Magento vs, Virtuemart


So what is it that Magento can do that Virtuemart(?) cannot do, so that it is worth paying Magento $9,800 for plus $200 for its Joomlart Magento template?

In contrast, a Joomla-Joomlart template — with Virtuemart — is a cheap template and free for existing Joomlart licensed members. If I am not mistaken, there is even a tutorial to integrate Virtuemart to Teline II.

Like, does Magento make the products look better? Or, easier to buy? Or, easier to do comparison? etc.

I would be interested to know from those who have some basic understanding of the two softwares.

A checklist comparison would be great.


14 answers

Profile photo of SP Media 0.00 $tone April 18, 2009

The major benefits is usability and its support for external API’s like PayPal Pro. It has a few other nifty features, but not much. Skinning it is hell, whereas virtuemart is an install of a plugin and a few minor template tweeks.

Profile photo of tomc 0.00 $tone April 18, 2009

I will admit . . . I had fallen under the Magento lure for a while there -- so much so that it actually turned into somewhat of a roadblock toward my moving forward with my online business project because I couldn’t decide which platform to go with.

The things that most attracted me to Magento were the features / functions Magento offered out-of-the-box that VirtueMart didn’t -- such as the pro-style layerd navigation (i.e. shop by price range), Wishlist, Compare Products and -- for me -- one of the most significant … the ability to configure a custom product (with corresponding price increase and/or reduction depending on the items selected from the list (see the Build Your Own feature).

I was torn, though, because my business model / plan involves a multi-level website experience … including an online magazine, social networking, classifieds, auctions, blog, and more. The fact of the matter is that Joomla offers all of these options (through the vast number of templates, components and extensions available) in a much more affordable and conforming way than does Magento.

IN ADDITION, I recently revamped my research into the VirtueMart community and discovered that, in fact, there have been a great many extensions and hacks that have been developed relatively recently that, in my opinion, have advanced VirtueMart greatly toward being able to actively compete (again) with Magento -- such as Product Comparison, Professional Style Themes and a host of others. Also, VirtueMart’s planned enhancement roadmap (if realized) looks very exciting -- promising such features as
* flexible Coupon System
* flexible Discount System
* Product Meta Data (Keywords + Description)
* Wishlist / Favourites List Integration
* better Shopper Group Integration
* Product Comparison
* Plugin Installer
* Plugin System (Payment Plugins, Shipping Plugins, Checkout Plugins)
* global Event System

So, with Magento’s recent shift of focus to it’s "starting at $8,900/yr" Enterprise Edition, together with the sheer variety of options and possibilities available for a Joomla+VirtueMart website pairing . . . I have firmly decided that I am back with VirtueMart and I am intent on creating the most professional and dynamic eCommerce website experience I can -- and I’m well on my way and feeling really good about it so far.

scotty 0.00 $tone April 18, 2009

Don’t be surprised if VM becomes a commercial extension one day too. I don’t think it will happen soon but I think it will happen. Possibly with the release of Joomla 2.0 in a year or two.

cgc0202 0.00 $tone April 18, 2009


The Paypal appears in many eCommerce site, even custom made sites, so I assume that there is an easy script that Paypal provides for this purpose.


I am sure a lot of people, including myself, will be interested to be privy to some of th eresearch you have done in regard VirtueMart extension.

I would like at some point to setup an eCommerce site to generate income for some of th enon-profit sites I am interested in creating. Also, it could be used as a tool for empowerment, of people in other countries, to raise the state of their socio-economic condition based from their own efforts rahter than the dependency encouraged by government aids provided by agencies in the West, like the USAID.

Coming from the Philippines myself, I find such foreig aid stiffling, especially if it is used to promote dependence on Western based technology which may not be sustainable in developing countries. Moreover, since it is usually done through the government, most of the funds eventually may end up being spent in the bureacracy of the program and pocketed by corrupt officials.

Alternatives would be microfinancing loans that has been pioneered in Bangladesh by the Nobel Prize winner and has caught on in various permutations in many countries.

Microfinancing still required some dependence; and perhaps an extension of such effort would be for the individual themselves to eventually raise the funds from the fruits of their own labor, as espoused in this initiative:


I am not too familiar with the group behind it (there are so many fraudulent non-profit organizations) but until there is any indication that they are, the concept behind their initiative is among the most effective in improving the lot of individuals in developing countries. There are similar intiatives all over, and a good well-presented eCommerce site could make a great difference in such efforts.


Provided it is not too costly, I do not mind paying. After all, you need only one eCommerce site.

Another way to go around the costly comercial version is for users to create a separate version (it could even be proprietary) starting from the Open Source.


Profile photo of tomc 0.00 $tone April 20, 2009


I am sure a lot of people, including myself, will be interested to be privy to some of the research you have done in regard VirtueMart extension.


I included several links within my 04-18-2009 posting. I’ve also been finding a cornucopia of information and resources withing the VirtueMart Message Boards (believe it or not). A lot of people have been developing a lot of cool enhancement features for VirtueMart.

wooohanetworks 0.00 $tone May 1, 2009

Don’t be surprised if VM becomes a commercial extension one day too. I don’t think it will happen soon but I think it will happen. Possibly with the release of Joomla 2.0 in a year or two.

From the information I have, VM 2.0 will not become a commercial component. There may be something like a support forum people can sign up for on a payment basis like here, but there will be no restrictions as like it is with a template club. People simply will get some better support for the money they may be willing to pay.

Currently the project is heaviely underequipped, too few people who work on the system to get the stuff done they need.

When you think about using VM 1.1.x before the new one will come out, the new one will be no continuation of the 1.1.x series anymore, so no updating possible. There will be a lot of enhancements from the current version directly with the standard version, it will reach a professional level as Magento is right now.

Personally, I will see how things will go in the reality, so also when I have the information that the system will not become a commercial tool, one can’t be sure to a 100%. But, there is still a big difference between a true commercial software which must be licensed outside the GPL and other Opensource Software Licenses and be closed source. As the project leaders are from Germany they will know about the issues that will come up when planning or doing such step. The osCommerce was years ago forked by a group of austrian and other european developers, with a lot of success and a lot of troubles too. So, when they would ask for money right away, they can only do this based on that the system has a own new source code and is like it is said to be then, not more a fork of the PHP Shop Script, so either way, they could make it s true commercial shop system with a lot of potential users from back then or they will keep it OS and may provide commercial support in a commercial support forum for a modest fee…

Let’s see, but until this will be done, it may take longer than a few months, the past showed this.

Profile photo of tomc 0.00 $tone May 1, 2009

I agree, woohan . . . the upgrade issue is one that concerns me too. I mean, here there are those of us who will have put in countless hours of work and modification to our stores -- only to have to do it all over again (?) when VM 2.0 is finally released?

Perhaps the VM team will, between then and now, figure out a way to allow for an easier upgrade process . . . either that, or one can only hope that one’s store is making enough money to be able to invest in professional assistance to upgrade one’s store tot he superior platform.

As with most issues . . . time will tell.

mfcphil 0.00 $tone May 2, 2009

there are those of us who will have put in countless hours of work and modification to our stores -- only to have to do it all over again

Progress Tom is a very tiring animal…To keep the shop looking new you have to keep painting the walls.

wooohanetworks 0.00 $tone May 22, 2009

The problem is, that when you do not just install extensions that would stand for modifications to the VM 1.1.x, there is always the problem that any new update of the core may but not has to overwrite the changes you made or that the code changes will not work anymore in the new updated version when you place them inside the codes again, the codes may have changed, so it can happen that the old codes that did match in this version will cause an error in the new version. This is sure for 1.0 to 1.1.x stuff but could also happen in 1.1.2. to 1.1.3., e.g. simply placing old language files from 1.1.2 can result in problems, some parts are not more shown etc,, also when the system still may work.

Now, as I mentioned, there are ways to even get the most wishful addons to the VM system done with any type of plugin or module or component, there is no need for very very very skilled pros not to get over the needs to place any code into the core of to make changes to the core and this why I put away VM for some time now, as the changes I needed to do, plus that the VM I used was heaviely problemized alone, JA Mesolite has some errors only coming up in the quickstarts, so it would have cost a lot more money I wanted to spent, to get it the right way and the half way would not have been an option in this case.

Still you can migrate your store from 1.1.2 to 1.2 than, this will still be a easy way, from here to 2.0 it will be also more a real migration, to move db, shop content to the new system. To set up the store again, to make the design new or move the design. Same as with VM to Magento or Magento to VM or any other moves from system to system. As long as you do not have to or want to make it like with JA Mesolite design to JM Mesolite, still quite interesting, it is also no problem, but who really wants to keep the design as it was when any change would only mean to enhance the look again…

wooohanetworks 0.00 $tone May 22, 2009

Magento vs. VM —->

The one thing that makes VM the better choice for some people with lower budget it that some very good extensions cost less than same for Magento or are even free. A wishlist for VM is not available, not out of the box, Magento has one, Magento has some nice add ons like recent orders on the side, out of the box compare products function better then the one available for low costs for VM. There are numerous pluspoints in Magento indeed, but also a lot of minuspoints. I hate the JM templates, sorry, but the quality I get out there is top notch, the JM ones miss all what a shop needs. JA is very good in template design for content sites, but for true shop themes, they will need some better designers or ideas…and I think they do not see this like it should. They seem not to look over TM and see what hell of great themes in topics there are, how many nice themes there are for 80$ from other designers and the 190$ for a TM theme is money well spent. Seems JA wants to make their own stuff after own guidelines about what means good and what is bad, neutrally seen.

Back to the system and the pluspoints and minuspoints: There is some stuff for VM that makes the system weak. Even the mod_virtuemart is a sucker. When you only use mod_productcategories to have a cat tree on the site, you will have a fast site. As soon you install the mod_virtuemart, the site will slow down, the pre loading will be much slower. Not even strange that no one really knows about it, as those modules come like "must install, is part of VM" but only those slow down the site and people say, that this is VM and excuse it as it is free. Throw them out, use some other login modules etc., point the codes to VM, only use mod_productcategories and VM is top in speed again, like the Joomla site is without all that.

My suggestion would be to not use any basis module too. Only use those that you really need and better use some of the modified ones of the original modules, as they may not cause those issues.

Right now, any default VM with all the modules installed has this horrible preloading time, the site loads in the background and then quickly displays the content. Without the modules installed and active you will see a nice quick loading time.

Magento is a problem right now, no use at all for real unless you really know what to do when your site suddenly shows the error similar to "[SQL STATE:00000] Failed to allocate 1000000 bytes of memory." When googling this error, you will get a long list of links to Magento live stores that all have this error somewhere and no developer, the true pros, lol, even know about it…
The problem is that this is only a bug of MySQL, as it can be seen in the forums for Magento, already posted there by a member. There are too many little issues that make the OS version very useful. The designs out there are great, the modules too, but the system needs to become a bit better to be really useful to people who are not pros themselves and often pros only work on systems but do not run the shops.

There are also a lot of other shop systems, most are very good, there is no need to only see Magento or VirtueMart. Even the paid systems offer a lot as mostly it is about the skills to even get a product slider into a out of the box shop system that originally did not offer this. The more you know about tweaking stuff, the more the system you use becomes one and the same.

For people with money in the wallet who want a nice one, Magento is the choice, no way around, but one should also pay to get the errors away when paying money for a nice look….

This is what I can say from experience…so enjoy!

Profile photo of G T 0.00 $tone July 7, 2009

Hi, I do not understand much technical issues. I want to setup a online mobile store. I am a JA template member. And I have two domains left to be registered. Now I am confused whether to use Joomla template or pay additional 120$ for single Megento template. Can you guide me (from usability point of view and not technical point).

Profile photo of tomc 0.00 $tone July 7, 2009

Hi, I do not understand much technical issues. I want to setup a online mobile store. I am a JA template member. And I have two domains left to be registered. Now I am confused whether to use Joomla template or pay additional 120$ for single Megento template. Can you guide me (from usability point of view and not technical point).

They are both shopping carts and they both work -- so, from a usability standpoint, there is not a helluva lot of difference.

The difference, in my opinion, lays within the relative ease of ability to customize things. At the moment, I believe it’s a bit easier to work with VirtueMart than with Magento (just MY opinion, mind you). While there is a slowly-but-surely growing number of theme developers for Magento, there are currently more for VirtueMart -- several of my favorites being . . .



Furthermore, in utilizing VirtueMart, you have the benefit of working with the Joomla CMS and taking advantage of all of the other components and features that go along with it. Magento does not yet offer you this versatility.

Just my two cents worth.


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