WooCommerce vs Magento – Which Is the Best Platform?

You’ve done research and you’ve narrowed it down to two ecommerce platforms – WooCommerce and Magento. You’re happy with what they have to offer but you simply cannot make up your mind about one or the other.

Hosting Review took on the task of comparing the two platforms side by side. From their price to their security, from scalability to website optimization features – we took a look at it all.

Based on the research, we came up with the following comparison. Each section will crown a clear winner and in the end, we’ll try to reach a general conclusion about who comes out on top – WooCommerce or Magento.

Let’s get going!

Overview of WooCommerce and Magento

Before moving on to the specific aspects of using WooCommerce and Magento, let’s do a brief overview that highlights the key capabilities of the two platforms.

WooCommerce is an open-source ecommerce platform that operates on WordPress. If you already have some experience with WordPress websites, you’ll love the familiarity. To get WooCommerce running, you simply have to install the plugin.

As already mentioned, WooCommerce runs on top of WordPress and adapts the platform to the needs of ecommerce website owners. it is compatible with many design themes and other plugins (both free and paid) that could be needed to expand the functionality of the website.

Magento, on the other hand, is an ecommerce platform on its own.

Once again, it is an open-source project and there’s a community edition that’s free to download. Depending on specific needs, ecommerce website owners could also choose the paid premium version that comes with a host of capabilities unavailable in the free Magento.

Main Features

The set of features is quite distinctive for WooCommerce and Magento. This is one of the first fields in which you’ll see quite a big number of differences.

WooCommerce Features

Here’s a quick list of the most important WooCommerce features:

  •  Free of charge (but can work with premium themes and plugins)
  • Choosing hosting is up to you, this isn’t a hosted platform
  •  Unlimited products
  • Only basic security features included (for a more advanced solution, you’ll have to download additional WordPress security plugins)
  • Integration with prominent payment processing systems like PayPal and Stripe
  • Mobile ecommerce integrated
  • Some marketing tools and functionalities are built-in, more available through the selection of the right WordPress plugins
  •  Scalable through the addition of plugins

Magento Features

Taking a look at the basics reveals that Magento has a more extensive set of features that WooCommerce:

  •  Free of charge and a paid enterprise version is available
  •  If you choose the free Magento, you’ll be responsible for hosting, the enterprise solution has hosting included
  • Unlimited products
  • More advanced security features available than in the case of WooCommerce
  •  Integration with third-party payment processing services
  • Mobile ecommerce integrated
  • Built-in marketing tools and functionalities
  • An extensive package of solutions is already available with the core platform

Final Verdict: Magento does have more built-in capabilities than WooCommerce does.

Ease of Use

Anyone who doesn’t have a lot of experience or who wants worry-free operations should be concerned about ease of use. So, how do these two platforms compare in terms of store setup, maintenance and upgrade ease?

Most people who have experience with both platforms confirm that WooCommerce is easier to use, especially if you already have some WordPress website maintenance or blogging experience.

WooCommerce has a setup wizard that will guide you through the initial process. You will also get recommendations for the installation of additional plugins to enable certain functionalities.

Keep in mind that most hosting companies do not offer pre-configured Magento installation. Thus, you’ll have to figure out how to get it running after you buy your hosting plan. The installation of extensions, themes and plugins is also a bit more challenging.

Magento is generally recommended for people who already have some experience with setting up a website, while WooCommerce is a good choice for just about everyone.

Final Verdict: as far as ease of use is concerned, WooCommerce does perform better.

Pricing and Costs

WooCommerce is available free of charge but there will still be some expenses that you’ll need to handle each month. Some of the linked expenditure to be mindful of when setting up a WooCommerce store includes:

  • Domain name registration
  • The cost of hosting
  • Premium themes (if you want a more professional and distinctive look for your website)
  • Premium plugins

Magento’s basic version is also available free of charge. If you opt for the commerce edition (formerly called enterprise edition), you should be prepared to spend anywhere between 22,000 and 40,000+ dollars per year. Needless to say, this solution is suitable for larger companies and complex ecommerce projects.

If you go for the free community version of Magento, some additional type of expenditure you’ll have to anticipate include:

  • Domain name registration
  • The cost of hosting
  • Premium themes from the Magento marketplace (between 30 and 500 dollars)
  • Extensions

Final Verdict: if you don’t go for Magento Commerce, the cost of using the two platforms is more or less comparable.

Payment Integration

The quality of your digital service is very much dependent on the integration of the right payment platform. Your clients would want both convenience and security. Thus, you should provide flexible payment options for your products.

Both Magento and WooCommerce integrate third-party payment solutions. For WooCommerce, these include PayPal, Google Pay, Alipay, Amazon payments, Visa and MasterCard payments, as well as several others.

Stripe is also supported and you could also choose to offer clients offline payments upon the delivery of products.

Magento offers a wide selection of payment extensions. Some of the primary possibilities are PayPal, Magento Sage Pay, Stripe, 2Checkout, Braintree, WePay, Skrill and Google Checkout. Several other less prominent third-party payment systems are also available for integration.

Final Verdict: in terms of payment system diversity, Magento does offer a bigger number of well-known, secure and convenient options.

Website Security

While payment security is established and guaranteed by third-party service providers, it will be up to you to correctly process and store the sensitive data that visitors share with your website. Both Magento and WooCommerce offers security features to help you accomplish the goal. Here’s how these solutions compare.

Magento offers dedicated security patches to its users. These patches address vulnerabilities and strengthen the overall integrity of the platform. While someone with limited experience could find it difficult to benefit from these patches, they’re a superior security tool to what WooCommerce has to offer. WooCommerce is dependent on WordPress updates and if you don’t install such updates manually, you leave your website vulnerable.

Apart from these basics, there are numerous add-ons/extensions that can be integrated for better security. Both WooCommerce and Magento benefit from a wide range of extensions that provide anti-malware protection and a reduced risk of hack attacks.

Final Verdict: Magento’s security features and patches are more advanced than what WooCommerce offers.

Optimization Tools

Search engine optimization (SEO) plays a role in growing the popularity of your website and optimizing its traffic. Modern ecommerce platforms do feature built-in SEO features. WooCommerce and Magento are far from an exception. Both of these provide the essentials required for effective website optimization and Google popularity.

WooCommerce offers basic SEO features. If you want to ensure good search engine positioning, you can opt for additional WoCommerce plugins like YoastSEO, for example. Magento offers a more extensive range of optimization functionalities and tools that are intrinsic to the platform itself. Keep in mind, however, that SEO is also heavily dependent on a range of external factors besides clean design and coding of the site.

The hosting you choose will affect your optimization efforts. The same applies to website content and online reputation establishment (through marketing and a solid social media presence). Thus, if you don’t have the experience and you want to get optimal Google optimization results, you may want to consider hiring an SEO team to do the job for you.

Final Verdict: Magento offers a more advanced set of SEO functionalities and built-in features.

Performance and Website Speed

Performance and the speed of website loading will determine how popular your ecommerce project is going to be with both users and search engines. You need a website that is clean, functional and quick to load. It should adapt to different screens and offer an excellent experience, whether a person is using a desktop computer or a tablet to make a purchase.

Performance is dependent on many factors, including the coding, the availability of site speed optimization features and optimization options.

To a large degree, a website’s speed is dependent on the type of hosting you choose. At Hosting Review, we recommend choosing hosting for the intended audience website you’re going to serve for the future and not for the audience you have right now.

Other than that, speed and performance are dependent on several other things. Both Magento and WooCommerce offer tools to compress the size of files and ensure good website speed. 

The number of plugins, add-ons and extensions will also play a role in determining performance. If you install and ingrate many third-party solutions (especially tools that haven’t been verified for their quality), you risk ruining the performance of your website.

Final Verdict: performance and speed criteria lead to a draw – WooCommerce and Magento offer similar capabilities and a lot rides on external factors.

Scaling Up

Eventually, your online business will take off and you will need to scale up. When this happens, you need a platform that will offer flexibility and that will grow alongside your ecommerce website. Most ecommerce solutions available today are designed to offer flexibility and simplify the process of scaling up.

Magento is a solution that’s designed from the ground up. It is incredibly scalable and most of the tools required to grow your platform will already be provided. 

You may have to change your hosting and you may also have to select an alternative design theme that will support a bigger and more complex store. Hiring a professional web development team to help you upgrade the current project could also add up to the expenses.

WooCommerce is more suited to the needs of people who want a small to medium-sized ecommerce website. It can be scaled up but for the purpose, you will have to install multiple plugins. The quality of WordPress plugins is generally high but as you pile them on top of each other, the performance of your website could potentially suffer.

Final Verdict: if you’re planning a project that will grow exponentially in the future, Magento will be the better platform for you. Scaling a Magento website up, however, may be more expensive than scaling up a WooCommerce project.

The Bottom Line: Project Specifics Will Help You Choose the Right Platform

WooCommerce offers a better performance in some areas while Magento beats its competitor in other fields. Choosing one platform or the other depends entirely on your knowledge, background and the specifics of your project.

If you’re just getting started with an online business and with ecommerce, WooCommerce would be the better solution for you. Magento is going to appear confusing, maybe even threatening at first. Those who plan to launch more ambitious projects that will potentially grow massively in the future should opt for Magento.  

Magento is a good choice for medium to large projects and it can easily grow as the business expands. Some experience will be required to make the most of Magento or you should consider outsourcing the creation and the maintenance of your ecommerce website.

WooCommerce runs on WordPress and may be a bit more affordable than its competitor. It also has better results than Magento when it comes to ease of use and setting up a website quickly. Magento, on the other hand, offers a bigger range of built-in tools and it is a great enterprise-level solution.

No single eCommerce platform will fit the needs of all kinds of users. This is why you have to establish project parameters in advance and apply those to your research. Both WooCommerce and Magento will give you good site performance. Both of them are packed with features and tools. Gaining some experience with these two solutions could be the easiest way to make up your mind.

Alternatively, consult the team that you plan to outsource project management to and rely on their experience to pick one platform or the other.