OpenCart Vs. Magento: Which eCommerce Platform Is Right For You?

Posted by Rachel Gillevet on August 29, 2013

account-1778_640Magento and OpenCart are both popular open source eCommerce platforms that make it relatively easy to deploy a functional online retail store. While both of these solutions are very capable, each has it own strengths and weakness that may make one or the other more suitable for particular users. Which you choose will have a significant impact on your business and its workflows, so before making a decision it’s a good idea to compare them in-depth.


While less popular than Magento, which is the industry leader, OpenCart has a lot to recommend it, particularly if you are not very experienced with eCommerce. Compared to Magento, OpenCart is easier to set up and manage. It’s also significantly lighter on resources than Magento, which can be slow without caching and performs best if it has plenty of RAM and processing power to play with.

OpenCart is freely available, and, as usual with open source software under active development, there are a large variety of community support options. The professional support options for OpenCart differ from those of Magento, which has an Enterprise Edition with support available from its developers. Paid-for OpenCart support is available from a number of third-party partners.

While OpenCart is easier to get to grips with than Magento, it has some limitations that make it less appropriate for larger stores. It is less flexible and customizable than Magento and lacks some of the more advanced customer management features that come with Magento out of the box.


Magento is hugely powerful and flexible. It is more than capable of supporting eCommerce stores that range from a few products to many thousands of products. Magento is more configurable than OpenCart and provides almost limitless configurability to its appearance and functionality, whichever of its two versions you use.

Magneto is an open source product, but it is owned by eBay, who are also owners of PayPal and a number of other eCommerce projects under the X.commerce group. While the Magento Community Edition is free, the Enterprise Edition includes a number of additional features, including full-page caching, advanced customer management and product discovery features, and support from the company that develops it.

However, the Enterprise Edition may be prohibitively expensive for small businesses. The Community Edition is not a second-class product in comparison to the Enterprise Edition and has all of the features that most eCommerce stores are going to need, with many more in the MagentoConnect extension library.

The major drawbacks to Magento are its steep learning curve and its resource use. Flexibility brings complexity, and Magento is no exception to that rule. For small businesses without a lot of technical expertise, Magento may prove difficult to set up and manage.

Magento Or OpenCart?

For smaller business that don’t need the level of customizability or the advanced features of Magento, OpenCart is probably the better choice. It is lightweight, fast, easy to install and more than capable of supporting a moderately sized product lineup and user base. For larger businesses and enterprise online retailers, Magento’s configurability and advanced features make it the superior platform.

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  • YoucefAyoub

    magento is better than opencart
    but I prefer woo-commerce with WordPress.

    • RachelGillevet

      Thanks for sharing. There is definitely something to be said for the ease of use and functionality that WooCommerce offers WordPress users straight out of the box. It’s a great alternative to the two options we discussed above.

      • YoucefAyoub

        we should discuss about WooCommerce in another post

  • arnoldgarrets

    Magento is the primitive choice and also essential as well for Big E-commerce business. Its features are proven to be the best one for large business.

    • RachelGillevet

      I agree. Magento is a great option for larger businesses.

  • asecondwill

    seems a funny couple of systems to compare. Neither would be my first choice for eCommerce. Spree & Lemonstand are much better.

    • ElliotGage

      Spree is great for sites requiring a lot of custom development. It is definitely not geared towards large stores with very large product bases. You’ll be hard pressed to find any stores with a large diverse catalog based on spree.

      Spree is all about beautiful designs around a simple product base or a custom developed product or special back-end requirements

      Given that is requires a rails environment and is a pain to host, I would never recommend it for anyone needing a traditional store setup. Would I recommend it for someone needing a store that will require custom development? Absolutely. That’s where spree excels.

      • asecondwill

        Interesting POV Elliot, what sort of numbers do you feel are too much for Spree? Hosting is pretty easy these days, but good to keep in mind limitations.

      • Alessandro

        A good Rails developer can deploy and run a Spree store in minutes on any linux server, this was problematic 6 years ago, maybe.

  • Devran

    Could you please clarify which aspects of Magento makes it more suitable for Big E-commerce business?

  • Devran

    In my opinion OpenCart -while name implies it is cheap- is much more powerful because :
    1- Its framework and code is quite understandable and easy to modify to core code. No complications.
    2- Developing plugin (extensions) is even easy with JR or Mid level PHP programmer
    3- Wide selection of extensions and themes now comparable with Magento
    4- Now it has some blogging and cms frameworks work with e-commerce system which was not exists before.
    5- Code and structure is solid, no exceptions, no errors, works like a charm!

  • Momin Nz

    very clearly defined and the first forum to give a clear idea.

  • John Williams

    Magento, oscommerce & Open Cart – Stats se March 31, 2008 March 12, 2000 May 11, 1999 on 3.0.2 PHP PHP PHP ites using 1,30,922+ 95,916+ 99,133+

  • Tham

    Hello! I am a user of opencart and I like opencart! It is easy to install and the set up time of my store is really short! The code of opencart is quit understandable so I can have a small customization on my shop :)