Building an eCommerce website now becomes much easier thanks to platforms such as Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento. etc. Each platform has its own advantages and disadvantages. This takes eCommerce merchants a lot of time to consider and identify what is a suitable platform for their websites. In this blog, we’re going to share with you the differences in many aspects between Shopify vs Magento, the two most popular names, to help you choose a perfect platform for you.

At first, let’s have a quick view of Shopify and Magento.

Shopify was founded in 2004 by Tobias Lutke, while Magento was released 4 years later, in 2008 by Boy Rubin. Both of them are creating enormous impacts in the eCommerce world.

NoData & StatisticsShopify Magento
1Number of merchants1 million (across 175 countries)250.000
2Distribution for websites using eCommerce technologies (*)23%8%
3Big brand names Tesla, Nestle, RedBull, Budweiser, …Nike, Hermes, Ford, Nespresso, …

The popularity of Shopify vs Magento. (*) Source: Builtwith

Distribution for websites using eCommerce technologies
Distribution for websites using eCommerce technologies. Source: Builtwith

Shopify vs Magento Comparision

Now comes the most important part, we’ll highlight the differences between Shopify and Magento by looking at the fundamentals and most important features.

#1 Coding language 

When talking about coding, it is the most different part that differentiates the two platforms. While Magento is written by PHP, Shopify uses a coding language called Liquid. While Magento is an open-source platform, Shopify is a hosted solution using proprietary code. 

We want to discuss this because the coding language determines what you can do with your websites. Open-source platforms allow anyone to easily modify the source code while modifying proprietary code is impossible. With Magento, you get limitless customization possibilities to fit your specific needs. Unfortunately, this can be limited when you’re using Shopify.  

This makes Magento a better solution for building your unique store, but just for experienced developers. For newbies who just want to start with simple and small stores, Shopify looks more suitable.

#2 Shopify vs Magento: Pricing

Pricing might be the biggest concern because merchants always care about how much they will cost when using any platforms.

  • Shopify users can get access to a 14-day free trial before start paying with three main plans: Basic Shopify ($29/month), Shopify ($79/month), and Advanced Shopify ($179/month). With the higher tier options, merchants can access more advanced features and priority support.
  • Magento provides the Community version that is free for everyone, but you might have to purchase a hosting plan or get developers to help you.

At first glance, Magento seems to be cheaper than Shopify. However, the costs for enterprise editions of the two platforms are relatively the same.

  • The license fee of Magento Commerce is at least $22000/year, plus an extra cost of $2000/year for using the cloud platform.
  • Shopify owns Shopify Plus which starts at $2000 per month. So the total cost for a year is at least $24000.

#3 Extensions, apps, and add-ons

App marketplace of Shopify vs Magento
Source: couldways.com

All eCommerce platforms always need extensions, apps, and add-ons to attract users to stay with their platforms, and Shopify and Magento are no exception. Merchants can easily find over 4500 apps on the Shopify app store and more than 5000 extensions on the Magento marketplace. There are free apps and paid apps on both marketplaces, which help improve your stores in all areas of business such as accounting, marketing, shipping, and more. However, while Magento’s merchants only have to pay one time for lifetime license and upgrades, Shopify only allows users to buy subscriptions.

#4 Shopify vs Magento: Scalability

Almost all merchants want to scale their businesses, so opting for a platform that has high scalability is very necessary. In this section, Shopify seems to have more weaknesses than Magento.

As your store is hosted by Shopify, so in the future, if you want to grow your store, it might be hard and time-consuming. Therefore, if you’re planning to start a small business, Shopify can be an excellent choice.

Magento is more preferred because of its more extensive flexibility and scalability. It can easily deal with high levels of traffic so if you want to scale your business without reaching any limitations, Magento can be a better solution.

#5 Themes and design

The store design is always a powerful tool to attract and engage customers, and this depends strongly on the theme you choose for your website.

shopify theme store
Source: Shopify

Shopify and Magento offer themes – both free and premium. Currently, the Shopify theme store provides users with over 100 templates, but merchants can find other templates from other sources like Themeforest where it has more than 1000 options. Meanwhile, Magento 2 has thousands of themes available on various marketplaces.

theme forest
Source: Themeforest.net

>>>> DONT PASS BY: Best 10 Shopify themes 2020 for Your Perfect Business Launch

Aside from appealing layouts and clean design, good themes need to be responsive which means they can be suitable for a wide range of screen sizes, especially for smartphones.

However, they still have some differences. Again, because of the Shopify coding language, you can’t get many tweaks you want. You just can simply change some fundamentals such as colors, fonts, adding sections and images, etc, and that is all you can do. Unlike Shopify, Magento has far more design options with its open-source. With the upgrade to Magento 2, the company introduced drag and drop features, so merchants can make beautiful sites in no time.

#6 Ease of Use

As mentioned above, Shopify has no coding required, while Magento requires users to have basic knowledge about coding. Therefore, we can easily see that Shopify is more newbie-friendly and intuitive than Magento. While you only have to spend about ten minutes to understand the Shopify dashboard, you might run into a lot of problems when setting up your Magento store without developer support.

>>>> READ MORE: Shopify Tutorial 2020: How to quickly build a Shopify store?

#7 Community and Support 

No eCommerce merchants want to start their businesses with a platform that has a poor community.

Today, we’re only talking about two official communities of two platforms that are Magento Community and Shopify Community. Until now, The Shopify Community seems to be more active with 700k members and its number of posts is five times more than Magento’s.


Shopify CommunityMagento Community
Members700k450k
Posts750k150k

Source: Shopify Community and Magento Community

In both communities, users can ask any questions and find many relevant topics to solve their problems as soon as possible.

Regarding customer support, this is a big plus for Shopify when its users can get access to 24/7 support even with the cheapest plan (Basic Shopify). Meanwhile, customer support of Magento is only available with the enterprise edition (Magento eCommerce).

#8 Shopify vs Magento: SEO 

To make sure customers find your store easily, your website has to be on the first page of the results. To do that, search engine optimization (SEO) is incredibly important. Fortunately, the SEO capabilities of both platforms are very good and ranked highly on search engines. According to research from ecommerceplatforms.com, Magento was ranked first, and it was followed by Shopify.

Shopify vs Magento: Final thoughts

From all that has been discussed above, there’s a wide range of different aspects between Shopify and Magento that you need to carefully consider when opting for the best eCommerce platform for your business.

If you want to grow your online store with a platform that has customization capabilities and scalability, Magento is a suitable choice for you. Furthermore, it will be free with an open-source edition. However, you have to know some technical knowledge or access to developers.

Nevertheless, if you are a newbie in the eCommerce world and desire to create a simple store, Shopify is the best option for you. At first, Shopify plans only start at $29/month, so it’s definitely affordable for you. Moreover, Shopify allows you to understand the dashboard within only ten minutes and get support 24/7 when you encounter any problems.

Have a good start for your business today!

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