Confused between the two of the biggest names in eCommerce platforms?
Are you on the verge of making a decision for your business’ future?
Or simply trying to learn something new?
Either way, shouldn’t you learn everything that is out there on this topic before making a decision and later regretting it?
So, do you have a complete understanding of Magento vs. WooCommerce?
If yes, then congratulations! You’re already on the right track.
If not, then you have to read this complete guide to grasp an understanding of:
- How the two platforms differ in terms of architecture and binaries.
- Why different nature of businesses demands different platforms.
Let’s see how they are different, what limitations they have, and what advantages to pay attention to.
So, if you’re double-minded between the two, take a deep dive into this article to find out what suits best for you.
In this article, we’ll compare Magento vs. WooCommerce, their key features, performance, security, pricing, user-friendliness, product management, and much more.
By the time you’ve finished reading this, you’ll know exactly which platform is more suitable for your business, Magento or WooCommerce.
Or perhaps, Magento vs WordPress, since WooCommerce is merely a WordPress plugin.
It’s quite a long read, so allow it some time.
Around 10 minutes, to be exact.
Without dragging it any further, LET’S GET CRACKING!
- What Features To Look For In An Ecommerce Platform?
- Magento: An Overview
- WooCommerce: An Overview
- Product Management
- Payment Methods
- Extensions and Integrations
- Bottom line?
As a beginner, finding an eCommerce platform that is perfect for your business is difficult.
Especially, when you are being bombarded with deceptive and misleading advertising all the time.
These ads promise unbeatable prices for unlimited features.
But, in reality, they don’t stand by their promises and offer hosted eCommerce platforms that often fail to live up to the hype.
However, there are some big names in the eCommerce business, which live up to their hype and provide every single feature that you can possibly imagine.
Amongst many out there, we’re going to talk about two of the biggest – Magento and WooCommerce.
However, before we begin to compare the two platforms, one should know that there are numerous similarities between the two.
Both platforms are most similar in a way that both have open–source free versions.
It means that anyone can build on the source code or modify it for their needs.
Developers share their own versions of the software.
This is the reason for the large communities behind both of the platforms.
Both are based on the PHP programming language.
Like Magento, WooCommerce also requires hosting packages to run the software such as Nexcess or WPEngine.
They are free to use, but as your business grows and changes, you must pay an additional amount to function better.
Both systems allow you to upload unlimited products and manage them effectively.
You can also add a blog to add a friendly voice to your eCommerce site.
And promote it with SEO.
Both pack a punch when it comes to features, as well as being wildly popular.
Although there are some similarities, Magento is a far more complicated and robust eCommerce platform than WooCommerce.
Former is an independent, completely customizable, and flexible eCommerce platform.
Whereas, the latter is really just a plugin on top of the core WordPress software.
It wouldn’t be wrong to assume that this comparison is
In a nutshell, despite their similarities, they are also very different.
Both platforms are often fairly different due to their strengths and weaknesses.
It’s NOT easy to pick an overall winner.
Weighing up the features of each platform could leave you scratching your head in confusion.
While at the same time, leaving your customers in distress.
Fortunately, we’re here to help you make an informed decision.
There’s no ultimate solution when it comes to eCommerce.
However, you can always make the right choice for your unique needs – unless you have all the facts right.
The best way to help you understand is by listing down all the important aspects that an eCommerce business owner should look for in a platform.
To help out, below is a list of some of the essential features that eCommerce platforms should offer:
- Price – Cost of starting your store and recurring expenses that would affect your business on a daily or monthly basis.
- Performance – Overall performance, load speed, and load time of your online store.
- Security – How safe is the platform in terms of keeping your data secure.
- Product Management – Built-in or third-party inventory management system.
- User-Friendliness – How easy is it to use the platform and building your own online store.
- Payment Methods – It should support multiple payment gateways, such as PayPal, Stripe, Square, Payoneer, etc.
- Extensions and Integrations – Third-party extensions and integrations to add features to your online store to make it according to your specifications.
- Scalability – Your eCommerce platform should be able to scale with your growing business needs.
These are just some of the basic things you need to look at.
Depending on your business, you may also want to consider how does the platform perform other tasks like taxes, invoices, and more.
In this Magento vs WooCommerce comparison, we will review how both platforms compare on these basic requirements.
Because the success of any eCommerce business largely depends on the platform it is set upon.
Choosing an eCommerce platform solely depends on your own needs. Do consider them in terms of Price, Performance, Security, Product Management, User-Friendliness, Payment Methods, Extensions and Integrations, and Scalability.
Now, let’s begin with an introduction to Magento.
Although we have covered Magento in great detail in our previous blog posts, still we will look at the basics.
If you want to read through our other blog posts on Magento, below are the links for them.
Launched in 2007, Magento is one of the biggest eCommerce platforms in the world with more than 250,000 live stores.
Written in PHP, it is an open-source software focused on web development professionals, and medium to large online stores.
It offers one of the most robust feature sets in the field, which makes it ideal for large enterprises.
Some of the highest-grossing stores on Magento’s platform (all versions) have a turnover of more than $1 billion annually.
However, many of the recognized stores are still operating on Magento 1.x versions but, it is on the verge of extinction by the end of 2020.
It has both a free open-source edition and an Enterprise edition that you can either self-host or use as a cloud edition via Magento itself.
Supports a range of a number of products, themes, and layout interfaces.
Includes efficient APIs that can connect with any third-party solution.
Incredible scalability and customization but at a higher cost of ownership. Perfect for medium to large enterprises.
For more information on Magento, do visit our previous blogs to clarify your concerns.
- Incredible scalability
- Multiple versions – Enterprise, Open-source, and Cloud.
- A huge community of talented developers
- A large amount of out of the box functionality
- Multistore out of the box
- Strong B2B eCommerce capabilities
- Strong product data capabilities for large and complex catalogues
- Strong Product Management
- More advanced payment and shipping capabilities
- Strong promotion capabilities and SEO
- Integration with PayPal, Authorize.Net, and Braintree
- Higher cost of ownership
- Requires extensive learning to get started
- Larger application with higher maintenance overhead
- Expensive extensions
- Front-end theme building is complicated
Launched in 2011, WooCommerce is also an open-source eCommerce platform built on top of WordPress.
So, it gives you access to thousands of WordPress plugins and themes to grow your eCommerce business.
In fact, WooCommerce itself is a plugin for WordPress.
Seemingly, a very strong one.
According to sellwithwp.com, this wildly popular eCommerce platform is home to almost 400,000 sites.
It allows you to easily create an online store, accept payments, manage inventory, and much more.
Because it is open-source, it can be extended with extensions, and utilize templates for the design.
It offers all the features you need from an eCommerce solution.
While also retaining the user-friendliness.
WooCommerce itself is a pretty lightweight eCommerce platform so it’s great for simpler eCommerce sites.
However, it relies on a lot of plugins because the core WooCommerce plugin is limited in scalability.
This is where WooCommerce becomes a headache.
Additionally, the catalogue and product management capabilities of WooCommerce are also limited.
A WordPress plugin with numerous free plugins and themes, but weak database architecture and no room for scalability. More suited for small enterprises.
- A plugin to WordPress (You get the value of WordPress CMS)
- Comparatively, little training is required
- Works well with content focused sites that can leverage WordPress CMS capabilities
- A large number of themes
- Numerous free plugins available
- Cheaper to host in most cases
- Largest open-source community and user base of any platform in terms of absolute numbers
- Integration with Google Analytics
- Includes SSL support, but you need to obtain your own certificate.
- Weak database architecture for high order volume
- Not much room for scalability
- Requires many additional plugins to achieve ideal functionality
- Additional plugins can lead to version conflicts and bugs
- Minimal out of the box features
- Weak product data capabilities for large and complex catalogues
- Only one version of WooCommerce (no enterprise edition)
- Tough to scale for a larger site.
- If you don’t use WordPress, you need to learn two new platforms.
- Premium themes and extension costs can add up quickly
One of the biggest factors to consider when choosing an eCommerce platform is the cost of it.
Hence, let us begin discussing the differences by looking at the pricing of both platforms.
In general, Magento Enterprise is much expensive compared to WooCommerce.
You may want to check out the complete pricing policy of Magento’s different versions here at Magento Pricing.
As for WooCommerce, it is cheaper than Magento.
Similar to Magento’s Community Edition, WooCommerce is also available as free software that anyone can download and install.
It runs on top of WordPress which means you can install it on any WordPress website.
WooCommerce itself is free.
However, you will need to register a domain name, SSL certificate, and a WordPress hosting account to start your WooCommerce store.
Good web hosting services for WooCommerce can cost you around $5-9 per month.
Normally, you can buy a domain name for around $15 a year.
SSL certificate can set you back around $70 a year.
This may not look as much, still, it is a lot of money for a startup.
However, WooCommerce gives you access to more than 55,000+ WordPress extensions and thousands of free WordPress themes.
Loading times are a big deal for any website.
If your website takes too long to load or feels sluggish, some people will leave and might never return.
Taking their money with them.
So, does load speed or performance matters?
Of course, it DOES!
When it comes to performance, it’s complicated to figure out who’s gonna win the battle of Magento vs. WooCommerce.
Each online store will behave differently due to its functionality and size.
Furthermore, there are several other factors at play here.
Such as your choice of a web hosting provider, whether you’re using a Content Delivery Network (CDN), or even whether your images are optimized.
To put it simply, the performance of your online store will depend mostly on you, and your hosting provider.
Both WooCommerce and Magento enable you to implement several advanced security measures.
However, mostly through the extensions and manual tweaks.
WooCommerce is a great option for a beginner level store, but limited capabilities.
You may end up paying more of that cost if you opt for WooCommerce to give you more features for your store.
While NO platform can be 100% secure, Magento takes the lead here.
It offers dedicated security patches to its users.
The downside here is that Magento security patches aren’t particularly easy to apply.
Nevertheless, if you take security seriously, Magento is the clear winner.
Since you’re actually comparing WordPress vs. Magento here, hence, just like WordPress, WooCommerce offers a no-nonsense approach to product management.
Setting up new items is simple, especially if you’re already familiar with WordPress.
Furthermore, you can always expand on the platform’s functionality using extensions such as Product Add-Ons.
Magento, on the other hand, is a complete package.
It offers several features that WooCommerce lacks if you’re not purchasing additional extensions..
For example, it supports product reviews, grouped items, wish lists, advanced pricing rules, and product personalization.
It clearly has an advantage in terms of functionality.
Only if you’re willing to learn Magento.
Magento comes with an advanced setup process that can be complicated for new users.
It is not easy to install and most hosting companies do not offer pre-configured installers for Magento.
After the setup, you will have to spend some time learning the basics.
Installing extensions or customizing themes is also not always easy, and you may need to seek help from an expert to set them up.
Overall, Magento is extremely powerful and comes packed with a ton of features, but it is not the easiest to use an eCommerce platform.
WooCommerce is a little easier to use compared to Magento.
The installation is simple as many WooCommerce hosting providers will automatically install it for you along with WordPress.
Since WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, you will need to install WordPress first.
WooCommerce comes with a setup wizard that will walk you through an initial setup like creating pages, set up payments, choose the currency, set shipping and tax options.
Once you are up and running, you will find plenty of help to do almost anything.
WooCommerce is relatively easy to use compared to Magento.
Magento comes with PayPal, Authorize.net, cash on delivery, bank transfer, and purchase order payment methods by default.
It also has extensions available for many popular payment gateways including Stripe, 2Checkout, Braintree, WePay, Google Checkout, Skrill, and more.
Magento’s APIs allow developers to easily integrate payment gateways.
WooCommerce offers PayPal and Stripe payments by default.
It also supports all major payment gateways through extensions and add-ons.
WooCommerce even supports many regional and lesser-known payment companies.
Since it is so easy to extend, any payment company can create an add-on for WooCommerce and provide support for it.
Hence, any type of platform is sufficient for users.
There is a limit to the features that an eCommerce platform can add to the core.
This leaves room for third-party extensions, tools, and integrations.
Magento has an active community of developers, agencies, and freelancers.
There are plenty of free and third-party extensions available for Magento that you can use.
These extensions allow you to easily add new features and integrate other tools and services into your online store.
Magento extensions are rich in features.
However, installing those plugins and using them can be a hectic process.
Similar to Magento, WooCommerce also allows store owners to easily install a wide range of plugins.
However, your Magento store will become more powerful than a WooCommerce store by installing third-party extensions.
Since WooCommerce runs on top of WordPress, this gives you access to more than 55,000 free WordPress plugins and thousands of paid plugins.
Add contact forms, Google Analytics, or even lead generation forms, chances are that there is already a plugin available that you can use.
So, Magento wins over WooCommerce in this situation.
As your website traffic and sales grow, you will need more server resources to:
- Keep up with your business goals and growth trajectory
- Increase sales further to earn more revenue
Both Magento and WooCommerce can handle large eCommerce stores with huge traffic.
However, Magento is designed from the ground up to be a robust eCommerce platform.
When it comes to scaling, your costs and technical challenges will skyrocket.
Nevertheless, you can also scale up your business, and hence, revenues in no time.
If you are using the community edition of Magento, then you will have to do it on your own.
You will also need to optimize your store for caching, manage backups, and attacks from the firewall.
If you don’t have the experience in managing large websites, then you will need to hire Magento specialists.
After all this, Magento might be the perfect eCommerce platform for you if your business is expanding.
On the other hand, WooCommerce stores will face the same technical challenges as Magento.
The good thing is that you have an option growing while keeping your costs down.
Firstly, you will have several easy caching options to improve performance which can be implemented even by beginners.
Secondly, you can move to managed WordPress hosting providers like WPEngine or Liquid Web.
These WordPress plugins will surely help you to scale up your business.
Still, WooCommerce is designed for medium-scale business.
Compared to WooCommerce, Magento is a BIG FISH!
Designed for large enterprises.
Made to bring in millions of dollars rather than hundreds or thousands.
- Inventory management
Both platforms allow you to add as many products as possible.
- Discounts and Coupon Codes
You can create discounts and import coupon codes in Magento out-of-the-box.
WooCommerce has this feature but the very basic feature of it which doesn’t serve the actual purpose.
- Themes and Templates
Both platforms have numerous themes and Templates.
However, some themes are free, others are not so much.
- Multi-Languages Support
Magento gets the edge here with support for several languages that come built-in.
In WooCommerce, you have to buy WPML which allows you to run multiple languages and multiple currencies.
- SEO Capabilities
Unlike WooCommerce, Magento is known for its SEO capabilities with numerous extensions.
Magento is feature-packed with many eCommerce features that WooCommerce lacks, making it a far more powerful solution.
However, it is often considered to be more costly to maintain and develop.
The biggest weakness of Magento is that it is not a strong CMS compared to WooCommerce that is built on top of WordPress.
However, WooCommerce markets itself for small- to medium-scale businesses.
And although Magento is for the large enterprises, it offers both a free Community Edition and an Enterprise Edition for small enterprises as well.
|Price||Free||Free and Premium|
|Supports unlimited items?||Yes||Yes|
|Does the platform offer extensions or plugins?||Yes||Yes|
|Can it be customized?||Yes||Yes|
|Does it offer analytics?||Yes (extensions)||Yes (out-of-the-box)|
|Is it beginner-friendly?||Yes||No|
|Does it offer extensive documentation?||Yes||Yes|
- Complex system and development knowledge is required to operate.
- Expensive to use and maintain.
- Themes and third-party apps are difficult to implement.
- Vulnerable to security concerns if not maintained well.
- Chances of plugin conflicting with one another.
- A number of severe developer risks.
- Requires self-hosting & constant updates of core plugins.
- Usable only on WordPress hosted platform.
Did you find what you were looking for?
Or are you still confused between the two?
If yes, then don’t worry.
Let me sum it up for you, for one last time!
Picking an eCommerce platform is not easy.
No eCommerce platform is perfect in all situations.
Choose a Jack of all trades or a King of something that you desperately need.
Either way, it’s better for you to weigh the costs and benefits of both platforms according to your requirements.
If you want an ambitious eCommerce site that has the following features:
- Large catalogue
- Complex requirements
- B2B eCommerce requirements
- Integration requirements
Then Magento is the best option for you.
For content-heavy sites, WooCommerce might be a better fit.
Let me explain it to you.
If the content is the focus and eCommerce is secondary or scaling up your eCommerce business is not the primary focus, then go for WooCommerce.
You could spend approximately two times more on Magento development than you will with WooCommerce.
Due to the complexity and overhead costs, Magento becomes costly.
However, if you have a lot of requirements, a need for plugins and extensions, then WooCommerce might become more costly than Magento
As far as beginners go, the choice is simple – go for WooCommerce.
It’s easy to use and cheap to set up.
Perfect for small operations that need to get off the ground quickly.
However, Magento is a much more sophisticated and robust eCommerce solution.
For a start, it outperforms every other eCommerce platform when it comes to scalability.
If you can swallow the high price tag of its Enterprise Edition, you’ll be more than happy with the results.
Then, just go for Magento and don’t look back.
Don’t believe us? Ask Bulgari – they are proud Magento users.
Magento and WooCommerce are both full-featured eCommerce platforms that you can use to build any kind of eCommerce store.
However, it all comes down to costs, and your personal skills to choose between them.