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Magento And osCommerce compared

  • Written By Livie
  • Posted May 20, 2011
  • 4 minutes Read Time

We’re quite frequently approached by businesses who are investigating switching their website to Magento. None more frequently than businesses with osCommerce websites who are looking at upgrading to a Magento powered website.

osCommerce has been available for some time and it’s now one of the oldest eCommerce platforms available boasting over 20,000 users. However, perhaps as result of Magento’s meteroic rise in popularity over the past 4 years or as result of some of the big household brands that are using Magento to power their online shops Magento seems to be grabbing businesses attention.

Having worked with Magento and osCommerce first hand we know what each platform has to offer and what you should consider if you’re looking at moving from osCommerce to Magento.

So what does Magento have to offer that osCommerce doesn’t?


Magento has become the platform of choice for so many, in part, down to its powerful SEO (search engine optimisation) features. Whilst there’s no denying osCommerce has improved its SEO offering in recent years, even a fairly standard Magento site can be quickly configured to be very effective with search engines. With some simple customisation and the introduction of features such as canonical URLs, Magento can be an incredibly powerful tool for driving your website up the search results.


This might not mean a huge amount to most of us but sit a programmer down with the codes to a Magento site and the codes to an osCommerce site and they’ll quickly tell you which is the better platform. osCommerce is renowned for it’s messy and unorganised codes and whilst this might mean much to you or I, in practice it can lead to temporamental errors with your site, complications with integrating your site with third party software as well as having a negative impact on search engine optimisation.


One of the great features about Magento is the open source community that supports the software. Developers from around the world all contribute to the Magento software removing any small bugs and regularly releasing powerful new features that in most cases can be downloaded and added to your site for free. Whilst osCommerce is supported by a development network it’s smaller user base and complicated coding mean that Magento’s ever expanding library of plug ins and extensions is far superior. It’s a bit like comparing Apples’ app store to Blackberry’s app world.

Platform For Growth

Personally, I think what sets Magento apart from osCommerce and all other ecommerce platforms for that matter, is it’s flexibility and room for growth. If you run an ecommerce website you’ll know, that whilst essentially being a positive thing, there is nothing more frustrating than feeling you’re outgrowing your website and your ecommerce software. If you’ve built a business and a website up over a number of years then you’re familiar with the software and you’re used to how everything works. Realising that you are just not going to achieve your online ambitions using the platform you’re so used to, means you’re faced with the often time consuming and potentially expensive process of developing your software further or switching to a new and unfamiliar platform. With Magento’s powerful feature list and a huge network of extensions, you’re never going to outgrow your site. One look at the lists of big brand retailers using Magento compared to osCommerce shows the huge capabilities of a well built Magento site.

osCommerce certainly has its place in the market, if you’re a website owner with a very basic understating of HTML then you can download the latest version of osCommerce, pick a relatively attractive template from their library of templates and have a website up and running within a few hours. Magento, despite their best efforts, isn’t as straightforward to use ‘off the bat’ and whilst you can still download the software and a template, unless you’re very patient and very determined you’re going to struggle. In a nutshell, if you want a simple, quick and cheap ecommerce solution then osCommerce might be the best starting point. If you’re looking to establish a serious online business or if you’re looking to take your website to the next level, safe in the knowledge that moving from osCommerce to Magento is relatively straightforward, then Magento is the perfect solution…. but then again we would say that.