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Ecommerce Face-Off: Magento Vs. Big Cartel

Updated on February 19, 2018

4 Min Read
Reading Time: 4 minutes

If you’re thinking of building an ecommerce store, there are several ecommerce platforms you can consider. But, I am guessing you don’t want the extra hassle. So I am going to make your decision making process easier by comparing two industry-leading ecommerce giants: enter the Magento and BigCommerce face-off.

Magento vs BigCartel

Both of these ecommerce platforms are immensely popular in their respective categories i.e. self-hosted and hosted.

So, which one should first-timers use to set up online stores?

Let’s find out.

  • Before we go in-depth, here are a few points to ponder.
    Magento is the second biggest self-hosted ecommerce platform in the world. It powers more than 10 percent of the internet and is completely OPEN SOURCE.
  • Big Cartel, on the other hand, is simple, fast, and easy-to-customize ecommerce platform. it as a plug-and-play platform, where you make an account, upload your content, and your ecommerce store is ready for business.

So, which one is better for you?
To be honest, it is a bit difficult to do a straight comparison of the two platforms because of similarities and areas of differentiation. That’s why I decided to rate both platforms on a set of benchmarks that is important to ecommerce store owners.

Cloudways Magento Hosting For Agencies

Here are our results.

Indicators Magento? Big Cartel
Ownership & Hosting ⭐⭐⭐
Security & Encryption ⭐⭐ ⭐⭐
Design & Usability ⭐⭐ ⭐⭐
Scalability ⭐⭐⭐
Cost Effectiveness ⭐⭐ ⭐⭐
Customizability ⭐⭐⭐
Community & Support ⭐⭐⭐
Overall Rating ⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐


Taking Ownership in Hands


  • It can be hosted on all ecommerce web hosting solutions.
  • Magento is a highly customizable and often requires the skills of a developer and designer to make the most out of the capabilities of the platform.
  • You will be the sole owner and have full control over the security of user information.

Big Cartel

  • Big Cartel provides hosted ecommerce stores for people who don’t want to dabble into technicalities of setting one up.
  • The ownership is shared. It is possible that Big Cartel will have access to customer information and product feed of the ecommerce store.

Keeping Customer Data Secure


  • Magento is very secure not every two-bit hacker can crack it. The latest version of Magento supports AES-256 encryption standard.
  • Magento store owners only need to install the latest security updates to secure their stores. Research suggests that Magento stores are only hacked if they are not updated and 26% of the store intrusion is based on SQL injection.
  • Store owners can secure their Magento stores with SSL-certificates that can be added manually or through extensions.

Big Cartel

  • Big Cartel offers decent security. It is automatically updated with the latest security patches to keep the customers hack-free.
  • It offers SSL certificates for all checkout pages and the admin panel is also under the organization-level SSL-encryption.

Made for the End-user


  • Store developers can easily customize Magento stores by altering the code or installing extensions.
  • Magento supports all industry standard design options including hi-res images and videos through native support.

Big Cartel

  • Big Cartel allows limited customizations of the store through HTML, CSS, and JavaScript only.

Is it Scalable?


  • The standard version supports up to 0.5 million products. Stores with larger inventories could benefit from the enterprise version.

Big Cartel

  • Big Cartel offers four packages that cater to various size of businesses.
  • When the business grows beyond a certain threshold, Big Cartel asks them to upgrade to a higher package with more resources.

Cost Effectiveness


  • Magento is free. Store owners can easily use it without paying a single dime. However, they will have to pay for the hosting, developer fees, and price of any paid extensions or themes.

Big Cartel

  • With Big Cartel, you get a fully developed ecommerce store with a stock theme.

Customizability at will


  • Store owners can opt for custom development [in some cases from scratch] to fit the platform to their business model.
  • Magento has a thriving community of developers and designers and a plethora of free and paid online resources.

Big Cartel

Enriched Community Backing


  • Magento community has a ton of developers and designers ready to help you on the official community forum.
  • Due to its widespread use, many bloggers are now blogging about Magento and its extensions.
  • Magento has a dedicated dev-focused forum on StackOverFlow where you can get answers to your questions.

Big Cartel

  • Big Cartel offers a dedicated forum and a Facebook group.

Our Verdict

Since Big Cartel is a hosted platform, it comes with many limitations that restrict an ecommerce store owner from scaling or customizing it as per the needs. On the other hand, Magento has all the features that help launch and maintain an online business effortlessly.

In my opinion, a self-hosted platform that is easy-to-scale is a better choice for first-timers because the limitations are almost non-existent and they can seamlessly scale and customize the store.

Still indecisive? Compare WooCommerce with BigCartel.

Have I missed something in this Magento vs. Big Cartel face-off? Comment below.


Share your opinion in the comment section. COMMENT NOW

Sajjad Shahid

Sajjad is an Ecommerce Community Manager at Cloudways. He loves helping out Ecommerce store owners, merchants and marketers in establishing their businesses and startups. Sajjad enjoys playing table tennis and cricket over the weekend.

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