A food business owner or a designer building websites for restaurants, both will enjoy this…
In this WooCart review, we take a look at a new managed WooCommerce hosting provider. Specializing in hosting and looking after WooCommerce stores, WooCart could be the perfect home for your new, or existing ecommerce store.
With cloud servers powered by Google, lots of features to help you manage your store, and access to a helpful support team of WooCommerce experts, WooCart definitely looks like an interesting service for online store owners.
So let’s get started and find out if that really is the case in our hands-on WooCart review.
What is WooCart?
As mentioned, WooCart offer hosting for WordPress websites that are running the popular WooCommerce online store builder plugin. While you can host your WooCommerce store with any web hosting company that supports WordPress, there are benefits to choosing a service like WooCart.
For one, WooCart has been built from the ground up for WooCommerce users. Like web hosting that has been optimized for WordPress, such as WP Engine, WooCart has been optimized for WordPress and WooCommerce. This means that your online store should be more stable, load faster, and be more secure if you decide to host it with WooCart.
As WooCart only host WooCommerce sites, their team are all highly familiar and experienced at looking after this type of online store. This is compared to other hosts, who might be maintaining blogs, portfolios, and other all of the other types of websites you can create with or without WordPress.
Main Features of WooCart
To help you decide if this is the right hosting option for your ecommerce store, our WooCart review will now cover the best features of this service.
Store Building and Maintenance Tools
WooCart have tools and features that will help you launch your store as quickly as possible. Also, as part of their managed hosting service, they’ll take care of many of the tasks involved in running a WordPress website.
This includes time-consuming jobs like backing up your site, keeping plugins up to date, and other tasks that can distract you from running your business.
As time is money, WooCart aim to reduce the amount of time you have to spend on creating stores and keeping them running smoothly. Instead, you can focus on selling products, marketing your business, and providing great customer service.
So whether you’re a non-technical person, or you’d just rather spend your time doing other things, the managed aspect of the WooCart hosting service should be of interest.
High-Performance WooCommerce Hosting
To ensure that your WooCommerce store loads as quickly as possible, WooCart host the websites they manage on the Google Cloud Platform. Not only does this mean your customers will experience fast loading times but your store will also be able to handle large amounts of traffic and surges in visitors. Trusting your store with the Google Cloud Platform also means enhanced security for your website, data, and customers.
Some other web hosts also use the Google Cloud Platform to provide cloud hosting to their customers. However, WooCart only host WooCommerce sites. Due to this, they can configure and optimize the Google Cloud Platform servers they’re using specifically for WooCommerce stores.
Staging Environment for Easy Testing
Keeping the design of your store looking fresh is vital if you want to keep growing your sales and business. However, making changes to the design of your WordPress website once it’s up and running and being accessed by your customers, isn’t always straightforward.
Furthermore, it is also very important to have the latest versions of the WordPress software, theme, and plugins you’re using on your site installed. Failing to keep your website and its components up to date can pose a security risk as the latest patches and updates often resolve vulnerabilities as they’re detected.
Again, as with updating the design of your website, updating the WordPress software and your plugins can cause unexpected issues to arise. Thankfully, WooCart has a feature that can help you overcome this.
The WooCart staging feature lets you quickly make a copy of your store, where you can test out updates as well as make changes to your store’s design in a safe environment that only you and your team can access.
Once you’ve tested those updates and changes, you can copy them to the live version of your store, at the touch of a button. Unlike other hosts that provide a staging feature, with WooCart any orders that have been placed by your customers during this process won’t be lost and it will be business as usual at your online shop. If you don’t want to miss out on sales or frustrate your customers, this WooCommerce-friendly staging tool will be very appealing.
If you want to keep the design of your site up to date and prevent older versions of your plugins leaving your store open to security breaches, a staging feature like this really simplifies this process.
Another aspect of WooCart that can help your store load quickly is the built-in image optimization features. WooCart will optimize your website images with smushing, to reduce their size without reducing their quality. WooCart will also detect which type of device your visitors are using. Then, depending on their device, the most suitable version of your images will be displayed, taking their device screen size and the image file size and dimensions into account.
As online stores often use lots of images to display their products, this does have the potential to slow down loading times. However, poor quality images could affect sales as customers can’t see how good your products are. Thankfully, the image optimization features of WooCart can overcome these potential problems.
As the WooCart hosting plans include CDN access, the files that make up your store, such as images and videos, are duplicated and stored in multiple locations around the world. When a visitor accesses your store, the files from the server that’s physically closest to them are loaded.
Due to this, the time it takes for these files to be made available is reduced, increasing site speed, visitor satisfaction, and hopefully, conversion rates.
Plugin Analysis and Metrics
One of the great things about WordPress is the plugins that are available for it. However, some plugins can have a negative impact on the performance of your WordPress website.
As all WordPress websites are different, in terms of their configuration, their design, and their content, it’s not easy to know what impact a plugin will have on the performance of website until it’s been installed.
Even then, if you aren’t monitoring the performance of your site and the plugins that have been added to it, you might not even realize if any of them are causing problems with loading times and other important metrics.
To overcome this, WooCart has a feature that tells you exactly which plugins on your site are hogging resources. This tool also tells you how your plugins are affecting site loading times. Thanks to this, you can then make an educated decision on which plugins to use on your website, based on the features they provide and the impact they’re having on performance.
As slow website loading times have been shown to reduce the conversion rates of online stores, it’s great to see so many features dedicated to delivering fast WooCommerce stores from WooCart.
Running a WooCommerce store can involve lots of moving parts, including plugins, add-ons, and themes. Due to this, it can be hard to know what’s causing a problem when one arises. As downtime and error messages can cause a loss in revenue and a drop in profits, it’s important that you’re able to troubleshoot problems simply and quickly.
To help with this, WooCart has an easy-to-use error reporting system. This feature can identify problems and provide solutions, such as instructing you on which plugins to disable. Instead of having to search through incomprehensible error logs, you can just view the easy-to-read messages in the WooCart dashboard.
Now that we’ve covered some of the best features of this service, let’s see what it’s like to actually use this managed WooCommerce hosting provider in the next section of our WooCart review.
Creating an Online Store with WooCart
As mentioned earlier in this WooCart review, this managed WooCommerce hosting service makes it very easy to create an online store. With some other hosts, you’ll need to install and configure WordPress and the WooCommerce plugin plus carry out a lot of other tasks.
With WooCart, though, you just need to enter a few details through their setup wizard to launch your site. During the setup wizard, you have the option of deciding whether or not to generate legal compliance related content and features. You can also choose to have a blog added to your store and generate other useful pages.
A nice feature of the wizard is that you can set the location of your store and the selling location. This information simplifies the process of configuring your store with the local tax and shipping settings.
Once the store has been generated, you can access the WooCart dashboard to get an overview of your new website.
Accessing the WooCart Store WordPress Dashboard
Once your store has been created, you can log in to the WordPress dashboard. The new installation comes with a few extra plugins installed and the popular Astra Pro theme activated. However, you’re free to choose which WooCommerce theme you use on your website.
The only plugin you can’t disable is SendGrid as it’s a required plugin on WooCart and cannot be deactivated. As SendGrid is used to handle the transaction emails at your store, it makes sense that it’s a required plugin. Other than that, there’s a caching plugin, a page builder plugin, and a contact form plugin that come pre-installed.
Depending on your choices when setting up your store through the WooCart wizard, your site could be populated with demo products.
If you’re still in the process of launching your ecommerce business, these placeholder products can help you build your site until you’re ready to add your own product listings.
Configuring Your WooCart Account and Website
Back in the WooCart account area, you can easily add a domain for your store, instead of using a WooCart subdomain. To keep your store and your customer data secure, SSL certificates are provided on all WooCart plans.
Through the WooCart control panel, it’s easy to set the availability of your store. This allows you to make your store available to all, or unavailable until you’re ready to launch. Should you need to, deleting your store is very straightforward too.
Although backups of your store are automatically created every 24 hours, you can manually create a backup as and when needed.
Viewing the Performance and Visitor Analytics
Another very useful feature of WooCart that was mentioned earlier, is the store performance monitoring tools. Through your WooCart dashboard, you can easily see what resources the plugins that are installed on your store are consuming.
From the Plugin Metrics section of your dashboard, you can quickly see how much memory each plugin on your store is using. If you notice that a particular plugin or add-on is consuming a lot of resources, you might want to think about replacing it with an alternative. This is especially relevant if your store is running slowly or experiencing other problems.
The Page Metrics section of the WooCart dashboard gives you a convenient way to see which the most visited pages on your site are. However, an even more useful aspect of the Page Metrics data is the load time that’s displayed for each page. Armed with this data, you’ll know which pages on your site need to be optimized in order to make them load faster.
If you’re serious about your business, you’ll probably also want to use a third-party tool like Pingdom to measure the performance of your store. However, whether or not you use a third-party service, the data from the WooCart Page Metrics feature is very useful and will complement any reports you get from other services, such as Pingdom or Google Analytics.
WooCart Managed WooCommerce Hosting Prices
If you like the sound of WooCart, the great news is that you can take advantage of the 7-day free trial. This gives you a good opportunity to see how easy this managed hosting service is to use.
You can also play around with the features, such as the plugin and page metrics. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee in place, too, so that you can try out this service risk free.
Not only that but WooCart will also transfer your existing WooCommerce website to their servers for free, even if you sign up on the free-trial plan.
If you’re enjoying the WooCart managed WooCommerce hosting experience, you can sign up to one of their plans:
- Shop: $49 a month for 1 store and up to 50,000 visits and 20 GB of disk space.
- Market: $99 a month for 1 store and up to 100,000 visits and 40 GB of disk space.
- Map: $179 a month for 1 store and up to 150,000 visits and 60 GB of disk space.
- Supermall: $279 a month for 1 store and up to 300,000 visits and 80 GB of disk space.
All plans include daily backups, image optimization, and CDN access, with your site hosted on the powerful Google Cloud Platform.
WooCart Review Conclusion
If you’re planning to create an online store, you should definitely consider WooCart. Their managed WooCommerce hosting service takes a lot of the tasks involved in setting up and running an online shop out of your hands.
Although this is a premium hosting service, and therefore more expensive than some of the other generic hosting options available elsewhere, you should make your money back due to the time-saving and frustration-reducing features of WooCart. After all, faster loading times lead to improved covnersion rates, meaing more sales for your WooComerece store.
Those looking for a new host for their existing store could also find that WooCart is a great new home for their website. The free transfer service will definitely help with the migration.
Not only that, you but you also get access to some genuinely features. This includes the plugin and page metrics tools, the user-friendly error reporting, and the staging environment. Being able to test updates and changes to your store in the private staging environment is something all store owners will appreciate.
Having your store hosted on the high-performance Google Cloud Platform, and looked after by the WooCommerce experts of WooCart is sure to help your online store become a success.