Magento vs WooCommerce – Detailed Comparison 2021
Whether you’ve already launched an online store or are thinking to jump onto the eCommerce bandwagon – either way, a big thumbs-up to you!
As you might know already, Magento and WooCommerce are two of the three most popular eCommerce platforms out there – the other being Shopify. (See our Shopify vs. WooCommerce Comparison too!)
But before we dive into the nitty-gritty of Magento vs. WooCommerce, let’s take a look at how popular both platforms are in the global eCommerce marketplace.
According to Built With Trends, Around 32% of the top 1 million eCommerce sites use WooCommerce checkout. On the other hand, only 8% of them use Magento.
But of course, since popularity is no indicator of something being good or bad (though psychology professors say it is!), we’ll go into all the details and see how these two platforms compare against each other based on:
- Feature Set
- Extensions and Add-ons
The Main Difference between Magento and WooCommerce
Magento is an eCommerce CMS (Content Management System), while WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin built for WordPress, a blogging CMS.
That’s where the main difference lies. The entire CMS of Magento is built specifically for eCommerce, while WordPress is essentially a blogging platform meant for content-heavy purposes but which can be plugged with eCommerce features using an eCommerce plugin like WooCommerce. That said, both are perfect for eCommerce.
Magento and WooCommerce are both open-source platforms, which means both offer unlimited flexibility, as you own the source code, and you can customize them any way you want.
Both Magento Open Source and WooCommerce are self-hosted, which means you need to buy hosting and install the software on your server to use it.
Magento offers two versions – a free, open-source version and an enterprise version priced at a minimum of $20,000/year targeted for larger enterprises.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, offers only one free version, which is updated regularly and is meant for all sizes of businesses.
In this comparison, our point of focus is the free version of Magento vs WooCommerce.
Pricing – Magento vs WooCommerce
Both Magento (the free, open-source version) and WooCommerce are free to download and use. In both cases, you only need to pay for the hosting service to get started.
However, people rarely stick to the features available out-of-the-box and often need premium themes, extensions, and even development services to get their store working the way their heart desires. And so, in that case, costs can pile up quickly whether you’re using WooCommerce or Magento.
The difference, however, lies in the price points of all the additional services and products you’d need. Since Magento is more complex and intricate, Magento development services come at a higher price point than for WooCommerce. You’ll also notice a big difference in prices of premium themes and extensions for Magento vs. for WooCommerce.
Key Takeaway: Though both platforms are free and open-source, getting your store built on Magento ends up being costlier than on WooCommerce.
Usability – Magento vs WooCommerce
Magento is way more complex than WooCommerce. Building your online store on Magento requires a much steeper learning curve and at least some level of comfort with code.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, is intuitive to navigate and easy to use, even for non-developers. And if you have some WordPress background, finding your way around WooCommerce is going to be a walk in the park.
Installing a Theme
Things like installing themes and extensions involve a very complex process on Magento than on WooCommerce.
This is what it looks like when installing a theme on Magento:
While in a parallel universe, installing a theme is as simple as a few clicks.
This is what it looks like on WooCommerce.
Adding Products and Categories
Running an online store requires much more than the initial deployment. Things like adding products, categories, coupons, and other kinds of content need to be done on a daily basis.
We tested both platforms to see how easy it was to do mundane things like adding products, categories, menu items, etc. and found WooCommerce to be much more intuitive as opposed to Magento.
What we figured was that if you decide to take Magento for a ride, you’d need a technical team to not only deploy and design your store but also to run it on a daily basis.
Though WooCommerce also involves a learning curve, it’s not as steeper, and even a layman with no coding experience can easily get the hang of it with some practice.
Key Takeaway: Developing a site on Magento requires development expertise while running your store on a daily basis also requires some technical skills and knowledge about coding. Magento is definitely not for you if you cringe at the sight of special characters like $ or <? and if you don’t plan to hire technical expertise either. On the other hand, WooCommerce can look intimidating for someone with no WordPress background. However, it’s easier to learn (if you have the time) and much easier to maintain and run your site on a daily basis.
Scalability of WooCommerce vs Magento
Scalability depends less on the eCommerce architecture and more on the infrastructure supporting it. With stronger and scalable infrastructure as well as regular maintenance of your store, both WooCommerce and Magento offer the same level of scalability.
However, the real benefits of Magento are in the Enterprise and Cloud Enterprise edition, which offer powerful features to allow you to scale up without a hassle.
Key Takeaway: if you talk about Magento Open Source, both Magento and WooCommerce offer the same level of scalability. However, the Magento Enterprise editions open your door to limitless possibilities and can cater perfectly to the growing needs of your business.
Feature Set in WooCommerce vs Magento
Magento has the largest built-in feature set and a higher number of supported product types among all the major eCommerce platforms out there. These features include layered navigation, multi-store capabilities, multiple languages and currency support, configurable products, gift cards, and more.
WooCommerce comparatively lags behind when it comes to the features available fresh-out-of-the-box. However, with countless WooCommerce extensions and development services available at a lower price point, WooCommerce users don’t really feel they are getting the short straw.
Key Takeaway: Even the community version of Magento is way more powerful and offers a lot more features than WooCommerce.
Extensions and Add-ons in Magento vs. WooCommerce
Though both platforms have countless plugins and extensions that can be integrated to add more functionality, the difference lies in the price.
Magento extensions not only come at a higher price point they are also more complex to install correctly on the site and may require development services, which are again higher priced.
With WooCommerce, on the other hand, you get the benefit to use 50,000 free WordPress plugins plus an unlimited number of WooCommerce premium extensions, which are generally lower priced and easier to install with a few clicks.
Key Takeaway: Magento has more features fresh-out-of-the-box, which means you’ll need a fewer number of extensions.
Security – Magento vs WooCommerce
Like scalability, keeping your store secure and PCI compliant depends on you – you need to take the right security measures to harden the security of your site.
However, with Magento built specifically for eCommerce, it has better security features like dedicated patch releases and security fixes to keep your site secure.
With more features out-of-the-box, Magento also requires fewer extensions and plugins, which gives an added advantage for security, as it reduces the number of vulnerabilities your site is exposed to because of the third-party extensions.
Key Takeaway: Magento offers better security out-of-the-box. On WooCommerce, you need to use best security practices and additional security extensions to keep your site secure.
Read more: The Complete WordPress Security Guide 2020
Time to make a decision – Which one to choose?
After the above discussion, it shouldn’t be difficult to make a decision, as the difference between the two platforms is quite clear.
While Magento is way more powerful and offers more features out-of-the-box, you need either of these two to use it: a good budget OR a high level of technical and development expertise.
WooCommerce is more intuitive and doesn’t require a high level of technical expertise. You’ll also find WooCommerce extensions and development services at a lower price point. Therefore, If you are no longer interested in Magento and want to try WooCommerce, you can easily migrate your store from Magento to WooCommerce using LitExtension automatic tool within hours
Now, it’s up to you to make a decision. Look at your business model and your available resources and see what fits the best.