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Joomla or WordPress: which is better for my ecommerce website? (full review)

When starting a website, you’ll need to decide on which content management system (CMS) you’ll choose to build it. And this decision becomes all the more crucial when the website you have in mind is an ecommerce store.

Why? Because such websites typically have more moving parts than a standard blog, and you’ll need to build and then manage those features daily. So, it makes sense to pick a setup that is the best for your situation, in both financial and technical terms. This is especially true if you’re a small business and have a limited budget and/or web development expertise.

While WordPress is by far the most popular CMS by market share, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best CMS for your online store. So it doesn’t hurt to explore other lesser-used options, such as Joomla - and in this article, we’re going to help with exactly that! We’ve touched on this discussion before, but we thought it was worthwhile to go into a little more detail around which is better for ecommerce sites, WordPress or Joomla.

Read on as we shed light on how Joomla compares with WordPress, and which one is better when you’re setting up an ecommerce store.

Ecommerce features

WordPress and Joomla both come without native ecommerce features. Hence, to set up an ecommerce store on these platforms, you’ll need to install external add-ons. In WordPress, these are called “plugins” while Joomla calls them “extensions”.

WordPress users have countless ecommerce plugins to choose from. They come with features such as:

  • Setting up product listings and payment gateways.
  • Serving up relevant product recommendations to customers.
  • Implementing checkout windows in your store.
  • Making your online store multilingual.

If you aren’t sure where to start, WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads are popular and highly rated WordPress ecommerce plugins worth checking out.

As for a Joomla website, you’ll add ecommerce functionality using extensions such as J2Store and DJ-Catalog2. These are both powerful extensions for creating store products, taking online payments and so on.

Additionally, if the need arises, Joomla’s Model-View-Controller (MVC) design architecture provides more options for creating dedicated shopping apps from scratch. Without getting too technical, MVC works by:

  1. Evaluating a user’s request (such as to load a certain web page)
  2. Obtaining the necessary data to fulfil the user’s request
  3. Processing it in a viewable manner for the user, and then,
  4. Displaying the final output in a type of extension known as a “template”.

Joomla websites can contain multiple templates, letting you execute multiple ecommerce functions on a single page. However, if you don’t need a custom-built ecommerce store, then you probably won’t need to leverage MVC to develop your own ecommerce apps. Instead, Joomla’s existing range of ecommerce extensions should be good enough.

Adding more content types to your ecommerce store

While your ecommerce store will obviously need to have ecommerce functionality, it may also need to support other content types. For instance, you may want your store to contain a blog section to inform customers of your latest offerings, or include social media embed feeds to showcase your latest social media posts.

As hinted above, WordPress sports a massive paid and free theme and plugin ecosystem. Using this CMS to build an ecommerce store that meets your needs, and looks exactly how you want it to look, is therefore no problem.

You’ll first install your preferred WordPress theme and an ecommerce plugin to get your online store up and running. Because WordPress is also a well-built blogging platform, it already has built-in features for publishing new blog posts. So you’ll just need to install additional WordPress plugins for the other functionality you need. Smash Balloon is especially popular for embedding social media feeds, for example.)

For Joomla, the look of a particular part of your website is controlled by the template you’ve used for it. You’re free to use more than one Joomla template at a time for your website - but you’d need to get your templates from third-party sources as there’s no official template library. Joomla does have an official extensions directory though, containing a modest 5,900+ extensions. In this directory, you’ll find crowd favourites such as DJ-Catalog2 (as mentioned above), as well as Acymailing for email newsletter functionality.

As for setting up a blog section on a Joomla website, you’d need to assign an article to a “blog” category for it to appear in your blog. You’ll have to do such assignment work for every other content category on your Joomla website - which can be more time-consuming, but does allow for more content flexibility out of the box.

SEO

Search engine optimisation (SEO), or the process of improving your website’s search engine rankings, is an immensely important part of ecommerce. After all, many people turn to a search engine if they’re looking for something online. And if your online store isn’t listed very prominently in the search results, then will you sell anything?

In this situation, Joomla pips WordPress for being more SEO-ready out of the box. When you create your Joomla site, you’ll immediately get access to SEO settings such as:

  • Enabling search engine-friendly URLs.
  • Rewriting your URLs (such as by removing URL IDs).
  • Including your Joomla site name in your page titles.

When publishing new articles on your Joomla website, you’ll also have built-in settings for adding article meta keywords and meta descriptions.

That said, WordPress also includes some default SEO features, such as URL permalink formatting and basic XML sitemaps. For any other SEO settings you might need, you’ll be able to easily add them to your WordPress site by installing SEO plugins. Yoast SEO is a highly favoured choice, allowing WordPress users to set up article meta descriptions and canonical URLs, among other features.

Cost

When you’re in business, it’s essential to keep a close eye on your setup and running costs. In this regard, WordPress and Joomla are both free open-source CMSs instead of dedicated ecommerce platforms. As a result, much of the costs involved in using either WordPress or Joomla will relate to which of the following you choose to use for your ecommerce store.:

  • Domain name
  • Hosting plan
  • WordPress plugins or Joomla extensions

This is unlike how some dedicated ecommerce platforms charge a monthly subscription fee or take a commission from every product sold.

There are pros and cons to this approach of paying for hosting and plugins and extensions. A major advantage is that you have flexibility in choosing which web hosting plan, plugins or extensions you want to use (and pay for).

Of course, the downside is that if you want to spring for a premium website template, or enhance the functionality of your website - especially as your business scales - then you’d have to be prepared to pay more. All these costs can add up, but you should be able to recoup them and enjoy a significant ROI if you’re strategic about your ecommerce operations.

Joomla or WordPress: other considerations

Ease of use

In terms of setup, you generally shouldn’t have issues with the WordPress or Joomla installation process. That’s because most good hosting companies will include one-click installs for both CMSs. And this includes us! Once you’ve signed for either our WordPress or Joomla hosting plan, you can use our one-click installer to easily set up a new WordPress or Joomla website within minutes. If the hosting provider you’re considering doesn’t include such convenience, come talk to us!

As for everyday use, WordPress wins hands down. With its beginner-friendly user interface, you’ll face almost no learning curve getting the hang of the WordPress backend as you launch your ecommerce store.

On the other hand, Joomla can be trickier for beginners to use. To get the most out of a Joomla website, you’d need to have a fuller understanding of web design, as well as coding experience. Not everyone hails from such a technical background and if this describes you, then WordPress may be the better choice.

If there’s one thing Joomla does better than WordPress in terms of ease of use, it’s that Joomla is multilingual-supported out of the box. In other words, you’ll be able to make your Joomla website multilingual without installing extra extensions. To do the same in WordPress, you’ll have to use a plugin such as WPML, though this generally isn’t difficult to do.

Security

Given how WordPress is such a popular CMS, it’s a more attractive target for hackers. Just put yourself in the shoes of a hacker: if you had limited time on your hands, would you rather increase your base of potential victims by going after a CMS platform with significantly more users, or another with a much smaller user community?

On this basis, we could therefore peg WordPress to be marginally less secure than Joomla. Apart from that, the more plugins you add to your WordPress website, the more vulnerabilities you could be introducing to your WordPress setup. This could also make your website less secure, which could be a concern as you collect customers’ personal data and credit card information.

That said, the WordPress core team regularly releases security patches to prevent hackers from exploiting WordPress bugs and security risks. In January 2022, for example, it issued a security update to address a WP_Meta_Query SQL injection vulnerability.

In any case, regardless of whether you’re using Joomla or WordPress for your ecommerce store, it’s a good idea to:

  • Install security extensions and plugins, such as Wordfence for WordPress, and
  • Stick to using extensions and plugins that are actively maintained, because those that haven’t been updated in ages could be especially vulnerable to security threats.

If you’ve got a WordPress site, you can read more in our blog post on practical security tips for a safe WordPress website.

And if you’re using Krystal as your web host, we’ll further shore up your website’s defences with powerful security features such as free SSL encryption and 2,000 Gbps distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) protection.

Support

With WordPress’ larger community of developers and users, you’ll find it much easier to get support for your WordPress website if you run into trouble. There are countless written and video self-help tutorials on WordPress online, while people actively chip in to answer questions on WordPress’ community forums.

In contrast, due to Joomla sporting a much smaller user base, you might have difficulty getting help for Joomla issues. Its forums aren’t as lively, with some Joomla users needing to wait days for a reply (if they even get one). If you go with Joomla, you may have to spend more time troubleshooting technical problems on your own, or engage a professional Joomla developer for assistance.

Alternatively, if you’re using one of our Joomla or WordPress hosting plans, then you can also try reaching out to us for technical support! Having been in business since 2002, we’ve developed an absolutely ace in-house support team. We daresay we know a thing or two about running WordPress and Joomla ecommerce stores!

Will you use WordPress or Joomla for your ecommerce store?

As a whole, if you’re new to building and running ecommerce stores, WordPress would be the safer bet. It’s easy to use, easy to extend with ecommerce features and easy to get support for if you need help. More tech-savvy ecommerce store owners may also appreciate the relative simplicity of WordPress, which allows them to focus on their core store responsibilities rather than get bogged down by a tech issue.

You don’t have to agree with us, of course. After weighing Joomla and WordPress for yourself, you may have decided to jump on the Joomla bandwagon instead. That’s perfectly fine. Regardless of whether you’ve opted for WordPress or Joomla, though, you’ll next have to choose a hosting plan for your store - which is where we come in!

At Krystal, we offer WordPress and Joomla hosting plans capable of supporting even the most resource-intensive ecommerce stores. We serve our clients’ websites from enterprise-grade hardware, using LiteSpeed caching to load their web pages at lightning speed. We also provide top-notch security features to keep your store secure, and have an award-winning support team on standby for any technical query you may have. Simply check out our WordPress and Joomla hosting plans to explore their features today.

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