Magento is a free and open source eCommerce platform, and like most other popular open source platforms, it has a huge library of extensions available for it – some free, some paid.
If you’re a small business owner on a budget, then it may be tempting to stick to using free Magento extensions to build your store. It’s certainly possible to do this – many of the free extensions are well made, feature rich, and flexible, but there are benefits to purchasing extensions in many cases.
You Are Paying for More than Code
When you purchase a paid-for extension, you get more than just code for your money. Many extension developers offer installation services (sometimes for a nominal extra fee). You also get technical support to setup Magento extension, bug fixes and patches for a given period after the purchase.
If you download a free extension, you’ll have to install it yourself (or pay to professional programmer to do it). You will get updates – if the developer chooses to update the package, but you have no guarantee that your questions will be answered or that any bugs you report will be fixed. If the extension doesn’t work with your server software, or doesn’t play nice with other extensions then you are on your own.
Professional extension developers make their living by producing plugins. It’s in their best interests to stay up-to-date with the latest Magento releases, patch issues and pay attention to their users.
Making Your Site Unique
One of the biggest problems with using free themes and extensions is that you end up with a website that looks exactly the same as thousands of other sites out there. If you’re selling an expensive product and need to inspire trust in your customers then this is not a good thing! Paid extensions have a smaller user base, so your site will appear more professional and look less like a turnkey store.