Magento vs PrestaShop: Which Platform Is Better for Your Business?

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May 28, 2021
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Magento vs PrestaShop: Platform Comparison for Business Owners
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Looking for an open-source ecommerce platform? No wonder Magento and PrestaShop got your attention. 

According to SimilarTech, PrestaShop has shown a growing usage trend in the past years, especially in the European countries like Spain, Italy, France, etc. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, though: PrestaShop’s ease of use and low-budget development have become a convincing factor for many beginner merchants. Magento still leads in terms of website popularity globally, especially in the English-speaking countries and in China.

Geographical preferences of PrestaShop vs Magento 2 on the world map.
Geographical preferences of PrestaShop vs Magento 2. Source: SimilarTech.

If you feel like a kid in a candy store unable to choose which ecommerce solution is right for your business, we’re here to help. In this comparison guide, you’ll get an overview of Magento vs PrestaShop with all their features, hosting, security, and marketing options. Hopefully, you’ll also recognize yourself in a merchant profile suitable for each platform. Let’s dive right in! 

Magento 2 vs PrestaShop 1.7: Basic Overview

PrestaShop is an open-source online store builder written in PHP. It was initially launched as a self-hosted free-to-download platform but was recently expanded with a new PrestaShop Ready edition, which is pre-installed and hosted on IONOS Cloud. PrestaShop is headquartered in France, which explains its clientele: European retailers with 10-50 employees and $1M-10M in revenue, such as Danone, Dermalife, or Cooltra.

Magento is another open-source ecommerce platform that comes in three editions. Magento Open Source is a self-hosted feature-rich version that can be downloaded free of charge. Magento Commerce is a paid self-hosted option, while Magento Commerce Cloud is pre-installed and hosted on AWS. Some of the most famous brands using Magento are Ford, Nestle, and Gap, among others.

Check out other Magento vs [choose your ecommerce solution] comparisons on our blog:

Magento vs PrestaShop: Full Comparison

There’s much more to Magento 2 vs PrestaShop 1.7 similarities in hosting or differences in their geographical preferences. Let’s analyze the fundamental aspects that all merchants look for in a platform, such as ease of use, features & extensions, themes, hosting, security, performance, payment options, SEO friendliness, user support, and pricing.

Ease of Use

Speaking about the ease of use of a platform, we usually refer to how fast a merchant can build a store and how easy it will be to run daily commerce operations. And in both PrestaShop and Magento cases, the setup is complicated while the store administration is easy.

To install PrestaShop, you’ll need to follow the official installation guide: download PrestaShop core code, create a database, upload it to the server, and then install. Once you’re past this setup step, you’ll have to choose and integrate the modules required for your store operations. So if you find manual store setup difficult, professional PrestaShop development services should be considered in your budget. The only thing that gives PrestaShop a competitive advantage over Magento is the possibility of 1-click installation. Partner up with a recommended hosting provider (TMDHosting, for instance) and run a 1-click installation script.

Meanwhile, the Admin dashboard is very intuitive and contains all the order info, product descriptions, quantities, and SEO features you might need. It is supported on any mobile or tablet device too, so you’ll be able to control your store from anywhere, anytime.

PrestaShop admin interface
PrestaShop Admin dashboard

Magento allows only manual store setup. You’ll need to configure your hosting environment first, then download Magento core code via Composer or via the Web Setup Wizard, and install it using the command line. So unless you’re passionate about programming, you’ll need to hire a Magento developer to help you out with the store installation and configuration.

All the complex setup is compensated by an Admin panel which is more extensive than that of PrestaShop. A merchant will be able not only to add products and track basic customer data, but also set up multiple storefronts, add SEO metadata, etc. 

Magento admin dashboard
Magento admin dashboard

Features and Extensions

The number and nature of features out of the box define whether an ecommerce platform is right for your business. 

PrestaShop has all the necessary functionalities to satisfy the needs of an SME merchant. Its key features include:

  • Product creation, management, and navigation
  • Store customization and checkout configuration
  • Legal support (such as law compliance and tax regulation checks perfect for selling internationally)
  • SEO and marketing tools (including coupons, gift wrapping, and email marketing)
  • Customer relationship management
  • Order management
  • Visitors, sales, order analytics
  • Multilingual support (75 languages)

A full list of PrestaShop 1.7 can be found here. A merchant can extend the store functionality with one of the 3,000+ PrestaShop modules available on the official marketplace.

Magento offers a more robust list of features that only add up in each edition. Magento Open Source is better than PrestaShop for its basic feature set, including: 

  • Marketing, Promotions, and Conversion Tool (good for up-selling and cross-selling)
  • Site Management
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Catalog Management
  • Product Browsing (create wish lists, check stock availability, share on social media)
  • Catalog Browsing
  • Checkout, Payment, and Shipping
  • Order Management
  • Customer Accounts
  • Customer Service
  • International Support
  • Analytics and Reporting
  • Mobile Commerce

Magento Commerce and Commerce Cloud further expand the aforementioned list of features. You can follow the link to learn more about each of them. 

Besides, Magento marketplace currently has 3,500+ add-ons, and professional Magento development agencies (like Elogic!) can develop a custom module for you. 

Theme Selection

Neil Patel, a world famous marketer, concluded that 92% of users consider the visual appearance of a website the #1 factor that influences their decision to purchase. An ecommerce platform vendor should be aware of this merchant’s need and either offer a vast theme repository or limitless customization opportunities.

Prestashop has about 2,500 sleek, attractive templates — both free and paid. The price for the paid ones ranges between $75 and $740. Many of them are mobile responsive and contain a color switcher, mega menu, etc. Before making a purchase, a merchant can see the demo of a template in action to make up their mind.

Magento offers 11 paid and 6 free themes on the official marketplace and many more on community design websites like TemplateMonster or ThemeForest. Magento merchants can also benefit from professional development services and get a custom theme. That’s exactly what our client — Millennium, an offline luxury brand supplier — got: a unique design for an outstanding brand.

Millennium custom web design.
Millennium custom web design.

Hosting

There are three ways to host a PrestaShop store: 

  1. You install a website yourself with a third-party hosting provider. PrestaShop software is pretty light for any type of hosting (even the shared one); but you’ll still need to consider some basic system requirements.
  2. You partner with a PrestaShop recommended hosting provider that offers a 1-click installation, like FastComet, Vultr, or A2 Hosting.
  3. You host it in the cloud (on Google Cloud or IONOS) and get a turnkey solution to click & build your store.

Magento has similar hosting options: on-premises, with a third-party provider, or in the cloud. You should only keep in mind that Magento requires a lot of server resources. So only dedicated servers with an increased PHP memory limit will ensure stable web performance. If looking for a reliable hosting provider seems like a headache, you can always develop your store on Magento Commerce Cloud and have it hosted on AWS or Microsoft Azure servers.

Magento Commerce Cloud has many more advantages than just the fancy cloud hosting. Check out what you’ll be paying for in our related blog post.
Choose Magento
Magento Commerce Cloud: Features And Benefits

Security

Your customers submit sensitive info while making a purchase, so they undoubtedly care about the security of your store operations. You should too when choosing an ecommerce platform.

PrestaShop security features are quite limited. Software is PCI compliance ready, so you’ll just need to purchase an SSL certificate to get that padlock next to your website domain. But that’s basically it. To further enhance the security of a website, a PrestaShop merchant will need to install modules, like an Official GDPR Compliance for those selling in Europe or Security Lite to reduce the risk of unauthorized access.

Magento, on the other hand, takes security extremely seriously. Its built-in security measures are better than PrestaShop add-ons and include the following: 

  1. The Magento Product Security Team regularly tests core application code for security vulnerabilities and releases security patches every 10-15 days. 
  2. Magento has strengthened the hashing algorithms (SHA-256) used in password management so as to prevent sensitive data leaks.
  3. The team has adopted security measures against XSS attacks.
  4. A flexible file system ownership and permissions allows a merchant to keep control of the users and store admins.
  5. Magento has improved prevention of clickjacking exploits and auto-generating encryption keys.

Obviously, the list of native security features grows in Magento Commerce and Commerce Cloud editions. To further protect your online store from spam, fraud, and other types of attacks, try installing some best Magento 2 security extensions.

Performance & Scalability

Website performance largely depends on a type of server you’re using to host your store. Using a shared server while experiencing high traffic will result in performance issues no matter the platform. So let’s compare Magento vs Prestashop performance in case both websites are hosted on dedicated servers or in the cloud.

PrestaShop delivers decent results when it comes to performance. As mentioned earlier, the platform is quite lightweight and shouldn’t slow down your website. However, you will notice a significant drop in performance as your store scales and more SKUs add up. One PrestaShop client reported 5 to 10 seconds load time once they exceeded 1,000 products and 50+ categories in the store.

Magento is widely known for its excellent performance and scalability potential. Some say that its heavy CMS slows down the website, but this is only true in case of poor development or unoptimized hosting. Instead, Magento’s layered architecture allows you to scale up and down effortlessly, integrate any third-party application, and handle 2,500+ orders per hour. 

There are no winners or losers in the Magento vs PrestaShop performance contests. You just have to look at the size of your store and your business strategy for the nearest future. PrestaShop will deliver amazing performance results for small businesses, while Magento shall work perfectly for larger stores planning to scale further.

Payment Options

Users expect to see their preferred payment method at the checkout. And it’s your responsibility to give it to them.

With PrestaShop, you can choose from 250+ payment gateways. It shouldn’t come as a surprise: the platform caters to the needs of all merchants across all European countries. You can count on such payment methods as card or wallet payments, bank transfers, recurring payments, invoicing, etc. Payment gateways can be installed from the official PrestaShop add-on marketplace and include PayPal, Amazon Pay, Stripe, Apple Pay, Authorize.net, and more.

Magento is no slacker either. The platform supports three payment gateways out of the box (Authorize.net, Stripe, and Braintree) and allows setting offline payments Cash On Delivery, Bank Transfer, etc. More Magento payment gateways can be added as an extension or integrated via API.

SEO Friendliness & Marketing Tools

About 85% of people perform some type of online research before making a purchase online. SEO and marketing tools should be your way to get noticed on the web.

PrestaShop may not have an extensive set of native SEO features but it does help with marketing. That’s not to say that PrestaShop is bad with SEO; you’ll just need to install specific modules if you want to create an XML sitemap or add Google tools. As far as the marketing is concerned, a PrestaShop merchant can create special offers (including coupons, discounts, price rules), upsell and cross-sell, and even leverage email marketing.

Even though PrestaShop isn’t an outsider in this category, Magento does offer more robust SEO and marketing tools out-of-the-box. Following a Magento 2 SEO guide, a merchant can optimize URLs, set redirects, configure robots.txt protocols and XML sitemaps across all Magento editions. Magento Open Source will allow you to set up promotions, create private sales, and launch basic marketing campaigns. Meanwhile, Magento Commerce will offer such premium features as customer segmentation, targeting, analytics, and marketing reporting.

User Support

Open-source platforms are developer-oriented, so it’s often difficult to find world-class user support among their strengths. Let’s compare PrestaShop vs Magento in this category.

PrestaShop user support is mostly a self-help thing. You have 1,292,000 community members eager (or not) to answer your question on a forum. You get the official DevOps documentation to clarify your doubts during website setup and development. For an extra fee, you can purchase a PrestaShop support plan or issue a one-time ticket to PrestaShop helpdesk.

Magento offers different levels of support depending on the edition. Magento Open Source user support is similar to that of PrestaShop: you only have official devdocs, guides, and foras at your disposal, although the helpdesk ticket feature is free of charge. Magento Commerce includes 24/7 dedicated support in license fees, so you won’t have to pay extra. Besides, there are hundreds of Magento development agencies that provide end-to-end project support, including code audit and advice on third-party integrations.

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Cost/Pricing

Choosing the platform only because it’s free is the biggest mistake a merchant can make. Even if there are no license fees, you still have to consider the associated cost of website development and maintenance.

With PrestaShop, the technical cost of entry is free. It doesn’t cost you a penny to download the core code from the official website. However, the expenses that follow may surprise you:

  • Hosting — from $4/month for shared hosting to $16/month for IONOS cloud hosting
  • SSL certificate — between $20 and $200
  • Themes & design — between $75 and $750
  • Modules and add-ons for an efficient and good-looking store — between $50 and $860
  • User support package — from $49.99 for a one-time ticket to $899 for a store upgrade
  • An expert developer implementing any custom solution you wish to see on your website — $10-35/hr in Asia, $60-80/hr in Europe, or $110-120/hr in the US.

Magento pricing will depend on the edition you choose. With Magento Open Source, you’ll witness the same situation as with PrestaShop: no license fees apply, but you’ll have to pay for hosting, themes & extensions, support, etc. Magento Commerce will cost you $22,000+ annually but will come with extensive functionality, so you won’t need to spend on extensions and custom add-ons. Lastly, Magento Commerce Cloud sells for a striking $40,000+ per year but is hosted, supported, and upgraded with features for you.

Magento 2 vs PrestaShop: Comparison Table

Before wrapping up, let’s walk through the main characteristics of Magento vs PrestaShop.

Magento 2PrestaShop
Ease of useComplexRelatively easy
Source code accessibleOpen-sourceOpen-source
HostingOn-site, third-party, Cloud-basedOn-site, third-party, Cloud-based
Extensions5,500+3,000+
Cost$50-$250/hr + free access to code (open source) for Magento Open Source
or $22,000+/year for Magento Commerce Edition
or $40,000+/year for Magento Cloud Edition
$10-120/hr developers rate (depending on the country) + free access to the core code
FeaturesFeature-richFeature-rich
Ease of IntegrationFlexibleFlexible
Theme selection122,500
Payment GatewaysSupport of 12 payment gatewaysSupport of 250 payment gateways to be added as modules
SecurityBuilt-in security patches and regular updatesPCI compliance ready
ScalabilityScalableNot scalable
Multilingual capabilitiesBuilt-in multi-lingual supportBuilt-in multi-lingual support: 75 languages
SEOBuilt-in SEO tools, customizable plug-ins and appsBasic SEO features to be extended with plug-ins
Ideal Ecommerce SizeLarge enterprises with lots of SKU and resourcesSMEs that seek customization

The Verdict: What’s the Best Platform for You?

While choosing between Magento and PrestaShop, keep in mind your business needs. The two platforms serve different merchant profiles. 

PrestaShop will be perfect for small-to-medium companies who are looking for an easy-to-use, highly customizable ecommerce solution. The platform is easy on the wallet and a favorite of many European brands for its multilingual, multicurrency features. If growing your product catalog and customer base fast is not in your nearest plans and you would like to keep the costs down for a while, go with PrestaShop.

Magento should be a great option for large-scale businesses that seek good performance and stability during high-traffic hours. It beats PrestaShop by a long shot in terms of security and scalability, as well as the number of native features and third-party integrations. If you have too many SKUs to maintain, too many marketing campaigns to run, and too many commerce processes to streamline, choose Magento. 

If you steer your attention toward Magento, we’re here to help!

Consider Elogic ecommerce development services next time you think of Magento 2

See Elogic services

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This is an outstanding post that’s filled with so many useful nuggets. Thank you for being so detailed on Magento vs PrestaShop: Which Platform Is Better for Your Business?

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