WooCommerce vs Magento – Which One Wins? [2018]

E-Commerce is a booming field, and a lot of businesses move from their brick and mortar stores into the online retail space because they want to reach a larger audience and maximise their profits. That is where the dilemma comes in because they have to make a choice and select the platform for their needs. Some of the business owners go for a hosted option such as Shopify, but many of them choose a self-hosted solution because they want to unlock the full potential of their online store and have complete control of everything.

WooCommerce and Magento are one of the most popular self-hosted e-commerce platforms on the market today. They both have a lot going for them and they rise above their competition. The question is, how do they perform when you compare them and how can you decide which one to go for?

They both pack a punch and are wildly popular. There’s not one solution that is right for every e-commerce store, but as long as you have all the facts about the platforms, you can make the right choice for your needs. They have been supported by their users who are championing their side and claiming that their platform is the best. In this article, we are going to cut through the noise and give you a side-by-side comparison of both platforms so you can make an educated decision. By the time you’re done reading this, you will know which solution is right for you!

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WooCommerce vs Magento – Brief Overview

 

Both WooCommerce and Magento are open source system, and that means that they can be developed by anyone. Open source systems provide huge flexibility, so if you need something that is not included in the platform by default, then you can hire someone to develop an extension for it (or someone already did). WooCommerce has a huge community of WordPress users, and Magento has a dedicated community that helps each other and that work hard to find new solutions for the platform.

This is great because you’ll very likely want to customise some aspect of your store like the branding and you’ll be able to do that with some sort of a plugin, and this is only achievable because both platforms are self-hosted. Open source platforms are brilliant because they allow you to make your online store your own.

Also, what this means for you as a business owner is that the initial product is free and you’ll have help from the community at every step. The way that they make their money is through the plugins and add-ons that most stores install as they grow.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce – Overview

WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress made by WooThemes which came to market in 2011. It makes it very easy for everyone to turn their WordPress website into a functioning online store. There are many upsides when it comes to WooCommerce, such as a very low barrier of entry. The only real downside is that you are stuck with using WordPress so you must pay for a hosting each month.

Since you’re using WordPress, you also have access to all plugins that WordPress has to offer, plus many great plugins that are made specifically for WooCommerce.

If you already have a WordPress website, then all you have to do to start selling is to install the plugin and configure your store.

Magento

Magento

Magento is owned by eBay and it offers a wide range of features. Magento Connect is a marketplace that features thousands of add-ons that will improve the functionality of your store, but this can be costly because the best add-ons are pricey. You will likely need to hire a skilled developer to set up plugins on Magento store because it is a technically extensive affair.

The main downside of Magento is that setting up your store will require a higher level of technical skills, so if you are not exactly tech savvy, then you’ll probably need to hire someone to get things up and going. The higher cost and time investment associated with running a Magento store make it more suitable for a large business that already has plenty of resources to spend.

 WooCommerce vs Magento – Pricing

 

Cost is something that is a factor for most people when they try to decide between the platforms. You should always think about your long-term budget and costs. It is possible to start your online store without spending a dime (aside from hosting costs), but you must take into the account how much it will cost to keep your store running over time, especially when you need to add functions and expand. It might be a good idea to research what extra functionality you’d want to add to your store before committing to either platform.

 

WooCommerce – Costs

WooCommerce is a free plugin for WordPress so you can simply install it and you’re ready to go. Some of the basic features might not be enough for everyone, so to take full advantage of its potential, you will need to install some of the available plugins. Some plugins are free to install and use, but others will cost you money. For example, in the basic setup, you’ll have the option of accepting payments through PayPal and bank transfers, but if you want to use a full range of payment options, you’ll have to buy some extensions.

Regarding the hosting costs, WooCommerce is a small, efficient, and fast plugin and it is light on your server space. If you don’t have thousands of products in your store, then you will be fine on even lower grade servers, and this will lower your monthly hosting bill.

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Magento – Costs

Magento is free initially, but again, you’ll have to install some extensions and customise certain things as your store grows. This is when you will face a huge cost of Magento’s extensions that can cost as much as $1000 to buy, plus you will need to hire a Magento developer to install those extensions and customise them. Magento developers are also harder to find than WooCommerce developers, so you’re likely to pay them more as well.

Magento also offers an Enterprise option that will provide a better support, enhanced content management, improved search functionality, etc. but it will set you back at least $18000 annually.

Since Magento is a complicated platform (when compared to WooCommerce), it is likely that it will put a strain on your server. Consider using a dedicated server, otherwise your store might run slowly which will hurt your performance and sales.

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Winner: WooCommerce

As you can see, getting started with either of these options will be free besides the hosting costs. But all things considered, as you scale your store, WooCommerce will be a far cheaper alternative since you don’t need to upgrade your platform (as it is always running WordPress which is free) and most of the plugins that you’ll need will be free.

Also, hosting a WooCommerce store will be cheaper and more efficient since WordPress is an established and stable platform and almost any host can handle it without any problems.

WooCommerce vs Magento – Features

 

No matter which e-commerce you go for, you will need to be able to upload an unlimited amount of products and have a shopping cart facility. These basic features are offered with WooCommerce and Magento. But the question is, does one platform offer much more features that will allow you to customise your online store to the level of detail that you require?

 

WooCommerce Features

WooCommerce will sound familiar to almost any WordPress user and it was acquired by a company that owns WordPress as well. WooCommerce is the most popular e-commerce platform that powers around one-third of all online stores in the world. It comes with almost every feature that you’ll need to run an online store, but you can always extend its capabilities with plugins.

WooCommerce can serve online stores of any size very well because, at this point, it is a very mature and stable platform. If you already have a WordPress website, you can add the e-commerce functionality to your website just by installing the WooCommerce plugin, and even if you never worked with WordPress before, learning how to use WooCommerce will be very simple.

WooCommerce has a no-nonsense approach to everything and it is very easy to add and manage products, orders, reports, etc. You can always expand your store functionality by using plugins and extensions.

 

Magento Features

Magento brings a great set of features out of the box. You can compare your products, use up-sells and cross-sells, generate discount codes, and much more. If you’re running more than one Magento store, you can even view all of them on the same account. You can upload an unlimited amount of products and it has an efficient API that you can use with third-party solutions. Magento can be scaled and can handle large stores as long as your hosting can keep up. It also integrated with Braintree, PayPal, and Authorize.net by default.

Both WooCommerce and Magento will allow you to install several advanced security measures through extensions and manual tweaks. Magento’s security patches aren’t that easy to apply and any newbie user will feel out of their depth if he tries to do it by himself.

Without the need to purchase additional extensions, Magento supports wish lists, product personalisation, product reviews, advanced pricing rules, etc. Included features are great, but there’s steep learning curve.

 

Winner: It’s a tie

If we simply look at the features that both platforms bring, then they both would be a good choice. Both WooCommerce and Magento come with a plethora of features included and you can always expand your store’s features later using extensions and plugins.

WooCommerce vs Magento – Plugins and Extensions

 

WooCommerce Plugins

WooCommerce and WordPress are known for a vast number of extensions and plugins that enhance the functionality and appearance of the website. The basic WooCommerce plugin might be enough for some online stores, but most will decide to install additional plugins to unlock its full potential.

There’s a huge advantage that you’ll get if you go with this option as there’s a vast number of WordPress developers out there who are constantly developing new plugins and also whom you can hire to help you achieve your goals.

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Magento Extensions

Magento usually requires a lot of customization to achieve the desirable level of functionality. The initial installation is easy enough and you’ll have online documentation and videos to help you out. While Magento comes with a lot of features out of the box, you will very likely need to install some extensions.

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Magento Connect and Magento Marketplace are recommended source for finding extensions. Adding new extensions is almost always a necessity as you grow your store in order to provide your customers a superior shopping experience. What you will find is that you’ll need to pay enormous amounts of money for extensions, plus you’ll need a Magento developer in order to install the extensions properly. Customizing the store with extensions includes a steep learning curve for people with no coding experience due to the complexity of the platform.

Winner: WooCommerce

While the both platforms offer a lot of features out of the box, you will probably need to install at least a few plugins or extensions in order to get some additional functionality. WooCommerce wins because there are much more plugins available, plus you can find a WordPress developer very easy and for a fraction of the cost of the Magento developer.

Also, many WordPress plugins will be free, and the ones that are paid will not break your bank. On the other side, you will make your wallet scream when you decide to add a few extensions to your Magento store due to the huge cost for each extension and the need to hire a developer to install it properly for you.

WooCommerce vs Magento – Design

 

Developers really like to work with WooCommerce and Magento themes because they can be customized in every way. Within both platforms, you’ll have a choice of thousands of free and premium themes that you can use in your store and each theme will have its own set of features.

WooCommerce Design

Since WooCommerce is perfectly integrated with WordPress, you’ll be able to use any WordPress theme and it would work great for your online store. Many WordPress themes will use their integration with WooCommerce as a selling point. It is a must that every e-commerce store has a responsive layout because, otherwise, you will miss a huge portion of your sales since your store will not be properly displayed on all devices. Since WooCommerce is perfectly integrated with WordPress, responsiveness will not be a problem.

There’s no shortage of free and paid themes available, and there are even some WooCommerce specific themes like Storefront which is the official WooCommerce theme. Storefront is free to use, plus you can find additional extensions and child themes for it on the WooCommerce website. Plus, WooCommerce can be scaled to any point, making it a perfect choice for new or fast growing stores.

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Magento Design

Magento was designed specifically for building an e-commerce store, so all themes will have user-friendly and responsive design. Currently, there are over a thousand free and paid themes. The average price for paid themes is $80-100. Magento themes have a modern architecture and great out of the box features that will create a great shopping experience.

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Winner: WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a winner because it’s part of the WordPress which is the most mature and stable platform that developers love to work with. With WooCommerce, you can use literally any theme and you will be good to go. With no shortage of themes and developers available, WooCommerce is a better choice. This is not to say that Magento themes and design lack something. Magento themes look great and have a responsive design, but because of the maturity and the sheer number of WordPress themes and the huge community that comes with it, we must give this round to WooCommerce.

WooCommerce vs Magento – Hosting and Performance

 

Each e-commerce platform has different requirements related to hosting, and depending on what platform you choose, these costs can have a big impact. Loading times are a huge deal for online stores, and if your store feels sluggish, then a lot of people will leave and take their money with them.

What about security? Customers expect that their payment information and private details to be protected. Both platforms will allow you to use certain security measures, some are built in, while others must be installed through extensions and some manual work. While no website is 100% secure, Magento is slightly better in this regards as it offers dedicated security patches. These patches aren’t exactly easy to apply and a lot of store owners don’t utilize them, so a large number of Magento stores are out of date.

 

WooCommerce

Since WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress, you can use any standard WordPress host. The costs can range from a couple of dollars a month if you go with a cheaper host and package, all the way up to few dozen or hundreds of dollars for a fully managed service that can take a lot of traffic. WooCommerce is a small and efficient plugin that will use very little server space and power. You will be fine with a decent shared host and after a while, if your store starts to grow very fast, you can always upgrade to a better package.

 

Magento

Compared to WooCommerce and WordPress, Magento requires more server power and maintenance. You can see bloated Magento stores on bad infrastructure that run poorly. Bad user experience and slow loading times will hurt your sales and drive away the customers. Ideally, to run a Magento store properly, you should look at hosting on a dedicated server, but this comes at a higher price point.

 

Winner: It’s a tie

When it comes to performance, the overall winner can’t be figured out so easily. Regardless of platform, each store will behave differently, depending on its size and functionality. There are many factors at play here, such as your hosting provider, whether your images are optimized, or if you are using a CDN (Content Delivery Network). This round is a tie since the performance will depend on you and your host.

WooCommerce vs Magento – Support

 

WooCommerce

With WooCommerce, there is an extensive and great help documentation available that is very likely to answer all your questions. Because it is a part of WordPress, you also have the entire WordPress community at your disposal. Also, you can go to the official WooCommerce website and submit a ticket and get the help that way.

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Magento

Because Magento is free, Community Edition users will not have any access to official support. To have a dedicated support from Magento, you would have to upgrade to the Enterprise Edition which will set you back at least $18,000 per year. Besides this, you have the option of searching answers in the community forums and in the help documentation.

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Winner: WooCommerce

WooCommerce provides a better support since Magento only offers basic forums and documentation. With WooCommerce, you have the support of the enormous WordPress community and also the option of sending a support ticket.

CONCLUSION

Online stores are a lucrative venture and choosing the right platform is crucial for the success of your business. Both WooCommerce and Magento have their advantages, but as we saw from each comparison, WooCommerce is a clear winner.

WooCommerce through WordPress is the best choice for business of any size. It beats Magento in almost every aspect and it can be scaled easily as you grow. Also, it’s the best solution if you already have a WordPress website and want to make your products available through your website.

Magento was designed specifically for e-commerce stores, but that doesn’t make WooCommerce any less effective. It has a few more basic features out of the box, but the work and budget needed to expand your operations and properly utilize all the functionalities will break your bank.

  • I think I’ll go with Woo Commerce..aside from a friendly e-commerce for all users, it has free themes with good designs which you can choose depending on your business…