Web hosting providers like to call their packages by many different names. “WordPress Hosting”, “Magenta Hosting”, “Odoo Hosting”, and more. Basically, whatever software or architecture is “hot” on the market, gets its own branded landing page. This gives the illusion that these packages are somehow different from ordinary web hosting in a meaningful way. But most of the time, they’re not. For example, I’d written earlier about how “WordPress Hosting” is mostly just ordinary web hosting in all but a few exceptional cases, where web hosts specialize in WordPress management.
However, I’ll make an exception in the case of WooCommerce hosting. While hosting providers can of course repackage ordinary web hosting and call it “WooCommerce hosting”, there exists the real potential for them to make a significant difference in how they implement it. With “WordPress hosting” for example, you can’t really do too much apart from automatic updates, malware scanning, caching, or a CDN. But WooCommerce is a different beast altogether, and I’ll explain why.
Why WooCommerce is Thematically Different from WordPress
Even though WooCommerce is just a plugin added on to WordPress, it’s so much more than that. In my opinion, it changes WordPress in a very fundamental way. At its heart, WordPress is a CMS – a Content Management System. You write stuff, and WordPress shows it to your users. Yes, it’s dynamic. Yes, it involves the database on every page load. But for all that, WordPress isn’t transactional in the normal course of operations. Reading from the database happens a lot more often than writing when a visitor comes to your site. It’s not a static package, but still pretty close to it.
WooCommerce on the other hand, changes the very nature of WordPress. Suddenly, WordPress isn’t just a static content management system, but one where every page shown to the visitor is personalized to them. For example, the following elements can change:
- Display of the username
- Cart items
- Current cart value
- Previous purchase history
- “Recommended” items
- and more…
Suddenly with WooCommerce, the user isn’t just looking at your site. They’re doing things with it. You no longer have visitors, but customers. And this has a bunch of implications for performance.
WooCommerce Performance Hit is Linear
Unlike with ordinary WordPress where you can use caching to reduce the impact of multiple visitors to the same page, WooCommerce eats up server resources at a linear pace that scales with your customers. Database reads and writes happen more often and can quickly overwhelm your server.
Traffic Spikes are a Problem
Not surprisingly, WooCommerce sites have problems handling traffic spikes. Ordinary WordPress sites can handle them far better because the resource usage isn’t linear. But WooCommerce sites get hammered really bad.
It’s particularly unfortunate because for WooCommerce websites, traffic = sales. And slowdowns + lost traffic means a loss of revenue. The tragedy is that every site hopes for a surge of traffic. And often, that surge causes the site to crash. It’s a difficult situation.
WooCommerce Hosting Needs to Address These Issues
And this is why WooCommerce is so different from ordinary WordPress hosting. It’s not just about automatically installing the plugin and providing updates. It’s about being able to dynamically scale for traffic spikes, restructuring the backend to make transactions more effective, and more. Of course, there’s also lots of potential for value added services relevant to shopping cart management, etc.
All this is to say that if you see a web hosting provider offering “WooCommerce Hosting”, check to see if they specifically address the issues mentioned above. Don’t be satisfied with a few automatic updates and malware scanning features. It’s a real architectural challenge to design a scalable system that operates well under sudden loads. Expect prices for good WooCommerce hosting to be higher as well!
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!