Magento vs. OpenCart – Choosing the Right Ecommerce Platform

Whether you’re looking to build your first online business, or are simply thinking about exploring new Ecommerce tools, there are tons of options when it comes to Ecommerce platforms as we enter 2019.

If you’ve done any prior searching around, you’ve probably come across the names Magento and OpenCart. They’re two of the most common Ecommerce platforms used to create online businesses, and they’re among the most effective.

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To help you choose between them your online business, we’re looking at the state of Magento and OpenCart into 2019, their similarities and differences, and what to consider when deciding which is right for you.

Magento and OpenCart Platform Overviews

Graphic of a computer screen showing a dashboard of statistics

Graphic of a computer screen showing a dashboard of statistics

First, before diving into a comparison between these platforms, let’s look at what makes each of them unique.

Magento

Magento is one of the most popular dedicated Ecommerce platform in the world, and has been used to build webstores for online businesses since its official release in 2008.

It’s beloved by users for its intuitive use, the powerful range of Ecommerce tools it provides, and the incredible customization options allowed through Magento extensions.

Perhaps the most notable aspect of the platform is the massive size of the community that lends to its growth. Both Magento’s in-house developers and third-party developers (like us) create a community of over 315,000 contributors who enhance Magento’s Ecommerce capabilities.

OpenCart

Launched publicly in 1999, OpenCart’s home page states its software is “Simple to Start. Easy to Run.” and that holds true for the Ecommerce platform.

OpenCart is often chosen for requiring less effort to learn the ins-and-outs of the platform, and letting users get right to selling. It offers everything any basic webstore needs to sell its products or services, making it a favorite for many.

OpenCart offers a range of tutorials to help new users take the reins with confidence, and like Magento, is supported by an active and helpful online community.

How They’re Alike

Graphic of a 3D model holding a magnifying glass

Graphic of a 3D model holding a magnifying glass

Open-Source

Both Magento and OpenCart are open-source platforms, meaning anyone with the programming knowledge can develop, and even market, tools that enhance each platform’s functionality.

Accessible

Both Magento and OpenCart were designed to be user-friendly enough to be operated by non-programmers by using templates that allow anyone to build an online business.

They also both offer add-on installations that provide additional features which meet the needs of different webstore types, without requiring users to have any programming knowledge.

Worldwide

The ability to sell internationally is becoming more important for businesses of all kinds, and not having capability in 2019 is potentially crippling.

Both Magento and OpenCart have an international reach that touches over 200 countries across the globe. Meaning, online businesses are free to operate with virtually any customer audience, regardless of which platform they choose to use.

How They’re Different

Graphic of a 3D model balancing itself on a scale with "Yes" on one side and "No on the other"

Graphic of a 3D model balancing itself on a scale with

When it comes to the differences between Magento and OpenCart, the most notable aspects are SEO, customization, and design restrictions.

Search-Engine Optimization (SEO)

Magento is a platform designed to meet Ecommerce needs of operations of any size. To meet this end, it is designed to naturally the enhance SEO of the webpages you create. Furthermore, Magento allows for deeper SEO customization to best match your website’s strategy.

OpenCart, on the other-hand, is more limited. For example, it does not allow users to alter custom URLs for their pages, which significantly impacts the way search-engines find your website (plus unique URLs tend to look more professional to the visitors of your website who notice them).

Website Customization

Magento’s templates give a breadth of customization, and comes with ample pre-installed choices to create a variety of unique designs.

OpenCart also has an easy-to-use website building system using templates, though it isn’t nearly as expansive as what Magento offers.

In both cases add-ons are available for purchase to extend each platform’s design options.

Website Design

While both platforms support a variety of ways for online businesses to sell products and services, Magento is unarguably more flexible—and often more expensive.

Simply put, the range and kinds of extensions available to enhance Magento websites are more plentiful and powerful than what OpenCart is capable of. However, this is only an issue for stores that expect to use enhanced features that go beyond the basic listing and ordering process.

Many smaller operations will have everything they need with OpenCart, though larger and longer-time businesses may want to consider Magento for the virtually unlimited room it provides them to grow.

Final Verdict

Picture of a gavel, used to represent the verdict between Magento and OpenCart

Picture of a gavel, used to represent the verdict between Magento and OpenCart

Magento

This comprehensive Ecommerce platform is the best bet for professional operations, and those who anticipate needing more website flexibility as their online business grows.

Magento’s expansive customization allows for a variety of different webstore styles, while providing the tools necessary to stay competitive at any level of online businesses.

The platform may take more time and effort to master (or money to hire a professional designer), but the end results of managing a powerful and completely adaptable webstore can’t be ignored.

OpenCart

This intuitive Ecommerce platform is great for those who want to dive in and hit the ground running and manage their web store without needing to worry about more in-depth administrative hassles.

OpenCart’s simple startup and effective range of selling tools allow anyone to bring their business online with ease, though it should be noted that there isn’t room to grow beyond the platform’s limited customization capabilities.

An excellent choice for independent and smaller-scale businesses, or those who don’t have the time or resources to learn a more complex platform.

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