Both Woocommerce and Magento have strong market positions, along with other leading platforms like BigCommerce or Shopify. When it comes to finding an eCommerce platform for your business, it doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or an old hand who wants to migrate to a new platform—the number of options on the market mean that choosing the right solution is never easy. We’re making that a little easier by comparing some of the most popular platforms, such as our recent analysis of Shopify against Magento.

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Now, we compare the Magento and WooCommerce solutions. The first one is available in two paid versions, as well as an open source version that is free to use but requires a hosting fee. Meanwhile, WooCommerce is a free platform that requires its own hosting. As WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce plugin for WordPress, it supports almost all WP themes and offers numerous customization options. Magento has twelve free themes on offer but you can find a lot more paid ones in the Marketplace. 

There are some similarities between Magento and WooCommerce but it is worth remembering that Magento is a complex, standalone platform, while WooCommerce is a plugin on top of the core WordPress software. 

The characteristics of Magento

Let’s begin with Magento. Since 2008, it has maintained a leading position on the market, which is no surprise considering the possibility of integrations with multiple third-party services, wide community support, and marketplace extensions. Over recent years, it has expanded to three separate offerings: Magento Open Source, Magento Commerce, and Adobe Commerce Cloud. Each option has characteristic features adapted to different sizes of companies. For example, Magento Commerce is an ideal solution for middle-market companies, but also for small-sized enterprises. 

Magento: Pros and cons

Many think that Magento is a solution designed for large companies like Coca Cola, Ford, HP, and Nike. The logic seems to be that it’s the biggest player on the market, so it must be aimed at other big players. That’s true to some extent, but small businesses can also reap the benefits of the software. Retailers of all sizes have turned to Magento for over a decade. It’s not a perfect solution but there are good reasons why it is trusted by so many businesses, and it is worth familiarizing yourself with those advantages.

The pros of Magento:

  • Full scalability and flexibility that can easily handle large stores with a wide range of products.
  • Versions dedicated to various enterprise sizes, including an open-source version. 
  • Written in PHP, which is not as exciting as other programming languages, but is used by a large community and guarantees stability.
  • Many useful SEO functions related to the optimization of page titles, meta tags, URLs, image ALTs, headers, etc.
  • Strong Community of eCommerce enthusiasts constantly improving the platform.
  • A wide selection of extensions, themes, and partners providing new functionalities.
  • Easy integrations with third-party services, such as PayPal, eBay, Facebook, and WordPress.
  • Advanced Order Management that allows smooth demand and supply management.
  • Possibility to add any extension to the basic set of features.

It’s a compelling list, but Magento has always had its detractors. Here are some of the reasons why it is not considered to be the ideal platform by some eCommerce experts. 

The cons of Magento:

  • The ability to modify Magento requires technical coding knowledge. If you don’t have these skills, you must involve a developer. 
  • Learning how to use the Magento Interface can take some time.
  • Costs can be considerable. Even the open-source option becomes expensive when you take hosting costs into account.

The characteristics of WooCommerce

WooCommerce is an easy-to-use plugin designed for the WordPress platform in 2011. It has all the functionalities needed to create eCommerce solutions, especially for small and midsize companies. Importantly, having the plugin doesn’t negatively affect the use of WordPress, so you still have all the benefits of your favored CMS.

WooCommerce: Pros and cons

A WordPress plugin is perfect for slightly smaller and simpler eCommerce platforms. The list of WooCommerce customers may not be as impressive as the Magento’s, but there are a great number of success stories using the plugin, like Singer, All Blacks, and Aeropress.

WooCommerce Pros:

  • Installation and configuration is easy.
  • A great solution for those who are starting out in eCommerce.
  • Activation is possible on both the existing and new WordPress site.
  • Low implementation costs for WordPress users, even considering the need for a hosting fee.
  • Built using SEO-friendly code, so it is well optimized. The plugin itself doesn’t have many built-in SEO functionalities, but WordPress and other available plugins do a good job. 

Simplicity, getting started and SEO are among the strengths, but let’s move on to the disadvantages.

The cons of WooCommerce:

  • Requires a site on WordPress.
  • Some extensions can be expensive.
  • If you don’t use WordPress, you’ll have to set it up and learn how to use it.
  • The desired functionality can be achieved by implementing several plugins, which can be challenging to scale and even troublesome.
  • Catalog and order management options are quite limited.

Final summary of Magento vs WooCommerce

Magento versus WooCommerce, which one is better? It’s perhaps not the right question to ask. We should say: Which one better fits your specific business?

Magento is the right choice for large enterprises, as it has a more developed ecosystem and is less painful to scale. 

If you are running a smaller store and facing the strategic decision of which platform to choose, it is more of a choice. WooCommerce is a better option for beginners, even if you have to create a WordPress website and learn a little about how it works, as your technical bar will always be lower than with Magento. However, if you have a technical background or resources, you can easily start with Magento Open Source. It’s free (except for hosting costs) and flexible, but, more importantly, it scales better than Woo stores and gives you more leeway as you grow.