Of many decisions you make to drive success for your online business, choosing the most optimal platform is the utmost importance. The e-commerce platform needs to contain all the functionalities and features that serve your business’ goal. There are two big names that are no doubt cropping up: OpenCart vs Magento.

According to Ahrefs statistics, the global search volume of OpenCart vs Magento is 159,000 and 302,000 correspondingly. These numbers mean that merchants are much interested in the two platforms. Moreover, they tend to take a greater interest in Magento.

opencart vs magento: opencart global search volume
OpenCart Global search volume
opencart vs magento: magento global search volume
Magento Global search volume

The following article will compare and explain where and how Magento goes miles ahead of OpenCart in terms of both functionalities and performance.

OpenCart vs Magento: Overview

Before going into a detailed head-to-head comparison, let us have a brief overview of both OpenCart vs Magento.

What is Magento?

Released in 2008, Magento is an open-source eCommerce platform written in PHP language. Magento is representing around 8% of all eCommerce platforms available on the market with more than 447,100 live websites.

It is offering three editions. One is Magento Open Source, (previously Magento Community Edition). Second is Magento Commerce (previously Magento Enterprise Edition). And third is Magento Commerce Cloud Edition, which is a fairly new entry to the Magento platform. 

Magento Commerce was derived from Magento Open Source and has the same core files. However, Magento Commerce has bunches of advanced features and functionalities, exclusively for large companies. To have an in-depth look at the differences between these Magento Open source and Magento Commerce, you can refer to this article.

What is OpenCart?

OpenCart is a popular open-source online store management program. The first OpenCart public release was in 1999. This software is developed in the PHP programming language with MySQL database and HTML components, which is quite similar to Magento. 

OpenCart has recently released OpenCart Cloud, a cloud-based version as an eCommerce solution hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

According to the BuiltWith statistics, OpenCart is possessing a 3% market share and powering more than 390,000 eCommerce sites across the globe.

Why should you choose Magento over OpenCart?

According to statistics from Builtwith, possessing 5% larger market share, Magento is presenting better than OpenCart in the eCommerce platform race now. The outperformance of Magento when compared to OpenCart results in one of these two following scenarios:

  1. You are on OpenCart and you are considering migrating from OpenCart to Magento. However, you’re trying to know if Magento has more advanced features than OpenCart to be worth the Magento migration.
  2. You are going to run your new online business and considering which platform suits you best: Magento or OpenCart.

Regardless of the scenario, we are happy that you are here. The following paragraphs will provide you with all the crucial factors that you need to consider before migrating from OpenCart to Magento or starting an online business.

Page load time

Page load time is the average amount of time it takes for a page to show up on your screen. Loading time is one of the factors Google uses in algorithms that determine search engine rankings. This factor has an important effect on the users’ experience. The longer the loading time a page takes, the higher bounce rates and lower time on page it has. 

According to a study carried out by Quanta, the Magento average page load time of all monitored stores reaches 665 milliseconds. The speed is a bit higher than the ideal speed set by Google, which should be less than 500 milliseconds. 

However, the Magento site speed is still acceptable and fast enough to keep the clients rolling until the end of your website. 

opencart vs magento: magento page load time

Meanwhile, the analysis of OpenCart sites’ performance showed disappointing results.

OpenCart is one of the slowest platforms with an average load time of 831 milliseconds. It is 1.6 times higher than the ideal speed Google recommends for SEO and is 1.25 times higher than that of Magento. 

OpenCart category pages load even more slowly with an average response time of 936 milliseconds. 

opencart vs magento: opencart page load time

The Verdict: Magento undoubtedly is much better than OpenCart in terms of page load time. 

Themes and design flexibility

Magento

Magento is a huge theme source for merchants. Up to June 2020, Magento is providing store owners with 2 out-of-the-box themes: Luma, as a demonstration theme, and Blank as a basis for custom theme creation. Besides, there are also 17 available nicely-designed themes on Magento Marketplace which cost from zero to $499. 

In case you want more feature-rich design options of this platform, you can visit other sources such as Themeforest. Not to mention, Themeforest is an ideal place to get good Magento themes as you can see ratings and comments. Currently, Themeforest has over 600 Magento themes. Another ideal place to get Magento themes is Template Monster which is also providing more than 520 themes for Magento users.

opencart vs magento: magento theme

Talking about design flexibility, it is not exaggerating to say that Magento has endless customization capabilities. The Magento frontend is designed to optimize storefront customization, with highly extensible themes being the central customization mechanism. 

  • Extend Magento-provided CSS: you can use CSS (cascading style sheets) to change colors, the look-and-feel of various interface components, and replace images. This easy change will suit projects with a limited budget. 
  • Replace Magento-Provided CSS: Rather than edit CSS, you can replace all the default storefront CSS code yourself. This change avoids tying a project to the CSS provided by Magento. Therefore, you can build your own CSS libraries which help differentiate you from others in the market. You then can reuse these libraries on different customer projects.
  • Replace PHTML template files: Magento allows users to generate different HTML markup. For instance, you can adjust some JavaScript to deal with different HTML markup. Although this replacement requires more tech skills than the above simple extending, it is still within the grasp of smaller projects and leaner teams.
  • Replace Magento-Provided HTML and JavaScript: These replacements will give you the ability to deliver a sharply different shopping experience to your customers than that the default Magento installation provides. Please note that these changes are more complicated and need a lot of coding knowledge.

OpenCart

OpenCart has a diversified source of mobile-optimized and nicely-designed themes. 

There are more than 1.600 themes listed on OpenCart Marketplace. Moreover, users are also able to get other best selling OpenCart themes and templates from third-party vendors like Themeforest or Template Monster. There are more than 600 OpenCart themes in Themeforest and over 1,220 OpenCart templates available in Template Monster.

opencart vs magento: opencart theme

OpenCart also allows theme customization like Magento. Therefore, users who have some coding knowledge can make changes to the functionalities and design of their online stores to make them outshine other opponents.

However, OpenCart store customization is more difficult when compared to Magento. It is said that a lot of users have been unsatisfied with OpenCart customization due to its requirement for coding skills.  

While templates are nice, some do require additional work to get looking and functioning correctly. Without coding experience, you may need to buy additional add-ons to get extra features you need.

 Justin H., a Capterra user reviewed.

Building themes and plugins are very technical. In-depth knowledge of twig and MVC is required which is very technical.

Paul U., a verified LinkedIn user wrote.

OpenCart does take in-depth technical knowledge to set up any website templates you’ve downloaded or purchased. Therefore, if you don’t want to mess around with development skills, it is a good idea to hire a developer to help you. Please remember that the hiring cost is not cheap.

The Verdict: OpenCart vs Magento offer tons of out-of-the-box themes, both free and paid. The two platforms also allow users to customize their stores to make your store have an attractive and sales-worthy look. However, Magento is a bit better than OpenCart thanks to its great flexibility, expandability as well as dedicated guides.

Security

Magento

Magento is certainly a platform of high security. One of the priorities of  Magento is ensuring the security of customer’s data and digital experiences. 

In 2015, Magento Security Patches was released to keep your online store always on top of security and your customers feel secure when shopping from your store. A patch is a change of code that fixes a certain vulnerability and is regularly automatically updated for better site performance. 

When Magento releases updates for Magento Open Source editions, store owners can check information on security updates available for their edition. They can then know about the vulnerabilities as well as the updates solving them.

Besides, Magento is making Content Security Policy (CSP) available for Magento Open Source. CSP provides a standardized set of directives that can confine browser content to allow only whitelisted resources to appear. It helps the browser to determine whether content resources are credible.

Magento users can use third-party tools such as Mage Scan or MageReport. They will help you to check your online store for security vulnerabilities in Magento as well as some commonly used 3rd party extensions.

Furthermore, you can also take advantage of the Magento Security Guide which provides you with useful self-help materials to keep your customers’ data safe. 

OpenCart

OpenCart does not take responsibility for securing your website although it is easy for hackers to detect the vulnerabilities and attack OpenCart websites. The reason for these vulnerabilities is that OpenCart internal code is public. 

To avoid these threats, OpenCart just offers its users some suggestions aiming to protect their sites after they install OpenCart or let their stores go live. However, these guides look deficient in regular upgrading security patches.

Another OpenCart security weakness is that the third-party extensions can have bad effects on security issues. They might contain potential vulnerabilities that let attackers make changes to already existing open-source plugins to compromise your sites installing them.

OpenCart security issues, therefore, is usually a disadvantage that users complain about. We have collected reviews about this criterion from lots of store owners who used OpenCart from certified review sources. For example, a verified reviewer wrote on Capterra that they had to invest more in the security of the website as the website grows. Or a TrustRadius member reviewed that many of the extensions available had some serious security issues.

The Verdict: In the Security battle of OpenCart vs Magento, Magento totally beats OpenCart down. Therefore, if you wish to protect your website on a high level of security, Magento is more solid to satisfy you when compared to OpenCart.

SEO and Marketing tools

Magento

Magento is considered one of the best eCommerce solutions for search engine optimization (SEO). 

With Magento, SEO is automatically configured. This cart provides its users with many outstanding features to help merchants improve their site ranking and attract more traffic.

  • SEO best practices: Magento includes many features to support SEO including Metadata, Sitemap, and URLs Rewrites.
  • Catalog Navigation: optimizing the methods shoppers move from page to page through a store to provide easy access to the products in your catalog.
  • Catalog Search: configuring catalog to improve search results.
  • Search Terms: improving the effectiveness of customers by leveraging search terms.

As being an open-source platform, Magento allows store owners to fully customize their stores’ design and SEO functionality to make it easier for search engines to crawl your online store and understand its structure. For instance, users can easily set idea meta-titles, keywords, descriptions for products, categories, and CMS pages keywords.

For Marketing tools, Magento offers store owners Marketing Menu, which provides access tools for managing Promotions, Communications, SEO, and User-generated content. 

These useful sections give you a great ability to efficiently carry out Marketing strategies such as creating newsletters and publishing RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds and so on.

opencart vs magento: magento marketing management

Another strong point of Magento’s Marketing is integrating with the following Google tools: Google Analytics, Google Privacy Setting, Google Content Experiments, Google tag Manager, and Google Adwords. With these powerful tools, you can optimize the content, analyze your traffic as well as connect your catalog to shopping aggregators and marketplaces.

Besides all that, store owners can make use of more than 800 Marketing extensions including Advertising, CRM, Email, Marketing Automation, and SEO/SEM on Magento Marketplace. For instance, you can take advantage of these Email Marketing extensions to automate your Magento Marketing campaigns to skyrocket your sales.

OpenCart

It is disappointing to say that one of the disadvantages of OpenCart is its SEO features. 

OpenCart just offers a basic set of SEO features and it is not as search engine friendly as it could be. The modification to the Metadata, actions taken for the 301 redirects, and the Rel Canonical in this platform is much more complex than that in Magento. 

Although there are different extensions that can help, it does not even come close to the endless possibilities that Magento offers, such as optimized titles, images, and URLs, etc.

About Marketing tools, OpenCart store owners can access the dashboard to go to the Marketing field. There are submenus such as Marketing, Affiliates, Coupons, and Mail. This platform also offers Google Marketing Tools - GDPR compatible which includes Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Google rich snippets, etc. However, you need to pay $99.99 to use this service. 

opencart vs magento: opencart marketing management

The Verdict: When it comes to SEO and Marketing tools, Magento is ahead of OpenCart. Magento provides more Marketing functionalities. OpenCart, on the other hand, has limitations in SEO features that make lots of users annoyed.

Analytics

Magento

Magento offers a lot of analytics tools covering several aspects of your online store by default.

This cart provides merchants with 9 selections of Reports to keep them informed on these options:

  • Sales Reports include Orders, Tax, Invoiced, Shipping, Refunds, Coupons, and settlement reports for PayPal and Braintree.
  • Product Reports include Views, Bestsellers, Low Stock, Ordered, and Downloads.
  • Customer Reports include Order Total, Order Account, New, Wish Lists, and Segments
  • Marketing Reports include Products in Cart, Search Terms, Abandoned Carts, and Newsletter Problem Reports.
  • Review Reports include By Customer and By Product.
  • Private sales and events include Invitation, Invited Customers, and Conversions.
  • Statistic is a tool for reducing the performance impact of generating reports by calculating and storing statistical data.
  • Customer Engagement reporting provides data import and report options for Engagement Cloud.
  • Business Intelligence Tools helps you to gain the insight you need to make sound business decisions.
opencart vs magento: magento report

Magento, as mentioned above, integrated with Google Analytics to give you the ability to define additional custom dimensions and metrics for tracking with support for offline and mobile app interactions. 

OpenCart

OpenCart offers Reports to help store owners track the number of customers and the respective consequent activities. 

You can go to Reports in the OpenCart administration side, then you can access to 4 following Reports sections:

  • Sales Reports section includes Orders report, Tax report, Shipping report, Returns report, Coupon Report
  • Product Reports section includes Product Viewed Report
  • Customer Reports section includes Customers Online, Customer Activity, Order Report, Reward Points Report, Customer Credit Report
  • Marketing section includes Marketing, Affiliate, Affiliate Activity

Product Viewed Report, for example, gives you the information about what products are being viewed the most or the least in the storefront. You can analyze the report to increase views for your products.

opencart vs magento: opencart report

From the above report, store owners can see which products are at the bottom, which need increasing views. The store owners then need to find out the reasons why these products are not interesting customers and the solutions for the questions to raise the number of views.

Moreover, OpenCart also integrates with Google Analytics to provide crucial pointers about your web traffic in real-time.

The Verdict: Both OpenCart vs Magento provide relevant analytics on the critical elements - sales, products, customers, and marketing. Besides, these platforms integrate with Google Analytics to track numerous traffic parameters. However, Magento is stronger than OpenCart with its rich Analytics built-in tools. Statistic, for instance, is a tool you can get on Magento by default but is unavailable on OpenCart.

Store Management

Magento

The Magento Admin panel is rich in-store information. Store owners can view critical store analytics such as overall sale level, the average order amount, and so on. What’s more, with Magento, merchants can adjust store sections directly from the Dashboard.

Moreover, Magento Catalog Management is considerably developed. It provides easy access to product creation, category, inventory management tools, as well as shared catalogs for custom pricing in B2B stores. You have the ability to add unlimited products and categories, without any restricted attributes. Therefore, you can group your products by different attributes like color, size, origin, and so on.

Shifting to Magento Order Management, you will have the ability to process orders. There are things a merchant can do with Magento Processing an order:

  • View and edit order
  • Review the following sections: Order and Account Information, Address information, Payment & Shipping method
  • Review Items ordered including the item ordered, notes for this order, and order totals.

Besides, you can also create invoices and shipments, issue credit memos, and set up billing agreements. 

OpenCart

From the Admin Panel, OpenCart users can track order statistics, edit customer information, products, and various store sections.

OpenCart Catalog Management contains some control functions. Besides the ability to add unlimited products and categories, store owners can also make use of Filter to crawl through the inventory.

Come to OpenCart Order Management, it gives you the ability to view all of the order details made on their site, manually add orders, edit the details of existing orders, and print invoices. 

There are sections you can manually modify orders: Customer details, Payment details, Shipping details, Products, Vouchers, and Totals.

The Verdict: Clearly, OpenCart vs Magento have developed complete store management. Nevertheless, Magento is slightly better than OpenCart in terms of Store Management as it offers more actions. Magento Order Management, for example, helps merchants to set up Billing Agreement which helps their customers to simplify the checkout process.

OpenCart vs Magento: Should I leave OpenCart?

Now we come to the real question: Does it make sense to migrate from OpenCart to Magento? 

After comparing and assessing the two platforms - OpenCart vs Magento, with 6-key-criterion that matter the most, we can conclude that: 

Magento is better than OpenCart.

Therefore, it is a wise decision if you decide to move your store from OpenCart to Magento to make your business grow exponentially.