Shopify vs WordPress - No Bullshit Edition

When making the big decision to invest in your online business, oddly enough, it can make the process even more difficult when you’re given too many options to choose from. However, we do believe that choosing the right platform for your business is essential in order for you to feel confident and in control of how you want your online presence to be perceived in our competitive digital world. 

As designers making use of both Shopify and WordPress, we have gained rich experience in using the applications for our clients and we want to give you our completely honest, bullshit-free opinions so that you can make up your own mind on what platform you feel is right for you and your eCommerce business. 


To accommodate the recent rise in popularity of online shopping, Shopify was designed specifically for merchants so that they could create their own online shops with absolute ease. Shopify is a subscription-based software that allows its subscribers to host, market, and customise their own eCommerce businesses all in one place! 


WordPress is probably one of the biggest names you’ll hear crop up when talking about web design, but what actually is it? In technical terms, WordPress is a content management system (CMS), but all that really means is that it’s an application that allows you to build and manage a website!

The main difference between WordPress and Shopify is that alone, WordPress is unable to fabricate an eCommerce website but by making use of the open-source tool WooCommerce, you can create a completely bespoke eCommerce website for your business. 


Choosing a hosting provider for your website is a super important factor that needs to be considered when it comes to creating your website. A website host is a service that will allow your website to become accessible to your consumers via the big worldwide web.

Shopify prides itself in being an all-in-one platform which means they have their own hosting environment that allows you to host your eCommerce website directly with them when you subscribe … Long story short, it means absolutely no faffing is needed!

WordPress works slightly differently, in that WordPress doesn’t have its own hosting environment but it’s just as simple a process for you! Here at Studio Illicit, we’ve partnered with UK-based hosting provider Krystal to ensure that all of our clients have high-speed, secure and reliable private hosting that’s suitable for all purposes.


Shopify, like any other online service, is, of course, susceptible to hackers and cyber thieves. I mean can complete safety ever be guaranteed when it comes to the complex digital world we live in? We aren’t convinced. However, as a highly established service, the benefits of Shopify are that they have ensured their subscribers’ safety by creating automated mechanisms that monitor data security and payment transfers.

On the flip side, WordPress creates a much larger attack surface due to its popularity. But hold up … don’t let that steer your decision straight away because there are ways to ensure your site isn’t left vulnerable. Best practices in keeping your site safe include good habits such as using safe plugins, keeping responsible login procedures and using security plugins to monitor your site, and updating regularly. When using WordPress, taking your website seriously will be the ultimate factor that dramatically reduces your chances of being hacked! 


Pre-warning, this section may come across a little fluffy and vague, but the speed of both Shopify and WordPress can’t be accurately compared as it all depends on many technical factors – How clean the code is, image file sizes and the extensions/plugins used are all components that affect the speed of a website, which means it isn’t necessarily solely down to the application you choose to use. 

Although we did promise no bullshit so we will say that WordPress can sometimes (only sometimes) be heavier on resources which can slow down your site but this just means choosing a great hosting provider for this platform is a must! 


When it comes to designing the site itself, as a fully-bespoke agency we never use any off-the-shelf templates and themes. However, when it comes to Shopify and WordPress there is still a small amount of difference between the flexibility of the two platforms. With Shopify, users have access to apps: specially curated add-ons to the site that can enhance the customer journey such as booking systems, subscriptions, or voucher codes. These apps are rigorously tested by Shopify themselves and the range of how many exist is limited but comprehensive.

WordPress is a different beast altogether! While WordPress also contains add-ons in the form of plugins, these are far more wide-ranging and offer a near unlimited amount of functionality from a huge suite of plugin creators. If you’re looking to do something a bit niche, WordPress will have your back where Shopify may not be able to provide support.