Magento vs. OpenCart - How Do They Compare?

The aim of this blog is to explain the differences between Magento vs OpenCart. Each platform offers a wide range of services and features, but the decision will ultimately depend on your criteria for what you want to achieve from your store.

We will compare aspects such as functionality, performance, architecture and cost to give you an in-depth view of both platforms, and help you make an informed decision about which is better for your business.

Overview of Magento Vs OpenCart

Both OpenCart and Magento have a lot of base similarities, including their open-source structure, extensive module and theme marketplaces and active support communities. The key differences are within the core structure and functionalities in the admin area.


OpenCart caters for small- to medium-enterprise customers. Its simple core features mean that there isn’t as much to get started with, but it also means you have more control over what you have on your site, require less server processing and can reach high page speeds.

The platform is open-source and requires no monthly fee. It’s typically easier for beginners to install and use, with a user-friendly interface.

+ Over 13,000 modules and themes.

+ Powers over 342,000 eCommerce sites worldwide.

+ Works in more than 40 languages

+Option to back up and restore data

+ Free and open-source.

- Smaller market share.

- Less advanced coding principals.


Magento is heavily geared towards larger enterprises and comes with a lot more features by default, meaning it requires more server processing power to run (increased hosting costs and slower speeds achieved) but you’re provided with a solution to get on with from the start. It’s not ideal for a beginner, as it’s quite technical.

+ Larger market share

+ Multiple customisation options

- Purposed for larger enterprises, with major cost implications

- Increased maintenance fees


One of the attractive selling points of OpenCart is the fact that it’s completely free, while Magento requires a substantial annual license fee. This can be between $22,000 and $190,000 annually, as it is based on the online revenue of your store.

Both OpenCart and Magento require hosting and maintenance costs, but as OpenCart doesn’t require as many resources, its cost is typically slightly cheaper. You will also need to purchase a domain and SSL certificate, as well as considering web development and design costs.

Reliability and Scalability

As OpenCart is completely open-source, you can be sure that your store will continue to operate safely and securely, whereas Magento could leave your store vulnerable to cyber-security attacks should they decide to release a new version again.

Whilst this isn’t ideal if you do choose to be a Magento customer, you will be given plenty of notice to ensure a smooth transition to another platform or an upgrade to the latest Magento version.

In terms of scalability, Magento will serve your business at any size, whether it be a completely fresh start-up or a multi-million-pound enterprise. OpenCart is purposed for small- to medium-sized enterprises and we wouldn’t recommend using it as a large enterprise, as you will simply outgrow it. That being said, OpenCart is a perfect, cost-effective solution to initially scaling your business.


The latest version of OpenCart requires PHP 7, which is actively maintained with security patches. All payment gateways use hash_equals() to prevent timing attacks, and all customer passwords are hashed, which means that in the unlikely event that a hacker had access to them, they would be useless. The passwords are hashed with the most secure password hashing technique available on the system - usually bcrypt.

Differing from Opencart, Magento safeguards your store from clickjacking attacks by using an X frame-options HTTP request header. Strengthened hashing algorithms (SHA-256) are used in password management, and it supports Argon2ID13 through the PHP sodium extension.

It also benefits from improved prevention of cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks by making escaped data the default. This has been done through the Magento framework adopting conventions that regulate the escaping of date in output.

Special Features


  • Gift Certificates

Gift vouchers can be individually sent to customers through their email by other customers in the storefront. The customer receiving the gift certificate can use the code provided in the email at the shopping cart to deduct the gift voucher amount from the order total. Customers also have the option to purchase a gift voucher for their friends and family.

OpenCart gives you the freedom to add different sales prices to your products, and you can even make these exclusive for different customer groups and automatically start/ end at specific times.

Learn more about special and discounted prices in OpenCart.


  • Magento UI Library

The Magento UI library is a flexible library which helps assist theme developers. It will allow the ability to customise and re-use buttons, drop-downs, customer ratings and messages.

  • Improved performance and scalability

The actual goal with Magento 2.0 was to make e-commerce faster and easier to emulate shopping experiences that were tailored to each individual’s business needs. Features such as the streamlined check-out and the redesigned administrative tools are sure to serve you when it comes to scaling and performing.

  • Newer file structures

File structure plays a paramount role in customising your online store, the functions of each of the folders are easily accessible and also much more organised which means it’ll work perfectly.

In summary, choosing between Magento vs OpenCart depends on your online business. If you are looking for a platform which your business can grow into, then Magento is the option for you. If you are looking for a cost effective, foot-in-the-door solution for your store, then OpenCart is the one for you!

We've worked with some incredible brands and charities using OpenCart to help maximise their online potential, so please get in touch to see how our brilliant team can help you with your online business goals.

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