to glue the 2 tools together.
The lack of 3rd party tool support can be a big problem if you want to run a fully featured online store.
However, if you are on a limited budget and not tech savvy, Ecwid is an economical solution that will allow you to sell online without bogging down your WordPress site. They also support all of the major payment gateways and provide 24/7 support.
Overall, here’s how I rate the Ecwid plugin on a scale of 1-10 (10 is the best).
- Ease Of Use – 9 – Ecwid is extremely easy to use and setup.
- Functionality – 8 – Out of of the box, Ecwid offers all of the necessary features to start selling online. Their feature set is not as extensive as BigCommerce but it’s more than adequate.
- Price – 9 – Ecwid is free when selling up to 10 products. In addition, the paid plans are significantly cheaper than BigCommerce and you aren’t charged based on revenue.
- 3rd Party Apps And Integrations – 5 – Ecwid has very poor 3rd party tool support. For example, if you want to dropship or use print on demand, your options will be limited.
- Support And Maintenance – 8 – All of the paid plans provide live chat support. On the higher plans however, you will receive phone support in addition to customization and design help.
Ecommerce Plugin #4: Shopify Ecommerce Plugin
Most people are not aware, but Shopify offers a $9/month plan that allows you to add simple buy buttons to any existing website that you own including WordPress.
On their lite Shopify pricing plan, Shopify handles all of the heavy lifting for your online store without slowing down your existing site.
Here’s how it works.
- Sign up for Shopify and create a product for sale.
- Generate a special buy button code on your product listing and add it to your WordPress page.
- The Shopify buy button creates a mini online store which connects directly to Shopify.
On the surface, Shopify’s buy buttons behave much like the BigCommerce and Ecwid ecommerce plugins, but there’s one key difference.
The Shopify buy button redirects users off of your website during the checkout process to complete the purchase which can be confusing to your shoppers.
Meanwhile with the BigCommerce ecommerce plugin, the visitor is on your site the entire time and the checkout process is nicely integrated with your existing WordPress blog.
This distinction is subtle but it makes a big difference to the customer experience. Shopify’s WordPress solution is literally just a “buy button” whereas BigCommerce and Ecwid are integrated solutions.
Overall, Shopify’s WordPress solution made this list because Shopify is the most popular fully hosted ecommerce platform in the world and it’s well supported by 3rd party developers.
Here’s how I rate the Shopify ecommerce plugin on a scale of 1-10 (10 is the best).
- Ease Of Use – 7 – Configuring products on Shopify is simple. However, you may have to cut and paste pieces of code back and forth from your website which makes adding products a little clunky.
- Functionality – 8 – Out of the box, Shopify offers all of the necessary features to start selling online. However, you may need to pay for extra plugins to add functionality to your shop.
- Price – 6 – Shopify’s lite plan is only $9/month but it offers very limited functionality.
- 3rd Party Apps And Integrations – 10 – Like WooCommerce, Shopify has excellent 3rd party developer and tool support. Almost every cutting edge ecommerce feature arrives on Shopify first.
- Support And Maintenance – 10 – Shopify offers full support on all of its paid plans.
Ecommerce Plugin #5: Easy Digital Downloads
All WordPress ecommerce plugins up until this point has been evaluated strictly based on selling physical products online. But most of these plugins are overkill if you only want to sell digital products online.
Even though WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Shopify and Ecwid all offer support for selling digital products, Easy Digital Downloads has a much cleaner interface for selling PDFs, ebooks, audio clips and short videos online.
The best part is that the Easy Digital Downloads plugin is free and you can get started selling right away. If you need technical support, you can pay for a subscription which offers full customer support, and additional features and updates.
With a paid plan, you also get access to extra extensions like email marketing, extra payment gateways, subscriptions and more.
If you are comparing Easy Digital Downloads to WooCommerce (which are both free), the primary difference is that WooCommerce was originally designed for physical products and the ability to sell digital products was added much later.
Meanwhile, Easy Digital Downloads was designed from the ground up to sell digital products.
As a result, Easy Digital Downloads is a much faster plugin and won’t bog down your site as much as WooCommerce. It’s also easier to use because it doesn’t try to do everything.
Easy Digital Downloads also works with almost every WordPress theme which hasn’t always been the case with WooCommerce.
Here’s how I rate the Easy Digital Downloads WordPress plugin on a scale of 1-10 (10 is the best).
- Ease Of Use – 9 – Configuring digital products with EDD is simple and easy.
- Functionality – 7 – Out of of the box, EDD offers the necessary functionality you need to start selling digital products online. However, you may have to pay for additional apps like email marketing and select payment gateways.
- Price – 10 – EDD is free out of the box.
- 3rd Party Apps And Integrations – 8 – Like WooCommerce, EDD has a pretty extensive plugin library. It’s not nearly as large as WooCommerce but selling digital products is an easier problem to solve because there’s no inventory involved.
- Support And Maintenance – 9 – EDD has over 60,000 users and is a well supported plugin.
What Are The Best WordPress Ecommerce Plugins For You?
The right WordPress Ecommerce plugin for you depends on your budget and your technical ability.
Here’s a list of questions to ask yourself when choosing your ecommerce platform.
If you ONLY want to sell digital products online, the choice is easy. Go with Easy Digital Downloads.
If you are tech averse with a decent sized budget, the best WordPress ecommerce plugin to use is BigCommerce.
If you are tech averse with a smaller budget, the best WordPress ecommerce plugin to use is Ecwid.
If you are looking for free ecommerce plugins for WordPress and you are reasonably tech savvy, then go with WooCommerce.
If you want full control over the source code and your platform, the best wordpress ecommerce plugin is also WooCommerce.
The only reason you should ever use Shopify for WordPress is if there’s a plugin or app that you need that is not offered anywhere else.
Good luck with your decision!
Editor’s Note: Don’t see your favorite WordPress plugin on this list? Some plugins like WP Ecommerce, Cart66 and WP EasyCart didn’t make this list because they are either not well supported by 3rd party developers or they don’t have a comprehensive feature set. It’s very difficult to switch ecommerce platforms so you’re better off choosing one that will scale as your store grows.
Related Posts In Ecommerce Platforms
- WooCommerce Pricing – Is It Really Free And How Much Does It Cost
- BigCommerce Review – Pros & Cons And What Sets Them Apart
- Should I Buy A Cheap SSL Certificate Vs A Name Brand Like Verisign Or GeoTrust And Is EV Necessary?
- BigCommerce Pricing – How Much It Costs Vs Shopify And The Competition
- Shopify Pricing Plans: How To Pick The Best & Cheapest Plan For Your Store
Steve Chou is a highly recognized influencer in the ecommerce space and has taught thousands of students how to effectively sell physical products online over at ProfitableOnlineStore.com.
His blog, MyWifeQuitHerJob.com, has been featured in Forbes, Inc, The New York Times, Entrepreneur and MSNBC.
He's also a contributing author for BigCommerce, Klaviyo, ManyChat, Printful, Privy, CXL, Ecommerce Fuel, GlockApps, Privy, Social Media Examiner, Web Designer Depot, Sumo and other leading business publications.
In addition, he runs a popular ecommerce podcast, My Wife Quit Her Job, which is a top 25 marketing show on all of Apple Podcasts.
To stay up to date with all of the latest ecommerce trends, Steve runs a 7 figure ecommerce store, BumblebeeLinens.com, with his wife and puts on an annual ecommerce conference called The Sellers Summit.
Steve carries both a bachelors and a masters degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. Despite majoring in electrical engineering, he spent a good portion of his graduate education studying entrepreneurship and the mechanics of running small businesses.