Comparing WordPress vs. Magento is like comparing apples and oranges. Both help you build online stores, but they cater to different audiences and business needs.
WordPress is a multifunctional content management system (CMS) designed for blogs, portfolios, and online stores. In contrast, Magento is primarily made for ecommerce.
So how do you decide which platform is suitable for your new online store?
Read the rest of our guide to find out.
We’ll explain the key differences between Magento and WordPress and highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each one to help you choose.
What is Magento?
Magento is an open source software that helps you build online stores. It is one of the most comprehensive ecommerce solutions on the market that you can use for free.
Magento is built with an ecommerce-first approach. It provides features, such as:
- Catalog and inventory management.
- Shopping cart functionality.
- Customer and order management.
- SEO, sales, and marketing tools.
- Integrated payment gateways.
- Shipping and tax management.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a small business that sells locally or a large global enterprise — Magento has everything you need to sell online. It supports multiple currencies, languages, and websites by default.
The best part about Magento is that it’s fully customizable. You can modify its core functionality using third-party extensions and code.
The only downside to using Magento is that it isn’t beginner-friendly. Although you don’t need to be a programmer, you’ll need some familiarity with the command line to install Magento, add extensions, and manage its operation modes.
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What is WordPress?
WordPress is an open source content management system that allows you to build websites without technical skills. It lets you install themes and manage plugins using a browser.
WordPress isn’t an ecommerce platform by nature, since WordPress is a CMS and complex features such as ecommerce are in the realm of a plugin. You need to install a WordPress plugin like WooCommerce to transform it into an online store with features like:
- Catalog management.
- Cart and checkout.
- Payments integration.
- Shipping and tax management.
WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world, and its official ecommerce plugin, WooCommerce, is one of the top three ecommerce technologies.
Magento vs. WordPress: pricing
Although WordPress and Magento are open source software, both applications offer paid subscriptions that include hosting and support. Here’s a brief overview of their editions and pricing plans.
Magento pricing plans
Magento is available in two primary editions:
- Magento Open Source.
- Adobe Commerce.
Magento Open Source is the free-to-use version of the platform. Although the software is free, you need to install and host it on a web server. That can cost you anywhere from $50 to upwards of $500 per month, depending on your store size, functionality, and traffic.
Adobe Commerce is the paid version of Magento that provides advanced functionality and cloud hosting. Its license costs upwards of $25,000 annually and is calculated based on the store’s annual Gross Merchandise Value and Average Order Value.
WordPress pricing plans
WordPress is available in three editions:
- WordPress VIP.
WordPress.org is the free, self-hosted version. It’s fully customizable and offers all the features you need to build a website. The hosting cost of a WordPress.org website can range from as little as $5 to over $500 per month, depending on the website’s database size, storage needs, and traffic.
WordPress.com is the managed software as a service (SaaS) version. It’s available in four pricing plans: Personal, Premium, Business, and Ecommerce. Only the Ecommerce plan that costs $70 per month — $45 per month if paid annually — allows you to build an online store.
WordPress VIP is an enterprise solution that provides premium hosting, security, and features. The pricing for WordPress VIP starts from $25,000 per year and varies depending on factors like monthly traffic, support needs, and the number of applications.
Magento vs. WordPress: hosting
WordPress and Magento are drastically different platforms with unique hosting requirements. Let’s compare the hosting options available for both solutions.
Magento hosting providers
You can host a Magento store in a few different ways, such as:
- Shared hosting.
- Dedicated hosting.
- VPS hosting.
Further, you can opt for managed and unmanaged hosting providers for each option.
Unmanaged hosting providers include a number of features for Magento and store hosting — not just SSH access on the VPS.
Although a little more expensive, managed hosting providers give you access to hosting setups with Magento installed and ready to use. You can launch your online store quickly and focus on growing your business instead of managing the underlying infrastructure.
That’s important because Magento is a complex platform with several software dependencies. While those dependencies don ’t have to be used, they do enhance its functionality while also adding complexity.
Managed Magento hosting providers simplify running a Magento store. They handle the installation, optimization, and security of your server, so you don’t need to worry about all the technical stuff.
WordPress hosting providers
You can host WordPress in the same ways as Magento. However, WordPress has a simpler codebase and fewer software dependencies. So, it’s easier to host and significantly cheaper to maintain.
Hosting a WordPress website on Amazon Lightsail VPS usually costs as little as $4 per month. However, it doesn’t include server security, optimization, or technical support. You’ll need to hire WordPress agencies or freelancers for those tasks.
On the other hand, managed hosting providers like Nexcess give you WordPress hosting starting from $19 per month. Although it costs more, managed hosting includes server security, optimization, and 24/7/365 technical support.
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Magento vs. WordPress: security
Magento and WordPress are popular platforms which makes them attractive targets for hackers. Let’s compare the built-in security features of both platforms to understand which one is more secure out of the box.
Magento security features
Magento implements multiple security measures in every aspect of the platform, right from the core architecture to the admin panel and storefront. Here are some of the best security features in Magento 2:
- Secure framework: The Magento framework uses secure coding conventions to protect against cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks. It also uses tokens for request verification to prevent cross-site request forgery (CSRF).
- Built-in two-factor authentication: Magento supports two-factor authentication from multiple providers like Google Authenticator, Authy, and Universal Second Factor (U2F) devices.
- Admin security settings: Magento creates unique admin URLs to protect your store from common password-guessing attacks. It also lets you secure the admin panel with features like user permissions, password lifetimes, login attempt limits, and admin session expiry.
Adobe also provides a free security scan tool that tests Magento stores for over 21,000 malware exploits. That makes it easy for users to stay on top of their online store security.
WordPress security features
Unlike Magento, WordPress takes a more simplistic approach to website security. It only provides a handful of built-in security features, such as:
- User access control: WordPress supports multiple user types, such as administrator, editor, author, and contributor, with varying access levels.
- Secure password generation tool: WordPress includes a secure password generator that lets you create strong passwords without a third-party plugin.
- XSS and CSRF protection: WordPress uses secure functions and cryptographic tokens to protect against common XSS and CSRF exploits.
Magento vs. WordPress: SEO
SEO features are essential for your online store. Without them, your store won’t rank on Google, and you’ll need to rely on paid ads for sales.
Let’s compare the SEO features of WordPress vs. Magento to see which one’s better.
Magento SEO features
Magento is a seasoned platform that provides several automated and manual SEO tools to help you rank your online store on search engines.
Some of our favorite Magento SEO features include:
- Structured data markup: Magento’s default template is optimized for the product type schema.
- Metadata customization: Magento gives you multiple options across product, category, and CMS pages to customize your store metadata for search engines. It also supports canonical meta tags to prevent content duplication.
- URL rewrites: Magento’s URL rewrite tool lets you create automatic and manual redirects to prevent 404 errors.
Magento addresses all essential SEO needs. It helps you optimize your store for search engines straight out of the box.
WordPress SEO features
WordPress offers a limited number of built-in SEO tools. Here’s what you get:
- Auto-generated sitemaps and robots.txt: WordPress generates a robots.txt file each time a search engine robot visits your site. It also offers built-in sitemap support to help search engines crawl your website easily.
- Custom URL structures: WordPress lets you customize your website URL structures using preset tags.
- Update Services notification tool: WordPress sends automatic XML-RPC pings to notify Update Services about changes to your website.
However, WordPress with WooCommerce misses essential features like product metadata customization and automatic redirects. But you can always add those manually using free WordPress plugins from its official marketplace. Or you can use filters, actions, and hooks to customize any number of things within WooCommerce.
Magento vs. WordPress: plugins and extensions
Both WordPress and Magento have large ecosystems of plugins and extensions. Let’s find out which one is better and why.
Magento plugins and extensions
Magento’s flexible architecture allows you to extend its core functionality without compromising the platform’s integrity. Its open source codebase also empowers developers to design unique solutions for Magento users.
Magento’s official extension marketplace offers nearly 3,500 extensions verified and vetted by Adobe’s team of experts. You can also buy thousands of free and paid third-party extensions from extension companies like Amasty, Mageworx, and Mageplaza.
That said, installing a Magento extension isn’t easy. It requires technical proficiency, as you can only do it from the command line.
WordPress plugins and extensions
WordPress is just as customizable as Magento, yet significantly more user-friendly because it lets you install extensions from the admin panel in minutes. You don’t need technical skills or even access to the command line.
The official WordPress plugin repository contains over 60,000 free plugins. You can also buy nearly 800 WooCommerce extensions on its official extension store.
However, poorly-built or outdated plugins can lead to performance degradation and security issues.
In fact, data from WPScan shows that outdated plugins are responsible for nearly 92% of all WordPress vulnerabilities. So make sure you thoroughly vet plugins before installing them on your website, and keep them updated.
Magento vs. WordPress: themes and templates
The WordPress ecosystem provides nearly ten times as many themes and templates as Magento. However, Magento holds its own with more advanced tools. Here’s a brief comparison of the theme and template options for both platforms.
Magento themes and templates
Adobe’s official marketplace provides a small selection of themes for Magento owners. However, you’ll find hundreds of attractive Magento themes for as little as $50 on Templatemonster and ThemeForest.
Further, Magento also makes up for its limited theme selection with a set of free developer tools called the PWA Studio project that allow you to build progressive web applications. It also provides robust APIs enabling you to build headless websites easily.
Put simply, Magento’s frontend design capabilities are suitable for more advanced ecommerce use cases.
WordPress themes and templates
WordPress offers unparalleled design flexibility with over 10,000 free themes, and 60+ paid WooCommerce themes. In addition, you can buy thousands of third-party templates from third-party marketplaces.
WordPress’s default block-based editing workflow is extremely intuitive. It allows you to design unique websites without code and is fully extensible. You can add new block types using plugins like Kadence Blocks and create your own blocks with code.
WordPress’s frontend design options make it an excellent choice for a headless store. You can use it with Magento as the backend to enjoy the best of both worlds — powerful ecommerce features and flexible frontend design.
Magento vs. WordPress: ease of use
There’s more to ease of use than installation and maintenance alone. Daily tasks like catalog, customer, and order management also contribute to the overall user experience.
Here’s an unbiased comparison of the usability of WordPress and Magento.
Magento ease of use
Anyone who isn’t familiar with a terminal will find Magento complicated because it forces you to use the command line for application updates and extension management. However, Magento is extremely easy to use for store administration tasks.
Magento’s product creation workflow lets you create configurable products with thousands of variations in minutes. Its built-in sales, marketing, order, customer, and invoice management features help you comply with local business regulations easily.
WordPress ease of use
WordPress is one of the most user-friendly platforms on the market. It lets you use the admin panel for application updates and plugin management. But it falls short in other ways.
WooCommerce with WordPress lacks essential features like customizable variation swatches and sequential invoice numbering, which is often a compliance requirement for most countries worldwide.
Note: Nexcess managed hosting provides multiple plugins for WooCommerce from IconicWP to cover customizable variation swatches along with many other features.
Magento or WordPress: which is the best for your store?
We’ve compared WordPress vs. Magento and shared unbiased opinions on everything from the security features and ease of use to the hosting options for both platforms.
If you’re still confused about which to choose, Magento or WordPress, here’s a clear answer: Choose WordPress if you want to build an online store that you can start quickly and support your business for years.
However, if you enjoy a hands-on approach and want a more customizable store, you should choose Magento. It offers virtually everything you need to build and run an online store.
More importantly, no matter which platform you choose, make sure you host, optimize, and secure it correctly to get the most out of it.
The best way to do that is with managed hosting by Nexcess. Our fully managed WordPress, Magento, and WooCommerce hosting plans include free migrations, proactive security, and 24/7/365 support.