When it comes to self-hosted eCommerce solutions, Magento and WooCommerce are leading the industry. That said, they both have their own set of unique functionalities so it’s important you find out more about each platform before making a final decision.
I’ve based my comparison on each providers’ extensions and integrations, the user experience they offer, the opportunities for personalization, and the individual pricing plans.
What Is Magento?
Magento is an open-source solution designed specifically for eCommerce. It’s best for development professionals or those with a medium to a large shop. The platform offers a free community version of its services as well as various premium options to choose from.
With Magento, you’ll have full creative control to make your shop look exactly how you want it. The solution allows you to create a shopping cart, add an unlimited number of products, and it comes with various marketing features for you to promote your online store.
What Is WooCommerce?
Rather than acting as an all-in-one eCommerce platform, WooCommerce is a plugin that you can add to your WordPress website to turn it into an online store. While completely free, it does come with the choice of various extensions for you to add to your site.
The WooCommerce plugin is extremely easy to use and integrates with the majority of WordPress themes. Furthermore, the solution allows you to take payments both locally and internationally. With it, you’ll be able to track your orders and inventory.
Magento or WooCommerce: Which Solution Should You Go for?
It may be difficult to decide which solution is better because both picks are really popular and have strong userbases, willing to prove their truth no matter what.
So, to pick the winner we need to weigh the most features that are essential for any good self-hosted eCommerce solution and that's where we can help you choose the most suitable for your needs.
When it comes to choosing an open-source, self-hosted eCommerce platform, usability should be one of your main concerns. You need it to be easy enough to use without skimping on functionality. Magento has a ton of built-in features worth exploring. That said, getting started can be challenging.
The platform is designed for more experienced web developers and, therefore, can be complex for those with less tech knowledge. The truth is, the platform isn’t easy to install and the majority of hosting providers don’t offer a one-click installation like they do with WordPress.
Furthermore, the installer language is focused on developers, thus leaving beginners with a lot of research on their hands. Once your account is set up, you’ll also have to invest time into learning the basics. That said, there are various tutorials online as well as Magento’s comprehensive forum where you can get answers to all of your questions.
With WooCommerce, the installation process is more straightforward. While you do have to install WordPress first, the majority of hosting providers do have a one-click installation process. Some of the most reputable ones include Hostinger, A2 Hosting, and Bluehost.
Moreover, you can install and activate the WooCommerce plugin within seconds from your WordPress dashboard. Once activated, WooCommerce offers a setup wizard which will help you get started. This will allow you to create individual pages, choose your preferred currency, set up your desired payment options, and decide which shipping methods you want to offer.
Design and Personalization
In terms of design and personalization, both solutions allow you to customize every aspect of your site. Magento does have a choice of free and paid themes, however, you can upload your own if you have the right coding knowledge or have paid a professional to design your site for you.
WordPress also gives you the chance to upload your own theme, however, it also comes with a much broader selection of ready-made templates to choose from. From the WordPress website, you can filter your search for eCommerce specific options and upload your final choice directly to your site.
Additionally, WooCommerce itself offers its own eCommerce theme called Storefront. While the basic Storefront theme is free to use, you can also choose from a selection of paid versions depending on the functionalities and style you want for your online store.
Extensions and Integrations
Something that makes these two solutions stand out as some of the best self-hosted eCommerce options available today is there extensions and integrations. Both of them allow you to add a virtually limitless number of features and functionalities to your online store. Magento offers a selection of free and paid extensions for you to add to your site. The solution is backed by a community of designers, freelancers, and agencies that add new integrations to the marketplace on a daily basis.
Today, Magento has close to 4,000 extensions that offer you the chance to integrate new functions, tools, and services to your online store. Not only this, more than a quarter of these are free, an impressive number considering Magento already has a lot of functionality in its core.
WordPress is more or less the same. The platform has tens of thousands of plugins you can add to your store. These allow you to do everything from adding a layer of security to your site to tracking visitors and even generating new leads for your business.
In addition to WordPress’ plugins, WooCommerce has its own extensions specifically designed for online store owners. In addition to store management integrations, you can choose from marketing, payment, product, subscriptions, and various other types of third-party extensions. Many of these extensions are free to install and use.
Pricing is trickier to explain when comparing Magento vs WordPress. Technically both Magento and WordPress with the WooCommerce plugin are free to use.
The only compulsory expenditure you’ll face is hosting. That said, you don’t have to spend a fortune on a good host. In fact, many reputable providers cost less than $5 a month.
When it comes to choosing a host for your website, make sure that you don’t skimp on quality. Your hosting provider should provide you with an adequate amount of bandwidth and storage space.
If you own a large store, you should avoid going for a shared hosting plan. Last but not least, your plan should come with the best security features so that you don’t have to worry about any breaches and can reliably sell online.
As mentioned above, Magento does offer a free community version. If you want to find out more about the solution’s premium services, you’ll have to have a chat with the customer support team who can give you a full overview of the best option for your individual needs.
WooCommerce is completely free. The only expense will be your hosting. However, remember that with both these eCommerce solutions, costs can pile up if you go wild buying extensions. Before making any big purchases, set up your shop. Then, do some research to find out which extensions you truly need.
Additionally, remember that when using WooCommerce, you’ll also gain full access to WordPress’ plugins. Many of these are free and you may even find that you don’t have to buy any to get the functionalities you need to create your dream store.
Magento vs WooCommerce: The Winner
When looking at self-hosted open source eCommerce solutions, WooCommerce is the clear winner.
While Magento does have a great set of features and functionalities, WooCommerce is easier to use and the solution integrates with WordPress which is far more intuitive and extremely simple to set up.
Moreover, WordPress with the WooCommerce plugin leaves you with extensive options when it comes to installing extensions and integrating with third-party solutions.
Plus, you can get started in a matter of seconds with no coding knowledge whatsoever by going with the plugin’s free Storefront theme.
If you have a different opinion, feel free to give your reasoned arguments in the comments below!