Magento 2 Vs Shopify Plus: Choosing A Platform For Scale

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With the deadline of migrating from Magento 1.0 to 2.0 fast approaching (in November 2018 to be exact), we’re going to give you the lowdown on your options. Those wishing to stay on the initial version can do so, but note that Magento will no longer be providing support for the older version which means your store will be susceptible to bugs and crashes.

We don’t sugarcoat things at Elkfox, but we’re here to give you solid advice on how to move on from Magento 1.0 and make the breakup as easy as possible.

What are the major differences between Magento 1.0 and 2.0?

Many online retailers who stick to the 1.0 version do so out of comfort. However, letting technological advances slip past gives you a disadvantage amongst your competitors.

Here are the advancements in the newer version:

Faster load times

There’s no getting around it. No matter how beautiful your store’s layout and design, if you have slow loading pages the UX is considerably less enjoyable. You can learn more about the importance of page load speed here.

Advanced architecture

I won’t go into too much detail, but with the addition of new technologies, such as Apache, Symfony and Composer, the operations are smoother and more secure. They’ve also managed to iron out the major performance issues of the older version.

Intuitive dashboard

Your dashboard is the control station of your store. It needs to efficiently relay information across all aspects of your store; from average order value to revenue tax. Magento 2.0 is more intuitive and efficient than the older version. It provides more analytics, such as lifetime sales, and also has an improved interface.

What is involved in migrating from Magento 1.0 to 2.0?

Unfortunately, this process takes quite a bit of time, especially if your store is complex and uses third-party extensions. Of course, in your transition what you really have to prevent is any impact on your site’s SEO. You’ll need a competent developer to take you through the process and hire your own host supplier.

How quickly can I replatform?

It’s not a matter of clicking the upgrade button. You’ll need to:

  • take inventory of all your hardware and software
  • figure out what is necessary to bring on to the new version
  • ensure that your current template is supported by Magento 2.0
  • begin creating and implementing your data transfer plan.

If you want to sidestep the stress of replatforming in the future, we’d recommend Shopify Plus as an alternative. This SaaS always places all their stores on the latest Shopify version, without any action required from their merchants.

If you're unsure whether you should begin the process of replatforming and need some extra reassurance, check out this article.

Bonus Read: Migrating From Magento To Shopify Plus

Magento 2 vs Shopify Plus: what are the major differences?

Scalability & reliability

I want to discuss scalability first because it gives me a chance to explain the significant difference in these packages. Shopify currently has 600,000 fully hosted merchants on board. Their members include giants such as Kylie Cosmetics, and even on Black Friday, you’ll have a fully operational site.

Magento doesn’t provide you with servers and hosting. You’ll need a reliable host provider to deal with peak traffic on your store. It is an extra ball to keep up in the air. As your business expands, you will need to invest more in IT infrastructure.

Shopify Plus has the upper hand when it comes to reliability as your expansion is catered for by the SaaS.

Platform speed

Getting this right is essential not only for your customer journey but also for your SERP position on Google. You need a hosting plan that accommodates your store. If you don’t have a substantial budget, our advice at Elkfox is to go with Shopify.

With Magento, you’re going to have to factor in the cost of a developer to set up the appropriate bandwidth who will need to be re-hired everytime you need to tweak your store’s capacity. Shopify Plus provides unlimited bandwidth, which negates the need for third party assistance.

Traffic capacity

Shopify Plus handles peaks no matter the size of your business. For Magento, you’re going to need to think about how you’re going to make your capacity stretch for those times when you have flash sales. The last thing you want is for your website to crash on those days you plan for a rush of orders.

Shopify Plus’ Launchpad tool automates and organises everything you need to conduct a successful flash sale and handle massive spikes in traffic. You can read more about using Launchpad for flash sales here.


What's the difference between cloud-hosting and on-site hosting?

If you want a rundown on the differences, have a peek at this post. Essentially, on-site hosting means you have a server in your office building. You’ve got the reins but also the responsibility. That includes handling bugs, repairs, scaling, crashes, security, all without customer support.

Cloud hosting is where a tech company owns your server and you access it via the internet. You have to pay a membership fee and in turn, they look after all those aspects and provide you with customer support.

So where do our software packages lie on this spectrum?

Shopify Plus is fully cloud-hosted whereas Magento is self-hosted. Using Shopify Plus, you’ll have more time to focus on the more important aspects of your business.


Magento 2 requires advanced knowledge of platform architecture to create a custom front-end experience. This includes knowledge of directory structure, PHP and component architecture. In fact, the skills needed far outpass those necessary for the previous version. And with the themes being non-transferrable across the versions, it’s a big ask for customers to recreate their store.

Shopify Plus, on the other hand, only requires knowledge of HTML, CSS & Liquid. I’m a sucker for Shopify’s front-end options: the level of customisation is impressive, and you really only need to know the basics to create a beautiful finished product. The fact you can do this in-house is also cost-effective.


With Shopify Plus, you have full front-end control. It’s PCI compliant and includes SSL certificates as a part of your subscription.

Because Magento 2 is open source software, your store is more vulnerable to cyber attacks and malware. Basically, you’ll have more issues when it comes to ensuring that your website is safe from bugs. In this case, we’d suggest hiring a tech-savvy developer to manage your store and place emphasis on QA and load testing.

Having a sturdy security system is not a unique selling point, it’s something customers expect. Stores who decide to opt for a package that outsources the security have more time to focus on the essential parts of their business, such as creating a community of customers and marketing endeavours.


As a Shopify Plus user, you'll be happy to know that all updates occur automatically, as they are managed by Shopify HQ. Merchants launch updates as they become available without impacting their store’s operations.

Using Magento 2, merchants have to manage upgrades manually. Our top tip for Magento updates is to sign up to newsletters, so you can monitor when the new updates are released. Without the latest version, your store will be open to malware attacks, and your plug-ins may start acting up.

Cost & value

There is no point in getting an amazing initial offer if it’s going to end up costing you more in the long run. Shopify Plus has a fixed price of $2000/month, with 10 stores included in your plan. I’m not for a second going to suggest that a small retailer invests in either of these models, however medium to large retailers are going to need the services that this price tag provides.

Magento 2’s licensing fee is dependent on your store’s annual turnover, so you’ll be looking at $22,000-$75,000 per year.

Get the most out of your eCommerce store with Shopify Plus

Need help migrating your store to Shopify Plus? Look no further - we’re Shopify Plus experts. We’d love to hear from you, so get in touch!

If you’re curious to learn more about Shopify Plus and its features, you can read more here.