WooCommerce vs Magento: How to Choose The Right Platform?

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WooCommerce vs Magento

WooCommerce and Magento are both open source software that allow you to create ecommerce sites. But are they equally easy to use? Is one faster than the other? Does one cost more? Is WooCommerce better than Magento at integrating with third party plugins? In this article, we pit them against each other d and compare all their features. So, if you’re confused about whether to pick Magento or WooCommerce, keep reading. 

Verdict: WooCommerce is better than Magento for beginners. WooCommerce can be installed with a plugin on your WordPress site. Magento requires you to use an FTP client. Unlike WooCommerce, Magento requires tech expertise to navigate the platform. WooCommerce also has better support than Magento.

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that helps you convert a basic WordPress site to an ecommerce site in just a few minutes. WooCommerce is a free, open source software that creates a blank canvas for you to customise your store. There is a large market of integrations and plugins that help you manage your ecommerce store. It was designed to be easy for people without development skills.

Key points

  • Easy to build
  • Free
  • Fully customisable 
  • Open source software
  • More powerful with plugins and integrations
  • Part of the WordPress ecosystem

Recommended for 

WooCommerce is designed for any type of ecommerce site or user. It is super versatile because it works just as well for a crafter selling patterns or physical items, to a business that needs it to merge with their brick-and-mortar store’s inventory as well. While the plugin itself is free, you will need to invest in good hosting and WordPress maintenance. With WooCommerce, you can build your store exactly the way you want it. 

What is Magento?

Magento is also an open source software that is written in PHP, a programming language. Therefore, it works well with PHP frameworks like Laminas. PHP frameworks are like libraries of code so developers can reduce the amount of code they have to write. This makes Magento a very developer friendly ecommerce platform. Much like WooCommerce, Magento is a self-hosted ecommerce platform that is fully customisable and scalable.  

Key points

  • Free extensions
  • Easy to integrate
  • Point-and-click interface
  • Simple product management

Recommended for

Business owners that have coding experience or a team of developers that can build their site.

Summary of WooCommerce vs Magento comparison

Here’s a bird’s eye view of the similarities and differences between WooCommerce and Magento. For more detailed analyses on any of the points, you can refer to the corresponding section below. 

FeatureWooCommerceMagento
SetupTakes 10-35 minutesTakes 5-10 minutes
DesignPre-designed templates & themesBuild your own themes
Plugins and integrationsMore pluginsSeamless integrationFewer extensionsRequires monitoring
PricingFree (except for hosting and security)Free (except for hosting)
UsabilityBeginner-friendlyRequires tech expertise
SupportBetter supportReach out to community
SecurityInstall SSL certificateBe PCI DSS compliantBetter advanced features
SEORequires extensionsDefault SEO feature
SpeedMarginally slowerA little faster
ScalabilityDependent on your hosting packageFlexible scalability
Type of productsHas a list of prohibited items Nothing illegal, harmful or offensive
Payment gatewaysRequires integrationsMany options and more with extensions
RefundsManaged by both the site dashboard and payment gateway Managed on admin panel
Inventory managementInbuilt inventory management is mediocreGreat inbuilt manager
Abandoned cart recoveryIntegrate with extensions or pluginsIntegrate with extensions or plugins
ShippingShipping zones are US or Non-USOnly specific countries
DropshippingIntegrates with extensions or pluginsIntegrates with extensions or plugins

WooCommerce vs Magento: A thorough comparison

WooCommerce and Magento are very similar open source softwares that are great for any kind of business. But how do you pick between them? In this section, we’ll put both platforms in a head to head battle and compare them on different fronts. 

Setup 

WooCommerce vs Magento
Which is easier to setup?
Verdict: WooCommerce is easier to set up, depending on the hosting provider you’re using. 

The setup process will differ with the web host. Reach out to your chosen web host to understand what is included in your hosting package. Make sure you have the necessities: domain, hosting package, SSL certificate, WordPress install, and WooCommerce plugin.

If you’re using a WordPress-optimised web host like Cloudways, there is usually an option to automatically set up a blank WooCommerce site. Then, you can follow the WooCommerce guide on the dashboard to set up your shop details, products, payment gateways, etc. If you’re a store owner that has no coding experience, this is a great place to start.

You may have to install an SSL certificate separately or get one from the web host. You will also have to buy a domain, either from the web host or from a domain registrar. Setting up a WooCommerce site is straightforward, and requires no previous experience with site setup. 

Magento also requires a host, server, and domain. Reach out to your hosting platform’s support team and make sure they’re compatible with Magento. Then, download the software from Magento and use an FTP client to add the files to your site. This can be a complex process depending on the hosting provider you use. You may have to create a MySQL database if your site doesn’t already have one. 

Design 

WooCommerce vs Magento
Which makes it easier to design your store?

Verdict:
WooCommerce benefits from WordPress’ huge library of themes and page builders that are easy to customise. 

Since WooCommerce is built on WordPress—and by the WordPress team no less—there are thousands of themes to choose from. Some of them are WooCommerce-specific, but there are many others that work just as well. Additionally, you can use one of the popular page builders, such as Elementor, Beaver Builder, and Divi to design your ecommerce store. 

Magento has 2 built-in themes that are great and fully customisable. But, if you have some coding knowledge, you can create your own theme from scratch. Nothing says full control than creating a theme by yourself. 

Price

WooCommerce vs Magento
Which option is more economical?
Verdict: WooCommerce is cheaper to set up
.

WooCommerce costs are dependent on hosting and domain. Hosting can start from as little as $5.49 a month with GoDaddy. A simple domain can cost around $10 for a .com domain; less for others and significantly more for special ones. There is also a small registrar’s fee that will vary depending on the registrar. 

Similar variables apply for hosting, domain, and registration fees, when talking about Magento. However there are additional maintenance costs you will have to incur with Magento. Magento was designed for large scale businesses and building a site will require coding. You may have to hire somebody to do so. 

Usability

WooCommerce vs Magento
Which store is easier to manage?
Verdict: WooCommerce is easier for beginners. 

Every aspect of your WooCommerce site can be customised with plugins. So, there may be a bit of a learning curve while you pick up the ins and outs of the dashboard, but it requires no coding. 

Magento is more advanced, has more complex builds, and is designed for developers creating large sites. It may not be the best fit for you if you can’t code. 

Support

WooCommerce vs Magento
Which will help you when you need it?
Verdict:
WooCommerce makes it easier to ask for help. 

WordPress, and therefore WooCommerce also, has a huge online community of experts and new users that can be very helpful. Additionally, they offer 24/7 customer service support with a ticket system. There is also a library of resources—tutorials and a knowledge centre—if you want to solve the problem yourself.

Magento, unfortunately, relies on their resource library. So, while they may not have a customer support team to reach out to, they offer FAQs and best practices resources. There is also a Magento community of developers you can talk to for more specialised help.   

Security

WooCommerce vs Magento
Are your customers and their data safe from hackers?
Verdict: Magento has more advanced security features. 

When talking about WooCommerce, we can break down security into three aspects:

  • SSL certificate: This is dependent on your host. It’s typically free.
  • PCI DSS compliance: This is the industry standard compliance required by credit and debit card issuers to ensure that your site handles customer data safely. WooCommerce isn’t PCI DSS compliant by default, but compliance is usually handled by the payment gateway or processor. 
  • Malware attacks: WordPress and, by extension, WooCommerce are secure software, and rarely have vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. However, when you add themes and plugins into the mix, things become a little more complicated. Fortunately, you can easily protect your shop and customers with MalCare. It is a best-in-class security plugin with a sophisticated malware scanner and cleaner, and an advanced WordPress firewall. 

Magento comes with in-built security features. It is PCI DSS compliant by default. They are consistently good at keeping up with security patches. It also has a security scanner. However, you will still have to figure out an SSL certificate in the same way as with a WooCommerce site. 

SEO 

WooCommerce vs Magento
Which makes it easier for your store to rank on Google?
Verdict: Magento is SEO-friendly by default. 

WooCommerce requires you to install plugins or extensions that make your site more SEO-friendly. 

Magento is SEO-friendly by default. This means that you can easily optimise your site with the stock installation, and also have the option to install additional plugins and extensions for more fine-grained control. 

Page load speed

WooCommerce vs Magento
Which store will load faster?
Verdict:
WooCommerce is marginally faster. 

WooCommerce is marginally faster than Magento. But it’s such an insignificant difference, you can go either way. They are both open source software that allows you to customise it as you like. With WooCommerce, you can install speed plugins like Airlift to optimise your shop for page load speed and performance. 

Scalability

WooCommerce vs Magento
Which platform is built to grow with your business?
Verdict: Magento is built for scale. 

They are both flexible open source code that you can use to scale your store. Magento edges out in front here simply because it was built with scaling ecommerce in mind. It has a well-organised database structure and software architecture. WooCommerce can be equally great for scaling; however that is dependent on the host and server you pick. 

Plugins and integrations

WooCommerce vs Magento
Which platform has more options for integrations?
Verdict: WooCommerce has more plugins to choose from. 

WooCommerce has 50,000+ plugins that you can seamlessly integrate with your site. Anything you want to do or add to your site, there is definitely a plugin for it. Some may be free, others may be premium, but rest assured you’ll find one that fits your requirements. 

Magento has a total of 3500 extensions, paid and free, that you can use. The free ones will need some monitoring, especially when an update rolls around. They also need coding experience to maintain. Considering updates are incredibly important from a security perspective, it is not as straightforward as WooCommerce, where you can enable auto updates or use a plugin to manage updates

Products

WooCommerce vs Magento
What are you allowed to sell?
Verdict: Both have similar policies. 

Magento has three rules for what you can’t sell: nothing that is illegal, nothing that is offensive, and nothing dangerous or harmful. 

WooCommerce has a similar ethos and actually has a list of prohibited items:

  • Pseudo pharmaceuticals
  • Firearms
  • Tobacco and e-cigarettes
  • MLM products
  • Fraudulent social media activity
  • Illegal drugs or substances which mimic them
  • Counterfeit goods
  • Virtual currency
  • Adult content

If you’re confused, reach out to the community to find out if you can sell your products. 

Payment gateways

WooCommerce vs Magento
How will you receive payments?
Verdict: Magento offers more payment options by default. 

WooCommerce has its own payment gateway plugin, WooCommerce Payments. It offers 4 payment method options: online card payment, check, cash on delivery, and direct bank transfer. It also supports Apple Pay. There are a bunch of additional payment gateways you can integrate your site with. Depending on which payment options you want to enable for your customers,  there are various payment gateways that you can check out. 

Magento offers the same 4 payment methods as WooCommerce Payments, and others like money order, purchase order, and zero subtotal checkout in addition. It is compatible with payment gateways like PayPal and Authorize.net too. At an additional cost, you can integrate it with Stripe, Square, and Amazon Pay. As of writing this article, it does not support Apple Pay. 

It should be noted that neither platform charges transaction fees, but fees are charged by the payment gateway.

Refunds

WooCommerce vs Magento
Which one makes it easier to issue refunds?
Verdict: Both platforms settle refunds via the payment gateway. 

They can both be initiated on the admin panel and then taken care of by the payment gateway. Here’s an article on managing refunds on WooCommerce and using Magento’s Order Management System.

Inventory management

WooCommerce vs Magento
Which makes it easier to manage stock?
Verdict:
Magento has a great in-built tool.

WooCommerce has a flexible system that lets you manage an unlimited number of products. But you’re better off using third-party management services to fully manage your inventory. Check out this tutorial to learn more. 

Magento has a built-in inventory management system that helps you take care of customer logins, product comparisons, anchor menus, wish lists, gift card payments, and staff logins. These features make it so much easier to kep track of your store. 

Retaining customers

WooCommerce vs Magento
How do you retain customers?
Verdict:
You will need a third party integration to do so with both platforms.

Abandoned cart recovery is the ability to send your customers a notification or reminder of products they’ve added to their cart. It’s a way to encourage them to come back, and is a great means to drive up sales. But neither WooCommerce nor Magento have the feature built-in. So you will need a third party recovery tool for both, and probably an email management system to integrate these marketing communications. 

Shipping

WooCommerce vs Magento
Which is better for shipping?
Verdict:
WooCommerce services more countries. 

Shipping is pertinent to physical products for the most part. Both Magento and WooCommerce offer shipping across the world, but Magento has a limited number of specific countries that you can sell to. Here is an article that you can checkout to see if you can sell with Magento. WooCommerce ships to many more countries, and the list is ever-expanding. You can of course circumvent these restrictions by managing shipping via an unconnected third party service. 

Dropshipping

WooCommerce vs Magento
Which platform has better dropshipping functionality?
Verdict: Both Magento and WooCommerce are equally good for dropshipping. 

Dropshipping is where stores act as middlemen between customers and wholesalers. This lets the shop avoid managing inventory. Both WooCommerce and Magento need third party integrations to help you manage drop shipping. 

Alternatives to WooCommerce and Magento

There are alternatives to WooCommerce and Magento, if neither have the features you are looking for. 

  • Shopify: It’s a subscription-based platform that not only hosts but enables you to build an ecommerce site with their amazing templates and applications. We have an article comparing WooCommerce with Shopify that you might find helpful.
  • BigCommerce: This is a great option for larger scale shops. BigCommerce makes it easy to manage a large inventory or create a site quickly, similar to Magento. We have an article comparing it to WooCommerce. 
  • Wix: Much like the other two, Wix allows you to build entire ecommerce sites with a drag-and-drop module. You can buy your domain from Wix and your site will be hosted on their servers.

Final thoughts

WooCommerce is great for new shop owners that are willing to take some time to learn how to use it. Magento is great for shop owners that are more comfortable with coding. They’re both open source software but it’s harder to harness the benefits of Magento with no coding experience. They are, however, equally good for any type or size of store.

FAQs

  1. Which is more scalable: WooCommerce or Magento?
    Magento is easier to scale because of its code. But WooCommerce is also scalable. You just have to make sure your host can handle it.
  2. Is WooCommerce better than Magento?
    Yes, it is easier to use, easier to install, more value for money,  and simpler to maintain. WooCommerce is designed to grow with your business, even if you start small, whereas Magento is built for scale from the get-go. 
  3. Is Magento more secure than WooCommerce?
    Magento has more advanced security features like being PCI-DSS compliant by default. With WooCommerce, PCI-DSS compliance falls under the purview of the payment gateway. However, WooCommerce benefits from being part of the WordPress ecosystem, which has the best security solutions for sites.   
  4. Can you use WooCommerce or Magento for free?
    Both of them are open source software that is free to use. You will have to pay for hosting, server, and the other essentials, in addition to any extensions like themes and plugins you may want to use.

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