WooCommerce vs Magento – Which is Best for Online Shop?
This time, we are going to compare two of the most popular eCommerce platforms, Magento and WooCommerce. If you check out the list features that each of them provide, you will instantly realize that it is not going to be easy to decide which one is better. In fact, you can hardly go wrong by choosing either of them, but for those who are looking for the perfect choice for their businesses, it might be important to get a detailed insight into the differences.
Since it can be hard to determine the pros and cons of each platform by yourself, we are going to break down the whole subject for you in this article. We will do our best to make it clear which platform will work best for your business and your target audience. When people want to start selling online, they usually look for an all-round solution which, unfortunately, doesn’t exist. What you need to do is to ask this question: What are the unique needs of my business?
Obviously, both WooCommerce and Magento have a huge number of supporters claiming that their platform is the best for everyone. That’s only because the platform they are using perfectly suits their business model and it became the best for them. In order to find out which one is the best for you, we are going to take a different approach and objectively investigate both platforms. We are going to go through the features, pricing, user-friendliness, security and the overall business opportunities that Magento and WooCommerce offer.
Not sure which one to choose? Keep on reading and by the end of this article, you will be ready to make the decision. Without further ado, let’s get started!
WooCommerce and Magento – What do They Have to Offer?
WooCommerce started off as any other WordPress plugin, and then emerged into something much bigger as it gained popularity. Today, WooCommerce is one of the most widely used plugins, offering tons of features for beginners and more experienced users to help them start selling online. Magento, on the other hand, is a complete platform created solely for eCommerce purposes. Their target audiences are mostly medium sized and large businesses.
Magento is not recommended for beginners at all, but rather for the more tech-savvy users. What they mainly focus on is to provide the most powerful features in the field of eCommerce. This makes it an appealing platform for those businesses that have set huge goals for the future. Each of these platforms has its own strengths and weaknesses. Next up, we are going to introduce you to the main features that define WooCommerce and Magento. Then, after all the details are laid out, we are going to use the information to decide which one is the better platform from the two.
WooCommerce is such a widely popular plugin that WordPress users almost can’t use the platform without eventually trying the plugin or reading about it as part of their work. WooCommerce also advertises itself as the eCommerce platform with the most customization options, and it indeed offers a lot of them. Over 400,000 online shops are running on the platform today, and plenty of people start using it day by day.
Main features of WooCommerce:
- You can add as many products to your shop as you want
- As a WordPress user, you will be able to choose from thousands of useful plugins
- A wide selection of add-ons available for payment processing
- Premium and free themes classified into many categories
- You can set up your online store for free, and then it is up to you whether you pick a free or a premium hosting option
- If you have any experience in WordPress, you will quickly get used to WooCommerce
- In case you get stuck, there is a comprehensive knowledge base where you can surely find an article that helps resolve your problem
- WooCommerce lets you analyze your website traffic with Google Analytics through an add-on
- If you have already purchased an SSL, you will be able to seamlessly add it to your site
- The platform is not ideal for those who are not familiar with WordPress because they need to start from scratch
- Although there are many cheap themes and plugins available, the prices quickly add up and you can easily end up spending a lot of your budget if you are not careful
Is WooCommerce Good for Beginners?
We would recommend WooCommerce for anyone who is not familiar with eCommerce or even with the online world altogether. Today’s standard is to develop online services and software that saves people time and doesn’t require them to be familiar with web development or with any other technicalities.
WooCommerce along with WordPress definitely lives up to that standard. Not to mention that if you have used WordPress for blogging or any other type of website before, then learning how to use WooCommerce will be a piece of cake for you. The plugin is already quite user-friendly, but you can learn a lot about it by visiting their knowledge base called WooCommerce Docs. There are also plenty of other videos and articles about the platform available online.
How Much Does WooCommerce Cost?
Just like WordPress, WooCommerce is also an open-source platform that can be installed by anyone for free. You can also pick any hosting company and set up your online shop on their servers. However, WooCommerce also has tons of extras to pay for. You can choose from lots of premium extensions and some of them cost a lot. Often times, your only choice is to sign up for a yearly plan because many extensions simply don’t offer a monthly payment option. In addition to the extensions, you will need to pay for a web hosting subscription.
Your choice of web hosting package will only depend on the overall requirements of your online shop. These include the amount of traffic, content, and extensions running on the site. Do a little research and pick a web hosting company that leads most of the toplists. Even the biggest names in the industry offer packages for affordable prices and at least you can absolutely rely on their services based on the abundance of positive reviews. Just make sure to look for a hosting package that is optimized for eCommerce or specifically for WooCommerce.
Based on our review so far, it turns out that WooCommerce is rather a community solution, while Magento is a great choice for more demanding enterprises. However, this doesn’t mean that small businesses need to look elsewhere. In fact, the features provided by Magento often grab the attention of those clients as well. By setting up their online shop on the platform, they can gain access to a lot of resources that can help them grow.
The great thing about Magento is that you can use the platform for free by signing up to the Community Edition. Although it is not as powerful as their premium Enterprise Edition, it is surely powerful enough for smaller businesses. Not to mention that you would need to pay thousands of dollars for the Enterprise Edition, while the other one is completely free to use. For the sake of this article, we will mainly talk about the features included in the Community Edition.
Main features of Magento:
- They allow you to add an unlimited number of products to your shop
- A lot of variations when it comes to themes and layout
- You will be able to send and receive data with third-party software through API
- User-friendly interfaces and powerful tools that can help you add products
- As long as you go for a powerful hosting alternative, you can take advantage of Magento’s scalability and extend your store without limits
- With Magento, fast customer checkout is guaranteed. They have improved the process a lot to make it as straightforward as possible
- Three highly popular payment gateways are available: Braintree, PayPal and Authorize.net
- The platform has a lot to offer for more experienced users such as developers, which only makes it more confusing for beginners
- Since their target market are large businesses, their Enterprise Edition can cost tens of thousands of dollars
Is Magento Good for Beginners?
As we mentioned above, Magento is one of those platforms that we would recommend for more experienced users. This becomes even truer when you compare it to WooCommerce, as it is based on WordPress, a completely beginner-friendly platform (which is one of the reasons why it became so popular). However, if you are new to Magento, we think that you can learn a lot with the help of their extensive knowledge base and even start working on the platform after a short while.
But we can’t deny the fact that it is going to take you more time to learn the basics of Magento than the basics of WordPress. Since they focus on attracting large businesses to their platform, they have invested a lot into providing top-quality customer support. This means that whenever you get stuck, you can contact their team for help. One of their main goals is to help people establish a powerful online presence and increase sales. All in all, Magento is a great option for beginners if they have some spare time to learn.
Magento Prices and Cost
You don’t need any budget to start your own eCommerce website with Magento, as their open-source Community Edition is completely free. Before you start, you will need to sign up to a trusted hosting provider like any other website owner. Now it might be tempting to go for a free hosting option and keep the whole project budget-free, but we would definitely not recommend you to do so. If you really want your business to grow, then you should sign up to a premium hosting plan.
For only a few dollars per month, you get lots of useful features as well. With the Magento Community Edition, that is the only thing you are going to spend money on. They also have an alternative for bigger businesses called the Enterprise Edition which is a premium package. It is quite expensive and they didn’t even set a specific price for the service. If you need the Enterprise Edition for your company, you will need to consult with Magento first and they will give you a quote. The price can vary between $15,000 and $50,000 annually.
WooCommerce vs Magento Performance
People hate to hang out on websites where every web page takes a long time to load. Today, you need to make sure that your pages load up in less than 2 seconds. Otherwise, your potential customers will leave and find a similar product elsewhere. If you want your website to become successful, you should invest into a server that provides enough resources and your content needs to be properly optimized as well.
High-performance is especially important for eCommerce websites. It is not clear whether WooCommerce or Magento is the stronger competitor here. These systems differ a lot from each other and there are a lot of factors in play when it comes to performance. We are talking about online stores that differ in size and functionalities, meaning that each of them has different requirements. In addition, there is a huge variety of web hosting packages to choose from on the Internet.
You can also use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) and apply numerous content optimization practices to your website which all have an impact on its performance. Therefore, it is hard to say which eCommerce platform is better for your shop when it comes to page load speeds. As far as we can tell, there is no significant difference. The performance of your eCommerce site will rather depend on the way you build up the shop and the web hosting package you choose.
WooCommerce and Magento Security Compared
It is important to every type of website to take care of the necessary security measures. If you start an eCommerce website, eventually a lot of people will share their payment details and private information each time they buy something. In case there is no proper security in place, these data can be easily stolen. On the other hand, more and more people are smart about it these days. They are going to check out whether they can securely share their details on your website or not. If not, they are never going to buy anything in your online shop.
Security is another one of those factors that won’t depend on the eCommerce platform you choose. You can apply the latest security extensions on both Magento and WooCommerce. There is a wide range of options to choose from and your website’s level of security will be only up to you. However, Magento offers something that might come in handy for advanced users. You can get dedicated security patches through the platform that can further improve the security of your online shop.
The reason why it is only for advanced users is because it is quite difficult to apply these patches. Beginners would have a really hard time with them and they probably wouldn’t even succeed at the end. This is also why plenty of Magento based online stores are outdated on the Internet. They simply don’t have the staff that can apply the patches for them. We can conclude that if you are an experienced Magento user or someone who is willing to pay for professional help, then you can get a higher level of security for your store than with WooCommerce.
Is Product Management the Deciding Factor?
If an eCommerce platform provides good product management, then your work will be a lot easier. Better product management options lead to well-organized product pages that are appealing to visitors. WooCommerce is well-known about its comprehensive solutions, making you able to add both digital and physical products. Adding new products to your online store is a fully streamlined process; you don’t even need to think about how to get it done.
It will be even easier for you if you have already worked on a WordPress site before. If the default functionalities integrated into WooCommerce are not enough, you can always download Product Add-Ons that can make the platform even more versatile. As a Magento user, there are already numerous useful features available that that a WooCommerce user would otherwise need to download. You can create product groups, publish product reviews, apply specific pricing rules, and personalize products and much more by default.
Since you need to put extra time and effort to add these features in WooCommerce, Magento clearly wins when it comes to functionality. But let’s not forget that almost anything takes more time to learn in Magento. If you are one of those shop owners that don’t need advanced features, then you should definitely go for WooCommerce. While Magento strives to be an all-round solution for advanced users, WooCommerce strives to be fast, simple yet fully reliable which caters to small businesses. They can start off with something simple, and then expand it according to their needs in the future.
Let’s Compare the Prices
Of course, you can only consider using an eCommerce alternative if you have the budget required to start. Which one is more affordable, Magento or WooCommerce? WooCommerce won’t cost you a single penny as long as you don’t buy some premium extensions. Magento has an Enterprise Edition where you can choose from various packages, but you would need to pay a ridiculous amount of money to buy it anyway. It might not be that much for large businesses, but for smaller ones it certainly is.
If you want to use Magento anyway, you can sign up to the Community Edition which is totally free. Their premium packages are much more powerful, but what users get with the Community Edition is more than enough for smaller businesses. What we can conclude is that you can set up a decent online store both with WooCommerce and Magento for free. The only thing we recommend you to pay for is a reliable hosting service, but it costs only a few dollars per month so it is not a big deal.
However, you need to be careful with the extensions or else you can end up spending a lot of money in a short amount of time. You can keep your shop up and running for free and even find a few useful free extensions, but premiums are usually pretty expensive. The best idea is to do a little research before you even decide which one of these two platforms you want to use. You need to plan it all out in advance and create a list of extensions that you would like to install for both platforms.
Then, if there are any premium extensions, you can compare the two prices and decide which eCommerce platform will be cheaper for you. It won’t take that much time and effort to create the list, yet it can surely save you some money. All in all, we can say that both Magento and WooCommerce are great choices for your creating your own full-featured online shop. The only thing that might be better for WooCommerce users is that they don’t need to upgrade to any version as their business grows.
With Magento, you will need to eventually switch platforms or to upgrade to their Enterprise Edition. Therefore, WooCommerce comes out as the cheaper alternative in many cases. There are also many web hosting packages that are optimized for WooCommerce or WordPress. These solutions are quite cheap even if you choose one of the biggest providers, meaning that you can save some more money.
Which One is Better? WooCommerce or Magento?
Up to this point, we have talked a lot about how beginner-friendly WooCommerce is. This makes it a perfect choice for inexperienced users. It is a fast, effective and affordable solution for small businesses that want to quickly get online. No matter what type of eCommerce website you want to start, WooCommerce surely has the solution for you. From home entrepreneurship to ticket selling, you can set up pretty much everything with the platform.
In Magento, you can find all the features that can help an eCommerce website to grow. It is robust, scalable and most of the powerful features that you need are already available in the platform by default. We would recommend the platform for every company that has been generating revenue for a while and wants to invest it into eCommerce. If the price quote that you get from Magento is affordable for you, then you are surely not going to regret your decision.
In fact, the platform can help you generate a lot more money in the future. But if we examine which platform better for an inexperienced user to begin with, then the winner is definitely WooCommerce. If you decide to jump into Magento as a beginner, then you are going to have a hard time.
Summing it Up
Every user who wants to kick off an eCommerce website has different needs. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to these platforms. This is one of the main reasons why it was a difficult task to compare WooCommerce with Magento. According to our approach, WooCommerce came out as the better choice if you sum up all the different questions that we answered above. Probably not everyone is going to agree with this result, but we were totally positive about Magento as well.
Magento has a lot of powerful features to offer and it is a highly advanced platform right now. If you are one of those people who would rather use Magento, then you are probably going to be satisfied with what you get. What you really need to think about are the main requirements of your online shop. You need to think about performance, extensions, security measures and other unique needs. Also, think about the difficulty level of each platform. So, what do you think? Did this article help you to make the right decision?