If you are planning to launch your E-commerce site and stuck in choosing the right platform to get started with, don’t worry, we are here to help you out with that.
According to Wappalyzer, a cross-platform utility that uncovers the technologies used on websites, Magento, Shopify, Wix, and WooCommerce are the most popular platforms. However, it is clear to see that WooCommerce is the dominant one.
Among them, WooCommerce and Magento are the most similar ones. Both Magento and WooCommerce are open-source and based on the PHP programming language. They offer free versions and can be developed by everyone from the community.
Despite their similarities, they both have different pros and cons, which make them unique. This post will cover a brief overview of the platform, and the in-depth comparison of the ease of use, plugins & extensions, scalability, security, payment options, and cost of WooCommerce and Magento.
Basic Definition: WooCommerce and Magento
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce platform and built on top of WordPress. It allows you to create an online store easily, accept payments and shipping, manage inventory, and more. Besides, WooCommerce gives you access to thousands of free and premium WordPress plugins and themes to grow your eCommerce business.
What is Magento?
Magento is an open-source eCommerce platform built-in PHP. It allows store owners to create online stores, accept payments, and manage products. It comes with two different versions, including:
- Magento 1
- Magento 2
Both the Magento 1 and Magento 2 come with a free plan (known as Magento Community) and a paid plan (known as Magento Commerce).
However, these two versions of Magento are entirely different in terms of architecture, performance, loading time, security, payment gateways, support, etc. It can make the beginners getting started with Magento confused and do not know to use which version.
But don’t worry, as announced on the Magento official site, the life of Magento 1 is going to end in June 2020. Therefore, in this article, we are just focusing on the comparison between WooCommerce and Magento 2.
WooCommerce vs Magento Comparison
Ease of Use
One of the most crucial consideration when selecting your e-commerce platform is the ease of use. Most online store owners don’t have enough technical and coding knowledge. So they prefer eCommerce platforms, which are easy and convenient to use.
WooCommerce Ease of Use
Being a WordPress plugin, WooCommerce comes with a simple installation process. Even those who do not know much about the e-commerce platform and programming can set up and run your online store without too much effort.
To install WooCommerce, you need to install WordPress first and then WooCommerce. Everything is self-explanatory, and you can enable WooCommerce by going to the dashboard, navigate to Plugins>WooCommerce>Activate:
Furthermore, WooCommerce offers a setup wizard and detailed guideline that makes the installation process more manageable. You just need to take step by step and configure everything correctly.
Magento Ease of Use
Magento is also an open-sourced platform like WooCommerce; however, it is harder to learn. Developers and managers typically need the training to build and maintain stores. So, if you have no experience with development and plan little budget on building your site, you should skip Magento. It’s only for large corporations that aim to build high-level eCommerce sites.
It is not easy to install Magento, and most hosting companies do not offer pre-configured installers for Magento. The installation and configuration process requires well programming skills. To make the most use of the platform’s potential, you have to learn at least some code and technical terms. Once you are getting started with Magento, its steep learning curve may make you feel complicated.
Despite those drawbacks, Magento is still considered an ideal solution for eCommerce sites. It is a highly powerful platform coming with a ton of useful features and functions.
Magento offers highly sought features to improve user experience. It also allows you to create, manage, and customize multiple sites for free. The dashboard is clean and intuitive, and it’s easy to find the features you need.
Winner: In terms of ease of use, WooCommerce is the winner. Because, WooCommerce takes fewer resources, and requires less programming knowledge, but provides more user accessibility.
Plugins & Extensions
As you may know, not all eCommerce platforms are perfect and don’t need to add any functionality. It leaves place for third-party extensions, plugins, and integrations to extend the platform by offering additional features.
Magento and Woocommerce are famous for a large number of add-ons that extend the functionality and enhance the websites’ appearance.
Since WooCommerce runs on top of WordPress, this gives you access to more than 56,000 plugins, including free and paid versions. If you want to find any add-on, just go to WordPress.org >Plugins, and type in the search bar, then click to the plugin your need.
Another place for you to find useful plugins for your WooCommerce site is the extension store of the WooCommerce official website.
Or you can take a look at this collection of best free WooCommerce plugins to choose the best and most suitable for your online store.
Whether you want to add payment gateways contact forms, social media, lead generation forms, or any other features, there is already a plugin available that you can use. Installing these plugins is also easy with some clicks.
You can also find out the documentation or guideline to use them, so all process requires little programming knowledge.
Like WooCommerce, Magento platform has a large marketplace of plenty of free and paid third-party extensions available for Magento that you can use. These extensions let you easily add new features and integrate other tools and services into your online store.
At the time I write this article. The total number of extensions for Magento is nearly 6000, in which 1950 extensions are free to use. Overall, the quantity of extensions in Magento is much less than that of WooCommerce. However, Magento has a lot of functionality in the core.
Winner: Both of these eCommerce platforms offer various add-ons and extensions. But as for the quantity, WooCommerce may be the winner.
Scalability is the ability to grow your online store without affecting performance or UX of the website. Scaling your eCommerce business comes with its challenges, whatever eCommerce platform you are using. Because when your website traffic and sales increase, you will need more server resources to keep up with your business goals and growth path.
Both Magento and WooCommerce can help you build large eCommerce stores with huge traffic. However, these two platforms come with different scalability.
WooCommerce store owners can scale their store to handle an unlimited amount of products. When growing your WooCommerce stores, you can face some technical challenges such as website speed, page load time, and database queries.
To scale a WooCommerce website with minimal pains, first, you need to choose the right host, clean up your site code, update everything, utilize caching strategically, and build a content delivery network. These scaling processes will keep your server resources low and allow your site to run quickly and protects you from security threats at the same time.
Developing a WordPress WooCommerce site requires some coding knowledge. If you know nothing about programming, you can get WooCommerce experts to handle it for you. Finding WooCommerce WordPress developers is easy, with various budgets under $50 per hour.
As mentioned earlier, starting and developing a Magento website requires coding skills because of the complicated programming languages and the theme inheritance system.
However, if you are good at programming or having a large budget to hire other developers to work for you, choosing to scale a Magento website may be a better choice. Since Magento offers a perfectly scalable system, it allows you to switch up your store from 10 products to 100,000. You can find it easy to grow your sites up when you want.
To scale your Magento website without hassle. You will need to check web hosting. Optimize your store for caching. Manage backups, protect against DDOS attacks by using a website firewall, and more.
If you don’t have enough skills in programming and managing large websites, then you will need to hire Magento specialists. Hiring Magento experts is not difficult. But the budget paid for them is often higher than the budget for WooCommerce specialists.
Winner: In this section, Magento may take a higher position. Because it is built with scalability in mind and offers a better scalability system than WooCommerce.
According to websites hacking statistics in 2020, 30,000 websites are hacked every day on average. Besides, your website may contain a lot of customer information such as name, address, and payment details. So keeping your site secure is a top priority and challenging task for any online store owners.
Both WooCommerce and Magento let store owners implement several security measures through extensions and manual processes.
WooCommerce is an excellent option for a beginner. With WooCommerce, you have built-in security features at a low level. To upgrade the security level, you need to install third-party plugins supporting this feature.
However, before installing any plugins, you have to test its compatibility on your eCommerce site. Because according to a survey in 2016, nearly 60% of WordPress vulnerabilities are related to plugins.
However, as compared to WooCommerce, Magento provides more robust security for online stores with Magento Patches released frequently. While there is no platform offering 100% security, Magento becomes the pioneer in this aspect by bringing dedicated security patches to its users.
It is the latest Free security scan tool that helps you monitor your site, update malware patches, and find out unauthorized access. Moreover, you can easily add Magento 2 security extensions to protect your online store better. If there is an error on your site, Magento offers services to resolve the problem.
The downside here is that Magento security patches aren’t particularly easy to apply, so a beginner can’t do this task.
Winner: If you take security seriously and have programming experience, or don’t mind paying for help, Magento is the clear winner.
Online payment is an indispensable part of any eCommerce website. There are many payment gateway companies that help you integrate online payments on your website.
WooCommerce Payment Options
By default, WooCommerce offers credit cards, Cash on delivery, PayPal, and Stripe payments, which are the most popular payment options. But you can integrate your WooCommerce store with other payment options, even the regional and less popular ones through the third-party plugins.
Magento Payment Options
By default, Magento offers more payment options in comparison with WooCommerce. Magento comes with Authorize.net, PayPal, Cash on delivery, bank transfer, and purchase order payment methods. There are also extensions available for you to extend your checkout process on Magento websites with free and paid extensions such as Stripe, 2Checkout, Braintree, Skrill, and more.
Winner: Regarding payment methods, there is no clear winner. Both Magento and WooCommerce do an equally great job in terms of various default payment options and the ability to integrate with many other add-ons supporting multiple payment options.
For most beginners, the cost is one of the most significant factors when choosing a platform for their online business. When starting an eCommerce website. You need to evaluate the cost while considering how those costs will grow along with your business development.
Both Magento and WooCommerce are open-source and offer a free plan for getting started. It gives users the option to start an online store without huge investments.
WooCommerce free version allows you to get all the core and essential features of an eCommerce store for free, while with the paid version, you can add more advanced features, including auction, PoS, subscription, etc.
You can use WooCommerce for free; however, to run a WooCommerce store, you will need to get some basic elements of an eCommerce site like a domain name, SSL certificate, and a WordPress website hosting and page builders like Elementor and Divi.
Below are some base costs to maintain a WooCommerce store on average:
Generally, you can start an online store with WooCommerce at about $120 per year.
Magento is a self-hosted open-source software. As I said before, Magento has two editions, which are free community edition and paid Magento Commerce. The free Magento community edition does not offer all features and does not come with any support.
It can be perfect for stores with less than 300,000 – 500,000 SKUs with few attributes—selling in only one currency and only one country. However, to use the Magento free version. You will need to get at least a VPS hosting plan or a cloud host like Amazon Web Services to launch your store.
Whereas paid Magento Commerce plans come with high-performance cloud hosting. Professional support, and offer much more useful features than the free version of Magento. The pricing of these plans is quite high, ranging from $22,000.00 to $125,000.00 per year.
When you want to grow your Magento website, the maintenance cost may also increase along with additional functionalities. It is much more expensive than starting a WooCommerce online store.
Winner: The cost of starting a WooCommerce store is may higher than the Magento community edition; however, running an online store with the Magento community can face a limited number of products. Limited currency, and limited regions for selling, etc. While launching a store with Magento Commerce edition can address these limitations, you have to pay a huge budget for it.
In consideration, WooCommerce may be the winner. With suitable web hosting plans. Low-cost or free extensions, and themes, setting an eCommerce site with WooCommerce are less costly than it with Magento.
Conclusion: WooCommerce vs Magento, Which Is Better for Starting an Online Store?
Both Magento and WooCommerce are eCommerce-focused platforms that you can use to build any kind of online store. However, based on your budget and your skills. You can make your consideration to choose which one meets your requirements.
WooCommerce has the advantage of a larger number of users and market share. It runs on top of WordPress, which is already the world’s most popular platform.
It also beats Magento in terms of ease of use, plugin integration, and cost of building and running an eCommerce store at scale. Therefore, if you are finding an easy to customize and cost-effective platform, then WooCommerce is the perfect fit for you.
Magento, on the other hand, is more suitable for enterprise-level businesses and big companies with their development teams or businesses who can spend money on hiring someone. It wins over WooCommerce regarding security and scalability. So if you desire to build an eCommerce site for huge incorporation and require high security, Magento is undoubtedly your first choice.
For those who concern about the cost of maintaining an eCommerce website. They are recommended to create a list of desired features and then select the platform that offers all the features at the best price.