Dec 20, 2021
Will M. & Tamara J.
Magento vs Shopify: Which One Is Ideal for Your Online Store?
Shopify and Magento are among the most popular eCommerce platforms, but their features are vastly different and they target different types of users.
This article will compare Magento vs Shopify to help you choose the right eCommerce platform for your needs, regardless of your online business idea.
We’ll break down our analysis of the two eCommerce platforms in terms of ease of use, store management, customizability, marketing and search engine optimization (SEO), performance, security, customer service, and pricing.
Shopify Pros and Cons
|Great for beginners.|
Shopify has an intuitive user interface that’ll get you selling in no time.
|Pay to use.|
Shopify’s core plans range from $29-$299/month.
|Users who prioritize convenience and don’t mind paying extra.|
|A hosted solution.|
Everything you need to run a website, like web hosting and an SSL certificate, is included in all Shopify plans.
You have to rely significantly on predefined design settings.
|Users who want an all-in-one solution to launch a website right away.|
|Optimized for mobile.|
Your mobile eCommerce site is fully integrated and has the same functionality as its desktop version.
This applies to users who don’t use Shopify Payments.
|Busy small business owners who want to grow their brand quickly.|
Shopify is a hosted eCommerce platform that offers a user-friendly solution for building an online store. It’s an excellent option for beginners or users with limited technical skills to get their online store up and running quickly.
Creating your eCommerce site with Shopify is a straightforward process. It features an intuitive drag-and-drop website builder tool and an extensive collection of Shopify themes to get you started on website design.
Some other notable Shopify features include abandoned cart recovery, traffic and referral reports, and an integrated mobile app for sellers.
Magento Pros and Cons
|Flexibility and customization options.|
Easily design and scale your website by choosing from more than 4,000 extensions.
|Not for beginners.|
Magento’s more complex to manage than Shopify, so it is best for enterprise-level businesses looking for long-term scalability.
|Intermediate to advanced users who want ultimate control over the design and functionality of their online store.|
|Large user community.|
The platform is mainly community-driven, so various resources are available to reach out to more experienced users or Magento developers.
|No dedicated customer support.|
Unless you opt for Magento Commerce, the free version of this platform doesn’t have a dedicated support team.
|Users who prefer a hands-on approach when setting up their eCommerce site.|
|Free to install.|
There are no costs when downloading or signing up for the Magento Open Source platform.
|Longer setup time.|
You’ll need some web development and technical knowledge to launch your online store.
|Users who don’t mind investing more time in the set-up process.|
Magento Open Source is a self-hosted open-source eCommerce platform. It’s ideal for enterprise-level businesses and users who want complete control and customizability for their websites.
Magento is also easily scalable. Site owners can add a broad range of features and functionalities to their eCommerce store by coding or choosing from the thousands of extensions available.
Unlike Shopify, this platform is better suited for those with experience in website creation and management. Opting for Magento means that you get to choose your preferred eCommerce hosting solution, purchase a domain name, handle general site maintenance, and manage your own hosting resources.
Note that Magento offers two types of solutions – Magento Open Source and Magento Commerce. While the former is free to download, it’s an eCommerce platform tailored for small and medium businesses.
Magento Commerce, on the other hand, is a premium solution that offers a wide range of built-in resources and tools suitable for large-scale eCommerce businesses.
In this article, we will focus on comparing Shopify with Magento Open Source.
Magento vs Shopify: Comparing the Two eCommerce Platforms
|Shopify||Magento Open Source||Verdict|
|Ease of Use||Shopify wins|
|Store Management||Shopify wins|
|Marketing and SEO||Magento wins|
|Security||Depends on your preferences|
|Customer Support||Shopify wins|
|Pricing||Depends on your preferences|
Magento vs Shopify: Ease of Use
When it comes to ease of use, Magento and Shopify have very different start-up requirements.
To start a Shopify account, simply sign up on their website by choosing a name for your store and filling in its business details. You’ll immediately have access to the store’s dashboard, and your free 14-day trial will begin.
Shopify will automatically set up a demo store on your account using a default theme and placeholder products so you can check how the platform works.
Then, you can start configuring your store. Shopify’s user interface is intuitive, so navigating the relevant tabs to set up your Shopify plan, payments, and other store settings is easy.
Switch up the look of your eCommerce store by choosing from a wide variety of Shopify’s free and premium themes.
Adding products is also straightforward. On your Shopify dashboard, navigate to the Products tab and click Add product. On the next screen, configure details such as the product title, description, images, and pricing.
When using Magento, the start-up process is a bit more involved. The first step is to download Magento Open Source. Then, choose a web hosting plan that supports this eCommerce solution.
After securing web hosting, it’s time to install Magento. There are multiple ways to do this, depending on your hosting provider. On Hostinger, you have the choice to set up Magento manually or via our auto-installer.
Once that’s done, you’ll have access to your new website and Magento dashboard. Here, you can monitor sales, view recent orders, and check the view count of each item. Unlike Shopify, your Magento site will look pretty bare to begin with.
Fix this by installing a theme for your new Magento store. Then, start adding products. Do this by navigating to the Catalog -> Products tab and clicking the Add Product button.
Magento vs Shopify: Which One is Easier to Use?
If this is your first time creating an eCommerce site, we recommend Shopify since it’s beginner-friendly and offers a faster setup.
Shopify’s intuitive tools are especially useful if you want to launch a website quickly and sell trending products.
Unlike Magento, which requires some technical knowledge and time to configure, Shopify comes with built-in resources to make your online store fully functional.
However, there’s always the option to hire a Shopify Expert to help develop and design your eCommerce platform from scratch.
Magento vs Shopify: Store Management
Next up, it’s time to compare Shopify and Magento in terms of store management.
All Shopify plans, as well as Magento, allow unlimited product listings. This means they’re both excellent choices for all types of online businesses, regardless of catalog size.
Managing orders, sales, and billings are also pretty straightforward on both Shopify and Magento dashboards.
A plus point for Shopify is that they have a built-in Analytics tab to help merchants review their returning customer rates, conversion rates, and even traffic rates by device type.
On the other hand, Magento has a great system for users to easily categorize their products and configure how catalogs are presented on their website.
Shopify supports multiple payment methods. Enable Shopify Payments or choose from 100 third-party payment providers offering either direct or external payment gateways.
Alternatively, enable an integrated payment processor like PayPal, Facebook Pay, Amazon Pay, Google Pay, and Apple Pay directly from the dashboard.
Note that payment processor fees vary, but you can use Shopify’s own payment gateway to avoid additional transaction fees.
To choose and enable a payment method, access your Shopify dashboard and navigate to Settings -> Payment providers.
You’ll then need to configure taxes for your online store.
Shopify offers a dedicated Taxes screen that makes it easy to calculate depending on the items you sell and the regions you sell in. Note that it’s necessary to set up shipping zones before manually setting tax rates.
Similarly, Magento supports 150+ payment gateways, although it requires some coding to configure and integrate these on your eCommerce site. You’ll also need to manually add different gateway commands, such as to authorize or void payments.
By default, Magento lets you enable PayPal and Braintree automatically. Alternatively, integrate other payment methods via the extensions available on Magento Marketplace.
Once you’ve installed a payment gateway, enable them on your Magento site by navigating to Stores -> Configuration -> Sales -> Payment Methods.
In terms of taxes, Magento offers different tax calculation settings depending on region, shipping method, product type, and customer type. For example, set the appropriate tax class for retail vs wholesale customers, or taxable vs non-taxable goods for gift items.
Both Shopify and Magento offer flexible shipping options, automatic calculations for shipping costs, and integrations with several dropshipping and fulfillment platforms.
Shopify partners with various shipping services and uses default carriers such as FedEx, UPS, DHL, and USPS. However, you can integrate more delivery options by adding a shipping extension via the Shopify App Store.
Once the chosen shipping methods are enabled on your eCommerce website, it’s time to set the shipping rates. There are multiple options available, including flat or calculated shipping rates.
To manage shipping rates from the Shopify dashboard, navigate to Settings -> Shipping and delivery. Click Manage rates next to the relevant shipping profile, and then click Add rate to enter the value manually.
To add weight-based or price-based shipping conditions, click Add conditions and select the relevant option.
Similarly, Magento enables you to integrate different delivery and fulfillment methods with shipping extensions via the Magento Marketplace. Available options include UPS, FedEx, USPS, and DHL.
After installing a shipping extension, configure its settings directly from the dashboard and enable them for checkout.
Alternatively, Magento also offers its own integrated delivery service called Magento Shipping, which you can activate by signing up for a Magento Shipping account.
Tracking shipments is also a relatively simple process via your Magento dashboard. Simply navigate to Sales -> Shipments and see which orders are currently in process.
Magento vs Shopify: Which One Has Better Store Management?
Shopify wins this round by a slight margin since it offers a few more built-in tools that help take the guessing out of managing an online store.
It also has a slightly more intuitive design interface, meaning that it’s easier to navigate the dashboard and find the right pages to configure settings.
Magento vs Shopify: Customizability
Customizability is critical when choosing the right platform for your business. You need the right eCommerce tools to create a unique digital storefront that stands out from the competition.
With Shopify, there are three main ways to personalize your online store – with themes, apps, and the platform’s drag-and-drop website builder.
Shopify has around 80 themes with free and paid options, each one with a detailed description of what type of store, catalog size, and traffic volume it is best suited for.
A plus point is that you can try out each theme on your online store before purchasing it to ensure it is compatible with your preferences and branding.
Alternatively, view each theme’s demo store to get an idea of its look and feel, user interface, and features.
To add more functionality to your online store, purchase extensions via the Shopify App Store. It offers a wide range of tools, from email marketing and discount calculators to sales analytics.
Shopify also offers a feature called Sections and Blocks available with any 2.0 theme. It’s a drag-and-drop page builder, enabling users to control the placing of headers, images, buttons, and text without needing to edit code.
However, Shopify also provides its website owners with access to edit the HTML and CSS files of their store.
Magento offers similar features, especially when it comes to extensions.
The Magento Marketplace is where users can purchase extensions for customer support, email marketing, site optimization, and more.
Magento has just a few default theme options ready to go on its Marketplace. However, since the platform targets intermediate and advanced users, many customize their online store manually via code.
There are multiple ways to install custom themes on Magento, regardless of whether you created or downloaded them from a third party. Make sure to follow some of Magento’s theme development best practices to ensure proper usability and compatibility.
Magento vs Shopify: Which One Offers More Flexible Customizability?
Although Shopify wins when it comes to usability and simplicity, Magento is the better option for ultimate customization.
The fact that users can edit or add custom code directly to their website’s files is a plus point. It’s especially useful for more advanced users or for enterprise-level Magento merchants looking to scale their business.
Magento vs Shopify: Marketing and SEO
For an online shop to generate sales, it first has to attract traffic. Both Magento and Shopify offer excellent marketing and SEO capabilities to help their merchants reach potential customers.
Having a platform that enables you to implement SEO best practices is crucial so that customers can find your products easily. For example, by including relevant keywords in product descriptions and using proper meta tags on product images.
Shopify automatically updates your sitemap.xml with new product listings, webpages, and blog posts. The platform also enables sellers to easily customize their products’ meta tags and URLs with SEO-friendly keywords.
All Shopify plans have built-in social media integration tools for platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Tumblr, making it easier to drive traffic and create backlinks.
Additionally, Shopify sellers can download marketing tools and SEO extensions via the Shopify App Store to maximize their marketing strategies.
Similarly, Magento comes with plenty of SEO tools and guides to get started. Users can edit image alt tags and customize URLs to be SEO-friendly.
There’s also an SEO Best Practices guide to help Magento sellers improve their website rankings. It includes information like how to enhance metadata and generate a sitemap.
Just like with Shopify, you can also download marketing and SEO extensions from the Magento Marketplace.
Magento vs Shopify: Which One Has Better Marketing and SEO Features?
Although Shopify has great built-in SEO features, we’re giving this round to Magento.
Not only does Magento have plenty of information and developer tips about all things SEO, site owners can completely edit and alter their website structure to be SEO-friendly.
On the other hand, Shopify sellers have to rely on extensions to extend their eCommerce sites’ SEO capabilities.
Magento vs Shopify: Performance
Good performance and speed are crucial factors to maximize conversions, especially considering 40% of people will leave a website if it takes more than three seconds to load.
On Shopify, website performance is guaranteed. As a hosted platform, they take care of all maintenance and optimization processes.
To speed up websites, Shopify carries out several procedures. For example, they use a content delivery network (CDN) run by Fastly, set browser and server-side caching, and adopt fast global servers to achieve better loading times.
Shopify also has a list of best practices sellers can implement to improve the speed of their websites, which include disabling unused apps and using only well-coded themes.
They also suggest that merchants avoid doing complex edits or customizations to their site’s Liquid code since it may negatively impact overall speed.
On the other hand, the speed and performance of Magento Open Source websites significantly depend on the hosting provider, which can be either a pro or a con.
If you pick a subpar web host and a hosting plan that lacks the server resources to run a Magento site, it will run slow.
On the other hand, if you choose a hosting plan with sufficient resources from a reliable web host that allows you to scale features as needed, you can expect a fast website.
Before landing on a decision, make sure to review Magento’s system requirements to check if a potential web host can handle the needs of a Magento site.
Magento vs Shopify: Which One Performs Better?
This round’s winner is Magento. Although Shopify offers guaranteed site performance, you don’t get complete control over factors like hosting resources and server space.
It’s worth the extra effort to find a great hosting provider that offers scalable hosting plans to suit your growing business.
To give your Magento eCommerce site the best chance of having strong performance and fast loading speeds, we recommend opting for a cloud hosting solution with isolated resources, unlimited bandwidth, and multiple data centers.
Magento vs Shopify: Security
Security is another crucial factor when running an online store. Not only can it enhance brand credibility, strong security measures mean your store and your customers’ data are protected from potential attackers.
Shopify enables business owners to take a hands-off approach when it comes to security. As a hosted eCommerce platform, it provides essential security measures for its online stores, including a 256-bit SSL certificate.
The platform also maintains secure server networks, protects cardholder data, and regularly monitors and tests its systems for security vulnerabilities. All back-end or server-side maintenance, such as updates and caching, are also taken care of by Shopify.
Additionally, all Shopify stores are PCI compliant by default, so users don’t need to work on it to accept credit or debit card payments.
In contrast, Magento users have to take additional measures to ensure the security of their eCommerce site.
Just as with performance, the web host plays a major role in keeping your website safe. That’s why we recommend opting for a hosting provider with strong built-in security measures and that conducts regular maintenance.
At Hostinger, for example, all cloud hosting plans include a free and secure content delivery network (CDN) that blocks malicious traffic and caches content regularly. We also use Cloudflare-protected nameservers to shield your DNS infrastructure from DDoS attacks.
However, Magento does provide some security best practices for its users to follow and regularly releases dedicated security patches to keep websites safe.
Neither Magento nor Shopify are hack-proof, though – both platforms experienced security breaches in late 2020.
Shopify was under scrutiny when two rogue support staff stole customer data from over 100 merchants, exposing more than 1.3 million customer records.
Similarly, almost 2,000 Magento stores were compromised in a large hacking campaign that targeted merchant websites’ source code with malicious script, leaking shoppers’ payment details.
Magento vs Shopify: Which One is More Secure?
The answer to this question depends on your preferences.
Shopify is great for small to medium-sized businesses that don’t mind relying on the platform’s standard security measures.
However, it’s important to note that you cannot do much to enhance your Shopify store’s security. For example, you can’t switch to more secure servers or choose a more secure SSL certificate.
For Magento, sellers have the freedom to improve and enhance their own store’s safety measures by implementing the latest security technologies.
Magento vs Shopify: Customer Support
A responsive and dedicated support is important when running an online store. That’s because the quicker it fixes issues, the quicker sellers can go back to making sales, attracting customers, and gaining profit.
Shopify offers a dedicated 24-hour support team reachable via email, live chat, or phone call.
On the Help Center, users can find general information about Shopify, how to migrate to the platform, and how to navigate the admin dashboard. You can also try Shopify’s learning platform and take advantage of the courses they offer on eCommerce.
For users who want to browse more tips, tricks, and advice, Shopify has a community discussion forum for its merchants, where they can participate in discussions on topics such as marketing, accounting, and troubleshooting.
Unless you opt for the Magento Commerce premium solution, there’s no dedicated 24-hour support staff to help guide you through issues. However, Magento does have a DevDocs page dedicated to helping you install and configure the website.
There’s also an active Magento community forum where users and developers can share information, tips, and ideas to help you build your eCommerce site on this open-source platform. For example, there are dedicated tabs about extensions, hosting, and even programming.
Magento vs Shopify: Which One Provides Better Support?
Although both Magento and Shopify have resource-rich support forums, Shopify provides greater customer support.
Regardless of what core Shopify plan you’re on, the platform offers all of its merchants round-the-clock support, which is especially useful if you need specific solutions to unique problems.
Magento vs Shopify: Pricing
In terms of pricing, Magento and Shopify are very different eCommerce platforms. Here’s a comparison table:
|Cost||Shopify Lite: $9/month|
Basic Shopify: $29/month
Advanced Shopify: $299/month
Shopify Plus: $2,000/month
|Magento Open Source: free|
Magento Commerce: from $22,000/year
|Hosting||Included in your Shopify plan, except for Shopify Lite||Starts from $9.99-$69.99/month (cloud hosting)|
|Themes||Free-$310 (one-time fee)||$30-$499 (one-time fee)|
|Transaction fees||Basic: 2%|
Don’t apply if you use Shopify Payments
Shopify charges monthly subscription and payment processing fees. You can choose to extend the billing cycle to one, two, or three years to receive a discount on the total price of the plan, not to mention a 14-day free trial.
Shopify’s most affordable plan is Basic Shopify at $29/month, which charges a 2% transaction fee for every sale you make. It includes your own eCommerce website and blog, unlimited product listings, two staff accounts, 24/7 support, and up to four inventory locations. It’s an ideal option for new eCommerce business owners.
Their mid-tier plan is simply called Shopify and costs $79/month with a 1% transaction fee for each sale. Compared to Basic Shopify, this option gets upgraded staff accounts for up to five users and five inventory locations, making it an excellent choice for fast-growing businesses.
Advanced Shopify is their most expensive plan at $299/month with a 0.5% transaction fee. You get up to 15 staff accounts, eight inventory locations, and also third-party calculated shipping rates. This option is aimed at scaling businesses that require advanced sales and management reports.
The platform also offers two alternative pricing options – Shopify Lite and Shopify Plus.
The Lite version costs $9/month and is ideal for merchants who already have an existing website and want to integrate Shopify’s features. The Plus version starts at $2,000/month and offers enterprise-grade solutions for high-volume stores.
Magento Open Source is free to download. Even so, there are additional costs that you’ll need to consider if you want to create a fully functional and feature-rich online store.
To get started, you’ll need to find web hosting. We recommend opting for a cloud hosting solution as it provides enough server space and resources to handle a Magento installation.
At Hostinger, all cloud hosting plans include unlimited bandwidth, a free SSL certificate, dedicated hosting resources, and a free domain for one year.
Unless it’s included in your hosting plan, you’ll also need to set aside funds for regular website maintenance costs.
In addition to hosting plan renewals, these often include domain name registration and renewals, an SSL certificate, payment gateways, and inventory management tools.
If you opt for the premium Magento Commerce solution, monthly costs will depend on your business’ revenue. However, prices start from approximately $2,000/month.
However, Magento Commerce is a hosted solution and includes advanced support, hosting services, and built-in features.
Magento vs Shopify: Which One Offers Better Value for Money?
The answer to this question ultimately depends on your preferences.
We recommend Shopify for those who don’t mind paying for convenience and Magento for those who have more time to invest in their business and want greater control over its resources.
Although there’s a higher monthly cost than the Magento Open Source platform, Shopify’s plans include essentials like web hosting and security measures.
Furthermore, even though Shopify charges transaction fees, eligible merchants can avoid these by signing up for Shopify Payments.
However, Magento is the better option for users who want a low initial cost to start their online business. Open Source is free to download, and you can find excellent hosting options for less than $10/month – still cheaper than Shopify’s most affordable monthly plan.
Plus, there are no transaction costs when selling on Magento, meaning that site owners keep all the profit they earn from sales.
When deciding between Magento vs Shopify, it’s important to note that the two eCommerce platforms target different types of users.
To choose the right eCommerce platform for your business, make sure to consider both immediate needs and long-term goals.
We recommend Shopify if the following factors are important to you:
- Beginner-friendliness. You’re just starting out and want an easy-to-use platform.
- Quick start-up process. You want an all-in-one solution to launch an online business immediately.
- Intuitive website building tools. You prefer using preset themes and extensions to develop your eCommerce site.
- Convenience. You don’t want to worry about optimizing the site for performance and speed, and prefer the platform to take care of maintenance.
Alternatively, we recommend Magento if you prioritize any of the following points:
- Scalability. You run a fast-growing business and potentially need to scale resources quickly.
- Customizability. You are an intermediate or advanced user and want complete access to edit the code and structure of the website.
- Control. You’re not afraid of investing a lot of time and potentially money to have complete control over how your online store operates in terms of hosting and resources.
Regardless of your choice, both Shopify and Magento are great platforms to start an eCommerce business and make money online. Good luck!