Online education portals like Udacity and Coursera are really changing the world of remote learning in significant ways. By making free and high quality education accessible to a global audience, these platforms are opening up undreamt of possibilities for communities around the world to improve, grow, and prosper in the digital economy of the 21st century. Education at top tier colleges and universities has traditionally been a social and economic privilege, but now anyone can join in the learning revolution by sitting in virtual classrooms with the world’s best and brightest educators. Whether this involves learning how to code and build smart phone apps, or starting up a new business, or learning about public health literacy, the sky is the limit of what’s now possible.

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Building an e-shop: Free open-source solutions (part 2)

Magento: features, benefits & disadvantages


online_shoppingMagento is one of the best known brands among all the e-commerce solutions. There are Magento solutions for virtually every business – from the hosted service Magento Go to the product for large enterprises. But the classic Magento is a free open-source solution, one of the most commonly used platforms. Its script is written in PHP and if you choose this solution for developing your online store, it’s definitely better if you know at least mid-level HTML and CSS. Learning the Magento back-end for a programmer won’t take more than a month, but for a newbie or someone without any PHP skills and knowledge it will be hard work and not likely worth it.



  • Free open-source solution. You can customize the code in whatever way you like and you don’t have to pay anything for using it. You can control every aspect of your e-shop – content, design, promotions, reporting, etc.
  • Regular updates and bug-fixes of the code. One of the biggest reasons why Magento is so popular is that it is an open-source solution – you’re not paying for using it, but you still get updates and fixes.
  • Security. The solution is surprisingly secure, so you don’t have to worry about it being an open-source platform with a lot of vulnerabilities.
  • Install it on as many websites as you wish. If you’re planning to have a couple of e-shops or to maintain your clients’ online stores, there’s no need to worry about choosing another platform.
  • Documentation, courses, community. Magento itself provides a lot of support for users and has a large user community which you can always ask for help. Magento organizes regular webinars – for helping users to develop their Magento e-shops, but also to help them develop their online e-commerce business as a whole.
  • Customer account management, mobile commerce and great SEO. Magento is really optimized for search engines and mobile platforms, so you don’t have to worry about those things.
  • Order management, payment configurations and gateways. There are so many options for currencies, gateways and shipping requirements that you will have no problem finding what you need.
  • Options for cross-sales, up-sells and related products. Magento helps you to lead your customers and generate more sales.
  • Multiple language support.
  • The most powerful e-commerce platform. Truly. Magento goes beyond just being a shopping cart. It offers practically everything that you’ll ever need, being a modular system and CMS with complete flexibility.



In reality, Magento has only one disadvantage – but a big one. If you’re a newcomer to e-commerce, HTML, PHP; you’re going to spend a lot of time and effort to develop your e-shop. And probably you’ll need to hire a programmer to do it for you, which kind of makes choosing an open-source solution like this a bit less appealing.


Magento is more than an open-source shopping cart, so if you are just making a small e-shop with a couple of products and you do not have the technical background to manage Magento yourself then you may want to consider an alternative. 

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About Lili Petkova

Enthusiastic young online marketing professional. Fully engaged in the way how people communicate and react on different situations – both online, and offline. Living in Bulgaria - a country of contrast, where life is somewhere in the middle of Western countries and Asia. Love to travel, meet new cultures and friends. Blogging about how online tools, social networks and internet advertising can help small businesses to benefit from their online marketing.