Create your own ecommerce website and start selling successfully with ShopWired today

Create your ecommerce website on ShopWired today.
Start today with 14 days free

Create your own ecommerce website and start selling successfully with ShopWired today

Create your ecommerce website on ShopWired today.
Start today with 14 days free

Upgrading Magento: When Costs Outweigh Benefits

30th March 2024

Costs vs benefits graph

When Magento was released back in 2007, the appeal of an open-source ecommerce platform quickly captured the attention of businesses wanting complete control over their online store. 

However, for businesses with complex needs, many have found that Magento can eventually become more of a hindrance than a help. That’s because, as your business's needs grow and evolve, Magento’s open-source nature can turn into a complex web of ongoing maintenance and additional costs.  

In this blog post, we'll look at the key signs it’s time to reassess your ecommerce platform and seek an alternative to Magento. Whether it's escalating costs, technical demands or simply the need for a change, spotting these signs can help you stay ahead. 

The Tipping Point for Magento Users

What may have initially begun as an affordable Magento project can escalate into rising costs and technical complications as your business evolves and your requirements grow more sophisticated.  

Many businesses are caught by surprise, not realising that their once cost-effective solution has become a costly obstacle to growth. But before it gets to this point, it's easy to identify the signs if you effectively monitor them. 

Let’s take a look at some of the key signs Magento is no longer the right fit for your business:

1. Increase in Maintenance Costs

Man working out costs with calculator

One of the most telling signs that Magento may no longer be the right fit for your business is an exponential increase in maintenance costs. Initially, Magento's open-source model presents an attractive low-entry cost, but as your business scales, so do the expenses associated with keeping your ecommerce platform running smoothly.

Here are some common causes of inflated costs: 

Feature creep and complexity: As you strive to meet the evolving demands of your customers and stay competitive, you might find yourself continually adding new features and customisations. Each addition, while potentially valuable, increases the complexity of your website. This not only complicates day-to-day operations but also necessitates further investment in development and maintenance to ensure everything works seamlessly together. 

Premium pricing for advanced needs: Advanced functionalities such as enhanced analytics, improved customer service tools and automation capabilities are often essential for growth but come at a premium. These requirements can push businesses to invest in more costly solutions or add-ons, significantly raising the monthly and annual costs of operating a Magento store.

Upgraded hosting requirements: Traffic growth and expanded product lines require more robust hosting solutions to maintain optimal site performance. Upgrading your hosting not only involves a direct increase in hosting fees, but may also necessitate additional investments in security and performance optimisation to handle the increased load.

To keep Magento maintenance costs from undermining your business's growth and profitability, adopt the following strategic practices:

Periodically eliminate unnecessary features: Evaluate your site’s functionalities regularly to weed out those that are underutilised or no longer serve a valid purpose. This not only simplifies your operations but also reduces unnecessary expenditure on maintenance.

Evaluate hosting plans annually: Ensure your hosting solution matches your current needs without excessive costs. As your site grows, so do your hosting requirements, but paying for unneeded capacity can inflate your budget without any added benefit.

Assess total cost of ownership regularly: Take a holistic view of your ecommerce expenses, including development, hosting and add-ons. This comprehensive assessment will help you make informed budgeting decisions and spot opportunities to reduce costs.

Implementing these measures will help you monitor the costs of your Magento-based ecommerce site to ensure the platform remains a valuable asset, rather than a financial burden.

2. Technical Resources Strain

Man overwhelmed at work

As your Magento website grows in complexity, so can the demand on your technical team or resources. This strain can manifest in several key areas:

In-house development costs: Maintaining an in-house team capable of customising and updating your Magento store demands significant investment, not just in salaries but in ongoing training to keep pace with Magento's updates and security needs.

Outsourcing: While outsourcing development work can relieve your in-house team, it introduces the task of managing external agencies or freelancers and the costs of their services.

Continuous training: To stay on top of Magento, your technical team may need continuous training which can increase costs and detract from focusing on core business objectives.

To effectively manage these challenges:

Conduct regular skills assessments: Identify gaps in your team's knowledge and arrange for training or hiring to fill these gaps.

Streamline outsourcing processes: Establish clear communication channels, set explicit expectations for quality and timelines and develop a reliable system for managing and evaluating external partners.

Allocate time for learning: Incorporate structured learning time into your team's schedule to keep up with Magento updates without overwhelming their workload.

By acknowledging and addressing these signs of technical resource strain, you can help ensure Magento continues to serve your business effectively without becoming too much of a strain on technical resources. 

3. Complexity Struggles

Man struggling with complexity

As Magento websites evolve, the level of complexity required to manage and update them can outpace the original benefits of customisation and control. This can overwhelm your resources and divert the focus from core business objectives. Here are the tell-tale signs that you're struggling with complexity: 

Operational inefficiency sets in: An overly complex Magento setup can bog down your team with technical maintenance tasks that keep them busy for too long. 

Custom solutions hinder agility: High dependency on bespoke solutions for new features or integrations can slow down your ability to adapt to market changes or customer needs swiftly.

Strategic focus diminishes: The effort required to keep up with an intricate Magento infrastructure can detract from focusing on strategic growth.

To effectively address these challenges:

Streamline operations: Identify areas where your Magento website’s complexity adds little value and streamline or eliminate excessive customisations that contribute to operational drag.

Enhance team agility: Foster a culture of flexibility within your team, encouraging the adoption of solutions that support quick adjustments and pivots in strategy without extensive backend overhauls.

Refocus on business priorities: Regularly revisit your strategic objectives to make sure that your Magento website serves these goals rather than detracting from them with unnecessary complexity.

By consciously addressing the indirect impacts of Magento’s complexity on your business operations and strategic focus, you can reclaim the balance between leveraging the platform and maintaining the agility and clarity needed for sustained growth.

4. Scaling Challenges

Businesses often encounter unexpected hurdles with Magento when it comes to growth. The platform's ability to scale, while generally a strength, can present unique challenges that hint at the need for a reassessment. Let's take a look: 

Poor website performance: An increase in traffic or number of products can strain your Magento site, leading to slower load times and a decrease in user satisfaction. This performance dip signifies that your current setup may not be optimised well enough for scaling up. 

Rising growth costs: Scalability isn’t just a technical issue; it’s also a financial one. As you scale, the need for more advanced hosting, security measures and possibly even additional extensions to handle the increased load can significantly raise operational costs.

Customisation constraints: Magento's extensive customisation options are a double-edged sword. While they offer the ability to tailor your site to precise specifications, they can also make scaling up more complex and cumbersome, especially when custom features require constant updates or redevelopment to accommodate growth.

Strategies to address scaling challenges:

Performance optimisation reviews: Conduct regular performance audits to identify bottlenecks and optimise accordingly. This might include caching strategies, image optimisation and streamlining the user experience. PageSpeed Insights by Google is an excellent tool for conducting performance audits. It helps identify performance-related issues and provides actionable recommendations for improvement

Scalable infrastructure planning: Invest in scalable hosting solutions that can adjust to your traffic and processing needs without manual intervention, ensuring smooth performance even during peak periods.

Modular customisation approach: Whenever possible, opt for modular customisations that can be easily adapted or scaled. This minimises the need for extensive redevelopment as your business grows.

Identifying and acting upon these scaling challenges early can help ensure that your Magento site supports your business’s growth trajectory, rather than becoming a limiting factor.

5. Keeping Pace with Ecommerce Evolution

positive graph to represent ecommerce advancements

Magento's open-source nature fosters an online community of developers continually enhancing its capabilities and innovating new solutions. Yet, the challenge for businesses is integrating new features seamlessly and securely into their operations. 

Here are some of the signs your website is struggling to keep pace with ecommerce evolution:

Integrations require increased development effort: With the rapid evolution of ecommerce technologies, integrating the latest tools and features into an existing Magento setup can become complex, requiring significant development efforts. 

Compatibility issues: Businesses heavily reliant on customisations might find that updating to the latest versions of Magento or adding new extensions can lead to compatibility issues. This often means additional work is required to ensure everything functions as intended.

Proactive security management: While Magento and its community are diligent about security, the responsibility to regularly apply patches and updates falls to the store owner. Staying ahead of security risks requires a proactive approach, especially for websites that utilise lots of customisation. 

What can you do to make sure your website is keeping up with ecommerce innovations? 

Continuous monitoring and testing: Regularly review your Magento site's compatibility with new updates and extensions. Test any changes or updates in a staging environment before deploying live.

Engage with the community: Stay active in Magento forums and communities to learn about upcoming updates and best practices for integration. this way, you directly benefit from the collective knowledge and experience of Magento developers.

Understanding the nuances of Magento's open-source ecosystem can help businesses better navigate the challenges of staying current with ecommerce innovations while maintaining a secure, efficient online operation.

Upgrading Magento to an Alternative Ecommerce Platform: Is It Time to Upgrade? 

Recognising the signs that your Magento website may no longer be the best fit for your business is crucial for:

  • maintaining a competitive edge
  • streamlining business operations
  • maintaining a satisfied customer base. 

The points discussed in this guide have highlighted some common challenges Magento users might face, including increased maintenance costs, technical resource strain, struggles with complexity, scaling challenges and keeping pace with ecommerce evolution.

As your business continues to grow and evolve, so too should your ecommerce platform. In 2023, global retail e-commerce sales hit an impressive $5.8 trillion, with forecasts suggesting a surge to over $8 trillion by 2027. This indicates that ecommerce is going nowhere, and highlights the importance of having a platform behind you that lets you innovate, scale and grow with ease.  

If you find yourself facing any of the challenges outlined in this post without a clear or cost-effective path to resolution, it may be time to consider Magento alternatives that can offer the scalability, ease of use and support your business needs for its next phase of growth.

Exploring Alternatives: ShopWired

When faced with escalating costs, technical challenges and the need for continuous innovation, it may be time to explore a Magento alternative that can better serve your business's current and future needs.

When considering a move from Magento, it’s important to evaluate potential platforms on several key factors, including:

Ease of use: Look for a platform that offers an intuitive user interface, simplifying day-to-day operations and reducing the need for specialised technical support.

Cost-effectiveness: Consider the total cost of ownership, including setup, customisation, maintenance and scalability. A good ecommerce platform provides a clear pricing model without hidden costs.

Scalability: Ensure the platform can grow with your business, accommodating increases in inventory, traffic and transactions without a drop in performance.

Security: Choose a platform known for robust security features and regular updates to protect against the latest threats.

Support: A strong support network can be an invaluable resource for troubleshooting, advice and solutions.

Amongst Magento's alternatives, ShopWired stands out as a compelling option for businesses looking to transition from Magento to a more streamlined, user-friendly platform. 

Why switch from Magento to ShopWired? 

ShopWired logo

For businesses navigating the complexities of Magento, ShopWired offers a seamless, cost-effective alternative, eliminating coding headaches and development delays.

Here are some common reasons for moving to ShopWired from Magento: 

Core Ecommerce Features on All Price Plans

ShopWired Pricing

ShopWired's comprehensive ecommerce features are available across all pricing tiers. Each feature is designed to streamline operations without the development headaches often experienced on Magento. 

Free, Customisable Themes

ShopWired Themes

Access over 20 free themes to enhance your store’s aesthetics effortlessly with drag-and-drop customisation. All of ShopWired's themes are responsive, meaning they look and function just as well on mobile or desktop devices. 

Reliable hosting

ShopWired's fully-hosted plans utilise Amazon Web Services, guaranteeing exceptional 99.99% uptime and scalability without the need for separate hosting.

Transparent Pricing

Experience clear, upfront pricing with ShopWired, avoiding the unexpected ongoing costs often encountered with Magento.

Exceptional Support

ShopWired TrustPilot Rating

Rely on ShopWired’s highly-rated, in-house support team, available via Live Chat and voice call to ensure smooth operations from setup onwards. ShopWired's commitment to support is one of the reasons we score so highly on review platforms like TrustPilot

Comprehensive App Marketplace

ShopWired Apps

Explore ShopWired's rich selection of in-house apps, designed to enhance your store's functionality without an over-reliance on third-party apps.

Simplified Multi-Channel Selling 

ShopWired connects effortlessly to eBay and Etsy, making omnichannel selling more accessible compared to the complex setup required by Magento.

Multiple Payment Options

ShopWired Payment Gateways

Offer customers a wide array of payment methods with ShopWired's numerous payment gateway integrations, surpassing Magento's more limited and complex payment solutions. 

Robust Security Measures

ShopWired provides robust security with PCI compliance and 3D Secure checkout across all payment gateways, setting a high standard for online safety. ShopWired's commitment to security offers a contrast to Magento, where achieving and maintaining such standards can require more effort and resources.

Built-In Marketing and SEO

ShopWired SEO Features

Boost your visibility with ShopWired’s integrated marketing and SEO tools, offering a more comprehensive solution than Magento’s plugin-dependent approach. ShopWired also offers SEO packages for businesses that would rather have their search engine optimisation handled by ShopWired's marketing experts. 

Smooth Migration 

Transition from Magento to ShopWired with ease with ShopWired's straightforward migration services. Choose a DIY option by using our detailed migration guides, or receive support from ShopWired's dedicated migration service for a hassle-free move. 


What makes ShopWired a better alternative to Magento?

ShopWired offers simplicity, cost-effectiveness and a comprehensive set of ecommerce features without the need for extensive open-source customisation or technical support, making it a streamlined alternative to Magento.

Can I transfer my existing Magento store data to ShopWired?

Yes, ShopWired provides a smooth migration process that allows you to transfer your product listings and other data. You cannot transfer order data. 

Does ShopWired offer customisable themes like Magento?

ShopWired offers over 20 free, fully responsive themes. Our new version 5 themes can be customised using a drag-and-drop interface, and all themes can be customised by directly editing the theme code for deeper customisation, similar to Magento. 

How does ShopWired handle website hosting?

All ShopWired plans are fully hosted using Amazon Web Services, ensuring high reliability, 99.99% uptime and scalability without the need for separate hosting arrangements.

Is ShopWired more cost-effective than Magento?

Yes, ShopWired offers transparent pricing with no hidden fees, providing a clear overview of expenses, unlike Magento, which can involve unpredictable costs for hosting, extensions, customisations and ongoing maintenance.

What kind of support can I expect from ShopWired?

ShopWired boasts an in-house support team available via Live Chat and pre-booked phone calls, providing top-rated assistance for everything from setup to day-to-day operations.

Does ShopWired support multi-channel selling?

Absolutely, ShopWired simplifies multi-channel retail, offering streamlined connections to platforms like eBay and Amazon, and even Facebook and Instagram, unlike the more complex setups required by Magento.

What about payment gateway integrations on ShopWired?

ShopWired supports over 40 payment gateway integrations, offering a broad range of payment options for your customers and surpassing Magento's more limited solutions.

How does ShopWired ensure the security of my online store?

ShopWired prioritises online safety with PCI compliance and 3D Secure checkout across all payment gateways, offering robust security features that are easy to maintain.

Are there marketing and SEO tools available on ShopWired?

Yes, ShopWired includes built-in marketing and SEO tools to enhance your online visibility more efficiently than Magento, which often requires additional plugins or services. ShopWired also offers SEO and PPC packages.