Pushing WooCommerce to its limits


Some time ago we got approached by one of our clients. Their custom built web-shop had outgrown their needs.

They were looking into moving to a new system that could implement all the custom functionality and also open up a whole new world of opportunities.

After a thorough research we ended up pushing for WooCommerce, one of the most popular eCommerce platforms on the web.
Working with WordPress a lot and seeing how fast WooCommerce has been growing we wanted to see how far it could take us.

WooCommerce is easier to use than most of its competitors and gives full freedom on designing the front-end. In addition all the (free) plugins existing for WordPress can be added with one click and there is a big community helping out with development questions.

After discussing with our client we decided to give it a try and started building some parts that we felt needed more testing before going all-in.
The tests succeeded and after mapping out the first version we started moving the data.

How many products can WooCommerce handle?

One of our biggest concerns with using WooCommerce was the size of the existing shop. Googling did not bring much information on what WooCommerce can handle.

We had to find out ourselves and migrated around 8,000 products with roughly 32,000 product variants and thousands of attributes.

It worked like a charm! Until it came to adding the second language to the international store…

How many products can WPML handle?

Unfortunately WordPress does not deal with multilingual by itself.

A plugin is needed to start setting up content in multiple languages. With WooCommerce WPML is basically the only choice.

Being a very popular plugin with commercial support we were not expecting many problems but what worked wonderfully with WooCommerce turned out to be a real hassle with WPML.

As soon as we enabled it to set up a second language, the newly built page we were so proud of started to crumble.

The site was almost unusable and especially the admin area was not optimised for handling so many products and attributes.

But after many fixes and improvements, harassing the WPML support and hosting the website on AWS (with an Aurora database), the website was finally working smoothly.

Will it work?

After this interesting ride we are really happy with WooCommerce and how it can handle big data and recommend it for almost any web-shop.

Stay tuned for more detail about other aspects of this project and how we are using WooCommerce in our following posts.

P.S. If you want to hear more, don’t miss my talk at WooConf in Austin, Texas and my colleague Thomas’ presentation at WordCamp in Helsinki where we will present more insights 🙂