February 21st, 2015 | 4 MIN READ

Five Things Magento Could Do Better

Written by author_profile_images Adam Sturrock

The love/hate relationship many developers have with Magento has contributed to the misconception that eCommerce is costly and difficult to implement.

We’re highlighting the top five problems with Magento, and how Elastic Path wants to change this.

1. Magento is a hungry beast

Some smaller eCommerce websites can get away with shared hosting (Woocommerce, X-Cart), but spikes in traffic or processing can often cause box issues.

For the average eCommerce site, you’re generally looking at running on a VPS or possibly a hybrid server, the latter usually offering some solid hardware.

Magento, on the other hand, eats servers for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is no chance you could run on cost-effective shared hosting, and even then, paying for the meatier hybrid servers you’re reaching the limit s of their capabilities, for large stores specifically.

Unfortunately, Magento doesn’t respond well to anything. Locks and delays abound, admin tasks absorb server resources.

You could scale out and you’ll still encounter the same performance issues you originally faced, with very little payback for the costs you’re incurring.

Magento is like the hungry caterpillar… That never turns into a butterfly.

2. Bloatware

Magento’s base install is around 130MB, which is hefty and doesn’t even include the various other add-ons you might need. The file structure is archaic, having to navigate several directories deep just to find one of the many files you need to edit. The codebase itself is unwieldy, often times developers refer to it as “spaghetti code”.

Maintenance issues are compounded when you have to run different versions of Magento and add-ons on different server setups, eating up large amounts of developer time.

3. Broken from the start

One of the most concerning aspects of Magento is the apathy that comes with using the product. Most developers know the problems associated with it, but often don’t take the underlying issues seriously because they feel there is no alternative.

Magento needs to be consistently updated, cleaned out and tuned and it needs a separate set of caching layers to be instituted and maintained in order for it be actually useful at scale.

Accepting and embracing a broken product year after year is an asymptomatic flaw…

4. Complexity

You cannot deny Magento has a huge amount of documentation, resources, developer groups and attention on sites like Stack Overflow. We can all agree that a considerable knowledge base is good, the more resources at your disposal the more informed and targeted your decisions can be.

But delve into the information available and you start to see that not all is positive. The vast majority of help available for Magento resounds around how to fix problems, not how to implement features. Magento suffers from a complexity disorder often overwhelming to some developers, and the deeper you delve the more complicated it can become.

5. The bottom line

Magento is “free”, to the extent that there is no upfront cost. You get what you pay for; the true cost is revealed when developers spend an inordinate amount of time optimizing & tailoring Magento to a store’s needs.

All of the issues previously discussed contribute towards developers having to invest a great deal of time, energy and resources to learn how the platform works. This often requires years of training which results in premium labor costs for those choosing to use Magento.

If one were to be cynical, it could be suggested that having such a broken, complex and difficult-to-use platform is actually advantageous to Magento as it means that a high level of commitment is required to work with the platform: as store owners desperately plow further money & resources into projects in the hope to see a return on their heavy investments, their dependency grows. As stores become larger they are ultimately forced to turn to Magento’s expensive enterprise solution as they feel they have no alternative.

TL;DR: It’s a fact that e-Commerce is seen as costly and difficult, and software like Magento is one of the reasons this myth perpetuates.

Elastic Path is working hard to make eCommerce quick, simple and safe for every developer, no matter what their chosen programming language and experience level. Create a store with Elastic Path and realise how easy eCommerce can be.


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