Creating e-commerce websites: a comparison of PrestaShop and Magento

Nowadays you have many different content management systems for e-commerce at your disposal. For example, WordPress and WooCommerce let you easily create uncomplicated, powerful and attractive e-commerce websites. Beyond WordPress, there are other, specialized content management systems for e-commerce websites. In this post we will introduce you to the two most popular systems, PrestaShop and Magento.

Comparison

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PrestaShop

PrestaShop is suitable for beginners with a simple product hierarchy who want to create an e-commerce website with responsive design. The system features a multistore function, which allows you to distribute large product ranges over multiple shops.
PrestaShop supports multilingual shops, which means you can translate your website into 65 different languages so that you can be reached all over the world.

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Target Group, User Friendliness

This system is primarily intended for small and medium-sized businesses that want to establish an online presence easily and affordably. PrestaShop combines a wide range of functions with easy operation that even beginners can quickly learn. Unlike Magento, this system lets you get online without support from specialized developers.

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Available Themes, Plugins, Modules

PrestaShop offers over 300 free features that control multiple languages, product variants, payment systems and much more. You can also add functions to your website with over 3500 free plugins. PrestaShop also offers over 2000 free and fee-based templates with modern responsive design.

Search Engine Optimization

PrestaShop is optimized for search engines by default.
URLs for the products are generated automatically based on the title or manually. The products are indexed in search engines using metalinks. This means your products can be easily found in search engines.

Performance

Small and medium-sized e-shops can achieve excellent performance with PrestaShop. Larger websites with thousands of products and a complex hierarchy are possible with PrestaShop, but these sites will achieve much better performance in many respects with Magento.

Stability and Community

PrestaShop undergoes constant development and has a community of 850 000 members worldwide who offer help to beginners and experts alike and who engage in numerous discussions regarding PrestaShop.

Security

PrestaShop is excellently suited to meet the needs of U.S. website operators. No content management system is 100 % secure. The key factor is how quickly security holes are detected and closed.
An example: At the beginning of December 2012, a security hole was found in the PayPal module, at which time PrestaShop advised its customers to upgrade their PayPal module. At the end of July 2015, there was another security hole that allowed hackers to make changes in the front and back office. PrestaShop responded quickly with a new update that rectified these errors.

Magento

Magento is suitable for large e-commerce websites with a large range of products. The strengths of the system include its multistore functionality and its comprehensive controls for user rights management. It allows you to utilize role concepts that can be adapted to different tasks. This lets you enable tasks and sections for certain employees only. Magento shops can be translated into many languages and can therefore be reached worldwide, as is the case with PrestaShop.

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Target Group, User Friendliness

This system is designed for medium-sized to large businesses with a sufficient budget and whose e-commerce websites are managed by qualified employees. Because of the complexity of the system, it is harder to learn the basics and requires previous knowledge about hosting an e-commerce website.

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Available Themes, Plugins, Modules

Compared to PrestaShop, Magento offers a smaller selection of free themes, but instead it offers free plugins that can be used to implement and modify payment options or a blog.

Search Engine Optimization

Magento is optimized for search engines by default and provides many functions that ensure your e-commerce website will be easily found in search engines. The system automatically creates search-engine-friendly URLs for product pages and gives you full control over your URLs with URL Rewrites.

Performance

Magento is a very high-performance system that scales up well to accommodate large amounts of data. The high flexibility and the many options for customization can also impair performance, however. In certain cases, a large amount of data can cause the performance of the front end of your e-commerce website to suffer. To optimize performance in such cases, you should compress all data on your website, such as images, videos, CSS data and JavaScript data. You can also enable compilation in Magento so that Magento needs less time to compile various data, which will optimize the loading time of your e-commerce website. If you increase the memory limit of your e-commerce website, the speed of your website will increase as well.

Stability

Magento undergoes constant development. Large updates are published twice a year on average.

Security

As with PrestaShop, Magento is not immune to security problems. In February 2015, for example, a serious security hole was discovered in Magento that allowed hackers to steal credit card data from all e-commerce transactions. Magento responded immediately and published a security patch that all e-commerce operators could use on their websites. Security holes were discovered again in January 2016, which prompted Magento to advise its customers to install a secure version of Magento as soon as possible so that they would not be affected by the security hole.

Conclusion

PrestaShop scores points for its ease of use and its many free plugins and templates that you can implement on your e-commerce website. Magento, on the other hand, offers better performance for larger product ranges and is ideally optimized for search engines. The most important difference is that PrestaShop offers ideal conditions for helping small businesses make an entry into online retailing. Magento, by contrast, is designed for companies that want to create large e-commerce websites and can put forth the necessary developer resources.

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Edited by Philipp Bellmann

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