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 Updated 6/30/21

Magento vs WooCommerce: Which Is Better?

By now, we all know that Magento and WooCommerce are two dominating players in the eCommerce platform market. But which is the best eCommerce platform for your needs?

Below, we will compare the similarities and differences between Magento and WooCommerce by digging into some details on usability, scalability, add-ons and extensions, security, support, pricing, and more.

Of course, there is so much outside of this to be discussed so if you still need help after reading this, hit us up. We’re also here to help grow your online store through marketing, optimization and store enhancements. We can run everything while you focus on your core business, customers, and products.

Now back to Magento and WooCommerce...

Magento and WooCommerce are both open source eCommerce platforms that are free to use initially and entirely customizable. Any part of the source code can be altered to fit the needs of the merchant. There is complete flexibility and freedom to customize every aspect of the store.  

What Is the Difference Between Magento and WooCommerce?

Magento is a content management system (CMS) built specifically for eCommerce. It should also be noted that Adobe bought Magento back in 2018, so "Magento Commerce" is now known as "Adobe Commerce."

WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin built for WordPress, which is its CMS. Therefore, you need to have WordPress installed to use the WooCommerce plugin.  

Both Magento and WooCommerce are self-hosted. Magento is a lot more complex, and has different, more powerful hosting needs compared to WooCommerce, which generally can run on a smaller server load. The more intricate hosting needs of Magento can cause the site to run slightly slower than WooCommerce.   

Magento also offers two versions - a free open source version, and a paid version called Magento Commerce which is targeted at larger merchants, or enterprise businesses, generally doing more than a million dollars a year online. WooCommerce offers one free version only that has intermittent release updates.

1. Pricing

As I mentioned earlier, both Magento and WooCommerce are open source. So, they are free initially when it comes to downloading the source code. Their long-term costs can vary pretty drastically, though. Unless you plan on sticking with Magento’s out-of-the-box features and functionality, the cost of extensions and platform maintenance can escalate quickly. With it being a more complex platform, hosting, extensions, and naturally - developers - come at a higher price point.  

Alright, now let's talk about the price of Magento in case you intend on going with the the paid version.

Magento Commerce, the version previously known as Enterprise, will cost a minimum of $22K/annually. This price will also increase based on annual revenue generated once you surpass $1 million.

WooCommerce is less complex, and therefore comes with cheaper hosting costs, less expensive plugins, and a more affordable price point for WooCommerce developers. And, again, the cost of WooCommerce is nonexistent. It's free. So, that's nice.  

Overall, WooCommerce is far more affordable than Magento..

2. Usability

From a development standpoint, Magento is a more complex platform. It requires a steeper learning curve that takes some time to master.

WooCommerce on the other hand is a lot more intuitive to navigate especially if the user already has gained the “know-how” of working with WordPress. It by no means, is a simple platform. It still needs a deep hands on approach, but definitely requires less technical skill when compared to Magento.  

3. Scalability

Magento has grown to be known as the most scalable eCommerce platform out there. Their open source version does have some limited ability to scale, however, their Commerce version is limitless. Hundreds of thousands of products and orders can be processed with ease at any given time. Supported product types include, simple, configurable, grouped, virtual, bundled, downloadable, and gift cards.  

WooCommerce also has an unlimited number of products they can handle. Default product types that they offer include: Simple, Grouped, Virtual, Downloadable, External/Affiliate, and Variable. 

4. Features, Add-Ons, and Extensions 

Magento offers the best features fresh out the box - multistore capabilities from one admin panel, multi-language options, layered navigation, and complex configurable products.

WooCommerce is a bit behind in this category. That doesn't necessarily make it an inferior choice, though. It just doesn’t offer the same features straight out of the box.

However, these features can be obtained through plugins and extensions. The platform definitely isn't lacking in that regard. There are more than 50K free plugins built for WordPress sites, specifically. On top of that, there are additional paid plugins, too. These cover any and all features imaginable. The list is truly endless. And the WooCommerce marketplace offers thousands more designed for this platform. Here are our six favorite WooCommerce plugins for a better idea of just how customizable this platform is.

Both eCommerce platforms are comparable with the number of extensions and plugins that allow you to power up your store. They both provide diversity with these, however, the difference usually comes in at their price point. Paid add-ons are generally cheaper and easier to install for WooCommerce than Magento. Since Magento is more complex, Magento developers are necessary to set these up and install them correctly.  

Either way, both eCommerce platforms can get your store to whatever point your heart desires - whether that is with built-in features, extensions, or plug-ins. And if these don’t provide you with what you’re looking for, a savvy developer can always build something custom to your specific needs.

Obviously, we'd love to be considered, but I also wrote a post on how to find a developer that you might find helpful, too.

5. Security

With Magento and WooCommerce both being open source it is up to the store owners to ensure their stores remain PCI compliant. Magento, nor WooCommerce, nor WordPress are responsible for this. Don’t leave it to chance to possibly expose your store to vulnerabilities.  

Since Magento was built for eCommerce, they generally do have more security than WooCommerce. Magento requires fewer plugins which reduces the number of security holes that might be exploited. WordPress (being the CMS) was originally built as a blogging platform and doesn’t have the same security systems in place as Magento. WooCommerce also requires more plugins, which both in turn, may increase the chance of falling victim to fraud and attacks.  

There are extensions, plugins and companies out there that can help with ensuring your store remains updated and PCI compliant. We are one of those companies, so hit us up if you need some help.  

So, Which Is Best: Magento or WooCommerce? 

It’s really going to boil down to your business model. If you’re slightly smaller and have a limited budget to work with, and less dev experience - then WooCommerce is the way to go. Whether you’re selling simple products or a variety of them, enhancing your store with plugins and extensions can get you where you need to be.  

If we look at BuiltWith.com - a site that scans the entire web and looks at what eCommerce platforms websites use - WooCommerce is prominent with some very well-known brands albeit not ones that are as eCommerce-centric as you'll notice with Magento.  

WooCommerce websites have a heavy makeup of .gov and .edu sites. There are also a large number of blog pages too - such as Nextdoor, Tigerdirect, Diabetes Nutrisystem, and more. This isn’t surprising, though, as WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress which was initially built for blogging and content-heavy purposes versus eCommerce specifically. 

Magento and Magento Enterprise's long list of websites are made up of large globally-known brands like Bed Bath and Beyond, Nintendo, Top Shop, The Grommet, NineWest, and many, many more. These are absolutely massive stores that have a large focus on eCommerce.

With that being said, if you have more financial resources, advanced technical skills and knowledge (or access to these), then Magento is probably the best choice. They offer more out-the-box features, and their extensions are everything you can possibly hope for and more.

If you still have questions, be sure to reach out to us. We're here to help.

You may also be interested in these other eCommerce platform comparisons we've done:

Migrating from WooCommerce to Magento (or Vice Versa)

In case you’re reading this comparison of Magento and WooCommerce because you’re thinking of migrating from one to the other, it’s definitely worth considering a couple factors.

First, if you’re hoping to migrate from Magento to WooCommerce, you need to consider how much functionality you could possibly lose. As I’ve covered above, Magento comes with more features right out of the box, so if you’re looking to bring their functionality to your new WooCommerce site, you’ll need to do a lot of planning beforehand.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to upgrade to Magento 2, you should think about how you’re going to take advantage of all of the extra features this platform will give you – whether you choose Magento Commerce or even stick with the free version, Open Source.

Of course, you’ll need a plan for the technical migration, but you don’t want to go through that process without a plan for taking advantage of Magento’s incredible potential.

For example, when we migrated one of our clients to Magento 2, it was only after we had designed a detailed strategy for business continuity during that transition and then leveraging everything the platform had to offer once their new store was live.

The result?

Within two years, we increased their:

  • Conversion Rate by 29%
  • Revenue by 72%
  • Online Sessions by 46%

To be clear, this wasn’t just because of the Magento migration. We did a lot of other work to get these results. But utilizing one of the world’s most popular platforms definitely played a huge role.

So, if you're thinking about migrating to Magento from WooCommerce or vice versa, contact us first and let's talk about what that would entail and whether or not it would be worth it.

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