Shopify vs Magento

If you are about to develop and grow your business further by building an e-commerce system, you may end up getting confused in choosing between Shopify and Magento. Right now, if you are looking for the best e-commerce service on the market, you will find that Shopify and Magento are the most popular answers. Even so, before you make a random choice out of the two, it is best if you understand first the differences between the two services. Yes. Shopify and Magento are quite different from each other. Depending on your aims and conditions, you may find either Shopify or Magento to be more suitable. So, what are the differences between Shopify and Magento? Which is the most suitable e-commerce service for you? Let’s see the comparisons of the two based on several key factors.

About Shopify

Shopify is actually a Canadian e-commerce company whose headquarter is located in Ottawa, Ontario. They develop computer software for e-commerce, particularly for online stores and retail point-of-sale (POS) systems. The products and services provided by the company are thus simply called Shopify. The company was founded in 2004 by Tobias Lutke, Scott Lake, and Daniel Weinand, and is now serving worldwide clients.

About Magento

On the other hand, Magento is an open-source e-commerce platform. It was originally developed by Varian Inc., a US private company, with assistance from volunteers. It uses the PHP programming language, MySQL/MariaDB relational database system, and Zend Framework. It also applies the conventions of object-oriented programming and model-view-controller architectures. Due to the open-source nature, Magento allows flexible customized implementation.

Shopify vs. Magento: Pricing

One of the reasons why Magento is very attractive to many business owners is the fact that it is available in a free version. Magento is available in two versions, which are the free Community Edition and the paid Enterprise Edition. Well, even though Magento Community Edition is free, don’t forget that you will need to set it up manually. If you are not a very technical person, you may need a professional help to set it up, which may still require some expense. Meanwhile, the Enterprise Edition can be quite pricey, but offers extended functions and features as well as technical support for installation, configuration, usage, and troubleshooting. Neither the Community Edition nor the Enterprise Edition provides hosting, so you will have to buy hosting separately. There is, however, the Enterprise Cloud Edition that enables rapid deployment with included hosting.

On the other hand, Shopify is available in four pricing options. The cheapest one, which is about 9US$ per month, already allows you to upload an unlimited number of products, but it does not make an online store for you. Instead, it gives you the Shopify Buy button to make sales. The second tier, 29US$ per month, gives you an online store with a website and blog included. The third tier, 79US$ per month, will give you an online store, a blog, the ability to sell on Pinterest and Facebook, professional reports, and access to the abandoned cart recovery feature. Finally, the highest tier, 299US$ per month, gives everything from the previous plans along with an advanced report builder and real-time carrier shipping.

Shopify vs. Magento: Ease of Use and Technical Challenge

Shopify is generally regarded as a plug-and-play solution. If you don’t want to do any development work and you prefer a complete solution instead, Shopify is the way to go. It is certainly the most technical friendly option. With Shopify, you only need to choose a theme and fill the sections, then you are ready to launch. Since Shopify is a hosted platform, there is no need to upload and place files on the server manually or to fumble with C panel settings. Still, we should point out that Shopify uses their own .liquid framework, which means that you can customize the look and feel of your site if you have some developer’s know how. Depending on the complexity of the solution that you need, this could be the most cost-effective route.

On the other hand, Magento will require quite some manual setups and settings. It is a download, and will be run locally on your own computer system. Of course, you can configure everything to the finest details with Magento, but this is most probably going to need a full-time developer or company to set up and maintain your online store. The Enterprise Edition will give you the total control plus full support. It may require extra effort, time, and money, but is superior if full-scale customization and a unique storefront are your aims.

Shopify vs. Magento: Marketing and SEO Effectiveness

When your business is going online, SEO marketing methods become the inevitable. Shopify gives a pretty good SEO functionality by giving you the ability to add meta tags and search engine console tags. However, in order to truly exploit SEO, you have to go deeper and edit your website’s file structure so that search crawlers will be able to understand your content more easily. Shopify, while giving a very user-friendly interface, doesn’t let you edit the core pieces of your site.

The non-hosted, open-source Magento is your best option if you want to go all-out. It gives you the ability to tweak your SEO strategy, as it allows you to go into the depths of the file structure and make various advanced configurations.

Shopify vs. Magento: Apps and Integrations

Due to the restricted nature, Shopify does not have as many apps and extensions as Magento. Still, as a widely used e-commerce, Shopify has some similar style extensions, but without as much customization in the implementation. Magento, on the other hand, by far has the most number of applications and extensions.

- A readily hosted e-commerce platform as a service- Open-source, non-hosted e-commerce platform
- Available in four pricing plans- Available in a free version and paid versions
- Simpler and easier to use, a plug-and-play solution- Requires complex setups and settings, may need a professional developer
- Less customizable, not very SEO-friendly- Much more customizable and in-depth SEO optimization
- Fewer apps and extensions- Significantly more apps and extensions


If you are looking for a plug-and-play solution for your e-commerce business, or if you don’t want to hire a full-time developer, Shopify can be the way to go. Shopify is very simple and straightforward, though it lacks in-depth customization and SEO optimization. However, if you want to go all-out and build the ultimate online store, Magento can be your choice. Magento can give you the fullest control and customization and SEO optimization, but may require a full-time developer to implement and maintain.

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