Building an online store is not a piece of cake. Even choosing a suitable CMS is more complicated than it seems. This article presents a deep comparison of two well-known e-commerce platforms – WooCommerce and Magento. We outline both systems’ strengths, weaknesses and compare their capabilities in critical areas.
Magento is an e-commerce platform designed in 2008. It is available in three different versions:
- Magento Open Source – former Magento Community Edition; free-of-charge and simultaneously the most popular software version.
- Magento Commerce – former Magento Enterprise Edition; paid version dedicated especially to large shops with high expectations towards system’s efficiency and functionality.
- Magento Commerce Cloud – as the name indicates, it is a Magento Commerce version, but it is hosted in the cloud – you do not need your server.
Magento Open Source is sufficient for most online stores to launch a fully functional, future-proof e-commerce platform. In June 2020, there was an official end of support of Magento 1. Thus, currently, the default platform version is Magento 2. The CMS is particularly popular among medium and large-size enterprises, so as worldwide corporations thanks to its security, efficiency, and scalability.
WooCommerce is not an e-commerce platform itself. It is a plugin for WordPress, which equips the content management system with sales functionalities. Even though WordPress was developed in 2003, WooCommerce's first release was in 2011. Since that moment, WordPress websites owners can easily set up an e-commerce platform based on famous CMS. The WooCommerce installation process is the same as in the case of any other WordPress plugin. Thus, you do not need any advanced programming skills to launch WooCommerce.
Non-complicated structure, user-friendly interface, and nearly no entry barriers cause that WooCommerce is beloved by beginners in the programming world and small business owners. An additional incentive is that WooCommerce does not require any license fee – you can use it freely without worries about costs.
Magento 2 vs WooCommerce – Comparison
Now, when you know the basic facts regarding e-commerce solutions, it is high time to find out more about the similarities and differences between Magento and WooCommerce. Beneath, we compare a few crucial factors that may influence your decision and which system is better for your project.
WooCommerce vs Magento – Popularity
Both Magento and WooCommerce are popular e-commerce solutions globally. According to BuiltWith, 27% of e-commerce in the top 1 million sites use WooCommerce, which is the best result among all e-commerce technologies. On the other hand, 9% of sites use Magento as an e-commerce engine – it is the third most popular technology (20% of e-commerce use Shopify). Among companies who bet on Magento, we can distinguish, e.g., Ford, Olympus, Asus, or Monin. WooCommerce is popular mostly among small businesses with not so recognizable brands. However, still, it is used more frequently than Magento worldwide.
Magento or WooCommerce – Price
WooCommerce installation is entirely free of charge. In such a form, it provides basic functionalities to lead and manage online sales. However, you cannot expect any fireworks. There are no advanced marketing or sales enhancements, so you have to install plugins if you want to expand WooCommerce possibilities. Some of them are available for free, but for more advanced ones you have to pay.
As it was previously mentioned, Magento is available in three versions. The Open Source one is free of charge and fulfills the expectations of most medium-size online sellers. A default version provides much more functionalities than WooCommerce in terms of products, orders, customers management, sales, marketing, and analytics. You can also boost the platform's capabilities using extensions as in the WooCommerce case.
However, Magento also has two paid options. They ensure, e.g., more default functionalities and, above all, an official Adobe expert's technical support. While using Magento Commerce or Commerce Cloud, you have to pay a license fee, depending on your online store's annual turnover. It starts with 22 000$ for Magento Commerce and 40 000$ for Magento Cloud per year.
Magento vs WooCommerce – Ease of Use
Magento is a complex platform that allows building advanced e-commerce systems with nonstandard functionalities. As a result, it demands specific programming skills to exploit CMS possibilities. Even simple actions in Magento may look overwhelmingly for administrators and editors with no IT background. Moreover, the learning process of Magneto Developer should take more time than for, e.g., WooCommerce Programmer.
On the other hand, WooCommerce is a simple solution with a user-friendly interface. Since it is not an independent e-commerce platform but a WordPress plugin, even programming beginners can set up and successfully manage a simple online store.
WooCommerce or 2 – Which Is More Secure?
Magento is well-known for its high-security standards. In comparison to WooCommerce, it ensures complex pro-security solutions. One of them is a dedicated security patches system designed to prevent cyberattacks or other security threats. Patches are released any time the potential security breach is indicated. Usually, their implementation demands Magento Developers' intervention, but it is the best solution for having a well-secured online store.
WooCommerce does not offer such advanced security standards. However, when you run your e-commerce reasonably, you should not be afraid of its security - the most significant security threats in WooCommerce concern plugins. Many store owners install outdated or unverified extensions, which make the platform vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Magento and WooCommerce – Performance and Hosting
The overall performance of an online store depends on various factors, e.g., image optimization, amount of extensions, or hosting provider. Without a doubt, Magento needs high-quality hosting to ensure top-class performance. It is recommended to host Magento on a dedicated server. Then, you will not worry about loading time, page speed, and customers’ satisfaction. Moreover, you can boost CMS performance with technologies such as Varnish or Redis.
WooCommerce does not have such a significant hosting requirement. However, it is mainly connected to the scale of projects built on this platform. You can improve its performance through additional extensions, but overall, WooCommerce ensures satisfactory performance for small businesses without massive investments in servers infrastructure.
WooCommerce vs Magento – Extensions and Plugins
Both systems expand functionalities through add-ones: plugins (in WooCommerce) and extensions (in Magento). Thanks to them, you can boost your e-commerce in different spheres, e.g., sales, marketing, analytics, products, or orders management. Since WooCommerce is a part of WordPress, you can use any plugin dedicated to this CMS. Currently, there are more than 58 000 of them available on the official WordPress website. Some are paid, and others are free of charge. Magento does not offer such a wide variety of official extensions – there are +3 800 of them on the Magento website. Similarly, as in the WooCommerce case, both free and paid extensions are available.
Remember to use only verified plugins and extensions in the latest versions. Thus, you will protect your e-commerce from potential security breaches, which are especially popular in the WooCommerce case.
Magento vs WordPress for e-commerce – Product Management
When setting up e-commerce, one of the first requirements is complex product management. WooCommerce provides all the necessary functionalities to add a product with essential information regarding the item. Moreover, the management process is intuitive even for people with no programming skills. By default, it does not provide any extra options which upgrade the product feed, but you can install any extension to improve it.
On the other hand, Magento offers a more advanced product management panel. The basic CMS version allows, e.g., setting price rules, group products, or add reviews. However, such a variety of additional functionalities can give a headache to less experienced editors. Thus, if you look for easy-to-use, non-complicated product management options, choose WooCommerce. Although, if you seek more advanced functionalities, bet on Magento.
Magento and WooCommerce – Community
WooCommerce and the free Magento version are available on an Open Source license. It means that on their development work an entire community of developers. Both e-commerce platforms gathered massive communities, which help in bugs indication and fixing process. They also search for the best ways to improve platforms' functionalities and performance. Moreover, extended communities ensure that software will be developed in the future. In this case, both e-commerce platforms are good choices.
Magento vs WordPress WooCommerce – SEO
Search engine optimization is a must-have for most online stores that want to generate revenue from organic search. Fortunately, both systems are well-prepared for SEO. Thanks to default functionalities or add-ones, you can:
- add meta tags,
- set SEO-friendly URLs,
- make redirects,
- set canonical tags,
- edit robot.txt file,
- generate XML sitemap,
- and many more.
It is hard to tell which platform is better for search engine optimization because they fulfill all the requirements.
WooCommerce vs Magento 2 – Summary
Even though both platforms provide similar SEO functionalities, various plugins, and extended communities, they are entirely different systems from top to bottom. If you hesitate, which CMS is better for your project, ask yourself some questions: „How extended will be my shop?” „Which functionalities and features are crucial for me?”. If you decide on an extended, scalable online store with plenty of advanced functionalities, choose Magento. However, if you want to start online sales or verify your business idea, better count on WooCommerce, which will be less complicated and cheaper for small-size enterprises.
To sum up, both platforms have their unique features, which make them one of the most commonly used e-commerce technologies worldwide. Although, the final decision in Magento vs WooCommerce battle should base on your business needs, not personal preferences towards one of those platforms.