Why Look for Magento Alternatives?
Magento is an open source ecommerce platform, which means it’s free to use. Currently supporting over 250,000 online stores, it’s clearly a popular choice – but is it right for you?
In order to build online stores on Magento, you’ll need to understand how to code. You’ll also need to consider the additional costs that come with open source platforms, including fees for hosting, security, design, and maintenance.
Whether you’re looking for an ecommerce website builder that’s easy to use, or simply on the hunt for an alternate open source platform, we’ve got you covered. Using our wealth of web design knowledge and industry research findings, we’ll show you eight of the best Magento alternatives, helping you make a final decision on which platform to use.
There are two types of Magento alternatives: website builders, and other open source platforms.
Website builders, also known as Software as a Service (SaaS), provide a ‘ready-out-the-box’ solution, allowing anyone to build a website quickly and easily with a flat-fee subscription.
Open source platforms like Magento offer limitless customization, provided you know how to code. They’re free to install, and you can create any type of ecommerce store you like, either by customizing a template or creating a whole new site from scratch. The software itself is free, but you’ll need to pay for hosting, security, and maintenance fees.
In this article, we’ll discuss the best ecommerce website builder and open source options, leaving no stone unturned on this pebbly beach of Magento alternatives.
If you’re a web developer, then we’d recommend that you open up your ecommerce world to these open source platforms:
Bluehost knows best
In order to use an open source platform, you’ll need to find a web hosting provider. But don’t fret – we’ve done heaps of hosting research, testing each hosting provider in categories including customer support, server uptime, and value for money.
Bluehost was the clear winner from our research, boasting server uptime of 99.98%, brilliant customer support options, and budget-level pricing. It’s also really easy to use, which is why we’d recommend using Bluehost to support any of the above platforms.
Best for Selling Through Your Blog
|WooCommerce Pros|| WooCommerce Cons |
|Helpful WordPress community: Large community of WordPress web developers on hand to help with your issues|| Not the easiest to use: Difficult to use for inexperienced users, and you’ll need to rely on help from developers when issues arise |
|Free to install: The WooCommerce plugin itself is technically free, but you’ll need to add it to an existing WordPress site, which comes with additional costs|| No dedicated support: Limited customer support beyond the community of developers |
|Extra plugins: Huge choice of plugins available to customize your website|| |
WooCommerce at a Glance
WooCommerce is the ecommerce plugin for WordPress. It’s one of the most popular ecommerce solutions around today, enabling you to turn your WordPress website into a powerful online store.
While WooCommerce is free to install, you’ll need to pay for additional features like hosting (roughly $35-$50 per year), security, website maintenance, and a theme design ($39+ ).
If you know how to code, then you have free reign in terms of customization. You can also choose from thousands of extensions from the WooCommerce extension store to give your site great functionality in all areas of ecommerce.
However, the quality of a plugin is never guaranteed, because anybody can create them. WooCommerce does lose points with its lack of built-in features, but you can avoid most plugin problems by reading reviews and star ratings for each product.
In terms of built-in WooCommerce tools, you’ll get:
- One-click refunds
- Blogging tools: WordPress is the best blogging platform on the market
- Huge plugin market: It has more plugins/apps than any other open source platform on our list, offering more flexibility and creative freedom
Easiest-to-Use Open Source Platform
|PrestaShop Pros|| PrestaShop Cons |
|Easy to use: Provides a demo on how to build a PrestaShop store, while offering more intuitive web development tools than Magento|| Expensive support: The dedicated PrestaShop support plans cost $250 per month for three hours of support, or $399 for the whole year for just six hours of support. |
|High-performance: Provides faster page-loading than Magento, owing to its lack of chunky CMS (content management system)|| Expensive upgrades: Once you’ve published your site, you’re either stuck with that version of PrestaShop forever, or you’ll need to pay thousands of dollars to upgrade. |
PrestaShop at a glance
Like WooCommerce, PrestaShop is free to install, but comes with additional costs. You’ll need to pay for hosting, security, and the dedicated customer support plans, which start from $250 per month.
PrestaShop’s themes start at $65 each; the majority of modules cost between $30 and $50 each, but you can pay up to $500 for the highly advanced modules, which are all one-off fees.
PrestaShop offers around 3,000 modules to add extra functionality to your store, which is clearly far fewer than WooCommerce’s 50,000-strong offering. As we mentioned earlier, WooCommerce provides few built-in features, leaving you little choice but to rely on plugins – which can be risky.
In contrast, PrestaShop offers an excellent range of built-in tools that you can trust to help improve your business. These include:
- Partnerships with 250+ agencies: A unique feature that enables you to find web design and marketing experts with ease, filtering your search by price and required skills
- Physical and downloadable products
- 1,500+ templates
- Automated emails
- Coupon codes
- Free shipping
- Gift wrapping
- Support for four payment options: Stripe, PayPal, bank transfer, and checks.
Best for International Selling
|OpenCart Pros|| OpenCart Cons |
|Easy migration from Magento: Both platforms are built using PHP code and use templates to upload products, making it easy to transition from Magento.|| Hidden costs: While OpenCart is free to use at first, you’ll need to pay for hosting, security, your domain, and the dedicated support costing $99 per year. |
|Multi-language options: Offers multi-currency and language options|| Dated themes: Template designs appear slightly dated compared to most other platforms’ |
OpenCart at a glance
Familiar with Magento? Then you should feel comfortable using OpenCart. They are both built with the same code, and offer thousands of plugins to personalize your store.
If you’d like access to dedicated customer support, you’ll either need to pay a monthly fee of $99 per month, or $99 for a one-time fix each time you encounter an issue, on top of your monthly hosting, security, and domain fees.
You’ll have access to over 13,000 apps to add extra features to your online store, and you can edit the code however you please. You’ll find these features already built-in:
- Multi-language and currency options: List products in GBP, USD, and Euros, which is something you can’t do on WooCommerce or PrestaShop unless you find a plugin to do so
- Product reviews and ratings
- Downloadable products
- Guest checkout
- Recurring payments
- Themes from third party web design agencies
4. Zen Cart
Best Cheap Open Source Option
|Zen Cart Pros|| Zen Cart Cons |
|Page editor: Editing your content is relatively simple thanks to the drag-and-drop feature. This means you’re never left blind while making edits|| Outdated and difficult to use: Even by open source platforms’ tricky standards, Zen Cart’s user interface is outdated, and the backend is far from intuitive |
| Zero customer support: While there is a Zen Cart forum, there is no option for dedicated customer support like there is with OpenCart or PrestaShop |
| No demo: You cannot trial Zen Cart. Instead, you’ll need to download it onto your server and then start building an online store to see how it works, which is very time-consuming |
Zen Cart at a Glance
Zen Cart is an open source platform in need of a spruce up. The dashboard is outdated and tricky to navigate, while the choice of templates may leave you feeling like you’re stuck in 2003. However, Zen Cart is totally customizable if you know how to code, giving you a bit more creative freedom, and you can reach out to a large community of web developers if you need assistance.
Zen Cart Pricing
The ongoing costs of using an open source platform varies from merchant to merchant. With Zen Cart, you’ll need to purchase a domain name, a hosting provider, and a security certificate.
You will save money on Zen Cart’s dedicated customer support options…because there aren’t any. Instead, you’ll need to reach out to the community of developers for help.
Zen Cart Features
Once you’ve climbed over the learning curve, you might enjoy using these built-in Zen Cart features:
- Drag-and-drop page editor: Designing your storefront on Zen Cart is far easier than on any of the above platforms, thanks to the ‘what you see is what you get’ (WYSIWYG) style page editor
- Discounts and coupons: Either percentage or fixed amount
- Gift certificates
- ‘Call for quote’ pricing: Hide your product prices when selling to businesses
- Multiple product images
- Shipping estimator: Give your customers an idea of how much they’ll spend
- SEO tools: Update metadata (the info that Google pulls through on the results pages) and descriptions of your products
From our extensive user testing and industry research, we can confidently say that these ecommerce website builders are the best in the business:
Best Ecommerce Website Builder
|Shopify Pros|| Shopify Cons |
|Easy to use: A beginner-friendly platform that requires no coding knowledge whatsoever|| Imposes transaction fees: The only website builder on our list to enforce its own transaction fee, unless you use Shopify Payments |
|Users love it: 88% of users from our research would recommend Shopify|| High cost of apps: Shopify relies on its huge app market for many ecommerce features, and the app costs can quickly add up |
|Powerful and intuitive: Brilliant inventory system, enabling you to sell across multiple channels including Facebook, Amazon, and Instagram|| |
Shopify at a Glance
Shopify is a one-stop-shop for ecommerce, supporting over 600,000 merchants worldwide. It provides intuitive design tools, brilliant sales features, stunning templates, and dedicated customer support, all in one place.
Unlike open source platforms, Shopify offers set price plans, so you always know what you’re paying. Check them out below:
In light of the recent COVID-19 outbreak, Shopify has increased its free trial period to 90 days. If you enjoy using Shopify, you’ll need to upgrade to one of its premium plans once the trial is over.
- Shopify Lite: $9/month – add ecommerce to your Facebook page
- Basic Shopify: $29/month – cheapest plan to build your own store
- Shopify: $79/month – ideal for growing businesses, offering a gift cards feature
- Advanced Shopify: $299/month – for large businesses looking to scale
- Shopify Plus: Bespoke – for enterprise level companies with huge budgets
Relying somewhat on 1,200+ apps to add extra functionality, Shopify does provide excellent built-in tools to help your business sell and grow. These include:
- Abandoned cart recovery: recoup lost sales by encouraging users to finalize abandoned purchases
- Multi-channel integration: Sell across social media and Amazon
- Shipping partnerships: Ship easily with USPS, DHL Express, UPS, and Canada Post
- Product variants and categories
- Supports 100+ payment gateways: More than any other ecommerce website builder
- Shopify Payments: Its own payment gateway imposes zero transaction fees and supports 10 currencies
- Sell digital and service goods
2. Wix eCommerce
Best for Small Shops
|Wix eCommerce Pros|| Wix eCommerce Cons |
|Design tools: Wix boasts the best design tools around, enabling you to seamlessly edit your storefront’s design with its drag-and-drop tool and WYSIWYG editor|| Stock management: Wix won’t alert you when your stock levels are running low, which makes it difficult to grow your store |
|Wix ADI: Generates a personalized, professional website for you in just a few minutes, which you can customize further yourself|| Too much freedom: Some users may become overwhelmed by the creative freedom, which can hinder ecommerce design best practices |
|Advanced ecommerce tools: Wix offers brilliant sales tools, including abandoned cart recovery, to entice customers who have left un-purchased items in the checkout|
Wix eCommerce at a Glance
Rather than a dedicated ecommerce platform like Shopify or BigCommerce, Wix is a website builder which enables you to add ecommerce functionalities to your website through its Wix Stores feature.
That’s why Wix is our top choice for small online store owners – Wix demands almost zero tech experience, and you can build beautiful storefronts that function smoothly.
Wix eCommerce Pricing
There is no free trial period, but you can build your online storefront at no cost. However, in order to take payments and start earning money, you’ll need to upgrade to one of the premium plans:
- Business Basic: $23/month – accept online payments and remove Wix ads
- Business Unlimited: $27/month – Wix’s most popular plan, offering great value for money
- Business VIP: $49/month – for large businesses, featuring VIP customer support
Wix eCommerce Features
Wix can’t be beaten for ease of use. Shopify may have more powerful sales tools, but that makes it that much more tricky to function than Wix.
Wix also offers 250+ apps within its app market, which you can add with one click. But what else does it bring to the ecommerce table?
- Sell physical, digital, and service products
- Product display templates
- Product zoom feature: This built-in feature really helps to improve the shopping experience for your visitors, and is only available via the app marketplace on Shopify
- Accepts 15+ payment methods: Including PayPal, Stripe, and Square
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Multichannel selling: Sell across Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Amazon
- Wix Ascend: An all-in-one marketing tool, available as a subscription ranging from $9 to $45 per month
- Checkout customization: In 2018, Wix made it possible to customize your checkout to keep up with ecommerce platform leaders like Shopify and BigCommerce
Best for Large Businesses
|BigCommerce Pros|| BigCommerce Cons |
|Scalable: Used by huge brands like Skullcandy, BigCommerce has the tools to help your business grow exponentially|| Jargon: The user interface is filled with complex terminology, which can be confusing for beginners |
|Built-in tools: Unlike Shopify, BigCommerce offers everything you need for selling online already built-in, saving you spending hundreds of dollars on apps|| Ease of use: Its advanced features may take a little getting used to |
|Superb SEO: BigCommerce will ensure your online store gets found easily on Google, bringing more clicks and cash to your website|| |
BigCommerce at a Glance
An ecommerce heavyweight, BigCommerce is for ambitious businesses looking to reach new heights. It prides itself on its wealth of built-in features and data reporting tools, boasting an average annual growth rate of 28% for its clients each year.
Currently, if you sign up to the Standard plan, you’ll get one month for free once your 14-day free trial is over, and two months for free if you sign up to the Plus plan. The selection of BigCommerce price plans is as follows:
- Standard: $29.95/month – Sell online through your stunning online store
- Plus: $79.95/month – Grow your online business and increase conversions
- Pro: $299.95/month – Scale your large business to the next level with a comprehensive range of tools
- Enterprise: Bespoke – Contact the sales team for a bespoke quote
We’ve lauded BigCommerce and its range of built-in features so far. Let’s take a look under the hood:
- Sell physical, digital and service products without using apps (it’s the only ecommerce builder that can do this, saving you time and money)
- Zero transaction fees: Unlike Shopify, BigCommerce doesn’t hook you onto its own payment gateway, enforcing zero transaction fees on all its plans
- Processes over 100 currencies: That’s 90 more supported currencies than Shopify
- Supports 65+ payment gateways
- BigCommerce Shipping app: Use its own all-in-one shipping service, and enjoy up to 80% discounts on USPS, DHL, and FedEx.
- Abandoned cart recovery
- 600+ apps
- Multi-channel selling: Sell across social media, eBay, Amazon, and more
4. Squarespace Commerce
Best Designed Templates
|Squarespace Pros|| Squarespace Cons |
| Stunning designs: Offers the best designed templates of any ecommerce website builder || Stunning designs: Offers the best designed templates of any ecommerce website builder |
| No app store: You’re limited to the range of built-in features || No app store: You’re limited to the range of built-in features |
|High-quality features: Its ecommerce tools are mighty impressive, offering flexible product variants and automatic emailing|| Learning curve: Its advanced design tools may take some time to get used to when compared to those on Wix eCommerce |
|Superb inventory system: The backend is powerful and comes with excellent analytics tools|| |
Squarespace at a Glance
The leader in design, Squarespace is the best ecommerce website builder for building beautiful storefronts. Its ecommerce tools aren’t too shabby, either. Squarespace Commerce is ideal for creating eye-catching restaurant booking systems and magazine subscription websites.
Squarespace offers a 14-day free trial and four pricing plans – two of which enable you to sell online.
- Basic Commerce: $30 paid monthly, or $26/month paid annually (save $48/year)
- Advanced Commerce: $46 paid monthly, or $40/month paid annually (save $72/year)
Basic Commerce is suitable for smaller businesses, while the Advanced Commerce plan unlocks more advanced tools like gift cards, abandoned cart recovery, and the ability to sell subscription products.
Squarespace Commerce Features
Is Squarespace Commerce more than just a pretty face? You betcha…
- Flexible product variants: Categorize products by color, shape, and size
- Sell unlimited products
- Inventory management: Organize your inventory by price, name, or number left in stock
- Sell physical, digital, and service products
- Automatic emailing
- Mailchimp integration: Design professional newsletters with ease
- Beautiful blogs: If you want to add a stunning blog to your online store, then look no further than Squarespace
Tired of using Magento? Heard it’s not right for you? Whatever your situation, you’re not alone. Magento isn’t for everyone, but there are plenty of excellent alternatives out there, whether it’s an open source platform or an ecommerce website builder. Let’s recap our top pick Magento competitors for both types of alternatives…
The Best Open Source Magento Alternatives are:
- WooCommerce: Best for Selling Through Your Blog
- PrestaShop: Easiest-to-Use Open Source Platform
- OpenCart: Best for International Selling
- Zen Cart: Best Cheap Option
Open source platforms offer almost endless possibilities, provided you know how to code. These platforms are not for beginners, but they enable you to create totally bespoke online stores that can help your business stand out online.
Don’t have the coding know-how? Don’t worry, most people don’t! Anyway, that’s what ecommerce website builders are for.
The Best Ecommerce Website Builder Magento Alternatives are:
- Shopify: Best Ecommerce Website Builder
- Wix eCommerce: Best for Small Shops
- BigCommerce: Best for Large Businesses
- Squarespace Commerce: Best Designed Templates
Shopify came top in nearly all our user testing categories, so can you guess which platform we would recommend? That’s right, Shopify – it’s the best overall ecommerce website builder on the market, and you can’t really go wrong with it.
Wix eCommerce comes in close second. If you want to build a beautiful website and sell a few items on the side, then Wix has all the tricks. Wix can’t match BigCommerce or Shopify for sales tools, or Squarespace for template designs, but it’s a well-rounded Magento alternative.
As you can see from our two lists, there are some wonderful Magento competitors out there. Is it time to let go of Magento…?
Bluehost is our top-rated hosting provider and is recommended by WordPress thanks to its seamless one-click setup process and its wide variety of WordPress plugins. On top of that, Bluehost offers competitive pricing, excellent customer support, and 99.98% server uptime to keep your website ticking along.
It depends on your skill level and how much creative freedom you want. Ecommerce website builders like Shopify, Wix, BigCommerce, and Squarespace don’t require any coding and they sort the hosting and security for you. Open source software like WooCommerce and PrestaShop require strong coding knowledge, but you have unlimited customization.
It depends on your budget and skill level. WooCommerce offers over 50,000 plugins that are simple to install, to help you add extra functionality to your store, but it offers limited customer support beyond its community of developers. PrestaShop offers an on-boarding demo, and a dedicated customer support subscription, but the support costs $250 per month for just three hours of help.