Now is a very good time to open an online store. Web users are increasingly comfortable with shopping on the web. The vast numbers of searches, including those coming from mobile devices, suggest that it is clearly time for businesses to develop their online presence and serve their customers with a web store.

Two open source ecommerce platforms, Magento and Prestashop, certainly have their appeal to online vendors. Both are free to download and offer features like search engine optimization, analytics, and a strong customer base.

The target market for each is different though. Magento may be better for larger companies with technological skills who can handle the more advanced program. Prestashop can be an easier to use option for smaller companies, or those without the technological know-how to customize Magento.

Every online seller needs an ecommerce platform to meet their needs. Is Magento or Prestashop right for you? Read on to find out the pros and cons of each platform.

Ease of Installation

Magento is typical of many ecommerce platforms in its installation requirements. To get started with this system, you have two options. The first is to run a manual installation, downloading the required files and uploading them to your web host. This can be intimidating for those who have never done so before. However, there is also the option of a one-click install from many web hosts who are used to running Magento for their clients.

Prestashop is, generally, easier to install than Magento. An installation assistant takes you through the process step by step, and all you have to do is fill in the blanks. Regarding getting your store up and running with ease, Prestashop wins out, but be aware that you will be sacrificing some control in exchange for ease of installation.

Ease of Use

Magento is incredibly powerful and capable, but it comes with a bit of a learning curve, or the need for technological skills that already exist. This ecommerce platform can do almost anything you can imagine, but you need to know how to make it work for you. If you do not have those skills, you can always outsource aspects of running your web store, so that you get the features you desire.

Prestashop is easier to use ‘out of the box’ owing to its simplicity. For smaller companies with less time and resources to learn technological skills or hire out, it may be easier to use. Again, this ease of use comes with a reduction in options.

Search Engine Friendliness

Magento is made for SEO and features some options for search engine friendliness that you will not find in any other ecommerce platform. It is well known as the best of the best for SEO, so if that’s what you need, there’s no better choice than Magento!

Prestashop is also good for SEO, though not as expansive as Magento. Its SEO tools and features are easy to use and more than capable of putting your web store on the internet map.

Integration Ecosystem

Magento’s power extends to its integration options. This ecommerce platform integrates with many of the most popular platforms and systems online, including eBay, Google Analytics, Amazon Marketplace, WordPress, and various social media platforms.

Prestashop integrates with many applications and systems too, though not as many as Magento. You’ll find it works with programs like MailChimp, eBay, DHL, and a handful of social media sites.

Cost to Maintain

As open source ecommerce platforms, both Magento and Prestashop are initially free to install. You will find that you have additional budget items to consider in running a web store with either of these options, however.

Web hosting is required for both of these systems. Bear in mind that Magento does require more resources to run, owing to its power and function, so you will need to find a web host that can give you what you need.

For Prestashop to be customized you will have to buy extensions, themes, and plug-ins to make it truly your own.

Customizability

Prestashop exchanges ease of use for customizability. It’s easier to use, because there are fewer options. To make changes you will need to purchase various modules, and even then, it cannot be quite as unique as Magento’s storefronts. While this system does come with many features, and is good for people who do not have the time, skill, or budget to get into advanced customization, you will find that it is a more basic platform for ecommerce.

If customizability is key to your web store, look no further than Magento. This ecommerce platform is known to be one of the most customizable systems on the market, providing users with everything they need to be an online vendor. It is highly flexible, putting vendors in control of the look, feel, and functionality of their store.

Businesses considering where to go for their online store need to consider how much they want their store to match their branding and perform the way they want. For many businesses, paying more for better customization is well worth it. If you need a robust platform that will look and behave just as you desire, Magento is the way forward.

Magento PrestaShop
Easy of Installation One-click features are available depending on host. Developers are recommended to use the platform to the fullest. 4/5 Easy to install with a guide program that is as simple as filling in the blanks. 5/5
Ease of Use Setting up should be taken care of by professionals. Using the system afterwards is straightforward. 4/5 Easy to use, owing to fewer options and features. 4/5
Search Engine Friendly Extremely SEO-friendly! 5/5 SEO friendly, if a bit basic. 4/5
Integration Ecosystem Simple and straightforward integration with most major players. 4/5 Integrates with numerous platforms and applications, though not every big program out there. 4/5
Cost to Maintain Initially free, plus the cost of hosting. Many features are built in. Businesses can pay for extensions and developers to install them as the business grows. 4/5 Free plus cost of hosting, and the cost of paid add-ons. 3/5
Customizability Highly customizable, especially for those with the skills, or with the budget to pay someone for customization. 5/5 Not as customizable, without paying for various modules and extensions. 4/5
Hosted vs. Self-Hosted Self-hosted — more work, but more freedom. Self-hosted — more work, but more freedom.
Target Market Large businesses with high-volume stores and agencies managing multiple stores. This ecommerce platform is ideal for smaller companies who are getting started in ecommerce and want to attract customers without a lot of work.
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