Shopping Carts Compared – Magento vs Shopify


Both Shopify and Magento are great shopping carts with a lot to offer, but there are also quite a few differences that you will want to take the time to examine. Since it launched back in 2006, Shopify has raked in more than $24 billion in merchant sales. Magento is another well-established hosted cart that powers a number of big companies, including Altogether, Zumiez and even Burger King.

There is no doubt that both of these shopping carts are the best in the world right now, but which one is going to match your specific needs? It is important that you take the time to look into these two options so that you can make a good final determination. There are enough differences between these shopping carts to warranty the research.

Hardware and Software Requirements

Shopify is completely cloud-based, which means that you only need to be connected to the internet with access to a web browser, such as Chrome or Safari. It is highly recommended that you utilize all of the latest updates.

Magento on the other hand is a self-hosted shopping cart, so it is important that you get the very best servers. A lot of companies tend to use Rackspace for Magento CE hosting.


Comparing these two shopping carts in terms of pricing is a bit tricky, simply because Shopify markets itself as a SaaS platform and has a clear pricing structure built in. The pricing structure for this particular shopping cart is very reasonable overall.

With Magento, there is a very different model to consider. Magento CE is actually available for free, but you will need to remember the cost of implanting it into your business. A Magento CE user has to spend money on hosting services, SSL certificates and web developers who are experienced with this using this platform. There are a lot of costs associated with using this particular shopping cart, so it could get expensive depending on the amount of external support you will require.

Ease of Use

When it comes to ease of use, these two shopping cart platforms are very different. The fact is that onboarding Magento CE can be a little frustrating and time consuming. Most people who decide to use this platform will want to hire a skilled company to help them get started. You will find that these design companies offer different levels of assistance, ranging from only the technical stuff to full-service suites.

Once you get Magento CE up and running though, you will find that the daily use isn’t that difficult or complicated whatsoever. The admin for this platform is extremely responsible and well-organized, so you will need to keep that in mind. A lot of Magento users make sure that they have a developer on-call to handle any significant changes though.

The content management system that Shopify uses is very solid, and there have been quite a few improvements made over time. The admin for this platform has been seriously refined for a very user-friendly overall experience. The Getting Started tutorial for this platform covers how to add new items, choosing a theme and much more. You really shouldn’t have much of a problem when it comes to using Shopify at all, especially with all of the different tutorials that exist.

Product Features

Magento CE and Shopify both load products as well as images, allow you to manage your inventory and orders, and complete sales. One of the big differences between these two platforms is that Magento offers a more solid discounting system than Shopify.

The fact is that Magento is a bit bulkier when it comes to its starter features. If you choose to host Magento yourself, you will have a lot more control over your store and how it functions as a whole. The feature set for Shopify is much lighter than with Magento, especially when you are first starting out.

Web Design

You will quickly discover that Shopify has some great free templates to explore. The themes are extremely simple and easy even for beginners to tweak without having to spend a lot of money on professional design services.

Magento CE has quite a few great free themes as well, but they aren’t quite as impressive as the ones that Shopify can offer. It is important to keep in mind that both of these cart platforms offer a seemingly endless supply of amazing themes as well as customization options.


There are a lot of great things that can be said about both Magento and Shopify, but chances are one is going to be a little bit better for you than the other. If you want to get all of your e-commerce needs met, it is important that you take the time to learn as much as possible about both of these platforms. In the end you will be glad you took the time to do this research.


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