Magento vs. PrestaShop customizability: Storefront templates and designs
Magento and PrestaShop are both available as open-source software, meaning you can design your e-commerce site on either platform from scratch.
However, many e-commerce entrepreneurs don’t know how to code and might not have the money to hire a web developer who does.
Luckily, it is not hard to find storefront templates and designs from third-party websites that you can apply to your e-commerce shop run by Magento or PrestaShop.
Magento storefront options
If you or your web developer is coding your Magento storefront theme, there is a robust Frontend Developer Guide with steps to follow for successfully customizing your theme. If you want to go for a pre-designed option, there are hundreds of storefront templates and designs for Magento available from third-party websites like Themeforest.
Themes typically cost about $100 and under, and many are compatible with Magento regardless of which version of the software you’re running.
Regardless of whether you’re doing it yourself or planning on purchasing a theme for Magento, you have tons of options available to you, so you’re bound to find something that works.
- The only thing to keep in mind when purchasing a Magento theme is that it is not recommended to change the code in a purchased theme, so make sure you pick one with all the features you want for your shop so you won’t need to change anything.
- Porto is the most popular Magento theme. It is developed with e-commerce businesses in mind, and provides users with customizable options that could suit just about any type of online shop. Additionally, it is compatible with Magento extensions so you can take full advantage of the platform with this theme. Purchasing Porto also means purchasing lifetime updates, so the theme will change as Magento changes.
Prestashop storefront options
Your options for PrestaShop storefront themes are similar to what is offered for Magento. There are hundreds of PrestaShop themes available online that will turn up with a simple Google search.
The default PrestaShop theme can be customized by non-coders, or you could make your own custom storefront design using tutorials available online. Alternatively, hire someone to develop your PrestaShop website from scratch.
One of the most popular PrestaShop themes is Warehouse. It’s a popular theme for online retailers, but could also work for just about any type of e-commerce website. Users have about 500 customizable options and features live editing, so you can change just about anything on your PrestaShop website at any time.
Non-coders can simply drag and drop their selections from the 34 customizable widgets available using the Warehouse theme and create the perfect website without the help of a developer.
All in all, PrestaShop may be a better option for non-coders who are looking for a simpler option in their e-commerce platform, whereas Magento might work better for business owners who want to code their own platform.
Magento vs. PrestaShop: Plugins and extensions
Plugins and extensions are ways to build on the e-commerce software you started with. You might want to make your website more secure or boost your SEO. Magento and PrestaShop users can both utilize plugins and extensions. Let’s take a look at the options available to them.
PrestaShop add-ons and plugins
The PrestaShop Marketplace has plenty of free and paid add-ons and plugins that you can use with your shop. It’s easy to sort by free or paid options in the marketplace. The free options include integrations with popular marketing, payment, and shipping and fulfillment platforms, as well as some free addons for modules, like banners and featured products, to add to your website.
Popular PrestaShop add-ons and plugins:
- SEO Expert
- Creative Popup
- Banner/Cart banner
- Amazon MarketPlace
- Carts Guru
- MigrationPro: Prestashop Update and Migrate Tool
- Square Payment Gateway Pro
- Product feed management for Prestashop
Magento plugins and extensions
Take a look at the Magento Marketplace and you will see the many plugins and extensions available to Magento users.
The plugins are organized into categories for customer service, payments and security, marketing, accounting and finance, shipping and fulfillment, and site optimization.
Many of the plugins, like the Mailchimp extension or payment extensions such as Square, are free. Others, like the Multi-Vendor Marketplace extension, must be paid for but could be worth it because it enables you to expand to selling on other websites like Amazon, Alibaba, and eBay.
Popular Magento plugins and extensions:
- Square Payments
- Multi Vendor Marketplace
- ShipperHQ Shipping Management Solution
- Quickbooks Online Integration
- Product feed management for Magento
PrestaShop vs. Magento: Site performance
Even if you are brand new to the world of e-commerce, you probably know instinctively that page load time could be the difference between making a sale and losing a customer. So, you want your page load speed to be as short as possible to maximize your sales.
PrestaShop and Magento both require you to use a host server to run your website. Before trying to optimize anything else, make sure you are using a fast server. Other than that, you have some options for improving your site performance.
Prestashop site performance
PrestaShop offers several modules that could help youget rid of unwanted images and data, allowing your site to run as quickly as possible. Make sure you don’t have any modules running that you aren’t using, as this could slow your website down.
If you’re savvy, you can use caches and compress your images manually, but it would be easier to just pay for a module to do this for you.
Magento site performance
The Magento admin panel gives you the option to enable caches and use flat catalog mode, a setting that allows you to minimize the data your site collects. Other than that, you should also make sure that you’re using the latest version of Magento, and that you are not enabling any unused modules.
Also, like PrestaShop, there are modules available that could help you clean up your site and optimize performance.
You can run a fast-loading e-commerce site on either PrestaShop or Magento — what really matters when it comes to site performance is what you put into your website design. If you are using the correct image formats and sizes, compressing your web content, using browser caches, and reducing the number of redirects, your website performance should be sufficient.
If you need to make improvements, you can customize these settings to maximize performance using both platforms, but you can do more to reduce load speed straight from the admin panel in Magento. Using PrestaShop, plugins are your best bet for improving site performance.
Magento vs. PrestaShop: Which has better security?
Security is a top priority for all e-commerce shop owners. If customers can’t trust you to provide a secure shopping experience, they won’t want to give you their personal and payment information and will take their money elsewhere. Magento and PrestaShop are both secure platforms that enable you to run a safe shop.
Magento consistently updates its software with security patches and recently implemented the Magento Security Scan Tool, which is a free tool you can use to scan your site for anything suspicious, like malware or security breaches.
PrestaShop also provides improved security with each software update but does not offer any free tool like the Magento Security Scan Tool. However, there areplenty of modules you can integrate with PrestaShop to boost security.
Between Magento and PrestaShop, Magento is the better option for security. Especially if you want a secure website without having to add any additional modules. That’s not to say that PrestaShop is not a secure platform. Both softwares consistently make improvements to ensure security.
Magento vs. PrestaShop: Installation
You will have to install the e-commerce software of your choice before you can use it, so when choosing between Magento and PrestaShop, it’s important to consider whether or not you will be able to complete the installation process. Each software has a few different options for installation.
How to install Magento 2
There are three ways to install Magento:
- using a zip file,
- a composer,
- or GitHub.
All of these options require a little bit of technical expertise. The easiest way to install Magento is using the zip file. If you use a shared server, all you have to do is unzip the file and follow the Magento setup wizard.
You might need a developer to help you install the software using a composer or GitHub unless you are able to follow the tutorials on the Magento website. Whichever way you choose, make sure you download and install Magento 2, the latest version of the software.
If you are still unsure about which method of installation is right for you, see the table below from the Magento website for information on which features are available based on the method you choose. As you can see, composer is the most streamlined method for non-developers, and is recommended by Magento.
How to install PrestaShop
If your server allows it, you can use one-click installation to install Prestashop using script libraries:
- or Softaculous.
Otherwise, you can manually install the software. If you are not technically inclined, you can use a local installation package to assist you. Compared to Magento, PrestaShop is easier to install on your own without technical support.
Users should consult the official PrestaShop documentation on “Getting Started” and read through each section in order before installing the latest version of PrestaShop.
The website issues a warning that properly installing PrestaShop is important if you want to avoid issues with the software in the future, so make sure to read the documentation carefully and chronologically.
Magento vs. PrestaShop: User experience
Magento and PrestaShop have different elements that contribute to user experience. Both have their benefits and downsides and are geared toward different kinds of users. Read on and consider what type of user you are and which e-commerce software would work better for your purposes.
PrestaShop user experience
If you are concerned with overall ease of use, and you have little technical or coding experience, then you would definitely benefit from choosing PrestaShop over Magento.
What PrestaShop sacrifices in customizability, it makes up for in user-friendliness. Plus, there is a community of small to medium-sized business owners online who can assist with running your website on PrestaShop.
Magento user experience
Magento, on the other hand, appeals to users who have more technical experience, or business owners who have the budget to hire a web developer. While it is more customizable than PrestaShop, you have to know how to code in order to take full advantage of Magento e-commerce software.
PrestaShop vs. Magento: Content migration
When it comes time to transfer your e-commerce shop to a new server or to a new version of the software.
PrestaShop content migration
To migrate content in PrestaShop, you can set your shop to maintenance mode and begin the process of exporting data and reuploading it to a new version of PrestaShop.
PrestaShop offers paid modules that could ease this process, or you could update your shop manually using tutorials on the internet.
Magento content migration
The process for migrating content in Magento is also typical of an e-commerce website. You need to extract the data and re-upload it to your new shop. Magento has plenty of tutorials to assist with this process and recommends reassessing which modules or addons you need while migrating content to avoid complications in the future.
Magento vs. PrestaShop customer support
There is nothing more frustrating than encountering a technical difficulty you don’t know how to solve. Software companies recognize this, and they always provide some degree of support for their customers. PrestaShop and Magento take a different approach to support.
Magento support is free, even for open source customers. Additionally, the software has robust online support in the form of user tutorials for basically any task you would undertake with the software. You can also reach out to a Magento partner for more support.
Prestashop support is not offered for free, but you might be able to find free advice in a forum online. If you can’t find the answer to your problems for free, you can either pay for a PrestaShop support package based on your issues — like migration or tickets — or choose a basic support package. You can also fill out an online form to request a quote for support based on your specific issue.
Magento is a more difficult program to figure out, but it has more free options for support than PrestaShop does.
Magento vs. PrestaShop: SEO (Search engine optimization)
Without SEO, it’s hard for customers to find your website using a search engine. You want your website to show up on search engine results pages not just when people search your name, but when they search keywords related to your products or services.
Having good SEO can boost your sales, so let’s take a look at PrestaShop and Magento SEO.
The success you have in optimizing your PrestaShop website will depend on the work you put into it. You want to make sure:
- your sitemap is optimized,
- your URLs are clean,
- you include relevant tags,
- and your site loads quickly both on desktop and mobile, and your metadata is updated.
For a fee, you can also purchase modules that can help you with SEO. Depending on your needs, you could purchase a PrestaShop SEO module to do things like fix your site structure or on-page SEO, or create a blog for your website.
Magento users can update the software with optimized metadata and headings, site structure, URLs, and more through editing the open source code.
Like PrestaShop, you will get what you put into Magento in terms of SEO. Magento may be a better option for SEO customization, however, because there is more online support for users who need help with the process.
In one of our previous articles, we’ve covered SEO for Magento stores - step by step.
Magento vs. PrestaShop: Fees
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to fees. While one e-commerce platform you’re considering may appear cheaper at a glance, there might be hidden costs based on modules or other services you might need. Let’s compare the fees you might have to pay for Magento and PrestaShop.
PrestaShop is free, however, most users will end up paying for something down the line when they use the software. Developers fees, customer support fees, paid modules, could add up, plus you’ll also need to buy your domain and pay to host your website, so keep these things in mind before choosing PrestaShop.
It might seem like the cheapest option, but especially if you don’t know how to code, it will definitely end up costing you. Make sure to take a look at the PrestaShop Addons Marketplace and budget for the addons you plan on purchasing in addition to any theme you buy from an external website.
Keeping in mind the costs involved in running an eCommerce business, PrestaShop does offer a financing option to users in the UK and Ireland through its Business Funding program.
You can borrow a specified amount of money from £/€1,000 to £/€ 1,000,000, and pay it back over time with a percentage of each sale you make in your shop. This could be the best bet for merchants who want to run a business but don’t have the upfront funding to get started.
Magento can be pretty cheap if you go with the free open source version but you will have to spend money on a developer to set up and maintain your shop. Make sure to think about this added cost in months and years to come.
If you are a small business, however, the open source option is your best bet because the paid Magento Commerce option starts at around $2,000 — not the most affordable product out there.
Enterprise businesses, however, should consider contacting Magento for a personalized quote on the cost of the software. In the below table from the Adobe website, you can see how pricing metrics and deployment work for the baseline Magento Commerce software and for the additional features you can add if needed.
Magento Pros & Cons: A Complete overview
Let’s take a look at a basic list of Magento pros and cons to consider before making the choice to use the software.
- Completely customizable - between the two, you have more freedom with Magento.
- No limitations to business growth - if you’re planning on taking your business to the next level, Magento can grow with you.
- Free support and online guidance - there is robust online support that comes at no cost to users.
- Requires coding knowledge or web developer - you won’t be able to take advantage of the customization options without a developer’s help
- Paid version prices out small-medium businesses - if you can’t hire a developer or code yourself, you certainly won’t be able to afford the Magento Commerce monthly fee.
PrestaShop Pros & Cons
Prestashop has its pros and cons as well. Let’s break down the info in the article with an overview of the software’s benefits and downsides.
- Can be used with no coding knowledge - if you don’t know how to code, you could get by using PrestaShop modules.
- Easy to set up - it’s a quicker process installing and getting started with PrestaShop
- Customer support is expensive - in case you can’t find the answer to your issues online, you will have to pay for support
- Not as customizable - there are limitations in customizing your shop using PrestaShop
- Paid modules can add up - while the software itself is free, if you use paid modules the cost can become unaffordable.
Conclusion: Which platform is better for your business?
So, in a match of Magento vs. PrestaShop, what it really comes down to when deciding which is better for your business is the business itself, and what you are willing to pay for.
A small to medium-sized business could be better off with PrestaShop, but a larger business, or one that plans to scale up, should go with Magento instead.