Magento vs Shopify: The Ultimate Comparison Guide

Comparison between Magento vs Shopify is considered imperative for businesses stepping foot in the digital commerce industry. The choice of the eCommerce platform helps build a foundation that is firmly entrenched, which, in turn, becomes the reason for a lucrative business.

Before we answer which is better — Magento or Shopify, here’s an analogy that draws a basic line between them.

Let’s say, you own a self-driving (driverless) car. All you need to do is feed your destination in the system, and rely on the car to plan the route and navigate you through the traffic.

Here, Shopify is like the self-driving car that automatically manages the technical process — programming, coding, and the other back-end processes without you having to do anything. In short, no technical intervention is required.

On the other hand, your friend owns a manual car. A similar mechanical configuration, but here your friend gets to decide which route he wants to take, whether he wants to make a stop or two.

Magento store is like the manual car that holds the capacity to gain input from a developer’s end and is open for customizations. The source code is made available universally, and how you intercept it and tweak it is all up to you.

Manual car vs Driverless car analogy for understanding the difference between Magento vs Shopify

Here’s a Magento vs Shopify comparison guide to help make a strategic business decision.

Magento vs Shopify — An Overview

Before we move ahead with listing the differences between the two eCommerce platforms, here is a brief introduction to help you make an informed decision.

What is Magento Development?

Magento, an Adobe product, was founded in 2008 and is a PHP powered platform that accounts for about 30% of all eCommerce websites. Leveraged as an open-source product, Magento is a reigning success for its ever-increasing community of contributors.

Magento gets 50% (approx) of its code from a thriving community, which is impressive. More impressive is how the company is set up to make this happen.Tech Republic

The best part of Magento Development lies in the customization possibilities. A developer who has a knack for creativity can do a lot with Magento to offer a customer experience that stands out from the rest.

Magento is a custom-made solution that can be used by both startups and enterprises alike. If you are a startup, Magento’s open-source solution is the best thing you can ask for. On the other hand, if you happen to be a mid-sized or large enterprise, Magento Commerce and Magento Commerce Cloud are other viable options to consider.

Popular Magento stores include — Coca-Cola, Ford, and Budweiser

Note: Magento named a Leader in 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce Platform.

What is Shopify Development?

Popular as a hosted eCommerce platform, Shopify takes away the burden of managing the technical side of things. Founded in 2004, the Shopify development team created the product out of personal need and now powers over one million businesses worldwide.

It’s a plug-and-play platform with 24/7 support available. And, its user-friendly interface makes it a lovable experience for your customers as well.

Shopify is a ready-made solution that supports suitable plans for startups and established enterprises alike. If you are a startup, Shopify’s basic version is for you. It is both easy to use and gives you a professional background, but it is not free, unlike Magento. On the other hand, Shopify has a standard and advanced version that can be customized based on business needs.

Popular Shopify Stores include — Tesla, Red Bull, and Kylie Cosmetics

This comparison chart will help you figure out the fundamental differences between Magento and Shopify.

Magento vs Shopify: Basic Comparison
1. Founded 2008 2004
2. Built on PHP Ruby
3. Solution Type Open-Source Hosted
4. Suited for Enterprises with Large Product Catalogs Small-scale businesses selling limited products
5. Versions Open-Source

Magento Commerce

Magento Cloud Commerce

Basic Shopify


Shopify Advanced

6. Upgrades Magento 2 Shopify Plus
7. Number of apps and add-ons 3000 2400
8. Current Live Websites for US region (source: BuiltWith) 74,583 1,099,046

Magento vs Shopify – A Comparison Guide

The underlying section tries to uncover the differences between Magento and Shopify based on several parameters. As you scroll through, you’ll build clarity around what eCommerce platform will suit your business needs best.

1. Pricing

The good thing about getting started with Magento Development is the freely available basic version to kickstart your eCommerce business journey. Magento Open Source version of the software comes FREE of cost (excludes hosting, themes, add-ons, domain-name, SSL certificate).

The eCommerce platform also supports two advanced paid versions to expand your eCommerce business, i.e., Magento Commerce and Magento Commerce Cloud. There is no fixed pricing associated with the two versions, as it depends on how you choose to customize your store.

Here’s the pricing estimate based on your store value.

Magento Cost Estimation
Store Value
Estimated Cost
1. Magento Open-Source Startups Free
2. Magento Commerce Less than $5 million/yr

Less than $15 million/yr

Less than $25 million/yr




3. Magento Commerce Cloud Less than $5 million/yr

Less than $15 million/yr

Less than $25 million/yr




For an exact estimate, get in touch with Magento development companies that have experience with developing customized Magento-powered eCommerce solutions.

Shopify, on the other hand, comes with a 14-day free trial, beyond which, a fee is applicable. It is a plug-and-play solution where there is no need for the external costs of outsourcing or in-house management of developers. The costing varies from plan-to-plan. Here’s the Shopify pricing estimate for you.

Shopify Cost Estimation
Basic Shopify
Advanced Shopify

You get almost everything covered here — online store features, shipping, payment gateway integrations, apps, and advanced point-of-sale functionalities.

P.S.: Shopify even offers the flexibility to downgrade/upgrade the plan anytime.

2. Ease of Use

Magento Developers should be good at coding and handling other technical aspects as ease of use depends on their expertise. They should also possess good researching skills to access the community-contributed code.

Magento is not that user-friendly when it comes to handling the Magento Content Management System (CMS). But, the good thing is the freedom a developer gets to experiment and apply their creativity.

Magento supports a flourishing community of Magento developers from around the globe and an active help center that offers all-time support in the form of:

List of Magento help center tools

With less to worry about, the Shopify’s interface is easy-to-use and comes as a perk for the non-technical members of the organization. The platform’s “drag and drop” convenience makes it a cakewalk to set up an online store, irrespective of it being; B2B or B2C.

You can personalize the store, add/delete products, and even set up payment methods. The best part is that there is 24/7 support, live chat option, and email support.

3. Global Commerce

If you choose the Magento eCommerce Development platform, you will have an advantage — it takes only one Magento instance to support multiple eCommerce websites, languages, local payment methods, and global shipping providers.

Being an open-source solution and having a community-based forum, a developer can seek help from anywhere and anytime, irrespective of the geographical restrictions. Magento usage stats show significant growth, according to BuiltWith.

Magento Usage Statistics according to BuiltWith

Although it’s paid, Shopify fails at offering multiple-language support, currency support, or even localized payment systems. For what suits them best, Shopify has a good market in North America and continues to grow in a specific market with little or no support in the global sector. Thus, Shopify’s usage graph showcases slow growth.

Shopify Usage Statistics according to BuiltWith

4. SEO

Both Magento and Shopify offer similar search results irrespective of the platform you build it on.

These are a bunch of search engine functionalities & apps that Magento and Shopify offer for maintaining good SEO results.

The following comparison chart helps in deciding the next big step: What platform is search engine friendly?

Magento vs Shopify: Performance Comparison
1. SEO Customizations Can be customized by the developers Plugins available
2. Website Loading Speed 2.8 seconds 2.6 seconds
3. URL Structuring Issues exist Rigid URL structures
4. SEO App Availability Yes Yes

5. Upgrades

For all those who are running their eCommerce platforms on Magento, Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration becomes a prerequisite as Magento has ended its support for Magento 1 on 30th June 2020.

The features and extensibilities introduced by Magento 2 are worth it such as improved product catalogs, framework improvements, and streamlined approach to common admin activities. Many eCommerce platforms have already made this significant shift to make the most of the opportunity at hand. The migration involves a one-time cost, but it will lead to positive ROIs in the long run.

Stax Inc. interviewed nineteen eCommerce merchants that migrated to Magento 2. On a revenue-weighted average basis, the 3-year ROI of 165.3% was recorded.

On the other hand, Shopify has introduced a newer version of the eCommerce platform that is suitable for businesses that have outgrown the standard Shopify version and are making it big in the market, i.e., their annual revenue equates to about $1-2 million. The newer version is called Shopify Plus.

The abundant possibilities introduced by Shopify Plus make it an enticing up-gradation to consider. Heinz, the American food processing company, now runs on Shopify Plus as the result of COVID-19 impact on business operations. The Heinz store called, “Heinz to Home,” was launched within seven days of the announcement, thus paving the fastest route possible to the customers in the pandemic.

Shopify Plus offers myriad extensions and features, making it evident that its cost would be on the higher side too. The Shopify Plus plan starts from somewhere at $2000/month and can go up to $40,000/month.

In terms of Magento vs Shopify Plus, choosing Magento seems a viable option if you are looking for a global reach of all the stores. Stores powered by Shopify Plus need to be managed independently, i.e., it does provide a holistic management option.

Here’s an example — Legend Footwear, a Magento 2 powered footwear company, has been garnering success after we managed to optimize their store. The Net Solutions’ Magento certified team helped improve site speed, create a mobile-friendly website, offer better user experience, and accelerate the checkout process. Here’s a detailed insight:

Legend Footwear - A Net Solutions case study on Magento2 Optimization

Magento vs Shopify: Pros and Cons

After listing the differences between Magento and Shopify, here’s a comprehensive chart that enlists their pros and cons to narrow down your research.

Magento vs Shopify: Pros and Cons
Magento Timely updates

Intuitive admin interface

Myriad of payment options

Offers nearly 1500 plugins and extensions

Can manage sizeable incoming traffic

Optimal level of customizations

Magento developers are required

Resource intensive

Security is dependent on the level of configuration

Documentation is extensive due to the number of legacy versions

More suitable for enterprises

Shopify More of a plug-and-play solution

Timely updates, automatically implemented

Easy set ups, faster time to launch

High reliability and security

Advanced analytics capabilities available. For instance, in-depth statistics for abandoned cart

Expensive due to its plug-and-play nature

Limited control on your store

Not hosted on your server

Store migration is a complex process

Implementing customizations is complicated

Magento vs Shopify: Which one is More Powerful for eCommerce?

This Magento vs Shopify comparison is a comprehensive guide to help you make an informed decision. Now that the state of COVID-19 is unpredictable, businesses are focussed to shift from brick-and-mortar stores to online stores.

Both the eCommerce platforms differ on various parameters, making it imperative to analyze them before setting the foundation for your eCommerce business. Ponder on these factors before making your choice:

  • What is your budget?
  • What is the store size and the corresponding business needs?
  • Do you have developers, or are you looking for a plug-and-play solution?
  • What level of customization are you planning?
  • What is the vision for your eCommerce store in the coming years?

To discuss your requirements, you can always seek help from Shopify and Magento certified companies. The experts will help you in the best possible way to come up with the best-suited eCommerce platform.

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Talk to our experts for eCommerce platform development

Surabhi Shukla

About the Author

Designation: PHP developer
Forte: Magento Certified Developer
Likes: Listening to jazz and speed reading
Dislikes: Podcasts that are a drag
Claim to Fame: On the hunt still
Biggest Tech Blunder: Released a buid without internal testing
Wannabe: Time traveler

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