Magento Open Source vs. Magento Commerce

Magento is one of the most powerful eCommerce applications in the world. It’s also one of the most popular. Hundreds of thousands of retailers have taken advantage of Magento’s rich set of features and its massive ecosystem of extensions to build thriving eCommerce businesses. If you’re looking for an eCommerce application, Magento should be at the top of your list, but once you have decided to use Magento, you have another decision to make: which version of Magento?

Magento comes in two basic forms: Magento Open Source and Magento Commerce (there is also a Magento cloud platform, but I’ll focus on self-hosted Magento in this article). These used to be called Magento Community Edition and Magento Enterprise Edition, which are more descriptive of the experience users will have. But what is the difference between these versions and which should you choose?

Which Is Right For Your eCommerce Business?

1. Cost

The most obvious difference is cost. Magento Open Source is free. Magento Commerce is paid software that starts at $2,000 per month and increases from there depending on the revenue of your store. As you can see from the pricing, Magento Commerce is not intended for small stores: its focus is on midsize and enterprise retailers.

It’s worth mentioning that Magento was recently purchased by Adobe, so details like pricing may change in the near future.

2. Support

Magento Commerce is supported by the company behind the software. For many eCommerce retailers this is hugely important: when you build a business on a piece of software it’s good to know that you can get help from the source.

Magento Open Source is not supported by Magento, but that doesn’t mean retailers can’t get support if they want it. For the technically minded, there is a lot of free support material online in forums and blog articles, not to mention several excellent books. There is also a large market of Magento developers and agencies who can provide paid support.

3. Features

Magento Open Source and the Magento Marketplace contain all the features that most eCommerce retailers need, but Magento Commerce provides more polish and some advanced features that are lacking in the free version.

Features not present in Magento Open Source include advanced customer segmentation, gifting registries, some catalog and content management features, and advanced search, although some of these features can be had via extensions.

4. Magento Open Source vs Magento Commerce

For smaller eCommerce stores with revenues of less than a few thousand dollars a month or brand new eCommerce stores, Magento Open Source is the obvious choice. The application itself is free and although you will have to pay for Magento hosting, that will be nowhere near the cost of a Magento Commerce license. WooCommerce is an excellent alternative if you are in this space.

For larger stores, the decision becomes less clear-cut. As I have already said, it is possible to build a store of any size on Magento Open Source, but it may be a rockier road than opting for Magento Commerce with its advanced features and support.

About The Author:

About Graeme Caldwell — Graeme works as an inbound marketer for Nexcess, a leading provider of Magento and WordPress hosting. Follow Nexcess on Twitter at @nexcess, Like them on Facebook