When starting your online store, there are multiple options as to which ecommerce platform you should use.
Magento, Shopify, Opencart, and multiple other ecommerce platforms, each one all has its benefits and drawbacks, and as a merchant, you should be well informed before making the decision.
In this post, we will address two among the ecommerce platforms, Magento vs Opencart, and compare the two platforms in both similarities and differences to help you make a smart and well-informed decision about which one is the best suitable solution for your business.
If you are also interested in checking out other ecommerce platforms to start your business with, then check our comparison with Shopify article linked in the later sections of this post.
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Magento & Opencart: Overview
Magento and Opencart are two of the biggest eCommerce platforms in the market. They are both robust with features, resourceful, and on equal footing in terms of popularity.
Which is the common reason why merchants find it difficult when putting Magento vs Opencart into consideration in their searching journey and decide which is the best platform they should choose for their store.
Overall, Magento is owned by Adobe and is the gold among the open-source eCommerce platforms. It has merchants in complete control of their store’s aspects and high scalability with all advanced features. Furthermore, this eCommerce platform is the perfect choice for your custom business if you have the technical knowledge and a development team to design and customize your online store.
This platform comes with two versions, among other supporting products, which are Open Source and Commerce. Magento also announced Commerce Cloud’s release, the end-to-end cloud-based platform for merchants to manage, personalize, and optimize the ecommerce customers’ journey. ACC is built on Magento Commerce Pro and was also integrated with Adobe Experience Manager.
From the statistics, 765,605 websites are backed by Magento. The platform is well-known and widely used by large enterprises, concentrating in the US, UK, Netherlands, and Germany.
Opencart is also a free, open-source eCommerce platform developed on PHP/MySQL code. The platform is widely known for its simplicity and user-friendliness.
It’s a solution for you if you don’t have much technical knowledge. Managing products, promotions, orders, and reports can be easily controlled from the admin backend without much technical involvement.
From BuiltWith information, Opencart is used by 969,524 websites as of 2020. The platform users are small and mid-size businesses in the U.S, Russia, U.K., Ukraine, and Brazil.
CHECK OUT Shopify vs Magento and Magento vs PrestaShop and pick the suitable one for your store!
Magento and OpenCart: Similarity
There are a few similarities in Magento vs OpenCart, and before clearing the differences between the two, we should first list what do both eCommerce platforms have in common:
- The platforms are both open-source, and they are developed in PHP
- Allows the ease to add products without much technical knowledge by using the templated approach.
- Offer a market of various add-ons.
- Supports multiple languages and currencies.
- Allows your customers to make recurring payments.
Now that we have looked through the similarities of Magento vs Opencart, we can now see how each platform distinguished itself from the other in all aspects.
Magento and OpenCart: Differences
For your quick information, we have thrown together an infographic below that compares Magento vs Opencart in various aspects before elaborating in detail on each section.
In addition, Magento contains robust functionalities for both B2B and B2C business. The Commerce edition with built-in B2B modules supports store owners to adopt necessary requirements for a better B2B shopping experience. In case you plan to use the Open Source edition, don’t worry because Magento extension providers develop a lot of Magento B2B modules to support wholesale business demands.
Meanwhile, Open Cart is limited for B2B functionality and users need to acquire add-ons to enhance the business.
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Administrator’s User Interface
One of the first among the distinguishing characteristics of the two eCommerce platforms is administrators’ user interface. No matter where you are in experiences with eCommerce platforms, either professionals or novices, you would want to seek the user-friendly interface to make the configuration contents and products process easier.
This aspect is where the simplicity of Opencart appeals to beginners. Its interface is easy to navigate. You can change the design and edit products in the backend without much effort once you have familiarized yourself with the left side panel’s different tabs.
The dashboard of Opencart also shows simplistic statistical data, which helps new merchants get information about how their business is doing.
Summary of key features:
- Easy to navigate side panel
- Present simplified statistical data
When putting Magento side-by-side with any other fellows, you would know right away that Magento is no walk in the park. The platform is packed with features and abilities, but there is a steep learning curve to master it.
Store owners who have a Magento website are often looking for developers to develop and maintain their store’s UX, UI rather than dealing with it themselves.
That being said, the Magento interface panel is also easy to navigate around, and you can see more statistics related to your store in a separate advance report and depends on each store view.
Magento also provides merchants with official guiding documents for merchants and the Magento forum can also support them with any issues they have in store management.
Summary of key features
- Magento sidebar is easy to navigate
- Technical knowledge required to a certain degree
- Comes with official documentation for help and support.
SEO & Marketing Tools
SEO and Marketing tools at your fingertips is another feature you might seek out in an eCommerce platform, and use as criteria in the comparison of Magento vs Opencart.
When it comes to equipping yourself with SEO weapons to boost your competition on Google ranking, many users are not satisfied with Opencart due to the limitation in its SEO features. The ecommerce platform does allow some basic adjustments like changing the meta tag and adding 301 referrals or rel= canonical, but you will need PHP programming skills to accomplish the tasks.
If you’re new, this process might become too complicated to handle.
Magento, on the other hand, opens the endless possibility for SEO. It will help you achieve higher ranks on SERPs as they give users multiple functionalities and extensions to customize their shop’s design & SEO attributes.
Magento allows owners to set ideal meta-titles, keywords, provide descriptions for their products, and set CMS pages’ keywords and categories. Magento also supports rich snippet and XML site map setup.
In addition to the SEO functions, Magento also has marketing integration with Google Analytics, Google Privacy Setting, Google Content Experiments, Google tag Manager, and Google Adwords. These powerful tools allow merchants to optimize content, analyze traffic, and make your shop appear in the competition.
The Verdict: When Magento vs Opencart in the SEO and marketing aspect, then Magento easily outshine its competitor. Opencart does allow some SEO features, but if you want high-end SEO friendly and marketing solutions without fumbling with complicated codes, then hands down to Magento.
As a study conducted by Quanta pointed out, Opencart’s response is a little behind compared with other eCommerce platforms. It took an average of 831 milliseconds to load, and the category page was even taking a longer time at 910 milliseconds – about 1.6 times Google’s recommendation for SEO.
The slow loading time could have negatively impacted the user’s experience, with two-third of UK customers think the slow loading website is the reason for their abandoned cart. (Moth, 2012)
If Opencart wants to get more customers and appeal to store owners, this is the part where it needs to improve.
On the other hand, Magento scored their platform’s loading page at an average of 665 milliseconds, which exceeded the “under 500 milliseconds” Google’s standard.
The Verdict: Overall, Magento wins this round over Opencart, with a much faster loading page time.
Apps & Add-ons
Opencart marketplace is vast, with around 13,000 extensions available (both free and paid). You will be able to find plugins, themes, extra functionality modules in there.
Magento marketplace has fewer extensions and modules available on its marketplace. Those are designed to go smoothly with the Magento backend, which empowers merchants with more features without dabbling much in code.
Currently, Magento marketplace has 3,500+ extensions that are carefully checked for plagiarism, coding standards, compatibility, and security.
The Verdict: The Opencart marketplace is larger than Magento with more apps, and benefits merchants in customizing their store’s functionality. Magento offers fewer extensions, however, they are closely monitored and look out for any security or integrity issues.
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In terms of themes, Opencart supports 500+ themes free & paid (which cost around 60$ – 70$), while Magento themes have 11 on Magento marketplace and around over 600 themes on Themeforest.
Opencart lets you see how the themes would look like on your store before deciding on which one you want to pay for. You can also edit the theme later using Opencart’s Theme Editor.
On the Magento side, it comes with a default theme Luma, and a blank theme that you can use to custom your own theme from scratch.
Similar to Opencart, Magento themes do allow demos for users to check out how the theme looks with their store before deciding on buying them. And with the feature giving you the ability to design Magento 2 themes from the beginning, there’s no measure of how much you can personalize and add in touches to your store.
The Verdict: In the theme comparison, Magento 2 vs Opencart is tough to choose. Both have multiple themes available on the marketplace, and they allow editing/creating a customized theme of your own.
Ease of use
In the ease of use, Magento vs Opencart battle has shown the latter to be easier for beginners in the installation and setup process.
However, you still need some technical knowledge of hosting, FTPs, security updates, etc.
On the other hand, Magento is robust and offers a lot of features, which means the merchant will have more control over some elements of the store. That both empower users, but also make the program heavier, and the process of installation and configuration are much more complicated.
On each tab in the Magento’s admin panel, there are a staggering number of setting options that are actually more time-consuming to Google all the configuration steps than the configuring process itself.
Doing any customization, maintenance, or installing extensions for the site would require an understanding of technology, quick to pick up knowledge, and some wiz about the platform.
Luckily, if you still want to get the most out of Magento and are not that much tech familiar, you don’t have to do it alone. There are Magento service providers dedicated to working with the platform. They will support you with all the needs from building your Magento website, maintaining, updating, and migrating to import and export your product data to the store.
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The Verdict: Opencart is the easier one to install and set up out-of-the-box. It’s designed to be friendly with new businesses, and you would be ready to get the business going in after a few hours of setting up.
Magento, on the contrary, is the perfect platform for medium and large retailers. It is challenging for merchants with none to a little tech experience, and the installation process would be time-consuming and require research about the platform beforehand.
But if you are confident with your technical expertise, or have an experienced Magento developer team working with you, then go for it, because the platform is ideal for you. Magento is strong for its capability of fully customizable functions, designs, and there are tons of plugins for you to expand your store’s abilities.
Pricing & Costs
For the Open Source version of Magento, you will not have to pay a fee for the platform itself, but you still need to take hosting costs, themes’ price, and development expenses into account.
Opencart is completely free but similar to Magento, you still have to pay for hosting, theme, and website development. If you want to add premium features or dedicated supports from Opencart, you have to spend some extra money on that as well.
|$100-1000 per month for hosting||$12 – $50 per month for hosting|
|Theme range from $30 – $500
|Extensions & themes from $20-$150
Magento and Opencart both have the paid versions, with Magento Commerce started from $22,000/annually, and Magento Commerce Cloud which costs $40,000 / year. Opencart also provides paid Cloud versions with three payment options. All of the two platforms’ free & paid are shown below:
If you want to read more features beyond what the open-source version could offer, or thinking of a paid plan with other ecommerce platforms, then Shopify Plus is also a good candidate for you to consider.
Check out Magento 2 Commerce vs Shopify Plus before bumping your store up with these paid options!
With an Open-Source ecommerce platform, you might be more concerned about the developer community than the customer service from either Magento or the free version of Opencart, as it’s often border to none exist.
But, over time, the Magento community has grown to 450,000 members, and developers who want to share their technical knowledge. If you’re a tech-savvy person and be able to selectively choose the answers you need, then a large community will be a huge benefit for you.
Apart from the community, Magento also provides a step-by-step guide for merchants which explains in detail all the installation, configuration of themes and modules, etc.
Opencart, similar to Magento, also has a Community Forum for people to share their knowledge and experiences in operating online businesses, with a total of over 120,000 community users. The second way of getting the support you need is to purchase the dedicated support service starting from $99/site/month.
The Verdict: Magento and Opencart are both open-source platforms, therefore you better seek the answer from the Community Forum and other service provider’s consultation than depend on the platform’s support. Opencart does give you dedicated support, however, the cost for it is expensive.
Magento takes security very seriously and they often monitor their system for any risks. They release patches often and along with the updates, so you can always ensure that your website is protected by updating the version and security patch often to keep your store from hackers and frauds’ attacks.
Also, following Magento’s security guidelines from ServerGuy would give you helpful materials for Magento 2 protection.
Another Magento’s interesting feature is the Content Security Policies (CSP), which is also accessible for open source Magento. These are powerful tools that help mitigate the risk of Cross Site Scripting (XSS) and related attacks, like card skimmers, session hijacking, clickjacking, and more.
Opencart isn’t responsible for securing your website, so it is up to you to secure your own server. The fact that it’s an open-source platform, which means the code is publicly available for everyone, and the platform has fewer patches and upgrades make it further vulnerable to attacks from hackers.
Opencart third-party add-ons contain security holes as well, and they are not as regulated and screened as Magento does. So if you’re going with Opencart, be cautious about using third-party extensions, and don’t use the ones from dubious origins.
The Verdict: If you’re looking for a platform that’s robust, always up-to-date and security guaranteed, Magento is more suitable for you than Opencart.
When it comes to the battle of payment methods, Magento 2 vs Opencart shows Opencart surpass its competitor in quantity.
36 payment methods can be integrated with Opencart, which includes 2Checkout, SagePay, Paypal, WorldPay, and more. Other payment methods can be downloaded from the Opencart Extension Store.
Magento by default only has Paypal, Braintree as payment methods. Merchants can then add more to their preference via Magento Marketplace. On top of that, you can try out features such as one-click payments, guest checkouts, etc.
The Verdict: Opencart provides more payment gateways, which is a competitive advantage over Magento by default. For both platforms, users have ways to add more payment methods to their liking and try out certain payment features that would benefit the store.
More comparison: Magento vs Woocommerce – Which one was developed for you?
More importantly, for merchants, you can’t miss the comparison chart of Magento vs Shopify vs BigCommerce – three giants in the eCommerce world.
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We have listed highlighted features from two among the popular ecommerce platforms, Magento 2 vs Opencart, and will leave you to review, consider and give your final decision to shopping for the platform that is suitable for your business.
To sum up all the comparison, Magento is more complex and requires a higher level of technical proficiency, but it’s a powerful, more secure platform which allows merchants to customize how their site looks and its functions more extensively than Opencart. If you’re a growing fast business with a bigger budget, then Magento is for you.
On the other hand, Opencart thrives on being beginner-friendly and cost-effective, which is a suitable choice for small startups and medium-sized businesses.
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Charlie is an experienced Magento Tester and has started at BSSCommerce for some time. He loves writing about Magento products, e-commerce topics, and is a fan of all technical problems Magento related. If you have a question, he's happy to help.