One of the first things that everyone is concerned about when they launch something online is security. The internet comes with convenience and vulnerability. And when the talk is about business, the safety matter is more important than ever.
A lot of people start wondering whether it's safe to use WordPress for an e-commerce website. Their confusion has some grounds to it. There are over 60 million WordPress websites running on the internet. It has a significant share when it comes to the total number of websites that use a content management system. However, despite that enormous popularity, WordPress is free of cost. It's open-source, meaning all of its codes are accessible and customizable by anyone willing to do so.
With popularity comes the risk. Because a lot of websites run WordPress on their website, hackers' first priority is often to launch an attack against WordPress. Because they know if they can infiltrate the core WordPress, they can attack on a massive scale.
Although the concern makes sense, one should be aware of the matter that there are tons of e-commerce websites, some very popular and successful ones, that run on WordPress. It's because, despite the safety concerns, WordPress is safe and secure enough to trust with their e-commerce business. But before we dive down to talk about whether WordPress is secure enough for e-commerce websites, let's talk about a more important thing.
Is WordPress the Right Choice for YOU?
While the security of WordPress (and some of the plugins that enable e-commerce functionality) is good enough, there are more things to consider than just security. With WordPress (and subsequently WooCommerce or any other e-commerce plugin), you handle everything — including every technical detail — that happens with your website. If you build your e-commerce site with WordPress, it'll be yours to take care of. The plugins and themes you use will be secure, but there's a large part of maintenance that you need to take care of (or you need to appoint someone to do so).
Typically people say that WordPress is good for small stores while for larger online stores, a more dedicated hosting platform is better suited. However, that is not entirely true. If you have the resources or the budget/knowledge to keep maintaining your WordPress-powered e-commerce site, you should, by all means, use WordPress. Because when you use WordPress, you get the opportunity to customize your site according to however you like. If you use a hosted platform, like Shopify that lets you build an e-commerce store on their platform, you will be less concerned about the maintenance and security of your site. But you will lose the ability to decorate your site the way you want to.
So the bottom line is, if you have the resource to manage a WordPress-powered e-commerce site, either by yourself or by appointing a dedicated developer, and you would enjoy the power of customizing the store according to your needs. WordPress is the right choice for you. But if you only want to sell products and you don't mind the limitations of your online store that come with hosted platforms, you may want to look at platforms like Shopify.
From a security perspective, WordPress is secure and you need to make sure it stays secure. It needs to be updated, maintained, optimized on a regular basis. If you can do so, you will enjoy the customization ability of your online storefront down the line.
Now let's take a look at some of the reasons why it's safe to go down the WordPress route with e-commerce.
WordPress is Trusted by Millions
Granted, you may be asking yourself, what good would it do to me if WordPress is trusted by millions? Look at the bigger picture. Because from small and medium businesses to large corporations use WordPress for their website, blog, and even e-commerce website, there is a high demand for security measures such as plugins for WordPress. WordPress may be free, but its users are in millions. And that's why the site's security is constantly being strengthened against various security threats and vulnerabilities.
So if you're with WordPress, you know that you're not alone. If there's a widespread attack on the core WordPress platform, there will be serious measures taken to prevent that attack. And you will not feel left out because you are in the crowd.
WordPress is full of Security Plugins
One of the best things about WordPress is its functionality can be tremendously extended by what are called plugins. Plugins can add pretty much every feature that you may need in your site. And that stretches to security, too. There are numerous plugins that strengthen your WordPress security. All you need to do is install and configure, and you're good to go. The plugins will monitor your site's activity and prevent the most common types of attacks such as brute force. And you'll receive instant notification whenever there's suspicious activity going on. Some plugins can even lock out users by their IP address when they try to gain unauthorized access to your website.
Thanks to a number of free and premium plugins, you can ensure the security of your core WordPress installation without being a security expert yourself.
These two reasons are enough to know that you are in good hands as you use WordPress. But security is more to that than what comes default. Most of the time, the security of a site depends on its users and administrators. Below are examples of how an e-commerce site built using WordPress can be secured from vulnerabilities.
This is the number one important thing to consider when it comes to security, no matter what type of site you have. If your passwords aren't secure, your site isn't. You have to make sure your site's credentials are complex to guess, long, and strong enough. You also have to make sure that your users also use strong passwords. You can force your registered users to use long, complex passwords via plugins.
SSL certificates, or HTTPS, ensure that the data transferred is secure and encrypted. This is not enabled by default on any website, the website administrator has to obtain this certificate so that the data users enter on the e-commerce site is encrypted and secure. This ensures the safety of the user's data as well as earns customers' trust because they know their online shopping is safe and secure.
Most established e-commerce websites, both WordPress-based and dedicated solutions, use third-party payment gateways such as PayPal. This ensures that the credit card information or other sensitive credentials pass through high security to the payment gateway. Most of the time e-commerce sites do not store its user's credit card information, CCV and other data unless the customer explicitly permits them to. Therefore, the user knows that their payment is processed by a trusted partner (PayPal) or the e-commerce site in question is reliable to have obtained what is called a PCI Compliance which is required to be able to process credit card transactions.
Some Secure and Trusted E-Commerce Platforms
So now you know that it's not just WordPress, but the combination of WordPress, the administrators, and the users, and the e-commerce plugin/solution used on the site that determines how secure an e-commerce site is. Let's take a look at some of the popular e-commerce solutions that you can use on top of your WordPress installations for a safe and secure online store.
Single Vendor Store – WooCommerce
WooCommerce is the most popular solution for developing an e-commerce site on WordPress. If you're the sole seller on your e-commerce site, you can never go wrong with WooCommerce. It's a free plugin, but don't let that fool you. It has world-class support, hundreds of compatible high-quality gorgeous themes to go with enabling you to create a functioning e-commerce site quickly and effectively. It's developed and supported by WooThemes, which makes WordPress themes and plugins, but they are most popular for WooCommerce around the world.
The security of WooCommerce is beyond question. Its dedicated team of developers as well as volunteers around the world (because WooCommerce is an open source plugin) keeps it tightly secured and safe.
Digital Download Store – Easy Digital Downloads
If you're creating an online store only to sell digital items — such as pictures, music files, video files, software, books, etc — then Easy Digital Downloads is a popular solution. It's a WordPress plugin so it works on top of your WordPress installation. It has many features to let you create a heavily customizable online store for selling digital products. And its security is also top-notch. With over 400,000 users, Easy Digital Downloads is a popular choice for many people.
Multi-Vendor Marketplace — Dokan
What if you want to how to create a website for free where multiple sellers can register and sell their products? For that purpose, Dokan is the perfect solution.
Dokan is a WordPress plugin developed by weDevs. With Dokan, you can quickly create a marketplace where sellers can sign up to sell products. It's an enhanced version of WooCommerce which only supports a single vendor e-commerce site. It's highly secure and maintains all of the security standards that an e-commerce site needs to have.
In addition to all that, Dokan is based on WooCommerce — the world-class renowned e-commerce solution for WordPress. To use Dokan you need to also install the WooCommerce plugin. That alone adds an extra layer of security to the e-commerce site that you get by using Dokan on your online store.
Lastly, you should keep in mind nothing is 100% secure on the web. Even the most secured website from the largest corporation sometimes gets hacked. Security is a continuous process. So you need to always stay alert about your site's security, install the latest updates of all your plugins, themes, and WordPress itself to maintain the safety and security of your online business.
What security measures have you taken to secure your WordPress-powered website?