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The Difference Between WordPress and WooCommerce Explained

Published Categorized as Ecommerce Stores

When it comes to WooCommerce vs WordPress and the difference between WooCommerce and WordPress you need to understand how one functions as a Content Management System (WordPress) whilst the other works inside that Content Management System to provide eCommerce store functionality (WooCommerce).

In that way, WordPress is very much like “Windows” on your PC or “ios” on your Mac

WordPress is the operating system, but in this case it’s more typically referred to as a “Content Management System

WooCommerce on the other hand is like a piece of software you regularly use on your PC or Mac, like “Microsoft Office” for example.

WooCommerce makes a WordPress site more functional than the base “operating system” is and provides specific functionality to serve the needs of an eCommerce store owner.

A recap;

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a content management system.

WordPress is therefore analogous to “Windows” on your PC

WordPress has core functionality in allowing you to edit and design a website, but lacks the functionality to create a fully functional eCommerce store.

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is a “Plugin”.

WooCommerce is therefore analogous to “Microsoft Office” on your PC or Mac – and operates as a piece of software inside your WordPress Content Management System.

How else are WordPress and WooCommerce Different and Related?

Both WordPress and WooCommerce are developed and owned by Automattic.

Automattic is like the “Microsoft” in our Analogy – both owning and developing the operating system (Windows) and the software (MS Office)

Automattic started with WordPress and over the course of time have acquired various other well known brands of opensource software.

WooCommerce was one of those acquisitions.

Why isn’t WooCommerce just integrated into WordPress?

Not all WordPress users are eCommerce store owners.

But ALL WooCommerce users are WordPress users.

A bit like all thumbs are fingers, but not all fingers are thumbs!

Bloating the core WordPress content management system with unnecessary eCommerce functionality wouldn’t make for a great user experience for WordPress users who aren’t eCommerce store owners.

WordPress is the most used content management system online. Hell, even BBC America use it to run their website and host all of their content provision – yes it’s THAT powerful.

WordPress can be used to create websites that run online courses, directories, video sharing, photo sharing, membership sites – there’s a whole bunch of things you can install on WordPress to make it do what YOU need it to. Just like installing software on your computer.

WooCommerce is just one of those pieces of Software – albeit one of the more powerful and more fundamental pieces of software.

What about

That’s beyond the scope of this article. In brief, is a SAAS (Software as a service) it’s essentially a stripped back version of a self-hosted WordPress site. Think of it like having a Chromebook instead of a full PC or Mac – it does some of the core and essential stuff, but don’t challenge it with anything too taxing!

What Is The Difference Between WordPress and WooCommerce?

In short, WordPress is a content management system, whilst WooCommerce is a piece of software (a plugin) that is designed FOR the WordPress Content Management System (or CMS for short)

By Ashley Pearce

I'm the founder of Future State Media, a "small-on-purpose" creator-focused SEO agency skilled in helping creators systematically generate traffic, build audiences and maximise their monetisation whilst staying true to their brand.