Alternatives to Magento

Breaking news: Magento Go has been discontinued. Start making plans to migrate your Magento store to Bigcommerce or Volusion now.

Are you seeking alternatives to Magento? Magento stormed onto the scene several years ago as a new open source shopping cart. It was highly configurable and full featured and the developer community jumped on board with great enthusiasm. Then normal people tried to use it and the wheels fell off. It was difficult to use, very slow and unresponsive and for free software small businesses seemed to have to spend an awful lot of money keeping there stores maintained properly. The final nail in the coffin was when Paypal/eBay bought it and tried to make money form Instant Profits with Instagram it at te expense of all the small businesses that had supported it in the early years.

Why would I want alternatives to Magento?

Magento is Dead. There is no future on th platform. Magento-Go has been discontinued and plans to update Magento proper have stalled. Don’t expect Magento 2, it’s been coming for years and with all the lay-offs at Magento lately there is less chance than ever that it will eventuate.
Security. It has been found seriously lacking lately. See my Switching Carts posts for more.
Cost. Since Magento was corporatised and commercialised the low cost open source development community has done the same. Expect to pay at least 75% more for magenta development than CS-Cart or OpenCart development

$99 SSL Security certificate setup – after you pay a third party for your certificate
Top plan allows only 32Gb bandwidth – BigCommerce and Shopify lowest plans offer unlimited bandwidth

Support – There isn’t any. In fact you are not even allowed to call them for help unless you are on the most expensive plan. Forget Facebook they haven’t updated that in about 8 months, and the blog for news and updates? Nope. Hasn’t been touched since July 2013. Twitter? Ha! Don’t even bother. So how do you get help when your online business is in trouble. Upgrade your plan and pay them much more money than you need and hope when you call they answer.

Overly Complicated Store and design Management
You need more features
Lower cost

You tell me, chances are you came here looking for a Magento Alternative – I would love to here your comments on why you are moving away form it.

Alternatives to Magento

  • Prestashop. Your best choice. Extensible, open source and has more modules than you can poke a stick at.
  • LemonStand – super flexible, very nicely coded. Similarly resource intensive (requires about 50% less than Magento to run) though but if you have Magento sized hosting you are well placed to run LemonStand – Need more read this LemonStand Review
  • CS-Cart – A great installed shopping cart. Runs well, full featured,easily extended, templates pack owed and there is a n active community to supplement reliable support – Need more read this CS-Cart Review
  • OpenCart or Tomato Cart – both open source as is the Magento Community Edition. Both are relatively new and still under development and both have active development communities and average development charges are lower than Magento.

Alternatives to Magento Go

  • Bigcommerce – think of it as Magento Go for half the running cost, twice the support, and about 20 times easier to build, run and maintain- Need more read this Bigcommerce Review
  • Americommerce – not quite as wonderful as Bigcommerce but has support for multiple languages and multiple stores from one backend. Supports all the features of Magento Go and is much cheaper. Americommerce support is some of the best in the ecommerce platform ecosystem- Need more read this Americommerce Review
  • Volusion is looking viable lately. Lots of improvements to simplify the user experience.
  • 3dCart – needs more attention a great cart that has slipped under the radar for no good reason
  • Pinnacle Cart – a solid performer with a huge featureset. Hosted and cloud versions to cater to all store configurations.

What carts would not be suitable alternatives to Magento or Magento GO

Shopify – just doesn’t have the features that you need – although if you found Magento completely overwhelming it may be a refreshing change to move to a simple shopping cart like Shopify. If you are still interested I have written a Shopify Review

Need more options? Have a look at my 6 second shopping cart reviews

Comments

  1. Flow says

    Andrew, nice roundup.

    You cs-cart link goes directly to a checkout page though, not cs-carts website.

    Cheers – Flow

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  2. Juan says

    I would suggest another alternative to Magento – PrestaShop.
    Even though their last upgrade was quite buggy it is now more stable and most of errors were fixed. Presta offers great functionality and flexibility. And it is able to provide customers with almost the same functions as Magento but at the same time it is much more user-friendly.

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  3. Tim says

    A couple of bits of extra info which might be of some use…

    I looked at CS cart, but can’t install it because it won’t run on PHP5.4 (The current, stable version of PHP !) Looking at the support forum, this has been an issue for many months, and they don’t seem to want to fix it.

    Lemoncart looks nice, but doesn’t appear to support a multi-store environment (Magento CE does)

    My search for a Magento alternative continues…….

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  4. Helen Axtell says

    After having spent many weeks looking into upgrading my Magento site from v1.5.0 to the latest v1.7 both myself and my husband (who is a computer geek) have come to the surprising conclusion that we don’t actually have a way of doing it. As you say there is no support provided and the only clues we have found require access to the shell which isn’t allowed by my ISP and isn’t a good idea anyway. It’s gone to technical, the man in the street has no chance of running it themselves. Not having a proper upgrade path is a complete no no. I just wish I had realised this earlier. Now looking for an alternative possibly Drupal which has been around a good few years and seems to have a good technical community who are happy to provide support.

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    • GreyWolf says

      Helen,
      Since you and your husband have spent so much time learning Magento, might I suggest that you check out Cart2Cart. You can migrate your entire v1.5 Magento platform, even if you are running a multi-store setup, from your current v1.5 install to a new Magento platform with the latest Magento version (currently 1.7). They’ll do the whole thing for you if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself. All you need to do is have your hosting company create a new Magento v1.7 install, as that will be the new target site for the Cart2Cart migration. Then just go in and copy all your settings and stuff into the new install after they migrate everything else from images, products, meta tags, categories, attributes, customers, orders, product relations, etc. This seems to be the easiest, cheapest, cleanest, and least problematic way to upgrade from v1.5 to v1.7, given the major code and structure changes. They’re just exporting and importing, via a bridge apl, and not using or moving databases with issues and such. All they need is FT and Magento admin credentials and that’s it. This seems to be the route, a lot of people are taking, rather than paying crazy money to have $100/hr Magento developers upgrade your site. I’ve looked at and thoroughly tested all the rest of the solutions over the last 3 – 4 months, like Big Commerce, Shopify, Americommerce, Lemonstand, Prestashop, Shopping Cart Elite and others and could probably start my own blog if I had time, but at the end of the day, those paid and SAAS solutions just don’t compare to the feature rich scalability of Magento. Am I a Magento employee or developer? NO…. Am I a Cart2Cart employee? … NO. As a matter of fact, I’m the guy in the post below this who has been struggling with Magento since 2008, hates it when its broke, loves it when its running, and decided at the end of the day, that there just isn’t anything else out there that offers as many features, expandability, look and feel, and customizable options, responsive templates, enhancing modules and available extensions as Magento.

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  5. T. R. says

    @ Helen,
    Lately while searching around for an alternative to Magento, I’ve come across your post a few times.
    I felt that I should just log on and tell you that … I feel your pain :-(
    … The latest v1.6/v1.7 has new structure and some are saying that it will break a Magento platform that has multi-webstores. Speaking of multiple web stores … try deleting a webstore through Magento admin, by deleting the categories. It fractures the database all the way to the payment gateway. You wind up with “missing key” Payment Gateway errors.

    When I recently got a quote from a well respected Magento development team in the US, of a minimum $5000 charge to upgrade to v1.7, and was told that perhaps i should wait a bit, because a new release is “supposed to be coming soon” and if I want to go to that version, it will be another $1500, well that is why I’m here looking for something else. I’ve had enough.

    Magento is a love / hate relationship. When its running, its a beautiful thing. When its not, or is acting buggy, which is a lot of the time, Magento SUCKS!!! And though I have two separate degrees in engineering, I’m a business owner, not a developer. I’m self-taught on Magento, which has learning curve that is a straight up vertical line, and I have personally built and been running a large Magento platform since 2008, currently on community v1.5. I’ve always been on a tweaked and turbo-charged and very expensive dedicated server, ($600/mo) just to support roughly 60K simple product items, about 1200 categories, and 12 webstores with separate domains pointing at them (which are subsets of the flagship site). The Magento platform is well over 100GB, but that is including probably 12GBs of old unused images accumulated through the years, (created in duplicate by Magento’s internal programming), with every backup and reimport, 6 GB dev site, full and partial backups, logs, SOLR search ((which doesn’t work) tried to replace the crappy default search), along with broken extensions from developers in places like the Ukraine, Bosnia, EU, etc., etc .

    What is troubling for me is that I’ve always been on 1st page results for everything, but when I converted my huge html flagship site from a basic html site with tables and such in 2008, to a dynamic database with Magento, my rankings and online business has slowly dropped off ever since. (Yes, I used the proper redirects as suggested by Google and the SEO experts.) Magento is supposed to have great SEO, and I used the basic tree structure and category names with built-in keywords from my html sites. So I figured it was the economy. But traffic and orders have been dropping off every year by 20-50%, same month over last year’s month, year over year. Something doesn’t seem to be right. Recently, I’ve added 20,000 more products in totally different categories, and I’m still only getting the same amount of orders per day., and/or less. So do I now blame Amazon’s Free Shipping, as I did of eBay two years ago? Is it still Magento’s speed, is it the bugs in the check out, bugs in the shipping gateways, is it the grinding to a halt of the site every time a mass job is performed (orders, product status imports, reindexes), is it some daily ceiling that I’m hitting in bandwidth (even though I’m supposedly using less than half (at peak) of my allowed usage), is it the creation last year of 11 webstores (with domains pointed at them) that might now be getting viewed as having duplicate content (that would only account for the last 12 months, what about the other 5 years), it is the internet gods, both old and new, that are mad at me, who knows.

    Bottom line, I’m tired of constantly being on the side of the road with the hood up, or constantly having to monitor the site to see if its down or running slow, or if the products have disappeared, or automated tasks of Magento or the extensions need adjusting, with all the inherent bugs in v1.5. The amount of orders that I’m getting now doesn’t warrant the monthly expense of a dedicated server, let alone the extra staff and wages. So, I’m considering going back to just having the single flagship site, and having about 18 to 20 different main category portholes, and I’m looking for a good stable alternative, with all the bells and whistles built-in (not a “we offer APs up the a## ” up charge saas service), reliable and accessible support (not a Magento-type support plan … NONE forcing one to search the forums every time the site pukes itself).

    I’m curious as to why nothing much is being said about Shopping Cart Elite? They don’t have product comparisons, but I saw on a video that they have a competitor price matching internet scraping tool. Supposedly they are ranked 3rd for 2013 for Top 10 Reviews. However, Volusion is ranked 1st, and its pretty clear what the consensus is on them in all the comments on this site.

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    • says

      Thank you for such a detailed post. As for Shopping Cart Elite I have always struggled to get in touch with the team there to start the review process.

      I would be very dubious of any ranking system that put Volusion at number one it is probably quite old. I will endeavour to get my hands on a copy of Shopping Cart Elite to review it

      Good luck find an alternative to Magento, please let us know how you went

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  6. GreyWolf says

    Andrew… You have a very interesting group following you on Facebook. Good luck with THAT!

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    • says

      Are you looking at the right page? Mine seems to be 99% robot accounts if there were more than 100 real live humans on there I would be surprised.

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  7. Mark Scholes says

    Really interesting post Andrew.

    I was using CS Cart but can be a bit buggy and it doesn’t seem like they have any plans of fixing it.

    I’ve recently started using Moltin. Its really new and refreshing with its API. It took a while to design a really nice initial template for my first project but now its so easy to drag across and change in and out. The support was really good and they walked me through a lot of stages as well.

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