WooCommerce vs Magento

WooCommerce vs Magento – both pack a punch when it comes to features, as well as being wildly popular. It’s not easy to pick an overall winner, and weighing up the features of each platform could leave you scratching your head in confusion, while leaving your customers without a way to purchase from your site.

Fortunately, we’re here to help you make an informed decision. There’s no one ultimate solution when it comes to e-commerce, but you can always make the right choice for your unique needs – as long as you have all the facts at hand.

Every platform has their own group of die-hard supporters championing its cause, and claiming it’s the best. We decided to wade through the noise and take a look for ourselves, giving you an unbiased opinion to help make your decision.

In this article, we’ll compare WooCommerce vs Magento – their key features, performance, security, pricing, beginner-friendliness, and even product management. By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll know exactly which solution is right for you.

Let’s get cracking!

What’s unique about WooCommerce vs Magento?

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a powerful plugin for the WordPress platform. It offers all the features you need from an e-commerce solution, while retaining the ease-of-use of its parent platform.

Magento

Magento is an e-commerce platform tailored to 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 stores with high aspirations.

WooCommerce vs Magento: A look at their features

WooCommerce vs Magento
WooCommerceMagento
Completely free platform.Offers a free Community version, as well as several premium services.
Requires you to find your own web host.The Community version is self-hosted, but their premium offerings include hosting.
Supports unlimited products.Enables you to add unlimited products.
Supports nearly all WordPress themes, and offers a myriad of customization options.Offers a theme-based system and a decent variety of options.
Comes with an extension system and hundreds of options.Supports extensions and offers a wide variety of them too.
Includes basic security features to protect your store.Offers advanced security features, as well as dedicated patches to close any vulnerabilities that arise.
The platform is remarkably easy-to-use.Recommended for users that have (at least) a basic level of web development knowledge.

What each platform has to offer

For those of you who want the whole picture, we’ll cover all the information you’ll need to know about both platforms. Then we’ll go over the results together and decide which one deserves the crown.

WooCommerce

The WooCommerce homepage.

WooCommerce is a familiar name to most WordPress users. This wildly popular e-commerce platform is home to almost 400,000 sites. It comes with almost all of the functionality you’ll need to open an online store, and it also has several advanced capabilities through its extension system.

Key features:

Pros:

Cons:

  • If you don’t use WordPress, you need to learn two new platforms.
  • Premium themes and extension costs can add up quickly.

Is it good for beginners?

WooCommerce is a good pick for users with no e-commerce experience – doubly so if they’ve used WordPress before. Even those who haven’t will find WooCommerce’s excellent documentation, and abundance of online tutorials appealing.

Price:

This is a fully open-source platform – anyone can download and set it up on any server they want. That being said, its premium extensions tend to be expensive, and some require annual subscriptions. Aside from that, your web hosting costs will depend entirely on the size of your enterprise and the packages your provider offers.

There are a handful of quality web hosts that work well with WooCommerce, but the top ones we always recommend to our customers are SiteGround and InMotion. You can get either for around $5-9 / month (try not to opt for any of the cheaper plans, as they might not be optimized to run e-commerce setups).

Magento

The Magento homepage.

Whereas WooCommerce bills itself as a community solution, Magento is more geared towards companies. However, that doesn’t mean small businesses can’t benefit from its functionality too. Magento offers both a free Community Edition – which is plenty powerful on its own – and an Enterprise Edition for large companies. For this comparison, we’ll focus on the Community Edition’s features.

Key Features:

  • Supports an unlimited number of products, as any respecting self-hosted platform should!
  • Comes with its own theming and layout system.
  • Includes efficient APIs that can connect with any third-party solution.
  • Intuitive admin interfaces and product creation tools.

Pros:

  • It’s built for scalability. Magento should have no problems handling large stores, as long as your host can manage them.
  • Shoppers can check out faster thanks to a streamlined process. Plus, guest checkout is turned on by default.
  • Integrates with PayPal, Authorize.Net, and Braintree right out of the box.

Cons:

  • Magento feels more geared towards developers than regular users, what with its steep learning curve.
  • Its Enterprise Edition can be quite costly, but that’s to be expected due to their target market.

Is it good for beginners?

Out of the box, Magento doesn’t feel as beginner-friendly when we look through the lens of WooCommerce vs Magento. However, users can overcome that by referring to the extensive documentation – and the platform does offer additional advantages for those who stick it out. It’s perfect for ambitious users who want to scale their shops quickly, and who also have the necessary time for mastering the platform.

Price:

Magento’s Community Edition is open-source and free for anyone to use, so your only cost will be based on your current hosting provider. On the other hand, users who are interested in the Enterprise Edition will have to shell out a pretty penny.

What about performance?

Loading times are a big deal for any website, but doubly so for e-commerce. If your website takes too long to load or feels sluggish, some people will leave, taking their money – and ultimately your income – with them.

When it comes to performance, it’s complicated to figure out which solution is the overall winner. Each online store – regardless of platform – will behave differently due to its functionality and size. Furthermore, there are several more factors at play here, such as your choice of 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. This round is a tie.

What about security?

The importance of security when it comes to e-commerce platforms can’t be overstated. Customers expect both their private information and payment details to be protected – and you need to deliver.

Similarly to performance, your online store’s security is in large part up to you. Both WooCommerce and Magento enable you to implement several advanced security measures, but mostly through extensions and manual tweaks. However, while no platform can be 100% secure, Magento takes the lead in this aspect by offering dedicated security patches to its users.

The downside here is that Magento security patches aren’t particularly easy to apply. E-commerce newbies might feel out of their depth doing so on their own, which in turn leads to a significant amount of Magento stores being out of date.

Nevertheless, if you take security seriously – and you have some experience with web development (or don’t mind paying for help) – Magento is the clear winner.

What about product management?

If you’re looking for the perfect e-commerce store, good product management is likely on your list of priorities. WooCommerce offers a no-nonsense approach to product management, with options for both physical and digital products. Setting up new items is remarkably 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:

The Product Add-Ons extension for WooCommerce.

Magento, on the other hand, offers several features that WooCommerce lacks without 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 – but with that brings a steeper learning curve.

Overall, WooCommerce is the better choice for users who don’t need advanced features on their stores from the off. It enables you to get a store up and running quickly, which is preferable for small ventures, and you can choose to expand its features at a later date using extensions. Round three of WooCommerce vs Magento goes to the former.

What about pricing?

The last key consideration when it comes to deciding between WooCommerce and Magento is your budget. As mentioned previously, WooCommerce is completely free, whereas Magento only offers a free Community version alongside multiple premium services. Unfortunately, pricing for Magento’s premium options are only accessible via a chat with their sales team.

Either way, it’s entirely possible to get an online store up and running with both platforms without spending a single dime, aside from web hosting costs, that is. How much it costs to keep your store running will depend largely on your choice of hosting provider, which is a topic we’ve covered extensively in the past, plus a couple of paragraphs above.

Moving on, even if both platforms are virtually free, costs can pile up quickly if you rely too much on extensions. There are plenty of free extensions for Magento and WooCommerce, but premium offerings tend to be quite expensive.

Two paid extensions for Magento.

If you’re going to need to add extra functionality to your site, make sure to research which extensions you’ll need before committing to either platform, and compare their prices. That way, you’ll get the functionality you need, without making your wallet scream.

All things considered, both WooCommerce and Magento are excellent choices for budget online stores, albeit the latter only in the case of its Community version. As you scale your store, WooCommerce remains the cheapest alternative, since you don’t need to install more powerful (and premium) versions of the platform, as may be the case with Magento.

Hosting a WooCommerce store is also likely to be cheaper and easier since more and more hosts know how to optimize their platforms for WordPress these days. As mentioned above, you can get a quality host for around $7.95 / month from a company like SiteGround (our top recommended host).

WooCommerce vs Magento: The winner

As far as beginners go, the choice is simple – we recommend WooCommerce. It’s easy to use and cheap to set up, which makes it perfect for small operations that need to get off the ground quickly. It enables its users to set up almost any kind of online store, such as at home entrepreneurship

The Mini Learners homepage.

…and selling tickets for a major event:

An example of a WooCommerce extension for selling tickets online.

However, Magento is still a fantastic e-commerce solution. For a start, it shines when it comes to scalability, which makes it the ideal choice for existing companies that want to move into e-commerce. If you can swallow the high price tag of its Enterprise Edition, you’ll be more than happy with the results. Don’t believe us? Ask Bulgari – they’re proud Magento users:

The Bvlgari homepage.

Ultimately, this comparison was all about how difficult it would be for a new user to jump into either of these platforms. WooCommerce wins handily in this aspect, thanks to its lower barrier of entry for e-commerce enthusiasts.

Conclusion

Picking a winner between WooCommerce vs Magento wasn’t easy, since no single platform will fit the needs of every user perfectly. While some of you may agree with our decision to pick WooCommerce, others may find themselves more at home with Magento. You’ll need to take into consideration several criteria including performance, security, product management, and your overall budget – along with your own unique needs.

In the end, our decision in this WooCommerce vs Magento title fight was based on the following reasons:

  1. WooCommerce is simpler for new users to pick up – especially if they’re already familiar with WordPress.
  2. The platform has a wide library of great extensions.
  3. It’s cheap to set up. Although your mileage may vary according to the scope of your store, of course.

Here’s a quick summary to give you a better overview of the differences between WooCommerce and Magento:

WooCommerce vs Magento comparison
WooCommerceMagento
PriceFreeFreemium
Requires hosting?YesYes
Supports unlimited items?YesYes
Does the platform offer extensions or plugins?YesYes
Can it be customized?YesYes
Does it offer analytics?Yes (extensions)Yes (out the box)
Is it beginner-friendly?YesNo
Does it offer extensive documentation?YesYes

Which is your favorite e-commerce platform between WooCommerce vs Magento? Tell us why in the comments section below!

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