The technological changes of today’s world impact many businesses. Companies increasingly invest in technology to achieve competitiveness or expand worldwide. eCommerce has revolutionized the business sector by creating an integrated digital business environment. The biggest challenge for many companies is probably choosing the right platform that lets the business grow with it.
The following article will help you compare two eCommerce platforms, Adobe (Magento) Commerce and Sylius Plus in terms of architecture, advantages, weaknesses, licensing and market fit.
What is an open-source platform?
The idea of open-source comes down to making the source code available to users and thus enabling them to participate in the further development of the software. The community can examine the source code, make modifications and eliminate any errors it finds. As a result, open-source software is constantly developed and improved. It also translates into its wide popularity – open-source is no longer a niche but an attractive alternative to closed commercial solutions.
All open-source platforms have access to a large number of different modules for any type of payment, delivery, or sales support tool. In addition, some integrations may require the purchase of modules, plugins, or some work. These will primarily be integrations with ERP, warehouses, accounting systems, advanced marketing tools, or CRM systems.
Advantages of open-source eCommerce platforms
- No fees for the software – Community Edition (CE) is usually MIT-license based
- Complete independence from the vendor
- The ability to independently choose or change hosting
- Data ownership – data is stored on your own server
- Great possibilities of expanding the store – a wide range of plugins, modules, and integrations (sometimes partially paid)
- Scalability – you can create the minimum viable product (MVP) needed to run a business and then add more complex requirements
- Access to the source code, allowing you to modify the store on your own
- Support from the community
Top 15 open-source platforms
Why open-source for the Enterprise eCommerce segment?
Many online stores worldwide use open-source software, from startups to medium and large e-stores. Let’s take a look at what makes open-source software so good in the enterprise segment.
High sales efficiency is identified primarily with good quality of services or products. When expanding distribution channels, it is worth remembering the excellent sales and customer service quality at each point of contact. It is worth reaching for tools that support enterprises in ensuring this quality.
The possibility of incremental development of open-source software facilitates the expansion and scaling of the business. Therefore, it is good to be prepared to develop your e-shop from the very beginning and choose a platform that offers many possibilities. Each business is different. A good eCommerce platform should solve most of the common problems out of the box and let you personalize what makes your business unique, let it be the purchasing process, search, unique customer experience, third-party integrations, etc.
On the one hand, open-source software is an opportunity for people to start their business, planning to increase the number of customers and expand the product range. On the other hand, open-source is increasingly used by international corporations and large stores that already have hundreds of thousands of products in their portfolio and operate in various countries, languages, currencies and channels.
Although the use of open-source often generates costs at the beginning, it allows you to adjust the store to your needs in the long term. It is possible to modify the code independently and expand the store with the necessary functionalities. Users can also use ready-made modules and integrations that are worth implementing in the store.
The use of open-source software also facilitates promotional activities carried out by the online store. A wide selection of modules – from loyalty programs to social media integrations – allows you to tailor promotional activities to the needs of potential customers.
It is the community of users and enthusiasts that drives open-source. The community systematically introduces modifications and new functionalities to projects that both themselves and customers use.
The availability of open-source software also presents an opportunity for developers. The openness of the code allows you to learn about a given technology and apply it at work.
Who is an open-source online store for?
- For eCommerce businesses that need non-standard or tailor made solutions;
- For entrepreneurs who want to invest funds in building a store from scratch and own the code and data;
- For people with technical knowledge or an IT team, or the ones who will place trust in the agency;
- For those believing in the best-of-breed approach.
Get to know more about open-source >>
What is Sylius?
Sylius is a headless open-source eCommerce platform based on Symfony (one of the most popular PHP frameworks, which shapes the PHP language itself) that helps develop bespoke eCommerce stores. The platform focuses mainly on the backend, enabling users to have highly personal and scalable sites even, in some cases, in half-time compared to monolithic solutions due to its flexible and well-written modular architecture. Furthermore, it allows to easily perform third-party integrations (CRM, PIM, ERP, and many more) using the REST API.
Sylius follows all best coding practices like not reinventing the wheel, using Dependency Injection, BDD and TDD (Behavioral and Test-Driven-Development) approaches, and last but not least – best popular open-source projects under the hood. All of that makes it secure, easy to learn, host, and even easier to scale.
Even if Sylius is not a popular or dominant eCommerce platform, it is an impressive tool that provides numerous functions to assist online retailers in dominating the eCommerce market. After all, it’s a pure Symfony framework, which has numerous successful projects in its portfolio from clients from any segment.
It is a suitable solution for complex (non-standard) projects from the upper SMB segment and Enterprises.
Popular stores based on Sylius:
- Best Value
Want to know more about Sylius?
Whereas Sylius open-source has a license that allows use it for free, Sylius Plus offers advanced features from the beginning, including granular user roles management, centralized return management, diversified inventory management, and loyalty program. Its suite offers what the most advanced Enterprise eCommerce aims for, out-of-the-box being fully compatible with Community Edition, which it is based on.
The cost of the license is determined by the amount of transactions made using the platform (Gross Merchandise Volume). Sylius Plus prices begin at 14,900 EUR annually (offering also monthly recurring payments). It is not only a charge for extra add-ons; it is also a guarantee of support from the Sylius technical team. The commercial license allows the user to modify solutions or adapt them to meet real project needs as in a free version. After buying, you receive the source code as a private repository on GitHub. Sylius is also about to introduce feature-based pricing, dedicated to those who don’t need all features included in the full Sylius Plus license.
Want to know more about Sylius Plus?
What is Magento?
Magento is one of the most popular platforms for creating eCommerce stores. It is an eCommerce platform that comes in both open-source and paid versions. It is also one of the most popular solutions on the eCommerce market, constantly improved by its creators. Magento provides PHP-integrated software to develop eCommerce platforms. This project was released by Varien Inc. and is based on the Zend framework and the MVVM (Model-View-View-Model) architecture.
Technically, you have two separate platforms at your disposal. First, you can build a powerful and flexible eCommerce website with Magento Open Source (formerly Magento Community Edition). The second is Adobe Commerce (formerly Magento Commerce), which is divided into two products: local version – Adobe Commerce and platform as a service – Adobe Commerce Cloud.
Magento Open Source
Magento Open Source provides features to build and develop a unique online store from scratch. However, if you need an end-to-end cloud solution (or on-premise) that is optimized, easy to deploy, provides increased security, and comes with additional integrated sales acceleration features – consider Magento Commerce.
Who uses Magento?
- Liverpool FC
- Paul Smith
- Bjorn Borg
- Fred Perry
Adobe (Magento) Commerce (Cloud & On-Site)
If you need a tool that includes all the features after purchase, you may want to think about Adobe Commerce. However, it is possible to obtain the same functionalities in Magento Open Source with the help of third-party extensions and services.
You can choose a local model or use the cloud option by choosing Adobe Commerce.
Magento Commerce Cloud is a PaaS (Platform As A Service) solution hosted through Amazon Web Services (AWS). It provides a managed service infrastructure, better performance, increased security, and offers the highest scalability.
Magento Commerce enables businesses of all sizes to develop and sell products within eCommerce store.
Fundamental differences between Sylius and Magento
Despite common features, such as the supported segment (SMB, Enterprise), the PHP language, and the vast community, Sylius and Magento have many differences. Each platform brings its own advantages as to the particular business requirements.
Sylius is a solution that covers about 80% of eCommerce’s essential functionalities. Therefore, you are able to configure and replace any of the core functionality to fit your requirements. In addition, you can extend Sylius with various plugins and native integrations with third-party systems to create the most advanced features.
The idea behind the Sylius architecture is to provide a solid base for eCommerce development. Unlike other monolithic platforms, it is based on a best-of-breed approach. It is reflected in the outstanding performance.
Magento and Sylius performance comparison
Sylius is based on the very popular PHP framework – Symfony, so you won’t have a problem finding the right developer when you want to set up your store.
Magento is an eCommerce platform that consists of ready-made elements that let you create your store. It involves using already available packages rather than creating the architecture from scratch. With this approach, you get a lot of functionalities, even some that may not be needed, which can affect the performance.
Magento will be a good solution for making standard online stores. You can create a store on Magento faster because it is composed of ready-to-use elements.
Magento is based on the Zend framework, currently maintained by the Linux Foundation and independent developers. While there is increasing use of Symfony, it is more of using specific packages than using the whole framework. It is a fundamental difference. Many eCommerce platforms advertise themselves as Symfony-based whereas they just use some of its components to introduce their own middleware and standards, which could be introducing a higher technical debt and increase the entry-level for developers.
What’s better for your eCommerce?
Sylius or Magento?
Differences between on-premise and cloud
- Necessary budget for implementation
- Security on the client-side
- Offline access possible
- Unlimited customization options
- Great control over the system and data
- Usually longer implementation
- Maintaining infrastructure on the client’s side
- Cyclical payment for the service
- Security provided by the vendor
- Little customization options
- Partial loss of control over the system
- Online access from anywhere
- Fast implementation
- Maintaining infrastructure on the vendor’s side
Saas vs On-premise
In fact, there is no answer to which solution – on-premise or cloud-based – is better. It all depends on your preferences and assumptions of the business model and time to market you can agree on.
Most B2B companies prefer to have complete control over their online stores (e.g. due to the company’s security policy), so in that case, a better solution is choosing on-premise.
Sylius Plus and Adobe (Magento) Commerce comparison
Is Sylius Plus cloud-based or on-premise?
Sylius does not have a cloud-based solution yet. Therefore, you can only use it on-premise. However, if you need your Sylius store to act as a cloud-based solution, you can solve this via Docker, which works on Kubernetes – a tool that allows you to use Sylius like in the cloud.
If you are interested in Docker & Kubernetes-based Sylius hosting, reach us out. With the experience of numerous project hosting, we might be able to give you a hand.
Adobe Commerce cloud-based solution
1. Cloud-Based – by purchasing an Adobe Commerce + Commerce Cloud license. All of the services are provided by the vendor. You do not have access to your website code, but you can be sure that your store is constantly updated.
2. They also provide a service: hosting + the most basic services. This type of service is convenient if you don’t have an IT team or hire a freelancer for your store from time to time. Again, you do not lose the ability to edit the code and keep it in your repository.
- More straightforward software architecture based on Components (pure PHP), Bundles (pure Symfony), Core (Bundles get to know each other, i.e. a Product becomes purchasable, searchable, attached to a customer, etc.) and independent pillars – Admin & Shop UIs as well as API (both for shop and admin)
- Several times faster in the basic environment (performance comparison)
- If database queries are appropriately created, there is no need to worry about performance enhancement tools
- To improve the performance of Magento, there is a need to apply a kind of “patches” – such an example can be Varnish or determining the cache layer, which just covers the long-running code execution caused by a complex and a bit overengineered architecture.
- It is the price to pay for a monolithic solution with many dependencies.
- Most bottlenecks are not due to the performance of the core, but the inability to do extensions and customization – the capabilities of PHP 7 ^, Redis.
- A developer needs to be aware of all dependencies between so called services, there is not much diversity or single-responsibility within the whole system
- Catalogs management, covering taxons, products, basic inventory management, attributes and associations
- Basic PIM functionality, inventory management
- Orders management, where you can track your orders, payments, shipments, invoices and much more
- Basic CRM functionalities with customer groups
- Marketing tools, covering cart promotions, catalog promotions and product reviews
- Multichanneling with a possibility to configure zones, countries, currencies, taxes, shipping methods, payments, languages per channel
- Payments & shippings
- REST API
Magento Open Source
- Analytics and reporting
- Product browsing
- Catalog Management
- Complete inventory management
- Customer Accounts
- Order Management
- Payment & Shipping
- Search Engine Optimization
- Marketing and Promotional Tools
- Site Management
- Mobile Optimized Shopping
- Two API layers, REST / SOUP & GraphQL
- Multi-store functionalities
- Advances user permissions, admins per channel
- RMA – returns management
- Multi-source inventory
- Partial order fulfillment
- Loyalty system
- Business intelligence dashboards
- B2B functionalities
- Advanced marketing tools
- Content staging and preview
- Customer loyalty tools
- WYSIWYG Page Builder
- Visual merchandising
- Product recommendations
- Customer segmentation
Sylius is an open-source platform developed under the MIT license, available on GitHub.
Sylius Plus is a commercial extension of the standard version, providing the following functionalities:
- Multi-store management
- Advanced User Permissions
- Return Management
- Multiple Warehouse Support
- Split Shipping
- Loyalty System
- SLA technical support
- Dedicated Customer Manager
Sylius Plus is an annual subscription based on the Gross Commodity Volume (GMV). The price starts from 14,900.00 € annually. To get to know the final price, contact the vendor.
Magento Open Source is free of charge.
Adobe Commerce and Adobe Commerce Cloud offer exclusive built-in features. Pricing is based on annual Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) and Average Order Value (AOV) and is available on request.
Sylius Plus strengths
Lots of plugins and integrations
Sylius is a platform that makes your eCommerce look just the way you want without relying on unnecessary functionalities. Growing community and many open-source plugins make the development process smooth and reliable. Not only does Sylius have its own plugins, but all Symfony bundles are also compatible with it.
Sylius is based on the Symfony framework. It is the most popular framework in the PHP programming language, which makes it very easy to find a developer.
Standardized code based on pure Symfony guarantees faster functionalities implementation than custom solutions.
Sylius releases frequent updates, so the platform is always functional and compliant with security rules.
Tests, tests, tests
Sylius is a pioneer in testing. It cares about the quality of the delivered solution – clean code, appropriate updates, and security following BDD and TDD principles using Behat, Selenium, PHP Unit and PHP Spec. As a result, it translates into a possibility to catch errors faster than someone even notices them.
Sylius is not like the other platforms that are offering boxed solutions. It is a highly scalable platform that offers key features to set up an eCommerce site. In addition, it is a stable base for rapid business growth.
Sylius Plus limitations
Building an eCommerce platform on top of Sylius means more-less creating it from scratch. It is not a plug&play solution like other popular platforms (PrestaShop or WoCommerce). When choosing Sylius, you need to be patient because creating eCommerce from scratch may require more time than ordering a ready-made solution. Still, the end result rewards the waiting time – you get a tailor-made platform that contains only the elements you needed.
Marketing – SEO management
Sylius, of course, supports the search engines’ visibility, but its focus on marketing features (basic functions) is quite lower than Magento’s.
Even for that case is a solution. To optimize SEO in your Sylius-based eCommerce, all you need to do is install additional plugins that are available on Sylius Store or GitHub and optimize your product catalog’s SEO content.
The Sylius Marketplace is much smaller than Magento, but it is expanded systematically. You will find there plugins that are free and paid, like CMS, Single Page Checkout, Wishlist, an advanced search engine based on Elasticsearch. You can also use all Symfony bundles, which are in most cases free.
Extend your Sylius-based eCommerce with our plugins
Adobe Commerce strengths
Extensive store functionality
The number of functionalities offered by Magento, even in the basic version is quite impressive. For example, comprehensive reports, order history, product availability notification, and more, but the dark side of „having everything” is the performance issue.
A great Magento community consists of passionate programmers who have their meetings and conferences worldwide, such as MeetMagento, Magento Live, Magento Imagine. The most famous conference in the world is the Magento Imagine conference, which takes place in Las Vegas.
Marketing features – SEO
Magento’s marketing functionalities make it easier for online merchants to enhance their visibility and search engine ranking. It consists of advanced SEO features like Google 301 redirects, site maps, personalized URLs, and many others.
Magento has thousands of paid and free modules that extend the essential functions of the platform, thanks to which the possibilities of building a store are greatly expanded.
Magento is an open-source solution, which is better than the traditional SaaS-based platform, where only a few specialists have access and rights to the source code—making the costs of modification higher or even impossible. There are, however, rumors that Adobe is about to cut the open-source heritage and move towards close-sourced Cloud-based solutions like other similar platforms – Salesforce Commerce, Big Commerce, Commercetools.
CMS platform management
The Magento software has an evident and transparent user interface, thanks to which you will be able to manage your store quickly and efficiently using a content management panel. It is going to be beloved by the marketing team.
Many stores in one. Magento gives you the option of installing multiple stores that you can operate in one management panel (e.g., for several foreign markets).
Adobe Commerce limitations
Performance and scalability
Magento has some problems with performance out-of-the-box, so a website may run slower than expected. However, most bottlenecks are not due to the performance of the core but the inability to properly create extensions and customizations.
Server requirements and resources
Having recommended a virtual server or dedicated one may turn out to be a high cost, much higher compared to Sylius.
The Magento script does not allow you to modify the page the way you want. You can use the available packages and modules and update them, but you cannot modify them.
If you want to invest in a Magento store, you have to be prepared for high costs in the case of implementing a large store, starting from 200000 EUR for implementation only.
When Sylius Plus or Adobe Commerce will not be a good choice?
Sylius is not suitable for small shops with standard requirements that do not want to scale in the future. In this case, go for other SaaS solutions like Shopify or on-premise like WooCommerce or Prestashop.
It may not be a good solution when a company doesn’t have IT infrastructure and a dedicated team/doesn’t want to hire an agency to develop a project.
Magento is not suitable for companies that do not have the appropriate financial background, as maintaining this solution can be expensive.
It will also not be a good choice when the business wants to expand or improve important functionalities because, in that case creating an eCommerce will be very time-consuming. Also if you feel like Magento offers more than you need out of the box (with the cost of maintaining all of it) and you think about tailor-made features, Sylius is going to be a wiser choice.
Adobe (Magento) Commerce or Sylius Plus?
Which solution you should choose depends on your preferences and business needs. The decision regarding the choice of the platform should be carefully thought out and supported by appropriate research.
If you think you want some consulting, contact us, we will do our best to spell your doubts. If you feel like Sylius is a wiser choice for your business – we could be the team helping you out with either the MVP or whole long-term project implementation and maintenance.
This text was written in collaboration with Łukasz Bajsarowicz.